Monday, February 29, 2016


Last weekend and all last week looked like this.


We never saw Anna.


So on Friday when she came home with this... well we were all so happy for her!




Allll happy for her


I love Friday afternoons


This new song is hard work!



With Anna's crazy week last week her room got a bit messy. So I sat with her and helped her tidy it up a bit.




She decided that she outgrew her growth chart.





Saturday Morning


Sunlight and sleeping in



Now I have to tell you that tidying up Anna's room on Friday night (with Scott at a school function) led the girls and I to an idea. We started the Great Chapter Book Project. A major task of cleaning out and weeding through all of our chapter books. I'm going to do a whole post on that soon. I have lots of great photos of the work in progress. And it took up most of our weekend. But it was a family project. We were home. We were together. The best combination ever.


I can't wait to share more more more of this one!


And since the paint was out for our book project he painted a bunch of other things around the house.



We celebrated National Pancake Day!





Sunday was also Mass and Abigail being on the alter. (knee socks... swoon)


(and finishing up our book project)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Kindergarten Teacher

Mr. Labadia is the greatest kindergarten teacher that ever existed.  (besides this amazing one of course) He's retired now.  Here is how I know him:

When I was eight years old (Abigail's age) my Dad did these amazing shows.  (He still does.. there here here on this blog)  This summer will be is 42 summer show.  Abigail was in one last year and I was in them when I was little.  Anyway,

While I was in my Dad's summer shows I also got to be in one other class.  (there were four periods, three were with my Dad) One year I took calligraphy.  One year I took puppetry.  Mr. Labadia taught puppetry.

Mr. Labadia had a beard and a soft voice.  He was kind and creative. He was patient and I liked him instantly.  He was sweet to me. (he knew my Dad)

Fast forward lots of years...

I'm now a teacher.  A first grade teacher.  I was in my fourth year of teaching and I moved to a different school.  I'll never forget hearing his voice down the hall on the day I was moving in.  I knew it instantly, even after all of those years.

A big hug and lots of support for me as I was learning the 'ins and outs' of a new town and a new school.  He'd help in the afternoons after school.  He'd sit and help me prepare science lessons.  He taught me everything he could about teaching young children.  And I soaked him up.

I watched him walk his Kindergarten class to lunch or music or art.  I'd listen and practice his patience and firm sweetness with his class.  I'd pop in his room just to marvel at how it was set up.  I was in awe.  Everyone was.

But he was so so humble. Always complimenting other teachers, always giving away his materials, units he'd developed, anything he had.  He told me I was wonderful with young children.  I'm not so sure I was but he believed I was, so I was.

He was the first to hug me in the school the day I came back after my Grandpa had died.  He was the first to applaud when I announced to the staff that I was adopting a baby from China.  He stood by me when I waited for that referral for a year.  He sent encouraging notes to me like this one that's now in Anna's album.  He gave me children's books throughout the year that were signed by the author for the future Anna.  Eric Carle, signed to Anna.  On and on an on.


It's no wonder that on the day after Scott and I got the call (back here I talk about it) I asked Mr. Labadia to announce it to the staff.  For years and years I'd watch as the lights blinked on and off on a Friday morning teachers room breakfast and a friend would announce a teacher's pregnancy.  I waited.  And when 'my moment' came Mr. Labadia, who'd known me since I was a little girl, blinked the lights and said, "it's not too often in life that an angel taps you on the shoulder. Well, we have a new angel. And her name is Anna Jiang Qian. Here she is." And he held up this copy of a photo. I'd just gotten the photo of Anna the night before. It was about the size of a wallet. He simply took it and enlarged it on the copier. It was the first time I'd seen it that size and I cried as he held it up.




I taught for only two more weeks. It was the last day of school and he gave me a big hug and wished me the best luck. He was so happy for me.

Over the years I spent home mothering Anna and Abigail I visited him occasionally in his classroom. But he ALWAYS stopped by in December with an 'author signed' children's book for my girls. And he always painted a little something for me. He's so talented. A little snowman, and ornament that looked just like our house, on and on. He never forgot me.

It was no wonder that after all of those years when it was time to step back into part time teaching I called Mr. Labadia for a letter of recommendation. It glowed. And I'd cry if I tried to type the words here. I sent it in with pride and his good luck along with it.

That reading teacher position that I'm in now I'm sure is because of that letter. Everyone who is anyone in education knows Mr. Labadia. I'm just the blessed one to know him as a friend.

Mr. Labadia retired. He and his lovely (she is so lovely) wife (also a kindergarten teacher) have four grandchildren. He became an published author. His books are here. And he does book talks to children all over.

On Friday he was at 'my' school and I couldn't wait to see him. Our time was brief but wonderful. I felt all lit up inside to be with him.  He only asked and asked about Anna and Abigail and about me. He was so proud of me and happy for my baby steps back into teaching. It meant the world to me.


He was and is the greatest kindergarten teacher in the whole wide world.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Back of the Bathroom Door

Because I'm desperate to help my little girl learn these multiplication facts.


It dawned on my one day... she sure spends a lot of time in the bathroom. Might as well use that time wisely.

(ps... that's the last of the yellow paint... I've picked out a lovely light blue but we're waiting for the new sink to come in first)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blah Blah Blah


I have nothing to be blah about.  Everything is running as it should.  I have my 'God time' every morning and it fills me up.

I really shouldn't sit here just before I go to bed.  I'm tired and all I want to do is cozy with Scott and a good book or a spring magazine.

I'm convinced that my posts would be much more uplifting if I blogged in the morning.  In the morning my head swarms with ideas for this blog.

How I long to 'tell our love story' and our wedding and parts of my childhood.

I will... just hold on... this posts will get better soon!

But for now sheets.  I have a thing for sheets.  I blame my Mom.  I had such pretty sheets growing up and my beautiful brass bed was always so pretty.  I had a white eyelet bed spread with a matching dust ruffle. I loved my childhood bedroom.  I dreamed my dreams in there and (except for college) slept every single night in that bedroom until the morning I woke up for my wedding.

I long to give that kind of space to my girls.  I don't like a childhood bedroom changed too much.  I'm not into big makeovers and redos.  The color paint on the walls are the same as the day Anna came home in my arms from China and Abigail from the hospital.  I loved the colors then and I do now.

Some things have to change (like how Anna needed a desk) and how we recently moved their rockers out but other than that they've stayed the same.

I found these Laura Ashley flannel sheets on line (such a sale) and they are the softest flannel I've ever felt.

I love that they're a touch of spring but warm and cozy because it's still winter here.

(Abigail's bedroom is the Peter Rabbit room)


And she has a little table between the two windows. She calls it her desk. (Its from here) 






(Anna's room is the fairy tale room)




It's pouring out right now. I'm off to a cuppa tea and my own pretty sheets. The best part of the day...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016



This afternoon everything after school was cancelled.  (yeah!!!!)  Well dance was postponed until Saturday but Tuesday is the best night to have some snow.  The very best. 

Anna is working on her own children's book as a project based on a historical fiction novel she read.  So some extra time is just what she needed.   (I wish I could have had the nerve to take a picture of her whole room... it's kinda like that top shelf of her desk right now... I can't breathe when I look at that filled too much top shelf, but I can't help her with all of that right now since she hasn't lifted her head in a week with so much work.)



The bathtub is where Abigail spent her afternoon.  This was her view out the bathroom window. 


I should have been folding laundry but I hung out with her instead. 


When Anna heard that Abigail was searching for a new book to read Anna was giving a book talk at dinner. 


... and I got to finally paint my nails... what is it about pink nail polish that puts me in an instant good mood...

thank you snow!