Phebe and I have been having some special conversations lately about one of our friends that is pregnant.
Today, at lunch time, we were at the mall and while eating her lunch, she looked down at her belly and said, "Mama, my belly isn't big enough to have a baby... but Auntie Glenda's belly is big enough to have a baby! Is your belly big enough to have a baby, or no?"
So yes, she's starting to understand some things and we've had the conversation that she wasn't a baby in my belly. Instead she was in her birth Mama's belly, in China.
Tonight, after supper, Phebe asked me who her Mama in China is... her questions were: "What's her name? Can I see her?" I explained that we don't know who her birth Mama is, but for sure, God knows her... that's why we pray at night that God will keep her safe. So she asked: "Will God tell me who she is? ...and I went on to further explain that God doesn't talk to us in that way... I said, He can see everything and knows everything, but He stays up in heaven. And she replied, "Oh yes, because he rolled the stone away and went to see all His friends!"
She stopped and thought for a moment and then declared: "I'll get saved tomorrow so I can go to heaven and ask God who she is!"
These are the moments that take my breath away, and bring tears to my eyes... listening to her little innocent 3 year old heart trying to make sense of this all. My prayer is that she'll put her faith in the Lord, and that she'll lean on Him, as she navigates her way through life.
Pointing to a plate she hasn't used in a long time: "Mama, I remember that plate, when I was a Chinese girl!"
phebe: "Mama, what's this?"
me: "Oh, it's Lilah's new spray for writing on the snow."
phebe: "Wow! That's cool!"
"Mama, I so love the Lord."
"I want to see on the computer where God lives, you show me?"
Baba was wearing his pajamas one day: "Baba, why don't you have your ready clothes on?"
Out of the blue one day: "Mama, can you buy me a computer for my birthday?"
"Today God is writing in His book, Phebe is a good girl!"
Sitting on the toilet chatting to herself one day: "There's a blizzard, that's not a blizzard, that's my sister!!!! ...for the first time in forever..." (Obviously from the movie, Frozen!)
me: "Do you need to do peepees before your nap?"
phebe: "Yes... I don't want to do peepees in the crib, that would be uncomfortable!"
Lilah was teasing her one day: "It's not true Lilah - it's a lies!"
"Mama, this isn't going to hurt, because I'm a nurse"... as she sticks a triangle magnatile into my ear! "Now lets check your eyes, yep, they're growing up!"
Sitting singing one of her own made up songs one day, during imaginary play... "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord, oh Hallelujah, He is so good to meeeeeeeeeeee!"
me: "We're going to go get Lilah at school."
phebe: "Oh I really want to hug Lilah. She's the best girl. I love her so much."
Talking about the length of her hair one day: "Mama, see? ...my hair is growing up!"
After I put her hair in pigtails one day: "Thanks Mama, for making me beautiful."
This photo, was taken this day last week... in Cayo Coco, Cuba.
My girls did this constant charging into the warm ocean. They had so SO much fun. We all did.
I have plenty of photos to share and I'm planning on blogging some 'a day in the life' posts, over the next week!
On this snowy Monday morning... I registered my second baby for Junior Kindergarten.
What? How did that happen? I just blinked!
This is the first year our school is doing full day kindergarten, ie 6.5 hours rather than 2.5 hours. Such a big difference, and Phebe is going to be a young scholar, with her birthday landing in October. That means she'll be starting school at 3 years old! Oh my. I think I might start her off for a few months on half days. But there's one thing for sure, she is more than ready for school. Seems to me that the second child develops, matures and becomes independent even faster than the first baby!
She's ready, but I'm definitely not!
Chinese New Year is a week from today!
Like last year, we'll be spending it in Cuba. And, from memory, last year I had big ideas of getting some shots of both my girls wearing their silks on the beach! I'm not even going to put that pressure on myself this year, if it happens it happens.
This week (and next), our photography class is working on an assignment centered around creativity. An item, location, something... that we can creatively see in our minds eye and build a photography session around. Well, you can imagine my creativity is pretty much centered around the beach at the moment… swimming suits and summer dresses are the only things I can envisage during this brutally cold winter, even the ‘hardy born-and-raised Canadians’ are saying it’s brutal, so that’s sayin’ something! I am not proud to admit that I have even driven the 1 block to pick Lilah up at school! Aha! However, all that aside, and since I always aim to get a few pictures of my girls in their silks each year, I thought this would be a great opportunity.
We visited the Hunan Embroidery Museum of China just 4 days after Phebe joined our family. Embroidery is a pretty big deal in Changsha, Hunan and our in-province-guide, Amy, advised us if we wanted a true Changsha, Hunan souvenir, this was the way to go! So we bought Phebe this gorgeous little jacket and pants in the little shop (within the Embroidery Museum). It cost an arm and a leg, compared to the dresses we bought in the markets, but it is oh so beautiful and totally worth the money we spent.
I found this little blurb online about Hunan Embroidery…
Hunan embroidery is one the four famous embroideries in China. It’s developed from the needlework from the countryside of Changsha. In the end of Qing Dynasty, handicraftsman Hu Lianxian and Yue Weishi mixed the stitch of Jiangsu and Guangdong embroideries with that of Changsha local embroidery, forming a new style Hunan embroidery. It is known for its bright color, vividness and strong expressive force. 70 kinds of stitches have been developed by craftsmen of Hunan embroidery. In recent years, they developed “double-faced embroidery”. On a transparent material, each side has a subject, both subjects are very perfect. Hunan embroidery has won several prizes at international expo and is popular all over the world.
These silks are very precious to us.
And I know this is very forward thinking, but I imagine one day in the future, seeing my Phebe girl's children wearing them.
So this past Monday, we pulled out our big box of China souvenirs. We found Phebe's special outfit and she really liked the mini umbrella, so we went with it as a prop. And when I asked her if she wanted her hair curled, she was thrilled and totally excited, repeating to me: "Just like Reese, just like Reese!" - he is a little boy in her preschool class and has very curly hair! Her hair is a little short for curls, but we did get a few waves in it!
Here's a few of my favourite shots - I have a pretty cute little actress on my hands!
Skating, it's become our Friday tradition around here.
As long as the Canal is open and the weather is above -20C, we'll be hanging out skating, until the sun goes down!
The girls have so much fun.
And Phebe is really getting the hang of it... well, she's spending more time on her feet and less on her bum!
So I've mentioned here before that I'm taking a photography class.
We got our assignment this week, and I've been working on my homework. Our theme is 'dramatic' and (thankfully) the teacher allows us to interpret this in whatever way we choose. While most people will interpret it with drama in their composition, setting or post-processing of a photo, unfortunately I find that skill hard. I appreciate the lighter brighter side of photography.
So here's how it went... I traded my Phebe girl 1 candy and 1 tv show (Team Umizoomi!) in return for giving me a little drama queen! I mean seriously, she must have thought I lost my mind, offering her rewards to pout! Ha! The girl doesn't need a whole pile of encouragement in that department! In fact, when I put the dress on her she pretty much channeled her own drama queen, she immediately told me she looked like Elsa (from Frozen!) and the pouting began.
I'm sure you'll be able to tell from the photos that there was a lot of giggling and cracking up going on too! She thought the whole thing was pretty silly. And I'm pretty sure you can also tell that she enjoys being an actress!
So that's my take on 'dramatic'. I have a spicy Hunan girl, there's no need for any more 'dramatic' around here!
It's not officially our Phebe girls first skate on the Rideau Canal - but it's the first time I've been with her! Baba took the girls during the Christmas vacation, but it was SO cold that day... I was obviously not 'feeling it'! I did send my little purse camera along with Baba, but you know as well as I do... it never made it out of his pocket!
So, on Friday morning, when we were walking Lilah up to school, I decided we should head to the Canal for a little ice time. It was the first day in quite a while that felt remotely 'warm', by that, I mean higher than -20C. In fact, I think it was about a balmy -10C, which weirdly enough does feel balmy after living in extreme cold for an extended period!
Anyway, we came home after dropping Lilah off at school, grabbed the skates and the camera, and headed back up the street to the Canal. Phebe, was so excited! She has sat on the sidelines for 2 years now, each Saturday, watching her big sister take skating lessons. So being able to have a go at it herself, just gives her the biggest buzz! She is just so proud of herself. She won't start lessons until the Fall, when she turns 4 years old - but even having the ability to walk around on ice, laugh when you fall(!), get yourself back up after you fall - any and all of these are no mean feat when you're wearing 2 blades on a piece of ice! And they're all great things to know before starting lessons!
Anyway, I was very proud of her. With a little encouragement this girl will put her mind to anything. And I was very happy to get a few pictures of her on our very own iconic Rideau Canal, otherwise known as 'the world's largest skating rink'!
Notice how vacant the canal is at 9:30am?! Gotta love that. We went back again, at 3:30pm, after collecting Lilah at school and there were a lot more people around. I also posted a video of Phebe at the end.
I started a new photography class this week, 'Learn to see it... from shoot to print'. It's an online course with the very talented Lisa @ 'The Long Road to China'. It's 11 weeks long, with a new assignment each week.
I think this happens to me every winter, I get bored with my current set of skills and really want to push myself further during these long cold winter months. Our first project, to introduce ourselves to our classmates and kinda get to know one another better, was to take a series of photos with the theme: 'My Style'.
Now, I've never really thought about it before... having a style. But when I think back on all the photos I've taken, I guess I lean to the side of lifestyle photography. I love capturing the real life moments of my two girls. And I especially love it when my pictures tell a story. My favourite is to shoot with natural light, and I love lots of it, because generally my aperture is wide open! Which is sometimes not a good thing, because I do lose some sharpness and focus in the process. But that's what this class is for, to help me and push me further. So if you see a lot of photos appearing over the next 11 weeks, you'll know why!
Since the weather outside isn't cooperating, I decided to take a few indoor pictures for 'My Style'. Nothing fancy, just my little Phebster eating lunch!
lilah: "I want to be a nurse when I grow up."
phebe: "I want to be Dr. Maharajh!" (her heart surgeon!)
Regarding playing with one of Lilah's toys one day: "Lilah's going to freak out and we're going to say nothinggggggg!"
phebe: "Lilah, let's play married."
lilah: "No Phebe, I don't want to kiss you on the lips!"
After her afternoon nap one day, I had just put the tree up and the stocking were hanging on the fireplace... she exclaimed, "Oh look, it's a tree and a pair of socks!"
"My knickers are in my back bum, I need to get them out!"
"I'm excited about being all grown up!"
me: "Oh no! Did you see Phebe? It's snowing AGAIN!"
phebe: "That's because it's winter time, Mama. In summer time it's warm."