23 January 2016


Christmas was good. As was New Year's. And now the red and green and twinkle lights in shopping malls are being replaced by red and gold and firecrackers as we move into Chinese New Year season.

**My crutch enabler pb&j maker Au Pair (like a nanny, but more French sounding) Stephanie returned as planned to the US in December. So my plan of attack for still getting things done around here mostly included making my kids step-up their helping game.

In those rare moments when I have time to have a train of thought that pushes past the next to-do items on my daily routine, I tend to think about the moment I'm in compared to the moments similar to it, that passed months (or years) ago.

"Wow, 6 months ago Ivy wasn't big enough to take her plate and cup to the sink after a meal. She looks like such a big little girl when she does it!"

I love when I see progress. I am amazed at time passing and relish that my children are growing and learning and changing. Lately I've been wondering if I need to concentrate more on things I can do to purposefully grow as well.

Cheering on a 2 year old using her chubby peanut butter covered fingers while she flushes the toilet and telling my 4 year old "You can do it!" as she concentrates on not sucking her thumb has made me wonder where I'm to go as, in just a few weeks, I finish off year 35. (As in I will turn 35. You don't count it 'til you've completed it. In most countries at least.)

Where's the progress in my life? What can I learn to do? To stop doing?

My kids? Some of its easy to see...

Like this one here now has FOUR top teeth. Including the middle ones.
When our Ira Bear smiles he doesn't show his top teeth. Hence the mom grab on the face.
He can also pull to standing and cruises around everything. (but this picture is funnier)

And this one here? (Meaning, Ivy)
Has been potty training for 24 days now and only wet the bed 4 times. We go all-out on potty training here at the Rivers household.

Mama ain't buying no more diapers. Ya gotta learn kid.  And this little girl is holding her own in the toilet game.

Was there an incident in the produce section by the bananas? Maybe.
But have the expensive imported Skittles worked wonders otherwise? Absolutely.

Anyone who is just realizing that maybe their 4 year old daughter is sensory seeking, raise your hand.
{raises hand}
It's really just with food, and maybe there's something cultural to it, but progress is being made in getting this one to use utensils when she eats. (unless its french fries, nuggets, roti, pizza, or the like).
Slow painful progress, but she's trying. (I think) (and really, I'm trying to grow my hair out. I promise I didn't not learn my lesson in 3rd grade when I got bangs cut. It's a phase I hope to soon grow past!)

If you want to see a Star Student, feast your eyes...
This one here has been "consistently excelling in all he does." And if you think for a second that a piece of paper with a star on it is on par with "My child was student of the week...." bumper stickers back in the day (do they still have those?)  Then you would be overlooking him nearly mastering the "TH" sound in speech therapy, learning to READ, trying out the butterfly stroke in swimming, cleaning his own bathroom, AND making an effort to put others first at the dinner table. (Heaven help me when everybody wants to go first!) He can also count to 100. Boom. Proud as punch, I am. And he is too. Rightly so.

Progress in droves for this one (again, not the Daddy one, though I do adore him).
Isaac has been stretching his helpful legs lately. This kid has been working on calming himself down and also on what it means to be a contributing member of his family. Do I miss Au Pair Stephanie? YES! (hello, adult conversation all day!) But the trade to teach this one how to clean his own bathroom and make the garden beds look nice by weeding them has been worth the effort. He's so proud of himself and doesn't shy away from the hard work. Also a Star Student since the new year started "for being principled with the quality of work he produces in class."

I'm grateful for all I see in those around me and I want to be encouraged by it in more than just a "that's great for them!" sort of way.

Why not me?

I'm looking intently at what will progress in my life in 2016. Yes, new challenges in motherhood count as progress. But aside from the motherhood and marriage parts, I'm asking myself, "By December, what progress will I see?"

I'm a bit slow on the whole New Year's resolution thing. But I come 'round. And as a Christian I'm trying to see what sorts of things God is doing around me or placing in my heart. Even if on the surface they don't seem like "purely religious" ventures. If the Lord has gifted or enabled me to do something, I want to receive the opportunity as being from him and then do it as unto him.

So when the occasional long quiet moment occurs the list of possibilities starts:
Try something new sewing? What if this is the year I start a big heirloom worthy project?

Go back to school? Online programs? What would I like to learn? Doctor? Social worker? Business? Teacher? (nah, probably not teacher)
More Language study? A different language? I've always wanted to learn Chinese. French sounds so fun. But maybe I need Spanish?
Start something that flows from my faith in God? Bible study? Outreach to refugees?

Add a new cooking technique? Maybe get Julia Child's French cooking book? What if in 5 years I'm like a chef or something?
Start writing a book? Adoption related? Adventure fiction? Adoption adventure fiction?
Start that Booster club at school? Bring Cheerleading to my corner of Southeast Asia?

Sure, these moments are tempered with poopy diapers, (It's now 18 months until we will be done with diapers for FOREVER. But who's counting?)  practicing spelling words, and teaching proper spoon holding instead of eating sweet potato casserole with fingers.

But I think... "If I just pick one. And really try it. I wonder...." 

Hope your 2016 is off and running! 

**child in the photo on the far left is not ours. He's a neighbor and classmate of Isaac's. Clarification in case you thought you missed something REALLY big since the last blogpost.


  1. Love all the pics! Bangs look great Sharon! I say both you and Anthony go for doctor.....you both have what it takes!

  2. Yes, that first picture made me stop and count...and recount...and wonder a little. Then I realized what was going on. :)
    I love the idea of growing and learning/doing something new, like our kids are. Milestones are for grown ups too!