4.19.2016

Happy Birthday, Annika!

Happy birthday, beautiful girl! I know you are going to have so much fun today! Daddy has some really great stuff planned and I can't wait to hear you tell me all about it when we talk tonight.


In Kazakhstan 1 year old

I hope you love your gift! Do you see what I mean that it is a gift that you will get several times? Tell Daddy that I need pictures and videos of you opening it.

Age 5


Did you get a special breakfast today? I think I know what you ordered! (That is an easy one to guess, isn't it?)

I can't believe you are 9! I love watching you grow and mature into an independent, confident, polite girl. You have grown up so much in the last year and I can't wait to see what this year brings!

Almost 7

Sweet girl, I want you to know and never forget how thankful I am that I get to be your mommy! I know that your Kazakhstan mommy is probably thinking about you today and your mommy (me) who is in China is thinking about you today. You have family in Pennsylvania and in Texas who all love you. You are so loved all the way around the world!

Almost 9


Lots and lots of kisses and hugs,
Mommy

4.07.2016

My Crazy Life

I leave for China tomorrow. I am flying out of JFK at 4:30 in the afternoon. But tomorrow is the children's last day at our Classical Conversations homeschool group. I want to be there for that, so the plan is that the whole family will go to CC in the morning then Keith and I (and maybe Eliana) will leave when we need to and Douglas will bring the rest of the crew home when they are finished. So I need to leave the house with all of my luggage at 8:30 in the morning.

I had an MRI of my brain this morning. I have enough neurological symptoms that the neurologist thought we should get a scan just to see what may be going on. So I'm waiting on results while preparing to leave the country for 2 weeks. They will call Keith with the results so I won't have to wait until I get home to know if anything showed up. But it is all just a little weird and stressful.

My bags are all packed! I just have to put my computer in and I'm ready to go. I really think it is going to be an exceptional trip! There are several ways you can  follow our team while we are in China! You can follow us on the Superkids blog. We are planning to post there twice a day. Once with advocacy camp updates, and once with Superkids team updates, so be sure you check in often! We will also be posting on our Facebook page. Like that page to see photos and videos as we go! And then there is Periscope. We will be streaming live videos on Periscope like we did on our last trip! If you aren't familiar with Periscope you can download the free app on Apple or Android devices then search for Superkids. Follow us there and you will get a notification when we are live! The videos are available for 24 hours so even if you miss the live stream you can still watch the video!

Next stop, Shanghai!

4.03.2016

Easter Sunday in Washington, DC

Last Saturday we drove to the DC area and stayed in a hotel over night. We got up early the next morning to make it to the National Cathedral in time for their 8:00 service. We were all dressed up and little Eliana looked so sweet in her dress and sweater. As we were walking out of the hotel she told the attendant behind the front desk, "Thank you for the good sleep!"



The service was lovely, and though it was different from what we are accustomed to, I was very blessed by several thoughts in the sermon. The bishop who was speaking said, "We live in a Good Friday world but we are an Easter people!" I love that thought!



That afternoon we went to see the cherry blossoms. They were truly magnificent! The lake in front of the Jefferson memorial was surrounded by a fluffy pink cloud! The crowds reminded me of the crowds in China. Keeping the family together was bit of challenge. But it was beautiful and amazing!

Bonsai in the National Arboretum 
We drove home late Sunday afternoon. I think everyone except Keith slept most of the way home. It had been a while since we had done a little family outing like that and it was so nice!

3.18.2016

End of the Week Musings

It is Friday evening. The end of another school week. Today was our homeschool community day. We have off for Good Friday next week then only have two more community days this school year. I think I'm going to tutor one of the classes next year. Right now that sounds fun to me, but ask me at this time next year!



We are full steam ahead with planning the Superkids trip to China. I leave in 3 weeks from today! My suitcase is already full of donations and gifts. I love the generosity of people! We have a wish list on Amazon if any of you would like to help provide items for the children. The things are being shipped to Fannie Wilks right now since my suitcase is full!

The donations started arriving yesterday!

Remember when I mentioned the advocacy camp we are planning for the same time that our team will be in China? We have had a wonderful response and have 9 participants going! I am so excited about seeing how this all unfolds. We are having our third conference call with participants this coming week. I know almost everyone who is going from online contacts and have met a couple of them in person. It is so fun to be doing this together!

Another thing we are doing right now is planning a fundraiser for Oasis Chorale. The invitations just came today and will be going out early next week. It is fun to see it coming together, especially since we are planning it with friends that we don't see very often, so it gives us a reason to communicate more than we normally do. I'll share more details about the event in a couple of weeks.

Keith and Douglas are working tonight. Tax season means long hours for both of them.

My health is improving some, I think. It has been a very hard winter in that regard! I've started a couple of new medications that seem to be making a difference in how I feel. I'm also trying very hard to get my iron and vitamin D levels where they should be. This is always hard for me, but I'm pretty sure it should make a huge difference in how I feel if we can pull those numbers up!

3.07.2016

It Really Was A Dream Come True

You know how it is. When you look forward to something for a long time there is always the chance that it isn't going to be as great as you have built it up to be in your mind.



My friend's daughter, whom I met in China before she became my friend's daughter, really hit it off with my children. Seeing her in my home playing with my children was beyond amazing! She is sweet and articulate and altogether as awesome as I knew she was the first time I met her in China back in 2013.





The Superkids event was gorgeous! It looked so well put together and there were so many people who are special to me there. To see the children I love so well featured as the stars of the evening was so touching to me. Their little faces on the slideshow, their videos in the featured video, it was all so inspiring!





The families who shared their stories did a wonderful job of helping everyone understand the significance of the role Superkids plays.

3.02.2016

Like A Dream

I am a quiet, introverted person. I don't have very many friends. It takes me a long time to feel like I know someone well enough to speak openly with them. So when one of my friends visits it is a big deal. Especially when it is a friend from Texas whom I never expected to have the privilege of hosting. Add to that the fact that her daughter is one of my dearly loved "Superkids" and you pretty much have a too good to be true situation.

But the tickets are purchased and plans are laid. Tomorrow at this time, God willing, my friend and I will be solving the entire world's problems together. We are good at that.

On Friday we will travel together to NYC to attend the Superkids Gala where we will see the wonderful people I go to China with and the ladies from the NYC Gladney office. All in one place! With a photographer there to document it all! :)

To think of Kelly, Keely, Chelsea, April, Leta, Wendy, and Gongzhan all being at one location... Well, let's just say, it is this girl's dream come true.

P.S. Try to say Kelly, Keely, Chelsea five times in a row and see how convoluted it becomes.

2.20.2016

Our Week

This was one of those weeks that felt as if it had barely started and then it was suddenly over. Between appointments and homeschool community day it felt pretty busy all week.

She came and crawled in bed with me and the light and shadows on her face were so beautiful!

One evening Keith called and said, "I want to come home now and take you out for supper." Now I'll take a date night any time, but an impromptu date during tax season! Now that is something to get excited about!



Eliana recently rediscovered an old leapster game and has been playing and playing with it. It is so perfect for her right now. She is getting lots of spelling practice!


I got a new laptop this week and am deep in the learning process of moving from Windows to a Mac. I was pretty excited about trying out Lightroom and Eliana was more than happy to pose for me. She is such a sweetheart!




I am starting a new medicine which is a little rough to adjust to, so I think the next couple of days will need to be slow paced while I adjust. From what I've read it normally takes about a week to get used to it. It is a little miserable now, but I'm hoping it will be worth it in the long run!

So that was our week. A lot of normal with special moments sprinkled throughout, and the special and the normal getting all smooshed together until sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Just another week at the Martins
 
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