June 1: one year of adult life!

Last year June 1, 2013 was my high school graduation!! Yesterday was exactly one year of Adult Life!! My Mom was crazy—she spent the day laughing or crying, silly Mom. I am happy to report that there is good progress with my Mom.

Yesterday she waited for me in the car—no nagging. No `hurry up, Mathlalia’s.’ We were late for Church, of course. Next Sunday, I am going to try to `be quick’ or ask for help.

At Church we read Psalm 100 and my Mom was being silly. I know Psalm 100.  It is one of the Psalms I memorized this year:


Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

Serve the LORD with gladness!

Come before his presence with singing!

Know that the LORD, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his;

We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever,

And his faithfulness to all generations.

Then the Pastor made it worse by talking about the Apostle Paul: ` my strength is made perfect in weakness.’  My name, Mathalia, relates to that verse because it means: the LORD has shown his strength . . . through my weakness, the LORD shows his strength.

It was a very good sermon for my Mom: stop looking at the disability and look at the strength. Silly Mom! She keeps forgetting meaning of my name! I am glad the Pastor reminded her exactly on June first!


Anyway, this year on June 1st I played at my violin recital! It was really fun and my teacher said that she could tell that I was prepared and confident! This is because I have been practicing my violin.


I don’t always like to practice but I have been learning about `delay gratification’ which means: work first; play second. For example, this week I practiced violin and then I went to Oula Exercise Class.  My Mom says this is a very `adult’ choice.


I did it on Memorial Day too. I practiced violin and then I went ate hamburgers and played games with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma even had a present for me: a new puzzle.  My Mom said that I should NOT count on a present every time I practice violin. I won’t but it was a nice surprise cute cats watching a movie!

Anyway, the recital was very fun. Kaylie was a Senior! I said `Congratulations!’ Last people said `Congratulations’ to me. Senior is all done for me. Now I enjoy adult life. I saw my third grade teacher. She said, `Mathalia, your playing brought tears to my eyes.’ Oh dear, she is just like my Mom!

At home, I made my Mom laugh when I went outside to gather eggs. She said, `Silly Mathalia.’ I opened the door and one by one they all went out into the yard! My Mom chased them back into their hen run. She is getting very good at it!

Hanging out with my brother!

hang out with matthan01

We picked Matthan up at the bus station for Christmas Break. He said `squeeze, Mathalia, can you squeeze your hug?’ I hope that I am getting better with squeezing my hugs. I had lots of practice with my sister while we were in China: she wanted lots and lots of hugs! Anyway, next week I get to hang out with my brother again: we are driving to Los Angeles for Spring Break!

In December he came to my violin recital.  I wore my Santa Claus hat. I played `Joy to the World’ and `O Come Little Children.’  Matthan was teasing me by playing with my hat. I am glad he did that AFTER I was all done playing.

We swam against each other at the Holiday Alumni Meet. We are both Alumni: Matthan swam for the Hellgate Knights and I swam for the Big Sky Eagles in High School. He did not really play a trick on me at the meet but he `high-fived’ me on his way back: he was almost finished and I was in the middle of the race!

One day Jourdyn came over to hang out and they invited me to go to The Hobbit movie with them.

`No, I want Yoga Class.’

My mom wanted me to change my mind:  `look at the schedule, Mathalia. You can skip Yoga Class today and go tomorrow.’

`No! I want Yoga Class.’

`Mathalia, don’t you want to go to The Hobbit with Matthan and Jourdyn. He is only here for a short time and now is your chance to do something with him and a friend.’

`No, I want Yoga Class.’

Mom kept trying  but Jourdyn heard me and said,  ` I think she really wants to go to Yoga Class.’

So I went to Yoga Class and they went to The Hobbit. My mom thought I was crazy. 

hang out with matthan04

We cooked breakfast pizza together with eggs from my chickens (this was before my egg-free diet). He likes lots of vegetables so we there was lots of chopping: yellow, orange, and red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes. Yum!

We played Muggins with Grandpa and my mom. Matthan `mugginsed’ me a lot because I was watching him and not paying attention to my cards.  This is the same way I played Muggins in China: watching friends not the game!

When I showed him my chickens, they all walked out of their coop.  He helped me shoo them back inside. He was not so nice about riding in the car with me: he was always very quick and I am usually very slow. He beat me to the front seat of the car! I ended up sitting in the BACK seat the whole time he was home! 

My mom asked me: do you want to get up at 3.30 a.m. to drive Matthan to Spokane?


`Okay. Then you have to get up and be quick. We won’t wait for you!’

And I did. And they didn’t wait.

Snow Days!

The snow storm that hit Missoula brought many opportunities to be flexible as my mom likes to say! On Thursday Coach Helen texted me on my phone and asked me to walk to her house: she did not want to get stuck in the snow on Beverly Avenue. One Thursday morning she got stuck! Two nice guys stopped to help but she did not want to take any chances.

Friday morning Heather, at the dentist office, called: `Mathalia do you want to cancel your teeth cleaning appointment?’

`No way! I want the dentist!’

`Okay, please come in at 11:30 instead of 4:00.’


After we hung-up, my mom wanted me to change my mind: let’s just stay home in the nice warm house.

`No way!’

`Okay, we will go to the dentist but I am not driving. We could walk, ski or snowshoe to the dentist.’

`I want walk.’

Quickly I finished up my Friday paper work. Then, at my mom’s suggestion, I added some more clothes and she got the snowshoes out hoping I would change my mind about walking.

`No. I want walk.’

While I got ready, she went out to take care of the chickens.

It was very windy and lots and lots of snow.  Some sidewalks were shoveled but mostly it was easier to walk in the paths the car tires made.  My mom thought it would take us an hour to get there but I was quick!

Early gave us perfect opportunity for a `brush up’ on my teeth-brushing skills. Heather gave us a very cool model: not just teeth but jaw bone, skull, eye sockets, everything! We practiced in the bathroom.

Saturday was not quite so much fun: Oula Exercise class and ushering for MCT play, Peter and Wendy was cancelled. I was so disappointed! I did not believe my mom: `I want Oula” `I want Usher Meeting.’  

`I’m very sorry, Mathalia, but we are in the middle of a big snow storm.’  Well, I wondered if she was tricking me—maybe she just did not want to drive; I was willing to walk in the snow. So we called the Rec Center and I talked to someone there who told me that class was cancelled. And my Dad showed me on the internet that Peter and Wendy performances had been cancelled. Still I was very very upset.

My mom encouraged me to write some sentences in my daily notebook and circle `disappointed’ on my feelings page. She also suggested that I write about it in my journal:  `it is okay to be disappointed, Mathalia; we will hope that they will reschedule Peter and Wendy for next weekend.’  And they did! So I got to usher for Peter and Wendy on March 8 and 9 instead of March 1 and 2.

And I got to stay home, cook food, catch up on mail, read Sense and Sensibility and talk to Morielle on the computer phone.

Hanging out in Morielle’s Apartment

We stayed one week in Morielle’s city, Ala’er.  My parents stayed in an extra foreign-teacher apartment so I got to stay with Morielle all by myself! Our nighttime routine was singing songs, praying and sleeping with her cats.

Gideon and Fessik usually woke me up with their meows and playing. ZayNur usually made us breakfast. A Uyghur breakfast is a lot like a Uyghur supper and always very delicious. My mom was worried that I might forget about not using the water in the faucet so she always helped me brush my teeth while we were in China. In the mornings I worked on my feelings pages: my bedtime and wake-up time; my foods, my activities and my feelings.

After that we would hang out. I liked to work with my Dad when he was on the computer sending pictures and writing updates. I also liked to hang out with Morielle and my Mom when they were listening to lectures or watching movies. It was very fun when Fessik or Gideon would jump up on my lap and hang out with me! In the afternoons my Dad and I went for a walk around campus and took lots of pictures.


One day we all went for a very long walk. First we went to Tarim University (塔里木大学). zoo which was like the Ag. Center.  The donkeys came over to the fence so that Morielle and I could pet them. They liked talking to us and they liked the pictures that we took. Then we heard very loud barking: very big dogs which were quite scary with their barking. They were Tibetan Mastiffs (藏獒) My mom was glad that they were chained up because she did not think that the fence would protect us. We also saw some Tarim red deer (塔里木马鹿) they are like our mule deer.

Around the corner, we heard chickens! Ohh! My mom got so excited, silly mom! She wanted to see the chickens so she peeked inside the door and asked. Well, she did not use words, she pointed. They were surprised to see us! They wanted to watch us watch the chickens! It was fun to see a Chinese chicken coop but it was also sad. I suppose they were making Chinese Chicken noises because they did not sound like American Chicken noises but I could tell they were not making happy chicken noises. They could not walk around in their cage. And they could not move their necks because of the wires: their neck feathers were all worn out from rubbing. I wish they could have a nice big coop like my Grandpa had made for my chickens. 

Then we walked all the way to the river: a cold and frozen January beauty. At first my Dad helped me keep up; on the way home Morielle and my dad made sure that I did not slow down or get lost. My Mom was taking pictures so she would not have noticed. Dad’s research about the river:  Tarim River: 塔里木河;  تارىم دەرياسى  is the longest inland river in China  2000 kilometers/1250 miles.

Another Fun Christmas-y Weekend!

We went to the cookie making party on Thursday and found out that the day had changed to Friday. I was so disappointed. My mom didn’t read the announcement carefully!! So we went again on Friday. I was very excited because I knew I would see lots of friends. My mom thinks I was more focused on seeing friends than on making cookies. She had to help me roll out the dough. My hands on the rolling pin didn’t do anything so she used her hands to make it roll the dough out. I cut out star cookies and put them on the baking tray.

My mom finished her tray really fast and then sent it off to the oven. She helped me a little with my tray and then I was all done. Then we got to do the fun decorating part. I was watching for friends and not paying too much attention. I squirted the frosting all over except on the cookies. So my mom took over the frosting job and I sprinkled the sprinkles. I was looking at people not cookies so the sprinkles did not go onto the cookie. My mom just turned the cookie upside down and put the cookie on the sprinkles! So it all worked out. I got to see lots of friends and the cookies looked great. It was really fun!

Saturday morning I went to Yoga class and I forgot my phone! I did not call my mom to pick me up. I just waited. And I waited. She came! She did not see me. She was asking the attendant about me when she turned and saw me. Silly mom. I was waiting for her to pick me up. `Mathalia! First you call me and then you wait. And if you don’t have your phone, you can ask for help. You have got to learn to ask for help when something like this happens!’  I knew she would come and she did!

At home I was very quick with lunch and changing my clothes for The Nutcracker. We were on time picking up my friend, McKenzie. I love going to The Nutcracker every year.

At the Nutcracker!

At the Nutcracker!

On Sunday I went to the Bell Choir Concert with Grandpa and Uncle Jeff. I saw lots of friends and I got to try ringing the bells again. I used to play in Junior Bells but we don’t have Junior Bells anymore. The concert was really nice. I liked `Joy to the World.’

After the concert, Uncle Jeff wanted to see my chickens. He thought the chicken coop was really cool. He liked the heat lamp that turns on when it gets really cold and turns off when it is warm. He thought the electricity could also be used for a radio or a T.V. for the chickens! Silly Uncle Jeff. He thought it was very cool that sometimes I collect 6 eggs a day. He is hoping to take some home with him to Phoenix. I wonder if they would let eggs go through security. Funny Uncle Jeff.

Chickens: Moving Day!

Still lots to do before the chickens could move in. Grandpa came over to make a roost, another storage cupboard with the water trays at the bottom, the feeder and the heat lamp. Most of the time I stayed in the house and did my own thing. Sometimes I peeked out the window to see what he and my mom were doing. Sometimes I came out to take pictures.

But on Griz-Cat game day, I brought my work outside so that I could be closer to the action. It was cold. My mom gave me a box to sit on in order to keep me off the ground. She also encouraged me to move around, following the sun. The Grizzlies beat the Cats and the coop was ready for the chickens!

We were so busy with Thanksgiving that move-in day was the day after Thanksgiving.

In the morning, I cut up some shredded paper for the nesting boxes. And my mom had me cut an old flannel sheet for a curtain. Cutting along the slot in the picnic table was hard for me. So my mom drew a line with a pencil and then I could cut the curtain straight. We made the nesting boxes nice and soft. We put the food into the storage buckets and into the feed bowl.

Grandma and Grandpa picked us up in their car and we drove out to the Ag Center. The chickens were crazy hungry! Maybe someone forgot to feed them on Thanksgiving Day. Anyway, we gave them a little food—not much–just enough to bring them together. My chickens had yellow tags on their feet. My mom caught them and handed them to Grandpa. They squawked and squawked.

But the first one jumped out of the box! Grandma and I were taking pictures and not helping. Our job was to hold the lid down to keep the chickens inside the box. One by one we got all 6 chickens into the box. They popped their heads out; they tried to get out. Grandpa tightened the rope.

move in dayc1

Chickens! Stay in the box please!

The box went into the trunk and we drove home. My mom opened the little door in the back seat for more air. We heard them.  They were not squawking. They were sounding like happy chickens.

At home we gave them water, sprinkled saw dust all over the coop and let them out of the box. They were still very hungry so they went right for the food! They did not look around their new house. They just wanted to eat. I opened their little door so they could go out into the hen run. They were not interested so Grandpa pushed each one out the door and down the little ladder.

They were pecked a little at the apple peelings in the grass and then they all went back inside for regular food.  When they were full, they all came back out again and stayed outside because it was such a nice place to be.

Update on Chickens and the Coop

My chickens are still living at the Ag. Center. My friends take care of them during the school day and I take care of them on Sundays after church. Usually we change into our work clothes at church before we go out to the coop. My job is to feed them and collect the eggs. My mom changes their water. Sometimes she helps me and sometimes she is no help at all!

Like the time when the chickens were really hungry. I had filled their food dish; then she opened the door and they all came running toward me and some of them flew up onto the bowl!  I was so startled that I dropped the feed dish right in the middle of the doorway! My mom was laughing and taking pictures. I just stood there completely frozen. The chickens didn’t care none of them got out of the coop because they wanted to stay close to the food.

The Sunday of our CRAZY week my mom wanted to `be quick’ so we went out to the coop in our church clothes. My muck boots match my church dress! No eggs this time. I took a picture of the hen in the nesting box but I did not disturb her to check for eggs.

Later at home while my mom took her power-nap, I put on my `Dutch girl’ costume. The recital was very fun! My teacher played the movie-theme-guessing game on her violin: I recognized Star Wars, Song of Music and Fiddler on the Roof. I played `Song of the Wind’ with the piano accompaniment and `Amazing Grace’ with violin accompaniment. I love recitals especially Halloween Recital.  And now I am excited about our Christmas Recital at the Mall.

My Grandpa worked hard on the chicken coop this past week. On Tuesday he came over and worked. He had one little job for me to do: bring the chicken ladder from the truck to the chicken coop. I was being silly and mischievous because I wanted to finish my paperwork before I helped him. This was okay. The ladder wasn’t going anywhere. It waited for me until I was ready. Then I brought it out and I took some pictures before we had to go to the doctor.

On Wednesday Grandpa didn’t have any work for me but he needed my mom to help with electricity. So I finished making my pot holders and then I came out to see what how things were coming along. My mom tried to find work for me but I was too cold. November weather is not like October weather. In October I could sit outside, watch them work and make pot holders at the same time. Anyway, I took some pictures before I did for my exercise routine: walk around the block 10 times. I use a little bead counter to help me keep track of my laps.