December Goals – Week Three

I don’t have any pictures of my decluttering work this week but hope to have some next week. I was able to finish the bookshelf upstairs in our dining room, as well as some other small things upstairs. I cleaned the bathroom downstairs but that doesn’t count toward my goal. My mother-in-law will be here in about five hours so I don’t expect I will get much more work done this week. I want to relax and enjoy my time with her. I am pleased with the progress I’ve made, though I still have a long way to go.

I did make huge progress with my Chinese study goal, though. I studied over 8.5 hours this week and completed three grammar lessons. I only have three more grammar lessons to complete before the end of the month in order to make my goal.

Totals for the month:

Grammar lessons – 9 out of 12
Study hours – 20.25

I don’t expect to keep up this pace all week, but hope to stay on top of my flashcards and at least make some forward progress. But if, just IF, I can be diligent about studying over the holidays, I will shatter my record of how many hours I’ve studied in one month (27 hours in September). Reachable goal or unattainable due to the holidays? We shall see!

December’s Goals – Week Two

I made progress last week on both of my December goals. First up was lots of cleaning and decluttering.

Here’s the wet bar, though we don’t use it for that. We actually turned the water off to this faucet. I’m so confused about why this was installed right next to the fireplace, but what do I know? I think the neighbors have a book case in this location, which I would love to have!


I forgot to take a picture of our entertainment center before I started cleaning it. The top was covered with several stacks of paper, remotes, and five pumpkins! This picture gives an idea of how cluttered it was:



And, for fun, we put the Advent calendar there for the remainder of the holiday season, along with Cin-Ru’s framed photo.

Here is my next project, to be tackled tomorrow.

Books, books, and more books
I also made some solid progress toward my Chinese goal (12 lessons completed before the end of the month). Last week I finished 2.5 lessons, which put me at 5.5/12 complete (I finished up the .5 lesson today). I studied 5.75 hours last week, which isn’t too shabby. I just hope I can stay on top of everything when my Mother-in-law arrives on Sunday!

December’s goals – week one

I have two goals this month – to clean my house from top to bottom and to make significant progress in my Chinese class.

Cleaning – I’m not doing too bad but I need to pick up the pace. There have been several days of adoption excitement and that took precedence over my cleaning. I did declutter several areas last week but there is lots more to do. Tomorrow I’ll be tackling my upstairs bathroom.

Chinese – This is where all of my progress lies. Last week I completed just under six solid hours of studying, plus about two hours of listening practice by watching Taiwanese television shows. I finished three lessons from YoyoChinese, which meets my goal requirements. I’ve already studied an hour today and might squeeze in a bit more before bed. With the adoption process moving forward, I need to keep studying. I don’t want to be in Taiwan wishing that I had learned more!

In adoption news, our photo album was mailed off today. We sent a photo album, a stuffed animal, and a small interlocking hearts necklace. Hopefully she likes everything! I can’t wait to hear back the report from the social worker’s visit with her later this month.

December goals

This month I have two goals.

First – I want to clean my house from top to bottom. My mother-in-law is coming to stay with us for a week at Christmas. I don’t want to leave the cleaning to the last minute and be scrambling to complete everything right before she arrives. I’ve done that before with other guests and it’s not fun! This is the first time MIL is coming to see us in Seattle so I want to make sure we all enjoy her visit! Having the house clean will take a lot of the pressure off.

Second – I need to make some serious progress with my Chinese studies. At the beginning of October, with all of the bad news we received, my studies fell by the wayside. November was much better with 16.5 solid hours of study. However, I’m not making as much progress as I would like. I had stated earlier that my goal was to finish the Intermediate Level of YoyoChinese by the end of the year. That is not going to happen. I just finished lesson 13 of 50. The class schedule is to complete two lessons per week; I am aiming to finish three per week. This is completely doable if I stay on top of my studying. At that rate, I will finish the year with 25 of the 50 lessons complete. I will be happy with that amount of progress.

I have a couple incentives for finishing the Intermediate Course. I promised myself that I would buy myself several graded readers once I complete the course. Amazon has several fun ones like a Sherlock Holmes book and The Secret Garden in Chinese. I also told myself that as soon as I finish the Intermediate Course, I will start writing on the Lang-8 website. I may rethink this goal, as I may already have enough Chinese knowledge to start writing short blog posts. Maybe I will set aside one day this month to see if it’s possible for me to write a paragraph in Chinese.

I’m sure it will be a busy month but I’m looking forward to it! I love the Christmas season and look forward to sharing it this year with my husband and his mom.

Bible stories in Chinese

I decided tonight that it was time to tackle some stories in Chinese. It took a bit of searching, but I finally found some children’s Bible stories written in traditional Chinese characters. What’s great about these stories is that you can read them in both English and Chinese to make sure you understood everything correctly.

All I studied was the first three sentences and found 13 new vocabulary words to learn. Some of these will probably be used repeatedly throughout the stories. Here are a few of the words I need to learn:

Hanzi / Pinyin / English meaning

上帝 / shàng dì / God
天地 / tiān dì / heaven and earth
因此 / yīn cǐ / thus, consequently, as a result
怎樣 / zěn yàng / how, why
這些 / zhè xiē / these

I need to learn all 13 of these words before moving on to the next paragraph. I’m excited to see how quickly I’ll be able to understand what I am reading.

My Chinese studies

I have been working very hard lately at my Chinese lessons. I lost a bit of motivation in mid-August as we prepared for the Skype call and then anxiously awaited the results of that call. But toward the end of the month, my motivation and momentum picked up speed. Over the past week, I’ve been studying over an hour almost every single day (including weekends!).

This morning I decided to take a look at my learning logs to see how far I’ve come. I started the Beginner Conversational Course at Yoyo Chinese on February 4th. Due to an extended family emergency in April and May, I finished the six month course on September 6th. Not bad for missing an entire month in the middle of the course.

I started the Yoyo Chinese Intermediate Course on September 7th and have already finished the first week of assignments. I have an ambitious goal to finish the class by the end of the year but we’ll see how well that works out. The Intermediate Course is definitely harder and more involved than the Beginner Course!

This week I also started trying to read materials written in Mandarin for native Mandarin speakers. Whew. I’m in way over my head but it’s still encouraging to recognize words and very basic grammar. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve found to read uses very complicated grammar so I am completely lost.

Once we find out if we will be allowed to travel to Taiwan to meet our girl, I will order some grader readers in Chinese. This should, theoretically, allow me to start reading Chinese materials at my beginner level. I found one website that carries a Chinese version of The Secret Garden that is written specifically for beginners, as well as one of Sherlock Holmes’ cases. I am loathe to order my first ever e-book but I will sacrifice my “hard copy only” policy so that I can learn to communicate more effectively with my future daughter!

I’m also hoping to start writing (typing) in Chinese! When I was learning Japanese, I used the website Lang-8 to exchange writing assignments with Japanese speakers. They would correct my Japanese and I would correct their English. I hope to soon start doing the same with Chinese.

Onward and upward! 加油!


Tonight I finished lesson 100 of my Conversational Chinese class. I love this series of lessons! Everything builds on the previous lesson and is explained really well.

20 lessons to go and I’ll be moving on the intermediate lessons.

I haven’t gotten much conversational practice, as this is a video series. Once I finish the Conversational Chinese class, I hope to start using a forum for language exchange so that I can start practicing producing sentences, rather than just trying to understand what is being said. I used lang-8 to practice my written Japanese and will use it to practice Chinese as well.