Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ming Tombs

Thirteen of the sixteen emporers of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) are buried in this valley north of Beijing. We visited one of the of the three tomb sites that has been restored. Lots of traditional Chinese architecture, mountain views, and blue sky.

This tree is trimmed so that the branches resemble dragon claws. In China everything seems to be about the dragons.

He's really not unhappy in this picture, he just things he looks cool with this expression! I love the ornately painted ceiling!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On the Overnight Train

We had an adventure getting to Beijing Wednesday evening... actually a pretty tame adventure, as we were sleeping most of the time, but still a fun experience. Scott declared in the morning that if he didn't take this overnight ride again for ten years it would be fine with him! So, the beds weren't like home, but we did each have our own bunk with sheets, two pillows and a nice comforter. The mattress was just a bit too firm, just the way the Chinese like it! We left at 7:40 in the evening, and woke up about thirty minutes before the train pulled into the station in Beijing a little after 7 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Mark, Mindy, Caleb and Seth shared a cabin.
Gwen's pretty happy about her top bunk perch!
Madelyn demonstrating the little fold-down seats in the aisle outside the cabins.
Breakfast on the train before it arrives in Beijing.We stepped out of the train station into a bright, sunny Beijing morning! I thought the station was a pretty building.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Late Friday... Early Saturday

I've got a bit of catching up to do... we've been in Beijing with Mark and Mindy for the last couple of days, just returning tonight. And now it's 12:45 a.m., so I won't really be doing my catching up now. We took lots of pictures, though, between Mindy's camera and mine, so look for more coming soon!

In the mean time, if you haven't checked out Mindy's blog recently, click on the Photo Dilettante link in my side bar for just a sampling of the many China pictures Mindy has taken since they arrived last Saturday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Morning Dancing in Ji-an Park

We spent nearly two hours this morning enjoying the beautiful weather and people watching in Ji-an Park. I first fell in love with this downtown park a year ago when we were visiting Shanghai for the first time. It is full of people in the morning doing all sorts of interesting exercises, as well as playing cards, airing their pet birds, and walking their babies. Mindy took all kinds of great pictures in the park, and I will be borrowing some of them for this post!

Here the girls watch some dancing... ... but it wasn't long until they joined right in!

Soon they had a little crowd of onlookers, which Gwen seemed oblivious to but Madelyn loved!

Again with the Costumes at Yuyuan

Yesterday we visited Yu Garden with Mark and Mindy. The girls were wild to rent the costumes for pictures again, and Mark and Mindy agreed to do it to please them. Mark was a little less than pleased to don his outfit, but I think he felt better later when we showed the pictures to Mr. Wu and he told us the symbol on Mark's robe meant emporer.

The garden was much more crowded than when the girls and I were there last month, so we gathered quite a crowd. Most of the people were tourists, and many of them were photographing us. Mindy noticed that several people were trying to get pictures of Gwen by herself... you know, Chinese girl in traditional dress!

Mindy and I especially liked our headdresses. They were made of metal and were fairly heavy.


This morning Mark, Mindy, the girls and I were out and about in Shanghai. We noticed several different people with individually wrapped red carnations and wondered aloud where they had come from. A bit later as we were waiting on the corner for the light to change so we could cross the street, a young girl in a red vest, one of several girls, approached us and offered us all red carnations. "Thank you for following traffic rules," she said.

What a concept... rewarding those who follow the rules. I wonder who is behind this initiative?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

With Mark & Mindy After Church

Taken outside our church this afternoon.

The girls are wearing the dresses they wore in their Aunt Sarah and Uncle Brad's wedding in 2006! They got lots of compliments, Sarah! :-) He is risen! He is risen indeed! What an amazing truth.


They're here, they're really here. We are so glad!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Overheard from Caleb's room this morning~

Gwen says, "Caleb, do tigers poop?"

There are some things you just wonder about.

Friday, March 21, 2008

On Their Way

They're coming, they're coming, they're coming....

Mark and Mindy are making the long flight over the North Pole right now, on their way to Shanghai. We pick them up this afternoon around 3 o'clock!

Visitors from that other life.... can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

After Her Shower

A Question

"Why some people can't keep a baby?"

This was Gwen's question today as I read the last page of "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes", a well known and much loved Chinese adoption storybook, to her at naptime. The adoptive mother in the story is snuggling her newly adopted daughter and shedding tears for the Chinese mother who could not keep her infant, wanting her to know that the child was safe and happy in the world.

In answer to her question, I told her that some people think China is too crowded and so each family is only allowed to have one baby. If they have a second one, they can't keep it. I told her that was part of God's plan so that she would be part of our family. She seemed satisfied.

Is that answer enough? Is it good enough?

I know more questions are coming.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Think Town Birthday

On Gwen's birthday last Friday, the girls and I invited a couple of other families to join us at a new children's museum called Think Town. We were almost the only ones there, so there were lots of workers eager to help us try out everything! Madelyn couldn't get enough of this flying contraption. It was supposed to be a spacewalk, to feel like you were walking on the moon, but she leaned forward and flew instead!

This thing was like a giant hamster wheel... Gwen loved it! If only I had room for one at home, it would definitely help her expend some energy.

My friend Maribel got right in the ball pit with the kids... I think she had as much fun as they did!

Painting a car~(with small paint brushes!) ~the wall and the "house" in the background were also fair game... tons of fun!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I am not a person who is naturally good at sports, unlike my husband. Fortunately for Caleb, he seems to have inherited his sports savvy from Scott. Having never played volleyball before, he is currently on the 7th and 8th grade boys' team and is excelling! They had a tournament yesterday where Scott got these action shots. Caleb is #13.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Too Far Away

Today is one of the times I am sad to be on this side of the world. Oh, we had a great day filled with fun activities and a relaxing evening at home, but my heart is somewhere else. My cousin is getting married today on the other side of the world. I wish I could be there to join the celebration and enjoy the gathering of family, and of course to wish Dave and Leslie a wonderful new life together.

Love to all of you!

Blowing Bubbles

Gummi Bears, cont.

So, Gwen did not have gummi bears for her birthday breakfast yesterday. I would have given her some if I'd had them in the house, I really would have, at least a few! She ended up choosing scrambled eggs, which was much more nutritious, and we put four candles in a banana and sang the birthday song to her, so she was happy as a clam. But later in the day her brother fulfilled her wish for the soft little candies by waking her up from her afternoon nap with a bag of gummi bears, all her own.

They were all for her, but she chose to share them anyway. What a big girl. :-)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Birthday Breakfast

Tonight as I was tucking Gwen in bed, I asked her what she would like for her birthday breakfast tomorrow. I listed all the options. Pancakes, yogurt, bananas, scrambled eggs, apples, toast, fried eggs, oranges... I was guessing she would probably say eggs and perhaps yogurt since those two foods are at the top of her favorites list for breakfast foods.

But she had her own idea of what a birthday breakfast should consist of, and so her answer was this~ "Gummi bears, lots of gummi bears that are my own, not to share."

I'm not sure I can accommodate this request.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Little Bit of Birthday

Last night we started off Gwen's birthday celebration, just a few days early. Scott and I realized late in the afternoon that last night was going to be the only evening that all six of us would be home together at dinner time until Sunday... and you just can't ask an almost four year old to wait a few days later than her actual birthday to celebrate, so we went for the early birthday dinner. It was especially fun because she wasn't expecting it... the other kids and I were able to decorate and pull together a fun birthday dinner and cake to surprise her, and then after dinner we hid a couple gifts for her to open. Fortunately I did have her gifts ready, and several of our extended family sent birthday gifts for her back with us at Christmas as well. At first I felt bad that we were doing it this way, but then I decided it might even be more fun to spread the birthday excitement over several days.

She loves the blowing out candles part... we repeated it several times last night, and again today! Since her actual birthday isn't until Friday, I'm thinking we're going need to stock up on matches. :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gwen's China Sisters

Click on the "Chopsticks and Tabouli" link in my sidebar to see some pictures of the reunion between Kimberly and Kate, two of the four girls in our adoption group from Yibin. We so hope that we can join these girls for a reunion in the coming years!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Girls Outside

Madelyn, Elise, and Gwen out at the lake to feed the swans.Madelyn's friend Elise spent the weekend with us a couple of weeks ago while her parents were at a conference. Elise was adopted from China as an infant, and like Gwen, is the youngest of four. She is a sweet, kind, fun, thoroughly American girl who happens to be living in China for a few years. Being with her helps me imagine Gwen in five years, well-adjusted and comfortable with being an Asian child in a Caucasian family.