Saturday, November 29, 2008

On The Wall with Brad and Sarah

We had a whirlwind 36 hours in Beijing Thursday night to Saturday morning, and of course we couldn't go to Beijing without visiting the Great Wall. We went to a different section than we had been to before, Badaling, which is one of the most dramatic sections and also one of the most popular sections for tourists. It was very cold and windy up in the mountians, but we climbed hard and kept warm!

Did I mention it was cold?!
Brad doing O-H-I-O on the Great Wall of China!

Just a slight incline...

Beauiful Beijing blue sky... I guess that Olympic clean-up really worked!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brad and Sarah

They're here, they're here! We have visitors from our other life, Scott's sister and her husband. We have so much to pack into the next week. Just in the hours since they've arrived we've been to Caleb's basketball game, peeked in on Seth's play rehearsal, had jiaozi (boiled dumplings) for dinner, played Candyland, taken a bike ride to Starbucks, and had top-to-toe massages (head, shoulders and foot). Now it's bedtime, and we all need to sleep hard to be ready for the coming days of activity. I'll let you know what we're up to!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Grandma's Grandchildren

Here are my brother and sister and my cousins and I, all my grandma's grandchildren, before her 100th birthday party on Saturday. Doesn't she look beautiful?! It was such a blessing to be with all these people that I love, celebrating with Grandma.

Guests at the party were given a scroll that had some of Grandma's favorite scriptures on it. This one, which was also read aloud in the short service our family had together before the party, seems so fitting for Grandma's life.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of rghteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. II Timothy 4: 7, 8
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Friday, November 21, 2008


It's one of those events that you can't miss. How many people have the extreme privilege of attending a 100th birthday party? My grandma, born in November 1908, is celebrating this milestone birthday on Saturday. The girls and I are leaving this afternoon to fly to the Midwest to attend the party. I am so grateful, not only to be able to be in attendance at this special event, but to be the granddaughter of this amazing, godly woman. Pictures to follow!

Gwen's Ballet Class

Gwen and two of her closest friends, sisters Sophie and Chloe. They are in the same class at school and also attended ballet together for the fall session. Chloe and Sophie are also our neighbors, so the girls often enjoy playing together after school, too. Point front, everyone!

See Gwen on the far left... I love how high she is jumping!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


What do you think of Caleb's homework posture? It seems to be working for him, though it sure looks like he's about to slip onto the floor!

Tonight Caleb says, "Boy, this bruise on my shin really hurts."
Yes, son, this is to be expected when you are knocked off your bike by a passing car. He assured us that this incident that occurred over the weekend was no big deal, as he landed on his feet after cartwheeling through the air. You be the judge... big deal or no? His bike sustained only minimal damage, and the lady at the local bike shop fixed it for only 10 RMB (less than $1.50 USD). Seems like he got off pretty easy. Thank You, Lord, for watching out for this slightly reckless boy!
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Welcome to the World!

Introducing our new nephew and cousin, Samuel Mokosso! We can't wait to kiss your sweet face~ Congratulations, Joy and Eric... he is beautiful!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wearing Words

I understand the need for boys to occassionally write important items to remember on their hands, but must they use a Sharpie to write it? I am a little tired of seeing the words "bring article" emblazoned across Seth's arm in bright blue for the last week.

Does anyone know how long it takes for permanent marker to wear off of skin? He showers every day, but it shows no signs of letting up so far.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Seth's Science Project

Three flavors of pudding, three flavors of jello... can you tell what flavor it is when you're blindfolded? How about when you're blindfolded and your nose is plugged? Seth set out to discover how closely related the senses of smell and taste are linked with this experiment. He ran trials with his jello and pudding on other students in his class and also on some of our family members. Turns out no one was able to identify the flavors with their nose plugged.

Seth with his containers of pudding and jello laid out at school, ready to start the trials. Testing at home...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gwen's School, Madelyn's School

Recently I've felt so much better about Gwen being at school. She is happy to go these days, which makes a huge difference. Her teacher had told me that it usually takes a couple of months in the case of immersion into another language for the child to adjust. Not that she knows Chinese yet, but she knows the routine of the days and feels comfortable with how the school day goes.

I've been making a point to pick her up early here and there, rather than have her ride home in the school van, not only so I can have a bit more time with her, but also so I can see the climate of the classroom at different points during the day. I have to say I am incredibly impressed. It is always a peaceful scene, with small groups of children working with a teacher on something- art, looking at books, working with Montessori materials (various special puzzles, math manipulatives, etc); or playing together in twos and threes; or participating in a group music or dance lesson. The children are taught to eat properly with a knife and fork, to clear their places, and to help wipe the dishes. They all brush their teeth after lunch. :-)

Gwen's teacher writes me a note every day, telling some details of what was presented and how Gwen reacted, how she did at lunch and play, etc. Yesterday she told me of a little interaction where Gwen told her, in Chinese, that another little girl did not like the snack. I was so excited to hear this! I know she has been understanding more and more of the things the teachers say, and she often sings Chinese songs or repeats words to me, but this is the first time she initiated conversation in Chinese.

Madelyn and I are having pretty full school days at home. We read a lot for history and love that time together... this was so much trickier last year with Gwen at home. I have struggled with guilt about having Gwen in school, but as the year progresses and I see both of the girls thriving in their very different environments, I am thankful for the options we have in teaching our children.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hope Deferred

Madelyn received a letter the other day from her cousin, our sweet first grade niece, Meredyth. Madelyn and Meredyth have such a good time when they are together, and since we are reduced to those visits being only twice a year, they are highly anticipated. The next visit is coming up quickly... but apparently not soon enough.

Here's the text of Meredyth's letter:
Dear Madelyn,
I wish that is was Christmas right now but it is not.
Love Meredyth

I'm so glad it's mid-November, and soon these girls can be together again!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Percy and Madelyn... so happy together.
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Thursday, November 06, 2008


Well, Seth has the metal in his mouth now. He's actually had it for several months already, in the form of an expander on the roof of his mouth that we crank every other night to slowly make more room for those top teeth. But today he got the bottom braces on. He didn't eat much for dinner, but so far he's not complaining. The top brackets will be applied once a couple of the top teeth have grown in a little more... maybe next month.

**Update~ by this evening Seth was "in a world of hurt", as Justin would say. He tried many tactics to take his mind off the pain in his mouth, including making various funny noises and shaking his head. After a couple of tylenol, he was able to sleep. I remember this pain...

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Math Fact

It is difficult to teach the home school math curriculum's lesson on counting money when one does not have any United States currency.

I thought I had some, but when I checked the cash that was set aside in that little pouch, I found that it was Hong Kong money. No good.

I resorted to writing "25" on post-it notes to represent quarters. Not quite the same, and tricky for an eight year old who's real life experience with counting US money in the past year and a half has been minimal.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Seth on the Water

Kayaking on the Li River, Yangshuo.
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