Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lunch, Anyone?

I've been pretty impressed with my boys this week. They made a flier that they passed out to the neighbors in my parents' housing development where we are staying this summer, advertising their services as "Odd Jobs Specialists". They have gotten a pretty good response, and so far this week have worked quite a few hours and made a good bit of cash. The physical labor has left them hungry, and after 3 and a half hours spreading mulch this morning, Caleb created this masterpiece of a sandwich. :-)
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sarah and Lynne

Most of the year my sister and I live far apart. Really far. But while I am here in the Cleveland area this summer, we are relatively close... only a seven hour drive apart. Not bad compared to 7000 miles. Last week I made the drive to her house. We had Monday afternoon through Friday morning together, and for those few days it was as if we lived next door. It was pretending, really, but it felt good.

We painted Sarah's kitchen, at least part of it. We took the kids to vacation Bible school. We picked blueberries, just the two of us. We painted our toenails, and Sarah fixed mine for me when I tried to get fancy and messed up my big toe. We watched a little HGTV. We shopped at Old Navy. We shopped at a resale store, one of our favorite things to do together. We took the kids to see Toy Story 3 and sniffled and wiped our eyes through the emotional ending together. We took Madelyn to get her ears pierced. We worked out (only once!). We tie-dyed t-shirts bright pink in the kitchen sink. We walked in the creek and caught skating bugs with the kids. We talked. We bathed children and folded laundry. We cooked and washed dishes. We drove to New Jersey to take the kids to a new aquarium one afternoon. We sneaked bites of cheesecake. We read books to the kids on a blanket under the willow tree to fill the time after dinner, before we put them to bed.

It's amazing, really, to look at the list of all the things we did in less than four full days. What would it be like if we lived near each other, maybe even on the same street? I can't even imagine. I've wondered before if time together would seem as special if we could make it happen just any old time. I wager that it wouldn't, but I don't know if I will ever know. I do know that last week, it sure felt good to spend time with my sister.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Madelyn has been waiting a long time for this day (and has been responsible for picking up her clothes for many, many months in order to be considered responsible enough to do this!), this day that she could get her ears pierced. We are visiting my sister and her family in the Philadelphia area this week, so it seemed a special time to make it happen. Here Alyssa and Gwen watch and wait in awe with Madelyn for the process to begin.
Madelyn really wanted to get her ears pierced at a place where both ears could be done at the same time. This Claire's store fit the bill. She chose pretty little light green (peridot) jewels.
First look at them...
She acted pretty cool about the whole process while we were in the store and in the photo above, but I think this picture we took with the Claire's bag after we got home tells the real story!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Caleb, 15 years and 10 months

Oh my... sometimes I am shocked to realize I have a "child" this old. What to do? It's even more shocking to realize that Scott and I were his age now when we met... oh my.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back Home

We went to the beach tonight, the beach I played on as a child, the beach where Scott and I watched sunsets as teenagers, the beach where we've all collected rocks and watched seagulls and played in the tiny waves and had picnics and walked in the cool summer evenings. It's just a beach on Lake Erie, not an ocean. But it represents part of what is home to us all.

We're here again, and it sure feels good. Now we just need Scott to join us!

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation!

Ready for her big day!
Gwen has spent the last two years in a Montessori Mandarin immersion class. It has been a wonderful environment for her... we are so grateful for the time she's had in this class! Graduation day was bittersweet. Below is the entrance to her school, announcing the day's big event.
We started in Gwen's classroom for one last circle time with Lao Shi Sharon. She told each graduating child how special they are and much she would miss each one of them, and then gave each of them an album of pictures from the years they spent in her classroom.
After the circle time, there was a drawing for each of the students to win one of the large group art projects that the class created throughout the year. We lucked out with a paint footprint rainbow that could be rolled up... some families took home large cardboard creations. :-) Then cake and fruit was served before the ceremony began outside.Gwen and friends!
Time for graduation!
There were songs...
A dance...
... and an announcement of the graduates from the Mandarin, English and German classes!
With her sweet teacher~
With the guys~
Kindergarten graduation seems like a funny little rite of passage, but it was still a special day with our girl. She was so pleased to have all of us there. :-)
...and after it was all over, it was time to play! Hurray!

Friday, June 11, 2010



It's well after ten at night. We've just come home from a good-bye dinner for two families leaving Shanghai. We're rolling out dough for tomorrow morning's cinnamon rolls, a beginning of summer tradition. We're loading pictures and video from Gwen's kindergarten graduation this morning onto the laptop. A new suitcase sits back in the bedroom, waiting to be packed for the trip to the US that is only days away.

And this afternoon, before we went to the pool, Madelyn and Percy hung out in her hammock. It's summer in Shanghai.
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

School & Sushi

I met a new friend today, someone another friend gave my name to as a home schooling contact. We spent a wonderful couple of hours together, chatting about parenting, schooling, and God. She took me to a Japanese restaurant for lunch, which was delicious! The sushi was oh-so-yummy. We talked more, about our backgrounds, adoption, food, and more about home schooling. What fun a new friend is!

I found that talking about home schooling with this younger mom who is just now looking at it as a possibility reminded me of all the things I loved about home schooling in the early years. I've relived a lot of that with my sister, too, as this was her first year teaching her son. It was different discussing it with a brand new friend, though, and also different to be looking back on home schooling as a past part of my life. I wondered aloud if I will ever do it again. It's out there as a possibility, of course. Gwen has lots of years ahead of her!

But for now, Gwen will have her kindergarten graduation ceremony at Montessori on Friday morning, and next year go to Concordia for first grade. I feel good about these things.

And I definitely want to learn to make sushi. I'm looking at websites now...

Monday, June 07, 2010

May 28, 2010


Scott never wants us to make a big deal about his birthday... but he did have one about ten days ago. He's 41 now, with braces! We had a fun family dinner at home, with chocolate walnut pie for dessert. I didn't get many pictures as I didn't have many subjects willing to pose for very long, but I like that the kids are all in this one with Scott.

Happy Birthday, Babe... I think this is the 26th birthday that I've gotten to celebrate with you! We are definitely getting older... but you get better all the time. :-)
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Friday, June 04, 2010


I took this photo of Madelyn and Tamara playing a hand clapping game together in April when Tamara was visiting and just came across it again tonight. I love the looks on both of their faces!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I Heart Shanghai

Out with friends tonight, discussing summer schedules over dinner. All of us have been here for three years and have several more to go, but we both know a number of families who are leaving Shanghai at the end of this school year. We said to each other, "What will that last American Airlines flight back to the US be like?" Someday we will be heading back for good, it will be the last flight "home", yet we'll be leaving so much of our hearts here in China.

I know our families might hate to hear this, but as much as we miss being close to them, we sure love where we live now. We're excited to return to the US for a long visit this summer, but we're grateful that we get to return to Shanghai in August, at least for a couple more years.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Who's Watching?

The look on this woman's face cracks me up. It's almost as if she had been caught about to wash her vegetables in the dirty canal water... oh, that's right, I did catch her in the act, didn't I? No matter, they were probably the same vegetables I ate for lunch at the local restaurant an hour later, and I'm feeling just fine. :-)
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