Saturday, April 30, 2011

Great Wall... still great!

We had an amazing day on the Great Wall at Mutianyu last week! When we arrived at the airport in Beijing and found our guide, he suggested that we go right to the Wall even though our itinerary was planned differently. It was such a beautiful clear day... definitely a good call to spend it where the view matters! We had it nearly to ourselves, which made it even better!

The afternoon sunlight on the distant mountains was lovely.

Our kids with the "sleeping dragon" of the Great Wall of China snaking behind them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crickets and More

Bird and flower market is what this odd collections of booths is called, but we call it the pet market. There are birds of many varieties, fish, bunnies, chicks, squirrels, puppies and kittens, and cricketsMaggi is checking out the assorted sizes and shapes of turtles here, some as small as a quarter, others filling their whole bowl. It's the one place in Shanghai to purchase fighting crickets, which can be quite valuable. Yesterday we watched a shop owner open up one tiny box after another to put in half of a boiled bean seed, for the cricket to munch. :-)
Lots of mealworms, food for something else, I'm guessing.
Teeny, tiny dishes for a prized cricket to dine and drink from.
Each of these wicker balls contains a cricket... and they were really loud! Gwen and Maggi are covering their ears against the noise!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fun in Yuyuan!

We've been having great fun with our cousins, and the weather has been gorgeous... what a blessing! Yesterday the girls enjoyed dressing up in these costumes and posing a bit in Yuyuan garden. For just 25 RMB ($3) you can wear the costume for a loose 5 minutes. Such a deal!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Signs of Life

What a great way to start off our cousins' visit! Our church Easter brunch yesterday morning, held at a nearby hotel, included live chicks and baby bunnies to cuddle and play with in the courtyard area. Maggi, Gwen, Meredyth and Madelyn could barely be persuaded to eat from the sumptuous buffet, so attached were they to these cuddly critters.
The funny thing was that anyone who wanted to could claim a couple of chicks or a bunny and take them home with them! We had many pleading requests, but I didn't think it would be a good mix with our two cats at home. Good excuse, right? Some families who did claim chicks brought the tiny provided wire cages right into the ballroom where we were eating, so their little peeps could be heard everywhere!
I'm not sure, but I think Maggi might be snuggling this chick a little too tightly...
Scott and I with Jenna and Andrew. Just in the couple days since Jen and Andrew arrived, several people have commented on how much Scott and Jenna look alike.

There was a bounce house for the kids at the brunch- Caleb and Seth and a couple of friends decided to give it a try and found they could dive through the windows in the side... if they were careful to watch for toddlers. :-)
Uncle Andrew and the girls

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Cousins Are Coming!

We used to love the music of Tom Chapin. He's a singer/songwriter for children and has recorded a number of cd's that are fun for adults as well as kids. We never owned one of his recordings, but borrowed all the cd's our library had over and over again. These days I have just a couple of my favorite songs of his on my iPod, partly for old times' sake, to remember the days that we all sang along in the car, and partly because I still enjoy them.

One of our favorite Tom Chapin songs was "The Cousins Are Coming." It has a rollicking, toe-tapping melody, and described the great excitement of anticipating the arrival of cousins and then all the adventures that happened while they were in town.

We have been anticipating the arrival of cousins for months in our house, and today is the day! Scott, Madelyn and Gwen are at the airport this very minute, picking up cousins Meredyth and Maggi, along with their parents, of course. It's the first time in our four years that cousins have come to visit, so it's a big deal! Can't wait to show them our life here in China- our home and church, the places we love in Shanghai, and even the Great Wall and other sites in Beijing. It's going to be such a fun spring break, because the cousins are coming. :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


A couple of Sundays ago, we all participated in the local 2K/8K race, as a part of the Baobei team. We had planned for the girls and I to do the 2K and the guys were going to run the 8K, but Seth had to switch to the earlier 2K because of a time commitment. He ended up coming in third place out of several thousand people! Madelyn, Gwen and I, mostly walking, ended up at least 30 minutes behind this guy. :-) You can see in the picture below that there was no one close behind him, either. Scott caught this photo of Seth on his phone as he was finishing the race. Because the race organizers were a little unprepared for how quickly some participants would finish the 2K, they didn't have the finish line ribbon set up yet when the first two runners came in, and so Seth actually got to break the ribbon. :-)
Scott and Caleb ran the 8K together. At least they started out together... but there was a bit of money on the line, and Caleb was able to pull away from his dad and beat him by 7 or 8 minutes. Scott was happy to have finished the race well, and decided that next year he will train a little more and beat this year's time. :-)

Friday, April 15, 2011


Gwen, explaining to me why I must surely love her the best~ "I'm the special-est, because I'm the smallest and adopted, the only one."
Scott and Gwen, Boracay, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fair Warning

Just in case you had considered doing otherwise.

Monday, April 11, 2011

First Month

Madelyn has had a cell phone for about a month and a half. Scott got the first bill from her phone a few days ago... how many texts do you think a 5th grader can send in 30 days?

510. Yep, that's five hundred and ten separate text messages. In thirty days.

Now fortunately texting is super cheap, equivalent to about a penny per text. So it's not about the money. No, more about how are we spending our time? And wouldn't it really be more efficient to just CALL the person with whom you want to converse?

But then again, I think I may also be guilty on this count of over texting. Probably best for me to stop talking about it.

Maybe I'll just text you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Love these flowers in the park the girls and I went to with friends last week. We hadn't been to this park since Sarah and Shann visited us in April two years ago. The flowers were just like this then! Lovely to see them again.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Taking care of a special needs orphan this week for a few days... has me thinking about the preciousness of life, God's faithfulness, and His mysterious ways. What would He have me learn from this child's life? The world might find no value in this life... yet God finds infinite value. How does He measure? What will this child be like in heaven, with a completely whole, new body? In the daily-ness of life, I met physical needs but didn't take time until tonight to rock this little one, sing, and try to consider what God thinks of her. Help my unbelief, Lord. Don't let me miss what You have right in front of me...

Monday, April 04, 2011

Under the Sea... sort of

I don't know about you, but I found this diving tank at the hotel we stayed at in Sanya just a little bit funny! It was salt water, and had some colorful fish in it. We all gave it a try... the fish were fraidy cats and didn't come too close to us. Perhaps a little food would have helped. Seth's giving me a thumbs up from inside the tank in this photo!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Field Day

It was a beautiful afternoon for the elementary school's annual field day competitions today! The K-4 graders were divided into mixed age group teams to participate in a wide variety of relays and other games, moving from station to station. Eighth graders ferried the elementary groups from one game to the next, which meant that Seth got to be outside enjoying the sunshine today as well. I watched for a while, loving Gwen's grins and enthusiasm!
The three-legged race is always a fun one!
Two students had to pull a third- as the smallest, Gwen got to be pulled. :-)
I think she thought she was helping her team win this tug-of-war game...