off to class

Being in Colorado for 2+ weeks, Asia & Eden got to attend a small Preschool on a daily basis. The kids ranged in age from 2-5 – and Asia was their eldest pupil. Each day there was about 10-12 kids, with 2 teachers. The girls were timid at first, but grew very attached to their teacher Miss Rachel, an amazing German girl with increidble creativity & energy. They learned new songs, listened intently & followed directions, made new friends, learned to cooperate, went to gymnastics class and even make pumpkin pie. I am glad they had this opportunity to see what "school" is like firsthand, to show respect for their teacher, play & grow alongside other children and also develop some independence/autonomy away from mom & dad. I am sure it helps grow their identity too. They really have loved going to “class.”

When we move back to China, we will dive back into our home-schooling curriculum again - but for now, we are surrounded with so many new and diverse ways to learn on a daily basis. Its just wonderful to see the girls enjoy learning and laughing with other kids that speak their language.


road-trip 2008

**warning: long novel-y post **

8 days on the road – 3 carseats, 4 states, 5 new locations, 2,000 miles in the van over desert landscapes, cactus plateaus, rocky mountain buttes, riverbed valleys...meeting family, friends, communities! ...including many Frappacchinos, Subway sandwiches, and priceless memories!

Day 1: Los Angeles, CA – SoCal Doan family!!
We had a great visit with amazing friends in Santa Ana! A Three Amigo reunion, along with our precious growing families! The kids bonded instantly and cherished our short time together. Asia even learned how to put her face in the pool from her 3-year-old friend Lily. Thanks Lily – we have been trying for 2 years now!  Now we just need some swim lessons! M&M – you two are incredible beyond words! Thanks for being such great friends AND family!

Matthew, Samuel, Josh & Justin
Asia & buddy Lily
both of our budding families (Samuel is hiding behind Asia)
Day 2+3: San Diego, CA – Heyn family!!
This was our 2nd time staying with the Heyn’s, and its been fun to see our families grow! Thank you guys for taking such great care of us, and for the fun time spent in the pool, playing with toys and sharing life. We cherish you guys! We also met with our incredible family in San Diego, and shared about life in China. *Justin spent his birthday with about 100 8-year-olds, teaching them about China & ice cream!

five cute kiddos
the kids with their ice cream cones at Canyonview

Day 4: Phoenix, AZ – Grandpa & Grandma McNabb & Aunt Gloreen!
We were greeted with a huge spread of food and snacks all prepared by Justin’s Aunt Gloreen! She prepared every detail ahead of time, and had activities for the kids, as well as homemade dresses and clothing for the winter ahead. Thank you Aunt Gloreen for all the special touches you added to our visit! The girls got reacquainted with Grandpa & Grandma McNabb (95 & 94 years young) while drawing pictures, playing with balloons and celebrating daddy’s belated birthday. G&G have so much wisdom & insights to share with us!

Asia & Aunt Gloreen making snacks

Asia & Sydney with great-Grandpa McNabb

Sydney with great-Grandma McNabb

Day 5: Albuquerque, NM – Uncle Eddie & Aunt KC’s home!
We made it to Albuquerque in time for a fantastic dinner and sunset over the big city. It was incredible to catch up with more family, and share stories at the park near their house. These two are so hospitable & generous! We slept in their guestroom, which was fit for a king & queen. We felt spoiled! Thank you both with all our hearts!

Aunt Karen (KC), Asia, Uncle Eddie, Sydney & Justin

Day 6+7: Durango, CO – the Johnson clan!
As we passed into Colorado – the entire landscape changed and was green and bursting with life. We were very drawn to this small town and the laid-back feel. It was also incredible to reconnect with old friends and share similar adventures. The girls bonded with O&P so well – that they cried as we left. Thank you all for such a sweet welcome into your family, your town and your passions too. We resonate with you deeply.

Asia, Piper & Oscar

fast friends....

Day 8: Colorado Springs, CO – more Doan clan!!
One last day of driving…but we made it!! The girls were troopers, and they were amazingly flexible! We dropped off our things at our hotel, and reunited with best buddies Nathan & Elle Doan for a taco feast! We loved getting to meet their daughter Sophia – and just BE together. Here we are surrounded by a wonderful community of friends, and to be refreshed – for 2 whole weeks!

(sorry no pictures for a bit! forgot the camera cord!)


cutie sisters

Three little sisters, so unique yet similar....each with incredible spunk and joy, beautiful personalities and love for life. We feel so honored to have them in our lives!!



My one birthday request was to go camping as a family! We drove up north along the coast, and cut inland at Pescadero – where we camped at San Mateo County Memorial Park, a place I had gone as a kid heaps. We missed the Labor Day frenzy, and ended up with a quiet and empty campground!! It was a bit eerie, but perfect for the kids. They could be as loud and rambunctious as they wanted, without bothering fellow campers!!

We got to take Mom & Joe’s truck & camper – which never really appealed to me, until we tried it! It’s heavenly. It’s not hardcore tent camping, but we managed to rough it in other ways. The girls had tea parties with dirt & sticks, and we climbed lots of tree trunks while exploring the trails.
We skipped rocks in the creek and waded thru shallow waters. We rode the tricycle, washed dishes as a family, and ate plenty of S’mores. We even had an ABC scavenger hunt and made friends with all the blue Jays & squirrels. And in the course of 4 days, we all showered once!

Justin & I stayed up late near the campfire, until raccoons ravaged thru the campsites and scared us silly. I was thankful for the camper, when they began scavenging thru dumpsters and making a racket.
It was such a great bonding time for all of us – nice to feel like a family and taking care of one another…in the middle of the beauty of nature. Learning, loving, exploring, and taking each day as it came, no big plans – just being together!


poppy. that's a term of endearment.

Happy Birthday to our sweet Poppy – he is so fun to play with and he always makes funny faces when we play. He likes to read us books and play outside. We love you Poppy! Love AE&S


turning 33....

Thanks mom for slaving over this homemade almond+carrot cake, complete with crushed nuts for frosting. It was scrumptious! …and the massive fruit basket! You always outdo yourself!

I had a great 33rd birthday – complete with a walk along the cliffs with my bosom sister/friend, delectable lunch date @ CafĂ© Sparrow, and a rousing Book Club discussion of our final chapters in “The Shack” with an elite crew. Birthdays are fun.