turning SIX

Asia Nicole turned SIX this year, which feels unbelievable to me. With each new year, I am always caught by surprise at how old she seems. Of course, six is still young – but she amazes me with her grace and compassion at such a young age. This past year she has grown in leaps and bounds – I have seen huge motivation in her desire to learn. She really loves school (so far) and doesn’t see it as a burden (which I am striving to maintain!). She also has a kind, nurturing heart, and is becoming more independent each day. She loves to learn how things work, and is full of questions too. She is quite the jokester, scheming with her sisters, or leading the way in their adventures. Both of her sisters look up to her greatly. She also loves to help in the kitchen, baking goodies, stirring sauces, rinsing dishes – she really loves to help! Asia is full of empathy – she cries when her sisters cry – and is very sensitive to others’ pain. She loves to dance, draw, read and ride her bike outside.

This year – she planned her birthday menu herself, and helped make her own cupcakes: chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (filled with whip cream)!

She woke up to a barrage of gifts, skype phone calls from America, and waffles with strawberry syrup! She was queen for the day (well, maybe the week!) as we celebrated with face painting, soccer, pizza party @ the park – and a slumber party! Asia loves parties – and she can practically plan them herself. This was her first slumber party – and the anticipation was out-of-control. Two of her little girlfriends came to stay the night. We played hide & seek with flashlights and they stayed up late giggling. We were so tired, that we all took naps the next day!

We love you sweet Asia, and we are so blessed by the joyful little girl that you are!!


restaurant packaging arrived!!

This may not sound exciting to you – but it has taken us WAY TOO LONG to purchase ice cream buckets so that we can sell larger quantities to restaurants! We finally found a place to order them – and got our first shipment today! They were delivered to our door – just like this! One of these buckets of ice cream sells for 55kuai ($8.00). It holds about 3 liters – which is 3 of the half gallon buckets you can buy in any store in America. That’s a great deal, don’t ya think?? We will see how long this first 500 buckets takes to sell.

It only took 4 months - even in this economy! I think Ice Cream is a great business!


mellow times

In the afternoon, we attempt to have a mellow time while little Sydney takes a nap, and mom gets some down-time too. Our mornings are quite full with homeschooling, chores, friends to visit, baking, lunch and all the normal to-do’s. By the time lunch is done – mom is also ready for some mellow time! If I plan my day right – I will have some quiet activities for A&E to engage in while I escape to read or put my feet up for a bit (I am starting to sound kinda old, huh?).

Their most favorite activity these days is to plan a Tea Party for two. They set up a small table with tiny stools or pillows for chairs, and get the table ready themselves. I let them use my little China teapot & cups – complete with a bowl of rock sugar to sweeten the tea. They choose a mix of tea leaves/flowers – and even make their own concoction of Chinese tea (decaf!). We also have bowls of fruit and nuts to compliment the party. Other days they will pile up pillows and blankets to create a soft nook in the corner and read stories. Asia has been so intense about reading – and Eden is always asking her to read more!

They also love to bead necklaces, draw pictures, mold with play dough, build forts with blankets, or master a new puzzle. These are all great quiet activities that help mom stay sane. I love the stage they are both in – and how wonderfully they get along. How long does this last??


neighbor friend turns 7!!

We were invited to our neighbors’ home for their son’s seventh birthday – with only a few hours notice. We went to an underground market and found him a neat fake-Lego spacecraft: perfect for him! We arrived on time, but the party didn’t really begin until hours later. We got to chat with the family lots, and help GeGe (哥哥 big brother) put together his new toy. The grandmother made an incredible vegetable soup, and we all were given heaps of cake with neon icing. I love that we are getting to know our neighbors more, yet not so fond of the smoking.

absorbed in a book....

I love this kid!! She gets lost in books all the time. Its so fun to watch her absorbed in a new book, and then reenacting the stories with her sisters! They love to pretend they are Mary, Laura & baby Carrie from "Little House in the Big Woods." Its so precious.


flower girl bliss

My sweet little flower girl looks so grown up. She loved curling her hair, painting her toes, wearing make-up and her new white dress and shoes that matched the bride. I hope every little girl has the chance to be a flower girl once in their lives – it is a magical event. The anticipation and excitement was almost too much for her, as the bride & groom were over 2 hours late to their own wedding! Asia waited eagerly, trying to stay clean before her debut. She practiced walking down the carpet, carrying the basket…and smiling for strangers. She stood up front a long time, video cameras going, cameras flashing – and she smiled so brightly the entire time. I am so glad she had this moment – and that she handled all the pressure so well. She got SO much attention, being a blond/blue eyed Asia amongst a sea of Asians. She is so adorable.


Ice Mountain Creamery - Grand opening!

We opened our shop today and began selling ice cream out of the front windows, on Children’s Day! We had hoped to open earlier, but things never really happen how we expect out here. Of course, Children’s Day is a wonderful day to launch an ice cream business – and there were lots of people outside wanting a sweet treat!! Both Justin & Raj were at the shop scooping cones, which easily draws a crowd too. Who doesn’t want to be served ice cream by a white foreigner and have a chance to practice your English? We really underestimated the crowds – and almost ran out of ice cream the first day! Students crowded around the little window asking “which flavor is best?” and all ordering “strawberry” since the person before them got it. There is a ‘follow the crowd’ mentality that runs strong – even when choosing your ice cream. We will have to figure out the supply & demand aspect of running a shop in this big city – but we are amazed that there was such an overwhelming response! We hope it continues!!