this made me smile....

...so maybe you will too!

Lately the girls just want scissors.....maybe some tape, or crayons too. Thankfully, they are finally at the age where I can trust them with scissors on their own, and usually I am so amazed by what they create. I love giving them a basket of supplies - and seeing what idea they come up with.

This is Sydney's version of a crown. Taped to her head! I love it. She even drew the diamonds, cut them out - and taped them in the precise place that she wanted them. Maybe only a mother can appreciate the details - but I wanted to point them out for those who just skim over like "no big deal." These are serious skills people!

She obviously needed a ring to go with.

What will she create next?


funny shirt

I love finding shirts like these for the girls. They just bring so much JOY!
Eden is quite happy with her shirt too!
Gotta love Chinglish.


mango madness

Today the mango truck came to our neighborhood and parked on our street. We could smell the mango goodness wafting in the air! I love that we have different seasonal fruits that just show up randomly for sale. Ya never know what you are gonna get.

Sometimes you can find honey straight from the hive.

Sometimes fried potato chips straight out of the sizzling grease.

Or you can have "fresh" stinky tofu, if that is even possible.

Well, I love the fresh fruits and veggies most of all.
Just LOOK at this beautiful bright deliciousness!!
(minus the Durian fruit with prickly spikes - yechk!)

Now, I know these tropical mango's weren't grown in our province (since we live in the 2nd largest desert in the world) - but they looked fresh off the truck (that drove from tropical southern China)!

The mango man was so happy that we bought a mango from him. I think our excitement over his colorful, fruity truck made his day. And since this picture of Justin doesn't give you the best perspective on how BIG this mango really was....here is the mango vs. Sydney:

YUM!! can't you smell it too?


3 sisters reading together

too precious not to share.
also - a great book: "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannet



Sometimes I forget that even American candy is a novelty to our girls who have grown up here for the past 4.5 years. I forget even the most simple things aren't common for them. Like Disney characters, English slang, drinking fountains, or playing on grass.

But today it was American Candy. They were given a bunch of new candy: Tootsie Rolls (which they busted up over, and thought was the funniest name), Peppermints (kinda spicy for Syd), and their favorite: Smarties!

I overheard Eden & Sydney talking about them, "Sydney - you have to try these! They are called Smarties, and they make you have good ideas."
That was the best thing I'd heard all year. I love their insights!


kids park day!

We had some friends visit from America this summer - and they planned a FUN park day for lots of the foreign kids in town! It was so wonderful to gather together for games, bubbles, art projects, face-painting, and soccer! Thank you friends for giving your time to love our children, and this place!

lots of butterflies and rainbows
thank you friends!


my first birthday cake with Chinese characters

I made a little cake for our sweet Aiyi (auntie) this year, complete with "Happy Birthday" in Chinese characters. I almost couldn't fit it on the cake...but I think she could read it!

ZHU 住 NI 你 SHENG 生 RI 日 KUAI 快 LE 乐!!
the writing starts on the top right side...and goes down & around!

I really like writing Chinese characters - it feels like artwork!!
Too bad I can't remember that many!!


crochet & crafts

A precious Finnish woman here in the city volunteered to offer a Crafty Class to the seven-and-up kids! Asia LOVES her class! She first learned to crochet with her fingers, and has now learned to use a crochet needle. Her teacher is also teaching them how to use a regular needle & thread, starting with beads. Every week Asia walks to class with her friend Emma - over to her apartment, and spends 2 hours being crafty!

I love helping Asia get ready for her class: helping pack her backpack with necessities so that she can walk there on her own, and come home after!! She has to take the elevator, open the big heavy metal door, walk down the street and through a neighborhood restaurant, down some big stairs, through another bunch of apartment buildings - and up five flights of stairs. And then she comes back the same way, using her very own key! Asia loves the feeling of going by herself (with Emma) - they feel so responsible and grown up. Its a big accomplishment for momma too, letting her little girl branch out like this. I know its safe...and it builds confidence in our baby girl. She is growing up!!

Here are a few pictures of some of her recent creations:

She crocheted a long strand of yarn, and wound it around a toilet paper tube, converting it into a little pencil holder! This was our anniversary gift. Then she made a purple & yellow lizard out of beads. Now she is working on a small table mat - sewing the edges with a needle & thread, and embroidering a flower too! Its so fun to see her try new things, and come home energized and enthusiastic about her new skills! I am so thankful for our Finnish friend - and her love for these girls. :)

And I LOVE my new pencil-holder-man, specially crafted by my sweetie.


9 years!!

Its hard to believe it has already been nine years since our fun wedding day (that so many of you helped pull off). It was such a perfect day! Since that day we have traveled, gone thru job changes, university studies, moves across the country & across the globe, three babies, learning new languages & cultures, a new business - many highs and lows! We are so thankful that we have been able to do it together. ...to learn from one another, be sharpened, encouraged, supported and loved fully. We look forward to the next nine years and the adventures we will journey on together ...and the lessons we will learn ...and an even deeper love to experience. Who knows what may be around the corner!!?

For our anniversary this year we had a local friend come over to watch the girls, while we went on a date! We got 90 minute massages, complete with a foot soak! When you are done with the foot massage part, they wrap your feet like mummies - while they massage the rest of your body.

The massages are so worth every penny. All 560 pennies to be exact. It's unbelievable.

Then we went to our favorite Curacao-an Cafe - for a scrumptious dinner alone! We kept up our yearly tradition of reading our vows together - and taking note of areas that might need some extra attention. We made some new goals! It was so nice to have some focused conversation and enjoy each others' company! ...without the crayons, coloring books and spilled drinks. :)

Wahoo for nine years!!