spring package love

oh my goodness.... could this box be filled with any more LOVE? (nope.)

over 20 packets of pesto & alfredo goodness
yellow peeps (a novelty with the girls)
Ed Emberley drawing books!
stickers galore
colored erasers for the students in our home
spring flower seed packets!
3 Pez dispensers
Easter marshmallows
a new favorite book that is changing my life
Easter egg coloring kit
Clif bars
cadbury eggs!
quality chocolate bunnies
dried fruit strips
2 Clean Start colon cleanses for the adults (not for wimps)
and some incredible Nature's Sunshine supplements!

Thank you with all our hearts for the generosity, creativity, and thoughtfulness put into this package FULL of love. We are so blessed by each item!! Receiving packages is like a ray of sunshine in the darkness.... Well, maybe that sounds extreme - but it truly encourages and brightens our MONTH! Living across the globe from our family, friends, homeland, & comforts has its challenges - but just knowing that we are on your mind & hearts makes the distance not so huge. Maybe "gift giving" (or gift-receiving) is higher on my Love Languages than I thought!! Either way, we feel extremely loved. Love you back!! xoxoxo

Now I get to go hide the goodies until April 24th.
The girls are going to flip out!!


Ice Mountain Creamery :: Partners

Here's a pict of the guys at the new Factory....looking quite cheery despite all the work & efforts they put into a days work. They are pretty amazing guys - navigating the Chinese business world in three languages. Figuring out new laws each day, and doing it all with integrity, creativity & (mostly) humble hearts. I really love the one on the LEFT. :)


knitting fingers.

She is learning so fast, and figuring out the IN, AROUND, THRU, OFF...
Patiently learning the intricate movement of needles and yarn.
I am so thankful for her ability to concentrate + sit and move her hands in rhythm, and for her weekly handicraft class with 6 friends & the beautiful Finnish woman who loves them so well. Thankful that I found a place to buy her yarn that is pretty cheap too. Thankful for bamboo knitting needles. Thankful for her sweet idea to make scarves for her dolls. Thankful for daughters.


book buddies

I love that they read the same page at the same time.

happy birthday Aiyi!!

The girls love painting birthday banners. Even when it means they all have to reach across each other and claim their various letters. They do pretty good sharing the tight space - all at once. Today is a good friends' 58th birthday.

This woman is amazing. She helps about 4 different families in their homes: cooking, cleaning and taking care of many little ones 6 days a week! She also maintains her home, with two grown kids of her own. She is our Chinese Auntie...who simply adores our kids. For our family, she watches the girls one night a week so Justin & I can go on a date, just the two of us. She is such a gift to our clan. She also teaches our girls Chinese, and plays as she goes.

Happy Birthday Aiyi - we are so glad you were born!!


so much snow!!

Today after a very long and challenging day (for this momma), I quietly slipped outside to take a walk in the snow (yes, daddy came home to relieve me). There is something peaceful about falling snow, even amongst the hustle and bustle of people coming and going along the road.... I love the crunch of powder under my boots, and the snowflakes swirling about my face.

I ventured out without long johns or gloves - but it wasn't too cold. Students were trudging through the snow to catch a bus home, shop-workers were shoveling snow in front of their stalls, and cars were spinning their tires trying to make it up the hill.

I wasn't frantic though. To me, this was a taste of peace and quiet...a time to regroup and take in all the sights and smells and just simply enjoy the outdoors. I smiled and breathed deep. Isn't this lady beautiful? I buy all my fruit from her. She gives me pretty good deals when I bargain.

These are my feet. Just to prove that I was really there. And here is another one that everyone seems to be laughing about. I don't see why this is all that funny. I was so happy to be outside in the whiteness.

A dear friend of mine handmade this cowl for weather such as this! It kept me toasty and dry and very well-loved.

XingFu Lu (our road) covered in snow.

Thankful for white snow, crunching powder, swirly flakes, pink nose, seeing my warm breath, knowing my neighbors, a faithful & humble husband, talented friends, woolen cowls, icicles, shovels, fruit ladies, a full heart, and three little chickadees excited to see momma even after a 30 minute walk.


St. Patricks day!!

We found new ways to celebrate St Patrick's Day this year - and just have fun with leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold, shamrocks and potatoes! We DID actually study about the real Saint Patrick and his life! Did you know he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and forced to tend the pigs for 6 years? Talk about crazy adventure!! Later in his life - he returned to Ireland to share his life there. He is known by the shamrock - because he used it as a tool to share his faith. I love knowing the history behind our traditions & festivals....

We also had fun making shamrocks with potato prints, and eating delicious cupcakes decorated with edible rainbows. The girls also loved their green smoothies for breakfast!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from our Scotch-Irish clan!


family night

We recently began a new family tradition - and the girls are loving FAMILY NIGHT! They get so excited to plan what's for dinner, some special activities - and maybe a movie on the projector/screen. We play games, play guitar, have a dance party...whatever the girls want to do....within reason of course. Lately they have wanted to make their own pizzas and watch a movie together. I love their enthusiasm for our family times - they are the perfect end to our week! ....these may morph over the years, but I really hope to instill in these girls the importance of spending quality time together....and loving people first.


being sick is no fun....

...but its nice to have a buddy to cuddle with.

or maybe two buddies.

(have no fear - we are all healthy now!)


mom's hair salon

first you climb onto the counter and make sure the tangles are gone.

then you put hair up, wrap in a dish towel and begin the chopping!!

thankfully the girls can last the 45 minutes it takes me to finish the job! Then you take pictures to document the happy girl with her new style! She is growing up so fast!!

that was A LOT of hair!!


things i love :: in no particular order

I was inspired to write my own list, from an amazing friend named Sarah. ox.

justin. asia. eden. sydney. lemonade. guitars. my 5 parents. jason & kris. ian & arienne. my 3 nieces & 1 nephew! being an auntie. my old house on emeline avenue. hearing God's voice. falling snow. swimming. the beach. sand in my toes, but not anywhere else. waves. China open markets. quilts. anything handmade. thrift stores. books. subaru forresters. melon in summer. picnic baskets. gardening. anything with pumpkin. making bread. a good book with the girls. santa cruz, ca. learning something new. a thoughtful gift. animals: all kinds. homeschooling. art projects. walking in the creek. rainy days & umbrellas. succulent plants. etsy. the color green. jesus. sewing. chai tea with milk & honey. tickling my girls. hammocks. swing dancing. scarves & cowls. organic things. hiking. crossing the street in China. cultures. traveling. owls & acorns & clover. libraries. grass under my feet. adoption. sentimental things. the doans. writing letters. communication. my best friend. being known. hard questions. green smoothies. my new iphone. angry birds. road-trips. the sounds of nature. picking berries. dusk. dreaming together. chocolate & peanut butter. family game nights. camping outside in tents. drinking tea. old window panes. letting my creative juices flow. cloth napkins. living simply. burritos. skinny dipping. fruits of the spirit. taking a walk with my babe. expensive shoes. homemade pesto. making rag dolls. summer. bonfires on the beach. oriental rugs. legos. feeding the ducks. fresh flowers in a vase. being used by God. authenticity. new haircuts. my wedding ring. strawberries. apricots. painted toes. kings mansion. dying to self. forgiveness. spending time with other moms. the sparkle in my girls' eyes. survivor. date night. old farm houses. the flea market. the farmer's market. composting. planning parties. driving a car with kids in carseats. organizing. avocados. oceanview park. getting healthy. bookshelves. scrapbooking. playing dutch blitz. doing puzzles. sushi. the psalms. surrender. porches. closets. home birth. sand castles. popcorn. action-packed movies. the nomads. acorn slippers. bamboo. maps. photography. pigtails. kaleidoscope. lists. blogging friends. fair trade. old jeans. yurts. henna & mehndi art. newborn babies. homemade jiaozi. pique assiette. christmas ornaments. coke zero. my apron.

....there are many more things I am sure...and perhaps I will continue to add to this list as I think of new things! these are just the first ones that came to mind (which is a huge disclaimer, and again, in no particular order of love & admiration, so one day if Sydney reads this she won't feel I loved her any less than Asia or Eden since I listed her 4th). This is just fun to reminisce and think about. :) Thanks Sarah!!