Harvest Party 2011!!

This is our 3rd annual Harvest Party extravaganza...and I think we have gotten a bit out-of-control with the amount of people we wanted to invite, so we decided to ask a local restaurant to host our party this year! Thankfully, the wonderful 'Texas Cafe' has agreed to cook up an amazing Taco-bar, and let us play games in our costumes. This was the perfect alternative to having our home trampled by candy-crazed kids and messy carnival games, which isn't usually that crazy (unless you try to fit 50+kids & parents inside).  We are getting much better at planning these types of events, and we even made a fun Activity Book for the youngsters.  It has become such a fun tradition, that all the families across the city look forward to this holiday - and we've never even gone trick-or-treating!

The girls decided they wanted to dress up as Native Americans this year, which was so fun for me.  I loved finding material & creating a pattern for each of them.  We even found this incredible Kazakh ribbon that looks authentic, and bird feathers at the park too.  They each added beads to the arm tassels and a headband to match.  I just love this little tribe of mine. 

Syd (4) Eden (6) Asia (8)

 Another fun treat:  One family we know lives kinda far out in the countryside, and they decided to plant REAL pumpkins this year.  They must have brought their own seeds in, because the only pumpkins we can buy at the local markets are tiny (about the size of a huge grapefruit).  Well, somehow we lucked out - and they gave us a beautiful BIG pumpkin - ready to CARVE!! 

Believe it or not, this is the first time the girls have ever tried carving a pumpkin!  They needed a little coaxing, as the stringy pumpkin guts were not their favorite.  Maybe next time it won't freak them out so much.  My favorite part is roasting the seeds! 

the girls named the pumpkin:  PUMPY (so original)

sharing PUMPY with our neighbor friends

photo time with PUMPY

PUMPY with a candle

the whole gang!

Wing Feather & the Sheriff

Little Fawn & Batgirl

Magpie & Space Cowboy

Happy Harvest to everyone!!


first snow.....and so thankful too.

Its COLD over here!! Our noses tingle when we step outside, and its almost time to get our long-johns out for the winter spell. I do love the change in seasons here, watching the obvious fade of life & green turn into brown & grey, and now covered in white.  Winter is only taunting us now, but it will come in full force very shortly. 

We will enjoy the white snow to the best of our ability, and make snowballs while we can.  Maybe next time we will wear our gloves!
thankful for:
Asia's big cursive bubbly loops
cute squeaking shoes on kids learning to walk
kids playing with yo-yo's on their lunch break
hot peach tea on my sore throat
writing a love note to my babe
knowing that You are in control and You never change
 cancer is not in control
for troubles that cause us to turn to You
for sicknesses that invite us to bring a sacrifice of thanks
for good friends in this city who drop everything to help
iphones gifted to our family!
packages from afar
the quiet of falling snow
snow crystals on barren trees
for Joe Anthony Dostalek - such a generous servant of God
the vulnerability of life 
a friend is pregnant with baby #4!
to see God's power & strength in a wind storm
God's character in a tiny intricate snowflake


favorites from October....

This month we began sewing again!  Justin found me an amazing bargain down at the Material Market, and we have ourselves a sewing machine.  Our first projects are pillows for our dolls, and Halloween costumes!  Asia is loving the hummm of the machine, and pushing the pedal to make it go!

Asia in her happy place!!

Sydney helping mom make Cinnamon Graham Bars for our snack.  
She loves her new apron that Jamma made!

Our little pre-schooler....begging us to read to her!

lots of reading going on this month...its been cold outside!

One of our last park days this year...leaf collecting & flower-picking!

practicing our lovely penmanship at home
other highlights of this month:
the heat came on October 15th!
Friday family nights @ home - games & guitar!
Asia wrote her first mini-report on Pocahontas - she was so excited!
guys camping trip in the uncharted wilderness
2 huge bins of gifts sent from America in extra luggage space from friends
Mom's faith to trust even in unknowns*

*We got a skype call from Mom this month, with hard news of possible cancer in her body.  She won't know for sure until the test results are back, but we are all asking for healing & ability to trust.  Its so hard to be away when people are hurting & struggling.  We are aching for her, but asking Dad to hold her & comfort her during this unknown waiting.... 


best friends & practically family!

These are our best buddies here in our city... 

We've known this family since April 2006...when our girls/their kids were so very young.  Asia was almost three, and Eden was barely one when we first met.  These two below have grown up together, and have such similar personalities, and only 3 months apart.  They are both strong and sweet, caring & sometimes quiet.  They love to be active, and can be very goofy too.  Its wonderful to see how they love each other.

These two are such pals.  I have loved that Asia has had such a good buddy here, and especially such a tender, gentle, and caring friend, like this boy.  They are almost 3 months apart in age too, but such close friends.  Of course they clash and have their stubborn streaks, but they always end up laughing and growing through the hard spots.  They love to scheme and laugh about the silliest things, and they can get serious and work hard together (math/spelling/writing) too.  Its so wonderful for our daughter to have such a precious friend in a boy. 

Syd & A* are two peas in a pod.  They never skip a beat.  They are non-stop laughter and goofiness.  They are both so full of imagination and energy, its hard to keep up.  They have known each other since birth, and have always loved to play together, fall down together, eats snacks, and pretend constantly.  What a precious buddy we have found in this little guy. 

We are so thankful for these wonderful friends ~ a huge blessing when we live so far away from family.  They have become family to us!!



Andrew & Asia doing Sequential Spelling
We've been homeschooling for the past 5 years....and its really fun.  But even with all the FUN, our girls still watch the clock for RECESS!!  With all the other home-schooled kids in our neighborhood, we've organized a 10:00am recess to get the kids outside and active, no matter what the weather might be.  Its a great incentive to stay focused in the morning too!!  Here are some of my favorite pictures of the kids playing in front of our building. 

 ....back to our studies!!


Happy National Day!! 国庆节

These little ones sure do love this precious country!!  
Guóqìng jié kuai le!!

gotta love these little world changers!