Friday, December 21, 2012 has been a while...

I know, it is almost exactly two years later since my last post.  I kept wanting to catch up and fill in the gaps and time just kept marching along and so the task got bigger and even more unlikely to ever happen.  Then a friend last summer (SW) said to forget about catching up, and just start doing it again in the present.  It was good advice.  I heard another piece of good advice today:  Try to do as little as possible as well as just might be my New Year's Resolution.

Eli's Christmas List:
gear bike has to be good qualityd gear bike
soccer cleat's The blue one's
weight's heavy ones
waterproof wach
runing shos
chocolate tobalrone all kinds
skittles sweet ones
books chapter books
toy cars
tons of papr

Dana's Christmas List:
5.Waterproof watch

Below is a picture of all four kids now, yes FOUR!  Matteo Albert joined us last April 3.  He is nothing but a joy to all's who know's 'im, all cuddly and easy to please.  It is wonderfully unbelieveable to have two sons and two daughters or maybe unbelievably wonderful is a better way of putting it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I love the soft, buttery, clean feeling of my freshly-bathed Hannah:

And I love making shampoo hairstyles on the kids (especially putting horns on Eli when his hair is long enough). These kids are so excellent.

Our new house doesn't really have a bathtub, but we have small baby tubs that we use for the kids...probably saves us on water in the long run. It doesn't matter, bathtime is always fun no matter what.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas play

For Christmas this year, Eli and Dana starred in a Christmas play. Eli got the role of Joseph and Dana got the role of a Shepherd. I think that Dana enjoyed making the ornaments after the play more:
Eli also made one:

I had to stifle my laughter at the rehearsals when Eli and Brieanna-Joie (Joseph and Mary respectively) bickered and fought like an old married couple. I'll bet the real Mary and Joseph had their tense moments especially under the stressful circumstances of Jesus' birth.

I love this shot, when all the kids got together and sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" among others. They may not have known the words then, but they know them now!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dana date

One of our favourite things to do is go to the library, which is really the International School. Our homeschool group has an agreement with them which allows me to go and use their library. So one day I went with Dana, and we hit the playground afterwards. First we played "buyer and seller." Dana sold me things like lipstick, hotdogs and cake all from the same store, and reasonably priced too ("Ten kuai")...
Then we went on the swings. It seems to me that the swings are her favourite...come to think of it, they were my favourite when I was her age too.
This day was Eli-less because he was at school. He goes to preschool 5 days/week (half days) and Dana goes 10 times a month (also half days). Hannah was sleeping in the stroller.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

good friends

My good friend Phyllis and her family moved back to the U.S. at the end of November. Phyllis and I had come to China at about the same time and studied together at the same language school. We were both excited and relieved to find each other when we first arrived because we had kids the same age too. It was so fun to make her laugh in class!

Her daughter Emma and Dana were good buddies too. It was Emma who introduced Dana to the "let's pretend you are my dog" game. Emma is dog-crazy and very imaginitive.

Eli's best friend is Caleb. It was neat to see how Caleb and Eli related to each other these past three years as they are really quite different in their personalities. Eli is more prone to bypass sadness and go straight to anger, whereas Caleb is more of a sensitive soul. Eli needs to run and jump and wrestle, whereas Caleb can be still and draw or build things.

Hannah is a bit too young to have gotten a chance to play with Phyllis' youngest child Samuel, but we are going to miss his toddler antics too!
I am so glad we had a chance to get to know Phyllis and her family. We sure are going to miss them! Who knows, maybe our paths will cross again... I sure do hope so.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hannah likes solids!

Our little Hannah, at 6 months, started eating solids. I know you technically can start at 4 months, but why would you when breastfeeding is so easy, convenient and clean (not to mention that breastmilk is the most important food for babies up until one year of age)! Here she is with her first meal of rice cereal:

And the verdict:

That's a "thumbs up" for rice cereal smile for sure.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the visit: everyday 'round here

Of course we had down-time too. We wanted to show our folks our regular life so that included hanging out at home and showing them some of the local sights. The sights also included the latest greatest grandchild!

I love this picture that Boppa (Alan) took, aptly naming it "the two Cuties" How true. Hannah is not hurting for food, she almost eclipses Dana!

I love the grandparent shots with the newest grandchild, so I included one of each. Nana was excited and soon remembered her baby-burping skills without any coaching.

Hannah's favourite spit-up target was Boppa. It hardly ever failed, I would hand Hannah over to him to hold and 4 seconds later she would have a productive burp all over him. But her smiles made it all worthwhile right Alan?

And Babi too, took a shining to little Hannah. I love both of their expressions here, equally enamoured with one another.

This is the closest thing we have to a farm: one rabbit which Dana loves to feed our fruit and vegetable scraps too,

and two ducks that have miserable living quarters as far as I can tell.

When you don't have a backyard, this is what you learn to do in your house. We are looking into gymnastics for this little monkey, but may do a stint of diving in the meantime as it incorporates trampolines and swimming for a reasonable rate. If you remember how China did in the diving at the last summer Olympics, you'll know the coaching is decent.

Eli and Dana's bedroom. Eli was delighted to receive some Lego from Boppa, Nana and Babi.

On our date night, Scott and I got to go for an evening riverside walk with our folks, while Eli, Dana and Hannah were babysat.

One day we went for a horse-drawn carriage ride along five historical streets that featured (mainly) European architecture. We also saw the former residence of Eric Liddell. If you don't know who that is, watch Chariots of Fire or, better, read a biography about him. He was a remarkable man.

The sleeping slug. Hard to believe this little man could ever get into trouble isn't it? Hah!

Reading stories, and/or watching world cup soccer on the couch. We also played our share of games in the evenings with Scott's parents. My mom preferred to turn in early and get up early the next day to, buy fruit at the market, or play ping pong/go for runs with the locals.

We rode in the Tianjin Eye on a somewhat clear day. The whole rotation took about 20 minutes and there was lots to see from the 12 o' clock position especially. Eli opted to be at his friends house.
So, all said and done, it was a tremendous visit. I must admit I was a little worried about how it would go because I wanted to figure out things to do and see that would be interesting for our parents and fun for our kids too. Also, it was the first visit for my mom and so I viewed it as a "make or breaker" for any subsequent visits. I daresay that based on how it went, my mom might very well be back again, I know Scott's parents will. I felt very blessed to have them and the fact that they made the effort and incurred the cost to come means a lot to us. Thank you!