Has It Been Two Years?

Has it been two years since we met that Monday morning in Yinchuan, China? 
Two years since I became a mom all over again and your world turned upside down?

Two years since you became a brother. (Looking at this picture just reminds me how you've shot up and now are almost the same size as your big brother!)

Two years since the Ayi's told you everything would be okay and to listen to your new parents.

I couldn't believe that I, of all people, was a mom to three of the most amazing kids in the entire world, literally! 

I miss your entertaining in Chinese. I miss the person you were, but love the person you have become. 

You showed your true personality despite your fear, grief, and insecurities during those first few weeks. 

You found security and comfort in one amazing dad. 

It was so difficult to experience your grief and anger. I can't begin to truly imagine what you went through. 

Two years later, you've had some big moves in your life already, but you've handled them like the champ that you are.  

You've found a partner-in-crime a best friend in your big brother. 

Not only is your English amazing, but you can read with the best of them, count by 2's, 10's', and 5's, know more geography than most 6th graders, and learn new things quickly. 

One thing hasn't changed over the two years since you've been home. You still have Jie Jie (Ally) wrapped around your finger. You love to laugh, talk constantly, and just be one loud little boy! I'm hoping you change your mind eventually about becoming a Beyblader, or a "bad guy", or Darth when you grow up but I'll love you just the same. 

Happy Gotcha Day, San San! 


Sunday Best....

minus the shoes!


Phone Dump

 Best Buddies

Rubbing ears while sleeping on the plane ride home

Snow, Hail, Rain, and Blue skies all in one week!

Friday's Art Drawing 

 Grant's masterpiece

Climbing to the Summit is definitely in their future.

And this is why so many love Oregon! It's always green.

Future Archeologist


Happy Nauryz!

Happy Nauryz Everyone! It's that time of year in Kazakhstan to forgive debts and offenses, and overcome evil with good. It should also mean that spring is here; however, the Northwest didn't get the memo because we were awakened by the alarm in our house several times throughout the night letting us know that the power was out. Evidently it was caused by heavy snow breaking a large tree branch on top of a power line. Yes, I said snow. The white, cold stuff I didn't really want to see in our mild winter!

But, alas, there it was. By the way, these pics were taken with my iphone in a sleep-induced stupor prior to my coffee which means basically that I was not coherent. 

The kids,  however,  finished work rather quickly so they could play outside. Jake was only interested in licking the big ball of snow he made. (Don't worry, mom. I stopped him considering that's where Lola ummm.... does her business.)

Poor Jake is having nightmares again. He ended up sleeping with Ally last night because I just couldn't make him sleep  in his room alone. Ally offered for him to come into her room. He totally has Jie Jie wrapped around his finger! He has never been big on sleeping in his own room. Despite me repeatedly telling me to come get me, he doesn't ever come in. When I ask him why, he says he doesn't want to wake me up. I think it's because he still hates it when anyone sees him cry.  I just feel so badly for him. We've tried stuffed animals, calm music, multiple flashlights and night lights. I'm hoping he grows out of these quickly. 


Pop's Truck

 Poppy's truck was 
played with,


cared for as only a little boy knows how, 




And still looks like it's brand new; at least it was to one very special 5 year old boy!

(Poppy can thank his toy truck and Jake for getting his garden ready for planting!)


Lola's Report Card

If you've followed my blog awhile, you know that our dog Lola has her issues. She really is quite an easy dog with the exception of her defiant behavior when we leave her for vacation, and- well, I'll just admit it- her secret overeating addiction. You may remember her sneaky ways into my pantry pulling out and eating an entire loaf of bread, all but two cookies from a new pack, and then there's the fish. She ate ALL of the fish I cooked for dinner when I ran out quickly to pick up Ally from soccer. Oh, and the time she pulled the  dining room tablecloth off to get to the Hershey kisses. Remember the defiant behavior while we were on vacation time and time again? Peeing in the bed of the kind soul who was dog sitting for us? She also regularly pooped in his shower! She never poops or pees in my house; she was just darn mad we left for vacation without her. 

So this vacation, we boarded her. Wait - it was a "pet hotel".  Although I didn't, I could have paid for the suite with the tv.   Not.Even.Kidding.  I did buy some "bundle" that included doggie soft serve ice cream and biscuit night and a peanut butter kong. (I keep accidentally thinking bong; maybe I've already lived in Oregon too long. Hehehe!).   This hotel was run by the PetSmart people who booted Lola's butt out of their grooming service despite her diploma proving graduation from their obedience school. I considering placing her there under an alias, but didn't want to risk her being thrown in the slammer and all. 

She stayed for a week during which time I called to ask them to bathe her prior to her check out. They kept saying how sweet she was and mentioned they had two dogs named Lola. I figured they must have been talking about the other one! They even said she played well with other dogs.  Lola? Play? Whaaaat?    We picked her up late Friday night, and they handed Eric her report card. 


Can you believe it? I know what you're thinking. I'm paying them so what were they going to say, right? But her report card reads:

Sweetheart! Lola had a great mini-vacation. She loves to get all the attention! Lola is very sweet and loves to greet all our puppies! - Hope to have this sweetheart again!

I'm still in shock.  Must have been that soft serve doggie ice cream that made the girl happy! 


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

A good visit home is a wonderful cure for homesickness! Kids have been dually spoiled with attention from all grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends! Just what I needed too. 

Unfortunately, not a ton of pics. Just plenty of visiting. 
With maybe some proud moments of winning.....

okay, make that losing.
(thanks, Uncle Dave. Used a couple of your pics)

 Introducing the Men's Putt-putt golf team

They even had coaches.

But the girls won in the end! Great week home!!! (You'd think Eric and I would have some hefty airline miles considering the distances we've traveled in the last 10 years alone! Home and back was 5,600 alone)

Despite traveling all day and having a three hour time difference, we did great jumping back into the swing of things. Grant and Eric went to batting clinic for a little over an hour in the morning, then off to one of those "heavy duty" runs at Cost-A-Lot, then on to a 2 1/2 hour ball practice for Grant and a soccer game for Allyson. Jake was in the mix somewhere, promise. 

On know this will leave readers on the edge of your seat, but just wait till you hear about Lola's vacation! Coming soon to a post near you!


Enjoying the Sunshine


Leavin' On A Jet Plane



Hello East Coast!

Flying home on the red eye for a quick visit. Wonder how many sleeping kids Eric will be able to carry! This could be interesting. Considering I've never really been able to sleep on a plane, I just may need a nap by the time we get home! 


100 Square Feet

Through Pinterest,  I came across Michael Wolf's photos of 100 pictures of Hong Kong's 100 sq. ft. apartments. Wow. Makes you put into perspective what we live in today. And how many square feet do we offer our prisoners in their overcrowded cells? 


I Found A Little Boy

I found a little boy today. No, literally, I did. I was driving to the gym two hours earlier than I normally do and saw him.  He was an adorable little Hispanic boy about age three or four running down a busy street first on the sidewalk, across a bridge, and then into oncoming traffic. I turned around in the road as quickly as I could, pulled off into an entranceway to an apartment complex and told Ally to stay with the boys. This little boy was not leisurely running either. He was running with a purpose! Another woman caught his hand as he turned away from the traffic back towards me. With one hand on him, I dialed 911 and started walking back over the bridge thinking his mom would be running after him any second worried to death. 

But she didn't. In fact, I spent 45 minutes with the little guy and never discovered his name or age despite several people asking him in Spanish and English. He was perfectly content just sitting there and really kind of acted like we were interrupting his afternoon plans. Proudly he showed me his penny he had in his hand.  His mom or dad never came looking for him. He never once asked to go home, never asked for his mom, or dad, or aunt, or grandparent even when the police officer came. He had absolutely no desire for the cookie, the balloon, or the stuffed animal he was offered. He was wearing his Lightning McQueen pajamas with a suit vest underneath of his shirt and two different pairs of shoes which were on the wrong feet. He just sat contentedly inside the apartment rental office that I took him into to warm up and dry off. 

I don't know that they found his family yet. But I'm trying to remember that we don't always know the circumstances of events that occur. However, I wish the old adage of, "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers" worked with children because he'd be mine in a heartbeat.... I'd just need better running shoes to keep up with him! 


That Kid's Mine!

Some cute, adorable, little boy sang with his class in church today. Sorry for the lousy pic. Taking a picture with an iphone while trying to be a little discrete does not make for good photography! Jake did great and belted out the songs whether he knew all the words or not. Of course, I waved several times. Okay, I may have stood up so he could see where I was. And I may have taken several more lousy pictures during the performance. 

Today at lunch, he sang the "Fishers of men" song, but he's was slightly different from the original. It went something like: "I will make you fish!" instead of fishers of men. Ah, to each his own! 

Grant has been attending children's choir. You know how that boy does love to sing. He's in a musical. Evidently, it's a jazzy version of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo.  Looking forward to this one! 

This particular church we've been visiting now for several weeks and seems to be a good fit overall. It includes a large homeschooling community as well as an Asian community in the church congregation. It also includes a private school where children attend 3 days a week and homeschool with a parent for 2 days out of the week. It wouldn't be possible to get the boys into this school for next year as the wait list is very long. I was planning on homeschooling them anyway though. We are considering this option for Allyson though. No firm decision yet. 


Flashback Friday

 Ally posing for a pic while I was in Kazkahstan

Our first hotel room in the Kazzhol in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (I wouldn't really recommend it unless you're staying there with a guy that has muscles)

One of her favorite places: The Beach!

And his too!

I don't why either one of us has to age!

My beautiful brown baby!

I absolutely love Grant's face. It couldn't describe his feelings any better as this was Ally's first day of school. He wanted to go so badly!


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