Category family

The Christmas that Keeps Giving…

Some of our Christmas gifts that were sent from back home have been stuck in Chinese customs.  Now that we are back in the PRC, we are able to provide the necessary documentation to get the gifts out to us.  Today we have a very special one arrive from Andy’s parents.  We’ve wanted a Pendleton blanket for years and this is just so darn special.  We let the girls open it up and as soon as Maddie saw the blanket, she started screaming “Oregon! Oregon! Oregon! Oregon!”  She recognized the pattern and knows that it’s from home.  That’s my girl!

Thanks for the presents all – we love them! :)

Read More

Weddings are Wonderful…

Travis and Julie’s wedding was beautiful.  The birds were singing, the wind lightly rustled the leaves of the surrounding woods… it truly was wonderful.  Attached are a few of the photos…  you did a great job Maddie!!

Maddie, Harley, Hunter, Travis and the GroomsmenMaddie, Harley, Travis and the Groomsmen

Read More

Maddie Takes on the Cornfields!

Our short little visit to Illinois was packed full of fun for everybody. The first place we pulled up to was Sissy’s house and Maddie immediately remembered the house from last year. In her words, “Mommy, I was here last year when I was a little girl!” Ha! Just another example of how Maddie believes she knows all there is to know in the world! :)

We stayed out in the “country” with my dad where Maddie could pass the corn fields and bean fields as we raced to and from town. She was so impressed that the corn was taller than she was at the ripe age of four. On the second night in town we had dinner out at my dad’s house where Maddie investigated every nook and cranny of his yard...

Read More

The Slow Boat to Shanghai

Maddie and Amelia’s First ChristmasWe leave tomorrow a.m. bright and early for Shanghai.  This trip has been simply remarkable in so many ways.  Maddie has changed so much since the last time we were home and Amelia, well, this has been her first trip on American soil and she too has changed in leaps and bounds

Maddie really started to “get” that America and Shanghai were two different things over the summer.  Over the summer, we were in the States for almost six weeks and it was simply fun setting up our new house and her new room.  This time we have been in our new home for nearly three weeks and she has spent the last week talking about Shanghai.  I think the day after Christmas, she started mentioning Shanghai four to five times a day...

Read More

Favorite Photos

Have you ever noticed that babies make adults go goofy? I love the first photo dearly and hope that my mom and dad in law aren’t upset by the pic – it’s awesome! I was holding Amelia and they were just talking with her. I had the camera in my hand so I just had to capture this candid moment!

Babies Make Adults Go Goofy!!!

The second photo started as a Maddie sandwich. She was a bit cranky so Sam and I smooshed her to try and get a smile. We then added one person at a time for a series of photos, but I will simply share the first and the last photo. Now that’s a good lookin’ group!

Mom, Maddie and Sam

The Whole Gang!

All of Maddie’s and Amelia’s cousins sat for the fourth photo. There will be one more come March when Aunt Kim and Uncle Larry have their baby boy!

All the cousins!

And the last two photos are the grandmas with Amelia… she captures hearts!

Grandma Dotty and Amelia

Grandma Barbara and Amelia

Read More

Christmas Parties Part 1!

Grandma Barbara had the ENTIRE family over for a pre-Christmas Day party. It was absolutely perfect having the whole family under one roof. It’s such a rare event and it was just downright fun. I keep having deja vu because Maddie was Amelia’s age during her first Christmas. She sat in the same car seat in the same room, sleeping just the same way with the hustle and bustle all around her. I’ll have to dig that picture up when I return to Shanghai! It was a wonderful night!

Christmas Trees


Amelia’s presentAmelia and EthanMaddie and ElenaMaddie and Elena’s joint present














Daddy, Maddie, Connor

Andy and Earl

Read More

And We’re Off!!!

I have to admit something here to everyone that reads this blog. When I leave, I cry. It doesn’t matter where I leave, how long I’ve been there, or where I’m going… I always cry. It’s one of those things that you try to call endearing to make yourself feel better, but secretly it’s a negative attribute that clouds ones personality. When Maddie was born, I promised myself that I would try really, really hard not to pass that personality trait on to her. Life is about enjoying the moment and looking forward to the wonderful possibilities that come your way.

Obviously, she is older now and more aware of the whole leaving aspect. She’s aware of what “missing you” feels like… it hurts sometimes and I don’t blame her one little bit for trying to avoid it at all costs...

Read More

Take Maddie Out to the Ball Game!

Things that Maddie likes at baseball games….

1. wearing sunscreen, glasses and a hat
2. eating snowcones
3. eating pretzels
4. eating licorice
5. running the bases after the game with her cousin Kayana
6. reading books with her cousin Elena
7. notice that baseball is NOT on this list

It’s the most perfect thing to do on a warm Sunday afternoon and you can’t beat the $8.00 general admission tickets. Baseball, even if it’s triple A, is Americana at it’s finest! We spent the afternoon with Grandma, Grandpa, Larry, Kim, Alexis, Kayana, Susan, Doug, Elena, and Ethan...

Read More

It’s All About Connections….


It seems as if it’s THE buzz phrase in international education these days. Expat children are growing us a Third Culture Kids. We saw this when we lived in Saudi Arabia for four years. Most of our kids were from Pakistan and India, yet they attended an American curriculum school and talked like they were from the Midwest or California. They didn’t belong in their “home” countries, yet they didn’t belong in America… they belonged in a third culture which seemed very ambiguous.

Maddie’s dad an I are always talking about how we are choosing to raise Maddie. We want her to grow up internationally to have first hand contact with other cultures on a daily basis, yet we recognize the value of what we grew up with...

Read More

Maddie’s Passport

Warning: This one is REALLY long but I had to catch you up to where I started writing Maddie’s Minute!

We’ve already established that Maddie has STATUS. But I got to thinking about how she has this super-duper special Miss I Fly A lot status. I remember when I used to get a plane with her and say, “This is fifth time she has taken off on a plane.” I know that I lost count when we got into the mid-twenties. It was a nice way to waste some time on the plane though between her dad and I. “How many flights has she taken now?” we would say back and forth to each other.

I think we’ve got it about right for Maddie though. Youngins do crave consistency, but I think it’s healthy to push the envelope a bit...

Read More