Category holidays

Letters to Santa

Maddie's Letter to Santa

Last year Maddie wrote a letter to Santa for both herself and Amelia. The result was she got a very cool video message from him while we were vacationing in Thailand AND she got the one thing she asked for. She was inspired…

Yesterday she stayed him from school as she was feeling a bit under the weather and she took advantage of the time to be inspired again. She wrote a letter to Santa and as soon as her sister got home from school, she helped her sister write a letter.

Amelia's Letter to Santa

We’ll post everything to Santa this week. I’m pretty sure it will get there in time, but it remains to be seen if Maddie and Amelia will get the one gift the want from Santa. Okay… so Maddie wants two gifts...

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Christmas Cookies

The girl is growing up. When Andy leaves, Maddie has this way of…. getting instantly older. She cooks, she cleans, she helps Amelia with baths. Today we went to the dentist for a cleaning/sealant and not one complaint came out of her mouth. Amelia on the other hand… that’s a different blog post. Crazy kid.

We got home from the dentist and we decided to reward ourselves by making cookies and decorating them. Three dozen cookies later, the kitchen was only mildly destroyed. We ended up using this sugar cookie recipe because Maddie thought that it was cool that there was lemon in it: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/dessert/recipe-best-cutout-sugar-cookies-038629 and then we used two different types of icing...

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Dear S.C.,

She is so hopeful… to be a kid again!

 

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Swimming in Samui

Okay… I admit it…. the only thing we are doing is swimming.  We swim when we wake up – we swim before lunch – after lunch, before dinner, after dinner…

AND, we swim rain or shine!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTt5UBRz9q8

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Looks Like Santa Got Maddie’s Letters…

Amazing actually… Maddie wrote the letters last week and look what showed up in our email inbox today from Santa Claus…

For Maddie:

http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/watch/guest/r0KHIkl8f7hJHRChFsINGg

For Amelia:

http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/watch/B-D5MN7PCbIhCLkBUsfcEw

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Maddie’s Letter to Santa

Maddie has finally gotten around to writing a letter to Santa.  Do you like the way I said that?  I made it sound like it’s a burden and that we’ve just been so busy that she hasn’t set it as a priority.  Okay, maybe that tone is just in my mind but the fact of the matter is that we made the decision to put NO pressure on her to write the letter.  Last year at this time, we mentioned writing a letter and it was followed by tears of frustration because she didn’t think she could write a letter.  So, this year we haven’t even mentioned it but our blossoming daughter took it upon herself and wrote not only a letter from herself but also wrote one on behalf of her sister… all on her own.  She asked me how to spell Leapster and Zhu Zhu but the rest is hers...

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Halloween 2010

How did this happen?  Halloween was a month ago… Turkey Day has come and gone and now it’s almost Christmas!  I’ll catch up on blogging over the Winter Holiday but in the meantime….

Halloween was once again wonderful out at the Links.  So many people have moved out here now and it’s so different from what it was when we moved out here 6 years ago.  Six years ago, over 70% of the houses were empty and Halloween lasted 20 minutes.  All of the houses are now full and there was plenty of candy to be had so it took almost 90 minutes to fill our bags.

Maddie was the go-go dancer but I think it was Amelia who was most enthused about the dancing part.  She was dressed as candy corn but quickly turned into pop-candy corn!

Maddie's Class plus an Amelia...

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Maddie’s Christmas Presents From Santa

Riding Bikes in America

Riding Bikes in America

Maddie had been planning it for months.  She sat on Santa’s lap and she had the guts to ask him for TWO bikes.  Once dad got it together in Oregon, Maddie took it for a spin the day before we left for Shanghai.

bike2And then… when we landed in Shanghai and came through our front door…. it was there.  Santa really had made it to both places!  There was a brand new bike waiting for her next to the Christmas tree in Shanghai too.

Maddie's New Bike in Shanghai

Maddie's New Bike in Shanghai

Maddie must have been a really, really good girl this year!

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Setting Up the Christmas Tree

Not too bad – getting 4 hours of footage into 4 minutes!

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Thanksgiving – Mom made a turkey

turkeyand everybody survived to talk about it!!!

At my young age of 37, I have finally stepped into true motherhood and made my very first turkey… with stuffing.  Not just any stuffing.  Italian sausage and fresh sage stuffing.  And I made pumpkin pies.  And I made my sister’s jello salad.  Of course, Ms. Zhou was laughing the entire day as I studied the turkey trying to decide which end was up.  I was laughing the entire day because she actually threaded dental floss into a proper needle so that she could actually sew the turkey together after it was stuffed.  A needle… seriously!

Success!

turkey2As with every Turkey Day overseas, we were lucky to spend it with Todd and Tonya, Cooper and Bauer.  Our families have grown together while overseas...

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The Real Halloween

IMG_3604It was definitely one of those holidays that just seemed to go on forever.  Between the parade at school on Friday morning, the neighborhood Halloween Party on Friday night, the Halloween get together at ballet on Saturday and Trick-or-Treating on Saturday night, I think we tapped into every ounce of Halloween enthusiasm a 6 year old and 2 year old can have!!!!  IMG_3609We raced home from ballet on Saturday afternoon and I managed to shove a grilled cheese sandwich, cucumbers and watermelon down both girls throats.  (Like I would let them have copious amounts of sugar/Halloween candy on an empty stomach!)

Eva, Maddie and Amelia

Eva, Maddie and Amelia

We put all of our candy in two bowls and left a sign next to the bowls saying that we were trick-or-treating… that worked out well! We ran into all the kids in the neigh...

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Halloween Parties!!

IMG_3553Not only do we have regular movie nights every Friday night, but we also have regular parties for the kids!  This year’s Halloween Party was the perfect thing for kids.  Let’s set aside for a moment that Amelia was freaked out for the first 30 minutes because everything was a bit too scary.  Kids Gallery was brought in so the kids were able to make various Arts and Crafts holiday baskets.  IMG_3554They had somebody teaching the kids the Thriller Dance, they had pumpkin bowling, bobbing for apples, pizza and soda for the kids, adult beverages for the adults… a great time was had by all.  I did find it interesting though that Maddie spent most of the night in the Arts and Crafts area.  The kid just loves art!

ameliamaddie

IMG_3562

IMG_3563

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Tree? Check! Santa? Check!

Once we made it to Portland there were two things that were on the top of our list!  A Christmas Tree and a visit to Santa.  Maddie just knew that the Santa she saw in Shanghai that showed up on a motorcycle was not the REAL Santa.  The real Santa is at home in Portland!  Maddie was into the whole thing… Amelia… not so much!  Excellent traditions though!!!!

Enjoy the pics!

Waiting for Santa
Waiting for Santa

Maddie and Santa have a Chat
Maddie and Santa have a Chat
Maddie Lovin' It... Amelia... Not so much!

Maddie Lovin

Happy to be Free!

Happy to be Free!

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Christmas in Portland

Somehow, someway, we made it back to Portland for Christmas this year.  Just when it seemed doubtful, Maddie and Amelia’s jetlagging parents rented an SUV in San Francisco for the trek to Portland after the airport was closed.  Sheesh –  a bit of snow and the Northwest comes to a stand still!  As we slowly passed emply shopping center after empty shopping center, the girls slept… and we drove!

Once we made it the roads out to the tree farms were blocked off but we were able to make it to a lot and yell TIMBER at the top of our lungs anyway!  Got the tree decorated

Crashed in the Car!

Crashed in the Car!

Merry Christmas Maddie Anna and Amelia Mabel!

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Maddie’s Holiday Concert

Maddie’s Holiday Concert was Today!  She was sooooo excited – it was hard to keep her still for a picture!!

Enjoy!!

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Happy Turkey Day All!

Turkey Day overseas since we’ve been in Shanghai has been “interesting” simply because it’s a work/school day.  When we lived in the Middle East, it wasn’t a big deal because Thursdays always marked the start of the weekend.  Here, in Shanghai, we’ve just gotta really plan!

At school today, Maddie’s class hosted a Thanksgiving party for all of the parents.  Andy and I were able to tear ourselves away from classes and meetings to join Maddie… it was a good thing that Maddie and I made sooooo many cupcakes last night as there were A LOT of people!

After school, we came home and started cooking.  Andy worked on the yams, mashed spuds and green beans while Maddie worked on the pumpkin pie.  Todd and Tonya were in charge of the turkey which made things great! 

I have to put this in…...

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Jingdezhen Calls Again

cimg8827.JPGcimg8835.JPGIn April 2007, I headed to Jingdezhen and left my family at home.  I spent most of the time in Jingdezhen wishing that they were there to experience the amazing pottery city.  Well, we had a three day weekend and really needed to get away for a few days so Jingdezhen called our name.  Now some may think that I’m crazy to take a 4 year old and a 6 month old pottery shopping, but I believe that kids must have exposure so that they can learn how to act in various situations.  I’m happy to report that both Maddie and Amelia did beautifully!!  I loved being in Jingdezhen as a family for two days.  It was a special trip in so many ways.

cimg8844.JPGMaddie became instant friends with our guide, Monty.  Monty is a college student that basically takes you around Jingdezhen for a few days...

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Valentine’s Day with the Gourmet Geeks

Andy and Jeff - The Gourmet GeeksNothing says I love you like….

broadcasting the third episode of the Gourmet Geeks.

Jeff predicted on his blog The Thinking Stick that this year would be the year of Live Web and I think he is right! It captures your attention… makes you want to tune in.

I don’t know what took us so long to figure this one out, but it’s awesome on so many levels. Andy and Jeff are the Gourmet Geeks and once every couple of weeks Jeff and Daneah head over to our house to broadcast and show off their fine culinary and geeky talents! This week it was Beef Stir Fry which was preceded by a dozen red roses for both Uma and Hetta. This week we introduced Uma’s mom, Um, and introduced Hetta’s mom, He. Reasons why this is a good thing:

  • Maddie LOVES Daneah and Jeff as they have known her since before she was e...
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Will you be my V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E?

Maddie Make Valentine CardsOn the benchmarks for PreK-4 students, it says that children should be able to sit for at least 5 minutes and stay on task the entire time. How about an hour?

Maddie Anna amazes me day in and day out. We bought valentine cards for all of her schoolmates when were home at Christmas time because as with most things – she gets it this year. When I asked her tonight if I could help her write the names of her classmates, she simplied said, “I can do it myself mommy.” She wasn’t kidding.

She sat at the kitchen table for over an hour and wrote her name 15 times in all of the from spaces AS WELL AS writing the names of all 15 of her classmates. She asked the the next letter sometimes, but she knew what to do...

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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...

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