Accolades for Maddie!

Maddie is on fire this week! Twice this week teachers have honored her and commented about her hard work and artistic expression. Mrs. Wild has been Maddie’s music teacher for the past five years and Maddie just adores her.  We received an email from her this week saying that Maddie was a rockin’ cool xylophone player.  When we told Maddie about it, she beemed as bright as I have ever seen her!

Mrs. Tucker interviewed Maddie last week about her feelings towards art.  Maddie felt honored just be interviewed and over the dinner table, she explained her answers quite seriously to both Andy and I.


I can’t wait to show her that her interview is in the school published magazine and online...

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The weather is a changin’

I came home from work today to find that Maddie had finished her homework so that she could go out and rollerblade!  I personally think that JiaXi (pronounced joshi) and Maddie are slightly crazy for being outside without coats but they have been cooped up for a long time this winter in Shanghai!

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We Want Spring!

While I was back in the States last month, I took full advantage of Amazon’s free 2-day shipping and got the girls a little herb garden.  We need some Spring around here so we decided to play the seeds a couple of days ago…

We added water to the peet moss pellats, placed them in the planters, added the seeds, watered them and then covered them with plastic until they sprout.  Maddie’s likes the makeshift greenhouse! :)

Thanks girls for helping out – I can’t wait to see our garden grow! :)


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Dress Up!

For the record…

“Cowgirls don’t cry…”

Great weekend here… lazy enough so that the girls had time to play dress-up!  Meelie keeps saying she’ll get older so that she can ride horses like jiejie!!!

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When Cultures Come Together

Children that grow up outside of their home country are often called TCKs or Third Culture Kids.  Their sense of what is “normal” is not the normal that most of my family grew up with.  I loved my normal when I was growing up and I’m not convinced more that ever that Maddie is loving her sense of normal.  For example….

I had her come to my office after school the other day because I had a meeting.  I told her I would be back in an hour and that she could play on my computer.  When I came back, she was finishing up her homework, watching The Brady Bunch on my computer and drinking hot green tea.  For your information, the green tea was unsweetened and The Brady Bunch episode was where Jan though she was allergic to Tiger.

Green tea and The Brady Bunch…. I just love that!

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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! :)

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So Long, Farewell!!!

I remember when I got braids in my hair back 2002.  My mom visited me in Saudi Arabia for a couple of weeks and we sat in the pool all day long as she unbraided all of my hair.  It literally took all day and my hair still fell out so that it was as think as a crepe.

Maddie has had her braids in for three weeks and the gel is only going so far now.  It keeps the strays down for awhile but her head looks like a bird’s next within a few hours.  So, we turned on Nickalodean and we unbraided Maddie’s hair for only 90 minutes.  What’s cool is that Amelia actually helped – I mean she really helped. She took the foil off, took the beads off and carefully unbraided Maddie’s hair.

Amelia helps take Maddie's braids outI loved Maddie's hair when we were done.....

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Homemade Hot Cocoa

I’ve been falling down on my proper parenting duties lately and nothing spoke louder to me than this video!  Both Maddie and Amelia think that all hot cocoa comes from a little package that you tear open and add hot water.   Oh dear, time to clean out the cupboard and find that genuine Hershey’s Cocoa.  So… .we made homemade hot cocoa for the first time last night.  I had to have my own fun of course by having Maddie and Amelia taste the ingredients.  That Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa sure smells good and that Pure Vanilla Extract sure smells yummy!  Their faces were priceless!

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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!

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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:

For Amelia:

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It’s a Cute Snow

Snow in Shanghai! Snow in Shanghai!

It has been a few years but we had a cute snow in Shanghai yesterday.  When the flurries started at noon, the kids were giddy.  By 2:00 every kid in the school from Kindy to Grade 12 lost all concentration and the official announcement came. “EVERYBODY JUST GO OUTSIDE!”

Little ones squeal a lot… listen for yourself!

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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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Christmas Concerts…

It seems that the season is in full swing.  While we were eating our Turkey, we were putting up our Christmas tree and the holiday concerts at school are keeping everyone busy.  Maddie practiced and practiced for her role as a chime player.  She did beautifully and didn’t mind sharing the stage a bit with Amelia.  In the end, Amelia wants to grow up and be Maddie.  So when she has the opportunity to step into Maddie’s shoes, she does it!!  Here is the link for video starring Madeline and Amelia:

and embedded….

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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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Oh….Go Climb a Tree!

HA!  I had to laugh today when Maddie came home.  I went through her school folder and looked at the Maddie goodies that were sent home today.  Obviously, today was the day the counselor visited her class and talked about feelings… what to do when you get angry, etc…

Maddie’s idea was to go climb a tree if she ever got angry.

Keep in mind that my child has never climbed a tree, but she feels that this is a solution that can solve any anger issues she may have.  Note to self:  go find a tree to have Maddie climb.

AND whenever she gets ticked off at her sister, I am very simply going to tell her to “Go Climb a Tree!”

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Hamsters Visit Maddie!

Maddie had some vistors this weekend from her class.  They were quite the spectacle and as a result we had almost every child in the neighborhood stop by the house.  Maddie has named the mom “Big Mama” because all she does is bite.  I think the others are Rosella, Brittany, Eleanor, Rose, and big Baby for the runt.  I don’t think those are really their names but they worked for us this weekend!  Maddie’s turn to take over… Maddie tell me more about them!


The babys are cute but they bite now. they eat dried fruit, vegetables and apples.  I will miss the hamsters.

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Maddie’s Horse Lessons in Shanghai

Maddie rides Benny

Say WHOA like you mean it!

Maddie has been riding in Shanghai for about a month so far.  We wake up every Saturday morning and head out to the barn, leaving the early.  Maddie has a private lesson first to teach her the skills that she needs to be safe and responsible on the horses.  Her trainer is just perfect for her.  His name is Spencer and he’s always telling her to be tough.  Don’t just say “whoa”.  Say “WHOA!”  Maddie is taking a liking to him and the two ponies that she rides on a regular basis.  Her confidence is soaring and she is learning so much.  After four lessons, she’s already getting the hang of posting.  In her own words, here’s Maddie…. she’ll tell you what to do when you fall off!

Maddie and Joe Joe

For my email subscribers, head to the blo...

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The Happiest Birthday for Maddie

This was the year mom and dad were brave.  Every year that Maddie has been alive, we’ve had a family birthday.  They’ve been VERY special but she has been missing out a bit because she’s a summer birthday.  This year though, mom and dad decided it was time for a birthday she would remember.  Maddie invited 20 of her closest friends and had a fabulous birthday.  Bouncy castles, bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the horse, cupcake decorating, balloon clowns, pizza, cake…. Andy and I were thinking that we would do this once every seven years or so.  Then we saw the pictures… she really did have a good time.  Even Amelia decided that she was no longer afraid of the clown!!! :)  Happy Birthday Peanut! :)

Maddie Successfully Get the Apple!

JiaXi and Maddie show off their cupcakes...

Pin th...

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Maddie’s Horseback Riding Lessons in Oregon

We knew that this would be the summer that Maddie had her first horse lesson.  We seized the opportunity because we’ve been able to spend a big chunk of our summer in Oregon.  I knew that Maddie was ready for this because I knew that she understood that it was WORK and JOY to take care of a horse… not just the joy part!  She eagerly got my old saddles out, got the saddle soap out, got the saddle oil out and cleaned for a very long time!  This was after taking a “field trip” to our local tack and supply store which lasted well over two hours.  Note:  we only bought saddle soap!

After researching for a long time while sitting on my couch in Shanghai, we decides to go with Champion Training Center.  Everything out their website made me feel like it was “home” if that makes any sense...

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So Long to the 09/10 School Year!

Maddie's First Day of School

Maddie is practically a veteran learner at this point!  It’s hard to believe that this is the 4th conclusion to a school year for her.  Ms. Preeti took great care of her in both PreK3 and PreK4, and Maddie has thoroughly enjoyed reading the blog posts from those days.  When she watches the video of the first time she wrote her name in PreK3 though all she can point out is that her “d” is backwards and her “i” looks like a “c”.

Maddie Studies Hard!

Maddie loved Kindergarten with Mrs. Howitt and eagerly looked forward to first grade this year.  First grade was a big leap for Ms...

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