Thursday, February 18, 2016

Best Friends

I am super thankful for how well our kids get on.  Everywhere we go, you can usually spot them playing, laughing, or holding hands.  Recently Lizbeth declared that her favorite toy in the world was her little brother...funny way to put it but sweet just the same.

An added benefit is that they play well in the mornings...allowing Mom and Dad to sleep in a little.  They are even big enough to get themselves cereal.  As long as we don't care how many bowls of cocoa puffs Matthew will eat they can take care of themselves for an hour or two!

Lizbeth also loves to "teach" her brother.  Below is a sweet video of her teaching him piano.

So thankful for these sweet kiddos!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

More on Laundry (Unfortunately)

As I mentioned before, I tried to stay on top of laundry while we were with our friends to lessen the huge piles that would face me when we returned to Qingdao.

Unfortunately, I learned a hard lesson while using her machine.

Most washing machines here (mine) only have a cold option, although several front loading machines (hers) now have the option to heat the water inside the machine.  The day before we left, I decided to do a quick load of darks.  Being that we had had so much sickness going around on our trip (and forgetting that you should only wash darks on cold) I decided to pump up the heat.

Unfortunately, what came out was some strange shades of purple and a VERY shrunken pair of jeans.

To make matters worse, it was my favorite pair of jeans (and I only own two pair total).  Getting back to Qingdao, I made it a top priority to replace said favorite pair.

I was hopeful the numerous western brands (Gap, H&M, ect) would give me some decent options for a western shaped body.

Unfortunately, skinny is the only thing in right now.  100 styles of jeans ranging from "skinny" to "boyfriend skinny" to "extra skinny".

I bought the skinny.  My first pair in my life, and born out of necessity.  Sigh.

Monday, February 15, 2016


One downside of a big trip is the mountains of laundry to catch up on...

Even though I tried to stay on top of it while we were gone, a lot had accumulated by the time we got back.  That combined with the fact I felt it was a great time to strip our beds and wash our sheets, I'm drowning in the piles.

The hard part is, without a dryer, I am limited in how many loads I can do a day (usually 1-2).  Unless we get some real sun (it's currently snow/sleeting), it will probably take weeks to catch back up.

I'll probably have to start getting creative about my hang drying spaces again!  You can read about our struggles in this department last summer (and why I can only wash 1-2 loads a day) here

Saturday, February 13, 2016


We are extremely excited that our close friends recently moved back to China.  Although not to our city, they are now only a 4 hour train ride away.  When our other plans for our Chinese New Year holiday fell through, it was no question where we'd be.  It seemed a little crazy to leave our cold city for somewhere farther north, but good friends are worth it :-)

They were extremely kind to host us for an entire week, especially so recently after they moved into their new apartment (they've been there less than a month).  How they scrounged up enough blankets/sheets/pillows for all of us, I don't know!

Although the kids hadn't seen each other for a year, they got on famously.  Both our kids cried their eyes out when we had to leave.  Our only comfort is that it shouldn't be a year before we see each other again!

The only downside was that we battled a stomach flu while we were there.  It was a very strange version of 10 little Indians...every day just one person would throw up.  Thankfully, three of us escaped, so the last couple days were vomit free.

Being Chinese New Year, there were fireworks galore.  Thankfully our kids seem to have adjusted to the thundering blasts (Matthew used to wake up screaming), so we were just able to enjoy the colorful displays.  One night Jacquelyn and I went out walk.  There are very few controls about where you can set them off.  We were walking down the road and suddenly amazing blasts appeared right in front of us--we had to wait until they were finished before we could continue on!  At least I was able to get some good up close and personal shots.

Overall it was a fantastic trip, and so hard to leave...we are thankful for these amazing friends, and that it is now that much easier to visit them!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Rest of the Story...

Remember how Matthew begged for weeks to "race the cars"?  A few days after he earned the ticket, we were able to head across town to fulfill his wish.  This was a long time ago, but I still wanted to post the pics.

We're in the "hard to get a natural smile" stage as you can tell.

The best thing is, the program runs yearlong so he can earn a new ticket every month!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


It's been a while since I've kept up on this, so I'm going to try and get some updates up during the next few days.  For now, I will leave you with these cute pictures of Matthew and his best friend here.  They are two little peas in a pod.