A new home!

IMG_6048It is official…we have a new apartment in Sanya (above is a glimpse of our city)!  After almost two weeks of working the Chinese way to rent things (trust me…you don’t want to experience it), we have keys and a home ready for us to move into. The plan right now is to move mid August.  We have a trip to Thailand at the end of this week through the first week of August, so we wanted to wait until after that.

Apt 1
L to R: Living room (all the furniture stays), Girls shared room (Gracie and Faith will share…the bed is removed and will be replaced with loft beds). They have their own balcony. Last is Ellie’s room. She gets the big bed. We let the girls choose their room assignments and were a little surprised at the results!

We looked at 18 different properties, but went the one we saw first.  Of course.

apt 2
L to R: Master bedroom, Master balcony (my quiet place!) and window to the shower…a little odd. We will have to get a thicker curtain. Ha! Last is the school room (the bed was removed). It has a flower balcony to make the days a little brighter.

This apartment has the most beautiful grounds of any apartment I have ever seen…including those in America.  This was one of the reasons we kept looking.  We didn’t want to set ourselves apart as “those rich foreigners”.  But, after seeing the other places that were all the same price, and weighing out the location of this place, and petitioning Father for His guidance, we feel an overwhelming peace that this is where we should be for the time being.  To get to our complex, you have to travel down a very local, in the middle of local life, street.  You enter the gate, after meeting all the security needs of the overzealous guards, only to cross a long bridge over a pretty, albeit stinky, river.  Then the world opens up into the eye candy of a tropical location.  There is only one way in and out of this complex, that we lovingly call “Shiney Who” (its real name is Shan Yu Hu, but if you say it fast, it sounds like shiny who, so we go with that).  The girls will have free reign to roam, ride bikes, and explore.  There is a lovely pool that is situated in the middle of a pond.  Every inch is covered with palm trees and sidewalks.  I can almost forget that I am in China.  

apt 3
Dining room with a window to the school room, the view from our living room balcony, and the oddly shaped kitchen. It has one tiny bathroom sink and a two burner electric stove top that is so small both burners can’t be used simultaneously. We will add a counter top oven in order to bake cookies for Cameron. 🙂

We feel very blessed and excited to get to do life here.  We are asking that we can grow relationships with our neighbors and especially with the people who live and work on the street leading into our complex.  

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Love from Nanny and Papa

Nanny1While Cameron and I were in Sanya, this huge box arrived.  The girls were beside themselves wanting to open it, but I made them wait the two days until I got home. I think they thought they would die from anticipation.

Cruel of me.


Nanny2There were so many of our favorite foods!  Velveeta and rotels, Nutter Butter cookies, strawberry Nutrigrain bars, easy mac, sour gummy candy, pixie stix…  The girls got new summer pajamas, which is fabulous, because they have been staying in them for most of the day, you know, with this being the lazy days of summer and all.Nanny3There really aren’t words to describe the joy that comes from opening a box from America.  It is like a hug from the people you love most, Christmas morning, and cupcakes all wrapped up in beautiful dented cardboard.  It speaks volumes to our hearts and we are so grateful!


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Chiangmai, Thailand

We went to Thailand for some meetings last month and fell in love.  The friends we have here have always talked of Thailand as though it is a little piece of heaven on earth and we didn’t really understand why.  Now we do.  

Thailand is glorious!Thailand1

The pace is slow.  The bathrooms are clean.  The food is out of this world…mangoes, cupcakes, KitKat blizzards, street food, Hawaiian pizza.  No one speaks English or Chinese so you can live in a bubble and just recharge.  They have $3 massages that will change your life.  Seriously.  It’s love.

monkey1We saw a monkey show.  The posters looked great, but It was a racket.  The memories, however, will forever make us all laugh, so the money was well spent.  It was just our family and the the family we came with in the whole place.  We had a showing just for us (because that is really all the monkey land offered). The monkeys played basketball, shook hands, jumped, played games, and even peed on the table.  “Monkey go peepee!!” It was all narrated in heavily accented English that may have been funnier than the show…

Thailand2Before we experienced the marvelous monkeys, we had the supreme pleasure of playing with baby tigers.  It was surreal!  

Thailand3We laid all over them, pet them, played with their tails.  They just slept right through it all…until you tickled their feet.  Then they were up!  It felt like we were just playing with kitties until they started playing with one another and the growls and roars were definitely all tiger!

Thailand4Deep nocturnal sleepers.  Sheesh.  I felt sorry for this poor baby’s dignity.

Thailand5When they were up moving around, they weren’t wanting to be cuddled.  They paced the fence and looked for a brother to tackle.  




By the time we left, our faces hurt from the huge smiles that had stayed glued on.  It still feels so surreal that we were in a cage with tigers…tigers that could have mauled us. Thailand7The workers were all about awkward family photos.  I mean, we had a couple that could totally be in the top 10 worst couple photos.  So you will never see those…but these of me and the girls are weird enough.  So are the ones where they told us to make claws.    But the experience far outweighs the silly photos…this definitely tops my list of best things I’ve ever done!


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A long time coming

I love the 4th of July. I love the patriotism that seems to leak out of every store, person, and home. I love the fireworks. Barbecues. Family and friends. Red, white, and blue clothes are put together, and we all remember how blessed we are to be Americans. To have freedom.

China hasn’t quite gotten the memo about how great American freedom and real hot dogs are. So, we improvise. There is a pretty large group of Americans that live in the small circle we call home. We all got together and feasted on fresh fruit, pork bbq sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, apple pie, and cookies. It wasn’t the same as what lives in my dreams, but it was priceless. To get to join together with people who speak the same heart language, have the same goals and struggles, and celebrate the freedom we all left behind leaves me a little speechless.

I am thankful.

I am also thrilled to say that we have reached our language goals and are moving next month! Tomorrow, Cameron and I fly out to our new city to find an apartment and begin preparing for the big move. The girls are staying with a friend for the next week…we have really awesome friends. And we are not thinking about how much we are going to miss all these friends. I mean, how often do you have people in your life cheering you on, leaving gifts in your home for you to enjoy when you return from a trip, taking your kids so you can have time to yourself, treating you to a massage to help you get through a stressful time, hugging you when you’re falling apart, and just loving you with everything they have.

I am blessed.

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