Christmas 2014 OVERLOAD

I could comment on each and every picture, or I can just let you browse…pretending you were here with us this wonderful Christmas of 2014.

 I choose to let you browse.

Grab some coffee (it makes everything better!) and enjoy the joy filled looks of wonder on our faces as we experience the love so many people sent our way!

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Mom and Dad. Part Two.


Having grandparents come to visit means they bring all the things they wished they could have given their grandkids in the time we have been gone.  In other words, they come with a LOT of luggage.


We had some sweet friends stow a few things in said luggage as well.  Gracie and I got fabulous infinity scarves that have seen LOTS of wear in the past 2 months!  The girls all got shirts and lotions and little toys.  I got girly things that only good friends would choose and send.  Cam got man things…jerky (both deer and beef!), summer sausage, and sweet peanuts.


I said in Part One that the girls were all over my Dad.  Here is the proof.  Even the dog wouldn’t leave him alone!


Bath and Body Works.  Be still my heart.  I wanted to open all the lotions and set them around the house so that I could smell the goodness wherever I went.  (Ellie found goggles somewhere in the luggage and refused to remove them.  Shock, I know.)


More love for Papa.  And one last picture of everyone together.

We won’t talk about it.  It makes my eyes leak.


We went on a family Starbucks date after the adventure of the boats.  Faith is there too…hiding.  And Cam wanted you all to see that his serious side has disappeared and we are left with this goofier version.  His jokes still aren’t very funny though…


Nanny and Papa (Cam’s parents) got the girls these amazing mermaid tails.  They have a mono-fin and allow them to swim like a mermaid.  It is SO neat to watch…and also draws quite the crowd!


Gracie wasn’t home when we took these pictures, but she got one too.  This pretty much trumped all other gifts they received this year for Christmas!momdad9

Ma.  Always giving them what they want.  There is a reason why they always want to be with her!  Ellie doesn’t do things the “normal” way, so she sported pink rollerblades to play on the playground and climb rocks in…and this is why we are constantly praying for all her bumps and bruises to be healed (at her request).

The girls loved every moment with my parents.  The heartbreak they showed when their car drove away, toward the airport, was something I hope no other mother has to experience.  I know far too many on this side of the world that do have to hold their babies and explain, once again, why we live where we do.  The time we get with our favorite people is always too short.  Hold tightly to the family you have near…See them as often as you can and be oh so thankful for the moments with them.  Some of us would give just about anything to live on the same continent as our family!

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Mom and Dad come to the island! Part One


We were SO excited to welcome Mom and Dad to our little slice of China.  We waited with squeals and little bounces and maybe a few tears.

There also may have been threats over who deserved the first hugs…


If it was me who gave the threats, they obviously didn’t work, seeing as I got the very LAST hugs.  I see how it is.


We mostly hung out, soaking up just being in the presence of Mom and Dad, but every now and then, we ventured out for a little fun.

The boats were definitely fun!  The girls drove us around while we tried not to worry about flipping over in the water that may or may not have waste in it…well.  It does.  Last time we were there, we saw a man pooping from the bridge…


We decided we wanted grilled salmon for Christmas dinner, so Cam and Dad found a whole salmon to buy.  They then had to make it edible.  It was like a flashback in time watching these men with that big fish!


Some things, like Ellie playing Legos with a helmet on, my dad sitting with a target on his head while the girls wielded Nerf guns trying to shoot it off, and me riding a motorcycle scooter with my baby, were all just common occurrences.


We found a place that had a giant tiki thing made of wood.  I thought it was too fun and colorful not to snap a picture of.

I also found this white man riding a pink scooter with a little girl.  I couldn’t resist that picture.  Dad LOVED driving the scooter.  He went all over the city, fearless.  He said it made all his motorcycle dreams come true.  You see, in America, it is illegal to drive between cars, run lights, cross traffic wherever you want to, and various other things on a motorcycle.  Apparently, when Dad had a motorcycle, he dreamed of breaking all those laws…he finally got to.  On a Barbie pink scooter. 🙂

And.  I found a picture of myself and Cam at Starbucks, on the bulletin board, when we went for a date.  Celebrities!


Mom and I went all over the city on motorcycle taxis.  We hopped on and held on for dear life!  I think every single thing Mama and I did ended with an adventure of some sort.  We laughed so much, and I will forever remember our time here with a big smile.


The girls couldn’t seem to get enough of my dad!  They hung all over him!  If he sat on the couch, a girl was on his lap.  They took turns sleeping with him every other night and never missed an opportunity to show him how much they love him.


Fun.  I think that one word fully describes the last three weeks of 2014.

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Christmas Party #2


The second of our parties was a much smaller party and held at our home.  The group of people that came are friends that come over every Friday for fellowship and encouragement.  We have been so blessed by this group of people and are humbled that they want to spend their Friday nights hanging out with us!


We had a great time snacking, doing a craft, and playing games.  One of the games we played that I was laughing too hard to take pictures of was a game straight from Pinterest.  You wrap candy into a big ball using packing tape.  While one person is trying their best to unwrap the tape (finding the end was almost impossible!), the next player rolls two dice until they get a pair.  Once they roll a pair, it is their turn.  The game is fast paced and hilarious.  People were shouting and laughing, and I’m not sure there is more fun to be had at a party than this!


Cam told the true story of Christmas while one of our most energetic friends translated.  Her translation at times had us in stitches, but she very boldly got the point across to those who didn’t know why we celebrate.  We asked questions afterward, with correct answers receiving a prize from the basket of American trinkets.  Big hit!

We were also able to send everyone home with a book telling of the reason for the season.  We were told that many passed their books on to people who needed to know that most important information.  That news couldn’t have made us happier!

It was so neat to see the gratitude of these sweet friends that we took time to have a “real” party for them.  The girls really loved the tulle tied gifts and asked so many questions about the tulle ribbon!  It was also such a treasure to see how taken they were with my parents.  They got to meet Mom and Dad the week before at a Q&A we set up for them to ask my parents whatever they wanted about their lives.  I know Mom and Dad love us for that.  Ha!  Since they knew all about Mom and Dad by the time we had the party, they sought them out to talk (most can speak a little English, so with effort a conversation was possible).

It was a very Merry Christmas party indeed and wouldn’t have been possible without all the help from our Northridge family!  A big thanks to all of you who lifted up our parties to the Father.  Your faithfulness in that plays a much larger role in our lives than you could ever imagine.

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Christmas Parties #1 and #3


We joined with some other like minded people on the island to throw a couple parties for local people as a way to share the Good News this Christmas Season.  We had decorations, prizes, gifts, and food just like we would in America.  In fact, a lot of what we used was sent to us by partners in America for this purpose.  We are SO thankful for their generosity and help.  It isn’t the first time these partners have blessed us greatly!


A party isn’t a party without goofy pictures.  I’m pretty sure Cam wins the goofiest picture award…I sure love that man!


Ellie may have participated in the craft station and cookie decorating station more than the party guests.  Every time I turned around she was making more cookies!  I gladly ate what she made 🙂

Cam and some other friends led Christmas music in both English and Chinese.  Seeing him lead never gets old, and seeing Chinese people with their eyes closed, singing as loud as they can sing “Joy to the World” brought tears to my eyes.


Cupcakes.  If you didn’t expect that, you must not know me well.  I will make cupcakes for the smallest reason, but a party is the biggest reason I can think of!  Having my parents there to help is something I won’t soon forget.  It was such a neat blessing to have them serve alongside us in the work we are doing here.

We hosted two parties at a local office building, with about 70 in attendance combined.  Lots of seeds were planted and we are asking that He grow them well!

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Ellie turned 8! A month ago…


Ellie has always been fairly unpredictable, but now she has added some very quick wit to her unpredictability.  You never know what she will say or do, and she has us laughing more than not when she is around.


Since our first visit to the Hong Kong airport Disney store, Ellie has wanted this Boo doll from Monsters Inc.  When she was little, she looked so much like Boo, so it is a pretty cute reminder.  However, I refused to spend $30 on a stuffed doll.  I was willing to spend $5 on TaoBao (think Ebay Buy it Now in Chinese) though.  Ha!  She was over-the-top excited about it…and about her bag that looks like a duck.  She has had a little obsession with rubber ducks for as long as I can remember, so when she saw this bag she immediately asked for it for her birthday.


She also really wanted a doll salon chair to fix her doll’s hair in.  When she woke up and walked into the living room, her eyes LIT UP when she saw the chair!  She fixed every baby doll’s hair in the house that day.

One of our sweet friends remembered her day and brought her over a build-it-yourself doll house.  If anyone out there is gifted and patient enough to build a dollhouse and all its furniture, feel free to come for a visit!  I don’t think it would be good for our family relations to do it ourselves. 🙂

When we asked Ellie what she wanted for birthday dinner, she was undecided.  She finally chose cheese dip and fried chicken on the day before.  Her choice of cake, however, never wavered.  She expressed her desire for Cameron to make her a Boston Cream Cake on my birthday back in October, and stuck with that choice!  She wasn’t even okay with me making it…it had to be Cam.

I thought that was a fabulous idea!


In lieu of a party, we went on a Starbucks date.  Even the doll came along for the fun.


I won’t ever turn down coffee.  Neither will our island friends who joined us to celebrate!


Ellie’s birthday felt like it wouldn’t pass.  She had more gifts in all the luggage Mom and Dad brought from both sets of grandparents.


She had a great birthday, and we had a fun time celebrating this unexpected gift we were given eight years ago!  I can’t imagine life without her humor, energy, and sweetness.  She makes our family complete..  Love her!

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