Monday, October 3, 2016

August Ramblings

These super sweet friends....

I wish Eli was in there too but he's taking his own shots of this same scene....  This is most all of our summer baseball crew!  We're so grateful for Ryan and Eli coming to serve as summer helpers!

A few days before we headed out for 6.5 months, Marian asked if she could have an early bday party, to celebrate with girlfriends here since she wouldn't know many girls to celebrate with for her actual day.  We tried to keep it simple-  I made a cake and she planned all the games- and it was a very sweet time!  Happy 9th birthday Marian... and thanks for sharing your celebration with Holly for her 7th bday that you would also miss this month.  Kate D, you were missed at this party and we're so sad we missed your bday this summer too!  Love to you!

My teacher and Marian's...  how dear of these friends to want to celebrate with our kids!  I love our friends here!!

And then we flew out....  1 day in Kazakhstan and then onto Amsterdam and home to the states.

we found an obstacle course to play at for a bit of our afternoon in Almaty...

heading up... to catch a view out over the city...

We landed pretty tired and had some of our best jet lag victory here.  I think we slept through every night without any crazy long wake ups.  We had just 2 days in Orlando until we flew to Minn to join the family for the post below....

We got back from Blackduck Sunday evening right before school started.  For their school uniform, there are a few options (red, navy, white, khaki) I went with what I thought would be a simple standard.  Matt explained to me that I dressed up our kids to look like little Target employees.  But they're cute- whatever they are!

First day of Kinder, 2nd grade, 4th grade and 5th grade at Libertas Academy.
They all came home from school saying that they loved it.  Yippee!!

This school seemed to me to be the best fit for our crew for what schooling includes for us in China and I didn't want their one semester to be totally disconnected with all the rest of their schooling that we work hard at.  So they get 4 classes on Mondays at Libertas and then their teachers assign work for them to do the rest of the week at home.  I think it's a good mix of school experience and mama time and self directed work as well as keeping them in Chinese and in math at their non-American levels.... so it's working for us.  I would have been thrilled to let them experience 2-3 days of school a week... but this is what we get, and I'm grateful for it still! 

And we had another "first"....  not only a big girl in her last year of single digits... but a birthday for a kiddo without a homemade cake from Mom!

We were already totally blown away by the crazy generosity of Steve and Lisa to bring our whole tribe under their roof for 3.5 months... and then this!!  We had a surprise delivery from our host of glamorous gourmet cupcakes for Marian's birthday!

We have been Totally Spoiled in this time here!  It's just crazy for me to think of it!  Here's Marian and John on the tube with Mr. Steve.   (Isaiah and Vivi got a turn next.)    It has been amazing to see our kids be so blessed with such experiences as this!  We all got to watch the professional water-skier, Ms. Lisa, and then both John and Isaiah got up waterskiing in just a few tries thanks to all their expert help and tips and squatting practice from "Grandpa Bart" too!  Marian had a hard first try and I hope she'll get back up on water-skis too!    And after this boating afternoon... dinner with these two favorite couples in Orlando ...!

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