Life

“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.” -Jim Elliot

Jacquelyn’s Mom’s Visit

We’ve had an incredible visit from Jacquelyn’s mother. She joined us and helped us greatly in getting settled into our new apartment. We also got the chance to check out some of the famous sites of Tianjin!

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View these photos and more on my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/jalopyhead/

We’re so thankful and blessed that she would come out to visit us. This is the third time she’s come to China and we’ve been in a brand new city each time she’s come out.

Liability

Toy Ride

These types of toys are all throughout China. They turn and light up and vibrate and play annoying songs, like Happy Birthday, or Jingle Bells. (You can’t sing the birthday song when somebody’s not having a birthday…that’s like rule #1 of songs, man!) We never give the kids a coin to play on these toys, mostly because they’re kiddie toys…but also because I don’t really don’t want to pay for it. (Remember when your mom or dad would say they didn’t have any money at the restaurant for an arcade game or gum ball machine, but somehow had money to pay for the meal? Yeah, that’s me now.) But it turns out I was right, they are indeed kiddie toys. I know this because when my 5-year-old got on the toy, he snapped it basically in half.

The lady running the play area called me over and showed me that the toy was broken and then called her own son to come over to take a look at it to see if he could fix it. He couldn’t. I asked him if there was someone we could call to get it fixed. There wasn’t. I said, “怎么办呢?” (What do we do, then?) and he said with a hint of frustration, “你可以修吗?” (Can you fix it?). He obviously doesn’t know me very well…that fixing stuff like that is well outside of my ability. So I asked him how much it costs to buy a new one. He said 3800 RMB (USD $585). I said, maybe I could fix it after all…

I told him that I needed to go to the hardware store to get a tool to be able to take it apart a bit more so I could figure out where exactly it was broken. (Up this point I didn’t know how messed up it was.) He didn’t really want me to let me leave. How would he know that I wouldn’t just disappear? I reasoned with him that I lived just upstairs and told him my address and phone number. He was still against me leaving. Finally, the lady running the place came back and convinced her son to let me go because she knew us quite well.

I went out and was not able to find the tool that I needed at the hardware store. I started making calls to people I work with to see if we could find someone that could take a look at it. Finally, one of the guys who works with alot of contractors said he could help us out with finding someone to fix it.

This situation is pretty common in China. Liability is not something that’s taken care of later at the hands of an insurance company. I doubt very seriously that these people have insurance for this type of thing. The person in the wrong is usually dealt with right away. You see it with car accidents all the time. Often times the policeman that comes to the scene (if it ever gets to that point) is there simply as an arbitrator. Usually after a bunch of yelling back and forth the policeman suggests an amount that should be given as compensation and it’s settled and done with.

In some ways it’s nice to have things taken care of right away. In other ways it can be a bit stressful…especially for a conflict-avoider like my self. But in other ways, when your son breaks something and you don’t know how to fix it and the guy doesn’t want you to leave, it can be a pain.

In the end, after a couple of weeks, we were finally able to get the toy fixed by hiring someone to weld the piece that was broken. It cost about 30 RMB (less than $5) for the welder’s time, which is much better than $550! The lady still smiles at us as we walk by, but I don’t think my boys will be going back there any time soon. My kids are just a bit too big and wild for that place.

My New Look

I’ve developed a bit of an eye twitch lately. I’ve been trying to figure out why. Is it stress? Is it lack of sleep? Maybe it’s too much caffeine?

Stress. I don’t feel like I’m overly stressed. I mean it is a possibility, but honestly, I don’t feel too bad. I’m constantly being challenged with my comfort zone in my new role. In just a couple of weeks I’ll be at the helm of the ship as my boss and trainer is headed out for half a year. But I’m looking forward to it.

Sleep. Yeah, this one is a real possibility, too. I’ve been pushing it a bit. I want to be productive. I want to get things done. I want to be ready for my day. I want to do devotions. One of my goals in coming here was that I would create a good wake up routine. So far I’ve been able to keep up with it, but now I’m afraid I might have gone too far.

Caffeine. This one is kind of sore-spot for me. I drink about 3 cups of coffee a day. I know people who drink more than that, but still, it’s quite a bit. I definitely have an addiction to the stuff. When I looked up online what might be the cause of eye-twitching, caffeine was one of the first culprits. I quickly navigated to another website because, you know, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet (unless it conveniently agrees with your lifestyle…) But, every webpage I turned to listed caffeine high up on the list. So, much to my unhappiness, I started to drink less coffee. I’m down to 1 cup now. My eye is still twitching.

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Micah Taught Himself to Ride a Bike

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So, all of the sudden Micah can do this…

He did this all on his own. In fact, he got upset when I tried to help him. He had been dying for a bike and he finally got one. He was riding it within the day!

The pink color and butterflies probably gave away the fact that this previously belonged to a girl, so we went out and got some spray paint and our friend helped us paint it.

Painting Micah's Bike

Spring Rock

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Over Tomb-Sweeping day we went out to Spring Rock for some fun and relaxation. Spring Rock a haven away from the city with an experiential high-ropes course on it’s property. Our company uses this property for retreats and team-building opportunities.

In addition to the high ropes course, there were a ton of things to do. The kids got to play almost the entire time.

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Being about 3 hours north of Tianjin, we were just a quick jaunt away from some unpreserved parts of the great wall. We took a hike up to one of the towers.

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One of the coolest things we did was go into an abandoned bunker from WWII. It took us right through to the other side of the mountain. It was pitch black inside and only had the light of our cellphones and a couple of flashlights. Inside we found some generators, a couple of broadcasting rooms and some “Long Live Chairman Mao” slogans.

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It was also great to hangout with a group of people. Each day we would eat breakfast and lunch together. Other than the food we brought ourselves, we got to enjoy the local fare. And, man, was it good!

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Here are a few more pics:

Micah’s 5th Birthday

Micah’s had a big year this year. He moved back to his birth country that he hasn’t been to since he was 3 months old and started school for the first time. He’s done really well with all the changes.

We started off his birthday by displaying his birthday banner. Jacquelyn had prepared a cake and we all headed out to the school. His classmates sang Happy Birthday to him in 3 languages – English, Korean and Chinese.

After school we went out to McDonald’s and then found an indoor play area. Later that night we got home and he got to open up his presents. He got a box of “Super Wings” characters. Super Wings is a cartoon that I’ve been exposing to them to help them learn Chinese.

Micah is definitely the energy of our group of 6. Ever since his birth he’s been go go go from the time he wakes up until his eyelids can’t keep open any longer. We’re so thankful for him and how he grows up into a bright kindergartner.

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Cousins and the Temple of Heaven

When we found out that Jacquelyn’s cousins were going to be in Beijing, we jumped at the opportunity to hang out with them. They came to China to do a tour with their high school’s choir and orchestra. We figured since they came 10,000 miles across the world, we could travel the 90 miles to go and see them.

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Since they were on a pretty tight schedule and were busy in the morning, we kept ourselves busy by heading to the Temple of Heaven. On the way there we experienced Tianjin’s Subway and Bullet Train to Beijing for the first time. It was a bit of an adventure figuring out where to wait in line with 4 kids in tow, but everyone had a great attitude as we trekked to and around Beijing.

The Temple of Heaven in really a cool place. And it is a great place to visit over Easter weekend. The significance of the emperor’s acknowledgement of the Most High God in this place is unique. This is the place were sacrifices were made to God. What a perfect opportunity to explain to our kids the awesome gift that was given to us through Jesus!

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From there we took a bus to meet with Jacquelyn’s cousins. We got to spend a couple of hours with them drinking coffee and then jumping in on their bus and dinner. I’m not sure how much the high school girls at our table who had just arrived from the States and were still on jet-lag enjoyed their Spicy Fermented Bean Curd, but we loved it!

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And finally, we got to hear Jacquelyn’s cousin (once removed) play and sing at her performance!

Thanks Burgharts for coming all the way to China so we could see you!

Here’s a few more pics:

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Anna-temple

Anna’s Birthday

Anna has really jumped in to life here in China. Although she misses her friends in the States dearly, she has very quickly connected with some girls here. When she said she wanted to have a birthday party at an ice-skating rink, we were a bit worried that she wouldn’t have any friends join in. But we were wrong!

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We are very proud of Anna. She’s studious, creative and very caring of her siblings. She’s been through a difficult time moving overseas, but has really done well adjusting to it all. We love you, Anna!

Old Friends for the New Year

We’re right in the middle of the Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is most similarly compared to the West’s Christmas. Just about everything closes up for 2 weeks and people all over China return to their home town to visit with relatives. Children are given red bags of money as presents and everyone eats the traditional Chinese dumplings.

This year we’ve had the pleasure of having our old friends, the Greenes, come and visit us and welcome us back to China during this holiday. Unfortunately for them, we also shared with them the bug that’s been going around and almost each day one of us comes down with this 24 hour virus.

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Aside from that, we’ve really enjoyed picking up things pretty much where they left off with our friendship. The glaring difference is that we used to teach them all the secrets to living in China, but now that we’re 4+ years removed from it all, they’re the ones teaching us now! It really just goes to show you the value and importance of building relationships with people while you’re living overseas. With the turnover rate of expats in China, we truly consider ourselves lucky to have friends for this long continuing to live in this country.

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But we’re also looking forward to building some new relationships that can be long lasting and helpful in this country. This is why we are here…to give support to those working here to be more effective in the work they are doing. We’re so glad that we’re back in country and able to continue doing this.

Things We See in Tianjin

These past weeks we have experienced many firsts as a family here in our new city.

Since everything we’re seeing is rather new to us, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things that we see around us.

Our landlord is fond of floral print.

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Our housing complex has some play areas between the buildings.

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The bus ride to a grocery store – the girls.

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The bus ride to a grocery store – the boys.

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Yogurt sampling at a grocery store. They love their yogurt here!

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Playing video games.

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Movie night.

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Getting on the school bus!

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Eloise getting some attention at the school.

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Micah getting ready for class!

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“China Day” at the kids’ school.

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Eloise getting some attention at “China Day”.

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More silliness at “China Day”.

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Eating “Longyan”

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Eating at a local Korean Restaurant.

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Eloise in a box.

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Cute girls with their pollution masks.

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It’s a bit staticky in Tianjin.

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Our first team meeting.

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Our first fellowship meeting.

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Kids connecting on FaceTime with family.

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Our first trip to China McDonalds!

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Getting Adjusted…

…to the time

It’s been a full week since we’ve arrived in China and we’re getting adjusted nicely. Plus, we’ve got a great team of people here that welcomed us. When people arrive on the team they are each assigned a family to help them get acquainted to the apartment and local area. They also help us in getting adjusted to the local time by making sure we have dinner plans with them, another family, or by providing a meal. This has given us goals to stay up a bit later each night and get out of the house a little. Nonetheless, we have had a few nights where we have just crashed. And since everyone’s been waking up at about 4am, I’m sure our new neighbours below us are not happy about the fact that we have moved in.

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…to the food

One of the first things we did with our host family was to get some food at a nearby restaurant. Jacquelyn and I just about died and went to heaven when we got to eat some “real” Chinese food. Spicy green beans, lamb on a stick, and some other things that I don’t really know how to translate brought us right back to when we used to live in China. The kids, on the other hand, don’t have such positive memories of the food here…or any, for that matter, so we have been introducing them (sometimes through tears) to the local fare.

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…to the apartment

Our apartment is really great. It’s 4 bedrooms and has a large living area. On arrival, Anna quickly located her room and was pleasantly surprised by it. She even said, “I think I can used to living here.” The boys are sharing a room and a bed for the time being. We hope to locate some bunk beds soon. The master bedroom is a good size with a king size bed. Our kitchen, though not big, is really nice. The table isn’t really designed for a family of 6, but we’ve enjoyed figuring out how to best make use of the space. We’re still hoping to get a few items for the house.

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…to school

Anna and Micah started school this week. Lucas will start on Thursday when his teacher gets back from a conference out of town. Anna has done really great with everything. She was so anxious to get started and join the class that she could hardly contain herself. On the first day her teacher said she could eat lunch with me if she wanted or she could join the class. She chose the class. Micah has never been in school, so this is completely brand new to him. He’s baffled by the Chinese language. At one point He said, “What are those sounds people are making?” But he’s going to do great with time. Right now we have him enrolled in the half day program.

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…to work

Today I had my first meeting with the team I’ll be working with. It was great to hear about what’s going on in the immediate future and how I will get to be involved. Other than that, I’ve just been focused on learning peoples names getting my office set up.

We made it to China!


After many days of packing parties and last minute preparations, we woke up on Monday, Jan 11th and started packing the van. Our friend Steve rented and drove a van to help take us and our 19 bags of checked luggage. In addition, Jacquelyn’s mom drove her van and Jacquelyn’s niece Sonja joined us as we made our way to JFK. Including our carry-on luggage, we made the trek with 25 bags.

The checkin process went easier than expected. Because we had a small baby, they put us in the special line, which we were thankful for so we didn’t have to snake through the already long line with our more than 1000 lbs of luggage. It took quite a while to get everything ticketed and tagged, so we were thankful for those that came along to help with moving the bags and watching the kids.

Luggage Galore

Speaking of the kids, they did really great throughout the process. As with her track record, Anna didn’t sleep a wink on the initial 15 hour flight, but then crashed on the second. Lucas slept the most, and Micah finally found a comfortable position to lay in when his body just couldn’t stay awake any longer. Eloise slept quite a bit on Mommy. On the flight, each person has his/her own entertainment center with games and movies, which helped keep the kids occupied. The kids each watched the “Minions” movie twice.

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Just as had been planned, and after a brief layover in Shanghai, we arrived in Tianjin at 11:55pm on Tuesday. Our contact was waiting for us with two vans. The drive to our new home was about 30-40 mins. When we arrived, several people on the team here were gracious enough to help us at 1:30 in the morning to bring in all the bags to our new apartment. It was about 2am before we had everything in the apartment. All said and done, door to door, we spent about 29 hours traveling.

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New Apartment Pics

While we’ve been busy finalizing everything here in the States, our new friends in China have been busy preparing for our arrival. It really takes a huge effort to get people over to China and we’re so thankful our team has been on the ball getting things ready for us. Not the least of which has been our apartment.

That’s right, we’ve already got an apartment. As soon as we arrive in China, we’ll be arriving at our new home! And we’ve got some pictures to share:

We don’t know much about the apartment, except that’s it’s on the 9th floor and has 4 bedrooms. And it has lots of wallpaper… I’ve also confirmed that the building has an elevator, so that’s a plus.

Would you like to partner with us as we head over? Just click this handy little button:

Saying Goodbye to my Tractor

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I’m standing at the top of the driveway, waving goodbye. Just five minutes ago I looked down at a 12 year old boy about to haul away my John Deere tractor and thought, “Take good care of her, kid. She’s been good to me.”

A tear fights its way to the open air of my eyeball.

I’m not going cry over this.

The tear loses the battle as I relax it back down the duct.

The whole half-second mental dialog was extremely cheesy.

But I meant it. I seriously had an emotional reaction to selling my tractor.

It’s always surprising to find out what holds significance in your life. In preparation for our move, I’ve been almost indiscriminately throwing things away, selling things, and giving them away to people. In fact, I’ve not-quite-jokingly said to Jacquelyn for the last several weeks, “If you have to ask me if we should keep it, then we should absolutely NOT keep it.” This last month we’ve sorted through 2 storage places. Some of this stuff has been around since we were first married and given to us as wedding gifts. Gone. Traded in for a fraction of it’s worth. Stuff that we brought back from China and has been sitting in another storage location for the last 4 years waiting to see daylight…gone. No tears, just regrets that we spent the money to bring it to the States in the first place.

But the John Deere tractor got me.

And it’s not just the tractor. It’s responsibilities, too. In the past week I’ve been handing over my responsibilities to different people. With each email I write officially handing over the work, I feel that tinge of loss. As much as many of these things have been a challenge to keep up with, I’ve enjoyed doing them. In just a couple of weeks I’ll say goodbye to the job I’ve held for the last 4 years. That’s not going to be easy, either. I’m training my replacement now. It’s kinda surreal.

But what hurts the most is leaving people. I try not to think about the people that we’re going to miss. The list is long. And the significance is great. And it’s not just who I’m going to miss. It’s who my kids will miss. Their teachers, their friends, their aunts and uncles, their grandparents. It gets overwhelming.

I may have won the battle over the tractor, but the tear is going to win the war. At some point sadness will overwhelm. And that’s ok. If Inside Out taught me anything, sadness is a part of life that must be embraced and worked-through. But more importantly, we know that He has called to be overseas. We know that the work here in the States will continue without us. We know that our friendships will continue.

And as for my tractor – it’s in the best place that it could be in – at the controls of a cool, ambitious 12 year old boy.

Good Grief…of Leaving

Leaving means replacement.

Leaving means moving on.

Leaving means trying to end well.

Leaving means fear.

Leaving is hard.

And then there’re the emotions we’re feeling.

I knew going into this move back overseas that it would be hard. We’ve met some pretty cool people during our latest stint here in the States. We’ve done some pretty cool stuff and worked with some pretty amazing people in work and ministry. I’m sad to be leaving them.

I’ve read a bunch of blog posts about transition (mostly from my friend who writes a ton about this sort of stuff at www.thecultureblend.com). Even my undergrad in Cross-cultural studies 15 years ago prepared me for this!

But what I didn’t think about was how hard this was going to be for our friends and family. I’m not sure what I was expecting, really. Maybe a little bit more excitement about what we’ve been talking about for the last 4 years? Maybe a smile on the face as we talk about moving back?

Instead, I can see that they’re hurt. I can see they’re not prepared for this.

Just today a colleague of mine went on for no less than 15 minutes about how awesome I am. About how I’ll be irreplaceable. About how I could have asked for more money in my job. About how he’s not going to have someone to bounce ideas off of any more. It’s funny that in the midst of these apparent compliments my countenance changed to that of sadness. I literally had to tell him to stop talking.

It was desperation.

It was grief.

When I see the lack of enthusiasm about our move, my heart wants to believe that everyone is being selfish.

That they’re not being supportive.

That they’re turning their backs and moving on.

But I know better. I know it’s quite the opposite. I know they care and I know they’re grieving over the coming changes right alongside us.

Excitement and grief mixed together.

As my aforementioned friend has said, “Leaving is hard. Being left is harder.”

So, instead of focusing on my expectations of how people are going to remember us in this move, I’m going to focus on them. I’m going to know that they are grieving, too. I’m going to make the best of the time we have together and know that they’ve got my back, even if it’s too hard to watch from behind as we board the plane.

Target Date

With our latest leg of paperwork completed, we can now predict when we’ll be able to head out to China! And it’s going to be during the 2nd week of January!

Wow, this suddenly got real!

Of course, this is assuming there aren’t any delays in visa process.

The Christmas Picture

Oh, Christmas pictures. The joy. The family unity. The cooperation of children with their totally relaxed parents.

I didn’t ban the children from the room multiple times during setup because they kept tripping on the light cords.

I didn’t threaten to ban a child from the Christmas picture altogether, thereby erasing him from our family (for at least one year).

One of our kids didn’t break a piece of the nativity set.

That same kid didn’t sit on a present like a chair, smashing it.

Mmm, hmm. That’s what happened.

Well, regardless of what really happened, we did get some fun pictures.

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Fitbit Walkout

Jacquelyn has been wanting a Fitbit for the last few months. So, when Black Friday came up and we found ourselves at Khols, I took the opportunity to pick up a Fitbit for her.

We waited in the long, but fast-moving line and got to the register. The lady scanned all the items, including the Fitbit, and we headed out to the car. Apparently though, the Fitbit scan didn’t take because when Jacquelyn looked at the receipt she realized that we didn’t actually pay for the Fitbit! Yikes!

So, we headed back in and told an employee that we had somehow gotten out without paying for the item. She walked us over to a cashier and they scanned the product again and we paid for the item. As we were doing this an employee told us not to leave when we finished. After a few minutes she came back with 2 free movie tickets! We were grateful for the tickets, but we’re also glad to know that we did the right thing by returning it.

A Quick trip to the Midwest and the South

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Every year we take a trip out to Ohio for Thanksgiving where JK’s brother and family host us and a lot of other family members. It’s 4 days of family, food, and relaxation. Everyone looks forward to it. This year was no different and we had a great time. We also got to share our plans for moving to China to room full of family.

Usually, we pack up our bags and head back to New York early on Sunday to get back to school and work on Monday. But this year we decided to head South for another week of vacation with my parents. This really worked out quite perfectly for us. We were already more than half way to their house by being in Ohio and there wasn’t another time that we would’ve been able to easily visit with them before we headed to China.

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Though it didn’t seem like we did a ton of stuff, we really did accomplish alot. Our first priority, of course, is just being the family. And we did just that. But Jacquelyn had a determined mind to get to my brother’s house and clean out some of the storage we put in their attic 6+ years ago. She spent a couple of days doing that and got rid of a bunch of stuff. We also took a large load of books to McKay Books and got a good amount of store credit and then promptly used it all to buy some Christmas presents for the kids.

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Of course, Eloise’s job was to be cute. And she accomplished that quite easily.

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Anna was determined to get to Opryland Hotel. She has good memories of going there with the family last year, so that’s what was on her mind. We walked around the hotel with my parents and my brother’s family. The kids seemed to have a great time and we all enjoyed the time together.

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On our last day we went to the Opry Mills mall. I’d been trying to get there the whole week so I could stop at Cinnabon. It made me sick. To be fair, Cinnabon usually makes me sick because eat too much, but this time was different. Within 30 minutes I was not feeling well. I had a headache and just felt basically uncomfortable.

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Usually, when I start to get a headache I can prevent it from turning into a major headache by taking some Ibuprofen. Unfortunately, this time I didn’t do that. And I paid for it. After seeing The Martian with my brother at the theatre, my head was hurting pretty badly and I was nauseous. We found an open store and I bought and took some Ibuprofen. But it was too late, it didn’t help. On the way home, I was so sick I thought I was going to hurl in my brother’s car. Thankfully I didn’t, but I wasn’t much of a conversationalist. Afterall, it’s hard to avoid throwing up while having a conversation. (Sorry, bro.) When I got home, I went straight to bed and slept like a rock.

All in all it was a great trip. My only regret is that we didn’t get a chance to see my other brother and his family. But it was just too hard to get down to see them with all of our schedules.

Going back to China!

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We’re very happy to announce that we are on our way back to China!

To quote a few of our friends:
“Seriously?” “Huh?” “That’s crazy!” “What the what?”

I’ve put together a quick FAQ for you.

But…

…if you really want to get the inside scoop, you’re going to have to subscribe to our newsletter. You can do that here:

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What will you be doing?

The short of it is I’m going to be an Assistant City Manager for an education-based company operating in China.

Is this the same company you were with before?

Yep. Same company. Different position. Different City.

What will you be doing?

I’m going to be the Assistant City Manager for one of the cities the company operates in. My job will be to provide support, representation, and encouragement to the staff of the different entities operating in the city.

What city are you going to?

We’re headed to Tianjin, about 2 hours drive from Beijing. This will be a new experience for us. We’ve never lived in Tianjin and have only visited it a couple of times.

When are you going?

January 2016! That’s the goal, anyway. And yes, that’s very soon.

Are you excited?

Totally! But, if we’re honest, it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride as well. This move is going to be a lot harder than the first time we went to China. The first time we were newly married without kids and very few connections. Now we’re a family of 6 with lots of connections to lots of awesome people. We’re very sad to be leaving everyone we love.

How can I support you in this?

At this time, the best thing to do is subscribe to our newsletter. We’re going to be giving alot more information by email. And you’ll better know how to support us.

Click this button:

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Carrying the Flag

Every Sunday at church the children sit in the main service until the offering. And every Sunday two of the children are chosen to carry the flags and parade around the auditorium as the rest of the kids fall in line and exit the room to go to children’s church. 

I don’t know why I get so proud to see my kids carrying the flags… But I do. I love it. 

   

Minnewaska

Saturday after some morning errands we headed out to Minnewaska. On the way up the mountain, Jacquelyn did some research online and found that the weekends are supposedly crazy busy. And, yes, it was crazy busy. All of the parking lots were completely full. But this actually worked out in our favor. Instead of having to pay $10 to park the car, we just joined a slew of other cars and parked along the side of the road.

We knew it was supposed to be a cold day, but we still didn’t quite prepare enough for the reality of it. This was really the first cold day of the season, so I guess we just didn’t think that we needed more layers. But since we were moving most of the time, we were able to handle it.

All said and done we walked just over 2 miles. We could’ve probably done a bit more, but with the cold we were ready to head home.

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Anna lead most of the walk.

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Lucas lead us on some remote paths looking for shortcuts.

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Micah had fun fishing and scaring his parents that whe would fall off the rocks and into the water.

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Eloise’s hands kinda turned purple because we forgot her gloves. But she didn’t really complain about it.

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Paul even admitted that he had some fun going on the stroll.

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Jacquelyn carried Eloise in the backpack carrier for most of the walk.

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And I took pictures…and made sure nobody plunged off the side of cliff.

Stunning 9 Year Old

  
This picture brings a wave of emotions. Firstly, she’s just plain beautiful. She’s really grown into a beautiful young lady. Secondly, I kinda want to just delete this picture and act like she’s still a little girl. Basically, I just want to deny that she’s growing up. 

But I know that can’t be. I know my responsibility for raising her to be a woman after God’s own heart only intensifies and gets harder from this point. 

But no matter what, she’s still my little girl and will always be. 

Bath Time: 3 in the Tub

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Bath time is always fun. The boys love to play in the tub and probably don’t even need toys to play with. But we have them anyway.

Eloise also has a lot of fun. She cries when we take her out because she doesn’t want to get out.

Bowdoin Park

Today we went to our kids’ favorite park, Bowdoin Park. It’s not the closest park, but it’s definitely the biggest around. It’s got tons of swings and slides and even a water park in the summer.

Today Micah worked on his America Ninja Warrior skills.

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Lucas had fun hiding and running from the others.

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And Eloise did her first independent slide! She’s pretty impressive. It’s probably because she’s got 3 older siblings to keep up with.

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