February 23, 2017

Absolutely zero English

Our 2017 calendar is hung by the school room with care.

This year it is a calendar with absolutely zero English. Half of the writing is in Chinese, and the other half is in Hebrew. Kind of a cool combo, don't you think? I thought so.

I haven't blogged in a while. Almost a decade of doing this, and I've run out of things to say:) I'm sure I'll think of something to say at some point. Maybe when the kids are grown.

But there are always pics to share. Here are some of the most interesting pics from the past few months. We have been in Thailand. We have walked through two cancer scares - one that is still going on - with two different dear friends and their families. My little brother's life has had a complete overhaul. My sister-in-law's cat died..her cat who was like a son to her and my brother. Things happen, things change, and yet things stay the same. I am still me, I am still blessed. Still content. Eager. And a bit melancholy, as deep thinkers tend to be. Life is a gift and I'm opening it.

Miss Caitlyn was accepted at Vanderbilt. So we made her an honorary gingerbread sweater.
Jubilee went to her first sleepover. She called at 11pm, but didn't come home! Daddy gave a grand pep talk and she stuck it out.
I got my hair lopped and dyed blue platinum, which I modified at home with lemon juice, per wikihow's instructions. Thanks to lemon juice, I no longer look like Joy from the movie Inside Out.
My superman.
We came across this, in one of our many airport stops. Daniel could have penned this quote!
Our cabin at The Juniper Tree in Thailand. Daniel's rental bike, with his and hers helmets. A real picture of our lives.
Middle Eastern cuisine with my best girls. We are as tired as we look. And the food was as good as it looks.
Daniel at the laser tag field.
Ping pong at The Juniper Tree in Thailand. My favorite look that Brave makes.
Our faces through the weird bubble our hotel faucet made. It's the little things, people.
Daniel and John got in the quiet van on the way back from the waterfalls.
The tile floor of The Juniper Tree main office in Thailand. Polished by sunlight, footfalls, and age. I will forever adore The Juniper Tree, our home away from home.

December 29, 2016

Every year

I remember so clearly our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Rupp.

That was the Christmas he presented me with the handmade cedar bed he'd been working on behind my back. That was the Christmas I gave him the crude quilt I'd made for him.

That was when the farmhouse on Doe Run Trail still teemed with life, it's blue-painted kitchen brimming with baskets of tea cookies and tins of thins. Vintage lights blinked on-and-off. Flour fairly flew from the shortening-smeared fingers of my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law, as Turner Classic Movies played "It's a Wonderful Life" and Daniel and Philip stuffed their faces with nutballs, sausage balls, and fudge.

That kitchen is dark now. The house is quiet. The land is overgrown.

How time has flown.

Which brings us to this Christmas, our 15th together. Much has changed - and much hasn't. I still love him every bit as much as I did when I made that quilt. More in fact. And he still stuffs his face with sausage balls. Christmas comes around every year, generation after generation, reminding us that a child was born.

A child who lived, died, and came back to life. To give us life. Forever.

Here we are decorating the tree. Another potted number, but this time an ACTUAL evergreen. The old paper chain finally had to be replaced this year. The paper cutter was put to good use on red, green, and white card stock (and my hand - ouch!)

My three younger kids were in a home school choir this Christmas. They learned how to use their voices for something other than giggling, squealing, and making engine sounds.

All four kids were in a little pageant with the rest of their Proverbs Club. Jubilee, being the only girl in the club, was obviously the virgin mother. Her brothers would not let her use one of her baby dolls, since all of her dolls are girls. Zion provided a (male) puppet to wear the swaddling clothes.

Daniel had two huge papers due this Christmas, so he spent a lot of time writing by the Christmas tree while wearing these ridiculous noise-canceling headphones from his toolbox (in order to drown out those giggling and squealing sounds I mentioned earlier).

Advent is a huge part of our Christmas. The kids love advent. I mean, it's just candles and the real story of Christmas, which they knew by heart before they could read, but still they get so excited about it. It just goes to show that our craving for a perfect king is greater than our craving for stuff.

But of course we do get stuff. And give stuff.

Jubi spent almost all her "Lady and the Panda" money on gifts for other people. Hashtag generous.

Gene wanted an Ollie more than anything else in the world, so an Ollie is what he got.

He also got a sweet deck of playing cards from Uncle Kody and Aunt Carrie in Indiana. The cards are made of high quality plastic so they won't rip (nor get soggy with mud on Scout campouts).

Zion was thrilled about his first pocketknife (inscribed with the words Z.D. Rupp).

I am in love with my new 9-person waterproof tent from America.

Speaking of being in love...

The day after Christmas we were exhausted. I couldn't even lift a knife to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So we went downstairs to the dumpling joint just outside our gate. Everybody's favorite.

Another wonderful Christmas gone by.

December 22, 2016

Show Biz!

Last summer I was in L.A., hunting stars, hoping to catch a glimpse of a famous face. A good look at Mario Lopez's dimpled left cheek was as close as I got to a run-in with stardom.

And then I came back home to East Asia, and while I'm going about my life, an opportunity arrises for me and my whole family to be in a movie. A real one. Look it up on IMDb, it's called "The Lady and the Panda," and it's a true story about the first panda to come to America in 1936 (the panda, which was only a baby, was smuggled out of China in the handbag of a prominent American named Ruth Harkness).

And it wasn't just my family who took part! A whole bunch of our besties were there too. Because the movie is being filmed exclusively over here - so as to be near the pandas - caucasian people were needed to fill their "Chicago zoo" scene and their "ship bound for New York" scene.  For a meager 500 kuai per day (which is less than $100) we hung around their mountainside filming location for two days, sleeping in rooms with no heat, and eating hardly anything but squid-flavored potato chips and boiled buns.

But we got to be in a movie!!

(Or so we think. Maybe all our scenes will be cut. In fact, probably they will).

But we're telling ourselves we get to be in a movie!!

Places, places everyone!

Back to wardrobe.
Makeup check.
Every hair in place.
Looking good!
Why don't we dress our boys like this anymore??
Daniel hanging with the actors. 
Staying warm between shoots.
Alisa and I weren't exactly obeying the signs.

Passing the time.
The champion of our home school co-op was there, bringing Christmas crafts, Sunday School materials, and books to read to the children (she's nothing short of amazing).
Daniel and I on set. A steamship station in "Shanghai."
Selfie on set.
We did a lot of sitting around. Our vintage shoes were not comfortable. (That is fake sunlight streaming in the "window")
And we took a lot of pictures between takes. 
He should have been an actor.

And the best shot of all? Are you ready for it? Children, cover your eyes...