February 26, 2015

We are part-shark, apparently

Taken just before heading to the dentist.

We noticed it last week during our nightly routine. Everybody had peed - the boys peeing altogether as usual, standing three abreast in front of our little makeshift urinal, while Jubilee sat daintily on the toilet seat and the whole lot of them filled the concrete bathroom with the sound of tinkling. After that, they had all stacked their clean clothes on my dresser for the next day and tossed their dirty clothes in the hamper. Then they lined up for their nightly tooth-scrubbing (they brush their own teeth in the mornings, but at nighttime those ivories are mine).

When Brave parted his poofy red lips, I saw what his brother Zion had at this age, and their brother Gene before that: shark teeth, when permanent teeth pop up behind baby teeth rather than pushing up under them. Two rows of teeth are the result. A visit to the dentist is the solution.

So I called Dr. Torres, our friendly Filipino dentist. We had a hard time finding his office, since we had only ever visited his Tongzilin branch, but when I called his personal cell phone, he met us in the parking lot dressed in white from his neck down to his toes (I'm serious, his loafers were tooth-white leather).

Tooth pulled! First tooth lost for our third child. 50 kuai slipped under his pillow while he slept (the tooth fairy is generous with the first one, after that it's 10 kuai per). Way to be brave, Brave!

February 22, 2015

Regards, Emma

Eugene and Zion were invited to a young lady's 11th birthday party.

Young ladies of eleven years no longer want princess parties, where all the guests are girls enrobed in sequined gowns dragged from the dressup drawer, ripped in the armpits and losing the tulle around the hem.
Emma reading on my couch.

Which is why when our neighbor Emma, short for Emmanuel (who speed-reads but struggles with spelling, who wears scarves on her head and dons flowing skirts, who frequently bakes little cakes using my vanilla and my recipes, warming all of our hearts with her reluctant smile and her Jane Austen ways) prepared to celebrate her eleventh birthday, she delivered the following invitation to our door:

Our boys, who HATE wearing anything but sweatpants, didn't complain about wearing button-up shirts, tucked-in no less, for Emma's "fomal" dinner party. Zion carried a bouquet of gerbera daisies and Gene carried a gift, wrapped in blue paper, which was a raquetball set. The door to Emma's apartment was opened for them and we heard their raspy boy voices croak, "Happy Birthday" in unison.

Sweet, sweet days in the lives of our boys.

February 17, 2015

It won't be long now

Though Daniel and I have each snuck back to The States since our last furlough, the kids will have been away for three years...THREE YEARS...when we fly to the U.S.A. this summer for six months of home leave.

Brave doesn't remember anything about America. How sad is that.

So while we gear up for another semester serving in East Asia, we look forward to seeing our families in just four short months!
Daniel with Momo, Kerry, Philip, and Eliana last summer in L.A.

My parents, newly retired, who are currently RVing all over the southwest.
The newlyweds! My big brother Kody and my sister-in-law, Carrie.
Grandma with my neice, Sharlet, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Melissa.
Grandma with my little brother, Jack, his son Jack, and his daughter, Sharlet.
We're coming home, fam! It won't be long now. XOXOXO

February 15, 2015


When at the first the wood is laid, it burns fast and bright, leaping into tall, explosive flames, even as the pit below remains hollow and cool.

Before long that first wood is gone, incinerated by the heat of the fire's beginnings. More wood is needed, harder wood this time, for it will burn slower. The flame is lower now. It rocks back and forth above the pit, rather than running full speed up the draft. It will last. 

Now the fire is old and the night is wearing on. The flames barely kiss the air. But deep in the pit, inch upon smoldering inch of hot red embers burn, hotter even than the fire used to be.


He really did build me a valentine fire. He knows me so well. I'd rather have this than all the long-stemmed roses in the world.

And just in case any of the kids woke up and couldn't find us, we left them a note:)

February 14, 2015

You never can tell

Practically no internet in Thailand, only to come home to find our internet broken at our apartment. Long time no type. But now we're back on the world wide web, so I can post a few of our best pics from January.



This girl is tougher than she looks. Fearless, actually.

That is one heavy Burmese Python! And it is giving Gene's leg a little kiss:/


Road trips!

Grocery shopping!

Good ol' Juniper Tree.

New friends!
Brave and Tim, never apart. Tim is Dutch and speaks three languages.

Tim's sister, Amy. She and Jubi climbed trees, played in the dirt, and practiced their soccer skills.

Gene and Toby! This was the second year in a row these two ran around together at The Juniper Tree.

Brave taught himself to swim! Here he is, the afternoon he became a swimmer.

And just for fun, here is a wild sow we found foraging at a rest stop along the road. You never can tell.