Saturday, January 29, 2011


I am so excited, inspired, and passionate about this book written by Shelley- who I've known since I was a girl- and photographed by my sister- in- law Terilee. I just bought my copy today and I hope the international shipping doesn't take forever because I dying to get my hands on it. Oh- and my parents' story of carrying for foster- sister Erica is in the book too!!

Here is a little bit about the book:
Shelley Malcolm uses the image of hands to reveal much of what we have in common, as well as, like finger prints, that which makes each of us completely unique. The pages of REAL tell the stories of actual people who are comfortable with sharing their dreams and triumphs as well as their imperfections, losses and failures. These stories, paired with dramatic and honest photographs by Terilee Dawn Ouimette, present a refreshing and tangible new perspective that can change the way the reader might see his or her self. REAL allows us to not only forgive that which may seem ordinary, have disappointed us, or caused shame… and instead embrace that which does not pretend to be anything but REAL.
To see photos from the book or learn how to order go to Terilee's blog here

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tots Group

I can't believe I haven't blogged yet about Tots Group! Last October some of my friends who are working moms asked me to start a playgroup for their toddlers during the week. Every Thursday four precious, smiling faces come over to play. We have circle time, songs, stories, a lesson based on our theme for the month, a craft and of course play time! The best part for me is that Josiah loves it! He likes to help me set the mats around, pass out materials and sing the loudest! The domestic helpers who come with the kids are so enthusiastic and help to hold Annette. It is a fun "job" that everyone gets something out of. I just realized we should really call ourselves and International Tots Group since five different nationalities are represented in the group.

This week we celebrated Chinese New Year

I also tutor three students on Monday mornings. Here is Robbie, he is four and learning to read- I LOVE teaching kids this age. This week Josiah said he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. Poor kid, he doesn't know anything else (:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Triple Trouble

We got Jack, Malcolm and Josiah together for a photo shoot yesterday. We bribed them with cookies, and even at that I didn't get a photo with all three boys looking at the camera. It was fun to capture their true colors. . . especially in that last shot! Josiah has the best friends (and so do I!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jet- Lag, Children and Banking Don't Mix

After Annette was born I wrote this blog about the woes of going to the bank with kids. Now I usually stick with the much quicker ATM transactions- which I thought I could handle- until two weeks ago. It was the day after our flight back to Hong Kong and it was nap time, except, of- course little jet- lagged bodies don't understand that. So, since sleep wasn't happening I decided to run a long list of errands to get us back on our feet. First stop: ATM in the train station. I had two transactions to complete, the second of which was take out $600 for groceries, transportation etc for the rest of the month. Right as I stepped up to the machine Josiah and Annette remembered that they were tired (and sick in the case of Josiah) and started a chorus of screams. I calmly (on the outside) punched in my numbers as the screaming and coughing escalated. Mentally moving on to the other things on my list, I punched the flashing "take card" button and high tailed the "singing stroller" out of there. Ten steps out of the station gates I realized something was missing- the money. I forgot to take it! I tried to rush back in, but the electronic system makes you wait two minutes before re- entry.

When I finally dashed back to the machine there was a man with a little girl standing there. Out of breath I burst out "did you find some money?" He shook his head and I felt sick. There was nothing I could do. I just walked away. I called Jason that afternoon and told him. He was so understanding and just said "it's fine, don't worry about it". I was humbled. So truly humbled. Most of all, I was floored by how gracious Jason was to me. No groaning, lamenting, bringing it up again. He extended such grace to me. I wonder if I would have been so understanding.

That was two weeks ago. Fast- forward to last night. I got a notice from my bank in the mail telling me that our account has been credited the amount!! Apparently the machine sucked the money back in and it took them a while to process it! As you can imagine there was great rejoicing!! I was once again humbled by my ability to mess up, and again thankful for the experience of grace- first from my husband and then the bank. Such a happy ending. . .and now I'm pretty sure I'm off the hook from handling money ever again. Or at least til the kids are grown.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jason Beats the Banana (again)

Some of you faithful, long- time readers might remember in 2007 when Jason won a 3K awarding him the special prize of running in a banana suit the following year. Which he did with style- such a stud! Yesterday he entered the race again, stating beforehand he would try to win the third place prize to avoid the banana gig. So I had to laugh out loud when I saw him break the finish line ribbon after a quick 9 minute jaunt. We are proud of you babe!

Beautiful day along the water front- i love the harbor, Chinese New Year decor and palm trees

This year's banana

Look at that fierce competition (;

Josiah waiting at the finish line with his octopus

Interviewing next year's banana . . . we'll see about that

Proud of his papa!

After the race we took the ferry across the harbor, had lunch, went to church, and then crashed on the hour bus ride home

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011- Bring It On

Random man about to jump off the Macau Tower.

Because life has been a bit of a blur, I haven't taken time to do any New Years reflecting, planning, or goal making. But God has been doing that for me. Yesterday morning as a crawled out of my comfortable bed, down the elevator and into the cold, dark morning to run I was not expecting God to speak to me. But in my numb, robotic state I began to hear God's voice- He probably knows this in the only time I am still enough to listen! I sensed that He was telling me 2011 will be a year to face fears. As I picked up my pace a bit (thank you chilly morning) I rolled this over in my head and thought of three events on the horizon that induce fear in me. . .

1. Getting lasik surgery on my eyes (freaks me out a bit)
2. Jumping off the Macau tower for my 30th birthday (seriously terr-i-fi-es me!)
3. Spending six months in Africa with our family, trusting the Lord with health and safety factors beyond our control (definitely the scariest on the list)

My mind wandered (as it often does these days) to thoughts of malaria, financial limitations and the overwhelming realities of poverty in Africa. Soon my run brought me me to the ocean and right above the Tolo Harbor was the most beautiful, perfectly round, bright orange moon I have ever seen. It was seriously enormous and I gasped when I beheld its beauty. It only lasted for a few minutes that set behind the black mountains.

Of course, had I stayed in the tempting comfort of my bed I would have missed this incredible display of God's beauty. At that moment I got it. God is asking me to step out this year BUT not because he needs me and not to make me miserable. God wants to show me more about himself. He has more things for me to lay hold of. If I stay in the warm comfort of familiarity I will miss them. Looking at the moon I knew I don't want to miss anything God has for me.

So even though I am the world's biggest chicken (really). . . I'm going out on a limb~ cause that's where the fruit is.

Friday, January 14, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

We're back!! The kids and I just got back on Tuesday from a wonderful three week long Christmas holiday in California. I've been too "in the moment" to stop and blog (do you like that excuse? either that or trying to get "with the moment" between jet lag and serious- serious- exhaustion!) Here are 12 highlights from our time. The best part of course was celebrating Jesus' birthday with people we love SO much!

#1 Paine family pajama party and Christmas tree decorating

#2 Seeing Jason and Mike look so twinsy with Mike's new clean shaven look

#3 Playing games while Annette practiced her crawling on the table

#4 Christmas party at Aunt Christy's, complete with an amazing full rainbow across the San Diego harbor

#5 Josiah in suit= precious

#6 Grandparents, cousins and more antlers!
#7 Annette and cousin Anya were so fun together and could NOT be cuter!
#8 Day trips to the beach, elephant seals, Solvang, waterfall and even ostrich farm, why not?!
#9 Cozy evenings by the fire cracking walnuts, talking and watching Monk
#10 Being together to see my Dad baptize Anya (except Jason who had to fly back New Year's Eve)
#11 Disneyland with 12 Ouimettes, such a blast!

#12 Getting to spend time with Papa from Minnesota- we love him SO much!