Yesterday we went bowling.  Noah and Meiling had never been bowling, Drake and I bowled when we were 6 and 4, but Mom and Dad used to be in a bowling league and they bowled every Friday night.  I was a bit skeptical about whether or not I would like bowling, but Mom told me that it was very fun, and that I would like it.  It was very fun!


On the way – playing with slow shutter speeds fast-moving scenery






Drake helping Meimei


Watching Meiling’s ball


Bowling balls


The lane


Waiting – my shoes


Meiling’s shoes


Daddy and Meiling watching

Five Years Ago Yesterday (Part 3)

Five years ago yesterday we got our sweet little girl!!

After having breakfast at the hotel, we headed to the Civil Affairs Office with the rest of our group.  We were seated at a large table where we waited for what seemed like a long time (it really wasn’t that long, it just seemed long because I was excited).  Soon the orphanage workers started bringing the babies in.  Then it was our turn.  The orphanage director brought in a beautiful baby girl in an orange sweat suit with thick black hair.  Mom and I started crying because we were so happy.

On the way home, Meiling fell asleep on Mom, clutching Mom’s sweater.  She was so sweet!

I love you, baby girl!  I’m so thankful that God blessed our family with you!

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Right after they gave her to us

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 Me with my new little sister

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At Lucy’s (a “western” restaurant) for dinner

Let’s go to the Zoo!


Hey! Let’s go to the zoo!




That little monkey has all the bananas.


I think that chimp wants both hoops!


That giraffe sure has a long neck.


Here are the zebras!


Look at the tiger cub!  He’s climbing on the log!




Look at the cubs wrestling!


The peacock likes the fountain


Looks like the gorilla is taking a break


Wow!  That hippo sure has a big mouth!


I felt like something was watching me!  It was that alligator…


Oh, lunchtime for the elephants


Sometimes I wonder… am I watching him, or is he watching me?


These two are playing – they must have finished their lunch.


Look!  Penguins!  I like penguins.


Awww… this little guy sure is cute!


His mama’s watching.


Well, we’d best be heading home.


“Thanks for coming!  Come back soon!”

Five Years Ago Today (Part 2)

Five years ago today we visited a jade factory, cloisonné factory, the Summer Palace, and climbed the Great Wall of China.

Two more days until we met our sweet little baby!

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At the Great Wall

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A funny sign – we had fun reading the signs, as some of the translations could be humorous

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A long way up (and back down!)

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Lunch (I had to include a food picture!)

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At the cloisonné factory

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Summer Palace

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In front of the lake at the Summer Palace


Two years ago in the summer I did a meal plan for most of the month.  Ever since then, my mom has been asking me to do a meal plan.  I never did one until December, when I made one for this month. 

I have been following it with only a few alterations now, and it is so nice to know what we are going to have for dinner when I wake up in the morning.  Before we had the meal plan, Mom would ask,”What should we have for dinner?”  She asked this question so much and since she got the same answer just about every time, my little sister quickly picked it up.

“Something easy,” Meiling would answer.

Tonight for dinner, I made America’s Test Kitchen’s Meatloaf.  We have made this a few times before, and it is very good.  Whenever we make it, my dad always says how good it would be for a meatloaf sandwich, but it is so good there haven’t been any leftovers for a sandwich.  I doubled the recipe this time, so there should be plenty.


All the lovely ingredients


O.K., not the best picture, but one of the meatloaves baking

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Just in case you were wondering, five years ago today I was touring the Forbidden City

Five Years Ago (Part 1)

Five years ago yesterday my parents and I boarded a plane heading for Beijing.  It was the beginning of our journey to bring my little sister home.

Five years ago today we landed in Beijing, made our way through Beijing rush-hour traffic, and spent our first night in Beijing.  (The flight was 12-1/2 hours long.  Because of the time difference, we left at about noon on January 24 and arrived at about 4 o’clock no January 25.)

Over the next few weeks, I hope to post about out trip to China, even though it was five years ago.  It will be fun for me to share some pictures and accounts of our various adventures.

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Waiting at the airport in Chicago – I am eating a mini Haagen-dazs vanilla ice cream my dad bought for me.  It was very yummy!

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In Beijing – there was a large mural of the Great Wall

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At the hotel – I was trying to pass the time before I went to bed.

Chinese Dinner

For Chinese New Year, I had planned to make lettuce wraps, dumplings, wonton soup, chicken and broccoli, rice, and steamed cake for dessert.  I made everything like I planned, with two exceptions: I forgot to start the rice early, and I forgot about the mango that I was going to slice to go in the lettuce wraps.  Thankfully Mom had some rice in the freezer, but we didn’t end up eating it anyway.

Meiling was quite the little helper.  She helped me make the cake and fold all the wontons and dumplings.  It was quite fun to have her in the kitchen with me!


The cake, ready to go into the steamer


My little helper


The wontons ready to be folded…


…and put in the soup


Dumplings being fried


Chicken and broccoli


Ready to eat


Lettuce wrap


Wonton soup

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Today is the first day of the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year. In China, it is called the Spring Festival, as it marks the end of the winter season. This holiday lasts for fifteen days. It is the year of the Dragon this year.

Since this is the first day of the Chinese New Year, I am planning a Chinese dinner tonight. We are not having a fifteen day holiday (although that would be fun), but I will hang my Chinese lanterns up for the holiday.

For dinner I am planning to make dumplings, wonton soup, lettuce wraps, chicken and broccoli, and rice (of course). For dessert I am going to make a steamed cake (you can see the recipe here). We are also going to make green tea and serve it with Meiling’s tea set that I bought for her when we were in China. Meiling is going to be my little helper today.

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Chinese New Year decorations for the year of the pig (Mom took this picture when we were in China.  We were there right before the Chinese New Year.)


On Sunday night we played Catan.  It was a great time to play with my macro lens – all those little pieces!




“The Road goes ever on and on”*




All those colors! I am blue – you can see a bit of it in the top right corner


Mom placing a settlement so I can get a picture

*”The Fellowship of the Ring” by J. R. R. Tolkien