Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Malachi's Princess

The other day Malachi came to me and said:

"Mommy, I love you! You are so sweet and kind, you are just like a princess." In an ever so gloating fashion, I replied "Thank you, Malachi, that's really sweet of you. I love you too!"

"Ya, mommy you are just like those sweet princesses, you know, you sweep the floors and do the dishes and clean the house."

"Oh, you mean I'm like Cinderella?!"

"Ya, mommy, just like Cinderella."

Thanks Buddy.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Here's a St. Patrick's Day picture! It's so much fun being overseas when holidays roll around, because we get to pick which ones we want to celebrate. So Halloween, just skipped it. But St. Patrick's Day, celebrated it to the full. So the morning of Mar. 17th, I made green Shamrock pancakes and we watched a little snippit of a VeggieTales that has the St. Patrick story. It was wonderful. We spent 2 days going over his glorious life. If I was a cool blogger person, I'd have St. Patrick in blue and you could click on him to warp you to some invigorating website about him, but I'm just not that cool. That's what Google's for.

We invited 2 other American famlies, a few Chinese friends and some of our kids friends from school. We first decorated some bags to put our Easter eggs in while the Dads went outside and hid the eggs and candy. A few of the Dads had to post security duty because the community kids were taking the things out of the bushes.

Selah and her sweet friend. We taught our friends how the egg hunt was done and they were off!

Here's Charis, her pancho and some bag decorating.

He is 6 months old already!

And then we hit KFC. We actually ran into a bunch of Selah's classmates also there. It was funny because we took over most of the restaurant and the playground. Every 7 minutes of so we'd hear an announcement over the loud speakers: "Please make sure your kids are safe on the playground." That's the indirect way of telling us "you are making way too much noise."

We had a fantastic holiday! We've made lots of friends and gotten to tell many about our celebrations. Thanks for your thoughts.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Your Thoughts

I have a few minutes before the family gets up for the day's festivities and wanted to ask for your thoughts. We are having some friends over for a party today. We'll do the egg thing and some games with some foreign and national friends. Please think of us as we share our lives. We spent the afternoon, yesterday, with our kids sharing with people in our community. Not one person has heard of the celebration.

Pictures and I'm sure stories to come!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In the Name of the Grandfather, the Son, and the National Spirit

A little cultural insight here—

In China, “face”, honor and shame, are a big deal. It goes beyond merely having “pride”. It relates to the very ambitions of life, one’s daily customs and interactions, and view of family. In China, there is a very explicit bias towards boys over girls. The effects of this are well documented. We had a friend recently tell us that his mom suggested he try to have a child and if it were not a boy then perhaps he could “get rid of it”. When you inquire why this male bias, you find a few reasons.

One is practical—boys are the “social security” of this society. When they grow up, they are supposed to take care of the parents, whereas girls will marry off and the couple’s funds mainly help the husband’s family. Ironically, however, because of the valuing of boys, parenting usually spoils boys and is harder on girls. Consequently, in actuality, these girls tend to do a better job at caring for aging parents than do boys who are often too selfish or irresponsible to care.

Other reasons though get more to the heart and soul of the Chinese culture, rooted in thousands of years of thinking. Since the Chinese worldview has no comprehensive understanding of the afterlife, all philosophical/religious thought tends to be very this-worldly. Thus, they see their only way of “living forever” to be by passing on the family name and instilling certain values and loves unto the coming generations. Thus, the preservation of honor is paramount. Thus, community is all the more important. Honor is “heaven”. Shame is “hell”. Worldviews are practical, affecting one’s biases, joys, hopes, politics, ambitions, customs….How strange we examine our own so rarely. Oh that we would let Scripture question ours.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

On the Catwalk...

So we've decided to give Selah some more freedom in picking out her own clothes. Usually she'll pick something out and I'll veto at least one or two parts of the outfit. Well, she's getting older and I figured what can it hurt to let her choose her entire outfit and actually wear it outside the house. I'm not altogether sure that was a wise decision. Here's the first day's selection:

This is at the end of the day (I say this to let you know that she wore it out in public). Yes, that is a pink polo under her velvet dress. Now I'm not the trendiest kid on the block, but I'm pretty sure this is not fashionable in any culture. But she's so proud of herself and so excited at the ensemble that she put together that I just don't have the heart to change it.

You have to look a little closer at this one. The is the next day's choice. This week, she got really into putting shirts OVER her sweaters. Sometimes those shirts were even tanktops. Unfortunately there are no pictures of that day. But this little get up is also a sweater and a green short sleeved shirt. Again, she's so excited and proud about her choices. I'm biting my lip and taking pictures to keep for blackmail when she's a teenager.

Here's Charis and her split pants. If you've known us for awhile, you also know that Chinese children wear split pants for easy access bathroom stops. You might laugh now, but when you're potty training a 2 year old, split pants and peeing on the streets is the best thing ever. She's really enjoyed her class at school and is doing great there.

Here's her dress that our former nanny gave her. It's really expensive and nice. You can be the judge on it's fashion acceptability.

We had some good friends over the other night to eat with us. Their baby girl is only a month younger than Kesed. It's his first Chinese girlfriend. We explained how Americans love Chinese babies, so this picture is included on our "catwalk" blog because maybe the cuteness of this picture will redeem me letting our girls out of the house with these aforementioned outfits on.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

wow, i'm gettin' old

I'm officially an old fogey. I'm doing some work and listening to Natalie Cole. I no longer really care for loud, fast tempo music. Give me some Norah Jones, Natalie Cole, James Taylor and some hazelnut that's a good night.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Depressing State of Fatherhood

We just got back from having some noodles and witnessed an
unfortunately very common situation. A father was eating with his 9
year old daughter. He barely said a word to her as he sat and puffed
on his cigarette. About 10 minutes into the meal, he gets up and
walks out of the noodle shop. We figured he went out to get
something and would be right back. Well, about 10 minutes later, I
watched him as he is standing in front of the restaurant....waiting.
Waiting for nobody except for his daughter to finish eating. She sat
there by herself while she finished her noodles and then got up to
meet him outside. I asked her if her father was waiting for her
outside and she said yes. He felt no need actually come in and
relate to her.

A few months ago, we were having our family night at KFC (funny how
your opinion of fine dining changes when you both live overseas and
have 4 small kids). In walks a small group of people. About four 10
year olds and their mothers walk in. Behind them walks the father of
one of the kids. Come to find out, the father of the birthday girl.
They all sat down and were talking, playing, opening gifts, cutting
cake and having a great time. Where did the dad spend the ENTIRE
meal/party? He spent it at another table, eating and reading his
newspaper. He didn't even pretend to want to be there. When the
bill came, he paid, but that's about the extent of his role there.

The state of fatherhood here is utterly depressing. Dads are
disengaged and actually live in separate cities a lot of the time.
Kids are considered the wife's deal and hopefully a way to secure
some retirement money.

But I don't want to pretend that we've got it all together either.
How easy it is to disengage or just relate to our spouse while our
kids are growing up in the background. As we've heard it said, "the
days are long but the years are short."

We all need to soak in our kids. To visibly show them that we want
them around and we want to know how they are processing their little

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