It's always so hard to summarize time with visitors, but here we go.
My sister accompanied my mom and aunt to our city. Their fist stop was to south western China to visit my sister's family. Yes, all 8 of my mom's grandchildren live in China. If you see her this Christmas, buy her a Chai latte and give her a hug.
We went straight from the airport to our house where 30 or so friends awaited us to celebrate Thanksgiving. We ate and introduced until everyone was full and tired of smiling.
We played pin the tail on the turkey and spent the evening being incredibly grateful to the Lord. Man, He is sure good to His children.
We spent the next day touring a local Buddhist temple and feeding fish crackers and gum. Everyone commented on how young these ladies look. I have a lot to look forward to as I get older. They are in great shape and are just really lovely people.
It rained most of the week, but that didn't stop us from getting out and about.
I took them out one morning to get a massage. I don't have pictures, but let's just say there was laughing and commenting, "Did she do THIS to you too?" It was hilarious and felt awesome.
We walked through campuses and met with some of friends. My favorite part of having visitors is that it gives them memories to hang on the stories they hear from our part of the world. The news reports turn into family stories, the articles turn into struggles from real people.
We spent our Turn Off Your Phone Day at a local orphanage. We try to hang out there once a month and love on the kids there. Our kids blow bubbles, ride scooters, and hug all ages of children. We made Christmas cookies that morning to bring to this orphanage and then later on that afternoon to the orphanage that our the little boy, Steven, stays at. He is the boy in foster care with a family at the orphanage who comes over to play at our house all the time. The kids had a blast making dozens of cookies and laughing with other kids their same age.
I'm pretty sure we consumed 25 cups of tea in this one sitting. A sweet couple owns this tea shop and gave us each a tea set as a gift.
One night, we celebrated Selah's 11th birthday with Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, sweet potato fries, and chocolate cake. We all went around the table and said these things about my first born:
quick to serve
has a loving burden for the people around her
wrestles and plays with younger siblings
a joyful disposition
We love you sweet girl!
It stopped raining for 18 minutes, so we headed out to pelt our children with balls and wear everyone out a bit.
They got to meet some of our kids friends. I love this because now when my kids tells stories about their friends, there are giggles and smiles that give their names substance.
We dug out some Christmas decorations and made our house look like this.
We made tons of sugar cookies and brought them to lots of different friends.
We spent a couple of hours having coffee, playing war, and getting our pictures taken by strangers. Tis the life of a foreigner here.
Halfway through our hang out session, we were approached by a local newspaper. They were doing a piece on the love of families. Hitting the journalist's jackpot with a large family of foreigners, we were asked to pose for this:
It ended up being an add for a cell phone company and posted on the Chinese version of Twitter within the hour. We had friends texting us telling us they were seeing our picture all over the web. Lovely.
This little courtyard was beautiful and for a few captivating moments we didn't feel like we were in a city of 6.5 million.
My mom and aunt had several nights where the kids divided up and spent the night at their hotel. They took longs baths, curled up in hotel robes, and incurred fainting spells upon seeing the breakfast buffet each morning.
On one of the last days in town, we stumbled upon this restaurant called, "Modern Toilet." I'm not sure my boys could get any happier. To be allowed to mention potty talk at the table and us not get angry was beyond delightful for all of our kids. And maybe even me too.
We had an incredible time and hope they can hop the pond again soon!