Friday, May 31, 2013

Top Ten Reasons to Love Lea & Emily

We were so sad to say goodbye to Lea & Emily nearly two weeks ago. They have been wonderful friends over the past two years, and its hard to imagine Shenyang without them. I felt very blessed to be asked to take some pictures of the Jones ladies around our apartment complex. What a fun way to spend a bit more time with these lovely friends before we said goodbye. 

There are probably more like a million reasons to love Lea & Emily, but here are a few that I can think of right now. 

10. They love each other so much! It was a blessing to observe their mother-daughter relationship continue to develop. They have a strong bond and connection that many moms/daughters would be envious of. 

9. They understand each other. 

8. They enjoy and appreciate beauty. Oh yeah...they are also beautiful inside and out! Whether it's their ready smiles, or their sparkly eyes, be prepared to be mesmerized! 

7. Their sense of humor is contagious. We love to laugh together! Who knows why we're laughing, but I feel like every time we're together, there's lots of laughter. 

6. Their faith impacts others. Lea's testimony and obedience, Emily's tender heart and compassion--they  are an inspiration, encouragement, and blessing to those who meet them. 

5. Emily's friendship. Even though she is 5 years older than Willow, she always accepted her as a friend. It was wonderful to watch their relationship grow. Willow's screams of excitement whenever Emily walked in the door, Emily's ability to teach Willow new games and tricks, Willow's desire to say Emily's name, Emily's generosity in giving Willow many of her toys. I will always remember the week that Emily stayed with us while Lea was getting knee surgery. Emily is incredibly strong to have lived in China for two years. Emily has exhibited tremendous bravery through trials. Emily is learning to trust in God more and more. When I think of Emily, I see a picture of joy and kindness, mixed all together with a lot of mirth on top. 

Thank you, Emily for befriending my crazy baby, and always having a good attitude about playing with her. It meant the world to me;  she doesn't have many friends and you truly reached out to her.  I know spending time with you was one of the best parts of Willow's life. Sometimes, you were the first person she asked for when she woke up in the morning. You've brought so much joy to Willow, Adam, and myself--we wish that we could keep you forever! 

p.s. Thank you for always eating what I cook and bake. Not only do you eat it, you always ask for the recipe. I love that about you! :) 

4. Lea's Friendship. 
Always willing to help in the kitchen on family nights, 
Always willing to babysit Willow, 
Always offering help when she could, 
Always encouraging me as a new mom, 
Always sharing valuable advice, 
Always accepting--never judging. 

Thank you, Lea for the play dates with our girls, the starbucks dates, the shopping trips, the many meals we shared, the no-bake cookies, and the sushi! I'll miss having you over for dinner. I'll miss the edifying conversations, the massage trips, and having you over every Tuesday. Thank you for sharing your daughter with us. For the way you have trained her with your godly example. For encouraging her in her strengths and helping her in her weaknesses. For being an example to me of what a biblical mom looks like. 

3. Their heart for service and community. Whether it's at school, with their neighbors, or in the Philippines, these girls are constantly showering love on those around them. 

2. Lea's Obedience. She walks where He leads. 

1. And the number one reason is.....You can't imagine how you lived before you met them. Lea and Emily, you have impacted our lives in more ways than you'll know this side of heaven.

 Zai Jian, to our special friends. I think we'll meet again in this world, and I'm excited for eternity together. 

The Thing About Jet Lag.....

Is that there are positives aspects too...

  1. Waking up early without the usual pain and unwillingness 
  2. Early morning breakfasts with Willow and cuddle time 
  3. Quiet and solitude--time to read and write 
  4. Waking up while it's dark means you enjoy each moment of a sunrise
  5. Skype dates with my husband 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

21 Months

How it looked outside a few weeks ago. Now it's sunny and warm! Yay! I still haven't put our winter coats away yet because I feel like I can't trust the weather quite yet. 

Some pictures from when Willow was 21 months old. Now she's a few days away from completing 22 months. Craziness! Speaking of milestones....I can't remember how far along I am in this second pregnancy. My brain is fried!

Willow setting up her computer, her dad's computer, and the Ipad together.

Picking out her outfits is a new thing.
Wearing hoods as much as possible is also a new thing.

Sitting on a little shelf. Just her size, she thought.

Kind of blurry, but I thought it was so funny how she was posing for the camera. She is ever the high tech toddler and really wants to be able to take pictures and videos with our cameras.

Taking some of the decorations down and applying them as stickers. She was really proud of her destruction.

Her recent purchase that she's really happy about. 
These strawberry eyewear are fashion glasses--no lenses. 

Willow's gibberish is sounding more and more like English--I hear more and more distinguishable words everyday and her language patterns are improving. She has been a bit naughty this week, lots of whinging and tantrums. I feel like we go through cycles with this sort of behavior. The weather finally warmed up this week and she has been enjoying running around outside without her winter gear. She loves her 'coffee' (chocolate milk), new dollhouse, and new tricycle. She is still very attached to stuffed cat, and her two stuffed bunnies. Willow has no idea that she'll be on an airplane in less than three weeks! I hope she doesn't get motion sickness on the flights, since she has been throwing up in taxis lately.

Great face, Willow. 

I was going to write more, but I'm literally so tired and drained right now. We have two rehearsals left and then three performances, a cast party.....and then all the packing up to officially close Pygmalion. 

So close. So far. 

Willow is enjoying spending time with her Grandma Johnson who arrived five days ago. We've been very busy, it seems! I'm off to get a huge cup of coffee. And then off to school to finish some sets and props. Already finished a last minute emergency trip to Wu Ai (market) this morning to get more glue sticks, slippers for the play, and a handkerchief! 


Adam is a truly thoughtful husband. My french press cracked when Ayi was washing it. That was okay with was nearly four years old and had been used many, many times. The handle was about to fall off anyway. One day, I came home to find a new french press sitting on counter.

Thank you, Adam!