About Me

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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015, hello 2016!

Typically on New Year's Eve we go out to a fancy dinner with Lollie and Papa, but this year they went away to a bed-n-breakfast for a few days so it was just the 4 of us hangin' together.

Last night the girls spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa so J and I had a date night out with another couple from church.  Yipee!  It was actually the first time Mei Mei spent the night away from us and she did so well.  What a relief, because we've had some teary nights here of late and she's been talking about being afraid of monsters lately too.  Poor thing :(
Since we didn't have reservations anywhere, we knew we'd have to go early and also knew we wanted some kind of ethnic food.  Earlier in the day we had driven by a new Lebanese restaurant so we decided to go back there and try it.

It certainly wasn't fancy but everything tasted sooo good!  Mei Mei was in a bit of a mood as you can tell but snapped out of it quickly.
Waiting for our food.
Yum.  We gobbled it all down.  Now we all reek like garlic, ha!
When we got home everyone put on their jammies and we played one of Mei Mei's new games that she got for Christmas.  Then we went around and talked about goals we each have for 2016.
Daddy--being more deliberate and intentional with friends
Mama--being obedient to the one small thing that the Lord places before her
The Noodle--being a better sister to Mei Mei and taking even more AR tests in school
Mei Mei--not fighting with her sister
After the girls went to bed, J and I cracked open the champagne (it is New Years after-all!) and watched the movie The Butler.  We certainly didn't party-hearty but it was still a great New Year's Eve!  See you in 2016!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Even though they are skipping December, I actually documented what we've been up to this month so I thought I might as well throw it up on the blog.  You can see other posts here, here, herehere, here, and here.
What we're eating:
Besides the standard Christmas goodies, cookies, champagne, and other junk that we've been consuming non-stop, I've tried to keep somewhat sane where dinners are concerned.
Quick homemade ramen noodles speak to our love of noodles, ease and comfort food.  Added bonus? They are healthy with none of those preservatives and sodium.  Yuck-O!!  Go and make them--you won't be sorry.  Slurping is definitely allowed and encouraged.
Also on the menu is this fish curry.  It is quick, flavorful and tasty.  A win on all fronts.  Anytime I can weave fish into the rotation is a good thing.  Served it over brown rice for the win.
What I'm loving:
Being home with both girls and J.  Soaking in the Christmas goodness and remembering the real reason for the season--Christ's birth.  All the Christmas traditions that are so important.  Spending time with family.  Lots of laughs, snuggles and love.  It really is the BEST time of the year!
What I'm reading:
So I'm waaay late to the game on this one.  This is the first Jojo Moyes book I read and I really enjoyed it.  Don't know why it took me so long to pick up one of her books but I'm so glad that I did. This was a great read and I'd definitely recommend it.
By about page 10 of One Plus One, I realized that I wanted to read more by Ms. Moyes so I requested Me Before You.  Oh.My.Gosh.  It was one of those that I didn't want to end, and when it did, I cried. Sometimes you just need a good tear-jerker, right?  Something our hubbies just don't get!!  You can bet that After You is high on my list to read next!
Finally, I read Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist.  While this was the first book that she wrote, it was actually the third one that I had read by her.  This one was just as good as the other two--real life, straight shooting with God smack dab in the center of it all.  A definite read.
What I'm reminiscing about:
Well this girl went and turned 9 right before Christmas.  The nerve of her!  We decided to postpone her birthday until after the holiday when life was a little less hectic. 
I'm remembering her on her first birthday in the States when she turned 2...sigh.
What I'm doing this weekend:
Grabbing the last minute cuddles and snuggles before everyone goes back to regular life, watching a few more movies, lounging around, finishing up thank you notes and putting away the final Christmas decorations.  I love to have everything out for the holidays, but once the 26th comes, I'm READY to pack it all up.  Also, New Year's Eve and Day.  Bring on 2016!
What I'm excited about:
2016 and seeing how God moves.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Noodle turns 9

The Noodle celebrated her birthday right before Christmas.  Both sets of grandparents came over for a pizza dinner and ice cream cake for dessert.
We decided to postpone her party until after Christmas because of schedules, the craziness of life, etc., etc.  So glad that we did--we were really able to just enjoy it and not feel like one.more.thing.
She wanted to keep it small, so there were only a few little girls, which again was great.  The movie The Good Dinosaur was still playing and she thought it would be fun to go see that and then have ice cream afterwards.  Done and done.
Mei Mei invited a friend to join us as well.  What a sweet bunch of girls.  At one point, when all the girls went running ahead, giggling and screaming, he looked at me with a dazed look on his face and said "I guess this is our future?!"  Ha!
The movie was sweet and there may have been a tear shed or two.  As we were driving home, Mei Mei's eyelids kept getting heavier and heavier.  She just couldn't stay awake.  I guess it is a sign of a good party when you collapse on the floor right inside the door ;)
Noodle, you are turning into such a young lady!  Daddy and I love to see how God is moving in your life to grow you and shape you into the exact person who He has created you to be.  You still really like dinosaurs but are also into any kind of science.  Robots are beginning to be high on your interest list.  You love to read and given long stretches of time, will devour a book if you're not busy creating with your Legos!  You are creative, funny and such a good problem solver--we love to see your mind at work.  You are maturing and learning more and more about when to say things out loud and when to keep those thoughts in your head--ha!  We love you to the China moon and back and still love to pull you onto our laps to cuddle with you.  We know you secretly love it.  Happy birthday Chinese Noodle!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Hot Pot

Our friends from church have taken us under their wing and included us in all kinds of Chinese traditions.  Most recently we were able to try hot pot.

In all honesty, I had never heard of hot pot before meeting them, but let me tell you, it was so fun!  It is very similar to fondue--a communal, simmering pot of broth that you dip various goodies into.
The spread was so elaborate!  4 different types of fish balls, crab sticks, tofu, bok choy, 2 different types of mushrooms, fried tofu, glass noodles, salmon, talapia, shrimp, tofu skin, dumplings, clams, beef and udon noodles.  Whew, I think that was everything!
The natives are getting restless and are ready to eat!!
Our lovely hostess who makes all this food prep and entertaining look effortless.
 2 stuffed families with happy bellies!  Looks like we didn't even make a dent in the food, doesn't it?!
What get together is complete without a little guitar hero for the kiddos while the adults continue to graze?
We all decided that this will definitely have to become a Christmas tradition.  If you ever have the chance to try hot pot, make sure you give it a shot!

Christmas Recap Take 3--Down South Style

The last of our Christmas festivities culminate when we drive a few hours away to visit my extended family.  Our little family of 4 always makes a pit stop at IKEA and it never disappoints.
First stop, lunch after the long drive.  J was in his glory.  Can you see the Noodle's approval? She gives it a thumbs up.
Then, on to my Uncle's house.  He just celebrated his 50th birthday and for the bash, they built a bar and a raised stage for the 3-piece jazz band and singer.  I mean, um, hello?!  Crazy creative!!  Christmas at their house never disappoints (see here, here, or here)!

 Here's the bar--Club Claus.
 The raised bar with the grand piano.  Oh yes, they also love nutcrackers!
 Enjoying hors d'oeuvres.
 Love this little family of mine!
 A few weeks ago we were here celebrating my Nana's 90th birthday.  They love to throw a party!  Here was the table for the girls.
 Dessert table
The table for the adults
I spy J behind the bar!  See that huge martini glass?  It rotated.  For reals.
 Taking in the gorgeous view of the river...even if it was gray, foggy and rainy.  Still breathtaking.
 The table for the girls.
 Time for presents.
 A trip here is never complete without a ride on the Polar Bear Express!
 The next day we went to my Aunt's house for brunch and more chatting.
Finally, we ended up down at one of our family's favorite restaurant for coneys.  Even though everyone was so stuffed, we still managed to enjoy!
It is hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone, but it was another wonderful holiday!  Merry Merry!!