Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year & Some Pics from Yesterday

Here are some pictures of the Tea House, the Birds Nest Olympic Stadium, and some shots while driving.

Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City

Today we visited Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, a tea house, and saw the acrobatic show.  Did I mention in the last post it was "FREEZING"!  Well the high was 27 F with wind chill it felt like 8 F  - there is a picture of flags at a memorial in Tiananmen Square that you can see are straight out due to the winds.  Lynda and Hannah got new coats to help keep them warm, they will be needed even more tomorrow at the Great Wall.

Everyone is sleeping now as I (Kevin) update the blog.  We were up at 4am Beijing time and have gone non-stop all day it is now 8:20 PM. I guess none of us will be making it to midnight tonight to celebrate the New Year in - so to all of you Happy New Year, may God richly bless you and may you all enjoy peace and joy in 2011!!!

Cameron Forbidden City

Lynda Forbidden City

Kevin & Hannah Tiananmen Square

Hannah Forbidden City
Hotel Entrance

Thursday, December 30, 2010

We Are In Beijing!

We made it to Beijing yesterday afternoon, due to the jet lag we spent last night catching up on sleep and decided to wait until today to log on the internet. We are about to go out and tour the Forbidden City and see the acrobat show.  It is freezing here - much colder than it was when we were here 5-years ago.  Cameron & Kevin ran into a man on the elevator who was born in Beijing but now lives in Chicago and he told them that this is the coldest he has experienced here.  (hi temp yesterday was only about 26 F).

Waiting in Guangzhou Airport for connection to Beijing.

Breakfast this morning in Hotel (Beijing)

Hannah at Starbucks with Clay Soldier Replica

Our first of what will start our collection of "Lost In Translation" signs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bags Packed, House/Pet Sitter Ready, Kids Excited, Leaving Tonight

We are ready, all the bags are waiting near the door, our house/pet sitters are checked out on the house, cats, and dogs; the kids are excited, and we leave for LAX around dinner time tonight.

Within days Lauren will no longer just be words on a page, or pictures on a refrigerator and blog; she will go from being the dream in our hearts to a daughter and sister physically in our lives to hold and love!

This will be our last blog entry until we arrive in Beijing, please continue to pray for our safe travels and for us all to stay healthy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Changes in the House & Changes in Technology

The house sure looks different with all the decorations down, it seems so empty and bare. We did not think we would be able to get it done before leaving, but we did it all in one day!  Just a few stops to pick up some last minute items today, and then one more sleep until we leave for China!

As for technology, we were thinking about our first adoption 17-years ago with Cameron when we would have to drive 45 minutes from our old house in the mountains down to town to use the fax & copiers at Kinkos. We had an old Apple IIGS computer with no internet and only one cell phone for emergencies only (as it cost $1/minute to make calls.) Then 15-years ago we went to Russia to bring Amber home, no cell phones or internet in Russia, as a matter of fact to call home we had to call an international operator and wait for them to call us back when they had a line available for our call. (in the middle of the night)

During our last trip to China 5-years ago to bring Hannah home we had to get a Panda Phone (a cell phone for in China) as our cell phones would not work there.  We did have internet, but blogging was not yet widespread and there was no Facebook, so we used a service to post a travel log and photos.

For our trip this time we will take multiple laptops with us with VPN's installed and Skype to video chat with family (also make calls & text). We will also have Lynda's cell phone, our iTouch ipods for music and video entertainment, and Hannah's Leapster (and one for Lauren).

It seems looking back we are finally moving into the George Jetson future, the world has become so small as people from all over the world are checking in, following our journey, and praying for our safe travels.

Thank you all!

And one of Hannah from yesterday - just because she is so cute!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


We had a wonderful time this morning and have some great things that we all need to pack for our China trip, Hannah said Santa must have really been paying attention since he knew exactly what we each still needed for our trip!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Tonight we have Amber and Eddie with us for Christmas Eve.  After Christmas Eve service at our church we returned home and took a look at the NORAD site to see where Santa was on his trip around the world.    We also let the kids (and Kevin) partake of our annual tradition to open one present on Christmas Eve.  Hannah then put out a plate of cookies and eggnog for Santa and some celery and carrots for the reindeer. Hannah went to bed so excited and can not wait for morning!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Drying & Dryer


Well after almost a week of rain (yeah all you non-So Cal folks just can't relate)  : )  we are finally seeing the sun rise and hope to have the saturated ground dry out.  The unofficial information I saw for our area is over 13-inches of rain in less than 7-days, so we got our annual rainfall in one week.  Although we are thankful for the rain, it would have been better being spread out over a longer period of time.


Last night Lynda started the dryer and heard a "clunk" and then the drum stopped turning.  The belt broke and the idler pulley looks like it exploded! (well maybe just fell a part - but exploded sounds more exciting).  I (Kevin) head out soon with Cameron and Hannah to pick up the parts which they have on hold for me since I was able to call them 15-minutes prior to their closing last night.  Our afternoon will now consist of fixing the dryer and a conference call with our FTIA coordinator and travel partners - two other families that we have only met through e-mail and blogs.

Only 2-days until Christmas and 5-days until we head out to China!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Itinerary Received & Battening Down the Hatches

Well, as Southern California is experiencing a string of heavy storms we have been busy with the extra chores of "battening down the hatches"!  We have about a 600-foot section of dirt road that leads to our driveway (luckily the driveway is asphalt since it is going uphill).  The runoff is taking a toll on some sections of the road with some really nice ponds forming in the low lying areas!  : )  We are also still trying to figure out how some water is oozing into our back room addition (we had professionals install the roof and that is the only thing that has ever given us problems). This afternoon Kevin & Cameron will be shooting in some foam and putting up some new flashing material.

On the bright side we have our itinerary our Gotcha Day for Lauren will be Tuesday, January 4th!!!

Remember the photo of the great sunset the other day - same view today!

  Pond forming in the road to our house.

Almost Full Pool - well at least it saves us from running the well pump!

Rain Collection Barrel - already emptied twice!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tickets to China & Family Christmas Photo

We have our itinerary for International Flights:  We will be leaving Dec 28th, after about 15-hours of flying arrive in Guangzhou Dec 30 in the morning (4-hour layover) then a 3-hour flight to Beijing.  We will receive the internal (domestic) China flight information and hotel information from our agency next week as their Beijing staff is formalizing those arrangements.  We will return home on the 14th of Jan. after about a 12-hour flight, last time we had a great tail wind and did it in about 10 1/2-hours (it is strange we totally skip Dec 29th when we travel to China and coming home we arrive in LA several hours earlier on the 14th then when we left China).  We will be flying internationally in Premium Economy (what us older folks used to call Business Class), it is the only way I will do 15-hours in the air!  (Kevin)

Today we took our annual Christmas family photo in front of the tree, we are one short this year as Amber moved out on her own last January and is getting married in March. Next year however, we will have 5-again as Lauren will be home with us!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Travel Dates Received

Our Consulate Appointment for Lauren's visa has been confirmed 1/11/2011 - we are now moving forward with the travel planning.  We will be leaving LA on 12/28 (Tuesday) and returning on 1/14 (Friday).  Not quite sure of all the particulars yet, however we will be in Beijing on 12/30 the next week in Shanghai, and finally the last week in Guangzhou.

We are lucky enough this time to not just have pet sitters coming over - but house sitters watching the place for us while we are away!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


T. A.

Yes - we got the call from Betty first thing this morning, we have our travel approval (TA) from China.  Our agency has a group leaving the week after Christmas and if they can get us in on the same consulate appointment (CA) we will be leaving in two weeks to go bring Lauren home!

Keep us in your prayers as we prepare for the journey and for safe travels.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December Weather in California

December is always strange when it comes to weather in Southern California.  Last Sunday cold and rainy with all the surrounding mountains getting snow. The other night we went to Disneyland to see the Christmas decorations and lights and the daytime temperature never got above 65 with the night temperature around 38.  Today - sunny with a daytime high around 84 with the temperature to be around 90 tomorrow! But what a spectacular sunset tonight.  Enjoy the pictures from our front yard at sunset this evening and some pictures from Disneyland the other evening.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Decorations & Christmas Preparations

Still waiting on our Travel Approval (TA), in the meantime we are still decorating the house and making preparations for Christmas.

Main Tree & Fireplace in the Great Room of the house:

Sun room Tree and Decorations:

Hannah & Cameron decorating Hannah's Tree (yes purple is her favorite color!):

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Baby "Toddler" Shower

Today, Amber (our oldest daughter) & Eddie (fiance) along with our friends Joel & Tracy hosted a Toddler shower for us.  We were joined by family and friends that we love dearly and will be a wonderful extended family for Lauren when she arrives home.

Lynda & Hannah

Lynda's Parents (Hank & Harriet aka - Grandpa &Baba)

Eddie & Cameron

Hannah and Steve B.

Hannah, Kevin, & Lynda