Archive for April, 2007

Kennedy International School

KIS classroom.jpg

I am not sure what utterly delightful mood got into the boys last Thursday afternoon, but they decided to set up an entire school for the girls. Including: teacher’s planning room (teachers only), dance class, music class, math class (this is China) and a playground. They are genuinely interested in helping the girls prepare for their academic career. This lasted for a solid 20 minutes – I could not believe the boys did not give up. I really had no part except to record to show them in 20 years…

For the masses, I recommend the first few minutes (the full 10 minutes is really meant for their die-hard grandparents, although Zachary teaches ballet somewhere in the middle…).

Click here to see video. (

[Note: I suggest pushing Play on the video, then pausing and allow the video to download, then unpause when complete to avoid the video starting and stopping.]


An Average, But Never Boring Saturday in China

7 am – Kids get up

8 am – Parents get up

9 am – Dan/Dad makes pancakes

10 am – Sara/Mom suggests we go to a plant/pet flea-market-like place. Calls around and gets the name “bao di jia” (or something similar – please don’t check…)

11 am – The six of us pile into one small taxi (SOP) and head out. Notice Noah blissfully playing Hang Man in back of cab amidst insane traffic.


Noon – We explore this massive building. First floor = dozens of aquarium shops, second floor = animals (cats, dogs, mice, scorpions!), third = plants


1 pm – Snacks outside. A very common scene for us – a crowd gathers. We used to think of ourselves as celebrities, we have come to realize we are simply a spectacle (4 young kids, 2 adopted, foreigners, etc). We have very little idea what they are saying, but they were very friendly – despite the body language captured in this picture. Click here to see short video clip.


2 pm – Hannah naps on daddy, all head home
3 pm – Mommy crashes, kids have quiet time, Daddy savors Northwest Dark Blend + Dark Chocolate M&Ms 🙂
4 pm – Dad & Boys save the galaxy in Lego Star Wars II (again)
5 pm – Boys, unprompted, play extraordinarily well with the girls. Click here to see short video clip.
6 pm – Special treat, pizza delivered from ‘Pizza Hill’
7 pm – Bath Time!

8 pm – Local friends, including ‘Thomas’, come over for ‘Chinese Corner’ – a chance for Sara and I to practice our Chinese and spend time with friends (and get beat at Chinese chess). Noah holds his own…


9 pm – We show an episode of “Seinfeld” (a Kennedy favorite) and talk about misconceptions and truths about American culture. I get bold and show a ‘random’ Nooma video with Chinese subtitles (#2 Flame! – never heard of Nooma? they are great – check out


11 pm – Blog and bed!


Jars of Remembrance

When we lived in D.C., the leader of our fellowship once gave a talk on Exodus 16. He encouraged us to make jars of remembrance – tangible reminders of our father’s faithfulness. When we don’t know how we will take the next step, these memories can bolster our faith. He has been so faithful.
Tonight we want to share with you one of the stones of remembrance we are celebrating right now:

DSC04381.JPG Zach left the US a sweet, but anxious and fearful six year old. He strongly resisted change, was germophobic, hated to try new foods and felt a high need to follow all the safety rules he could find. He was nervous around adults, and struggled mightily to make friends. Our pediatrician, his teacher and close friends were quite worried about his ability to transition to a dirty, urban environment with chaotic traffic, no seat belts, erratic rules, vastly different language and culture, etc. We cannot explain the miracle that happened in his heart and mind while we were en route, but miracle would not be too strong a word. The first day we were in Beijing, Zach was exuberantly tossing in all kinds of unrecognizable food into a boiling pot of soup on our table, fishing out the cooked veggies and roots with chopsticks and eating with zest. He has tried all kinds of foods that most adventurous US eaters might avoid, rides his bike on Chinese streets and most recently, has taken to phoning adults on our team to ask them to buy his homemade cards. This has really been one of those ‘stand back and let him work’ miracles. It was immediate and unaccountable from a human perspective.

We are so thankful.


Family Photo Album


Homegrown band with the classic metal mixing bowls for drums, chopsticks for drumsticks

Thought we might post a few recent family pictures – no particular theme, we just want to keep the grandparents happy! Enjoy! Sara


Zach continues to engineer all kinds of wonderful things – this is a candy dispenser, handily attached to his bed/kids playing soccer behind our building


The Chinese translate Easter literally “Live Again Day”

Just a few pictures from an English Club on Sunday night. The topic was Easter…

Our friend Molly sharing the tradition of Easter.


Our group picture – I think I blend in…



Thank you Viselli Family!


In about 2 hours our dear friends Joey, Jill, Joseph (9) and Jenevieve (6) Viselli will board a plan in Beijing for their trip back to Ohio. We were so blessed by their visit. Our hearts desire is for each one of you to understand what He is doing here. There is no better way than crossing the ocean. Our apologies for going ‘dark’ on our blog and email for the last week, but with 10 of us sharing our cozy apartment, things have been a bit crazy. Please think of the Viselli family as they make the long trek home.

– Dan

A few pictures from their visit…

DSC04481.JPG Hard to come to China and not take this picture (in front of the Forbidden City)

DSC04548.JPG Sara and I on the Great Wall. [Note to Michigan State fans (especially Todd): We also like Michigan State but only own Michigan sweatshirts. Please accept our deepest apologies.]

DSC04560.JPG Lunch on the Great Wall. Noah and Hannah being super-sweet.

DSC04597.JPG Lunch at a rural restaurant, complete with pig feet, heel, stomach and chicken head (Go Jenevieve!)

Tell me this isn’t just amazing! When are you coming?