Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What We're Celebrating

CJ spent Christmas with our families in Missouri and then flew here to Lanzhou on Monday. We're celebrating the gift of our family being under one roof for these two weeks.

Yesterday David finished his final exams and we celebrated the completion of his first semester of Chinese school.

When he came home, he surprised us with “a student of progress” certificate that he'd received along with two other classmates. And although this semester has definitely had its share of bumps and challenges, we are proud of how hard David has worked and how much he has learned these past few months at school.

When Daniel and I walked to his kindergarten Monday morning, we crossed the road with two kids from his class. At one point Daniel was in the middle of the two of them, holding both of their hands. Then they started skipping/hopping down the sidewalk happily together. I loved seeing him enjoy life with his new friends.

I attended a parent meeting for his class later that day and was able to talk more with his teacher. I felt really thankful for the good communication that I have had with her, and grateful that she is patiently committed to helping him as best as she can. A definite area of progress is that he isn't telling her he has to go to the bathroom every ten minutes like he was a few weeks ago, but is able to (most of the time) wait for bathroom breaks with the rest of his class. She said that has really helped minimize class disruptions.

We celebrated Joshua's first college acceptance last month—to Notre Dame, and cheered him on as he submitted the last of his college applications just before midnight on New Year's Eve. He has been excited the past few days to get requests for interviews from two different schools. And it has been fun to dream with him about his future and all of the opportunities that are out there. Now that CJ is here joining in our discussions, he is heavily recruiting Joshua (and Jordan) to come to Notre Dame because he has had such a great experience there.

Yesterday Charly came across a service program that Notre Dame has set up in India, that we all thought sounded perfect for Jordan. Two years ago Jordan got so tired of what she felt were way too many family discussions about CJ's college options that she questioned if she even wanted to go to college. But this year she has become increasingly interested in exploring college possibilities for herself and is thinking about a future career in teaching, medicine, or therapy.

I love hearing our three older kids engaged in deep discussions, interspersed with outbursts of laughter. I love that when one of them has needed to go out on an errand, all three of them have been choosing to go out together. I love the way that they have grown in valuing their relationships with each other. And I love seeing them be such good big brothers and big sister to David and Daniel.

Last year Charly and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. And 2015 is our 20th year as a family living in China. We have big things to celebrate, and little things too. This morning, as David was getting ready to take a shower I told him his favorite pants were hanging on the clothes line because I knew he would want to wear those. As he danced across the room to get his pants, he sang out, “Mommy really knows me!” That little comment gives me another reason to celebrate: the recent  progress in our relationship.

What are you celebrating these days?


  1. Such a cool post. I really enjoyed the update on everyone.

  2. Esther, I thought you would be interested in reading this blog post:



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