quite the month!

Oh my. There has been so much going on. What with the boys here, Christmas, going to Shanghai etc. I haven't had much time to write and take pictures. I didn't want to miss anything while the boys were here and (as you know) writing a full post takes a good deal of time. Here I go though... I have quite a lot to tell you.

First of all "Merry Christmas!"
I hope your Christmas was full of joy and love... I know mine was.

 Having Matt, William and Malachi (the friend) here was the best. The three of them left yesterday and my other brother Ben is staying until the end of January.
We got to do the whole "Suzhou tour" with them and take them to all our favorite spots. Let me just tell you that I'm pretty lonely for them right now and miss them dreadfully. Thank goodness Ben is staying!

Christmas eve, we had the Wirgaus and a couple of our Chinese friends over. We ate, exchanged gifts, took pictures and drank coffee. I love those Wirgaus.

Actually after church ended, Lydia and I got in a taxi and headed to the place where she works... she asked me to sing a couple of songs with her and David, so off we went. We ended up singing The Call by Regina Spektor and "Baby" by Justin Bieber on a stage, with Lydia playing the guitar, in front of a couple hundred Chinese people, just us three. Yep.

After everybody left all nine of us kids went down to the lake (it was about 11:00 pm). We set off a floating lantern (ever heard of one?) and watched it soar into the black, Christmas eve sky. We were all so excited and everybody was shouting and laughing. It was beautiful. Then we lit off a bunch of fireworks and those were amazing as well. This all made for a really fantastic Christmas eve and an oh-so- very memorable night. (Thanks Malachi for thinking of those great ideas!)

Christmas morning my Dad woke me up at about 7:45 am and we headed downstairs. We opened our stockings which were filled (all nine of them) with fun things. For breakfast we had bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls and more... it was delicious.

Then came the presents. Opening presents with so many people is exciting. I received the following... :)

My Mom had my own cards made, with my name, address, phone number, blog address, and email address on them! They're simply fantastic. She also got me a fun book :)

Among my others presents from all my siblings and Malachi were:

001. adorable, Chinese, glass cups
002. sour patch candy
003. a cozy flannel shirt
004. a pretty frame
005. hot chocolate with more chocolate to go with it (Oh yes).
006. beef jerky
007. a Cd
008. a (really great) wallet!
009. white raybans :)

I'm blessed.

The rest of the day was spent reading, eating, drinking some more coffee, lazying around, scootering to the park, enjoying being with the boys, and celebrating baby Jesus.

For Christmas dinner we had beef brisket, baked potatoes with sour cream and green onions (my favorite), winter salad, and rolls, which were all very delicious.

Two days after Christmas we headed down to Shanghai for the last two days with the boys. On Wednesday night we all went to the Bund! We ate at the "Lost Heaven" place again which was super fun.
We enjoyed the last couple of days with them so much. 
On Thursday the three boys left. Goodbyes were hard but I know I'm going to see them all in a few months.
On Friday we came back to Suzhou with Ben. I'm so glad Ben gets to spend lots more time with us.

My house looked so beautiful and cozy, and 11 people filled it up.

Today is New Years Eve and I have a little secret to tell you friends... I'll be a whole year ahead of you for about 15 hours! Yay.

I'm going to miss you 2011, please know that.

Thank you Lord for keeping us safe here in Suzhou, China throughout this whole year of 2011!

So with all that said let me end this post by saying,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I love you all.

2012 here I come.
Love, a

p.s. It's 11:28 pm... and you know what day it is!


a couple of words and a picture to tide you over

Picture taken by Malachi B. on Christmas Eve of my whole family. :)

So sorry it has been so long friends.
Full length post up hopefully by tomorrow!
Enjoy the picture.

Love, a


mr. baby tree/days gone by

This last week has been great. More than great because my brothers and friend are here. Music, games, laughing, more music, eating and everything in between have filled up our days and I'm quite happy with that. 

A couple of days ago several of the boys headed to Shanghai for a visit. The remaining few of us went shopping... I found an adorable sweater that I will take pictures of soon to show all of you lovely people how cute it is. Hehe.

I can't believe Christmas is in 8 days. That's all.

Yesterday our big group (meaning the eight of us plus Malachi,) and the Wirgaus met up at a karaoke place... it was amazing!!!

Isn't it cute? Thanks Mikayla. 

Have a favorite? 

So to wrap up this "somewhat-of-a-longer" post I'll just say "I'm happy" because I simply am.

Love, a

p.s. Bethy gave me the idea for the pictures of the tree. And the trees are about 1 to 2 inches high. :)


Hey friends

Okay here's the deal. The boys are here. Yes, they are!! We are having a blast and enjoying having them so much.

I'll be posting soon with some pictures over the past week, sound good? 

Love you all
Love, a


a jumble of before bed thoughts

These past two days my Mom has been gone in Hong Kong (I miss you Mom!) So we've been keeping busy by being with friends, shopping, eating pizza, and getting ready for all the boys to come. 
Tomorrow we head to Shanghai (yet again!) to meet my Mom, and the next day to pick up the boys!
I haven't seen my three brothers for about four months. I miss them all badly so I cannot wait.

I am full of happiness, joy, warmth and the excitement that these next couple of months bring. 
I hope you are too.

I'll write a long post soon. As of now I need to get to bed so I can wake up early.

 Like my idea? Photo by me :)

Love, a



Christmas trees are the best. Especially real ones. Those make me miss Mikayla. The one in the pictures is our little tree on the fifth floor. We are also trying to find a live one for our downstairs. If we don't succeed in doing that then we'll have some sort of fake one downstairs as well.

I'm linking up with my little sister Elisabeth for this post! Go over to her blog and check out her version. :D

What are you loving about December and the Christmas season right now? DO tell, because I love to hear your thoughts.
Do you have a favorite out of my pictures?

  This is the dress I want. Or something like it :) I'd wear it on Christmas eve!

This one I would like for my birthday party :D

I don't think you've checked out my friend's blog yet... Head on over here!

I love the lights. And I love Bokeh.

Love, a


cozy season

It's crazy how listening to one Christmas song sends countless memories flooding into your mind.

The day after Thanksgiving we always hiked up into the Colorado mountains, hunting for the perfect Christmas tree. Snow always spilled down, transforming our little town.
Everything was magical.

But... guess what? I'm not in Colorado anymore and everything is still magical. And I'm so excited for this Christmas season! 
China loves their lights, so naturally they put up lots of Christmas lights and decorations. Sure they might be really big and tacky but I, at least, am thankful for them. 
Classical Christmas music has already been playing in shops and restaurants for about a month. Now we can actually enjoy and listen for it.
It will get bitterly cold too. The kind of humid cold that settles in your bones. Burrr.

I miss Colorado a lot right now but as you know I love where I live and I love that I will spend Christmas here! And this won't be the first or the last time. 

Last night I made myself a cup of tea, went up to my room with a candle and our Sara Groves Christmas Cd.
I turned off the lights. But then I kind of wanted to cry. Then Bethy showed me a picture of New Castle... So I decided to listen to the Cd as I went to sleep instead.

A couple of days ago we started listening to our Christmas music and decorating our home with the same, familiar decorations and in a few more days week and a half my brothers will be here... Yes, yes let me put some exclamation points in there---!!!

So here's to the month of December, which has yet to arrive, and to more Christmas posts on azalea blue. 

Shirt: Target (Brand new, brought over with my cousin!)
Tank Top: Target (brought over the Summer.)
Jeans: From a friend (they're used but I love them!)
Shoes: Hand-me-downs from my Mom and before that, my Aunt Judy.

All three photos taken by Becca.

Love, a

Give this song a listen,
and this oneWe have too many favorites.
 Look at these shoes! (I don't know if I could wear these but I think they're really cute.)
Did you check this out???

New design! YAY! I guess the "cozy season" got to me.

p.s. To ALL my friends out there, I miss you guys. So much. <3



This year we were in Shanghai for Thanksgiving. It was wonderful so let me tell you about it.

We headed down on the fast train on Thursday morning. When we got there we went to my sister's apartment and ate lunch near there. She lives in the middle of Shanghai and I love it. It's fun visiting my big sis. Also we saw Hannah (cousin) again. After that my cousin Aaron had a basketball game, so we went to watch it. Personally I love watching basketball and hanging out around a bunch of high schoolers!

We planned to do our big dinner on Friday night so the next day was spent cooking and enjoying everything. That night a bunch of people came over and we feasted! My family (extended and immediate) is the best. I had lots of fun with my cousins and I continue to be thankful for them all.

 Thank you Lord for a lovely thanksgiving.

I guess I already did my Thankful list so, Happy Thanksgiving friends and family, I LOVE you all and I'm so thankful for you.  
Love, "thankful" a

p.s. Another Christmas post coming up ;)
p.p.s. You definitely want to look at THIS!



Thankfulness in advance

I have so much to be thankful for... and so much to look forward to. These next six weeks are occupied, filled up to the brim. "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

Here's what I'm thankful for and what the end of November/December brings.

>> Tonight my cousin Hannah is arriving in Shanghai! We're going to see her on Thursday when we head down to Shanghai for Thanksgiving. I can't wait! <<

>> Going to Shanghai to spend Thanksgiving with my family and staying there for a couple of days. <<

>> Hannah is bringing some new clothes I ordered from the U.S. <<

>> Thanksgiving dinner and turkey ... the turkey is really expensive here so we might not have had one if we were staying in Suzhou for thanksgiving, but we are going to Shanghai so we're covered. And I haven't really had much Turkey for the last year. <<

>> December 8th, Matt, William and Malachi arrive and won't leave until the end of December! Yes we are very, very blessed. <<

>> December in general. Christmas season! I've already told you how much I love Christmas. <<

>> December 18th Ben arrives! <<

>> Chocolate and Coldplay while I write. <<

*And lots more squished in between*

Cold, wet day. One of the pictures from the photo shoot I did with Bethy a couple of days ago.

      Love, a

p.s. This video really blessed me!



"We all have the opportunity to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth."


mei mei

A couple of days ago my little sister and I went outside into the beautiful Autumn air. The sky was showing off, so it was the backdrop for my photos. The sky is one of the most beautiful things. Ever.
This world is simply filled with incredibly pretty things and I'm glad God made it that way for us to enjoy.

So here is a mini-photoshoot I did with my beautiful little sister. 10 years old and sporting a new Navy Cardigan!

love, me

p.s. The title means "little sister" in Chinese :)


some feelings of mine

Can it be November? When I walk outside I still feel warm wind rushing through my hair and that isn't exactly what it feels like in the midst of Winter. Back in Colorado the cold has crept in, and warm, holiday feelings start crowding in. But although I know in China that all will be different this year, those feelings are going to come. It most definitely will get cold. But as of now the over all feeling hasn't changed that much yet.

My brothers are coming... the three that are back in America. Yes, yes I am so happy... how did you know? And we are going to have yet another Christmas with all ten of us. They're also bringing a friend, hurray!

I absolutely love Christmas. Christmas music is the best. We have so many x-mas Cd's that we've had for so long, that are so very special to us and I can't wait to listen to them non-stop (soon.)

Last year we were here for Christmas. We had all ten of us, and it was an amazing, first Christmas in China. Our shipment hadn't come yet so we didn't have any of our decorations and Cd's (although I had most of the music on my iPod, praise the Lord!) This year we have our decorations and the actual Cd's. :D 

We actually spent Christmas and the three weeks leading up to it in Shanghai, living in my Aunt and Uncle's house, while they went back to America. We had their foster baby with us (my cousin Maggie, remember?) for Christmas. It was wonderful being there. It was like having another baby sister in the house and I loved it so much.
Every year it's always so exciting waking up early and opening presents and such, but the last couple of years I've felt more then that. I've felt so relaxed and joyful about so much. The cold, frosty air outside, the warm, festive house filled with merry guests, having all of my family there and just completely enjoying the day and praising God. It IS about him.
I know it's kind of like once you get older gifts don't matter as much and all, but really you do feel different and start enjoying such things as I've mentioned. But I do still love receiving presents.

Last year I figured out this song on the piano by Coldplay called "Christmas Lights" and now whenever I hear this song, I think of our Shanghai Christmas. It was a wonderful time.

Every Christmas has been (and hopefully always will be) so special to me. I love it.

So back to the first thought. It is only November 13th, so lets think about Thanksgiving first, shall we? 

p.s. Yeah I know, I said Christmas ten times, but I didn't want to say x-mas that much you know? Another thing, maybe sometime I'll record the song I talked about... yeah maybe :)
More on Christmas in about a month, xoxo.



  >>This post will simply be pictures<< 


Love, a

p.s. Which picture if your favorite? Do tell :D


Maggie Moo

                           This is my new cousin!!! She was just officially matched with my Uncle and Aunt!!!

                                          I am so happy to have this adorable little girl in my family forever.
                                                                    Love you to pieces Maggie Moo :)
                                                                                      Love, a


lock in + new shoes + nails done

Listening to: Up In Flames by Coldplay (New, AMAZING CD called Mylo Xyloto)

Don't you want to read this post? I mean look at the title, looks kind of interesting doesn't it? So yes, I would love you to keep reading... :D

On Friday we went to Shanghai again. This time we were going to celebrate my aunts birthday and such.
When we got there two of my boy cousins were going to go to this school/youth group "Lock In" thing and they invited my sister Becca and I to go along. It was going to be all night and there was going to be a ton of fun things to do, so we decided to go. I'm so happy we did, because it was SO much fun.

There were probably about 120 high school and middle school kids there and of course grown-ups. They split everybody into four different teams, Green for Spring birthdays, red for Summer, Blue for Autumn, and Black for Winter. I was Green.

We played dodge ball, then capture the flag in the dark, in a huge soccer field, and did some worship. At about 1:30 am we did a big scavenger hunt, looking for clues, to solve a mystery thing. At about 2:30 am everybody got out their sleeping bags, so then the whole entire gym was covered (which looked pretty crazy) in beds. They started a movie and a lot of people fell asleep but I stayed awake all night... through all three movies... so the next day I was naturally super tired.

It was just a great time to meet some other high schoolers and hang out and have a blast. And to be with my two, awesome boy cousins!

While I was there my aunt gave me some shoes that I had commented on. So scroll down to see my new "darlings".

Recently my Dad, Becca and I went to Auchan to get food and for Becca and I to have some fun. :)
So Becca and I got our nails done. It was great and (you'll be jealous) was only 10 kuai! (That is about $1.50 usd.) I got my nails painted with a shiny, coral pink color. It's really pretty but I couldn't get a good picture of it.

Hey, there's me!

Don't worry, the shoes are black and white, so that's basically the real color :)

                                                                             Love happy, a



Last week we went on a little field trip with the Wirgaus (little might be an understatement.) We went to a place called Shantong Street to go on a boat tour through a canal. Exciting! Especially with the Wirgaus.

First of all we shopped... chicken feet keychains, glass goat bracelets and elaborate masks were such things bought that day.

We got on a small boat that had about 25 seats and back and front platforms, (quote from Beth after we were arguing over sitting next to the Wirgau girls "I'm going in the back, are you guys kidding me!!") Most of the time we were on the back or the front looking around and taking pictures and then we went sort of crazy. Crazy fun that is.
When another boat would pass we would try to get them to pump their fists, so us five girls and two boys were pumping theirs fists and yelling. We got a bunch of people excited.
Then we got to a place where we went under a bridge and there were people lining the whole entire bridge and more people on the side of it and someone on another boat asked us, "where are you from?" and we started yelling "America" and then I said "Long live the King!!!" (Yes I'm weird!) And everybody was kinda waving and we were all laughing and... yeah it was crazy.
Right when we got off the boat, three of the men that were watching us came running over and so then I got pictures with all of them (I was the one who said to all of them "Long live the King" :D.)
After all that hoopla, Lydia, Leah and us three girls were getting a bunch of pictures with random people along the way. :)

Then two girls and a guy started taking pictures with us. They loved my little sister Beth and one of the girls even kissed her. I think they have about a hundred pictures of all of us on theirs phones now. I got (okay I wanted) a picture with the guy and he put his arm around me and kinda squeezed me, so that's why I look the way I look. :D

This happens quite often with Foreigners here in China and I just wanted to try and explain what it is like.

I still don't think I can quite explain it all. Sometimes you just have to be there to understand what I'm talking about. I hope I gave you somewhat of an understanding though.

That night we ate at a dumpling place and continued to enjoy each others company. We found a Coco where we could get Pearl milk teas and shopped a little more. I found this really cute, yellow winter hat but I didn't buy it. :(

We were walking back to meet everybody when this guy with a monkey on a leash walked up. It was kind of a shock to see a monkey walk up (when the only place I've ever seen one is in the Zoo) and then it jumped on Leah. I got some pictures of it on her arm. We laughed a lot about that too.

Cameras everywhere!

Picture by my sister Rebecca (Becca I'm so sorry I forgot to do that the first time.)
 The day was filled with laughter, friends, Chinese people, boats, pictures, lots of walking and senses being stimulated. Excitement might sum it up.

                                                                  I enjoyed it all throughly.
                                                                              Love, a