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!

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