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On Saturday we woke up to a 12-year-old!  I can’t believe it!

Late Friday night we finished packing up after being in Zhengzhou for 8 nights…and before we went to sleep (Wen was fast asleep already – he got really excited about packing up – he continues to surprise us with how ready he is to go home) we set out a little birthday surprise for him.  The first of many!


He woke up singing “Happy Birthday”


And was really excited about his lego toy…as I’ve mentioned before, legos are his favorite thing!  And, as Chinese tradition, we gave him a special red envelope with some money in it – for him to go shopping at the lego store in Beijing.


At breakfast there was pineapple on the buffet for the first time – his favorite (and Baba’s favorite too!)


After breakfast we headed to the airport with our group and boarded the plane for Guangzhou where we will spend another week (for medical visit and visa appointment at the US Consulate).  It was his first airplane flight and he was really excited about it.  The airline even gave him a birthday card!

He loved the plane flight and everything went really smoothly transitioning to our hotel in Guangzhou.  It’s the same hotel we stayed in with Philip – the China Marriott.  It’s not as nice as the Hilton in Zhengzhou but Guangzhou the city is much nicer out than Zhengzhou.  We left the snow and pollution behind for (somewhat) cleaner air and warm weather – 75 degrees!  To me Guangzhou is beautiful.  The tropical flowers are blooming and the weather is perfect.  Our guides told us last March when we were here the 2 best months to visit Guangzhou are March and November.  Check.

Our biggest birthday surprise for him was when we arrived on the bus to the hotel in Guangzhou, his friend Robert was there waiting to welcome him!  Rob is a missionary from Ireland who works in an orphanage in the Hunan province but has known WenXuan far longer than us!  He lived with him and some of the Eagle’s Wings kids for 5 months one year, and other years has volunteered at Bring Me Hope camps and visited and helped advocate for the children at Eagles Wings.

In fact, he’s one of the people who are responsible for us “finding” Wen in the first place – it was one of the videos he posted about Wen that we saw.  He has since been a huge resource and friend, helping us to learn about Wen, FaceTiming, etc.



After we got settled, we walked to Macau Street restaurant for dinner nearby the hotel.  It was one of the best China meals we had last time – and this time too!  So good!!!  If you’re going to China, holler and I’ll send you what to order in Chinese Characters.  Or post it here later.

When we got back to the hotel, the agency had ordered a birthday cake for us so we sang and had cake.


We also FaceTimed Rob’s family and his sister Ciara (pronounced Kiera – like Kiera Knightly).  She has also been a huge help in getting us photos and info about Wen when she visited him and was with him for Bring Me Hope camp.  And FaceTimed his brothers so they could wish him Happy Birthday and sing to him too!


And Wen got a special present from his friend Jay (he used to be at Eagles Wings but now lives in Kansas with his family)…LEGO!  It was a great 12th birthday.  It will be hard to top this one!!!





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Back to School

I feel like I’m back in school.  A much more fun school though.  If you’re wondering, I’m currently enrolled in the school of YouTube and Pinterest.  You can learn how to do just about anything. Recently I’ve learned:

How to do an easy half-up hairstyle (check out all this girl’s videos…tons of ideas)


How to unclog a drain

How to make a teepee (we haven’t made it yet…but one day I will do this for Rand…and me…)

How to make a healthier version of a California sandwich

How to make a toga out of a bed sheet (4 ways!)

How to make something yummy with Quinoa (note: food lion in Pinehurst does not carry Quinoa.)

How to wrap wine (or beer) bottles for a hostess gift or to take on a picnic

Other things I’ve learned from the “School of PinTube” (can you think of a better name?) include:

boiling eggs perfectly

baking chicken without it getting dry

how to get stains out

how to play (just about any song!) the piano

how to install an infant car seat (Wes did this one, not me…I still have yet to learn it)

how to change the ring in the frontload washer (Wes again)

how to help a choking infant/heimlich maneuver

and so on…what have you learned that’s been helpful?

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