Forever Four Family

The Londgren Family Web Site - A place for family, friends, our favorite pets, pictures and adoption.
Post Date

Sizzling 4th in Chicago 2012

Hot and very fun weekend at Aunt Stacy and Uncle Dave's in Chicago.
July 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


CAAM CDT Summer Camp 2012

CAAM CDT Summer Camp - The Girls learned Counting the Stars Dance and a number of other great skills.
June 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


June CAAM CDT 20th Anniversary Fun 2012

CAAM CDT Summer Picnic and Flint Hills Festival Children's Parade.
June 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


June Graduations and Dad Celebrations 2012

End of the year fun and activities abound as 1st Grade draws to a close.
June 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


June Graduations and Dad Celebrations 2012

Graduations, Concerts and Father's Day Celebrations
June 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


Maddie's Summer Soccer 2012

Maddie's summer soccer - Go Flamming Fire.
May - June 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


Gabe's Summer Soccer 2012

Gabe's summer soccer - Home of Pack soccer and the Purple Eagles.
May - June 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


Memorial Day Weekend Summer Kick-off 2012

Memorial weekend Sleep Over and family gathering at the lake
May 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


Mother's Day and Sunny May Fun 2012

Mother's Day, Festival of Nations and much more!
May 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


CAAM CDT Spring Recital 2012

CAAM CDT Spring Recital - Girls Watching Opera.
April 2012 - 3 Pages of Content.


Easter 2012

Easter, early spring and saying good-bye to a dear friend..
April 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.


Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 2012

A trip to South Carolina to see Grandma and Grandpa plus sun and fun on the beach at Myrtle Beach.
March 2012 - 4 Pages of Content.


Julie's Birthday and the Winter that Wasn't 2012

Julie's Birthday and a very strange warm winter.
March 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.

2/26/2012 Chinese New Year/Forever Family Day 2012

The Year of the Dragon! Outreach at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and a great day with our adoption group to celebrate six years of our forever families.
Febraury 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.
2/26/2012 More Winter Fun 2012

Gymnastics, Dance, Mia's 7th Roller Skating Birthday Party. Also updates on Gabriels annual check at the University of Minnesota.
Febraury 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.
2/4/2012 Gabe's 5th Birthday Party 2012

Gabe's 5th Birthday - School Party, Cake at Home - More Photos to Come.
Febraury 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.
1/29/2012 China The Beautiful - CAAM Perfromance 2012

China the Beautiful - From the Mountains to the Prairie.
January 2012 - 3 Pages of Content.
1/29/2012 Winter Fun 2012

Birthday Mania! Pictures from all of the Chongqing Cousins birthday parties.
January - Febraury 2012 - 1 Pages of Content.
1/26/2012 Christmas 2011

Christmas - Mom and dad visited! Tom and Sheri hosted Julie's family celebration.
December 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
1/26/2012 Group 88 Holiday Party 2011

A fine holiday celebration with great food and better company.
December 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
1/26/2012 Maddy's 7th Birthday 2011

A birthday party at Grand Slam and an American Girl Doll!.
December 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
1/26/2012 December Activities 2011

Non-stop Motion! Birthday parties, the zoo, cookies, shopping, visiting with friends.
December 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
1/26/2012 Chris' Birthday 2011

PF Chang and the big Surprise!.
December 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
12/10/2011 Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving - This year we hosted Thanksgiving at our house. Lots of fun with Julie's family.
November 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
12/10/2011 Crossroads Family Fun Night 2011

Crossroads Family Fun Night! - Lots of fun with our family through adoption. All for a great Cause.
November 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
11/4/2011 Halloween 2011

Crossroads Family Fun Night! - Lots of fun with our family through adoption. All for a great Cause.
October 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Fall Activities 2011

Autumn Moon Festival, Gabe's Soccer, Maddy's Gymnastics, Gopher Football Saturday's, Family Outing, Birthdays, and Get-togethers of all kinds.
September - October 2011 - 6 Pages of Content.
Firsts and Lasts - First Day of School 2011

Maddy the 1st grader and Gabe in his last year of pre-school get ready for another academic year
September 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Fast and Furious End to Summer

Lake Harriet Concert and a trip to the state Fair highlighted the end of summer!
August - September 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.


Minnesota Chinese Day Care Recital 2011

Both Gabe and Maddy shine at the recital filled with dance and recitation. It was fun to watch the kids and all of their friends put on such a great performance.
August 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.


Video Section Revamped

Video section changed to include more visual navigation. Many new videos to check out. Lots of the kids and their activities,
My Sister and Her Family Visit Late Summer 2011

Stacy and her family visit for a nice weekend and a high school reunion
August 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Garden Section Overhaul including Garden 2011

Revamped, including photos from our new garden at our current houses. 3 years late, whose counting
1998 - 2011 - 12 Pages of Content.
Yogi Bear Camping Weekend 2011

Our second Yogi Camping adventure.
August 2011 - 3 Pages of Content.
Michigan Dunes 2011

Group 88 takes on the beautiful beaches of Michigan.
July 2011 - 9 Pages of Content.
Summer Sizzle

Summer 2011 was hot and very busy. Trips to the lake, birthday parties, Ben's graduation party, Independence Day, Gymnastics, Strawberry Picking and more.
July 2011 - 6 Pages of Content.
Grandparents Visit

Includes Gabes first meal after surgery (pizza pig-out) and a trip to the Como Zoo.
June 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
End of Kindergarten Early Summer

Track and Field Day, Last Day of Kindergarten, Flint Hill Festival and Park and Rec.
June 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Soccer 2011

Gabe's first season and Maddy's 2nd. Go Green Hornets, Go Stars!
May - June 2011 - 2 Pages of Content. Updated with even more photos!
Gabe's Medical Journal

Updates on Gabe's medical visits and two surgeries this spring/summer.
February - June 2011 - 3 Pages of Content. Updated with more photos.
May Days 2011

Mothers Day, Jacob's Confirmation, Maddy's Elementary School Carnival
May 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Winter Celebrations 2011

Julie's Birthday, Kathy's Birthday Party, Mall of America
March 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Easter and Spring Thaw 2011

Easter Egg Hunts and Family Celebration and Laura and Craig's
April 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Our Home Page

Our home page is updated again. We have updated and simplified navigation.
The page has a more modern menu system and has a clean new look. See comments below in Messages and Observations from the Web Master for more details.
Our Travels

Launch of our travels area. Map based and tabular view focusing on our travels.
1 Pages of Content. Oh the places you will go! Even cooler with the Google Earth Plug in.
Group 88 Memorial Day Dinner 2011

Wonderful evening, hosted by Mia's family.
May 2011 - 1 Pages of Content.
Walt Disney World 2011

First trip to Disney World as a family of four.
February 2011 - 9 Pages of Content.


CAAM Dance Recital 2011

Fun at the Lilly Pond
May 2011 - 3 Pages of Content and video

Gabe's 4th Birthday

We love Mickey Mouse!
February 2011 - 1 Pages of Content
Chinese New Year 2011

The Year of the Rabbit
January - February 2011 - 1 Pages of Content
Maddy's 6th Birthday Party

Star Wars the Clone Wars and 22 Children in our house
January 2011 - 1 Pages of Content
Christmas 2010

Gabe is a little under the weather, family celebration at Laura and Craig's
December 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Thanksgiving 2010

Aunt Laura and Uncle Craig host Thanksgiving
November 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Halloween 2010

Cleopatra and Batman and all kinds of spooky fun
October 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Wayne and Becky's Wedding

Wayne and Becky get married!
October 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Fall Highlights 2010

Grandma Susie and Grandpa Tom visit, Twins Game, Gopher Games, Autumn Festival, Family Life and Nora's Birthday.
September - November 2010 - 5 Pages of Content
Maddy's First Day of Kindergarten

It is hard to beleive, Maddy is in Kindergarten!
September 2010 - 1 Pages of Content - Updated
Minnesota Chinese Daycare and Learning Center Recital

Maddy, Arwen, Charlotte, Lilly and Isabel Graduate! Gabe's first performance!
August 2010 - 2 Pages of Content
Group 88 Dells Weekend

Water fun for the kids of Group 88 at the Wilderness Resort!
August 2010 - 3 Pages of Content
Yogi Bear Camping Cabin Adventure

First time at Yogi. Great time had by all, lots of family fun and relaxation.
August 2010 - 4 Pages of Content
Summer Splash 2010

Lake Harriet Concerts, Dragon Festival, Crystal Lake Beach and Chutes and Ladders.
July 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Aunt Mary Jo and Uncle Denny's 50th Anniversary

Aunt Mary Jo and Uncle Danny Celebrated their 50th Anniversary in Clarkfield.
June 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Summer Visit by Grandma and Grandpa 2010

Mall of America, Twirling Lessons, Caponi Art Park, Como Zoo, U of M and Soccer.
June 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
CAAM Dance Recital 2010

Merry Little Angels put on a great show!
May 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Festival of Nations 2010

Exciting Entertainment, Good Food at the River Center in St. Paul.
May 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Spring Fun 2010

Soccer Games, Bike Rides and Toe Dipping at Lake Como and Fun at Mall of America.
April 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Easter 2010

Easter Egg Hunts and Family Gatherings
April 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Julie's Birthday and other March Madness

Julie's birthday, Playtime and lots of March Madness, Updated with pictures from Gabe's first visit to the zoo.
March 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Calawasi Island, SC and Savannah GA Trip 2000

Trip to visit parents in South Carolina - Part of past trips series.
April 2000 - 1 Pages of Content
Toledo, Ohio Trip 2001

Trip to visit my sister and her family when they lived in Ohio - Part of past trips series.
August 2001 - 1 Pages of Content
South Carolina Trip 2002

Charleston, Greenwood and Greenville - Part of past trips series.
June 2002 - 3 Pages of Content
Myrtle Beach, SC Trip 2003

Charleston, Greenwood and Greenville - Part of past trips series.
April 2004 - 1 Pages of Content
Chinese New Year 2010

Celebrations at Home and with Group 88. The year of the Tiger - 老虎.
March 2010 - 2 Pages of Content
Video Section Added

New Central location to view all the videos that are found throughout the site.
Organized by topic,
Lake Tahoe and San Francisco 2002

Second Page added. More photos extracted from video digitization project.
August 2002 - 2 Pages of Content
Fighting the Winter Freeze 2010

Second Page added. More photos added for Group 88 Birthdays.
January - February 2010 - 2 Pages of Content
Gabriel's Adoption Journal 2009

Updates - Photos added from foster family and orphanage.
November - December 2009 - 36 Pages of Content
Forever Family Day 2010

Fourth Annual Celebration of our Forever Families.
February 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Greenwood, SC, Pigeon Forge, TN and Bowling in Nashville 2004

Christmas at my Parents, a cabin in the Smokey's and a Gopher Victory in Nashville versus Alabama. Note - Christmas pictures found on the Christmas 2004 page.
December 2004 - 1 Pages of Content
Gabe's Third Birthday

Gabe's third birthday and first with us!.
February 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Duluth Getaway 1998

Gabe's third birthday and first with us!.
September 1998 - 1 Pages of Content
Florida and Bahamas Cruise 1999

Universal Studios, Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise.
December 1999 - 7 Pages of Content
Julie's Family Christmas Celebration

Julie's family celebrates Christmas, 2009 in January, 2010..
January 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Great Grandma Agnes' 98th Birthday Celebration

Great Grandma Agnes is visits for a 98th Birthday we won't ever forget.
January 2010 - 1 Pages of Content
Christmas Section Rewrite

Expanded Christmas Past Section.
January 2010 - 16 Pages of Content updated or added.
Honeymoon - Door County, Wisconsin 1997

Honeymoon, in a cabin in Door County with Sophie and Gershwin.
September 1997 - 1 Pages of Content.
Walt Disney World 1996

First trip as a couple, Julie's first trip to Walt Disney World.
September 1996 - 4 Pages of Content.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic 1998

Fun in the Caribbean Sun.
February 1998 - 1 Pages of Content.
New Year's Eve 2009

Fun with Goldy Gopher, Gabes first basketball Game. Fun with the family at Kathy and Mike's.
December 2009 - 1 Pages of Content.
Fall Highlights 2009

Gopher Football, Northwestern Road Trip/Chicago to See Bridget and Fall Festivals.
September - November 2009 - 3 Pages of Content.
Montreal and Quebec Trip 2000

Gopher Football, Northwestern Road Trip/Chicago to See Bridget and Fall Festivals.
May 2000 - 2 Pages of Content.
Maddy's 5th Birthday

Maddy turns 5!
December 2009 - 1 Pages of Content.
Family Christmas 2009

Grandma and Grandpa visit for Gabriel's first Christmas with us.
December 2009 - 1 Pages of Content.
Gophers Inaugural Game in TCF Bank Stadium 2009

Gophers defeat Air Force in first game ever at the "Bank".
September 2009 - 1 Pages of Content.
Charleston, Savannah and Hilton Head 1999

A visit to mom and dad with stops in Charleston, Savannah and Hilton Head.
March 1999 - 3 Pages of Content.
Minnesota Chinese Daycare and Learning Center Recital 2009

A visit to mom and dad with stops in Charleston, Savannah and Hilton Head.
August 2009 - 1 Pages of Content.
Grand Haven, Michigan Trip 2009

A Beach trip with the Group 88 Families to the Michigan Dunes.
August 2009 - 1 Pages of Content.
Last Updated 8/1/2012
Family Photo Preservation Project

Message from the Web Master
Kept to my goals and got all of the January 2012 stuff posted. That was important because there were many who wanted to see pictures of the dance performance and other things that have been going on. We also needed to clear the backlog, as we need to be ready for Gabe's 5th Birthday party (his first with buddies) and more Chinese New Year stuff. So it feels pretty got to finally be caught up (at least for a week). I will try to get Gabe's birthday photos posted as quickly as possible.
A very merry and late Christmas to all! Also a very Happy New Year and Chinese New Year! The year of the Dragon is always a good sign, despite what those crazy Mayans might say. We have been running crazy for about the last seven straight weeks, so my update is very slow. I have a large update this time around, with five new pages covering all the events in December. Christmas, Maddy's Birthday, Chris' Birthday, the Group 88 Holiday Party, a visit by Grandma and Grandpa and a bevy of fun stuff that happened throughout the month. Lots of great pictures. Speaking of pictures, I got a new digital SLR for my birthday - hopefully that will translate into even better photos. I have also revamped the look of the whole Christmas section so you may want to check that out too. My intention is to have another update very soon with alll the photos of the CAAM Prodution China the Beautiful next week. I also have some fun January activities to cover as well. We will see if I can accomplish my goal. Until then enjoy!
Almost ready for Christmas! Just finishing the last of the deorating and getting the gifts. Hoping to have about a week or two for just relaxing and spending time at home with the family and not at the mall. I have updated the site with recent pictures from Thanksgiving, the Crossroads Family Fun Night, Grandpa Ed's 80th Birthday and some other stuff. So there are some updates and new pictures in the fall pages that might be of interest. We have been busy with kids activities. I just finished by latest photo book. This book was a book about the four girls from Chongqing and their development year by year. It is written in English and Chinese. This is by far my favorite that I have created so far. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. We will post again with Christmas pictures at the end of the month.
Halloween was a lot of fun! Gabe went as a pirate and loved it. For two weeks straight he could not stop talking about Halloween and trying to wear his costume. Christamas should be very interesting if this is any indication of what to expect. Maddy was Ahsoka Tano who is a Jedi Night in the Star Wars Clone Wars series. Her claim to fame this year was running around the nieghborhood and keeping going when her friends had given up. There are also some great new pages and posting on the six pages of fall activities. Check it out. Lots of firsts and a happy tale about a little pig who decided not to wander back to Iowa. I will have one more small update before Thanksgiving with a few more events. Otherwise, time to finish the book I am creating and decorate the house for the Holidays.
Six pages of updates from the first seven weeks of fall. We have been really busy and very active this fall. I was able to get a number of pictures posted from the Autumn Moon Festival, Gabe's Soccer, Maddy's Gymnastics, Gopher Football Games, Family Outings, Birthday Parties and other gatherings. l had anticipated a little break from our last update for two reasons. One we are really busy and we have had a warm and wonderful fall season. Less time indoors on the computer. Second, I have been working on several books lately and that has taken up much of my spare time. These are photobooks that I put together for vacations and other family events. Sometimes, there is nothing better than looking at photos in a non-web, non-electronic format. The next post will come relatively quickly - Halloween is just around the corner - just ask Gabe. Every night he asks if it is time to go out trick-or-treating. Then (scary thought) it will be time for the holidays - yikes.
Final updates of the summer posted! Pictures from the first day of 1st grade and last year of pre-school posted! Completely revamped the family page to a more updated look. Continue to re-brand the site and make it more consistent. THis will be the last major update for a while. Fall is a busy time for us and I have a couple of non-web-related updates to get to. I will post just not as frequently in the next six weeks. I will also be working on security a little, so if you have any problems accessing the site or parts of the site - shoot me an email.
Big Day! First day of 1st Grade - Congratulations Maddy!. First day of the Last year of pre-school - congratulations Gabe! Gabe had soccer practice, Maddy had Gymnastics. Did I mention it was our anniversary. Love you Julie!
Completely updated video section. This new look and feel has a more visual approach to presenting the videos. 19 new videos to check out. Lots of dance and kids recital stuff. My favorite new section is Maddy's Virtual Dance Studio, you can see her as she grows up before your eyes. More video of the kids to come in later updates.
Caught up for now. I added pictures from a wonderful weekend with my sister's family and Nico's (Gabe's buddy) Birthday ! I also revamped the garden section with a new look that is more consistent with new site look. It was fun going through the old pictures of the garden. This is also the first time we have actually posted pictures from our gardens in the house we are currently living in. Next will be Gabe and Maddy's Daycare/Summer Care recital pictures, some end of summer activities and then of course first day of 1st grade and the first day of the last year of Gabriel's time at the Minnesota Chinese Daycare and Learning Center.
Yogi Bear Camping pictures and blog finally posted! My sister's visit this past weekend and Nico's (Gabe's buddy) Birthday next up!.
Michigan Dunes pictures and blog finally posted! Yogi weekend in Wisconsin and my sister's visit this past weekend next up!.
We finished grouting the tile! All that is left is to seal the grout after it cures for 48 hours. See pictures here. I am about halfway done with the Michigan pictures. Will publish as soon as I can.
Congratulations to Maddy for successfully moving up to Level 2 at EGA Gymnastics. We are very proud of you!!! See pictures here.
Another web update! Lots of pictures from July. Trips to the lake, Charlie's Birthday Party, Ben's Graduation from High School, Fireworks, Picnic for Independence Day, Gymnastics, Strawberry Picking and our Re-flooring of the porch with tile. I will be posting the pictures from our Michigan vacation to the Dunes very soon. I am just starting to pick pictures. We had a good couple days in our tiling adventure. Got a little over half of the full tiles laid. With a little luck we will be far enough along to rent the wet saw and start making those cuts.
Finally a web update! Added pictures to Gabe's Medical Journal and many more pictures to both Gabe and Maddy's Soccer pages. I also added pages for end of Kindergarten, early summer activities and when Grandma and Grandpa visited. Basically, we are current through June. I am hoping to update all of the many pictures from July in the next week. This includes Michigan trip with Group 88 and pictures with my sisters family and Ben's graduation. I did not keep up as I had hoped for a variety of reasons that are too long to list. Oh well, being only a few weeks behind is not too bad...
Hard weekend. Finished laying the sub-floor. Working with the heavy concrete backer board was exhausting. Who ever knew it was necessary to insert a screw every eight inches. The weekend ended nicely with Gabe's soccer team having a team party - Thanks Coach Meghan!
Happy Birthday Dad!!
Back to work. It was a good day and good to back at it and see people from work again!
Started clearing out the porch and purchased tile. We are going to tile the sun porch, should look nice. Got our call-back notice - back to work tomorrow!
The extreme heat can end at any time. I have been told the only place warmer and more humid in the world on this week was in Africa and in the Amazon rainforest. Yes the shutdown can end anytime, sick of not working. Supposedly it is close.
We are of to the Dune's in Michigan. First a stop to visit my sister in Chicago. She just moved. Very exciting. We have not seen her and her family in a while. Plus getting together with our China Adoption Family for a vacation is always a cause for celebration.
Happy Fourth of July! We are making lemonade out of lemons. Trying to take advantage of this unwanted time off. Spending lots of time with the kids. Seeing this as an opportunity that we will not get very often. Going swimming often to try and cool down from the heat.
We are both officially on unemployed, laid-off, fuloughed whatever. It is no fun. I am deeply disapointed that our so-called leaders can not make an agreement. We work hard at the state, to provide services for everyone. Contrarty to popular belief, we do not have lavish benefits and we do not have salaries that are equal to the private sector for people who have similar educations and experience. They get paid and we do not.
Julie flies out for a conference and Granma and Grandpa arrive. We are all excited they are here and are thankful for they help!
Added a few new entries to the medical journal. Gabe is progressing,but we are still working on pain management and food. Maddy is home and trying to keep her busy while keeping Gabe at a slow pace is proving to be a challenge. Thank goodness for the Parks and Rec Program. It gives me three hours for just time with Gabe and me, plus some chore time.
Added two more pages to cover some events that I was still behind on. Julie and Kathy's Birthday, a trip to the Mall of America, Mother's Day, Jacob's Confirmation and Maddy's elementary school carnical. I am updated (more or less). My goal will be to post once every two or three weeks, with new pages. I will try to post daily updates for Gabe as he progresses through his recovery for another week.
A few more entries into Gabe's medical journal. Switching to daily summary. <political rant>Both Julie and I received our layoff notices from the state. While expected and likely temporary (if it even comes to pass) it underscores the disfunction of our government system. I wonder if they understand the impact their inactions have on real people's lives. Our life is real with real-life implication, their political grandstanding is hyperbole wrapped in lies all for the benefit of re-election. </political rant>
Gabe is home from the hospital! We are very excited and happy.
Gabe eats his first non-liquid. He has changed from IV morphine pain medication to oral tylenol with oxycodone. So far on track for an late afternoon discharge. You can check out the details in his medical journal. In my spare time during naps, I was also to put up a page with pictures from Easter. Almost all caught up with pictures.
Gabe is out of surgery and doing well. He had successful surgery for a pharyngeal flap. More details will be coming soon. Appearantly he is a little fussy and sore (to be expected). We should be able to see him shortly.
Had a great weekend with great weather. Kids loved playing in the water on Friday Night. Kids also had a great time at the Flint Hills International Children's Festival. Met up with Uncle Dan and Isabel. Great time. This week has been extremely hot. We got up to 100 today and had to cancel soccer practice due to the heat advisory.
Changes to the Web Site. Lately I have been working on two area of the web site. I would not say the are completely done, but ready to throw out there for people to look at:
*Home Page - Has been redrawn. I have moved some items or removed some items to try and clean up the look of the page to give a more modern look. The specifics: 
*Site Title Change - while the url has not changed (yet). The site title has changed. For now I am using Forever Four Family. The concept is an emphasis on our forever family and the number four. which is the number of people in our family. It really is the essence of the site. I have also created a little logo to go with the site. It is simple and clean and is simply an abbreviation for the site title. The Chinese characters offset are the English equivalents and emphasize the importance of Chinese culture in our life. This is also the warning that at some point soon, I will be securing the site with passwords. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this might cause. However, we want to share, but want to do it in a safe way.
*Scrolling Listing of Pages added or updated with Preview Photos- The scrolling helps to conserve a little space. The pictures are helpful queues to the content. Much more pleasing to the eye. Consistent with the look of many pages currently out there.
*Scrolling Listing of Web Master Listings- Again, the scrolling helps to conserve a little space. Allows me to keep messages out there for a period of time. I am no longer limited to a single message posted at any time. My goal is to try to post to this more often, instead of waiting for major updates.
*We did keep some things - This is not a complete re-write and we maintained a few things that are favorites. We have kept the image carousels. At some point in the future, I will update them. We also kept some of the informational sections at the bottom of the page for reference on site construction. Also kept last update inform and visitor count info. This page is always evolving, and will continue to do so in the future..
*Our Travels Page - Brand new section. In fact this is the last of the major 7 sections to be designed within the site. This is a very simple, yet kind of fun way to look at some of the travel pages that already have been created and those that will be created in the future : 
*Map View - An embedded Google Map that graphically shows all the interesting places we have been lucky enough to see. The functionality works just like a google map. You can zoom and pan. you can even go down to the street level. For an even better experience download the google earth plug-in. Then click on Earth - very fun!
*Scrolling Listing of the places we have been with Preview Photos- Located just below the map. The scrolling helps to conserve a little space. The pictures are helpful queues to the content. Much more pleasing to the eye. Consistent with the look of many pages currently out there.
The perfect Minnesota summer evening, no humidity clear, sunny, mild - glorious. Both Maddy and Gabe had their first soccer games. Lots of fun and maybe a few boo-boo's and at least a tear or two. I coached Maddy and Julie helped to coach Gabe. Another new posting with the beginning of soccer pages for both Gabe and Maddy. I also posted our pictures from the most recent dinner with the group 88 families. I am waiting to send out the email notification until next week, so I can report on how Gabe's Pharyngeal Flap surgery goes.
Memorial Day was hot and muggy, but those nasty storms promised never materialized (yet). Pictures from our Walt Disney World 2011 vacation are now posted. A total of nine pages. Lots of great pictures of children with characters. We were kind of character stalkers on this trip. This is a silent release, as you will notice, I have completely revamped the home page and am working through a few kinks. I will also be posting some soccer pictures and Group 88 Memorial Weekend pics before I send out a notification.
Absolutely perfect night with all four families that traveled to Chongqing with us. The girls had a great time. The little ones (Gabe and Nora), held their own. The adults had a great evening with great company. It was one of the nicest evenings that I have had in a very long time.
Thanks to Don, one of our parents you can follow this Fun at the Lily Pond link to see the dance on youtube. I will still post my video at a later date.
Maddy had a great dance recital! It was a great escape from an other wise rainy Spring day. She really wanted Grandma and Grandpa to be able to look at the pictures from the recital - so I stayed up a little late and got the pages posted. Two things to keep in mind. We had the Bob Ueker seats (back third of the theater, so the best pictures will be on the Getting ready and Practice pages. I will also post the video, later - that will take a little longer to put together. So I have already broken my plan to catch up. Oh well I suppose it is my prerogative. I think I will alternate between working on the Disney World 2011 pics and some early season soccer pics. I have some great pictures of Gabe playing soccer that I would like to post soon.

A very hard week! I attended the funeral of Gary Ritari on Monday. He was such a great man and mentor in my life. I had the pleasure to work with him for nearly a decade in a variety of capacities. He helped me in so many ways in my professional life. That very same evening I managed to severely tear my calf muscle while coaching Maddy's team. I know get to wear a walking boot for four weeks and will not be able to run until about the Fourth of July. I also learned that a fellow former co-worker and friend is not doing very well at the moment with her fight with cancer. We are sending her many prayers. We are also hopeful that Aunt Joanne will get better soon, as she is having difficulties recovering from her stroke.

I am really looking forward to seeing Maddy dance on Saturday. She is excited and she is prepared to do well. I am also looking forward to another good week of soccer next week with the kids, even if I am hobbling around in a boot. The big news is that Julie is actually an assistant coach for Gabe's team now. I am so proud of her, for just trying something new and volunteering.

I completed a mini-update with some new pages from early 2011. The new pages are Maddy's Sixth Birthday Party, Chinese New Year 2011 and Gabes's Fourth Birthday Celebration. I will be putting together the February trip to Walt Disney World next. After that, I will attempt to get current by adding the pages and pictures for March, April and May. Have a great rest of Spring!


Sometimes life gets so busy, that you have to make choices in order to maintain some semblance of sanity. I had to take a little break from doing this web page in order to focus on other things. With two younger children, sometimes that is the way that you need to operate. At any rate, we are doing very well and are very busy.

Gabe has progressed very well in his speech class. He is done very well and loves his teachers there. He has also enjoying daycare at the Minnesota Chinese Day Care and Learning Center. He is quite an amazing little boy. He can count to 100 in both English and Mandarin. He speaking so much clearer. At his annual visit to the University of Minnesota Cleft Palate Team was a success. He is now ready for his next surgery in that process. First, he had a successful orchiopexy surgery on his Chryptorchidism. I will let you all use the link to fill in the details. This was an outpatient surgery and we had a very good experience at the Minneapolis Children's Hospital. We were home by 2:30 pm in the afternoon. The hardest part was he was such a fast recover that due to the nature of the surgery we had the challenge of keeping him from physical activity. Everything went well.

Gabe will be starting his first year of soccer this week. He is very excited to play and probably excited to have an activity that is his own. Gabe will have a second surgery later this summer. This one is for a pharyngeal flap . Again, you can check out the link to learn more about it. In a nutshell, it will allow him to make certain sounds that he cannot physically make at this time. It is a fairly typical surgery. This one will require a little longer recovery time and will also require that we mash up all his food. He will actually have at least one overnight at the hospital.

Maddy is doing very well and really enjoys her kindergarten class. She is really starting to excel on her reading and basic math. She is also very good at writing and drawing/painting. She is getting ready for her fifth Chinese Dance recital. She is an excellent dancer and we are very proud of the accomplishments she has made in this area. She has really excelled and stepped up to the challenge of dancing with a group of older girls. She has really applied herself and that is what we are most proud of. Maddy and I are taking Mandarin class together at Macalaster College. It has been challenging and yet a special activity that we share and work on most days. Maddy will also be starting soccer again as we start to shift into the summer schedule.

As for us, we are both doing well. We are excited for summer to finally come. It has been a long hard winter which was followed by a cool damp spring. I think we all look forward to a more normal summer. We are really looking forward to our two summer get-away's to the Michigan shore to Yogi.

I was able to update the site through Christmas. I will be working to get everything up to date. I suspect it will come in two or three more chunks. I will be working on it a little at a time. No promises, but I will try to keep up with things a little better.


We hope that everyone is surviving this very intense and long winter. Chinese New Year ends with the Lantern Festival on March 1. With that, thoughts begin to turn to spring. We still have a lot of snow on the ground, but at least the temperatures are improving.

Gabriel is settling in very well in our house. He is a very good boy and he is normally a very happy and smiley boy. However, he does have a little bit of a temper and can be stubborn at times. Maddy and Gabriel get along fabulously. It is great to see them play and really enjoy each other. Gabriel has been to a number of doctor's appointments since he has been home. In general terms, he is healthy and he is on track in many areas in terms of development. When he arrived, we took him in for an exam with his pediatrician. We found out that some of his shots need to be redone as the test results did not show sufficient immunity or were inconclusive. So we will be having sessions about once a month until he is caught up. We also took him to have his ears tested and he was normal, although he has had three ear infections with drainage since we got him. This led us to have a visit with an ENT who recommended tubes to ensure good hearing during this critical time. This was followed up by a visit to the University of Minnesota and an appointment with the Cleft Palate clinic and team. This was an amazing day and we saw specialists in all areas that might be affected because of the cleft (Reconstructive Surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Otalarynology, Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, Pediatric Dentistry, Dental Hygenist, Orthodontics,and Prosthodontics). The immediate course of action is that Gabriel will have tubes put in his ears (March 8) to insure that he is hearing properly as he develops his speech patterns and leans the language! He also has appointments with the speech pathologist at the University of Minnesota (introductory with emphasis on typical cleft issues) and with the school district speech pathologist for on-going sessions. We will follow this up in six months at the University of Minnesota to see where he is at. We will also be scheduling a visit to the pediatric dentist to take care of a little tooth decay, Maddy is due as well! In the future, Gabriel will likely need orthodontic treatment and an alveolar bone graft. An alveolar bone graft is when they take bone from the hip and add to the gum area so that his permanent teeth have a way to hold in place. The teeth need more bone density so when they come in they don't fall out. They also are saying that he may need additional lip and nose revisions. Further down the line it is possible he may need a cleft revision to help with speech, but it is too early to tell. The experience in general was very informative seeing that many people at once, and then have them work together to come up with a unified plan is spectacular.

Maddy is also adjusting very well. The issues (tantrums) based on attention competitions seem to be dropping down but still crop up from time to time. Maddy is a great big sister and she is very helpful and caring when it comes to all things with her little brother. Maddy had her 5 year check-up and passed with flying colors. She had her typical 5 year shots updates. She is 45.5" tall, which puts her at 90% in height. She is 44 pounds which puts her at 80% in weight. All in all she is a very healthy and active child. She and her brother both attend Minnesota Chinese Day Care where they learn many things (in English and Mandarin). Maddy is currently in Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM) Dance every Saturday morning. We plan to enroll her in spring soccer, which will be a new experience for her. It is hard to believe that she starts Kindergarten in the Fall. Currently she will be attending her local elementary school, but we are on the waiting list to get into Yinghau Academy (Chinese Immersion School) and the Chinese language/culture magnet school in our district. We are hopeful that one of those options will work out. Otherwise, we will have to find an alternative means for Maddy to retain and build upon her Chinese (Mandarin) language skills.

This was another major production of web pages in the last month. We have lots of events in February and so we have many updates to complete. Video is the newest feature to be added to the site. We have added short clips of the kids in a few different places. This is a lot of fun and I encourage you to check it out. I have also added a new section specifically for video so you can see all of that media in one handy location. I have also been spending a great deal of time converting all of the DV tapes to electronic files on a hard drive. I wanted to get this done as my camera is aging and I wanted to protect them. A nice by-product of this process is that I am able to grab photos off the film and this has allowed me to supplement subject areas that in the past were sparse or nonexistent. An example of this was the updated pages for our 2002 trip to California, with many more pictures to choose from and publish on the site.

We look forward to sharing our future adventures as they unfold.

Chris, Julie, Maddy, Gabriel, Lola and Ally
Any questions, comments or requests? Email me
Web Page Development - Current and Potential

Current Projects Completed:

  • Current Pages - Finished up many in 2011 - Walt Disney World, Soccer, CAAM Dance Recital, Group 88 Memorial Day Fun, Gabe's 4th Birthday, Maddy's 6th Birthday Party, Chinese New Year, Our Travels and the Home Page, .
  • A couple more installs will be upcoming in the near future. Hopefully, will be all caught up in the near future for 2011.

Current Project in Progress:

  • Favorite Places - Other Past Trips (Montreal, Charleston, South Dakota, etc.) - Many complete more to come. The Our Travels Page is now available as an alternate way of viewing these trip pages.
  • Family Photo Preservation Highlights - 1990's, 2000's - plus enhance the existing photos as they come in. - Family Fun
  • Video preservation - Digitize the video is completed. Secondary project will be to extract images from the video to supplement events where the collection of pictures is smaller or nonexistent is complete. This would be typical in the first years of the video camera, where minimal still shots were taken. The only thing that is left to do is add some video into the site.

Projects under consideration:

  • Gardening- Update pages to reflect gap in the past few years.
  • Pets - Update Pets pages with appropriate bios and additional pictures from recent past preservation efforts. Overhaul look and feel as well..
  • Photo preservation - Digitize more photos from Julie's family and possibly more scanning of photos from my mom and dad's collection, particularly as it pertains to travel.
  • Video - Add more video. Dance, soccer and anything to do with the kids.
  • Security - This site will soon be password protected. This is really necessary, although a hard step to take as we have had many perspective adoptive parents find this site very useful.
Web Page Navigation

Topical Navigational Bar: The main navigational bar will help you quickly move to sections of the web site by broad topics. This will help for people who are most interested in a particular area of interest that is included in this site. The site is currently divided into seven sections - Adoption, Family Fun, Gardening, Pets, Christmas, Video and Travel (Coming Soon). This Horizontal Nav bar will appear on almost all pages in this site so you can easily jump to another topic area with a single mouse click.

Home Page: A major redesign was made here. I am hopeful that you will enjoy the new look. The film strips not only divide the functional sections, but give all family members a chance to be on the front page. The main navigation bar works has been updated and directs you to the main subject areas of the web site which are: Adoption, Family Fun, Gardening, Pets, Christmas, Video (New - Central location for videos that are found all over the site) and Travel . The Latest News and Events section lists all of the most recent events in our lives. As you can see we have been very busy lately. The Web Site Updates section of the home page will list the most recent pages that have been added or updated. Links to the actual page will allow you easy access to the most recent updates to the site. The Message from the editor section will include general site information and other musings from my perspective.

Family fun: Family Fun serves as a chronological site index. From here you can access pages and events by the year. Subjects in gray are planned pages that have yet to be developed. Family Fun is also where you can access the Family Archive pages with historical photos of the extended family. Currently they are organized by decade.

Adoption: Adoption has all of the pages for our adoption processes and resultant trips. This section is divided into separate journals for Maddy and Gabriel.

Gardening: All things to do with the garden and landscaping. Since kids, this has been less of an emphasis, but still remains something we enjoy.

Pets: A section devoted to our favorite four-legged pals. Each of our pets has their own little bio, plus past pets from growing up are also featured in this section. Warning - this section is in need of a serious update and makeover - its on the list.

Christmas: Christmas is a celebration of family and each year we build a page to remember the holidays. This section has recently been updated and we have added some new photos from years gone by. We also greatly expanded the Christmas Past pages, which is all things to do with Christmas before 2005. This is organized first by family and then by era.

Video: This is a new section and serves to concentrate all of the video that is located in various pages in the site in one place. Video is new to this site and tend to be 2 - 5 minute slices of life that are fun to watch. Depending on your connection speed, it may make sense to allow the video file to buffer first or you may get pauses. This is particularly true of longer videos. Be patient and enjoy.

Travel: This section is brand new. It is planned to be an area, where our travels can be viewed and organized both as a listing and also in map form. This would also be where trips from our past would go that do not really fit into the Family Fun section, because they happened before we were a family. At any rate, it is still in concept so stay tuned to see how it turns out..

With multiple ways to find information I am hopeful that the web site will be much easier to use.