Tuesday, June 29, 2010


1. I will miss the Aye because then I will have to clean again.
2. I will miss my friends because I liked playing with them.
3. I will miss my hose (house) because I liked it.
4. I will miss the food because it was good.
5. I will miss my complex because I can't go to the park anymore.


The thing I will miss the most about China are the restaurants. The ones I will miss the most are Latina, Blue Frog and Las Tapas. I will miss them because they have really good food. I hope I will find them at home. And I hope we will get to eat there before we leave.

Monday, June 21, 2010


You can definitely tell that Sarah has 2 older brothers. Her favorite song of choice these days is Linkin Park.

She obviously only knows one part of the song!

Even when she starts singing something else, she goes back to the same song.

Any doubts on who's the boss in this family?!?!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Happy Father's Day to the 2 greatest Fathers I know: my wonderful Dad and the amazing father of my children. I don't know of any greater fathers on earth. I love you both!

This is what Andrew wrote for Ryan:

My dad likes to play wii and pick on my mom. he likes to jog and pop my back he always laughs a lot. he's very fun he's pretty strong. and he's really good at taking care of me and that's why I love my dad. Love, Andrew

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I forgot to write about this earlier. We got a package from Mom and Dad a couple of weeks ago. The kids were THRILLED! They're having a hard time dealing with the fact that all of their friends are leaving, or are already gone, so I think the package really cheered them up.

It's funny how it's the little things that make a big difference. There are a lot things they can't get here, so they LOVED getting them in the mail. They sent candy bracelets, fruit chews, Snickers, Reese Cups, microwave popcorn, and of course, Velveeta cheese for me!

Oh, and did I mention it's already gone?! Yeah, that's right. They finished it off already. I was trying to ration it so that it would last for awhile, but then when I left, they got into, Ryan included, and finished it all off! Oh well, at least they enjoyed it.

Anyway, thanks Mom and Dad. You have no idea how much we appreciated it.


I think the hardest part about being here is that I feel like I'm letting down my family and friends back home. My Mom's brother, my uncle, died . . . and I wasn't there. My best friend from high school got married . . . and I wasn't there. My best friend from college, her Dad got really sick and had surgery . . . and I wasn't there. Do you see a trend developing here?

I feel like I've missed so much, and wasn't there for so many things, this past year.

Friday, June 18, 2010

SORRY . . .

Sometimes the hardest thing to say to someone is "I'm Sorry." And yet, sometimes those 2 words mean more than any other words we hear.    I'm sorry I said those things.  I'm sorry I did what I did. I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry.  Please forgive me.

And sometimes, "I forgive you" is even harder to say.

Everyone makes mistakes.  Everyone says things they wish they hadn't said.  Everyone has had to say I'm sorry, at some point in their life.  Think about those times.  How would you feel if you said I'm sorry, and the other person said I don't forgive you?

Life's too short.  It can change in an instant.  The person you love can move  away forever.  They can get sick.  They can die.  Then it's too late to say "I forgive you."


Exactly six weeks from now we will be on a plane heading for home.  While I'm THRILLED that it's only 6 weeks away, I HATE that it's STILL 6 weeks away.  It seems so far away.  I guess that seems silly considering we've been here for over 40 weeks!  But still, it seems really far away.  The boys and I are having a hard time.  All of our friends are gone now.  They all went home for the summer, so we feel a little out of sorts.  Every day we wake up and count down the number of days that we have left.  Right now we're down to 42.  

Wish us luck.  The last 42 days might be the hardest.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


"They're sleeping in OUR bed!"  The boys were sleeping in my bed while Ryan was out of town.  She came in the room after they were already asleep.

Sarah: Where'd Mommy come from?
Mommy: Heaven.
Sarah: Oh.
Sarah: And where'd Sarah Beth come from?
Mommy: Heaven
Sarah: Oh
Sarah: And where'd JJ and DrewDrew come from?
Mommy: Heaven.
Sarah: Oh
Sarah: And where'd Daddy come from?
Mommy: Heaven.
Sarah: NO . . . He came from Taiwan!
He'd been in Taiwan for the week for business, and she knew that's where he'd just come home from!

"It's bright out here.  Wow!  It's really bright out here.  I need my sunglasses!"

"I was choking on a bone."

"I wanna hold you."

"Daddy wants to come see you."  Ryan told her to have me come see him.  That was her interpretation!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Let me tell you the story of old Bob Smith.  Bob was a rather unusual person.  He fell from the sky at the age of 2 and was carrying a hammer and an axle.  He landed right in front of the Smith's house.  He hit the ground so hard that the force nearly blew the roof of their house.  The Smiths came running out to see what happened.  They were shocked when they saw a baby.  When they saw the hammer and axle in his hand they knew he was destined to be a Black Smith.  So they decided to raise him as Bob Smith.  When Bob was 7 he could already make a metal wheel with a slam of a hammer.  Each year he grew stronger and stronger and by the age of 25 he was so strong he could lift 200 tons without any struggle.  He was the strongest and smartest man in the West.  When Bob was 30 years old he received a letter asking if he would like to be the blacksmith for his town.  Bob loved the offer so he packed up his things and headed to town.  By the time Bob arrived in town the word had spread that he was the new Black Smith.  Everyone was giving him greetings and winking at him.  When he started to make his first axle he dropped the hot metal on his hand and burned it.  So from then on whenever anyone saw Bob they'd call him Bob Axle because of that accident.  From age 30 to 65 John made chains and axles and hammers and wheels for the whole town.  Bob lived a happy life until he was 77; he was still a Black Smith and gave out from a Heart Attack.  Bob finished his final axle right before he died. 


I'm excited for the end of 2nd grade because I will not have to do homwork and I can have a fun summer.

I'm sad about the end of 2nd grade because I will miss all of my friends.

I'm nervous for third Grade to Start because I don't know if I'll make new friends.

I'm happy about third grade because it makes me feel more mature.


1.  She got to go wherever she wanted whenever she wanted.

2.  She lived by herself.

3.  She never watched cartoons.

4.  She rarely ate at mc'donalds.

5.  She didn't have to drive a van.

6.  She got to sleep alone.

7.  She had two jobs that she actually got paid for.

8.  she used to be able to read a lot

9.  she used to be able to watch what she wanted on T.V.

10.  she was richer (No kids to spend money on.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Andrew had to make and iMovie for school about his trip to the zoo. Enjoy!


Someone asked me if I was going to continue writing on the blog when we get back to the States.  I told her I wasn't sure if I should or not.  Part of me thinks that it's called BRUNER FAMILY TRAVELS, and after this year, we will no longer be traveling.  The other part of me thinks that with 3 kids, EVERY DAY is an adventure, so why not keep it up?  Plus, it's been very therapeutic for me at times.  I find on the days that I'm having a hard time with something, once I "blog" about it, I tend to feel better.  I think it helps just getting it off my chest, even if no one but my parents are reading it!

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do.  I guess I'll wait until we get home and see how "inspired" I feel.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Tigers are found in the northern part of Asia and others are found in the southeren part of Asia.

The tigers jaws help them chew their prey.  Each tiger has stripes on their back to tell that that's a different tiger.  The tiger limbs help them run fast.  The tigers claws help them cut stuff.

My Home.  Tigers live in two places.  1.  tigers live in the wild and 2.  they live in caves  Tigers usilly stay in caves because hunters could come and try to kill them.  But they do live in the wild when it's winter time. Because not many come out in the winter because it is going to be to cold for them to hunt

Yummy Yum Yum.  Tigers are carnivores so they only eat meat tigers eat animals such as deer, monkeys, Leopards, and bears and soon Tigers chew it's prey insted of eating it in one bite.

All About me.  Tigers are fast animals.  They run at the daytime and sleep at night.  Tigers use there arms and legs to move.  Tigers have to run because they need to cath their food.  Don't get a tiger angry because it won't take long for the tiger to get you.

Grrr!  Tigers behavior is not good.  Their behavior is very wild.  It's hard for another kinds of animals to cumunicate with tigers like monkeys, deers, Lions and lots of other animals. But it's easy for one tiger to talk with a other tiger.  Tigers play wildly like atacking one and another tiger.  Tigers uslly talk by Growling or somtimes they mak big or really big roars.

Silent Silent Atack!  The tigers stragie for hunting is that they try to make themselves silent they don't have much preditors ecsept for people and being fast helps the tigers hunt

Wach out!  The tigers preditor is people they hunt for tigers because of their fur.  Tigers ecscape by running really fast.  But sometimes they will attack the people. 


Let her be as gentle as a bunny,
let her be super funny.

Don't let her hurt a face,
make her help this place.

Give her compassion as big as the town,
please don't let her feel down.

Let her love me,
don't let her hurt me.

Make her as sweet as a sweet tart,
give her a very big heart.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


The countdown begins . . .

49 days from now I will be back home.

I will be sleeping in my own bed. 

49 days from now I will get to see my family whenever and wherever I want to see them.

I will be able to go to lunch with Mom, O'Connell's with Dad, and see Scott, when he's not too busy for me!

49 days from now I will be able to text and call my friends that I’ve missed so much this past year.

I will be able to access Facebook without a VPN, cursing the computer because it’s taking too long to load.

49 days from now I will be able to walk out my door and understand everyone that I come in contact with.

I will be able to speak English to the person at the grocery, on the street, at the gas station.

49 days from now I will have my own car and will not have to rely on taxis.

I will be able to DRIVE my own car.  Everyday.  Anywhere I want to go.

49 days from now I will be able to go to Sonic and get a real diet Coke with the best ice ever. 

I will be able to get a REAL diet Coke period!  And have ice in my drink, no matter where I go.

49 days from now I will be able to go to a public bathroom and KNOW that I’ll get to sit down to pee!  (TMI)?!

I will be able to go to a public bathroom and not have to worry about bringing my own toilet paper.  (Again, TMI)?!

The countdown begins . . . 

49 days from now I will be leaving all my new friends behind.

I will be leaving the lunches, and the school, and the caffes, and the walks around town.

49 days from now I will be leaving my new adventure behind.

I won't be able to walk out the door wondering what new things I'm going to experience today.

49 days from now I'll be leaving my Ayi behind.

I will have to start doing the laundry again!

49 days from now I will be leaving MANY things behind.

No more Underground, YuYuan, Wet Market or Las Tapas.

49 days from now I will leave China behind.  

I’ll leave Shanghai, and Xi’an, and Beijing, and Hong Kong.

49 days from now, I’ll only have pictures to remind me of the past year.

I'll only have pictures to remind me of what a wonderful year it's been. 

The countdown begins . . .

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today was the boys' last day of school.  Before school Ryan told me to be prepared for some tears. I said, "From Andrew?"  He said, "Yeah, but Jason too."  I knew there might be some tears and that's why I decided to go in and pick them up from school instead of letting them come home with my friend's driver.  On the way to school, with my friend, I was telling her the story of this morning.  She told me not to be surprised if there were some tears from me too.  I hadn't even thought about that.  But it turns out, she was right!  I went to the end of the year assembly, and I CRIED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE THING!  What's up with that?!?!  Jason's teacher came up to me and said, "you're crying because you're leaving!"  And she's right!  I cried when I came, who would have thought I'd cry when I left?!

But like I've said before, this year has been an AMAZING year for all of us.  We have memories that we'll have until the day we die.  We've made friends we never would have made if we'd stayed home.  We've seen things we never would have seen if we stayed home.  We have an appreciation for life outside of our little town, which we never would have had if we'd stayed home.  Do you see a trend developing here?!?!

I am SO thankful for this experience.  Not just for me, but for all of us.  We've all grown in so many ways this year.  And for that, I'm very thankful.  And I'm very grateful.  And even though I'm VERY homesick, I've also enjoyed ALMOST every minute of this last year.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


One time when my grandpa came to visit me we did lots of things.  We went to the Wild Animal Park and went to the World Finanshal Center.  We went to a lot of other places to.  we had lots of fun.  but then it was time for my gradpa to go and he left.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I LOVE being a Mom.  It's the best job I've ever had.  There are some days though, that we wonder, as a parent, if we are doing a good job.  Are we doing EVERYTHING we can for our children?  Are we teaching them the IMPORTANT things that they will need as they get older?  Are we teaching them the best way to deal with people?  Are we teaching them to be loving, caring, kind, open-minded, strong individuals? 

Today I got a little bit of confirmation that maybe, just maybe, I'm doing some things right.  Andrew has 2 best friends from school.  The three of them are inseparable.  Donoven is African-American, Michael is Chinese, and of course Andrew is Caucasian.  We call them The Three Musketeers.  Jason, Andrew and I were talking this morning about Michael being Chinese.  Andrew said, "Michael's Chinese?!"  He totally doesn't see him that way.  He just sees him as Michael. 

I'm so glad my boys look at the whole person, and not the color, nationality or creed.  I feel very blessed to have such wonderful and open minded children.  And today, if only for today, I feel like I am doing the right thing, making the right decisions, and teaching my children what is REALLY important in life.

 The Three Musketeers
Michael, Donoven, and Andrew
They kept moving so it was hard to get a good picture.
We tried to get them to act normal.  For them, this IS normal!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Eleven years ago today we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. 

On September 5th, 1998, my wonderful grandmother passed away.  She was an amazing person, and she meant the world to me.  She still does.  By October 5th, I was pregnant with Jason.  I was convinced then, and still believe now, that she is the reason I was pregnant THEN, after trying for almost a year.  I remember sitting in the car one day talking to my dad about it.  I told him I thought Grandma was the reason I was pregnant.  He said God had a lot to do with it.  I told him, "You know how persuasive your mom could be.  I guarantee she got up there and said, 'My granddaughter wants a baby, and you'd better give her one!"  I guess he knew better than to argue with a pregnant woman!

I called the baby Sarah the whole time I was pregnant, because I KNEW he was a girl.  About 1 week before he was born, I had a dream he was a boy.  And we still didn't have a boys name picked out.  So I told Ryan we had to decide on a boys name, just in case.  We decided on Jason Thomas.  You see, Thomas was my Grandmother's maiden name, so I wanted Jason to be named after her.  And he was.  She will ALWAYS be a part of him.

I went in early on the 7th to be induced.  My BP was very high, so they decided to take him early.  After being at the hospital all day, he finally decided to make his appearance.  When he came out, Ryan said, "It's a boy!"  I said, "Uh Uh!"  He was right!  

Everyone in the waiting room was waiting for Ryan to come out and tell them the baby was a girl.  When he finally went out to see everyone he told them we had a beautiful baby boy.  But they all thought he was teasing them.  Except for my dad.  He starting calling all of their friends to tell them.  My mom told him not to call yet because he was going to have to call them back and tell them HE was a SHE.  My dad said, "Ryan might joke about a lot of things, but I guarantee he's not joking about this."  We have the video from when they all came in the room to see him, and you can hear everyone saying, "He has a blue cap on, he really is a boy!"  Too funny!

Now that beautiful baby boy is 11 years old.  Where does the time go?  My mom calls him precious.  And he is.  He's an amazing big brother.  He's very caring and loving.  He's smart and sensitive.  He's unbelievable when it comes to building things.  His mind is always going a mile a minute trying to figure out his latest "invention."  He loves to draw and he loves to write.  

This year has been an unbelievable year for him.  He has grown up in so many ways.  He has more confidence than he's ever had before.  He came to a new country, where he doesn't speak the language, and he's adjusted so well.  He's made lots of new friends.  He's been in the school play and Concordia Idol.  He's taken Drama, Art, Band, Health, PE and Religion, on top of the Math, Science and Language Arts.  This year has been the hardest school year he's ever had, and he still has all A's and B's.  (Thank goodness he gets his brains from his father)! 

Eleven years ago today, God gave us the most precious gift that would change our lives FOREVER. He has been a blessing to us from the day he was born. From helping Nanny's heart beat again, to flirting with the girls at age 2, to becoming an amazing big brother. I thank God EVERY DAY that I have such a wonderful, caring, compassionate and loving little boy. Happy Birthday Jason. I am SO proud of you!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


One thing about living here that is different at home, is friendships.  When you meet people here, it's a different kind of relationship.  You tend to get closer faster than you do at home.  Because you don't have a choice.  At home, I have friends that I love and adore.  So when I meet new people, I don't "need" them.  But coming here, you have no one.  You're starting from scratch.  I've met people here that I know I'll be friends with forever.  You latch on to each other.  And you don't spend time on people that you don't connect with right away.  I know that sounds "snobby", but it's really not.  It's just that when you meet friends here, you know they're not going to be here forever.  You know YOU'RE not going to be here forever.  So you find the ones that are the most like you, or that compliment your differences, and those are the ones you're drawn to.  You open up to people here faster.  Because you HAVE to have someone to talk to, and you've left all your confidants back in the States.  

When we go back home, I'll now have friends in China, Idaho, Chicago, Boston, Georgia.  I have friends from the US, Singapore, Colombia and China.  My horizons have been broadened.  I know now that there is more out there than just my zip code.  And my life will be all the better for it.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Have you guys ever heard of a Traffic Light party?  Jason's friend is having a going away party today.  I heard the boys saying that it's NOT going to be a Traffic Light Party.  I asked them what a Traffic Light Party is.  If you are "in" a relationship, you wear red.  If you are "sort of" in a relationship, you wear yellow.  If you are NOT in a relationship you wear green.  I told them that was crazy talk, they are too young to "be" in a relationship.  Jason said, "Hey, we're in Middle School now, it's what happens!"  OMG!  Are you kidding me?!  Can I just lock him in a closet now?  No one will call Social Services on me for that right?!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Jason had to write a story for school.  His teacher took the stories and turned them into books.  Here's his book:

About this book:
Jason Bruner was born in Louisville, Kentucky his entire life until he recently moved to China.  He loves to read and enjoys writing stories.

I got this diary last year for my birthday and have never written in it.  I have decided to start now.  I am a mole that can hardly see.  I am ten and my name is Seth.  If a mole is reading this than you may be a Talpa Europaea like me.

April 6, 
Today was the first day of Mole school.  My teacher Mrs, Mole is very nice.  She gave us Mole candy.  Some of the moles in my class made fun of me because I can't see.  But I think they're just Hypocrites.  

April 20,
Today I made my first pair of glasses.  Now I can see.  But how did we end up in the ground, and when did I turn black?

May 10,
Today I saw some humans with jelly beans and decided to scare them.  I walked up to them and they ran off, leaving behind the jelly beans.  Dinner!

May 25,
Today we moved into our new home.  It's a lot bigger than our old house.  It has four rooms: one for me, one for mom and dad, one for Sarah, and one extra Our new house is Grand.

June 12,
Today is my birthday.  I am eleven years old.  My dad took me to the pet store and said I could get whatever I wanted.  I got a mouse and named him Jim.  Welcome to the family Jim!

July 18,
Jim peed on dad today.  Dad was raging and chased him all around the house.  Too bad he didn't have glasses because he kept running into things.  Jim has to sleep with me now.

July 24, 
Today are school was destroyed by a human.  He crushed it down to the ground.  Actually, I didn't really care because that means there will be no school for a week.  It's a good thing it was destroyed today.  I had a project that I didn't do.

August 10,
Today was the great rat race.  Mom and dad took us for Sarah's birthday.  It was awesome.  We got Mole candy and dirt popcorn to eat and mud to drink.  They even let us bet on rats.  Sarah chose #5 Jerry.  I chose #11 Jake.  Our rats tied for first place.  We each got $800.  Today was astonishing!

September 6,
Tomorrow is the last day of school.  We are supposed to bring a dessert for our party.  Mom and I are going to make dirt cake covered with worm icing.  What a luscious choice.

September 28,
Today mom made me get a haircut and it wasn't pretty.  I guess they didn't understand her right, because now I'm bald.  It's a good thing schools over or I would have been bewildered.

October 31,
Today was Halloween.  We got to go to the underground neighborhood to Trick or Treat.  Sarah stayed herself but I think she's a despicable, hairy monster.  I dressed up as a naked mole rat.  We went around the whole neighborhood and got a ton of candy.  I tried to eat it all but I got a stomach ache.  No more.

November 10,
Today was moms birthday.  We took her to see the movie "The Mole, The Rat and The Bird"  After the movie we went to the store and asked mom what she wanted.  As usual she said "What could I want more than to spend my birthday with my family."  Oh well I guess I'll have to give her more jelly beans.

December 25,
Today is Christmas.  We got all kinds of toys and candy.  We got to see our Grandma and Grandpa and our cousins.  This was the most premium Christmas ever.

January 1, 
Happy New Year!  Today is the beginning of a brand new year.  The whole neighborhood had a big party with Mole candy, dirt cakes, roasted scorpions and small cooked lizards.  We got to see our family and friends.  This is going to be a good year.

About this book:

Seth got a diary on his last birthday and is starting to record is life.  Listen as he eats jelly beans, gets $800 and a pet mouse.  Follow Seth through his wonderful life.


"The taxi driver is trying to KILL us!"  as we were on our way to a play date, in a taxi.

"This is my princess dress!"  It is a VERY pretty dress.  I'll take pictures next time and post them.

"It's NOT her purse, it's MY purse!"  as she conned the sales lady out of a Juicy Couture purse at the Underground!  Before you think she knows brand names, it was pink!  And that's the ONLY reason she wanted it!  Not to mention, you know you bought more than you should have when they give you a FREE purse!

"I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to myself."  after I told her that I didn't hear what she said.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


One thing I think I've learned this year is who my true friends are.  I know everyone has their own lives and that life has to go on, but it's tough being so far away from everyone.  And it's even tougher feeling like I miss them more than they miss me. 

This year has been a wonderful year for us, but it's also been a tough year in a lot of ways.  The hardest part is being away from family and friends.  But we've all grown and changed this year, and I don't regret our decision for one minute.  It was the right thing to do.  And maybe sometimes, by stepping away from a situation, you realize where you DO and where you DON'T really belong.