Emily has been writing a little bit over on her page.  Click on over and take a look and maybe send her a quick note to let her know somebody's out there reading!  And here's a few pics of my sweet 16 year old from the past few months.
with our Spanish teacher Nellie
Getting ready to climb, slide and swim 27 Charcos (waterfalls)!  - with Anna (our construction team host) and Katelynn (doing her student teaching here this semester)
Going to the dance...
At the Doulos College Fair - presented by the Junior class.  She shared info from NAU, Condordia College in Portland, and Biola.  Shout out to all our peeps who are NAU Lumberjacks!
And here she is in Haiti...
where she and Anna built a desk organizer for Second Mile Haiti, among other things...
While we've all had our ups and downs while living in the DR, Emily has perhaps had the hardest time.  It's not easy being a teenager.  Period.  But making new friends in a different culture in  a different language has been pretty tough.  As parents it can be equally as tough to remeber that God is teaching us and growing us ALL THE TIME, and usually through the hard things we learn and grow the most.  We hope that the end result will be maturity, wisdom, and compassion.

Rather, speaking the TRUTH in LOVE, we are to GROW UP in every way into him who is the head, into CHRIST.   ephesians.4:15
The first day of 11th grade might seem a little anti-climactic after going to college.  Unless you're Emily and starting at a new school for the first time in your school career and it's in a foreign country.  Luckily and blessedly it is a bilingual school that is taught primarily in English.  Hooray for the best of both worlds. 
Max begins the second half of 8th grade not ever having completed the first half.
"What in the world are we doing" you might ask...
Doulos Discovery School is an amazing place where one-half of the students are on scholarship.  Doulos is a US non-profit and all of the teachers and staff from North America raise their own salaries in the form of support.  Giving the poorest students in Jarabacoa the ability to receive a private, Christian education would be fantastic enough.  But there's more!  Classes are taught in English, so all of the students become bilingual.  95% of the students are Dominican and the school's mission is to educate and equip their students so they can impact the DR.  What a great thing!  AND it's an Expeditionary learning school, which is an exciting way to learn.  If you want to know more about all of this, check out their website here.
We're privileged to able to serve here this semester and work alongside the amazing staff.  What a great group of young, smart, and enthusiastic people who love Jesus and followed the call to the DR.
So Emily will finish the11th grade and Max will join the 8th grade class (or possibly the 9th grade class because of his math level) and then who knows where they'll go from there?  Only God knows for sure.
By the way, the high school students start school at 7am!!!
This is my girl.  Biggest bun ever.  Funniest girl ever.  She's a deep thinker with a heart that is learning to serve and love and follow her God.  Click over here to read some of her thoughts on our trip to Brazil.
Tank is her friend.  Her large, lovable friend.
Emily and i were busy bees in December kniting and crocheting.  Here are a few pics of our creations. 
For Christmas Emily received some "creative" books.  From Nana and Grandpa (Lucy and Frank), she got a book about re-fashioning T-shirts.  She's made a few so far - and a skirt!
Here's Nana modeling a scarf that Emily knitted and I crocheted the flowers.
Crocheted necklace
Emily's knitted hat
Emily's t-shirt creation - she cut out the dinosaur and stitched it onto the blue t-shirt.
she made this t-shirt skirt too!
We were actually in Portland last week over Emily's birthday,  just in case you are trying to figure out where we actually are on the day this is posted.  I'm a little behind, but I'm catching up.

Portland was our first try at public transportation in a big city.  We parked at the Lloyd Center mall and rode the Maxx line downtown.  We walked and walked and walked.  First stop HAD to be Powell's bookstore.  All it is cracked up to be!  The store covers a whole city block.  Spent over an hour browsing for books.  Found some deals and bought some books.  Kids then read some books.  And then the next day...we need more books!  We are utilizing the downloadable book, but still we are running out!  We are going to try some book exchanging in the next town.  As Mrs. Walker would say, "Readers are Leaders!"  
I'm pretty sure Max is spitting in this picture...awesome
Our friend, Grant, gave us a great tour of Portland.  Here we are at Multnomah Falls.  Then he took us to Guiseppe's Italian Restaurant for dinner, and I think their pizza was the best I've ever had.  Really.  A few years back, Grant saw my parents at this little place!  They were visiting Portland, and they got lost. They stopped into this place for dinner and Grant spotted them across the room.  That's about the time Grant came back into our lives after losing touch for a while.  We are glad to have him back and we had a great time with him.

Emily's Epic Entry into 14-dom

We celebrated Emily's 14th birthday in Portland. She exited the bus in the morning to be engaged in an epic silly string fight!

Grant chauffered us around to see his new log home, Mt. Hood, and some other fantastic sights.  He took us to see "Despicabe Me", which we all loved.  Favorite line from the movie:  "It's so fluffy!!!  I think I'm gonna die!!!"

Grants cabin has vertical logs...very unique.  It sits close to the Zig-Zag river in Rhododendron, OR.  Rustic and beautiful!

at Grant's cabin
Timberlake Lodge at Mt. Hood
Grant and Joe
Here we are at Mt. Hood, only a 40 minute drive from Portland.  Skiers and snowboarders had all the snow they needed.  Amazing.  In July!  The boys had a snowball fight while Em and i viewed the scenery from a distance.  We had lunch at the historic Timberlake Lodge.   Beautiful!

For Emily's birthday dessert, we couldn't find a cupcake shop, so we for dessert to alodge out near where we were parking for the night in Forest Grove, OR.  She had some delicious caramel brownie thing and Joe had a chocolate milkshake made with stout beer.  Interesting.  

We didn't get enough of Portland, so we will be back in a few weeks on our way back to California.  Check back for Portland - Round 2!

The sweet baby girl I birthed 14 years ago is not a baby anymore, and sweet?  Well, she has her moments!  We heard a sermon a few weeks back from a youth pastor who said that as parents we should be more concerned with our children's character and not so much their comfort.   Character over comfort.  I need to remember that in my own life!  Here are a few pics of our girl from the past few weeks.  She has been adjusting to life on the road like the rest of us, with her quick wit and new sunglasses.
with Grady
at Pismo Beach