Happy Year of the Horse
Savio graduated from preschool and moved on to kindergarten. He draws creatively, impresses the family with his singing and has been a daring architect of Kapla blocks, Legos and rubberband bracelets. While he can follow building instructions, he is eager to make his own variations. This past year he began piano & carpentry and performed in the Wiz. Savio can now hike around five miles without needing to be carried as long as he is being engaged in imaginative play, thanks to our gleemking friends.
For Yvette, 2013 has been a year focused on re-examination and redefining to align personal and social justice values with her consulting business, Y’s Change (www.wisechange.org). She couldn’t have dreamed that in her first year, she would be able to secure such a breadth of government, university, foundation, nonprofit and individual clients. Her work has been extremely gratifying and more importantly, aligned with her firm’s mission to tackle social issues by helping her clients become stronger collaborators. Last year, Yvette also joined UNTraining and the Isms Collaborative, two groups fighting racism. For fun, Yvette gets to pick up kids early, experiment with new dinner concoctions, and help out with math and science activities at the elementary school, in addition to xtracycling and continuing with her  Ashtange mysore yoga practice. She also took a sewing and calligraphy classes.
Best of all, we got to reunite with a couple of our Hanoi adoption families for the first time since 2009. The setting was worlds apart from Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where Savio last saw his buddies Alex and Jonathan. Back then, we could only imagine what personalities these boys would grow into years later. We consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to meet each other again, share stories, and watch how our families have evolved. There is perhaps no greater blessing in life than to see friends & family live and grow over time.  
Savio on way to Glacier Point Sequoia reached new heights - creating her first science fair project (on milk displacement), continuing with piano, Chinese, gymnastics, and playing the role of Dorothy in The Wiz as well as two other school musicals. Now in third grade, she regularly wakes up before everyone else to pore through an endless stream of books. She loves a good story, and she even got to write a book in her second grade class. Animal lover that she is, she is still hoping that our family will soon adopt a pet.

Liwen is doing what he can to get outdoors more and avoid getting flabby, now that he doesn’t tote the kids around as much. Instead of biking as often, he has been on foot more. He’s also started growing artichokes and thornless blackberries. During the days, he is still at Fenwick & West, where he has enjoyed doing intellectual property counseling for cool online companies, in addition to litigating. Particularly gratifying was the opportunity to help several pro bono clients with immigration or domestic violence issues. The horse is known for its energy. The kids’ growing independence and increasing interests in a variety of subjects has brought a new sense of energy that we are looking forward to this year. We wish you all an energetic year of opportunity, accomplishment, and the mindfulness to appreciate it.
Savio, Sequoia, Liwen, and Yvette Scaring the neighbors National Youth Science Camp, Smoke Hole Caverns, National Radio Quiet Zone, and Sequoia’s climb The easier way to travel on snow Savio with Salt Point tafoni formations and Legos Clockwise from top left: Vernal Falls boulder garden, Old Wawona Road, snowless Yosemite in December, Mariposa Grove               Thespians in the Wiz Sequoia’s cereal project 2013 was an incredible year for fighting evil and making time for family. The kids are fortunately good spirits even if they sometimes construe the parents as the bad guys. 
After a busy spring of work, we traveled east for a couple of reunions. First, we ventured to Pittsburgh to experience a phenomenon called “rain,” which we aren’t too familiar with in CA. We ventured up to Cook Forest, where the kids got to see some fireflies before days of deluge, thunder and Hershey’s ice cream. Exploring Cook Forest’s white pine and hemlock Exploring the LozziWorm, stegasaurus, and tortugas at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh After a couple days exploring the world-class museums in Pittsburgh and finding the only Burmese restaurant there, we headed to West Virginia for the 50-year reunion of the National Youth Science Camp, where Lee had worked for several summers past. The kids got to see some of the reasons why West Virginia is a fabulous place: Civil War history, the rocks, boreal forests, wet caves, snakes and carnivorous plants, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and a bunch of wonderful Science Campers and their families. 
Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks Surrealistic Pillar at Lover’s Leap