The Maas Family

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break. --Chinese legend

Thursday, October 14, 2010

There's a new blog in town

We're moving the blog to a new and easy to remember address.  Come check us out at  We're hoping to move all the old content over to the new site.  And by we're hoping to move all the old content, I mean we're hoping our friend Micha, who was kind enough to help us get the new blog started in order to bypass China's firewall, will move it for us.  Until then, I have a link to the old blog on the new site.  So put in your "Favorites" and get ready to follow us to China in less than 2 weeks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A boy cousin!

Here he is making his blog debut, Baby BOY Stiles-in-utero!!!

We can't wait to meet you (once you're fully cooked, of course). Congratulations again to Aunt Leslie and Uncle Stanley! We're so excited for y'all! Boys are so so so much fun! And now it's time to go shopping for some baby boy clothes. (Be nice to me, Stanley, or the kid wears a Duke jersey every time I babysit.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thank you, Tom Skilling!

Every summer, our neighbors throw two great block parties. This year's second soiree was pushed back to October, a risky move in Chicago. Fortunately, Tom Skilling, who as Grandma Zieg would have wanted you to know is never wrong, smiled upon us. We had nothing but sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s all weekend. Absolutely gorgeous. Plus, for the first time since the weekend of August 14, I was neither out of town nor working this weekend. Hurray!
Saturday got started in typical block party fashion. The kids waited at the edge of the sidewalk chanting things about block parties, bouncers and running in the street. As soon as the street was blocked off and they could run free, they went nuts. I'm wondering if we shouldn't all go in together and just get them traffic cones for Christmas instead of toys because it's quite possibly the happiest they are all year.
There was a bouncer, of course. Check out Jacob (who is pretending to be some version of Chewbacca that can shoot webs like Spiderman) and Fiona (pictured parallel to the bouncing surface) breaking it in.

It was so warm we busted out the kiddie pools and slip 'n' slides.
And no block party would be complete without riding your bike and/or scooter in the street. David is sporting the latest in preschool fashion: swimsuit, snow boots and Thomas the tank engine bike helmet.

Back in the bouncer. Olivia had a lot of fun until David said he wanted to play with her brother Jackson instead. Olivia left the bouncer crying because "I don't have a husband!" She later asked David, "Do you want to have the same kids when we grow up so I can be the mommy and you can be the daddy?"
The lovely Fiona. David and Jackson enjoying their water balloons.

After dark, we made s'mores...
...and watched a movie on a big screen one of neighbors set up. David crashed and burned mid-movie.

Today we went to church and came home to watch the Bears play the impressively bad Panthers. David, still worn out from Saturday's fun, took a football nap with me.
Refreshed, he spent the rest of the afternoon outside. The street was still blocked off, and the kids were all out. I really like the fall colors in the first shot. The second is of Jacob and David looking for trouble.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Nothing too earth shattering to report since my last post. We are running out of things to do to get ready for Max's arrival. The room is ready. The car seats are on their way (hurray for free shipping!). We have passports and visas. The dogsitter has his flights booked. I want to pack, but we're probably going to need our clothes for the next 3 weeks, so that will have to wait.
In the mean time, here are a few pictures with our brand new camera.
Kevin took David, Grandma and GG to the Museum of Science and Industry. Everyone had a great time.

Sunday night David and Kevin went to a Blackhawks preseason game. Check out David mad face in picture #2. I can only imagine he was expressing his upset at the Byfuglien trade over the summer. Also check out his Transformer snow boots and Spiderman gloves. I have a feeling we're going to have to surgically remove the boots next spring. And, no, it isn't snowing. Yet. We've been having highs in the mid-50s, though, and so the death spiral into winter begins. The saddest part about this weather is how good these temperatures are going to feel to us in about 6 months.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cameraless in Carolina

We completed our fifth consecutive weekend of not sleeping in our own beds this past weekend with a trip to North Carolina. After getting in a little before 1am, we rolled out of bed and headed to breakfast with a couple of my college friends, Erin and Susan plus Susan's husband Peter and their super cute 2 year old, Jack. We were so happy it worked out that we could see them while we were in town.
Jack and David staring each other down post-breakfast

After breakfast, we swung by the Duke campus for a little brainwashing. We strolled the gardens, saw the chapel, bought a basketball jersey and shorts and enjoyed some Loco Pops (fancy popsicles) on the Bryan Center walkway. If the kid decides to go to U of I, it's not because I'm not trying.
David in his new Duke ensemble in the book store, the boys enjoying popsicles in the newish fancy pants covered swings on the BC walkway (Is that what my tuition was paying for?...and if so, two thumbs up. They're awesome!)

Saturday afternoon, we took a little drive to visit the Heath family. Those of you who have been on board since the beginning will recall that the Heaths travelled to China with us to adopt their son at the same time we were adopting David. It is always so much fun to see them and see how big Rebekah, Emily and Jackson have gotten. David had so much fun playing with all of them and even slept on the bottom bunk in Jackson's room that night. Thanks so much to Marsha and Paul for hosting us and feeding us so well! We had a great time.
David looking for a head injury on Jackson's 4 wheeler. Once he discovered Jackson's cowboy costume, he wore it for about 24 hours straight.
David and Jackson taking a break from their pursuit of broken bones on the trampoline and enjoying some MarioKart.
The new camera is on its way, so hopefully by the next time I post we'll have some non-cell phone pictures for your enjoyment.
The only other news here is that we have confirmed Max's Gotcha Day will be November 1. The countdown can officially begin!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pictures from last weekend

David serving everyone their pizza at Papa Del's. Kevin and David at the game.

Best camera phone picture I could get of the pretty crescent moon at dusk. David sound asleep on the ride back to the hotel.

Enjoying some quality time with godfather Steve Sunday evening. David woke up Monday morning, and the first words out of his mouth were "when Steve coming my house again?"

Camera down!

This past weekend, we drove through the cornfields of Illinois to lovely Champaign for some U of I football. We met up with Allen, Amanda, Adam and Laura. Our first stop was Zorba's for some delicious gyros (which for the purposes of this blog is pronounced "hoo-rahs") followed by shopping for the latest and greatest in Illini gear. David conned us in to an Illinois football jersey. Shocking.
It is at this point that we hit a minor hiccup. For reasons unknown, Kevin put the camera on top of the car as we were getting in to go back to the hotel, and that is the last we ever saw of it. I guess I'm off the hook for losing it in my purse a couple of weeks ago in Galena. The good news is that what we lost is replaceable. I had downloaded David's first day of preschool pictures the night before. And honestly, we have put that camera through it over the last couple of years. It was getting slower and making rattling noises, and I was a little concerned it might chose some really inopportune time (Max's Gotcha Day, perhaps) to stop working completely. So I hope to put a few phone pictures from this past weekend up on the blog, but other than that (and the August and New York trip albums I am currently working on posting under the "David, Mara and Kevin's pictures" tab to the right) you're going to have to tough it out until we get a new camera.
Anyway...back to our weekend. Saturday we had an old folks early dinner at 4:00 at Papa Del's. Delicious delicious pizza. Then we went to the Illinois/SIU football game. They took our $20 for parking and then had us drive a good mile down the road to park. At least. It took us 25-30 minutes to walk from our car. Once we made it to the stadium, every one had a good time. David was really interested in the game, asked a lot of questions and was genuinely disappointed when we left after the third quarter to try to beat traffic and get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour. Of course, it took us the entire fourth quarter of the game to make it to our car, so that was only marginally effective.
Sunday morning we drove home and left David with Alma while Uncle Dave, Kevin and I enjoyed the Bears game. The play was an embarrassment to the National Football League, but the Bears pulled it out and the weather was beautiful. As a bonus, Dave agreed to stay after the game and help Kevin reassemble the crib. (Thank you, Uncle Dave!) So Max now has a functional room--a crib with bedding and a dresser full of clothes. Anything else we do from here on out is icing on the cake. Well, except buying his car seats. Those are not so optional.