This is us.  The one showing lots of shoulder (in her Chengdu, China Marine Ball ball gown!) is the EFM who writes this blog. The one wearing a tux (James) is the employee who moves her (and their two sons) around all over the world. The red link, below, is how you can get in touch with me...

The time in Chengdu, China

Chengdu: city of fabulous food and beautiful Buddhist monasteries!
Yes, Beijing's Forbidden City (pictured, above) is really pretty and all, but I like Chengdu much better than Beijing!

In Our Same Boat (with State)

  • Beyond the Cornfields
    Brand-new State Department family in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Love their two little girls (she just recently had a baby while being posted in Dhaka), horticulture, traveling and adventure!
  • Email From The Embassy
    State Department family formerly in Beijing, China, and recently posted to Amman, Jordan. A trailing spouse, she's also a writer, and frequently publishes articles with major news sources. A very experienced State family, this new post is something like overseas post number six or seven for them.
  • Just US
    A beautiful family of seven - they have arrived at their new post: Jerusalem! They just finished off an unaccompanied tour to Iraq and are very much looking forward to sightseeing around the middle east.
  • Our Life
    State Department family on their second post...Tijuana, Mexico. It's their first overseas assignment and they have two little boys. They love Tijuana so far and post pictures frequently! They also get to enjoy the best of both worlds for they can sneak over the border into San Diego when they want to!
  • The Dinoia Family
    State Department family formerly in California, now in DC for a DC tour. Next, the husband will do a one year unaccompanied tour. A very experienced State family (formerly in Iceland and Caracas) with a blog that has been around quite a while and has great archives. Jen has a sweet heart and a lot to give!
  • The Perlman Update
    State Department family formerly in Chennai, India, who then did a year-long unaccompanied tour in Iraq. They are now on a DC tour and after that will do another unaccompanied tour (Afghanistan). She totally tells it like it is and doesn't sugar-coat what life is really like. Witty, snarky, funny and down-to-earth. Look elsewhere if you want fake. Read if you want REAL.
  • Where in the World Am I?
    State Department family formerly in Bujumbura, Burundi and now in Hyderabad, India. They just had their first baby this summer - a beautiful little girl- (there's a separate blog about this) and she also eats gluten-free (with a separate blog, also).
One of the most intriguing things about Chengdu is that it is a seamless blend of ancient and modern... all together, side by side.

Can't Live Without (non-State)

  • Crass-Pollination: An ER blog
    The best ER nurse blog EVER!
  • Doctor Grumpy in the House
    The best doctor blog EVER!
  • In Which...
    My IRL friend, a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mama of seven. Her darling daughters are, goshdarnit, probably too young to be hoped for as my future daughters-in-law.
  • The Crib Chick
    My IRL friend, a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mama of five. Hopefully two (Any two! I'm not picky!) of which are my future daughters-in-law.
  • the underwear drawer
    An anesthesiologist who is possibly the most talented & entertaining writer ever. I've read her blog ever since she started medical school. No, don't know her in real life. Wish I did.
  • The Bloggess
    This blog is both hysterically funny and hilariously irreverent. I actually let my 17 year old son read it (who loves it as much as I do!), but wouldn't even CONSIDER letting my 12 year old son read it. Which is about all the description it needs!
The grounds of Chengdu monasteries can be very, very peaceful...even though they are smack dab in the heart of a city of millions of people.


Yes, there are Starbucks in Chengdu! All over the place, in fact. So much so, Starbucks even crafted mugs for Chengdu stores!
Texan bluebonnets. Because I learned during our very first posting (Houston) that there's nothing prettier in the spring than the meadows of Texas.
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Oooooh! Great idea! And great theme. . .


When I (volunteered to write the RoundUp), I wish I'd known (you were about to come up with an easier way to do it).


Have you considered just using a Mister Linky widget? ( Or Simply Linked service? ( That way anyone who wants to play along can just add their blog link in your post automatically. It is used in lots of places, an example is here on Delicious Baby's Photo Friday posts:

A Daring Adventure

Hello, ladies!

Thanks, TG... let's hope it works!

Heather, that is a wonderful device- thank you so much for bringing it to my attention- and if things need to be simplified even further, I will totally look into it. For the moment, I'm sort of hoping that people will still want to personalize the RoundUp on their own blogs, though, in a written/narrative format... but if that doesn't work out long term, then I'm thrilled to know that this exists!

Donna, I'm going to re-post what I said to you on Facebook so that other people can read it, too:

Last week, I watched as poor Shannon did the RoundUp with low speed internet and not a whole lot of time. She, like you, is at a new post, etc, and has recently moved (etc....which you know, I'm just saying).

Then this week, I knew you were trying to do the RoundUp and I know you have a full plate! (To say the least.) Gourmet dinners for multiple guests, brand-new post, new school for the children... and I've been trying so hard to think of a way to make the RoundUp easier and more fun for all.

Last night, after I read your great RoundUp, I researched the medical blogosphere's way of doing things and tried to make some helpful changes (going forward). I'm sorry I didn't catch this in time to help you, though. But I'm so grateful you did it this week!


You. Are. Awesome.


I really love this idea. I think it will make it far less intimidating to host.
Brilliant. Although, I am not very good at directed writings, which I am sure will disappoint everyone.


Why don't you take it one step further and have people write the sentence or two that describes the link they sent you to their blog. This way the weekly author doesn't have to come up with something pithy.

Also - one more idea ... because the way I write my blog, I wouldn't ever write a post about a specific FS topic... how about coming up with some very general themes where people can decide what links to post on the round up.

Themes like ... comings and goings (those who are new to the FS, those who are departing post, going on R&R, who's been assigned where ...)

And pictures ... where people can post links to great photos they put on their blog

And Travels ... who has gone where

And a section about kids or animals or couples or families

And a section about highlights of the week ... and lowlights too.

Just trying to throw some ideas out there that would potentially help in the future. I think that some people are discouraged to write it because it's not only labor intensive, but some people may feel like they're not going to be as creative as the previous author or as funny or post as many links. If the round up is transformed into a blog format that is the same from week to week, it may help alleviate fears and get more people to agree to host it.

And your idea about people submitting their own stuff is great - enough people know about the round up now that if they want their post in, they'll send in a link. And if not, then there's always next week.

A Daring Adventure

Oh my gosh, Jill - those were some absolutely excellent ideas. Quite frankly, almost none of them had ever occurred to me!

(Okay, I will admit wholeheartedly to one: MUST I DO THE NEXT ROUNDUP AFTER DONNA?!?!? DONNA OF ALL PEOPLE, DEAR GOD!?!?)

I'm hoping to really drive the point home that different blog authors can do whatever they like with the RoundUp when they have it. If someone were to have it one week, and that person really likes the idea of having each person submit a few sentences or a blurb already written for inclusion, I think that is an excellent idea.

Quite frankly, my initial goal is: audience participation!! If I can just, at this moment, get other blog authors to submit material for the weekly RoundUp, I will feel like this has all been successful! Once I secure audience participation, then the sky's the limit! But I would have never thought of most of the points that you made. But, then again, you are a MUCH more experienced State blogger than I am!

@Camille & @Emily- you ladies are too sweet!

Lydia Penrod

Hi, I'm Lydia. We're State Department in Manama, Bahrain right now! I would love to participate! My blog is:
Here, There and Everywhere at

contact me at: [email protected]


This isn't really a "What I wish I'd known" thing, but it is something I wish TO know (Does that count?) - anyway - is there anyway to ask for a little advice from the round-up folks on friday? I just received a "Class 2" med clearance and the rest of the family is worldwide available. Is this going to be seriously detrimental to my husbands career? Are the only countries that I am going to be able to go first world countries? Does anybody out there know?
Baaaaaaaaa! Frustration.

Also, I tried (and miserably failed) to get my kid to be as cute for Emily's birthday as you got your kids to. Haha. No worries, I took pictures. And blogged it :)

8 weeks pregnant

Super awesome idea. Too cool.

The comments to this entry are closed.

James loves me. And our sons. And his job. But not having his picture taken. In 2011 he finished up over a year and half of training, and in the fall of 2011 we got to our first overseas post - Chengdu, China!
Mao says hi! Because Chengdu is one of the only cities in China with a Mao statue.
Flowers are like friends. Each one is unique. Each one is beautiful. They brighten up everything around them. And you can never have too many. 

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2012 is the Year of the Dragon, y'all! Talk about the ultimate in good luck! This kinda party only comes around once every twelve years!
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Colorful! (Inside a Chengdu ancient Buddhist monastery.)
Have I mentioned that I absolutely adore taking pictures? Here are some that I've taken recently:
A Daring Adventure's items Go to A Daring Adventure's photostream