Sunday, March 26, 2006

Caitlin and Jay

Very sporty, Caitlin!

Jay, the Energy Power Dribbler

Caitlin and the Sport Girls (their team name)

Mike, and some of the Energy Power Boys

Jay, and his class in the Lower-Elementary Production

Dad! Don't tickle me!

What Did You Do This Week?

Eli: I Broke Caitlin's doll and got into your slippery stuff, except I don't know what it was called (laundry stain remover). I did nothing else after I got into stuff. Just did nothing except right now I am doing something...(what are you doing?) Just playing trains. Can we go now??? (Eli left out quite a few other "things" he did this week, this was actually all the stuff he remembered from today.)

Jay: On Monday, I think, I um... I had P.E. On Tuesday, I had soccer. On Wednesday, I had clay creations and brought home the little turtle table that I made. It's on Mom's dresser, now. On Thursday, I don't really remember what I did. On Friday, I did my elementary production performance for the parents. On Saturday, I had Fun Olympics. It was a good week. And on Sunday, I had church.

Caitlin: Monday, I went to the doctor. Tuesday I went to the doctor. Wednesday, I went to the doctor. Thursday, I went to the doctor. Friday, I went to the doctor. Saturday, I went to the doctor. Today, I went to the doctor. Oh, on Saturday, I had Fun Olympics at school and won a lot.

Nicole: Let me think before you type. NO!!! Mom! I was grounded for a week. I stayed inside. I played computer, slept, read books, celebrated my friends birthday (On Saturday, when I wasn't grounded), made cookies, studied for exams, and played trains with Eli.

Rachel: I did homework, soccer, um...School and sleep. Oh, and I ate. Typical.

Lonnie: Doctor visits, computer fixing (well, not actually me), school meetings, visiting teaching, grocery shopping, Chinese lessons, book club reading (with Kellee!), home-work helping, cooking, more Chinese food-tasting, school production watching, running, emailing, banking, lots and lots of riding in the car, Family Home Evening, laundry, cleaning, Fun Olympic chaperoning, and Dating! Oh, and making sure everybody got to their stuff...

Mike: I worked long hours. We had executives in town, so that made it even crazier. Yeah, that wasn't fun...

So, there is the family's take on the week...

A little more detail about a couple of things: Jay did a great job in his school production. He was an aborigine with his class, and they all sang some songs, too. On Saturday, we had a great time at the school fun olympics. Mike was the team leader for Jay's team of six first-graders. They chose the name "Energy Power". They all wore red t-shirts, but Mike was unable to wear his XXXL (Chinese size) because it was too small. I ended up coaching a team of fifth-grade Korean girls. Their team-leader didn't show-up. It was lots of fun. Caitlin was on a team of fourth grade girls, and feels they did very well. The weather was great, and everyone was exhausted at the end...A successful day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tree-planting Day

How sweet! Trees next to each other

Jay and his adopted tree

Rachel knows how to fill in that dirt! Hope your name-plaque doesn't fly off, Rach!

Eli found a friend

Caitlin's Fine Tree

Our trip across the swinging bridge

The Big Welcome

Family at the Plum Blossom Festival

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Always something to laugh about...

It's been a full week. Here are some of the highlights...

On Tuesday, Mike was able to sneak away from work a little early, so that we could go and see the Plum Blossom Festival. You should know that it is the INTERNATIONAL Plum Blossom Festival, though I'm not sure what that means. It was really gorgeous. I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, that I had gone with a friend and ridden in the emperor Box, which I have now learned is a Jouzi. When we got to the top of the hill, the men all ran up to us and wanted us to ride. I let the kids all have a turn, and the men wanted Michael and I to have a turn. I told them I'd already tried it, and Mike said, "No Thank you". They really wanted him to try. I think to prove their man-hood or something. Anyway, they offered us a free ride. They were so proud! They all wanted pictures next to him measuring height. And then, they asked how much Mike weighed. I told them 250, and their jaws dropped open. When we walked away, Mike said,"You forgot that they work with kilos, didn't you?" I had just told them he weighs over 500 lbs! Well, they will have a great story to tell...I wonder if it will turn into one of those Paul Bunyan Tall Tales.

We had an incident on Friday afternoon with Eli. I had a mother and her son who is Eli's age, over to play. When I went upstairs to their bedroom, I saw that they had been out on the roof through their second story window! Luckily, the mother acted cool about it. I thought I would die! When Eli was on time-out, he said, "But Mom, I had my umbrella, and I can fly with that!" Fly????? We had a huge conversation, and I said a prayer of thanks in my heart, for him not getting a chance to try that experiment!

Saturday was our church group service project. The young man in our group worked together with the city to plan our outing to a park to each "adopt" and plant a tree and have a plaque with our names on it. The city of Nanjing is doing a bunch of tree planting days to celebrate Arbor Day. To be able to do this activity, we each had to provide a passport photo for a security pass. So, I guess my back-ground check showed I was OK for tree-planting:-) The city provided a bus. We all met at 8:00 in the morning, and climbed on the bus. Twice, our bus-driver pulled over to the side of the freeway to ask cars parked in the emergency lane, directions. Finally we made it. There was a huge deal going on. There were probably 2000 people there for the festivities, with a welcoming drum squad, and TV cameras, banners, etc. Of course, we were the only group of foreigners, so the TV cameras followed us around. The most confusing thing to all of us, was that we saw trees all around. There was definitely not a shortage on trees. They had cleared trees out of an area for the park, and now we were all planting trees back in the park! One interesting thing in the park was a little kiddie ride, on a small train track. The kids were supposed to sit in a little car, and shoot at targets on concrete animals such as a giraffe, a stegasouras, and an elephant (who would then scream in pain) with electric-light machine guns. (?) Scary. The park was beautiful, and we had a lovely walk with the 30 of us who came. When it was time to plant our trees, we went to a pre-dug hole, put the tree that was laying next to it in the hole, and filled the hole with dirt. We then tied our "name-plaque", a small plasticised card with our name written on it, to the tree. The good news is that we each got a pass to the park, good for a year, so if we ever want to go the 2 hours to see how our tree is doing, well, we can!

Nicole spent Friday and Saturday in Shanghai for her Volleyball tournament. She played very well, even if her team didn't win. It sounds like she had a great time.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 11, 2006

Here, we are trying to get reverent for the 2 hour District Conference meeting.

We met at a big hotel ballroom for the conference.

Go Rachel!

Some notes as written in my day-planner this week:

*16+ buses, lots and lots of cars, bikes, and walkers in a huge traffic jam at intersection. Everyone trying to make their way through it at once. No worries...Super Jiang, our driver had us out in no time, even in our huge transit.

*Same lady hoola-hooping every morning.

*Saw a girl with a huge sequin butterfly the back of her jeans. Stretched from hip to hip. Sparkly!

*Monday- Today at Walmart they told me AGAIN that I couldn't buy something, because it had no bar-code. This happens everywhere quite a bit. I think they know that we foreigners can't really do anything about it. Today, I spoke back in Chinese and said, "I gave Walmart a lot of money. Please go and see how much it is." THEY DID! :-)

*Went for a long bike-ride with Eli. So much construction being done. In our part of town, I count 12 huge Universities either newly built or under construction. New roads everywhere.

*Saw a lady making cotton candy in an old pot. Plain white with a bamboo stick. Eli tried it and liked it.

*Saw a motorcycle with a large refridgerator (horizontal), computer moniter, several blankets, and a couple of other furniture items all strapped to the back.

We saw Rachel play in a Football tournament. Nicole rode a horse for the first time ever. Caitlin is back to the daily doctor visits with more ear problems (she is ok, and it is getting better). Jay read his first book for "fun" tonight, and found he really enjoyed it. It must be different when he isn't "forced" to read for homework. Who knew??? Eli spent the week working on his eye-hand coordination by cutting up his pajama shirt into tiny pieces, learning to clean by windexing my stairs, and learning NOT to go to friends houses without asking Mommy (she then grounds you and you HATE that!). We went to the China District Conference in Shanghai today for church. Michael left yesterday with the rest of the group, and attended a priesthood leadership meeting, and the adult meeting. Rachel had a soccer tournament, so we all joined them today. We left at 5:30am, as the meeting was from 10:00am-12:00. It was an excellent meeting. The spirit was so strong. I had my sweet revenge, as I figured that Mike was asked to speak in the conference because he got out of speaking in the group a couple of weeks ago! See if he does that again! Joking aside, he did a great job. We drove back home this afternoon. Needless to say, the children and parents had a long day. But it was well worth it. I am so glad that my children have the chance to sacrifice a little for their beliefs. I feel it strengthens our family.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Stuff from Hui Jin # 19...

Eli's School

Eli is next to the cups and hot water that they drink every day. Eli is not a fan of hot water.

Plum Blossom Hill

Another busy week has flown by. There was yet another crazy incident at the Wadley Churchhouse this morning...I had noticed that our Ayi hadn't been using the floor cleaner I bought . It's a concentrate, like Pine-Sol or something. Anyway, I asked her to use it yesterday, and didn't realize that she didn't know how. As Mike and I left for our final Salsa lesson (to Mike's great relief) yesterday afternoon, I saw her with the bottle, and thought things were going great. Aparently, I was mistaken. She does not know how to use it, and just poured it straight onto the floor and rubbed it around. We got back late last night, and this morning when we woke up, we found a thick film on every floor surface! We spent a good portion of the morning rinsing out a mop, trying to get all of the suds off of the floor. We didn't want everyone slipping and cracking their heads open! Not exactly what we had in mind for our peaceful Sunday morning. Not to worry, the floor is EXTRA shiny now!

So, now Mike and I are Salsa experts! Not! But we did learn a couple of steps together, and it turned out to be fun. We initially thought it was a ballroom dancing class, but hey! We are pretty hot now!

Some interesting things we saw this week: At 10:30 at night, there were about 30 men carrying a huge cement telephone pole up an on-ramp. One morning, there was a middle-aged woman, dressed in her exercise garb, in front of her shop, doing the HOOLA-HOOP. We saw a large construction truck, stacked three deep with big 50 pound barrels, tipping-tipping-tipping to the right. It was driving very slowly down the exit-ramp. But it was going to go any second...Jiang wasn't about to get stuck behind the mess, so he quickly drove around it. A risky move that turned out for the best...Thank goodness!

Last Friday, a friend and I happened to walk into a group of important-looking people with badges, etc. We thought it looked interesting, so we followed. I think they let us in because we were foriegn. Well, we followed them up to what we found out later was the beginning of the Plumtree Festival. At the top of the plumtree hill, they had the men who carry the emperor in a box. Who knows what that is called???? Anyway, they wanted us to try it so bad. So, I got in the box, and they picked me up and carried me around the area not once, but three times! They bounce you so high! There were also men playing wooded flutes and drumming. Everyone was staring and taking pictures. I was so embarrassed! Then my friend had her turn, and a local TV station showed up and filmed her ride. Afterward they came over and tried to interview her. She just stared, because they were speaking in Chinese. Finally she just said, "Hen Hao!" Which means very good. They seemed satisfied with that and left. It was quite the experience!

We had gorgeous weather this weekend, and the kids spent all day outside. It is so great to see the sun, and hope for green grass and warmth! Soon enough we'll wish for the cold, but hopefully by then, we'll be in the beautiful dry summer season of Utah! Caitlin's ear is better, Rachel made the football(soccer) team, and the kids got their second-to-last shot. Nicole is practicing drums on everything, Jay is happy it's warm, and Eli is still up to his "creative" thinking. Thanks to my Mom, I even worked out trying to buy something off of Ebay in China. NOT EASY! As soon as I typed our address into the system (of course after I had already won the bid) it all changed to Chinese, of course!???? I won't be trying that again! So, life continues on with the regular "life" stuff, and a few "crazy China things" too.