Sunday, April 23, 2006

Birthday and Easter Photos

Here's the Party

Happy Birthday Nicole

Making S'mores

Easter Morning

April 22, 2006

When the Relief Society decided they wanted to meet at the Carioka Brazilian BBQ for Enrichment, I was pretty excited. I remembered Chad, my brother, telling me how wonderful Brazilian BBQ is. I have never had a chance to try it out. Well, it was looking good. There was a big Fiberglas pig as we walked in...A pretty good sign. The walls were covered in Bathing Brazilian Beauties. The restaurant was full! When I looked over at the buffet, I was a little disappointed, all I could see was Chinese Food. But, I thought, it must just be the side-dishes, cause they are going to come around with all of that meat! Well, soon they started to come by. First, they offered BBQ tofu, And then some Tofu meat balls. After that, they came by with some chicken hearts. The next round was actually some roast beef (that was so rare, I didn't dare try it). There were a couple of sausage sort of things, and some hot bananas and pineapple. I should have known better. What was I dreaming??? Oh well, I had a great visit with the ladies.

This last Friday was Nicole's 12th Birthday sleep-over. She had 7 girls over. Nicole is the only native English speaker in her grade. She has a German friend and an Austrian friend. The three of them are pretty close. The other five were Korean girls, also from Nicole's grade. I was a bit worried, because I wanted Nicole to have a fun party, and the Korean girls tend to click together and speak Korean. I was so pleasantly surprised! The girls all had a wonderful time. They made pizzas, and played every party game you can think of. Nicole wanted so badly to have s'mores for her birthday treat. I ordered some marshmallows and graham crackers from Shanghai, and got some chocolate. They each put some marshmallows on the end of a chopstick, and roasted them over the gas stove. They all had a blast! And they loved the s'mores. Nicole explained that Americans make these over an open-fire while camping. We provide such cultural experiences at our home:-). Everything went great, but the next morning, some of the Korean girls couldn't handle all of those sweet cereals, and muffins, and asked for noodles. Thank goodness I had some! I think these girls may have had more sugar than they have had in their entire life-time at the sleep-over. I wonder if their parents will ever speak to me.

We are so excited for my Mom and Dad to come and visit this next week. I'm sure we'll have some fun stories to share. Maybe I should take them to the Brazilian BBQ. Don't worry Mom and Dad, I'll make sure I have spicy noodles in the house for breakfast.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Some photos

A beautiful Snowy day at Purple Cloud Lake

Here is a man doing his calligraphy at the park

This lady asked me to video her, and they all wanted to see!

Happy Easter!

Rachel and Nicole spent the week studying, because this week is "final exam" week. It is a little bit strange, because they still have a solid 6 weeks of school after the exams. Oh well. They worked very hard, and I feel they will do well. The rest of us had a fairly normal week. I think the most unusual thing was that Mike didn't have many evening meetings. He usually has at least 4 night-time meetings a week, that are call-in meetings to North America. This was a nice change. I made hot cross buns with a friend this week. I've never tasted hot cross buns, and they are very delicious. This is an Easter tradition. The family enjoyed them as well. Friday afternoon, Mike and I were supposed to go next door from his work for a dumpling lunch with friends. Mike was called into a meeting, so I took Eli as my date. We ordered a very interesting deep-fried fish dish. It came, of course, with the head, which was a pretty good size deep-fried fish head. They had drenched it in sauce and added peas into the eye-sockets, and a cherry tomato in the mouth. I saved the fish head. I made pizza for dinner on Friday night, and instead of giving Mike his pizza, I brought him his "special fish-head" dish. The kids thought it was hilarious, but Mike didn't want to eat it. I don't know if he was more disgusted by the fish-head, or it's pea-eyes. I tried not to be offended that he didn't want his special dish, and let him have pizza instead:-)

Easter was a nice day for us. On Saturday, we colored some eggs. A friend who had brought some egg-dye with her, let us use her left-over dye. It was a fun surprise for the kids, who thought that they were going to have to use markers. Believe it or not, my kids actually like hard boiled eggs! On Sunday morning, Eli and Jay woke up at 5:30 ready to find their eggs. We told them to stay in their room for another hour (Christmas is one thing, but they have to wait a while on Easter). They came in every 10 minutes and asked...Has it been an hour yet? Finally we gave in, and had a fun egg-hunt. We had a full house for church. Some of the Chinese national members came, because we had an Easter Dinner afterward. They met upstairs during church, which is not the best scenerio. We really shouldn't be in the same building. The parents of our Chinese missionary, Jake, came for the potluck, after the church service. It was a really nice afternoon. I had ordered a ham from Shanghai, and everyone brought dishes to go with it. We also had a wedding shower of sorts for Tyler and Amanda. Tyler is an American from Utah, and Amanda is a convert from Chongzhou (about 1 1/2 hours away). They will be getting married this summer in the Salt Lake Temple. It was a great day.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

More Trips

<<-- Mike's Birthday

On Monday night, two days after the doctor told us that we didn't have to go daily for her ear, Caitlin tried to cut off her finger. Ok, she wasn't trying to cut off her finger, she was trying to cut paper in the dark, because she was supposed to be asleep in bed. We are all wondering if she just can't stand to be away from her friends at the doctor's office! Anyway, I wasn't home, so Mike grabbed a taxi, and went to the clinic. I met them there. She nicked a very small artery, so it bled and bled. The doctor stitched it all up, so everything is fine, but when I got there, I didn't realize I was getting light-headed and greenish, and had to sit down. I was a little glad that Mike took care of the gory part, and I arrived in time for hugs. Nine stitches later, Caitlin is feeling lucky she's out of dishes for the week, and even though she didn't get to play in her soccer tournament in Shanghai, she got to go and cheer them on!

Rachel went this week to Hong Kong with the school soccer team. She had a great time. It sounds like she got to play quite a bit, which was great for her since she'd never played soccer before six months ago. This has been a good experience for her. Her coaches were tough, and really worked them. I think she really enjoyed the exercise, and team spirit.

Mike turned 37 this week. Yes, the old man is getting along fine. He was happy to receive some fun emails from family and friends, and got his homemade chocolate cake. This is all he needed to make his 37 years complete. You just keep on going Michael...

Today, our group watched the Sunday morning session of conference. It was wonderful, of course. We will watch the afternoon session in a couple of weeks. Jared Cobia, Mike's friend and work associate from Dearborn (Michigan) has been here on business, and was able to come to church today. He is also a member of the church. He stayed after and had lunch and visited with us for a while. It was a lot of fun. His wife is pregnant. They have an 8 year old boy, a 3 year old daughter, and 1 1/2 year old triplets (girls). She is my hero!

Some interesting things we saw this week:

Rachel saw a truck full of pig-heads.

Nicole saw a dog on a bike with a woman.

Lonnie saw small lanterns taped to the milk cartons as a promotion. This is even better than the make-up bags taped to the milk cartons!

Mike saw a three wheeled 5 ton truck, full of building materials.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Very Eventful Week...

Caitlin in Tienanmen Square

Tienanmen Square
Handicapped girl writing in hope of receiving money.

A bicycle cart full of buns...

Part of the Temple of Heaven

This week started off busy, and just kept getting more crazy! I went to a town called Yixing on Monday, with some friends. It is a town where they make ceramic dishes. There are many factories. Well, there is a small shopping street, where you can buy dinnerware. But each of the little stalls just have bits and pieces of a set. There was a relatively larger store that had a couple of whole sets. This store was the store that my friend and I found the set we wanted, and of course, it wasn't in any of the other shops. I think they knew this, and wouldn't come down in price for us. Unfortunately,we walked away. I did buy some cute mugs and a serving dish. I am learning many lessons about shopping in China. First, I left the shop and realized they had given me nine instead of the ten I paid for. I got another one, but when I got home, I found 9 of my mugs and a Christmas mug! I thought I was watching so carefully, but there were about 3 ladies wrapping them in newspaper, and boy are they tricky!

Wednesday was Student-lead Conference Day. This is where the teacher stays right out of it, and the student takes their parent(s) around to see what they have been doing. I spent the entire day at the school! It was wonderful, though, going from class to class with my children, and seeing all of the hard work they have been doing in school. They were good at showing me where they are succeeding, and even pointing out areas for improvement. They did a great job.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Doctor we have been seeing, told us that we needed to go to Beijing to have her ear looked at. There was a lump of something close to her eardrum, and the ENT specialist in Beijing thought he should look at it. We made arrangements to go on Friday. Anna, from our Church group watched Eli for me. Caitlin and I left on Friday morning early, and flew up to Beijing. We got to the clinic about 10:30, and they got her in right away. We got some great news! The lump in her ear is scar-tissue, not infection. The infection is cleared-up and she doesn't need her daily treatment anymore! It was wonderful to hear this from a specialist. He had the equipment and expertise he needed to get a close look. After the Doctor gave us the OK to leave, they couldn't get us return tickets until Saturday morning, so Cailtin and I jumped in a taxi and went to check out some of the city. We had a terrific time! We saw the Temple of Heaven, and Tienanmen Square. We did some shopping, and even found a book shop (with some English books). The highlight was the Subway sandwich store they have there in Beijing. Yummy! We are looking forward to getting a better look when we go to Beijing next month with the family.

I like to write down funny phrases or words that I see. Here are a few I saw in Beijing:

Please show your cash and receipt to your face.

Uncomplimentary: 36rmb (this was on a can of tea they had in the hotel room)

Hospital for Anus and Intestinal Disorders (yes, this is for real...A huge sign)

And the gigantic block letters on the Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing...NO DRUGS OR NUCLEAR WEAPONS ALLOWED!Is this on all of the Hard Rock Cafes now? I've been here too long, and I can't tell if it's Chinglish, or the real thing! Either way(????)

On Saturday, Rachel did the 13 mile walk with her soccer team to raise money for their trip to Hong Kong. It was right after a game! She is a little stiff today!

An Eli learning moment from this week: "Mom, are we there yet?" "Almost" "what does almost mean?" "It means not quite." "I HATE ALMOST!"