Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jay's Big Weekend

Jay had his birthday party on Friday after school. He invited 14 boys his age. They all came over, and we went to the pool to swim for an hour. I just kept counting over and over to make sure they were all above water! Then we went to the bowling ally and everyone played a game of bowling. Mike showed up after that with pizza, and they all came down in front of our houses and played soccer, and ate pizza. It was quite an event! I think he had lots of fun. I'm so glad he has such a fun group of boys to be with. Here are a couple of pictures of the party...

On Sunday morning, we had Jay's baptism. It was such a special day. He was so excited about it, and I feel he was very ready. The other members from our branch who are here right now came at 9:00am to our Dongjiao pool. We had asked the hotel if we could use the pool for about 30 minutes. We went inside, and Jay and Mike changed into their white clothes. Jay wore judo pants that I had found, and a white t-shirt. We stood around the pool and had a short meeting. We sang I am a Child of God. It was so sweet to hear, and it echoed in room. I gave a short talk about baptism, and Mike helped Jay into the pool. Jay says it was really cold, but I don't think he knows how a lake might have been! It was so neat to see Michael baptise Jay. We sang hymns while we waited for them to change, and then Rachel gave a really good talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost. We then ended the meeting, and went to our house for sacrament meeting. During the meeting Mike and the other priesthood holders confirmed Jay a member of the Church. Jay is the first baptism for the Nanjing Branch. I think it will be a special memory for him. While in our little meeting, we were singing acapella because nobody can play the piano. It took us three different songs to figure out a tune we could remember well enough to sing without music! After the meeting, we had surprise visitors. One of the teacher couples from BYU came and didn't know how to get to their University. They called President Yu, and he had a taxi bring them to our house. They were a lovely Hawaiian couple, who were so much fun. They joined all of us in our brunch, and Brother Panoke played his ukulele and taught us songs and dances. It was so much fun. They will be such a fun addition to our branch, and I know the Chinese students will love them! We had a wonderful day, and I really feel that Jay will have something special to remember his entire life. We all wished so much that we could have shared this day with our family. But we are happy to share the photos and grateful for the internet!

Our branch. The single brother, Darrin, forgot until President Yu called and woke him up. It's a good thing, because we wouldn't have had two witnesses! My camera lense was all fogged up from the humidity.

Summer Fun in Utah

We had such an amazingly great summer with our family in Utah! Caitlin, Jay, Eli, and I arrived on June 27th. Rachel and Nicole were still with their Tibet trip, and Mike was working. They came July 9th. We had so much fun with our family. We are so grateful to them for letting us mooch off of them for the whole summer, and making us feel so welcome. It means so much to Mike and I that our children feel so loved and accepted when they go home to family. We did so many fun things, it's hard to name them all. There were pool parties, and ice-blocking, picnics, four-wheeling, kick-ball games, movies, raging waters, Lagoon, Lake Powell, shopping, eating and more eating, and most of all...playing with cousins, sisters and brothers! We loved every minute. I'm sure I've forgotten some of the fun things we did, but there were too many to count. Here are just a few pictures of some fun times we had...

Here are the kids all making a train while ice-blocking.

After ice-blocking, all of the kids threw sponges at Grandpa Russon's face. It was a high-light of the day! Here is Karlyn giving it her best shot!

A fun trip to Hill Air force Base to see the Air Museum. The kids really enjoyed this. And the husbands were all jealous we went!

One special tradition is Grandpa Russon taking us to eat hamburgers, fries, and fry sauce at Paces' when we arrive. Here the kids enjoy their meal.

We love to go swimming at Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bill's pool. Here is Jenny-Ruth (Mike's cousin) at our family party. She loves to get everyone wet!

We spent a week in Lake Powell. It was so much fun. Here are a couple of pictures of the trip...the center one of Nicole water-skiing! She and Jay both learned how to ski this trip. Rachel and Caitlin were so close! Next year!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rachel's Summer...

This summer was way fun for me. It was also really busy...

First thing we did this summer, was me and Nicole went on out trip to Tibet for Biking. It was way fun. We spent 3 weeks in Tibet and 15 days biking. The biking days were up to 75 miles long. We went to the base camp of Mt. Everest by bike, which was awesome to see. While we were there, about a week and a half in, I got really sick. Luckily, though, i was able to get to a hospital, and three days, and 14 I.V. drips later, i was okay. We were able to have a fun time with all of the people involved and got really close to all of them. I was able to see how hard it is to do things like this that involve extreme sport. My favorite thing about the trip was going to all of the places in Nepal and Tibet to go site seeing and look at all of the monasteries and national monuments. It was fun to be in another country and see their culture. While we were doing the biking, we camped all of the way. It was hard at first, because me and Nicole weren't used to the conditions, but it ended up being fun, and I even learned how to pitch my own tent! ha ha. It was a way fun experience, and I am so glad I went on the trip.
I'm grateful we are given all of these fun opportunities!

After Tibet I went back to Utah to see all of my Family and stuff, and the first thing me and Nicole did was go to Girl's Camp. It was way fun, I always like girls camp. Since we don't have a ward, we went to Becky's (our cousin who is Nicole's age) ward.

After girls camp I went to E.F.Y at Utah state in Logan, which was WAY fun. I had sooo much fun. I met some great people and had a fun time!

Then, when we got home we went to Lake Powell for a week, which was fun because we don't get the chance to go there very often. I tried to learn how to ski, and ALMOST succeeded ( i got up on slalom but my back foot fell out) and had fun bumper tubing and knee boarding!

Then, after that it was pretty low-key getting stuff like shopping done and getting ready to go home. We went to Lagoon which was way fun and we did lots of fun things with our family.

All together my summer was awesome and I had alot of fun!!

Tibet: How Nicole saw it...

Nicole and Rachel spent 3 weeks cycling through Tibet this summer. I have borrowed Nicole's journal and will copy a few things here:

Wednesday, June 21
We have been in Lhasa for 3 days now, and it is just beautiful! The train ride was a bit long, but it all come out great! Yesterday we went to 2 monasteries. It was really cool to see! The sky is unbelievably blue, and everyone has really unique features. The people have kept their heritage close to them. They have painting of history and Buddhas on every wall almost. Today we got to shop. I bout some cool jewelry, 2 shirts, and 1 skirt. Today I went to Pateka Palace. It has 1000 rooms and was built for Dahlie Llama the leader of Buddhism. It is beautiful with white and red walls. I am excited to bike tomorrow. I think it will be a challenge!

June 28th
Over 5000 kilometers from Beijing! Wow! On the third day Rachel had bad altitude sickness. I stayed up with her all night then went in the truck the next day. Then, after that truck day, I biked 100 kilometers to a town called Shigatzay. The biking wasn't hard because Katherina biked with me.

July 6th ( a compilation of different parts of her trip)

Mount Everest: Mount Everest is so beautiful! OK so we get there, right? And all of the sudden my camera runs out of battery and I can't take a picture of Everest! So, I just use Rachel's camera. At base camp there was really nothing, but it was still cool! At the top of every mountain and pass they have prayer flags. They are really cool! It's always nice to see them when you are biking up a pass on a mountain!

The Crew: OK, so we have this crew of Nepalese and Tibetan men that set up our tents. First there is the land cruiser driver. He is nuts, and isn't very nice. One time we had to wake up early, because the road would be closed from 8:00am to 9:00pm and he was too drunk to drive. He drove the support vehicle for those of us who couldn't bike and longer. Then there is "Cookie" That is the nickname for the cook. He is super short and has a gold tooth. He is a really great cook, and is hilarious! I love him! Today we lost him! He was just wandering around and finally we found him. Then there is Mila Cookie's helper. He looks like Uncle Jared, but Asian. He carries stuff and sets up tents. He is nice from what I've noticed. Then there is Shirpa. He is really nice and has good English. OK, so one night the crew was getting a gas lamp ready for the tent so that we could see, while me, Rachel, Devon, Keri, and JJ played cards. It was about 10:15pm when we saw orange everywhere outside the tent. Me and Keri go out and see tons of stuff on fire! It was crazy! We were so stupid because it could explode, so we ran. I saw Shirpa pick up the burning gas tank with flames all over it and throw it in the river. He was really brave, he is OK though. We ended up waiting like 20 minutes for the gas to run out. It was freezing outside!

All Downhill: OK, So yesterday was the best day of the whole trip! So, first we wake up at like 3:30am and start biking. The mountains are beautiful and they all look very mystical like something you would see in Lord of the Rings. It is really blue in the sky and green on the ground but no trees. Then all of the sudden we are going downhill and all you see is trees. It is like the rain forest. It was soo beautiful! They had tons of waterfalls with rainbows shining through, and little rivers every which way. The whole biking part of that day was going downhill on gravel. It had rained the night before so there were lots of puddles and it was very muddy! I was covered with dirt! It was soo fun! It was so relaxing because instead of peddling the bike did it all for you! I was so grateful for everything God has given us! I felt soo blessed! It was like walking in to one of the pages of a National Geographic magazine! It made me think how wonderful heaven must be!

Nicole wrote a really fun journal that she will always be glad she has. I just copied a few entries here. I think that the girls had such a wonderful experience, and I'm so grateful they were able to go on this trip!