Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30th 2007

I wrote the whole thing, and put pictures on, and then...it disappeared! That's a little frustrating. But...I'm going to try again.

Last weekend was supposed to be Eli's birthday party. He chose to invite a set of twins he plays with to go to McDonald's and to a park. But, they had to cancel last minute. It turned in to a Mommy-Daddy-Eli date. We went to McDonald's and then to the school to play. We had fun. The only bad part was when Mommy threw a baseball and Eli missed. It hit his eye. What a nice Mom!!!! He still has a purple and black eye. Happy Birthday Eli! I can't believe my baby is 6 years old!

Also this weekend, we went for a walk with the boys. I keep trying to sneak in walks because I am going crazy not exercising at all. I can walk and move OK, it just makes me hurt. But, I figure I won't be able to at all for a while after the surgery coming up on the 15Th, so much to Mike's displeasure, I do try to sneak some walking in. I don't know if I've mentioned the surgery on the blog. I will be going in for hip surgery to Hong Kong. I have something called FAI Femoral Ace tubular Impingement. Anyway, I'm really grateful they found the problem, and that it can be fixed! It will be an arthroscopic surgery, and I am really glad about that.

The girls are off on their trip-week. Each grade goes to a different location in China to learn about the culture for a week. Caitlin is in Nanjing (but staying away from home), Nicole is in Xi'an, and Rachel is in JingdeZhen. Hopefully I'll get some more info about that when they get back.

Here are some pictures from this weekend:

There was a posing rock (there always seem to be lots of "posing" opportunities around), so I had Mike pose. Handsome guy!

There are always lots of girls getting photographed at the different parks. Mostly wedding photos. This girl has a fancy purple gown on. It seemed chilly!

Mike and Eli at our Birthday play-date

Eli and the black eye he is happy to tell everyone that Mom gave him. It looks much worse than you can see here. It swelled up more and turned purple and black.

Wedding photos!

Testing the water...Other people are swimming. Should I?

No Mike No! Look at the sign! (and the people swimming behind it)

Jay and Eli trying to fall in...luckily they didn't succeed.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A party?

We were invited to a party today. My friend who invited us had asked us to something before, and we weren't able to go, so I really made an effort to get there this time. I thought it was her party. But, it turned out to be a grand opening of a "Horse Ranch" out in the rural area of Nanjing. I put "horse Ranch" in quotation marks, because it's certainly not what you would picture. We drove through little villages, and finally ended up there. It started at 12:00pm, and we were about 15 minutes late. There were a few foreigners we didn't know there, and we seemed to stand around in this big cement looking courtyard for what seemed like ages. There were some horses in cement stalls in back, and they put some toys in a fenced in part for some of the little kids. Across from the kids there was a fenced in part for 2 chickens, and another for a dog. Finally, after about an hour, Heike, who had invited us came. There seemed to be a lot of Chinese dishes being added to the pot-luck. At about 1:30, they brought out a few horses for the children to try riding. It was fun for the kids because they haven't ever really tried riding horses themselves. Mike is horribly allergic to horses, so he stayed away from them. The meal wasn't ever getting started, and we were ready to go quite soon after that, so we took the kids to McDonald's. Well...it was a China experience! I asked each of the kids to tell me in one sentence how their horse-riding experience was...

Rachel said," It was good."
Nicole said," It was embarrassing."
Caitlin said, "It was slow."
Jay said," It was very, very, fun!"
Eli, who didn't ride one, said," The little Chinese boy ate the chips off of my plate without asking!"

So, there you go.

Here is Mike in front of the new horse ranch. And, Grandma, right behind him. She was awesome!





Here is the little village the horse ranch was in.

This darling little girl was playing in the street. I showed her her photo on the camera, and she was really excited.

Photos and stuff

So much has happened since I last wrote. I think it's best to just share some pictures will discriptions for now...

This is before school on "crazy hair day". It's hard to see, but we shaved Eli's name into his hair. It was so blond, you couldn't see it well, so we used blue marker to make it stand out. Note Nicole's crazy hair is a side pony (that was not so crazy in my day)...

I went to a cooking class not too long ago, and learned to make "Mandarin fish" here is a photo of the deep fried special. Yes, it started out as whole fish, and it was pretty entertaining to watch us ladies try to do the fancy cuts, and deal with the gross parts. My fish wasn't the worst looking, but definitely not as nice as the chef's fish...you should note that they usually leave the head on , and that is the best part. I think they knew who they were dealing with...wimpy western ladies.

Here, we are on our way to Hong Kong!

We had a great time in Hong Kong. The kids really enjoyed Hong Kong Disneyland. Our first day there, we were asked to be the "first family of the day". We were let in 10 minutes early for photos like this one with the staff, and then we did a count-down to the opening time. We felt pretty special, and were the first ones in the park to start the rides. The kids were in heaven!

We just had to stop on our way to the rides and have a photo...notice nobody else on main street U.S.A.?

We enjoyed some beautiful walks just outside our hotel along the ocean.

The kids thought it would be fun to go to a beach. We found one called Big Wave Bay. It was quite an adventure getting there. We took the subway, and then found a bus, where we rode it to a certain rode and walked 20 minutes. We actually found it, and used the YMCA towels to lay on. I wonder if they didn't like that. We rented some body boards, and had lots of fun. The waves were actually really high, and there were some people surfing. I spent the afternoon like a mother worrying about whether or not I could see all of my kids! Here are Jay and Eli, the one time I didn't need to worry where they were.

We had a great time in Hong Kong. It was just the break we needed, and fun to spend time together. I notice, the older the children get, the more busy they are, and the trickier it is to find "family time". These are great chances to be relaxed and just have fun (and eat food we love, and speak English, and shop for our sizes, etc. etc.)

A couple of days after we got back from Hong Kong, my sister Lori came to visit! We had such an awesome time! She is such a good sport. She tried everything I gave her to eat (and believe me, growing up, she was a picky eater!), and tried the massages (and actually enjoyed them), and never complained even though I walked her all over Nanjing. I'm not sure she ever got used to the Chinese toilets, though. I am so glad she was able to come and see where I live. It's hard to say good-bye, but so wonderful when people you love come to stay. Here are a couple of photos of her trying out some of the Chinese life...

I took her to Mochu Lake, the same lake I put up photos from the last entry. She thought she would try to stick her leg up in a tree like so many of the older people do to stretch. Good try Lori! But when they do it, their legs are almost parallel to their bodies. Keep trying!

Here is a photo Lori took of me with "Satan Mickey" as we called him. She thought it was pretty crazy how they copy everything, but many times it just doesn't look quite right...

Here is Lori and Caitlin in front of the Lake of 10,000 men. This is a lake that the emperor decided to have put in over-night, and took 10,000 men to hand-dig.

This is "Buddha Lori". We went to QiXia mountain, where there is a monastery and beautiful carvings in the mountain. There was an empty spot, so I asked Lori to pose. I think she did a great job!

Life is back to normal now, if you can call life normal. A couple of side-notes: I found out just before going to Hong Kong that I need to have hip surgery. I will be flying to Hong Kong for November 15Th. It will be arthroscopic surgery, and that makes me really happy. There will be a special training course on that day, so I will have one of the best surgeons for this problem in the world in Hong Kong to work on my hip that day. Also, not long before going to Hong Kong, I entered a competition to run in the torch relay for the 2008 Olympics. China will choose 8 foreign residents to run. I certainly didn't get the top votes, but it was a lot of fun. I got just under 700 votes, and loved reading the comments people were able to leave. I don't think I'm out quite yet, maybe I'm going on to the next round. We'll see. Either way, it's been fun.