Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our time with Chad and Jen

Chad and Jen at the Forbidden City. This is the huge marble carving that was so huge they had to wait until winter, spray the roads with water so it would turn to ice, and drag it to the Forbidden City.

I love the roof-lines of the Forbidden City. Unfortunately it's a fairly grey day.

Every time we came to a cannon, Chad wanted his photo taken with them.

Chad and Jay playing some basket-ball. Jay loved it!

Here we are at QiXia Mountain.

This was an interesting portable praying spot...

This is in honor of Lori, since she had her photo taken here. You make great Budas guys...

Happy Rirthday to you, Happy Rirthday to you! Even Jiang noticed the mis-spelled word and thought it was funny. Birthday is one of the few English words he knows. This is only one of the fireworks we set off. Tell me Michael doesn't look as if he were a little boy, about to play with fire!

Enjoy being in your 30's this one last year, Michael!

Caitlin did a great job with her dance at the school talent show. She practiced hard and it paid off! Notice the flowers she is holding. I stopped to get them for her, just wanting to grab some really quickly. There was an old lady who was very excited to wrap them all special. I think she may have used over 30 peices of that special felt tissue paper. It took over 30 long minutes! No doubt Caitlin felt extra special :-)

Nicole is enjoying taking photos of the beautiful spring we are enjoying. Here is another of the trees out in the back yard.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Great Wall Photos

Here are some of my favorite photos of the wall at Simetai.

And here we have what I think was Chad's favorite part of the experience :-) The firmlyu (it's very fun to say). It was really called the mountain train, which we didn't think fit, so we went with firmlyu. We really hoped there wasn't a malfunction where it slid back down the mountain. Don't worry, we'd planned escape routes!

I was certain they would want to climb up the other side after completing the first side to see the unrestored section of rubble. They were a little tired. Near Jen you can see the friend we made. Her name was Janine and she is from Lebanon. I think maybe they only went cause Kellee and Jared had done it. I'm sure the rubble was the highlight of their trip!

The Rubble:

Here, Chad and Jen are flying over the lake to the bottom on the Flying Fox. Jen kept telling the lady at the top she wasn't ready, but she didn't seem to understand english and pushed her off the edge of the platform. Here you can see Jen is still screaming!

We are at the end of our "Great Wall Treck" with Janine. We decided that this rock must say," I just climbed the wall."

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 14, 2008

It's been a couple of weeks! And lots going on. The children have all been involved in lots of activities. Chad and Jen left us last Thursday. We had such a great time with them. I was able to meet them in Beijing, on Sunday, March 30th. I'll never forget the look on their faces as we drove into the Hutong alleyway as we got close to the hotel. They were quite pale, thinking that our hotel would look like the rest of the area. They were ecstatic when they realized that the hotel was actually quite beautiful! We had a terrific time going to try Beijing Duck, climbing the wall at Simetai, and checking out the Forbidden City and Summer Palace. I think maybe their favorite part of the trip may have been the fake market. They seemed to be highly entertained watching me bargain for their stuff. At one point a lady was so unhappy with my price that she threw the clothes at me! I kept telling her that she didn't have to sell them to me if she was that unhappy with the price, but she still wanted to, so I guess it was OK... Chad and Jen even got into the spirit, and did fairly well on their own! At one time, in Nanjing, Jen had Jay translating for her as she bargained for a necklace. They were a great team! It was fun to get back to Nanjing where we could spend time with the family.

I guess I should pause here to insert our "brown sugar and chocolate chips" experience at the airport. Well, Chad and Jen hadn't understood what I meant when I said 40 kilos total. They thought it meant each bag, not 40 kilos total for the 2 of them. It's very confusing and easy to misunderstand. Anyway, they had lots of bags, and all full of the brown sugar and chocolate chips I had asked my Mom to donate for a big fundraiser we are doing for Hopeful Hearts. We weren't sure how we would get it all to Nanjing. We decided to put ALL 19 (4 pound) bags of brown sugar, plus around 40 cups of chocolate chips in our carry-ons. We knew we would have to act like they weren't heavy at all. Of course, Chad got the heaviest. I imagine it was more than 60 pounds! The taxi driver couldn't pick it up to put it in the car! Well, we got to the airport, and we all acted real cool with our bags. Chad acted like it was nothing! Of course, they were a little worried about all of that brown sugar. I got sent over to the security desk. The two soldiers (who Chad swears were about 16 years old each) tested it all for explosives, and I used my best smile and Chinese to explain that I can't get these items in Nanjing, and my brother brought it to me. They wanted to know what you make with it, and I don't know the word for cookies, so I said, "cake". They smiled and sent us on our way! I couldn't believe it! Well, it was our little miracle! I won't pretend it wasn't funny to watch Chad lift the bags into the overhead, and we were a little worried about all of that brown sugar falling through and onto our heads!

So, the next day, Chad and Jen were kind enough to come to my Hopeful Hearts fundraising luncheon. Yes, Chad was the only guy there. It was at a big hotel, and there was to be a fashion show. I had worked a long time on this luncheon, and couldn't get out of it. I was also in charge of a fashion show for the luncheon. I had asked Chad to be in the fashion show, and I think I may have used up any favors I may ever need from him on that day. Yes, Chad is now famous in Nanjing. I had told him that he would never see anyone again, but he kept running into ladies from the luncheon who recognized him. He's a famous runway model now! He really almost made history as he nearly tripped on the step he didn't see with his sunglasses on! Anyway, he was the star of the show. Thanks Chad!!!

Mike turned 39 on Friday, April 4Th. He actually had a day off because of a Chinese holiday, so we had a fun day with him. We took Chad and Jen to a couple of sights and to lunch. Then, for dinner, we took the whole family to the Timpanyaki Japanese restaurant that was all you can eat. Boy were we all sick! The best part of the day, were the fireworks we surprised Mike with. Jiang (our driver) helped us get some huge fireworks, and we stopped at a park to shoot them off. We are talking Meuller Park fireworks. Pretty crazy! I think it was the highlight of his birthday! Luckily a man asked us if he could have all of the used fireworks after, so we didn't have to try to dispose of all that.

I of course dragged Chad and Jen around the whole time they were here, not wanting them to miss out on anything. We had a blast. The family loved hanging out with them. We miss you both so much! Thank you so much for coming all this way to spend time with us. We will never forget it!