Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17, 2008

We are busy into the school year. The BYU groups have come, and we have a decent-size branch! The girls are happy to look at the cute BYU boys:-) Life is good. A few things that have been going on lately:

Nicole is in a girl-band. She is the drummer. They have 2 guitarists, a singer, and her. They entered the school talent show (which is hard to get into) and made it. Nicole's friend Simone wrote the song. It seemed like a piano recital evening. There were also some painful vocal solos, and a couple of group dances. So, after sitting through to the 2nd to last act, they came on...Nicole cool in her silver jacket. Unfortunately, they had problems with the amplifier, so we couldn't hear the music too well. But, we could here the singer, and Nicole. She played that cymbal and the drums well...especially for only having 6 months of lessons in 6th grade! They may play some songs at the Halloween party so that the school can actually hear the music with the amps working. I wanted to put some video on but I can't figure it out. Maybe next time.

At the beginning of the school year, the kids each picked an activity that they would like to do with the family. So, we schedule in times, maybe a Saturday, or a holiday to do the activity. Caitlin was in charge of our first activity (keep in mind, that the activities can't be too physical yet...they have this Mother who can't do much). Caitlin chose to have "American Day"...this included going to the new Papa John's Pizza. After that, we went to the Dairy Queen (not new, it's been here since we came) for a blizzard. Is that what they have at Dairy Queen? Anyway, it was a thick ice-cream shake. Yummy!

Eli is thinking about the special "Peking Duck" pizza that is being offered today. Hmmmm No thanks!

This last Monday was Autumn Moon Festival. It is the holiday where China celebrates the harvest and the coming of Autumn. It's the holiday when they all eat lots of moon cakes. Well, this time it was Eli's turn to pick. Eli wanted to go to Toys R Us, another newer store in Nanjing. Can you tell the children are excited about American stuff? Anyway, his idea was that everyone would get money and buy something for themselves. Mom and Dad had to ruin that idea, and said we would purchase something for the family to go home and do together. He was placated by us telling him he could look around for birthday ideas. Boy did he come up with some birthday ideas! Practically the whole store, of course. First we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant; Zen. We ate lots of yummy dumplings and noodles. After browsing through Toys R Us, we decided to buy a Jenga-copy and play "Jenga with a Twist". Everyone wrote something you had to do on one of the blocks, and it if you pulled out that block, you had to do it. It was really funny, and fun.

Here we are at the shopping center

I picked the "pretend to die" block and luckily I had Eli's help to kill me

Nicole picked "stand on your head for 30 seconds". She found out that isn't so easy because of a huge head-rush!

Mike picked the "balance all of the pillows on your head" block. Too bad we didn't record his rendition of "Roll'em" he had to do after I picked a lucky "you get to pick someone to do whatever you choose" block!

So, good news. I'm using my cane now...the beautiful flowered one. It's so lovely. I am doing a little better each day. I am walking without it quite a bit at home. I just use it to go out. I go to the pool and do exercises and swim. I'm sure I will continue to get stronger. I am so grateful for all of the prayers on my behalf. Especially Jay and Eli. Every prayer they give, they ask Heavenly Father to bless their Mommy's hip and that she will walk again.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

September 4, 2008

Time is flying by like it always does when school starts. The girls are all busy in their sports. Rachel and Nicole are doing volleyball at school now (I'm sure they are at least as good as the Olympic team!). Caitlin is doing Rugby. Eli is back in swimming, and Jay will start learning basketball on Saturdays. It's good to get them busy. Mike and Nicole have been doing great with an intense exercise program they started 3 weeks ago. I'm pretty proud of them. The do it almost every evening. I would say I'm the only one who isn't doing any great sports right now. But, I did just realize I've been going to the pool to exercise my hip and leg. Does that count? I don't know.

Not too long ago, Ajay Patha, a young man who has been in our branch for about two years, left on his mission. He was living about 2 hours away from Nanjing, and was so diligent in coming to church every week. He and his brother had joined the church when he was younger. Ajay had come to China to go to medical school, but the man who set it up wasn't really honest, and the promised medical school wasn't what it seemed. Ajay wanted to serve a mission, but his parents(back home in India) did not want him to go . After much prayer, they have come around, and are nervous, but not against it. He has been called to the New Delhi mission, which includes Nepal, and Northern India. We are so proud of Ajay. We will all miss him very much as he has been an important part in our little branch.

This last Sunday, was the District Conference in Shanghai. Nicole was asked to speak, which was very scary for her. She did a great job preparing. Her talk was on having a forgiving heart. Poor thing was petrified to find out that we had a visiting apostle, who would be there to hear her, and would also speak. We were so blessed to have Elder Christopherson at the conference. Mike was able to hear him a couple of times, as he went the day before for the priesthood and adult session. Rachel, Nicole, and Caitlin were also able to go to a morning-side and hear him speak. It was a really special day. And of course, he was very kind, and came to Nicole immediately to tell her what a good job she did.

The other good news is Mike was able to talk to someone who works for the US consulate who helped us to register to vote from Nanjing! We hope it works out. We wouldn't want to miss this very entertaining Presidential Election!

Here are some really fun photos of Ajay at the airport the morning he left on his mission.