Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Rachel! Big 16!

Wow, can you believe I have a 16 year old? I sure can't. Rachel is excited to be 16. She doesn't have her driver's license, and there isn't really a lot of chances to date, here, but at least it's not a big NO! Right? Saturday night, Mike and I took her to dinner to celebrate. She chose a little French resaurant in town called The Five Senses. We had a good time. She had just returned home from Yangshou the night before, where she had trip-week with all of the other grade 10 kids. She had a good time. She got phone calls from her Grandmothers on her birthday which meant a lot. She got notes and calls all day long. We sent some muffins and fruit and hot chocolate to seminary on her birthday morning. The Priestley's gave her 2.5rmb for every week she has been alive. That was exciting. She had chosen very specific food for the day. She wanted guacamole and tortilla chips (very hard to get) which we all enjoyed. Of course, Rachel had her own bowl. For dinner, she wanted chicken pillows, and asparagus. For the dessert, I made a black-forest cake, but had Strawberry pie filling instead of the cherry I thought I had. Well, she seemed to enjoy it. Her friend J.J. came over to wish her a happy birthday and stayed for cake that evening. I think she had a great day. On Monday, her friends made a cake for her. This Friday night, she will share a birthday dinner of pizza with her friend Pao from Germany, who also has a birthday. They will all have pizza with their friends.

Rachel has matured a lot this year. School is getting quite involved, and she is picking things up very well. She is a wonderful part of our family. We love you Rach!

Today we all went and had our shots. Yep, we've been here long enough to need boosters on just about everything. The children were all very brave :-)

Caitlin is off to Shanghai this weekend to play in a Soccer Tournament for middle school. She really enjoys sports, and is doing quite well (for coming from my genes-well, I know my brothers and dad are great with sports, but games like soccer and basketball, or baseball and I have never really been compatable).

Here are a couple of photos from Rachel's birthday. Also, I put a couple of photos Rachel and Nicole took on their trip-weeks. They are pretty good photographers...

Rachel will make a scrapbook of her trip to Yangshuo as an assignment for school. Here are some of her photos:

Nicole's class did a photo contest. Here are some of her best photos:

Caitlin wanted to take photos on her camping trip to Wuxi, but she had the old camera. Unfortunately it didn't work. She had a good time, and learned to use GPS and lash a bamboo raft.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Eli

This is our month of birthdays...Starting with Eli. Yesterday, on November 1st Eli turned 7 years old. He was so excited for his birthday. He wanted legos and, well, just about anything he saw at the newer Toys-R-Us store we have in Nanjing. He was very pleased with his gifts! He suffered through some family photos (this was the only weekend we could do it) and then chose to go to Papa John's Pizza for lunch. He really enjoyed that. He asked for alphabet soup that I make for his birthday dinner, then we played a couple of fun games. He has been busy ever since working on his legos, etc.

Happy Birthday Eli!

We played the game where you have to put on gloves, a scarf, and ear-muffs while people roll the dice. Then, as they keep rolling, you try with a knife and fork to open the package, and cut one small square at a time to eat, before the next person rolls a six and continues on where you left off. Very funny!

Next, we played a game my Australian friends told me about called Fluffy Bunny. You see how many marshmellows you can stuff in your mouth and still be able to say, "fluffy bunnies". Well, all I can say, is that those who have Mike's genes did very well in this game! I felt a little sorry for my Australian friends...they only know how to play fluffy bunny and don't know what S'mores are. I think we got the better part of the deal... Well, the game was pretty funny, too.

Other exciting things that have gone on in the last couple of weeks, are a trip to Tianjin, by Rachel and Nicole for the high school volleyball tournament. They didn't win many matches, but they had a lot of fun. Nicole received a bite from what the doctor thinks was a spider. That was pretty exciting. The poison spread to about 5 inches in diameter, which was a little scary, but a little cool, too. I think she may be disappointed it is shrinking. She said, " If they have to cut of my leg, can I hold it?" That's our Nicole.
The dots on her leg are permanent marker that the doctor put on so that we could track if it did.

We went to the Halloween party at the school the other night. Jay and Eli dressed up and a vampire and Ninja. Nicole was "retro" of course, and she played 3 songs with her band. She is the drummer, and is getting pretty good! Especially for never really playing before. Caitlin dressed up, but I don't really know what to call her. Was in all orange and black. I wore all black and wore a really long dark brown wig. Nicole and I danced (there was sort of a dance going on) and it was really funny, because all of the kids kept coming up to me and staring, trying to figure out who I was. I thought it was really brave of Nicole to keep dancing with me when they found out it was her Mom!

Rachel, Nicole and Caitlin will all head out for their trip-week. Rachel goes to Yangshuo tomorrow, Caitlin will camp with Outward Bound in Wuxi, and Nicole will leave on the night-train tonight to JingdeZhen. They should all have a good week.

Well, the next birthday of the Month is Rachel, who will be 16! My baby is 7 and my oldest is 16. It's so hard to believe.