Saturday, February 24, 2018

Chinese New Year Part 2

Chinese New Year means lots of fireworks. They start early and go all night long.  This is a picture from one of my friends.  She went to her grandmother's house and her grandmother set off these fireworks.
Gracie enjoyed watching the fish.
These two puppies.  I can't believe that they both sat still for this picture!  Yoyo and Winter came and spent 3 days with us during the holiday.  They love the dogs!
I have to say that I do like all of the new year signs this year. Puppies are so much cuter than a chicken ;)
I had to go to Hong Kong last week for a doctor's appointment.  Because I couldn't get an early time, I had to stay the night in a hotel room until I could catch a ferry the next day.  Every room was provided with a free cell phone to use in the city.  I thought it was a pretty cool idea.  Of course it had coupons and stuff like that on it, but the idea of free calls, free internet, and GPS/maps is a good one.
I ALMOST bought one of these to bring back to the kids.  They look too pretty to eat.  It said it was seaweed flavored jelly.  I just wasn't sure about it.  I'd rather buy a chocolate chip cookie ;)
Jonathan was really busy with work stuff one night so the kids and I went out to eat while he continued to work (and brought him something home) We took a bus. I felt so bad for Lauren. On the way home, we got off the bus and she immediately realized that she left her brand new purse that she got for Christmas (and all of her special things) on the bus.  She ran as fast as she could trying to catch the bus, but it was driving too fast.  She almost made it to the next bus stop, but it had just pulled away.  She had such a good attitude about it.  I sent the other kids home with Jonathan's food and she and I went to the main bus station and got on every 26 bus that came by.  We waited for an hour and 45 minutes in the cold just hoping.  It never turned up in lost and found either.  Poor baby.
We got a fun surprise!! Valentine's candy and plates! We saved them for the 14th which we designated as Scrapbook Day :)
Scrapbook Day also means lots of movies ;)
Even Hudson worked on his very first Scrapbook.
It's always so much fun to see them work on the albums.
Jonathan did good and surprised me with these flowers!
Flowers are a big deal around the new year.  We went to an incredible flower market. It was so pretty! I wish it was there all the time, but the vendors only come in for 7 days.  I really liked these flowers, but they were 5 dollars per stem! :(  Maybe one day.  If the arrangements were smaller, I might splurge for a small one.
I still don't know what this plant is called.  It looks a lot like a lemon, but it is not.  It's very popular at CNY.  I liked this one in the duck vase, haha.
The market
Katherine bought a cactus with her money.
Lauren bought this plant.
Hudson bought this one.
The girls in the market.  Oh yeah, you could also buy all kind of CNY decorations.
Lauren pretending to sleep with Scout
Our neighbors brought over some fried lotus root. They said on this particular day you are only supposed to eat fired things. Not sure why, but the food they brought us was good.
I have never seen white strawberries. Each pack was 21 US dollars! why?!
Our good friends came to visit.  Hillary and Daniel live in a different city, but came down for 2 days. They are expecting their first child.  They had so many baby questions and stuff this visit and are so nervous about becoming parents. They said they wanted to learn how to change a diaper, so out came the girls baby dolls. :)
Then they even started feeding the baby.  They were so cute.  I can't wait until this baby gets here.

This might be one of my new favorites. :)
Some of the kids' friends helping their family family prepare dinner.
This is why I don't like to travel during the holidays.  So many people!
People everywhere.

We went to a park with a friend. It's still a work in progress.
Polly and Lauren tried to fly a kite for hours.  There really wasn't much wind, so it wasn't easy, but they had fun.
walking though the fountain
water hand prints
The girls with Polly
My two "cowboys"

flowers everywhere
They really are so pretty.
As I started to think CNY is all about being with family, spending time together at parks, looking at flowers, eating together...I am reminded how lost people are.  One of our friends went to offer her sacrifices with the hopes of the gods helping her to make lots of money in the new year. Obviously, she was not there alone.
It's a part of the holiday that we just don't see because we don't go to the temples and such.
But, it was a good reminder of the lost around us and the false hope that money is what makes you happy.
Ayi is still in her hometown, so we have been much busier in the kitchen and around the house.  Hudson enjoyed helping his daddy make the gravy.  Love these two. :)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Chinese New Year Part 1

It's that time of year again! Chinese New Year! It's the time when kids get out of school, special "winter classes" are offered, excitement and anticipation is in the air, and you spend time with family and friends.  This is part one...all of our activities leading up to the actual holiday.
Regan was able to go to a taekwondo camp for 2 weeks.  She worked really hard to get all of he school work done in advance and was able to enjoy the 2 weeks with other kids and coaches.  She had a great time!
Ayi called and asked if she could take the kids out to eat. The kids were excited to go. It was really quiet around the house, too!
We went to a park and I let the kids choose one game to play. They had fun and all won a prize.
Winter and Yoyo spent a few days with us.  This was a fun little statue.
This guy was making lots of scrolls to sell. He would write anything you wanted.
This is at the entrance to the park. Lauren and Yoyo won little BB guns. That's still not a good term for it because they are really just tiny plastic pellets that come out with a puff of air.
Everyone is out and about so the buses were jam packed almost every time we got on.
Regan bought this souvenir for her room.  It's made of seashells. She did a good job bargaining the price down.  I was a little afraid because when she asked how much it was, she thought it was already a good deal and got very excited.  She just knew it would be around 50 USD, but she got it for only 7 USD. :)
Oh no! It's begun. He's been asking to shave off his mustache for  weeks now. His daddy finally bought him his own shaving stuff.  My baby is growing up.
The traditional orange bushes to bring in the New Year.
On the last day of camp, Regan's camp did class outside.  Here they had climbed to the top of a small mountain and did their routines up there.
This picture just made me laugh.  The coach wanted them to make little hearts with their you have Regan making hers, the girls (front left) making a kissing face, and the girl (front right) crying because she doesn't want camp to end.  Too funny.
The "older" girls at camp. Regan borrowed my clothes for the class because they said no taekwondo clothes and no shorts....that just about throws out her entire wardrobe ;)
Here are the girls playing a shooting came to pop balloons.  They got 10 tries. Lauren popped six.
Winter popped four.
Katherine popped eight.

Regan didn't want to play that game, so she tried to throw the "baseballs" or flour filled panty hose balls to win a prize.  I asked the rules and she said that whatever you knock off is what you win.  She really wanted this cute tiger, but she knocked off a stuffed wine bottle. Really? I asked if she could trade it and the lady said that you could trade two for any one. So I decided to try once. I knocked off three including the tiger. YEAH!
So cute.  I gave the others away.
Lauren had a 5 day (2 hours a day) winter break dance class.  She learned a dance and performed it for us in just five days.
This is Xiao Bao.  She just loves Regan so much!  After the New Year she and her family are going to come over and learn how to make pizza with us.  She hasn't stopped talking about it.
So how do you get a teenage boy out of bed?  You send the dogs in to wake him up.  How can you get mad at a puppy dog?? :)
We have learned that these two love trying to catch a laser.  We found it out by accident, but it is hilarious.  It' the only toy they don't fight over because neither one of them can catch it. haha!
So, local kids are out of school, but we still had homeschool.  Here the girls are making their dough for the volcanoes.
While they were creating and constructing their volcano experiment, we watch National Geographic videos about volcanoes.  I like these kinds of school projects.
Hudson has been taking some online piano classes.  We hope to get him in with real live in person teacher soon, but for now, I want him to show me that he will practice what he has learned. He's having fun with it. I really like it, too.  They do a great job of explaining things in a way that can be remembered and easily duplicated.  It's through Hoffman Academy.
After Polly and I have a short English lesson, she usually plays with the kids.  She is really good at Air Simon!  This time they were playing two have to work together to get it right!
Here's Lauren doing her performance. The dance was about a bird.
Surprise! Crazy. They were smoking our entire complex! I'm glad we are on the 17th floor.  They said it was to keep roaches away.

A little big kid play dough fun.
poor little goats
Ha! I found Lauren and myself on a poster in town.
So, when Ayi took all the kids out to eat, it meant that Jonathan and I got to have a rare lunch date.  He cooks for us all the time, but not usually so fancy looking :)  It was delicious!

We found a new park that the kids really like.  It has paths just for skating and bike riding, including some fun hills.
Benjamin was the only one to attempt (and successfully by the way) to go up and down the hills on his rip stick.
Hudson cheered and blew bubbles while everyone else took a turn on the hills.
He's worn out!
Finally! Hudson has figured out how to jump rope!!  His record is 7 jumps by himself and a few more than than with someone jumping with him.
Regan was in a Chinese New Year performance.  We saw many interesting acts while we waited for her turn to perform.
It was a little chilly and it was televised.
She was so nervous about possibly not breaking the board on stage.  She did great! See picture below.   I don't know the English name for the kick, but she had to do a 360 in the air and break the board in the process.

Their favorite toys.
It's a rough life.
Scout won't leave the "fireplace" these days.
 Regan and some of her friends :)
We went to see a movie with a neighbor.  We were told it was in English, but no such luck.  It was still good though.

One of Lauren's dance friends came over for the day. They had a lot of fun together.
Benjamin has found someone who never tires of playing Nerf gun wars with him. haha! :). The dogs race for the bullets and bring them back so he will shoot it again.
afternoon bike ride
I met this kid at the park.  He loves to talk!  He talked to me for an hour.  The next day his dad texted and asked if the mom and boy could come to our home to meet our family. They were coming at 5:00.  At 5:05 they arrived, but it was not just the mom and son, it was 3 moms and their 3 sons. Surprise!

dinner is served
Qian Qian's first time to eat a fajita.  She put just a hair too much stuff inside. We had to call in the expert roller upper (Jonathan) to try and save the day.
Is that real popcorn? :)

Why not eat a little seaweed with your popcorn?
walking to lunch
trying out a new restaurant
Yoyo and Katherine
Winter and Lauren
Regan and Yoyo
I like catching shots like this.  They have such a good friendship!!!