Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our 1st Christmas in Asia

We have had a wonderfully busy week as we celebrated the birth of our daughter Regan and as we celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus. Regan had her good friend from school over for her birthday (alond with all of her sisters) and played dress up and had a good time. This was the cake that I made her. It was nearly a disaster because the icing kept sliding off the cake and I lost the tips to be able to decorate with. A friend of mine happened to have some and I borrowed hers. It turned out ok. It was delicious and I was relieved to have it eaten before all the icing came off again :)
This is what we bought her for her birthday. We tried so hard to find just classic Monopoly but could not, so we decided on this version...Monopoly World Edition. It really is quite fun, but takes some getting used to if you are used to playing the other. The main difference is you are buying places around the world like Hong Kong, Vancouver, Ney York City, Rome, Beijing, etc. Because of the places, this game deals in the millions instead of hundreds and all of your money is on a bank card and when you buy something you just put your card into the machine and it dedusts the value.

Here we are trying it out. I am sure we will probably play it again soon :)

This is Lauren in her new outfit from our Ayi. They worry all the time that we do not put enough clothes on our kids, so I guess this was her way of making sure she stayed warm enough :) The jacket is fleece lined and the pants are actually two pants sewn together to make one pair of pants.

Christmas morning was a lot of fun. The kids all ejoyed opening up the gifts from "Santa" and enjoyed the candy, too! (Regan is still not quite awake yet)

Well, Benjamin finally got his wish. He has asked us for a puppy literally every day since we have moved here. When the kids wrote their wish list for this year Benjamin said, "A real live dog. That's all." We told him he had to ask for something else because Santa can not always get you what you ask for. The puppy was actually hidden somewhere else in the house with a note under the tree. Benjamin had already opened his gifts and you could tell he was a little disappointed, but began playing with his toys when we saw the note on the tree sending him on a treasure hunt for his last gift. I have never seen a happier boy in my entire life! He loves that dog. The dog "came with" the name Piper, but Benjamin quickly renamed it Doggy Bones and the girls have been calling it Bones. So, I guess I didn't win on the naming of the puppy :)

Regan got some skates and has enjoyed riding everywhere in them. We have a basketball court in our complex and during the day it is filled with kids on roller blades.

Lauren got a giraffe "bath tub" and the kids are super excited about getting to take a bath.

Katherine got a baby doll and a stroller and both of the little girls have had a good time with the stroller. So now we are just hanging around, enjoying each other, and playing with our new toys. We plan to go on a short trip around the new year. We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Thank you to all our family and friends that made this Christmas so special for all of us. Your cards, emails, and packages of goodies were and are greatly appreciated!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cold Front

So, this week we had a cold front come through. Really. We did. It got into the 30's at night and was cold in during the day, too...maybe 40's. Homes here have no heat because it is typically very warm. I did not want to buy space heaters, but we ended up doing that for the bedrooms because it did get cold inside. I came home from studying to find Lauren all bundled up..INSIDE the house. She even took her nap like this :) I'm not sure if we will get to use them again or not. Our cold front only lasted 3 days. Now we are back to our normal 70's and people telling us that the children are cold because they do not have 4 layers of clothes on. :)

I took Katherine out do help me do some Christmas shopping. Of coarse she wanted to eat some icecream. I thought it was too cute with the gloves on. She had a lot of fun and hopefully Daddy will be surprised!

It was also our 9th anniversary. The kids were in school and Jonathan and I took the day off from our studies to celebrate. We found a bowling alley for the first time (cost was great! about 4 US dollars for 2 games and shoes!) Then we splurged and went to Starbucks. Yep. They have one here, but it's a little pricy. And no, I have not started drinking coffee. I wanted a good hot chocolate to drink. case you are wondering...Jonathan won both games of bowling.

Regan and Benjamin had their school Christmas musical. They did a great job.

We hosted our very first Christmas party! It was a huge success. We had 16 people that came over. We had lots of traditional American Christmas food, read a story, and our family sand 3 Christmas carols. It was really interesting to see what the local people like of the food (above). We stayed up late all week workign on the food. We had candy cane cookies, painted sugar cookies, plain sugar cookies with icing and sprinkle to decorate with, cheese cubes and sliced cheese, pretzels, honey ham, turkey, pepperoni, apples, little BBQ sausages, crackers, thumbprint cookies, roly polies, nuts, fudge, and real candy canes. It was lots of work, but well worth it!

Her's a quick snapshot of some of the people checking out the food.

On Saturday, I took Regan out for her bday (a little early). She asked to have her nails done for her present. So, we had a mommy/daughter day.

She has so much fun. She chose pink sparkle nail polish and then they painted little white flowers on each nail and put a blue jewel on each nail as well. It really does look cute on her.

After she got her nails done, we went to a mall to try and find her a new jacket. Outside they were selling "ornaments" for the Christmas tree and the money was going to a charity. You were supposed to right a wish on the ornament and hang it on the tree for it to come true. Regan did not want to make a wish, but wanted to decorate her ornament. She did a very good job if you ask me :)

She wanted to make sure it was low enough to where other people could see hers.

Her last birthday request? She wanted to eat at Olina's. She is getting pretty good at using chopsticks! She couldn't decide between the "soy saucey noodles" and the green beans, pork, and rice. So, we got both and split it. We have had a very full week and expect to have one more busy one before we get to take a break for a few days.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This week, Katherine decided that she wanted to learn how to ride a bike, so we took Benjamin's bike (above) to the bike shop down the street and had the guy fix everything wrong with it, put training wheels on, and adjust everything for Katherine. I cost next to nothing to do all that and she has been loving the bike. She is actually better than I thought she would be.

Here's one of the contraptions the kids like to climb at the local high school across the street. We come here every Friday and typically end up either here or at the "sand box" also known as the long jump pit.

Here's my girl dressing herself and fixing her own hair. How beautiful :)

The kids got Christmas presents in the mail this week. Many of them were already wrapped and the kids had a great time putting them all under the tree. I have been proud of Luaren...she hasn't tried to open a single gift.

Even McDonald's has gotten into the Christmas season...
We are preparing for a busy week this week. We are hosting a Christmas party for many of our local friends, the kids are in a musical at school, Regan is celebrating her birthday at school, and Jonathan and I will be celebtaing our 9th anniversary.

Monday, December 6, 2010

On the Mend

Here's little Lauren (also known as Meimei here) with her peppers from the store. She is finally feeling great and has been taking advantage of every opportunity to go out on one of our bikes for a ride or to the store to get some veggies. She was so proud of these peppers...she woul dnot give them up. We had to trade her for something else.
There are not many pictures this week because I didn't take many pictures this week. Our family has been battling the flu and this week, it was my turn to get sick. I believe we are all on the mend. Thankfully, I was sick the first part of the week because I had to make a trip to Hong Kong on Friday afternoon and did not want to miss it.

When I got to Hong Kong, it was so much fun to see all the lights. They had everything decorated for Christmas. This is a really fancy hotel there. I was very impressed with there lights...the snowflakes just dangled in the sky. I do wish my family could have been with me to see everything!

This was another display out in front of some expensive stores. I was a bit surprised to see the huge carousel and the blue Christmas tree. Overall, it was a good trip. I enjoyed coming home to the kids who acted like I was gone for a week :) We even wrapped a present for each kid and put it under the tree. Benjamin said that when it snows it will be Christmas and he can open his present...he's going to be waiting a LONG's still in the 70's !

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

We started the week off with the making of cookies. I believe this is one of the kids' favorite things to do. Our neighbor came over to help. She had a good time (as you can see above) I finally had to tell her that I thought this was enough sprinkles. She was just having so much fun, I just didn't want to stop her!
You would never know which child is my messiest, would you? She definately enjoys getting dirty!
The day after we made cookies, the flu decided to visit our house. YUCK! Poor little Regan had to miss her Thanksgiving day party at school and missed everything all week.
This is Benjamin at the school party with his little buddy. They have a good time with each other in and out of school.

This is Benjamin's nentire class for the special lunch. It was quite a feast. Every family was asked to bring a special dish from their country and the school provided the turkey, green beans, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes. I thought brownies would be a good American dish :) Most of the food was from China or Korea, but there are 32 different countries represented.

We were very excited that we got to have a real turkey! We thought we were not going to be able to get one, but one of the foreign owned restraunts in town had a special. So, we ordered a turkey and they cooked it for us AND delivered it to us! You can't beat that! It was SOOOO GOOD! We celebrated with some other American families that we have met. We all cooked some things and came together for a yummy Thanksgiving lunch!

Even though many in my family were sick, they were still all very excited to get some packages in the mail! As usual, Lauren and her curls found a spot inside the box. It is always one of her favorite places to play :) We were very thankful for the clothes that they received. They all fit perfectly.

Here's 3 of them sporting their new pj's. I would show you the "fashion show" but I have too many pictures :)

We were also very excited to put up our Christmas things! I love seeing the Christmas stuff in our home. Most of the ornaments we brought made it over just fine. We only had about 4 that broke on the way here, and two of them we were able to glue back together.

This was Joanthan's addition. He has been on the hunt for some garland for weeks and finally found some. I love the how it adds to the stair case. We saw some in a store and tried to buy it and they said no, so we waited around for the owner to return so that we could ask him where he found it. He said flower you can guess where we went :)

You gotta love boys! Benjamin decided to line the Fisher Price Nativity pieces all up for battle against all of the wild animal figures. If you look closely baby Jesus and the angel are missing from the battle lines Benjamin says, "that would not be fair." I'm not sure, but I think the animals won.
Katherine has asked every day since we put the tree up if it is Christmas yet.
So, today everyone in the Sheddan household is well....and for that, we are most thankful. We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flower Street

A few weeks ago, we went over to a friend's house for dinner and we took a cake. They were impressed and wanted to know if I could help make a cake for her grandmother's 91st birthday. I said that I would love to. Katherine came and helped eat the icing that did not go on the cake.

The daughter of my friend did the artwork....not bad for a first ever cake! She later came over and said that her entire family loved it :)

So, we decided to go (on a of the busiest days of the week) to flower street. We thought we would take the bus because it is pretty easy and much cheaper than a taxi. The bus pulled up and I was not sure one person would squeeze in...but somehow, all of us and several others found a nook and a cranny to get into. Katherine ended up sitting in someone's lap (she was not pleased about this).

We finally got there and walked down flower street. I have been before, but the children had not been. Benjamin said that he was going to buy me a flower before we left.

We were very excited to find a little shop on flower street that was selling Christmas decorations. The kids have been making Christmas cards for each other ever since. The lady at the store put the tree skirt around Benjamin and tied it. He thought it was funny. I wonder if she knows what it is actually for :) Who knows. We did buy some little red bows there, and Jonathan was very excited to find some garland to decorate the house with. I'm sure you will see pictures sometime soon!

Benjamin did in fact buy me roses. What a sweet boy. He was really wanting to buy me some blue roses with silver sparkles because he knows blue is my favorite color, but the blues ones were much more expensive. He decided he would rather get me three red ones instead of one blue one.

Katherine has been asking to go swimming for 2 weeks now (the pools are not open this time of year). So, she starting asking for a bath instead. We have no bath tub, so we found the biggest tub we could at the time and squeezed her in it. She had a blast.

A Katherine quote:
Mommy: Which foot is that (pointing to Katherine's foot)?
Katherine: The left
Mommy: Good! Which foot is that (pointing to her other foot)?
Katherine: The wrong one
Mommy: No, that's your right foot!
Katherine: (quite emphatically) No! It's the WRONG one!

Regan getting her hair brushed after her shower (note Mommy's new hair cut) Regan was preparing to read everyone their card that she made for them...she even made one for herself and it said, "I love you". haha :) We thought it was funny.
Now, we are preparing for Thanksgiving! We are very excited to have some "special" foods soon!

Monday, November 15, 2010


So, I see this picture and I realize how grown up my little girl is looking. We do not dress up much here, but Regan still finds at least one day a week to wear one of her dresses.

There are some cultural things that I am still not used to...this is one of them. I just can't imagine putting my sheets or towels or clothes on top of the bushes to let them dry. I guess it works, but I prefer letting mine hang from our balcony :)

I'm glad my camera was close, so that I could catch this snapshot. Sometimes we call Lauren a little scavenger because she will say "all done" ALL the time at meals and will have eaten NOTHING. Then, she will go around to everyone else's plates and eat their food (the same food that was originally on her plate) I would have never let my other kids do that, but she has gotten a little spoiled here. She has picked up this habit over here because househelpers here follow the kids aroung feeding them their lunch after lunch is over. I guess if I could play and have someone put food in my mouth for me I might do the same thing (haha) :)

We found another market this week. I was amazed that there was an entire street for bananas, one for oranges, one for sugar cane, etc.

This guy was making some "bread" on the street. We bought some and it is the closest thing to naan we have found. If you are not familiar with naan then it's kind of like pita bread (though really not at all). He puts the "pancake/bread" on the cooker, flips it over so that the other side is facing the fire, then takes it off and bags it up for you. It actually seems quite simple. We may buy some next time we fix chicken tikka. yummm.

This is the little bike shop we go to on a regular basis. We bought one of our bikes from them and the seats for the children here. The family lives and works here.

Needless to say, we tend to draw some attention when we ride as a family somewhere. Jonathan, Lauren, and Benjamin are usually in front, then Regan on her bike, then me with Katherine on the back. On this particular trip, I heard people saying, "OH! Two kids! No, Three! Oh! There's another one! Four Kids!" Then you would here "Four kids!" repeated down the line of people. I thought it was comical, but even more so on the way back home. We went back the same way we had come, and the people were waiting...they were lined downed the street waving at us. I wanted to take a picture of us in the street during all of this, but decided it was not the safest thing to try and do with all the traffic and all the kids. :)

Katherine has decided that she wants to ride like the other kids do, so Regan agreed and rode home from the playground with Katherine hanging onto the back. It's not the easiest thing to do to ride with someone on the back, so I was quite impressed that Regan made it all the way home this way.

Katherine had her first field trip at school and I got to go. We played many games together and had lots of fun. This was us eating our lunch on the grass. In case you are wondering, that is a sticker on my forehead and I got to wear it ALL day. All of the kids got to put one on their mommy for being good :)

This was her favorite part of the trip. The park that we went to had a huge ball pit to play in. Lots of fun!