Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's my Birthday!

It has turned out to be a very good birthday weekend. Jonathan managed to surprise me with flowers. I thought that he bought them this way, but apparently he went outside looking for rocks to put in the vase then washed them and voila....beautiful bouquet!
My mom came to visit for my birthday. We went out to eat at Applebee's, and it was fabulous. The kids seemed to enjoy it as well. We don't really think about trying to get ALL of us in the same picture much anymore, but we thought this would be a good opportunity. Some friends here even baked a cake and cookies and we celebrated by watching a movie after the kiddos went to bed.

Here we managed to get all the kids with grandmommy.

We played our new favorite game (UNO)...I'm not sure who won the first game, but the second game went on FOREVER. We finally had to break for lunch. I made the executive decision to start a new game another time because Katherine needed a nap. Apparently, Benjamin did as well because he fell asleep in a tent that he built. While they were napping Mom, Regan, and I went to a store to spend some bday money. I got some music to take overseas and a few other things.

This was the other highlight of our week. Yep, we got a package from the Doty's! The kids were beside themselves (mommy and daddy had fun with it, too) We opened it quickly, and have been enjoying the goodies inside. The favorite item is pictured below. I'm not sure what you call them, but we refer to them as the shooter things.

And today marks Lauren's 11 month birthday. No, we don't actually celebrate. I just have to get my picture of her sitting on the couch for my scrapbook. I like to see how much they change that first year. Benjamin is helping with some props for a picture. He's a good big brother.

Here's the "official" picture. Her shirt says it all..."my heart belongs to daddy"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year

Many thanks to our family and friends who sent the kids some Valentine cards and even a few goodies! They absolutely loved getting the mail all week long. This was one of my favorite reactions. Katherine got this card (above) and I asked her, "What did you get?" and she said, "It's my Daniel!". Believe me, she was not going to let anyone touch her card from Daniel. It really was a good week.
Not only was it Valentine's Day, but it was Chinese New Years as well. So, we celebrated that as well. Beside dressing up and reading a few kid books about China and making a few crafts, we were not sure how we were going to celebrate until we heard about a festival that they were having in a town nearby. So, we piled in the van and went to the festival.

This is one of the crafts the kids made. They made their very own dragon masks. Benjamin thought that this meant he would get to be in the parade.

This was the highlight of the parade. These "dragon dancers" were very good. The kids were mesmerized by all of the events.

We found out after the parade that it is actually tradition to feed money to the dragons for good luck. The dragons will dance around and go back and forth to people opening and closing it's mouth and when you start to feed it the person inside will hold their hand out of the mouth to take the money. I did not notice if anyone fed these particular dragons or not.

Here are the older kids with the purple dragon. We squeezed through the crowd to get up close to them. Katherine and Lauren stayed back with Jonathan. Truthfully, I don't think Katherine would have gotten this close :)

Inside the mall, they had a tallent show. There were a variety of Chinese talents including musical instruments, tai chi, martial arts, singing, drama, and this fashion show at the end. Regan could not wait for these girls to get on stage (and of course they were the last ones on stage). This particular group was from some sort of school...the teacher was taking their picture and we asked if the kids could get in one. Katherine was there, but yet again, was too shy to get too close to them for a picture.

Lauren did make the trip, but fell asleep in her stroller after lunch. She is becoming very active. She wants to run around with the other kids so badly. One day day very soon.

Some of the kids we were sitting with during the fashion show. I love seeing all the little ones dressed in their New Year's outfits. They were all adorable. Oh, in case you were wondering, the year 2010 is the year of the tiger.

Here's Benjamin with Cassie, a family friend. We are glad we have made friends so quickly.

And here is little Katherine. I just like the picture of her. She is growing so quickly, and her vocabulary has exploded. She really does communicate very well for a 2 year old. We are all having a good time with all of our adventures. We do miss all of our family and friends and hope we can see some of you in the near future!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Family Time

This has been a week of much family time. The kids did have school some days, but were out because of the snow some as well. In addition to that, this weekend Katherine got a double ear infection and strep throat. So, we have had plenty of opportunities to spend time with each other.
On one of the school days, Regan and Benjamin made bird feeders to hang outside. With all the snow, it was only a matter of a day before all the seed was gone. I guess those little birdies were hungry! :)
Benjamin decided to hang his on a tree near our apartment, so that he might be able to see it from his bedroom window. The next day, I noticed that he had his monkey and puppy sitting in the window so that they could see it as well. Of coarse I have a picture of it...just didn't make the cut for the blog.

Since we had some cabin fever to try and cure, the kids and I went on an adventure walk to see what we could see and find. Benjamin managed to find another pile of snow that was a natural fort and great for throwing snowballs at me.

We also enjoyed looking at the semi frozen lake (from a distance). I didn't want to travel too close because the kids are all about ice skating right now, and I din't want them to try to get out on the lake. So, we just looked at how pretty everything was from where we were standing.

Speaking of standing...Lauren's favorite new trick! It won't be long at all before she is running around everywhere. Her other trick is screaming! Not because she is mad though....she just wants to hear her voice (it's about to drive me crazy) I never thought she would be my loud one :) hopefully it's just a phase!

Jonathan took the kids over to knock off some of the enormous icicles.

They decided to make an ice castle out of them once they got them down.

We worked on some math at home. The math turned into how high can we stack the pegs, but hey...we had fun. They actually had to work together and use some reasoning skills in the process. They figured out (on their own) that if they each made a really tall one and laid them on the ground to put them together that they could make a tower taller than Daddy.

Here is Katherine playing our new favorite game...UNO! Can you believe that a two year old can beat everyone in the family? She's pretty impressive. I couldn' t believe it the first time she won. It's definitely fun for the whole family.

With all the time inside, the kids were starting to realize that it had been a while since they had seen their best friends and that this was not a long vacation. Benjamin kept looking at his picture book from his teachers at church saying that he missed Nathan, Katherine slept with her picture of her little buddy, and Regan was looking at her book a lot, too. It was definitely time for some phone calls. The kids each got to talk to their little buddies back in Knoxville and it made them quite happy. Regan took the phone and went back to her bedroom to talk. She seemed all grown up.
And that has basically been our some added language study at night for me and Jonathan (the kids have picked up a few things as well).
Oh, and Happy Chinese New Year!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

WInter Wonderland

So, this is pretty much the view I get almost every morning! Isn't it wonderful? After two weeks of snow, snow, and more snow, I have gotten a new understanding of the song " walking in a winter wonderland."
After last week's blizzard, we got hit with a second one. It didn't start until Friday, but we had to pick the kids up early from school. The snow was falling quickly and it was WINDY! There were times you could not see very far at all. The kids, of coarse, are loving it, and I thought they were adorable walking from school with their umbrellas. I do think that is a first for me. I thought they were just for rain...?? Guess not.

This was when the storm was just heading in.

Poor Lauren...she didn't make it into any pictures last week because she was sick. So, hopefully we got her in a few this time :)

Regan has made a new friend already. Are you surprised? Me neither. Hannah has already come over to play. I'm so glad that all the kids have found friends their age to hang out with.

We got to talk to many people this weekend and Granddad even tried out Skype. Yeah Granddad! :) Benjamin (my little photographer) wanted to take his picture. I thought it was cute. You can even see Benjamoin in the corner of the screen taking the actual photo.

Here's my baby girl posing for her monthly picture on the couch. She is 10 months old now. She is grownign up sooo fast...but seriously, she can really learn to say mama ANY time now. She is a Daddy's girl.

Here is a picture of Lauren at church. So adorable. She did so good, too. All the kids did actually. She really enjoyed all the music.