Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nice Weather

The nice weather has finally arrived! We have had several opportunities to meet people at the park and just to ride bikes. We have let Regan and Benjamin ride their bikes to the park this week. They have really enjoyed that. There is even a skatepark there and early in the day it is either empty or only has little kids on it. So, they have had fun trying their skills on all the ramps.
Katherine has really taken to Lauren all of a sudden this week. She has always been good with her, but she is starting to act like "the big sister." She likes to help her do things or sit with her or whatever else you can think of.

Lauren got to ride bikes, too. She thinks she is big stuff. I'm sure it won't be long before we have to get 4 bikes and 4 helmets! We are glad to have finally (after almost 3 months) found out the actual law for kids riding bikes in Canada. If they are 12 and under, they have to ride on the sidewalks. If they are 13 and older, they have to ride on the streets. The only exception is bike lanes (and we live on one) So, now that I know it's ok for my older two to ride on the sidewalks more, we do that, and occasionally let them ride in front of our house when there is little to no traffic.

There is a little sprinkler park at our park. I was surprised at how hot it was while we the 70's!! I know. Not really hot, but much more so than we have gotten used to. We even came home with a slight tan after an hour.

At one point while we were here, about 40 kids came to the park all at one time. It was a little crazy :) I talked with one of the teachers and she said that they have some summer camps starting up. Summer here is July and August. So, the elemetary kids are officially out this coming Monday.

Lauren had fun at the park, too, but I think there were too many kids in the water for her. She played some, but ended up going to the playground part.

This was the real excitement of the week :) Canada Day cookies!!! (Canada Day is like July 4th, but it's July 1st) I got caught eating one....Regan said, "Mommy, did you buy new lipstick?" Mommy: No. Regan: Why are your lips pink? Mommy: I don't know. What do you think that means? Regan: I don't know. Mommy: Why were your lips pink yesterday? Regan: (gasp) Did you sneak a cookie?! Mommy: No, I didn't sneak one, but I did eat mine :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


No, this is not a skunk. One of our neighbors brought over this very tame bunny over to show the kids. Katherine was fascinated with it. I have to agree that it was one of the softest rabbits ever and I'm not sure I have seen one so tame. It just sat there, let people hold it, and when they put it down in our backyard, it just hopped around a little and then waited to "go home". Oh, and the kids were already in their pj's when he came over, so don't think that I dressed my child in that as a normal thing :) She picked out her own pj's and got herself dressed (we are in the independent TWO stage)
So, I do have a story about a skunk though. Jonathan and I were up one night and had the windows open for some fresh air. I asked Jonathan if he would go ahead and close the front window. Well, apparently, Jonathan frightened the skunk that happened to be just outside our window. It sprayed it's lovely scent right into our window. We quickly closed all the windows (and our bedroom door so that we could TRY to sleep) We could still smell the skunk a little the next morning, but the smell ooutside was better, so we opened the windows again and are now back to normal.

We made a trip to the Richmond (Chinese) Night Market. It was a late night for the kids, but we all had a good time. It was very crowded by the food stalls (above pic). We learned that if we let Regan lead, we could get through the crowd a little quicker. They had many things that we wanted to try, but with the strollers, did not attempt to get in too many lines. We will have to go back one night without the kids (it's only open on the weekends from 7pm-1am)

The one thing we did get was called hurricane potato fries. It was really good. Basically just a french fry on a stick, but they look neat and it was fun to watch them make these so quickly. You could have them seasoned with salt and ketchup, cheese, BBQ, onion, or chili.

Regan and Benjamin both rode this orbitor ride. Benjmain laughed the entire time. They got Mommy to ride it, too. I thought it would be fun (and it was), but the guy spinning it got such a kick out of the kids laughing at me in the ride that he just kept spinning and spinning and going faster and faster. I finally had to say "OK I'm done." I can tell I'm not a kid anymore. I am STILL sore from riding that crazy thing :)

The kids each got a little beanie baby this week. They have loved them! Regan got a panda. Katherine a pink/purple bear, and Lauren a duck. Benjamin got a dog and he has made it a place to sleep in his room and he takes it on bike rides, etc.

This week was also the Dragon Boat Festival, so we went downtown to watch the races. One of our friends met us down there. It was fun, but not an all day event.

Here is one of the races.

Here is a close up so you can actually see the dragons on the boats. It was neat to see. Each boat had it's own drummer so that the team new when to paddle.

Here is my son singing in Mandarin for Father's Day. He looks like he is the only one not wearing a shirt and tie, but in reality, he already had on a dress shirt and tie and did not want to "borrow" one of the daddy's. The signs that they are holding say, "Jesus loves you. Happy Father's Day"

Lauren was also invited to a birthday party. This was her little buddy. I have tried for weeks to get a picture of them together. Hooray. Success.
After the party we went to McDonald's for some dinner. We saw two very interesting things. One: you have to ring a doorbell to be "buzzed in" to the bathroom. They have cameras in the kitchen so that they can see who wants in to the bathroom. A little different to say the least. Two: they had permanat signs at each table stating that there was a 30 minute time limit to eat your food. me anyways.

The party was at the park, so naturally, a game of football happened (some with guys we knew, some with others we just met) I love this picture because after watching for a few minutes, Benjmain decided that he's a guy too and he could play football. So, he got out there and just tried to do everything his daddy was doing.

The picture is a little small. But you could see how much fun he was having. Oh. And notice the orange Tennessee shirt. You can take the boy out of Tennessee, but you cannot take Tennessee out of the boy. I bought him a cute Canada shirt this week (on sale because Canada Day is fast our 4th of July) I showed it to him and he said, "Hmm. I don't like it." "You don't?" "No, maybe if it had been orange."
Also, Katherine was shouting a cheer. "God is great! He knows best! Goooooo TENNESSEE!" Granddad can be proud. :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

East meets West in Vancouver

I just had to open up with this picture of Lauren. She loved sitting in this tree. She got turned around backwards and just happened to look up at me and I had my camera ready :) I think this will be one of my favorites.
We have had a great week of building relationships here and being able to share our story with those we are meeting. We have met two different girls from Korea recently who have both come over to our home to visit. This particular girl was great with the kids. She loves kids and my kids loved her. The kids kept putting "bugs" on her to "scare" her. It was a fun afternoon. We asked her to stay for dinner. She was very surprised that we ate so early (6:00) because she does not eat dinner until 9:00. We then explained bedtime.

This is Mo Mo. He is the little boy from last week eating the snowcone. He and his family came over and we spent the entire day together. It was a great time. I had to keep reminding myself that we had just met them a week ago because we felt like we had known them much longer. This little boy only speaks Mandarin (with a few English words that he is learning) so he was my tester. I would say things to him and if he knew what I said or answered my question correctly then I knew I said it pretty close :)

This is where the title of the blog comes from. Our two families ate lunch together and both contributed. Can you guess which ones are from the east and which ones from the west? The only one I will explain is the top right item. It is a special food from China that they only fix during the dragon boat festival. There is a story that a famous poet died in a river, so to keep his body from being eaten by fish, they made this dish and threw it into the river for the fish to feed on. And so, the dish is fixed during this festival (which is this coming Wednesday). Basically, it is sticky rice with beans and peanuts all mixed together and wrapped in a bamboo leaf and tied together with a string.

After lunch, we headed to the park for the kids to play. It was a beautiful day for it. Katherine and Mo Mo had a blast running through the sprinklers. I am glad she has made a little friend. They played great together. His parents thought Katherine was 4 because she is so much taller than him. He is actually the older one.

Loving the day!

After playing in the sprinklers, Katherine just layed out in the grass. I'm not sure if she was trying to warm up/dry off in the sun, tired, or just contemplating the day. Regardless, she was cute just relaxing in the grass. It reminded us of her Auntie Em!

Lauren even got in on the action (and Jonathan inadvertantly got wet as well). The follwing picture is to prove that she really was having fun.

The only time she got upset was when she thought Jonathan was not going to take her back through the water again.

This is our friend, Jasmine, whom we have gotten to know. We have already learned a lot from each other.

We let the kids take their bikes to the park and they finally got to ride them again (it's been raining a lot here, so they have been waiting for a pretty day to ride). Benjamin told me that he wanted to go home beacause it was going to rain. I said, "Rain?! There's not a clound in the sky. It's not going to rain." He looked up and out and around and pointed waaaaay off in the distance to some clouds. "Yes it is. See?" "Benjamin, those are just a few cirrus clouds. They don't have rain in them." "Well, those serious clouds look like they are coming this way!"

She will always be my girl who loves to be up in a tree.
She informed me today that she no longer wants to be JUST a teacher when she grows up. She wants to be a ballerina, a doctor, a teacher, and a singer like Hannah Montana. "You don't want to be a gymnast?" "NO. I'm already that!"
Also, we heard her tell someone that she likes Chinese oranges. It took us a few minutes and then we realized that we have been calling them Mandarin oranges instead of just oranges. I guess the two words are interchangeable :)
And this is how we all felt after a long fun-filled day and week. It's a good tired though. See you next week!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hats Off Day

So, it may appear that we are always having a holiday here. I guess we do celebrate a lot here. It is a great way to talk lots of people! Saturday was Hats Off Day. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is there was a parade in the morning and that the main street was closed from 8:30-4:30. I knew I didn't want to miss it. This picture was taken 1 block from our house! Basically, they were celebrating all the people that make the community a community (just another reason to celebrate) :) As you can see, it was a very popular place to be.

Benjamin was actually in the parade! That's him kicking. He has been taking Taekwondo and his class kicked there way down the entire parade route. Actually, they kicked up the route. It was uphill the entire way and it was 10 city blocks! I was quite impressed. The only time they went downhill was the last half a block. Needless to say, he was tired. We then has to walk all the way back to the start of the parade because that is where is instructor was having hotdogs and our home is there.

They are nearing the end here. Benjamin was no longer running to the back of the line at this point.

His class that walked the parade.

After the parade, the streets filled with people, activities, and booths. Regan got her arm painted, got a ballon, painted a flower pot and received free seeds to plant, got a snowcone, lots of free junk, received Canadian Mounted Police tattoos from the police, and got to throw some balls at the fireman's dunking booth. She was in her element and was a little sad when it was all over. The other kids actually went home after lunch and crashed until dinner time.

This is a little boy that we met. I couldn't get him to smile for the picture, so I said the Mandarin word for smile and this is what I got. I was glad that a 3 yr old could understand me :) His parents (we met at that day) have offered to help us with our Mandarin studies.

This is the KID CONE that I agreed to buy them. What was I thinking? No, they didn't get too wound up from it. Our hardests adjustment right now is still all this daylight! It is great, but before you know it, it's waaaayyyy past bedtime and still the sun is shining bright. A typical day right now is sunup at 5:00 and sunset around 10:00 We've been told that they will keep getting longer.

The kids were invited to a birthday party this week. They has so much fun playing with all the other kids.

They were out on the playground and were fascinated by a moth (they called it a butterfly).

Regan enjoyed having if fly and crawl on her. The kids had so much fun with it. Who needs a playground?

Earlier in the week, I went out to eat with some girls to a Mongolian restaurant. I had never had it before and it was really good. You put everything you want in a bowl and leave it "in line" to be cooked by the chef. He cooks it with what looks like really big chopsticks. He just keeps scooting it around the grill until it is finished. I wonder how many times he walks in a circle per day?

The last thing is my littlest one has some new moves. We were eating out with my dad before he left for the States at a place called Splitz Grill. They were playing some hip hop type music and Lauren really was getting into it. I was glad I was able to catch a little bit on camera. I just wish that you could hear the music in the background. Enjoy the new moves!
(I couldn't get the actual video to post this time on our blog, but here is the link to watch it)