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!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thick Air

This is our new favorite place to eat. They make the noodles when you order them. It's really quite interesting to watch. He kneads the dough, then does this little toss routine and stretches the dough and voila! homemade noodles ready to be thrown in the pot. You must come and try!

Who needs a delivery truck anyways! They will pull just about anything behind them on their bikes...looks like someone in our complex was about to get new sofas :) The weather the past two weeks has been perfect, but now we have had a week of very thick air. The sky is grey and it burns your eyes when you are outside and all the kids are coughing. We hope we get some rain or wind soon to clear the sky!

Earlier this week we had a gas leak in our apartment. This is our little box in the kitchen. Our neighbor came over and helped us turn it off and call the gas company to come fix it. It turns out that the problem was a broken stovetop. Our neighbors insisted that it was not too late to call our landlord, so we did and he came and took the stove and brought a new one back the following day. We also realized that we were almost out of gas (thanks to our neighbors telling us) so we got to figure out how to buy that this week also. Basically, you have to go to the bank to put money on the gas card (looks like a credit card), then to the front office of the complex to activate it, then you take the card and stick it in the very narrow slot (see right above the digital display in the picture above) to put the gas on your meter. I felt like I was going to break the card. Sure am glad we figured it out before we were taking cold showers!

Because our stove was out of commission, our neighbors had us over for dinner the following night. It was all very good food.

I didn't get a picture of all the food, but here is one photo. They fixed 8 different dishes (and we brought dessert...our toaster oven was still working) and yes, that is octopus and green peppers. All the dishes were yummy!

The little girls enjoyed playing drums in the box that the stove came in. A box can provide hours of entertainment.

Here's a little snapshot of some of the characters that we have been working on this week. We focus most of our time on learning to speak the language, but we are starting to learn to read and write a little. I actually took the picture during class so that when I was studying at home I would be able to have the correct answers to check my sentences with (our teacher recorded some sentences and we were supposed to know how to write them).

The kids did some watercolors.

So, this week we added another playdate day with the twins. On Wednesdays, they come to our home, and on Fridays, we go to their home. They actually live quite close. Their mother is a teacher at the high school (which is across the street from us), so they live there. Actually, all the students live there, too. It was a lot of fun because there was a huge track and field to play on and outdoor exercise equipment to "play" on. By the way, I love the way kids hold hands's so sweet!

The long jump pit served as a giant sand box for the kids. They loved it. Some of the students came over and played in the sand with them and some talked to me. They said they had never talked to a foreigner before. I asked what things they like to do and the answer was sing. I was then serenated with the song "I Believe I can Fly" :) I clapped and told them they did a very good job.

Again, these little rides are everywhere! They play the same songs over and over again, but this one was playing Jingle Bells in the local language! I was glad to recognize a song :) Jonathan goes to the bread store alsmost every day and he always sees this same little kid. This week the little kid called him "ye ye" which means grandfather. It was quite funny. Jonathan said that he could not be a ye ye because his oldest kid was only 6 yrs old :)

The kids were invited to a birthday party at McDonald's. While we were there, I got to feed this sweet little guy. He is a foster child. The family that I met at the party said that he has doubled in size from when they brought him home from the orphanage. They think he is around 3-4 months old, but they do not have any papers on him telling his exact age. He has Downs Syndrome and was very sick when they brought him home, but he is doing fine now. I enjoyed holding the little guy. Benjamin wanted to know why I was holding him and Katherine loved touching him and Lauren looked jealous and Regan didn't seemed phased and no we are NOT having another one. I'll just hold other people's babies :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fun Times

So, once again it was an event-filled week. All of the parents were invited to go to Katherine's school to watch what a day is like for them. This was them doing their morning exercises. This was my favorite part (even though Katherine got scared with so many people watching and started to cry) I have seen her do the execises before, but I was hoping to get it on video this time. I actually did get video...just not of her doing anything. It was just a little too overwhelming. My other favorite part was in the classroom. Her teacher talks a million miles a minute in the local language then all of a sudden would say in English "Who can try!" and all the little kids would raise their hands and yell, "I can try!" It was very cute!

Here's my older two all dressed up for school. They had a fun day with costumes and games. I am glad we brought dress up clothes with us and that they still fit into them.
Here is Lauren sporting her new top. Ayi thought it was much too cold to take her outside without long-sleeves and a jacket, so I had to go buy her some clothes. I tried to get away with the little sweater vest, but Ayi insisted on a jacket as well. She doesn't seem to mind as long as she gets to go out.

The highlight of the week was a trip to the zoo. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. This particular zoo is home to over half of the white tiger population in the world. One of the tigers was named Kelly and was from the United States. I felt a special bond to the big guy and had to feed him some food. :) Don't worry. He was really far away with a huge ravine in between and we were high above behind a wall, so you had to have a decent arm to get the food to him (it was meat that you could get from the workers) He was very grateful for the morning snack!...more zoo pictures later.

I had to put this in for my fellow Nuclear Medicine friends :) Last week, Lauren was pretty sick. I figured it was a virus and it just had to run it's coarse, but after a week of high fever and not eating (she was drinking tons though) I decided to take her to the hospital. It wasn't the best experience and we actually left the hospital, but I did get this if I could just see what the equipment looks like here :) Oh, I ended up taking Lauren to an international doctor's office where they speak English. Turns our that I was right, it was a virus, but she did have some allergies, so they gave her some meds for that and she is back to her normal happy self!

I thought this little pineapple was cute. Don't really have anything to say about it :)

I went with Mary to a street market one morning this week. While we were there, I saw this lady shooping for clothes with the chicken hanging from her bicycle. That in itself was not too unusual, but I was completely surprised when it fell off her bike and tried to get away. It was not very successful since it's feet were tied together. I see people riding home with their chickens on their bike from time to time, but I always thought they were already dead. Turns out that they are just paralyzed. Apparently, that's what happens when you hang a chicken upside down. I'm sure I should have known that, but I learn something new every day.

We went to this market on a weekday because it was not crowded. I have not been on a weekend to see what "crowded" looks like, but I will probably go back some time with my neighbor and find out.

Here's something else I was surprised to find for sale. Snakes! All kinds and all alive! I asked my teacher if they really eat them and she said yes. She said they are very expensive. I have also been told that it warms your body when it's cold out. I think I'll stick with vegetable soup :)

We got these little house shoes at the market for Lauren. She seemed to like them. It's nearly impossible to buy clothes there and know if it's going to fit. You just have to guess by looking at the items and hope that you are right because the sizes inside mean nothing. We have bought anywhere from a size 3-6months to 5-6years for Lauren. They are very inconsistant.

I was kindof wishing we had a birthday this week when I saw this lady ride buy with all her balloons for sale. Maybe we will see her again in December for Regan's bday :)

Here's my pretty plant that I got. Mary carried it home. It was really funny because she set a taxi's car alarm off as we walked by. I have enjoyed it on my balcony.

More zoo pictures.
This was Regan's favorite part of the zoo. In case you don't know...a giraffe is her favorite animal. Each of the kids (except Lauren who fell asleep by this point) got to feed the giraffes a branch. I got tons of pictures, but only put some highlights on here.

Each of the kids got one souvenir, but Benjamin used the rest of his own money to buy a second one. He was really cute wearing the hat.

There wee many baby tigers in "cub nusery" They had little bitty ones in incubators, this size, toddler ones, and little kids ones. I was quite impressed.

This was Katherine's favorite animal at the zoo. She actually wanted to know if she could have 2 favorites. I said sure. She said that she liked the white tiger and the orange tiger.

Katherine and Lauren got to ride the carousel.

The kids all got dressed up again to go to a friend's house to play. They don't do Halloween here, so this was their alternative. They played and ate spider gummies and ate orange cupcakes.

Now it was time for Mamaw and Papaw to leave. Lauren was leading the way. She had a bag and was ready to get on the elevator all by herself. (I'm working on Katherine's sense of style. She likes to dress herself, but doesn't always pick what I would). :)

Regan was not going to take her dress up clothes off for anything....makes for a cute picture though (and some stares from others)

Here's our last picture right before Mamaw and Papaw left to go home. It makes me laugh because no one could keep their eyes open because it was so bright outside.