Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Fun

Katherine's school had a parent day this week where we could come and watch what their day is like. One of my favorite parts to watch was the morning exercises. This is also one of Katherine's favorite parts. Last year, Katherine cried the entire time and never danced at all. This year was a huge difference. She loves her school and looks forward to going every day. Here are a few video clips from the dancing... this one is a bit shorter... and then the attempt of 4 year olds at kung fu...

This is her class room where I drop her off every morning. She puts her backpack in her cubby, puts her water bottle up, and goes straight to get a chair to sit with her class for the morning lesson. Most of the kids get there ealry, but we drop her off between 8:30 and 9:00. It does not disrupt anything before 9:00 because most of what they do before then is feed them breakfast and Katherine eats at home with us for breakfast.

Here are her classmates. They were very cute. Her teacher speaks very fast. She would ask the kids questions about the lesson and if they thought they knew the answer then they would raise their hand and should "I can try" in English. That was the only English I heard while I was there. Although, they do have an English lesson every day...Katherine does great at that one :)

We also did a parent kid craft and then they took our picture afterwards. Katherine had fun making her umbrella out of paper and a straw. You can barely see it in the picture.

They also had many centers to choose from for play time. Each child has a bookmark with their picture on it. When they decide which center they wan to play at, they take their bookmark and place it in one of the slots at the centers. If there are no slots left, you need to choose another center. Katherine was VERY quick to put her card in the slot for the blocks.

This was one of MY favorite pics...Mmmmmm...Dove Dark Chocolate! Notice the security tag! I've seen security tags on many things in the States, but never on chocolate!

Benjamin was working hard on his homework. He also got a haircut this week. It was actually very funny. We tried a new store that just opened up by our apartment. He wanted them to shave his hair so that he was bald. I told him no, so he was not happy. The guy cutting his hair asked what was wrong (because he could not speak English). He also thought it was funny. After the haircut he asked if it was ok. Benjaimin said that it was not ok (in the local language) and went back to the chair hoping that the guy would shave his head. I couldn't help but laugh at the protest, but then Benjamin decided that he liked it after all.

Lauren loves ot go on walks with Ayi. I happen to run into them on my way to study.

This is Lauren's favorite place to go. She loves to ride this thing. She was telling me that she didn't have any money :)

At Regan and Benjamin's school, they had a fall festival where they could dress up. Benjamin was excited to find a few pirate things to dress up with. I thought he was a very cute pirate.

Regan was a butterfly which is also what her name here means. They both had a great time playing outside and doing all the games that the school had planned for them.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Well, this was a very uncharacteristic week for me...I took almost no pictures all week! Since I did not have pictures to jog my memory, Jonathan helped me recall our week. First, the picture above. I have no idea what day it was, but Lauren went to get a cup of water from the water machine to give "baby a drink." She was very upset when I told her that baby could not have the water. Then I saw her with Baby and realized that Baby NEEDED the water because she had already brushed her teeth. This is just one of the MANY cute and mischevious things Lauren gets into EVERY day! :)

Jonathan agreed to help a little 10 year old with his English on Friday night. The kid was going to come over at 8:30 so, we figured that all the kids could be in bed by then. Well, we had them all headed that pj's...when at 8:10 there is a knock at the door. I still thought I could get them all asleep, but the kid showed up with his mom and they brought a friend to play with our kids until the "English Lesson" was over. So, it was a very tiring night, but fun to meet some new people. The kids finally got in bed at 10:30.

Regan also had a sleepover with a friend from school. I can't believe I didn't get any pictures...especially since the sleepover was here!

We also went swimming with a local family. All the outdoor pools are closed because it is "cold" (low's in the 70's highs in the 80's and 90's) The kids were excited. We went prepared with our swim caps and towels, but were surpised when (after paying the admission and showering and getting to the pool) they would not let Benjamin or Jonathan swim because their swimsuits were American style. (FYI we have been to this pool before and they both swam with the same swimsuits) We argued for a while, but to no avail. Our friend was on her way to buy them swimsuits at the gift shop. I knew that when she headed that way that we were not going to win the fight. So, Jonathan went with her and Jonathan bought a new swimsuit for Benjamin (Jonathan just sat in the lobby until we were all finished swimming). I didn't think Benjmamin would wear it, but he did and looked kindof cute in it. After we got home, Benjamin went to the little boy's house to play (all by himself). This is the first for him. He even ate lunch over there.

Jonathan and I had a date. We took the afternoon off from class one day and went to eat lunch. We to a little Italian place and it was really good. We were also the only ones there :) but it was good. WE took some of my clothes to a tailor to see if they could alter them. Most of them they said no, but they are going to try on two pairs of pants and are going to make me a pair of capris. The verdict is still out on the results. I can pick them up in 10 days. After that, we went for a 70 minute foot massage. It was GREAT! And the best part is that it only cost about 6 USD! I might have to get another one of those sometime! :)

We also said goodbye to some friends who were moving back to the States. Since they were moving, they were selling all of their furniture. We got a great deal on a new table. We have really enjoyed eating at it this week and there is plenty of elbow room and room for guests! (the picture is below)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Little Brother

This is Lauren with one of her best buddies. She calls him DiDi, which means little brother. Lauren is used to me taking pictures all the time, but he could not figure out what I was doing. He didn't smile until after I shoed him this picture.

I have never really been able to capture this before...this is bamboo scaffolding. It still amazes me that this is how they change the billboard signs and build buildings. I've neve seen one break or fall apart, so I guess they are pretty sturdy.

My friend stopped by the house late one night and brought me a bag of chocolate chips. She is from this country, but they had left on a vacation last week and she found chocolate chips and bought them. (You cannot find them in our city) I was so excited about making cookies. She asked if her son could come over and make them with us...he had tried some at our house one time and loved them!

We all had fun making and eating them! They turned out really good.

Our neighbor's little girl turned 13 this week. She had a party, but the cake they ordered came and was more like a cake for two people to share (and they had a house full of kids). So, I went to the bakery to try and buy a cake,which you typically have to order in advance, but it was worth a try. I got to the bakery and they had nothing! They said no problem, we will order it for you and you can pick it up at 9:00 pm. I told them that would not work because the party was already going on. So, they said ok, you can buy this person's cake and we will order them a new one! So, that's what I did. I bought someone else's birthday cake and the store ordered another one for them :) Everyone liked the chocoalte sticks around the cake.

This picture will never do it justice. You really need a video. If you put put your ear right up against the speaker of your tv and turn it on full blas for about 1 minute, then you will be close to knowing what it is like to celelbrate the opening of a new store. OH! and we experienced it from the 11th floor! I'm glad we were not closer or we would have had permant hearing loss :)
All of the red paper is actually the leftover from all the firecrackers that were set off. I'm not kidding. It was loud. The kids ran and hid and I ran to the balcony to try to get a better look. You should have seen the flames from these things going off. Incredible. One of those things you just have to be here to truly understand. We were serenaded all day with music, so that was a change of pace.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Post 100

It's hard to believe that 100 posts ago and 2 years ago we started this blog to help document all of our adventures as we headed to Asia. I looked back at the first few posts and realized how much the kids have grown up. It has truly been quite an adventure, and we have loved every minute of it (with the exception of the good-byes).
This week the kids were still off from school, but we had classes a few days. We continued to enjoyed a few days of not traveling and just staying at home enjoying the warm weather instead of hot...but Katherine got a little excited about it. She wore so many layers. And even for her, it got to be a little too warm, so she took a few layers off later in the day. They are getting excited about the possibility of some cooler weather headed our way.

Katherine has always had her own sense of fashion and style. She loves to play in her bedroom because there is a big mirror in there. She is constantly changing clothes, fixing her hair, and of coarse DANCING in the mirror.

We spent many mornings outside. The kids played and Regan bought a banana icecream. I would say banana popscicle, but it's really not that either. It's kindof in between an icecream and a popscicle...more like gelatin in my opinion. Anyways, it tasted good and she let everyone have a taste.

Since there was no homework, the kids also got to enjoy some extra computer time playing some games. Regan also got to have some more time to scrapbook. She is definately addicted.

Lauren enjoyed watching a little extra tv. She actually watched the same one over and over and over again. (which oddly enough is one of the little slogans of the video...."your kids will watch it over and over and over and the parents will love the price") She calls the video "alive" because that is her favorite song on there, but it is a music video by Cedarmont Kids. I even snuck a couple little videos of her singing along.

Jonathan and Benjamin played a little basketball game with some other kids.

Then, our familt went out for a family game of boys vs girls. It was a lot of fun, but we decided to call it quits after everbody got hurt at least once (nothing major....just the normal fouls)

Benjamin has been saving his money up and bought a small lego pirate ship. He did a great job putting it together. I helped with the instructions, but he did the building. Oh, and sorry to all my fellow UT fans for the yellow shorts with the jersey. He loves that shirt and I never know what shorts he will put on with doesn't seem to matter to him. So, he picked the comfy ones :)

The finished product

Our most eventful thing we did was get Lauren her very first REAL haircut. If you remember, she cut her own hair at one point and I was force to trim a curl or two. Well, I decided it was time to make those pigtails the same length, so we went in to have it evened out. Well, as you can see by the look on her face, she panicked!

She cried and screamed and had a death grip on my neck. She realized that I was not going to let her down and she started yelling for Daddy and saying "no, no, haircut!" She was so pitiful.

I thought they did a pretty good job. I was pleased with the result, especially since they are not accustomed to curly hair over here or the texture of blonde you add in a screaming, wiggling two year old. Kudos to the haircut guy :)

They were finished and she didn't even know they had started yet. I told her that they were already finshed and she stopped crying immediately. She turned around and saw the result. Hopefully, next time she will no mind so much. Oh, and this is what her hair looks like with all the curls brushed out...but it only takes a little bit for all the tight curls to reform on her little head! :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Start of Another Holiday

Our week consisted of many of the normal for all, homework and study, and out practicing our language. Friday was the start of another holiday here. The closest thing we have to it is the 4th of July, except this holiday is for 3 days. They say 3 days, but in reality it is closer to a week. Local schools closed early on Friday so that kids could travel home. They have the weekend off, then no school Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They also get off Thursday and Friday because they move the following weekend up and the kids have their Thursday and Friday classes on Saturday and Sunday. Are you confused yet?

We still met with our friends and played at the high school, but it seemed like a ghost town. The kids had the track all to themselves and had many races (on and off bikes).

Since the kids are out of school, they are having many opportunities to play with their friends. Most of their local friends have left, but all the foreigners have stayed around. These are a couple of their best friends from their school.

Katherine had her first ever sleepover away from our house. She was just in the building across from us, but she had a great time. She told me that she was a very good girl and went to sleep with no talking :)

Since Katherine was having a sleepover, it left Regan sleeping alone. So, Lauren had a sleepover with her big sister. As soon as Lauren found out, she took all of her things into Regan's room and just wanted to wait there. We finally talked her into coming back out to eat dinner, etc. Those girls did not go to sleep without talking, but they also had a good time :)

Benjmain has been playing with his little friends, too, but they are a little more difficult to get pictures of. They have been in and out constantly and have a "secret hide out" that they have had fun being boys!