Monday, January 30, 2012

Sleepovers

This was the week of sleepovers. Regan had 2 sleepovers in one week. Then Katherine went over to a littel friends house to sleep and Benjamin had a friend over one night, too. Little Lauren did feel a little left out, but I think 2 is a little young for sleepovers :)


Since Lauren didn't go, she helped me walk Katherine over to her friend's house.


We made some homemade jaozi (dumplings) for lunch one day. I get better at it each time I make them. Maybe one day I will be able to make them without the help of my national friends.


We also made LOTS of sugar cookies. We had Christmas ones, Easter ones, Haloween ones, Thanksgiving ones, Valentines ones, and just random ones. It was a free for all.


We made the "paint" for the cookies, but the kids decided they also wanted sprinkles...so we did both.


Benjamin and his tray of cookies. He wanted to put them in himself, but i turned out to be more difficult than he thought. We recently rearranged a few things and the oven had to be moved, so it is a little awkward to get to now.


These were Regan's 2 favorites.


And then my baby girl decided to grow up...she fixed her own hair. Since when does a 4 year old know how to do a ponytail?? She was so excited and proud of herself.


And then you have our favorite...the Tennessee orange Lamborghini. We have seen this car once before and I did not have my camera. Benjamin was so excited to have his picture by it, but the picture was on my phone and I have not been able to transfer it to my computer. So, we now have the "real" picture of the car and...


...the picture of the picture on my phone. I think it is one of my favorites of Benjamin that I have. He said it's like a real transformer car because of how the doors open. I think he is hooked. Kepp dreaming, Buddy :)

We also wanted to try and give you a glimpse of Chinese New Year from our apartment balcony. A video does not do it justice because there were more fireworks going off that you could not see, but you can hear what it sounds like here during this time of year :)



video

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy New Years AGAIN!

Well, we are celebrating the new year once again! Chinese New Year fell very close to the beginning of the year this year. The kids are out of school for 2 weeks and most places are closed down. We made cupcakes to celebrate. The character on the cupcake is fu. It means blessings and happiness. Nearly all the people will put this character on their front door in hopes of a good year to come.

Benjamin is glad to be able to spend time with his best buddy these two weeks. His family is about to move and Benjamin has been wanting me to take lots of pictures of his friend. They have a lot of fun together.



So the character is literally found on everything...even my apple! :) People will give apples because the word for apple is ping guo and the word for peace is ping an...so it's kindof a play on words. Yo uare saying that you hope that this next year they will have much peace.


It is much like our Christmas in the States as far as the gift giving goes. But most people give some time of food...fruit, chocolate, candies, cookies, etc.


Another way that you know that that it's the new year (besides all the people traveling home) is all the crazy fire crackers going off. Lauren actually wasn't as terrified as she looks in the picture. She wanted to go out and see them all going off, but she had to close her ears. It really is the loudest thing you've ever heard. Even the "safe" ones that you just throw on the ground and they pop are super loud.


We were taken out to eat this weekend in celebration. Regan didn'r know she was in the picture..haha) We met several new people at this dinner and Lauren and all the kids behaved great! You never know how long these dinners will be, so we were very proud of them. We left at about 5:30 and got home at about 9:00...not too bad.


On CNY Eve, we went to another friend's house for dinner and celebration. Jonathan answered the trivia question right and got a red envelope with money in it. The envelopes are another tradition...new money for the new year...but usually it's just for the kids.


This was jsut a portion of the food that was prepared for us to feast on! It was soooo much food. It just kept coming and coming! I think the only one I wasn't brave enough to try was the million year old egg. I think it's a pschological thing...something about eating a black egg with that name. hmmm


So our friends house ended up having 2 American families over and 2 local families (including their extended family) This was one of the little ones and nai nai (grandmother)


Lauren is never afraid to try new foods. She and Regan are best eaters over here :)


The family bought gifts to give to everyone. Katherine opened hers first and got a bunny pillow with a character on the front. She was so excited. She loves her bunnies :)


Lauren was very patient opening and eating pistachios. She enjoyed the "snack" table.


The night was ended by writing new couplets to hand around our door for this next year. They wrote one for each family that was there. We then went home and watched fireworks for a while from our window and then tried to sleep...the peak of the fireworks was at midnight of coarse. Lots of fun!

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012

I can't believe it is already 2012! This past year has been a full one! We are back in our city enjoying getting back into the routines of life (although we will be out of routines again next week because it will be the start of the BIGGEST holiday for here). As we have finished our busiest time of year, the people here are just beginning theirs. It really does remind me of the Christmas rush at and around the malls the week before Christmas. Just before Christmas, we had pictures made. I tried to upload them last week for the blog, but (as I'm sure you noticed) we had problems getting anything to upload last week. So here they are...


Lauren Taylor

age: 2 1/2 yrs


Katherine Nicole

age: 4 yrs


Benjamin David

age: 6 yrs



Regan Renee

age: 7 yrs


This was the family picture...the kids had not quite warmed up to the photographer yet.


Ayi bought new clothes for Lauren. Lauren LOVED them! She said, "Now I look like Ayi."


Showing off her new outfit...I think her favorite is the boots. :)


Monday, January 2, 2012

Jonathan's Birthday

Jonathan celebrated his birthday in Malaysia surrounded by all of his family. He had a chocolate cake and some trick candles to blow out. He actually did pretty good at getting them out, but he also had the help of 2 other little ones :)


Jonathan and I went on a date to celebrate. We ate at Chili's and ordered spinach cheese dip. It was so good. I never ate there much in the States, but we ate there several times over the Christmas holidays.


The kids and I got to hold a snake at this place while we were eating our lunch. I had to bribe them to touch it...too funny.


Lauren, however, had no problem letting them put the snake around her neck.


We went on a walk looking for monkeys in the trees. We stopped for a picture at this tree. We have a picture of Regan at this same tree when she was not quite 2 years old. I guess she's a little bigger now.



Well, we saw several monkeys that day, but this is the picture of the mean one. It chased after Benjamin and he literally ran out of his shoe. I am sure it was quite the scene...monkey chases boy, boy screams and runs everywhere, Papaw chase monkey, Mom chases boy...we did get everyone to the car safely. I went back for the shoe and the monkey went after me. I ended up using all those years of softball practice throw the shoe and hit the monkey. I then left, and Papaw got the shoe. Benjamin has been practicing telling this story. I'm sure he will ot soon forget.


We went to the beach again and this time the beach was covered in shells and starfish. The kids collected so many shells (too many to bring back) and we passed the starfish collection on to another kid looking for them.


So, after 2 weeks of fun, we said our goodbyes and headed back. It was a wonderful time with many great memories. We enjoyed watching the sunset form the airplane on the way home. We arrived back on New Year's Eve and celebrated by carrying (one at a time) the kids up to the apartment and then all of the luggage. A perfect start to a New Year.