Tuesday, May 29, 2012


 Well, I have much to be thankful for this week.  I just did not take the time to take many pictures this week because we have been trying to pack as much as possible for our upcoming move.  It is still a month a way, but we have a lot going on this next month and need to get as much done as early as possible!
 Tops on the list this week have been cooking lessons from Ayi.  Since she is not going to move with us, she has been teaching me how to cook all of her foods that are so good.  Here she is showing me how to pick out a good piece of gen sing.  For a couple days I watched, took notes, took pictures and or videos, and tried to remember as much as possible.  Then one day I came in and said, "OK, today I'm cooking.  You tell me what to do."  (I'm kind of a hands-on learner)  She was so excited, but I felt like I was a little kid cooking.  She only let me do parts, and then would tell me to move and she would do it because she did not want me to burn myself on the hot pan.  :)  So sweet to take care of me!
 Benjamin, still in his pj's, was watching tv with his homemade crown.  Every Thursday, they have show and tell at school and he didn't know what to bring, so he got up really early, made a crown for himself and little puppy, and wore it all day.  Yes, he did get dressed before school. 
 We also made rice crispy treats.  We love trying new things out on our local friends.  The Americans always come up with some of the strangest foods to eat :)
 Katherine was out of school for yet ANOTHER week because of hand foot and mouth disease.  She never got it, but apparently it went around really bad at the school.  So she enjoyed getting to go out and play with Lauren and Ayi and enjoyed into trouble with her little sister at home :)  Every day I would come home for lunch and there would be a mess somewhere, but they sure did have fun together!
And I like this picture, which brings me to the BIGGEST reason I am thankful today.  I have 4 wonderful kids and I love them very much!
We had the biggest scare of our life a few days ago. A local friend had just given us a big bag of hard candy which I had high up on a shelf in the kitchen.  Lauren, being the smart creative child that she is, decided to stack two stools on top of each other to get to it.  When I found her, I told her that we could not have candy right now because it was too close to dinner time.  She got very upset with me and ran to her room (with a piece still in her hand).  I followed her to her room and pried the piece out of her little fingers.  She was NOT happy.  She climbed up on her bed and ran right into Katherine (Lauren's head hit Katherine's leg)  Both girls began to cry, Katherine loudly and Lauren the silent type that turns loud quickly.  Lauren came over and was hugging me and I was checking on Katherine to make sure she was ok.  Suddenly, I realized that I still had not heard a cry come from Lauren yet.  I pulled her away from me and looked at her and her lips were blue, her face was turning blue, and her eyes were panicked.  She lost consciousness. I was doing the Heimlich maneuver, but nothing was helping.  Jonathan ran to our neighbors who called an ambulance.  After nearly 3 minutes of no breathing, God saved her life.  I never saw any candy or anything, but she suddenly began to move her arm.  I picked her up (I had her lying on the ground doing compressions to hopefully dislodge whatever it was...I'm assuming candy) She began to breathe, finally cry and sweat....and Momma cried also.  Needless to say, she was in my arms for a LONG time and I checked on her several times throughout the night!
Like I said...SO THANKFUL! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm a Big Girl

 "I'm a BIG girl!"  That's right.  The last of my four children is FINALLY potty trained! Lauren was definitely my hardest and most frustrating.  She was very capable of going potty but had absolutely no desire to.  We tried all the tricks, methods, bribery, rewards, etc, and nothing seemed to work...UNTIL...we told her that she could pick out and buy a baby doll.  This seemingly was not working very well either, but after a month or two of saying, "No, I'm sorry.  You cannot buy a baby because you still are not potty trained." she had a change of heart. About 2 weeks ago, she woke up and said, "I want a baby doll.  I want to wear panties."  She has done so good day and night (with only a few accidents).  I'm so excited.  :) 
 She picked out the baby that had the "pretty dress" and had curly blond hair and blue eyes.  She is fascinated that the baby's eyes close when she lays down.  She keeps telling me to be quiet and not to wake the baby.  Too cute. 
Katherine has been home from school all week.  Her teacher called Monday night and said class was being cancelled until next week due to a high number of kids in her class and a few other classes having hand foot and mouth disease.  She had fun making lots of messes with her little sister and getting into all of Benjamin's things while he was at school.  I took her to school today only to find out that they have decided to keep it closed for another week.  So, we get to have both little girls home for the week.
 Lauren and I took a trip with Ayi to the city we will be moving to soon.  It was just the three of u sand was a lot of fun.  We were going to try and find a place for Ayi to live so that she could move with us (she wants to have her own place).  We looked ALL day in the rain and did not have any luck at all.  Everything was above her price range and not nearly as good as where she is right now.  All she wanted was 1 bedroom with a bathroom and a place to cook.  I did not think it would be hard to find, but soon learned how difficult that could be.  Many places either had no bathroom or no kitchen or had neither.  I have to give it to her.  She looked hard.  She loves Meimei (Lauren) and really wanted to come with us, but after the trip and thinking some more, she has decided not to move with us.  We were a sad, but knew that it was the best decision.  We told her that we will get together with her every time we come visit the city we currently live in :)

During that trip, Lauren became very fascinated with Ayi's pretty earrings.  So, the next day, Ayi shows up with some little clip-ons for Lauren.  She was very proud and wanted to call everyone on Skype to show them her earrings.
DISCLAIMER!!!  The next picture is not for the squeamish (you know who you are)  :)
So, the story first.  Saturday evening, we had a good rain.  After the rain, the plague hit our house.  No, not a real one, but I sure felt like it.  I was giving Lauren a shower when I hear the loudest screaming ever.  It was the hysterical, loud, panicky, non-stop screaming followed by Jonathan saying "Kelly, I need your help!"  I  was in the the bathroom with Lauren and had no idea what was going on.  The next thing I know, Benjamin is in the shower with us (standing on top of the toilet) still hysterical talking about all the bugs trying to get him.  I get Lauren rinsed quickly and go to see what is going on.  What do I find?  Our house has been invaded by THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of these flying creatures that were about the size of a fly, pesky like gnats, but a body like a small worm...very weird.  They were literally everywhere!  They swarmed underneath the front door, sliding glass door to the balcony and the now apparent cracks in some of the windows.  I immediately felt like I was in the middle of one of the plagues in Egypt.  After 2 hours of stomping on, smashing on walls, swatting in the air, and using tons of RAID (which we are VERY thankful for), we felt like we had stopped the invasion.  I spent the next 30 minutes sweeping up the little guys.  We finally get everyone in bed asleep (us included) and wake up the next morning to find that the RAID bug spray had worked wonders and little dead ones covered our floor once again (and hence the picture below in case you think I am exaggerating..haha)  All I have to say is that I have a new found appreciation of what it might have been like for the families in Egypt so long ago...I had always read about the different plagues and just thought yeah that would be annoying...but add the hysteria of small children in the mix for several days and yikes! 

I did not want to end with such a horrible picture, so I decided to throw in a couple of "old" pictures.  My, how the kids have grown! 
So here is Regan eating at her favorite place...Taco Bell.  WE were on our way to a UT football game.
Benjamin at the same game just waiting for the fun to start.  Ah, he was having fun even before they started.
Katherine in her Christmas pj's with her fantastic grin.  I believe this is the year that she got her bunny for Christmas.
Lauren holding baby Bryan.  I guess this is when her fascination with baby dolls started...only this baby was a real one :)
The Sheddan clan in the Smokey Mountains!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

 This year has been one of the best Mother's Day yet.  It was a very fun and relaxing day with my family.  They have all healthy and have adjusted so well to the culture in which we now live and for that I am very thankful.
 After we celebrated with 16 at a swimming party, we went out to eat.  We were just about finished when we realized that it was starting to get dark.  Storms here are very different than in the States.  The sky gets dark, and the air will feel so thick, until all at one time the sky can no longer hold the moisture and it pours.  There is no leading up to this rain it just drops buckets full.  We were about half way home when we took shelter under a building to wait for the hardest part of it to pass. 
 We then continue home, splashing thorugh the rivers of water that form oh so quickly :)
 I think Lauren had the best spot for the storm....in her Daddy's arms and under the umbrella. 
 Katherine's school invited all the moms to come by for a special time with their child.  This is Katherine's class and the kids told us over and over again why they love us :)
 This is the poem they were reciting/reading to us and one of her teachers pointing to the words as they were to be read.  After that all the kids gave us HOT water (I still have a really hard time drinking hot water...especially when it's 93 degrees outside) but I tried my best to get it down without making a face.  I know I know it's just water, but still... Then they all lined up to get a flower to give to us.
 After all of that we did a Mother?Daughter craft.  The only instructions were to make a picture frame with the materials on the table.  So we tried our best :)  and had fun doing it.
 Katherine added the two hearts after she had "finished" so I took another picture.  The red rectangle at the top actually says "Katherine and Mommy" but it is really hard to see.  The marker was all dried up.  Now we just have to find a pictue to put there!
 This was another surprise this weekend.  A little boy came over to play with the kids and brought a box full of hungry caterpillars and put them on my kitchen table.  At first I thought someone should babysit the little guys to make sure they did not try to find a new home in the middle of all my stuff, but we soon became fascinated with the little guys.  They were indeed HUNGRY!  The kids gave them a fresh green leaf and I have never seen a leaf disappear so quickly!  I actually ended up taking a short little video...which makes me laugh a little because they are caterpillars, but I love the conversation between Regan and Benjamin about them in the background of the video :)  Maybe I'll post it soon.
 But THIS is what the kids have been waiting for! The pool is now OPEN!  We got a few looks as the crazy foreigners were already swimming, but that's ok.  We had the entire pool to ourselves :)  Lauren as become quite the little fish and she is fast!
 My 4 year old daughter "fussed" at me for not sending her to school with a towel in her back.  She said that all of her other friends had them and I had not given her one yet.  So, she wore her towel to school and was one happy little girl.  It is supposed to keep them cooler.  It absorbs the sweat and keeps their shirt a little drier.  One the days when I forget to send the towel (which is often because it's just not ingrained in my own culture) her teachers will change her clothes 2 or 3 times a day (depending on how many shirts are in her bag. 
 This picture I could not resist.  THIS is my Katherine!  She is very independent and can do EVERYTHING all by herself.  This includes getting dressed.  She has actually been that way for quite some time, but this outfit just captures her personality so well :)  She did not just pick out random things to put on...No, this was a well planned and thought out outfit...down to the mismatched socks!  She may be shy but her fashion sense is one way she expresses herself well :)
 Benjamin talked me into downloading a few episodes of the Avengers cartoon series.  He loves super heros and this was no acception.  I'm glad I got some for him...the girls are constantly watching girly movies, so he was glad to have some more boy movies...but as you can see, the girls watched, too.  I'm still not sure how they all saw clearly on that tiny screen.
 Benjamin has always been a inventor/creator...a think outside the box kid. This time, he decided to make banana chips.  He sometimes comes up with some very strange things to eat, but I have to give it to him, if it is completely gross, he will still eat it because it was his creations.  I don't think I could do that.  Anyways, this time it was banana chips.  He sliced, added some sugar (I think), and baked in the oven, and then served with our dinner.  They were a little gooey, but had a good taste.  He is like his Daddy....he will try to perfect them next time :)
 Regan fell this weekend in a rollerblading race between her and some other girls.  If you don't already know, Regan is my competitive one.  She quickly found out the these little girls were FAST!  So, she ended up skating faster than I have ever seen her go.  The trick was, it was a go there and come back race, so she completely wiped out when she tried to turn.  We originally thought she might have broken it because of where the pain was, the swelling, not being able to move it, etc.  But we decided to wait until the following day to see if she needed x-rays.  The swelling was down and she had movement again so I think she just sprained it.  So, she is taking it easy for a few days.

And this was my pre-Mother's Day lunch.  Papa Johns pizza!  It was very good but a frustrating lunch.  To make a long story short....we order 2 large pizzas, one a Papa's Favorite and one half pepperoni and half cheese.  We thought it was very clear what we wanted because we even had the aid of a menu to show pictures in case there was any misunderstandings.  (never assume) After an hour we got a supreme pizza and nothing else (which the kids will not eat).  So we sent it back.  A little while later, they brought a half hawaiian with no pineapple and half something else..I'm still trying to figure out what it was.  We were starved!  I told them it was still not right, but that we woul dkeep it, but we needed the half pepperoni and half cheese one.  We want TWO pizzas? yes, PLEASE :) So, a little while later they bring us a Papa's Favorite.  We gave up and ate.  Just before we were going to pay and leave, they brought us the half pepperoni and half cheese one.  :)  What can you say.  I think they were a little frustrated when we asked for a to go box for almost two whole pizzas.  And yes, we did have to pay for 3 pizzas...but that's ok...it's great for leftovers.  During all of that, I also made 6 different trips to the bathroom with different kiddos (and it was not close) That is actually why only Katherine is in the picture above...it was Jonathan's turn to take the kids.
Now you know just about everything about my Mother's Day weekend :)  and I really did LOVE every minute of it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Been a LONG Time!

 So, it has been a LONG time since I have posted a blog!  I did actually try a couple of times, but the internet would not cooperate.  We have been enjoying time with family for the past month, so the blog just kept getting postponed.  We have done A LOT though and I will try to catch you up.
 The kids filled up another "Super Duper Sticker Chart" so we went to a play area and had Pizza Hut for lunch.  It was lots of fun.  The play area was very crowded, but Lauren has been asking to go back ever since.
 Speaking of Lauren...I love the look she is giving Jonathan here...Too Funny :)
 Benjamin was not sick in this picture, but has been pretty sick for over a week.  He had a fever of 104 and a horrible cough.  He got lots of medicine and is feeling much better now (although he was not thrilled about all the maek-up homework that he had)
 We went to the zoo and saw some sections that we have not seen before.  There was an entire section of different baby animals.  It was very cute.  The kids had fun as usual.
 This was at the white tiger show.  It was really cool.  The tiger was jumping for a piece of meat and ended up landing in the water right in front of us!
 Well, the heat has arrived to stay now.  The high on this day was supposed to be 80, but it got up to 94.  It was definately an icecream day.  I believe it is time to pack away the jeans :)
 We saw a car being decorated for a wedding...
 I went to Hong Kong with my mom for a day.  We saw lots of sights and had some good American food :) 

 Lauren has been insisting on eating with only chopsticks.  It will not be long before she is an expert.
 This is one of my new favorite cultural shots.  This is so typical here.  The grandparents are always with the little ones.  They will just find a long stick or something else and dangle it it the water and wait to see if any fish come to check it out. 
 Just a normal shopping day...the escalators are almost always packed full of people.
 We have had our fair share of storms recently.  One cool thing...we saw our very forst rainbow here!  I know it may not sound so exciting to some, but it is a RARE thing here.  I went and got my neighbor to see it.  She was just as excited as we were (or more so).  She said it was the 1st ever she has seen (she has lived in this city for at least 15 years)
 THIS! This was a site to behold...and this lovely alligator was for sale at......wait for it....
Wal-Mart!  Yep, you never know what treasures you might find at Wal-Mart :)
This was a group of friends that we went out to eat with before mom headed back to the States.  We had a good time.  Oh, the other thing that happened in between posts is that we found a new apartment in another city.  We will move this summer after the kids finish school.  I'll try to post pics of our new place on a later blog.