Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Building Up

Katherine started liu bing ke (roller blading class) at her kindergarten this week.  She was so excited about it.  I had to go out the day before class to buy her some pads because they would not let her skate without them.  They were too cute to watch.
 This little exercise had to be done with their hands behind their backs.  She was quite good.  They did this other thing where they lined up and were in a crouching position and the teacher would blow a whistle.  When he blew the whistle their arms would fly into a "racing position" with one arm in the front and one in the back.  He would blow the whistle again and they would switch.  I tried to get a video, but as soon as I got my video ready they were finished.
 So this week we were focusing on building each other up.  To help the kids get a visual Jonathan and I did a couple short sketches for them and then we had our block project.  Every time someone was "caught" building someone else up, they would get a building block.  At the end of the week, we would bring all of our blocks together, work TOGETHER and see how TOGETHER we could build a cool building.  Our little project was fun and the kids seemed to really get it.  It may not look like a lot of blocks in the picture, but everyone had some to contribute and they only earned the blocks at home after school (which is after 5pm in this country).
Jonathan was enjoying his massage.  The kids were having so much fun.   
 Benjamin contributed with all the "exercises" that they do in school every day.  At school in between each class the kids are required to exercise/massage their ears, temples, nose, forehead, fingers, and arms.  It's supposed to help them learn better.  Maybe....
 Katherine helping with dinner.
 Lauren seeing what she looks like in Daddy's glasses.
 So, this is what the view from our apartment looked like for the first 3 months we lived in our new city.  It was such a nice changed to be able to see a little sky and a pretty view.  Well, it appears that those days may have gone and the pollution is bad in this city, too.  It is unbelievable to me how little we can see.  I took this picture today (below) and things have actually improved a lot this week, but as you can see, still not great. 
I met two ladies this past weekend from America.  They don't live in my city but a nearby one.  They are new to this country and wanted to know what I miss most about America.  My answer?  The sky and sunsets :)   My answer may change from month to month, but I think that will be in my top ten for awhile! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Field Trip

The kids have been looking forward to this for several weeks.  We have made friends with a handful of other foreigners that also homeschool.  They decided that we should all get together and go on a field trip.  It was a lot of fun!  I haven't been ice skating since we left the States!  We loaded up a bus a took the 2.5 hour drive to the rink and just let the kids play.  I was amazed at Katherine...she was really good...and Benjamin was so fast and looked so natural out there.  I was also so glad to see them making these memories.
We came prepared for the cold.  Outside is still in the 80's but it was fun to wear pants and jackets.
Regan made a new friend on this trip.  These two hit it off very quickly.  I hope we can get them together again soon.
Regan having fun!
Benjamin trying to skate on one foot :)
My other little speed skater.
Yes, I was out there, too. 
Lauren was not a big fan.  She decided that she would rather sit with the moms that were watching and play some game son the iPod.  Another little girl was so sweet and kept offering to hold her hand, but Lauren would not.  She asked me why Lauren didn't want to skate and Lauren piped up "BECAUSE I'm scared!"  Poor thing.  She even had a dream a couple nights later that she fell on the ice and hurt herself.  I guess she will not want to skip school if we get a chance to go again :)
McDonald's is the easiest place to eat (and fastest) with so many kids.  Katherine stole her daddy's hat during the meal....too cute.
Other big news....Regan lost another tooth!  Number 9  She was very excited about the "tooth fairy" coming to visit and about showing off her new space in her mouth.  Everyone she showed would say oh great did you throw it on the ground or on top of a building.  They are thoroughly confused as to why she gets money for it.  I even had someone ask me (very seriously) "If American teeth are not thrown on the ground then during the night it magically turns into money?"  When I tried to explain...well, let's just say I think I cleared it up but they think we are a little weird ;)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Holiday Week 2012

This past week was a holiday for the national schools and businesses.  We did not stop homeschooling, but the kids did have a break from the local schools and we had fun-filled afternoons with friends nearly every day!  Some very good friends of ours from our previous city came to visit.  It was so good to see them! 
When our friends arrived, we all went out to eat lunch.  There were not enough seats for ALL the kids to sit right next to Haley.  This time, the little ones got to.  Lunch was very good and we even found a dish that tastes very similar to one in the States.
 It is the custom for the kids to walk around with paper lanterns with candles lit inside on this particular holiday.  Last year, we were amazed at how many people were out and how much fun it was.  This year, we were amazed that WE were the only ones out!  So, you can imagine we didn't stay out for a long time, but had fun letting the kids walk around.  After the kids were in bed and we were heading that way ourselves, we heard a lot of noise outside.  You guessed it!  We went out too early!  In our previous city, they went out much earlier than here.  We now know that the others with lanterns start coming out around 10:30.  Through our window, we could see all kinds of fires burning.  It was very interesting.
 The holiday continued and we ventured to a park.  Someone offered to take the picture to let me in it (Jonathan was off watching the bikes while we got the picture...we had forgotten the locks)  Katherine really does not like all the attention they get sometimes...and on a holiday weekend when everyone is out having fun, the crowds of onlookers can be a little more intense.
 At the park, a little kid was playing with bubbles and the little ones joined in.  It was great because they didn't even pay attention to all the people taking their picture.  One guy had a very nice camera and stayed a long time taking their pictures.  I finally went over to talk to him (he was trying to be discrete) said hi and asked if he would please email me any good pictures that he got.  He did! And this was one of them.
 The kids also talked me into letting them spend their own money on turtles!  I still can't believe that I let them, but they love the little guys.  They were so cheap, but Lauren didn't have enough money.  So, Benjamin used his own money and bought one for her.  So far, the only one that has a name is Freddy.  The others are still waiting to be named :)
Benjamin showing off his new little pet!
 The kids also had fun playing with this hover disc.  All the kids had them out at the park, so we gave it a try as well.  It's basically just a helium balloon with a metal coil inside to make it some back down after you throw it.  The kids sure did have fun with it.
 This little girl REALLY wanted a picture with Regan.  She chased us down in the park and then got all shy on me.  I new what she wanted, since she had a camera in her hand, and started talking to her.  WE found out that she and Regan are the same age.
This is a typical scene of the kids trying to relax in the grass off the beaten path.  They still draw a crowd.  The only one you can see in the picture is Benjamin.  I'm not sure he ever noticed the other people were there :) haha.
 So, I figured if I have my picture taken all the time, I could take this lady's picture.  It made me laugh so hard.  She really did fall asleep in this rock.  I guess it's as good a place as any.
This was a neat little rock formation in the park.
WE also had a friend come over and Katherine got a kick out of her shoes.  They were really high heeled shoes.  The funny thing is...they fit Katherine!!  So my newly 5 year old can wear the same shoes as our 22 year old guest.  I guess a size 1 is a little big for a 5 yr old, but I think it HAS to be a little small for an adult!
I had a few more pics that I wanted to show, but it looks like they will not upload this time.  I hope you enjoyed what I could get up.  We'll have more next week!