Friday, May 29, 2009

We're In This Together Now...

Yep, I'm not the only one! We celebrated Scott's fortieth yesterday. With an end of May birthday, it has often fallen on Memorial Day weekend. Always nice to have a three day weekend for his birthday. Of course Memorial Day isn't celebrated in China and we all had work and school this past Monday. However, Scott's birthday landed on the Dragon Boat Festival this year, and so we all had Thursday off. We managed a night downtown for he and I, swimming with the kids, grilling dinner on our little deck, and even a couple rounds of golf on this long weekend!

Happy Birthday, Babe! You're getting better all the time. :-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Not Your Average Lemon

I'm thinking that ginger scented dish soap is an Asia-only thing. It surprises me a little every time I do the dishes...

Who knows, maybe I'll see it at Giant Eagle this summer. Somehow I doubt it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the Park

These two photos were taken in early April, at the new-to-us park we went to with Shann and Sarah during their visit. It was full of scenes like this, the kind of natural beauty I long for and have missed so much being in Shanghai.  It was such a treat to find it here!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old Words, Timeless Truth

Madelyn and I have been working on memorizing this quote from one of America's founding fathers. The first twenty times I read it, it moved me to tears. Benjamin Franklin was not alone in his beliefs... would he be today? The truth of his words remains, I believe. Anyone else have thoughts about this?

"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."

Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention, 1787

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Seth's Solo

I know, it's unprecedented for me to post two videos, and so close together, too... but here it is. Seth had a short solo in the middle school choir concert the other night, and as before, we loved hearing his clear, strong voice. His brother, who shall remain anonymous for this post, filmed him.... and let me just suggest that you turn up the sound and then look away from the screen, otherwise you might get dizzy. I'm sure you'll enjoy the sound of the second verse from Elton John's The Circle of Life, Seth style. By the way, Seth created the little graphic with his name at the start of the video.

Let Her Entertain You...

Gwen did this little song and dance routine she learned at school for me in her bedroom tonight... it was so sweet. She wasn't sure what the Chinese words to her song meant, so I had her do it again for Caleb to see if he could translate. He was able to pick out a few words. When she finished the song, Caleb looked at me amazed, and said, "Mom, she sounds so Chinese!"

Just a little ironic, don't you think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sad State of Affairs

I was helping Gwen get dressed yesterday morning, pulling a summer top over her head, and I happened to mention that I had purchased it at Target last summer when we were visiting Uncle Beav and Aunt Rebecca . She got a puzzled look on her face and said, "What's Target?"

This girl needs to get to the US, and fast. To not remember what Target is... oh my.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Anybody Hungry?

They come in a handy, grab-and-go, single serving size.... chicken feet, anyone?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Orange Blossoms

I've been loving the fragrance of the orange trees that have begun blooming in our compound over the past week. I know it's no big deal to my family in Arizona, or my friends in Florida and California, who have orange trees everywhere. But to this Ohio born and raised girl, orange trees seem like something out of a Dr. Suess book.

When I first caught a whiff of the orange blossoms about a week ago, I knew it was something wonderful and that I had smelled it somewhere before, but I couldn't place it right away. Then it came to me, and I knew~

It was sometime in March of 1977. I was a sleepy second grader, tumbling out of my uncle's Suburban onto his tree lawn with the rest of my family after being picked up from the airport. We had arrived in Arizona for a visit with our cousins... and what was that heavenly aroma? It was dark out, so I couldn't see very well, but I could certainly smell. The scent of orange blossoms was heavy in the warm evening air, and it seemed other-worldly to a little girl who had come just hours before from one of the legendary Midwest winters of blizzard after blizzard.

I'm sure that visit with my cousins was a blast; I remember that my brother and my two cousins and I each got a stuffed animal in our Easter baskets while we were there. Mine was an elephant that I gave the very original name of Ellie. I think my sister Sarah took some of her first steps at my aunt and uncle's house that year. Other than that, the memories of that visit are lost to me...
...but that first time I smelled the orange blossoms, that has stayed with me, and found me again in China.I took this picture of our neighbor's orange tree sometime in January of this year, looking through the fence from our yard to his. The other two pictures in this post are also of my neighbor's tree.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

On the Water at the Summer Palace

I've not yet posted many of the photos I'd hoped to from Shann and Sarah's visit. These pictures are from our late afternoon boat ride around the lake at the Summer Palace. The sun was slowly setting, so the lighting is interesting in this group of pictures... depending on which direction the sun was coming from in each photo. It was was a lovely, relaxing end to our busy day of sightseeing. I've enjoyed reliving this hour on the lake as I've put this post together.

Saturday, May 02, 2009