Monday, November 30, 2009

In Qibao with Pa and Nannie

Last Friday we visited the ancient town of Qibao with Scott's parents. It is on the other side of Shanghai from where we live. It has become pretty commercialized, with many shops and food vendors and some little museum type exhibits. But the canal and boats felt authentic, and the smog in the air that day lent an ethereal feel to our photos!

We were wondering how the little 90 pound, older Chinese lady would do rowing our boat of eight passengers, but she didn't seem to have any trouble.
I love how the reflection of this style of bridge makes a perfect circle.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Haircut

Seth's new look... can't believe my boys are going back to short hair! Love it.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

So thankful for all of you... with love from Scott, Lynne, Caleb, Seth, Madelyn, and the resident turkey, Gwenny!
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

They're Off!

Scott left this morning to take Pa and Nannie and Uncle Ken and Aunt Nadine to Beijing! So thankful for the sunshine that is predicted there this week. Today they will go to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. Tomorrow, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and the Olympic venues... more to come on Wedesday.

Seth took this view of the Forbidden City from up above last month on his seventh grade trip to Beijing. It was taken in Jingshan Park... a place I haven't been, but Scott's parents and Ken and Nadine will get to go to this week, and maybe take a similar picture. :-)

Calling Adoptive Parents

If you have adopted a child, can you check out the recent post on my sister-in-law's blog, Pre-Loved, in my sidebar? Click here to read it. She had an issue recently with discriminatory word choice in a radio broadcast she heard, and would love some feedback from other adoptive parents about how to respond to this kind of thing. Do we educate those who don't know? Do we let it go? How do we pick our battles?

Thanks! Mindy and I will both appreciate hearing your take on this situation.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dakota Dan, the Law Lovin' Man

Last night we got to witness the exploits of a sheriff from the days of the Wild West, Dakota Dan. Seth played the part of this law lovin' man in the 7th & 8th grade drama production at Concordia. His job was to fight that cantankerous cactus of a villan, Russell Herd. He and his trusty beast, Magnum the Wonder Horse, rescued the children from the silver mine and saved the day, all while winning the hand of Miss Penny.

"Seems every day there's lots of things to make a cowboy blue...", sings Dakota Dan.
Miss Penny fears that Dan's heart is lost to her because of his love for Lady Law. Dakota Dan and Magnum the Wonder Horse pose for us after the show.Part of the cast poses with the director and writer of the show, Mr. Tovar.
Seth's photo and bio from the display in the theater lobby.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Any Guesses?

One of the places we took our visitors the other day was a local pet market... not to be confused with a pet store. We found these trays of tiny dishes for sale at the market. Do you have any idea what pet might use these? No, it's not birds.

Crickets. This market has all variety of the long legged bugs. But these crickets aren't just food for some other pet. No, they ARE the pet. But not just a pet to look at or play with. They are sold as fighters, and the best fighters fetch astronomical prices, and then can be matched with other fighters for competitions. The fights are televised and bet on.

Who knew?!
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Feeding Frenzy

Madelyn and I have been busy this week taking our family visitors, Scott's parents and his aunt and uncle, around to our favorite places in Shanghai. The weather has been questionable, unseasonably chilly, but we've managed to bundle up and get out and about. Part of our day today included the garden at Yuyuan. Madelyn had fun feeding the coi fish in the garden the remains of one of our purchases from a street food vendor earlier in the day.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009


Want to say a big thank you to my friend Carol, mama to one of Gwen's China sisters, for giving my blog a much-needed update! Doesn't she do amazing work? Thanks so much, Carol!

Friday, November 13, 2009

State of the Union

This morning we had homeschool co-op at our house. The older kids were doing a writing workshop today, so I was entertaining the younger ones. Towards the end of the morning, I got out a snack for the little girls and put on a "Wee Sing America" cd for them to listen to while they ate. Interspersed between the patriotic songs are quotes from famous Americans. One of them was JFK's famous line from his inaugural address, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

After the quote was spoken on the cd, Anna, who is six years old, looked at me and solemnly said, "It's the opposite now."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hole in the Kitchen

Princess and Percy are finding the hole in our kitchen floor to be quite interesting. We've been without the use of both our dishwasher and the kitchen sink for a week while the landlord has tried to figure out what to do about our water problem, that is the water that seeped out from under the island and spread all over, soaking the 6-8 towels we used to sop it up. The consensus today, after two days of sawing and chiseling through our marble floor, was that the pipes were "too small." Hoping that the ones that the workmen replaced them with today are big enough to handle the flow of water in our kitchen.

Also hoping that my kitchen is put back together before Scott's parents and aunt and uncle arrive on Sunday! Can't wait for them to be here with us, hole in the kitchen floor or not. :-)
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Help Me...

... if I hear "Billy Jean" being played in the import store one more time. All the Chinese workers park in front of the screen in the dvd section of the store to watch Michael Jackson dance his way through what was once a big hit. Wasn't that twenty-five years ago?

No disrespect to the King of Pop, but can we be done now?

Or at least play a different song at Pines Market.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Caleb noticed tonight that when he opened his laptop to do homework, he was suddenly on without knowing how he got there. Seems that he instinctively types that address in. It's like a reflex, no thought required.

I remember another high school boy who's mind operated in a similar fashion. No, there wasn't a website to access then, but the sports section of the Cleveland Plain Dealer was read on the school bus every morning without fail.

What Time Is It, Miss Pumpkin?

Gwen loved the role of Miss Pumpkin at the fall party we attended last week. Here she is whirling around to catch those who were creeping up toward her turned back, a few steps at a time.
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Sunday, November 08, 2009

She's a Natural

I took a series of pictures of Gwen trying to hula hoop the spring she had turned three. Although the pictures were adorable, (click here to see them) she wasn't very successful. Now she's a natural!

Not that she has any hips to hold that thing up...
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Heading Home

This is my last post from our Vietnam trip, I think. :-) Took this one at the airport the night we were heading home. Our flight wasn't until 1:50 a.m., and having nothing else to do late at night in a foreign city with eight kids in tow, we arrived at the airport around 10:30 p.m. Amazingly, the girls ran into some school friends and stayed busy running around the deserted airport with them. The older kids, however, slowly succumbed to sleep on the oh-so-comfy metal airport benches. In this picture, Stacia dutifully catches up on homework with Caleb and Lance asleep on one side of her and Seth and Lucas conked out on the other side. She lasted about an hour, and then she joined the boys in a snooze until it was finally time to head to the gate.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Hangin' with the Sculpted

I think these funny looking granite people, in their traditional Chinese granite outfits, were our favorite sculptures at the sculpture park. There were so many of them, in all different poses. The girls had fun climbing on these funky folks, and trying to mimic their positions, as you can see Gwen doing in the picture above.
Standing on some heads!
I am admiring this woman's darling little granite baby. :-)

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009


How many times do you feel like you are truly in the minority?

Last week the girls and I had a field trip day that took us to a pretty cool sculpture park on the other side of Shanghai. We are used to being in the minority as Westerners in Shanghai, but there are usually a few other foreigners around. Not at this park! We were the ONLY ones, in the midst of numerous school groups of kids of all ages. While climbing on these fun bouncy nets, Madelyn was suddenly surrounded by this group of friendly young teens, all peppering her with questions. She knows enough Chinese to know they were asking her name, which she answered, but they wouldn't leave her alone even after she did. She said they laughed at the sound of her name, which was perhaps why they asked it again and again. None of them seemed mean spirited, they were just curious about her.

Do you see Gwen, in the upper right of the picture? They didn't notice her. Huh.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Last Day, at the Beach

Our Vietnam trip wasn't a beach vacation, but there were certainly some beautiful beaches. Our last day, as we were finishing our motor bike adventure, we rode the bikes down to a beach that we hadn't seen yet. It was nearly empty, and it was a lovely, clear day~ both sea and sky were a beautiful blue. We didn't have swimsuits on, but we all waded and played on the beach for a golden part of an hour. Here is a snapshot of our last bit of fun on Catba Island.
Stacia and Rich walk and talk.
Seth and Lance, a pair of really good guys!
Love this shot~ all the kids watch as Caleb flings a big rock!
Buddies, Caleb and Lucas
Sue and I walk and talk!

A little long jump contest
Gwen didn't quite get the long jump idea, but she tried hard!
Lance made his jump pretty fancy.