Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Macarena with a View

Madelyn, Gwen, and our friend Audrianna did a little dancing in the late afternoon sunshine!
We spent the three day weekend in Sanya, on Hainan Island, off the southern coast of China with four other families.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I like these things in my kitchen...

Herbs on the windowsill and freshly baked bread on the counter~
The herbs have gotten a bit leggy since I took this photo a couple of weeks ago, and the bread is long gone, but the pictures still make me smile. :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Madelyn and Caroline in Black and White

Madelyn and her one of her dearest friends, Caroline, attended another girl's birthday party together this evening. It was a "Black and White Karaoke Party." I thought these two looked so cute in their black and white outfits. Madelyn was quite creative coming up with her ensemble. She even tied a black and white polka dotted ribbon around her neck, and had a big black flower in her hair in the back.
Madelyn called me after the party, on her way to spend the night at Caroline's, to say that the karaoke was "SO fun!" There was lots of singing and dancing, and it sounded like she had a microphone a lot of the time, which she loved!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

7 Candles!

A few shots from Gwen's birthday celebrations!

Birthday breakfast on Sunday with candles in crepes
Candles in cupcakes for birthday song at school
Caleb brings in the cake and candles- even though the girls
are blurry, I love this pic for the look on Caleb's face!
Birthday cake and candles~ pure joy and fun!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daddy Daughter Dance~ At Last!

Just like it was for Madelyn a couple years ago, the Daddy Daughter Dance has been much anticipated by Gwen. In fact, being able to attend this event is the one reason Gwen wanted to join Girl Scouts this year. We had found a special dress for Gwen in a Barbie store we went into on a whim a few months ago, and we borrowed high heeled shoes from our neighbor. I took Gwen to get her hair done a couple of hours before the dance~ she couldn't wait to get home to show it to Daddy!

She couldn't help spinning and posing for me for pictures, and then she and Daddy were off to the ball!

Scott described the disco themed dance as "quite a party". There was lots of food, bubble machine, glow sticks, and a DJ that kept the dance moving with limbo, the macarena, YMCA, and the like. Gwen showed me all the dance moves she learned when she got home. :-)
Gwen's friend Audrey joined Scott and Gwen for several dances.
What kind of dance is this, Daddy?
So fun! This special night will be talked about for a long time to come.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Science in the Kitchen

Madelyn and her friend Audrianna had great fun this afternoon creating edible animal cell models to present in class tomorrow. They spread ready-made pizza crusts (the cell membrane) with frosting (the cytoplasm) and added lots of yummies! Madelyn's cell had a kiwi nucleus, Twix bar mitochondria, green grape lysosomes, spaghetti noodle endoplasmic reticulum and gummi worms for the golgi body, among other things. Caleb, Seth and Gwen all hung around to lick frosting off spoons and snitch gummi worms.
Caleb and Seth both did an edible cell model at some point in the past, and I remember doing one when I was in school, too. Anyone else remember this popular science project?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Reading parts of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" with Caleb recently. We came across the description of Ma Joad in the section we read tonight. I love this bit, describing her role in the family and how all looked to her to help interpret their own feelings.

And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty.... She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook...

Love it . Makes me think of the woman described in Proverbs 31~

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her. Proverbs 31:25, 28

I've never read "The Grapes of Wrath", so this character is new to me. I'm looking forward to seeing where John Steinbeck takes her.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fate of the Child with the Christmas Birthday

Yes, this is a post about Seth's birthday party. The party wasn't just late, but the post about it is coming nearly a month after the party actually took place as well. Not a problem for Seth, though. He always gets a party at Christmas with all of our extended family, something none of other children get to enjoy most years. But a friend party... that has to happen later, well after the Christmas holiday, and this year also after Chinese New Year. Seth planned a football party for himself last month. He sent an email to a crowd of his closest buddies for a Saturday afternoon game of full-on tackle football on the school field. It was a cold day, but it didn't seem to slow this group of 14 year old guys down a bit. They hit hard!
I think the ref was a little cold, but he sure had fun watching. I know he was silently praying that none of these unprotected boys would hurt each other too seriously!
Here's the crew, having escaped their contest unscathed. Seth's in the back middle, with a gray knit cap on.
My part for the party was to provide food... no problem. After a hearty dinner, Gwen served the cupcakes. :-)
Seth, ever the actor, played his role well.
Better late than not at all... Happy 14th, Sether! We love you, man.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Swimming Newborns

A Chinese friend of mine just gave birth to a baby last week. I visited her several times in the hospital, and on the second visit she mentioned that the next day her baby would be going swimming. I was pretty incredulous... how would a three day old baby go swimming? My friend invited me to come watch the swimming session the next day. Here's what we saw!

The newborn swimming area... surrounded by glass on three sides for viewing. See the cute "under the sea" themed decorating? This room contains six or eight deep, round tubs (see bottom left corner of picture), each for an individual baby to "swim" in. Two adults are allowed in this room with each newborn, all other visitors can watch through the windows.
The baby is completely undressed, a special seal is placed over their umbilical stump to keep it dry, and an circular float fastened around their neck. In this picture, my friend, the one wearing glasses, is peering over the shoulders of the nurses fitting the the float around her baby boy's neck.
Then it is swimming time! After the water temperature has been carefully checked, baby is set afloat in the tub. The tub wasn't filled very full, so the baby seemed to be far down in! All the babies "swimming" while we were there were quite peaceful. I'm sure it is a womb-like experience for them- aside from the plastic inflatable around their neck! My friend's little guy moved his legs around and floated quite happily.
After a short "swim", the baby is taken out and bundled up in a cozy towel, lotioned and powdered and diapered, and then fed something out of a little bitty cup by one of the nurses before being returned to his parents. For this whole experience, the new parents pay 50 RMB, about $7.

I described this whole scene to Scott on the phone later in the day, before I got to show him these pictures. He said that if he hadn't already lived in China for a few years, he would swear I was making this up! It's just one of those things I don't picture happening in the West. But who knows, maybe it will catch on. :-)