Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Clock is Ticking...

Caleb is in Manila this week for the varsity basketball tournament that concludes this season. Scott and I were able to join him in the fall for the final volleyball tournament in Hong Kong, but couldn't make it work to be a part of this basketball tournament. So for days now we've been texting other parents who are in Manila with the team, trying to get as much of a play-by-play report as we can. It's amounted to just a couple of texts a game, really. Not enough.

Scott, who isn't in Shanghai this week but rather on a business trip in Hong Kong, has emailed Caleb a few times as well. He forwarded one of those email exchanges to me last night with his thoughts about this week with Caleb playing b-ball in Manila, thousands of miles away from us, included. Scott said that he's seeing flashes of little league baseball and junior basketball going through his mind. Back then, we felt like there were hundreds of games ahead of Caleb, more than we could count, really. I remember those days vividly, loving watching our boy from my chair on the sidelines but sometimes feeling that we'd been to SO MANY of these very amateur sporting contests, and wasn't it time to go home?

Well, now the season is over. Caleb has one season of his high school career left to play basketball. One season. Sure, he'll probably play intramural ball in college, and maybe join a men's league's later, but it won't be with the fanfare and crowd support of high school varsity ball. As his parents, we won't likely be there watching. So now the number of games that started in the hundreds have dwindled down to one season. How many games is that? Twenty? Maybe a few more, with tournaments. But it's a finite number, one we can clearly see the end of.

There's the rub. We can see the end. Ten years ago or so when this all started, we had games and seasons stretching ahead of us, and now we don't. We have one season left with this guy.

Can someone stop the clock, please?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Moment

video
Scott and I were having one of those days with the kids where we felt like we were managing things badly and no one was getting along... more like a zoo than a family. Then we had this sweet little moment happen. Ahh, there is hope! :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Classic

I love this picture... I love you, Mom!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sleep Over Birthday Party!

We had so much fun at Madelyn's first slumber party last weekend. She came up with the idea to have a hotel theme... so we moved the table in our dining room over to create a lobby and registration desk. We took the girls' bags at the door, then sent them to register with Madelyn. She checked off their names and assigned them all to room #202- which was her bedroom, of course!
Later, dinner was served with Chives the Waiter attending the girls. Scott was Chives, dressed in an outfit of Madelyn's choosing (white shirt, red tie, derby hat) and wearing a white towel over his arm. I don't have a picture of him, but he was quite handsome!

The after dinner activities included jewelry making and painting fingernails and toenails. The "hotel kitchen" also sponsored a special cooking class~ making hot pretzels. The girls shaped the dough, then after they were baked, dipped the pretzels in melted butter and cinnamon sugar and ate them up!

Shaping the dough
About to eat the finished product!
During the down time in between activities, the girls called room service (cell phone in the bedroom that called the house phone) to order snacks. Gwen answered the phone, told me the order, I put it on a tray, then she delivered the snacks to the bedroom door. There were at least a dozen calls for room service! We concluded the evening with a showing of "Ramona and Beezus" before bed.

The girls were all in bed by 11 or so, but the chatting went on for a while! It was a great night! Madelyn and I evaluated the party later in the weekend, and she said she wouldn't have changed anything. :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Towels

Sometimes I wonder about all the boxes we have in storage somewhere in a warehouse in the Chicago area. We have many, many boxes in storage, packed up years ago now. What is all that stuff? I've thought about the day that I begin to open those boxes and what I'll find. I have a feeling that I'll feel a little silly that I even saved some of those items.

Tonight as I hung our bath towels, still warm from the dryer, on the the towel bar in the bathroom, I thought again about the stuff in storage. I know there are bath towels in storage. I know because I didn't bring a single one here. I purchased a towel a piece for us once we got here. Scott and I have used the same two IKEA bath towels since our first week in Shanghai. Part of the reason I only bought us each one towel was for the simple fact that we have really limited storage here. Actually, no storage. No linen closet, no pantry, no coat closet, etc. But really, how many towels can you use at a time? One has turned out to be plenty, and it's kind of nice to be streamlined in this way.

However, having only one towel causes the towel to wear out more quickly. As I hung the towels tonight, I noticed little signs of wear. A few random bleach spots, a bit of fraying. It relieved me in a way. I will have good reason to dispense with these towels when we leave. I have decided that when we move from Shanghai, we will not be taking our towels with us. Why should we? They will have been used literally daily, aside from vacations, for five years. I think they will have served their purpose.

Besides, I have all those lovely old towels in my storage boxes. Maybe those will go on their way as well... I think I might plan a bath towel shopping trip now, for the Summer 2012. :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

She's Pretty Wacky

And she's pretty cute, too! Friday was Wacky Day in the elementary school. Madelyn helped Gwen put together this wacky ensemble, complete with mismatched shoes, crazy socks, wild hair and fun jewelry. :-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Chinese New Year...

The Chinese Lunar New Year is only a couple of weeks away, and the decorations, mainly red, are showing up everywhere! I snapped these pictures on my phone in Carrefour last week.
I'm sure you can guess from the picture below that this coming year is the Year of the Rabbit. Rabbits of every style and shape are appearing on coffee cups, as stuffed toys, on sets of dishes, signs, and as huge figures standing guard outside of establishments all over Shanghai.
There is even a rabbit on this new reusable shopping bag for sale at Carrefour.
Loved this group of workers gathered in a little shopping mall close to us... they were smoking and chatting, surrounded by the CNY red lanterns they had been hired to hang. I guess I should get my lanterns out at home. Seems we've just put Christmas decorations away. And I still have a few Christmas photos I want to post!
A huge styrofoam ship has been constructed as a CNY decoration outside this same shopping area. Workers spent last week painting the entire thing red and mounting figures of children and rabbits on it. I'll try to get a photo of it this week. It's quite impressive!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Love this shot inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, 5th Ave, New York. Even with crowds of tourists milling around inside, the feeling of reverence and awe for the Creator for whom this magnificent structure was built was not lost.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

She Ate A Shoe

It happened to be made of dark chocolate and filled with truffles. The best kind of shoe to eat, if you're going to be eating shoes.
She considers, and finds it satisfactory. :-)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Christmas Twosomes

I was looking through our many Christmas photos today, trying to come up with a theme of sorts. So many events and so many people, it's hard to condense them into one post. Since I've already posted about a few Christmas happenings, it's too late for one post anyway. :-)

For this post I decided on pictures of two people. Some of these I created by cropping other people out of the picture, but most of them were twosomes to begin with. They span our whole Christmas break in the US.

One niece cuddles another... Maggi and Adelaide.
Uncle Brad gives Naomi a cuddle at our birthday ice cream outing for Seth.
My dad displays the enormous scroll the Chinese painting I did somehow morphed into... I gave it to my parents to let them figure out what to do with the monstrosity!
Nannie and Pa check out the gift certificate to a B & B in Amish country their kids gave them.
Madelyn gets her cuddle time with Adelaide.
Uncle Beav and Gwen give each other a squeeze!
Madelyn and I snuggle up together for warmth in Times Square!
Emma Clare is impressed with something Seth said!
Caden, ever impressed with his older cousin, is pretty pleased with Caleb's gift to him, a cap gun.
Meredyth makes an observation while Madelyn licks the candles of her early birthday cake.
Mark uses Mindy as a human statue in our charades game.
Will and Seth at our Christmas Eve brunch together at Cracker Barrel.
Look at Gwen! Almost as tall as the tree at Rockefeller Center.
My beautiful sister and her boy.
Not sure what Caleb gave Brad, but it earned him a bear hug!
Uncle Andrew dispenses wisdom to Seth.
Last one... and, oops! There are more than two people in this one, but so cute, with Isaac trying to remember this big cousin he hadn't seen since the summer, and my mom and Gwen looking on. Love his hand on Caleb's shoulder.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Morning and Lunch

The kids are slowly getting over jet lag. They've been up quite early for school every day this week, which has had some real benefits. One is that there is plenty of time for us all to have breakfast together, another that there is plenty of time to get school lunches packed.

This morning I came into the kitchen to find Gwen's lunchbox out and ready on the counter. "Gwen, you made your lunch already?" I peeked inside to find four marshmallows, a drink box, the rest of the gummy bears left from Christmas stockings, and her favorite, a packet of plain tuna.

I amended the contents only slightly. :-)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Friends

One of many great moments from our time in the States. We stole away on Christmas Eve morning for a long breakfast with our dear friends the Stevensons at a Cracker Barrel restaurant off the highway somewhere in eastern Ohio. Our visit was all too short, as it always is with them, but full of laughter and great conversation. We posed for pictures after breakfast in the gift shop. :-)
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