Halloween Fun

>> Friday, November 03, 2006

Hello and Happy Late Halloween! We had a great Halloween this year (and all of the festivities leading up to it). Barrett and Kaleb both had their Halloween parties at school on Tuesday. I was able to go help in Kaleb's class with the party. I mention this because I don't know how long the time will last that my son is SO proud to have me there (he was yelling to everyone that "that is MY mommy over there," and coming up and hugging me every five minutes). I hope it lasts for a while, because I am not looking forward to the stage when children are embarrassed of their parents! Anyway, so then we went to a Thunderkids Halloween parade, then to the Glendale communitity Fall Festival, and last, trick or treating. Whew...we were exhausted!

Here are some pictures of our little "super heroes" in action...

So proud of their "Ghosts in the Graveyard" treat and their very own pumpkin face creations

Aahhh, here are the super heroes...the Red Power Ranger and, of course, Batman
(have we ever gone a year without seeing Batman or Spiderman???)

Just had to add this because it makes me giggle...we were at a party and Kaleb was lying on the ground and someone tried to take his picture. Being difficult, Kaleb began to scoot away with his forehead on the ground (don't ask me why). Well, come to find out, our clever little boy gave himself a sweet and very large rugburn smack dab in the center of his forehead. Good thing his costume had a mask...

The next couple are of the boys at the Fall Festival here in Glendale. It was kind of like a carnival with games, food, blow up jumping toys, etc. It was nice to enjoy Halloween activities in warmth!


Back In Arizona

>> Monday, September 18, 2006

Hello? Is anyone there? Ok, so we know that our life in Arizona may not be as interesting as it was in China, but we hope that you will check in on us every once in a while.

Our life in Arizona is finally starting to feel somewhat settled. We moved in on a Monday (two weeks ago today), and then all three boys started school the next day. We have quickly realized that this will be the busiest semester yet for Travis. Along with a full and hard schedule of classes, he is President of the Entrepreneurship Club, is a Campus Ambassador, and is involved in many other clubs and groups on campus. He is always one to be right in the middle of it all!

I also seem to be in the middle of a full list of activities that will keep me busy. Along with normal mom duties and work at the gym, I have committed to teaching a kickboxing class at Trav's school and have some photo shoots lined up. I am also involved in the soccer club, triathalon club, Thunderdance, Thunderkids, and International Women's club on campus. I LOVE Thunderbird because it is so family oriented! So busy, but so fun!

Anyway, not much else to report. I am including some last pictures from China when we went on our last weekend trip to Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou. You thought you were done looking at pointy, bright colored buildings. Well, it was just such a fun trip, I wanted to share...

In Shanghai: The first two pics were of some friends we made at a little hole in the wall restaurant on a street. We took the first one to show of the conditions we were eating in. The picture makes it look WAY too clean. We were laughing at how our mothers and most of our friends would FREAK if they could see how and where we ate half of the time. We decided that our friends, John and Paul, might be the only ones who would join in our "street eating fun."

In Suzhou: This was by far my favorite city we visited! It is known as the "Venice of the East." We were able to go on boat rides and see the streets with the canals running through the homes and shops. What a COOL thing to see!

The next two pics are kind of nerdy, ok, just mostly the picture of me, but I had to include them as riding around Suzhou by bike the whole time we were there was one of our favorite things! For the first time, I sort of felt like one of the Chinese, riding with the rest of the masses. The boys loved it too! Notice Trav's grandma bike...you know I giggled several times watching him cruising on that sweet ride...

Last but not least, I included this picture just because I wanted to brag at how handsome my little boy is. Seriously, he's all Travis...

Suzhou is also super well known for their gardens, as they had a ton of them throughout and beyond the city. Just a little view in the Garden of the Master of Nets...

In Hangzhou: This city is most well known for West Lake and Lingyin Temple...the first two pics are at the temple and the last is at a garden on the West Lake.

Ok, I'm off! Until next time...


Goodbye (sniff)

>> Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Well, I write with mixed feelings tonight. This will be our last last blog from the great land of China. We have been sight seeing this week to a place called Longqing Gorge and also the Great Wall (Badaling), and are leaving tomorrow for our last trip to Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou in Central China. When we get back, we will have two days to pack, clean, and get everything squared away before we leave next Thursday.

Longqing Gorge

The Great Wall of China

We have truly experienced the summer of a lifetime and hope that we can return someday. I wish I could describe in words all that we have seen, experienced, learned, and felt during our stay here. This blog was my attempt to convey some of those feelings and for me to have a "journal" of our happenings. My last blog is sort of a tribute to China. There are so many images, people, and places I want to remember...but I have a camera to capture those memories. But, it's the small, quirky things about this country that I want to also remember. So, what better way to write them down and share them with friends and family!

Things we never did get used to here and/or will not miss about China...
1. The masses of people everywhere you turn
2. People constantly spitting loogies (even women)
3. I might as well mention farmer blows and nose picking as well
4. Split pants on toddlers (I'm still shocked)
5. Humidity (you wonder why you always see my hair slicked back in all of the pics)
6. Stares (I mean, come on, as I'm jogging down the street, are they staring because they are fascinated by the white chick or because they think I am a freak of nature???)
7. Driving conditions (we have seen three people either on foot or bike get run over by a car).

While I had to add the not-so-great list, our list of great things far outweighs the bad. Here are the things we love and/or will miss about China...
1. Wonderful friendly people...they LOVE our kids, are so willing to help, and are always trying to have an English conversation if they can
2. PARKS...oh, how I will miss the beautiful parks...my very favorite thing to do was go to any of the parks in the morning or evening and watch the many, many fascinating activities going on...dancing, singing, martial arts, tai chi, mahjong and chess games, hackey sac, ping pong, and massive kite flying. Kaleb and Barrett love the parks as much as I do...we get right in there and dance along with the rest of them! I swear, I must have taken a million pictures at the parks...here are some of the things we might see while strollilng through a park in China...

3. Shopping....duh.
4. Food...yeah, I thought I might be coming home looking anorexic and/or malnourished because I didn't dare eat the food. Yeah right, I wish. If I've put on a few, I'm totally blaming it on the Pockies, oh, and the Pretz, and the food at a little restaurant by our apartment, oh yeah, and the daily ice creams from the road side freezers. Believe me, we haven't struggled in the eating department!
5. Everything is so CHEAP...I don't know how I am going to have to go back to paying U.S. prices!
6. Beautiful landscapes and scenery
7. The laid back lifestyle...we love to walk along at night and see everyone just hanging out with family and friends playing games or just talking on the side of the street.
8. The quirky little things see and love to laugh about...karaoke, dancing in the streets, old men with their birds in cages and/or crickets in their pockets, cutting hair in the streets, people sleeping on the side of street, the style of clothing (or lack thereof), etc.

9. Most people are such hard workers...and for what seems like so little. We totally respect that.
10. The deep culture and history
11. Kaleb and Barrett are free for everything...yeah!
12. I LOVE it that people don't care what others think about them. They don't try to impress anyone. What a great attitude...I wish I could be a bit more like that.

Oopsie, I was going to stop at ten, but you get twelve. Well, there you go...there is our little tribute to China. Thanks for blogging with us this summer! I know you are freaking out, wondering if the blog will shut down. Dry your eyes, because we will still post updates and random pictures of the boys every once in a while. Hee hee, I'm such a geek. Good-bye all...or I should I say HELLO in a week or so! We are SOOOO excited to see everyone!!!



>> Thursday, August 17, 2006

We're on the countdown...only two more weeks until we head back to the states. I truly can't believe our time here is almost done! I don't think the reality of it has set in...the only thing we can think about are alll of the things we still need to see and do! So, needless to say, we are frantically (well, me being the frantic one) trying to figure out our last few weeks here.

Believe it or not, I have no pics to post this time. But, we have had a few things going on...

First, we had to get rid of our puppy. We called and talked to the airline a couple of times and found it was going to be impossible for us to get the puppy out of the country. Hmmm, maybe something to think about BEFORE one buys a puppy in China. Anyway, one of the kids in Trav's class gladly took him and offered to send us pics of him every week...hee hee.

Trav is just finishing up with teaching two English camps for kids. He is getting paid a lot for it, but I didn't really see much of him for two or three weeks (because he still had his internship as well). It has been a good experience and he comes home with hilarious stories about the kids daily. The kids sure loved him...he came away with several gifts and gets emails regularly from them.

My brother, Greg, and his girlfriend, Amber, just left Beijing today. We had a blast with them over the past week and wanted to thank them for visiting. We did a lot of sight seeing, shopping, dining, and Amber and I had a massage yesterday (2 hours for $12...you can't beat that)!

Last, and definitely not least, Trav and I celebrated our eighth anniversary on the 12th. Three of our birthdays and our anniversary were celebrated in China this year! The Jagodas watched Kaleb and Barrett while we went out to eat at a Brazilian BBQ and then went for a walk in a park. It was so great...it was the first time we had been out alone since we have been in China.

Ok, that's it for this week...



>> Friday, August 11, 2006

Yes, it's true, Trav hit the big 3-0! His birthday was on Tuesday, but because of the English Teaching Summer Camps he picked up, he was gone from 7 am to 9:30 pm. So, needless to say, he didn't get much of a birthday that day. But, don't worry, the party planning crew (that would be me) came through on Friday. I surprised him with a full two hours of pampering at a local massage place...one hour of full body massage and one hour of foot massage. No snickering to any fellas who may be reading this...deep down you know you would love the pamperage. After that, we came home to a big SURPRISE from our friends and family (Greg and Amber). We had Chinese food for dinner and a delicious array of cakes and such. I was pleased to find out that Trav didn't have a clue about the surprise party (which is the first time ever he didn't find out about one of my surprises beforehand).

1. Trav and me at the Massage Parlor
2. Trav re-doing his "surprised face" since we didn't catch it the first time
3. I had to take a picture of our desserts, because they are such a rare treat here...we had chocolate cake, Chinese cake, no bake cheesecake, and peach cobbler. Thanks to Emily who made the cake and cobbler in her toaster oven. So Yummy!

Our guests...Amber, Greg (my bro), Brittany, Savannah, and Dan Jagoda, Smith's, Emily, Joab, Asa, and Joab Meyer

Ok, so, obviously you saw the birthday picture with my brother Greg, and his girlfriend, Amber in it. They are here in Beijing on vacation for ten days...we are SO excited they are here! They came from Japan where they spent 10 days. We have been doing some sight seeing and shopping.

At Summer Palace
Ok, I'm sorry, but I just couldn't resist this photo opportunity! We fit the part of Chinese royalty perfectly...

I took a few more pictures of Kaleb and Barrett's five minutes of fame in China. I still crack up about the fascination people have with foreign kids. However, I think poor Kaleb and Barrett have had about enough of the attention. Kaleb tolerates it, but Barrett looks them in the eye and tells them, "I am NOT saying Ni Hao to you," or "I don't want to talk to Chinese people right now." Of course, the people just giggle because they have no idea what he is saying. In this picture of Barrett, I was standing down below and a big crowd of people gathered to oogle and watch Barrett. I think that in this situation, it is much more fun to be the parent than the child...

If you look closely, you will see a little Kaleb in the middle of a sea of Chinese people and cameras.

We also went to Yonghegong Temple with Greg and Amber. It was the first Buddhist temple we have been to and was very cool to see. In this temple in the picture, there was a giant golden Buddha...we came up to his ankles...

I added this picture because it was such a funny situation. While we were at Yonghegong Temple, we were caught in a huge downpour for about 45 minutes. When it finally cleared up, there was a small river from the temple to the entrance with no other way around it. It was funny to see everyone getting in their bare feet or sloshing through with bags on their feet to get to the other side. You could just see the disgust on the Chinese people faces that they had to do this. But, on the other hand, these people know what's in this water...

Well, that wraps up our fun for this week! I keep telling myself that one of these days, I will write a blog that someone could read through in 30 seconds...


Xi'an Family Fun

>> Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hi! We're back from Xi'an and back to real life (ok, not exactly real life, but whatever). So, we had a wonderful time and it went by way too fast! Here is our trip with pictures in a nutshell...

Xian is a city in a southern province of China that is well known for it's history and culture. We had been told by many people what a great place it was. We went with our friends, Dan, Brittany, and Savannah Jagoda. The train was a first for our whole family, so you can imagine the boys were pretty excited about it. The trip is about 13 hours, so we booked tickets in the evening so we could sleep all night on the train. That is the way to travel long distances (especially with kids)...

Our first stop in was the hotel. Um, not the greatest, but for $12 a night, you can't go wrong! Next we went to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (easier to say than the Chinese name), which is a type of Buddhist temple. The surrounding grounds were beautiful, as usual.

Kaleb likes this picture because it shows how "big the Gapoda is." They were pretty proud that their little legs climbed all the way to the top to see a view of the city.

At certain times throughout the day on the Pagoda grounds, they have huge fountains set to music. There were certain fountains that people could play in. When the boys saw the other kids, it was all over. Who needs dry clothes anyway?

After full bellies and naps, we went to the center of town to go to the Bell and Drum Temples, the Mosque, and street market. Of course, I included a picture of part of the street market, as they are my favorite. I never tire of the markets here and I am proud to say that I reign as the bargaining queen (according to me anyway). Drum temple at night...

The next day, we headed out on a bus to go to what Xian is most famous for, the Terra Cotta Warriors. On the way, we went to the mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. The tomb is said to be bigger than the Great Pyramid of Egypt. He is famous for basically uniting all of the China back in 220 B.C. This was a performance they did on the grounds.

You gotta have a picture with the main performer...

Ahhh, the Terra Cotta Warriors. Said to be the eighth wonder of the world. It was truly amazing, but the history behind it is what makes it so cool. The same emperor of the tomb we went to wanted to have his entire army killed and buried with him when he died so he could have their protection in the afterlife. He was finally convinced not to kill all of them (imagine that) and have lifelike statues of all of them, their horses, chariots, and weapons to be buried with him instead. It was kept a secret for thousands of years and was only discovered by some farmers in the 1970's. There are thousands and thousands of them, and they are still uncovering all of it. This was so fun to see. The facial features, clothing, and weapons were all completely different.

That night, Travis and Dan set off to climb an insane mountain called HuaShan. They hiked all night straight up cliffs of death holding on to chains with just their headlamps. Yes, it is a very big attraction around those parts. It sounds crazy, and they said it was a killer, but was also so amazing. They said the view at the top was beautiful even though the sunrise was kind of, well, non-existent, because of the fog. Here is a picture of my sweaty hubby.

While they were on the verge of death, us girls took the kids back to the fountains at night. After the insane amount of crowds gathering around us to gawk and take pictures with our kids, we got soaked and had fun in the fountains.

On our last day, us girls and the kids went to an awesome park until Trav and Dan rolled back into town around 11 am. We all went up on top of the city wall (which still surrounds the entire city) and Brittany and I rode bikes around the whole city wall while the boys took the kids to good old McDonald's for food and ice cream. Picture of part of the city wall and "moat" below it...

Wow, if you got through all of that, then congrats. You know me, I just get carried away with my stories and pictures. Believe me, I spared you the many small details that occurred along the way. I had to refrain.

Well, thanks again for the emails and comments! Love always, Us


  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP