Monday, February 28, 2011

And Then Some Colder Days!

Just when we thought the weather was beginning to warm up--we wake up to a couple of inches of snow!

The girls couldn't be happier!! Although it is the 2nd snow of the season, they were not able to get out into it and play much before it was suddenly gone. This one came on the weekend and we had plenty of time for some fun in the snow!

Hannah enjoyed the snow and first thing she did was make a snowball and pummel dad with it. When it missed it's mark, a few minutes later she surprised him with one right in the chest!

Who do you plan to throw that monstrous size snowball at Elizabeth?!!

Look! Serena can make a pretty big snowball too!

That one's nice and smooth Shawna. Just the right size for a snowman's head maybe, huh?!

And Then Some Colder Days Cont!

The girls decided to build a snowman, after all, we may not get another snow this year.

Wow, Elise, you are a strong girl!

Gotta make it sturdy so it doesn't fall off.

And then comes the head!

And WAHLAA, it's a snowman! Only they couldn't find anything for eyes and such so they took off Serena's glasses and used those. It's a nearsighted snowman!

The little ones got too cold and went inside with dad before seeing the snowman finished. Good thing we have pictures, huh?!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Warmer Days Yeah!!

Warmer days means more outside fun.

Now that we are beginning to have some warmer days, we're able to get outside a bit more--the girls' favorite place!!

Serena was quite proud of herself after climbing up on top of this outdoor equipment!
What kid doesn't like to climb and look down at others for a change?! After all, most of the time they're looking up at people. Although, as fast as some of our girls are growing, it might not be long before they're soon seeing eye to eye with us and who knows...maybe even get taller than us!!

Jenna was also feeling like quite the big girl here!

Elizabeth climbed up onto the bench and began to put on a
bubble show--all that was lacking was the music to go with it!

Seeing her bigger sister, Jenna soon decided to do the same.
Except she flung most her bubble solution off. Gotta do it
a bit slower Jenna!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lantern Festival Activities

Thursday was the Lantern Festival, officially the last day of the Chinese New Year holiday. Just when you though surely no one else had any more fireworks after shooting them off for the past 15+ days, well.....think again!!! It was nearly like Chinese New Year all over again--not quite as bad though! Though there was no sleeping early that night and morning came way too early the next work day:)

Some of the Forever Home girls went to the Lantern Festival with New Day's preschool class, the rest went with me. We had a great time walking around watching all of the activities! There were many fan dancers, ribbon dancers, yo yo jugglers, table jugglers, lion dancers, dragon dancers, Chinese opera performers, and many other performers dressed in various costumes. It was a very culturally rich experience for the girls and us as foreigners as well. It was one of those times where the Chinese were proud and willing to have their pictures taken. They even happily posed:)

It isn't often we get such culturally rich things here--that is unless you count the many other cultural experiences we have every day just living here. I suppose there are so many things that we've become so accustomed to after living here for many years, we don't even realize it until it is pointed out by someone new visiting here. It has just become a way of life for us.

The lion dance was absolutely wonderful! Of course, everything was great, but that was truly a cool and entertaining performance! Not only did I take many, many pictures, I also took several videos, though too many to share all, and I may put some of the best ones on the blog for you all to enjoy too.

These lion dancers were fabulous and I'm sure put many, many hours of practice into their performance--as well as many of the other dancers and performers. With two people in each lion costume, they moved amazingly well together. Jenna seemed to be a bit afraid of them. As long as they were at a distance, she was very entertained by them, but the minute they came closer to us, she'd start backing up.

Lantern Festival Activities Cont.

I thought this was a great picture. Can you imagine being her age and still doing some of these things?! Most of these ladies doing these dances were middle age and older ladies such as the one pictured here. I know they practice countless hours and it is great fun for them and I'm sure they enjoy sharing their heritage and culture with everyone. We appreciate their dedication so much!

This is one of the yo yo performers. They put on an excellent performance too. We can buy these yo yo's in the village and I'd love to see Shawna and Elise and/or some of our older girls take up this cool hobby. Maybe when it gets warmer:)

I LOVE this picture of these ladies. They saw me wanting to take a picture and readily gave me an awesome pose. They're costumes are sooo cute, don't you think?!

I'd call this the Lantern Lady!!

This is some of the many fan dancers. I know they also spent countless hours practicing as it showed when they were all in sync to the music.

Lantern festival wouldn't be right without a dragon dance!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jenna The Dancer?!!

As time goes by, Jenna seems to blossom more and more! She has recently been enjoying dancing here at home.

When music comes on, her hands go up and she begins to move to the music. It is simply adorable!

We thought you guys might also enjoy seeing one of her recent performances.

During the middle of the video, Jenna realized dad wasn't watching and insisted he needed to be watching her performance. She tries several times to get his attention and when that didn't work, she walked over and tapped him so he wouldn't miss out. It was too funny! She's a doll and we're gonna miss her when she's gone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A House Guest

Isn't she a real sweety?!! Such a pretty cat!

During Chinese New Year, many New Day people went on vacation or visiting friends. We were asked to care for a friend's cat. Since I thought the girls would all enjoy having a special house guest for 10 days, we offered to keep it in our home rather than run to and fro each day caring for it. Although it was close by, we also thought the cat would get lonely being there all by herself for that long. They were happy we'd offered and took off for Thailand for their holiday after delivering her to our home.

The girls have enjoyed having her here. Though her owners said she loved people, I wonder if she'd been around kids much. She seemed a bit afraid of the girls at first. And our dog, well.........let's just say it took them a few days to accept one another. Although there were no fights per say, they clearly didn't like one another.

After a few days, however, things settled down a bit. Then there were the times the cat just wanted to play with the dog, who really didn't want to play, or at least the way she wanted to play!! He quickly found out there were sharp things on the ends of her paws and decided he didn't want much to do with her. I think his philosophy was --you leave me alone, I'll leave you alone, okay?! However, the cat had other plans:) Several times I had to laugh when I saw what she was doing. The dog, trying to mind it's own business, walking down the hall or somewhere, the cat would wait until he passed and then bat at his tail with her paws. The dog then would turn around and yap at her, but each time he turned around to leave again, she'd do the same thing all over again!! It was hilarious!! Very entertaining!

Isn't this a sweet picture?!!

I have to say, I was a bit worried if we had a cat in our house for 10 days, everyone would want one and I'd be overruled! We've had cats before, and well........they can be mischievous (sorry all you cat people!) At least until they get older and then just lay around the house and become lap or furniture decoration. That's when I like cats! It takes a long time to get them to that point though. In the meantime, their mischievousness gets on my nerves. I guess the same could be said of puppies. Guess we're just dog people. Anyway, since Shawna and Elise is the ones taking full responsibility of this job, anytime there's a mess to be cleaned regarding the cat, or the box needs cleaning, or they need fed, I call them! Although they're good about it, I think they've found it a bit frustrating and......well, I don't have to worry about them wanting a cat. They love her, but hey, when she's ready to go home..they'll say goodbye, but we'd rather come and visit ya! She's not a bad cat, don't get me wrong, she's a typical cat! We were reminded of that these 10 days while babysitting her:) It's been good though and I'm sure the girls will really miss her when she is gone. We may all have to visit her at home.

Elizabeth is the biggest animal lover at our house. Even though the cat growls and tries to scratch her, she still insists that it should remain in her arms! She does the same with our dog. She just wants to love them to pieces and they just want their space sometimes!

A House Guest Cont.

The cat quickly decided that the girls' kitchenette sink was the perfect fit or place for a quick nap. Little does she realize that this is a busy place and a quick nap is all she may get!

And here we are fast asleep in the sink!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some Warmer Days, Yeah!!

Finally we are beginning to see a few warmer days. Although they generally get outside every day for some play time, when it's warmer, we have extra outside play times. The girls all really enjoy the outdoors!

I thought you might enjoy a few videos of the girls:)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chinese New Year Fun

Yes, we like to celebrate any holiday, whether it be Western or Chinese. Western holidays 'cause we are Westerners, and Chinese holidays 'cause we live in China. It's a good enough excuse if you ask me! This way the Forever Home girls get to learn about and celebrate many different cultural things. This is Jenna enjoying some of her new gifts she received on Chinese New Year.

Hannah also thought these gifts were fun and exciting!

Doesn't Serena look beautiful in her new traditional headdress?! If you detect a bit of make-up, you'd be right. Although Shawna and Elise feel they're too old for such things like this headdress or toy lantern, they have THE MOST FUN dressing up the other girls! They had to apply a little make-up feeling like their costumes just weren't complete without it! After all, with such a beautiful headdress, you need a bit of eye and lip make-up, right?! After they did their little faces up, they then marched them in to have their pictures taken.

Lookin beautiful Elizabeth!!

Chinese New Year Fun Cont.

The girls all show off their New Year's gifts. What could be more fun than lanterns that really glow/light up and some fun traditional head bands with flowers and dangley things?!!

Perhaps money!! Oh, can't leave out the traditional red envelopes on Chinese New Year!! Jenna looks over and wants to know "how much did you get, Serena?!!"

Serena says, "Wow, money!! When can we go shopping?!" Not today Serena, all the stores are closed we told her! You'll have to wait a few days before they reopen, then we'll go shopping:)

They had to call me to the bathroom and turned off all the lights to show off their lanterns that actually light up and play music! Pretty cool girls!

Just in case you're wondering about Shawna and Elise being left out, nope! There's a reason we have no pictures of them this time around. They were with me when we picked out the Chinese New Year's gifts for the Forever Home girls. Though I asked them if they wanted some, the answer was a definite "NO WAY! We're way too old for such things!" However, they didn't turn down the idea of receiving money in the red envelope!! Imagine that! Ever known a girl of any age to turn down money?!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!!

That's right, we're making jiaozi (dumplings)!! Chinese New Year wouldn't be the same without at least one round of jiaozi making! It's something the girls can all help with and they do enjoy helping any time they can!

This time around, we decided to make some carrot jiaozi and radish jiaozi. I know, it probably doesn't sound all that good to you, but I can assure you it is quite good. I also once felt the same way until I tried it myself. I have to say, I'm rather partial to the radish one with a little spicy flavor. The girls all seemed to enjoy them too as they ate quite a bit. Jiaozi is one of their favorite dishes.

Elizabeth decided she wanted to have a try at rolling out the jiaozi wraps. However, she couldn't seem to make them round enough so she gave it up. It is hard to wrap them if they aren't round:)

Serena always enjoys making jiaozi and is pretty good at it too.

Hannah is careful to get just the right amount in her's before wrapping it up. Better keep trying Hannah as that is clearly way too much for that wrap!

Happy Chinese New Year Cont.!!

Jenna is always looking to help out in the kitchen preparing food. These times are some of her favorite!

Looking good Elizabeth!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fireworks and More Fireworks!!

What is Chinese New Year without some fireworks?!! A lot of fireworks!!

All week the girls have been looking forward to setting off some of our own fireworks. Finally the day, or night rather, came when it was time to do just that.The fireworks began early here and all week there have been some going off each evening. The girls all run to the windows as soon as they hear them and try to catch a glimpse of their beauty. They are rarely disappointed and usually are able to see a few each night. But it's nothing like setting off your own:) As it turned out, they thought they were way too loud and covered their ears a lot. Jenna wasn't much too crazy about all the loud noises either and seemed to enjoy the bigger ones more from afar, like inside the house!

It was a bit windy and we had a bit of trouble lighting and keeping the sparklers lit. After a few each, we decided to try again another night when it wasn't quite as windy.

Elizabeth helps dad shield the wind to light the sparklers.

Serena thinks sparklers are pretty cool and a lot of fun.