Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the most wonderful time of the year...

The most wonderful time of the year IS Christmas, if you ask me, but now that it's cold and almost Luke's birthday and Thanksgiving and everything, I keep thinking that we have entered my favorite two months of the whole year!!! Johnny has stayed up a couple of nights to watch a football game, I have transitioned into warm drink heaven, and it's just generally a wonderful time of year. If we could travel to the mountains and see pretty changing leaves, it would be PERFECT!!

And in case you think we have to miss out on ALL of the fun fall festivities that happen in the states (well, we do miss a lot), there is one thing we have not missed---crafts and Halloween dress up!! Yesterday Luke got to miss school because of a craft day--he got to make 3 paper crafts (that turned out so very cute, in my opinion), got to decorate cookies, AND trick or treat for candy!! He was in heaven, since he loves to make stuff so much (and eat candy so much)!!

Here is our little dinosaur (after decorating cookies, I might add, in case you can see the white icing on his belly)...
And I have been up to my eyeballs in homemade circus party stuff. Here's a picture of the invitation (inspired by invitations from Hobby Lobby--we can't get stuff like that here, too much) :
And the practice caramel apples. We can't buy caramels here, but I found a recipe for homemade caramel apples on one of Luke's Mickey Mouse DVDs. Really easy--I can't believe we haven't made them before!!
Love from us, Shannon

Friday, October 22, 2010

what we've been doing lately

It's been a while since we posted anything, but we have been busy in the meantime.

Johnny finished some bunk beds for the boys. And as of today, we may have to move Jace into the bottom bunk--he climbed out of his crib and bumped his head on the floor. So it's pretty good he has a little home to move into.
the tent is finished now (we don't have a recent photo) and there is a leaf banner hanging up between bunks, just to accent that it's supposed to be a fun tree house bunk bed...
We have been about town in our bikes and bike trailers. So fun, and it makes it easy for me to get around a really big city. I went downtown one day and bought an 11 pound block of cheese (it is so much cheaper that way), and then felt pretty good about myself riding 15-20 miles on the bike with the boys. We call it the "swagger wagon--Asia style". Another such outing: the track at the university where Jace got to play soccer for a while. He was so happy. And there's Luke up in the tree!
We, as always, have also been eating lots of hot pot/stick pot. Some pictures of the boiling pot of spice as well as the sticks that have fish and lotus root. Just some fun things that we don't see in the west too much...
hot pot from our favorite restaurant. It's still in the solid state before it's boiled...yummy!
fish on a stick--anyone? Luke LOVES this!!!
lotus root

We have all been planning and working on projects for Luke's birthday party next Saturday. He wanted a circus party, so that's what he's getting--a circus/carnival. The party IS his birthday present for the most part!! Tonight, actually, Johnny is working on a PLINKO board for the party. Pretty awesome. I kinda want to play carnival games every day right now...
And, in case you're wondering, we're going to have the party in the morning, and then we'll have our bi-monthly game night and use the carnival games as the games for game night. So we'll have young and old, locals and whiteys all playing carnival games in one room. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!!

Also today, Luke's preschool had a program for moms and dads to go crazy taking pictures of their kids at. It was a bit of a cultural experience, since there was no order to the parents and their picture taking. Johnny got a few snippets of video, but I feel that there is no way to capture the experience if you're not feeling the pushes firsthand. But here's a couple of pictures that try to capture the experience. Sorry for the grainy-ness of the pictures--it's been really hazy here the past two days.
This is only one of four sides of parents literally crowding around to see/photograph their child

Can you find Luke? He's the one with yellow hair...
Doing their morning exercises (dances)

So, coming up, we plan to travel south (actually not one of our official areas, but...) to visit one of Johnny's best friends--we really hope to just connect with him there so that we can know his mom and family and friends and the place where he lives. It's not like we're going to be toughing it too much, though, it seems. There is rock climbing and caving and bamboo forests and lots of other stuff to explore down there. The weekend may go really fast!!

And, of course, there will be pictures from next week's circus shindig coming!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

one day in tower town

Last week was a huge holiday here in this country--National Day. So we thought since Johnny is out of school, it would be a good time to travel. Plus, our friend was here in town and he wanted to travel to tower town to visit some of his classmates from college, so we tagged along with him.However, on our way we got a call from adoctor who was concerned about Luke. Luke (on Thursday night--3 days before) had fallen from bunk beds, bumped the top of his head, and then woke up the next morning with a black eye. So the dr. was concerned about the black eye appearing without him hitting his eye. We were about 9 hours away from home and had to really think about what to do. So we didn't turn right back around, but we did cut the trip short.

We got one full day in our land of towers that we've talked about before. And we got to meet some new folks that we fell in love with: Jordan's classmate and her mom. They took good care of us, feeding us lots of yummy meat and serving lots and lots of butter tea. And when we weren't eating with them, we were playing. We went
up to this farm that has a place to stay and let the boys play in the cornfield for a couple of hours, and then we went to the actual place that has all the really old, really tall towers. Who knew playing in a corn field could be so much fun? That was definitely the highlight of the boys' day!

So here are some pictures:
At their store in the mountains. We bought a leather wallet and two embroidered headpieces that I want to cut, sew together, and frame. They are like what the Mama is wearing on her head except white and hand-sewn.
L and Daddy were making a video in the cornstalks
Just the fam
Playing in the cornfield in the mud. Hours of entertainment!!
New and old friends are awesome!