Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fancy Subway

There is a separate subway line to get to Disneyland. It only goes there and there is nothing else out there by it besides the Disneyland Hotels. So, you ride the regular subway to the one stop that connects with the Disney subway. And when you get on the Disney subway it's the start of your magical adventure. I love the way Disney tries to make everything fun and nice. The subway pulls up and instantly it feels different. All the windows are in the shape of Mickey Mouse. There are nice velvet seats inside and little glass cases with gold statues of different Disney characters on display. Even the hand holds are in the shape of Mickey Mouse!


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Britton

Britton is a mini-Jason, so much like his dad in so many ways. The other day, while watching him eat dinner, I just had to take some pictures to document that there is a little bit of me in there somewhere too. I was just laughing watching him. He loves spaghetti, just like me. And he's a very messy eater, just like me. He doesn't try to be messy, he just can't help it. Just like me.

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Haley Bug

Haley is so much fun to have around. She has so much energy and passion. She is very dramatic and animated. I am completely happy just observing her and listening to her. Her stories are always hilarious and full of emotion. She has such an imagination. What a joy it is to have her in our family. Here are some recent pictures.




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Count My Blessings

I was really blessed today coming home from Hong Kong. I was quite nervous because it's not always the easiest thing riding the crowded subway with kids, getting the right bus at the right time, doing two different border crossings, and then just being on a bus for 3 hours. It's always hectic and stressful even with Jason's help, I was really dreading doing it alone. But, everything worked out perfectly. So, here's a list of my blessings in coming home:
*Getting a seat on the subway from the very beginning
*Arriving at the bus station at 10:05 and having tickets available for the 10:15 bus to Clifford.
*A very uncrowded bus so we got the whole back seat to ourselves (actually the whole back half of the bus was empty so I didn't have to worry about my kids bothering anyone)
*Easy border crossings--no lines at all both when leaving Hong Kong and when entering China (this NEVER happens)
*Quick border crossings and not very many people on the bus meant that we got home a lot quicker--only 2 1/2 hour bus ride instead of 3 or 3 1/2 hours.
*My angel kids--they really were so good the whole time (this isn't always the case)

I was very happy to return home safe and sound. Then I was also surprised (and blessed) when my Aiee showed up with her son to clean our house. She didn't know that we had changed our plans and she thought we were going to be gone for the next few weeks. We had given her the whole time off, but she wanted to come and deep clean our house while we were gone. She is really quite amazing. So, she cleaned all afternoon while her son played with my kids and I got to sort through some things and unpack and help clean without feeling completely overwhelmed. (We left in kind of a rush Sunday night and the house was more than a little chaotic.) As I sit here in a nice, clean, warm house, I am truly grateful for all of my blessings. Today could have been a really hard day on me, but even though I am sad that Jason is going to be gone for the next few weeks, it turned out to be such a nice day.

Tribute to a Prophet

I read the news on people's blogs that President Hinckley had passed away. When I read it, my heart sunk and I was in disbelief. It seems like it came out of nowhere, even though he was 97 years old. I guess I should have been more ready for it, but he never did seem his age.

When we told Britton about it, he was very interested and really wanted to talk about it. He said, "It's a sad day for us, but a happy one for him." I'm always amazed at how well children can put everything in perspective.

I don't think I have the words to express the love, admiration, and respect that I have for this man. I know that he was a prophet of God. But, even as such, I think everyone who knew him considered him a friend. I know I did. Even though I never really met him, other than shaking his hand once, I always felt a close connection with him. I could feel his love when he spoke. He will forever be an example to me of optimism and service, of what it means to give yourself to the Lord, and of the happiness that you can have when you do that. He lived a full, exemplary life. He will be greatly missed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Change of Plans

So, we've had a change of plans. No trip to Vietnam for now. Jason is going home to take care of some things at our house. And I'm staying here with the kids. Alone. For three weeks. I'm not quite as excited about this plan, but it's for the best.

So, right now, we're in Hong Kong, having a mini-vacation before Jason flies out tomorrow. We will be going to Disneyland today and I'm so excited for that.

I just have to not think about tomorrow--saying goodbye to Jason and getting back to China by myself with 2 kids.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bridge Club

I am in a bridge club that meets every Thursday night. For some reason, I always picture old people when I hear "bridge club". And, I must admit, that everyone in the club is probably about 20 years older than me (or at least 15). But, I don't care. And they aren't exactly the kind of people that I would particulary choose to hang out with regularly. But, again, I don't care. I love playing cards. And bridge is the ultimate card game. It is the most complicated, most strategic of all games. I'm still in the learning phase and very much a rookie, but it is still so much fun. Most card games are mostly about chance, but bridge is different. It really does matter how you play the cards. Each and every move can make or break it for your team. You can play your whole life and still learn and discover new things about the game. The complex bidding system is the part I think I enjoy the most. It's like speaking in code and it's fun trying to remember what everything means and communicate as perfectly as possible. But, it's also fun to see how the hands play out. There is a Chinese man who comes and plays whenever we need an extra person. He is quite the expert. He is always my partner and it's so much fun to watch how he maps out each move when we win the bid. He really plays well, knowing when to finesse the other team. Each trick is played deliberately and precisely, almost nothing left to chance. I'm learning so much from getting to play regularly and I hope it's something that I can continue to do no matter where I'm living. (Hint, hint--Mom and Dad, start brushing up on your bridge skills!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Math Mind Wanderings

Next semester I am teaching mainly math. But, it's not exactly math, it's English so it's more like math vocabulary which sounds about as dry as you can get. So, I've been planning out what I want to do and looking for fun projects and activities to go along. And I'm really getting excited for it. I think most math teachers have lots of great ideas of fun projects, but they never get to use them because they don't have time. They have to teach the concepts, so they don't have any time left over. But, with my situation, my students learn all the concepts in their chinese classes, so we can just have fun with all of it in my class. Or at least that's the plan.

In all my searching for things, I get a little distracted from the actual planning. Yesterday I was looking for fun brainteaser and number/logic puzzles and of course, that means I spent the afternoon playing math games and puzzles. Then, today I'm trying to put together a project about tessellations and I got sucked into reading the history of it all and reading about M.C. Escher's life. I rediscovered how much I really love his works. Here is one that really delights me.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Morning Commute

I ride my bike to school every morning. It's about a 3-5 minute bike ride, not long at all. When I say that, I'm sure that you are all picturing a quiet little neighborhood with calm streets and no traffic, a ride where I would maybe pass some students walking, a few cars, and that's all. Well, that's far from the truth. My morning commute is CRAZY! This morning I decided to pay attention to everything around me since it is so different than the states. On the way to school I crossed paths with 6 buses, 14 cars, 59 bikes or mopeds, and countless amounts of people on foot--guards, people waiting for the bus, people walking to school, etc. Did you notice that 59 bikes or mopeds? Yes, and that is no exaggeration. In fact, I didn't even start counting at the beginning of my ride. Add all those things in with the fact that none of these vehicles is inclined to obey any sort of traffic law, and you have quite a crazy mess. Cars, bikes, motorcycles, and even pedestrians, don't wait for anything. They just go around or go in the wrong lane. It's really quite amazing, something you probably have to see to believe. It's like a different obstacle course every morning on the way to work.
Luckily, when traveling on my lunch break or after school, it's not nearly as crowded. In the mornings, I just happen to hit the swarms of workers wearing light blue jackets all making their way into Clifford each morning. It's quite a sight. I wish I had a picture of it, but, of course, I'm always on my bike, in the midst of chaos. Not really the best time to pull out the camera.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Going Home


What a fun trip! I love my family so much!
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Little Shrines

All over Thailand, there are these little shrines outside all of the buildings. I read in our guidebook that they build them for the evil spirits so that the spirits won't inhabit the buildings themselves. You can see them all over outside of businesses and houses. This is the one outside our hotel in Bangkok.
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Our Vacation

This is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. I know it seems strange. This could be any park, anywhere in the world. But, I love how Britton is helping Haley. We did so many cool and interesting and fun things on our trip, but the thing that was the very most fun for me was watching my kids become best friends. I loved watching them interact. They really bonded on this trip. Every morning and every night they played together in our hotels. And I think they looked forward to that the most out of everything. It's amazing what happens when siblings don't have their toys and their friends around to distract them. They really just enjoyed each other's company. I loved this vacation so much. I fell in love with my family all over again. We will have such fun memories for the rest of our lives.
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More Bangkok



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On the streets of Bangkok




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On the streets of Bangkok




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