Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to "Normal" Life

After being away from my family for nearly 2 weeks, it's so good to be back and be settling into a normal routine again. Things have been so crazy the last 2 months for us. I'm actually really enjoying having just the everyday things to do like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. I know that probably sounds silly but it's nice to be able to slow down a bit.

I came home from Girl's Camp and Jason had bought a new van! The day before I left, the transmission in our other van went out and we broke down completely on the side of the road. Secretly, I was hoping that he would just take care of the situation while I was gone, but didn't really think that he would dare buy a new car without me being around. But, he did and I'm so glad that I could come home and not worry about being vehicle-less. He got an Isuzu Oasis which is the same thing as a Honda Odyssey since they are the same company.

Also, while I was gone, Jason finished our entertainment room. We bought a projector while we were in China and he finished putting speakers in the ceiling and he built a frame out of molding on the wall. I think it looks really good. He was busy while I was away!

Girl's Camp

I spent last week up at beautiful Mia Shalom with the young women. What a blast we had! I got very little sleep, but had many fun-filled nights of playing Mafia and psychiatrist, sneaking around doing pranks, talking, and laughing with the girls. Who needs sleep anyway?
This is the view from our camp. It was gorgeous!
The canoe race!

Watching the sunrise during the hike. The YCL's woke us up at 5 a.m. on Pioneer Day pretending to be a mob that was driving out all the Mormons. They dragged us out of our cabins and we had to hike up to the ridge. The sunrise was definitely worth getting up so early.

Audrey and Bonnie--two of the other fearless leaders. (I love the clouds in the background.)

Minnesota Trip

Amber, Me, Melissa, IeMei, Emily

A few weekends ago, I got to go on a College Roommate Reunion trip to Minnesota. Melissa was kind enough to host all of us at her house.
I can't even say how good this trip was for me. These are some of my favorite people in the whole world and it had been far too long since we had all been together. In fact, we figured out that the last time we were all together was nearly 8 years ago at my wedding. And that doesn't even really count for me since I didn't get to hang out really with them. I have seen them each individually quite a few times since then, but it was nice to have the "302 Supermodels" together again.
We did lots of fun things on our trip including rollercoaster rides, seeing "Mama Mia" on opening day, going to Wisconsin, almost going tubing/canoeing down the river but being rained out instead, seeing a Monster Truck show, and much more. But, mostly it was just fun talking nonstop with these ladies. I sure do love them! I can't wait for the next one!

More pictures to come when I get them from everyone!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our First Week Home

Our first week home was a very busy one. We were busy unpacking, but also had lots of things to do with our families.
We went to Chuck E. Cheese for Chloie's birthday. We went out to Spanish Fork for Corbin's birthday party. On the 4th of July, Jason went golfing with his brothers early in the morning, then we played volleyball with John and Leanne, then went to Kiwanis Park for the Kemp family barbecue, then drove up to our cabin to join my family.

The Whole Family

When we arrived in Salt Lake, my mom and dad, Jon, and Hyrum were all there to pick us up. Then we went straight to Patricia's house for a family party. It was so great to see everyone. I have 3 new nephews--Dylan, Destry, and Ethan. It was so great to meet them and see how much everyone else has grown!
We took a big family picture.

Here's our attempt to get all the grandkids together. They are all too silly to sit still.
Back Row: Chloie, Britton, Hyrum, Lizzie (on Hyrum's lap), Patricia
Middle: Dylan, John, Reed, Destry
Front: Haley, Anna
Not pictured: Ethan

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things I'm Missing

Here are a few of the things that I am missing from China:

1. Students I got really attached to all my students, as usual. It's always hard for me to say goodbye.

2. Squatters
(I'm not really missing these because I don't like them, but I don't ever want to forget what a pain it was trying to use public toilets. Now that we are home, when we go to a public restroom, Haley checks all the stalls and then gets really excited and says, "There's no squatters!" She hated using the squatters and would usually just try to hold it or go outside somewhere.)
This picture is actually a really clean, nice one. They weren't all like that. Most are very dirty and stinky. This was at a very nice restaurant.

3. This View Everyday

4. Our Scooter (this was our mode of transportation for our family--so fun!)

5. Cheap Pedicures
Haley and I got manicures and pedicures a few hours before we left our last day there. Haley really loved being pampered and getting so much attention.

6. The Swimming Pool It was so nice being able to go swimming every day. Britton improved so much as a swimmer the last few months we were there.

Friends from our Branch
The Staintons--some of our favorite people!

The Yeung's--our great hometeachers and friends. They helped us out so much and are the best!

8. The Kid's Friends It was so nice to have a lot of friends living in the same building. Britton and Haley always had someone to play with. This picture is of Kaitlyn, Britton, and Haley.

9. Our Wonderful Nanny, Cook, and Maid I almost cried when I saw these pictures. I really miss Aiee. Not just because I wish I had someone to cook and clean for me, but because we really loved her a lot. She was the greatest and made our time in China so nice. She loved and took care of my kids (and Jason and me) so well.

10. The Front Desk These friendly faces greeted us each time we came in or out of our apartment building. They helped us in so many ways with translations, ordering things, calling taxi's, etc.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A very late "We're Home" post

I haven't posted in such a long time and so many things have happened. I thought about doing one great big post about everything, but there are some things that really deserve a post of their own. And since this is a journal, I really do want to do justice to some of the cool things that we've done lately.
So, it may take me a while, but I WILL get up to date. I have so many pictures that I need to upload as soon as my camera battery is charged and I find my USB camera cord.
We have been home for 2 weeks now and we have done so many things that it feels like we've been here two months. But, then I look around at my still unpacked house and it feels like it's only been a few days. One day I'll feel settled again, hopefully. It's been so fun to get to see family and friends and catch up with everyone.
The weather here is wonderful and the air is so clean! And everything is so convenient and easy, like driving places instead of walking and having things open 24 hours and having clean, sit down toilets in public restrooms.
Anyway, I'll try to start posting about our last 2-3 weeks soon!