Saturday, October 31, 2009


Sorry I haven't written in so long.  Like I said before, there's just been a lot going on.  Anyway, enough of the pity party.
We arrived in Beijing late Thursday night.  We all hit the sack as soon as we got there.  The next morning we woke up and went to lunch at McDonald's.  (I told you it was late when we got in, by the time we got moving, it was too late for breakfast)!   Anyway, I'm happy to report that a Big Mac and Fries, even though I SOOO didn't need them, taste the same as at home!
Anyway, that day we went to the Forbidden City.  A little background:
The Forbidden City was the Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty.  It was the home of the Emperor and his household for almost five centuries.  It was also the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.  Built from 1406 to 1420 it consists of 980 buildings with 8707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 square meters.  (Wikipedia)
This is a picture of the Ryan and the kids before we went in.  Aren't they cute?!
Jason standing in front of one of the buildings. 
I like this sundial.  Don't know why.  Just thought it was pretty cool.
Look at all the detail on the buildings.  This picture doesn't even do it justice.  But the detail on the work that was done here is absolutely amazing!  
This is the view from the outside.
Here is the Emperor's Throne.
Ryan and the kids in front of a dragon/turtle.
Andrew in front of some of the buildings.
Andrew and Jason in front of a tree.  If you look right above them, it looks like there's a ghost in the tree.  It was pretty creepy actually!
We thought this statue was pretty cool.

Sarah Beth.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IT'S ME . . .

So I haven't written much in awhile.  Last weekend we went to Beijing.  While we were there we didn't have internet access, so I wasn't able to get on and update anything.  Then, ever since we've been back I've been feeling kind of "blah" so I figured that wasn't a good time to write either.  

I still don't feel great, but I will post some stuff later.  I will tell you we had a GREAT time in Beijing, and we took 198 pictures over the weekend!  I'll post them as well as tell you about our trip later on. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The kids and I are leaving for Beijing tonight.  We're flying up to spend the weekend with Ryan.  Then we'll fly home on Sunday, and he has to fly somewhere else, and he'll be back on Monday.  I'm looking forward to going there.  We plan on seeing the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.  Our hotel is right by where they held the Olympics, so that will be cool to see as well.  I'll take lots of pictures and post them when we get back.  I hope you all have a great weekend.  I'll try to update you while we're gone, but if I can't you'll know it's because we're just too busy!


Sarah is growing like a weed!  She's talking more and more everyday, although I have NO idea where she gets that from!  And she's not babbling all of the time like she used to.  She's actually talking in sentences and putting all kinds of words together.  The other night the boys were listening to music, and I guess she didn't want to listen to it anymore she said, "Guys, turn it off.  Turn it off guys!"  She'll say, "Guys, come and eat.  Guys, stop it!"  It's really funny.  I couldn't figure out where she got that from, then one day I was calling everyone to dinner, and I said, "Come on guys, it's time to eat."  So she repeated me.  And that's when I realized she was getting it from me.  Duh!

The other day she was playing with the food that the boys hadn't cleaned off the supper table yet.  I was in the kitchen and I wasn't really paying attention.  I just figured I'd have them bring everything else in when I was finished cleaning up what I already had.  So then I came out into the dining area to find Little Miss Priss picking up the noodles that were left on the plates and throwing up in the air and trying to catch them in her mouth.  THAT'S what happens when you have 2 older brothers!  So I looked at her and I found this:


And then there was this:


And last, but definitely not least:


I tried getting better pictures, but she wouldn't stay still, so this was the best I could do.  Anyway, it gives you a preview of our typical day to day life!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


We got a package from Grandpa today.  The boys were so excited.  We got Reese Peanut Butter Cups (my FAVORITE), mints, (of course, because Grandpa always gives them mints!), nuts, hot cocoa, and oatmeal.  Thanks so much.

It's the little things that mean so much and make us feel closer to home.  We love you Grandpa and we can't wait to see you at Christmas!

Monday, October 19, 2009


There is an English magazine that comes out here called City Weekend.  This is a copy of small article about Concordia that was in the latest issue. 

Concordia International School

Grades: PreK-12
Tuition and Fees Per Year: *************************
Academic Program: American preparatory curriculum
Extracurricular Activities: Choir, string ensemble, orchestra, drama club, cooking club, astronomy club, Model UN, sports and dance.
Faculty: This school employs certified teachers with international qualifications. These instructors model and teach values like integrity, respect, responsibility and service to an international group of students.
Facilities: Orchestra / band room, science labs, art rooms, multi-purpose center and playground.
Admissions: Academic records, admission forms and a **** non-refundable application fee.
Location: Jinqiao, Pudong
This school offers an outstanding, college-preparatory American-based curriculum. The school thrives on its culturally diverse, international community. The school is a sister school to the renowned Hong Kong International School. With state-of-the-art technology integrated into the learning process, students are provided with an interactive learning environment.
Tel: 5899 0380
A full sized soccer field, three basketball courts and fully furnished locker rooms support a range of athletics at this school. The school fields teams in three competitive sports: volleyball, basketball and soccer. With competitions against schools around China as well as here in Shanghai, athletes are given the opportunity to enhance their skills and travel at the same time.


Today was Andrew's Publishing Party at school.  They've been writing stories and proofreading them, and re-writing them.  It is supposed to be about a small moment.  So they took a main story, picked a theme from that story, and then elaborated on that "small moment."  This is Andrew's story:

Being Scared by Andrew Bruner

One day when we were at the wild animal park.  We were going to see the rinausorise.  and we saw a elephent it was big and strong and the elaphent was wearing close.  it was holding people by its trunk.  my brother was amazd.  first my brother Jason went on and he was haveing lots of fun when the elephent held him up.  he thout it was very fun himself  That was fun!! said Jason.  Then it was my turn to go.  I was scared about a lot of things I was thanking that he would drop me and he would squeeze me to hard and I would choke.  I said he would try to bite me but then my mom told me I shoudd go because I would never get to do it agen  "Andrew you should go because you will never get to do it agen."  and she was right.

I thout my brother and my dad thout I should go to.  So I went and the workers helped me up "if I am going to do this then I have to be a man" I said and when the elaphent held me up he dident squeeze me to tiyt the rest of his trunk was like a siet belt that held on not that tiyt and not to lose it was perfect there was a strap for me to hold on to he did'ent try to bite me and he did'ent drop me.  my sister thot it was funny "ha ha ha" she said.  I had a lot of fun just like my brother and I was very happy then the workers helped me down and when I came down I was happy!!  We were all happy that I went but I was the most and I thout my sister liked it right after me.

Friday, October 16, 2009


This weekend is Homecoming weekend at EKU - Eastern Kentucky University.  It will be the 2nd Homecoming I've ever missed.  The 1st was for my wedding. This is a sentimental weekend for me.  I'm going to miss an event that I look forward to every year.  The kids love going too.  And even Ryan has accepted the fact that we'll be going every year, and although he'll never admit it to me, I think he even enjoys himself while we're there. 

It's the one time of the year that we make the time to be there.  My college roommate, Sandy, and her family go every year also.  We only live 90 minutes from each other, yet Homecoming is the only time we know for sure we'll see each other.  Except for this year.  This year they're not going either.  While it makes it easier for me to miss it, it's still a very sad occasion.  A yearly ritual.  We've been 12 years in a row.  Until now.  Hopefully we'll be able to make the next 12.  I'm going to miss you guys terribly.  But I keep telling myself that next year's Homecoming will be even better.  And it will be.  But it's still a year away. 


Ryan is leaving for Beijing next week.  He'll be gone all week.  He leaves on Monday morning and returns on Friday night.  He's probably going to be doing a lot of traveling while we're here.  And I'm used to him traveling a lot.  When we're at home.  But the traveling here is different.  At home we have our routines.  When he's out of town, Mom and Dad keep the kids at least one night so I have a night and a morning all to myself.  I don't have to get up in the morning and get the boys ready for school and fix breakfast and pack lunches.  Sometimes I stay with them one night too and get to hang out with my dad at O'Connell's, and sit on the couch talking to my mom until it's time for bed.  I have my friends at home.  I'm comfortable at home.  I know where everything is at home.  I SPEAK THE LANGUAGE AT HOME!!!  Anyway, just keep us in your prayers.  Pray that I keep what little bit of sanity I have left.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

IKEA . . .

I went to IKEA yesterday.  I've never been to an IKEA store in my life, so I really didn't know what to expect.  It was pretty cool.  They have pretty much everything under the sun.  We needed some silverware because the silverware Ryan bought when we first got here keeps breaking.  We started out with 6 of everything, and we're down to 2 or 3, if we're lucky!  So I got some silverware that is much better.  I also needed some storage containers, which I found.  I really just wanted to go because I'd never been before.  Now that I've been, I probably won't go back.  At least not to the one here.  We're only going to be here for 1 year.  Ryan said, you know, you're buying all of this stuff, and we only have 10 months left.  True, but I plan on bringing a lot of it back with me.  Just don't tell him I said that!


Okay, so if you know me really well, you know how much I LOVE candles.  I like to walk into my house and smell cinnamon or cookies instead of wet dog or dirty diapers!

So before we left I brought some candles with me.  And I'm on my last one.  My friends make them, and they are VERY good.  You really need to check out their website.  It's  I've been waiting to burn this one, because I knew it was my last one.  But I finally broke down and lit it yesterday.  It's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.  It smells REALLY good.  And it makes my apartment smell good too.  So I've already been making a list of the ones I want to get to bring back with me.  And believe me, I'll bring a lot more than I brought the last time!  It's nice having a memory of home.  Plus, it's something that I won't have to bring back home, so I don't have to worry about having the room  in the suitcases, because they'll all be burned by then!  Some of my favorites are Cinnamon Sticks, Clove, Extreme Vanilla, and Home Sweet Home.  

Anyway, check out their site.  Chances are if you've been to my house, you've smelled their candles burning anyway.  I'm so glad I brought them with me.  Plus, like I said, it reminds me of home.  And I'll take any memories I can get of home!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I went to Nanbeihu for my field trip.  We left on Monday morning, and came back Wednesday evening.  It took us about 4 hours to get there, because we stopped to eat lunch on the way.  I had a roommate.  His name is Daniel.  We had our own room in a hotel.  We were allowed to visit our other friends hotel rooms for a little while everyday.  We usually played card games.  Some of the activities we did during our field trip were:  

Trust Fall - every person grabbed arms with another person and we all stood next to each other while one person was standing on the platform and fell into our arms.  I did this, and they said I did very well because I fell straight back and trusted everyone. 

Trust Lean - everybody made a circle while one person stood in the middle and crossed their arms and closed their eyes.  Everyone else put out their hands, and the person in the middle would lean to each side and the person on the outside would push them back in.  You had to trust that they would catch you and push you back in.  

Blind Crossing - You laid out 3 hula hoops in a special design while another person had a blind fold over their eyes.  The person without the blind fold would tell the other person what to do.  Example:  take 1 giant step forward; take 1 small step to the right.  The person with the blind fold had to follow the other persons directions to try to make it through the course without touching the hula hoops. 

Hike - My group and the blue group hiked together up the mountain that faced our campsite.  We climbed up for about 1/2 hour and finally reached the top.  When we got to the top, we could see the view of Lake Nanbeihu, which means North and South Lake.  Nan means North and Bei means South and Hu means lake.  During our walk we went through many thorns and bushes in our way.  We saw a statue of an ox and a goat with yellow eyes.  (It looked like a demon).  

Repelling - At Repelling there are big poles with pegs sticking out of them.  You were attached to a harness and you climbed up the pegs to reach the top.  Once you reached the top, the man up there tied you to more ropes to make you steady.  You held on to the rope and you kicked off from the platform and you would gently let go of the rope and let it slide through your hands.  That would make you slowly repel to the ground.  There was the Spider Web which was a giant net attached to poles and you had your harness and the ropes and the lady at the bottom held on to the rope and pulled on it to keep you steady.  When you got to the top there was a wooden pole.  You could choose to sit on it or come straight down.  I sat on it, but it was scary.

Leap Of Faith - You were attached to a harness and ropes and you climbed up another pole with pegs in it.  Once you reach the top there was a disk there and you had to reach your legs up and stand on the disk.  You had to slowly stand up and stay steady.  Once you stood up, there was a trapeze and you had to jump from the disk and try to catch the trapeze.  If you made it, the other people in your group would cheer.  And if you didn't make it, they might still cheer, but you would be in a giant swing.  I was really scared on this one.  I made it halfway.  One hand grabbed it, but then it slipped off.  

Kayaking - We all got our life jackets and our paddles and you could choose to be by yourself or with a friend.  I went with my friend Byron.  You would sit in your kayak and paddle as well as you could.  We learned how to turn it left and right, how to go forward, how to slow it down, and to go backward.  During Kayaking I got wet, but it was fun!

Rock Climbing - There was a big rock wall with little humps in it to make it harder to climb.  You were attached to a harness and ropes and you climbed on all of the plastic rocks to try to make it to the top.  If you were tired, you could tell them that you needed to take a rest and they would hold you up.  Once you made it to the top, you rang the bell and you would kick off the wall and repel down.  I made it to the top and rang the bell, but I had to take 2 rests, and I slipped off once.  

Bridge Crossing - There was one wire at the bottom, one at the top, and one on each side.  There was a hook attached to the top one which was attached to your harness.  You wore a helmet.  You would walk on the bottom wire and hold on to each of the side wires and cross the bridge.  (One girl slipped off and was hanging by her rope and harness).  Once you made it across, someone would detach the hook from the top and wrap it around you and hook it on your harness.  You would get back to the start by crossing the Spider Web that was over the water.  The net was very shaky and if you couldn't balance enough your foot would fall into the water.  Both of my legs got wet.  And 2 of my friends were shaking the net trying to knock me in the water, but I ended up knocking one of them in the water.

Archery - I saved the best for last.  My homeroom teacher taught Archery.  We would each take turns holding the bow, using enough force and trying to aim it at the board.  Ms. Alford showed us a few times, and she was great.  Some people missed the board and it shot out into the woods.  We had to go out and collect them.  Some people got on the board, but some didn't.  I did the best in my group.  I shot a 6 and a BULLSEYE!!!  This was one of my favorite activities on the trip.  Ms. Alford said she thought I did great for my first time.  I now want to take Archery lessons.  

That's all for the activities.  

We also had KFC for lunch one day.  It was VERY good!  For dinner the first night we had kabobs.  Daniel ate 42 of them!  Byron ate around 30.  And Matthew and I ate 13 each.  I guess we were hungry!

We had to go to bed at 9 pm every night and wake up was 6:30 every morning.  Breakfast was at 7.  Our hotel had 4 floors.  I was on the 3rd floor.  Between lunch and our last activity, we were allowed to visit other people's rooms.  My friends and I usually played cards.  

Our last night there we all had to come up with a skit and we shared them with the other groups.  Ours was one of the funniest.  Our group was Matthew, Byron, Daniel and me.  

I had a great time on my trip.  I hope that I'll be able to go back there again sometime and enjoy all of the activities. 

PUDONG . . .

I thought I'd give you some history and information about the part of town that we are living in.  We live in Pudong, which is also known as Pudong New Area.  (Don't ask me why.  I guess because it's newer than the rest of the city?  Who knows).  It's called Pudong because it's on the east side of the Huangpu River.  The city on the west side is called Puxi.  Pudong literally means "East of the Huangpu."

Since 1990 Pudong has emerged as the financial and commercial hub of China.  It's population is approximately 1.5 million people.  (See, I told you there were a lot of people in China)!  Pudong is divided into 4 districts.  We live in the Jinqiao area.  (Jeen Chow).  There are a lot of Ex Pats in the Jinqiao area.  A friend of mine just told me that her driver refuses to eat lunch in the Jinqiao area because with all of the Ex Pats that are living here, it's too expensive to eat here, because the prices are higher.  Now keep in mind, if we decide to eat at the local "food court," we can feed our family of 5 for less than $10!  So to us it's not that expensive.  But to give you an idea of pricing, if Ryan chooses to eat at the cafeteria at his work, he can eat for about $1 a day! 

Is there anything else you want to know?  If so, just ask me.  I don't want to tell you too much information if you don't want to hear it, but I'm more than happy to answer any questions you have.  

Monday, October 12, 2009


While the kids were on their break from school, we did a few things around Shanghai.  We were going to go to Hong Kong, but it was supposed to rain all weekend and we didn't want to spend the money to be stuck in a hotel all weekend!  So instead, we stayed here.  

You heard Andrew's account of the amusement park.  And there's NO WAY I can top that, so instead I just thought I'd post pictures of our day there.

These are some of the girls that wanted their picture taken with Andrew and Jason.  So we decided we'd take their picture too!

Here's another picture of them.

These are the swings that Andrew didn't get to ride on because he wasn't tall enough.  He was mad!

Andrew and Sarah were riding this panda bear that moved around in circles.  She wasn't that thrilled.  But Andrew enjoyed riding it with her.

This is the first ride Jason and Andrew rode.

This was at the entrance.  This little blue man is the symbol for the Shanghai Expo that's coming in May 2010.


I posted Jason's field trip reflections yesterday, so I thought I would explain them today.  The 5th graders go on a 3 day 2 night field trip to a place called Nanbeihu.  It's kind of a team building field trip.  It actually reminds me of the retreats we took when I was in High School.  He leaves this morning, which is Monday morning for us, and he gets home at 5pm on Wednesday.  He's so excited.  He had a hard time getting to sleep last night because he couldn't stop thinking about the trip. 

It sounds like a great trip.  They do repelling, trust fall, archery, leap of faith.  They'll have camp fires at night where they'll be singing and telling stories.  It sounds like a lot of fun.  I can't wait to hear all about it when he gets back.  I'm going to have him write about in on here once he comes home.  

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I think the trip will bee very cool.  Some of the main things I want to do are Reppeling, Archery and the Leap of Faith.  I am a little scared of the Leap of Faith and Repelling.  I am going to try to do every activity there is and to be brave.  I am looking forward to the camp fires and doing the skits.  I wonder if my room will be next to one of my friends.  I know I will have a great time at Nanbehuh.


Yesterday we went to a place called Big Thumb Plaza.  They have a Carrefour there, plus they also have lots of other places.  There are shops and restaurants.  We went there because we needed to get Jason a disposable camera for his upcoming field trip, because they don't want them to bring expensive digital cameras.  Talk about a rip off!  The disposable camera was $15! So instead we bought him a film camera for $17.  I figure if he doesn't lose it or break it, then he can use it the rest of the year. 

I wish we lived closer to that Carrefour.  There is a lot more shopping and restaurants there than at the one by us.  There's a Pizza Hut, Papa John's, and KFC.  It's pretty cool.  I'll have to go again when I have more time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Just wanted to let you know that I'm feeling better today.  I got a letter and card from home, thanks so much Kathleen and Bobby, and it really helped lift my spirits.  It's funny how something so small can make such a big impact.  I think I just needed to feel a connection to home.  Actually, I hadn't checked the mail in a few days, so it could have been there for awhile, but I think God wanted me to wait to check it on a day that he knew I would need it.  Sounds corny huh?!

Anyway, I've got a lot to tell you, so I'll write more later, just wanted to let you know that I'm feeling better.  I hope you're all doing well too, and I STILL can't wait to come home for Christmas!

Friday, October 9, 2009


I woke up in a bad mood today, so I'm guessing it's going to be a bad day.  Not really a "bad" mood, I guess just a "sad" mood.  Most days are pretty good, but for some reason, I'm having a hard time today, and it's only 9:15 in the morning.  That doesn't bode well for the rest of the day! 

Oh well, my dear friend Sandy told me I'm entitled to them, so I guess I just deal with it and get through it.  Tomorrow is another day.  And it's one day closer to coming home for Christmas and seeing everyone.  I miss you all and I can't wait to see you.


One day when we went to the Hot Pot me and my family went with another family and on the way there in the taxi I got to sit in the front set and when we got there we got vegtaballs and meat we got foods lik noodells mushrooms lam cabige pepers garlike and lots of other stuff.  but all of the food was spicy and it burned the bottom part of my mouth.  I got sprit to drink then when we left i was full and happy that we went.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Living here in China has been a blast.  I've seen the Jin Mao Tower.  I've been to the Wild Animal Park and I've aten Hot Pot.  One of my favorite things here is making a lot of friends.  My new school is fun, I get ice cream, I have a good teacher, and I have good subjects.  When I come home I will tell you all storys and give you gifts to let you know what China is like.  I will also show you pictures of my friends and tell you about them.  One thing I will defentaly do is show you pictures of Shanghai.  

I hope I will be able to see all of you when I come home for Christmas.  I want you all to know even though I am having a whole lot of fun, I still miss all of you and can't wait to come home and see you.

Love Jason


Okay, so most of you know, that I'm not exactly the queen of the kitchen!  And don't freak out, I'm still not.  However, being here, there are a lot of things you can't find, so you have to improvise or make it yourself.  I've been looking for breakfast sausage for over a month, with no such luck.  So I looked on the internet to see if I could find a recipe - after all, you can find ANYTHING on the internet!  And I found one.  So I figured, "what the heck?"  If I didn't try, I'd never know . So I made it this morning, and let me just say, it was AWESOME!  Of course, I'm a little biased.  But still.  I was impressed.  And you should be too.  So I thought I'd share!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I was informed by my dad that I am no longer allowed to say that I am boring.  I guess he takes it personally.  I never said HE was boring.  Believe me, if you've met my dad, you know he's definitely not boring!  But that's okay, he doesn't want me to say that anymore, so I won't.  Just for you Dad! 


You're FAVORITE Daughter


When me and my faimmaly went to a amusment park we did lots of things.  first me and my brother went on a swing I was getting scared!  but when we got on it I really liked it and then my mom and my brother went on the octapus ride.  I liked seeing them go around and around then we walked around some more.  Then we saw a ride called the swinger.  Me and my brother were waiting for a long time then there was a man who take us to the tall chart and we fond out that my brother could ride it but I could'ent so I was mad.  Then when my brother was done we were going to ride the water raft ride but the line was to long so we walk around some more.  When we were done we went to the restroom then when we were going to leve we stopped and plyaed some games before my dad won my sister a bear and a sheep.  Then when me and my brother played I won my sister a racon and a cat.  My brother won her a dog cup holder.  Then after that we left. 

Monday, October 5, 2009


Some of you know that Ryan is a big Minnesota Vikings fan.  We are leaving shortly to go watch them play Monday Night Football.  Although since it's Tuesday morning here, I guess we won't be able to have beer and wings while watching it.  That kind of takes some of the fun out of it, but at least we'll get to watch it.  And since we have someone to watch the kids, we'll get to watch it by ourselves.  This is the first time we've gotten to go anywhere by ourselves since we've been here.  

After the game we're going to go to the train station underground.  That's where they have the fake goods and cheap items.  It's where I got Sarah Beth's dress that I showed you earlier.  Of course you have to do a lot of bargaining.  When I first looked at her dress the guy wanted 250 RMB for it, which is about 35 USD.  To find the cost of something, you take the RMB and divide it by 7.  That'll tell you how much it is in the US.  Anyway, he started at 250, and I got it for 65 or 70 RMB.  Bargaining is a must.  Actually, I probably didn't bargain enough.  I was told by someone from here, that the dress was  probably worth about 50 RMB.  Oh well, now I know better.  I'll be better prepared for today.  Plus, I'll finally get to start my Christmas shopping.  Usually, by this time I'm completely finished with everyone except for the kids.  This year, I haven't even started.  I'm slacking!

I'll let you know what I find when we get back.  

Go Vikings!  My hubby will be in a much better mood to go shopping with me if they win!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

SARAH . . .

I bought Sarah a traditional Chinese dress.  She wore it last night when we went to dinner.  Personally, I think she looks adorable, but then, I might be just a little bit biased!

What do you think?  Am I just biased, or am I actually right?!


Thursday was China National Day.  Sixty years of Communism being celebrated.  Here, the whole country basically shuts down for a week.  The kids are out of school Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday.  Ryan's had to work from home because the office is shut down and won't open up again until Wednesday.  Even then, he'll have to take a cab to get into work, because their driver doesn't come back to work until Friday.  

We wanted to go somewhere while the kids were on Holiday, but we decided against it.  We figured Xian and Beijing would be psychotically crowded, especially since it's the 60th anniversary.  We were going to go to Hong Kong, we'd figured out our flights and our hotel, but then we checked the weather and it was supposed to rain all weekend.  We didn't want to spend that kind of money to be stuck in the hotel room all weekend, so we just decided to stay here.  Thursday it rained ALL DAY, so we basically just stayed in and watched movies all day.  Friday was gorgeous, so we took the kids to the small amusement park they have here.  It was PACKED!  We are SO glad we didn't go somewhere like Beijing or Xian, or even Hong Kong, because it would have been crazy.  Even at the amusement park the crowds were wild.  Every ride had a line of like 30 minutes or more; even the kiddie rides for Sarah.  You know it's a rough day when the kids are ready to leave!  We only stayed about 3 hours.  It was just too much.  

I've told you before about the number of people that are here.  But it's one of those things that if you don't see it for yourself, you just don't get  it.  There's people everywhere.  And there's ALWAYS people everywhere.  You can't go anywhere without there being a lot of people.  Did I mention there's A LOT of people here?! 

HOT POT . . .

Tonight for dinner we had a Hot Pot.  For those of you not familiar with it, I'll tell you what to expect.  And for those of you coming to visit, trust me, we'll go there while you're here!

You sit down at a table with a big hole in the middle.  Then you order what you want.  We ordered lamb, lettuce, cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, noodles, bean sprouts, and radishes.  We had half spicy, half not spicy.  They bring out this big bowl.  Inside the bowl they have lots of different herbs and spices.  Then they turn the table on, and you wait for the water to start boiling.  Once it starts boiling you gradually put the food in there.  You wait for it to cook, which doesn't take very long, then you pull it out and you eat it.  IT WAS AMAZING!!!  Everything we ate was incredible.  Even the mushrooms were good, and anyone that knows me well knows how much I despise mushrooms!  But with everything mixed together, it has an incredible flavor.   Ryan's been telling us that we needed to try it.  We're all really glad that we did!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Imagine our surprise yesterday when we got a package from home.  WE WERE SO EXCITED!!!!  We had no idea that we were getting a package, and it made our day.  We got a box of granola bars, a bag of Skittles and Starbursts, 2 bags of pretzels, and hair barrettes for Sarah Beth.  Sarah brings them to me and says, "I want my hair things in."  They're really cute.  The kids have already dug into everything else.  I had to put the candy up high so that it will last longer than a day! 

Thank you SO much for the nice surprise.  You have no idea how much it meant to us.  We love you!  (And not just because you sent us a package)!