Sunday, January 25, 2009

chǘn jīé küàī lè

Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!

We have already started the festivities with a wonderful party thrown by some of our friends and to welcome a 40th birthday in. We made lanterns, Chinese hats, bracelets/necklaces, did a wonderful Dragon dance, even had safe fireworks for the kids, and dined on traditional Chinese New Year food. Thanks friends, great way to kick off the Year of the Ox.

Chinese New Year begins on the first day of the first moon of the year, which is considered to be a particularly auspicious day (January 26, 2009). Children are given hong bao, lucky red envelopes full of money, and households exchange visits and gifts. Most celebrants at Chinese New Year wear red, which is a lucky color, and also refrain from reflecting on the past year and uttering unlucky words, as it is believed that the first day of the new year will determine your fortune in the months to come. So let's go have a great day today.

Chinese New Year continues with 15 days of celebration, including a day to welcome the god of wealth, a day to celebrate farming and produce, and days to celebrate friends and family. Friendships and family relationships are a very important part of Chinese New Year, and a great deal of food and dinner invitations are exchanged as part of this tradition. Numerous lucky foods are served throughout the Chinese New Year festival, and after all that rich dining, the 13th day of the festival is set aside for eating rice and bitter greens to cleanse the palate.

On the 15th day, the Chinese New Year celebration culminates with the Lantern Festival, which is traditionally held at night. During the Lantern Festival, hundreds of citizens flood the street with lanterns representing wealth, animals, historical figures, plants, and a variety of other things. The lanterns are paraded through towns and cities throughout China, Taiwan, and parts of the world with large Chinese communities. The Lantern Festival ends with a burst of fireworks to celebrate the upcoming year while celebrants eat special round dumplings to celebrate unity.

Happy Year of the Ox. Click here to learn more

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Random thoughts swimming in my head while in the shower...

I do my best thinking while in the shower. It’s weird, I know. One because it’s the shower – early in the morning and frankly to early to even be thinking. Secondly, it’s only about 15 minutes out of a 1,440 minute day, so it isn’t to much thinking at all. Then I will let you in a little secret, there are some days that I don’t even get a shower in. I often wished I had someone to scribe what I am thinking in my head because occasionally I do have some light bulb moments. Even weirder I know, having someone in the shower with me scribing what’s in my head.

Before Christmas I was telling Robb how I would love to have (3) new journals. His first question was, ‘why 3?’. One of which I can write all the light bulb moments down or just the occasional good thought, random thought or dream. I suppose to just reflect upon someday when I find my youth missing (yes, I plan to live to be 150, so my friends I am young). The other two journals to use one for each child and just to write funny things they say, stories about each of them, and maybe even the occasional advice. Then Robb, in his wisdom ways says, ‘isn’t that what the blog is for’. Of course it is, not just a means to catch up family, but a means to just blab. Blab anything, say most anything, and just get it out of my head. Then again, often times you may not want to know exactly what I am thinking – but if that’s the case, I realize that you happened upon our blog at your own free will. I always wondered about people who read other blogs and then comment on them as if they were saying, ‘can you believe so and so said….xyz’ and then they continue to keep reading so and so blog. So you may have opinions, thoughts, and just plane sick of us….if that’s the case, click on the “x’ on the top right of your screen. Should take care of anything you are feeling towards this blog.

To wrap this up, I guess if you can hang onto the occasional gripe session of the people checking me out somewhere or the drivers on the road and an occasional thought in the shower, I will keep my attempt to also keeping you updated on our piece of the world, who is in it, how we are doing in it, and what we are doing to make it better.

None of these thoughts today that you are about to read amount to anything or really make any sense, but sometimes you just have to write them down.

Today – regardless of our own political views….I AM PROUD OF AMERICA! Are you? It’s just right; our new leader couldn’t be more welcomed, and it’s in the air. Change isn’t coming, it’s here and now it’s time do our part. It’s a new World – feel the vibrations, and I am glad to be here.

This day as a hole, is good, good for our families, a new opportunity to serve, and just an absolute thrill to want more, do better, and most importantly be better.

Today and going forward the possibilities are endless….go out and find them, make them, and do them. ‘We have come, we have prevailed, and it’s our decision now’. It’s a brand new day, a brand new us.

So, I am thinking of you today while you are watching this magnificent change happening in the air, on the television, standing in your kitchens, driving in your cars, and getting ready for this day…..the new day of CHANGE.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It is FREAKIN cold outside....

Whew - I can't remember the last time it's been since I have been this cold.

It's so cold....(well, you get the idea)....(or can finish my sentence)....

Not much going on here. Just attempting to get back to routine. Last week everyone started back to work and school and did great. However, isn't this week the longest week.......EVER??????????? Well, that's at least how I feel. It think maybe I was on a high from all of Christmas being put away, and every one's routine getting back to normal last week, that this week I am dragging, by days end, I am exhausted. I am guessing that means I put in a good days worth of work.

Hmmmmmm - what's up at our house......well let me see. Robb is working hard at work (as usual). I am pretending to unpack boxes (yes, STILL), and decorate our home, meanwhile I am just handing a box to anyone and everyone that comes over. I figure by Easter we will have no more boxes - then I am done unpacking - right?

Isabella is doing great. She is our Social Butterfly in the house. In the past month and 1/2 she has been invited to no less than 5 parties and 3 or 4 play dates, I forget. She is working hard in one of her dance classes to perform for Chinese New Year at our local art gallery. Then in another dance class she is working equally as hard since the end of the season in May she will do a ballet number and a tap number on stage for us all to see. She is loving school and seems to like the boys the best. At least that is the names she calls out as we are entering and exiting the building. I am already warning Robb as I sure he will the be the shot gun at the door kind of dad time comes for dating.

Jacob received his first report card and got all S's (satisfactory) in every category. He has learned so much in his first semester of Kindergarten. To boot, he likes it, he is making some really nice friends, and even enjoys his teacher. In gymnastics he is working hard at climbing the rope (1/2 way to the top), and can almost swing completely over on the rings. A few weeks ago he tested for a higher belt in Karate. He had to go into the room with out us and test with only his peers and judges. We didn't find out any results until this week at their exhibition and ceremony. He is now the proud owner of a yellow belt. His Sense (the instructor - whom we love), even did a demonstration himself for all the kids. He broke boards, with his hand, elbow, foot and even his head. He then let all the younger students have a piece of the wood to take home and he signed it for them. Jacob was more proud of this block of wood than anything he has ever gotten. He told me on the way home, "mom this is so cool - it's like a real trophy - I am going to hang it in my room on the wall". I loved it.

Other than that, we are trying to survive this FREAKIN cold and waiting for Spring. Bring it on.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Bring it on~


Here is to a great new year with lots of positive changes, more giggles than you know what to do with, some stabilization, and add a dash of adventure. CHEERS!

Since Christmas we have been busy having some fun. We managed to get the holiday decorations down, put away for another year and made plans to decorate for Chinese New Year (begins January 26). Even unpacked a box or two and hung a shelf.

Isabella had her first Chinese Dance performance on December 30 for all the parents in preparation for Chinese New Year. It was so adorable. There are about 8 little girls in her class and soon 2 more will be joining. We got to see their interpretation to a Chinese Butterfly Dance and a Chinese Bunny Dance. Which I really think equates to, wearing butterfly wings and bunny ears while doing Chinese dance movements that appear to be butterfly and bunny like while telling a story. It was so much fun - these girls range from 3 to 5 and their dance teacher is such a wonderful person and dancer.

We had a wonderful news years eve. We hosted out first dinner party of 8, plus 5 kiddos. We even had our first overnight guests, as we maybe sipped a little to much on the champagne bottle. None, the less, we brought in the new year with cheers, toasts, hugs, and watching fireworks out our windows from around the city. I might add....all children made it to midnight. Cheers friends, thanks for the wonderful company and Happy New Year to all.