Sunday, July 31, 2011

Class in Lake Chelan???

Yep, I actually spent a week in class at Lake Chelan! I felt like I was in college again, wanting to skip class to play frisbee or hacky sack when the sun finally came out. However, unlike my younger days, wisdom told me I better not do that. Since the hotel was free, Mike and the girls tagged along and spent their days swimming, swimming, swimming, hiking, swimming, swimming, picking blueberries, and more swimming. Get the idea?

Our hotel had a great covered bbq area, so we could grill dinner each night. Here's the chef himself:)

Trail at Echo Ridge, above Manson, where we were staying. Must be at the beginning, since they are still smiling!

Snack time!

Feeding the goats at Sunshine Farms

Jaelyn's turn

Family photo op. This was actually after class, in the town of Chelan

The only proof that I was with them this week. Jaelyn snapped a pretty decent photo of us!

Photo op with a barn owl while at the Chelan Farmer's Market.   
I think their wish became "I hope this 4-hr. hike ends soon!" Actually, Mike said they were real troopers.
View of Lake Chelan from their hike.
Jaelyn snapped this one too.
Fun times
I heard a lot about this lizard!
Such a sweet photo op

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chaoyang Team 2011 Video...

I finally got the Chaoyang Team 2011 Video finished. I must give credit to Jared Patterson on our team, as he took a majority of the photos and graciously allowed me to use them. I just love looking at all the beautiful faces!


video

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Not to be Outdone....

It's only been 2.5 weeks since Kaia learned how to ride a two wheeler, so that was motivation enough for Jaelyn to follow suit. She had some challenges balancing since she had to lean forward to accomodate her short arm, so Mike rigged something up so she wouldn't have to. I will decorate it later so it matches her bike and looks cute. Also, Jaelyn is not nearly the risk taker that Kaia is, so it took her some coaxing to trust me in working with her. Before you know it, she was grinning ear to ear with her success. The first time she did an extended loop on her own, she hopped off her bike, running to each one of us, jumping up and down and proudly exclaiming "I did it, I did it!" I wish I had my camera then, but I did run in and get it before the second ride. As you can see, she still had the grin pasted on her face. Stopping is still something that needs working on!
 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crazy Camping...

I know the rest of the country seems to be scorching hot, but here in the PNW we are experiencing an unusually rainy and cooler summer than usual. Not that it gets very hot here, but this summer we get ecstatic when it hits 65 degrees! That is why we were so looking forward to getting away to the east side of the state, where it is typically much dryer and warmer. Unless you are from here, most people don't realize that much of Oregon and Washington is actually desert-like climate.

Mike and Josh spent a week at wrestling camp, then headed to Wenatchee for football camp. A friend and I and our three girls were going to spend four days camping nearby, at a state park along the Columbia River. We should've known we were in for it the first day when we came back from the playground to find our campsite completely soaked by sprinklers. And when I say completely, I mean outside/inside and underneath tent, as well as the picnic table in a large puddle of water. The sprinklers were still on when we arrived, so we had to brave the water to strategically block the sprinklers with our food and storage bins. Wish I had photos of us scrambling around, but at the time I was not seeing the humor in it all! Once we dried everything out and moved our tent from the standing water, we were able to enjoy ourselves at the water area for the afternoon.


However, that was short lived as it rained while we prepared dinner. I was attempting to start a campfire to roast hotdogs (usually Mike's job), but the rain was hindering my efforts. We quickly went to plan B, boiling them, and had a picnic inside our once dry, but now wet again tent! Did I mention my lame attempt to start a fire? Not only was it raining, but I had no kindling, and limited amounts of newspaper. I abandoned my efforts to join the crew in the tent for dinner. The girls were disappointed that s'mores were not going to be on the menu for later that night. Imagine my surprise when Kaia stepped our of the tent to exclaim "Mom, I see flames in the fire!" Yep, the fire started on its own, thanks to the wind that kicked up, along with the rain. So everyone went to bed with full tummies and smiles on their faces.
So proud of myself, even though I didn't really do anything!
Speaking of wind, for the second night in a row it blew all night, and we awoke to the return of the rain. And not just a little. RAIN! We spent the early morning in the tent, thankfully entertaining the girls with a portable DVD player. We realized that our belongings were once again getting wet,  as the water was seeping up through the seams of our tent floor. Call us whimps, but we were done with rain and sprinklers, all while entertaining two 7 year olds and a 6 year old. Priceline to the rescue! That's right, we did what any city girls would do, hopped on the iPhone and grabbed a decent hotel with a pool, then quickly packed up, and got the heck out of dodge.
Only Kaia forced a smile, feigning to be having fun!
We never looked back, and enjoyed the next two days with heated pools, showers, and real beds! Unfortunately some bug hit Josh's football team while at camp, so they called it quit a day early and headed home. Fortunately neither Mike or Josh got sick, but many did. What a crazy, but memorable crazy camping trip it was!





Friday, July 15, 2011

More China...

...Only this time, China came to us!  This week we hosted two young girls on exchange from Chongqing, China. Amanda is 13 and very limited in her Chinese. Jenny is 14, and did most of the speaking for the two of them, although her English is only somewhat better. What cracked me up was that Kaia and Jaelyn loved spending time with them, and would have quite the one way conversations with the girls!

When they first arrived and I showed them their rooms (now that Kellen is gone we have a spare room, and Josh's room was available due to he and Mike being at wrestling camp), they were both scared of falling out of Josh's loft bed. I told them they could share the guest room, but Jenny finally agreed to stay in Josh's room. Well it only took one day for that space to become the hangout, where I heard typical girl chatter and much giggling taking place. It might have been in a foreign language, but teenage girls are the same everywhere!  I even caught them taking photos of Josh's photo! I understood "Justin Bieber" when they were chatting while looking at his photos. Kind of glad that he was gone while they were here, or I think there would have been some mad crushes!  I took the girls to Kellen's apartment one day, and they were quite shy around him. Not the same two girls that were giggling in their room earlier.
Jaelyn, Jenny, me, Amanda, and Kaia saying goodbye.
Time went by to quickly, and they had to move on to another family since we are going camping and I have class coming up. We are hoping to be able to make the farewell party in August. Josh will be back, so I will definitely take him to meet the girls:) Since our conversations were so limited, I'm not exactly sure where they thought Mike and Josh were, so it may be a complete surprise to them to actually meet the rest of the family.

In typical Chinese fashion, the girls came laden with gifts for us. A beautiful purple fan (how did Jenny know my favorite color) and stand, a wallet made out of Chinese yuan, three music CD's, several Chinese paper cutouts, a stuffed pig for Jaelyn, and a teacup for Kaia. But my favorite gift was the new Starbucks coffee mug! How did Amanda know I have a collection of mugs from this exact same series? When she gave it to me I enthusiastically dragged her over to my cupboard to show her my other three mugs. She must've thought I was some crazy lady!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Chopstick Wars...

John from our Chaoyang team had this great idea during our restless wait for food one afternoon. Funny thing is we asked for fast food that day so we could spend more time shopping that afternoon, than eating. Turns out it was our longest wait of any of the meals! So John had this crazy idea to film us having chopstick wars practice.  You can hear how competitive it got!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Life...

Refreshing scene on our back porch!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

R.I.P.

Today we received the sad news that our dear Grace died. I am so glad God chose us to hold her and show her love while she was here on Earth. I only wish we could've done more. May she rest in peace, forever in His arms....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer School....

Today's lesson at summer school was Bike Riding 101, and Kaia passed with flying colors.  Jaelyn's session was Videography 101, and she did quite well herself!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Photo Snapshot....

Here are some beautiful photos that our team member, Jared Patterson, took while in China. No words are necessary....