Monday, March 19, 2012

Feast after famine

After such a long time of not posting in this blog (but reasonably consistent in my exchange student blog -- I can't seem to keep up on both at the same time), here are a bunch of photos showing some of the fun stuff we've been doing lately.  When they are all in a bunch like this, it looks like we have an amazing life (which, actually, we do).  But the ordinary days of cooking, doing the dishes, working, and keeping the house clean, those days just aren't so fascinating to photograph or write about, but those kind of days are by far in the majority.  With that said, here's a long post with lots of photos, not necessarily in chronological order.  
We had the opportunity to watch the New Shanghai Circus.  They were amazing! 

We climbed up Badger Mountain.  The view of the Tri-Cities was wonderful.  The sunset was glorious!  

Visiting Nina, Nathan, and the boys in Idaho.  So sweet memories.  Benny is pleased to show us the "worms" he is making from Mommy's bread dough.  (they tasted great!)

Two busy boys.  Snow just makes life more interesting!  

Cute!  Little boots for little feet!  

Wrestling with each other starts young!  Can anyone doubt that Ephraim has red hair?  

Two most beautiful and wonderful daughters!  Grand Teton Mountains in the background.  

It's a big world out there!  
It was lovely to see Asana over Winter Break. I am glad that we keep in touch!  

Seattle, seen from a distance.  Zixu's parents were visiting, preparatory to immigrating to Canada and I had a short opportunity to show them around while Zixu was at work.  

University of Washington Arboretum.  Zixu's mom and I had a nice time exploring gardens!  They will be even more lovely in the spring and summer.  

Kubota Japanese Garden.  It's hard to tell when they don't speak English, but I hope Zixu's parents both enjoyed this beautiful place.  Zixu's father seemed especially impressed with how tall the trees were.  Come to think of it, we saw very few tall trees when we visited China--at least not in the Beijing area.  

It's fun doing stuff with my students.  For them everything is new and exciting (usually) and I have fun with them.  I also had fun with this photo, which shows each of the students twice (Shadi also from Yemen, who lives in the Portland area, joined us for some of our adventures.  

More shenanigans from the boys.  Actually, the photo was my idea, but the sign showing how far it is to everywhere was fascinating.  

Visiting the Deals and hiking through the temperate rainforest that surrounds their remote, electricity-less home in Southwest Washington State.  The Deals are the parents of Julie's housemate while she lived in Sunnyside, and we have enjoyed getting to know them.  They caretake this little bit of forest and make marvelous pottery that they sell.   Wonderful hosts, and interesting life they live.  

A small part of the driveway leading to the Deal's home.  Be prepared for breathtakingly beautiful scenery while getting the bones rattled out of you as you drive over occasional rough spots.  

Multnomah Falls on the way home from Portland.  Always beautiful and worth visiting, although we also checked out a bunch of other waterfalls in this area.  What a beautiful world we live in.  

Overlooking the Columbia River from Vista House.  Gorgeous scenery once again, despite the gloomy clouds.  

Julie on silks.  Had an opportunity to see Julie "dance" in the sky.  It looked so effortless and graceful, but she informs me that you get a lot of bruises doing this.  

Zixu dropped his mom off at our home for two weeks.  She wanted to learn English, preparatory to immigrating to Canada, from us.  It wasn't easy but she did learn some.  Two weeks is not enough though.  We also had fun playing tennis, going on walks, making earrings, cooking (yes, I can cook some "real" chinese food now), and making a lot of jokes (about English and a lot of other things) despite difficulty in communication.  After two weeks, Zixu came back and picked her up and she will go back to China for a while.  They are not going to live in Canada full time for a while yet--there's business to tend to back in China.  

We had a lot of fun teaching Auntie June English.   The boys helped a lot too.  I'm sure Auntie June will never forget them, nor Julie, who, as a professional teacher, was the most helpful in teaching her English, and teaching us how to teach her.  We will miss her!  
Nordic skiing up at White Pass area.  Sooooo beautiful!  And by the end of several hours, we were able to stay upright most of the time.  Julie was with us, but as she was snow-shoeing, we didn't see her that much--she used different trails.  

Awesome skiers!   

Happily resting and warming up in the yurt at the trailhead.  Hot chocolate--there's nothing like it!  

The snow the boys had been waiting for finally arrived, in early January!  The only time of the year when we appreciate our steep driveway!  We got tired of the snow pretty quick, but the two boys have not yet had enough.  

What's the use of snow if you can't have a snow fight?  

While not an exhaustive record of the past 2-3 months, more photos would probably be exhausting!  I guess that's all for now.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas coming up!

Cutest Santa's helper ever!
It's so fun to have Benny and Ephraim home at last.  They have both grown and learned so much in the last four months.  And they certainly know how to take over our lives! Our fears for our Christmas tree were unwarranted, as the boys have been interested and touched everything, but have not moved or dropped any ornaments (They are plastic anyways!)  The same can't be said for other parts of the house though. 

Came home from work and found Nina listening blissfully to her book on tape.  
Benny and Ephraim were equally blissfully rearranging the kitchen utensils.  Half on the floor.....
the other half in the toy basket.

Julie and Nina making Christmas presents.  Benny must help!!

Dinning room decorated for Christmas.  A lot of work for a few weeks of Christmas, but so pretty!
Julie and I participated in another art show.  Unfortunately, it wasn't well attended, and we sold very little, but we are learning a lot.  Selling and painting are two very different skills!  

Benny learning to use chopsticks.  They are especially useful for spearing cheerios.

On top of everything else, and despite my efforts to reduce the chaos in my life, even going so far as quitting  being a coordinator for exchange students, we have ended up with TWO of them in our home, Prashant and Medo, and more involvement than ever.  Apparently I am SUPPOSED to work with exchange students.  It was also a treat to see Asana again.  Here she is (below) participating in the gingerbread house party we had a few days ago.  There's a lot of creativity unleased here!
7 of at least 9 exchange students at our gingerbread house party.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Too much to post, but here's a selection of photos

 Not sure what happened to all the time I was going to have to do other things, but I've certainly been enjoying the stuff that's been keeping me busy...

Canoeing on the Columbia River.  Bruce finds new victims, Prashant and Medo.

Katie's Mom took me riding!  So cool.  Only slightly sore the next day! 
 Hallowe'en brings out the creativity in my wonderful kids!
 Ewok, Obi-Wan, Han and Leia -- way awesome! 

Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek -- Julie is so cool! 

Julie continues to have fun biking.  I got to play "sag wagon" and follow her along,  we went through some gorgeous scenery with Mount Adams in the background. 

Julie also discovers a new way to kayak, and has Dad following her precarious example.  

We thought we would take advantage of the last of the fine weather and headed for Palouse Falls.  Prashant and Medo joined us and we hiked along the lava cliffs and admired the view.

We want to come back in the spring and see how much more water goes over the falls then.  

The Prosser Balloon Rally was fun again.  Too many balloons--it was hard to know which way to aim the camera.   THIS time, I connected with Julie, though she was also enjoying some of her other friends.

There was also a collection of exchange students along, so I bounced back and forth between the two groups.  Nice. 

Nice view looking INTO a balloon.

Deception Pass

I had opportunity to go to the coast while earning  some money, so Prashant and I headed off for an adventure. It was a rainy day but for the hour we explored Deception Pass we were given a gift of sunshine.  Gloriously beautiful place.  We must come back and camp in the vicinity.

Ocean Shores

Icy cold wind and clouds everywhere, but Prashant enjoyed his first view of the salty sea. 

Captured by an Ent

We also checked out a park in the Redmond area, where we ran into this Ent. 

Snow on Snoqualmie Pass 

And then, on the way home, it had snowed in the mountains and we had to stop so Prashant could experience his first snow.  Really wet slushy stuff, but still throwable...