The guys made it in time to watch the sun set and make a fire out of old receipts and kindling. Of course there were jokes and silly stories, deep talks and bonding - but I wasn't there. This was the Dad Trip. Maybe next time!! I will just leave you with some of their pictures...
The main pool is the perfect height for A&E to walk in, and the Children pool is only a few feet deep, complete with slides and climbing structures too. They have improved their swimming skills immensely - and can both swim underwater, float on their backs, and do somersaults too!
You can see in the picture above - two elevated whirlpools in the center, four lounges on the side, and some shower-jet thingies too. It's all indoors, so we can come all year-round! There is also a small lap pool for ME!! If only we had unlimited visits - I might come everyday! This is such an amazing find - and we really enjoy coming!
McNabb rating: 2 thumbs up!
I think it has also been good for the children to see other kids learning alongside them, to motivate and challenge them along, and for interaction, as well as the chance to play games in English. The kids even have special t-shirts!! Asia & Eden really look forward to Co-op each week, so I know it has been a special time for them!
As we wrapped up the school year, we decided to celebrate with an Ice Cream Social!! (since we can do that so easily!!) We made bubble-gum ice cream, with all the possible toppings we could find. YUM!!
It was a LOT of sugar...but they burned it all off with the dads in PE class, right?!!
Urumqi Kids Co-op 2010
Love, Asia, Eden & Sydney
The girls made unique frames for dad this year - in our Pre-K Co-op! Here are some of the kids in the 4-5 year old class. They were so proud of what they made!
I am so thankful for my superstar husband - who amazes me with his ability to juggle five million things with joyful ease. He functions in Chinese, English and Uyghur languages - while managing a growing ice cream business, friendships, running errands for me, AND he comes home with a happy heart! He spends quality time with each of his girls everyday (me included!), building forts, tickling, reading books, taking them on special dates (so they will have an example someday!), telling creative stories, affirming their beauty (in & out!), singing spontaneous songs, going exploring, riding bikes, teaching them Chinese, and even lending me a hand with homeschooling! ....all of this while making life here run smoothly in a foreign land for his girls. He really is the strength of our clan. I love his heart for these chickadees, and how he nurtures them individually - loving them so perfectly! We love you Daddy!!
This has been a year of growth for her! Her heart is so soft and tender, and she longs to be a good friend, a sweet sister, a loving daughter, making right choices for herself. She understands things beyond her years, and she is always listening, wondering, imagining. She has become more daring this year too - more confident, adventurous, daring. She reads books like you wouldn't believe - in every place or position. When we wake up in the morning, she is faithfully reading on the couch!! She loves to swim, and wear bright flashy colors. She loves soccer and babies and horses too. She sometimes asks if we will have more babies. :) Asia is full of love and light - she is so beautiful inside and out. I am so proud to be her momma.
On her actual birthday, she had her favorite breakfast, opened presents - and talked to her Nana, Poppa and Jamma on Skype. Later, I took Asia, Eden & BF Emma to the underground market (sounds shady, but it's not) to get their nails painted. It was so cute! They each got to choose their favorite design and get pampered. I brought lemonade and cherries to make it even more extravagant. They sat so still and were quite giddy. It only cost 10 kuai per kid! ($1.50)
For her Birthday Party – Asia wanted a Cowgirl Party!! We invited all her friends to the park for games & ice cream, which was wonderful for the 100 degree weather we had!! We stayed cool in the shade, with water balloon games and ice cream cones. We had about 45 friends(!!) there, picnicking and enjoying the party. I had fun planning her party, since I got to sew bandanna's for each of the kids! I was so tired after that extravaganza, but very content!
She was also given a rather large Chinese birthday cake from one of our local friends. The cake was quite colorful - decorated with spray paint??, with heaps of sweet whipping cream frosting, yet tasted SO artificial. We aren't fans of Chinese baked goods. Sadly, we didn't eat any - but we got this nifty picture!!
I really love celebrating each one of our girls, and it gives me such joy knowing that they are lavished with love and affection - knowing that they are such treasures, and gifts to us. Every child is a gift from above!! We love you sweet Asia, and we are so blessed by the beautiful little lady you are!!
2. Cram lots of friends into the blow-up pool. Eight, to be exact.
3. Go with mom to the veggie stand and ask her to buy you a yogurt Popsicle.
4. Swing really fast on the swings.
5. Spray each other with spray-bottles outside.
(no picture for this one - but this included buckets of water, 8 spray bottles, and lots of wet kids)
6. Have a water balloon toss with friends. (thanks for the pkg mom!)
7. Eat Ice Mountain Creamery ice cream!!
Hope you are finding ways to stay cool in your own summer heat!
Hugs from our clan XOXOXOXOXO
Bus ride for family of five: 3 kuai (45 cents)
2 kilos (4.4lbs.) of strawberries: 16 kuai ($2.40)
Fresh wind in your face on a hot day: priceless!
When you arrive at a Chinese wedding, you greet the couple in the lobby, then proceed upstairs to the banquet area. Everyone signs into a book - and the guest book guy signs your names and takes your gift. Your gift consists of $, and the amount is written next to your name!! - its all recorded for everyone to see. Some people bring red envelopes, but they are opened and recorded in the book. We just try to follow other peoples' example, and be generous too! ...since there are no wedding registries in China.
The banquet was quite loud, but the girls loved the huge bubble blower at the front of the room - blowing bubbles into the crowd. The bride & groom got showered with glitter, shaving cream & confetti during the ceremony. They were smiling thru it all, even though her dress & hair was a mess. Then she promptly changed into a red dress, to greet their guests and offer a toast to each person! Such a neat tradition!
The banquet was amazing - each table was lavished with heaps of food which we don't know the proper names of. We tried spicy beef, glass noodles, bean curd pizza?, broiled fish, Peking duck wraps with plum sauce! ....and so much more! Events like these are so FUN because you never know what to expect - we learn/try something new every time!
(p.s. It is taking me so long to catch up on this blog, because I haven't been able to load pictures for over 2 weeks. I am not sure why! ....so you will just have to picture it in your mind!)
This supermarket is on the basement floor of a huge department store. We come here about once every 2 weeks to stock up on necessities. It is surprisingly clean and organized, and they have lots of expensive import items! I am not allowed to take pictures inside, but there are fish tanks and turtles for sale (to eat)!! ...as well as every kind of tofu, hallal meat section, and chicken feet. Yummmy. New items I am thankful for: brown rice, dried pinto beans, corn flakes, fresh cut chicken breasts, dried lentils, sesame seeds, and wheat germ!! I get excited over simple things.
Things you will need:
- any size frame
- hot glue gun
- extra hot glue sticks?
The younger kids (age 4-5) made a different style of frame using:
- any size frame
- Elmer's glue
- coarse sand
- shells and/or coral
- small rocks
p.s. It's been awhile, so we aren't really UP on all the new lingo - but the kids thought it was so funny learning what "cool" and "you rock" means. We are all so sheltered! We might need some help in this department soon.
Spontaneously we decided to go hiking this morning - only about an hour's drive along the highway to Shui Xi Gou (West Water Valley 水西沟) - up a long, windy, bumpy dirt road to some green mountains! Everything is picturesque, with fresh air and nature all around. It was so wonderful!! Off in the distance we saw flocks of white goats along the mountainside. They are so agile and sure-footed on the rocky heights. It was amazing to see. We set up a picnic spot near the creek, snacked on nan bread with PB and played frisbee with the girls. We put our feet in the icy-cold creek, and made stepping stones across a narrow section. The girls are becoming more daring as they jump from rock to rock - like little goats themselves. Asia found these beautiful buttercups and made a bouquet!
Later, some big cows ventured over to our picnic spot - eyeing our goods. Later we saw them raid another groups' food -- these were crazy scavenger cows! We were laughing so hard as the cow ran off with a plastic bag of apples and soda cans. When we go the mountains we see ravenous cows, not bears or sneaky racoons. Hehehe. That made my day.
We ended up taking a longer hike up the river valley, past a small village of Kazakh yurts, and young men on horses. The kids were bounding ahead further uphill than I thought they would go! We were amazed to find some leftover winter snow at the base of the mountain - it was still cold enough to remain. The snow was so packed that it was icy blue. Asia & daddy climbed some bigger rocks for this picture:
Asia: "My favorite part of today was hiking up the rocks with daddy! I climbed higher than the snow!"