June 13, 2010

Excuses, Birthdays and Festivals

So I know it has been a while since posting, but I have been battling a number of blogging problems. They may not seem like problems, but here they are!

1) We finally have a proxy which allows me to blog on blogger instead of emailing the website. I was so excited about finally being able to make the blog look nice that I haven't wanted to blog until I have time to add all kinds of pictures and do some nice formatting. Well, my sad discovery as I have kept putting it off is that I have actually just become lazy! Why do fancy formatting when you can blame your bad formatting on having to email? Well, now I have no excuse!

2) I was also waiting until I had some more interesting pictures to put up here. But alas, my easiest form of taking pictures (my cellphone) died in a cup of water in the somewhat recent past. You may suspect (and rightly so) that there is a story behind this cellphone/cup of water combo. But having had to explain the situation to James and live through his endless clever jokes, I will keep the details minimal. Husbands can be quite ruthless when it comes to their wives and electronics. I will only say that at least my story is not as embarassing as my friend's (who dropped her cellphone in a Chinese public squat toilet! Imagine explaining that to a husband!). My new phone is much cheaper (James being reluctant to spend much on a "doomed" phone) and does not have picture capabilites. Suffice it to say that it is much harder to lug around a sizeable camera AND still take discrete photos.

3) Its been a very busy two weeks

4) I sometimes wonder if our news or my strange thoughts are all that interesting!

Now that I have written out my excuses, here is our lineup of newsworthy news.

Ari celebrated his fifth birthday last Tuesday, June 8. We roasted chicken wings, boiled jiaozi, layered a blackforest cake and invited his two newest heros for supper, his Australian and New Zealand English teachers. Unfortunately James only took a video and no pictures. Ari recieved a number of gifts. One of the more notable was our Chinese neighbors who randomly called us and asked what Ari's shoe size was, then showed up half an hour later with a new pair of expensive silver-bullet looking shoes for him. We were appreciative of course, but I knew that if I didn't quickly repay them back someway, we might be looking at offending them. So, the next day I promptly went to buy their daughter a Disney Princess toy camera. Waste no time!

Aiyi bought him a train that drives by itself and has sensors to know when to turn to avoid hitting something. The thing is about 1.5 feet long and maybe six inches tall and four inches wide. Such toys she buys! However, I suspect that it was less costly then Jude's car.

Recently the boys have experieced a bit of success at hiding toys under their pillows when they go to bed so that they can play with them "unbeknownst" to us. I don't always think to check their pillows before putting them to bed. Well, the other night as I put Jude in his bed, I paused to wonder why his pillow was sitting at a 45 degree angle. I moved the pillow and sure enough, there was the massive train and Jude with a very cute and mischeivious smile. I think he knew it was probably a lost cause when he hid it since he didn't even protest when I took it away, but even that small slice of hope must have been enough to inspire it. He must be a "glass half full" kind of guy!

This Wednesday is a national holiday for the Dragon Boat Festival. Last week, I started hearing mutterings about having Monday through Wednesday off at Ari's school. It seemed to me that the school would have officially notified us for such a long holiday. However since they have been known to post small square notices in Chinese characters on the huge gate and not provide a translation for us illiterate folk, I decided to ask his teacher.

So this is how it goes. Because Wedesday is a holiday, the school decided to have regular schooldays on the Saturday and Sunday beforehand so that they can instead take Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off. So essentially the kids work for seven days straight just so that they can have three days off straight. If we have a Wednesday holiday in Canada, everyone thinks its great because you only have to work two 2-day stints and then it is the weekend again. It seems a little presumptuous to me to assume that everyone in the country wants to have school (or go to work for that matter) on the weekend when this is normally not the case. Oh well, if that is how they do it, then they can go ahead. In our case it just means that Ari gets a 5-day holiday! James and I were not about to give up our weekend relaxation after a busy week just to cart Ari around when his school decides to hold class on the weekend. Have fun guys!

Another piece of news. Ari taught himself to whistle... I wish I were as excited about it as he is. It is our new constant companion! At least he hasn't started whistling BINGO... yet.

That is all for now!


derrydown said...

Oh, I remember the trip to Nova Scotia, during which James learned to whistle. We took to promising him a quarter if he wouldn't whistle until some future destination. It was also the trip where Diana learned not to be afraid of dogs (due to much behavioral therapy from Mom) and we found that 6 month old Laura was an amphibian.

Cindy said...

Another semi-regular reader here! I really like to see your updates and photos. Friends of ours will be travelling in the fall and ending up in Beijing, so I linked them up to check out your blog too.

Nick set up a Braun family group on Facebook. If you'd like access he could set you up. We put up some photos after our May get-together with Nick & Janet, Nicole, Liam, Heather, Ethan & Hannah.