Thursday, October 2, 2014

the first half of September little things

I'm going to start doing these "little things" a little more often because there's just too much to keep track of for a whole month.  

September started with the first day of school on the first (here).  

Love walking these two to school.

Lucy has become even more of a little bookworm.  She will read most of what she can get her hands on.  
Because she was so into Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on our way here, we all heard parts of it (she likes to read aloud...a lot...which is pretty funny and pretty cute).  In honor of her finishing that book we all watched the movie together.
I glanced over at the kids during the movie and wondered to myself when the last time was that we watched a movie together as a family at home.

I don't know if it has happened for years.  We used to be religious about "Family Movie Night" years ago (more about that back HERE), but gradually everyone started to have way more important things to do on Friday nights.  Ha!  So we have loved bringing back those movie nights here.

We have had more rain than we bargained for.
We love the rain.

Lucy gets especially excited when she gets to pull out the umbrella she has claimed is hers and carries it around with pride.  
She could care less that it's broken.

We bought some knock-off rain boots and have put them to good use.

 Here we are trying to show how the school buses look here:

These two went to girls' camp the second weekend we were here.
Their faces tell how excited they were about that.  It's so tough to be in such a new environment with all new people and be jet-lagged all at the same time after just starting a week of school.

I could feel their pain until we met up with the other girls on the bus who were darling and so outgoing and I knew they were in good hands.
So grateful for such good leaders and outgoing girls who took them right under their wings.  I could just hug them all.

We found a great gymnastics place pretty close-by (I told about how funny it was to get there back here).  Claire got to do an intermediate trial class for two hours, but he wanted her to stay for the advanced one too so she had four hours of gym that afternoon.
 She couldn't have been happier about that.

There have definitely been some ups and downs as far as homesickness goes.

The first week was all newness and we were kind of on a high, but the second week was rough.

Even Lu was a little homesick.  I found this text she wrote to her kindergarten teacher:
(I happened to have her cell number in my phone and she found it.)

I thought it was so sweet.

There are a lot of ups and downs but things are gradually evening out and these kids are pretty darn resilient.

We had a three day weekend for the Mooncake Festival (back here).   Loved having some down time together after getting a couple weeks of school under our belts.

We went to the "knock-off" market that the kids were pretty enthralled about.

I have loved getting to know these ladies and many more.

Working hard in keeping up on journals.

And "socks" are still the favorite hairstyle (for me darn easy!...tutorial at the end of this post back here).

Back-to-school night in Lucy's classroom.  Here's Lucy's seat.  Kind of fun to get to know these kind parents of the kids she sits by:

Grace's friend from Hungary happens to have most of the same classes with her.  It was fun to get to know her mom better when I got to go to Grace's classes amidst all the other ones I tried to get to (tricky to try to get to five kids' multiple teachers all in one night!)

Spotted these identical twins on the way home from school one day.
It was my heart-of-heart dream when I was a kid to have a twin.  I always wondered why oh why my big sister and I couldn't have just been born at the same time.  We I wanted to be just like those girls up there.

Sometimes my girls want to be twins too, but the hair is about as far as we get:

Our branch had a photo scavenger hunt party for someone who was moving away.  Here's one of our photos we took for the competition:

These guys in this shop are so nice.  I just bought more chopsticks from them yesterday.

Most of the pictures were on someone else's phone, but here's the list of photos we were supposed to get:
It was a great way to get to know the city a little better.

Our school had a swim meet.

And we had "district conference" where everyone came together from a huge area of China for meetings on Saturday and Sunday.
I was so grateful for those meetings.  Some of the talks just spoke to me like never before, exactly what I needed to hear.  So grateful for church and for all that it does to help me remember what's really most important in life.

We had Kevin and his family over for dinner.

We love these guys so much.
They have some of the best hearts I know.
And Claire thinks these two are the best things since sliced bread.

So glad we get to see them every so often.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

happy birthday Lucy!

It's a big day today.

And by the time this posts we will be celebrating it in a pretty cool place (Angkor Wat!).

For now, here are her pictures from her school celebration.

The girls:

The boys:

The bearer of "the birthday treat:"

She wasn't duped into how cool it would be to bring fruit this year (last year we brought rainbow fruit kebabs) and was determined we were going to bring brownies so we did.

And her class loved it.

Made me so happy to be in that class with wonderful teachers and kids.

Lu is one lucky birthday girl.

Happy Birthday dear Lu!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5th grade soccer day

I got to chaperone the 5th grade soccer day with Claire's class last week. 

It's an annual thing around here where schools from all over Shanghai meet up to play soccer together, and it was pretty cool.

Here we are in Claire's classroom with "Team A" planning for their strategy to win all the games.
 She was so excited to play she could hardly stand it.  That girl adores soccer.

These are the other moms I got to chaperone with.  Loved getting to know them better.
One is from China and the other is from Korea and have such interesting stories to tell.  I sat by another mom on the bus who told me all kinds of things about the history of Chinese, Japanese and Korean writing and characters.  Loved picking her brain about so many things that are so new to me.

We moms worked together to try to keep the good sportsmanship alive even though the hopes and dreams of winning every game slipped away pretty darn quick.

The kids still had so much fun.
I mean, what's not to like when you get to be outside away from school books all day?

Loved being with this little sweetie pie of mine.
 ...and getting to know the kids in her class.

Claire left determined she was going to figure out how to make this kind of a day happen back at home.

Monday, September 29, 2014

a back-to-school photo shoot

For some reason these pictures are showing up pixelated, which makes me hesitant to post them...but I don't have time to re-export them so just imagine them crystal clear how Elle took them will you?  Thank you :)

Back at home my friend (and cousin) asked Elle to do a back-to-school photo shoot for her kids with a backdrop.

We checked around the house to find the best place for lighting and we landed in the family room.

I adore the light in there (and miss it so much here!)

This is what it looks like with a gray backdrop:
And this is what it looks like without.  (I am always Elle's model to set up :)

We did a few trial shots with the girls who were hanging around.
 (5th Grade)
 (2nd Grade)

We re-introduced the good old fan as a prop for hair movement.  (We haven't done that since clear back HERE.)

Lu was in a grumpy mood.  Elle sure knows how to cheer up kids who need it.

And then the "real" models arrived:

Cutest kids ever.

I love how they turned out. 
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