Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Katie is here. Winter Break almost is.

We are happy to have Kate here in town. Emmett has no school this week, so they are playing all day while the rest of us finish up our last week of 09. Big party at our place on Saturday night so she can meet some of our friends.

Gotta go grade final exams, but here's some evidence that the holiday spirit is a global thang.

Desi was psyched to hop on up. Asked for a robot. Methinks he might be in luck...mwahahaha! As we waited in line, Desi asked "Is that the REAL Santa?" When I feigned incredulity, he explained that it just looks like a guy in a suit. I had a feeling this day was coming. Luckily, his boots were super-authentic looking, and Desi had to concede that point. By then, it was lap-time and all doubts vanished. For now.

Emmett, not so psyched for the lap. He DID draw a picture to give to Santa. Video of that forthcoming. For now...

Here's mom and E with a shirt that gets more true with each really loud tantrum. He IS 3, after all.

And, i couldn't resist one more, as it's just a little cute. emmy wishes you all peace this holiday season. Lately he has taken to singing Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Not a dry eye in the house!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


hey there world. the work week is over, at least on this side of our beautiful blue ball. soon i'm off to catch the fading sunlight for a game of ball with Emmett. friday nights at our house are Breakfast and a Movie Night. Cereal and cartoons--at night! It's so sweet.

Then we have a party with co-workers. I'll be sneaking away from it to watch the Civil War for the Roses at a fellow Oregonian's apartment. Our other co-worker taped it off of Filipino satellite TV, which carries ESPN. Gotta love the modern conveniences. Of course, the game is already over. But so far, I have successfully avoided hearing ANY news. Let's hope it stays that way for 3 more hours.

FInal exams start here at the HS next week. I, for one, am looking forward to it. I know for a fact the students aren't, and that reminds me how great it is that I AM NOT A STUDENT ANYMORE. Sure, it's been ten years since I was. But even at 36, the math still indicates that I have spent most of my life as a student. I won't be over that hump for a couple years. So let's all pause and appreciate the fact that we don't have homework or exams or projects hanging over us.
There. Doesn't it feel good?

So we have the Xmas tree up. Stockings, lights, the whole nine yards. And if you think the Chinese-exported lights you bought are crap, you ain't seen nothin' til you've seen (or should I say "felt"?) the ones for domestic consumption. Shocking, I can tell you. Actual sparks shooting out as I plug 'em in. Still, we are enjoying the season. Lots of holiday music, and I can happily report that the boys' favorites are the parody songs on Dr. Demento's compilation album "Holidays in Dementia." Like "Rusty Chevrolet" (to the tune of Jingle Bells), "Hanukkah Homeboy" and "It's so Chic to be Pregnant at Christmas."

Desi is tearing it up these days, reading and writing like a madman. He wrote a thank you note last night with minimal help and only one misspelling. He's getting into wu shu (just got him the outfit last week) and drum lessons from a neighbor kid. Emmett is showing art skills, including a SWEET butterfly. He also likes wearing his lion costume to school for no apparent reason. I went to a parent-teacher conference and Ms. Beini said Emmy jumped through the door yesterday in his lion suit, growling and pawing the air. I promise I'll post a pic soon.

In case I don't post again for a couple days, happy birthday to Brad Brown (Dec. 7). For those of you who know him, he's now a father of two and his wife Marlo runs a nice blog that puts mine to shame.

Gotta run. GO Ducks and only 10 days til Katie arrives here!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yearbook photos!

Just got our next-year's yearbook mug shots. Emmett's class photo is coming in a couple weeks. But I can't wait to post these. So cute! Even mine turned out OK.

WHY IS THIS BOY SMILING, you ask? His pilot shirt is a clue. You see, the morning of picture day, we put a collared shirt on him, against his will. Big fuss! As a compromise, we put the pilot shirt in his backpack and said he could change into it after the picture was taken. You see how well that plan worked. Little sneak!

And, in case you forgot what I look like:

Desi is becoming a writer, before our very eyes. Below is a page from his food journal. See if you can read it. (His class learned about food last week, and this week they will analyze what they all ate last week for their dinners.)

As for Emmy, he cracks me up like every single day. A recent exchange:

While reading "The Paperboy" to Emmy, I pointed to a picture that shows the paperboy's dog following him out on his paper route.

Gary: "What a good dog! Do you know any good dogs?"

Emmett: "Alfie, and Hay-see, Dana's dog."

Gary: "Is Hay-see a big dog or a little dog?"

Emmett: "Little."

Gary: "Does it have straight hair or curly hair?"

Emmett: "Ummm, it's not hair. It has petly fur. And eyes for seeing."

PETLY FUR! i mean, come on.

and when stills are not enough, here is this:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

my trip to Yunnan

firstly, props to Sarah for watching the kids for 5 days whilst I chaperoned China Alive! Our group of 50 kids stayed in Dali, a chill little city. We did lots of stuff. See below.

we learned how batik cloth is made. a LOT of work

we had nice walks/hikes on mountains.

we took a boat ride to an island on a BEAUtiful day

those promised photos

emmy's field trip to the farm took him back to his family's roots as farmers in Gervais:

and his other family's roots as shoppers in Scottsdale:

As for the big guy, we just wish he weren't so camera-shy. (that's a travel neck pillow, BTW):

november already

Life flies by us here in Shanghai. Halloween was fun, and it never fails to amaze me how quickly the kids forget about ALL THAT candy they had just one night earlier. Not that it was all quality candy, mind you. Desserts are one of the few foods here that consistently disappoint. I guess, coming from the USA, there ain't a country in the world I could move to and say, "wow, they like sweets even more than we do."

Briefly, as it's bedtime:

1. boys started doing wu shu (martial arts) this week. pretty fun to watch. I'll get at least a photo up here soon.

2. go Cats! Way to beat Iowa and ruin their season. That's what they deserve for having all those nasty pork farms. what with the acres of poop and all...gross

3. we're excited that Auntie Katie will be here in 5 weeks. And word has it that Auntie Erica just bought her ticket for February, so we'll show her around for New Year's. Chinese, that is. Aunties on the way!

4. Musically, we're listening to a lot of Afroman lately. If you miss the dirty-but-harmless party rap of the 80s, you should definitely check out his "The Good Times." Feel free to e-request a sample. Side note to record companies: I never share music illegally. (far as you know)

5. I'll post some pics from campus tomorrow. Still the only place I can get em thru. My hope that internet censorship would lighten up post-60th National Day are for naught.

take care, wherever you are.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catching up is hard to do

Before I forget, and before I leave for a 5-day skool trip to Yunnan province, here's an update and a backlog of photos. In general, life is grand. Emmet takes a skool field trip to the organic farm today, Desi has a Grade One Literacy Morning that Sarah will get to visit. Details later, I'm sure.

He IS reading like a champ these days. Every night, Emmett looks forward to getting read to by his big brother. It is cute. As for E's schooling, his Chinese is coming along, he can count to 16 in both languages, he knows his colors, body parts, foods, family pronouns, lots of things.

And as for what we're up to...

Last weekend, went to the JZ Music Fest, outdoors, at Century Park. Lots of bands, food, fun with our friends the Wang-Chus. Never thought I'd get to do something like that here in Shanghai. Then shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) for dinner. Emmy slept thru dinner, but Desi tried some foods.

Here's what that all looked like:

This weekend, watching the high school production of Mulan (with the Wang-Chus) and heading to the grocery store. Exciting, I know. Just got some shelving at IKEA and want to fill it up with bulk items. (See, when I don't blog for a couple weeks, it's not like y'all are missing out on much.)

Next weekend...trick or treating at the SRC (big apartment complex where most teachers live).

Here's a preview of this year's costumes (Buzz Lightyear and A Knight), courtesy of my ma, who just brought them:

now THAT's cute.

Now that baseball season is over, I am resuming wu shu lessons. I'll be taking the boys to a kids' class, too. I am also looking for a Mandarin tutor for the family. My goal is never to repeat the same frustrating language-barrier-induced situation. So that I don't feel like I'm making no progress at all. Here's where YOU say "Zhu ni hao yun"--good luck.

You're all invited to come see the World Expo here, from May-Oct 2010. "Better City, Better Life" is the motto that's supposed to make us less annoyed at all the massive traffic snarls and dust. So visit and make it worth all the hassle, please. We'll likely be here a few more years, so no hurry, but Expo is a one-time thing here.

BTW, if you'll be in Chicago in early March, Sarah would love to see you. Chicago is lovely that time of year. Contact her for details.

gotta go grade papers! Love to you all. Zai jian.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Where have you BEEN? Yang Shuo!

Just returned from 4 fun days in Yang Shuo. It's down by Viet Nam. Biking, cave exploring, river boat trip, cool nighttime light show on the river. Here's some pics. More to come ...

As you can see from the top photo, it was China's 60th birthday recently. So at times, West St. in Yangshuo was crowded, as it was also Moon Festival on Oct. 3. Lots of Chinese tourists, some Europeans, and a handful of Americans besides us. Here's a shot of some country folk who thought Janet and Steve were photo-worthy:

(won't upload. try again later)

Friday, September 18, 2009

China Cup JV Baseball Tournament

Well, I've been busy coaching. That's my excuse for not blogging. Can't keep blaming the firewall (though it IS still a hassle). Anyway, here I sit in the coaches' lounge during a beautiful sunny DAY 2 of the big tourney. Our opponent last night was defeated by swine flu, and didn't even make the trip from Beijing. But after that 1-0 start, we hit a rocky patch this morning, losing a close game, 25-0. In our defense, the sun was in our eyes. Also, the opponent, from SAS' other campus across the river, has no varsity team, so we were basically playing their varsity guys. The umpire was a crack whore. And did I mention the sun was in our eyes?

ANyway, game 2 is soon. Let's hope we score. Pray for us now, will ya?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Swimming pool, tall buildings and breakfast 4 dinner

Fun times at our house. Friday nights are now "Breakfast and a Movie Night." This replaces "Pizza and a Movie Night" now that Desi is off dairy and wheat. Last week, the boys started without us, as we were at a mixer with HS parents. So Sarah and I caught only the end of "A Bug's Life." (it's just as well--I get scared by the bad guy bug). And even though we switched from pizza to breakfast for Desi's sake, it's the little guy who has embraced the new regime with the most "viggah" (RIP, Teddy). Every morning at breakfast, Emmy asks "What day is it?" and you can see the disappointment when the answer is anything other than Friday. Today, Sarah said "It's Tuesday." E said "I want Fivesday." Could be the influence of Chinese, in which Friday is basically day 5.

Beautiful weekend, lots of swimming. I coached the first JV game of the year on Sat. morning....afternoon (one LONG inning at the end), and the boys did alright. We identified some things to work on in practice this week. Then the big tournament is next week already! Short season this year.

Last week, school sent the 10th grade teachers like me downtown for a training on using the new Mac laptops we have, and which the kids get today. We were told to go out and get some video and some pictures. As it was a nearly cloudless day, I convinced my group to go up into the tallest building in the world. It's the Shanghai World Financial Center, seen in the background of this archival photo. The one with the bottle-opener shape:

It was awesome. If I can get it to work. I'll post a short video I filmed up there. We got to walk along the top of the opening--the 100th floor! Crazy high, crazy view. Only in China...

back to work now.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

video train a rollin'

Hey y'all. An up and down weekend here in Shanghai. The adults got DOWN on Saturday at Zapata's dance club, then the kids threw UP on Sunday. Desi went to skool, but Emmy stayed home today. He's fine, just trying to contain the germs.

Briefly, a plea to loyal readers: go to youtube.com and please subscribe to sarahpearlz
(just search for her channel, and then click the yellow button)

That way, when a new video goes up, you'll be notified. I won't need to write a new post every time I upload video. And there will be a lot coming, now that camera is fixed and skool internet is accessing youtube easily again.

That is all. Hope your world is a nice place today

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a new apartment tour

here is the updated apartment tour. low-res, but on the plus side, you can watch it on your iPhone. (just for you, EB)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Superdad at the Park

No Need to Tell Them to Make Silly Faces

Dude - Where's My Hot Dog

S and Nolan - So Cute

E and Arlo Having a Moment

D Reading to the GPS

4 Scary Bears

E and D and G at Beavers Game

Pearmine Family

when it rains, it pours

Hope you're enjoying the new photos. Big Shanghai shout-out to my dad, the "shadow Gary," who has been posting pics for me. We've gone inter-continental, folks!

So here's some summer highlights. Many of our loyal blog readers (you know who you are) were involved in these activities, so let's reminisce, why don't we?

In no particular order, fun memories of summer '09:

* meeting new babies Arlo, Carter, Chloe and Nolan. (FYI--no one names their kids Mike or Jenny anymore.)

* playing spades with Mark and EB. now that I look thru my photos, it appears we seem to have a "no photos of adults" rule in effect when we're at the Ferdigs. so imagine, if you will, EB and Gary sitting across from one another, not table-talking like Mark and Sarah always do, then winning the last few games of the summer and riding off into the sunset as World Champs. smells like...victory.

* 4 words: Powell's City of Books

* visits with family on both sides. several Volzes in attendance, including the Shadow Blogger (see above). Grandma Milo, always a hoot. (to borrow 1 of her words)

* 2 weeks at the beach, with good friends and beer and chowder and WOW there are a lot of really big people in America. It really hit us at Mo's Chowder House (go figure). No offense America, but it looks like Texas ain't the only place where everything's bigger.

* eating burritos, and any other Mexican food we could get our hands on. the semi-permanent taco truck on 50th/Division is good. If you haven't made a run for that border yet you should. also, the Mexican restaurant in Pacific City, which we must have driven past many times without so much as a glance, was EXACTLY the kind of food I miss most. do yourself a favor, por favor, and sample their flavor.

* clownin' with Nawwal. and I mean that literally.

* riding Tri-Met. On one of my round trips, I actually paid again instead of using my transfer. "Twas but a small token of affection for the system that dragged my tired butt back and forth for 8 years.

* almost-daily trips to Sellwood Park to slide the slides, ride the barf-a-rama or play Monster. That's when I chase the kids around the play structure. I'm a very slow monster, more of a zombie, really. Still haven't caught Desi.

* Nice clean air and people stopping at red lights were wonderful. But I have to say we got annoyed when cars stopped for pedestrians who aren't at a real crosswalk and who, by all rights, should have to stand there and wait. There's the awkward attempt to make eye contact thru a windshield, and all the arm-waving like "YOU go" "No YOU go", and the nervous first couple steps off the curb. Meanwhile, precious seconds have slipped away FOREVER. Maybe I've been in a big city too long, but it's just easier if we all assume that cars only stop when they HAVE TO, aka at red things. How 'bout it, Portland?

* sorry 'bout that. must...focus...on...highlights

* Movies in the Park: Madagascar 2 at Brentwood Park. Opening act was middle-school break dancers, and they gave lessons to little kids (like ours). Beautiful night, no bugs, snuck in a couple beers, pic-a-nic dinner. so many great things about PDX all in one.

* so many great restaurants, we each gained like 10 pounds.

* Trader Joe's hummus, Goodwill's Ralph Lauren cargo shorts (I'm wearing right now) for 7 bucks

* our cool rental house in Sellwood. might just get that place again next year. after our 2-week RV adventure across the West, that is. MUCH more on that later.

This paltry list omits a lot of fun. I hope guest blogger Sarah adds anything major I forgot when she steps up to the plate this weekend. I'll be off at Day 3 of baseball tryouts (coaching JV this year). Then the big school welcome back BBQ.

and keep checking back for more photos...better Nate than Lever, I always heard

Thursday, August 20, 2009

After Eight Years...

A Clown and Her Best Customers

Summer Friends

SY 09-10: Off and running

Well, school has started up again for all 4 of us and so far, so good. Emmett is now a Grasshopper, and 13/14 of his classmates are girls. Expecting several arranged marriage proposals before year's end. He seems quite excited to be back at school after all our travels. Still unclear on what "Portland" or "China" means, though. Yesterday he was asking where the Ferdigs are. I said they are in Portland, and he asked "Are WE in Portland?" Then last night he was asking about Vicki, a girl who lived across the street last year, who has since moved back to Germany with her mom. But the rest of the family is still here. ?!?! Emmy struggled to get that whole concept.

D was excited and a little anxious to start first grade. His teacher is a lovely woman from New Zealand, so we're hoping he picks up some Kiwi-isms (e.g. they pronounce "pasta" to rhyme with "canasta"). He knows a couple classmates from last year, and one of them has a little brother in Emmy's class. It's a VERY small world out here in the Western expat outpost that is far-west Shanghai.

There's something about our kid starting "FIRST GRADE" that hit us harder than kindergarten. It could be the adverbs. On those rare occasions when Desi isn't saying "butt" or "fart" or both, it's an "apparently" or "actually." Last night at dinner, Sarah looked at Des and said it might make her cry, looking at what a big kid he's become. He dismissed such concern by reminding her, "Ya still got yer lil' baby Emmers." (note: Emmers then denied being a baby. He said he is a big kid)

As for me, I am teaching 4 World History classes and an ESOL study hall. All the kids seem nice and bright. And my biggest class has only 18! Gotta love that. My schedule is quite lopsided--my "A" days are 4 classes straight through, my "B" days I only teach 1 of 4 periods. Must...use....plan time...wisely! Baseball tryouts began yesterday, saw 38 boys come out in the POURING rain. I'm assisting JV this year, and looking fwd. to a lot of hard work and teaching the rules of the game to some fairly green players.

Sarah is off and running at work, liking Year 2, knowing the ropes much better. I'll ask her to guest-post this weekend.

Next post should be photo-riffic. I'm sending some to my dad to post for me, beyond the clutches of the Great Firewall of China. Maybe after the big 60th anniversary celebrations in October are over, our internet access will improve. Til then, don't expect much of us on facebook.

And happy 50th to Hawaii! If we're not gonna give it back to the Hawaiians, then we should celebrate stealing it fair and square!

party on party people....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

10 years!

Happy Anniversary to us. 10 years ago today, we got married. So far, so great. We are heading downtown tomorrow night to celebrate. For now, we are at work, kids start next week. I am trying to upload photos from the last few days in Portland, so bear with me...

Friday, August 7, 2009

please stand by

Quick note to anyone trying to contact us via facebook: Facebook is not working for us here now. That might change soon, as the blog wasn't working yesterday but did display today. There's really no rhyme or reason to it. Gmail is working great, as is skype (sarahpearlz). So stay in touch, especially as we don't work 'til Tuesday and there's not much outside play for us tomorrow (typhoon). Stay cool where you are...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"We're there, dudes"

don't remember which movie that quote is from, but it's true all the same. we are back in Shanghai, after the easiest flight ever. Desi slept for 9.5 of the 12 hours, Emmett 6. Not so much for mom and dad, but we're hangin' in. Apartment got painted, looks sweet. Will soon film another apartment tour and put it on youtube.

So I have to brag a bit. I packed our bags, United's limit is 50 lbs. per bag. All 8 were at least 47, and only 2 were over by 1.5 pounds. (After some shifting of movie candy and kids' calcium, all was well.) A big shout-out to Kelly for loaning us her bathroom scale. In addition, we had 4 carry-ons (the legal limit) and 6 personal items (2 over the limit), not counting my chicken Caesar. So I gate-checked the 2 heaviest carry-ons, for no charge, and our friendly driver Jordan (no relation to the basketball player) helped us load the van once we got thru the "health check" and customs. BTW, they've relaxed a bit about the whole swine flu thing--all we did was fill out a form and check "No" I don't have a fever and I didn't hang out with any feverish types. No more forehead laser scan on the plane, like we heard about happening back in June.

From the Shameless Fishing Dept., my birthday *tomorrow* might involve a massage, maybe a trip to the Shanghai Museum (can you believe I didn't go once all last year? no you cannot!), and whatever other fun I have the energy for. Prolly buy me a good imported beer or 2.

I have some sweet photos ready (beach, Safeco Field Mariners game, kids with their friends) but I am typing this thru vtunnel.com, which gets text around the Great Firewall of China but not images. So I'll go into work Monday and maybe get some pics to y'all that way. Feel free to request them via email. (mention this ad when you write for a FREE bonus pic).

Friday, July 31, 2009


At the dentist a few weeks ago we learned that Desi had 8 cavities. Today he has zero. All is well after a couple hours under general anesthesia yesterday. 4 fillings and 4 crowns. Only a few days left til we get on a plane for Shanghai. Here's a photo to assuage my guilt about infrequent blogging.

Sarah's hair is not actually straight, just a camera trick.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Emmy is learning Attitude

So we're hanging out at the rental house today, drawing with sidewalk chalk. Emmett asked Aunt Mary to draw him a tiger. So she did. Emmy was eyeing the orange chalk she was using and he said "Is that MY chalk?" She tried to explain that he had ASKED her to draw him a tiger, and he replied "Well I know, but I'm just sayin'."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

summer in Portland is just the most fun

Yesterday we went to Pearmine Farms to pick cherries/berries and eat a lovely dinner of veggies and lamb. ("And thank you lambies!") Had a nice visit with Larry/Linda/Milo (aka Grandma Cookie--she lived up to her nickname yet again. mmm, crispy AND chewy.

The first photo shows how Emmett farms.

Here's Grandpa Larry (face obscured to protect the innocent) with his newest picking crew:

I suggest you don't mess.

Because we just love farmers so much, last week we hit the Sellwood farmers' market. Desi scored a balloon lightsaber.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

maybe the scariest pirate photo EVER

more pics to come tomorrow

Monday, June 29, 2009

summertime rules

we're at the beach. i have 4 minutes left on my library internet time.

quick story. we were loading the boys up into the car, and had to get out of another car's way, so I drove about 10 feet with the boys unbuckled. mom jokingly said it was OK because no one saw. Desi says" GOd and Santa CLaus can see everything."

Are we good parents?

Portland people--see you Monday. others--later on

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Eagles Have Landed

We're home. Almost over the jet lag--maybe 1 more day and we'll feel normal. "Normal" being a relative term, of course, what with us NOT GOING TO WORK FOR THE NEXT 7 WEEKS. Yeeeeaahh boyeeee.

Since we landed on Saturday afternoon, we have "done" Portland. To wit:

1. I went to Powell's and bought books.
2. We ate and drank beer at the Deschutes brewhouse.
3. We crossed the street during the Gay Pride parade. Surprisingly, the boys asked no questions.
4. The Sellwood branch of the library was nice enough to loan us an armload of books and some cassettes to listen to during the drive to the beach this weekend. (the link is for the benefit of this blog's younger readers)

and we walked to almost all of these essentially Portland destinations!

I still haven't had my burrito. Today, it will be eaten. Then I'm off to see my old co-workers/comrades in arms in the battle against ignerance. Sarah and the boys will visit the Ferdigs again. Their kids are as cute and sweet as I remember.

We'll be in touch, now that we've scored a cell phone. There's always our Skype #, also. I'll email out both #s to the usual suspects.

Expect a bunch of photos son, as I clear out the backlog. Nice to be in the land of the free again, where no one is censoring the internet.


Come Sail Away

Here's Desi singing/dancing about the sailor's life. ahoy!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Desi's friend Aidan's pirate party pics

here's the link to the pirate party pics. enjoy.

High-tech kindergarten

Hi all. T-minus 5 days til launch. Packing up all the gifts we bought y'all, finishing our summer shopping list (just added: Scotch Guard for our patio couch covers), and saying goodbyes to families we won't see for a while. In some cases, a long while.

Desi's class performed last week, but Dad screwed up. I thought it was in a different place, and was told by the guy in charge that the time had changed. I duly reported this to Sarah, and ended up causing us both to miss it. Not SuperDad that day. Anyway, I still owe the blog some footage from last month's "When I Grow Up," so I'l see about linking to that today.

For now, here's a class project of Desi's. You can see their drawing/written work and hear them describing their favorite thing from the year.

I can't create links because I'm doing this thru a proxy site, so you'll have to copy this line and paste into the address box of your web browser:

Desi's voice comes in at about the 37-second mark.

Bye for now.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Photos are up on facebook, check 'em out

here's an explanation of the recent problem:

stick with me, here

Hi all. We continue to be unable to blog at our apartment. And here at school, I can access most of the webpage I need, but not certain buttons, so I can't figure out how to upload photos. Check my facebook page--I'll put some recent photos up there. Or, for those of you we'll see this summer, just wait a couple weeks and see us then! We are down to 11 days, and many of those are full of social activities. So I'm sure it will feel like no time at all before we're on break. summertime!!

I taught my last couple classes today. Final exams start tomorrow, and I'll spend the time prepping for my World History course for next year. I'll have 2 classes of my own (woo hoo!) and I'll co-teach 2 more. Those 4 plus a study hall equals my whole teaching load next year. Just one course to prepare for--again, woo hoo!

Sarah is busy wrapping up end-of-year report writing and going to parent meetings. Desi enjoyed his birthday celebration at school a few days ago. He also performed on stage again in a kindergarten assembly--video to come someday! Desi is becoming quite the reader and writer, and of course artist. Emmett is learning Chinese faster than the rest of us, and both boys are having fun with pirate Legos and race cars and joking about buts and farts. Wonderful Boy stuff (well, maybe not always wonderful.)

Library is kicking me out. I'll get on fb and post photos here in a sec. promise

take care, blog fans!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So much to say...

For some reason, blogger has been not working. Maybe the impending 20th anniversary of a certain historical event that I am not at liberty to name is causing the problem. Don't know. Anyway, vtunnel.com to the rescue. Here's photos of Desi's bowling party from May 16. We had some fun, and now we can say we bowled in China.

Oh boy. still not working. i'll try again later

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TV Turnoff Week

Quick update here during "Unplugged Week," when we're supposed to not watch TV or use the computer. Fun weekend--Friday night, Sarah and I saw the Shanghai Dance Co. (above) in the school's Performing Arts Center. Played at Kid Town on Saturday for Keller's 4th birthday, then bought some new patio furniture on Sunday. We've been grilling salmon and asparagus, riding bikes, having lots of fun. Gearing up for Desi's birthday party Sunday. Rain threatens our mini-golf plans, but know this: WHATEVER WE DO, FUN WILL BE HAD.

Monday, May 4, 2009

May the 4th be with you

sorry for the dearth of videos lately. between China's stupid firewall and the fact that the boys broke the videocamera, it's been a rough go for video of late. I am working on uploading a couple short ones. in the meantime...

Just had a fun 3-day weekend. May Day, for those of you living in the US, is International Workers' Day. Not that you'd ever know it living there. Like most of the at-least-semi-developed-world, China gives you May 1 off. So we went downtown for a couple nights. Saw Leo Chu and his family. Tooled around Century Park on a double tandem bike (zip it, Katie Pearmine!) like this one. ate good food, got away from the burbs for some big-city action, and came back refreshed and ready to attack the last 40 days before we get on that big silver bird to jump the pond back to The World. (sorry, lapsed into 'Nam slang there)

alright, 5 failed upload attempts later, I quit. here's some still photos til I can figure out the video thang.

desi getting fit with one of the locals at Zhudi Park:

mom and e on a break during our walk to the store

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Slinging Webs...worldwide

(sorry for the cheesy title. couldn't resist)

FYI: back-filling here...so much happened around emmy's birthday, i'm only now realizing what didn't get blogged.

One of the Volz family traditions I am keen on continuing is the "un-birthday" present. So the sibling of the birthday kid gets one gift to keep them from
a) feeling ignored
b) being annoying about it.

This year, we debuted the concept. While he felt that maybe ONE gift was too few, Desi nonetheless liked his Black Spider Man outfit. As you can see:


one of emmy's gifts was a traditional red/blue spider man suit. naturally, web-slinging lessons ensued.

hey, even superheroes gotta learn somehow

the master and his apprentice (notice desi's cobra-poised-to-strike and emmy's rock and roll devil horns)

time to go solo. but...
how does it go again?

oh yeah. that's more like it

so watch out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

criminal negligence

i have no idea how this photo has sat, unblogged, since it was snapped in October. BAD Gary

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

To Maximize Your Viewing Experience...

Right now, turn on "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas. If you don't own the song, at least get the 30-second preview from the iTunes store going.

I'll wait.


Now see what Emmett does when he hears that song.

deep bow shows LOTS of respect for opponent

yeah, YOU! I'm comin' for YOU!

the pretzel attack. WARNING: not for amateurs. Blogger.com assumes no responsibility for injuries you sustain while attempting sweet moves pictured herein.

multi-limb attack. note the perfect form