Wednesday, September 21, 2011

11/13 ain't bad

If our fish survival rate were a major league batter, we'd be hitting 0.846. Ted Williams, eat your heart out.

Today was our first dead-fish-free morning so far. Hoping the streak continues.

In other news, I'm off to Beijing this weekend. I'll be coaching baseball and not seeing anything touristy. My second time to Beijing and I haven't seen anything. One of these years...

Back atcha next week.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

as promised, fish fotos

and one from Founders Day

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We have fish! (well, one less than last night, but STILL!)

It's exciting. Our "fish tank" truly lives up to its name now. Not just a "tank" anymore. Desi and I went shopping last night, and got a dozen medium sized ones, a bunch of tiny ones that have to live in a separate bowl so they don't get et, and 2 turtles who live in our old "fish condo." They are named Tom and Jerry. (Which is HUGE here, by the way. I swear it's on some Chinese TV channel or other nonstop.) Only 1 fish died overnight, woo hoo!

Pics to come tonight, after the filter finishes cleaning out all the junk that came with the rocks I dumped in last night.

In the meantime, Desi is blogging here. Feel free to add comments. He would love that.

Fall has sprung! No more heat here. The forecast, as of now:

Perfect baseball weather!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Founder's Day Parade

Today we celebrated 100 years since some missionaries founded SAS. And we sweated.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blue noise: A new home for Bobby the fish

No fish yet, but soon. Don't ask how much I paid or how effectively I bargained. I care only for the happiness of my family. All other concerns are nugatory. (look it up)

There's also: this video with both boys.

Update (w/fish, natch) soon. Check back often!

Monday, September 5, 2011

new haircuts

So it's hard to see Desi's, but trust me that there's less hair under that hat. And how precious are these pictures?

In other news, Desi passed Level Four in wu shu class. That's the level with the sword. He had passed conditionally in spring, but yesterday the master made it official. D was quite proud, as were we. I will get video of him eventually, I promise!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

the boys of summer

Friday was a home game for the Eagles. These 2 Eaglets had fun hanging around the big boys and Coach Dad. (BTW, we won 11-1. Details and box score here.)

A fun weekend overall. Swam both days, hung out with Leo and Sue Ann and their boys on Saturday afternoon. Beautiful weather here, for at least 2 more days. We are loving that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

some handy links

Here's Emmett's class blog:

Here's Desi's:

And here is the SAS baseball team page. Made by...guess who? Me.


first day of school pics

A third grader and a kindergartener. Wow.

On Friday night, about 7:30, Emmett was upset so I asked why. He said "I want to go back to school."
The next day, apropos of not much, he said, "I love my teacher." What a great start! Much better than last year, when he was mad at his teachers for months because they had yet to teach him to read and write.

As for Desi, he is loving being back with his buddies. Playing catch, swimming, some Wii games at his friends' houses. Can you imagine how many hours I would have played Lego Indiana Jones if they had had that when I was a kid? Not to mention Lego Star Wars video games. KIDS THESE DAYS are so lucky. Back in my day...

Some more pics and then it's off to the sports store to get Emmett's bike tire fixed. Plus some golf balls to go with my new clubs I just bought. First set ever!

A shout-out to Grandpa Gary is in order. Feel better, rest up, I'll see you soon.

Here's E and Mia, in matching combat unis. (In the war for peace, that is)

Not easy to get shots of Desi, as he never sits still. SO here's one of E in the reading nook. Our new apt.'s best feature.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Proposed birthday items

No pressure, but today IS my birthday (US time), so I thought I'd share 2 ideas the boys had for gifts.

A couple weeks ago, Sarah asked Emmett what they should get me. Emmett suggested, and I quote, "A live puppy."

(as opposed to?)

Then yesterday, on my actual birthday (China time), Desi asked me where they sell CDs here in China. Not realizing this was birthday-related, I said they have them at the DVD stores. Then it came to light that he was going to buy me "an Angus CD," as in Angus Young of AC/DC. We have been rocking a lot lately. And as it turns out, there is an album or 2 of theirs that I don't have. Take note, last minute shoppers! (j/k)

We are sleeping great. 8-4:30 for me last night. Kids 7ish to 5:30. Sarah had a small patch of awake at 2am, but it didn't last long.
Once again, we (think we) have defeated jet lag.

Last night we had pizza at the Dungans. The boys even dressed up for it. Emmett wore his pizza shirt, and Desi sported UO Ducks gear:

Today we are spending our last day of summer vacation going to IKEA. Then maybe some swimming or wiffle ball. Plus leftover chocolate cake. Then it's back to the school routine. Expect some pics of 1st day outfits!

back in Shanghai

Hey hey. It's time for school. The flight was fine, jet lag is fading already (so it seems for now), my birthday was fun (wiffle ball and pizza) and we have one more day off until we go back to work.

Quote of the (last few) Day(s): After Mom asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up, Emmett said "I wanna be a bunny...Maybe in my next life." A wise one, he is.

Tiredness is crashing down on me. I am trying to make it to 8 pm, and thought blogging would help. But no.

Good night all.

Monday, July 25, 2011

summer fun with visitors

Wow, 2 weeks fly by like that when you never have to go to work, huh?

1. Peace Corps friends visited.

We arranged a couple marriages. Seriously, how cute are these kids?

We also established which kid is taller. You make the call.

2. We partied for Aunt Katie's engagement to the Ricker. Thanks to Wendy, we have a photo.

Aaaand a silly one.

3. The Volz family was just in town. Fun times by the hotel pool, sleepovers with Grands and Aunt Erica. A little extra sleep for Dad.

4. And did you know you can use Jenga blocks to make a rocket?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Whidbey Island...ROAD TRIP!

Fun times driving up Sat. and down Sunday. Saw Sarah's aunt Billie and her husband Leo. Great fun, we boated, drew artworks inspired by the beautiful treeline, rode 2 ferries, learned carpentry (who say and 5 year old can't use a saw? or that an 8 year old can't use a power grinder?) and ate at the Centralia Burgerville twice!

Here's proof of most of that. I can provide receipts for the rest. We're back in Portland for the next 3+ weeks. Excited about Volz family visits beginning this weekend. Lots of trips to the park and library (but not the pool--highs in the low 70s all week. Wah wah, I know) to keep the boys entertained. And of course, more blog updates.

Peace and love only/always!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Silver Falls hike

Today was a beautiful day for a hike. So we drove down to Silverton for some Mexican food, then hiked at Silver Falls State Park. We breathed DEEPly.

This next shot commemorates the 19 years of love I have felt for Sarah since 1992, when we met, and when we last walked through this park together.

Check out little Buddha:

What a couple of hams!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Busy month, OK?

No point making excuses for the delay. Here's some photos of summer vay-cay.

We spent 6 days in Bend (central Oregon), enjoying perfect weather and the pool.

and biking...

and hanging with cousins...

and getting our eyes checked!

Lots of playing in the park, reading library books, drinking out of water fountains (my favorite thing about the USA), eating avocados. We have patronized several food carts already, including one selling Kobe beef corn dogs. (Yes, they were awesome). Fireworks tonight, only 1 very minor burn on Gary's finger. So worth it. Sarah got the boys to yell "freedom" every time they chucked a little Pop-It into the street. Take that, King George!

Might hit the Gorge or the beach later this week. More photos to come. I promise.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lucky #8

Desi turned 8! We had a Mad Science party. After all, what harm could a bunch of chemicals be in the hands of THESE dudes?

We made flubber. Even the little kids got into that:

We dissected a fish, we looked at bugs and coins and leaves in a microscope, we shot corks out of a soda bottle, plus more. I'll upload video soon. Needless to say, I am tired and have little energy left for blogging tonight. Mad science takes it outta ya.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day! and Bonus Pics

We celebrated Mom at home by cooking breakfast and hanging out together. Then we ordered Indian food for dinner.
At school, the boys had made gifts. Both in the spirit of spring:


The "hanging out" portion of the festivities included some dress up time. I can't put my finger on the style D is going for here. E seems to want to scare us, but it's hard when his summer jammies are so cute. They say "Mr. Strong" on them.

Lastly, and not that it's relevant to Mother's Day, here was E during his annual checkup. Thumbs up!

makin' cookies

Tonight we made cookies. Click here for video.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring keeps doing its thing

Happy May Day. Another perk of life in a communist country: 3 day weekend for The Workers. We spent it together, playing ball, reading Harry Potter 5 and some Choose Your Own Adventures, building robots out of blocks. Domestic bliss makes for boring blog posts, though. What you "readers" crave is actually pictures. To wit:

Here was us downtown for Easter brunch. Mmmm, haze.

Afterward, Desi and I caught a cab to his baseball practice/game. So Sarah took E around town for a "Where's Waldo?" type photo shoot. Can you spot him?

On the Bund:

On the Nanjing pedestrian mall:

On the tidal wave of consumerism:

As for the baseball game, D had fun and got some hits. He and his buddies are really getting into baseball, which I love to see. We're still working on tagging up on fly balls, and such finer points, but they can catch fly balls for real and throw pretty far. And they all love to hit, of course. Pics soon.

In other news...the littles had a sleepover that did not end in fisticuffs, unlike our first attempt last year. Proof:

Just got some more shots from spring brEAK! (As you can see, Jeff is a better photog than I)

How that my IB classes have stopped meeting, and my online training to teach online is almost over, I should have more time to blog. Of course, with all this sunshine, I might be outside throwing batting practice. I hope the sun is shining on you, but not too much. Unless you enjoy that. Osama's dead, Peace out!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Playing catch

Desi and I just caught 32 in a row. New record!

Spring has sprung, bigtime

Ok, so 57 isn't that warm. But it's 4:11 am as I type this. And check out those egg yolks on Mon-Wed. Yeah baby. Spring has meant a lot of hanging out...side.

(Note: The kid on the right is not flipping the bird. He's holding a PB&J. Though he is aware that said gesture is rude.)

What with all this warmth, we have been playing catch a couple times a week. And when I say "we," that's all 4 of us. Sarah still prefers to use a softball, which is neither here nor there. Even Emmett, historically resistant or indifferent to baseball, seems to enjoy Tee-wiffle. Maybe he is picking up on the fact that Daddy loves baseball and will always play ball with whoever wants to. Whereas "doggie" (in which someone has to crawl around like a dog) or Twister hurt Daddy's aging body. Sundays are Desi's little League day. Last week was "skills assessment," or as I like to call it, "Do you know which base is the first one?" (They all did.) I am coaching a team of 6 or 7 lovable misfits. If I can get Sarah to film next Sunday, expect a video containing multiple wild throws after each at-bat. Crazy stuff!

As for SAS baseball, we start spring training in 2 days. I am back on the varsity coaching squad now. I will have the special duty of keeping score during games in the fall. I figure to do that most effectively, I might need an iPad 2. Are ya with me, people!?

Not to mention online fantasy baseball. My first time playing. Quite hard to limit the hours I spend researching how my pitchers perform versus certain teams or scouring the stats for a new backup outfielder. I think it's good I wasn't playing this in my 20s. I might never have gotten married. Girls expect you to shower and stuff.

How's the learning of Chinese going, you say? Well, after 2 years of visiting the local retirement center as part of the school's Community Service club, I just learned 2 days ago how to say "retirement center." Jin lao yuan. Literally, it's respected elders garden, which I think is rather neat. I also learned to say "healthy food" and "junk food." I made a point to learn those because our new nanny seems to be bribing the boys with lots of sweets. She makes cookies as soon as the previous batch runs out. They've got her working hard to please them, the little twerps.

In other "news"...

I'm about to finish my online training for online teaching. In the fall, I will teach Intro to Philosophy online to a couple dozen students at schools around the US. I teach one less course here to compensate, but I suspect that, at least the first time around, online teaching will take more time than an f2f class. (That's face to face, for you n00bs). ((that's newbies, for the uninitiated)) I'm excited to get to do something that will likely become the norm, at least if ed reforms go the way I hope they do.

Some pics from our walk around the part of Shanghai near our dentist's office. The boys had appointments last week, then we hit the mall to get some birthday gifts. Two parties this weekend--both are drop-offs! Daddy get a massage, maybe...

They LOVE that public art. This performance piece reflects man's internal tension. Torn between love and hate, huh? DEEP.

This pose outside Toys-R-Us says it all.

At lunch, D contemplates. Soon thereafter, he got a haircut. Enjoy the shaggy look now, 'cause it's gone.

Time or me to go finish David Sedaris' "When You are Engulfed in Flames." Then a little Ken Burns' Baseball. (I'm on the 1930s episode). Gotta love waking up early and having a quiet house to myself.