Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuna Bay photo extravaganza

Got back Sunday from Malaysia. Beautiful island, calm ocean, much snorkeling. We saw several clownfish (aka Nemo), angelfish, parrot fish, and I even saw a ray. Some rain complicated our beachcombing, but enough sun was had to recharge our batteries for the last quarter of school.

Here's the bus ride to the airport:



After some flights (and a forgotten passport that caused our friend Jeff and his daughter to catch a later flight) we were on a boat. Safety first!

Then we got here.

Emmy will be happy to show you around.

We got ready to swim. No sun gonna burn us.

And with this vest on, E is unsinkable.

On our last day, still no sign of a tan. Rain and caution explain that. Still, D's cheeks were peeling a bit today.

D and his pal got a scuba lesson. As D said later, "Maybe scuba isn't my thing." But good on 'im for trying it out.

We spent a lot of time eating and drinking.

A little backgammon too, for the dads.

We were sad to leave,

but made the best of the car ride. Despite our driver not caring about it, I'm not sure how legal that was in Kota Bharu, a dry Muslim town. Word to the wise to travelers: avoid Kota Bharu.
(photo credit: Desi)

Back at work, so it's back to work for me. Hope warm weather is on its way to you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Math fun, SOMEone turns 5, Mom turns 30-something, dental update and Yoda pancakes

Here's a spur of the moment math experiment from last night. Desi loves reading and math and science but just don't tell him it's homework, or else he'll hate it.

The question:
Will pouring 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of water into a one-cup measure cause it to overflow, fill it exactly, or not even fill it to the top?

D's hypothesis:
It will cause it to overflow.

The results:

On Saturday we threw a small party in honor of Emmett's impending maturation to 5, or as we say, "a whole hand." But, out of respect for his desire that any parties for him take place ONLY on his exact birthday, we chose not to call this a birthday party. Hence the cake being decorated as you see here:

"Don't even THINK of wishing me a happy birthday on March 12!"

We lucked out with the weather, so we did crafts and blew bubbles outside. (The guns they are holding in all the pics are bubble guns. Impulse buy, 3 hours before the party, and I guarantee that's all any of them would remember about that day.) You might notice that all 3 guests were girls. Maybe next year, there will be some boys. We just found out that one of E's best buds from his old day care here will be moving back to Shanghai and will attend SAS next year. Woo hoo!

Note: His shirt says 'Divisional Chimps.' (I heart Target)

The following pic is not great of E but so cute of Mia.

Another birthday was celebrated the next day with a trip to the flower market. Sarah wanted plants, so by golly that's what we got her. Here's a cool shot of D checking out the merch.

We saw this dog. It had 4 shoes.

This market also sells other stuff. Naturally, they have bronze sculptures. Emmett likes what he hears.

Then we went for a walk. Cherry blossoms are not a crazy big deal here, like they are in Japan or DC, but we enjoyed them nonetheless.

In other news, D lost one of his front teeth. Eating oatmeal one morning, and I look over and stuff is just pouring out his mouth. "Dad, I swallowed my tooth!" Sure enough, there's blood in the oats, but not tooth to be found. Oh well, the tooth fairy came anyway and left 10 RMB. (About a buck fifty--I know, inflation's a nightmare these days).

Last but not least, Happy St. Patty's Day from 3 Irish-looking people and...me. Last year, when someone was taking our picture on St. Patty's, we were all dressed in green, getting ready to smile, and E said "Get out of the picture, blackhead!"

To get in the spirit this morning, Sarah made green smoothies, and I used our cool pancake molds to make this lil' guy. A wise old leprechaun if there ever was one.

Monday, March 7, 2011

So much goin' on...

...To wit:

1. As some of you know because you saw here there, Sarah went to San Fran to attend the National Association of School Psychologists' annual conference. "There ain't no party like a Psycho party," I contend. Learning and fun times, but not much in the way of warm weather.

2. This trip involved some payback for Gary, who was single-dadding for 8 days. So, you ask, what enriching activities did Boys' Week entail? We did art, we baked cookies, we read books, and we went to the aquarium.

Here they are, waiting for the shuttle to take us downtown. We had dumplings before meeting Leo and Keller at the aquarium.

Call the Pulitzer people! How cool is that shot, huh?

3. We have a new ayi. Yes, after 2.5 years, our beloved Lyn decided to move home to the Philippines. She is now a grandma, and wanted to be with her daughter (and HER new daughter). We miss her dearly, and the boys are definitely grieving the loss. It's better now, a month after, but there were some sad times at our house, for sure.

Here's a short clip taken during her last week here. FYI: In Tagalog, the native language in the Philippines, "mahal kita" means "I love you."

Our new ayi is Chinese, from Anhui province (where many many workers in Shanghai were born). Her name is Xiao Zhang. Actually, Xiao means "little" and is a very common nickname that people often keep well past the age when they are little. Quite a few ayis are called "Xiao __last name__." She lives nearby, with her husband. She is quite cheerful and we are lucky to have her working for us. Here she is:

Her English is better than most ayis', as she worked for a Brit family for 5 years. Our Chinese will need to improve, though. That's one of the goals, and so far the boys are doing great, speaking more and more Chinese at home.

4. Desi is rocking the wu shu lessons. Twice a week, going on 2 years now. He just passed Handset level 3. For Level 4, he got a sword. It's not sharp, don't worry. I plan to film him soon, and will post here.

5. On Friday, Gary took a day off and chaperoned Desi's class field trip to the Shanghai Museum. We had a fun time, doing a scavenger hunt/art projects for 2 hours. Plus 2 snacks and lunch, of course. I am embarrassed to say that I had not been to the museum before last week. It's cool to see a clay pot that's 7000 years old. Yes, that's "thousands," people.

6. We are getting a fishtank. Long story...Expect photos soon. And, not that it's exactly "Libyan civil war"-level news, but we did get a breakfast bar. The boys love it.

7. Thanks to a couple random packs I brought back from the states (thanks to whoever gave us those at Christmas), Desi is now into baseball cards. Let's hope this habit doesn't get as expensive as mine was when I was young. (Sorry Dad, about that whole market crash circa 1992).

Just don't mess with his cards. He trades them with his friends, including Benjamin, who seems to be having some success converting Desi from a Cardinals fan (which is in his DNA) to a (prepare yourselves, folks) Red Sox fan. Ugh, I feel sick even typing that. Maybe he forgets what TEN World Championships means. Kids these days...

8. In the interest of making this post balanced, here is Emmett, showing off his dog hat Mom got him in San Fran.