Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We have been back for almost a week, and we haven't slowed down. We landed at about 4 am, and I stayed awake unpacking and putting everything away. It's been good to just be able to hang out at home and visiting with friends we haven't seen in a while.

I mailed myself 2 large boxes of things a few days prior to our return. Well, last Friday, one of the boxes arrived. I haven't seen the other one, and I'm a little upset. It had my ice tea bags, no pudge brownie mix, volleyballs, and some other essentials from America. I have James on it though, so I am hoping the box surfaces. Otherwise, I will be petitioning friends/family to send care packages!

The girls start at ISB next Thursday. I am excited for them, and know they are too. Samantha is moving to East Tennessee, to finish school at ETSU. She will actually be closer to family, but away from friends. Selfishly, I am excited - I had planned to spend some time in Virginia and DC next summer - so we have a place to stay. It always good when a plan comes together.

Not much else is going on - the girls are busy with youth and hanging out with friends. We have had friends over for dinner and gone to other friend's homes. Summer ending is a little bitter sweet.

Tomorrow night, the girls are supposed to bring a dessert to their youth night - pretty sure one is making something from a Dr. Seuss cookbook and the other is making a kitty litter cake - I'm sure pictures are to follow.

I sure miss everyone!! We did get a Vonage phone, so I have been talking to my mom every morning. I missed that daily ritual - from when we lived in California.

For those of you who know I've been on the man hunt for white gravy - I made some from scratch. It was pretty good, but I spoke with the manager of the grocery store here, and he said some should be arriving the end of the month - Sydni is super excited.

I hope everyone's summer is winding down nicely, and reentry to school won't cause combustion.

Be blessed!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Skunk Story

So, here's the promised story of the skunk in California....

The Ferrante & Teixeira boys wanted to go swimming at their Nana's, and I volunteered to chaperon... I opened the cover on the pool, and the boys swam for an hour or so. When they decided they were done, I had them get out and went to close the pool. While I was holding the button down that closes the pool cover, I started smelling a skunk. I told the boys to get their stuff and head in the house. It quickly got worse - the spell was so strong it burned my nose. I ran in the house as soon as the cover was closed. I was in the process of telling everyone in the house there had to be a skunk outside, when the girls started yelling "there it is!" The skunk was climbing out of the pool, out from under the pool cover. It's tail was stuck on the cover, and it was steadily spraying the side of the pool. It must have been hung on the cover, and drown when I was closing the cover. Once it broke it's tail loose from the cover, it began staggering to some shrubbery. By now, all 8 grandkids, plus my 3 girls were outside. Papa sent Shelby to get a 410, and Ryan shot the skunk dead. He and Shelby preceded to get a feed sack and scooped it up and hauled it off.

It was an exciting afternoon, to say the least...


 We have had a great time with our family this month. I love spending time with all of them.

Today we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, to see the Terra Cotta Warrior Exhibit... it was interesting a fun. My mom, Shelby, Sydni, and I went to the Forbidden Gardens, which is here in Katy. It is a miniature replica of the Forbidden City and the Warriors. We learned quite a bit about the Qin Dynasty - and it helped us at the HMNS...

We all purchased masks for 92 cents, and had the best time taking pictures... My mom and sister were laughing so hard they were crying. I just know the other people in the museum thought we were crazy...

We will head back to California for a few days, and then on to Beijing. 

Be blessed...
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's been a while...

Hi everyone! I know it's been almost 2 months since my last post... Mid May, PRC shut down all blogging... I can only assume it was in preparation for the Tienanmen Square Massacre 20 year anniversary. I read an article yesterday, where PRC called this whole event a "Western myth." Seriously?!?!?! wow...

Well, just a few days prior to the girls and I heading this way, our hot water heater went out. The valve (whatever that is) had to be replaced. Remember, there's no going to the local hardware store to get the part and replace it in a few short hours. For 3 days, we had to go to the club house to take hot showers. We were 5 star camping!! lol... During this time, one morning about 3 am, Matt and I awoke to the smell of burning electrical. Oh man... all of our power shut off, and we had to light candles to see if we could find where the source was. Matt called the "butler" (management office), and they sent a worker. Amazingly, when he got to the door, he asked Matt if he had a flashlight - really?? Preparedness - at it's best... So, the guy used one of the candles, to look at the electrical power board (how safe is this???). The short of it is, our landlord had turned our a/c units to "on" instead of "auto," when he was looking at the duct work; thus burning up the motor in one of the units. The hot water heater and the a/c were repaired on the same day. just 3 days before our departure.

It has been so wonderful to be on the Central Coast of California and see all our friends. The girls have spent large amounts of time at friends houses, riding horses, and just enjoying their summer vacation. We leave early next week for the 2nd leg of our summer trip. Skunk story to come soon! Waiting on pictures to put with it - more to come!

~Be Blessed!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I want to first and foremost wish my Momma a very Happy Mother's Day. I had a wonderful 30 minute visit with her yesterday, via Skype. Thank the LORD for modern technology! I sent her a blue hydrangea plant, and she received it Monday. Again, thank the Lord for modern technology.

I have had a most wonderful Mother's Day. Matt bought me a plant that is almost a Texas Bluebonnet. He said it was the closest thing he could find. =o) The girls made me cards, and I got a wonderful spa day. We went to church, and out to eat with friends afterwards. It has been a wonderful day.

The past week has been pretty uneventful, as we are in a regular pattern of schoolwork and such every day. On Thursday, I have a Bible Study I go to in the afternoons. Well, the girls decided to have a fun session of "fine arts" involving 1 mac, 1 empty basement, and 3 crazy girls. I have laughed at their videos till I cried. I must say, they are creative. It reminds me of YEARS ago, when my sister and I would drag our mom's 8track stereo player out on the front porch, get 2 bar stools, and put on our gogo boots. Mind you, we lived out in the country, so no one would drive by for hours. We entertained ourselves often this way. Guess the apples don't fall far from the trees, hu? lol

They did finally put down the floor in our basement. It is in the process of being cleaned-up. There is cement all over the walls, doors, and even ceiling in some places. They came and put the pool table up yesterday, and replaced some of the wall paper. It's almost done. I'm sure it will be finished about 2 days before we leave for the summer. Matt will get to enjoy it.

I have told you we have an Ayi, which is basically a house keeper. Since the week we arrived, I had one "lined up" that cooks. The family she works for is moving back to the states mid-June. Meanwhile, we hired a lady to work for us until the one that cooks is available. Well, our new Ayi is coming here every Saturday, until her family leaves. OMG!!! She is an amazing cook. Now, I'm not that bad of a cook, I just hate having to decide what I am going to make, figure out what I don't have, and go to the grocery store to get it - and this process usually starts at 3 in the afternoon. So, for all you OCD organizational freaks, NO - I don't plan well. Anyway, our new Ayi makes not only Chinese dishes, but Western food as well. We are so excited. However, she doesn't speak a lick of English, so yesterday, I spent the afternoon, sitting on a bar stool saying phrases to her in Chinese. She would laugh and either correct me or say "hen hao," which is "very good." It is sad, when I know more Chinese than she does English. It was a great day though, as we were able to communicate - and work a calendar schedule for when I'm gone over the summer. Matt will still be here in China, and if I didn't make things clear, he may starve. Well, no. He won't starve, because every restaurant within 10 miles delivers.

I had a "school assembly" last Sunday, over dinner. I am having a hard time myself, staying focused on finishing school. So, it is even worse for the girls. We are back on track, and plowing along nicely, or so I think. It could be one of those whole "living life upside down" moments, but we will finish.

We are looking forward to coming home for the summer. But honestly? I am NOT looking forward to the plane ride. I may take 2 very large sleeping pills and have the girls wake me up when we get there. I am going to go shopping soon, for things to bring home. If any of you have things you'd like for me to bring back, please email me. I'll do my best. For those of you who are at SLOCA, there are great map and such on Chinese Ancient Civilization. I am quite excited. I bought one today, and am going to have it framed. hahaha, which reminds me. I also have a copy of the US Constitution, which I am going to have framed and hang it up in my house.

Have a great Mother's Day (all you mothers)!

~be blessed!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

it's been 2 months already...

This week has been a pretty calm week. Matt was out of town and Samantha was babysitting for some friends, who took a trip to Vietnam. They are both back home, and I am thankful. It was a little too quiet for me.

We have been here 2 months now, and it doesn't seem possible - yet it seems like we've been here much longer. We are settling in nicely, and everyone has their own daily routine. The basement still isn't completed, but the cement is dry enough for the girls to go to the media room to watch movies and play Rock Band. Oh the priorities of life.

I must say, I am glad baseball season has started. When we lived in California, my mom and I would watch the Astros "together" via our texting on our cell phones. Well, I am so happy to report we are still watching them "together," but it is through email. We email back and forth several times in one game. I am also watching the Angels, when I can get them on tv. Our Direct TV (on our Slingbox), is out of Southern California, so many of their games are blacked out. boo! This is a picture of my brother, mom, great aunt, and grandmother at an Astros game. My mom emailed me from her blackberry during the game. I guess she wanted to rub it in. lol

The latest exciting event in our family is we got a dog. He is a 2 1/2 y/o Golden Retriever. In the shelter, they called him Pong Pong, which is "fatty" in Chinese. I would not call him "fat," but maybe "plump." lol... the Canadian family that adopted him from the shelter named him Coolio, after the rapper. Now, those of you who know me well, KNOW I am not about to call a dog Coolio. So, the girls came up with Cujo, which is the antithesis of his nature, as the dog doesn't even bark. He is so docile. The girls are in heaven. They have a rotating schedule for where he sleeps. hahahaha...

Today, Samantha and Shelby went shopping with a Chinese friend. They were going to take a subway and go to some Chinese market place. I am sure they are having a blast.

Tomorrow is Sydni's slumber party, for her birthday. We put it off a couple of weeks, because our floor was supposed to be finished. HAHAHAHAHA... How could I have forgotten we were on China time. Tomorrow is a holiday, so it will be next week - again. lol

It's beginning to warm up and rain a little here and there. Sort of reminds me of Texas.

Well, I'm off to my Bible Study... we are studying the book of Luke. I enjoy the study, as well as the time shared with friends.

Several of you have mentioned you have tried to reply to my blog. Yeah, I'm not smart enough to figure out how to change the options to allow them. SO, please email me. I miss hearing from you all.
Be blessed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Korea Trip

We just returned from our visa trip to Korea. In preparation for the wonderful tropical weather we expected, we bought warm weather clothes - which we ended up not even taking. It was cold and rainy the entire time we were in Seoul. The wind was blowing terribly, but the flowers were so pretty! Aside from the police, which were everywhere - it was a nice semi-crowded place.

We were determined to shop less this trip, and take in some historical sights. When we landed Monday, we were all so exhausted, we went to the hotel and slept. The next day, we were up and ready to see the sights. We walked to a palace, which was close to our hotel, only to find it was closed on Tuesdays. We returned to our hotel in hopes of getting tickets to a Korean show, but all 3 shows at all 3 locations were booked. We then decided it was time to shop.

We took a taxi to the antique district, and looked around and shopped. I was on the hunt for some marriage ducks. Now, if you don't know what these are, Google it. I found some, and was quite pleased with myself. Sydni bought this huge OU Sooner blanket at the first market we went to. She carried it around the rest of the shopping day. Of course, Samantha and Shelby went in every store on both sides of the street. We found an Outback Steakhouse nearby and had a wonderful lunch - wow we miss their bread!! In our dogie bag, the waitress put 3 extra loaves for us! On with more shopping, The girls found clothes, shoes, and stuff to bring back to people. After getting Starbucks, Sydni and I took a taxi back to the hotel, and left Matt and the other 2 girls at the shopping area.

This morning, we woke up to pretty blue skies - in time to head to the airport. We sat in the airport for 3 hours - which gave me ample time to watch the Astros online, catch up on our YouTube addiction, and eat Dunkin' Donuts. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of this chain, but a donut is a donut, when you can't get them where you live. There were people carrying boxes of them on the plane back to China.

We had a good time, but I am ready to stay put for a while... well, until we come back home!!! See you soon!

Be blessed!