Monday, January 29, 2007

"I did a penguin!"

Look closely at Carter's cheek. He sliced it open the other night when he fell on the ice. He was out sledding at my folks' and came in crying. When I asked him what happened he said, "I did a penguin!" Of course I, the sympathetic person I am, started laughing and said, "You did a penguin?" To which he tearfully replied, "Yeah, I fwipped on the ice."

Our Dad is HOME!!!

Hooray!! Jarom came home, and of course he brought lots of goodies for everyone. It was like Christmas morning at our house. Here's a couple shots of the kids with a few of the souveniers he brought back for them.

Carter looking like a rapper in his Tokyo shirt, Beijing Olympics hat, and several Olympic mascot watch-necklaces. He felt so cool. It was hilarious!

Halle and Alyssa feeling pretty with their Chinese fans. They are also wearing a watch necklace, and Alyssa is holding her coin purse from India, and Kate's adoreable Chinese pig (it's the year of the pig) is between them. Kate wouldn't cooperate to be in the picture.

As a side note, Jarom got his Papa Tom's pizza for dinner. Life couldn't be better!

Friends in the News!

Alyssa, Halle, and Liberty (my niece) got their pictures published in the LDS kids magazine, The Friend!! My girls went to a primary activity with Liberty in Rexburg quite a while ago, and their picture was placed in the February 2007 issue, page 19 (if you are interested).

They are the 3 highlighted circles in the picture below.

We were all pretty excited when we looked through and saw their pictures. I remember hoping and wishing to see my picture in it when I was kid. It's also really neat that we got all three of the girls in it!! What a fun surprise.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Igloo making!

My brother-in-law, Ben, bought an igloo maker. We told my dad about it and he decided to make himself one. So for the last 2 days he has been building his igloo with his homemade igloo-maker and it is turning out pretty cool.

ALyssa shoveling snow into buckets to haul into the igloo maker.

Look closely and you can see my dad standing in the top.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Just for Jarom! Love you honey!

So, not to be out done by the brave China eating crew, we decided to suck it up and eat some horrible American cuisine.....Pizza! It's a very traditional dish here in the U.S. It was tough, but we somehow managed to stomach our way through. :-)
We miss you Jarom. Can't wait until you're home!!

Fear Factor or China???

It's just another delicacy in China. SILKWORMS!!! (Of course Carter calls them poop worms. We watched "How to Eat Fried Worms" a couple of days ago. My kids are so disturbed!)

Yes, he really ate one!!! Poor Jarom, it would have been an insult to his Chinese co-workers if he didn't eat one. As he was describing his experience to me over the phone he was dry-heaving. (Typical for him.) He said that as soon as he got back to the hotel he grabbed for some candy to get rid of the thought of the taste, and he grabbed gummy worms and couldn't even eat them. HA!

They are brought out alive and then roasted until they pop open like a hotdog. He said the consistency was like a scrambled egg. (I can't even stand the thought!)

Also served was a whole yellow fish (chopped right down the middle and placed on a plate. You want heads or tails?) and whole unshelled prawns. (Not easy to get into with chopsticks.) For a guy who doesn't eat seafood it was a harrowing night. They were also offered dog, cat, and turtle but turned them down before they cooked any for them.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

China vs. India

Isn't it crazy the differences between these two cities!

Bangalore, India

Dalian, China

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My kids crack me up!

It's nice to know I can be the meanest mom in the world and the nicest mom in the world all within a 24 hour period.

Halle and Alyssa have a new thing where they write notes when they are supposed to be asleep, and either slip them under their door, or fold them into a paper airplane and throw it for me to find. The paper on the left is the note I found tonight. It says, "Help wanted! We need a drink or else we will die and you will be realy realy sorry! I'm mad realy mad." (Don't worry, no one died. I let them out to get a drink. The little stinkers.)

In contrast, the card on the right reads "Thank you Mom for everything. You are probly wondery why I wrote this note. I know its not a holiday. I know its not your birthday. I am writing this letter because I want you to know that you are the best mom in the world and that you are so nice and just to remind you confrens is next sunday but I will always love you." (We have Stake Conference for church next week. Glad she threw that tid-bit in! HA!)

Dinner in Dalian...UGHHHH!

Dinner at one of the finest Sea-food restaraunts in Dalian.

To my American, land-locked, non sea-food eating self, these pictures are about enough to make me ralph. Carter thinks they are worms. I can't believe Jarom did it!!!!!

All I can say is, "Jarom, I don't ever want to hear you complain about broccoli again!" :)

Lobster (Carter says, "Ooo! Hamster! It's crap foo mom!" He meant lobster and crab food. It was too funny.)

Some kind of fish.

I'm not sure what this is. This is the one Carter affectionately calls worms.

Way to go ladies!! Check out Jarom's face in the background! Hilarious!

"I surrender!" (The sea-urchin won.) He said he took one bite and started dry-heaving. (That's the Jarom I know.)

Fun in China

Just a few more odds and ends pictures. I must say, I am getting a lot of questions as to whether or not these guys work. In their defense, these outtings all occured on the weekend. They do put in lots of hours during the week. (I am still a bit jealous though.)

A giant, jade jaguar in the jade factory. Ronna REALLY REALLY wanted to take this jaguar home. This kitty stands about 3 1/2 feet tall and is carved out of a solid piece of jade. The most astonishing part is that the price was only $800 US dollars. Ronna has decided that Robb needs to visit that cat when he goes to China in May and make plans to adopt it. :-)

While touring the old part of Beijing in the rickshaws - we stopped at one of the traditional Chinese houses - called Quadrangles (multiple houses built around a common courtyard). We were able to go into one of the houses and we had tea with the host - Mr. Wu. This particular house was the former residence of the Emperor's favorite concubine in the early 1800's. Mr. Wu rents the house from the government for the astonishing price of $25 US a MONTH. Investors who come into the area to buy these houses are paying up to $1 MILLION. And - most of these houses have no bathrooms - the residents have to go to a common bathroom usually several streets away.

Mr. Wu's fighting crickets -- The Chinese people gain harmony in their lives by focusing on 4 key areas -- gardening, fish (they all have fish tanks), birds, and insects. Cricket fighting is a very big deal. Mr. Wu has several huge crickets and their houses are quite elaborate. One of the crickets actually had a MARRIAGE chamber - really. We weren't sure what activities went on in the chamber.... maybe we don't want to know.

Riding in a rickshaw. Jarom and one of our guides - Robin - not to be confused with our colleague - Robyn. Robin spent a great deal of time sharing details with us about the HuTong (meaning narrow street or alley) areas of the city - the old Beijing. In this part of town - there are no real streets - just small alleyways that jut off in all directions. When the government began cleaning up the city in preparation for the Olympics - they tore down a lot of HuTong areas before deciding that they needed to preserve some of the city heritage. The HuTong that we toured has been designated a historical site
Robyn and Ronna in the rickshaw -- it was VERY cold, but the ride was fabulous.

They left Beijing and are now in Dalian. Here is the view from the hotel. It's a bit of an improvement from India. Dalian is a remarkably clean city -- there are just over 6 million residents and yet the traffic is pretty mild. The Chinese REALLY like large neon signs and at night, the city could rival Las Vegas.

The Great Wall of China

In this picture you can get an idea of just how HUGE this wall is. It seems to go on forever through the hills.

Jarom and his furry hat.

Can you imagine building this on those steep cliffs? CRAZY!
Robyn in the furry hat.

The Beijing Olympic sign. They are getting ready for 2008.

Huffing and Puffing their way up!

Looks like they made it to the top!

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square - the largest city square in the world. During festivals and celebrations - this square can hold over 1 million people. These are the guards of the square marching across the grounds in the cold of the early morning. It was a very chilling experience - and not just because it was cold outside.

Memorial to the fallen soldiers.

Ronna, Robyn, and Jarom on Tiananmen Square.

All the Kings Women...

I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not! ( I know he really loves me!)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a huge complex of preserved wooden buildings. Apparently there are 800 buildings, so I only chose a few. It was the Chinese Imperial Palace, but is now considered a museum. (Ronna has done a great job describing each picture below. It's quite fascinating.)

The entrance to the Forbidden City - across from Tiananmen Square. This is called the Meridien Gate. The portrait of General Mao is changed every year on the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It's hard to tell from this picture - but that portrait is HUGE.... The banner on the left of the portrait reads "Long Live the People of China" on the right - "Long Live the People of the Union of the World".

This is the Meridian gate where the Emperor would greet his subjects. To please the tourists - they have a mock emperor that sits up there and waves to the tourists. The color yellow represents the Emperor and ordinary people were not allowed to wear the color or use it on their homes. The roofs of all the buildings in the Imperial City where the Emperor would go are all yellow. The buildings of the Empress /wives/concubines all had red roofs.

This building is located in the Yu Hua Yuan (Imperial Gardens) and was the place where the Emperor (and his wives and concubines) would go to enjoy the gardens. In the entire Imperial City - this is the ONLY place where there are any trees or vegetation. The Chinese people believe very strongly in the concept of Feng Shui which dictates where everything in the Forbidden City is located down to the very last flower.

This is a natural rock (the holes were carved by water) that was brought to the Forbidden City and used as decoration in the gardens. This type of rock is often used through out China in other Imperial gardens. The building on top was used by the emperors to view festivals and events at the palace

This is us standing at the bottom of the rock with the building on top. The door that you see there is where the Emperor would climb to the top to view the city during festivals and celebrations.

The Imperial City is made almost entirely of wood (as dictated by Feng Shui). These enormous vats are located all over the palace grounds and were kept filled with water at all times in the case of fire. In the winter - fires were lit under the vats to keep the water from freezing. All of these vats used to be coated in gold - when the British first visited the Forbidden City - they thought the vats were made entirely of gold. They attempted to abscond with the vats until they realized that they were too heavy to move. So - they took sharp knives and tried to scratch off the gold - only to discover that the vats are just gold plated. You can still see the scratch marks.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony -- this gate leads to the three halls in the Outer Court. This gate is where the Emperor's weddings were held.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony -- this is the biggest building in the Imperial City. Most of the important ceremonies were held here because this courtyard is huge and can hold thousands of people. Since common citizens weren't allowed to set foot in the Forbidden City - all attendees were either members of the Royal family (Emperors could have hundreds of wives/children), military, or civil servants .

Inside the Hall of Supreme Harmony and this throne is the primary place where the Emperor would receive his subjects. There are dragons carved on the pillars and all around the throne. The dragon represents the Emperor and is seen all over the Forbidden City. Only the Emperor was allowed to use the symbol of the dragon. The blue "vases" in front of the throne are Cloisonné - a very complex traditional Chinese process of making copper vessels that are coated with enamel. These vases are over 400 years old.

This is the largest carved rock in all of Beijing. It's 16.75 meters long and weighs over 200 tons. It's carved with dragons (the symbol of the Emperor), the water (symbolizing money) and pearls (symbolizing power). It was carved in the mountains and transported to Beijing during the winter by pouring water on the roads and creating an ice slide for the stone. During ceremonies - the Emperor would ride in his sedan while his servants carried him over this stone (see the stairs on either side). He was the only one allowed to pass over the stone.

They've made it to China!

Well, they have made it safely to China. I'll just post a few for now. I did talk to Jarom and he told me they were served a lunch of pig feet and whole fish, eyeballs and all! You will be very shocked and proud to know that Jarom ate it!!!! I can't believe it; I don't think I could have done it and I consider myself the stronger stomach of the two of us.
They look like they are having WAY too much fun. (The Great Wall is behind them. I'll post more from there later.)

Is Robyn bowing to Jarom???!! Doesn't she know that will only encourage him?! HA!

Look at all the bikes!!! No wonder they live so long there.

Of course you have to ride in style. The seat covers are awesome!