Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Alexi & a fun visit

First is my sister's birthday!!  Happy BIRTHDAY Alexi....I love you!!  She has started an adorable blog all about her life so that way I can keep up with her life.  Click on her name if you want to take a peek at her blog.
Our first full day in Taiwan was a holiday here so we were able to go over and quick visit with the Larsens...see their place and visit them.  We were blessed by the visit and thankful for their hospitality.  I have to say that we are at the Larsen's because I don't want people to assume that the pictures they are seeing are of the area where we are or that we have a bike (we probably will get one just not yet)!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

We have arrived in Taiwan

Traveling with two kids is not always fun and I really have no advice for you on traveling except to make sure that you have their favorite snacks and toys to play with.  I was a little nervous about traveling 20 + hours on the airplane with them but thankfully they did really well.  They slept for over 1/2 the flight and we only had a few times where Little M had a melt down (which all in all isn't that horrible!) I was glad that for most of the flight the lights were turned off so we could sleep and that meant that Little M thought it was sleeping time.  The last four hours of our flight -- John, Little N and I were up for most of it so we read books, played games and listened to music.  I noticed that the sun was starting to peak through the clouds.....being on the plane and not really taking many pictures for 20 hours I figured this would be the ideal time to take pictures.  So I got a couple of pictures and then I wanted to get a picture to show that we were flying in the air so I figured I would try to get a picture of the wing with the sky in the background but we were in the middle row and most of the aisles seats were filled....thankfully someone got up to use the bathroom so I quick snuck in and got my pictures.  John looked at me like I was absolutely crazy....which I might be but I got what I wanted and it didn't cost anything. 
We arrived in Taiwan and had to get our visa stamped and make sure everything was okay! That took a while but all the staff was looking at both Little M & N with delight.  Went to baggage claim and there was a sign saying that OLSON were to look go see China Air representative....John went over to check it out and he was told that Delta had lost a bag. So we started collecting and counting our bags.....we got 7 bags and 1 carseat so we got nervous that we were gonna get the 8th bag but not the carseat.  So when the 8th bag came we held our breath in anticipation because at the same time we grabbed our bag we saw a wrapped carseat that we hoped and prayed was ours.  We got our bag and grabbed the carseat in excitement realizing that we had everything.  Talked to the China Air representative saying we had our bags.  We left baggage claim and jetted past customs.  We were met by 3 guys -- Andy, Mike & Rocky!  We were SO thankful to see them!  They helped us out of the airport where when we first arrived it was very foggy and as we were leaving the airport the fog was fading and we were able to get all of our luggage into Mike's car....then Mike & Rocky took off to Hsinchu while Andy took the rest of us in his car.  Driving around it was a little crazy because there is a weird sense of chaos.  Where ever there is space people will take it but it seems to work out.  I think if Andy & Kris hadn't warned me about while we were in the states it would have freaked me out.  We got to "our apartment" (Rocky & his wife have been gracious enough to move out so that we could move into our home and be able to set up a routine for the boys) which is a nice apartment...small in our eyes (but anything moving from a 6 bedroom parsonage would be small) it has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room & dining room area, a hallway kitchen & sort of a pantry/laundry area. (Separate post with pictures describing our place to follow!) we also have a small balcony so that's pretty neat to be able to look out and see what's going on.  We got our bags in and then went downstairs to witness a car lottery (every year they having a lottery to make sure it's fair because there isn't enough parking underneath the apartments for everyone to park so they have a lottery to see who gets a parking spot underneath and who gets the parking spot underneath the park (which is a little bit more out of the way)!  I stayed for 2 minutes and then the boys saw the playground so we played on that for 10-15 minutes.  Then I couldn't handle it anymore so I went upstairs with the boys and we fed them and put them to bed.  John couldn't handle it either so he went to bed also...before the boys did. We just tried to relax today and not do too much especially with being in the fog of jet lag.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anchorage, Alaska

We had a layover to refuel in Anchorage, Alaska.  We flew in at 2:30 am and we were just expecting to stay on the plane so it was a bit of a shock that we had to deplane to a holding area at the airport.  So we now can say that we've been to Alaska.  We took all of our carry ons plus the little kids and stretched out.  Plus we were able to run the kids for a little bit.  Anchorage is a pretty busy airport for 2:30 am.....the holding area was filled with people and there were all sorts of planes getting ready to fly out!  You can tell that everyone was a really tired just by looking at the pictures of Little M & Little N!  So far the kids have traveled REALLY well and I've been very impressed with how quiet they have been!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good Bye Part 2

We were leaving CT at 1:55 pm today.  We spent the morning packing making sure we had our carry ons ready to go.  We finished packing and getting ready to go WAY before we needed to leave to make our flight so we played games, read books, made cookie dough to pass the time.  Called up my dad to find out if we got something in the mail that was supposed to come that day and if he was gonna meet us at the airport or not.  Grandma called and then we realized we needed to get going because we had to stop and see her before we left.  Stopped quick to see Grandma one last time.  Met my dad at a gas station.  Dad dropped us off and told us to ask if we could check in at curbside check in.  We weren't able to but the lady would help us bring in our luggage and get us ready. (Said our good byes to my dad! Tears again!!)  This by far was one of the best check in service we had EVER had.  We had 8 bags of luggage, 2 car seats & 5 carry ons.  We went over to the check in counter and they were already starting the process of checking us in....bags were getting weighed and so forth.  Check in went smoothly we were fortunate enough to ask if my mom could help us get through security and they said yes that was fine.  Went through security fine no problems.....minus the stroller so then our carry on bags had to be checked and I had to have a pat down. (Inconvenient.....yes but intrusive and handled way!  They were polite and very courtesy!)  Got through security only to find out that our flight was delayed two hours.  John went to find out what was going on while mom and I got pizza.  Ate our pizza and then found out that our flight was only 20 minutes delayed.  Said good by to my mom went down got settled into our seats only to find out that we had to deboard the plane because JFK had put out a no fly in or out of the airport.  Went back out of the airplane and sat again till about 6 pm.  Thankfully Bradley airport has free wi fi so we played games, sent out updates and entertained ourselves that way.  Flew out of Bradley to to JFK and had to figure out how to get out of the airport to the international terminal.  Sadly JFK does not have a good layout to easily get out of the terminal and not have to walk outside to get to the international terminal.  So we walked out of the terminal then walked on the sidewalk/street with cars honking and driving fast with a stroller and our carry ons.  I was SO SO thankful that we had already check our 8 bags & 2 car seats because I have no idea how we would have juggled all that in the street.  Went to China airlines to check in and make sure everything was okay! thankful that we flew out of Bradley because it seemed like they were very particular about everything & because it was already checked and in the system we had no worries!  Went through security and that was chaotic & stressful!!  Got through security and went to change both Little M & N.....Little N was fine!  Little M on the other hand was not....he had the worst blow out he had ever had since he was probably 5 months old.  It was gross and I will leave it at that.  Changed him and made him run around in his onesie till we were ready to board.  Our airplane arrived and both boys were VERY excited about the plane.  At 11 pm the airline staff got all the people with small children and lined them.  We boarded first so that we had extra time to get in and get settled in.  We got on the plane and almost immediately after we put our seat belts on and started moving both boys were out!  We slept off and one for most of the night!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saying Good bye part 1

Saying good bye stinks!  As we were leaving the birthday party we said good bye to my aunts & cousins.  We also said good bye to Grandma....which was so hard to do because she burst into tears.  You have to realize that I have not seen my grandma cry that often so when she burst into tears it hits you pretty hard.  So we gave hugs and cried as we said our good byes.  Her goal is to come out and see where we live but I'm not sure if she would be able to do that.  I love her dearly and am so thankful for the three weeks out in  Connecticut so that we could spend quality time together.
After we left my grandma's house we (my siblings & their spouses, my nephew & my parents) all went back to my parents house and visited for a little bit.  We watched as Little M gave much love to my parents dog.  The boys played with B and their aunts/uncles.  Then it was time to say good bye....B had to go to bed for school in the morning.  So my brother comes up and gives me a hug....he treats me like I'm the younger sibling and he's the oldest....give him a hug and he's just trying to get me to get emotional and cry.  He gets the reaction that he wanted then he waits to see what happens between my sister and I.  My sister realizing that it's time to go gets very emotional & in turns makes me very emotional.  Of course my brother is just laughing watching all this (personally I think that this is because if he didn't he would cry but he'd never admit that!) I am thankful that I love my family and get emotional saying good bye!  I love you guys and am thankful to have you as my brother and sister!

Happy Birthday Grandma

My grandma turned 83 today!  We had a birthday celebration with her.  We spent the day making sure our bags were ready to go and getting stuff ready for our carry ons.  Then we went to grandma's house for the a great evening of food, great conversations and visits!  We had penne with chicken & broccoli in an alfredo sauce (so good....could have eaten the whole thing), chicken with a green salad (yummy!) & lasanga.  Everyone sprawled out where ever they could find a spot and just chatted.  Grandma didn't want a single present and when her children gave her a present she was quite put out.  But it was a gift that she needed -- a microwave! She'll be getting a present from us soon soon as we get a family picture taken of us!  Happy Birthday Grandma...we love you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Look what Tante Lexi & Uncle D did my kid!!

They decided that they were gonna dip their fresh out of the oven cookies into a glass of milk.  It looked delicious and so Little N decided that he wanted to try to see if it would taste just as good as it looked.  I think the next time we have cookies we will always have to have a glass of milk to dunk our cookies in!  Good to the last drop!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A busy day!

On Sunday John was asked to speak at my home church Bethany LBC in East Hartland.  They were also gonna pray for us as we went over to Taiwan just as prayer of blessing and just letting us know that they will be praying for us as we go over to Taiwan.  John did a great job speaking, very clear and to the point message.  Lots of people came up to me complimenting how well he did.  I'm never quite sure how to respond to those comments because yes he is a good speaker and I am very proud of him....but don't want to come across to people that I am to proud.  Anyways....usually I say thank you and agree with them. 
After church we had a celebration for Grandma's 84 birthday (which is actually on the 24 of February) but we wanted to make sure that everyone could be around and celebrate with her.  Almost everyone was able to attend minus three or four people (not to bad)....we went to Abigail's for a brunch.  It was delicious....I had french onion soup, an omelet & a napoleon oh my goodness it was SO good.  It was wonderful to spend time with my cousins and their kids.  So much has changed over the years and with alot of them with children it's just fun watching how they are as parents and how much their kids look like them! 
 Birthday Girl
 Love both of these pictures!!  SO stink cute!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Little L's 4th Birthday

You know how you always wish that you could be around to celebrate your friend's birthdays?  Well this year Little N got to celebrate his friend Little L's 4th Birthday.  Little L is for all sakes and purposes 6 months older than Little N....but whenever we are in CT we get to play and spend time with Little L & his little brother Little E.  Little L's birthday party was a super heroes party.  Most of the kids (minus mine) had super hero shirts on.  They did the old school games like pin the tail on the donkey.  Of course we had cake (along with Danish puff & cinnamon rolls -- delish!!) and of course we had to ooh and ahh over the presents that Little L got (surprisingly Little N didn't not want to open the presents and didn't get upset that he didn't have presents to open!)  Then we got to look at a cool motorized dinosaur that Little M was petting when all of sudden it came alive (remote control) and scared the crap out of him.  He was terrified of that thing!  WE all laughed and wished that we had that moment on video camera! Happy Birthday Little are one very special boy whom we love dearly!  Hope that your 4th birthday and year will be a very special year! 
 Little E
 Pin the tail on the donkey
 Buddies -- eventually we will be around to be able celebrate their birthdays together (born a day a part)
 What a cutie!!
 Was not hurting him.....I swear!! That was his goofy smile!
 Scary dinosaur time!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My newest Lens

For the past year I have been saving my pennies for a new lens.  I have discovered that I have a taste for expensive lens.  The quality is really nice when you have the better costing lens!  I have a Canon Camera and I now I have two L lenses.  The reason why i like my first L lens which is a 24-70 mm with a fixed aperture is because of the fixed aperture I can attempt to take pictures & not worry about my settings changing on me. A Fixed aperture means that if you change the zoom or the shutter speed the aperture won't change unless you change it.  A variable aperture is when your aperture changes when you zoom in an out so you have to adjust both your shutter speed & aperture just to make sure that you have the right exposure (just being aware because everything changes say you were shooting at an aperture of 2.8 when you were at 17 mm but you wanted to get closer so you zoom into 70 mm, but because you have a variable aperture the aperture has changed from 2.8 to 5.6 which changes possibly what how you shoot and if your shot is indoors and you don't have enough light you could have an underexposed picture!).  I have finally saved up enough money to get a 100 mm macro lens.  A macro lens is a lens that can get really close up so that you can see lots of details.  So I decided to try it out today.  With a macro lens you have to have tons of light and and make sure that you have a big enough aperture because you are dealing with such a small object that you can have too much blurry background (bokeh)!!  Today I got to play with the camera.  I didn't have enough light so I had to go wide open (F2.8) and used a really slow shutter speed....I wanted to experiment.  I got a picture of Little M's eye and then I wanted to see how close I could get with my newest lens and I got pretty close to the lemon seed (I think I could have gotten closer too).  I think that I will have tons of fun with this new lens....I can't wait to play some more with it! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

We are so lucky

I was fortunate enough to be the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family. John asked me what I felt that was so special & I am unable to explain why but I feel it's sort of a unique relationship because you spend time with your grandparents!  I grew up in CT so I spent a lot of time with my Grandma Dalene.  We would go over to her house and spend time with her, she would take care of us and she also made a majority of my clothes when I was growing up.  I have a very special relationship with her.  This time of before we leave for Taiwan has been a very special time & hard time.  We have been spending lots of time with my grandma.  Grandma has wanted me to drive her places and just spend time which has been lots of fun.  Today she invited Little N, Little M & my mom out for lunch & then she needed to run some errands that she wanted me around for.  We had fun and just spending time with her has brought back memories of when I have spent time with my grandma at her house, down at the pond, down in Florida, etc.  I love her and am so thankful to spend quality time with her!!

Welcome to our blog! We try to keep this current for family and friends. We moved to Taiwan in February 2011 and are trying to keep in contact with loved ones through this blog. We love comments and will respond back if you have questions or comments!! Thanks for checking us out!!


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