Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chinese New Year Break - Cherry Blossoms & Waterfalls

We are on Chinese New Year Break!  This Sunday we had one service and then basically the church closed at 1 pm.   Chinese New Year here in Taiwan is basically a break similar to Christmas in the USA.  Everything kind of shuts down and people go back to visit with their families.   Church closes and it is closed...we discovered that the hard way our first year we lived in Taiwan.  John left our Wii at church and thought he could quick go get it and discovered that was locked up and stayed lock up.  This year we had Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday for a break - we did things as a family, with some friends and also enjoyed our time. 
 After church, we went searching for a restaurant that was open so we could eat with friends.  We finally found a new place to us - a Japanese Ramen/Curry place.  The food was pretty good and the conversations that we had with friends were even better.   I love this picture of N and our friend.
 Afterward our lunch we took a drive up into the mountains.  We were hunting for Cherry Blossoms.  This year has been a strange year, with it being so warm.  We keep waiting for the cooler temperatures but I really don't think they will come.  So on our adventure, we found some Cherry Blossoms but I think we were still too early and by the time we can go out again I think they will be already passed.  But they sure are pretty!
 We also I think found some pretty Plum Blossoms. 
We also went back to the waterfalls!  They are so pretty and make me SO happy!  Sadly the going back up the steps for me was very difficult -- my heart started to race and I was just out of breath.  I can't wait to figure out how to get back in shape after this pregnancy.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Meal with Friends

We had a nice visit and a nice meal with this little girl's mom and dad.  I've known this little one since she was first born.  She has always had a smile on her face or always let me take her but as she has gotten older she has gotten less familiar with me so she smiles less at me and is more afraid of me.  However, she is slowly getting more comfortable with me...just the fact that I act silly with her.  Her dad won't let me give her sweets and treats so I can't bribe her to like me with treats so it's lots of work and lots of smiling and having fun.  She had fun with the kids tonight as they all played together.  They ran around after eating and then were giving each other hugs and falling down.  It was super cute. 
 We had a delicious meal of Vegetarian Chili.  It was yummy and we had a yummy salad with balsamic vinegar.  Then after our meal, we enjoyed a yummy, but simple dessert of a flat bread with sour cream and then sliced apples with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar on top.  Surprisingly Little N really liked the dessert.  Little H at first didn't like it but then she enjoyed it and liked it.  I had a hard time allowing Little N to slice the apples but he did a good job and thankfully he didn't lose a finger.  Plus he was supervised pretty well by our friend. Thankful friends who visit with us and cook for us.  It was a wonderful evening.
 I love the little finger wanting to touch the dough to see what in the world her dad was making.  It just makes me smile! 😋
 The final product!  It looks so yummy and it was so yummy!! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Lunar New Year's Eve (Chinese New Year's Eve) fun!

It was a semi-busy day today.  I had to go for a three-hour testing to test to make sure I don't have gestational diabetes.  I'm not exactly sure why I had to do the fast at night, and then get blood drawn three times.  Maybe because of my age or maybe it's a new thing that they are doing here in Taiwan.  I have no idea.  I do now that it made me very sleepy and I have some nice bruises from where they drew the blood. 

After I got back from the hospital, John left to take a bunch of guys to the orange grove to pick oranges.  The kids and I cleaned up, and I took a nap to recover some from my morning adventure while they played games. 

John got back and we decided to go downtown to see if they had anything up to celebrate Chinese New Year.  We walked downtown -- stopping and playing at all the parks, finding bathrooms for me and then stopping at our jewelry store so that Little H could show her brothers and her dad where she went to get her ears pierced.  We also picked out a couple of studs for her to wear after she wears her earrings for a couple more weeks and I decided last minute that I wanted to add another whole in each of my ears. 

  Then we went to see the blow-up chicken that was up in the middle of Hsinchu in honor of the year of the Chicken or Rooster.   As we were walking around downtown we found a long tent that had food vendors and a couple of game vendors and other vendors selling stuff in the middle of the street.  The kids begged us to let them play a game which we did and they earned a prize.  For some reason, those prizes drive me insane....maybe because it's a cheap prize and it breaks almost as soon as you get it and then all you hear is whining that it broke.  But it's in your house and you can't get rid of it because it's still a precious toy in the sight of that child.  Thankfully we could walk home and as we walked home we enjoyed the beautiful stars that we don't often get to see in the city. 

With the start of Chinese New Year, everything in Hsinchu is a little bit quieter as everyone is going to visit family in their hometowns and for the most part Hsinchu is not many people's hometown.  So we enjoy a little bit of quiet and not so much traffic during this next couple of days.  Happy Lunar New Year!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Little H and Mommy date

Little H and I had basically two days to hang out while the boys went hiking and camping together.  Right now we have a break for Chinese New Little M and Little H have about three weeks off from school.   So John decided that he would take the boys camping and do some hiking.  Unfortunately, right now I am past the stage of being able to do the kind of hiking and camping that John likes to do with my pregnancy, so Little H and I stayed back while the guys had their nature fun.
I tried to think of something that would be fun to do and also something that we would be able to give Little H for her birthday.  She has been asking for a while now if she could get her ears pierced and I haven't cared one way or the other about.  John, on the other hand, has been very against the idea of having her get her ears pierced.  So he told me right around her birthday that if she came up and asked him or I to get her ears pierced that we could do it.  She asked both of us, so I decided that while the boys played and had fun, we would also have fun.

So with getting Little H's ears pierced, there are some rules.  Until she is a teenager she can only wear studs.  I don't want her to have dangly earrings while she is still so young and doesn't understand how to take care of herself and to be careful.  So we will enjoy the cute little studs that they have available.

Little H was a little nervous because I told her what would happen when they pierced her ears.  But when we got to the place I've bought jewelry from she was very excited and ready.  The lady cleaned her ears, marked it up and then told her to sit very still while she got everything ready.  The first earring went in and I was expecting tears or at the very least being asked for a snuggle but she was good.  Then after the second one, she had no tears and had the biggest smile on her face.  She was so proud that she got them done and happy she got them.  She couldn't wait to show her dad and brothers.  Also, she was happy because now she could finally say yes to her Grandpa when he asked her if she had her ears pierced.
After getting her ears pierced we sat down by the canal and drank our special drinks.  Then we had a couple of different opportunities to take pictures.  She was so giddy it was very cute.   Then we made our way to the mall where we enjoyed a special treat of donuts, ice cream, noodles and some shopping.   It was a very fun and busy day that made for a happy day instead of a sad day missing her daddy and brothers. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Little H's program at Ren Guang

Every year the kids have been at their Chinese Kindergarten there has been an end of the year program.  This year Little H's grade has been studying about Herbivores and Carnivores.  So for the presentation between the classes, they all dressed up as Herbivores and Carnivores.  Little H was a cute little rabbit but we had all different animals.  We had fish, lions, tigers, giraffes.  It was very cute to watch.  Then we got to eat tons of yummy food that all the parents brought to share. 
 Little H's teachers were zebras! 
 My cute little rabbit! 
 She was so proud of her rabbit makeup, her ears, and her little tail!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Playing on the Rocks in between Jhubei & Hsinchu

 We went to the river today for a mini-adventure.  The boys had so much fun climbing through the maze stone steps and just exploring and having fun.  Little H had fun jumping on the stone steps with daddy.  While I just sat down and enjoyed the scenery and the sunset!
 The kids and John by the water! 
 Fishermen fishing! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

An afternoon up in Yingge with Pottery.

Sometimes your life gets so crazy that you forget to breathe or your life is so busy and crazy that when you have a moment to rest you realize how stressful life was at that moment.  That was our life this past week.  Thankfully on Friday after our morning stress, Little H and I joined our dear sweet friends along with their son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters for an adventure up in Yingge.

Yingge is a pottery town.  It's not really a place that you want to take kids because as John would say it's just stressful watching kids walk into a place that has a whole bunch of beautiful pottery and remind kids that they can't run around and touch everything.  Even though they watch adults pick up and touch all those pretty things.   The only thing that is nice about Yingge is that they have shops where you can make your own pottery.  You sit at the wheel and then you create your design - a bowl, a cup, a plate, or something completely unique.  Then once you are finished then you can decorate it with designs and swirls.

It's when you are at the wheel that you realize how much skill and talent the people who make these bowls, plates, and cups actually have.  Because you start touching the clay and you think that you are making something beautiful and then once the wheel stops you realize that your creation is lopsided, not even and needs work.  You then have the professional potter come over and she looks at your creation and knows just what you wanted to do and so she loving, gently and quickly (in your eyes) transforms your work into the masterpiece that you were hoping to do by yourself.  It's quite humbling to realize but then also points your eyes to Jesus.  He also loving and carefully takes the time to shape us and sometimes it's not gonna be the easiest things but he is creating us to be beautiful pottery.  After molding the clay to what he wants me to be, he designs me,  and then here comes the painful part....he sets me in the fire which helps to shape me and keep my shape.  I am praying that I never forget the imagery of Jesus being the master potter.
So thankful for the fun opportunity to watch my daughter make her cup and play with new sweet friends.   

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Little H's Bible Verse for the Year - I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Happy 5th Birthday my sweet Little H!  I can't believe that you are 5 years old.  You are growing up so quickly.  I can't believe how quickly you are picking up Chinese and how many little friends you have at your Chinese Kindergarten.  You are growing up to be such a sweet and kind little girl.  Pretty soon you will no longer be the baby in the family and I can't wait to see how you are with your little brother.  You play so great with your older brothers and it's funny to watch you be both a very girly girl (wanting to wear dresses and skirts and play with barbies and dolls) and then a tomboy playing the different games that your brothers come up and being a rough and tumble sweetie.  You are perfect just the way you are.  I can't wait to see what is in store for you this coming year. Happy Birthday my darling! 

Little H turns 5 years old this year.  I can't believe that it's been five years since she was born and that she has blessed our lives in so many wonderful ways that I can't imagine life without her.  Her bible verse is one that we will sing and talk about throughout the year because it's always a good reminder to rejoice always, pray continually and giving thanks in all circumstances.  Because there will be hard times, bad times and then there will be good times; in each of those circumstances God gives us the grace and the ability to rejoice in the little things and big things!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The afternoon at the train park

We had a picnic with friends at the train park near our house.  We like the train park because it's semi quiet, there is lots of green space, trains go by very regularly.  Plus John just discovered that he can set up his hammock there and it is a place to relax and have fun. The kids had fun running around, playing in the trees, riding bikes, climbing trees, swinging on trees and playing on exercise equipment. Our friends brought their dog so Little H had a blast walking Mater around the area and surprisingly wasn't terrified of him.  (She's always been very skittish around dogs.) Happy we got to go there and happy we got to visit with sweet dear friends too.
 N was having a blast climbing trees and swings on the roots hanging from the trees.  He felt like Tarzan!
 Little H borrowed our friends' bike to try to see if she could ride a bike.  She did pretty good and I think she will pick it up quickly once she gets one her size.  She's only used a balance bike so far and is itching to get a bike with pedals.

 Little H was so proud of the fact that she walked Mater that she wanted a picture to show how much she liked him.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Oranges from the orange grove

John went hiking today with a friend and went to an orange grove and got TONS of oranges.  Here are some of the oranges that he got. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Baby Olson - 25 weeks

So for most people this might come as a shock.  John announced the news on facebook through a picture but otherwise we were pretty quiet on social media. We are expecting a new little one in the Spring of 2017.  We have found out that we are having a little boy.  Little H was a little sad when she first heard the news - she was hoping for a baby sister but all the kids are super excited to meet their new little brother.  The sky was so pretty that I knew that I wanted to try to take some maternity pictures.  I only have a couple of pictures and most of those are phone pictures.  So I figured today was the day to get some cute pictures done.  I set up the camera and focused on John then handed him the camera and went to where he had stood.  I think they turned out pretty good. Enjoy the pictures and hopefully I can get a couple of more pictures taken and shared.   

New Kids Pictures

We took a bike ride to the train park (okay the kids did).  John and I walked and I walked really really slow!  But while we were at the train park we got new pictures taken for the kids because it's a new year and I wanted to use my new lens and I wanted new pictures.   Thankfully the kids were cooperative and did a great job.  I think they turned out great!  I can't believe how big they are getting! 
Little H, who is almost 5 years old! 

 Little M, who is 7 years old! 
N, who is 9 years old!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Beach Day!

So today after church and lunch with friends we decided to go down to the beach for the afternoon.  We started off trying to dig holes (John loves digging holes in the beach).  But after awhile the kids slow disappeared into the dunes area, so that they could run up the dunes and just have all sorts of adventures.  I guarded our camp but thankfully we moved our camp closer to the dunes so that I could be apart of the action.  While they were off exploring, I was coloring, taking pictures and laughing at the mischief they got into.  We had fun and I'm glad that we went! 
Climbing the dunes, jumping in the waves, climbing the creation they made. 
 Jumping in the waves! 
 We also attempted a family picture!  Not the greatest picture but I like how it turned out.  Yes, it's whited out but I wanted us to be more in focus and not in the shadow.  I was experimenting and my friend did a good job getting the shots.  Yes, this is basically the first family picture where you can actually see my belly and see that we are expecting another baby in 2017. 
We saw fishermen preparing their nets for when high tide came up.  I'm not sure what they were catching but they were all very diligent in their work.  Then we saw a guy parasailing or para surfing. I'm still not exactly sure what is the right answer to that.  If you have an answer comment in the comment section and I'll change it. 
 Gorgeous Sunset silhouettes. 
 The first sunset for 2017 was so gorgeous and a beautiful start to the new year. Happy New Year! 
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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