Sunday, July 11, 2010

My kind of 4th

Family style that is.  That's how we celebrated our 4th of July!

We actually had plans to travel to visit some great friends in St. Louis---but Emma (our Jack Russell) got a bit sick (bacterial infection...real nasty) and we had vet appointments and meds to give her and we just felt we couldn't be 8 hours away if something should happen.

So my dear hubby surprised me last Saturday morning with a trip to Chattanooga...an hour and 1/2 drive away. What a great treat and fun time!  It was our first real "family" vacation...just the four of us...and it was an awesome time to reinforce the family bonds we've established.  It was a time for the kids to really play and learn to almost work together and a chance for Adam and I to enjoy the kids in a easy atmosphere.  Yep...my kind of 4th!

So being the first time we'd visited this city we decided to do some exploring!

Sadly the only way I can get the two of them together in a photo is if I confine Sammy in his stroller....
We were on our way to the Aquarium.  What a fantastic place and one I would love to visit again!
Awww...love this one!
And we call him "the boy with no fear".  He was ready to dive in and play with the stingrays!
You can always tell when it is nearing lunchtime with these two...look at those  faces!
Sammy is ready to eat his fingers...
But Simone tried to give a good smile...pretty girl!
So what could I do...?  I had no food so I stored them in a cage until I could find some fresh fish to satisfy them!
I love that they all climbed in this tube inside the starfish/crab exhibit!  Simone went in without a backword glance and Sammy just crawled on in after her!  I sent Adam to make sure it was safe for the little one, and I snagged this photo.  The kids played on inside there for 15 or so minutes just laughing and giggling.
The tanks were just incredible, filled with fish, sharks, rays and turtles.
I would've sworn we'd brought some live fish back with us as my two kiddos barely saw dry land whenever we were back at the hotel!  They just loved the pool!
Look at her swimming without her floaties.  And trying so hard to keep her face dry!
We also visited the Chattanooga Choo Choo and took a trolley ride!  Simone was very excited and insisted she sit on a seat all by herself...being that she's such a big girl now and all!
Sammy really was equally excited but he skipped his afternoon nap and just couldn't keep his eyes open.  The movement of the trolley didn't help much I suppose! 
But he woke up in time to see the trains and I'm glad because he really liked them!

So although we missed seeing our friends (umm...I didn't miss that 8 hour road trip...just saying) we had a fabulous time together.  Yep, my kind of 4th!
J

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hula girl

Isn't it great when they teach themselves something new!  This is what Simone did last week....

video

And Sammy naturally had to try to be just like jie jie!

video

Never a dull moment in these parts....
J

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer days....

Oh yes...summer days.  For us summertime is almost half over, as Simone starts school in August, and we seem to be finally getting into our groove.  We keep busy during the day with lots of activities and both the kids and I sleep pretty well at night.  We've even taken to sleeping in some days until 7:30 or so...once or twice until 8!

So here's a bit of last week, starting with a trip to the zoo on a day that was a bit cooler than we'd seen for a while!
We decided to watch the bird show, something Simone and I have seen a few times but a first for Sammy Wei.  He was not too sure why we were just sitting on logs at the zoo.  I mean it was lunch time and all....
Simone on the other hand was very excited to see the birds in motion!

Look at that face...full of anticipation at the owl swooping, the parrot talking...
And then there is this face...he was not too happy about this.  I could hear his brain saying "lunch? lunch?  hungry here"  But once the birds came out he warmed a bit.  But he was still hungry.

Oh to be just a foot taller, then I could climb like Simone!
Poor boy wants to be right where his sis is but is just a tad too short still! Simone did help him up on the ledge so he could look out at the gorillas with her! Sweet girl...

And Sammy follows his sis wherever she goes!  If she thinks something cool is in the cage then he does as well!

Well.....almost always.  He spotted this jeep from quite a distance and bee-lined to it while Simone looked at the giraffes.  He was all about "driving" it and making Brrrrrroooommm noises!
Simone decided to join him for a quick spin.    She's so silly, I just love her expression here...

Our zoo has a really cool exhibit called "Wee Zoo" and it's an indoor play area with all sorts of hands on places.  There's a vet clinic, an area where you make the right foods for the animals, some live chicks and bunnies and lot's more!  Below is one of Simone's favorite areas...the pizza shop.  Full of "Melissa &Doug" pizza's and ice cream - plus a cash register, oven and fridge.  She had a blast! 
Sammy liked all of the cars and tractors that are housed in the exhibit, and Simone was always close by him making sure he was safe!
See my girl up in the chicken coop!  This is actually a big ramp behind the walls, sort of like a box, leading up to this window and one leading down.  After watching Simone do it Sammy just had to go as well.  Needless to say...Mama got to enjoy the close quarters of the tunnel too.  We had the pleasure of going through not once...or twice..but three times.  Oh well, the kids enjoyed it!
And Sammy found a table with a tractor.  He got to say bbbrooomgh while pushing it on any surface he could reach!
And what marks the passage into summer more than berry picking?  This time we had Sammy to bring along.  We went last year on the same holiday weekend, with me feeling the guilt of doing a family event while one member was still so far away.  The feelings of happiness of having all of us here...well it's sort of indescribable!   And sometimes I like to hang back a bit and watch my family in action.  This is what it looks like- smiles here and cuddles there....
Yet...sometimes I have to stop them to catch a glimpse of the happiness on their faces!
Sammy didn't pick too many berries, mostly just ran up and down the rows!
Taking a break in the shade.  Who's idea was it to go in the heat of the afternoon?  Oh...mine huh! 
Sammy found a nice cart to practice his driving skills on.
And the berry picking is on a farm with the cutest brown cows.  Both kids loved seeing them and I did too! 
 

Summer days... I couldn't ask for anything more!
J

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Racing Day

Dragon Boat Racing Day that is!
We have our races in June here and each year it seems to grow larger and have more rowers!  Our FCC (Families with Children from China) Chapter has a craft booth that is a huge hit every year.  Our president is also in charge of the crafts and I have to say- she had some fantastic crafts this year!  Sammy and I volunteered to "man the booth" for an hour.  Adam and Simone spent the weekend in Atlanta, so it was just the two of us!

And Sammy had a great time hanging out but kept looking around for his big sis!
Once we finished at the booth we headed for the lake to cool off!  Sammy just loves the water and has little to no fear of splashing and rolling around!
We stayed for a couple of races.  I really love the feeling in the air as each race starts- all of the cheering and the excitement...the drums beating, the rowers yelling encouragement to each other, the thrill of a close race -and then the slower and solemn drum beat bringing the boats back in.
And before we left we headed back to the FCC booth so Sammy could take a spin in the child size Dragon Boat.  He climbed right in like he's been racing all his life!  No fear of the other kids in it already, he just plopped himself right in!
He waited with great patience for his turn on the drum.
  And then at last...he was in charge!  He had so much fun banging that drum and really seemed to understand what he was doing there!  But when another child declared it was her turn he cheerfully handed the sticks over to her and held his arms out to Mama to get down!  What a guy!
When we got home it was time to work on the garden.  Sammy made sure to water well... (so he's watering the only area without anything green in it...he's trying!)
And silly boy that he is --- he turned the hose on me, laughing all the while!
And just to show you what a handful he is....
This is how I found him after leaving the room for probably 20 seconds!  He climbed up onto the couch and then onto the table to get his paws on the TV remote.  And he got the TV turned on!
   
The following day we met up with our other family members at our pal's pool.  Here's a picture of my girl...swimming without her floaties on.  But since she was doing canon balls into the pool she decided to just hold on to them.  Silly girl!

It was a fun weekend for me with my little fellow!  But I sure missed my sweet girl and hubby and I think I speak for both Sammy and myself when I say we were glad to have them both home!  The week since has been busy and I should have more photos to post soon.  If these two dumplings give me a chance to get on the computer that is...

Happy Fourth of July...and God Bless America!
J