Dec 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Fever

This Christmas Eve Santa brought a fever to Hannah.  Now while you might say, "Ahh,"  Stop yourself and say, "Oh, you must have all had a restful Christmas."  haha that sounds mean.  The girls are having a blast though.  Allison is "pertinding" sick and they both are enjoying the DVDs Auntie Cheri sent from America.

Christmas at our house in the Water Village

Daddy Daughter Trip

Overnight on the train = FUN
Two nights in a hill tribe accommodation = MUDDY FUN
Hikes in the mud +  water buffalos +  new rain boots  = MORE FUN
No mommies wanting us to eat well or be careful = FREE FUN
Another overnight on the train =  ENOUGH FUN....

Three dads, six kids, Sapa!

Hiking way ahead of the dads.  Maybe a mommy would call them back.  So much fun without mommies.

Dec 5, 2009

Organized Chaos

A lot of people who come to Vietnam remark about the electrical wires. Hannah at one point thought they were webs for monster size spiders. They are super tangled and often hang so low I have to remind the kids to step over them and be sure not to touch them. This week however, the city is cleaning them up by gathering them up into tidy bundles using those awesome plastic ties. I love plastic ties!

This is the street we live off of.



Dec 2, 2009

Our Vietnamese Preschool

The girls have returned to Hannah' s old preschool called, O'hana.  We love the teachers there.  It's a dual language school and really helped Hannah gained a pretty good grasp of Vietnamese.  Though now that we've spent a year in Texas, the girls have forgotten all their Vietnamese.  They have returned to O'hana two mornings a week.  They're teachers say it's just not enough and they haven't bonded with the teachers or their classmates.  We are thinking of increasing to four mornings a week (9 - 12pm) and see if that helps.  That means we'll have to push English homeschool to the afternoons.  When I take them to the store with me I tell them what to say and they are always willing to try repeating me.  They've made good progress but it's a bit slow.  It's really important to us that they learn to communicate here and feel comfortable interacting with either foreigners or Vietnamese.  We'll see how the new plan works out  beginning in January.

The silly faced kid with the Harvard sweatshirt is Danny, Hannah''s main buddy.  (He's the only one who speaks English haha)

This is Allison's little class.  It only has 8 kiddos and they are hilariously silly and cute!

Auntie Cheri, don't look cause, yes, Allison is painting while wearing the white Ralph Lauren dress you bought.

These kids have cute nick names like Mui, Bip, Mit, Coung.  I don't know what these particular names mean but parents give their kids a proper name like Khanh Linh and then give them a nick name or a 'house name'  like Pig, Potato, Jackfruit.

To the Circus School!

Today our homeschool group went to the Circus School which is a few minutes walk from our village.

We got there a bit early and watched the performers doing some practice. Soon kids from some elementary schools arrived and the show began!

This next act was pretty scary because once he took the snake off himself, the snakes just slithered around.  I was grateful to be on the second floor!

We were all mesmerized during the entire show.

The music was insanely loud so most of us were wiped out from the noise by the end of the show.  It was a fantastic show!  These were circus students so they sometimes made mistakes and then all the children would shout, "Co len! Co len!" to cheer the performers on.

When we got home we had lunch and did some math.

Nov 29, 2009

Homeschool Companion

For two girls who have longed for a dog, Sandy is such a gift! She loves being with the family all day long. We haven't had a dog before so it's still amusing to us how she wiggles into every part of our life. It's pretty dark but if you look at the lower bookshelf you will see her snuggled in tight while we do school. She's learned not to play in the school room so just uses the time to nap.

An Uninvited Dinner Guest

The other night we had fresh green salad. This isn't too common for us since cleaning lettuce is so very time consuming. We generally cook our greens - and they are super yummy that way but Sherm and I were so enjoying our Fresh Salad. Sherm was so curious where I found fresh salad and I was telling him all about the new store that sells it in a bag called "European Salad". Just as we were pushing big wads of salads into our mouths I noticed The Visitor and screamed! Our visitor had made it through my so called rigorous washing and still landed happily on our plate still munching away. He was just traveling about. We didn't finish the salad that night.

Beautiful Allison

Yes, she's in her pajamas outside. She found the new thermals and loves them.

Happy Birthday Hannah

Hannah turned 6 this past week. She's been dreaming of Barbies all year but I so hesitated to ever purchase one of those dolls! Finally, Sherm and I agreed we'd get her one. Little did we know her friends also got her some so now there is a collection of four Barbies in our home and lots of fun play going round. She loves being six and is doing more chores round the house and is also determined to eat gobs until it results in her being tall 'just like Barbie'. Well see...

Nov 5, 2009

Changes at the Zoo

Allison and I went on a date to the zoo the other day. There are signs of progress all around us in Hanoi and the zoo is no exception. The elephant house is being upgraded and it appears the aviaries are getting a makeover too. I think I was most interested in signs of progress for the average joe. A few years ago, not many people had their own camera so photographers like the lady picture above with the SLR  would do brisk business by taking your photo, then having it developed, laminated and framed (not unlike US amusement parks). As in many developing countries, there was a technological leapfrog past film cameras to the point where many families have a digital camera or smart phone with a camera. But don't feel too bad for the freelance photographers: I even saw one of them with a digital SLR! so they're getting a slice of the progress pie too.

Allison liked the elephants and the hippo the best. We ate Peking Duck-flavoured chips, which are actually pretty good.

Allison had such a full and fun day that she fell asleep at the dinner table. (Well, ok, she didn't really. This picture is from another night, but you gotta admit, it does make for a nice ending.) - sc

Oct 24, 2009

New Family Member

Meet Sandy!
Sandy is the newest member of our family.  The girls have been wanting a dog for years but we haven't had a place where it would be suitable to keep one.  Our new place has a back yard so we told the girls we'd get a dog when we got back to VN and got settled in.  I was thinking I'd go to Thailand and get a large family friendly dog but a couple days after arriving this little dog kept barking at me whenever I'd go get my motorbike from the parking garage.  Sandy, formerly with a VNese name she nor I remember, lived in the parking garage on a 3ft chain for the last 8 years.  She was filthy as you can imagine.  She lived, pottied, ate and slept in the same 3ft of space.   The reason she was chained up was because she was a Japanese breed and that makes her valuable.  How sad. (Actually we just found out that she is a "Cavalier King Charles Spaniel" - a big fancy name for a tiny dog! - sc)

Now she is often found on Sherm's pillow.  But don't worry, she's all cleaned up, got her shots, de-flead and is so very loving!  She craves attention and gets plenty.  Right now she is out at the park with Hannah and Allison.  They are all three dressed up as princesses.  Sandy is wearing her pink chiffon cape.  The girls can do anything to this dog and she happily complies.

She is not potty trained yet so her bouts in the house are only a couple hrs at a time.  But she's catching on.