Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Day!

A few weeks ago, on May 28th, we celebrated Family Day - our 3rd anniversary of meeting little Long Li Lei, now Sophie LiLei. I've never posted the video before...mostly because I've never managed to find the time to create the movie of the moment. But alas, here it is...better late than never.

video

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Catching up...

These last few weeks of school are always a killer with the schedule - too many things crammed into only a few weeks. Next week is the worst...Dance recital on Sunday, piano recital rehearsal on Monday, piano recital on Tuesday, dance practice for competition on Wednesday, an ice cream party at school that I'm helping with on Friday, and dance competition on Saturday. School gets on the following Monday, then EJ will have her braces put on later that week. Then, a weekend of camping, K's parents are visiting, 4th of July....WHEW!

Anyway, I am way behind on posting, so hopefully this will catch me up a bit. Two weeks ago, EJ had her band and chorus concerts on back-to-back nights. (back row, on right):


Playing the drums:

5th grade band:


With one of her best buddies, EB:


EJ celebrated her 11th birthday a few weeks ago. She and a few friends went to a local salon/spa to get all dolled up for the occasion with mini manicures, mini facials, and fancy hairdos. The girls had a blast and it was fun to watch them! Then, we all came back to the house for some cake and ice cream.
There was a wide array of crazy nail colors:


EB had her hair done in zig-zagged French braids:





EJ, ready for her facial:

Getting her nails painted a very deep purple with gold glitter on top:
Her fancy 'do:

K and Sophie missed all the excitement, as I made them go buy tix for the dance recital while we were at the salon, and then Sophie had a friend's birthday party that afternoon.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Last Day in DC

Okay, I know I've been home for almost three weeks, but I just can't seem to get out of my own way to get some things done! :) Anyway, here are some shots from our last 24 hours in DC:

Here's a shot of our hotel - three old brownstones that have about 40 rooms. See the dormer windows at the top left? That was our penthouse suite!

The girls on the front steps:


This was the view out our bathroom window at the back of the hotel - overlooking the outdoor patio/bar/restaurant. And just across the way from this was the back side of several embassies - Chile, Trinidad.


Our giant room. We also had a small kitchen area.

The view across the street:
This was the very skinny winding staircase that we had to climb several times each day to the 4th floor:

We started the morning at the zoo! We met up with my good friend HD and her boys there. They had a flight home that afternoon, but we did get to spend a little time with them again!

The baby gorilla was so cute. A few minutes after I took this photo, mama grabbed him and went inside, because the HUMANS couldn't follow the rules "No tapping on glass". Well, honestly, the rude humans weren't tapping...they were pounding!
Sophie comparing hersellf to how fast the bamboo grows. She had to take her panda with her to the zoo! We did see one panda...the other was under "panda watch" - they thought she was pregnant again a few days earlier (she wasn't), but she was still under observation.
K left the zoo a little early to do a Segway tour. So, the girls and I hit up the panda gift shop (of course!) and then took the Metro to the Sculpture Garden. Sophie crashed before we were even out of the zoo. EJ and I enjoyed a little ice cream treat while walking around. When Sophie woke up, the girls just had to dip their toes in the fountain at the garden, and I had a chance to play with the camera a bit:
EJ liked this sculpture of a pyramid of cubes. The light made it look interesting.
When the sculpture garden closed, we popped into the Natural History museum for a quick break until K called us that he was done. Here's one of the Easter Island statues:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Washington DC - Day Four

Our fourth day in DC also started out early, as our congressman had arranged an 8:45 AM tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, so we had to be on the move by about 7:45 to walk to the Metro Station, make a few transfers, walk a few blocks, find the wrong entrance, and get in and through security. This was a fascinating tour about how our paper money is printed, but no photos were allowed! Here's a shot from the gift shop, where EJ and Sophie were trying to see how much money they were worth!



About halfway through the tour, the emergency alarm sounded and was telling us all to evacuate the building immediately. We quickly found out this was just a test, but it had us all wondering for a while! EJ bought herself about $500 worth of shredded money for $5, and we bought Sophie some lucky money for the year of the dog (when she was born). It's a dollar bill from the year 2006 that the serial number begins with 888 (considered lucky in Chinese!). We tried to get some for EJ but the year of the rabbit was sold out...it will be out again next year though!

Notice how blue and sunny the sky is in the next photo. Well, since this day was the first one that didn't threaten rain, the girls and I wore shorts. Big mistake. It was probably only in the mid-40s in the morning and then it might have climbed to 50. We were freezing and the wind was blowing terribly hard. Nonetheless, we had wanted to do a bunch of outdoor walking among the monuments, so perhaps we just walked a little faster than usual. Our first leg of the walk took us around the tidal basin to see the Jefferson Memorial. All of the cherry blossoms were gone - darn!



As we worked our way around the tidal basin, we came across the FDR monument, which I had never seen. It was really very nice.


You can see that at some point after the Jefferson memorial, I realized I had a change of clothes in the backpack for Sophie, so I slid some leggings on under her skirt, and she put her extra socks on as mittens!


Here are EJ and Sophie in the bread line:

A short walk further brought us to the Korean Monument. I had never seen it before, and it was amazing too. I noticed that each of the soldiers had a small spotlight on it, and I imagine that it is quite eerie to see at night.
There is a marble wall to the left of the above photograph. It has engraved faces of Korean War soldiers on it, and it is meant to reflect the statues of the soldiers.
This gentleman is a Korean War veteran. He was happy to share some of his experiences with the school groups that were visiting, and all the kids shook his hand when he was done speaking:
We finally made it to the Lincoln Memorial:


EJ always finds the horses:



Yup, there's that "tall pointy building" again (as Sophie called it):



I think Sophie half expected old Abe to stand up, as in the Night at the Museum 2 movie:



Next was the Vietnam Wall...a very powerful memorial:


After this long hike, we were starved, but kinda sorta on the wrong end of town for most restaurants. We wandered around a few blocks, and someone suggested walking north toward George Washington University. Still nothing. Finally, K went into a CVS and asked for a suggestion. They said the Red Cross headquarters was just a block east and it had a cafeteria, so that's where we went! After lunch, back down to the mall to see the World War 2 monument.



I figure we walked close to six miles this day. After getting back to our Metro stop, we went to Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle, voted the best pizza in DC, to grab a slice. Not bad! I think we all fell asleep pretty quickly this night.