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Preview: Rambles and Ruminations

Rambles and Ruminations

A semi-regular catalog of our comings and goings.

Updated: 2017-12-31T15:07:35.054+08:00


Family Pictures 2016


We asked our favorite photographer to take one last round of family photos of us before we leave Beijing. We wanted to take the pictures somewhere that would remind of us of our life in this city where we have lived for the last 3 and a half years.  So we chose the Dongyue Temple we visited the first month we moved here. We will miss our friend who took these photos and so many other things

Once this year


This is my one and only post for 2015. It's been an extraordinary year for our family of five, and letting it end without even an attempt at commemoration seems wrong.  So, in no particular order,  actually, strike that, in chronological order,  here are the highlights: January: Claire's third birthday party A Lego birthday party for Caleb and Isaac After 2.5 years in Beijing, we

25 Days of Christmas - Day 8


My kids love for me to chaperone their field trips.  And, while I do enjoy spending time with them and seeing parts of Beijing I might not normally visit, field trip chaperone is not my favorite pastime. Despite that, I promised I would accompany each of them on at least one field trip this year and Caleb's was this week.  Unfortunately, it was also to an ice skating. Now, I grew up in Hawaii.

25 Days of Christmas - Day 7


Today we chanced upon a random display of the Coca-cola Christmas Polar Bears.  We happened to be at a mall in Beijing and saw 30 or so of these larger than life Polar Bears outside the mall and up and down the corridors inside, too.  I'm a big fan of the Coca-Cola Polar Bears commercials, and I am certainly missing them this time of year, but I had no idea this was even a thing. Of

25 Days of Christmas - Day 6


Today we watched a brand new Christmas movie... ...well, brand new to us anyway.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  It didn't make it into our top 5 for Christmas movies, but it's certainly now among the top 10. What are our top 5 you ask?  Well, as long as you're asking... #5  #4 #3 #2 #1 I'm also a huge fan of Love Actually, but that is not so much a family

25 Days of Christmas - Day 5


At the boys' school the students have been collecting donations for a local orphanage.  Shepherd's Field takes in special needs orphans from 15 different orphanages across China.  They do excellent work caring for these children and our school has joined with them in the past for similar collection drives and other fundraising efforts.  The children brought their donations to their classrooms

25 Days of Christmas - Day 4


Stockings are my favorite part about Christmas morning.  I love digging inside to pull out all manner of unexpected trinkets and gifts.  When I was growing up, I looked forward to the contents of my stocking more than opening my gifts, I still do.  My parents put our stockings up right after Thanksgiving and then all month long my siblings and I and Santa's elves (Mom and Dad) would fill the

25 Days of Christmas - Day 3


As you might be aware, we sort of have a thing for nativity sets.  We like to collect them everywhere we travel, though we're not always successful.  It's been a few years since I posted pictures of our nativity collection and in the intervening time we've added several more.  We've also been to a couple of countries where we couldn't find anything even remotely resembling a nativity, but that

25 Days of Christmas - Day 2


One of the children's most favorite things to do at Christmastime is to make gingerbread houses.  Before we left the US for China, Kenny had the genius idea to buy several gingerbread house kits.  I know we could make gingerbread from scratch, but getting molasses is no small feat and what I can find I like to use for making gingerbread cookies -- another holiday tradition.  And, frankly, the

25 Days of Christmas - Day 1


The Chinese love Christmas.  They love Christmas music, they love Santa Claus, they love Christmas lights, and all the trimmings.  If fact, they love it so much, they love it ALL. YEAR. LONG.  Santa is not seasonal in this part of the world, he is with us all the time and often when you least expect him.  If you love Christmas music or are the type who doesn't take down your lights or tree

Family Pictures 2014


It's that time of year again.  Actually, it's past that time of year, but I didn't get my act together until now, so let's just pretend this is last month and not the waning days of 2014. We tried a new photographer and I think he did a pretty great job.  Herewith a sampling of our photo shoot in Beijing's Chaoyang Park.  

DIY Health Care


Last month, for the second time since moving to China, I got a call from the kids' school informing me that Caleb had hit his head and probably needed a trip to the emergency room.  The first time they called he had hit a header on a soccer ball too close to a chain link fence and collided with the fence.  He bled and bled, it was a head wound after all, and needed a staple to close the gash.  

A Great Day on The Great Wall


One of the things I have wanted since before arriving in China is a picture of the 5 of us on the Great Wall.  The first time I visited the Great Wall, I was bowled over.  It is beyond impressive.  It is immense and imposing and incredible.  It is a sight to behold.  My first visit was on a nasty day, one of the only days it snowed last winter.  It was cold and gray from pollution and bad

Pinewood Derby 2013


Caleb participated in his first Pinewood Derby last fall.  Watching Caleb (and, truth be told, Kenny) agonize over the design and weight and aerodynamics of his car was fun.  Caleb enjoyed every step of the process from getting his block of wood, to looking up all the zillions of possible designs and secrets to speed available on the world wide web.  He ecstatically chose paint colors and glued

Manly Beach


Last fall we took a trip to Australia. Our first stop was Manly Beach where we stayed for three days and enjoyed a little slice of beach life. Having grown up on the North Shore of Oahu, this is a lifestyle with which I am very familiar. People walking around barefoot wearing all manner of beach attire. Buggy boards and surfboards strapped to car roofs, bicycles, motorcycles, and backs.

12 months on


We arrived in China on January 28, 2013 (Caleb's birthday).  The day after we arrived, our new friends* took us out to dinner at a local dumpling place.  I don't have any pictures from that night but I remember a few highlights. 1.  It was freezing.  Freezing. And, we were walking outside for what seemed like forever.  It wasn't, but it was cold and we had no idea where we going, so it felt

Easter Photo(s)


Getting all three of the kids to look at the camera at the same time with decent expressions is nearly impossible.  Thank goodness for digital cameras.  We take shot after shot in the hopes that one will be a keeper.  Holiday pictures generally tend to be the worst, probably because I really want them to come out great and usually there are carefully selected outfits involved.  Easter this year

Nothing but Claire Bear


Most of my posts focus on travel or the kids.  Caleb and Isaac have a lot more going on than Claire so their presence on the blog is disproportionately larger than hers.  To even things up a bit, the following is a series of photos of Claire, month by month since she was born. Day 1, January 9, 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012

Chair Skating


A favorite winter pastime in China is chair skating. And it is exactly what you are envisioning, chairs on skates. New Year's Day, we gathered with friends at a nearby lake and joined in the fun.   We actually opted for the bicycle chair contraptions because the boys thought bikes on ice would be awesome.  But, our friends rented the traditional chairs, so we each had a turn pushing

8 is Great!


In the LDS church, children are baptized at the age of 8. Caleb turned 8 earlier this year and made the choice to be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Practicing our religion in China is a unique experience for us. China permits freedom of religious belief, but it requires all religious activities in China comply with relevant laws and

Piano Men


For the past year, Caleb and Isaac have been taking piano lessons. Unfortunately neither Kenny nor I play as well as we should despite having taken lessons ourselves many moons ago, thus, though we know it might be a battle, we are determined the boys will play. At least well enough to accompany the hymns in church on Sundays. Something I have needed to do all too often of late, with less than

Starting Young


If you know me, you know my favorite pastime is going to the theater. When we live in the US, we always have season tickets somewhere, or even several somewheres. My very favorite theater performances are those of the musical persuasion. I love musicals. Love. Them. I can't help it, and I can't help but inspire (read force) my children to love them, too. And, so far, we seem to have been

The Last First Haircut


Claire has needed a haircut for some time. But, we've had less than stellar success with haircuts in Beijing, and I didn't want her first one to be a total disaster. So, we waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, while we were visiting civilization for several weeks this summer, we got it done. Our friends directed us to this FABULOUS kids hair cuttery complete with video games,



The boys played soccer, or more accurately football, this fall.  The format is a little different from what we are used to in the US.  Instead of practice during the week and a game on the weekend, this program meets only once a week and Daddy does not have to help coach (yea!).  It is very organized and each team has an English speaking and a Chinese speaking coach employed by the organization

Touring China: #3 - Shanghai -- Happy Anniversary to Us!


In August we celebrated 10 glorious years of wedded bliss.  Seriously.  We are so happy being married to each other, it's almost nauseating, even for us.  People always marvel at how quickly we moved from veritable strangers to eternally together (7 months), but it was the easiest decision we've ever made.  Bar none. We dashed off to Shanghai for a romantic weekend getaway to celebrate.  In