Monday, February 23, 2015

Celebrating Chinese New Year in China

Growing up in Indiana and living in Texas and Idaho, I didn't have much opportunity to learn about or celebrate the biggest and grandest of all Chinese Celebrations, Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. That all changed this year.

Red, Gold and Goats/sheep are to be seen everywhere, inside and out!

This is the huge decoration on the main plaza.

We walked around the plaza to see the decorations on a cold, sunny Sunday.

Every town we have visited has had red lanterns hanging everywhere.

The decorations remind me of the USA at Christmas time.

I understand the reason for all the red and gold is their tradition of scaring off the Evil and Vicious, man-eating monster Nian. Many years ago, on the coldest day of winter, the villagers scared Nian away with the bright colors of red and loud noises of banging drums and bight fireworks.  

The gold in the celebration is for money and good fortune in the coming new year.

I took the opportunity to decorate our apartment appropriately in red and gold.

My rotating Lantern in the living room also celebrates the Lantern Festival which starts on New Years Day and goes for a week. 

Good luck Red and Gold Chili peppers....

Sheep/Rams to celebrate the new year...

Intricate window cut outs loaded with good luck symbols to decorate the windows for the next 4 or 5 months....

Doors of both homes and businesses are decorated in red and gold wording,  poetry wishing good luck to the family with a placard bearing a good luck wish and an apple for good health and fortune in the coming new year.

Many celebrations and cultural shows take place at this time. Darryl and I ran into two members of a performing troupe outside the theater.

All of the celebrations start 2 or 3 weeks before the actual New Year/ Spring festival day and last for a month. Many stores and business have been closed for days in preparations for the celebrations. What a fun time to be in China.

Monday, February 16, 2015

January Fun in Virginia and the Carolinas!

WARNING!!! Lots and lots of pictures!
Hi everybody, Reagan here. I want to tell you about the fun I had in January with grandma Cindy. She arrived in Virginia on January 6th to visit us and to help with new baby Annabelle who was only 4 days old. Well, that's what she said, but I know that she had an ulterior motive which was to play with me as much as possible.

When she got in the car at the airport I told her, "Grandma, I'm so happy you came to see me!"

Yep, that pretty much wrapped her all around my little finger right then and there. You have to do that early so they will always be there to do things for you that mommy and daddy may not want you to do. Adults say we're spoiled. Nope, we're just smart and know how to use the cute factor.
Mommy and Daddy ordered a Cinderella dress which didn't arrive in time for Christmas, but I was there when it did arrive and tried it on right away! So pretty!

This is me as Cinderella and yes, this smile is called my 'heart melting' tactic. It works on all grandmas and grandpas and some parents!

I made sure grandma had plenty of time to hold baby Annabelle so mommy could spend time with me and get things done.

And... It snowed. I got to play in the snow with Grandma and Mommy! That was a fun day! 

Kisses for Baby Sister..

Mommy and Annabelle were doing so well after 2 weeks that Grandma Cindy and I decided to take a road trip. 1st stop, Great-Grandma Peggy's. Great Grandma gave me some sea shells and told me stories about grandpa Darryl and how he loved to look for sea shells on the beach. Even though I think my Grandpa is kind of old, he still loves to hunt for sea shells.

"Whoa grandma.... Is Uncle David really raising worms in this building?"

Good Morning world!

Grandma and her buddy greet the day!

I told Uncle David I wanted to hold the chickens.

But I changed my mind.

After breakfast with Grandma Peggy, Aunt Cindy, cousin Matt and uncle David we left to travel to Columbia, South Carolina and a visit with Uncle Jason, Aunt Shiloh and Cousins! I will let Grandma Cindy tell you about that visit because I was too busy playing with my cousins to do anything else. 

Hello Family and Friends. As Reagan has turned the commentary of this post over to me I am happy to tell you about our visit to South Carolina.
We arrived around 2:00 in the afternoon. Since it was Martin Luther King day and the kids were out of school, Shiloh decided a trip to the zoo was in order. Of course the first thing I did was accidentally trip Maggie and she skinned her knee, but it didn't stop her for long.

One thing I like to do when I am with my older grandchildren is to give them my camera and let them play photographer. All the the following photos, except for a couple of the elephant pictures, were taken by Emily, Jonas and Adrianna. I even think Preston was able to snap a few pictures.

I love seeing our adventures through the eyes of my grandchildren. Reagan and Micah buckled up in the stroller for the journey through the Riverside Zoo.

And our beautiful Miss Ems.

Love the spider sculpture.

We walked through part of the botanical gardens on our way to the zoo and Emily was enthralled by the flowers.

Hiding from Mom and Jonas.

The first thing we did upon arriving at the zoo was to ride the Merry-Go-Round.

No, I'm not texting, I'm trying to pull up my camera on my phone so I could take some pictures. 

Then while the older kids worked on climbing a wall and palm trees....

Shiloh and I took the 3 youngest to the petting zoo. 

Feeding the goats was a favorite for Maggie, Micah and Reagan.

Then we had to feed the children.

The kids loved the elephant compound.

Look grandma, look at all the elephants! 

And finally, we ended up our zoo visit at the aviary. I know that all of the bird pictures were taken by Jonas.

What a fun day we had, although it was exhausting for Micah.

We even enjoyed a visit from Uncle Cody, Aunt Alisa and the Redhead Express before we headed back to Virginia. The kids enjoyed singing along with the latest Redhead Express Video. I was surprised that Lydia, Preston and Adam knew all the words to "Maps" and "All of Me"

I can't wait until my next visit!

 When we arrived home we found that Grandpa Darryl had sent Skye and Annabelle some Flowers,

As Skye was busy getting back in shape 3 weeks after having the baby,

 Reagan helped us clean the kitchen and baby Annabelle slept,

...and slept.

"Okay Family, I'm Back. It was nice of Grandma to let me visit with you. 

She says to check back again next week for some great pictures of the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival Events." - Love, Reagan