Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ella Turns 2!!!

On Friday, Ella turned 2 years old. We had her birthday party today. She did really great, considering all the people here in our house. Although she wasn't really interested in opening presents, and would have much rather played with the wrapping paper instead! Ella was definately interested in the pink cupcakes though!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Visitors for the Weekend

This weekend our good friends Jason, Jen & little Addison drove over 7 hours to stay at our place. Ella and Addison were 'sisters' in the orphanage in China, and we first met Jason & Jen in the airport last February on our way to China to pick up our girls.
Jason and Bill went to the Packer game Sunday. Jason got the required good-natured ribbing from Bill's friends about wearing his Favre #4 Viking jersey. But tailgating and a few beers and it doesn't matter what color jersey anyone is wearing anymore! Little Addison even wore the green & gold while in Wisconsin!

While the guys were cheering on the Pack, us girls hit the outlet mall. Of course we were drawn to the cute little girl clothes! And we did our fair share of Christmas shopping and stimulating the economy...

It was a fun weekend...very laid back with good food (Ian said to make sure to mention the cool spray cheese, Jen!!!), good friends and great fun. The girls did great and there have been so many changes in each since the last time we saw each other. Both have grown so much and their personalities are really starting to shine.

We can't wait to get together again for Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grand Cayman

Bill's sister moved to Grand Cayman this summer. Bill, myself, Ian (8) and Ella (2 - almost!) decided to take a trip to see her. My brother and sister-in-law, Dan & Candy, and their kids Carissa (16), Angela (13), Sean (7) & Drew (5) came along.

We had to get up at 3am to catch our flight, but it was no problem since no one slept the night before anyway! The kids all did great on the flights, and we landed in Grand Cayman to the 'perfect' summer day - upper 80's, low humidity, and not a cloud in the sky. We were greeted off the airplane with rum punch and Mardi Gras beads by pirates, as it was the start of Pirates Week in Grand Cayman.

We picked up our cars from the rental agency, and started to navigate the roads. As the Cayman Islands are part of the British West Indies, they drive on the left side of the road. It was quite odd and did not come naturally at first. Not to mention the millions of roundabouts that we were not used to navigating, and having to stop for the iguanas crossing the road. Dan & Candy's van was very odd looking - narrow and tall. It was immediately nicknamed "The Toaster", and the name stuck all week! Dan said that his kids learned to lean to the inside around corners as it felt like it would tip over!

The condo was perfect, ours a 2 bedroom garden view and Dan & Candy's a 3 bedroom ocean view. They were quite modern and very nice. And as it was low season in Cayman, we were the only occupants in the complex! We had the whole pool and beach to ourselves day after day.

The second day, we headed to downtown Georgetown to witness the Pirate festivities. There was an pirate invasion, complete with capture of the British army. A parade followed. There were floats and steel drum bands.

Polly, Bill's sister, took us to Rum Point (beach) and siteseeing around the island. We had a wonderful day in the sun and water. We snorkeled, built sand castles, and generally lounged around.

We took a cruise on the Jolly Roger, a restored pirate ship. We were the only ones on the cruise, and the crew did a wonderful job with the kids. They were lined up to check the new "deckhands" for lice, how big their muscles were, and to make sure they'd generally be good sailors. Then the kids were each given a scrub brush and had to scrub the deck! How hilarious! Then the crew tied my brother to the mast and dumped ice water on him as punishment for telling his kids "because I said so". Then the crew made us all "walk the plank" and go snorkeling!

The last thing we did was take a charter boat out to StingRay City, which is a sandbar in the ocean that is about 3-4 feet deep and swarmed with stingrays looking for free handouts. It was all I could do to be in the water with the huge stingrays swimming around my feet and rubbing against my legs. Ian did awesome with them. It was quite an experience that I'm sure the kids will never forget.

It was a wonderful trip. I have to again thank my sister-in-law Candy for all the great pictures...she took over 1,000 pictures during the week. She has her camera out so much that I get lazy and don't take mine out! If you'd like to view more pictures of our trip, click on the More Pictures link at the top right of this page. Then click on the Cayman 2009 folder.