Sunday, July 27, 2008

We're Here!

We had a great flight from Chengdu to Amsterdam on KLM. I highly recommend that flight! What a great way to get to Europe! And the inflight entertainment system sure makes that trip go by quickly. We also found a gem in a new hotel at the Schiphol Airport called citizenM. If you have to have a stop over in Amsterdam it is the perfect place to sleep!

Friday morning we flew Aer Lingus to Belfast where we were greeted by Jonny's parents, our nieces and nephew.

We have had a pretty mellow first few days staying pretty close to Jonny's parents' house. Today Jonny and I headed to Belfast to have his passport renewed and get the kids their British passports. We found an internet hotspot, so we are catching up on emails while we wait for his passport to be finished.

I hope to find internet access somewhere by the in-laws house so I can add some pictures. The weather has been fabulous here and I have some beautiful pictures to share.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On Our Way Again....

We have been back in Chengdu a week and we are leaving again for Northern Ireland to see Jonny's family and friends. We are taking a direct flight from Chengdu to Amsterdam today and over nighting in Amsterdam. We have a morning flight to Belfast and should be back in Limavady by lunch time on Friday. This is the first opportunity we have had to go to do the direct KLM flight from Chengdu to Amsterdam and we are really looking forward to it.

I meant to do some posting this past week and I actually had time to do so, but I think someone is messing with blogger and I was unable to access it for most of this past week. I seem to have normal access again and hope to access while we are in NI. I hope to do some posting while we are there of beautiful Northern Ireland.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Quick Post

We just arrived in Chengdu on Thursday at 8:10 pm. We were pretty tired and all were in bed by about 10 pm. At 12:40 pm I was jolted from my bed by what I think was an aftershock. I had convinced myself I was imagining things with jet lag and all. I checked and sure enough there were two tremors registering at 4.6 and 5.0 which were back to back. What a welcome back to Chengdu! Luckily we are leaving again next Thursday for a while. I guess I should let Northern Ireland know that I am nothing but bad luck.

Some good news though, I checked my blog and I can now read it without having to go through a proxy server! Yeah!!! I hope this motivates me to post more!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back to China

We have a 7:59 am flight tomorrow to Chicago to catch our flight to Beijing. I cannot believe how quickly a month has flown by. I believe I have had a very relaxing time in Nebraska compared to my day to day life in Chengdu. The kids however probably will sleep for days when we get back as I have never seen them play so hard in their little lives.

I was really hoping to catch up with my blogging, but I haven't even posted my 4th of July pictures yet. We will see if I have time between the jet lag and our trip to Northern Ireland (we leave a week from Thursday!!!). I guess I should have caught up while I was here because it wouldn't have taken me as long because the internet connection is so fast it is unbelievable!!! Until next summer!!!

Here are a few shots of today. We hung out with my sisters and their kids.


Angus and Aiden playing in the sand. Boy are my kids going to miss this!!!


Gemma and Isaac on the trampoline. And this too!!!


The cousins! (Gabe couldn't be with us because he was going to Adventure Land.)


Aunt Becky and Gemma


and Angus


Aunt Jenny with Angus


and Gemma


The Hendersons


The Woods

Monday, July 14, 2008

Larry's 70th Birthday Party


On one of our last days in Nebraska we had the pleasure of attending the surprise 70th birthday of our dear friend Larry Knutzen. Larry and Rida's daughters have been my friends for years and Paula was the maid of honor in our wedding. Jonny and I always love catching up with the Knutzens when we are back in NE and Jonny loves to have an Old Milwaukee with Larry!


Larry just finished golfing and was surprised to see a room full of friends and family. Here he is with his lovely wife Rida.


Gemma made friends quickly with some of the Knutzen cousins.


Larry's youngest daughter Holly with her little girl.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

John C. Fremont Days

While we were back in Nebraska we had the pleasure of attending one of the most popular events of the summer in my hometown, John C. Fremont Days. Fremont was named after John C. because he was know as an explorer and was nicknamed the 'Pathfinder'. I was really excited to attend because it was the 21st year of these Days and I had heard from my parents that it had turned into quite the event. I have to say I was extremely impressed with the evolution of this event and really enjoyed everything about it.


The highlight of the event for me was being introduced to a band called the String Beans. Now maybe I shouldn't be the one that got all excited, but these Wigglesque band were hugely entertaining and their tunes were extremely catchy.


Gemma eating her kettle corn on Grandma's lap.


Angus and Abby really enjoyed the String Beans, but from a distance.


Poor Aiden was bit by some type of bug the night before and had a horrible allergic reaction. My poor sister had to endure jokes about her being an abusive mother all week-end long.


We also had the pleasure of attending the parade. Here was one of the tractors that was a hit with the boy cousins!


And the old cars were popular too!


My favorite was the marching bands!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Visit with the Colgan Family

We had the pleasure of going to Omaha to visit our friends the Colgan's. We had a great time which included seeing Bridget's new baby Jason and the kids playing with Bridget's daughter Anna.

If you go back to this post:
There is a picture of Gemma and Anna 2 years ago when they were really little girls.

We had lunch and Cath Colgan so graciously watched the kids in the pool (which is no easy feat I might add when Angus is involved!) while I caught up with Dick, Bridget and Kelly. Here are a few snapshots of our day. I had a great picture of Cath with her new grandboy, but I accidently deleted it from my camera! Sorry!


Gemma, Angus, and Anna after their swim.




Bridget, Anna and Jason Weeks

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Henry Dorley Zoo...The Best Zoo in the World!!!

One of the most favorite things I like to do with the kids while I am home in Nebraska is to take them to "The Best Zoo in the World!!!", Omaha's very own Henry Doorly Zoo. I actually didn't get a chance to go last year and I was really and I was really sad because this zoo is the tops and it is so enjoyable for the entire family! Now if I could only talk the rest of my family to go!


We started our trip with the Desert Dome!


It looks like the Outback of Australia when you first walk in.


Even down to the kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree!


Then we moved on to our old stomping grounds!


The kids in the Sonoran Desert of their home state Arizona!


We were able to see our favorite Javalina! Just don't call him pig!

They also had their nocturnal exhibit in the basement of the Desert Dome. It is really creepy because there are lots of bats, snakes, and spiders. There is even a swamp section with some other scary animals.


The alligator really freaked me out in the dark.


But we also were able to see some adorable beaver busy at work.


Next we were off to the Lied Jungle which is an indoor rainforest. Angus in the boat at the entrance of the Jungle.


Here is a view from the inside of the faux-Jungle.


There were gorgeous birds from the Amazon.


And some Tapirs too!


Gemma and Angus taking a break in the Jungle.


There were all types of monkeys and chimpanzees.


When we strolled out of the Lied Jungle we saw what appeared to be a baby zebra, but I never had it confirmed by anyone at the zoo.


We went on to my favorite exhibit the Scott Aquarium. I think the penguins were the hit of the zoo for me and the kids. We could have spent hours here watching these adorable creatures.


We went through the aquarium tunnel where there were sharks and manta rays all around us. There were a few scuba divers in the tank and Angus screamed "Daddy!!".


The sharks were really cool to see floating around the tunnel tank. This is a side view of the end of the tunnel tank.

After the aquarium the kids decided they want to catch the steam train to the other side of the zoo. We bought our tickets, but while we were waiting we took a look at a few other animals.


There were more penguins, but these were the little penguins that you find down on Philip Island, Australia.


The funny thing was that the giraffes and the little penguins shared an area.


The ostriches and zebras also shared space with some Emus that didn't want to be photographed.


Here comes the train!


As we got off the train we saw this extremely attractive peacock. I have to say I think they are most beautiful thing in the entire zoo!


The kids were happy to take a ride on the carousel.

We then went on to the Hubbard Gorilla Valley which would have to be my 2nd most favorite exhibit in the zoo. It is quite new and there are so many gorillas and they are massive!


Angus is almost as big as an orangutan!


I took this picture because it reminded me of one that was taken 2 years ago when Gemma was 4. She is definitely taller than a ring-tailed lemurs tail!


She wasn't back then, but same look!


One of the big windows in the Hubbard Gorilla Valley.


These animals were gigantic!

It was another fantastic trip to the zoo! While I was research the contents of this post I learned that the Henry Doorly Zoo is the 4th best zoo in the U.S. as rated by user ratings on Trip Advisor. I think it is probably the best though! I highly recommend a trip to Omaha if only to see this incredible zoo!