Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ace Hardware

i don't know if any of you regularly go to Ace Hardware or even know what it is...but i come from small town iowa...where we have an ACE hardware in my town of 2,700 people! we found out that in a city close to us there was a new store opening called "Ace Hardware" and i thought...could it be the SAME chain of ACE? so we traveled 1 + hours to see this new store and sure was the very same ACE Hardware that i know! but i love it so much more now!!!!! because it was like stepping into America! the shelves were the same, the smell was fresh, things were dusty when you picked them off the shelf...we recognized things right off the bat and gavin and paul ran around the store saying "i remember this!" or "hey mom, you have one of these!" but in reality...i don't anymore...but i thought it was good for all of us to see things from the homeland! we took our time looking at everything on all 3 levels...they even had TIDE i just smelled it cuz one little bottle was $12! they had laminate wood flooring....and mr. clean...they had drano and i hear from other sources that it actually works! so many things you buy here thinking they are going to be great...and they turn out "NOT"... we found vacuum cleaners...they had rubbermaid tupperware...and plastic that feels like it won't break after one week of use! they had nice frames and stuff...those little trees you hang in your car to make it smell good! they even had IGLOO chill boxes...and tents, backpacks, tools and toolbelts and just everything you need! they even had a toilet with toilet paper! and i don't know if my siblings remember "the green machine" we had growing up...or at least the brothers had it??? THEY HAD ONE!!! so funny! the prices were very shocking to walk into but at least we know this kind of thing's like traveling back to america only a lot cheaper! and it was fun to be all it's glory! just had to tell you about our "little america" experience :D

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

we are still here...

sorry it's been so long...i guess when you get out of don't do things that you "normally" would do! summer has given us a lot of freedom to NOT have a schedule...but it's still been pretty fast and running. i think nearly all the ex-pats left town the first week after school was out so we felt pretty alone...not in a bad way...but it was just different to not see anyone. so in that time we decided to get a bunch of things done on the house that we had been putting more murals and painting and figuring things's been fun and the kids have been going to a day camp 3 days a week in the greg and i get a lot of running around done in that time cuz our car lets us!!!!!! and we have also been working in the art room cuz 7 years of no "official" art teacher...means a lot of stuff getting piled up and it has been a lot of work going through that as well and getting it ready for school this's been fun to find old pictures that i took, drawings we did, lesson plans we made, and just remembering the days of our first time in indo. the days in the art room too have been therapy for me cuz we get soooo much accomplished in ONE morning! i am frustrated a lot with how LONG it takes to get everything done here...but this was all fast and fun...and then our pimbantu comes as well and helps us sort and she took home all the trash from the room and recycled it for $10!!! pretty good and smart!

our house is getting more in order with projects getting finished instead of just being in our heads we will have to think of more! but greg's parents are going to be here in less than a week so we wanted to have the place looking more "finished" for them. the kids are so very excited and can NOT wait...i'm most excited to see the reunion of will have to be videoed!

greg is right now watching the finals of the soccer in europe with good friend Jan(pronounced Yan) and they are sad that Holland is out...

hazel...she talks almost not stop...she has a lot to say...(and if she isn't talking...she probably isn't feeling well) every night she prays this prayer "Jesus loves me, sassy loves me, bruiser loves me. amen" sassy and bruiser are our dogs :D she likes to carry her baby around with her everywhere...she treats it just like she is treated...when we read books with her...she notices how people are feeling...where the boys tend to notice what people are interesting...and she loves to stand in front of the mirror and make faces at herself...or if she is really crying she will go and watch herself in the mirror to see a really good show...

paul is a bit naughty these days...trying us on everything...but at least he keeps us laughing... i think this camp thing wears him out...he is so tired all the time and it messes with their schedules...but he loves going to 'school'...everyone loves him there...his class is full of characters just like him...i kind of feel sorry for the kinder teacher (not for one more year of course)....ha h ah ah ha! it will be one creative year!

gavin is a bit sick at the moment...he has a hard time laying down but he feels just horrible so he keeps trying to forget about it and keep moving with his brother and sister or whoever is in the house...but every so often he comes to me just dragging himself and saying he doesn't feel i put him back down in comfy spot and sit with him but then he goes's hard to be sick when you are young huh?

anyway...i put a bunch of pictures from a couple different days here recently on the blog so you can keep reading for those...and i will try to stay up to date with the parents here...we are going to some fun places and we are excited to have a break now as well...thanks for reading...c ya soon...

Dad's day in 2008

The kids and i decided to keep our tradition of celebrating Father's day here in indonesia...even though there is NO day for Father's here...instead they have two days for the mom...hmmmm????

but we decided he deserved a pretty good day since he is one of the best dad's around! the kids made their homemade cards the day before and kept it a secret...and we just wanted to bless him for the blessing he is to us...God honors a good we thought we would help!

so to start the day...i had paul wake me up very quietly at his normal 5:30-6 am wake up and this day we all went out and made choc. chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, coffee and juice...the kids did most all the work (and they are too bad at it either!)...and we only broke one dish! since the commotion was a little on the loud side...and our house isn't sound woke up and tried to 'get up' but we wanted to give him breakfast in we sent hazel in to distract him and keep him in bed...she did a fine job! they played guessing games and she wouldn't tell him 'outloud' what was going on but in so many whispers...she let everything out of the bag!

so finally after an hour...we served him breakfast in bed and told him that the day would include going to a water park in a bigger city 45 min. away! we were very excited to go! (on a side note here...just the other morning i woke up and paul asked me "is today mom's day?" no...i said. " it father's day?" no...i then he said with a huge smile "then it's kids day!" cuz we told him after they asked "when is kid's day?" that every day other than birthdays or father's/mother's day is KIDS anyway...paul wanted to go back to his bed and have me bring him breakfast in bed!)

on our way to Solo (the city with the water park), our driver, Pak Agung, told us that a water park had JUST OPENED here in SALATIGA! unbelievable! so we decided to stay here in town and try this one! little did we know that we would be the first foreigners to enter the park! lucky us! we got a sticker for the back of our car!!!! so the next pictures are of the brand new water/amusement park in Salatiga! enjoy

The games for Dad!...right?

First we HAD to hit the bumper cars...and since our driver Pak Agung was with us, we invited him to try the "little cars" and it was fun to see...of course a couple minutes into it paul and gavin both had personal gas pushers for their cars cuz they couldn't reach the gas :D
and hazel got to ride with the celebrated FATHER
Air Hockey is a family favorite so we were excited to see this game and what a nice table!
Basketball hoops...Gavin is getting better and better at making more shots now a can see the ball going in the hoop! sweet!
Paul giving a goofy smile for the camera...he was content knowing he had just made a score on Gavin

they also had a race car game that i drove and it was like being in LA again...i beat the lady next to me...she has probably never driven the i had that one in the bag!!!! poor greg mostly helped his sons play and didn't revel in his own game...but that is what Father's day is all about huh?

and they also had a big room that is all enclosed with soft plastic so kids climb all over the McDonalds type deal. then outside there was a big huge nothing i have seen here...just like america!!!!!!! along with other rides that looked pretty scary but we'll see how it goes...maybe there will be more pictures in the future of more rides ????

The water or not fun?

after the games...we got ourselves ready for some good fun...(i was slightly nervous cuz from a far i saw no other women in the water and i wasn't quite prepared to go swimming in our town...with other indonesians...but i found out there were a few other women in the water...of course with all their clothes on!) it was quite busy and Hazel didn't like everyone touching, grabbing her and thinking she was so sweet. so a natural reaction is to be crabby to maybe they won't do it??? but this doesn't turn people eggs them on... doesn't she look like she is having fun?
the water slides are all brand new and looked so fun! greg tested them all out first for us and you should have heard the bumps and bangs coming from the slide...and the whole thing would wobble and his feet and body seemed to fly and i thought he was going over did he!!! so we pretty much have ruled the blue and the orange slide OUT...but it was pretty funny to watch greg do this...indonesia just doesn't have the safety codes america does...nor does the safety check people come to test out the slides to make sure it's all good as well...and notice that all three slides end at the same people are getting hit all the time...anyway...maybe it's only MADE for indonesians and NOT big MR GREG
found got the hang of the little slides really fast and went down them maybe 100 times by the time we left...he just loved it! and all the people around got a kick out of him...they love dramatic and paul gives it to them :D
poor gavin was brave tried the big orang bumped his head around and was no he is telling you all about it...

the diving board

Who's your Daddy?
Gavin with perfect diving techniques!
A perfect cannon ball splash for paul

after some time at the slides we were tired of all the people wanting to take our pictures with video and we went to the big pool and we tried to stay in the deep end of the big pool because most of the indos there didn't really seem to like the deep end...we were alone for the most part (or at least we felt we had room to breathe!!! ha ha i brought out MY camera!)...and they even turned on the water fall for us :D...which also makes into a diving board! so the kids had a great time doing all sorts of tricks and show off moves for their DAD on father's day!

Indonesian Amusement park

the next 10 or so pictures are of an Amusement park we went to right after school got out. you can see we are with Edith's family and i'm so glad our kids love their kids...i think they could play 24/7 and still get along pretty good! Paul tries to be the one in charge with his BIG's a true blessing to have friends! but in this case Edith's dad paid for us to eat lunch here and to get into the park...luckily Greg jumped the gun and paid for all of us to enter the zoo...a whole 10cents per person!!!!'s also a fishing pond where you can fish for your own food...we just had them pull ours up with a net and they hit the poor things twice over the head, and a little time in a pan and WHALAH! Great tasting fish on a huge platter for all to enjoy and get sticky-yummy fingers! the park includes rides, swimming, a zoo, a big playground, the fishing pond, and probably more that we didn't even see...we will have to go back :D

it's only 10 min outside of town...and some great scenery of the rice patties yeah? unfortunately my camera ran out of battery so i didn't get to take a ton of good pics...just quick ones...:D

kreta gantung

or for those who don't know the indonesian language yet...(like we do :D) 'kreta gantung' means 'the hanging train'...and so we of course had to ride this ride when we went for an afternoon trip to a little amusement park with Edith's family. we were a bit nervous cuz it doesn't look safe AT ALL but there is water underneath most of the we figured we wouldn't land too hard. :D
the boys car was quite entertained by putting their faces to the window and making all sorts of good fun things to look at for the girls car :D
mom and hazel...i don't know if hazel liked the ride?

Brit and Ilsa, sitting like ladies, taking in the boys ahead of them in their car...

another Indonesian swimming pool

we didn't try out this one but saw it from our ride from above...looks pretty nice though :D

Indonesian Graffiti

i loved this...i always love graffiti...and even's such an art it! it's carved into the wood...takes a little longer though...might get caught with this one!

Indonesian zoo

we saw alligators, birds, snake, goats, chickens, lizards and monkeys galore (one grabbed Ilsa's arm...yidda! and tried to pull her and her peanuts into the cage and another grabbed my dress and tried to pull it in as well!!!). their homes are a far cry from "nice"...mostly just a box big enough for the animal to take two steps...i figure if any animal rights activists read this blog...they will get ahold of this zoo here in Salatiga. the poor orangutan just kept spinning circles by hanging onto the bars about him...the alligator's water was so little and so dirty...and this one little monkey is pouting but seriously...he was smiling for the camera just 30 seconds before this...what a charmer!!!

a cat nap?

so it's custom here for everyone to lay down at about 1pm...except for us...and the neighborhood ladies let me know that we should be trying to lay down and rest cuz that is why we are sick. sooooo....we tried it once or twice...but does anyone sleep except hazel? no!!!!! maybe paul if we are lucky...but as you see here...she is bright eyed and bushy what we do instead is have them go to bed at 6:30 pm and they wake up at 5:30 am with the mosque :D so we feel it's an even trade cuz culturally...indo kids go to bed whenever they want to...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Beautiful family!

if you want to see some great shots taken by my good good friend, Julie Dirkse, or you want to see some great shots of my good good friend Kindy and her new little baby can go to the right side of our blog and click on julie dirkse and that will take you to her "moments of grace" page. (she is a professional photographer) then you go to her blog and look under "chen family"...they are really cute...i just wish we could see all the shots! thanks to both Julie and Kindy for being creative in photography and beautiful kids! miss you guys!