Sunday, August 24, 2008

A little slice of "Haven"

We arrived safely back from South Haven Michigan today, where we spent the week with family. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for making this vacation possible and for loving us enough to plan ahead of time (almost 1 1/2 in the making) to make this vacation experience INCREDIBLE!!!!
We started off the week by attending a small branch in South Haven where Kenedy and Gavin made up the nursery class for the day. Followed by a very chill day at the beach house along with a special Family night.
Monday we woke up and headed straight to the sand and water. The kids could not get enough of it, we had to drag them home at the end of the day for dinner.
Tuesday we ventured to an adjoining town named Holland where we ate lunch at a yummy Italian restaurant and then shopped the local town. Followed by a Star Wars movie for the kids and swimming and hot tubbin that night.
Wednesday we hit the beach hard, from sun up til sun down. Leaving the beach with sand ground in between our teeth. After the kiddos were fast asleep we pulled out the wii (tennis) and nearly threw out our shoulders competing against each other.
Thursday we headed to Michigan Adventure where we played at an awesome water park and rode lots of rides.
Friday was a down pour of rain so we laid low and relaxed, some shopped the local town and then in the afternoon it cleared right up and we again trotted off to the sand and water.
Saturday rolled around faster than we could have imagined and it was time for us to pack up and head into Chicago.

*Kenedy getting ready for take off.

Waiting with Michael and Ally to make the drive out to South Haven
Family Home Evening with the kids (as you can see Linsee is telling a great story and has the kids totally entranced).

Gavin trying his best to squeeze his large head through a beach chair, and loving every minute of it.

All of the Grand kids

Bekah and Jaxon swimming in the backyard pool, like they haven't just been to the beach all day. The kids couldn't get enough of the fun!!
Stephanie, Kenedy, Easton and Jaxon feeding the fish while we waited for our lunch (Kenedy fell in shortly after this picture was snapped, and went for a swim with those fish).

Walking back from town with dad!

We went for a train ride around the park at Michigan Adventure (the kids were almost asleep at this point).

Balloon volleyball with Grandma and Grandpa.

Grandpa and Gavin on the Pier

Uncle Kirk and Gavin hard at work digging their way to China.
We can't do anything without our goggles, right?

Grandma teaching Kenedy how to make trees and forests out of wet sand.

Watering the trench of her sand castle.

The boys playing a little football.

Ally and Kenedy waiting patiently to head down to the beach.

Gavin just enjoying the view!
We were staying in the city that night and flying out Sunday. So we hunted down a fantastic Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant and chowed, followed by a much needed H&M trip and then over to this park in the middle of downtown Chicago to Crown Fountain. I have never seen anything like this and let me tell you it was packed with kids and adults running around in the water. Every few minutes water would spray from the mouth of the person on the screen and the kids would swarm to that area to be blasted and drenched. I wasn't planning on my kids getting soaked but once we were there, there was no stopping them from joining in on the fun.

Crown fountain is a favorite cool off place for children.

"The Bean" a really neat piece of art in the center of the park as well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

South Haven

I just wanted to drop a quick line and say Hello from South Haven Michigan. We are currently spending quality family time (Maudsley side) playing games, eating lots and lots of food, building gongo huge sand castles and turtles and catching some waves in the lake (yes, I said lake). Lake Michigan is huge and it seems to produce waves just like the ocean would (minus the salt water) It has been great!!! My kids are loving playing with their cousins, having no bedtime and eating treats for breakfast. I can't wait post some pictures of our fun memories when we return home next week. I must say I do slightly miss catching up with friends and family through blogs and I will need to make up for lost time. I hope everyone is doing well and is Happy!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You be the Judge?

2 Chinese gymnasts might be too young for Olympics

He Kexin is China's top competitor on the uneven bars.

He Kexin is China's top competitor on the uneven bars. (Karim Jaafar/Getty Images)

Two female Chinese gymnasts, including a gold-medal favorite, might be too young to participate in the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

Several online records and reports show He Kexin, the host nation's top competitor on uneven bars, and Jiang Yuyuan might not yet be 16, the minimum age for Olympic eligibility. Both were chosen for China's team last week.

On the website of the Chengdu Sports Bureau — Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China — a file dated January 2006 shows He Kexin as being born Jan. 1, 1994.

Most recently, a May 23 story in the China Daily newspaper, the official English-language paper of the Chinese government, had He's age as 14.

The newspaper story begins: "The 14-year-old newcomer to the national team, who was recruited last year, has raised a lot of eyebrows recently after she broke two world records on the uneven bars in as many months."

The New York Times raised questions about the athletes' ages in a story Saturday. And Chinese officials provided the newspaper with copies of passports indicating both gymnasts are 16.

But in a speech on Nov. 3, 2007, in the central city of Wuhan, Liu Peng, director of general administration of sport for China, said: "The 13-year-old uneven-bar gymnast He Kexin, who defeated national team athlete Yang Yilin — she just won the bronze medal in the world championships — has demonstrated her ability."

To be eligible for the Cities Games where Liu made his remarks, Chinese documents show athletes must be over 13, but under 15.

Asked for clarification

The New York Times reported International Gymnastics Federation officials acknowledged questions about He's age had been raised and asked the Chinese for clarification in May.

"We heard these rumors, and we immediately wrote to the Chinese gymnastics federation," Andre Gueisbuhler, the secretary general of the international federation, told the newspaper.

"They immediately sent a copy of the passport, showing the age, and everything is OK. That's all we can check.

"As long as we have no official complaint, there is no reason to act, if we get a passport that obviously is in order."

The American and Chinese women are expected to battle for the team gold medal when the Beijing Games begin Aug. 8.

He is one of the few athletes in the world who has scored over a 17 under the new scoring system. Using He and Yang Yilin, who also has scored a 17 on bars, the Chinese hope to use the uneven bars to build up a big advantage in the team competition.

Yet another black eye

The Americans, who won the 2007 world championships team title, have only one gymnast, Nastia Liukin, who's scored a 17 on bars.

If gymnasts He, a gold-medal favorite, and Jiang are under age, it would be yet another black eye for China in the buildup to the Games.

In June, Chinese swimmer Ouyang Kunpeng and coach Feng Shangbao were permanently banned from the sport after Ouyang tested positive for anabolic steroids. Wrestler Luo Meng and his coach also were barred for life for a doping violation by the athlete.

The Chinese government is working feverishly to present a positive image of an open, friendly, progressive nation. But visa restrictions, toxic air pollution, freedom of the press issues and a problem-filled torch relay have presented a far different image to the world.

© The Canadian Press, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Parenting 101

Kenedy recently received a fish for her 3rd birthday and ever since that day I have heard my parenting skills through her voice, to her fish.
Each morning she wakes up and comes running downstairs to see how her fish (Gloakly) slept.

- "Good morning Gloakly how was your sleep"?
- We can't have a warm hot chocolate until we eat our breakfast".
-" What did I tell you? Are your listening ears on"?
- "Hey buddy you doing OK"?

All these things I say to her are now being thrown in my face from my own child (even the intonations of the words). It has been so much fun to see her care for this little fish and how often she thinks about Gloakly, and his well being. Who would have thought such a simple gift for a child would allow her to take responsibility and care for something other than her own self. As she does this I realize how grown up she is and what a wonderful and thoughtful child I have.
She is definitely a better care taker of fish than Garrett or myself, we have accidentally killed 3 within two days of her birthday. We just don't have the touch I guess. I would recommend a fish as a pet for any child, they love to feel independent and responsible of things and it is a cheap and clean way to have a pet.