Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter Swimming & Diving Show

Polar Bear Swim...Anyone?

Each season a swimming pool is cut out of the frozen Songhuajiang river. The ice is a couple of feet thick making a nice cold cement-like edge to the pool. Twenty or so men and women, sturdy of mind and body, ventured out into the -15 degree weather, clad in swimming attire to demonstrate the best way to enjoy swimming.
The Champions Walk Out Into the Cold
Ready, Set, Dive
Notice the icicles covering the hand grip.
Swimmers doing their part to improving US & Russian relationships.
A slide made out of ice.

Snow Sculpture Expo

This years theme was "Italy" to celebrate 40 years of good relationship between China and Italy. Artist from around the world come to create these massively beautiful sculpture from manufactured snow.

A couple of Couples
George and Ruth in front of a pair of swans.
Chinese Dragon
Mary blessings shine downward.
A winter-land museum.

Ice Lantern Festival

This year the theme for the Ice Lantern Festival was "Fairy-Land". Most of the displays were castle with soring towers. Every castle was made of ice with internal LED lights that would change colors every few seconds. These castle were 4 and 5 stories high with ice steps you could walk up. Some of the steps had a ice chute next to the stairs. You could climb up the steps and slide down the chute. Enchanting. Charming. Delightful. Fun. And very, very cold. George borrowed Alaskan snow-mobile clothing & boots from a ward member, toasty, toasty warm. Ruth wore 3 pairs of long underwear under her clothes, plus a wool sweater and a knee length down coat, plus a balaclava, hat and scarf, 4 pairs of socks and Mugg boots and super warm winter gloves topped by snow mittens, almost toasty.
We chose to see some of the festival in a horse drawn carriage.
Suddenly, Ruth found herself holding a white fox.
Very cute, snuggly and warm, but why would anyone think Ruth
wanted to snuggle with a fox? Still, it is a fun memory.
A walk way lit with Chinese lanterns. Romantic.
A close-up of the castle columns
This picture give you a feel of how big these ice castles were.
There were 3 full flights of stairs to climb up to the base of the castle.

Siberian Tiger Park

In the Siberian Tiger Park there are hundreds of beautiful and powerful animals. Tourist would ride on a bus. We were allowed to open the windows only because all of the windows had bars on them. The bus drove through much of the park where the tigers could roam 'freely'. In addition to tigers, the park had a couple of "Ligers". Following the bus trip there was a pedestrian park where visitor could walk along a path and visit tigers that were kept in a cage. These tigers were enormous. It was an interesting experience, especially during feeding time.

White Siberian Tiger

Shangri-La Hotel

After visiting the tigers it was 'free-time' and our tour group broke up and went our separate ways, each group visiting a different site. We chose to visit the penguins, white whales, polar bears, seals and Arctic wolves and foxes at "Polarland". The tour group met at the Ice Bar of the Hotel Shangri-La. The walls, chairs and tables were made of ice.

Ruth lounging in an armchair
Down the long ice-way. There are dinning rooms along this
corridor. Each room has a large round table with 12 dinning chairs.
Warming up with a nice Hot Chocolate!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Holiday Fun

We ended 2010 joyfully. We are missing George but are pleased that he is willing to serve the Lord as a missionary in Spain. We spent a happy hour talking with him on Christmas Day. Our family is getting bigger and bigger. All 10 grandchildren and their parents spent the holiday's with us in Raleigh.
Our Christmas with Chinese Characteristics!
Anthony cooking us a curry dinner.
Marshmallow Wars.
Tristen and Bella at Frankie's.
High Five Tristen.
Parasol Kate.
Happy Birthday to Chauncey.
Making sugar cookies to eat when watching the BYU football game.
Just for fun James attached a video recorder to a bunch of helium balloons to record our family from the sky. At the same time we were launching rockets. You can see the rocket flying higher than the balloon camera.
Rocket Stompers.
James attaching the camera to the balloons.

December 27

We missed Elizabeth's family on Christmas Day because Timothy had to work, but the very next day their family drove from Boston down to Raleigh. We were worried about the winter storm but they didn't see much snow until they reached North Carolina. Monday morning all of the children were ready to play in the snow!
James, Gillian, Chauncey, Kate, Eleanor, and Bella.
Eleanor and Gillian.
Jackson and Kate.
Kate, Gillian, Eleanor, Bella Chauncey and Jackson all wearing the panda and bunny hats we brought from Beijing.
Bella Bunny.

December 26

Sunday morning we woke up to at least 6 inches of snow. Church was canceled, but by afternoon the roads were clear enough that we were able to travel to the Church for the baptism of our first grandson. It was a beautiful ceremony.
Chauncey and Chauncey.

December 25

For a Christmas present George invites our children and grandchildren to "do a good deed" for someone in need and to share the story with him. Ruth invites the children and grandchildren to give her the gift of something "learned by heart". This year we received many wonderful gifts!

Chauncey the Younger and his mother Melanie memorized all 13 of the Articles of Faith.

December 24

Christmas Eve has long been Ruth's favorite. This year our Christmas celebration had Chinese characteristics. We began with an enormous dinner with everyone's favorite take-out Chinese dish.
The children were delighted with the idea of eating with chopsticks.
Following dinner we dressed the children as their chosen character from the Christmas Story.
Together we read from the New Testament and sang Christmas Hymns.
Together we remembered angels, shepherds, and the Holy Family on that blessed night so long ago. Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, a fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy, is a sign and sure promise that He will come again on that great millennial day.
The giving of the Grandmother gift. What else? New pajamas, symbolizing the importance of being clean on the inside as well as on the outside.
Carrying on the Chinese theme.
Chauncey and Melanie. Chauncey the Younger, Jackson, Kate, Bella, and baby Max.
Anthony, Heidi and Tristen.
James, Charity and Isaac.
Allison and Michael
The West Boys!.
Tristen, Isaac, and Max.
Aunt Melanie surprised all of the children with a Pillow Pet to snuggle with as the fell asleep waiting for the magic of Christmas Day.
Max with his puppy pillow and his monkey.