Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Few Things I Missed

Jen Here. In my summary blogs I missed a few events of which I have photos. More sweet memories of time with family and friends in the Midwest.Being back in the States is wonderful. I couldn't soak up the beauty of God's creation enough as I felt the amazing summer weather (wasn't very humid compared to HK) and saw gorgeous sunsets each evening. My little sister and I laid out on the trampoline at night watching the stars a few times. Ahh...beautiful. There were so many people I'd like to visit but so little time. One morning I was able to visit some dear friends on the way to Athens. Yay!
Speaking of Athens, my sister and I made a trip to Athens. I love that place. :) The place of my Alma Mater and many fond memories. It's changing but still familiar. I so want one of these bricks. :)
Did I mention we spent quality time together? This picture is not posed. They're both texting! We did get to spend some time at Brenan's for lunch and the Donkey for a quick smoothie. Oh, Athens. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Jen here. And after a week of waiting and hanging with the Ellis family, Roy arrived in the good ol' USA. Yay! We spent a few days with the Ellis' and then were picked up by Roy's dad and our good friend Elliot and we headed up to Michigan. Roy and I had been planning for a few months what we might do with family during our short visit to the Midwest. it had been over a year since we had seen any of them (except Roy's Mom)! (Isn't Roy so handsome? I had to post this pic.)
We decided we wanted to go camping. We planned and Dad Almasy generously gave us and bought us equipment, and we set out. Wilson State Park near Harrison, Michigan was our destination. It was a few hours from Flint, but not too far, and it was close to Mom Almasy's family. Dale, Roy and I set out one evening and Mom and Dad met us there the next day where we camped for an additional night.
This was our first time camping together! Had to get a photo for the scrapbook (or blog)!Here's the tent Dad Almasy bought for us. Our first tent. We have many plans for this tent. It will be well-used.

Dad Almasy had some "hobo pie" irons which we used to make, um, hobo pies. At Girl Scout camp we called them pie irons but I like the fun name. We ate many a hobo pie. Pizza, breakfast, dessert. Mmm... I forgot how much I missed smelling the smoke of an open fire and cooking over it.

We learned how to play Chinese chess and brought the game back with us. Roy taught Dad how to play and beat him (Roy always wins!). Then I played Dad and thought, ha, I'll probably win. After all, I do play against Roy and sometimes I even give Roy a hard time to win. We played and Dad beat me in about four moves. WHAT? Time for some humility, Jenny.

Good photo of Dale, eh? I believe he's enjoying a rice meal of sorts. All parties (Dad, Dale and Roy) got to break out and use camping items they haven't used in years. Even though we only camped for two nights and two days, we went all out. If you saw our camp, you would have thought we were going to camp until the fair (which was two weeks away and right across the street). Everytime we visit the Almasy's in the summer, it's blueberry season. And it was again this time. We got up early one morning and picked away...picking some 36 pounds of blueberries, or was it 50? Either way, it was a lot!
The conclusion of our trip was the retirement party of Roy's high school chess coach and good friend, Mike Skidmore. Roy wanted to make it to the party, but we weren't sure if he could because of work. Once we found out he was able, we didn't let Skid know because we wanted it to be a surprise. Boy, was he surprised and so happy that Roy was able to make it. Throughout the day there were tons of people who dropped by. Skid worked for Kearsley for 37 years before retiring. Wow! At the party, I was asked to be the impromptu photographer of all guests so Mike could see who all came. Roy played lots of Chess and caught up with all the Chess alum that were able to make it. It was a fun time; we were so glad we made it. :)


Jen here. I have many photos to post to summarize our past few months being back in the states. I'll try not to skip too much, or to talk too much. Enjoy. :)
I flew back from Hong Kong earlier than Roy for one reason--PARTY! My family sneakily organized a surprise 60th anniversary party for my grandparents. When I say family, I mean FAMILY. All of them. My parents, aunts and uncles came up with the idea several months ago when they were all brought together for a funeral. The story is that Dad volunteered the farm and the planning began. It was super secret and super amazing. I cry just thinking about it (Yes, even now).
Grandma and grandpa were brought to tears by all the people who came (even some of their siblings whom they hadn't seen for decades) and all the effort given for a wonderful weekend-long open-house celebration. The M&M's were perfect and delicious. Check out grandpa and grandma's wedding photo etched onto the M&M's! It was a blast.
All of our cousins came and people flew in from all over the states (and me from HK!) and we just sat outside in lawn chairs, chatted, ate hotdogs and burgers and had a great time. One of my favorite parts about it was seeing my nieces and nephew. Oh how I've missed seeing these little ones growing up--and now I get to see them all at once(all the Ellis ones, not the Almasy ones)! In this photo, little JoJo is experimenting with (his great-)great Aunt Laura's hairbrush as she laughs. I took every chance I could to walk Jo Jo around the farm, going to see the "baa" or the "cok cok" (sheep and chickens).
And here's the newest niece in the family--little Eowyn Lynn! Dan and Christie had Eowyn in April, so this was the first time I got to meet her. I delightedly volunteered to bounce her and hold her while she napped. She's an adorable cowgirl! As mentioned earlier, we had lots of good cook-out food, and got to spend lots of time with cousins. Here's Corrie and her boyfriend.
My cousin Brian spotted Dad's tractor in the shop and asked a few people if they thought Dad would teach him how to drive it. Uh yeah, actually I bet Dad would love to! And thus began the first of many tractor driving lessons. First Brian, then anyone else who wanted to learn! It was quite comical. The tractor has A/C but lest you think it's new, look for the CD player and you'll find an 8-track player. Wow. I saw some 8-tracks in the house and was really confused. What in the world are these giant cassette tapes? I thought. Weird. Oh, they're for the tractor. Ha.
You can't have a two-day open house party without having a few country games--hillbilly golf and of course corn hole. Oh yeah! Cousin Stephanie played hillbilly golf with Noelle. :)Saturday was the day when everyone was present who was going to be present, therefore we took family photos. The same couple who shot Mom and Dad's wedding (and various other weddings of my family members) shot family/group photos of everyone and anyone for free. Hooray! If only Roy was there... :( He still had one more week of work to complete before he could leave HK. BTW, isn't Dad and Mom's house looking sweet? They blasted the white paint off the bricks, Uncle Mike made and panted new shutters and it was a wonderful background for the family photos. Lookin sharp!
Here's the Ellis family photo (except for my Ishi Roy!). 3 grandkids so far...I hope there will be many more! :) Noelle was so cute, she would say "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese" until she knew the picture had been taken, which was hilarious and caused everyone to laugh and smile, hence our smiles. Ha. :)Hmm...looks familiar...except I think I like this version better (they're smiling)!