Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve Snowstorm!!

Well, we finally got a real snowstorm!  Everyone kept telling us that we would be knee-deep in snow (at least) here.  Before today, the most snow that was ever on the ground was maybe 4 inches.  This morning we woke up to about six inches on the ground, and this afternoon it is over a foot in some places!  It has snowed hard all day, and is still going strong as I type this at 3:30 in the afternoon!  The dogs went out and inspected it...Buster loved it and Bailey didn't.  She didn't care much for wading around in it, but Buster frolicked around like the crazy dog that he is.  Here are a few shots:

I had planned on taking down the tree today, but after seeing the shed under all that snow, I changed my mind!

You could still see the bench this morning

Bailey wading through the snow

Buster loved it!

The bench is gone by lunchtime!

Our front porch

Buster having a great time

Christmastime in Sakhalin

Opening presents Christmas morning

Look what Santa brought!

Our Christmas tree

On a walking trail

Giving Adam a sled ride

Playing in the snow

Our first White Christmas!!

B&B and the Christmas tree

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve Adam and I went to a dinner that was held at the community center in our compound.  By that time, Shane had caught my cold and was feeling really lousy, so getting Adam and I out of his hair sounded good to him.  I didn't feel my best, but I knew he would have fun since they were having Santa and a sleigh ride.  I was right...he did have fun!  He was scared to sit on Santa's lap, but that wasn't anything new.  He wouldn't do it last year, either. The only way to get a picture was for me to hold him.  

Santa Claus, Amanda and Adam

Adam riding in a one-horse open sleigh!

The horse needed a helper :-)

Nothing better on Christmas Eve - getting to ride on a one-horse open sleigh through the snow!

Christmas Assembly

On Adam's last day of school before the holiday break they held a Christmas Assembly for the Nursery and Primary classes.  Adam's class sang "10 Little Stars", a song I had not heard of, but was very cute.  The kids all made hats with stars on them for it.  Adam is not a big fan of crafty projects, so I am pretty sure that he had a lot of help with it to make sure that it was finished in time for the Assembly.  

After the Assembly, we hung around until the class let out at 11:30.  They played games and sung songs and it was fun to watch the children in their school environment.  

Adam's class singing "10 Little Stars" - Adam is on the top row on the far right

Playing "bobbing for candy"

Got one!

Eating Christmas treats

Running around 

Playing "statues"

Running and dancing to the music

Catch up

I know, I know...I am behind on the blog.  After I unpacked all of our stuff, I came down with a mega-cold.  I think I caught something after breathing in all the Doha Dust that was in every box I opened.  The Christmas stuff was the worst, since it was outside in our shed in Doha.  Everything was coated in dust and sand!  Ugh!  Anyway, I'm back and getting caught up.  

Monday, December 15, 2008

O Christmas Tree!

All the boxes have been unpacked and the Christmas tree is up!!  At long last, our house feels like a home.  I managed to get Adam in front of the tree today for his annual Christmas Picture.  I won't be able to send Christmas cards this year because the companies I have used in the past do not mail things to Sakhalin, but I wanted a picture anyway.  Hopefully by next year I will be able to find another alternative.  These are the best pictures out of the ones that I took.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow in Liberty, Texas!!

What the heck is going on?  It hardly ever snows in Southeast Texas, but even when it does, there isn't ever any accumulation.  Well, Wednesday night my hometown of Liberty, Texas, was blanketed under 4 inches of snow!  These pictures are of my parents house in Liberty.  This is just what my house looks like...except I live in Russia!!!

Anyone Wanna Help Unpack??

This is pretty much what my whole house looked like on Tuesday after our sea shipment was delivered.  I am very happy that it is here, and so far I haven't found any damaged or broken items.  There are, however a few missing boxes, so we will have to deal with that once it is all unpacked and we figure out what was in them.  It's all part of the joy of moving...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wacky Weather Week

We have been having weird weather here since we returned from our trip to Japan.  When we returned, there was plenty of snow on the ground - just as there was when we left the week before.  A few days later, the temperatures rose into the high 30s/low 40s and it all started melting!  Let me tell you - I prefer just snow.  The ice/slush mixture is not easy to walk on.  By Thursday, it was raining and the snow was almost all gone.  The only trace was a little at the curb from the snowplows.  This past weekend, the temperatures dipped back down into the 20s and the snow started up again.  All I have to say is "YAY"!  

Yucky slushy/icy mess on the first day it started thawing

The snow was melting and then refreezing at night - to ice

The snow is back - as is my personal shoveler!

After a snowstorm - I love the way it makes the trees look

After a snowstorm - can barely see the road or sidewalks even though they had been shoveled/plowed several times

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fun stuff

Just a few fun pictures...

There were instructions on how to use a "western" toilet...

...but none for the "eastern" toilets!

I'm not sure the illustration is needed, but it was entertaining!

We took their word for it...

Every restaurant had a plastic food menu outside...sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn't!

Thanksgiving and the Train to Hakodate

Since the charter planes go to Sapporo every Saturday and Wednesday, we decided to extend our trip and go down to Hakodate and catch the charter plane back from there on Friday. There isn't much to do in Hakodate but shop, so we decided to go on Thursday.  When we got to the train station, there was a bunch of commotion and we saw that no trains were running to Hakodate or to the airport.  We were able to find out that our train was delayed, not canceled. As you can imagine, the crowd of people kept getting bigger and bigger.  The local news station even showed up!  That's when we started getting concerned and hoping that it wasn't anything major, like the events that were going on at the time in Bangkok and Mumbai.  We heard there was an accident, but that was all we could find out from anyone, as most people in Sapporo do not speak English.   Our train ended up being delayed about 3 hours, and we arrived in Hakodate with no problems.

We had our "Thanksgiving" lunch here...we all had Sapporo Ramen and gyoza - Yum!

Hanging out with our many bags while waiting for news on our train

The local news station showed up to report on the accident

Finally on the train!

Passing the time with Sylvester and Tweety

Having some Cheetos - we found some at the import store!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


On our way back from Mt. Moiwa, we found ourselves in the Susukino area of Sapporo.  At night, it is known for it's red-light district.  But during the day, it was a little more family friendly.  We walked around until we found a place to eat and then caught the subway to the Chocolate Factory.  

Main intersection in the Susukino area

Haven't seen these in a while...

Posing for a picture

Too funny...

A look inside a pachinko parlor (mix between slots and pinball)

Interestingly enough, this store sold winter clothes