July 30, 2011

Family trip to Xining and Summer time memories!

Well we have some fun news! The Petersons will be taking our first family vacation, as a family of 6, and we will be departing in two weeks! We first started thinking about a trip a couple months ago and things have just fallen into place since then. For example, friends of ours offered for us to stay in an extra apartment for free. Then we had to get over the hurdle of getting permission for Lily to travel outside of Xian, which we did. Then there was this little issue of raising the money for the trip. We were looking at needing to raise $900 for the whole trip (that’s pretty reasonable considering it includes everything for a family of 6). It was shortly after we had come up with a budget for the trip that a generous family gave us $1000 to cover the costs of our trip. Lastly, a few days ago we heard it can be tough to get tickets to Xining (because it’s travel season), our hearts sank, but luckily a couple that lives here got us in touch with a travel agency that was able to secure the train tickets for us (WOOT!). We feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity!

Our plans are to travel to Xining on an overnight train, which is a 12 hour train ride away (OUCH!). We will be staying in Xining for 8 days in our friend’s spare apartment. It’s much cooler in Xining, so we’re looking forward to that. Also, there are a bunch of cafes in Xining as well as the mountains being nearby. We’re so excited to have this time to bond and create memories as a family. We will leave the night of August 7th on the train. We’ll keep you posted on our trip.

On another note our summer has been pretty good, but the last few days have been kinda tough. I think we’re missing our friends/family and also missing our routine. To cheer myself up, I thought that I would include my top 3 things to do during the summertime here in Xian. And I would love it if you could take a minute to write your favorite thing to do during the summer at the bottom of our post.

3. Taking the kids to the playground and play places - One thing I really like about Xian and particularly the area we live in is that there is no shortage of kid’s playgrounds and indoor play places. Our neighborhood has a simple playground, but in the summertime it can be so refreshing to get outside and just let the kids run around. (As long as they avoid the areas where other kids have gone to the bathroom)

2. Qu Jiang Lake - Another favorite of mine is getting into a taxi with the family and heading to a lake area (called Qu Jiang) and spending the morning or afternoon. There are 4 playgrounds there for the kids to play on and then we head to the lake and walk around. Last time we were there we found a little place to buy some fish food and feed fish and our kids absolutely loved it!

1. Pizza, Floats, popcorn and movies - At the top of my list are the nights where we get some pizza (or Heather makes us some homemade pizza) and afterwards we make a couple ice cream floats to cool down with. Then ending the night with a big bowl of popcorn and a movie, this is easily my favorite summertime thing to do.

"Homemade pizza YUMMY!"

Honorable mention: We’ve also had a few water fights on hot days and that has been tons of fun!

So those are some of our favorite things to do in the summer, but want are some of your favorite things to do as a family or by yourself? Add your thoughts in the comments area.

With hope,

the petersons


  1. I can't wait to see pics of your first big family vacation!

    I just realized that it's difficult to differentiate between you favorite summer things, and your favorite every other time of the year things when you live in Florida because you can do most anything all year round. But I'll give it a go :)
    1. Grilling anything and everything! It's so quick and easy and makes everything taste delicious! We haven't had a grill in a few years now and last night Cody bought one because we couldn't go another week without it. Nothing says summer like grilling!

    2. Eating all of the yummy fruits and veggies that are in season in the summer. (hmmm, I'm seeing a theme here...what can I say, I like to eat! ;)

    3. Make ice cream (okay, and eat it too). My mom always led us to believe that there was an ice cream season, and so she wouldn't buy or make any until the season began--well, any time from May until September is ice cream season, and I love it!

  2. Grilling is something I miss so much! I can't believe that as I wrote my post I didn't even think of it, because we don't do it here. When we were home last summer we grilled a lot, brats, steaks and burgers!

    Ice Cream just seems better in the summer, but I guess that's not an issue for you. Thanks Lauren for posting, please give Cody a high five for me.

  3. Jae Van2.8.11

    Well I think the best season is summer because you can do so much. My favorite things are:
    1. Being in/around the water - ocean, lake or pool. Wherever there is water and sun, it's a good day.

    2. Can I agree with Lauren - Grilling it's not only one of my favorite tastes during summer (yummy grilled food), but it's also one of my favorite smells during this time.

    3. Late nights - with the sun up longer, hanging out with friends till the sun goes down is a blast. And I don't mind so much the tiredness the next day.

    And honorable mention because it has been WAY too long since I did this - drive-in movies. Glad they still have just a few around.

  4. FAvorites for the summer??? Living in Oklahoma makes it really tough to write things of the outdoorsy nature since the temp is so high (today 107!!) So mine will consist of eating and being a bum...

    I love eating snocones, icecream, fruit and veggies!

    I love the care free ness of it like clothes, dinners, chores, etc. Everything just seems more relaxed.

    I love swimming after a nice rain. The rain cools off the water so it isn't so much like bath water.

    Yay Summer! But bring on Fall! Boomer!

  5. Of course, the pool/lake/ocean is a good time during the summer. I miss getting to go to the lake :(

    Drive-in movies, dang you went old school. Thanks Jae for commenting! I hope that you're doing well!


  6. And yes, I'm sure Norway will have fun new things to offer you for the summer time!

  7. Breezy - I for sure like the relaxed pace of summer as well. It's rained here a handful of times and it's always nice to take the kids out when it's still cool (and/or still raining).


  8. A definate favorite for me is spraying my kids with the water hose! They scream "No" and inch closer for more

  9. We've had a couple water fights this summer and have enjoyed each of them. Thanks Jessica for leaving the comment.


  10. High-Five delivered! Jae I LOOOVE the long days too...soooo much better than winter's short days.

  11. Anonymous8.8.11

    1. garden and watch things grow
    2. stay up later because it is still dark til 10
    3. play anything with kids outside
    I am already sad summer is slipping away
    - Alison.

  12. Thanks Alison for commenting! It does feel like it goes too fast...