Experience the WOW of Butter Braid Pastries!

Next Friday, January 12th, we will begin selling the one and only Butter Braid pastries and Wooden Spoon cookie dough! This is a simple way for students to raise money for the 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. Over the course of just over two weeks, your student can sell as many Butter Braids as possible.

  • By Monday, January 29th, you will send back the order form and all money from your sales (Customers will write you a personal check or give you cash, and your student will provide ECS ONE CHECK for all sales).
  • Mark your calendar to pick up the items ON Thursday, February 15th, by 3:45 PM. There is no freezer space to store your items, and they will spoil if not picked up. There is no reimbursement at this point.

The school office will credit your student’s earnings to their D.C. trip account if they choose to go. Students earn $6.00 for each item sold. Just do it!

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Spring Trip 2009: One More Day

I just got back from eating breakfast on the 30th floor of our hotel. The meal was delicious and the view was incredible. Only a handful of students were there when I arrived at 6:45 a.m., but we do not leave the hotel until 9 a.m. Throughout the week the students have expressed their excitement, and I think that will continue today when we see a variety of marine mammals. We will be leaving Dalian in the early evening before arriving in Tianjin in the early morning hours. Your children will be able to leave TIS around 7 a.m. Friday morning. I cannot guarantee that they will have much energy when they see you, but they certainly should have much to tell you at some point in the day. Some of your children had very deep and meaningful conversations so please sit down and have a heart-to-heart with them. See you soon.

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Spring Trip 2009: Sunday to Wednesday in Liaoning Province

My apologies for not writing earlier in the trip, but the internet connection at the hotel in Shenyang did not allow us access to much of the World Wide Web. It is almost Thursday morning, and your children are safely in their rooms at the Bohai Pearl Hotel in Dalian. We have had an excellent spring trip that has consisted of a great deal of learning and fun. Tonight we ate a late dinner at Pizza Hut where I had a slice of the tuna pizza for the very first time. It is certainly not your typical topping, but I highly recommend it. We left Dandong mid-afternoon where the students were excited to get a glimpse of North Korea. They could clearly see that the Middle Kingdom and the Hermit Kingdom are two very different nations. Monday was a designated “service” day although we have had the opportunity to serve in a variety of capacities throughout the trip. Yesterday was a very full day consisting of visits to the Shenyang Imperial Palace and Shenyang Botanical Gardens. It is amazing how much energy your children have! Tomorrow we will be going to the Laohu Pole Aquarium on what should be another beautiful day. Your children will be arriving home in less than 1.5 days. Many of them will have lots of pictures to show and stories to tell. I hope to write more and post some pictures before the school year comes to an end. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to teach them.

Shopping in Beijing

On our last Saturday of March, we decided to go shopping in neighboring Beijing.  This was the first time the four of us have been to China’s capital as a family.  We hired a driver to take us up to BJ, and the fun started soon after we left the city limits of Tianjin.  Apparently, Grace does a better job on long train rides as opposed to long car rides ’cause she got seasick during the morning ride.  Fortunately, Megan packed some extra clothes for Grace and not too much nastiness flowed onto Megan’s clothes.  A slight aroma lingered in the air after we cleaned up the mess, but we certainly smell worse smells changing diapers.  When we arrived in Beijing we visited three shopping meccas – Panjiayuan Jiuhou Shichang (the Dirt Market), Hongqiao Market (the Pearl Market), and Xiushui Shichang (Silk Alley).  Panjiayuan Jiuhuo Shichang is a very cool place.  A whole assortment of goodies can be found here – wooden chests, Tibetan carpets, reproductions of 1920s cigarette ads, Mao alarm clocks, ceramics, and more.  Hongqiao Market and Xiushui Shichang are totally different shopping experiences.  Vendors here sell not so authentic goods such as Gap, Northface, and Prada.  It is not uncommon for the salespeople to grab your arm and pay you a compliment of some kind that is also not always so authentic.  Why do we come here then?  We can find products that are relatively inexpensive that makes others happy which makes us happy.  As the day wore on, my body became sore due to all the walking and carrying I had to do.  At least the exercise makes up for the lack of weight training in my life now.  I think the highlight of our day was eating dinner at my former employer, Subway Sandwiches.  Can we say roasted BMT?  Yum, yum to the tum, tum.  We can’t find those in Tianjin.  On top of that, my sandwich was free due to all those little stamps they give you when you make purchases there.  That’s what I”m talking about.  All in all, it was another great day in the life of the Wickershams.

Ice cream on a hot summer day.

Christmas Break

Megan, Grace, and I will be landing in Indiana next Saturday, and we will be on Midwestern soil for approximately three weeks.  We’ve been so busy lately that we haven’t had time to think of the trip a whole lot, but we really do look forward to spending time with our family and friends during this special time.  We haven’t been in the States since the summer of 2005 when we saw Tony Stewart win the Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  This will also be our first time as a married couple to spend Christmas in the land of Hoosiers, and with the exception of my mother-in-law, the first time for our family to meet Grace Noel.  During our stay with our parents, we will be taking care of paperwork that will enable Grace to become an American citizen.  Your thoughts would be appreciated as we embark on a new step in this journey we call life.

Time for a family portrait.

Our Beijing Excursion

Early Monday morning Grace, Megan, and I took the 1 hour+ train ride to Megan’s former stomping ground, Beijing.  Grace had a checkup at the hospital where we were extremely happy to learn we have a very healthy girl.  According to American growth charts, Grace is at the 50th percentile in height and head circumference and at the 25th-50th percentile in weight.  Grace is carrying 8.5 kg (not quite 19 pounds), but I was thinking she was heavier due to the massiveness of her thighs.  I was a bit surprised that her head size is average as well.  I thought her melon was of the larger variety, but maybe her lack of hair threw me a curveball.  After receiving the good news from Beijing United, the three of us hunkered down at Annie’s – an Italian eatery that can’t be found in our neck of the woods.  Grace was unable to eat any Italian, but she is all about the Heinz green pea paste.  Mmm.  Instead of heading back to Tianjin after lunch, we booked a room at the Novotel for a couple nights upon my suggestion that we do this to celebrate our two year anniversary.  A shout-out goes to Zhang Jian for saving me some major dead presidents.  What did we do during our stay in the capital city?  We ate great food from both the East and the West – Singapore/Malaysia, Japan, and good ol’ America.  We hung out with some old friends from Megan’s Beijing and Nanchang days.  We went to the 2nd biggest IKEA in the world where we looked at approximately 7,000 items we don’t need.  We did find some cool picture frames and a shelving unit that will go up in Grace’s ever-changing room.  We also went shopping in some other locations where mom purchased some new clothes as part of an early birthday gift.  Grace also found some highly fashionable pink shoes despite being totally asleep.  All in all, it was a most delightful three-day excursion.  Two thumbs up.  Way up.

Wangfujing - a popular place to shop or just take a stroll.

Summer is Almost Here

It’s the last week of school, and it has been a most excellent school year.  In fact, it has been the most enjoyable year of my life.  I have a job that absolutely rocks, a community of friends where some actually like me, a beautiful and intelligent wife that points me in His direction, and soon I’ll be joining the daddy ranks.  Next month as we prepare for Grace’s arrival, I’ll be attending Chinese classes Monday through Friday for two hours a day.  It appears in two or three weeks that I’ll have to miss some classes when we fly down to Wuhan in Hubei Province.  Other summer plans include lots of reading and pumping some iron from time to time.  We have two weeks in July where we are permitted to go to Indiana, but we are uncertain how that will all work out since we will soon be a family of three.  We hope Grace will attach to us quickly, and we are thankful for His perfect timing in all of this.  Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Enjoying a great meal at a local restaurant.