She was a little camera shy. She loves to snuggle with her Dad!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
We ditched the fancy downtown 20 dollar ultrasound hosptial since last time they wouldn't budge on telling us the sex. This time we opted for our local town's hospital where the ultrasound only costs 10 dollars and we thought we might have a better chance with our own people-country folk! This time the lady was willing to tell us the sex!!!
We're having a....
Baby with big ears and a big nose! The lady really was trying hard to see the sex but our little guy or girl wouldn't move those legs! Oh well! What she did see is that our child has big ears and a big nose! Well good, that means it's definitley my child! We both laughed when she told us about the nose and ears!
She told us to come back in a few weeks and try again. So the current plan is to wait about a month or so and try one more time! At ten dollars an ultrasound, this is way cheaper than America!
She too said everything looks healthy and we got to see our little huffdogg moving his or her arms and opening his or her mouth. (which also happens to be big-it's looking like this child is my clone!)
Friday, August 29, 2008
This is actually my second cart. I filled my first one before I got off the first isle. Diapers, wipes, and toilet paper took a whole cart! (I was reminded why I am so excited about cloth diapers-just a plug for going cloth-they are way high tech now-not just a rag and a couple pins anymore!) But I made up for it when I purchased NOTHING from the Ramen noodle aisle-seriously a whole aisle worth of noodles.
This is METRO. Andy and I were so excited when this store came to our city. It carries some great items we use regularly and is cheaper than the import stores! It's a little like Sam's in that you can buy in bulk and you have to bag your own stuff (and bring your own bags-no bags provided). But it's not like Sam's in that you will never find those mini freezer spinach quiche and those amazing microwavable sausage biscuits. Nor will you see one of those nice old ladies handing out samples of something you would never think to buy but are easily convinced to buy once you try a couple of her amazingly delicious samples-like a mini double decker chocolate mouse cheesecake served to you in those little white paper cups. She'll kindly tell you they are in the freezer section, isle three for $12.99 a box. Back to reality EA-this is Metro, not Sam's! Mr. Metro could use a few tips from good ole Sam!
They do have a decent import section where I get things like canned tomato soup, salsa, pasta, etc. But no sausage biscuits. Here are my three buggies at the checkout counter. I definitely got some looks and a lot of "wow, that's a lot" whispers from the people around me. But as I started to think about it-it really wasn't that much stuff. I mean these items are more of the supporting cast in our home-I buy all my meat and veggies fresh at a local market twice a week. I buy my bread at another store, as I don't like their bread. And you know my freezer is full of cheese and my milk gets delivered daily. So all in all, this is not really representative of what we will consume in 2 months. After I checked out, I loaded my groceries into the bags I brought with me and pushed my two full carts out the door with my pregnant belly. I was quite a sight.Andy's reaction to all that I bought made me laugh. First he said it looked like we were running our own canned food drive. This is not all of it, but I thought you would enjoy a sampling.... Then as we started sorting through stuff, he noted that my purchasing was a little unbalanced. He asked, for example, why I bought only enough chips for the next two weeks but bought enough honey and cream of chicken to last into eternity. I admit, I did go a little overboard on the honey. I haven't mastered this whole estimating/buying in bulk thing yet! I am new at this! It just felt so freeing to know that I wouldn't have to make this trip again for a long time-I wanted to make sure that a little bottle of honey wouldn't be the cause for a return trip any time soon!
All in all a productive and tiring day! Yipee for no shopping trips for at least a 2 months and if I decide to give up shopping all together, we can survive on the honey and cream of chicken I bought until our kids are in college!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
According to the guard at our front gate, who Andy asked: The trees are too tall. hmmmmm. interesting.
According to the lady who wears a special red band on her arm and "monitors" the street vendors (I am not sure what she does, except stand around and talk to them): The larger city which our town is a part of, has a plan to plant the exact same trees all over the city-she spouted off some a four-word catch phrase that is obviously some kind of government plan to beautify the city and make it uniform. Only China would think of this.
Now, as you can tell-these answers were very different. So Andy and I have decided to play a little game. We're going to do a survey of as many people as we can and ask them why the trees are being removed. I imagine we're going to get some interesting answers! I'll keep you posted.
The other big news is my insane shopping trip tomorrow. It costs me about 10 dollars to go in and buy groceries (I could ride the bus but that would mean carrying 50 plastic bags from the store to the bus stop, onto the first bus to ride for 10 mins, off the bus to walk across a major intersection to get on another bus and ride about 45 minutes to get home and then walk about 1/4 of a mile to my house. Carrying a ton of groceries on public transportation just really isn't convenient-of course neither is carrying 7 giant geese-see previous post) Anyway, it's expensive and very time consuming to buy groceries here so my super high-challenge self has decided to buy 2 months worth of groceries in one trip! I am pretty sure I will have 3-4 carts in the end along with a TON OF STARES. I usually have people crowd around to see my total bill when I am only shopping for 2-3 weeks worth of stuff! (They all ride the bus with their groceries so they only buy a few items at a time) I would love to know what they are thinking when they see all my stuff-i imagine it would be something like, this lady must have quadruplets or she must run a day care or wow foreigners must really love to eat canned kidney beans, mayo and brown sugar. One cart will just be 9 packs of diapers and 15 packs of wipes. (I am planning to switch to cloth diapers for baby number two-more on that in another post) So I'll let you know how the shopping goes. Maybe I will take the camera and show you where I shop!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
For now, let me just fill you in on the last few days for my little girl...
I decided to let EG entertain herself by taking things out of a cabinet beside her bedroom door. She's obsessed with cabinet doors and with taking things out of cabinets and I figured it couldn't be too harmful. I was in the next room where I could hear her and could see if I looked around the corner. I heard some rustling of plastic and a rhythmic whoosh whoosh noise and came out to find this....
She managed to get the pack of wipes out of cabinet, out of the plastic and then peel back the tab and pull out about half of the wipes before I realized what was going on. She was in hog heaven! I just laughed and grabbed the camera. On Friday and Saturday, EG spent a total of 5 hours in our kiddie pool! I spent about 2 in there with her! We had a blast and I look like a lobster now. I thought to put sunscreen on her but not on myself!
Also on Saturday we had some kids from the neighborhood over to play. You'll remember "Do you like Cornflakes" and some of the other kids from our Christmas and pizza parties...
Ok-the answer that our town has come up with to the previous question is to pawn off our pine trees! That's right-our town is digging up all the beautiful pine trees and hauling them off to an undisclosed location. It's so sad. I almost cried when I saw what was going on. I don't actually know if there is a cash flow problem that led to the removal of these 30ish year old trees but I just can't imagine what else would motivate them to dig up these great shade trees and replace them with these scrawny little things...This has all happened so fast. They didn't give us any warning or time to say goodbye. They literally started yesterday digging up the trees, roots and all with a gaint crane and placing them on giant trucks to hual off and plant somewhere else. By this morning half the town was pine treeless and the new tress were already in! Only one strip of road still has the pine trees. As you can see, they've already put in the new ones and by tomorrow these pines will be goners! We went to take one last look and say goodbye. Andy and I just cannot figure this one out. It may be a cutlural difference-an appreciation for older trees is an American thing maybe? And these pines aren't that old-Andy says 30 years max. All I know is that our quaint little town forgot to invite us to the city council meeting when they made this decision! If I would've been there I surely could have come up with some other solution to our cash flow problem! Banana bread and spaghetti anyone?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
There's quite the story behind this picture...
These are "Buffalo Bites" rated 5 out of 5 by over 1300 members on allrecipes.com. They were delicious and they were our dinner last night. That's right-all we had were unhealthy buffalo bites for dinner-no veggies except the obligatory celery side kick!
Andy and I had a "date in" last night. It was a date where we stayed at home rather than trucking into the city. We fed Emma Grace a healthier dinner and put her to bed and then had our little feast and enjoyed each other's company. It's nice to have time set aside to hang out and it's sometimes more restful to stay in rather than drive 45 mins into town for a date.
The funny story is the background to this meal-after we got married, we lived in WV for 6 months before returning to China. We had a great time with our families, getting adjusted to married life and eating. We did a lot of eating. One of our favorite things to eat at the time was "Buffalo Bites" from this place called Pizzeria UNO's. Yum Yum. We would go and get just the buffalo bites appetizer for dinner. With all the traveling and eating we did and neither of us having discipline as one of our shining characteristics-the eating and lack of exercise left us a little heavier than when we arrived on US soil-a collective 50 lbs heavier.
So in our last month in America, we decided it was time to do something about this 50 collective lbs. (remember discipline is not our strong suit) We decided we would try the Atkins diet. It seemed to work for the people we knew who'd tried it, and what's not to like about all you can eat meat and cheese. So we went to Sam's and spend a LOT of money stocking up on steaks and hunk cheese and roast beef. The first day wasn't so bad-eggs for breakfast, burgers for lunch and steaks for dinner. But we still felt hungry all day. After the second day, when we were too weak to cook eggs and had a pile of cold roast beef for breakfast, we really started doubting ourselves. Now remember, we were only on day two! By lunch I had convinced myself that this diet was ridiculous and started entertaining thoughts like, "Why are we wasting our last month in the land of great food eating cold roast beef for breakfast?"
By dinner time we had abandoned our diet and celebrated our recovery from this temporary loss of sanity (the two days we did Atkins) by going to UNO's for some buffalo bites. Man those things never tasted better! HEHE. We renamed our eating plan for our last month in America, "Fatkins." See, we had aready spent all this money on meat and cheese and were therefore obligated to eat it-and then we added all the carbs back in so we ended up gaining even more that last month! Oh well! Sure did taste good!
We lost the weight after returning to China, starting to eat healthier, exercising, and training for a half marathon together. The good news is we learned our lesson-we are not dieters. We are lovers of food. We of course try to eat healthy and we exercise regularly now. I try to walk at least once a day with EG and Andy lifts weights at home and rides his bike to work. I know that's not the best work out plan but we feel like we now live a fairly balanced life in terms of eating and exercise. And we still have the freedom to enjoy Buffalo Bites every now and then!
Here a couple pics of EG playing in her room. After several months of working with her on this skill (playing alone) she now loves to spend time in her room with her toys. She can't really get hurt or get into much trouble in her room...except when I find her shredding and eating the padding under the carpet. Plus it gives me a little time to do things like work on my blog! I didn't take any pics of her looking at me because sometimes if she sees me she decides it would be much more fun to play with mommy and then the "alone play time" is over!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
We gave her another one last night after dinner-she was finished and I needed a few minutes to finish my own meal so the oreo provided the perfect "time killer" for us! Not the healthiest time killer but oh well! Note: Oreos should only be given on bath days. (Tues, Thurs, Sat at our house)
Our cookie monster is doing more than just munching on Oreos these days! I decided today that she is officially a walker. Her new skill is to get up from a sitting position (on her own) and start walking! I think that means she's a walker! I think toddler is such an appropriate name for kids at this stage. When EG goes from sitting to standing and walking it looks more like a first time water skier trying to get up on the skis-you know what I am talking about. They manange to get up but they never quite get stable and then in a few seconds they are back in the water after an unbecoming fall...that's EG-she gets up on both legs and take a wobbly two or three steps before nose planting or face planting or rear end planting on the ground! It's so cute! Here she is taking a few steps...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
10. We don't have to hang towels on our windows at night...we lived 30 mins from the curtain market and taking my 2 month old to walk around the curtain market for hours til I found something that matched our American tastes wasn't the first thing on my list of to do's when we got back. But we have curtains now! (and cute ones, might I add)
9. I can actually cook more than 10 dishes now. Living outside the city with no nearby restaurants and being a stay at home mom has given me lots of opportunity to learn to cook! That was one of my goals for this year and I've come a long way
8. We sleep through the night-all of us!
7. I don't cry at random times, for random reasons or no reason at all. Those first few months were quite emotional. Leaving my family after having a baby was really tough and with no other Americans around for my first month back, I cried a lot. And oh yeah, and the fact that I had no idea what I was doing as mom added to the emotional instability just a tad.
6. I have pictures on our walls...took me about a half a year to finish decorating our house. I still have one spot in our bedroom that I need to find a picture for but overall this place is very homey!
5. My Chinese vocab has expanded drastically but in a very limited area of affairs-the home-I now know words like: diaper, pacifier, diaper rash, constipation, cinnamon, melt, thaw out, spit, spit up, spit up all over me, spit up everything she just ate all over me and the couch. You get the picture.
4. I don't lug my 2 month old with me to the market everyday to buy raw meat. hehe. ok, I didn't really do that everyday, but sometimes I had no choice! But now with the amazing, wonderful, almost perfect Xiao Li I don't have to handle babies and raw meat at the same time.
3. I really really really like where we live. At first, it was a tough adjustment to be outside the city but now I love our little town. All the little people with their quirks-like Uncle Qi who is obsessed with cleaning his car and whose favorite weather is "man capri" weather and milk Gmaw with her gruff way of loving our family-this place has really grown on me! And it's sooo quiet compared to the city!
2. I now have conversations with my daughter and her responses always include one of the following words: mama, dada, ball, ahhshoesss (shoes) quack, roar, boo (moo), ruff, outside, and apple. Despite what you might think, she and I have very meaningful conversations with those few words! All that to say she has changed so much over this past year-going from a precious little bundle of joy who didn't do a lot to a bigger bundle of joy who does something ALL THE TIME! I love that girl!
And the NUMBER ONE way my life is different than Aug '07....
1. I bathe. Seriously. I didn't really have time to bathe in Aug '07. I was busy feeding a child every 3 hours, trying to learn to cook, crying my eyes out, handling raw meat, unpacking boxes, learning how to say diaper rash and rummaging around a Chinese curtain market. I didn't have time for everything and bathing just seemed to always slip through the cracks. But no worries. We are back on track and I bathe daily now...well most of the time.
Now why is it that just when I started to figure out this whole life with a child, in a foreign country, outside the city, we go and decide to have another child? I am sure there will be another list like this next year! But for now, get up, do that happy dance, and join us in celebrating a great year! And say a little prayer of thanks for God's help in getting us through!
That was then...
This is now!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Here's the winner of the children's 1 meter free style!
The other competitors...Lydia is the one with the least hair! I think Kayleigh is getting ready to pour a big cup of water on her head-I guess that's a toddler's way of saying Happy Birthday!
Dinner was a team effort-everyone brought sides and Andy grilled some delicious chicken. I'll post the marinade recipe from Laura at some point for you to try! It was great!
And finally-we've all seen it-some events in the Olympics are just so intense, they bring the competitors to tears. For example, the cupcake eating free-for-all...
Sweet Lydia, a true momma's girl, who God has given a precious, tender, really fun personality couldn't quite handle the pressure of this moment-who can blame her! There were 14 of us singing really loudly and all looking at her! I am pretty sure that most 1 year olds cry for part if not most of their 1st bday party! I accidentally let EG grab the candle on her birthday cupcake-still lit! Oops. That brought a few tears! We love you Lydia and hope you will soon realize the goodness of the cupcake! Happy Bday!
The Greenes spent the night after our party and EG and Kayleigh shared a room-so I guess this counts as EG's first sleepover! She didn't know Kayleigh was in her room until the morning. We put her down before Kayleigh so EG awoke to find a surprise in her floor! I walked into her room this morning and she was standing in her crib pointing at Kayleigh, saying, "oh, oh. oh" Kayleigh was standing up, pointing at EG, saying, "Ehh Gace," her version of Emma Grace! How fun!
Today we continued the Olympic festivities with a Jenga competition with Xiao Li and A Xin. The girls won!
Well we're wiped out from our big day so we're off to bed! The Kvernens head to the real Olympics tomorrow. We'll be holding down the fort here and hanging out with their youngins!
On a final and side note-I think we will actually have to find out the sex of the baby when we get back to the US. (I am sad about this-I wanted a surprise!) We have to tell the University that Andy works for the name of the baby before he/she is born so that they can start the paper work to add him/her to our work visa. That's how we decided on EG's name. We had been talking and debating for about 7 months and I could not make a decision. One day Andy called and said, "The University has to know the name today-so we have to decide ASAP." We had about 3 hours and the result was Emma Grace! I just need a little pressure to get me going, I guess!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Lazy mornings...we love to hang out in the living room after breakfast and play with Dad before he starts work! Here's Emma Grace leaning back on the couch relaxing. Aren't kids usually at least in high school before they get a cell phone? I am not sure how long we can hold out with this child. She loves to play with our phones and gets super excited when someone is actually on the phone to talk to her! We are creating a monster...
"Mom, can you stop taking pictures right now-I'm taking an important call." One just wasn't enough. This can't be good.
Here's my belly! This pregnancy has gone by so much faster than the last one! I am now eating everything in sight. Tonight at 9:30, after a big dinner, I was starving. I made a sandwich and had chips. That's my bedtime "snack" these days.I love these pictures. I love to watch Andy love Emma Grace. God is so good to give me a wonderful husband and also a wonderful father to my kids! As I watch him love EG, my heart becomes more tender towards my heavenly Father. I know Andy's love for his little girl and his delight in her are glimpses of how God feels about me! Lately Emma Grace has really gotten into laying on the floor-she'll be sitting up and then decide it's more fun to play lying down! Andy joined in the fun! A little blurry, but still cute! I'm heading to bed. It's WAY past my bedtime but I stayed up to get a bunch of stuff done-we have a busy few days ahead. We are having a cookout tomorrow with a bunch of friends and then John and Alisa are spending the night. We are obsessed with having sleepovers with them! What is our deal? This is our third one this year! So fun! (actually it's because the only way to really hang out is to do so after our kids go to bed-and after that it's no fun to wake them up and drive 30 mins to get home. On Thursday Xiao Li and A Xin are coming over for Italian food and Olympics! So I needed to get a few things ready-but now I am about to fall asleep typing...Have a great day!
Monday, August 11, 2008
I'm generous with the cheese these days. The way I look at it, the more cheese I use, the more I "save" for our Italy trip-I just calculate the money I am saving by not using the same amount of expensive cheese. Thus the more I use, the more I save! HeHe. Somehow my husband and I aren't seeing eye to eye on my calculating methods.
In other more interesting news-Emma Grace took five steps today! I am not sure at what point you say a child is walking. Do you? She still falls down all the time and prefers to walk holding our hands. Andy took some pictures today of my belly but I'm too tired to get up and get the camera to upload them. So, I'll do that tomorrow. It's getting big!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I am pretty sure that anyone reading this from China has already seen the Olympic opening ceremonies. I can safely say that everyone in this country with a TV watched the ceremonies. For you guys reading from another continent-I HOPE YOU WATCHED THEM! THEY WERE AMAZING!! Andy and I actually got our cable hooked up just so we can watch the Olympics. Though we have a TV in our house, we aren't usually interested in watching Chinese TV, until NOW! The Kvernens came over to watch the ceremony over chips and salsa and queso-how international we are-Americans watching the Olympics in Chinese while eating Mexican. We of course could not understand all of the commentary since it was in Chinese but we were none the less WOWED by this unbelievable display of Chinese culture and spirit!
Did you know that the ceremonies were on 8/08/08 at 8pm? That's because 8 is considered a very lucky number in this country. Also interesting is the amount of money spent on the ceremony-more than 10 times more than any other Olympic opening ceremony! 300 million! I will say that the money paid for one fantastic show. I couldn't resist posting some photos I found online-they are amazing. (to really see these photos double click to enlarge)
The time, energy and organization (not to mention RMB-Chinese currency) it took to put on a show like this just blows my mind! I was really struck by how different China is from America while watching the show- not to mention how unique each nation was that walked in the parade of nations (which unfortunately I slept through most of) I am just amazed at God's creativity when I see the cultures of different nations-each so unique and so beautiful.
We've already watched some men's gymnastics, women's basketball and weight lifting (all I can say is wow-those women are buff and interestingly many have really short arms. That explains why I was always really bad at weight lifting class in high school-my long lanky arms!)
Hope you are enjoying these games as much as we are!