Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
If I had twins...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
She also loved the Chocolate Chunk cookie we bought her for dessert! I also enjoyed my decaf vanilla caramel latte! Afterwards we headed to B and Q, our version of a Home Depot with a lot less selection and really ugly light fixtures. HEHE. We were looking for a new one to replace the broken one in our bathroom. We ended up with one that's not quite as ugly as the first one we had! Success!
In other news the funniest thing happened this evening. To explain I need to give you a little background. See, there are edible vegetables, like the ones I cook and (in my opinion) most Americans cook. They aren't bad, they're just...well...edible. You eat them because they are good for you and because they taste ok. And then there are mouth watering, make you want to keep eating them even when you full vegetables that Chinese people cook. In a country where meat was a delicacy for many and still is for some, these people have mastered cooking vegetables. While we are steaming and boiling and roasting bland veggies, these people are stir frying some of the most delicious vegetables you've ever tasted. Andy actually didn't really eat veggies til he came to China! I've started to learn how to cook veggies Chinese style as they are superior in taste to our American style! Today I was cooking a very American meal when the funniest thing happened! I was cooking mashed potatoes and green beans (both American style) to go with some BBQ chicken when our local friends came over with a gift. In order to thank me for some help I'd given them on a project, they brought over some stir fried green beans and some stir fried sliced potatoes with pickled vegetables that they'd just made. These two are both a speciality of this area of the country and are some of our all time favorites! We all got a good laugh when we realized the veggies they brought were the same ones I was preparing at the time. We decided to eat them both and man, I got showed up! Here we are eating our American veggies...
We both had less than one serving of the American style veggies and 2 of the Chinese style! What a fun day for the Huffmans! We can't wait for Buffy to join the fun!
Friday, September 26, 2008
The hat pretty much fits her now and she has a blast hanging out in our apartment complex sporting it! Here she is picking leaves, her favorite new hobby! And what does she do with each and every single leaf she picks? Throw it in the water of course! She's also managed to slip a ball and a paint brush in the water because my reflexes aren't quick enough. On her way to the water...
Looking so grown up!
Xiao Li uses this cart to carry things from the market to our house twice a week. Between us and the Kvernens, we get a lot of produce so she really needed this thing. Emma Grace loves to push it around outside and collect grass and other interesting items in it!
On to my news debut-I was on the local 6 o'clock news because I found a 2 year old standing in the middle of the road. I was waiting on a friend to pick me up and noticed a small boy standing in the road at a very busy intersection. He was in the bike and motorcycle lane, which is less dangerous than the car lane, but still very dangerous. When I first saw him I thought he belonged to a man sitting on a bike waiting to be hired to haul stuff. I thought to myself, surely the dad will call him out of road soon. But as I watched the man did nothing. So I decided I had to get the child to move, even if I was stepping on the dad's toes a little. Turns out the boy didn't belong to that man or anyone else in the area. I was most saddened when the people standing around told me he had been in the road for 30 minutes! I was flabbergasted that they just watched him and didn't do anything. This is a great example of the indifference to suffering and need that I see in many people here and pray God will change as people know Christ!
Anyway, my friend Marlene arrived and we found some security guards who told us they would notify the police and file a report. I just didn't feel good leaving him with the guards (who were about 14) until I knew he would be taken care of. So we waited and the little guy munched on some crackers I had and drank some water. He was the cutest little guy and I was already calculating in my head how long it would take him to learn English if I brought him home to live with us. But I am pretty sure I might have gotten in big trouble for that so we just waited. After about 45 minutes of waiting, the security guard told us kids get lost at this intersection all the time-that was disconcerting. He asked if we would drive him and the little boy to the police station to file a report since the police were not coming (they were apparently slowly enjoying their lunch break) Right as we got up to leave the mom came! I was so relieved! And just as we were talking with her, the news crew showed up. We told them a gazillion times we did not want to be on the news but the reporter was a little pushy and the camera man a little sneaky. At one point Marlene told me he had the camera down at his waist and was pretending not to film me, but he had it pointed up right at my face. Oh well-so I made it on the local 6 pm news! The mom started to cry after we started talking and told me the little guy had left the second floor of a building they were in and wandered out. I think is was lost for about an hour and a half. Scary. I was just so relieved to know he was back with his mom and dad! I can't imagine the feeling of losing your child!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This is what I call the salad fort. Notice the intricately designed and built wall of cucumbers and pineapple. There is plenty of room in the middle of the fort to place those more vulnerable and hard to manage veggies like peas and peaches! These people thought about this thing for a long time before building this massive heap of veggies! I love watching the care and precision these people these people take to ensure they get their money's worth. I've seen people spend 30 minutes working on their fort wall. Cukes seem to be the most commonly used and most effective wall building material. I tried this once and I decided to branch out and use celery for my wall but I really should've taken a clue from those around me and stuck with the cukes. After 30 minutes or so of tedious work these people will take their fort back to their table and share it with 3-18 other people.
While Andy and I were still dating we decided that salad fort building should be an Olympic event. There is no doubt that the Chinese would take gold, silver, and bronze but I think the world would really get into this event! As you can see from this picture, this salad fort is being built by a team of two. They could have single and doubles salad fort building competition. What do you think?
I am pretty sure there won't be a lot of reading for us in the near future. That whole having a newborn and being sleep deprived really puts a damper on any extra curricular activities! Stay tuned for my next post-how I ended up on the news yesterday! I am too tired to write about it tonight! Good night!
Monday, September 22, 2008
One thing that's interesting about this new phase of parenting, which includes lots of training and some correction is what it's doing to my own heart. Parenting Emma Grace is causing me to be "re-parented" in a way. For example, having to constantly work with her on x issue has caused me to face those same issues in my own heart! What a neat thing God is doing in me through her. As I call her to live a life that is pleasing to her heavenly Father, I am often reminded that I don't meet the same standards I call her to.
For example, she and I went on a picnic today. It was a blast and she ate A LOT! Mondays are a tough day for lunch. We usually finish up all the leftovers on Sunday so our fridge is a little empty-all except the 2-3 cartons of milk we have delivered. So Mondays usually find us outside looking for something to eat. Today we ended up with a sweet potato, baked in the giant barrel by a street vendor. (I brought my own butter-yummy!) We also got "he fan" (box of food). There are a couple vendors in our town who roll in right about lunch time with an assortment of meats and veggies and rice. You can load up a box for about 50 cents. Our box included potatoes, rice, stir fried zucchini and eggs and tomatoes. Then we topped it all off with a banana and an orange. She ate everything I bought and we were having a delightful time under a nice shade tree until...the man with the red arm band came and told us to get off the grass. These red arm bands are given out to a force of "rain on your parade" workers whose main jobs are to keep people off the grass and pick up trash. I politely said yes, we will move and then began my internal dialogue of all the reasons we shouldn't have to move. "Isn't this a park? Aren't parks for enjoying nature, i.e. grass? Doesn't he know I have all my stuff spread out here with my one year old and it's a little tough to just put lunch on hold and relocate to the sidewalk? He's walking away. He won't see us if we stay. Well, we'll just stay til we're finished eating and then we'll move. " That was the decision I landed on as the red armed party pooper disappeared to find some other party to poop on. That was what we did for a few minutes until...God kindly and gently reminded me of something we are trying to teach EG. Obedience is all the way, right away, and with a happy heart. Otherwise it's not really obeying. Ouch. You got me. I was obeying this guys rules, and thus God on my own time....when we finished eating. So I wasn't really obeying at all. Man, parenting is good for calling me to God's perfect standard. We promptly got up and moved as I explained to EG that mommy had been wrong to not obey the man immediately. (I am pretty sure she didn't understand at all but at least I told her)
The thing about calling EG and thus myself to God's perfect standard is that neither of us will meet it in our own strength. But that's where the good news comes in! We have Christ who serves as our righteousness and provides forgiveness for when we don't measure up! He is also constantly changing my heart to help me be more like himself. So as we both face our shortcomings and sin we are given an opportunity to turn to Christ and receieve his sweet and abundance grace and help. if I never saw my sin, I would never see his grace for me. What a gift.
So I am pretty sure this parenting thing is as much about what God wants to do in me as it is what he's doing in Emma Grace. What a neat gift. (I still think the no sitting on the grass rule is dumb, but hopefully next time I'll obey all the way, right away and with a happy heart!)
Ok, this is really neat....I finished writing this post, but didn't have time to check the spelling and publish it as I needed to work on dinner. Over dinner Andy told me that he felt like there was an area in his life God was calling him to be obedient in. This is what he said to me, "EA today I was reading a book on parenting and it was talking about teaching our kids to obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart and I realized I am not doing that in my own life." WOW. God is really bringing this lesson home to our whole family! HOW COOL!
Well EG is down for the night and Andy and I are having getting ready to have dessert. We usually eat a couple oreos with milk after dinner-occasionally we even include EG on this but other times we wait til she's asleep. But tonight we are pulling out some homemade chocolcate chip cookie dough and making a few cookies to enjoy! Hope you have a great Monday!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Here's one of the massive buildings where he teaches. Emma Grace had a fun day. I had a mom's breakfast this morning so Andy took his baby girl on a date to McDonald's for breakfast! We managed to go through several outfits today. One because of a poop incident. She doesn't really get poop on her clothes anymore, as we are far past those newborn poop explosion days. But today I left the dirty diaper in her reach while changing her and it didn't go so well. She ended up playing in the living room like this...
She did try to get dressed again after a while. But she doesn't quite have the motor skills to dress herself yet.
The second change of clothes came when EG dumped a bucket of water on herself while at a "fishing" pool in our town. It's just a little plastic pool with plastic fish in it and for 30 cents you can catch fish with a little pole or net. She loves going there and we had a great time until she dumped the water on her and on me! So fun to be a one year old!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
And the name is.....
Buffman Guffman Huffman (Buffy for short)
Let me explain. After inspiration from one of Dan's way back relatives who was named, NO LIE, Garfield Scarfield Barfield we decided to follow suit and go with the rhyming thing. Like it? HeHe. You can call him Buffy Huffy til we announce the real name at his birth! Sorry to keep the grandmas in the dark on the name!
We are very excited to have a boy and I've already started praying for he and EG to be great friends! Andy's gonna be a great dad to a little boy! The only drawback to having a boy is that we have to buy a whole new wardrobe in America. But the Chinese don't differentiate boy and girl colors so maybe we will just dress him in pink and save some money. HEHE. Just kidding. Andy would never go for that. Last night I was sorting through some stuff to take back and he got all up in arms over the fact that I planned to use EG's baby towels (which are pink) for him rather than buy new ones. He told me it was worth the 10 dollars to get blue and green towels-even if he will only use them for a few months.
We can't wait to meet you Buffy!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
As you know, many of my neighborhood friends are grandmothers. In China it is very common for grandparents to keep the children during the day or even raise them full time while the parents work-sometimes in a far off city. (The retirement age is around 50 and it's mandatory so most grandparents enjoy having something to do for a few years when the grand kid comes along) This year I've had the chance to become friends with lots of older women who are caring for their grand kids while mom and dad work. There are a ton of kids EG's age who come out everyday to play in our courtyard. Here's a pic of one of my favorite grandma-granddaughter combos. Why do I like them so much? They are friendly but I must admit I also like them because I think they are super cute. They look just alike the and grandmother and granddaughter both wear their hair in pigtails everyday! How cute! This past week we celebrated the Mid Autumn festival, which is the second most important holiday in China. (Kinda like Thanksgiving for us) This is a time to give and receive moon cakes, which are round pastries filled with an assortment of goodies-from nuts and bean pastes to meat and fruits. They are round and symbolize the family all being together. So families gather to eat moon cakes and look at the moon, which is full on this day. This year we joined in the fun by passing out moon cakes to our neighbors. We actually don't like moon cakes and I am pretty sure some to many Chinese people don't either. But hey, what's Christmas without a fruitcake? Here we are on our way to Uncle Qi's house...
We gave some to the women who work in the management office of our complex as well as Milk Gmaw. Chinese people are big on returning the favor so it's rare to give a gift and not receive one in return. The ladies in the office just happened to have fresh pomegranates ready to give out when we gave them the moon cakes and just now Milk Gmaw delivered some freshly made dumplings to our house. She didn't have a chance to give us moon cakes since we were out of town on the actual holiday, so I guess this was her way of reciprocating the love! I bought EG a dustpan and broom last week and had them cut down to her size at the local shoe/bike/anything repair stand in the market. They have fixed our shoes, blown up our pool, and now cut our broom handle. These guys are handy to have nearby!
Well that's it for us. We have a very normal week planned. It's 8:32 pm now and I am off to get ready for bed. I love to sleep.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
In Emma Grace news-she loves coffee. Let me explain. When I was little the same grandmother who gave the taco bake recipe also introduced me to coffee. She and my grandfather love coffee and drank it black with most meals. I wanted to be like them so they allowed me to sip a small cup of coffee with them after dinner sometimes! I loved being like them though I didn't really like strong black coffee. But with time, it grew on me but I was only introduced to cream and sugar in college. After meeting the caramel macchiatto, my life was changed. I still like a strong cup of coffee in the morning with only cream-no sugar. But I must admit, I have a thing for any and all things that contain small amounts of coffee and lots of creams, flavors, syrups, whipped topping, etc. I was planning on waiting a little longer to introduce my daughter to the wonderful world of coffee, but my newly converted coffee drinking husband had other plans. He told me last night that at breakfast (I was really really tired yesterday so he let me sleep in) Emma Grace started pointing to his coffee. He thought it wouldn't hurt to give her a little, since there is no way she would like it! Boy was he wrong. With the amount of sugar and cream he puts in his coffee, it's no wonder she liked it! After her first sip, she said, "MMMMMMMMM" Her way of saying yummy. We often say this when we are pretending to cook and eat things. Oh no. Andy said he drank his coffee as fast as he could so she wouldn't be asking for more. I was thinking of starting her off with her first cup of strong black coffee at about age 3-letting her learn the ropes of coffee drinking like I did. I am proud to say I enjoy a strong cup of black coffee as well as a frappalattemocchacaremeldeliciousiousus (with whipped topping) as well. The coffee industry is a little over the top with the names of some of their drinks. I am not sure my girl will be able to appreciate the simple taste of black coffee like I do now that my husband spoiled her!
Sorry no pics this week. We've been living life and not really stopping to take any pictures of it. We'll be out of town til Monday night so we'll be off the blog for a few days! Have a great weekend!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Polish Sausage and veggies on the grill Monday night. A fun scrap booking sleepover where, as usual, we didn't accomplish as much as we'd hoped. An amazing day with EG yesterday-I was convinced I had the perfect child. Until today. Now I am convinced I am the worst parent ever. The major swings in my perspective can't be healthy. Bought a broom and dustpan for Emma Grace today and a little push toy that I managed to break before we even got home. Maybe that's because it cost two dollars. Had to wash both "Peanuts" in the same day. (That's EG's stuffed elephant that she's seriously attached to. We bought a back up in case we lost the first and also to switch out when one is dirty.) Yesterday was a very dirty day! EG has been taking some great naps lately which has helped me to rest some-I'm getting varicose veins from pregnancy and my legs are sore. Noticed today that I am outgrowing some of my maternity clothes. This can't be good. I've got three months to go. Andy read a whole book over the weekend and our waiting-for-the-polish-sausage-to-cook conversation included him giving me the cliff notes version of the book and then him analyzing some of the literary themes while I listened. Man, I should read more. And finally, leftover Polish sausage and veggies from the grill for dinner tonight. Wow, this is so normal it's almost not worth writing...or reading.
I'm heading out tomorrow afternoon for a little time away. I like to go into the city on these days to sit at a coffee shop and read, think, pray, plan etc. But this time I am just not feeling up to the drive or spending the money to get there. So, I'm opting for a local tea house that's a two minute walk from my house. Should be nice to get away, even if instead of sipping a latte and listening to some soothing coffee house tunes, I'll be he-ing the cha and listening to some loud old Chinese men play cards in the back part of the tea house.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Here's a clip of EG eating oatmeal with the spoon. Note she is using her left hand and that she says oatmeal right at the end! Sorry these videos are so short. My camera will only do 15 second clips and I need Andy to teach me how to upload video from our video camera to YouTube and then onto our blog. I should put that on my list with the other gazillion things I need to get done before baby number 2 comes!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
EG is officially trying to drop her morning nap-so we are looking for fun things to do during those "I'm sleepy but won't actually go to sleep if you put me in my bed" times of the day. You moms know what I am talking about. Yesterday we spent about an hour outside in the surprisingly cold weather walking, talking, digging, picking up rocks and of course eating a few sticks, leaves, and flowers!We are planning a scrap booking sleepover on Saturday with our friends John and Alisa. We are trying to set the record for most "sleepovers that are more for the adults than the kids" in one year. We are up to four this year I think! HEHE. The plan is for the women to scrap and the guys to take Kayleigh and EG to a fun indoor play area in the afternoon. Should be a blast for everyone! Also on Saturday our friends Marianne and David return from the land of good eats (America) and we plan to welcome them back home! Should be a fun weekend.