Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Afternoon Chat

One of the things I really miss, living in China, is talking on the phone in the late afternoon. It's a time of day when the kids are usually occupied and I'm often cooking... for a number of years it was the perfect time to give my sister or a friend a call.

Not here. That darned time difference gets me every time I have the urge to pick up the phone in the afternoon. I have friends and family across the US, in different time zones, so surely there should be someone I could call, I think. Then I mentally go through the list... eastern, central, mountain time... none of them would be expecting a call from me at 5 a.m., or 4 a.m. Even my California friends, in the Pacific time zone, are sleeping by the time it's 5 p.m. here in China.

Yes, I do have friends here. I could call one of them. But years of habit run deep, and I guess I'm longing for a deeper connection around 5 p.m. in the afternoon, one that takes longer than the short time we've lived here to forge.

The day after tomorrow I will have an afternoon chat with someone whom I often long to talk to at that time of day. Sarah, my sister, is arriving at 2 p.m.! Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait! I won't even need to pick up the phone. We can sit right in my kitchen and talk, the wonders of Vonage phone service not required.

Oh, my brother-in-law is also coming. Love you too, Shann! :-)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Daddy & Caleb, March 1995

Found this picture the other night... and realized it was taken fourteen years ago this month. I can't believe this time in our lives is already so far in the past. The fact that it's gone makes this photo all the sweeter~

Friday, March 27, 2009

Monkey Girl, At It Again

Along with her other physical exploits, Gwen has recently been climbing up the pillars in our house with ease. No matter that there are marble floors beneath her, her mother (that wouldn't be me, would it?!) lets her shimmy up and down regularly.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Babysitting Technique

Scott came home to this scene the other night when I was out... Caleb and his friend Lucas were playing Playstation and had Gwen planted between them, happily watching Snoopy on a laptop. She seems pleased with the arrangement... see her little smile? The boys, on the other hand, have pretty blank looks. Riveting game, I guess.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yum in a Jar

I'm not sure if this product is a China only thing, or even what the real name of it is, but I can tell you that it is Delicious. Peanut butter and chocolate swirled together, kind of like a Reese's cup in a jar. You really must try it... but do it on a day when you're "very active" (see previous post!), because you'll be tempted to eat the whole jar.
Or have four high school boys over for lunch. They polished off most of it, but there was a little left for me and Seth to have a spoonful tonight.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just For Fun...

I bought myself a pedometer last week, a little device you clip onto your belt that counts how many steps you take. It took me a few days to figure out the various buttons on it and get it ready to actually use. Today was the first day, although I forgot to clip it on until about an hour after I got up. Now it's 10:43 pm and it has been counting my steps for the past fifteen or so hours. So far I have taken 13, 203 steps. I may take another hundred or two before I'm actually in bed for the night. It's amazing how quickly they rack up!

Not sure why this information is necessary, but it's interesting. And Caleb wants to wear the pedometer tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Birthday Party!

First "friend party" for Gwen! Last Saturday morning we had seven little girls come to join Gwen and Madelyn for an hour and a half of games and treats! It was so much fun... I hadn't even told Gwen about the party until the day before, and we decorated for the party after she went to bed Friday night. When she woke up Saturday morning and saw the pink and purple streamers and stars hanging from the ceiling, she was very excited!

Here all the girls show the party bags they decorated with stickers as they arrived.The old stand by, Duck-Duck-Goose, renamed Happy-Happy-Birthday, was fun even for me!
Gwen whacked open the pinata!
Freeze dance!
We had an indoor picnic... the black olives made lovely fancy fingernails.
Rice Krispie and popcorn cake!
It was a fun first party. I think Gwen was really pleased, and Scott and I were pleased to realize that a child's birthday party is no longer a stressful endeavor for us!
Happy Birthday, Gwenny Girl! We love you all the way to the moon and back.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday's Street Scenes

Any takers for duck on a stick? Got to make it through this light!
Any sunny day is laundry day... and the street corner is your dryer!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saturday, March 14th~ Birthday Day!

We started the day with finding hidden presents after breakfast!After weeks of rain, Saturday was a beautiful, clear day. We had lunch in the Italian restaurant in the Jinmao Tower to enjoy the amazing view.
That's the World Financial Center out the window to the right, where we had lunch with my parents. The Jinmao Tower seems to come only to it's knees!After a quick trip to the Coldstone Creamery in the World Financial Center, we headed to Century Park, where the kids scootered and skateboarded, often with an audience! We topped off the time at the park with a few rides in the little amusement park... typical of Chinese parks to have a small area of rides. You buy a ticket for each ride, most are 5 or 10 RMB each.
Beautiful forsythea bush at the park exit!
Saturday evening we had our small group meeting... we all sang Happy Birthday to Gwen and shared cupcakes! Pictured here with Gwen are her friends, Jacelyn and Sarah. It was such a great birthday day! It was wonderful for me to have all the kids with us for the day, all of us having fun together. Not easy with this crew to please everyone, let alone have them all home on a Saturday. It was a gift for me as much as it was for Gwen. :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fate of a House with Boys

Why does it seem that food is flying out of my kitchen these days? Can't seem to keep the refrigerator stocked...

Saturday, March 14, 2009


As I walk down the sidewalk, with Madelyn and Gwen ahead of me on their scooters, a group of Chinese construction workers walk toward us. The girls whizz by them, racing each other on their scooters. As the girls pass the men, one at a time each blue hardhatted head turns to stare at the unlikely pair.

I smile and shake my head. China or America, it doesn't matter.

Do sisters have to look alike?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day-Before-Her-Birthday Cake!

Gwen's 5th birthday is tomorrow! We celebrated at our homeschool co-op today with this princess cake. More birthday festivities are coming!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Daddy Daughter Dance, at last!

The long awaited Girl Scout Daddy Daughter Masquerade Ball was last night! Madelyn had been anticipating this event for months. We had a dress made at the fabric market, chose a special purple tie for Daddy, picked out shoes that would be comfortable for dancing, and all along she has been counting down the days and preparing special notes for Scott, to give to him the day of the dance. Gwen couldn't attend the dance, not being a Girl Scout, but she dressed up anyway in the flower girl dress Madelyn wore years ago and joined in the photo session beforehand. You'll have to indulge me a little... I took lots of pictures! The dance was for daddys and daughters only, so I couldn't tag along with my camera, but Scott got some great shots during the dance.

All dressed up and ready for a wonderful evening...

Beautiful sisters together
Joy! Can't believe this day has finally come! Love this sweet little smile~

Scott and Madelyn had practiced their moves for a couple of weeks before the big day came... they had special signals for when he would twirl her around, or dip her back in her arms.
Not sure what this move is!
"You are the dancing queen..."Toward the end of the evening, the girls tossed rose petals from the dinner tables into the air as they twirled on the dance floor... Who is that masked couple?
Back at home, Daddy rests his feet and Madelyn revels in the wonderful evening! And here is one of the special notes Madelyn made for her daddy, with pictures of her through the years... "You are in my heart."