Easter Pictures At the Park

April 6th, 2015

Catherine looking at flowers Catherine looking for eggs Nathaniel, Catherine and Ethan Still looking...

This year Easter coincided with the Tomb Sweeping Festival, which is a one-day holiday which means that we got a three-day weekend and there was no weird scheduling (ie. working on Saturday to make up for having Tuesday off). I had arranged it so that I wouldn’t teach this weekend and so we had a pretty nice weekend with all of us home. Nathaniel spent about 5 hours each day doing homework and studying ahead in his Chinese book, so it wasn’t all relaxing and carefree but we managed to get to a newish park each day.
Saturday we had a picnic of snack-ish foods and some yummy banana-cranberry-chocolate chip muffins (thanks Marlys!). We went early in the morning and came home after lunch for naps. Everyone slept, even never-takes-a-nap Nathaniel and that night we watched a movie on the wall with this projector that Santiago bought. It’s kinda like the movies, only more convenient and comfortable!
On Easter we invited Santiago’s sister and her son to join us. We bought food at KFC and then waited for them to arrive, only to wait another 30 minutes while she talked to some friends that she ran into. Hence all the pictures of the kids with flowers and playing with dirt. Since we ate late, we did the egg hunt late and didn’t make it home for naps. When we did get home it was too late for Catherine to sleep so I played with her and Santiago taught Nathaniel a new Chinese lesson. Sister invited us to dinner but Catherine was very fussy (she’s been battling a cold since Friday, so coupled with no nap it was no surprise) so I made her and I a simple dinner. Then I fed her in the kitchen while sitting on tiny stools so that she couldn’t hear the guys leave! I got her in bed around 6:30 and she was out almost instantly.
Yesterday was cold but Nathaniel wanted to return to the park to try his hand at selling bubble wands. There were several women selling them for 5 yuan each, but a store by us was selling them for just 1.5 yuan. He bought 10 and hoped to make a nice profit, but his lack of selling skills coupled with the weather meant that he didn’t sell a single one. He did enjoy trying and we’ll go there again for the May holiday and give it another try.

Nathaniel and Daddy Climbing on Daddy     Nathaniel hunting for eggs Nathaniel is amazed at all the eggs Ethan found! Catherine and Daddy Catherine and Mommy Nathaniel on his pogo stick

New Year’s Clothes

February 7th, 2014

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Most Chinese rush out to buy new clothes for the New Year, but we’ve never done that. Two  years ago, I started a sweater but come New Year’s Day, one sleeve was still not done. I finished it last year and Nathaniel’s worn it all year. I whipped up a dress for Catherine last year; I think it got left in America for baby Morgan to grow into. This year I had the best intentions to knit both of them sweaters, but I only got Nathaniel’s done…around 11 pm but I only weaved in ends that would be noticeable! The rest remains to be finished.

Again this year we were scolded by Santiago’s parents for always forgetting to buy new things, so a week before the holiday, I ran out for a quick shopping trip. I was certain I’d get his sweater done, so I just bought him some jeans. For Catherine I ended up buying her a cute floral shirt and paired it with jeans she had. I also put in the zipper on a sweater my mom knit her. While it didn’t match (no biggie…we’re in China where red, pink and orange can always be worn together!), it was cute.

Her red jacket and his blue sweatshirt were gifts from older aunt. Her hat was actually given to Nathaniel many years ago by Santiago’s coworker. She doesn’t have a child and apparently didn’t realize that it was more suitable for a girl. Glad no one else had a girl to pass it on to; it and the scarf are quite cute on Catherine.

Chinese New Year Children’s Book

February 2nd, 2014

Here’s the cover of a short children’s book that Nathaniel and I wrote about the Chinese New Year. It includes a several pictures of him celebrating the Chinese New Year througout his five years of life.


March 6th, 2013

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Nathaniel, Xiang and Catherine having fun with some fabric from my mom. Santiago’s younger sister’s family came here on New Year’s Day and ended up spending two nights at our house. The boys had fun playing and kept each other entertained. Nathaniel’s under a map of the world and Xiang is under a layout of a town–the same one which him and Catherine are playing on in the first picture.

Simplify Christmas

November 16th, 2012

 A great read with lots of recipes, craft ideas and practical ways to make Christmas stress-free so that you can keep your heart focused on the real reason for the season.  I’m almost halfway done with it and have lots of ideas…must order more cocoa powder so that we can have hot cocoa while we watch Christmas movies.

New Year Celebrations Are Over…Mostly

January 30th, 2012

Except for random firecrackers going off at any time of the day or night, thanks to kids still having a week of their winter break remaining, and the fact that there was absoluetly no meat for sale at the market today, the holiday is over.  Work resumed on Sunday in order for employees to make up for one of their seven days off.  The other day was made up before the holiday.  It’s a very odd system that I still haven’t made complete sense of.  I just search online to find out when the public holidays will be and hope that our local government decides to observe those dates as well.  At least once a year they don’t. 

Nathaniel goes back to school next Tuesday, the day after the Lantern Festival.  More firecrackers. I need to remember to air out his bedding a day or two before so that it doesn’t smell.


December 26th, 2011

Some pictures from our quick weekend trip to Beijing for Christmas.

Home from Beijing-Part One

November 28th, 2011

Nathaniel and I had a fun long weekend in Beijing.  After getting in on Thursday night we ate dinner at an Italian restaurant and then went shopping at Jenny Lou’s, a small supermarket chain that specializes in imported groceries.  I finally got vanilla beans to try making my own vanilla.  A jar of 2 beans from Madagascar cost the same as 2 ounce bottle of imitation vanilla. 

Friday morning we went to the preschool where my friends teach and Nathaniel did pretty well being that it was a new place, with lots of cool things he’s never seen before, and that it was all in English and there are different rules and procedures.  I stayed with him and had to help him focus during the longer lessons, about 20 minutes.  Not sure exactly what things are like at his school, but I am positive that it’s very different.  He ate lunch with the seven other kids, ages 3-6, and then helped them set up their cots for naptime.  We left to play at the park for awhile and then went home.

Dinner that night was at Subway where he had his 5th or 6th taste of turkey.  He didn’t want to eat his half as a sandwich but rather in layers, asking for the meat first.  I gave it to him and said to eat the turkey.  He asked if it really was meat.  YES!  Apparently I haven’t conveyed exactly what a turkey is or is used for.  It was only five pm and the restaurant was empty except for one other table of people drinking tea and using their computers.  At one point I noticed him staring at the counter and turned to see what was so interesting.  There was a foreign guy.  I told Nathaniel that he should keep eating and not stare when he innocently asked me who the guy was.  I said that I don’t know him and told him to eat a layer of vegetables. 

Later it occured to me that he might think that I know anyone who is not Chinese, since whenever we see non-Chinese people at home I know who they are!  Twice over the weekend we saw several people with black skin and very dark skin and I was wondering what he’d say about them since I’m the only non-yellow person he sees on a daily or even regular basis.  He didn’t seem to notice them, so we’ll just have to wait.  I only hope his questions, if spoken in English around the people in question, are said with genuine inquiry and not like the stories I’ve heard about how Chinese kids react to dark skinned, non-Chinese people.

    About Charlotte

    I'm a wife, mom and freelance writer in small town China. My two kids and I are three of the dozen foreigners that live here, though we've yet to meet them.

    We're near enough to Beijing to visit occasionally, but far enough away to make it a bit of a hassle since we don't have a car.