“Love You”

November 1st, 2013

DSC_0019 DSC_0021Tonight as I was tucking her into bed, I told Catherine, “I love you,” just as I always do. She looked at her doll (my twentysomething-year-old Cabbage Patch Kid) and kissed it. Then she turned back to me and said, “love you.” It was the sweetest thing!

Family Pictures

November 1st, 2013

For the second time since Catherine’s birth, we took a family picture. I’ve been trying to get this done since April…at least! DSC_0056 DSC_0070 DSC_0085 DSC_0087 DSC_0089 DSC_0099The little boy is the son of the guy who took our pictures…just some random family who was going through the park. We were on our way to dinner, which explains why Catherine is looking at the boy’s bread so longingly!

Sixteen Months

October 30th, 2013

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Catching up…here’s last months’ photos. She’s quite the active little lady. She doesn’t miss  thing…if Nathaniel’s getting a snack, she wants one, too. If she hears the word “outside,” she’s at the door grabbing her shoes and taking them to the nearest person with her eyes begging for you to put them on her. And, no, those are NOT beer bottles she’s playing with; they’re Russian carbonated beverages…kind of like ginger ale.

The Perfect Dinosaur

October 30th, 2013

DSC_0013 DSC_0016 DSC_0018Yesterday Nathaniel’s set of five dinosaurs arrived. It was just something Daddy bought randomly. Well, not randomly in that he’s not interested in them (he is), but that it’s not a holiday or anything. Actually we can count on one hand how many toys we’ve bought him in his five years of life. He gets most of his toys as hand-me-downs from his older cousin who had an extremely large collection of them–we recieved two large tubs of toys when Nathaniel was born. Of course by the time I removed the unacceptable toys (a suffed Bart Simpson and characters from the Happy Goat, Evil Wolf cartoon) and broken ones, we were still left with a box.

Anyway, today Nathaniel was explianing which dino was stronger and which was larger and told me that if only “this big one was as strong as this smaller meat-eating one, it would be the perfect dinosaur!” I was shocked at his use of the word perfect. I have no doubt that he knows the word in Chinese (I don’t) since kids are pushed to be perfect, but I don’t recall saying it or explaining the word to him.

After dinner I mentioned this to Santiago and he said that they’d talked about this earier and he’d taught him the word perfect. Mystery solved!

Eleven Months

April 16th, 2013

DSC_0031 DSC_0032 DSC_0026Although a week late in being posted, they were only a day late in being taken. Catherine can now stand by herself for about a minute, and did take a step on the day she turned 11 months! She also started saying “mama” again, though not very purposefully. Lots of people say that she’s tall, but Chinese grandparents are already saying that she’s “behind” because she can’t walk, unlike the 9 month old they know at the playground, nor does she say four words as that 9 month old does. I should be used to it by now; they still compare Nathaniel to his cousin who’s eight months younger…and have been since the little boy was born 4 years ago!


New House

March 13th, 2013



Two-plus months after moving here, I’m finally posting pics of our new-to-us sixth floor, 116-square meter house! It’s more than twice the size of our first house and about a third bigger than the rental. More on the crazy events leading up to buying this place later.

 As you enter the house, you are in the living room and the bedrooms are along the wall on your left. In front you can see the dining room and off to the right of that room are the bathroom and kitchen. The door that you see to the side in the first picture is the middle bedroom. The open doorway leads to the dining room (where the table is) and the kids’ bedroom is on the left wall (you can see a bit of sunlight shining on the floor in the first picture–and that bedroom door is opposite the bathroom). DSC_0149DSC_0148DSC_0159

This is the first bedroom, otherwise called the playroom. Santiago’s sister gave us her (terribly ugly) rugs which actually were their parents’. They’re 30+ years old and scratchy as can be. But they provide a nice place to play. The bookshelf and extra bed are in there and the wall opposite the door has sliding doors that go out to the porch. These are old pictures, the first was from before we bought the mattress, the second once it arrived and now it has a sheet on it and Nathaniel occasionally naps on it.

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The porch is big and warm when it’s sunny. There’s a cabinet that the previous people left, so we can store shoes and stuff in it. The first picture is the east end and the second is the west end, both taken from the doorway. Looking out, you mostly see fields–I’m not sure what they grow there, but there’s bits of green poking up already.



 The middle bedroom which has no window to the outside, but looks out to the porch. You can actually climb through the window (as nephew Ethan did the first time he visited).


The kids’ bedroom which has a bed and wardrobe left from the previous owners. Not anything I would have bought since neither are very practical for storing things, but they work for now. The mosquito tent is still on to prevent Nathaniel and Catherine from falling onto the floor during the night. It’s saved them at least twice, each!


The dining room–before and after we got a dining room table. Santiago wasn’t planning to buy one, but one day while I was working, he went out and bought one. Not sure why his parents decided that the fridge should be in the dining room…but it is.



The kitchen with it’s hideous orange cabinets.


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The bathroom, complete with a new sink and shower since the previous owners decided to take them, even though they’d previously agreed to leave them.


Welcome to Chinese Potpourri

March 12th, 2013


Thanks to Jocelyn of Speaking of China for listing me among the 50 blogs that she listed in celebration of International Women’s Day. All of the blogs are written by non-Chinese women who were, are or hope to be in a relationship with Chinese guys.  I’ve been reading Jocelyn’s blog for several years and have found many great blogs from prior years’ lists.

Ten Months

March 11th, 2013


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Last week our little girl turned 10 months old!  Since she’s VERY mobile now, it was impossible to keep the numbers and letters in place. Oh, and we couldn’t find all of the letters to spell “months” so we just abbreviated it to “mos.”

She’s wearing the dress that I made her for the Chinese New Year…not red, but at least she got something new, since most of her wardrobe consists of hand-me-downs from friends.  Not a bad thing by any means–well, to Santiago and I–but her Chinese grandparents insisted we get new clothes for the kids or the holiday. So I did the frugal thing, and made her a dress for about $3.  (Well, the pattern cost me $10 for the download, but it goes up to size 5, so I should be able to use it dozens more times.)

She can stand by herself for a few seconds and is an expert at walking along the edges of the couch, television stand and beds. She’s been drooling for the past month, so we’re eagerly expecting new teeth to appear, but so far she’s still got the six she had at 8 months.  Last month she started saying “mama” but soon realized it’s much easier to say “baba” so that’s her word of choice!


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.

    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.