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.


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!

Seven Months

December 9th, 2012

These were taken just minutes before Catherine was taken to get her first haircut…and shaved bald!  Santiago and I had to go signt the contracts for our house, so Grandma took her to get this haircut which, in her opinion, was six months overdue. 

Typically babies get their first haircut when they’re one month old and then periodically thereafter–to make the hair grow faster.  Nathaniel had his first haircut at 8 months because I kind of freaked out on everyone when they sprung this previously-unknown-to-me news at lunch one day. “Oh, he needs to go for his haircut tomorrow,” said one of the grandparents.  

My reaction scared them enough, that when I did calm down and realize that it’s just hair, and gave them permission to do this, they wouldn’t.   I wasn’t too thrilled about Catherine’s haircut since her hair has been growing in nicely for the last few months, but better now than when it’s longer.  Now to just make sure they don’t shave it off again in the summer like most other girls under the age of five.

1st Family Photo

September 17th, 2012

“It’s about time!” is what you’re probably thinking.  Yeah…I feel the same way.  It just seems that we’re never all together at a time when:

A-The kids are in a reasonably good mood.

B-They are clean.

C-Iam properly bathed, have clothes that look decent that aren’t drying on the line and I feel like taking a photo.

D-The grandparents aren’t around to comment on the use of a disposable diaper/the attire I dress them in.

So, without further ado, here’s what we look like (as of two weeks ago, when it was really taken):

One of about a dozen photos that were taken.

    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.