Twenty Months

February 5th, 2014

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Belated, as usual, but well worth the wait, I think! They are from her 20th month, though. She’s a little fashionista in the making; each time she goes out to play, she has to inspect each of her three pairs of choose to select the pair that she wants! She can say “piao,” which is part of the Chinese word for “pretty,” and uses it frequently!

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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.

Pork Filled Dumplings for the New Year

January 28th, 2014

My guest post on how to make dumplings for the Chinese New Year was published at My Kids Adventures today. You can click over to that site for a step-by-step tutorial (with pictures of my helpers!) on how to make traditional Chinese dumplings and a slightly spicy and sweet vinegar dipping sauce.

 

Spring Festival Letter 2014

January 22nd, 2014

Due to the chaos that occurred at the end of 2012, I never got around to sending out a Christmas letter…and I just realized that I never even sent out an email after Catherine was born in May. So I guess the whole year was chaotic! And now it’s nearly a month after Christmas and this is still waiting to be sent out. It’s now the Spring Festival letter.

Here’s a few stats about our quick and crazy, but well thought out, decision to sell the house which we’d put a down payment on back in 2009 (and in November 2011 we got to choose the house that we wanted):
  • 7 the number of days our landlord let us believe her apparent lie that she wasn’t planning to sell the house (though we’d heard via her mom that she was planning to sell)
  • 4 houses we looked at over Thanksgiving weekend 2012
  • 3 days it took to sell our other house (which wouldn’t be completed until 2014…maybe…and not in a livable condition until 2015…maybe!)
  • 1 the number of kisses I got from the wife of the couple who bought it (awkward! She would have been an interesting neighbor; now they own two adjacent houses so that one set of parents can live there to take care of their son)
  • 2 offers we placed on “secondhand” houses, but one was rejected because the husband’s parents didn’t agree with the couple selling the house so that ended their decision to sell
  • 90 minutes spent negotiating the price of house #2 with the couple and his parents; a lot of yelling was involved (by the two other women)
  • 22 days to get all the paperwork completed
  • 2 days to clean it since they seemed to go out of their way to trash it before leaving
  • 1 sink and shower we had to buy since they took them with
  • 1 trip made by the moving truck (so glad we paid to have help this time!)

So by 2013 we were settled into our new-to-us spacious 116-square-foot house on the 6th floor of a community just across the street from our old one (and Santiago’s parents). Here’s a bit of what happened in 2013:

  • 10 months spent trying to get approval for me to have a working visa to teach English at the local oil refinery
  • 1 trip to the USA to get the visa
  • 10 hours spent working before losing the job due to the president of the company losing his job, supposedly on corruption charges
  • 60 days Nathaniel, Catherine and I spent in America
  • 5 carry on bags I toted around with a stroller and two kids for five hours at O’Hare
  • 3 hour flight delay which netted us $20 in food vouchers which were promptly used on a coffee and snacks to keep the kids busy on the flight
  • 7 of Catherine’s teeth broke through, pretty much all at once, while we were in America
  • 85,081,500 the approximate number of steps (per person, excluding Catherine) climbed going to and fro our 6th floor house since we moved in last Christmas
  • 6 the number of months Catherine has been climbing all 105 steps up to our house
  • 5 minutes it takes her to walk up all the steps
  • 50+ words that she speaks in English and Chinese
  • 2 “babies” she sleeps next to at night
  • 276,079 approximate number of words I wrote in 2013
  • 60 students I tutor on the weekends
  • 1 tooth lost by Nathaniel on December 22
  • 3.45 minutes it takes Nathaniel to go through his addition flash cards (he loves graphing his time to see if he’s getting faster)
  • 9 weeks he went to his second year of preschool before being a “preschool drop out” due to him constantly getting sick and being home
  • 7 glasses of cocoa he drinks each week (the only way to get him to drink milk)
  • 27 the number of work related phone calls that Santiago got while on his three day vacation
  • 3 the number of times he’s had to go inf during the last 8 days of said vacation
  • 4 boxes of dried dates his suppliers have gifted us with in the last two months
  • 1 time a month that he takes the kids to an indoor play area and gets scolded by old women for “perming and dying” Catherine’s hair which is totally natural

 

So there you have it; a small look into our pretty average life. 

“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!

Fifteen Months

October 30th, 2013

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Three months past due, these weren’t taken on August 7th, but are within a day or two. We were in the USA for six weeks in July and August and I just kind of skipped the monthly picture since I didn’t have the usual blocks that I use to spell out “months.” Never mind that I did buy a set of alphabet blocks at a rummage sale and could have used those. Anyway, these are from her first trip to Chicago with Nathaniel, Grandpa and I and our afternoon at the Boone County Fair.

Fourteen Months

July 15th, 2013

And finally, pictures that aren’t terribly overdue!  These, too, have just been haning out on the camera but since I need to get the card cleaned off before our trip, I had to get this done. Nothing like a little procrastination! Catherine is now saying (in Chinese): give you and hello…and for the life of me, I can’t remember the others right now. DSC_0043 DSC_0025 DSC_0011 DSC_0010

    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.