School: Take Two

March 6th, 2014

After becoming a kindergarden dropout in November 2012, Nathaniel’s back in the classroom. He didn’t return to the kindergarden, where he would be in the “da ban” (big class, or level three); he attending a private class that’s held in the fromer art classroom the elementary school. Guess art isn’t important. Anyway, he’s in the xue qian ban which is a level between the da ban and first grade. Not all kids attend it, some take it as a summer course. He’ll be in it for just a sememster.

New Year’s Clothes

February 7th, 2014

DSC_0023 DSC_0029 DSC_0013 DSC_0003

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.

Twenty Months

February 5th, 2014


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!

DSC_0004 DSC_0005 DSC_0006 DSC_0007

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.

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!


September 17th, 2012

As a child, I always hated how long my name was and promised myself that my kids would not have long names. Unfortunately, that did not happen. It happened that we didn’t really like the shorter names or there was something “wrong” with them–like the way they sound to Chinese people.

I just had to label a box of 12 markers, and five other things with Nathaniel’s Chinese name…and for being just three syllables, it’s not short. It has 31 pen strokes. If I had to guess, I’d say that 20 – 25 is average. I really wish I were the mom of one of his classmates. That girl’s name has jut six strokes for three syllables!
And, for the record, Cathrine’s name also has 31. It would have had one less, had Santiago not changed the character that he wanted to use. ‘Yu’ was going to be the character for rain, but he changed it to the one for language. Here’s hoping she becomes the tri-lingual child that she’s supposed to be–and masters baby sign language quickly, too.

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.

New Clothes

May 25th, 2012


Thanks to super sweet aunt Abbey, Catherine is now the owner of several pieces of pink clothing.  Only one item is a 0-3 month size, so it will be awhile before she really fits into the others, though I’ll probably put her in them from time to time just so she can look more like a girl.


Nathaniel wasn’t forgotten either.  He got some khaki shorts which he loves, several shirts and a pair of flip-flops that he does not love so much.  You can see Catherine’s pink flip-fl0ps (on the table) in the picture above.

And from aunt Teri in Beijing, Catherine got some onesies, a bit on the large size yet but no less cute, and several pairs of socks. 


Big Brother

May 15th, 2012

A few pictures from the first or second day home. Nathaniel still loves her and gives her kisses any chance he gets. As soon as he comes in the house, he asks if she’s awake and if he can hold her.
She’s doing well, even sleeping through all the noise he makes. He’s not the quietest child when playing with his trucks or if he gets excited about the latest “mutton barbeque” that he’s cooked up (which are really just markers that he “cooks” over a box lid with playing cards for fire!). She’s sleeping in the living room for right now, so she sleeps through a lot of noise, but seems to be fine with it.

Catherine Chenyu

May 10th, 2012

One and a half days old…Nathaniel loves touching her fingers and toes, kissing her fat cheeks and saying how she isn’t very pretty with so little hair!

    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.