Thursday, February 25, 2010

1st week Recap in CHINA!!!!

First, i want to thank my mom and brother doing the last 2 posts for me!
They were a little different than I would have done them - but glad they got posted!

SO, I have SO much to write about in the short week we have been here, but just will do short highlights for journalling purposes, so as not to bore you - and the next post will be with pictures of some things here!

1st - TRIP TO IKEA!!! a total experience here. I have NEVER seen so many people in one place at a time ANYWHERE in my life as how many people were in each level of IKEA! To give you an indication - it took us 5 1/2 hours to get 5 items, because we could barely move our cart thru people. EVERYONE wanted to touch Cash and shake his hand, and by the end he was running up to random strangers and jumping into their arms! If i ever go back I will take a picture because describing the madness does not do it justice (altho I am not sure i ever want to go back)

2nd - grocery shopping! my first experience doing this was at the Chinese Walmart across the street! The smell alone almost killed me when we first walked in. They have meat sitting out uncovered, and people just comb thru it with their bare hands - I saw a lady going thru pigs feet and instantly felt woozy! Everything is in chinese money and the conversion is weird so it is a little tricky figuring it all out - but I will definitely get pics of this! Once you get away from the meat the rest is not so bad! (i think i might go vegan here tho, and those who know me know how much i love meat!)

3rd - food in general - just getting grocery shopping done is a feat by myself. I have to take the stroller so i have a place to put bags, but then getting a cart is impossible while i am by myself - produce goes bad quickly so have to go often, and because things get heavy you also have to go often. Picture this: Me pushing Cash in the big stroller, bags full and hanging off in all directions, balanceing it all as we go up the escalator to escape, then across the street and up to our 11th floor apartment. Oh, and me being 5 months pregnant and getting ever bigger!!! yeah, a pretty crazy site! (thus a reason alone we are gettting a nanny soon!)

4th - blogs/facebook and TV- both blocked by the government here so in trying to access them i ruined my computer the first week we were here - which means i lost Cash's journal and some pictures and other important items to me! (a major breakdown occurred at this point!) Also, the TV here only has 4 english channels, which are horrible, and until this week I couldn't access any of my favorite shows on the web so it was also awful - altho I have found site I can now go to and get some of them - t honestly made my entire day to get to watch American Idol online!

5th - TRAFFIC here - one word, INSANE! Cars, cabs, and buses do NOT yield to pedestrians, everyone honks every other second, there aren't many signals, and altho some people bike and ride motorcycles I would never attempt that unless i had a death wish! It is sheer chaos, and yet when in the cabs I don't feel like I am going to die like I did in NY. For some reason, even with how close they get to hitting other cars, I have yet to see a wreck or any human actually get rundown! The taxi drivers don't speak ANY english - and so giving instructions to get anywhere is SO hard and I have to just have a chinese person write down our address in charactersa and carry it at all times so when we get lost we can have a way back!

6th - The Subway - I feel this is nicer and cleaner then most subways, way easier to navigate around and it is very well labeled and they have maps everywhere, but during rush hour - there is nothing like it. You literally have to shove people out of the way to get on and off. At other hours it is fine, but whne the masses are there - people start shoving their way on before those wanting to exit can even get off, and if you don't push and shove, you just might not get to where you are going. I was really nervous going for my first time and I think a chinese guy realized that so he grabbed ahold of me and held me close to the door! Cash didn't seem to mind, but inside it is like what I imagined it to be like for the jews getting hauled off to a Natzi camp - wall to wall people with little breathing room! Also, lots of stairs and so I get my exercise just taking Cash to and from the place!

7th - our apartment! Finally, something not so chaotic! I really like it, it is pretty nice, and plenty spacious, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a big living area with comfy couches, to watch all those chinese channels - i will post pics soon!

8th - our ward/branch - SO GREAT!!!! EVERYONE is super friendly, willing to help and answer questions, and lots of young families just like us! Also, such a small world - in our branch we have a fellow timpviewite (Amy Anderson (now Carlson)), a fellow couple from our BYU marreid ward back in provo a few years back, and a good friend of a friend there that we made a connection! Everyone else is super nice and I feel I already have a little friend group! A great help here!

9th - the JET lag - thought it wouldn't be so bad but has taken over a full week to adjust! Heard it takes a week when coming and 3 days when going back - so hopefully won't be bad when we come to visit later on!

10th - ONE HUGE TRAUMA - yetserday Cash got his fingers stuck in the elevator door as it was opening - he slid is fingers along with the door as it opened and they got stuck betwee the wall and the door - it was SO SCARY!!! He was screaming, I couldn't get them out, the door wouldn't open or shut - i thought i was going to yank his fingers off and lose them - i started screaming for help, and finally just shoved the door the rest of the way open and popped his hand out! It was so scary by the time we entered our place we were both crying SO hard - i was just so sad he was in so much pain, and scared he had broken fingers - he actually calmed down first tho and then gave me hugs and kisses and said "mama" as if to say he was ok! After some milk and m&M's he was great! And he has been using his fingers fine the rest of the day! Phew! It was really worst thing as a mother ever!

Over all, it is a HUGE adventure, and after a few big breakdowns I feel I am embracing the differences and starting to be adventurous and get out and explore! (and dare i say even LIKE it here!!!) I have a great chinese tutor, and so hopefully can learn a few things to help me get around!
more pics on the next post!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to the BEST MAMMA EVER!!!

Happy happy birthday mother dear!

How I wish and wish and wish that you were here!

If I had a wish than it would be!

That you could come around the world and live with me!

(or at least visit for a while!)

I really hope you have the best day ever – of all people you deserve the bestest day!

Sometimes in life you realize things a little late.

Like after you leave the roost you figure out how much you really rely and lean and NEED your mommy in your life!

I have felt this especially lately.

Being halfway across the world puts everything in perspective a little better!

I wish that I had my mommy close my to hold my hand and help me get around the city.

To help me make friends and be outgoing!

To fix yummy food and enjoy it together!

To laugh at the funny things Cash says and does all day!

To get more accomplished like she does every day!

To be positive and adventurous!

To learn the language and help me grocery shop!

To just laugh with and talk with!

I wish I had my mommy to hold my hand and get me through everything hard!

She is my hero, my confidant, my cheerleader, and my bestest friend!

Today I celebrate your life, even if it is halfway around the world………

I will do something adventurous today in honor of you!

Have a great day mommy!

I love you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

We Finally Made It!!!!

After many a change in plans, change in flights, and changes in the crazy weather on the East Coast, we FINALLY were able to get out the door and make it to the airport!!!

To Chip, who enjoys travelling in luxury all the time for business, the next part might seem inconsequential……….but for Cash and I – it was definitely an upgrade and a great trip. To start off, we got picked up at 4 a.m. in the Limo by Chip’s driver from work. We were worried about getting all our luggage in, but we fit it and off we set. I thought Cash would go right back to sleep on the way, but nope, he was just too excited!! He laughed and giggled for the first hour of the trip, before finally dozing off for the last one.

We got to the airport fine, and then the madness began! Every single bag we were going to check was overweight, and the total bill for it was $3000!! Yeah, uh, crazy, as an extra checked bag is only $200. So for the extra 50 lbs. we bought a bag from the airline and then went through and took stuff out of EVERY bag and made them all fit! It was a long and tedious process, but we finally got them all checked – thank heavens we had gotten to the airport 2 hours early!

As we were walking away the lady said “that carry on bag is NOT going to fit and you need to check it too!!!” She whipped out her little tape measure and showed us, and thus another $200 for a checked bag was shelled out before going – SHEESH!!! Hello airline Nazi!

Well, we barely made it through security and got to our gate as the final people were loading! We got on, found our seats in First Class, and off we set! Cash fit perfectly on the armrest between us and enjoyed the headphones and buttons he could push! Thank HEAVENS it was only a 2 hour flight! As we were landing we realized Cash had a blowout! It smelled so bad and some of the other people sitting around us were making comments about how it stunk! We hurried and got him off first thing, trying to be inconspicuous although I think everyone knew!

Well, then it was a 4 hour lay-over in Chicago! I was worried, but it actually went really fast. We got some breakfast, hung around different sections, Cash had a blast with the moving walkways, and then found this cool area with lights that he enjoyed playing at for a long while! Then, we got to go into the VIP lounge since we were flying Business Class to China and we got more yummy snacks, loaded up for the flight, watched some TV, and then it was time to go!

We got onto the plane and holy smokes was it great! Business Class is the way to fly – it is nicer than first class (I didn’t know this), and it truly is luxurious! Made the 13 hour flight seem like nothing! The seats were huge, with a TON of space between them, they reclined fully back, had massagers in them and individual TVs; and the best part – our section only had 3 other people in it so we had the entire right side to ourselves! Cash was so intrigued by the individual lights on each seat and kept singing into them, thinking they were microphones (think I got a little American Idol on my hands!)

He had tired himself out pretty good with all the running around in the airport, so I thought he would go right to sleep – but ended up being too excited and staying awake for the first few hours of the flight.

Like I mentioned before, this is NOT a big deal to Chip, but to Cash and I we were super excited about this way of travelling. Especially the food part. The stewardesses waited on us ALL the time – first they brought out a warm bowl of nuts and drinks. Then followed shrimp cocktail, vegetable crudite, and a yummy salad and roll. Then, the main dish – I had delicious Teriyaki Salmon, green beans and veggies, and rice, while Chip had a yummy spicy chicken with potatoes and veggies. Then, for dessert – delicious icecream and chocolates!

Later, they served us hot turkey and swiss sandwiches that were super yummy with chips and other snacks, and then we got a fresh fruit platter, warmed crossaint, and yogurt. I have NEVER eaten this well on any flight, and I guess for the expense of the tickets it should be expected, but I was just in awe and enjoying up every minute! Cash kept getting these yummy cookies he liked from the stewardesses before falling asleep and being out for the rest of the ENTIRE flight!

We were all able to get over 6 hours of sleep or so and so it was a great flight! I want to travel like that always – too bad that won’t be the case for us! Hey, we’ll enjoy it while we can! I did get some really bad leg aches at one point, but luckily they didn’t last long!

Once we got there the airport was HUGE – and looked like an Olympic arena to me. It was very quiet and not what I expected, although really nice. We went to get our bags, and they all came super quick and we were off. However, with 10 bags and a stroller and baby we looked funny! The carts looked like the trolleys on Harry Potter and I kept saying to Chip – come on, we got to get to platform 9 ¾ - to which he didn’t understand at all since he hasn’t read the books! It was a site tho I am sure! Customs didn’t take long and soon we were through and walking out the door – it felt like a runway cuz a TON of Chinese people were on the other side of this fence with cameras and felt like we were getting our pictures taken like celebrities on the red carpet or something! I know they actually weren’t taking our pictures, but it was an odd sensation – and to be honest I just wanted to hurry and get through it all!

We found our driver, loaded up the car, it barely all fit – and set off for our place. It was weird driving down a street and not being able to read any street sign or have any sense of direction or communication with the driver. Thank heavens Chip was with us is all I can say – and had our address written in characters for the guy so he could just get us there. We landed at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, and were to our place at just after 5.

My first impression of the city was that it looks a lot like New York, although with even more buildings everywhere, and that it is a lot cleaner (this actually might not be the case but the area we were driving and living at is really clean!) It seemed a lot quieter than Chip had explained, and then I learned that is due to the Chinese New Year being this week and so everything was shut down. So I guess we will see what next week brings!

When we walked into our place we heard a bunch of loud pops and looked out our windows to see showers of fireworks on each side – we live on the 11th floor so they were literally right outside our windows! We were excited they would celebrate our arrival like this (ok, it is actually for the holiday and they believe it wards off bad spirits, but we can pretend right?)

Anyhow, it was cool for the first night – but for the last 4 it has become actually really annoying – as they light off fireworks ALL day and ALL night every day and literally at 4 a.m. we are getting woken up to the loud noises!

Well, that is all for now!!! I will write about the next few days tomorrow, including our crazy shopping trip at IKEA, destroying my computer, eating at our first place, the Subway sandwiches here, the grocery store, and more!!!

(However, I currently cannot access blogs or facebook because of the blocks the Chinese government has on it, so I am having my mom post these, and hopefully I can soon get access to it all! I did ruin one computer trying to download some software for it already, so not sure how long it will be before it actually happens, but want everyone to know I made it safe and I really want to communicate with ya’ll soon. Email me if you want my phone number that is a US number you can reach me on for free – as I would love to chat!!!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

IT'S A...............................................

It was a little like Deja Vu!
Sitting in the ultrasound room, seeing the little baby pop up on the screen
Already a thumb sucker just like Cash was!
Waving at me just like Cash!
Exactly same week (17 weeks) I found out Cash was a boy instead of a girl like they told me at 12!!
Alone as Chip was once again not able to be there with me!
As I waited anxiously, heart beating like crazy wondering if I would be able to tell!
It flashed up on the screen and I asked the nurse if it was what I thought!
She said yes!
I was prepared this time, and not super surprised!

I actually was scheduled to go in today, February 10, at 10 a.m., but I convinced the DR. to sneak me in yesterday after my appointment since I was worried about the weather!
(Good thing too because I got a call this morning at 6:45 saying the office is closed due to snow)!
Yeah, all 3 inches we got overnight and they closed the office!!!
Good thing I got in or we wouldn't have known before I leave for China this week!

I was planning on making a cake, with the icing inside for the gender we are having to tell Chip, and a bunch of friends on Wed night - but just couldn't wait to tell him or the family!
So I told them, and then had a few girlfriends over for the cute cake cutting last night!

We are SO excited! July 21 Cash will become a big brother too........

Cake with pink and blue dots!

not perfect, but pretty cute i think!
cutting it open for all to see! (and i am getting that bump already)


Monday, February 8, 2010

WHO DO YOU CALL WHEN...................????

You are at work and are bored and need to talk to someone???

You are across the country at school and you learned a new cool engineering fact or have a cool rocket story (or better, a weird story about something in multiples your roomie just bought?)

You have a fun fact about some random thing in life, or an opinion on politics, or can get this person a free massage on a saturday morning?

You are at school and don't know where your next class is on campus, you need something about a class looked up, or you want to be picked up to come home for dinner?

You need to see if it is ok that you bring 5 or more friends home at the last minute to eat dinner she has fixed for the family? are married and live across the country, and call at 3 pm because you need a huge favor done: you need this person to go pick up 10 pairs of garments for your husband TODAY, take them to the post office TODAY, and have them over-nighted so they get here before you move half way across the world in a few days.

And because this person is so awesome they say yes, figure out how to get a ride to the distribution center, pick up all the right ones, go to the post office, and get them overnighted before it closes so they will be across the country by 5:30 pm tomorrow!!!

Wow - this person is AMAZING!!!! BEYOND AMAZING REALLY! She is a ONE and ONLY!
She is there for all of these calls, and so many more!

All i can say is wow - I really have ONE AWESOME MOTHER!!!
I hope when I grow up I can be just like her!!!

Thanks mom for the big favor! We love you!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowed in 2 weekends in a row

So i have learned something i at one time had ALWAYS taken for granted!!!
How GREAT a state Utah is when it comes to dealing with snow.

Here in Va, we get 2 feet of snow and the city shuts down completely and goes into a state of emergency - no joke, people really think the world is ending here! It is really weird!
HOwever, i must say, the roads are WAY worse, the snowplowing terrible, and the ice a lot worse too.

So, since we couldn't leave the past 2 weekends, we have been SO LUCKY to have our sister Emily in town with us to hang and be with. It has been so fun and I have been sad all day that she is leaving in 2 hours. (i was really hoping to have her be snowed in here for another day!)

Here is what we been up to: enjoy the random assortment of pictures and videos!

Cash's new jammies - love the feet on them!

Weekend 1 snowfall: Emily's first time shoveling snow EVER!

Cash loved helping shovel!

After we came in - all tired out!

Emily did quite a few people's hair while she was here, and so Cash once again became obsessed with the hair dryer - or "blow brush" as he calls it. He LOVES to spend time sitting on her chair brushing and blowing his hair - or mine (1 day he played for over 4 hours with it!)

Lizzie came over and while her mommy got a haircut, Cash and her played together. I was SO NERVOUS because he has been hitting her so much, along with every other kid his age, but this time it was all hugs and kisses - not one hit the whole time!!!

Cash giving Lizzie hugs - she loved it!

She liked it so much she is kissing him back: his first love!

reading the Book of Mormon on his football - not sure where he learned this trick!

LOVING his daddy: it was so fun when he saw Chip after him being gone for the month - he was his shadow and didn't want to be put down! He loves his daddy!

Emily and Danielle with their cute purses Chip brought back from China!

1st time sledding with daddy at our place!

sledding video

the fam enjoying the snow!

Brad and Danielle, joining us for snow play!

Emily with us - SO fun having her here - love you sis!

Love his face here! He was a little cold at this point!

Sitting so still

Looking to daddy for support

loving it more!
Daddy helping out (he had just had his hair cut too - thus the no shirt!)
1st hair cut from aunti Emma!

Cash also loves to help with chores around the house; sweeping, mopping, ironing, doing dishes, and vacuuming. Here he is vacuuming!

On a side note - he actually brought the iron down yesterday and plugged it in. I was doing dishes and Chip came down and said "is the iron on?" I turned around to see steam pouring out as it was sitting face down on the cooler -- Good thing he saw it and we got it off before it started a fire, or worse Cash grabbed it and burnt his hands off!!! Guess he won't be helping with that anymore!

PS - my sister-in-law's flight got delayed so we get her one more night!!!! Hooray!