Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nursery Madress and a Child's prayer!!!

So there was something i was SO looking forward to for the past 6 months....
the day my child went into the nursery!!!

However, the transition here has been anything but smooth! My once eager to leave my side for the kitchen or other toys in the room little guy decided he now hates nursery. He cries if I mention it, and if i do go with him the second the door opens he thinks i am leaving and starts crying and wants me to pick him up.

Well, this last week I figure out why. i think i would cry too if I were him. This last week I was asked to help out - and thus I got to see what my little guy endures each week!

First - there are hardly any good toys to play with for the kids.
Second, the room is SO small and SO SO SO hot that even the kids look like they have heat stroke at the end of the 2 hours. (i think i really did have it)
Third - they can't open the door because it faces a main hall and the kids start crying and screaming to get out, so we are trapped inside in the heat!
Fourth - new leaders got called, and altho they are really sweet and nice people, they have NO clue how to handle kids, the lesson was WAY over any 2 year old's level, they didn't bring snacks (thank heavens i did), they wouldn't give the kids treats if they didn't say please (but did give others treats), poured water into cups while kids were holding them - which led to 3 major spills, let the kids on the table - which i caught 2 who almost fell off, and didn't do much with singing time - the singing lady sang 3 slow songs in a row - NOT fun for little kids, and with no puppets or sticks or even actions no one was even paying attention.

It really was just a horrible experience for me - I left upset, physically exhasted, and totally understanding why Cash doesn't like it! Oh my nursery back hom in VA - how I wish I could transport you here - Erin Gibbons, I wish you were the teacher, or could at least show the nursery here how it should be done!

Since I don't want to go back ever how can I blame Cash for not wanting to?

On a happier note tho - Cash said his first prayer last week - it was So sweet, and each time he says one I get so happy. He just copies what I say - but he loves folding his arms, and loves shouting AMEN at the end!

I love all the little things he is picking up from our home!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Over halfway - 24 week belly pics!

So I wanted to post a picture at exactly 20 weeks, and somehow that came and went and I missed it. Chip said he would take one for me, but since it hasn't happened (due to the fact he hasn't been home much at normal hours) I decided to set it up myself and take one on my own: Preface - i am HORRIBLE at doing this as is evidenced by the first picture!
Anyways, for all who care to see my ever growing belly - here it is at 24 weeks!

(Note: I had just eaten a HUGE lunch with almost a whole pint of Mango icecream - So definitely full belly - YUMMY tho)

First take - See, not so good - cut my head off!

Take 2: at least I got the whole body this time!

Figured I deserved that yummy mango ice cream after another half hour walk this morning.

These are the 2 towers right across from my friend's house - can't miss them!

This is the outside of the silk market - across from the 2 towers!

This is the intersection that is one of the biggest in Beijing and on a main road - Cash and I crossed it diagonally with the bikes once - lucky to still be alive - as you can see - traffic is nuts here! Drivers do NOT yield to bikes or pedestrians!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Top 11 things of past couple weeks....

So with my Iphone being stolen went a lot of my most recent pictures....but wanted to post a few random thoughts anyways about what has happened the past couple of weeks in our life so I don't forget them! In no particular order, 10 new occurences:

1. Found out Chip and I both enjoy Thai food - including curry and pad thai noodles (we both thought we hated curry) We found a great restaurant and have been 2 times in the past week!

2. Cash has 2 new words he loves to use: Delicious and Excellent (he learned the latter from our chinese tutor)

3. Made some new great friends that moved into our building last week - Cash loves Coy (the 5 year old girl) and is learning to get along with Kees (the 2 year old boy). Chip even went up for sunday breakfast yesterday to watch the BYU game with them before church! They are totally fun!

4. Spoke in our branch here and succeeded at filling the entire meeting just the 2 of us (1/2 hour talks almost each!)

5. Finally made something other than spaghetti as far as cooking goes - after 1 month of that being my only meal - I made chicken fajitas and a great stir fry I invented!

6. Worked out for the first time at our gym and had an interesting experience. First, they said I shouldn't do anything to strenuous because I am pregnant, then they brought be water as soon as I got on my eliptical machine (thought this was really nice until I took a drink and almost choked - it was really warm water - gross), then after 10 minutes I noticed a guy standing and hiding behind the TV of the machine next to me. I knew he was staring, and as if that wasn't awkward enough he started taking pictures of me with his phone! Hello - I am a white lady who is big and pregnant and is sweating on a work out machine - totally NOT glamourous at all - and definitely not a picture worthy moment in my mind!

7. Discovered that even saying the word Nursery at home to Cash causes an absolute breakdown from him - he HATES it here and had a really hard week going this sunday - the room is WAY too small for all the kids, it is extremely hot, in a bad location and he just refuses to go now!!!

8. A friend of mine out here went to her Dr. this last week and she is due tomorrow with her little boy. She got the very sad news that the cord was in a knot around his neck and he wasn't alive. So sad for her - she was over 39 weeks and is totally devastated! We are really sad for her loss. Her little girl just turned 2 and we were at her birthday party talking about how excited she was for a little boy! It seems so unfair and is really a sad thing in our branch out here! My heart goes out to her!

9. I was introduced to a delicious jaouzi (potsticker) place at our favorite kid place and now have a weekly outing to let the kids play and eat there for lunch with some friends!

10. Chip had his first all nighter at the office - came home at 6:15 am on Satruday after going to the office at 8:30 am on Friday -- I love you my work-a-holic hubby! (and miss you)

11. My dad was made Bishop of his ward in Provo and I am so happy cuz I know he will be so great. He is such a great example and such a good man and I know he and our family will be blessed! I love you dad, you are one of my biggest heroes!

Well, life is good here, and except all the crazy dust storms and very polluted skies right now we are really enjoying our time here!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Easy come..............................Easier go!!!

So when we moved here I got an Iphone.
Chip got a new one, and I got his old one.
Initially I told him I didn't want it, and that i would rather just have another flip phone.
However, he convinced me I would like it, and So i decided to give it a try!

I have never been all about the hype these phones have caused, and really didn't care if I had one or not - so it was NOT a big deal - and at first (i know, crazy)- i didn't even really like it.

However, after 2 weeks I realized how great they are! I had apps to help me get around this place I don't know, a camera for quick pics of Cash when I am out and don't have my big one with me, currency conversions, weather info, google maps, and all sorts of other good things! In fact, I grew to really love this phone!

Well, yesterday, after a great morning of taking Cash to a fun play area, eating out at a great new favorite place, going to the fuits/veggies markets and getting all our produce, and walking 35 minutes back home with our McDonalds icecream - something bad happened.

To make a long story short, I stopped outside Walmart to see if the guy selling DVDs had the movies we wanted, and the guy stole my phone. I set it down for 30 seconds to look, a lady distracted us with Cash, and when I realizeed I left it there we ran back only to have them say it wasn't there and act like I was an idiot. I spent the next 4 hours with my friend (thank you Rian) who speaks chinese and had her phone to call it so we could hear it if she called and it was in his pocket - but bam - just like that it was gone!

I am SO sad for this loss! I was sick about it, and Chip had his secretary write a text in chinese saying we were tracking it and if they called in 30 minutes we would give Cash reward! But no luck!

This once object I cared little about but had come to love is gone forever! To make it worse, they are $1000 US dollars here - so won't be getting another one anytime soon!
So sad over this loss - and to think a little piece of technololgy could get a womant to cry!

Well, now the tears have come and gone and I realize pregnancy really does make me scatterbrained! I have lost numerous things since being pregnant this time, and i Hate it - can't wait to get my mind back - hopefully!

On a happier note - I got some great deals today tho on some new little kicks for Cash - pair of Nikes and a pair of addidas - both for about $15! That brings me a smile after the rain of yesterday! Happy weekend all!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

RS all over the world!

I initially wrote the following for my mom to share with her RS when she asked me too:
However, she used it for FHE and so upon request by my sister and her - I am going to post it!
It really is amazing how the church is everywhere, and just a little piece of my growing testimony at this time!

When I found out we were moving to China I was more than a little nervous. I was Terrified, anxious, maybe even a lot scared. I worried about being in place where I didn't speak the language, couldn't communicate with hardly anyone, didn't have access to all of my normal luxuries (and yes, even being able to drive to the grocery store is a HUGE luxury I realize now), and most of all feeling so alone so far away from everything I have ever known.

Where did I find any comfort you might ask? Well, awhile back I listened to a talk given by the then CEO of Deloitte & Touche, an accounting firm. He is Mormon and he was talking about how when they ask people to move their families to a new place, whether it be a new city, a new state, or a new country, they never worried about asking the Mormon employees - because they always did just find. There is such a big network of them all over the world that wherever they are asked to go, they will have an "instant" family and friends and group of people with which to associate, socialize, worship, and they always manage to get along just fine. They were the only ones they could count on to figure things out an stay for however long they were asked, and while doing so find happiness.

I have thought of this talk as I have moved MANY times over the past 3.5 years of my marriage. I have found it to be so true. Each time I have thought that there is no way I will find a ward of group of RS sisters that is as great as the one that I am currently in. I have been apprehensive, not given some the best attitude, and yet I have learned something each time. Each time I make GREAT friends, each time I find LOTS of friends, and each time I think, as cliche as it sounds, I won't find better people than this if I move again. Time and time again I fall in love with those sisters in my RS, and I have made some of the best friends I have today in the different wards I have lived in all over the country and now in a foreign land.

Currently I am in Beijing, China, and I have found joy in living here - something I would never have thought I would hear myself say. It is largely due to the sisters I have met in RS and their kindness and friendship they have shown me. The first week I was here I was SO homesick. Nothing seemed to go well, I was sick and nauseous from my pregnancy and the food wasn't tasting good to me, I ruined 2 computers, had no access to people back home, and had many breakdowns. By the time Sunday came I didn't even want to go to church. Chip had to work anyways, and I told him maybe it would be better if he just went in early so he could come home and not be there all night. He convinced me it would be better if we just went to church and so we set off. I didn't have a good attitude, an found myself fighting back tears the entire sacrament meeting. I felt so alone. Immediately following sacrament meeting one of the members of the RS presidency came up, introduced herself, and asked how I was doing. Then, in Sunday School we were bombarded with more people introducing themselves, asking how we were settling in, and if there was anything they could do to help us. I had people asking me if they could help show me the grocery markets (i currently go to 4 different ones to get all our food), people offering to meet me on the metro to help get to playgroups, people offering to have us come over and hang out, etc etc. I was blown away by the friendshipping and welcome we receieved, and also at the connections I was able to make that first week we were there.

When I went to Sunday School I met someone who had been a fellow Timpviewite - she graduated a year ahead of me, but I had remembered her and we made an instant connection. She lives in the building next to me and has taken me to 2 different grocery stores and helped me out a lot just figuring out things that are close to us. Then, in RS I reconnected with a girl (who also was there for the first sunday), and had been in my BYU married ward in Provo 4 years ago. She has a daughter one month older than Cash, and is due with their second baby girl exactly 1 month before our little boy is due. I also sat next to an older woman, who at first I would have thought I had nothing in common with. However, something was said and I mentioned something about ballroom dancing and my sister being in a competition soon - she then told me that she toured with the ballroom dance company over 25 years ago. It was an instant connection and I found we had lots in common and we had a great chat. Then, I made a connection with another lady who is in the branch here and used to live in Shanghai last year and knows one of my great friends who also lived in Shanghai last year. As if this isn't enough, I met another girl who was mission companions with a good friend from my NC ward, cousins of another NC friend, a niece of someone in my VA ward, and really good friends with a fellow worker of Chip from NC. Boy what a small world - and I thought I would be so lonely.

However, my best friend out here so far was made with someone I didn't have a connection, but someone who has given me so much service and shown me so much love and friendship and honestly made this move easier more than anyone. She is someone who has lived here for 3 years, and just is so kind, helpful, and so christ-like. I feel like she is my personal angel. I met her the first weekend we were here at dinner on Friday. After 5 minutes I knew we would be great friends. She is just someone I instantly clicked with. She has a son who is 2, and altho she lives far away she comes over to our side of the city every day and is my 24/7 call person for anything I need. She has done NUMEROUS acts of service, but I will share the one to me that has meant the most. Chip called one day in a panic. My VISA had been rejected because they didn't accept my DR. note from back home saying I was pregnant to get me out of the chest x-ray. He said if I didn't get in to see a Dr. here and get a typed note on Dr. letterhead by the next tuesday, I would be deported back home. I was stressed at trying to figure it out, tried looking up the hospital number and Drs. to call but found nothing. I felt helpless. Who did I call - my friend Ashley. She was wonderful. She gave me the phone number, told me of a Dr. who is great, told me what to say to get right in, and then went way above and beyond. She offered to get her driver to bring her over to my place and watch Cash while I went so I didn't have to take him. She lives 40 minutes away, and it would be her son's naptime too; but she just said she would bring her pack n'play and set it up for him in a different room. Then, when I asked her how long it takes to get there so I could plan - she said she would just have her driver take me so I wouldn't get lost or have to take a cab since it is a 40 minutes to an hour drive. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! She said it was NO big deal at all, but let me tell you --- to me, it was a HUGE deal. To me, it was a huge stress relief, super kind, and made my life so much easier.

This act of service is just one of many that has been shown to me since we moved here from our RS sisters. I have been so grateful to have this network of "instant" friends. It has turned what might have been a super hard, very lonely experience for me into one of fun. I am so grateful for RS sisters everywhere, and for the chance to meet great friends everywhere. I realize how important the program is, and how the Lord wants us to find joy wherever we are, and has provided the networks and opportunites for us, we just have to make an effort. I know my experiences and friends here will be some I treasure forever. Even in China, a land we can't actively proselyte in, we are lucky to have the chance to attend a branch, and be a part of this sisterhood. I am thankful for that, for RS, and for this gospel!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Good Luck, I miss you, and I love you more than you love me forever!!!

To My favorite Sissy!

You KNOW i would be there if I could!
It is killing me to miss my favorite time of year to come to see you dance!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Ballroom Comp at BYU every March!

You are beautiful!
You make me proud!
Do awesome this weekend!
I hope you have fun and know I love you and am cheering #373 on from China!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A very scary visit............from the chinese police

Ok - so we were having an enjoyable, quiet, morning of cleaning the house and sweeping, when our bell rang. I pushed the button to see who our unexpected visitors were, and then I heard them. They weren't down in the lobby, but already up at our door!

I opened it to find 4 chinese men and 1 woman staring at me. To paint you a picture these were not normal looking, small and skinny chinese people. These were HUGE, tall AND big, police people and I was scared stiff in my tracks!

The first one said - we need to see your passports - you and the babies. What? why? I just took care of our visa (or so i thought) last week. Since when do police come track you down in a city of millions? How do they find you?

Well, I immediately called Chip (who happened to be gone on business to a different city) and frantically started looking - the whole time thinking what if I can't find them and they drag us to the airport and put us on a plane back to the US right now? Hello, we are NOT illegal aliens here!

After not getting a hold of Chip, sending a very urgent text to call asap, I heard the guy say "don't hide in the bedroom if you can't find them......hello, come out here please"

I responded I wasn't hiding, but simply looking for them. They then said if I didn't have them they could just have the numbers for them. At this point Chip called. He said they were with our VISA agent and he didn't know the numbers either. I handed the phone to the policeman and Chip talked to him - he said just to tell him our names and then he said that was ok and they could leave.

WHat? I could have given them our names? Why they got to be so scary and mean to me, and then just accept our names from some guy over the phone that they only can guess is actually my husband. Well, that was it - after talking to Chip they were ready to leave.

However, they wanted a picture of Cash with them. They picked him up and had one guy take their pictures - then, they asked if they could have a picture with me. Heloo - I was wearing sweats, had NO makeup, my hair was a mess - i was clearly NOT expecting visitors and my heart was racing now that they had scared me, and they wanted a picture?

Under normal circumstances I would have said no- but these were the police and I was willing to do anything to get them to leave! Yeah, my heart is still pounding hard! Scary to think they can just send you or get you whenever they want!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week of crazyness - so much to do here!

This last week has flown by.
Besides being able to cancel the Dr. apt. because the agency accepted my VISA so I can stay in China and not get deported back home....we have also been busy with playgroups, shopping at the outdoor fruit and veggie markets, trying new restaurants, seeing some cool tourist things and braving the overly crowded metros (due to a big conference this week).

The highlights of the week tho:
Going to THE PLACE (an awesome indoor play area for kids) - CASH was in heaven and screamed and kicked when we had to leave! It was so fun and nice to be inside out of the cold for a few hours. It has been really REALLY windy and cold so touring hasn't been happening as much - but it will once we see some sunlight! However, this little place was awesome, with a very cool balloon room that was the big hit! Cash had a great time with his new friends Tate and Nora. Thanks Ash for taking us! (we will be getting passes to this for lots of future trips)!

Cash in balloon room - his fav! (fans blow the balloons every which way)
i caught one mama!
running wild
on the slide
cash and tate playing in pool trampoline area! I thought my brother was joking when he said that kids here wear pants with slits in the crotches so they can just pee and poop wherever! Well folks - it is legit - i saw it with my own eyes. Thank heavens all the kids at the play area had diapers on........but as we were walking to the subway, we saw a kid's bare bum pop out of his slit! I find these outfits disgusting. Worse, I learned that AYI's our here (aka nanny) let the kids pee in the sandboxes, so looks like we won't be playing in those this summer! We also saw an AYI at the bead market just pull down a 2 year olds pants and had her pee in the garbage can - GROSS!!! And the craziest story of all from bowel experiences this week: Chip saw a cab driver, yes a grown man, hop out of his cab and just pee on the sidewalk right outside his office - and he works on one of the busiest streets in Beijing! Definitely different standards than America! I promised a picture of meat - so here it is - notice the pig's feet just sitting out waiting for someone to dig through them - and this meat looks better than a LOT!!! I ONLY buy meat where it is wrapped, from the western market - an American grocery store! Don't want to get sick! Since it was SO cold this weekend we decided to go to a tourist place that was indoors and fun for Cash! We took him to the new children's toy store - it is 4 stories and has TONS of toys, activities, etc etc. The highlight for Cash: the car in the picture below! He loved it! The highlight for me: the new lightweight stroller we bought there - it is awesome, and altho a bit spendy i think it will be great for getting us around the city, esp as my belly grows so i don't have to carry Cash everywhere. Sidenote: things here are iether really REALLY cheap, or super high end expensive - not much in the middle! Different for us! We also went to Wal-mart last night - always and adventure - to get some more items such as an iron, crock pot, and more rugs for the bathrooms. Cash got a music set and he LOVES his drum!

Finally, I made a decision about getting AYI (nanny). At first I had planned on getting one, and my neighbor lined me out with hers since she was moving and she has such a good one - this AYI cooks, cleans, does ALL the shopping, irons, does laundry, and watches the kids....I mean, why wouldn't I want her, right? I know, some might think I am crazy - and yet I decided I didn't want to get an AYI. I enjoy doing these things (well, not ALl of them), but I am a stay-at-home mom and I love it! Although it would be easier not having to take Cash everywhere, and having someone to pick up after us - I decided I will find joy in the journey of doing all this with Cash by my side! He is my buddy, my adventure partner, and my bestest little pal during the day! He likes to get out of the house too and we have fun goether!

Besides -who could stand to leave this cute face all the time! (he is showing off his cute puffy vest we got at teh silk market!)

So, more adventures to come this week - we have a lot planned! Also, a belly pick since I realized I am now 21 weeks and over halfway done and don't have any pics up yet.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So I had this overwhelming epiphane yesterday as I was in my house!
I have been blessed to be able to make the GREATEST friends in the whole world (literally) wherever we go!

Moving a lot (understatement) has allowed me to meet many different people and altho I am always terrified and worry about not having friends and not fitting in at the new places, things have always worked out and I have met the greatest people and just keep expounding my friend circles and just seem to get more and more bestest friends!!!!

Yesterday I was feeling particularly loved from both friends back home in VA and friends here in China!

First - my awesome friends in VA skyped me in for the finale of The Bachelor.........ALL 3 hours!!!! It was morning for me, and night for them, and since I used to host it every week at my house I was really sad to be missing it.....and they made it possible to be a part of the party!!! What a great group of friends - I really miss you guys!

Second - Chip called yesterday and told me i HAD to get a dr. apt here in china so I can get a note saying I am 20 weeks pregnant so the embassy won't reject my VISA and send me home next week. I called a new friend here for a number - and she did SO MUCH MORE!!!!! She gave me the info I needed to make the appointment, and then way above and beyond, and offered to bring her 2 year old over and watch Cash while I went to it - it is a 40 minute drive over to my place. And beyond that, it is her son's naptime too so she said she would just bring a pack and play and put him down, and even more - so I could get there easily she said she would have her driver take me so I didn't have to figure it out on my way! She acted like this was NO BIG DEAL! but let me tell you, to me - it was a HUGE deal!!!! She has been SO kind and helped make my transfer over here so much easier! She is fun, cute, and a super good friend already in the short 2 weeks since we arrived!

These 2 instances yesterday made me so overwhelmed with love from others and just gave me such a great appreciation for good friends! I realize that wherever we move (which at the rate we are going could be LOT in our lifetime) we find great friends, and there are just great people everywhere! I am someone who needs to be social and have activities and so I am grateful to be able to meet and make such great friends ALL over the world!

I want to say thanks to all my friends for all your love, support, advice, encouragement, listening ear, party time fun, and everything else - I LOVE you guys!!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fireworks, Snow, and House Pics!!!

This wee has been MUCH better in China!!!
Plagroups or activities EVERY day, finding our way around better, figuring out a schedule, shopping at the silk market, hanging with new friends, and eating at YUMMY restaurants!!!

Because of the Chinese New Year, we have been experiencing fireworks 24/7 for the past entire week! last night was the big shebang/finale and it was bigger than Stadium of Fire, and outside EVERY one of our windows - a great show, altho the fact it went on all night was a bit annoying!

This morning we woke up to ........................SNOW!!! Super cold, and so we are staying inside all warm, and thought we would post pictures of our new pad!

In random order due to the SLOWNESS of uploading them and trying to fix them!

Fireworks from our kitchen window!

Bathroom #2

the view from the kitchen window

Cash's room - altho he is currently in our room - the bedroom set hasn't been delivered for this room yet!

The 3rd bedroom/office area!

Extra closet/storage space

Master closet - WAY smaller than ours back home.....but it works!

One view of our room - Cash's new crib (and I like to call it a doll bed cuz it is so small)

Another view of the master - yeah, the only choices of comforters at Chinese Walmart were baby yellow or baby pink! (thought chip wouldn't love pink!)

Master bath - with nice big jetted tub - Cash LOVES bathtime!

View of formal dining area and front entry way and into kitchen from family room!

View out family room window - the gym is football shaped building to left, and the pool is underground and window is at bottom of screen (part of it)

Family room area - the couches are really comfy!

closer view of dining area

another view of kitchen

Kitchen and eating area and laundry machine (i am still learning how laundry works - the first load took over 5 hours due to the dryer portion being with it too!)

view of kitchen from hall - just the fridge you see!