Friday, November 21, 2014

my first glimpse

The girls 'trial run' performance was yesterday morning.  One of their teachers posted this photo.  

It was an exhausting day for the girls - 9 hours of mostly performing and rehearsing and rehearsing and rehearsing!  The big competition (a city-wide event, which is no joke when you are talking about a city of 10plus million people) is next Tuesday morning.  

More rehearsals today :)  


As far as I can tell they are still really enjoying it.  "Better than grammar class", says Julianna!  ha!  Too bad we don't send her to school to learn drama, right?  All joking aside I'm thrilled they've had this experience.  So grateful for the school and these teachers and my brave little girls.

I'm still waiting on word as to whether or not I can go to the Tuesday competition.  We shall see.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

two (too?) random

The girls have been staying late at school for rehearsals... long story but they are in this performance and have been practicing like crazy.... of course we only found out about the performance on Saturday and the first show is tomorrow and the big competition (city-wide) is next Tuesday, so they have some ground to cover in a small amount of time!  {yes, this is a GREAT glimpse into the way this culture works, and the way it tends to grate my last nerve! oh advance planning, we laugh in your little face around here; it's last minute or bust for us.}

[The performance is a pretty big deal, and I don't just say that cause they are my daughters, but when the school asked us about inviting the girls to participate we didn't realize just how big of a deal it was... but it's becoming more clear.  Anyways, they are loving it, except today's rehearsal kept them super late at school and they were tired and starving when I picked them up!  more on this tangent later....]

So earlier this week I had one long afternoon with no school pick up!  I must say this was a welcome change.  Just me and the three boys and nothing to do!!!  Isaac asked that we get a 'new' toy out of the wooden trunk in his room.  We keep some toys out and some toys put away, to maintain sanity (mine) and to maintain excitement (theirs).  

Pulling out a 'new' toy is a recipe for a fun.  This time we chose the barn/farm set and it was a huge hit.  Thank goodness we have three tractors/trailers. whew.  


[I put away the mini-kitchen and all the associated plastic pieces.  It'll show up again, another day, And in the meantime, I'll enjoy plastic fences and tractors, instead of plastic cakes and corn cobs.]



And to round out this random assortment of family news?  The street scene in front of our complex gates.  These concrete spheres (effectively) prevent cars from parking on the sidewalk at the entrance.  They're much cuter when decorated with children :)  

The stretch across the street is mostly restaurants, tea houses, and a few yet-to-be-determined-currently-under-renovation shops.   Behind them are another set of apartment high rises (you can glimpse one at the far right of the photo).  The driveway behind Lydia leads to our underground parking garage.  I was standing in the gate when I took the photo.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

wandering past bears

One final dinner with just the six of us... at least for this week :)  We have a growing tradition of going to a certain restaurant together on the last night of Matt's trips.  The staff at that restaurant probably think I don't have a husband!  But it's a fun way for us to celebrate and a nice break for me (no cooking or clean up).

The restaurant is in a mall and we like to wander for a while before heading home.  Our wander took us past this sign.



Too bad no one around here has any personality, huh?

We got in later than I planned and scrambled everyone into bed and before I knew it Matt was home :)  yay for being all together again!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

sitting on the carpet

Some nights the best thing I can do is just sit down on the carpet.  At least for our family, that simple act can lower the intensity level in the house.  I'm not busy, I'm not "somewhere", I'm sitting.  Right in the middle of the living room.

Tonight I was feeling the exhaustion of a long stretch of Matt on the road (he'll be back late tomorrow - yay!)  and I really *needed* a smooth evening transition.  So I sat down.  And they all gathered, and created a car city with Jenga blocks and a deck of playing cards.



Things started to expand and Lydia nominated herself the car salesman.  She also sold gas (dispensed underneath the foot stool).  Her cars were inexpensive but she was charging a lot for fuel :)


My favorite moment was probably when Luke pulled out the binoculars.  Wonder what he saw.  


I did buy a car, which quickly got sent to the shop (Julianna's domain) for tire repair.  But other than that I mostly just sat.  And watched.  And took a few pictures!

I'm almost positive that if I had chosen to finish dinner clean up (I still haven't swept the floor) or ready the house for night or any other such thing that the play would't have gone so well or so long.

There's something about Mommy sitting quietly on the carpet nearby that calms the whole house.  It's good for me to remember, because I'm not much of a sitter :)  But I'm working on it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

a bus ride to dinner

Today we met the girls at school pick up and headed for the bus stop.  My kids think bus riding is a treat, a luxury, a valid entertainment option.  So we rode to dinner at Ikea.

It's only a mile from our house and we walk it no problem.  The bus was to ante up the just-for-fun factor.  [yes, living hear Ikea is pretty awesome in some ways, but mostly we love it for the ice cream.  this isn't really my decade for having a hip-euro-style-decorated home.]

I'm also a big big big fan of the Ikea kids play land.  Only Isaac and John Paul currently fall within the fairly stringent height restrictions (between 1 and 1.2 meters tall), but still, it's a solid win for our family.  Luke and the girls and I walked the showroom and then took a nice long break in the children's area before going to get the two boys and heading to the cafeteria for dinner.

We're old fans of snack bar hotdogs but they were advertising a new kids meal so we thought we'd try it out.  Zero rave reviews but no one left hungry... though I'm not sure we'll order it again.


Julianna is getting so good at doing her own hair!  She did these braided pigtails at school today (hopefully during a class break... but maybe during class?!?  oh well.)


The ride home was especially exciting since we got an articulated bus.  These bad boys are LOOOOONG!  I was a few rows from the back (Julianna and Isaac behind me, Luke on my back).  It was mostly empty this time of night and everyone was disappointed when we had to get off.  ha!

We left to get the girls a little after 4 (dismissal bell rings at 4:20) and got home about 7.  Pretty sweet way to spend an evening.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

down the aisle

Big deal for my middle boy.... he was ring bearer in a wedding yesterday.


It was a fairly last minute request (by American standards of time at least) and my biggest hesitation in saying yes was clothing.... where to find a little suit on short notice.  A friend saved the day with a loaner and John Paul was simply dashing!


He was so very excited.  We talked ring bearer for two weeks!  I thought he was a little young - the couple originally asked Isaac (no budging from my oldest boy, he was 110% uninterested in the whole shindig) so we proposed John Paul as a possibility.



And he did SOOOOOO well at the start.  Pleased that the big moment was finally here.   (I was corralling Luke and taking pics from one of the back rows, Matt was the "launcher" sending him on his big walk.)


He was so engaged with me, and when he turned to look down the aisle


he quit!  Turned right back around and said he didn't want to go.  I whispered in his ear that he could have all the mints in my backpack if he walked the aisle.  No dice.  So I gathered him up in my arms and we watched the bride process in :)  It was almost-four-year-old ring bearer perfection.

Safe in my arms he said "It's too many people" and "maybe next year when I'm bigger".


This little man amazes me.  Yesterday was one of those days when I just could hardly believe he was mine.  I'm devastated for his birth mom.  She said no to so very much blessing.  The gift of him has not been seamless perfection, but I'm terrifically blessed to call him son.

We partied away the evening, and the kids even did a little line dancing.  Luke was on the brink of implosion (no nap plus a diet of mostly candy and sprite will do that to a toddler!) but thankfully he held it together and we got everyone in bed - with memories of a dashing ring bearer brother and a few line dancing moves too!








Friday, November 7, 2014

grade 2, class 4

Lydia's second grade class.



I got this picture from Xu Laoshi (her teacher)... The burgundy sweat suits are not the school uniform but rather a class uniform that they've been wearing for the past two days during the all-school sports competition.

Her favorite friend is Ma XinYi (front row to Lydia's right, with the pink shoes).