Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Babaloo!




We made a paper chain to count down to Liam’s birthday. It helped, but I was still dying for it to come already! Not because I want him to get older faster, but because my fourth birthday is the first one I can remember and it might just be the same for him! I wanted it to be great. It would be just our family, but we would have a great big cake and awesome games and presents I had planned for for a long time! and he would wear his crown and I would take tons of pictures and videos! 

Yes, it was hard to wait for. Especially because he was so excited too. So. I cheated. I took off a paper chain. 

My justification was that it would put his birthday on a Sunday and then Ben could be there for most of the day. With Ben giving the go ahead I felt even more conviction. We could open up presents through out the day. Sunday is a special day for all, so Sunday the celebration should be!

We got up in the morning and Liam and I took the last paper chain down! We ate some oatmeal and then we sent Liam on an obstacle course to find his first present. He thought it was great. A slap watch with a panda on it and a little shopping cart- just like the ones in stores only smaller!

We went to church, ate lunch, took a nap and then we opened up his next present! We played with the duplo lego castle the rest of the day. Ben loved to tease me that this was the real moment I had been waiting for! I really did enjoy making that castle. :)

Deeper confession. I cheated double. I try to keep gifts to about three so that they can all shine. I knew that the watch would be a huge hit. I knew the legos would go over great! The shopping cart I knew he would love, but likely wouldn’t obsess over like the others. I also knew he would love the present my parents got for him, I mean really love those stamps and that motorcycle lego guy. But I worried those grandparent gifts would get over shadowed and just become more stuff to him. Plus, something new on Saturday would be awesome since he couldn’t go outside that day. So we opened up the Nana and Papa gift early! He loved them and played with them and carried them around all day on Saturday.

We had a great birthday cake. When I asked Liam what he wanted he said- chocolate, peanut butter and butter. That’s my boy! So we made this beauty. 



We ate pizza and sang happy birthday, then played with legos 15 minutes past bed time! I had such a fun day. :) Even more so, Liam had a great day too. I love birthdays in my little family. 



Fun video coming soon!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

cooking with friends

I didn't realize it at first, but I have a history of cooking with friends. I love to cook along side friends, or at least make stuff with friends. I was thinking about how my dear, old friend H and I would cook muffins as kids and then better stuff as we went through high school and college together. My dear old, friend C and I would mostly make stuff with the sewing machine, but we loved to make stuff together too. My dear, old friend K and I would make up the best jokes with accompanying stories or mementos to go with them. Cooking with Ben is something we loved to do while dating and when we were first married. Now I do most of the cooking since I am at home and he gets home at meal time, but on weekends when we aren't too busy we love cooking together. I love making stuff with friends. 

So, the story for this weekend is that my dear friend T said we should have a cooking day on Saturday. Ben was out scouting out some climbing spots that would be easy enough for the boy scouts for the day and the AQI wasn't good enough for me and the boys to go along, so this was the absolute perfect thing to do! She shared a love of all the reasons why I love cooking with friends- making stuff, talking, working toward a common goal side by side, relaxing through mild movements of cutting and stirring... Liam joined us and " helped" T with her part of the meal. :) She was so patient and awesome with him. Ezra napped as we cooked and woke up just in time to eat lunch! At the table we had a lovely meal of red cabbage curdito salad, Gallo pinto (beans, rice, onion and bell pepper), fried egg and zucchini ribbon warm salad. 
clock wise- fried egg, curdito, zucchini ribbons, gallo pinto
 Then we had apple empanadas with Haagen Daz ice-cream! Yum!
What a treat to cook with a friend! Thank you dear T!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Zion Society


I don't want to forget this week, so I am writing it down. I am in awe at how amazing this community is. If I were to rate it among all the other communities I have known in my lifetime I would say it is the most Zion-like community I have been apart of. And I have lived among some very amazing people in my years (I am so grateful to know all the friend I know!). Living here in Beijing I live in the suburbs and I live in a housing community with lots of expat families in it. There are lots of members of my faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that we get to spend time with and we live quite close to one another. There are other friends we have, who are not of our faith, that also enrich our lives here and it seems the spirit of Zion and helping one another is with them too!

Sharon Eubank gave a great quote when she said, "...the thing that I want to say is that what you are hungry for is here. It is in this church. The doctrines embody the greatest desires of my heart. The practices may not be perfect, but they are responsive, they are living, they are full of hope."
On Saturday I had the sad event of getting my purse stolen and as my friends slowly heard about it I was comforted and given love in many different ways. First, my friend K leant us a phone card to get minutes on Ben's phone while we were in mid-stress of the event. Then later that night she brought me flowers and calming balm to help me to relax. What a thoughtful thing to do!

On Sunday we got to have Relief Society together at church and we women talked about things that uplift us and how we seek modern technology to help us serve and love one another as Christ would have us do. I left that meeting feeling so great!

The AQI was great in the beginning of the week and so we got to grab our kids and go out and play! I love that so many great people live around us and that we get to support and engage with one another.  So many different conversations sprung up and all of them at one point went to the topic of how amazing our community is here. We all are so grateful to take part in this Zion-like society and to show our gratitude by "paying the service forward" to the next person who needs help. (Matt. 25:40)

I had a busy day finishing up a cupcake order of 9 dozen cupcakes one day and as one friend was leaving my house to help me store some cupcakes in her freezer (to keep them at peak freshness) another friend drove by and told us about a great dinner they just had and if we hadn't eaten yet to come grab some! I was just about to drive the boys over to get fast food (they were climbing in the car!) because I was too tired to make anything and there she was supplying me with a much healthier dinner! Wow!

Yesterday morning I walked out my front door to find a plate of cookies with one of the sweetest notes I have ever received and a little wallet filled with hand made cards like a free hug card, a free babysitting card, a free dinner card and a "How God loves you and I love you" card. It brought tears to my eyes and such a warmth to my heart to get such a kind, thoughtful gift!
Later that same day a friend, not of our faith, brought by a purse that she wasn't using so I could have a purse to use until my new one arrived in the mail. How thoughtful!

Today 5 other ladies and I met up to exchange meals we made and froze to give ourselves food for playing outside too late days, or too tired to cook days or mom is sick days. What a blessing to have that food on hand and to have women who eagerly participate in such things!

I have been reassured so many times this week that my Heavenly Father is aware of me and loves me by the actions of the people around me. I have received so much support from my friends here. It could have been a really bad week with all I needed to do, but it was a wonderful week instead. I am so grateful for the faith I have expended and received because of this experience.

Linda Reeves said it well, "Dear sisters, our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, know us and love us. They know when we are in pain or suffering in any way. They do not say, “It’s OK that you’re in pain right now because soon everything is going to be all right. You will be healed, or your husband will find a job, or your wandering child will come back.” They feel the depth of our suffering, and we can feel of Their love and compassion in our suffering."
I am so inspired, enriched and blessed by people who not only go to church and listen, but also live what they learn. Whether I need help with my kids, food, comfort or love I can find it in those who put forth an effort to work and seek to live like Christ would have them. As I work to do the same I am finding that I am happier, more energetic, I feel the spirit of God more, and I have much more uplifting thoughts in general. I do as I would have another do for me and Heavenly Father inspires others to love me as I need it. I am so grateful to get to live among this Zion-like people.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dino week part 2

Today we continued dino week! We made fossils out of play-doh with toy dinosaurs,


 We talked about what Dinosaurs eat and then made a chart of what we like to eat and what dinosaurs we would be!
 Then we made dinosaurs out of the letter D!
 We played music and ran around and had a great time!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lip- tie

I didn't know lip-ties existed! I saw a friend comment about it on Facebook and then all the pieces came together! Check this out:

Some babies with tongue and/or lip-tie may manage to nurse well enough to gain weight adequately in the early weeks, but they may not be able to maintain a full milk supply as they grow.  Their restrictions will likely continue to affect the ease of breastfeeding.  Feeds may be long and frequent–10-12 times a day or more.  Often these babies do not nurse for comfort and may have difficulty managing solids when they are older.
Tongue and lip-ties affect more than breastfeeding.  Even if a baby can breastfeed well and without causing mom to feel pain, restrictive frenulums can affect jaw and dental development, breathing, chewing, swallowing and digestion.  Tongue and/or lip ties are also associated with reflux, which can cause significant pain for baby and may result in the need for medication.
Source from:  http://feedthebabyllc.com/tongue-and-lip-tie-2/
Amazing right? Ezra is lip tied. We worked through it, but he did have slow weight gain until he stopped breast feeding and feeding was very tricky to make comfy for me. I knew it wasn't my milk- I know how fatty my milk is and I saw what a chunker Liam was as a baby. I'm glad we didn't supplement, but I wish I knew about this so he could have had it better! Hence my sharing to possibly help someone else.
 I'm going to look into the clipping procedure to make sure the tie doesn't cause speech or orthodontic problems later.
This is not Ezra, but his lip tie looks just like this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Dino zone

The mail system is working against us right now. We have a great "Mother Goose Time" preschool box coming and it is getting here so slowly!!! Hopefully this week we will get it and so next week I can use it! Even still, one of my friends (a mom in our group) had some leftover supplies from the last time we did the MGT program. So I used ideas from there and then used my supplies and supplemented holes with things I found online. The result was a very fun dinosaur themed day (hopefully week!).

 We made dino feet and then walked around the house pretending to be dinosaurs.

 Then we worked on the letter D

 We talked about the days and weeks and played with sidewalk chalk and then went to the sand pit and dug up dinosaurs!!

The  dino decor I made to go over our table!



Saturday, September 13, 2014

An Unfortunate Event

Ben and I watched a video this weekend where we went out for a great lunch. We talked, we laughed, we at yummy food, we people watched. It was great! A friend was watching our boys and so we actually got to focus on our conversation. What a great anniversary lunch.

The sad part of the surveillance camera video we watched this weekend is where two guys walk by and snatch my purse. The rest of the day was spent talking with mall security, making police reports, canceling credit cards, calling embassy security to change my house locks, locking up my iphone so it could just be wiped and resold by bandits and making arrangements to get my ID's re-done. Not cool. I was supposed to go on a romantic walk and eat ice cream with Ben after lunch.

The neat thing that came out of this experience is that I was able to reflect on how fortunate I was that things weren't worse! My kids could have been there and had to sit through the hours of work! It could have been violent. I still had a great lunch with my man. I could have been alone and I don't speak Chinese, whereas my hero, Ben does! The authorities were very responsive. The logistical list goes on, but then I even thought of how fortunate I am to have a good education where I can get an honest job. That my husband has a good job and I don't even have to work! Or the fact that I could replace everything in my purse- nothing precious was in there! The fact that we are financially ok enough that we can afford to replace that stuff. We are seriously blessed.

Yes I was sad and disappointed that my purse was stolen, but I felt more pity than anger toward the thieves. What must their lives be like? How sad that their great skill is snatching purses!

Needless to say, a romantic anniversary celebration "do over" is in order!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Urkel?

Remember Steve Urkel from the show Family Matters? Well, Ben and I like to joke that Liam reminds us of Urkel in the way he dresses. He loves to wear suspenders to church, which is no big deal, but it gets Urkel-y when he wears his pants that high. And not just on Sunday, but every day. We have told him it looks funny and he should wear them a little lower, but he likes his waist band to cover his belly button, he says. So you can find Liam spending at least a total of 5 minutes a day pulling his already high pants up even higher. I hope he out grows this...  :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Preschool- autumn

I really enjoy preschool days, but I am so grateful to rest afterward!

 Here we are doing music time! The world map is still out from talking about other countries and sitting on it during welcome time!
 Then we went outside and gathered different leaves and talked about the different kinds of leaves

 Then we glued those leaves on our letter L papers.
 During snack time one of the moms brought real moon cakes for us to have! They were Hong Kong style ones so they were yummy! They had a white bean filling that was sweet and smooth.

 Then we did finger painting and alternated kids doing crayon coloring pictures of their families to keep the mess contained!
We also talked about families (because autumn festival is still our theme this week and family gatherings are big for the holiday) and how we all have bodies with different color hair and eyes and skin and how wonderful that is to have variety.


These little guys did great!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Relief Society activity!


We had such a fun activity last night! I came home still laughing and smiling at the thought of it all. We did a speed friending activity, like speed dating only friending. We had a few topics to make it fun and then we talked and told stories and laughed, what a blast! Then we invited people to make slices of things to go along with our theme- a slice of friendship. I love how well we eat at these activities!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First day of preschool

We are doing co-op preschool again this year! This time we have a group of seven kids! One of the ladies generously offered to be assistant each time, so she makes it work well!
I made an Autumn festival theme for this week and so we talked about china and America- where we live and where we are from. We talked about the festival and  thanksgiving and did introductions for all the kids.


We practiced writing the number seven today and counted out seven bugs for the jar on the worksheet.

Then we had snack! I made vanilla cakes that looked a little like the traditional moon cakes for the kids. Moon cakes are often strangely flavored to our foreign mouths, so I thought this would go over better.

We got cozy in blankets for story time and then we played the rest of the time because the kids really needed it! :)

 Afterward, Liam fell asleep in the fort he made with his friend! Too much fun!


Birthday picnic

We gathered up some friends in the late morning and some of us drove, some of us used electric tuk tuks and some if us biked and we all went to the lovely park nearby! We ended up with six families there, including us! We had the Jo, dis, bl, at, wi families and us! All people we love and enjoy.
We set up our blanket and as people arrived baseball, frisbee and soccer commenced!

Then we sat down and relaxed in the shade and picnicked!
Dear, talented C made amazing cinnamon rolls for Ben's birthday. Seriously some of the best I have ever had. I'm dying for her recipe.

After we biked home we were exhausted from hours outside and playing. We put on a movie and relaxed.
 Today is mid autumn festival/ ninth moon festival here in China and so Ben got to have his birthday on a holiday! The festival is in honor of the gathering of harvest and family. People give thanks and send out wishes and some moon worshippers even pray for babies! It is like the Chinese equivalent of thanksgiving. :)
The full moon tonight!
Our impromptu nacho night. I was too tired to make a big dinner :) Later this week we will do dinner and cake. It was a great, action packed day! The perfect way to celebrate my Benjiman.