Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Till we meet again!

This is hard. My heart aches. I have made such amazing friends here. Saying good bye and knowing I will see them again, just not when exactly, is tricky. I have beautiful memories with these ladies. I have learned from them, laughed with them and eaten well with them!! We have adventured together, practiced Spanish and taken care of each other. Oh how I love them!!

We had a BBQ together for a last get together.  
R and I made the trés leches cake together :)
Then we got a big group of friends together the next day (N's departure day) and had a play at the indoor playground. (The air wasn't great for the kids.)

One last play. One last chat for the moms. Then N and her family left. I haven't cried yet because we will still see them in Virginia for a few weeks while they train for their next assignment :).  I'm looking forward to that extra play time!

Today is R's departure day for vacation. We walked the indoor track at the international school with the kids so they could get some wiggles out before the long plane ride. I have loved R as the dear friend she is before I even met her. I will miss her and her funny kids!

After we said goodbye Liam and I just looked at each other sadly. I want my kids to be excited for the new home, new friends and new things to do. Even still, it is important to honor wonderful time spent and express reverence and gratitude for dearly loved friends. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The fourth in Beijing!

We are very fortunate to get to represent and serve our country by supporting the mission in China as a diplomat family of the United States of America. It can be difficult to be away from family and to always be leaving friends, but we do love this job and the lifestyle that comes with it.

The embassy CLO prepared a fantastic Fourth of July party for the embassy families and we got to go this year!

The Ambassador giving his speech and leading a reading of the Declaration of Independence 
A very good and entertaining Air Force band 
Eating hamburgers and hot dogs

Playing games out in the wet weather 

Happy Fourth of July!


These boys love you weapons, like most boys. The majority of our toys are being sent to our new home, but I saved our favorites to put in our suitcases. Even still, I hoped to get something fun to help us pass the time. 
Amazon.com has 8 cool swords for under 20 dollars!! I was going to give them to the boys gradually, but then decided to just give them the armory. They are having a blast with them!

Even Mila loves these foam swords!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Everybody was Kung foo fighting...

We went to an awesome Kung foo show with our friends the D family! The lights, music, choriography and costumes were really great. The boys were so into it and loved all the stage weapons and fight moves. I was impressed by how strong everyone had to be to do what they did! We all had a great time.

Mila couldn't help herself either!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Books and sleeping babies

I have found a pattern. I love patterns. 

After I have a baby I sit around breastfeeding and I can't help but continue to hold that precious, sleeping, full bellied baby! This time is so fleeting! I must endulge! So I do my number two favorite thing next to holding my sleeping babies, I read. I've done this with each baby and I will forever love this memory.

I have read some great books in the past (nearly) six months! Not as many as after Liam was born, for obvious kid reasons, but quality none the less! These aren't all I've read, but they are the ones I consider recommendation worthy. If you are looking for some book club recommendations, then here you go!

I read the whole quintet! Way fun!

How they engage

It is so great to see the individuality of my kids. I bought some stuff to keep the boys occupied and they took these exact same items and did different things with them. 
Ezra took the tapes and finger stamp pads and new multi-colored pencil and starting experimenting and creating....
Liam did a squiggle in his notebook and then put it up for safe keeping and
Then stuck the tape in his shirt pocket and held onto the stamp pads to look at in his hands. 
It reminded me of that movie, "the gods must be crazy" where they find tons of different usages for a coca cola bottle. Haha!

Summer begins

Hot dogs poolside with friends. I now declare it summer.

In Beijing...

You see electrical wires taken care of like this-
Days where the sky is gorgeous, but the traffic does not move-
Billboards with Uncle Sam?!
You may see a rolls Royce right behind a Porsche !!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Thor hammer

We got some super hero masks a while back and ever since then whenever Ben comes home from work Liam asks if there was any mail and Ezra shouts "for hammuh?" Just about every single day this happened. 
Thing is, we never even talked about a Thor hammer. I don't recall even looking at them online! Ben even asked, "are we expecting a hammer in the mail?" No. "Did you order one Ezra?" No. Hmmm. Even still Ezra got it in his mind that we needed one and uses his subtle, persistent ways to let us know we should get one.
I told Ben, the day you come home from work with a Thor hammer you will be a hero. I know we are living out of suitcases but I think we could still fit a hammer. So yesterday when the boys asked their questions Ben said, "Well yes! And look!" Oh the cheerful squeals we heard!

Ezra with his hammer and Liam with a new iron man mask :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Breaking barriers

We have a dumpling place we love and visit about once a month or so. I've talked about it before, Dayun Dumpling. Love it. It will be what I miss most in real Beijing (that is different from my Little America part of Beijing).

Well two of my dear friends suggested we get dumplings this past week at different times. I am always game for this place.  So we all got together and decided today was the day. I am the "regular" so I offered to order. Funny thing is Ben normally orders, but I figured they had a picture menu so I could do it. 

On the way over I had to figure out a way to tell them what kind of dumplings I wanted. I speak about 15 words of Chinese and none of them are what I need for ordering. Still I went forward with confidence. I have found that even if you do know some Chinese that the inflections and a foreign accent really throws the locals. So my method of pointing, nodding and smiling mixed with the few words I know (lots of yes, no and thank you) works just as well. No kidding.

So I came up with a plan. I pulled out an old receipt and started to doodle up what I wanted. I had it ready when I walked in. Then they surprised me with a new menu with pictures of the ingredients inside of the dumplings! No other place I have been to has done this!!! Genius! So few people read Chinese even if they speak! What a wonderful thing to do in an expat area! So that part was easy and then I gestured at other peoples tables for the veggie dishes menu. 

I walked out smiling big with three large orders of dumplings and four veggie dishes for the equivalent of less that 20 dollars. Sure the server writing down the order laughed at the craziness of me and the manager trying to help me, but they were kind and helpful. It made me love that place even more.

I love that I can say I got all this food using my pointer finger, a good attitude and a smile!

My unnecessary drawings :) pork and mushroom, pork and cilantro, egg and green onion

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The greatest Great Wall hike

Our first adventure here in Beijing was a hike on the Great Wall with the D family. The hike on the Great Wall with the D family this weekend could very well be our last adventure in China. Poetic no? 

They call this part of the wall the "dragons back" for how it curves along the mountain tops. We have been to a handful of Great Wall sites and this was our favorite for how scenic it was and for how there were so few tourists!

Ezra hiked the whole way there and back! I'm overly proud of him!

We ate lunch in this big tower and enjoyed the cool breeze and a well deserved rest.

The babies had some hand holding magic. :)
We went with a few other friends as well, namely K.J., who is an amazing photographer. Not only does the guy know is camera stuff, but he has a great eye for compostion too. He could work in the big time if he wanted to, in my opinion. Here are some great photos he took of our family.