Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble, gobble

artwork by Jack and mommy...

Food balls

For the big food day, I made Oreo balls, sausage balls, and a cheese ball...this ball-themed food venture was totally unintentional...

Also making seven layer salads (one vegetarian for Care) and rye bread pizzas...I'm ready to eat all day long!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

just a few instagrams...

Yesterday at preschool, when asked what he was thankful for, Jack said rings…you know, like the ones you wear on your fingers?.?. While cleaning the basement, I had found a Cinderella ring with lip gloss inside…he won’t put it down, even in his sleep. Thank you, Jesus, for my ring. If only I could make Christmas as thriftily exciting as a found treasure like this one! Also, he's been complacent in allowing Lila to play beauty shop while he watches Ni Hao, Kai Lan!

Speaking of Christmas, I’m making this for J&L (found via Pinterest)…I’m so excited for it to come together! I scored some “oops” paint from Home Depot (which is eerily close to the color of Lila’s room), and am collecting bits and pieces as I go along: hinges and a magnetic clasp for the “oven”, an upside down “J” for the faucet, knobs and acrylic paints…somebody stop me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

hello weekend

off to enjoy a weekend of breaking dawn, family time, and downtime while i can (as the holidays loom upon me, i'm trying not to stress yet!). also, i want frozen yogurt...

and some possible Will-watching (it's like whale watching, but with Will instead of whales...i just made that up and felt the need for an explanation...except by me overly explaining it, i think i've taken any novelty out of it. damn.)...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

a trip to the mountain in shuzo

During our trip to Shuzo (which I know I still haven't written about the "Hairy Crab Festival"...coming), we had a team outing to what was referred to as a "mountain"...but in comparison to the Rockies, it wasn't much of a mountain in our terms. But after seeing the extreme urban, city-swelling conditions that my Chinese co-workers live in, I began to understand why this outdoor trip was such a treat for them.

We came upon an area with trees full of red ribbons. The ribbons has wishes and hopes ties to them.
I wrote Jack and Lila's names on a ribbon and tied it to the tree with my wish for health and happiness always...

So it was basically a large hilly park. It was very random in that there were various temples and seemingly historic places scattered among various (outdated) carnival-type games, shops, art, etc. And yes I did go in that water/hamster ball thingy. How often would I have that kind of China! So, I can say, I did it kids...I ate snails and went in that large, hot, blow-up cylinder of torture...

I did not, however, do on the un-crossable bridge of torture, which was really just in need of repairs that might not ever come. But as the sign says, "Beware of deep water" no attention to the bridge of nails.

Also, I couldn't stop obsessing over every kid I saw while in China...a sure sign that I missed my own way too much. Plus that little girl with the mini skirt and boots was killing me with cuteness!

 This day was quite a random adventure...only to be followed by one of the most unappetizing meals I've ever encountered in my life...luckily, I was able to survive on warm beer and peanuts, so it was basically like being down at Busch Stadium...just thousands of miles away...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A few quick notes. Random.

 Lila can sing the itsy bitsy spider…or at least mumble along while doing the hand motions. She also sings/mumbles Rock a Bye Baby, and ABCs, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She is very familiar with “No!” and manages to project that statement with a sass that makes me proud. She throws little fits if she isn’t getting her way, to which Daddy promptly gives in to her demands. When we went to the Science Center this weekend, all she wanted to do was watch the life-sized t-rex while exclaiming, “Ino! Ino!”: her version of dino. I’m obsessed with her hair. Obsessed. Like I said, I’ve never had a “hairstyle” so the opportunity to play with Lila’s ‘do’s might be taken overboard.

On Saturday night we had a Disney dance party in the living room. It was awesome. Jack said he wants to do that every night…he’s quite the dancer, err, karate-kicker. Jack has been singing, “Jingle bells. Batman smells. Robin laid an egg…”. With his Christmas show coming up, it probably wasn’t my smartest move to teach him such a song.  He’s been getting very excited about Christmas and has made many a cutout-picture list to show the jolly old man. When we were at the Science Center this weekend, all Jack wanted to do ask repeatedly, “but WHY did the t-rex kill the other dinosaur?”

These kids are awesome.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lila's first haircut

A semi-stacked, bob...
I was so excited because with curly hair, I never really get a 'hairstyle', so this is new territory...and I love it. BTW, Lila had about 3 inches taken off the back!

Also, Lila was kind of like a superstar at the haircut place with paparazzi: Nani decided to come for the event, and Papa literally just happened to be getting his haircut when we walked the 5 of us (me, Jim, Jack, Nani, & Papa) were making the biggest deal out of Lila getting her locks trimmed...we have an overflow of love going on for this girl and her new 'do.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The tallest point in Shanghai...

On Tuesday night of our trip, we went down to the tallest building in Shanghai: The World Financial Center. (According to this graphic, which is outdated, this is the 4th tallest building in the world, but could be lower than that now...also note this rendering: the building on the far right was under construction while we were there (note: construction was around the clock), and the two others pictured are where we occupied our evening.) For St. Louisans to compare: the arch is 630 feet The World Financial center is 1614.2 feet.

The Hyatt occupies the top floors of this building. We ate dinner on the 93rd floor. Unbelievable. All I can say. From the wine room to the food to the bathrooms (heated seats, automatic opening lids, I could go on, but for modesty sake, I will not)!  It was foggy that night, but our view was still spectacular.

After dinner, we went to the building next door, which is the second tallest building in Shanghai: the Jin Mao Tower, where we had drinks and enjoyed the entertainment of a magician at our table. (Note: our group sat down for drinks and a man in a mask was nonchalantly walking around the room. I waved and called him over, not understanding that it was an invitation to join us and perform magic for a good 45 minutes...he kept us on our toes!) This was the way to experience Shanghai...

However, I'm glad I had very different experiences to contrast this...eating (or at least observing) food I couldn't recognize, seeing how the majority of Shanghainese live...I saw both sides, which was important for me so I came out of the experience with the mostaccurate portrayal of the country I could.
(Apoligies for the mix/quality of iPhone pics...)

Hands down, the BEST carrots I've ever eaten...and I don't really care much for carrots. I don't know what they put in them, but I would have been happy eating nothing but those carrots! It became the running joke for the rest of the trip: sure Jen tried the snails, but how did they compare to those carrots! (Spoiler: carrots trumped snails! Also, iPhone pics make food look gross! Or maybe it was the photographer...or her lighting...BUT, my steak came with a halved, roasted garlic...def trying this at home next time we grill...which will prob be in like 6 months with the Winter fast approaching.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

i love kindle...and now even more.

Sidenote: juuuust found out that Kindle has opened a new lending library to borrow books for free with a Prime membership (my membership was free with Amazon Mom)! Am I the biggest nerd that this made me so excited?!? Too bad I have a million DVR'd shows to catch up on that are just begging me to watch...

Home from the big* city (*understatement of the century)

Well, I don’t even know where to begin to sum up my experience in Shanghai…it was breathtakingly overwhelming: the food, the people, the buildings, the city, the traffic, the pace, the scenery, the views…this is where I will fail because nothing I type or say, no picture I show, will ever fully depict it's enormity.
From the airport to the PuDong river, the high rise apartments never ended…there must have been thousands.  I never saw a single-family home. The traffic was faced-paced, brutal: move or be moved. Unlike here, cars do not yield to pedestrians…it’s the other way around. And the mopeds and electric bikes: predominant mode of transportation. More surprising, even, was the amount of goods, material, and people that could fit on a small moped. (I even saw a large golden retriever riding along on one!) I saw a woman with three kids (baby in front, oldest in back, and middle behind her) cruising along. I saw men with 8 foot metal rods arranged front to back.
The sheer volume of 30 million people moving along unhindered from place to place was harmoniously precise. Scratch that: traffic in and out of the city was a disaster area. Sitting and merging at will, the honking, the forceful nature of drivers…at one point, our cab driver moved into oncoming traffic (a bus to be exact!), just to get in front of 1 car…in a traffic jam! Honking of horns does not mean the same thing as it does here. Here it’s more of a sign of aggression: “I’m angry”. There, it’s more of a notice: “I’m here, and will not stop…”.
The next few posts will seem unorganized and categorically all over the place, so bear with me. My brain is spinning and tired…