Tuesday, June 30, 2009

February 14 (PM)- Our family

Our first evening in Beijing, China and getting ready to head to the Flying Acrobats Show.
Notice the drinkable yogurt in Sterling’s hands. I think both the kids survived on those yogurts for the majority of our stay. One morning Sterling drank 3 yogurts in a row! Guess we needn’t to worry about his calcium intake.
Flying Acrobatics Show at Wansheng Juchang. I couldn’t believe how much the kids loved the Acrobatics Show. I wasn’t sure how they would handle sitting in a dark theater where they were supposed to watch acrobats perform and not disturb the people around them. I can say with great satisfaction that they loved the performance and behaved beautifully. Both kids sat enraptured in their seat or on our laps for the entire show. Sterling tried to mimic the dance movements, and Ella was the most enthusiastic clapper after each performance. If you’re traveling to China any time soon with toddlers I can’t give high enough praises for the show at Wansheng Juchang theater.
The spinning plates act. I also must mention how pleased I was with the performers ages. Having a great moral objection to the trafficking of young Chinese girls (some not even kindergarten age yet) to these acrobat companies, I was very happy to see older (as in post puberty) men and women performing. Only once was a child on stage performing…a little girl who turned more back handsprings than anyone could count. Thrilling yes, but hard to swallow when you see what these children endure to be part of these troupes. So, hooray for older acrobats!
During the final act the performers moved through the audience to the stage. I loved getting to see their costumes up close. Aren’t they incredible?
The final act.
This little cutie enjoyed entertaining the crowds at the theater. During intermission I took her with me to the lobby to buy some popcorn and cokes. She had fun dancing for anyone who would watch. She also impressed a couple of Koreans we bumped into, with her bow and saying “anyo” (hi!). What a little world traveler…an American baby speaking in Hangul while visiting China! I have to say, I was surprised at the number of Russian travelers we bumped into. I guess I really shouldn’t have been all that surprised, but it was shocking to realize that the majority of the Caucasians we saw in China were not American or British, but Russian.

February 14- Happy Valentine's Day

The world traveling twins are off again. This time we'll be spending this Valentine's in Beijing, China! We're so excited to begin what I'm sure will be a memorable adventure. We're sure to have lots of great pictures to share when we return, but I have a feeling it may take me a few days to edit, organize and sort through everything. Have patience...it will be worth it!

Unfortunately Cupid didn't make it to the Post Office in time to get our Valentine's Cards back to the states for the holiday. This sneak peak at our Valentine will have to suffice until it arrives in you mailbox sometime next week. Hugs and kisses and Happy Valentine's!


February 9- The rejects

Today we took a picture for Ella and Sterling’s Valentine card. These are some of the cute pictures that didn’t make the cut, but they’re still cute so I wanted to share them with you. Enjoy the preview and be sure to check back on Valentine's day!
This is Michael's favorite picture.
Today Ella and Sterling modeled their adorable little outfits Grammy made for them this past Christmas. Aren’t they just precious? They’re a tad big now, but I think they’ll definitely grow into them by this summer. So cute! Thank you again so much!
These outfits truly are just precious. They even have their names embroidered in bright red across the chest!
Isn’t that big red bow just adorable? It even has an “E” embroidered on a button in the center of the bow.
I know this picture is very similar to the last one, but I couldn’t decide which I liked better, so you get both!

February 8- Training

Potty training that is. Today we broke out the Pamper’s Easy Ups training diapers. I have decided it’s time to grab the bull by the horns and help this little girl get potty trained. She’s given us just about every hint she possibly could give that she’s ready to PT, so I guess it’s time. Probably the reason I know she's absolutely ready is because EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I put her on the potty today, she peed in it. I've found our "trick". Toilet paper. Forget stickers or M&M's all she wants is to be allowed to wipe herself. I guess it only makes sense. She's absolutely seeking independence these days, and what's one thing we've always done for her? Wiped her bum. So, today every time I put her on the potty she'd reach for the toilet paper and I'd say, "no, you can't wipe until you go pee pee." Then she'd concentrate really hard, looking like she's straining to go poo poo, get very, very still, and bam, she'd pee, and she wouldn't look up until she was absolutely finished. Then she'd look up and smile and say please and point to the toilet paper. After she peed, I'd give her a little square of toilet paper and we worked on wiping. Then she'd stand up, drop her toilet paper in the big toilet, pull up her pants and walk away. So big!
I was trying to fold laundry this morning when Ella decided she’d like to dress herself today. Don’t you love the ensemble she came up with? Very fashion forward, don’t you think? Expect to see this outfit on the runways at this spring’s fashion week.
Sterling works on building something great on his little tool bench.
Looking more and more like a big boy everyday.
I have to say I love some of the Korean children’s television. We do get Disney Malaysia, so we’re hip to The Little Einsteins, Higgly Town Heroes, and The Adventures of Pooh, but we also get a wide variety of other children’s channels. There are several really great channels like the “Talk, Talk” channel, which is nothing but shows geared towards teaching the preschool/kindergarten set how to speak English. It reminds me of those videos they used to sell when I was a kid that were supposed to teach your child to speak French. Does anyone remember Izzy? Another great channel they have offers kids singing and dancing through out the day. Needless to say, Ella and Sterling go berserk over this channel. They LOVE dancing and attempting all the movements the big kids on the TV make. It’s so much fun to watch them!

February 7- Kid tested, mom approved

Sterling has found a new breakfast item he really likes. For months and months now I’ve had to start each day making a hot breakfast for the kids. Sterling has never been fond of eggs; so making breakfast for him has required a little more creativity. The other day I was eating a bowl of cereal and he kept asking for bites. So, this morning I offered him his own bowl of Kix. Guess what? He loves it. He’s pretty good with the spoon when the bowl is full of cereal, but towards the end when only a few pieces remain floating in the milk, he requires a little help in scooping them up. Of course, there are still the random misguided spoonfuls, hence the piece of cereal in his hair! Crazy boy! I can’t believe this child would rather forego a hot homemade breakfast for a bowl of cold cereal, but he does. Guess I should just be thankful cereal is fortified?
Have I mentioned exactly how much Sterling loves his trains? He got a few Thomas the Train wooden trains for Christmas this year, and I think they’re his very favorite toys of all. He loves driving his trains around his little track. I can’t wait until we move back to the states and we can get him his own train table! Won’t he love that?

February 6- Doctor's appointments

Today Ella and Sterling had a doctor’s appointment just to clear them for travel to China and since we were there (it’s a 2 hour trip both ways) we went ahead and knocked out their 2-year well baby check up as well. They did have to get a couple of shots, but we are now finished with shots until they are 4 years old! Hooray! Ella weighed 26 pounds and initially measured 31 inches (more on that later). She’s just perfect!
Sterling has proven he’s not going to be that tiny boy he was when he was born forever! Sterling weighed a whopping 29lbs. 6oz.!!!! He measured 33 in. tall. I disputed Ella’s measurements with the doctor. I simply do not believe Ella is a full 2 inches shorter than Sterling. The doctor agreed there is margin for error when trying to measure a squirming toddler. I’m splitting the difference and saying she’s 32 inches tall. So, my children now weigh a combined total of 55lbs. 6oz.! How’s that for a work out when I have to carry them both up and down the stairs? Here’s another fun fact about how much they’ve grown. When they were born, their combined weight was 11lbs. 3oz. Talk about carrying around a lot of baby. And my mother thinks she has bragging rights for having 9-pound babies! As of today my children weigh 5 times what they weighed at birth! That’s phenomenal to me. Can you imagine that rate of growth?!
After our doctor’s appointment, we still had lots of errands to run, but per Grammy’s written request, I stopped at the playground to let the kids run for a while before being crammed into the car. It certainly did help. Neither one has been bothered in the least by sore legs from their shots!
Who would even believe he had shots just prior to this picture?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dinner at Nantiy Town

Tonight the kids and I met Mrs. Yu at Nantiy Town for a duck dinner. I’ve actually been to this restaurant one time before with Mrs. Yu, but that was almost a year ago. Well, a year ago, the kids were really good about understanding the Korean dining style of sitting on the floor to eat. No more. I guess since they haven’t gone to the nanny’s house to eat in months, and we eat all our meals at the kitchen table, they’ve forgotten how to sit nicely on the floor and eat their dinner. This is one of the few pictures of them at the restaurant. The rest of the time we spent running in circles. They would run from table to table while waving hello while I tried fruitlessly to corral them. It was awful. Of course, it’s even more embarrassing when there was a 20 month old at the table next to us sitting very nicely in his mother’s lap helping to cook the meal. Needless to say, we had to excuse ourselves early. I don’t think we’ll be dining in any restaurants without chairs again any time soon.
Don’t let this picture fool you. Ella didn’t last long at the table.
This was our meal. Too bad I didn’t get to enjoy it. Slices of garlic seasoned duck are brought to the table to be cooked. It’s most delicious! (WARNING: Sarah, Adrienne and anybody else reading this who is pregnant or otherwise grossed out by stories of raw meat- stop reading here. Go to the next post.) Since I had to evacuate with the kids, Mrs. Yu asked the server to bring me a too go bag. Mind you, Korean doesn’t really “do” to go. I’m not totally sure I’ve seen a Styrofoam box since we’ve been here. So, they brought out some tin foil and a plastic bag. Yes, they sent me home with some stinky raw duck. I did actually cook it once I got home, but truly, it just wasn’t as good as it was at the restaurant.
I guess I shouldn’t have been too disappointed in missing dinner. Tonight when Luter came over for tutoring, he brought a treat his mother had made…rice cake pizza. It’s little rice cakes on a skewer topped with tomato sauce, cheese and peppers. It actually was pretty good if you’re used to eating the ultra chewy rice cakes, but thinking about it now kinda makes my stomach turn.

February 5- Lunch at Acqui Terme

Today Sarah and I took the kids to downtown Wonju to do a little shopping in the street market and have lunch at a place we recently noticed on one of our outings. I think it never fails to amaze Michael how much time Sarah and I can spend wondering the market almost every week. There is always so much to do and see down there! And have I ever mentioned my obsession with Korean socks! They’re crazy and colorful and I love them! Anyhow, we had seen this great looking little restaurant off one of the side streets a few weeks ago, and decided we’d have to make time to go check it out. Boy am I glad we did! It was incredible! It was a gelato/waffle shop. Have you ever heard of any better combination? It’s called Acqui Terme and they offer these waffles topped with different fruits and gelatos. Yum!
We ordered several different types of waffles. We ordered a plain waffle for the kids sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, a tiramisu waffle topped with vanilla and coffee gelatos and a tangerine waffle topped with orange and raspberry gelato. This is the tangerine waffle (above). Funny, I think it kind of looks like a face. I’m not sure if that was on purpose or just me. You see it too, right?
Isn’t his place adorable? In the center of the room was a tree decorated with hundreds of little love notes. I have to hand it to Korea; their coffee shops are decorated ultra shabby chic (remember the pictures from Dr. Fish?). We arrived around noon, but were the only customers for the better part of our meal. It was great because the kids were able to wonder around from table to table checking out the view from each seat, without being disruptive to anyone else.
You know this little girl is trouble with a capitol “T”.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love Korean restaurants that keep a supply of kids’ toys on hand? As soon as the three musketeers found this bead toy, all their wondering came to a halt.
Sarah and I spent the whole time we were at Acqui Terme lamenting over what a great lunch we were feeding our kids. Do we win the Mommies of the year award yet?
Open wide buddy!
This little girl was not to be fooled. Evie and Sterling were good babies and ate their waffles. Not Ella. She got a scope of gelato on her first bite, and that was the end of that. No way could I convince her to eat waffle when there was a plate full of ice cream in front of her! Can you tell how much she enjoyed it?
You can almost read Ella’s facial expression: “get you own!” Such nice sharing.

February 2- Look what we got!

A brand new baby! No, we can’t keep him. His mama and daddy would miss him too much. His name is Cavante and he’s not yet 3 months old. He and his parents and big brother moved into our neighborhood this past weekend. His father is one of Michael’s soldiers. Cavante and his family came over this morning to watch the super bowl with us (it started at 8am our time!).
This is Cavante’s big brother. He’ll turn 3 two weeks after Ella and Sterling turn 2. It’s amazing and saddening to me to see what a 3 year old looks like. He’s not a baby. He is 100% a big boy. I am devastated thinking this is what mine will look like in a year from now. It’s not so much that he’s all that much bigger than Ella and Sterling, but it’s how he plays and interacts, you can see the difference in his brain, does that make sense? Oh I’m not ready to have big kids. I want to hold onto my babies forever. I’ll truly savor this last year of babyhood.
What Super Bowl Sunday would be complete without pizza? Since the super bowl didn’t start until Monday morning our time, we weren’t really up for pizza for breakfast. Instead, tonight we went to Pizza hut with our new neighbors the J family. Funny, as long as we’ve been here, we’ve never gone to the Pizza hut in town. Anyhow, it was a treat to have real Pizza Hut pizza (well, as real as you get with toppings like sweet potatoes, broccoli and corn...you get the picture…Korean Pizza Hut.).
Ella and Caravelle hold on to their pizza boxes after a fun dinner together.

February 1- So cuddly

Doesn’t that little cuddle bug look irresistible? I love how cuddly Ella gets after bath time. When you get her out of the tub and wrap her in her towel, she just snuggles down into your shoulder like she might just go to sleep right there. I love it!
This little boy plays so hard all day, and doesn’t stop until his head hits the crib. Tonight he wouldn’t let go of his train. He LOVES trains and cars these days. After he drifted off to sleep I went back up to his room to retrieve his train from the crib, but couldn’t resist this picture. Michael couldn’t understand why I had to flash my camera in his face while he was sleeping. I don’t think he even noticed, do you? Besides, I had to share this sweet little picture with you.