Wednesday, May 30, 2012

US Shopping List- Toiletries

A big question when moving to China is "what should I bring from home?" This question is as individual as each person, but here is my evolving US bathroom inventory. These items are either things we brought originally and run out of or they are items we have realized we prefer from home. It is important to mention that some of these items cannot be found here, but the ones that can be are either too expensive or the quality is not to our liking. 
The ones marked * are an absolute MUST.

All expats shop in the US but many of my friends have found that TaoBao and work well. Also, we have lucky friends here with the US government that can receive shipping from US companies! For me, this is how we roll....and pray our suitcases aren't over in weight.

Up next: US Shopping List- Kitchen & Misc!

Band Aids
Benedryal oral
Benedryal stick* 
Day Quil
Night Quil
Tylenol PM
Pepto liquid
Pepto tablet
deoderant (men)*
deoderant (women)*
deoderant (certain dri)
Icy Hot
Vicks Vapo Rub
Antifungal foot cream
Hand Sanitizer
Allergy Tablets
Allergy oral kids
cough drops
vaginal cream
Itch Relief Cream
Calamine Lotion
Swimmer Ear
Scented Candles*
Chap Stick*
Facial Scrub (Apricot)*
Face moisturizer
face powder *
eye liner 
Rose Salve*
Nail polish Remover pads
Aloe Vera Gel

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cub Scouts in China

I know I shouldn't be admitting this, but one of the perks about moving to China for me was a break from scouts:) I thought D and I would work through the book together, on our own...Oh no! We became a part of a grand pack here in Beijing. The Cub Master is a go-getter, but unfortunately many of the activities (including pack meeting) were held out in the suburbs which is about 45 minutes from where we live in the city. This posed to be quite a challenge for many things and caused some stress at times. But with our amazing den leader, she powered these boys through the Webolo I & II program in less than one year. Each of them received their Arrow of Light award!

Please excuse my terrible video skills and photography below. But these pictures are priceless and I wanted to document the event. Look at proud dad (an eagle Scout) lighting the candle.

Our Webolo Den! Sorry about the red eyes!

D and his Den Leader
 These are D's best buds! The huge blessing of cub scouts was these guys got to see each other outside of church. D goes to a different school and relished in their time together at scouts. Sadly, his den leader (one of my great friends) and her family (one of these guys below) are moving next month. One hard thing about being an expat...people go:(
Despite the logistical challenges, it was an experience in cub scouts. Now onto Boy Scouts! (thankfully after summer so we can have a break!) Oh, and isn't Boy Scouts more of a "dad thing" than a "mom thing"? Please?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pajama Breakfast Party

Before my blog became an "everything about moving and living in China blog" it used to be a creative blog designed for me to be inspired by others and to inspire. "BC" (before China) I was happiest when I hosted functions and social events at my house. In China it has been difficult to carry this out, but this weekend I hosted a Pajama Breakfast Party for teenage girls from church.

I bought inexpensive eye masks and used hand-written tags with the information.

peach, orange and apple juice
watermelon and pineapple
chocolate chip pancakes

"The early bird Catches the Worm" 
with a scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 88:124 
“…cease to sleep longer than is needful;
retire to thy bed early,
that ye may not be weary;
arise early, that your bodies and
your minds may be invigorated.”

 Of course it was attached to gummy worms.

Besides eating and chatting I thought it would be fun for them to make pillowcases with a reminder to say their morning and nighttime prayers. Each girl chose her own color pillowcase and decorated it.

I gave a prize for cutest pajamas and best bed head. The prizes were loofahs and invigorating body wash.

It was a fun activity and it was fun to finally host something here at our apartment!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Camping on the Great Wall~ Jiankou

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend in China. The boys headed to the wall for a backpacking camping trip on the wall.
They took a bus and hired a car. Unfortunately, the car dropped them off at the wrong side of the wall. Luckily hubby was in contact with a friend who sent a driver out to take them to the right side of the wall.

Camp for night one

Boys will  be boys

Base camp

When I saw this I was happy I did not go

King of the wall

Camp for night two

Mom's Version of the Trip: They hiked a lot. They carried all the water for three days since there was no water source. They bonded. They climbed something called "Heavenly Ladder"...I don't want to know anything more than that. They got into a car accident (fender bender) on the way home and I got a prank call from a crying boy saying they were bleeding and going to the hospital...NOT COOL! 
All in all, they had a great time!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Nine months baby!

This week was my nine month anniversary in Beijing! 
I thought I'd just share a few random 
thoughts with you to celebrate.
Wife of the Year
This picture was taken last Thursday night at Da Dong. The reason I said "wife of the year" in the caption is that I had been sick in bed for two days but had committed to going to a dinner for hubby's work. By 3:00 I still did not know how I was going to make it, but I got up and showered and got dressed up. I walked, in the RAIN, to the subway and took the subway to a reception. Usually these things are really, really boring so I was happy to find a nice lady to talk to about the art of bargaining in Beijing. She was just visiting and wanted to shop. Later I found out that she was the wife of the president of the association of which this reception was for. I am a good schmoozer. We then took a taxi to the above restaurant which is highly acclaimed and very yummy! Notice the leaf placemat and napkin ring.

So, I don't think I need to do a big old update of my last nine months here considering I update A LOT. But I do think it is freaky that it has been an entire pregnancy that we've lived here!

I want to thank those of you who have stumbled upon my blog, for whatever reasons, and continued to read. I love getting emails from people I've never met, saying that my blog post has helped them or validated them in some way. YAY! That is the main reason I write this blog (oh, and to update family and friends back home too). I used to gauge how many readers I had based on the amount of comments I receive....depressing! I don't think the readers are big on commenting BUT they are big on emailing me which makes me giddy with excitement! So keep them coming! I've received emails from all over the world with questions and comments and compliments. I am truly grateful that this crazy adventure is interesting to someone!

On that same note...I was not very happy when Blogger updated their format....until I found the stats page! Holy cow! I can track how many people reading my blog daily, what posts they read, and where they linked from. It even tells me what type of computer they are on. Cool for me, kinda creepy for you! It tickles me to know that someone in the Netherlands reads my blog! If you are with Blogger I highly recommend checking out your stats!

The last nine months have been filled with smiles and tears, laughter and tantrums (mostly me), rickshaws and walking shoes, tones and characters, joy and frustration, bus rides and plane rides, weight gained and weight lost, friends and acquaintances and lots and lots of gong bao jiding! (kung pao chicken)

Here is to the next six weeks when we go here, here and HERE!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Liulichang and Qian'men

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend here in China. Everyone in the family had four days off. Hubby and D spend three days camping on the Great Wall (guest blogger to follow). E flew to Hong Kong for church youth conference. I spent most of my time in bed sick with a cold. But on Tuesday hubby and I wandered out for the day. 

We took the subway line 2 to Hepingmen stop and walked a block or two to find Liulichang (antiques street). We had no idea what to expect and were very pleasantly surprised at how cool this area is! It is a pedestrian street filled with shops of old (not "American old") stuff. Honestly just being in the hutongs was cool enough for me.
Pictures cannot express how charming this street is

Many of the stores, especially this one, flaunted Cultural Revolution propaganda.

Chops are a huge seller here. There are many to choose from both new and old.

Restored architecture

Shadow puppets

I loved this little alley. That bird in the cage speaks Mandarin (of course).

A different hutong alley.

This guy probably has lots of cool stories.

Something you'd never see in America.

Commerce probably similar to days of past.
 When we were done in the hutongs at Liulichang we headed toward Qian'men. On the way we stopped for lunch, Peking duck of course. After we found this window. Egg tarts, Chinese style canolies, and "to die for" cream puffs!

Qien'men is the south of Tienanmen Square and this once was the gate that guarded the south entrance to the city.
 The area has been restored with a pedestrian street which felt just like Mainstreet USA at Disneyland (Chinese style). They preserved the character and architecture which makes for a fun place to people watch and grab some Beijing goodies. Funs shops!

We saw a huge line at this place and then learned it was a Peking Duck restaurant.
 Qian'men Emperor Avenue

 We had so much fun on our date day! 
The kids had fun resting and staying home and it was nice to not hear complaining:)