Sunday, December 16, 2012


 Ok, I think I get two gold stars for taking the kids out into the frozen tundra to play.  We doubled up on clothes, with their jammies on underneath (MB thought this was overkill but I was cold!).  They kind of had a good time. 
 I don't think they understood the concept of playing in the snow.  I think they thought it was finally a chance for them to play outside, just like they used to when it wasn't so cold.  Ian looks thrilled here, doesn't he?

 They were happy to become reacquainted with the swings that they love so much.  When Leah slipped and fell, she cried because there was snow on her mittens.  Certainly no snowman making going on around here.

 Ian decided he didn't need mittens.  He didn't last very long outside.  He was crying to go back inside in about 7 minutes.  He really is my favorite child sometimes.

 Leah wasn't quite as anxious to get back inside.  She wanted to play on all of her favorite toys while she could.  Of course, while trying to get on this horse, she kept getting snow on the seat.  I helped her on up and then she was happy.

 I included this picture because it shows our house in the background.  There it is, right next door to the playground and on a cul-de-sac too.  We really lucked out.

I finally convinced Leah to head inside with the promise of some hot chocolate.  Well, some lukewarm chocolate.  My kids don't like to eat or drink anything even remotely resembling warm or hot.  They don't know what they're missing.

it's snowing

I've heard snow isn't that common here in Beijing, but it feels pretty common this year.  This week was the second time we've had snow since moving here.  And this time, it stuck around.  The kids were excited to check it out and I was happy for them to be looking at it from inside.  I couldn't take them out to play the first day (it's so cold here!) but I promised them that we could go out the next day.  More pictures to follow of the winter wonderland.  And yes, that is our patio furniture cushions that are being ruined.  What can you do?

we decorated for Christmas!

 I've had a couple of request for pictures of our Christmas tree and decorations, so here they are.  I have been trying to get things all organized and decorated (including switching out embassy furniture a few times!!) and am still working on it.  Things take much longer here to get done than they do in the US (no quick runs to Target or Walmart for everything you need), but I was excited to put the Christmas decorations up to detract from the "undoneness" that I can find myself easily obsessing over.

 The kids are thrilled with all the decorations and they keep talking about Christmas and Santa coming.  Leah continually thinks that Christmas is "tomorrow".  I'm sure when it's finally the 24th and Christmas really is tomorrow, she won't believe it. 

Wish I could show you a picture of the tree lit.  We bought lights here (no spare converter to plug in and use our lights from the US) and two days later, 2 of the 5 strands we bought aren't working.  And I bought them new, and she plugged them in before I bought them to show me they were working.  It's nice to know that the lights made in China and sent to the US are better quality than the lights made in China and sold in China.  I think this experience has taught me that even Christmas lights can be bootleg.  Oh China....

Thanksgiving in Beijing

 We had a fun Thanksgiving this year in China.  I made pie, among other things.  This was the first time I made an apple pie, though, so I had to document it.  I was a little nervous, especially when the ayi (our domestic help) kept telling me (in Chinese, no less) that she thought I really needed to cook the apples first.  I assured her that this was a recipe from my sis (thanks Catherine!) and I was sure it would work out.  I'm glad to know that I know more about apple pie than my Chinese ayi.  Score one for the United States....

 Oh, isn't that lovely?  I sure think so.  I also made rolls (the only ones you ever want to eat on Thanksgiving, the ones my mom makes.  Yum!), sweet potato souffle, stuffing, and pumpkin cheesecake.  We got together with two other families here in Beijing and had a great meal. 

Here's a shot of the kid table.  They didn't eat much beyond rolls and punch, as far as I could tell.  Until dessert time.  The saving grace was a basement where they escaped to for playtime while we adults enjoyed our turkey and mashed potatoes.  It was a fun party, until Leah threw up on the carpet downstairs.  Talk about pink punch.  A bit of a mess, but we got it all cleaned up and rushed Leah back home so the next time she threw up, she was at our house.  Another mess.  That was the start of a hellish night for the Browns.  We all got sick, and I layed in bed all night, trying to sleep, half listening out for the sounds of crying and/or throwing up from the kids.  We were running out of sheets, blankets and towels by the time morning came!  I was never so happy to see the ayi arrive and get to work cleaning the place up and washing the linens.  What a kind soul.  I won't even tell you about the 2 hours I spent laying in the bathroom next to the toilet, praying for relief.  It really was awful, but by the next day, most of the horror was gone.  Here's hoping for no sickness next Thanksgiving...