Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Friday we went apple picking with Lily's preschool. Again we had beautiful weather and both kids had a blast. Hanlin wasn't too sure at first, but quickly followed his sister's lead and was picking like a pro!
This little guy is doing great, there has been so many "first" and I'm so excited to be there sharing them with him.

Maybe summer isn't over yet!! We were able to have a wonderful picnic on Thursday afternoon. It was so beautiful out and no one wanted to come in to have a snack, so I brought it out to them. Hanlin was so excited and the next day he kept asking to have a picnic again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have time for a very quick update.... I'm am procrastinating vacuuming!

Hanlin is doing great! Obviously we all have adjustments to make, however all in all I have to say things are going very smoothly.

I don't think he is using his Chinese very often any longer, even though we use Chinese words, and encourage him to use it also, but he seems to be using broken (almost baby talk) Chinese and bits of english. He already knows, "all done, bye, hello, pee, thank you"
Lily has decided to take it upon herself to help teach him. So she has developed this new language and he repeats it with her! "coo cu lup wiwi" Over and over again!! There are a couple other phrases she repeats too. Poor guy, doesn't have any idea!

He loves to be outside!! LOVE LOVES LOVES it.

The bigger girls started school today, and Lily will start preschool on Monday, Hanlin will follow suit the following Monday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

WE'RE HOME!!!!!!!!

We made it home late last night, 12:10am!! The plane ride from Beijing to Toronto went very very good. I had lost sleep and was stressed over this ride. I thought since he had gotten sick on the bus from the Great Wall, he might be prone to getting sick on the plane!
Anyway, he didn't and actually the plane lifted off around 1800hrs and he was asleep by 2200hrs and stayed sleeping till we landed! A good 10hrs of sleep for him. Lily and Isabelle also slept for about 8 to 10 hours and Abigail and I had about 6 hours off and on and Frank had about 6 too I think. So overall a very good ride, of course sleeping and keeping entertained on a plane with kids is never fun and easy, but I have to say, this one went well.

We arrived home to some wonderful friends, who had also filled our fridge with food!!
Hanlin waved hello to everyone, and was quite willing to be introduced to people. He was very excited to get into the truck, but was a little puzzled when I buckled him in. When we got home, he jumped out of the car seat with ease... a little to much ease, and we think he may have unbuckled himself during the ride home. I'll have to watch him on that one! LOL

He had the biggest smile on his face when he saw the backyard, and when we came into the house, he found the toys in about 15 seconds flat and played with them nonstop for almost 2 hours. We got to bed at about 2:30am, and he was a little freaked out and was also frustrated with us, as he was asking for something, and we couldn't figure it out.. we knew it was wither food or a stuffed bear... but couldn't quite figure it, so Frank laid down with him, and he smiled and went to sleep. ( he was saying something like Me-ah)
He woke up in the middle of the night again and called out for one of us, so Frank went into bed with him and at the same time, Abigail came into our room, coughing, so I took care of her! LOL
He woke up this morning laughing with Lily! They played in their room together for about an hour, and they actually played the nicest they have ever played! Only 2 stern NO's!! from Lily!
I'm off to sit outside with everyone and take in the sunshine, hopefully it will help our systems get back on track. We are all not too jet lagged, just have coughs and colds! Hanlin has been outside ofr hours now.. He just loves it out there and everytime he finds a new toys, he squeals!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Krista should never have showed me how to blog. I am waiting in her room for Cheryl to get back from her excursion. We all went to the Aquarium but she decided to go off on her own and see more temples. She has been trying since we got here to see some guy's palace, I don't remember the name of the palace, Prince Ding Dong's Palace is what I have been calling it. I hope she finds what she is looking for. She is braver than I am, off on her own like that. I'll give her another couple of hours before I call out the red army to look for her. The only problem is that I don't think they will know where Prince Ding Dong's Palace is. I hope she left bread crumbs.

A couple of days ago, Tuesday, I think, we all went with the group to 3 different markets. The Silk, Pearl and Yashow Markets. The only problem is that they gave us only 2 hours at each market. Krista was flipping out, saying, "Okay, I can do it, Keep out of my way, I've got plans. Frank you watch the little ones, girls lets go". First the Yashow market to buy shoes. Then the Pearl Market to buy, ummmm, shoes, oh yeah and purses, then the third market to buy, ummmm, shoes and purses. I decided to go off on my own to look for a duffle bag to bring all my shopping home in so I head down to the purse floor and tell Krista I will see her down there in about 10 minutes. MISTAKE!!!. Well there I was on the purse floor walking around aimlessly, smiling and nodding at all the crazy chinese sales clerks asking me what you want, what you want? After ten minutes I started looking for Krista, then I realized that I forgot to set a meeting place. This place is packed with screaming Chinese, tourists and me. No Krista. Earlier Krista gave Cheryl necklaces with the chinese word for sisters on it. So when they as me,"What you want?", I replied, "my sister". So I talk to a clerk about a bag and she notices my necklace and says Jiamay (phonetic) Sisters. I said yes that I was looking for my sister and if she sees a girl wearing a necklace like this to let me know. So off I go and about 15 minutes later I pass by this same clerk and she yells Jiamay, Jiamay. I asked, "did you see my Jiamay"?. She nods her head and jabs her finger saying Jiamay, Jiamay. So I run off in that direction for my Jiamay, (it doesn't help that Krista looks like a little chinese girl from the back and even a little from the front). I keep running until I once again pass the same clerk she looks at my necklace and says "Jiamay?" I answer no, then she scratches her chin and looks at me again and starts laughing says, "Oh, that you, so sorry". So here I was chasing myself all over the damn purse section. I guess we all look alike to them. I finally gave up and then accidentally bump in to Cheryl on my way out. Go figure.

After Krista's Bicycle ride she was so pumped. She now has waffle bruises on her butt. She kept squealing and squealing, especially after Lily the driver rang her bell. It doesn't take much.

Cheryl can add a new item to her list of weird things she has eaten. The other night she actually ate pigeon. I only ate a small bite, just to say that I did. It was kinda gross, but she liked it. They served it with its head on the plate as well. We kept covering it's head with parsley and flowers, it kept looking at us, asking why, why?

Wednesday I stayed in the room and slept until 1230 in the afternoon. I was quite ill with a massive sinus headache and sore throat. Everyone else were going to see some temple or something, and you know my attitude towards that. I read two James Patterson novels instead, and enjoyed every minute of my time alone.

Back to the Pearl market, aka oyster market, today to pick up some last minute things that we couldn't live without. I bought two NorthFace Soft Shell flannel lined Gortex jackets for golfing and skiing. I paid only $30 Canadian for each. Krista went back and bought one for herself and one for Frankie.

I actually managed to get us back to the hotel saftely without Cheryl's help. I think Krista was a bit nervous as I didn't have a map for a reference. I faked worry, and said I THINK this is the right bus back. I like messing with her mind. Anyway, I am going back to my room to wait for Cheryl. We have dinner plans and maybe a massage later. We leave tomorrow and I can't wait to go home to see my family. That's all for now...... Barbie....

Krista is now thinking, "Holy Crap, what was I thinking"?
Is is okay if I scream with glee the whole way there?
I'm home and I'm alive, yesssssss!
I think she actually did scream all the way there and back.
Isabelle is in the house, watch out for her, she is a tough bargainer.

Frank is trying to make his great escape. Run Frankie, run while you still have money in your pocket. Krista is right behind you. She wants MORE SHOES, MORE SHOES, run run run.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Long Lost Aunties!! For some reason this family wanted thier picture taken with the girls. They actually chased us down calling us!

Lily and her bew best friend! and Guide Lily with her new best friend! LOL

2 little crazies in the Forbidden City
this was one mean and big bug!! It must be an Imperial Bug!

hi y'all

today was T square day and also the forbidden city. Cheryl took Isabelle and Abigail and went off on thier own, and then Frank and I and the two little ones also went off. We wanted to look around the sides of the Forbidden city, not just through the centre as we did that before. We had a nice walk and there wan't too many people were we went and were able to go inside some of the buildings and the kids were able to run around a lot more. We weren't afraid of loosing them.

Barb stayed at the hotel as she was very tired.

We tried to get to the silk market after the Forbidden city, but just as we got there, Isabelle's stomache started to cramp and after 1 trip to the squatty potties, we made a mad bus ride for home. I'll go to the pearl market instead tomorrow while Frank takes the little ones to the Aquarium. That is more up his alley and I need another suitcase!! the only things i have left to buy are some DVD's and a suitcase. Not bad!

I'm sure I'll end up with more.. I would like to find something different for Gary Young and Jeff Morgan! But it's hard to find something for guys.. even frank hasn't gotten anything.

So unless boys you want a purse.....then...well....your SOL! hee hee

Abigail now has a cold, and Isabelle is feeling a bit better, but still has some little stomache issues. Frank has started taking Immodium because his stomache has gotten back to normal yet. I'll be glad to get everyone home and healthy!!

I had the most exciting thing happen tonight to me!!! I needed to go to the supermarket and our guide Lily offered to take me there ON HER BIKE!! I GOT TO RIDE ON THE BACK OF A BIKE IN BEIJING!! I was soo excited, you have no idea how badly I've always wanted to ride a bike in Beijing!!!

Lily took out her electric bike and I just about peed with delight! I hopped on first then she started to peddle. What a task to sit sideways on a little steel bag rack, (one that we would put our backpack on) and not wobble. she said if I stayed really still that it didn't bother her balance. She said "If you don't move, you like a box". "Boxes don't move"! Believe me, I wasn't moving! I was too worried about getting my feet caught in her wheels..

I did get the hang of it, and even was able to wave at people going by staring at me! "hey look at the crazy white lady on the bike!" I had a blast!! Barb has got pictures.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

gosh, My posts are quite boring compared to Barb's!!

Today we headed off to the 3 main "shopping markets" the Silk Market, The Pearl Market and some other one that I can't remember the name of!

Bought another couple of purses and 3 pairs of shoes. Isabelle bought a pair too. The 2 older girls got a "abercom" sweater each and I picked up some gifts for people and for myself.
I haven't finished yet...almost, but not quite, so I have to go back on thursday.

Isabelle has a cold and Abigail is starting one. The air conditioning in the room isn't helping them either.
Good news on the poop!! Hanlin had one!! YIPEEE
Frank and Hanlin went to breakfast early yesterday and the girls and I went down later. So they came back up to the room alone. He actually went to Frank and told him he needed to go. TWICE!! Poor kid was full up to the top! LOL

Thanks for all the suggestions. We had tried them all! I guess he needed some quiet time. I think thata it was a control issue, but also an issue of never having to do this on his own. I can't tell you enough how spoiled this little guy was!!
Poor thing had a rude awakening today! He got to see how mad mom can get, and in public no less!
He had been teasing Lily off and on for hours... and finally at the Silk Market he tried to pull her stuff doggie out of her hands (after being told no) she gave a shout, and a push back, then he tried to spit on her, and instead spit all over Frank!! Well, HOLY DEAR GOD! I went ballistic!
He went into time out on the steps in the market, meanwhile, 2 sales clerks were scolding me for scolding him, and then they went to go and comfort him! OH NO YOU DON"T,, I grabbed the arms of the girls and told them NOT to touch him!! and pushed them away. ohh man were they not happy with me for putting him into time out! What a freaking scene!!
Frank took the little ones out of the market after that and went to get a bite to eat and I finished my shopping! He tested us all day with Lily... to the point where Frank, who is "mr.patience" had to have a beer at 11:00am! He said it was "one of those mornings" haa
But by 3pm he was soo much better, just a joy! He really needs his boundaries, and I think he appricates that. He was never told no, so he doesn't know what is appropriate or not. If he ripped something, or broke a toy, they laughed and smiled at him. Good or bad behaviour he was rewarded the same.

Tomorrow we're off the T square, and the Forbidden City. I would like to finish there and head off to the Olympic Venues. We haven't been able to get there and it's not on the list of things to do. So if we want to go we'll have to take the city bus from the Forbidden City.
Don't have any pics of today.. I have to get some pics of the new purses and post them.
In one stall, I actually "fell" into a pile of D&G purses...I thought I was in heaven!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Barb on the Great Wall, she is still smiling so it must be at the beginning of the climb!
Frank....On top of the WORLD!!!
Cheryl going past the no visitors allowed section
The criminal coming back

just some pics from our day at Bei Hai park

Krista and girls on their trek up the Great wall. This was taken with my camera held straight and vertical
Frank noticing how tight Cheryl's butt is.

Cheryl at her second tea ceremony, and afterwards 5 pee visits to squatty potties
Barb enjoying some fondu. She is crouching down so as not to miss her mouth with the chopsticks. I think she had more on her white pants than in her mouth.

Barb once again attempting chopsticks, she is actually getting better. Some food made it to her mouth.
Cheryl trying something slimy and chewey. Glutinous rice with some nutty/sesame filling, it was very good.
Or at least Cheryl thought so. This is Abigail puking her gultineous goo.

Cheryl in heaven enjoying the local music. At least until the lady on the right starting screaching something like.... Oh my, mymymy, someone is grabbing my....... She sounded like a couple of cats fighting. Cheryl did not want to leave in the middle of this performance as she thought it might be rude, so she sat and smiled pretending to enjoy her singing and she even clapped at the end. Isn't she a polite girl.
Bartering at the pearl market.
Barb's attitude on day 3 was seen one temple, seen them all. Here she is sitting outside the bell tower waiting for Cheryl to fill her boots.
This was St. Joseph's Catholic church.
Dad, Cheryl even tried to go in to attend church,,,,,, but the church was closed. She was 1 hour late, like usual late for church.

Cheryl trying her hand at playing the Arehoo (phonetical spelling). The man freaked out when she actually tried to play it, he kept saying booya, booya. Then he illustrated that she should just pose and not play. That is why she is laughing.
Barb understood what he meant, but when she started playing, beautiful music appeared and everyone was awestruck.(btw this is still Barb blogging)

She even stopped to smell the roses.

This Blog is being posted by Barb, Krista's sister. Krista and Frankie have left my sister Cheryl and me in charge of the kids. They promised they would be back. Well as you can see Krista and Isabelle and I went to the Silk Market today. We purchased 8 purses. Krista was in purse heaven. She actually talked me into buying a Chanel purse. Anyone who knows me will realize that this was quite a feat. Krista wanted me to post the above pictures and ask Erica, Mary and Lu to pick which Todd purse they wanted. (unless they want the purse in the first 2 photos)(no guarantees that she will actually let you have them, she has been parading around saying how beautiful she looks in each and every one of them. So if you want one I suggest you e-mail her quickly. )She bought 1 red and 1 orange. She also bought the colourful Chanel purse. The others are mine and for my friends. I asked the clerk if she had any Chanel purses and she quickly hauled out a brochure from under her desk and had me duck behind some suitcases to quickly scan it. Whenever a silk market security guy would go buy she would quickly hide the brochure and say shhh. Then she brought us down into the basement to show us garbage bags full of purses and the bartering started. I think we got a great deal as I went on-line and found out a real Chanel purse sells for appros. $2250 US. We got ours for 36 US Replicas can go for about 50-200 US.

We are going to drag Cheryl with us (literally drag her) to the Silk market to buy maybe a few Kate Spades and some Prada.

I hope everyone home is happy and healthy but not to wet. The weather here has been wonderful. Smoking hot almost every day. But what is unusual is that we are not getting sunburnt. I think that the pollution is too thick for the ultraviolet rays to get us. Although we do have blue skies.

Cheryl and I arrived in Beijing on September 8th, 5 days earlier than Krista and her troop. Thought they would enjoy some family time without have 3 mothers telling the kids what to do and not to do. Cheryl "my tour guide" took me on a whirl wind tour of Beijing. We saw every temple in Beijing I think. But at the end of every tour, if I was a good girl, she would allow me to shop a little. We have been travelling by bus and subway. I was a little nervous about the subway, but Cheryl said, "No problemo, just follow me, truuuuussst me!" I trusted her and I can honestly say that she is an excellent guide. Equipped with just a few books a couple of maps and a Mandarin chinese dictionary she was able to get us around Beijing (occasionally charades played into the directions) I was very impressed. We only got lost once, ending up back at the hotel 2 hour later than expected. But when we were lost we saw about 50 kites flying in the night sky all lit up with lights. We would never have seen these unless we got lost. We actually got on 2 wrong subways and 2 wrong buses. But it was all part of the fun.

Yesterday we all climbed the Great Wall of China. Krista, Lily and Hanlin made it halfway as the climb g0t too steep for her to continue with the kids. She decided to stay behind so the rest of us could continue up to the very top that we were allowed to climb. But of course, Cheryl and Frankie, being the explorers they are, decided to step over the No Visitors sign, climb over the wall and climb down an 8-10 foot vertical fall and continue on through to the unrestored section. But being the cautious and law abiding citizen that I am I decided to wait with Isabelle and Abigail for the two criminals to return. It took us an hour to climb up to the top, but only 15 minutes to run down. At some points were were actually climbing vertically, it was very hard but what a view!!! Look out you golfer buddies I will actually be able to walk all 18 holes now and won't need a cart on the back nine. Cheryl has me quite buff now.

Tomorrow we will be going shopping at the pearl market, silk market and someother market, that I am sure I can spend money at. Tomorrow evening we will be attending an acrobat show.

Food was quite an issue for Cheryl and I before we left for China. We were very nervous about what we were going to eat. But it hasn't been a problem at all.

My tour guide Cheryl found a fondu (Hot Pot Paradise) restaurant for the two of us. We had a great meal of lamb, beef, mushrooms and purple okra. I, of course, found McDonalds a few times. Today Krista ,Isabelle and I had some hawaiian pizza at Sarpinos pizza place. It was very good, (or I was very hungry).

That's all for now from the Sisters.

Hi Papa we miss you very much. I hope you are feeling well and I will see you when I get home.

Love Barbie

Remember we can't send any e-mails, but we can receive them through Krista's e-mail. We check them every day and love to hear from all of you at home.