Monday, January 31, 2011

Family Pictures

While we were home for Christmas, we had family pictures taken (twice). It was great! There are so many great photographers! Ahhhh, the ease of being at home.

The first one we we met with was really because we needed some pictures of Carter! So we met with Stephanie Guinn, who I know from the dance world growing up. If you want to take a look, click here. She is, of course, in The Woodlands area. She was so fun, sweet and great with Carter. She has triplets and a baby (that makes 4) of her own, so she has had a bit of practice!!!

The second set of family photos included my whole side of the family on Christmas Eve! I'm trying to figure out how to download those pictures...this whole "technology" thing is confusing. :) BUT this photographer is super talented too!! Sarah is a friend from growing up as well. She lives in California and was home for the holidays!

Sarah and her husband Arnold are both so friendly and patient! I can't believe some of the amazing pictures they got...even when given the three little ones!! Ha ha!

Thank you to both photographers for helping us capture such special memories!!

Finally, if anyone know how to make one of those cool banners, with a few little pictures, on your blog let me know.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chinese New Year

Since our blog is supposed to be about us living in China, I thought I should tell you a bit about China, because that hasn't happened on here in a while.

Well, we are in the Chinese New Year season. It technically starts on Wednesday and lasts for two weeks. This is a really special time of the year. It is basically their Christmas season. Everything shuts down and people head home to where their relatives live. I know there is so much symbolism and meaning behind everything going on that I don't understand but here is what I see:
  1. Stalls are set up on the side of the road selling dried sausage, dried ducks, dried HUGE fish (think sharks)....they may be sharks.
  2. Ladies are roasting sweet potatoes. Smells yummy.
  3. Everything is decorated the color red.
  4. Firework stands are set up. They will set them off LITERALLY 24/7 for the two weeks of the new year. Yes, I know this means from 1 am to 7 am, as well.
  5. The new year will be the year of the Rabbit! So there are rabbits on everything!
  6. Last year was the year of the tigers are on sale. (We say Carter is a Tiger...but technically he REALLY isn't. He was born about 2 week from being a tiger:)
  7. Stores make gift bags for easy gift giving filled with mini-dried meats.
  8. Hong Bao (Red Bags) which are red envelopes are sold everywhere. This is what you give your "Christmas Bonus" in. How much you give is VERY important. For instance, 444......BAD LUCK. Do not give this combination of numbers!!!!! NO! 888.....VERY GOOD LUCK!!!! Whew, we passed!! :)
  9. I LOVE their New Year Trees!!! Pink Cherry Blossoms, decorated with red tassels, red ornaments and lights. Also, some type of mini orange tree that smells so nice!!
  10. Special traditional Chinese outfits on sale.

Our Ayi in Shanghai gave one to Carter last New Year. He'll have to wear it now that he is big enough!

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Carter and Trevor

Trevor is Carter's new friend! He is a China-Born Texan and lives in our building too! They have so much in common that they have TONS to talk about! ;)

They both like to cruise in the truck. Carter drives because he is older.

Trevor likes the thrill of riding in the back. Carter says "Hold on Trevor, there is no seatbelt back there!"

They also like to play at a Kiddie Play Land (I won't even try to type the real name.) Carter is giving Trevor the "ins and outs" of the place.

"Hey ladies!" It is hard to focus when there are some cute girl babies around!

All you have to do is get real close to the big balloons like this...

and voila! Check out my hair!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Year Old!

It is official....We have a One-Year-Old. A toddler!

I know I've said it a thousand times, but this year has flown by. We've LOVED every bit of it. You know, every single night (still, even after a year) after John and I crawl into bed, the first thing one of us brings up is Carter, whether it is something funny he did, or something new he figured out, or just how cute we think he is! You know that warm, feel good feeling where you just want to go wake them up to give them a smooch? Still have it, EVERY night!

When you date someone a while everyone starts to ask "Will you get married?", "When will you guys get engaged?" Then, "When's the wedding?" After the wedding, "When will you have kids?" After one child, "Are you ready for more?" Ahhhh. People care, but the questions never end! I guess everyone is just excited with you!

Well, more kiddos? Yes. But we are in no hurry. See how fast this year went? I want this stage in our lives to drag out as long as possible. I'm trying to savor every moment! I love it!

Please don't feel like you have to read this next part. It is mostly for his Grandparents who live a world away! But, nothing to hide, so feel free if you choose. :)

Here are some of the One-Year-Facts about Carter:
  1. 8 teeth still
  2. 24.2 lbs (2 weeks ago)
  3. Walking EVERYWHERE. Started on Christmas Eve.
  4. He loves to "surprise" you! Whether he sees you from the opposite side washer door window, or if he is playing in the shower, closing a door and then opening it with an applause, hiding in the tent then popping his face in the mesh window or even just being face to face with him in the crib! He just squeals and giggles! It is addicting to hear!
  5. Loves his new big boy truck, sand and water table, Leap Frog music table (especially the little blue door where I hide snacks for him), balloons, Lucy, Doggie tent.
  6. Still nursing. Yup...this huge kiddo with 8 teeth!
  7. Been on 20 plane rides! Countless train rides. You should see this kids passport!
  8. Silver Status on American Airlines...Platinum by summer.
  9. Scared of his basket ball goal. It is from here and the Shanghai Sharks (our basketball team) on it are drawn with very serious, intimidating, cartoon faces. Our Ayi explained it perfectly, "Carter no like. No smile (about the bball players). Scary." It flashes lights and is very loud. Maybe I can get video of it.
  10. LOVES bath, still!
  11. Understands "Are you hungry?" "Are you ready for nigh night?" "Put your pacifier in your bed." "Turn off the lights." "Shut/Open the door." "Where is Lucy, Daddy, Mommy, your truck, the balloon, the ball, the vacuum?" "Banana, water, Cheerios" "Let's take a bath." More...but that is off the top of my head.
  12. NEW...He is being very verbal about NOT being perfectly content. If he wants something he grunts in a very angry way. If he doesn't want something he grunts in a very angry way. If you give him the wrong thing he grunts in very angry get the point. Large or small, if it's not right he acts very upset. We NEED some words like "Please"!!!!!
  13. Sleeps from 7:30-8:30 or 9:00. Two naps, about 2 hours each.
  14. Gives hugs and kisses
  15. Waves hello, good-bye, Ni Hao, Zia Jian but not always on cue. He also waves for "I'm done nursing". Ha ha.
  16. Poops 1-2 times a day. This was a joke, to see if you have read this far.
  17. Oooo, he is a biter. Yes, he is. And it hurts. We've been working on it and he is much better now. Not out of anger, usually with hugs and kisses a bite is snuck but ouch. Don't stick your finger near his mouth, you might not get it back.
Okay, I love this little man so much! I know there is so much more but I'm stopping myself. I could go on all day!

These pics were from his Birthday Party/Parenthood Survival Party. (It was mostly an adult party!!)

This was his First Birthday Cake! He was so excited about the plate-o-bananas! He didn't even notice the cake :(. Seriously....just ate the bananas and blueberries! Ha ha!

This time last year. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Split Pants: It's a China Thing

A little tid-bit that most people don't know about China is that; as a culture, most people here practice infant potty training.

How you might ask?

Outfits like this help out a ton:

First of all, it is as thick as a comforter. "Let no breeze touch the skin of a baby." As foreigners, (I'm talking about YOU too!!!) we all way under-dress our babies here. Does your child run around barefoot? You'd have some people on your case in China!

Back to the outfit and potty training....
Bare buns for all to see. I don't really understand how they keep this area warm? Maybe I will point this out to them next time I'm ridiculed.

However, the bare buns are essential for their style of infant potty training! This way you can go anywhere you please!!! (I DO mean anywhere!!) Just hold their legs up and you are set! The world is your toilet!

A good friend here gave us this outfit as a joke last year. Carter can just now fit into it! It is definitely a keeper to be cherished for years! Ha ha! Every baby in China needs a good pair of split-pants!

Look at Carter helping Dad hang his growth chart!

"Dad, straighten it just like this. Perfect!"

(I'm pretty sure this is the third post about Carter's bottom I've done. I promise I'm normal, his bottom just cracks me up!!!!)

Monday, January 10, 2011


This time last year I looked like this:

Those were my big-girl jeans and they were the only maternity pair that fit. Those and leggings were my wardrobe. I was past my due date and kept hoping Carter would make his way any moment.

My mom flew in from Texas, with plans of helping out. Well, the first week, we just played. She brought me a new work out outfit:
I guess at the time I didn't realize how swollen my face was! Ha ha! We tried everything to get Carter moving! Wasabi, acupuncture, foot massages, you name it! He wasn't budging!!

Tricked you! This isn't me...this is my mom being silly! She helped to make my Overdue Week so much fun! Thank you Mom!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When You Eat at Grammy's...

When you eat at Grammy's house (with out mommy) it looks like this:

She lets me feed myself!

I love it!

See I can use a spoon!!

I just go like this.

I'm can do it like big people can!

Okay, I'll smile for a picture!

Here is my tongue, Grammy!

One lesson I learned from my mom: Messes can always be cleaned up! So have fun!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home for the Holidays

We had such an amazing time home this holiday season. Here is a run down of our trip home in pictures!

Carter played tons with cousins, Luke and Hudson and even met new 2nd Cousin Georgia Brooks! What a doll!

Carter played with red-head buddy Cason!

Cousin shot! Luke, Hudson, Carter.

Made a rice baby at Grammy's school! And played with all of the kiddos there! He LOVED playing at ELP! (Greatest school ever!!)

Met Santa for the first time. He will go to anyone in the world...but Santa, not so much.

He got a cool A&M jersey from Aunt Debbie and Uncle Mike! So cute!

John is still in LOVE with Carter's matching helmet. He was like a little kid, he was so excited!

Grown up night out! Van Sickle family!
Top Back: John, Me, Uncle Brandon, Aunt Suzie
Bottom Row: Grandpa, Grammy, Uncle Scott, Amy

Family picture on Christmas Eve!

Carter looked so sweet sleeping on our drive to see the McCoy side of the family!

Carter played with his McCoy cousins! He loved sweet Alexa!

Carter was ready for round 2 of Christmas presents! He knew there was fun to come!

Carter shared some kisses with Aunt Sassy.

Nana and Ba brought out a cool tunnel! He loved this thing!

The Christmas fun began! He is watching cousin Ella! I think he was about to go for what ever she was playing with. :)

This is the aftermath at the McCoy's! Ha ha! Brings back memories from when I was little! It is so much fun spending Christmas with kiddos!!

We went to the Ft. Worth Zoo!

Nana, Carter, Alexa, Ella

Carter met a new friend, Julia Dixon. He is loving her! (John's BFF Jeb's daughter!)

McCoy's 3 Generations! Aunt Shae, Alexa, Ba, Nana, Ella, John, Carter

On our way back! Carter LOVED looking out of the window! 20th flight...and first time he noticed the sights out of the window! So cute!!