Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bed Head

Inspired by:

Carter McCoy.

Lucky for Carter, he wakes up with his hair like this! Naturally!

He must really work hard to tease it while he sleeps because there is no combing it out. We've got to start all over. Our morning grooming session always begins with first, re-wetting his hair. Then combing it out. And letting it set with an air dry.

It's not so bad in the front. Notice his Angelina Jolie top lip. Busted yesterday. :()

You know kids these days, always trying to be "trendy." ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Delivery (14 Months)

I've always wanted to find a baby on my doorstep!! I'm sick, I know.

We have many imported items delivered to us from Shanghai weekly. This what we got this week! Ha ha!

Today Carter is 14 Months Old!

There are so many things to list these days I'm just going to have to do some or we (I) could be here a while:

-Climbing stairs like a big person but holding onto the wall for support. NOT crawling, which he can, but prefers this way. This makes Mommy scared so I follow him up for back up.

He does this every chance he can and always uses his right leg...so bye bye right leg roll. :( So sad. He's working his quads.

-Loves to eat. Especially mangos, bananas, apples, yogurt, french toast, pancakes, oatmeal, couscous, cheese, peanut butter, green beans, Cheerios, oranges, kiwi, dragon fruit, eggs....meat, not so much though, he's getting better.

-Moves, CONSTANTLY! He cracks me up. Always running.

-Communicates. He has certain grunts and body language that is very specific that anyone would understand him. Ex: Grunt and put a book into your hand. Run over to you, winey face and point at what ever he wants or isn't working, etc.

-I think he is saying "hi." It is the same sound with a wave, every time. More like "Eye??" (Anyone else notice girls at this age seem to be more advanced in language? While the boys are at Large Motor?)

-LOVES to be outside! Every awake-time we have to go out for "recess." If we can't, he bangs on the back door, comes to me with arms up, then grunts/winey face and points/grabs for the door handle. I pretend like he wants hugs from me...really he uses me to get up and closer to the door handle. I don't care, I love it. (John and I fight over who gets these moments, they are the best.)

-Man, he is busy these days. From the second I he is out of his crib, his feet hit the floor and he is off for something specific.

-This kid loves his naps and bedtime. All you have to do is ask him "Are you ready for nigh-night?" and show him his blanket. I kid you not...if you aren't there to catch him in your arms, he will fall to the ground. He ALWAYS melts into his blanket. It's the best. (We fight over this time too.)

-Loves bath time! This is all John time. Funny how even at a young age they are different for different parents. John has him leaning back to wash the soap out (he is much more gentle than I am...I always just poured on his head) but Carter falls back into his arm. So sweet. I hear them having fun in there!!

Of course, I'm going to say the usual: Time has flown and this is my favorite age!!! But it is true!!

I've noticed that God prepares you for the next step in parenthood at each step you are in. There are always little changes and adaptations that get you ready for the following stage. Whether it is having a mobile child, less adult-only home, eating solids, dropping naps, talking etc. When the new thing happens, you are so ready and excited for it! But if you think about it too far ahead, it seems daunting. God is good that way! He knows how to prepare you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fabric Negotiating and Pillow Cases

Today, on our daily trip to the grocery store across the street from our house, we took the long way home to peek at a fabric shop.

I am trying to walk past this shop a few times a week. Each time I walk past I make sure that the owner notices me. I wave and give him a "Ni Hao!" (Hello!) I want him to know that I live here. I'm not a tourist. I'm comfortable here, not intimidated, confident, friendly and shop (DAILY). "You want me as a customer, you want me as a customer."

China business is run with the term Guanxi (pronounced guan-she) which means: relationships. And this is very real. You need to establish relationships for good deals. Because nobody pays the same price.

Grocery and big chains...not so much. Little businesses...for sure. Except for a Chinese Airline (I'll have to ask John the name, it has slipped my mind), if you have to read the website in English you pay 3x the amount. If you can read it in Chinese characters...a third of the price.

Okay, so back to the fabric. In Shanghai, they are so used to foreigners, negotiations are "game on" for all. No matter what color your skin is! Of course, you can never negotiate as low as a local. They will let you walk away if you try to pay that little. BUT here in Nanjing, they are trying to charge ridiculous prices!!! I can't stand it. I got pretty good at navigating the Shanghai markets but am way out of practice since I've have the little man in tow. Nanjing is a whole new ballgame.

I am trying to get some table linens made from this man. I want him to be my "fabric guy" because he is SOOO close and this all takes so much time. So a few weeks ago I went into his shop, picked everything out and started the negotiations. He was at $180 for table cloth, 2 runners, napkins, chair pillows and place mats.

I'm so used to Chinese prices now that I don't even know if that is good at home or not. But not good here. Nice joke guy!!

Usually, they throw a price, you throw half (or a third of the price), and you meet near half of the starting price. You have to have a mean face, act all serious, business like and fake walk away a few times. Gather your purse, calculator, pen and paper, huff and puff, etc. They usually say "okay, okay, okay."

Well, Mr. Nanjing Fabric Guy....didn't budge. At ALL!!!

So today, he was selling some extra pillow cases he made. I collected this hodge-podge of extras for $15! Not too shabby!!

One of these.

Three of these. Okay, maybe if we have a girl someday? Who knows, but I thought the fabric was cool.

Three of these. I can always use a little blue and brown!

2 of these gray. My least favorite, but could look neat with black.

One of the bottom right. I liked the two on the bottom even though they didn't have any matching, they look pretty neat together.

I'm sure I'll find a home for all of them!

How do you like me now, Mr. Nanjing Fabric Guy!? I see how low you can go!! Because your mama (seriously) sold me 10 pillow cases at $1.50 each. I'll be back for my table cloth later! Get your game face on!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Day at the British School!

Carter and I joined a little group at the British school this Tuesday! It was a lovely morning, we had great weather, friends and fun!

The First Day Photo!

Carter playing with some friends.

There was a huge playground...they chose the little old house.

He's hooked.

He took a break from the house to ride on the back of a bike. Whoo!

Gotta get home again!

And, he found a Cheerio on the ground, but hey, he's happy! (Take a look at his huge teeth!)

Carter coached Mia from the sidelines. "Go Mia, Go!"

Loving the football pitch! Defense, defense!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Let's Chat about Motherhood

I want your opinions. Seriously. I've read these articles (below) and can't stop thinking about their points. I'm mad, disgusted, and shocked. I'm trying to be understanding and think that everyone is different and parents the best way they know how. But I can't even think about these moms long enough before I keep thinking about their KIDS! Hello, you have little people who need you!!

Ughhh......I need a bit of time to collect my thoughts. In the mean time read these articles:




Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

China As We Know It

"We are now in March, next month we head to Thailand for a nice beach holiday and then....we should be gearing up to leave China."

That is what consumes my head in the quiet moments of the day. Usually, as I'm pushing Carter in his stroller on the way to the grocery store or to McCafe (I refuse to call it McDonald's) for a coffee. So I'm going to try to write a bit more about our lives in China.

So here we go....

First of all, I have to say, we have LOVED living in China. This country is so cool in so many ways. More times than not, we don't really talk about all of the wonderful things. I don't really know why, maybe we don't want to rub it in! Ha ha. Or maybe we feel the need to vent about the struggles more. Who knows!

The people here are SOO friendly. They LOVE foreigners and LOVE babies. Having a little one here, you are constantly told that you have a beautiful baby. (As if you didn't already think so!) It really boosts every parent's ego. Ha ha.

The younger generation is learning English starting in 1st grade. They know so much! Sometimes they are too shy or embarrassed to use it. But it is VERY impressive. Sometimes when they see a foreigner, we don't really blend in, they want to speak English to you! Other times, you will be frustrated trying to communicate to someone like at a restaurant or store and out of no where, a random person comes up and helps to translate! They are so friendly!

Shopping! I have to say, it is addicting. This needs bullets of it's own:
  • Furniture: This is a reason I'm not ready to leave and am willing to do another round in China. Seriously. I feel like I have more furniture to be made, fabric I want to buy, and random antique accessories. Addicting. I just got a new dining room and chairs made and am now looking for a big antique Chinese drum to be made into a coffee table or ottoman. If you show them a picture of something you want, they make it, but with REAL, solid, wood and for about a third of the price!!!! AMAZING! You also get to pic out the fabrics, wood color, finish, knobs, etc! Ahhh....I may have him throw in a little apolstered couch/bench, and an old shutter screen.
  • Fabric: I want more table settings for all kinds of fun future family events and pillows to match!
  • Jewelry: if you bought some that I've brought back to the US, you know the addiction. REAL stones and REAL pearls for a few bucks! I have them copy cool designs from stores I like. But the stores at home use plastics and charge about $40-$120. CRAZY! I'm going to miss having jewelry made and all of the people I've met doing this.
  • Fakes: I love the fake markets. Big shopping malls full of designer goods for a few dollars. I've really learned lots about this business too. Ha ha. People here study hard in this business. This isn't some slum shop. It's huge. There are several big malls around Shanghai (and other cities) and the copy business is serious. There are good copies and bad copies. ALL...look amazing. Even the bad is just used with not as good of a quality of leather. You wouldn't know. Trust me. We even had a "hand bag guy" who lived in a hidden apartment complex. So fun! Ahhhh, I can't leave this place!!!
We've also made so many wonderful friends here! I love them all and want to take them with us where ever we move next.

Last thing for today, we have learned so much Mandarin! Did I ever think in my life I would be able to have a simple conversation in Chinese? Or be able to give directions in Chinese? Negotiate prices??? I would love for Carter to learn Chinese too. But sadly, he will miss the boat on this one.

Okay, I could go on and on, but I don't want your eyes to get tired.

That is all for now!