Thursday, April 28, 2011

Long Overdue: Life Update

This was the entrance to our home in Koh Samui!

We were in Thailand for a week. One, glorious week. We've now been back in China for a week. And it's taken me a week to finish this post! Sorry!

It was a WONDERFUL week. The whole trip was amazing. If you ever have the time to take, you should go there. It is beautiful and inexpensive.

It looks like the island of LOST, which is actually Hawaii.
But unlike Hawaii, you can actually enjoy yourself, because it is so cheap!

Delicious food and drinks...we never broke $20. And nothing was spared. We had lobster, tons of shrimp, Thai food galore and drinks: smoothies, milkshakes, beer, cocktails.

My favorite were their banana pancakes. It was just like a Nutella-Banana Crepe in Paris...only after they folded it up, they would brown it on both sides (like a quesadilla) then sprinkle it with coconut and sweetened condensed milk. That cost 50 US Cents!

You can even spend 3 hours in the nicest spa on the island for only $80. And that is SPLURGING, seriously. You can get an hour massage at a normal place for $6. Since we live in China and that is normal here, I went all out. (Our last Asia, hoorah!)

This is where we spent most of our time.

But our little beach-front bungalow also had it's own pool! Which was ideal for nap time. When Carter napped, we could still enjoyed the water and sun. (With SPF, of course!)

One of Carter's favorite part of the trip was seeing the elephants!

We also saw a tiger. It was scary.

Totally a fake smile. Eeeek!! Scary!

Our last day there, Carter had a little accident. He fell off of the bed and hit the night stand. It still makes me sick to think about it. It started to swell open and made me very nervous. So we took him to the hospital...which also made me very nervous. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised.

We went to the International Hospital, where they speak English. It took max 30 minutes. And the whole thing cost $30. The hospital was set up like a resort with a pool in the middle for the patients. Nice!

There is almost too much too blog about our trip BUT there are more pictures on Facebook if you are dying to see more! Ha ha!

In other news:

We're moving to Calgary, Canada by Mid-June!!!! We can't be more excited to be so close to home and still experiencing a whole new place!! Woo Hoo!

So recently, we are going crazy during nap times, looking for places to live and for as much information as we can!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dad's New Toy

I mean...

Carter's New Toy!

It's a remote controlled, maroon and white (of course) kiddy car.

We ordered it off of Taobao (China's ebay) and it just arrived tonight!
It wasn't fully assembled before Carter went to sleep but that didn't stop Daddy for playing with his super sized toy!

Seriously, for those of you who saw how happy he was about Carter's A&M jersey...just imagine. Cutest ever!

(By the way, we are trying to see how much stuff we can fit into this hotel before we move!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dropped and China Photo Shoot

First of all, thank you ladies so much for the amazing advice!!! I don't know why I make these things so scary in my head? It was a wonderful day with out the anticipation of struggling for an afternoon nap that he is no longer tired for.

I was going to wait until after our trip next week, but then thought if I waited that would be about 4 weeks total of crazy days for him. I also thought, "he's dropped it, what am I waiting for?"

It was a fabulous day!!! We actually got to do lots of fun things without the stress of running back home for a nap. Ahhh. Freedom, I've missed you. I felt like an old piece of me was back! The "busy bee" part.

He only slept 1.5 hours and we went to bed at 6:30 (an hour earlier). I hope the nap grows so he can stay up and play with Daddy more!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


By the way, I posted back in December about getting some professional pictures taken here. Well, the photo shoot was ridiculously silly, as they gave him silly outfits, crazy props and tacky backgrounds, so I haven't been in the biggest hurry to pick them up. Horrible, I know.

Well, we had time yesterday!!! Here is what came in the package:

The big one is a piece of wood to hang on your wall.
A board book. Carter is LOVING it.
A crystal-like key chain.
The best pictures enjoy in tiny form.

I love my crystal key chain.
We have no keys! Ha ha.

A few highlights from the book.

There is my son, with a pipe. My stomach turned when they gave that to him.
Yes, it's a toy, but still.
(he is crawling on the book in this picture...sorry for his arm shadow)

Side note: Two random men have tried to give him a pack of cigarettes to play with while in line at the grocery store. I am very persistent with my "Bu Hao!" (Not okay!)

They insist that they do not mind if my little baby plays with their new, unopened pack of cigarettes.

My head says this: "I don't care that you don't mind...I DO mind. Do not get one inch closer to my little baby with those things!!!"

The security guard came over both times and told them to back off.

Love the English words on this page.
"Thank you very much Carter, but you can just call me mom!"
Oh, and that is their outfit. At least I was persistent on him NOT wearing a military uniform.

Aside from the random package of photo goods, there were some really cute pictures in the book. I just wish I could print them out in normal size for picture frames! Ahh...memories!

Like everything in China, trial and error. We'll have to do it again!

P.S. Now I'm all worked up again thinking about those men and their cigarettes! Breathe, breathe Sarah.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Help: To Drop, or Not to Drop (a nap)?

That is the questions.

Moms, Dads, Grandma's, Grandpas, Sleep Experts,

Carter has been fighting his second nap for 2 weeks (and a day) now. Grrr. For those of you who have spent time with me as a mother, you probably know my obsession with his sleep schedule. I know that about myself. Don't worry! I'm obsessed. You may have noticed how he and I cooperate wonderfully together in our daily schedule:

Carter, you're tired?
(He falls into his blanket).
He sleeps for 1-2.5 hours.
I have time to, relax and gear up for out next play session.


I have learned to love this little simple, pleasant, no-hassle routine. After all, it took some persistence and hard work to get to this point!

Now, here we are at almost 15 months...and about 4/7 days he has skipped his second nap. The first time this happened, it was scary and bizarre. We did our normal sleep routine, then I went to lay him down and he flipped out, hysterically in my arms. He clinched onto me like the crib was going to eat him alive. Crazy! I tried to calm him down but he just squirmed out of my arms, ran to the door, ready for more play. Like that had been enough relax time. What??

The few days he has napped it has been after LOTS of coaxing. It hasn't been easy.

All of the books (I have 3 sleep pattern books I refer to constantly), say this happens around 13-17 months. So I guess that isn't really the issue. But most books say they drop the Morning Nap first. They suggest that while they transition out of this nap some days they will take two, while others only one. If they skip the first nap, just move their second nap up earlier that day! Simple!

However, Carter is fighting his second nap. So, if he resists his nap, that makes for a very long afternoon for him. His spirits are up, but he is pooped.

Here are my thoughts for an action plan tomorrow:

1. Just jump officially to one nap by bumping his morning nap back 30 min a day? (4 days before we fly to Thailand, mind you)

2. Shorten his morning nap and try to "grow" his afternoon nap.

3. Or since he is napping (as I type) try again tomorrow for two naps. Don't change the schedule before our trip.

Any thoughts? I need help! (For his sake!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shanghai Weekend {Antique Market}

Here in Nanjing, we don't have many dining options so it's usually Cafe McCoy, Jimmy's Pizza or room service (but we are pretty OVER that menu).

So, one mission while in Shanghai is to eat as much good food as we can.

Bright and early, we headed to Hong Mei Lu.
(The sign says Hong Mei Pedestrian Street and it's right between that building and that car.)

A little Chinese Lesson for ya:
1. If the word ends in Lu it is a street.
2. If you EVER go to Shanghai, you NEED to know that street! It is fun!

It's actually a long alley off of Hong Mei Lu with TONS of restaurants and bars. We love this area. There is every type of restaurant you can imagine and lots of outdoor seating, which is always a fun atmosphere.

(Notice we are the only ones here at the moment. Think 6th Street and North Gate at 8:00 am.)

We don't mind being here that early!

Hey buddy! I see you through the window!!

Breakfast is ready!!!

Come and get it! We had waffles, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs, hash browns, bacon, fruit and coffee. What? Carter was hungry, okay!

One of the things I love about a big city is that there are SO many things you can do in such a short amount of time. When we head "to town" for the weekend, I'm a busy bee!

So on Day 2 of our weekend, which was actually Monday, due to the Chinese Tomb Sweeping Holiday, I snuck out again durning Carter/Daddy's nap.

I headed to Dong Tai Lu.

Remember what Lu means? Street! Yes!

This is a SUPER fun antique market!!!

Notice all of the goods! I heart the bird cages.

Tons of Chairman Mao memorabilia.

Tons of abacus! (I got one like the dark middle one! Eeek!)

Look at these printed tins! So cute! I like the black one with the flowers.

See the red colorful painted decor? That is Tibetan furniture. Beautiful!

P.S. I have that blue plate, bottom, second from the left. I bought it when we first moved here at a not so good antique market. I thought it was original and paid $25 USD. Oops! Tai gue la/ too expensive! Most of this is all replicated and you should only pay about 1/3 of their starting price.
I love those hat boxes on the bench! I forgot that I've wanted a pointy one! Maybe next trip. John will be so happy. :)

He teases like:
Sarah, I think you should buy more abacuses, you can never have too many.
I think we need a big Chinese drum in our living room. (It's coming!!!)

He secretly likes it and thinks I have good taste. We make a good pair!

I also love those old wooden benches. They are so little! Cute for maybe a plant to sit on! Also, the oval tub holding some trays looks really neat too. Wouldn't that be cute with some rolled up towels in a bathroom or to hold drinks at a party!?

Finally, my favorite!
I LOVE these paint brushes! They look like jewelry to me and they have beautiful mahogany stands to hang them on.

Here is what I got:

1. The abacus like the one shown above. (No picture)

2. I filled in and completed my Paint Brush collection. Still working on the arrangement though. I'm not sure if I like the smaller ones hiding the larger ones. :(

My little Chinese corner! There is the blue plate I was telling you about!

I found the orange pottery there a long time ago. Both the blue and orange have dragons on them! That is for good luck! I'm kind of in love with dragons now. Strange? I think this old pattern is so ornate but the hidden dragons make it kind of cool and edgy.

And in case you are wondering those are chopsticks in the orange vase.

3. My third and final purchase:

What? We NEEDED a horse! I bet you didn't see that one coming! Again, I think it's ornate yet edgy! And to me, ornate and edgy cancel each other out to keep the room laid back and comfortable. (Not sure if this makes sense to anyone else but John and I! Ha!)

Oh...and that blue vase in the back is also a Dong Tai Lu find from way-back when!

Remember everything is at Wal-Mart SALE prices! Fabulous!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shanghai Weekend {Friends & Pearl Market}

Shanghai, here we come!

305 Km/h = 190 Miles/Hour from Nanjing to Shanghai.
(It goes much faster...but I forgot to take a picture)

With Carter, we now have this easy trip down to a science.
-Pack light has a whole new level of lightness now.
-20 minutes in the car to the train station...pre-arranged.
-1.25 hours on the train:
Breakfast, then a walk up and down the aisles waving in every aisle person's face with an "eye!!"
-30 minutes from cab to the hotel room with Pack-n-Play set up for nap #1.
-While he sleeps, we confirm meet-up times by text with friends, fill the hotel room with balloons for some Carter fun and unpack/set-up!

Once awake and refreshed, we met up with some of our favorite people for some "Texas" BBQ, our tradition with these people! This was a special visit, because our good friends Kellee and Francious just had their precious baby, Violette, and we finally got to meet her! Of course, too much fun so I didn't get any pictures!? Grr.

2nd Nap Time (for Daddy and Carter) I snuck off to the Pearl Market. With out knowing where and when we will be moving, this COULD possibly be my last visit to this place. :(

Many friends have asked about this place. I have never taken too many pictures because it isn't something you think about in your everyday life, but since we MAY never be back...I did!!

This is where the creativity begins!

Stones of every color! Just imagine all of the jewelry designing you can do!

Here are my two favorite people at the pearl market. I LOVE them!

I buy all of my jewelry from them. If you've ever bought jewelry from is from these two! Sweetest people ever.

This is their big store they moved into (thanks to all you girls who bought jewelry). They used to have a booth like the ones pictured above!

These are all pearls! Again, imagine all you can do! Do you see why I love this place?

Me and Jennifer, that is her English name. My Chinese name is Sha La.
(Named by my Chinese teacher...she said after "Sha La" Jessica Parker.)

Okay, so Jennifer and I had a big cry. You know, you can only really cry with your real friends. I cried because I'm sad to be leaving this life. She cried because their business is not doing so well this year. This breaks my heart. She told me that her daughter said "we must be poor because all day long you've played with me and no customers have come in here."

So....I think I'm going to be doing another shipment. (Let me know if you would be interested.)


I found these little pretties for myself!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fun in the Sun

The past few Saturday's we've been jogging to this huge park a couple of miles from our house. It is fabulous!

We start off with a picnic breakfast. Mango for Carter!
He loves looking at all of the kites.

(Those aren't power lines, some type of arbor.)

The locals like to bring tents and hang out for the day. People don't really have yards of their own, so this is how it's done. I like it! They fly kites, BBQ on little disposable grills, and let their children and dogs run free!

Our kid and dog (below) running free! Woo Hoo!

See John and Mark (our couple & baby friend) attempting hacky-sack after a failed attempt at kite flying. (I just know all of the Chinese people were laughing at us. They are PRO'S at kite flying!!)

Then music came on and there was a HUGE water show that soaked half of the park. Lucy is loving it! Carter and Trevor (baby of Mark and Cat;) were not too sure.

John and Carter loving the water show!