Monday, September 29, 2014

One Month of School Completed; It's time for a Vacation!

No really, this week is vacation.  All of China will be off celebrating a national  "Golden Week" and we'll be getting the heck out of dodge.  It's been a busy first month of school, I do think a break sounds good.  

ChinaBean headed back to her little preschool at the beginning of September.  Could she be any cuter?!  She attends a Chinese preschool three mornings a week.  If you ask her, she eats rice and soup every day for lunch (which is probably true).

ChinaBean was walking home from school pretending to talk on her wooden iPhone.  She's a woman with a mission.

EBean was very excited to be recognized as her class's Golden Child.  She was honored during the weekly school assembly for her perseverance while trying to write sentences.  We celebrated with the traditional visit to Cold Stone.

EBean has also been taking swimming as part of her PE classes this term.  She loved it!

Nice form EBean!
Girl Scouts has resumed.  This is the start of my 4th year as a leader!  Now I have a better sense of how women end up leading for 20+ years...they must have several daughters too.  LBean is a second-year Brownie and EBean is finally a Daisy.  The poor girl has watched her sister do activities and make crafts for the last three years and she is super excited to be an official member this year.

Our troop has grown so much that my friend Sarah will be leading the Brownies and Juniors and I will be taking on the Daisies.  We have around 21 girls in our lovely troop.
Bridging ceremony.  Time to welcome the new Brownies. 
EBean playing a game at our first meting.
 Each class at the girls' school takes a turn to give a class presentation at their school's weekly assembly.  LBean's class performed at one of the first assemblies and I think it's nice to get it out of the way.  Her class performed a skit, sang a song, and showed a video about endangered and extinct animals.
LBean with one of her closest classmates
Taking a selfie
Class 4D at Dulwich
LBean's entire grade took a 3 day, 2 night school trip.  The kids were bused to Taihu, a lake situated about 1.5 hours from Suzhou.  They took a ferry to an island called San Shan where they learned about ancient temples, hiked a Buddha trail, picked oranges, made s'mores, watched a movie, took a night walk, and lots of other interesting sights.
Packed and ready to go!
Selfie has been mastered.
I was teasing LBean about this picture.  I asked her if she
realized that this was someone's underwear.  She said
that one of her teachers made a joke about the undies being
ancient artifacts!
Let's see, I know I'm leaving out something...homework, after-school activities (knitting & ballet for LBean), lunch-time club (ballet for EBean), violin practice, birthday parties, orthodontist appointments, colds, strep throat for me, and on and on and on.

Maybe we really do need a vacation...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Typhoon Tuesday & Tuna Tradition

A typhoon was passing through the area today, so it was too wet to be outside.  Instead, we stayed inside after school.  We played with some pumpkin-spiced homemade play doh.  Everyone played with the play doh for over an hour, even Ayi!

ChinaBean giving the "V" for victory.
EBean made several birthday "cakes".
After I explained to Ayi that, even though I had cooked the play doh on the stove, we don't eat it!  Instead we played and played some more.
Love Ayi's smile!

We ended the evening with a new-ish tradition.  Jamie is in Japan all this week and for a long time we have eaten tuna noodle casserole for dinner when Jamie is traveling.  The tradition was born when I was trying to decide what to make for dinner when Jamie was gone.  It seems that the dinner expectations are lowered a bit when he is away.  I tried to think of something that we might enjoy, but that Jamie wouldn't mind missing...tuna noodle casserole came to mind.  He hates canned tuna (he's so refined, I am not, I love the stuff).  The girls enjoy it too, so although we miss daddy very much when he's gone, we try to enjoy our "girl party" and canned tuna.  See you soon daddy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Today We Celebrate This Guy!

Happy birthday to Baba!  (Baba is the Mandarin word for dad.)  

Today Jamie turns thirty...{cough, cough}, well, thirty-something.

We celebrated Baba today with the appropriate amount of Star Wars, Legos, construction equipment and Calvin & Hobbs that a house with 4 females could muster.  I think we did quite well.

Jamie's Lego inspired cake.

The girls appropriately spoiled their daddy with love and birthday cards.  

Happy birthday to an amazing man, a terrific husband and a loving father!  Here's to many more.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Run Mama Run!

Today a few expat friends and I participated in the first Rainbow Run Suzhou.  In a country known for its exceptional knock-offs and copies, perhaps you can consider this run a knock-off of the the Color Run (which is coming to Shanghai, but reached capacity within 18 minutes of opening registration).  Copy or not, we had a great time!  

At certain points along the run participants are doused with colored chalk and by the finish line everyone is quite "colorful".  

White shirts and all clean.  That will change soon.

We arrived more than an hour before the race, which gave the local media plenty of time to interview the foreigners (all 10 of us).  I am pretty sure our faces and names are on CCTV, in the local newspaper and in many, many local Chinese We Chat feeds.

Talking to a newspaper reporter, such a good sport!
The emcee for the event talking to my friends.  They
were invited to come to the television station on another day
to play a game and perform a song and dance!
We added our hands to the wall.
We thought we should become friendly with the doctor on
site...just in case.  Turns out his daughter is studying in the US.
We decided to be friendly with the guards too.  
Anytime we stood still too long, this is what we saw.  They
were taking pictures
As we were waiting for the race to start, we saw a big group from the Caterpillar (the company my husband works for) plant in Suzhou .

I invited myself into the picture!

My cheering squad.  Although they somehow missed me crossing the finish line.  I must have been too fast.

Can you spot the Caterpillar flag?
 At the start...

And, the finish line.

Perhaps my children missed me at the finish line because they were at the coffee shop eating nuts.  Hmmm.

All done and very colorful.

We made it!

We had become living/breathing rainbows.

No one wanted to give me a hug!

They did pose for a picture.

And while we were posing, a few others decided to take our photo too.

Give mama a kiss!

 That's better!

I can now cross "running a race in China" off my bucket list. Check!