Monday, August 31, 2009


Okay, so we're sitting here in our living room. Jason is finishing his homework. Sarah Beth is watching Elmo and getting ready for bed. Andrew is in his room reading for school. And upstairs it sounds like we have a big stampede going on! There are people running up and down and yelling and screaming. It's crazy. THAT'S something that's definitely going to take some getting used to. I LIKE getting on the elevator and meeting new people. I DON'T like not being able to just walk out my front door and go. I LIKE having all of the rooms on one floor. I DON'T like having that floor being under a wild herd! I LIKE being able to call someone if we have a problem in the apartment. I DON'T like that I can't understand a word they say when they get here!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

ANDREW . . .

Andrew was so excited this morning when I fixed him his Instant Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal. Now try to picture this, and if you know Andrew, it'll make it a little bit easier - he pulls the bowl up to his nose and takes a big sniff and says, "Now that's the oatmeal I like!" What a goober I have for a son. But he was thrilled to death with his oatmeal. Here I was making him oatmeal and adding sugar and cinnamon and trying to make it taste good, and he just wants instant oatmeal! Oh well, makes my life easier anyway. Now I just add milk and throw it in the microwave. Oh and yes, we DO have a microwave over here!


We got a package from home today. Thanks to Carol who mailed it, and Mom and Dad who put it together. We got Jason's tennis shoes, Andrew's dress shoes, Splenda, Instant Oatmeal, Hot Chocolate, and MS. DASH!!!! What kind of sad commentary is that about me that I get so excited about Ms. Dash?!?!?! I must be pitiful! I've looked everywhere around here, and you can't find it anywhere. And I use it in EVERYTHING. So Mom and Dad picked mine up from home and had it sent it to me. Yea! And Andrew was SO excited about the instant oatmeal. He eats oatmeal for breakfast almost every morning, but they don't have instant oatmeal here, Cinnamon Roll flavor, so he hasn't been that thrilled with it. He can't wait to have it for breakfast tomorrow.

It's funny, the things we take for granted. The things that I use the most at home, you can't find here. And if you are lucky enough to find them, they're usually very expensive. Things like Macaroni and Cheese, Velveeta Cheese, Ms. Dash, Instant Oatmeal, Microwave Porcorn, Kool-Aid, Tea, Splenda, Jif Peanut Butter. I was planning on bringing back a big suitcase after Christmas filled with all of those things, but Ryan said you can't bring food through Customs. So I'm thinking I'll just ship a box to myself before we leave, and then when we get home, we'll get a package with everything in it that we've been missing. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Today was the Family Fun BBQ at the boys' school. They had food from lots of local restaurants, and then they had Inflatables and things for the kids to do. It was nice. Jason's teacher came over and talked to me while we were there. She wanted to know how we were all doing, which I thought was very nice. I told her we were all doing fine and that the kids are adjusting really well. I'm really proud of how well they're doing. Then she asked me how I was "really" doing. She said she'd been in my position before, and she remembers what it's like. She told me to come to her classroom anytime after school if I needed to talk about what's going on. I really appreciated that. It made me realize that it's okay to have bad days and that someone understands what it's like. I just might take her up on that offer!

Then we talked about Jason. I told her he seemed to be doing pretty well. He's had homework every night, and he hasn't complained about it or anything. I told her that I requested Jason's teacher at home, when I thought we were still going to BE home, and that I picked the teacher that I thought would be the hardest teacher. She said that was good, because he DID get the hardest 5th grade teacher at Concordia! Her class is very fast paced and she expects a lot out of her students. We talked about Jason's tendency to get side tracked and to daydream. She's caught him doing it a few times and she has to bring him back to reality. The main time he has problems is during something called DOL where they are supposed to look at the board and answer the questions up there. She wants to start printing them out for him so that he can just look down and not have to look up, because that's when he starts to get distracted. She's going to start that this week. Hopefully, it'll help. I guess he must be more like his mother than I thought!

This was taken at the end of the BBQ.  Sarah Beth was *really* enjoying her sucker!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Jason is in Band this year. And while he's really excited about it, we're NOT excited about the $1000 price tag for the Oboe that he wants to play! So it looks like our task this weekend will be to find a cheaper version so that he can still play it. Ryan wants him to switch to Chorus, because it won't cost us any money, but he was in Chorus last year and HATED it, and I don't want to do that to him. So I guess if I have to scour the city looking for a cheaper Oboe, then that's what I'll have to do. Of course, the fact that I don't speak the language might make it even more difficult, but oh well. The things we do for our kids!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SCHOOL . . .

The boys seem to be enjoying their new school, although they both miss their friends at home. I keep telling them to give it a few days and they'll meet new people, but it's hard because they haven't been in this position since Kindergarten, and neither one of them even remember that! But I'm sure after a few more days they'll start meeting more and more people. Now if we could just figure out a way for ME to meet some people!

One of the boys they met is David. He and his parents live in our building. His mom and I have been walking to school together to pick up the boys. She's very nice. But she's the only person I've met so far. The first PSO meeting is in about 2 weeks, and I've been told I'll meet a lot of new people then. I'm not used to this. It's not like I have a ton of friends at home, but there is always someone for me to see or talk to. Plus, I spend a lot of time with my family too, and I don't have that either. I find I'm getting more homesick now that school has started. All of the things I took for granted at home, that I don't have here. That's going to take some getting used to, and it hasn't happened yet!

Oh well, enough of the pity party for now. We have homework to finish and kids to get to bed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Today was the first day of school for the boys. They both seemed to have a pretty good day, although Andrew got a stomach ache during the day. I think it was just his nerves, because he was fine on the way home. I told him after a few days he should be okay. I think he's just nervous about being in a new school with people he's never met before. But other than that, I think they both had a good day.

Jason was in the wrong Mandarin class at first. He heard his name called, so he went to a class, but it was for students who already spoke some of the language. The teacher was actually calling for another Jason! By the time he got to his class, the class was almost over, so hopefully by tomorrow he'll be in the right class. At Concordia, 5th grade is part of the Middle School, so he thinks he's hot stuff! He switches classes and everything. He has Math, Band, Drama, Art, Science and Social Studies, PE, Religion, Health, Guidance, Language Arts, and something called ATL, but I have no idea what that is. He'll also have Mandarin classes every day. He got to choose between Band, Choir and Strings. Then he got to pick his preference of instrument. His 1st choice was Flute, then Oboe, then Clarinet. He was kind of upset because he didn't get any of his choices. Instead he got the Trumpet. I told him it was probably based on a first come, first serve basis, and we turned ours in late. But I think he'll be okay. At least he'll learn to read music, and if he likes it, then he can continue it at Crosby next year.

He also has Drama for 1 semester and then he'll have Art for the other semester. They put on 4 plays throughout the year. The High School puts on a play in the Fall and the Spring. Last year it was The Sound of Music. I'm sorry I missed it, because that's probably my favorite movie of all time! This year their Fall play is MacBeth, but they haven't decided on the Spring play yet. They are also doing a 5th and 6th grade play which is Alice in Wonderland and a 7th and 8th grade play that's called Channel Surfing which was written by 2 of the teachers at the school. He's going to try out for the play. I was thinking about getting them both into some kind of acting at home before we left, so we'll see how this goes. If he likes it, then I might try it at home as well.

Andrew also has Mandarin classes everyday, so they should both know more Chinese than Ryan and I by this time next week! I was thinking I'd like to take a Mandarin class, but with not having anyone to watch Sarah Beth, it makes it kind of hard to do those kinds of things. I guess I should have gotten the Rosetta Stone before I left!

Anyway, that's it for today. I was very homesick today. I guess that's because I'm so used to the boys being with us all day, and since they weren't, it made it all seem so much more real. I don't know if I'll ever get used to this; but I sure hope I do.

This didn't turn out very well.  But this is from their first day of school.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Today we took the kids to the Aquarium. Sarah was so excited to see the fishies. Before we left I sat down at my desk to get something, and Sarah came over and started tugging on me saying, "''mon Mommy, get up!" I said where are we going? She said, "I go see the fishies!" She was so excited. It was so much fun watching her. She really had a good time. The boys didn't enjoy it near as much as she did, but we told them sometimes we do things for other people, and not just for ourselves. The main reason I enjoyed it so much was because I had such a ball watching her. She kept saying, "I see the fishies, I see the fishies!" Then she told Ryan, "I wanna go see the turtles Daddy." Her vocabulary has really progressed in the last few weeks. She's definitely a Kremer! We took some pictures, so I'll post those later.

After we left, we walked over to the mall to eat lunch. We found out they had a Hooters there, so we went there for lunch. It was SO good! We've found that a lot of things aren't the same as at home, like Pizza Hut and Papa John's. So we weren't sure how good Hooters would be, but we thought we'd at least check it out. It was a little different, but it was still very good. Ryan and I had the hot wings, and they tasted almost exactly the same as they do at home. That was definitely a nice surprise. Needless to say, I'm sure we'll be going back there sometime in the next year! You can only eat so much rice and noodles before you decide you need a taste of home!

This is the kids watching the "pishies!"
Sarah was totally mesmerized!

They all have goofy smiles!
I just love how this picture turned out.  I don't usually take really good pictures, don't know what my problem is, but I LOVE this one. 

Sarah Beth in front of the "pishies."

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Today was Open House at the boys' school. We met both of their teachers and then we took a tour of the buildings. All in all it was a very nice day. Both of their teachers seem very nice, although I still think it's going to be harder than either one of them realize. We were talking to a few of the student ambassadors that were showing us around, and they were telling us that Jason will probably have 1-1 1/2 hours of homework every night. He's definitely not used to that! I still think they're ready for school to start though. They might be ready for it to be over once it starts, but right now, they're ready!

I know I'm ready. I think once school starts it'll be easier for me to meet people as well. Everyone at Concordia is extremely nice. I must have a "deer in the headlights" look everytime I come in, because everyone is always going out of their way to introduce themselves to me and find out how we're doing. The Director told me it's different than anything we've ever experienced because everyone there has been in our position before and they all remember what it feels like. I sure hope she's right.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The boys met a new friend today. His name is David and he lives in our building and will be going to Concordia. He's in the 5th grade as well. We met his parents in the lobby a few days ago and found out all about him. Today he came up to visit and the kids played Wii. Now the boys are down there at his place. I'm glad they finally have someone else to play with. I know once school starts they'll meet new people, but right now it's still a week a way, so I'm glad they have someone new to play with for the time being. His parents are very nice as well. It looks like we'll all be walking to school together.

The kids are adjusting so well. I'm really proud of how well they're doing. I knew they'd be okay, but honestly, they're doing even better than I thought they would. They talk a lot about when we go home for Christmas and all the things they're going to do, but they don't get upset about it, they're just looking forward to it. I think it helps that we've been able to talk to Mom and Dad a lot and we've also talked to Jack a few times, so they have a connection at home. Now if only I could start doing as good as they are!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The kids and I took a tour of their school today. It's a very nice school. It's called Concordia International School of Shanghai. When they first opened in 1998, they only had 22 students. Now they have over 1100! There are only 18 students in each class. There are 6 5th grade classes, and 5 2nd grade classes. We met the Director of Admissions.  She was great. We've been communicating a lot through e-mail, so it was nice to finally put a face to a name. She took us on a tour of the school. They have 3 separate buildings; an elementary wing, middle school wing, and high school wing. I believe the high school wing was just built within the last year.

We met the Elementary School Principal and the Middle School Principal as well. Everyone we met while we were there were very friendly. It made me feel a little better about the whole process. I think once school starts and we start meeting other families, things will be a little better. Evidently, some of the families from school live in the same apartment complex that we do. It will be nice for the kids if they have some people around them that they know. They said most families don't come back until this week or next week, so they should start arriving soon.

After we left school we went to lunch at Pizza Hut. It's not the same as Pizza Hut at home, but it was still pretty good. The kids liked it, so I guess that's all that really matters.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Today the kids and I ventured out by ourselves since it was Ryan's first day of work. We went to the international grocery called The Pines. They have some stuff that you can't get at Carrefour, but the thing I liked about it the most is that everything is in English, so I knew what I was getting! They still don't have diet Coke though! I'm not sure how I'm going to go a whole year without my diet Coke!

It rained all night last night, and it's been drizzling most of the day today. According to, it's supposed to rain for the next 10 days! I think it's coming from the typhoon that hit a different part of China. Luckily, it didn't hit us! You'd think the rain would cool it off a little bit, but it's still very muggy outside. All you have to do is walk out the door and you're dripping in sweat. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be ready for cooler weather!


Thanks so much for the birthday wishes. While all of the e-mails have made me a little homesick, they've also made me feel loved, so I guess that's a good thing!

It's kind of hard to communicate right now. We don't have our internet set up yet, so we are using someone else's, and it doesn't always work real well. We are supposed to get the internet and satellite set up sometime this week. Right now every channel we have is in Chinese! Movies here are very cheap, like $2/DVD, so we've bought a lot of movies and we've been watching and will watch those. So far we've bought 17 Again, Land of the Lost, Harry Potter, Escape to Witch Mountain, Pink Panther 2, Angels and Demons, and I Love You Man. It'll be nice to have the TV again though.

Things are pretty okay here so far, although it's definitely going to take some getting used to. We have to walk everywhere, which is definitely going to be good for me, but right now, my feet are KILLING me! It hurts just to walk to around the apartment. I'm sure within a few days I'll start feeling better, but right now, not so much!

The kids' school is about 1 mile away and the grocery is about ½ mile away. We probably walked about 4 or 5 miles the first day, and about the same the next day. For someone as out of shape as me, I'm hurting! Then on Saturday we took a cab to downtown and toured a few buildings and went to the mall. Their mall is HUGE!

Grocery shopping was an experience too. They don't have Diet Coke here. They have Coca-Cola Light, which is SO not the same thing. I'm actually drinking Pepsi Light, because it tastes the most like diet Coke. I've also been drinking a lot of water. The humidity here is crazy. All you do is step outside and you're covered in sweat. Carrefour is the grocery here, it's kind of like a Super Wal-mart, but they don't have canned veggies and fruits, and it's just a totally different experience.

Our apartment is nice. It's 3 bedrooms and 3 baths with a laundry room off the kitchen. We also have a balcony. We are on the 22nd floor, and our apartment surrounds a lake, so we have a great view. I just hope the elevators never go out! The mattress on our bed is hard as a rock! We've only slept on it one night. The boys mattress is pretty hard too. Sarah's is pretty comfy though, so I've been sleeping with her the last couple of nights. There is supposed to be a place close to here where you can get furniture pretty cheap, so we'll go there one day and get mattresses for our beds and also a dresser for her room. Her room doesn't have a dresser OR a closet!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Today we went to a place called the Jin Mao Tower in Downtown Pudong.  The building has an observation deck on the 88th floor.  Talk about an incredible view.  I took some pictures, but they really don't do it justice. 

It was weird being there because everybody kept wanting to have their pictures taken with the kids.  In most parts of China, Americans, especially American children aren't seen very often.  So they're kind of treated like celebrities.  The kids must have had their pictures taken at least 20-25 times.  Luckily, I'd already read about that, otherwise it might have freaked me out even more than it did!  Andrew said it was their "15 minutes of fame!" 

Ryan and the kids at Jin Mao Tower.
Told you the pictures don't really do it justice!
It's still a pretty cool view though, don't you think?
I LOVE this picture of Jason and Sarah.  I think it's so cute!
I also really love this picture of Sarah. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We're all doing fine. Our journey over here was an experience. From the time we got on the plane in Louisville, until the time we landed in Shanghai, it was a 26 hour trip! We spent 2 1/2 hours in the Louisville airport waiting for the storm to die down enough for us to take off. Then we arrived in Chicago, thinking we'd missed our flight to Shanghai, only to find out it had been delayed 8 1/2 for mechanical reasons! By the time we finally landed and got to our apartment, it was after 1 pm Louisville time on the 5th, and we were at the airport at 6:30 am Louisville time on the 4th! All in all though the kids did great. Sarah was having a hard time the first couple of hours on the Shanghai flight, but then she finally fell asleep, and by the time she woke up, we were only about 2 hours away, and she was in a MUCH better mood!