Sunday, February 28, 2010

JACK . . .

Jack, Ryan's Grandfather, came to China and spent 12 days with us.  It was supposed to be 13, but the stupid weather interfered, so we lost a day.  But we all had a GREAT time while he was here.  And I hope he did too.  I think he did.  The kids were out of school and Ryan's office was closed that first week for Chinese New Year, which is why we wanted him to come then, so he would be able to spend more time with everyone.  

Ryan and the boys took him bowling.  We all took him to the World Financial Tower, YuYuan, Wild Animal Park, Hot Pot, and out for Chinese food.  I took him to the Underground which is the Fake Market in Pudong.  I also took him to the Wet Market.  That's where I do my shopping for fruits, vegggies, and some meats.  It's one of those things you have to see to believe.  I also took him to Carrefour which is our supermarket.  Again, you have to see it to believe it.  

All in all, it was a great few days, eventhough we all thought it was too short.  The day before he left, Andrew said, "I wish Grandpa was staying 3 weeks like Poppy and Nanny, then he wouldn't have to leave tomorrow."  Now, coming from Andrew, that's A BIG DEAL!  He's not exactly my sentimental one.

Oh well, we're so glad he came, even if he couldn't stay as long as we wanted him too.  I'm sure he was VERY ready to get back home.  When you're used to living by yourself and then you move in with a psychotic family of 5, I'm sure it's hard to keep your sanity.  We obviously don't have that problem, because well, we lost ours many, many years ago!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Jason's class has been working on poetry all year long.  They've been picking out poems that they like, writing them down in their poetry notebook, answering questions about them, and basically "dissecting" them.  
They've just started writing their own poems.  This is one that Jason wrote.  A few of his classmates told him to submit it for something called Poetry Alive.  He was so excited because his teacher told him to submit it and then she said, "Kick A$$!"  
Personally, I think it's great, but I might be just a *little* partial!  You decide!

Crush, Crash, Boom, Bang.
The sound of him is the most wonderful thing.
His eyes are sea shells, 
His skin is sand, 
Reaching for things without any hands.

His bones are rocks,
His feet are crabs, 
His hair is seaweed, 
And his blood swishes like a bathtub with jets.

Now that you've heard this, want to make a bet?
The wonderful place I've told you is the ocean we are at.

By Jason Bruner

So?  What do you think?  Do I have a future writer on my hands, or am I just blinded by love?  Either way is fine with me!

YUYUAN . . . .

Yuyuan Garden is located in the center of the Old City and it is considered one of the most lavish and finest Chinese Gardens in the region.

We took Jack there his first weekend here.  Even though it was cold, it is still very pretty.  And there are people EVERYWHERE!
This is a picture Jack took in the car on the way to the Garden.
 This was taken by the entrance.
 This is the street called Fashion Street.
This is where we used the bathroom! 
The detail work on the buildings is amazing!
Not sure what this is, but it's another example of the details that you see as you walk along Yuyuan.

This is the Year of the Tiger.
The Tiger is in the middle of the Yuyuan Square.
More Details
Not sure what this is, or what it's made of, but it's pretty cool looking.
My little Angel!
Isn't she a cutie?!
This building has the little blue man and some tigers.  By the way, the little blue man actually does have a name, I just don't know what it is!  I'll find out though.
More tigers.


The Red Lanterns are part of the Chinese New Year Celebration.  This year February 14th was Chinese New Year.  Fourteen days after the New Year is the Celebration of the Lanterns.  I don't know what that entails.  I guess we'll find out on the 28th!
There is a pond in the middle of Yuyuan.  There is also a famous bridge that goes over the pond.  These statues are in the pond.
Another "float" in the pond.



The pictures don't do the statues justice.

Don't we all look so happy?!


This is the Jade Rock.  It is supposed to be very famous.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Okay, so I've never been much of a cook.  I pretty much make the same things all the time.  But since we've been here, there are A LOT of things that you either can't find, like Velveeta cheese, or that is SO expensive, like nacho chips and burrito shells, that I don't buy them as much as I used to.  (We eat A LOT of Mexican.  If we were in Mexico, I'd be set)!  So I decided to start looking for some recipes.  I found a recipe for tortilla shells, but I haven't made them yet.  But I also found a place that has them pretty cheap compared to what I've been paying for them.  To give you an idea of the price difference, the place I normally buy them from sells them for about 35 RMB, which is about $5.  Needless to say, I don't buy them very often!  But I found a place called Metro, which is like the Sam's/Costco, and they sell them for 12 RMB, which is less than $2.  BIG DIFFERENCE!  So I think I'm going to start buying them from there, rather than trying to make them.  I just figure I'll buy about 10 or 12 at a time.  

The next thing is nacho chips.  They range from $4-$6 A BAG!!!!  And they're never on sale.  At home, I know they're pretty expensive too, but I just wait for them to go on sale, and then I stock up on them.  No such luck here.  So instead I found a recipe that shows you how to make them.  So I've started making them from the flour tortillas, and I have to tell you, they're actually pretty good.  Now I can get a bag a chips for 12 RMB  instead of 28-39 RMB.  Big difference in savings.  If I find some corn tortillas, I'm going to try making them from those as well.  I bet those will be even better, but in the meantime, my way works.  It's definitely not as easy as just opening a bag, but it will save a lot of money in the long run.  

Another thing I haven't been able to find is crescent rolls or puff pastry.  I found those at Metro too, so now I know where to find them.  I have some in my freezer right now for when I need them.  

One thing you definitely can't find here is breakfast sausage.  Believe me, I've looked everywhere and asked everyone I know.  So I found a recipe online and I made my own.  And it's pretty good.  The recipe I use has 3 different versions, sage, hot and maple.  I made the hot, but it's not as hot as I wanted, so the next time I'll add more of the spices.  I also want to make the maple, because I think the kids will like that kind. 

Since we've been here, we've tried all kinds of new recipes.  It's definitely been an eye opening experience for me, because when we get back home, I don't think I'll go back to making all of the same things I usually make.  We've enjoyed the variety, and most things we've liked.  There are a few we haven't, and we won't make those again, but some we have really liked, and we would have never tried them if we hadn't been forced to experiment with new things.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I'm talking to you Mommy! Mommy?!  I'm talking to you!

Pizza . . . I LOVE pizza. (or oranges, or apples or cookies). She LOVES everything!

Go JJ, it's your birthday!  (Not sure where that one came from)!

Here my am!

Everybody loves me!

I HEARD that!  (After Andrew got in trouble for something).
Mommy:  Hey!  Sarah:  Hay is for horses.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Andrew's birthday was last month, on the 16th. We are having his birthday party tonight because of the play. I wanted to wait until it was all over. So tonight he's having a sleepover for his birthday. He's invited 4 friends from his class and they are coming here right after school. I will tell you how it goes and post pictures after it's over. But I wanted to post the pictures from his birthday. Because we were going to wait to have his party, we spent the day together, just the 5 of us, and he got to decide where he wanted to eat, and what he wanted to do. He decided he wanted KFC for lunch and to go bowling. We had a really good time. Even Sarah got in on the action. Anyway, here's some of the pictures from that day.
This is the birthday boy getting ready to play.
I LOVE this picture of Sarah.  She looks like she's posing.
 Here's Jason.  Andrew and I would laugh because after every bad frame he'd come back muttering, "I hate bowling!" 
 Even Daddy got in on the action!
 And so did Sarah!
She pushed hard!
 She was so proud of herself!
 This was Jason before he started "hating" bowling!
Not sure what this face is all about!
Or this one!
This was right after Andrew dropped the ball!
She seemed to enjoy watching them all bowl.

Don't they look so happy?!
Sarah was pouting about something, but I don't remember what it was!
Anyway, it was a fun day.  We've been one other time since then, and the boys have decided they want to take Grandpa bowling when he comes to visit. 

Monday, February 1, 2010


Okay, so I had another "Mom" moment this weekend, and I'm still reeling from it.

Jason has a friend that he has been friends with pretty much since we moved here. I'll call him Z. In the past few months he's also become friends with Y. Ryan and I noticed that he hadn't been playing with Z much, but we just figured that it was because he's been so busy with the play and I thought once it was all over he would go back to playing with him again. So on Saturday Z called to see if he could play, and he told him yes. Then Ryan overheard him telling Andrew not to tell Y that he was playing with Z. So we called him out to see what was going on. He told us that Y doesn't like Z. (He told us why, but that's not really important). Anytime Jason plays with Z, Y calls him names and tells everyone not to play with him. So THAT'S why he hasn't been playing with Z.

I got really upset and told him that I think he needs to find other friends. I asked him if he LIKED playing with Z, and he said yes he likes playing with him a lot. So I told him that if that's the case, then he should do what he wants and not worry about what Y says. He said there are other people in his class that he gets along with, so he is going to start spending more time with them. He also told me not to tell Y's parents because then Y will make it even worse for him. I told him that of course I won't. I want him to be able to talk to us and tell us what's going on with him, and I would never betray that trust.

After this conversation he said "This never happened to me at Tully." I don't want him to associate it with Concordia and think that's the only reason it's happening. So we told him that unfortunately, the older he gets, the more it will start happening.

But I felt so sorry for him. He really has been torn. Hopefully since we've talked about it he'll feel better and go back to doing what he REALLY wants to do.