Thursday, July 23, 2009

Seattle Highlights

Woodland Park Zoo with 7 cranky kids (and a 2-tailed lion).
The water table at the Pacific Science Center.
Remlinger Farm for Nana's birthday.
The locks and the fish ladder.
Sushi dinner with my sis.
The ferry boat to Vashon, followed by a day on the beach.
Sleepovers.
Swimming.
Searching for stray golf balls.
Lots of backyard barbeques.
The playground on the lake.
Getting lost on farm roads with Shay (but without a cell phone).
Lunch with Aunt Ann, mom and Dev.
Building birdhouses.
Swimming.
Watching the kids play with Nana, Bampa, Aunt Ann, Aunt Lizanne, Uncle Don, Aunt Dev, Lia, Matthias and Emma.

It seems we just got here.
I'm so sad to be leaving already.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Packing

We'll be heading for the U.S. tomorrow morning, for the first time in 2 years. There's a daughter to introduce - and to baptize - a niece to meet, sleepovers to be had, sushi to be eaten... so much to do in a few short weeks.

This time of year, all of the families pack up and head home, so our neighborhood is getting pretty empty, anyway. I don't want anyone to think this is a paid endorsement (if only!), but if you've never lived overseas, then you likely don't know that expats dream of Target. Seriously. Every mom I know has a short list of places to visit while stateside, and on top of every single list, there's Target. You can buy anything there! And it's clean! And organized! With actual prices, no bartering involved! I myself have a Target list of my own. No more $20 sunblock or $30 bags of razors for me.

But first.... we have to get there.

I asked the kids to pack their own carry-ons with the things they thought they'd need for the plane. Shay did a great job: two books, Nintendo, a journal, some pens and pencils, with room left over for snacks. Aidan? Not so much. I found clay cars and Halloween costumes in his bag, so we had to start over. Currently, he's carrying 5 small stuffed bears, some Pokemon cards and his Nintendo. He will NOT part with the Musketeers Halloween costume, either. Kyra has a tiny backpack into which she's stuffed her current favorite dolly, Frazzle.

Somehow I will be clearing customs in San Francisco with 4 carry-on bags, 2 suitcases, one stroller, one carseat and 4 small children. At least, I console myself, this journey is sure to provide some bloggable material. In the re-telling, I have high hopes it will all seem entertaining. As it's unfolding, maybe not so much. For example, YOU try spending an hour on the phone trying to convince United Airlines that they really ought to seat you next to your children rather than scattering you all around the cabin, only to be told that because you aren't a premier member you don't deserve to choose seats in advance. Needless to say, I'm not really happy with United Airlines right now, and the trip hasn't even begun.

So okay. Everything has changed since we've been away. People have moved. Babies have been born. Loved ones have separated, or fallen ill. Despite all of this, I feel certain we'll take up right where we left off.

It'll be good to get home for awhile. I'll see some of you on the other side. Wish me luck tomorrow on my marathon journey.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America


In keeping with a tradition started by Nana and Pop back in New York, we had our own little Happy Birthday America party. Shay decorated the cake all by himself. (Aidan wanted to help, but he's sick right now - just in time for the upcoming journey!) Kyra sang "Happy Birthday"... in Chinese.

Happy Fourth, everyone.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Why You Shouldn't Be Planning a Trip to China

I haven't even left the country yet, and I'm already worried about what we'll face upon return. It's really a bad, bad situation.
 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One More Week

Just one week from today and I'll be Seattle-bound with four kids and no husband. Right now I'm trying to get everything done to get out of here for my first trip home in 2 years.

Last week I went souvenir shopping at Yashow with some friends - that's right, a few lucky readers will be recipients of fabulous Made in China gifts when I hit the ground stateside. (Maybe only a very few, as I haven't finished shopping yet.)

As usual, we put on quite a show as we trotted through the market. I don't know quite why, but vendors and shoppers alike gathered to watch us as we bartered and bought. On this particular day, there was a mini-feeding frenzy as we finished up at one vendor and all three of us pulled out our wallets to buy in bulk. A horde gathered round to watch us stuff purchases in our bags. This, despite the fact that these guys were just across the way, shopping for jewelry. Yet noone paid them any mind at all...

Please. Write your own stuff.