Happy Halloween

Well tonight we are going to the Halloween party at the clubhouse. There will be food and fun then trick or treating around the complex from 6-8 and free horse carriage rides from 6-8 too. We will take pics of Zoe and post them later. Right now she is napping it is noon. I was hopping she would nap later so she could stay up a little longer tonight but she was really tired. She has been getting up earlier the past week or so and not going to sleep unitl 9 or 10 so instead of the 12 hours or more of sleep she usally gets it has been 9 or 10. She has also not been a good napper. Today she has been down for about an hour and a half so maybe she is catching up. The weather here is still fairly warm. You need a sweater now or light coat but it isn’t super cold yet. It is a good day today I can see blue in the sky instead of the grey overcast colour of the pollution.

Zoe and I went to the Mommy and Me class again yesterday and I think they need to change it to Mommy and Me plus and Ayi. There were 3 other kids in class and they all had their mom and ayi with them. The Ayi watched them while the moms talked or just stood and watched. This really annoys me because it makes the room more crowded. There is a teacher and her assistant who go from place to place interacting with the kids and parents and do story and song time. But when the kid to adult ratio is 2 to 1 with half the adults just standing around it gets crowded. Zoe likes to play with the little sink there she loves water.

Every night before bed she sits on the side of the sink and brushes her teeth and washes her face then plays with the water coming out of the faucet for 5 or 10 minutes. She still hates the water going over her head in the tub but does not like it when you lean her back either.

Well that is it for now look for the pics from halloween soon and maybe a few other things from around here too.

Zoe looked at the school

Well Zoe and I went last week and looked at the classroom at Eton school. It is a Montessori school that kids can start at 18months. They have a free mommy and me class for kids newborn to 3 on Mondays from 3-4pm so we checked it out today. Zoe had a lot of fun. She didn’t play with the other 3 kids there but enjoyed sweeping and playing in the water. The teacher is from Edmonton and the director of that location is from Vancouver.

I think she may start there in the new year until then we will continue to go on the Monday afternoons so she can get used to the teacher and her assistant and the classroom. She would go from 8:30 to 11:30 in the morning from 3 to 5 days a week. I was thinking 5 would be good because then she would get lots of time with other kids and be done in time to have lunch and then a nap. I think the routine would help her settle and sleep better. She has been having some sleep issues that we are working on. It may be because she is growing and learning so much right now.

The ayi Mary taught her to say bamboo and point at the bamboo plants along the walkway to the clubhouse. She loves the classroom at the school but is overwhelmed by all the activities there are and wants to do them all right away. She was telling one of the other kids no when he tried to play at the little water basin with her. So hopefully it will help her with sharing too.

As for her potty she has gone at least 10 times in the potty since the last post. All but once it was pee. She likes the singing and dancing and sticker that come after. She likes to sit on her potty whenever I go and if she doesn’t go she looks in and still gets excited. She gets told it was a good try but no sticker or song and dance.

She is mastering the dirty look to and will look at you sideways with a look that says I don’t think so. It is funny and trying. She is saying no to help a lot too and wants to do everything herself including the stairs which obviously we can not let her do. So if it is something she can attempt without threat of serious bodily injury I have been letting her try. Of course there are the times I know she can do something but she doesn’t want to and I try to encourage her to at least try before I help her do it. She still likes washing her hands and now enjoys brushing her teeth although she doesn’t do a great job of it I am glad she tries. She also likes to brush her hair and anyone or anything else she can. Of course she only brushes the front and usually brushes it into her face. She also always puts her hands in her hair while eating so there is almost always a little bit of what she was eating in her hair.

My camera ran out of batteries but I will be sure to get new ones before the Halloween party here so you can all see her costume. It is kind of a pumpkin princess thing. The eyore one I bought before we came is too small for her so we had to buy her one here. I am sure due to the limited selection there will be many little girls in the same costume. I think she will enjoy the trick or treating much more this year. At least the candy portion. I am trying to get her to say trick or treat. Not everyone in the complex will hand out candy and there is a time limit of 2 hours that you are allowed to be out. I don’t think she would last for 2 hours trick or treating or that I would so we will probably just do our part of the complex and skip the big houses then go back to the clubhouse for some food and games. I am going to try to get her to nap late that day so she can stay up a little later. Although I am sure I will have just gotten her into a routine so if I mess it up I could be in trouble.

She slept with me last night but is currently in her own room. I have been trying different CD’s. Tonight I used a pm meditation one that I have. It nearly put me to sleep so it seems to have worked for her.

Well I am going to go and try to get some good sleep tonight too. Hope you are all well and look forward to seeing everyone in December.

Yeah Zoe

Well today Zoe went poop in the potty. I am not really trying very hard to potty train her but she does occasionally want to sit on it so I have let her and today she pooped in it. She has peed in it several times now. I didn’t want to have her toilet trained before xmas because the plane is no place to take a little on to go potty. She may have other ideas though. We will see if she keeps her intrest up or not. If she does I may have to break down and actually work with her. Having no diapers would be nice but it also would be a little scarry here with not great bathroom conditions everywhere.

We are going to The Eton School tomorow to check it out. They have a montessori nursery school that we may send Zoe to in the New Year. I think she would really enjoy it and get a lot out of it. She really likes playing with other kids in the playroom at the clubhouse but there are not always other kids there and sometimes the kids there don’t set a good example of how to behave. Currently some of Zoes favourtie things are to pour tea with her tea set, sweep the floor, play with the kitchen (at clubhouse playroom), dance and colour.

I am hoping she does well this week with Steve away because she really gets excitied and looks forward to him coming home at night. One of her favourite words right now is Daddy. I hear it often during the day and then she looks for him. I am sure he will get a great big hug when he gets back from his really long flight home from Florida.

Hope everyone is well. I will post a xmas wish list for Zoe soon. Just please remember we have to be able to fit it in a suitcase so light and small is the way to go. We are keeping an eye out for things to bring home for everyone and hope to make it to one of the markets next month without Zoe and get all the stuff. Zoe could stay with Mary our ayi she really seems to like her. I will write about the joys and pains of having an ayi at a later date. I don’t expect anyone will be breaking out the violins for me. lol

Just a little blah blah blah

Well as you can see I have a new camera. It is not as fancy as the other one but does fit in my purse. So I can snap photos when we are out and something catches my eye. You can see some of our new furniture in the pictures as well. Our living room, dining room, and playroom stuff are all new. We have some new stuff in out other rooms too and maybe I will take a pic of them one day. I will also try to take some pics of outside the house and the clubhouse so you can see what it is like outside.

As for Zoe she has not been sleeping well this week and we have had to either get up 20 mins after we put her down or just let her sleep with us. So she has been with us. She will nap in her room. We are hoping this phase ends soon. Steve is leaving Thursday for a week in Florida to be on a panel. I am sure he will blog about it in his blog later. Well I am going to go and relax a bit before Zoe wakes up from her nap.

Also A big Happy Birthday to Kaiya who turned 2 Yesterday (well here it was yesterday anyway) Hope you had lots of cake and liked your presents.

Pictures at last.

While if you have been reading the blog you will know that our digital camera was accidently put in storage by the movers, so we haven’t been able to take any pictures since we arrived.

We are hoping to get the camera back when we visit the US for Christmas this year, but decided to breakdown and buy a small, portable digital camera for Christina’s birthday.


Zoe and Daddy at Outback Steak House. It is just like the ones in the USA. Zoe tends to ham it up for the camera sometimes as you can see.

Here is Zoe kissing Daddy. Pretty cute huh?

Here is Zoe with Rabbit getting ready to go out to the Outback.

The rest of the pictures are from our new house in Yosemite. It is an expat community in Shunyi, which is in the North East of Beijing, basically the suburbs.

Zoe, Daddy and Pooh having tea in the Playroom.
The living room, complete with two Zoe size chairs.
The playroom without a tea party

The dining room

The dawn of a new era in TV.

While the TV here pretty much sucks. And we are pretty addicted to TV, so that was starting to be a pretty big problem, especially with all of the new TV shows starting in the Fall.

I tried the bit torrent route (i.e. downloading copied TV shows from the Internet) with no luck, not sure if it is me or the chinese firewall. Will experiment more in the near future.

In the meantime we have discovered the joys of iTunes. They have a lot of good shows and you can buy a seasons pass, just like Tivo, where you get the new episode downloaded to your computer the day after it airs. It’s pretty easy to use and with some simple network I can stream the shows to any computer in the house, include my laptop which is set-up in the master bedroom so we can watch the shows on our new LCD TV.

I bought 2 new LCD TV’s, 32″ Sanyos from this huge electronics store called Gome. Read Chris’ earlier post to hear about the joys of big store shopping.

Anyways, we have signed up for The Office, Desperate Housewives, Lost, Survivor and Battlestar Galactica seasons passes. Plus have download a couple episodes of new shows to see if we like them.

So far, it’s pretty handy, but a little pricey. About the same as buying the box set of DVD’s, only you get it in real-time. While the box set price in the US, here the box set costs about 20 yuan, or $2.50 USD.

Quick and efficent need not apply

Ok the people who work in this country are most definately hard working and do some jobs that I would not last 1 minute at. Having said that I have experienced a lot of frustration from the time it takes to do a simple thing. Here are a couple examples:

Banking: You go into the bank and take a number and wait for your number to be called. This is kinda nice because you can sit and wait and wait and wait. The thing is often the others don’t sit and wait while you are doing your banking they stand right behind your chair or beside it watching. The security guy will sometimes get them to step back. Then when you get to the window (picutre a wall of plexiglass with tellers sitting behind it in a row. You can see every teller and every thing they are doing from almost anywhere in the bank plus you can see the big breifcase each has full of money beside them. If you are taking out or depositing money the teller will count it by hand 3 times then run it through a machine at least this many times to recount it. There are odd rules like you cannot take out more than the equivelent of $1000 USD on weekends or during holidays. This included the holdiay that was a week long. Steve has to go in and have them change the money in his account from USD to RMB so we have money to spend because this cannot be done electronically. They also will not let you change more than the allowable amount for the holiday or weekend in your account even if you are not getting money out. It is super slow and took 45 mins (maybe a little longer)last time we went in with no wait for Steve to have them switch the USD to RMB in his account and set up a monthly wire transfer to pay our rent. It would of been worse had another bank customer not been able to tell the teller what Steve meant by a wire transfer.

Shopping in Dept stores: So the normal shopping experience say at future shop/best buy is you go in and pick out the electronics/tv/appliances or whatever you want you go pay and you take them to the cahsier or pick them up at a window right after. Here you have to get a slip for the item you are buying (multiple if they are from different departments) then go to a a cashier and wait to pay for them. Then take the receipt back to the department(s) you bought the item from and wait while they then go and find the item in the stock room and bring it to you. As you can imagine if you are buying multiple items this can be a long process. This is the same in the department stores for clothing and toys too. They could at least go retreive the item after they give you the receipt in the electronic stores. With clothing and toys you leave the item with the person who gave you the receipt then pick it up once you pay.

Resturants: They sit you down and give you the menus then leave or hover right over you. The hovering is annoying but prefferable. If they leave you will not see them again until you wave them over. Even though there are usally 3 or 4 people standing there doing nothing. If you order drinks first they may or may not come by the time your food comes. And one person may get their drink while the other waits another 5 or 10 minutes. They also will never come and see if you need anything eles or how everything is. Anytime you want a waiter/ess you will have to wave or call them over. Then once they clear everything off your table they will again leave and not come back. So you could sit and wait for your bill until closing time with nothing on your table. We have learnt to ask for the bill as soon as we are done so we can hopefully get it within 15 or 20 minutes.

These are just a few examples of things that really can test your patience level. Especailly when your toddler is getting cranky.