Where we are now

So the siding is now going up and the insulation is going in.  We have not be able to go in the house for a few weeks.  They are doing some spray insulation and the fumes need time to dissipate. It is taking a bit longer than expected because they can not spray around the light cans per the manufacture even though it says different on packaging.  There is a concern that it could overheat and cause a fire.  This would be very unlikely with the led lights we will be using because they do not generate that much heat..   The wood and stone siding have started on the outside and the roof is being put on.  This is making it easier to imagine what the finished house will look like.

Also because it wouldn’t be fun if everything went smooth we now have drainage problems.  The drainage system the county said we had to put in is not working.  This is not a surprise to the builder or architect both of whom told the county that this would happen when the submitted our plans with 2 different options.  The neighbours beside us who have been very nice now have a flooded area in their yard because of the drainage system failure.  We are unable to do anything without the county approval.  The first chat with the county we were told that we put the required system in and that was it.  We think since then the neighbours have complained to the county so now they are meeting with our builder and architect on our site to see what is happening and find a solution.  I am glad we will be able to fix it but not happy that we spent money on the required system and will now have to pay for another system that will likely be one of the ones we proposed in our permit application.  I am assuming that the county will not be refunding us even though the concerns were brought up.

We have now selected flooring, kitchen cabinets, and kitchen counter tops.  We are working on the backsplash.  We are also closing in on the wall colours.  I gave Dave all the samples that I liked and he is working from there.  Steve and I both agreed on the flooring right away which was the first thing we picked it is hickory.  The cabinets are a dark stain and the counters are a very light gray.

The last move in date we got was for mid July I am hoping that is still the case even though the insulation is taking a bit longer than expected.  If it does work out we will be starting the BBQ’s in August.

We are getting our current house ready to go on the market by getting rid of stuff we don’t need/want.  The kids have been great they have given away over 5 boxes of toys from their playroom.  We have the donation truck coming on the 27th so I should be able to get a lot of other stuff together by then.  I am hoping once we have it on the market it sells fast so I don’t have to worry about the kids messing up everything for the showings.  Of course that would also mean we would end up somewhere for a short time before we move into the new house.  I think we may end up somewhere else for a bit while they paint and replace carpet because it would be to smelly.  Not sure what we will do with the cat during that time.

One day I will try and get Steve to add some photos so you can see all the stuff I am rambling about.

Construction of House

We are now finally gearing up for the permitting process.  If all goes well we will break ground in October this year and be done at the end of next year or in Spring 2016.  We were originally going to just to the craft cabin then start house later but because of permitting complications we are now doing the house and then probably starting the craft cabin/man cave a few months after the house is done maybe in September 2016 it will take 8-12 months to finish once it is started.

I am hoping that the house will be done in November next year so we can spend Christmas there but am thinking it will probably not be.  Maybe it will be done in time to celebrate Zoe’s 11h birthday there.  I do know I am going to try and plan a house warming when we are done.

I have kind of been over the whole house thing because it is taking so long and I am no longer excited.  I am trying to get back into the excitement mode and hope that once it gets rolling again it does not stall out.  I do enjoy going to the property and sitting by the pond.  We grew flowers and some veggies this year too..  It is a great place for the kids to run around.  I think once the house is done I will enjoy sitting on the deck watching the kids in the yard.  We can get splash pool for them and they can have hours of fun in the yard.  I would like to be able to put a play set in for them and maybe a small sports court too so they can really have fun and have friends over often.

I also hope when our house is done it is the place for many gatherings and game nights. I have warned Steve that if we are going to have such a great house for entertaining I will want to use it.

Starting up again

Well I am thinking of starting this blog up again. Then our friends and family can keep up with what we are up to.

Ainsley: Not much new she is almost two months old now. She smiles and kind of giggles. She enjoys watching the cats, her sister and the occasional cartoon. Her main activites are eating and sleeping.

Zoe: Zoe seems to be much bigger now that we have Ainsley. She loves her little sister and is always wanting to hug and hold her. She is going to school and enjoying it. She still plans on marrying Dylan when she gets bigger. She has many activities and interests such as going to the park, crafts, puzzles and playing games. Today we collected leaves then put them under paper and used crayons to make leaf rubbings.

I am a big fan of napping right now and try to nap with Ainsley in the day while Zoe is at school. I also try to get out for a walk everyday usually to the Starbucks with Ainsley. Right now I am not doing as much with Zoe as I would like because Ainsley eats a lot but hope this changes in the next few months when Ainsley begins to eat cereal and baby food.

Steve is now working a job in Redmond so will not need to go to China as often or travel as often. He is still working in the Bing group so everyone should use Bing. He is at work or helping out at home. He has taken over putting Zoe to bed, making her lunches, and taking her to school in the mornings. He also cuddles with Ainsley in the evenings and on weekends so she will nap longer and I can get a rest, shower, and eat.

This weekend we are going to get a family photo done. Which means I have worn Steve down and finally got him to agree to it. We are going to have it done outdoors by a friend of mine that has a photography business. It will be nice to have a good quality photo that is not the standard pose shoot you get at other big chain places. So I am hoping there is no rain on Saturday. It was rained out last weekend.

We have a part time nanny now that helps with Zoe in the afternoons her name is Amelia. Zoe seems to like her. She also comes on weekends sometimes and takes Zoe on an outing so she isn’t stuck at home because of Ainsley’s schedule.

So very annoyed

Well I won’t be able to tell if this posts because apparently I am not authorized to view my own blog. I get a message about not having the right credentials. HMMM I wonder who or what could be blocking the site and my access. I guess my blog or all blogs at the moment are a problem to national security. So if you are able to read this here is what we have been up to.

Zoe is liking school very much and has several friends. There is a little girl named Emma who goes 3 mornings a week and the two of them are stuck together the whole time. She is also friends with a little girl named Ellen who is turning 3 this weekend. She was one of the 3 kids Ellen invited to her party. Ellen is just learning english as german is her native tounge so Zoe gets to do most the talking. LOL She still calls Tiger her boyfriend and really likes another little boy called Peyton.

We are thinking of moving to a new place for the remainder of our time here so we have more room and Zoe’s bedroom is on the same level as ours. She will be outgrowing her crib soon and I am thinking if we can hold off until then she will get the big girl bed for her birthday. Which would probably coinside with the move because we would have to give 2 months notice. Oh and for anyone who cares it looks like we are going to be here longer likely through until 2010. Steve is still working some stuff out and the decision will be final within the next couple weeks.

Why are we staying longer you may ask. Well Steve has gotten a promotion to GM and it means a lot of great opportunities and challenges for him. There is nothing like a good challenge to get him going and keep him engaged. He did ask me for my input before accepting this and my thoughts were that he is an amazing person and I have been with him this far on the journey so I might as well stay on the ride and see where it takes us. I know that he will excel at work because he is engaged so it makes it easier to support him in this decision. Not that I am completely happy or doing it without some conditions. On the up side for our friends and family you have that much more time to come visit us or revisit us as the case may be.

Christmas is coming and we have already bought way too many things for Zoe. She has told us the only thing she wants from Santa is a Pink Dinosaur. We have not had much luck with that so are trying to get alternate colours and/or presents. We did see a pink dinosaur head thing at the market yesterday she liked but it looked cheap. It was an egg shaped thing and you add water or something and a head grows that looks like a dinosaur it was pink and sandy looking. Of course I don’t think you know what colour you have until you add the water so that could be a problem. We also looked at a wooden doll house for her but they would not go lower than 8ooRMB ($100 US) it is pretty big and goes with the furniture and dolls we bought her in Thailand that were on sale for 70% off (it is called Plan Toys). Will have to do some research online and see if that is a deal or not. I received one of my Xmas presents early Steve brought me back a pink Nintendo DS game system because my other one broke. He gave it to me early so I could continue playing my game I have been without for two weeks. I am very spoiled. Zoe wants to get me a ring. Which worked out well because I am having one made and told Steve he can wrap it up with Zoe so she can give it to me at Christmas. Zoe already picked out a present for Steve too when we were out shopping one day. I can’t say what it is because Steve will read this.

Well this is a long post that I am not even sure will make it to the blog so that is it for today. Hey if you do read this maybe you can email me so I know it posted. There are other posts that never showed up and Steve was looking into the problem for me.

Touring around

This week I have done more touring around with Phyllis. We went on the same tour I sent my friends Sean and Kate on a couple weeks ago. I must say they had a longer tour and went to the pearl market ours didn’t. We went to a teahouse and tried some teas then of course were asked to buy some. The guide said if we were lucky there would be people at the Temple of Heaven doing some or all of the following Tai Chi, Peking Opera, playing instruments, dancing. Well they were but we didn’t get to stop and see any as we raced from the front gate to the hall for good harvest. I think I will go back on a less smoggy and rushed day to the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace.

When Phyllis and I went to the wall I was worried I overestimated her abilities. She nearly broke down getting to the gondola and it was going to be a long walk to the tobogan ride down. After many stops and minor panic attacks she calmed herself on the gondola. Then once on the wall she made it without any problems at all and it is a long up and down walk. The ride down was a lot of fun but there was a person in front of us who kept coming almost to a stop so we had to keep slowing down just as we got going.

The silk market tailor Phyllis visited knows her well now as she went to that market at least 4 times for various fittings and is going home with 2 shirts. One of which she let the girl there pick the material for and is her favourite one. Our driver also knows Phyllis well and probably has not heard so much talking the whole time he has worked for us. Of course he has a sense of humour and seems to have enjoyed it even if he didn’t completely understand what she was saying all of the time.

As for eating as we eat out and eat mostly wester or european food that is what she has had. We did go for Peking Duck and I took her to our favourite dumpling place. Where the brought us the wrong dumplings (they were hairy crab). This was discovered when I ate one and had to spit it out discreetly into a napkin. They do not speak much english but the menu is in english and chinese and has pictures. The hairy crab dumplings where beside the pork soup dumplings I had ordered. The waitress seemed a little angry that I would dare say that she had not gotten the order right but it did get fixed. Phyllis enjoyed watching my face as I realized there was seafood in the dumpling I had just put in my mouth.

Tonight we are going to Zoe’s schools Halloween Fancy Dress Party. Zoe is quiet excited to wear her pirate costume. It is much colder this October than it was last year so I don’t know that anyone will see her costume when she goes trick or treating next week.

This morning at about 6:30 Steve brought up to our bed because she had a bad dream she fell right back to sleep and slept until almost 9am. When she woke up she opened her eyes a bit and smiled and shouted I want a puppy. She says I am getting a kitty and she is getting a puppy. Although when we went on our hutong tour with Phyllis last weekend we went to a temple where we saw 3 cats. There was a little white one that followed Zoe the whole time we were there. She kept saying “come on kitty” and it would follow along behind her or beside her. Then when we were leaving we said it was time to say bye to the kitty and she looked at us with her eyes all welled up with tears and said she didn’t want to leave the kitty she wanted him to come with her. Even when we explained that he lived there she was not happy and started crying. She cried for several minutes after we left. I was really worried at the next courtyard house we stopped at because they had a tiny white kitten but she didn’t get as attached because it would not listen to her and just chased the leaves blowing around the courtyard.

Well that is a nice long entry for those that still try to read this. There are other stories I could tell but will save them for another time. For now we are all well and looking forward to trick or treat time. Hope that everyone has a Happy Halloween and don’t eat too much candy.