Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's Up Wednesday | June 2016

Hello and happy Wednesday!! It is time for one of my favorite posts of the month – linking up with Shay, Sheaffer and Mel letting you know everything that is up with us!

1.What we’re eating this week…
We ate some delicious food this weekend – on Saturday our friends invited us over for burgers, ribs and sausage and oh my goodness- it was so tasty! I definitely should have taken a picture, but was just living in the moment and didn’t snap one.  Then on Sunday, we met some of my expat friends from the Philippines and had an all-you-can-eat Japanese meal.  Needless to say, it was my only meal of the day- we had sashimi to our hearts content, beef tenderloin, oysters!, tempura shrimp, regular shrimp, sushi and more!!

2.What I’m reminiscing about…
Our trip to Guilin (more specifically Yangshuo), China.  We really had the best time just getting away for a few days – exploring a new to us city and taking in the breathtaking karst landscape.

In case you missed it, here are a few links for your reading pleasure ;).

We spent the first day taking a boat ride down the Yulong River.

Followed up with hiking Moon Hill.

The second day was pouring rain, but that didn’t stop us from exploring the Silver Caves.

On Saturday afternoon, we just hung out around the hotel letting the girls splash in muddy pictures and getting some of my most recentfavorite pictures of those two.

And then we wrapped up our vacation exploring Xinping, Chinaon Sunday (and saw the exact spot where the picture on the 20 Yuan was taken! and had the best coffee we have tasted in China).

3.What I’m loving…
That my girls  (and us!) have friends in China.  This last weekend was really good for us.  On Friday night, we met Emma’s best friend and her parents for dinner and afterwards they invited us over to their house for drinks while the girls played.  Then on Saturday, we met the other family from my work that lives in our neighborhood for swimming (they have three kiddos all younger than Emma) and then they invited us over to their house to play afterwards and eat the feast mentioned above.  That night, we ran into Emma’s best friend again at the market and the girls were able to play together on the playground.  And then on Sunday, we met my friends from the Philippines as mentioned above.  The four of us have spent a lot of good, quality time together over the last three months, but it is so nice to start to see this little community form around us, to share our experience with and the girls have friends to play with!!

4.What we’ve been up to…
Mostly what I just talked about above ;).  We have also been hanging out at the pool at least once a weekend - makes us really miss our pool back home!!

5.What I’m dreading…
Nothing at all J.  This is really big progress for me, but I am really trying to lift all of my worries up in prayers and focus on all the good in our lives!

6.What I’m working on…
You guys… we are well on our way in this potty training journey (finally!).  My mom actually gave me the idea- she told me that I should have just told Everly there were no diapers in China when we moved… well, obviously we didn’t do that.  But, we were running out of diapers very quickly – i.e. we only had three left so I hid them and we told Everly there were no more diapers in China and we were going to need her to be a big girl and use the potty.  We started last Saturday as of Wednesday morning (China time), she has had two accidents in 4ish days!! We are so stinking proud of our girl as she is of herself! I even told her one morning, come here baby and give mommy a kiss and you know what she responded with?!? ‘me is a big girl, mommy.’. Yes, yes you are sweet Everly! She might even get to start school in August with this new progress!! YAY!!!

We have been hitting it hard in the treat department - the one to two skittles/mm's never seemed to work for her, but getting to pick out a piece of candy from the convenient store - that is the way to her heart.  For every day that she makes it with no accidents, she gets to pick out any piece of candy of her choosing. The first night that she made it all day with no accidents, she chose the umbrella candy that you can see a few pictures above.  Then, last night, she chose this mouse with candy inside.

When she makes it seven days in a row - she gets a pair of 'ice skates' (roller blades) and all treats will commence.  She is pretty darn excited about those ice skates, so hopefully you will see a pair featured on here in a week or so ;).

7.What I’m excited about…
Our vacation next month!  We are headed to Hong Kong and to Kota Kinabalu, Borneo (an island in Malaysia!).  In Hong Kong, we are hoping to take the Star Ferry, ride the Victoria Peak tram, eat Hong Kong French toast and of course, visit Hong Kong Disneyland! Then in Borneo- we plan on relaxing on the beach and soaking up the swimming pools (and possibly an excursion or two?)! I am trying to decide which part will be the girls favorite part – Disney or the beach?

8.What I’m watching/reading…
The only three channels we have on our TV- the Food Network, Travel Channel and Nick Jr.  I am ready for fall TV so we can start streaming again.  Are there any good shows that I need to know about?? I literally don’t have a clue what has been on American television lately.

9.What I’m listening to…
Wes has been streaming quite a bit of music lately which has been a nice change of pace.  It is really weird not to know any new/popular songs… I definitely feel like I will be out of the loop quite a bit by the time that we move back.  When Taylor Swift comes out with a new CD- please let me know Austin!!

10.What I’m wearing…
Other than buying a few dresses for the girls for next summer, new school shoes (see Emma's selection below- I am trying not to cringe thinking about my purple and teal painted bedroom as a teenager) and some uniform bottoms – we have done a great job sticking to not spending much money on clothes.  The Nordstrom anniversary sale is going to be so hard next month.  I know I will be desperately tempted, but I also know it is great to have a somewhat forced shopping breather J.  One thing that Wes and I have talked about in our move to China is how few things we really need.  I wear the same clothes day after day after day.  And while sometimes I do wish that I could just push order and have a new piece of clothing shipped to my house- we know that we are enjoying spending more of our discretionary money on travelling and saving for future house remodels (new kitchen here I come!!).

11.What I’m doing this weekend…
We don’t know yet – we will have to see how the weekend unfolds!

12.What I’m looking forward to next month…
Celebrating everything Everly Gracie!! Next month, our Evsie’s turns THREE!!! And we are so excited to celebrate her.  If I was at home, I would be starting to plan her birthday party.  This is really bittersweet for me- she can remember Emma’s birthday party just a few short months ago  and she talks about having a birthday party with everyone we know and she just doesn’t quite understand how far away China is.  And you guys know how much I love birthday’s – especially my girls birthdays.  All of that being said, we are still going to do our best to celebrate our baby girl.  I am thinking about inviting our friends to the pool on the 30th and having a teddy bear cake (all she has been asking for – if you know how to make one of these, please let me know!).  And she knows we are going to Disney for her birthday.  I am bound and determined to make sure our girl has a special day/birthday month!!

Goodness gracious - we love that girl.  And clearly my favorite color on her is purple!

13.What else is new…
These two have been getting along soooo well lately.  I feel like this definitely goes in spurts, but more often than not (and especially on these long summer days) they play together great! I just love watching their friendship develop :).  And the way Emma looks at Everly - swoon!

14. What is your favorite July 4th tradition...
100% without a doubt, it is going to the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington for an outdoor concert and fireworks.  This is one of the first holiday's that we will have missed now living in China and I am a bit torn up about it... we are loving our experience but holidays with built in, long standing traditions are hard to be away from :).

Ahhh, the memories :).

Monday, June 27, 2016

Chengdu Irrigation Project | Part One

A few weeks ago, I gave you a sneak peek in my Friday Favorites that we had gone to the Chengdu Irrigation Project.  Basically, a long long time ago (just pretend you are Emma and Everly and I am telling you a story), Chengdu was threatened by the frequent flooding of the Minjiang River.  A local official and his son, built the irrigation system and Chengdu and surrounding cities have been free of floods since. The portion Yuzui is what we were after - this is where the watershed where the water is divided into two parts, the inner river and the outer river.  It is divided by the 'fish mouth' levy.

Kung fu pandas on the way in and Ev's interpretation of what she saw.

I think it is kind of perfect.

Mommy even attempted to get in on the action ;. I am pretty sure my kids were thoroughly impressed with my skilz.

We went on a clear day and were so happy we got to take in the view of the mountains.

The funny thing when you go to these tourist type attractions by yourself - you never know exactly what you are seeing (for the most part everything is in Chinese) and we knew we were looking out for a bridge (the Anlan Cable Bridge), so when we got to this one we were a little unimpressed and a little unsure if this is what we had travelled for...

So we went ahead and went across, trying to keep our eyes peeled for the damn, which we never found ;).

Selfie - you know just in case this was what we were looking for ;).

A rare moment of having the bridge all to ourselves!

A family selfie for good measure.  Evsie's clearly was not into the picture.

My gut told me that is not what we came for, so we forged on down a path where we saw the golf carts heading looking for the real deal. It was quite hot so we tried our best to stay under trees  to keep shade on the girls and us.

The river was flowing and the scenery was quite stunning - it felt quite a bit different than city life in Chengdu.

And finally we got to the levee - not exactly sure what this was, but pretty cool.

The view here was my absolute favorite (we had finally found the Anlan bridge)! Look at that temple in the top right - so cute peeking out!!

And turning the other way, right there in the middle is what keeps Chengdu from flooding!

Finally, a selfie in the right spot ;).

A close up of the water flowing two different ways- from the 'fishes mouth'.

It really is quite incredible to think of what was accomplished more than 2200 years ago.

Then, we walked across the long bridge that the irrigation project is famous for.

Love her little jumping shadow!!

We had stopped to pick up our first ice cream of the day -it was so stinking hot!

Everly was not in the picture taking mood this day -love her little tongue sticking out :).

Little girl, big river! I have to brag here for a minute, my girls are braver than most.  Some people were holding their breath, scampering as fast as they could across the bridge while mine just took it in stride. Not too much frightens them except the boogie man ;).

She always takes a minute to stop and smell the roses - her pace in life has already taught me so much, she really takes in her surroundings!

And, second ice cream of the day.  Don't worry - Ev's had some of it too, but in all the pictures she had crazy eyes.

We headed back across the bridge, these two hand and hand making quite the cute pair.

We headed to what was the girls favorite part of the day - splashing in fountains, part two will be up next week!