Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One of Those Days

It was one of those days where the best of my mama intentions stood no chance against sleepless babies and mess-loving toddlers.  I totally slacked off on planning projects for the boys this week, so when Micah asked for one, I offered him the first thing that came to mind: read a book about a dachshund called "Pretzel" and make homemade pretzels.  It seemed easy enough until I remembered that I'm an absolute failure at most kitchen projects involving dough and that Hudson was on a sleep strike that day (in my defense however, I didn't know that at the time).  

But persist we did. 

Which ended up like this.

I had read a post on a photography blog earlier that day that talked about storytelling through photography.  Not just trying to get the perfect portrait but capturing the rawness of real life, messy details and all.  So I took a few steps back and got this as well.

My tiny kitchen with every available inch of counter space occupied.  My mismatched cabinets.  My pretzels rising on the counter (which, I might add, was an absolute waste of time because they got stuck and I ended up having to retwist them again after scraping them off with a spatula).  My boys coated in flour & dough, reveling in the aftermath of "washing their hands" (aka- taking an entire bath in the sink).  My kitchen towels on the floor, mopping up the puddles left from said kitchen bath.  The only thing that's missing from this shot is Hudson strapped to my front in the Ergo.  And if you're not good a rolling dough to begin with, why in the world would you attempt it with an ill-tempered infant attached to you?  Questions I really should think through.

And this, friends, is my life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Google Translate, how I love thee!

Since living in a foreign land and operating primarily in a foreign tongue, Google Translate has become a near & dear friend to us.  But if you've ever used Google Translate, you know first hand that it has its setbacks.  If you've never had the pleasure of translating for fun (I know, what a thrilling life I lead!), this video ought to convince you to try it.  

This week, Google Translate found an even near-er and dear-er place in my heart.  Our house helper has commented ever since she started coming to our house about how different we interact as a family.  She's even asked us to lead a marriage & parenting class for her friends.  In an effort to try to understand more of what she finds encouraging about our family, we asked her to make a list of some of her observations.  What she produced was almost like a diary of her time in our home and was very insightful.  Well, at least I think it was insightful.  I'm ashamed to say I couldn't exactly read it.

Enter Google Translate.

It should be said that everything she wrote makes perfect sense in Chinese.  But apparently the feud between China & Google further manifests itself in the poor translations it puts forth.  When I plugged in what she typed for us, I got what reminded me of an amateur poetry reading.  For the full effect, please think barrettes, bongo drums, and snapping as you read.

The door is a handsome man of the house and super perfect hostess
I love smug.
Wow!  Envy, jealousy and hatred... 
Mistress blue eyes, like light brown hair
There, there...
A doll like star, 
Blue eyes, blond hair, super white, 
Slightly curled hair, very cute, 
Milk powder bags, star camel, 
Cute, pretty, 
But he is a big guy!

Our family (well, half of it at least) according to Google Translate: the door husband, super perfect hostess wife, and doll like star camel.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013


The last time I took a month away from the blog, I was partying it up in America.  The time before that, I was comatose on the couch during the first trimester of pregnancy.  I wish I had an equally exciting excuse for this unfortunate break.  But I don't.  It's just been life as usual around here, except for a few interesting highlights.

Littlest Man has decided to become wickedly mobile.  Not walking yet (thankfully) but crawling like a mad man and pulling up on anything he can grab ahold of.  It definitely makes life more interesting having three little people on the move, especially when certain ones pull themselves up on coffee tables and can't get back down.  And instead of coming to their aid, certain mama take pictures instead.

Growing up seems to be the name of the game in our house.  Micah is finally out of diapers and into his beloved big boy underwear.  (No, I did not teach him to tuck his shirt into his underwear.) 

I don't say finally because it was a long process getting him out, just a long process of getting started.  He turned three in November, but we were staying at my parents house then and I didn't think they (or their nice hardwood floors) would appreciate participating in this rite of passage.  Then when we got back to China, our apartment was so cold that I couldn't stand to let him freeze while running around without pants for those first few days.  But once we started, he figured it out in no time at all.  I even kept him in his underwear for nap & bedtime on Day #1 and he's been dry while sleeping ever since.  So my lesson from all of this has been that there are definitely some perks to waiting, waiting, and waiting some more when it comes to potty training.  

On the same day we started potty training, Sam informed me that he didn't want his pacifier during nap anymore.  He had chewed a hole in it a few weeks earlier, and I guess the sucking wasn't very fun anymore.  He told me he wanted to throw it away.  Even after I reminded him that if he threw it away it would be gone forever, he still insisted on marching to the kitchen and chunked it in the trash.  And that was the end of that.  

In other news, it's still cold and, as our Chinese friends say, the wind is very big.  Therefore, playing outside is still kind of a challenge.  So we got a slide for our living room.  It matches quite nicely with the dryer I also keep in my living room.  The boys think it's pretty rad.

So until we can ditch the layers and head outside, we'll keep sliding.

I've had to get more creative with my indoor activities these days.  I've been seeing a lot about "sensory bins" on some of the homeschool blogs I read, but it that seems way too complicated for me.  So I stuck it to Pinterest and made my own sensory box out of expired baby cereal, rice, and noodles.  Messy indeed but nothing a few sweeps of a broom couldn't fix.

We are heading to sunny Thailand in 8 days for meetings and then a few days at the beach with some old friends from Louisville who also now call the Big Chicken home.  Both of our youngest children were born within two months of each other and their names are only one letter different (Hudson & Judson).  Plus we have a lot of history with them and greatly enjoy their attitude toward China life.  To say that I'm looking forward to it is a severe understatement!