5 week anniversary!

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Boxes_unloadedToday marks our 5th week here in Beijing…long enough to start to get used to things, kinda know where to find stuff that we need, and  starting to recognize my way around. Long enough that we are getting used to my cooking, and our little routines and also, feeling settled, and comfortable. Long enough for me to get brave enough to start driving here and there… and actually be doing pretty good!  Long enough to sort of start missing stuff from home just a little…(wink) and long enough that we can all count to 100 in Chinese. It’s funny, cause we have been trying to teach Capri to count, teach her the color names, and fruit names…which is exactly what we are trying to learn in Chinese…so we are on a 1 year old level so far! (pretty impressive). I think it’s so crazy that people can actually read the characters. It’s just SUCH a foreign language!
SO, in celebration of our 5 week anniversary…guess what arrived last night?! Our container with the stuff that we shipped over on the water.  We have been anxiously anticipating it’s arrival, despite the fact that we had really learned to  ‘make do’ with what we had. And although the container had a lot of ‘creature comforts’ such as our mattresses, blankets, warm clothes, bikes, PS2, and a big load of good from Costco…I realize now that we can certainly survive easily on FAR less than we think we need. In fact, I say- less is more!  That being said…I slept so good on my mattress last night, I couldn’t believe it. I have been suspecting that a comfortable mattress was directly proportional to a restful night’s sleep.. but until last night, I didn’t know how critical a good mattress is. The mattress we have been sleeping on (well, all of us) are SO hard, and the springs totally boing when you move, and jab you. so lame. I have a bruise on my hip from sleeping on my side. Lol. I layed down in bed last night and practically cried myself to sleep with gratitude, and I awoke feeling a million percent better than I have thus far. Not to mention that we haven’t had blankets-I only brought sheets when we came on the plane. So we got a few fleece blankets from ikea, but it’s been getting  COLD. I loved being warm! We all did. It was a good night. And now that I have all my spices, there is a whole new range of recipies I can tackle!                                                                                                                         
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Today was a clear, crisp (emphasis on crisp) beautiful fall day, and after we were through with lunch and school stuff, we decided to load up and go see the  “Summer Palace”.  This is another one of those places that Beijing is known for, and I have been wanting to get there since we came. I can’t believe it took us 5 weeks.  We went there by taxi, and since Eric had to do a factory visit I southern china today, he wasn’t here to help- we just took the map, and showed the taxi drivers where we wanted to go!  I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had seen some pictures, and from the looks of it on the map, it’s HUGE…but I had no clue it was as fascinating and stunningly gorgeously amazing as it is.  Holy cow, it’s the most fabulous place. I must say, amazing photo opps galore. We will be going back there for a photo shoot and family photo. Everywhere I looked was a great place to do photo shoots! Killer backdrops, amazing patterns and designs on the ground, and fabulous foliage- just beautiful grounds.  When we pulled up and got out of the taxi, we were met by a young Chinese girl (20’s) asking me in English if I needed help. Turns out she is an offical free-lance tour guide for the place, and pretty much just approaches people that come on their own (not in a huge tour group arriving on a big bus).  She convinced me that she would take us to the best places, and that she would help us with the kids, and give us her ‘best price’.  So in addition to the price to get in the park, we paid about 20$ for a personal guide, and extra pair of eyes on the kids, and she carried my diaper bag… WELL WORTH IT! her name was Lily and she was the nicest, cutest, best thing! It was so fun to hear the stories of the place, and the history and all the insight that she has. She is a student, and does this part time. She knew everything about everything. I particularly liked hearing about all the traditions of symbols that represent things like ‘longlife’ ‘success’ ‘prosperity’ ‘safety’  etc… it was fascinating. She was a doll, and was a good sport about my kids climbing on everything and running all over and well, being kids—she was totally freaked out that I have 5 kids… LOL. Of course all the Chinese people were trying to take photos of the kids. It was super cold I thought. This AZ girl is going to have a brutal winter.  Anyway… we walked around for about 2 hours. I wish that we had been dressed better, or not had the babies,….we HAVE to go back soon! It’s fabulous. So I am putting the photos that we got today in an album like the one I did for the great wall. I was in charge of the camcorder, and kylee was taking photos… so pretty much she took all the ones that you will see. She did a great job. You could  totally spend the whole day there. There is this really big ‘budda temple’ that we didn’t climb up to, cause it takes like an hour…so I want to go back. I am sure we’ll have lots of opportunities. Man, we had so much fuN! It was so great, the kids had a blast. It’s so nice that they can climb around and explore. It would be nice if it weren’t so freakishly cold. There were several places that you could get dressed up in emperor clothes, and get your photo taken, I think that would be fuN!
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