Thursday, May 14, 2009

Having my cake and eating it too...

I had to run an errand today and wanted to take Zeke with me. This is a rare occurrence because, why would I take a toddler on an errand with me when I have a perfectly good babysitter at home? Sometimes, though, I just feel like having him with me. I know I'll long for these days of the easy babysitter soon enough but I don't always like to leave him at home.

So, anyway, I decided to take him with me. Keep in mind that running an errand here is not like running an errand in America. I cannot just hop in the car, pull up to Target, hop out, complete my transactions and dash home.

I went to the Sunny Gold market to exchange a pair of trousers I had bought last week. They had a hole in them and somehow I missed it when I made the purchase. I buy from this particular lady regularly so I knew I would not have a problem. So, despite the fact that this is not a stroller friendly, nor shopping cart containing place, off I went with Zeke (and the driver).

We pull into our parking place (no easy task- backing up, in between to closely parked cars) and I get Zeke out of the car and start to juggle him with my sling. The driver hops out, grabs Zeke and says he'll help me. So, off we go, into the market and up the escalator. Xiao Shang proceeds to entertain Zeke as I made my transaction to exchange the trousers. He had Zeke laughing up a storm, walking on the top of the escalator like a treadmill. Not exactly an activity that I would have selected, but they both seemed to be enjoying themselves and I know that Xiao Shang would never let anything happen to Zeke, so I let it be.

Next I walked around the corner of the market to get a larger size of a shirt I had purchased for each of the boys. The vendor had told me I could change one if it did not fit. Jed's is a bit too small so I went by her stall and sure enough, this time she had the larger sizes. I bought one from her and next time I go, I'll take back the too-small one and exchange it for something else.

All of the vendors I frequent enjoyed seeing Zeke. He walked up to one of the women, arms extended, and let her hold him for a while.

I walked around for a little while, looking for a purse that I want, trying to kill a little time before heading back to pick Huck up from school, all the while, the driver followed. At this point, I was carrying Zeke. I did not find the bag and soon we got back into the car and headed to get Huck.

It was a successful outing. Everyone had fun. Now I just wish I could take Xiao Shang with me to Target in July! Oh well. That's what shopping carts and lollipops are for, right? I'll keep telling myself that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The boys today

Here is Huck opening his last bday present and boy was he happy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jed's haircut video

Huck's haircut video

The Big Haircuts

The before picture

The boys have been growing their hair for nearly a year and a half in order to donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Jed heard about someone who did it and said he wanted to do it. I told him if he wanted to do it, I would do it with him so he would have someone to do it with him and then Huck said he wanted to do it as well.

Yesterday was the big day. We all got our hair cut at different times and everyone is happy with the results. This being China, though, of course my hair looks absolutely nothing like what I asked for, but that's ok. It will grow back and the end result of the whole day is we have 4- 8 inch ponytails to donate for wigs for women with medical hair loss.

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LOVE this picture, though he did not want me to post it.


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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Walking through the village

There is a village about 3/4 of a mile from our house. We walk by it every day and occasionally walk through the main drag. Today, though, my friend suggested we take a different turn once we were on the main drag through the village.

We discovered a hidden metropolis! There was so much activity. It was great to see. My friend bought a hat for a party tonight for less than a dollar. There were fruit and vegetable stands, buckets, mops, shoes, clothing for sale and lots of people going about their business, as you can see in the video.

I gave out several American flag pins to adults and lollipops to kids. I try to remember to carry them whenever we are out and about.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The crowds

This is what happened at the Temple of Heaven. You can see, if you look at the pictures from the bottom- up, how the crowds gather.

In this particular position, we had moved away from the main flow of people so the boys could sit and have a snack. Removing them from the main flow of traffic did not make a difference in the attention they got. Eventually, we just went back to the car. It is fun to be out and about like this but eventually the boys get overwhelmed.

A European tourist even commented, "your children are like rock stars."

The Pearl Market

This is the pearl market I always mention. The woman talking to Zeke is Fenny, our pearl lady. She gave Zeke the necklace he is wearing when he was born. She recently expanded her business. The stall used to end at the glass ledge, but she extended into the neighboring stall.

I bought gifts to bring home when we move. After our visit to Fenny, we went to the toy market behind the pearl market.

Temple of Heaven

We visited the Temple of Heaven this weekend. We like to do that sometimes just to be with the local people. They do all sorts of activities, including the activity you see here, it is a sort of Tai Chi, dance. You can see how the boys attract attention. We could not move 10 feet without attracting a crowd. You can see, despite not understanding the actual words, that everyone is intrigued by the fact that we have 4 children, especially since they are 4 sons. They ask again and again, to confirm. We have to explain that despite the fact that two of them have long hair, that they are boys. It is not easy to explain the concept of Locks of Love to people here, but we do try.

You can see from Jed's face that he really is not a big fan of these interactions. He really dislikes being the center of attention. He gets the most attention out of any of the boys.

I will post more tomorrow.