It is getting cold here in Shanghai. We have been bundling up and scraping by for enough sweaters and jackets. Coming from the desert we're a little wimpy I must say.
Back in September proclaimed that I would do my "little things" posts in smaller increments because so much happens all the time, but I can hardly keep up with doing them monthly so never mind about that little idea.
....and then there was my sister's wedding (HERE) all of which I just finally barely finished posts about.
Dave and the kids didn't sit around and mope while I was gone :)
"The Voice" of China
The day after I got home, Dave's business partner Kevin had received a call from a friend that they needed some American "extras" to do a special on one of the top five in winners in "The Voice of China."
It was during a school day and the big kids were needing to be at school (still catching up after Cambodia), so we snuck Claire out and headed on over.
In my jet-lagged state I didn't ask many questions...just figured we would go and be in a big crowd there, but when we arrived they pulled us right in to do our hair and make-up and we realized we were "the show."
A little bit horrifying for me, a little bit exciting for Claire, and somewhere in between for Dave. Here's the girl who was in the top three:
Yes, I'm serious about that.
I am the furthest thing from an actress and even further from a solo singer. Dave, Claire and I had to sing a song for her, and in our dumbfound deer-in-the-headlights stupor we chose "Give Said the Little Stream" of all things. Then Dave and I had to sing a song to each other.
See why I'm saying I was feeling a little bit horrified? Ha!
Everyone was so nice though, and totally helped us through it.
After our on-camera "reunion" and singing, they interviewed Dave since he can speak Chinese.
It all chalked up to an experience I'm sure none of us will ever forget.
Grace made the soccer team and loved her season (although we all agreed it was way too short).
A night out on the town (our little neighborhood) to go watch volleyball at the school:
Max, after a brief flirt with the idea of never cutting his hair while we are here, finally begged me to chop it off. He went from this:
Claire is excelling in Chinese. She LOVES it and tries to practice with everyone we come across. Taxi drivers, cashiers in stores, random people on the metro, you name it, she's got a smile and a few Chinese words to practice. I LOVE it. Here's her latest Chinese test:
Lucy, on the other hand, didn't want to touch Chinese with a ten-foot pole in the beginning. But with help from her sweet tutor (who is helping me a ton too), she's starting to get some of the key concepts and can answer her teacher's Chinese questions in Chinese.
My walking-home from school buddy:
Sports Day was back HERE.
The people next door are remodeling their house.
That thing is a SHELL I tell you! ...I don't even know how it's still standing up after all the commotion they've made over there knocking things out. There is a new huge pile of trash and debris outside every day. (Makes me sorry for our neighbors back home...sorry Daltons!)
It just so happened that it was "Fashion Week" and there were all kinds of photographers mulling around where we got lunch. A few stopped to take pictures of the kids, and then a whole hoard of them started going at it when we got closer to the event. I wish I had been quick enough to capture a picture of them swarming around taking pictures of them at the entrance to the actual fashion show. It was hilarious.
But I did get a pic. of Claire doing her "pose."
We have been turning into pros. at the subway system and there's something so invigorating about that. I love the subway! So much better than fighting traffic in a cab.
After Xian Tien Di we headed to Yu Yuan Gardens (which was a total flop this time around...wrote about that with more pictures over HERE)
These kids continue to be my heroes.
Some of Lucy's cute classmates and wonderful teacher:
I still have to sit and be mesmerized by the tanks of sea life at the grocery store each time I go. Looks like these guys sure want to escape:
This is not a storm or a cloudy day:
College prep night at the school:
Love any chance to go on little dates with those two.
Our friends Kevin and Tammy's daughter goes to nearby "Disneyland" International school. (If you could visit the school you'd understand why we refer to it as one of the "Disneyland" schools...it is amazing.) Tammy is Chinese but gave birth to her pre-schooler in the states. Because of that, she can attend this great school that only kids with foreign passports can go to.
They had an "International Day" where she needed to make some American treats. She knew where to come to ask for help ;)
She sent her ayi over and we whipped up some cookies and brownies together.
The next day I went to part of the festival with them. It was quite exceptional.
There were food booths from all over the world, and the food was SO GOOD!
(So many countries are represented at that school.)
I went on a little outing here:
I keep trying to find a time to bring my other kids back.
The view from my taxi one day:
Love to go in Claire's room and find this:
This cute family has taken such great care of us:
Love this bridge, because it's cool:
And thank Heavens for that because didn't bring any winter Sunday clothes, and it's cold.
Thank Heavens also for good friends who happened ot be at the Fabric Market at the same time when we could not, for the life of us, find a taxi and Elle had a babysitting job we were scrabbling to get back to. They drove us to the other side of the bridge to grab the metro there.
This is how we have to get on the internet here:
Elle was contacted to help spread the word about these cool t-shirts from Olive Lane:
We took Lu's baptism pictures. These were my favorite out-takes:
The high school did this "last man standing" thing where they had to try to eliminate people they were assigned to with squirt guns.
Max and Elle stuck in there for quite a while before they got taken out :)
And then it was Halloween...with "Crazy Hat Day:"
And then we were off on the high speed train to Beijing.
...for another great adventure.