Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Grocery shopping is a lot more culture shocking than you’d think

By Michelle and William

(picture borrowed from the internet)

This past summer we got to go "home" to the US for a wedding or two. It's always exciting to go "home". We always look forward to familiar food, and ordering that food in English. We look forward to things being predictable and to not walking around in a permanent state of confusion. We look forward to clean air and to driving.

During the course of wedding festivities we were given the easy task to drive a mile down the road and get snacks for a flower arranging event with the bridal party.

So off we went, a quick trip to the grocery store.

First of all the parking lot was huge. We didn't even know where to park because there were so many options. We don't have parking lots in China. Just allies between buildings that people try to cram their cars into and than have to crawl out their passenger side door because they’ve parked right up against the wall.

We walked up to the store and a door big enough an elephant could walk through slid open before we even got there.

We were immediately hit with clean crisp air with hints of fresh flowers, baked goods and clean vegetables. But mostly, just the smell of clean.

Then, the open space. Holy Crap! There was so much open space in this place. I could drive a Shanghai car in here, the aisles were so wide.

We didn't even know where to start so we wandered over to the produce section. The vegetables were neatly stacked in pyramids of green apples and oranges and peaches. Piles of leafy greens smelled as fresh as rain. The red and yellow peppers almost sparkled they were so clean. Then there was the packaged and pre-cut produce. Salad in bag any one?

Everything smelled so good and ripe and clean and was so well organized!

I didn’t have to dig through rotten fruit to find the good stuff. I didn’t have to get my hands dirty from the mud clinging to the vegetables, and there were no live chickens in crates waiting to be killed for dinner while I marveled at all the salad options.

The produce section alone was the size of the entire grocery store where we shop in Shanghai.

We knew we had to get food for everyone and be back at our event in under an hour but it was all so overwhelming. I know you don't believe me, but have you seen the rows and rows of breakfast cereals? We had forgotten most of those even existed.

Next we got lost on the juice aisle. Have you ever marveled at all the different juice options we have in the US? There's apple juice and cranberry juice and grape juice and a bazlilian other options. And that's just the single flavor juices! Then they start combining them into apple-grape or apple-cranberry or cranberry-grape… so many choices! On top of all that, each flavor comes in three or four different brands and labels.

We couldn’t decide on just one juice so we got a few. I did notice that while there were so many more flavors than I’d ever remembered seeing before there were a few missing that we often see in China. Like Aloe Vera juice or mixed fruit with tomato juice or lychee fruit juice. I was not sad at all to be missing these juices. They are nasty.

I could go on and on about all the overwhelming things we saw that day; but let me just say, Dear Lord the cheese aisle. Cheese is NOT popular in China. They think it smells bad, tastes bad and they say foreigners smell like it. Living in Shanghai we are lucky enough to have some cheese options, but when I saw the cheese and meat section in the United States Kroger Grocery store I was giddy. Literally Giddy.

There were several kinds of cream cheeses and spread-able cheeses and sliced cheeses. Brie and gouda and swiss cheese. Hard cheese and soft cheese. And did I mention there were NO live chickens waiting to be killed for dinner and smelling the place up?

There was so much I wanted to look at and try and BUY!

William was overwhelmed enough to be stunned speechless but mumbled something about time and cash and limited supply.

When we finally made it to the cash register we had way more food than we needed (those ridiculously large shopping carts came in handy) and spent way more than we planned. But we had cheese! And several juices, and ice cream, and a bunch of other packaged and overly processed things we didn't need to be eating but were totally excited for.

When we checked out someone put our food into plastic bags for us instead of having to do it ourselves. Boy, were they liberal with those plastic bags. I think one of the bags only had one thing in it!

In China plastic bags are not free so everyone carries their own shopping bag and you have to put your own food in it. If you do have to buy a bag you try to get as much as you can in it so you don't have to buy another one.

We then rolled our very handy shopping cart to our car and put all the food in the trunk and drove the very short mile back to our hotel. I felt so spoiled not to have walk back carrying all that stuff home like we usually do.

Later on that week after all the festivities and craziness of the weddings were over and we had some free time my mom asked me if there was anything I wanted to do before we left.

"Yes, actually," I said, "I'd really like to go to the grocery store and just walk up and down every aisle."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who do you write like?

So there's this web site that you can submit samples of your writing and it tells you what famous Author your style most resembles.

I entered a few blog posts and these were the authors that came up the most.

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

My mom says it's because Joyce is descriptive and Vonnegut is "brash".
I wasn't really sure what she meant by that, so I looked it up on Dictionary.com.


1. impertinent; impudent; tactless: a brash young man.
2. hasty; rash; impetuous.
3. energetic or highly spirited, esp. in an irreverent way; zesty: a brash new musical.

Um. I'm going to go with, she was calling me "zesty" rather than unthinking and "impertinent"

Incidentally, I entered two samples of William's writings and they both came up as H. P. Lovecraft.

We decided it was because his writing sounds like early 19th century writing rather than because he's weird and creepy.

Any way, I guess it could have been worse.

So who do you write like?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!!

This week (Aug 1-7) is World Breastfeeding Week!
I wish I had something profound to say about it.

I love breastfeeding my baby.
I love holding my baby close and I love the communication, and attachment we have with one another.

I love that she needs me and I need her.

I love when she gazes into my eyes and we just stare at each other. Silently taking in the details of each others eyes and the love and trust there.

I even love her little pinches, kicking leg and occasional bite.

I love laying next to my baby at night and hearing her gulp down her night snacks as I drift back to sleep.

Yes. There are wonderful, irrefutable health benefits in Breastfeeding. For both Baby and Mother.

There are facts and studies that will tell you it's the best thing for your baby.
There are facts and studies that tell you why you should do it for "long time" (two years in the life time if a person is not long.. but whatever)

But really. I do it because I love it. And so does baby.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010


This is our family picture from Stevie and Annie's wedding.
I stole it from Annie's Facebook.
I really like this picture and I kept re-opening it and looking at it.
I'm really sad that we some how forgot to get my Aunt Sherri in it.
It is a great picture though.
It makes me happy.
What a great group of exceptionally good looking people.

You may be seeing this picture again when your Christmas cards arrive.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

6 weeks in America

Bonnie Rose and I spent 6 weeks in the US of A and it was a glorious 6 weeks.

Here's a quick run down of what we saw and did:

The first wedding we went to was that of my dear dear friend (she's practically a sister actually) Jenny!

She married Ross. Now they are Jenny and Ross.
I was so so happy to be able to see them get married. Jen was SUCH an incredibly laid back bride. I got to visit her family farm a couple days before her wedding and she was so perfectly happy and fun. You'd never know she was planning a 300+ guest wedding. She considered everyone before her self and she even had fun activities and baby sitting planned for the kids during the reception.
The wedding was so well organized I totally think Jen should be a wedding planner.

Jenny and Ross are such amazing people and I was so touched to see how many people came to celebrate with them. (and eat the really good food)

Jenny's wedding was in South Dakota.
I got to fly on the smallest plane I've ever been on to get there!

I admit. I was kind of skeptical about flying out to the middle-of-no-where, but I totally fell in love with Pierre South Dakota. It's both Jen's home town and the capital of the state and it is SO lovely. It was also the place where I ate the best steak of my entire life.
I will go back to South Dakota some day.

Next we flew to Ohio to see my little brother get married!
Stevie married Annie.
Now they are Steve and Annie. (or Annie and Steve. I can't decide which)

Their wedding was very elegant and artsy. I totally wish I knew Annie when I was getting married. She had some really cool ideas that I LOVED.
Stevie and Annie made all of their own center pieces and the bride's maids arranged the flowers. Every one helped out that week and it was fun to spend the week getting to know Annie better. I can tell we have alot of really fun times ahead of us.

Something especially fun for me was that Baby and I got to wear matching dresses and hair bows!

It was really a beautiful wedding and I have a TON of pictures from it. Selfishly though my favorite part of the wedding was having the whole family together in one place.

We got to see family that we haven't seen in a really long time.

Baby got to play with her cousins, which she really seemed to enjoy.

And we got a rare family picture of the 3 of us!

Next it was road trip time. My mom and I drove town to Tennessee and spent some time there.

Baby got to meet Uncle Howard and we got to celebrate his 96th birthday with him.

We played with the goats (one even nibbled baby's toes!) and enjoyed the clean air, trees and fire flies.

And we both enjoyed the American laundry experience.
Me, dryers, and baby, baskets!

Then it was on the road again to Chicago!
On our drive out there we took a detour to Metropolis.
Here we are with the giant Superman statue outside their city hall.

The detour made our driving time a bit longer than it should have been and we got in later than we planned and very tired. But at the end of the day it felt totally great to be able to say "I've been to Metropolis"
Maybe that and the fact that I'm STILL excited that I got to visit the American Girl Doll store in Chicago makes me a big kid. But I don't care. I had fun.

Chicago was wonderful. My favorite part was the night architecture boat tour we took, with fire works at the end. We learned alot about the history of the city and some really interesting things about the buildings. Our guide was really good.

Chicago is a beautiful city. So clean with gardens every where. Baby and I spent out days taking the red bus tours and walking through the parks.

One thing that I really loved about this trip was letting Bonnie Rose play in the grass. We don't get to do that in Shanghai. There isn't very much nature around in the city and when you do find it, it's just not very clean or safe to let the baby play in it. It was so fun to see her enjoying the grass and the clean air.

Once in Tennessee I even took her outside during one of the evening rains so she could feel the rain on her face. With 75% of the rain in Shanghai being acid rain we don't do that.

I also realized how much I'd missed seeing the US flag. It was nice to be in the US again.

In 6 weeks we took
7 flights,
3 road trips,
visited 6 states, including a wrong turn that got us stuck in Indiana for a couple hours (yes you CAN get lost with a GPS).
And we went to 2 beautiful weddings!

At the end we had a very tired, but very very wonderful and well behaved baby girl.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mama's Little Helper

Today I did laundry in an AMERICAN washing machine. It was big and fit all my clothes in ONE LOAD! Then I put everything in the DRYER.

OH the USA is so convenient!

Then Baby Girl helped me take the laundry out of the dryer.

She's such a good helper.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Change of Plans

On the 17th of June William got on a plane and went back to Shanghai after a whirl wind wedding week.
I was supposed to go with him.
But I didn't.

I changed my mind, and my plans.

Instead of taking a 14 hour plane right home to China Baby and I took a 7 hour road trip with my mom.

It was a really fun road trip and Baby Girl did SO well.

Coming over the pass from Kentucky to Tennessee I tried to capture the mystery and romance of the place. But pictures just don't capture it.

When I see the mist resting over the trees and the fire flies sparkling in the grass I just can't capture is pictures or words how magical it all feels.

Another 'magical' thing about this road trip was our stop at the Corvette Museum. I've always loved Corvettes and when baby needed a break from her car seat we stopped here to play in the grass. and on the car.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Papa and Baby

A few posts ago I shared with you about my new pink Ergo that I was waiting to pick up when I returned to the states.

Well the day has finally come and I am so so happy with my beautiful pink Ergo.
The Ergo is my favorite baby carrier for heavy babies. (I like wraps for infants and newborns). It's so comfortable and distributes the baby's weight on my hips and not just my shoulders. It's also really comfortable for the baby since they are in the sitting position with support instead of being dangled by their crotches.
PLUS. It's SUPER cute!
I've used it every day since we've been State Side and LOVE putting it on. It's the perfect baby accessory.

Even my Dad thinks so.
Papa and Baby Bonnie went for a walk today while I was getting ready for Jenny's wedding. Don't they look so cute!

Mama's Little Helper

Bonita Rose and I are currently Traveling. Before we left we had alot of packing to do. Here's a picture of my baby girl helping me pack. She's such a wonderful and happy baby.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What's a girl to wear

Bonita Rose has a problem.
She can't decide which bow to wear.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stroller Frustration

What I want is a Mommy Facing Stroller!!

Why is that so hard.

I want it to be ONE PIECE.(non of this take the freaking seat off and turn it around).
light weight.
single hand folding.
adjustable seat for baby to sleep in.
5 point harness.
RUBBER wheels.
and not feel like it's going to fall apart if I drive on uneven pavement.
I live in a stroller UN-friendly city and I want a city stroller.

I want it to hold a baby up to 50 pounds.
I'm not looking for a travel system that the baby grows out of . I want this to last me a while. I want my toddler to face me... not just my infant.

I want it to fit in the trunk if a bit so big car and still have room for a suit case or two.

I also want it to be no more than $200

Why is that so impossible to find. Are there really no moms out there that don't want their children always in their sight?

It would also be grand of the wheels that are in the front could swivel so I can steer properly.

I want an attachment parenting stroller.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A warm Night's sleep

The other day my Mom posted THIS blog post celebrating our family's love for Star Wars.

After watching the Jib Jab video several times, explaining to William who each person was ("Every one has funny hair.. it's hard to recognize them" he says) and laughing my ass off. I came across ThinkGeek.com where you can buy your own Tauntaun to sleep in. (the creature that Han cut up and put Luke in to keep him from Freezing to death on the snowy planet of Hoth) That's right, a Tauntaun Sleeping Bag.

This is just too awesome. I think I need one. And do the Jedi Snow goggles come with?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baby Steals

I Love babySTEALS.com New Steal Daily - 9am MST

A few months ago I was tipped off about this site called Baby Steals. They offer baby stuff from hats, clothes, and even gear at hugely discounted prices.
But only ONE deal per day. And once the thing is sold out or the day is past the "steal" is gone.

It's a really fun idea and I now check their site every day. Even though I've only bought one thing from them it's still kind of fun to check and see what new and surprising thing they have on sale that day.

Most of the time I miss the steal. Everything is sold out by the time I wake up (they are located in Utah,USA and the "Steal" is posted at 9am local time). Sometimes the fact that I live on the other side of the world saves the pocket book.

Anyway, I WAS able to grab a "steal" when they had a huge Ergo sale. I ordered a brand new PINK ergo for the price of a used one. It shipped to my mom's house and I'm SO excited to use it... someday.
(I am literally counting down the days)

Last night William asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I didn't have to think about that one.
"A Pink Ergo"

Monday, April 12, 2010

Formula for a nap

A bath, a massage, a warm snack, a cuddle and a song... sleep.
Peaceful and lovely

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without a Parade!
Most major cities in the world have a St. Patrick's Day Parade (and quite a few not major city's too) and Shanghai is not to be left off that list.

This past Saturday we got up early and headed out to get our green on a little early this year.

The parade started at 10:30am in one of Shanghai's biggest parks (Fuxing Park). And everyone was there dressed in green and ready to celebrate.

There were quite a few confused old Chinese people who had come to the park for morning exercises wondering what all the foreigners were doing out so early.

Every one gathers early for the parade.

It wouldn't be a parade without a marching band.
These kids did really really wonderfully.

I really liked this picture that William took. He's such a great photographer.

We even had a GREEN Chinese Dragon!!

Very good luck indeed.

I read a book once that said that real Irish people in Ireland don't really go all out for St. Patrick's day like we think they do in the states. I am here to tell you, that author was very very wrong. ALL the actual Irish people I saw were very very into the the whole thing. Dressed in amazingly crazy green, white and orange things and were definitely happy to be drinking at 10:30 in the morning.

The Parade even ended with the official "Beer Toast" slainte - but pronounced "slawn-che"

I tried very hard not to let any one hear me speaking American. With my two red heads I was hoping they would think I was Irish.

Children singing with "St. Patrick" and an Irish official who flew in all the way from Ireland just for this Parade.

This lady was very happy to be Irish for a day...

But THIS guy really takes the cake... or hat. hehe

The Parade was led by this awesome bag piper

Even the Chinese official wore green! He looked for dapper in his green velvet coat.

Of course my favorite was the violin group. Do you think Bonita will want to grow up and play the violin for me?

Kiss me I'm cute! And very happy for be out with her Daddy this morning.

But it was a long early morning for little green monkeys.