Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The most wonderful Thanksgiving Part 1

My family "adopted" Jenny a number of years ago.(you may remember I attended her wedding last summer). She's really more of a member of the family than a friend. She's spent Thanksgiving with the whole Coleman gang a number of years now and she's also been inviting all of us to spend Thanksgiving at her house, in South Dakota, for a few years now.  So this year William and I and my mom and dad decided, whether she meant it or not, we'd take her up on her offer. And off to South Dakota we flew.

Luckily William and I still had frequent flyer miles we collected while flying back an forth from China. This trip was our last gift from China.

We used the tickets well.

This was also Rosie's first time to have her own seat. She's over two now so can no long fly free as a lap child. She was very proud to have her own seat.

She is such a good traveler. She especially enjoyed the toys in both the Nashville and Dallas airports and she enjoyed looking out the window on the airplane.

We did so many fun things with Ross and Jenny.  The first night we were there Ross's family generously included us in a family birthday celebration and took us bowling. This was Rosie's first time Bowling and William and I haven't been since the Halloween before we were married... 7 years ago.

Rosie LOVED bowling and got a better score than I did. Actually I was so bad I just let her play most of my turns. She giggled and danced and cheered for every one all night long.

 Rosie also really loved playing Jenny's piano. Jenny is a wonderful musician and sings and plays amazingly well. I've always loved listening to her. This trip she had her Christmas song book out and would stop and play something almost every time she walked passed the piano.

Rosie thought this was splendid and loved playing the piano too. We may have to get her one.

My favorite part of the trip was our girl's shopping day. Jenny is wonderful to shop with. She's so much fun.
While the boys played on Ross's ridiculously large farm equipment we girls when to town, got Starbucks, and went shopping.

Jenny took us to Sephora and taught us how to shop there. I've always been completely intimidated by that store and have never gone with any one my own age, gender, and color. (the Sephora in Shanghai had nothing that would match my skin tone. Everything was too yellow or too pink.)

I've never had so much fun in that store before and now I feel much more confident about going back. Rosie also loved shopping in Sephora. She loves make up and loves colors and walked around and looked at everything with Jenny while I got a make up consultation.

In the end we came away with a little black and while bag that Rosie was very proud of and they even gave her some of her very own samples. She was so proud of them she wouldn't let them go the whole time we walked around the mall.  She is such a good little adorable shopper.

After some very productive shoe shopping it was time to meet up with "the boys". We'd left it to Ross and William to pick up my dad from the airport and then we headed to Falls Park, on the Big Sioux River. (that's where the city if Sioux Falls gets its name).

 We went there because it was magically decorated for Christmas and Jenny knew we would love it.

ALL the trees were covered in lights. It was so fun and magical I kind of forgot how cold it was.

We then ended our wonderful day with Gluten Free Pizza and hot tea.
Doesn't Rosie look so grown up with her own cup of tea?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Geeky Baby

Rosie likes to play video games. She also loves to watch sci-fi, like Doctor Who and Star Trek.

She's a good little geek baby.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's Starting to look a lot like Christmas!

 Happy 40 Days till Christmas!!

Our week has been fun. First Rudolph Rosie came to see us.

I started getting the Christmas decorations out at the beginning of the week. I wanted to spread it out instead of trying to do it all at once.

Rosie thought it was great fun when she discovered the Christmas hats in one of the boxes and went and found her fake nose. She puts them on and laughs and laughs.

She really loves it when Nana puts on the nose and hat... but you won't see a picture of that.
 We also went to a Christmas craft fair at the local Catholic Church and got some wonderful had made decorations. We also picked up some extra lights at the store on the way home.

I've been buying lights since before Halloween so I think we MIGHT have enough this year. We'll see.

Then today after Church William and my mom put the lights on the Christmas tree.  After nap time we had dinner and made cookies and home made hot chocolate and then put all the ornaments on the tree.  

Rosie was such a good little decorator.

William decided that Christmas was way more fun with kids. I think he might be right.

It was so much fun to see Rosie excited about every little thing we took out of the boxes. About the lights. About the Tree in the HOUSE. About putting things on the tree and even about the Santa figurine that my mom put out. She now has all her toys around Santa... who she calls "Daddy" and she likes give him kisses.

Yep. Christmas is pretty dang fun with a little one. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another Anniversary!

Wow, This has been a crazy week for Anniversaries!  First mine and William's wedding anniversary, then our one year in China and yesterday (Nov. 12) was our good friends Julie and Martin's one year Wedding Anniversary!

Last year William and I landed in Nashville airport on November 9th at about 10pm. Then we took the long drive home with my mom. 

We rested for a day and tried to figure out what time zone we were in and then got back on a plane on November 11th to fly to New York. Yes. We are crazy.

Julie has been a dear friend of mine since we lived together in college, she is also Rosie's Godmother, and she was getting married. It just so happened it worked out that the date she wanted was the day after we arrived in the US so that was super awesome. There was no way we were going to miss that wedding.  So off to New York, New York we flew.  It's not like we knew what time zone we were in any way... so what was one more flight?

We had such a wonderful time. I'm still really happy we decided to go.  It was the most fun wedding I've ever been too. And what made it really really special was the fact that Me and William and Rosie, and one other person, were the only guests. It was relaxing and fun and happy and wonderful.

We started our day with breakfast and sitting around talking and laughing. Then a limo picked us up at Julie's Manhattan apartment and took us to New York City Hall.

There was a short, simple but totally sweet ceremony where we all laughed and smiled. We also doubled as Wedding Photographers so that was fun too.  Then the Limo picked us up again and we drank the most amazing champagne while we drove to a very nice restaurant for lunch.

It was such a simple and intimate day of celebrating the love of close friends and the love of Julie and Martin. It was simple and elegant and perfect.

I think my most favorite moment was when we were all walking home from lunch and a man stopped Julie to tell her how amazing she looked, and what a wonderful dress she was wearing. (He was right. She looked totally hot) I told him that it was her wedding dress and he got all excited for her and clapped his hands, took a good long look at Martin and said "And he's CUTE TOO! I would know. I'm gay."  I said "we know" and we all had a good laugh. It was such a funny typical New York moment.

William and I really enjoy New York every time we go but this trip was extra special. We spent the rest of the weekend exploring Manhattan in the early hours of the morning (we were jet lagged)  and letting Julie show us some of her favorite places.

But it was also a wonderful trip because we got to be part of a very special day of a very special friend.

So Happy Anniversary Julie and Martin. We love you very much and we are so happy that you let us be a part of your special day and a part of your lives.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

One Year

One year ago today William, Rosie and I took a one way flight from Shanghai, China back to the USA.

My mom had this block calender in our room when we arrived. It said November 9th. I've left it on that date for a year. I guess I felt like if I turned it, I would be moving farther and farther away from China.

Tomorrow I'll turn the date over. Tomorrow it will be more than a year since we left our city, our Shanghai.

If you'd like to read about my last day in China you can go HERE. If you'd like to see a picture of the van my mom had to rent to pick us up from the airport and our ridiculous luggage go HERE.

Other wise, here are some pictures of our last couple days in China...

Last family picture in China.
Visiting the Shanghai Art Museum one last time
I spent the my last day in one of my favorite hang out places, Tai Kan Lu, with my dear friend Shirin and her baby boy.

I'm so glad Rosie is such a happy baby. Her joy has gotten me to many sad and lonely times.
Shanghai is such a fun mix of modern and traditional

William went for a walk on our last day... He took some nice pictures
and got him self some street food breakfast one last time.
Here is William sitting in the airport waiting for our flight and chewing on a Cuban cigar. We knew we would not be able to get those in the US.
Thinking about who and what we're leaving behind and wondering what we're about to get our selves into.

It's been kind of a weird emotional day. I'm happy we came back to the US and I know my mom is too. I think it was the best thing for our Rosie baby, for our marriage and for our health. But that doesn't mean we don't miss it sometimes.

To commemorate our one year anniversary we went to a new "Asian Cuisine" Restaurant. Most of the staff are from China and they were wonderfully nice to us. They even brought William a plate of dried fish that wasn't on the menu because he was craving it so much. They were happy to meet an American that appreciated real Chinese food. Now if we could only find some Hot Pot.
 Picture from William's tumblr account.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

With These Rings... Happy 7th Wedding Anniversary!

Today (November 6th) is mine and William's 7th Wedding Anniversary.

It does not seem like it has been that long. It seems like just a few years ago really.

Out of the 7 anniversaries we have celebrated, only 3 have been in the US. We've had more anniversaries in China that we have in the States.

I'm not sure if we should do something very American, like eat steak, today. Or if we should have Chinese food.

We've had so many grand adventures since we've been married.

We've visited 13 states in the US. Not counting the ones we had to drive through to get to our destination.

They had the fewest teeth in New Mexico.

We started our marriage with an international flight, and we have been on countless flights since then.  Rosie has been on 22 since she's been born, and that's just in two years. So I can't even count how many flights we've been on.

Several have been International.

Swan Lake Ballet in Prague, on our honeymoon.

We Honeymooned in Prague, Czec Republic. Since then we have visited 6 countries.

Plus Hong Kong, which isn't it's own country but you still need a visa to go there and it's not really China either.

The one nice dinner we had on our Honeymoon.

We've moved 4 times. Two of those were Internationally.
Across the river from the Prague Castle

We've learned to cook some Chinese food and some Korean food and have eaten things we never imagined we would.

Donkey is quite good actually.

We're also pretty dang good with chop sticks by now.
A romantic carriage ride through the old streets of Prague

We've made two brand new humans. Though we're still waiting to meet Human number 2.

I think we should make a couple more.

Our first Thanksgiving,  days after returning from our honeymoon

We've visited 3 different Disney lands!
There are currently 5 world wide, with another being built in Shanghai.

I think we'll collect them all.

We've had some pretty amazing adventures during our short 7 years of marriage.
I couldn't imagine doing any of them with out William. His courage and strength have made me a better person.
I look forward to many more years of wonderful adventures. 
I love you my darling William. 
Happy Anniversary.

Also, thank you for letting me warm my feet up on you.

(Picture by

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween in Shanghai (The Ghost of Halloweens Past)

Thinking about our fun American Halloween season made me think of last Halloween. It was our Halloweens in Shanghai.

In 2008 we went to an art gallery Halloween party and then to a bar with some friends. 
William was a Lumber Jack.
I was a Chinese Gymnast. It was the year of the Beijing Olympics so it made sense that year. (That's my fake Chinese Passport that says I'm 16... in crayon.)
In 2009 Rosie was only a week and some days old, so we didn't go any where. Rosie was Tigger.

In 2010 we were Mummies.
We were just about to move back to the States so most of our stuff was packed and on the slow boat to the US. So William bought a bunch of medical gauze and we just wrapped out selves up. 
It was SO hard to get a taxi that night. People looked quite nervously at us. I think they thought we were actually hurt or sick or something. When we were walking down the street we got some pretty funny and scared looks.

Rosie was a cute little mummy.
So serious.

Halloween is NOT celebrated in China and few people have even heard of it. I learned the Chinese name for the holiday but most people just looked at me funny when I told them why we were dressed up.

 Some of our younger friends had heard about it on TV or online and thought it sounded very strange. But they were also interested in celebrating with us and having a new American experience.

A friend of ours hosted a Halloween "Cultural Exchange" Party. She gave a presentation about Halloween and the Celtic history of it as well as modern traditions, like costumes, trick or treating and pumpkin carving. Then we all carved pumpkins.
These are the pumpkins carved. I think they turned out really well for being the first time they had ever done it.
It was a great Halloween. It was fun to share the child like fun that Halloween can be with people who were excited to do the things for for the first time.  It was also a really fun way to say good bye to some old friends.