"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Chinese Mileposts

Okay, I'm not fully caught up on the Wordpress blog, but I have us arriving in China in addition to all the prepping for China posts I wanted to get on there.


Hello from China!



 The trip to China took twice as long as expected (our L.A. to San Francisco to Beijing flight became spend a day at LAX, fly to Houston, sleep in the airport, fly to Washington D.C., fly to Beijing), but we finally made it.  We have almost two weeks under our belt now and are surviving.

Here's my dilemma, how should I handle my blogs?  When we found out we were moving to China I started a Wordpress blog specifically for our family's adventures in China because I'd heard that Google didn't work well in China.  Now that we are here, and have learned a few things, Google and Facebook are working fine for us.  So do I continue with my family blog on Blogger and this blog, or do I use my Wordpress blog?  I'm leaning toward keeping up the family blog (so at the end of the year I can print it as a Blurb book which I've been doing for several years now) and having a China specific blog at Wordpress.  So this blog might take a two year vacation, unless I guess I have stuff to blog that isn't family related and isn't specific to China.  We'll see... 
  














Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy 4th of July: A List

Our 4th of Julys together:

Year          Lived in:              Saw fireworks at:
2001          California             from truck at Outlet Mall in Camarillo
2002          California             ?
2003          California             ?
2004          California              Camarillo Fireworks w/P cousins
2005          California              ?
2006          Kansas                   at the Mileses' house
2007          Kansas                   Fireworks show rained out at Royals game.
2008          Kansas                   Chesterfield, MO (w/ Grandparents M)
2009          Kansas                   Duck Creek Village, UT (no fireworks)
2010          Virginia                  Manassas fireworks show
2011          Virginia                  Driving home from Ohio, fireworks on drive
2012          Virginia                  Richmond, Squirrels game w/ the Ps
2013          Virginia                  on the levee in town, Ohio
2014           Ohio                      on the levee in town, Ohio


4th Parade - 9AM

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Office

Jed and I started watching The Office, season one, episodes one and two last night.  I believe it ran nine seasons.  We started watching sporadically around season seven maybe.  We didn't have cable when the show started and weren't as well versed on how to watch TV on the internet (maybe it wasn't even possible way back then).  Of course, we've seen random episodes here and there from different seasons of the show, but we haven't seen the entire series in its entirety like the rest of America.

Can I just say this, 9 years too late... it's so cute to see Pam and Jim at the beginning.  Especially since in season 9 Pam foresees all these marital issues and is worried that Jim is falling out of love with her, etc.  So it's super cute to see how head over heels Jim is for Pam at the beginning. And all along. 

It reminded me of something my sister told me a few weeks before Jed and I got engaged.  She told me how she noticed that Jed looked at me with total love and adoration.  Something that I couldn't see, I mean, I knew we were in love, but you never really just notice how in love someone is with you, right?  My sister told me how lucky I was to find someone who looked at me like that.  I am lucky.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Train GPS

Several years ago Jed's sister's family nicknamed Buddy "GPS" because they were driving him around in their car and he was directing them to our house.  Buddy has Jed's sense of direction, love of maps, and pays attention to where things are when we are driving around town.  We realized the other day that Squirt has "train GPS."  He can now recognize when our car is going in the direction that will cross over train tracks.  It used to just be that he spotted the tracks, or the railway crossing signs, but not he can actually remember where we are and where the train tracks are.  He starts yelling, "CHOO CHOO TRAIN TRACKS" at a very loud level of excitement.



Sunday, on the way to church, as we approached the tracks we had to stop for a train so I snapped this picture of the kids.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?

Before lunch is school/learning oriented:

finish up their virtual school courses to 100% completion
typing cd-rom
piano practice (PS)
Cub Scouts (Buddy)
Girl Scouts (PS)
Journal/letter writing
Handwriting practice
Library book reading
Clean rooms
Pack up toys (to stay/to China)
Learn Chinese
Chess

After lunch is mostly directed free time:

Go to the pool with Grandma.
Wii
Movies
Bike rides
Outdoor play (soccer, kickball, catch, sidewalk chalk)
jobs (Little Guy and Buddy - watering for G'ma)
Khan Academy coding (Princess Sparkley)
mini fieldtrips

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The end of our virtual school year

While we've been in Ohio this past year, the kids have been enrolled in an online based virtual school.  I love the curriculum (K12) but the requirements that go with it being a public school were time consuming and annoying.  I wouldn't do it again.  At least not in Ohio.  When we were part of a virtual school in Kansas (also using K12), it was much different. 

That being said, I am now embarking on the grand adventure of hunting down all the items that we need to ship back (free of charge).  I've already taken seven large, heavy boxes to the UPS store.  There are at least 6 more to go.  And I have no idea where the boxes that the kids' computer monitors arrived in went so I have to hunt down new boxes.  This was all much more exciting when we were opening boxes and unloading new stuff.  Now I'm constantly sending the kids to look for a graduated cylinder, a random book, a magnifying glass, etc.

And when it's all packed away and shipped off... we can start cleaning and organizing the kids' rooms and stuff which will lead to all sorts of planning, organizing and packing for China.  It's getting closer!  Ahhh!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Update on our move to Beijing

It's really happening... we're moving to Beijing, China.  We are now in possession of six passports (6 Visas are in the work).  We've received notice that we'll be getting a 4 (!!!) bedroom apartment on the campus of the school where Jed is going to be teaching economics.  We just bought a bunch of stuff (crib, crib mattress, shelves, Thomas the Tank Engine set, etc.) from the family who is vacating said apartment.  We bought our airplane tickets (LAX>SFO>PEK).  We're mapped out our drive from Ohio to California.  We've bought some suitcases at garage sales.  We've made lots of lists of stuff to take. We keep talking about a practice pack to see if we can fit everything. 

Are we fluent in Chinese?  No.  Do we know a few words?  Yes.  Does Jed plan on making us listen to Chinese language cds for the entire 11 day drive to California.  Yes.  Will be fluent in Mandarin by the time we land in Beijing?  Probably not.  

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Summer To Do List

Jed is opposed to the term "Bucket List," so this is our summer "to do list."

City pool
Strawberry Festival
3 mile Cub Scout pack hike
Farmer's Market (to hunt down the best Amish pecan pie ever that I had last year)
Farmer's Market in a different town
BK's for hot dogs and root beer floats
Bike ride on canal path
Arboretum (Cub Scout and Girl Scout tree recognition patch/badge)
Finish Wil-bear Aviation site visits (Nat'l Parks related to the Wrights award)
July 4th trip to Pittsburgh for Great Grandpa's birthday celebration (?)
Learn Chinese
Visit birds at local nature center
 Work on Cub Scouts and Girl
Kids: record on Goodreads all the books they've read since moving to Ohio*
Read
Swim
Bike
Journal writing (for handwriting practice)
Little Guy - learn to tie shoes
Princess Sparkley - make popsicles
x and / flash cards for PS and Buddy
Cincinnati Zoo (?) (new African Wild Dogs exhibit)
Drive to California**
Move to Beijing ***




*We've kept a list, we just failed miserably at putting it all on Goodreads for them.
**California drive to do list coming soon.
***Beijing move/life to do list coming soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Introducing Squirt to Baseball


So, our family has recently become pretty obsessed with soccer, but we're still baseball lovers at heart.  We never made it to a Major League Baseball game last season, just a Minor League Potomac Nationals Game and a few MLB games when I was still pregnant with Squirt.  This season, we're not near a team we love, but we took in a nice Star Wars themed fireworks show for Buddy's birthday after the Cinncinati Reds game earlier this month and Squirt thoroughly enjoyed the game.  Well, at least he really enjoyed seeing giant baseballs and such.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Big Change

When we moved to Ohio 6 months ago we knew it would be temporary.  Jed would write his dissertation, we'd apply for teaching jobs and we'd go where the job offers took us.  Then Jed heard about a teaching position in China.  He applied.  I decided not to worry about it.  Then he got an interview.  I figured I still didn't need to worry about it. They offered him a job (but we didn't get the notice until two weeks after the initial offer was extended due to the school typing Jed's name wrong in his email address).  We had to decide fast.  And the decision... we're moving to China!  For two years, starting this August we'll be living in Beijing, the capital of China.  According to Buddy, one of the Pros of this move is that Beijing is like the New York City of China.  Unfortunately that just makes me more nervous.  I teeter totter between panic and excitement then remember we have nearly 6 months to figure it all out.  It'll definitely be an adventure, right?! :)


Here's Buddy's list of Pros:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eating

I'm happy with the types of eaters our kids have become.  We now have three kids who will eat salad!!  This is a huge accomplishment. And two who actually like it (Buddy and Little Guy).  Kid number four only has 10 teeth so I'm not pushing salad on him yet.  Growing up I had a best friend who would sneak food and eat it in her room leaving wrappers all over the place so her parents wouldn't see them.  I'm not talking teenage/eating disorder stuff, I'm talking when we were little kids and it was fun snacks/Halloween candy.  This always bugged me.  We definitely had struggles with getting our kids to eat what we wanted them to eat, but they've always been okay eaters.  Each with their own distinct preferences.  (Little Guy hates beans and cheerios but loves fruits and veggies.  Princess Sparkley is not a big fruit eater, hates tomatoes, and will now eat lettuce and carrots.  Buddy LOVES fruit but isn't a huge fan of tomato sauces.  They all initially hated soups and casseroles but have come around to liking them.) I didn't make them separate meals and I didn't force them to eat what the adults were eating if they didn't/wouldn't like it.  We adjusted our meals down to little kid taste buds.  If the adults were having tacos, the kids had quesadillas.  If the adults were having a pasta dish, the kids had plain noodles and cheese.  It worked for us, and in the long run, I'm happy with where we are now that the older kids are 11, 9 and 6.  Plus, they don't sneak food.  They always ask if they can have something and this isn't anything that I ever really required, they've just always done it.  I love parenting good kids!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Speed

One of the youth activities at church when I was a teen was having a man from the congregation teach us how to speed read.  I was never very good at it but the idea has always intrigued me.  I once read Charley by Jack Weyland twice in a day so I could time myself the second time to figure out how many pages I could read in an hour.  I think it was about 100, but it's been a long time.

I just took this fun test:

Thursday, January 09, 2014

To Read

This isn't looking good. I asked for book recommendations on Facebook the other day since I finished the stack I got from the library to read over the Christmas break and I'm still avoiding Mansfield Park (which I've been reading on the Kindle since I was pregnant with Squirt).  Then I requested several from the library.  They all arrived at once and today I get to go pick up these:




Favorite Pinterest Recipes

I created a board on Pinterest of our family's favorite Pinterest/online recipes.  So far, it's only main dishes but I thought I'd share it here since it's been a long time since I've shared our weekly menu.


http://www.pinterest.com/nklminster/yum-favorites/

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

My Top Books of 2013

I slacked off a lot in my 2013 reading.  My goal was 75 books.  Then I thought maybe I could get to 50.  And in trying to get to 50, I failed to note that if I'd read my 2014 book #2 book, The Boy on the Porch (151 pages) first, rather than my 2014  book #1 My Life Next Door (394 pages), I would have broken 15,000 pages for the year. And I'd have hit 49 books rather than just 48.  Instead, my totals for 2013 were 14,830 pages in 48 books.

My favorite books of the year in no particular order:

Book 3 in a series.

A few instances of swearing, including the f-word.  Main narrator is a prisoner of war during WWII.


Swearing including instances of the f-word.

Book 7 (and the final book) in a series.

 A handful of f-word, instances of drugs, drinking, a non-descriptive extramarital affair.
  

The second in a series (sort of a companion book told from the boy's point of view.  The first book, Just One Day is told from the girl's point of view).  Teen sex, drinking, light drugs and language (all mildly descriptive).




The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
 Teen drinking (but he's British and 18 so technically it's legal).
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