Saturday, November 30, 2013

20 songs, 40 people, 1 bus and 4 stops

The air has been fantastic. We were "in the deep freeze" for a few days but are now having a warm up and the weather is perfect. We're earning lots of Klicks!

Last night, The Dad and I earned a Klick or two in an oh-so-fun pub crawl and caroling. I've never been on a pub crawl, no time like your late 30's to start, I suppose!

The rules were that you had to either dress as Santa or an angel; we chose Santa. 4 bars, a bus and 20 songs.

It was a bit interesting with a bus full of middle-age Santas who had all been up since 6am or so and all had to be up at 6am or so the next morning (well, at least those of us with little alarm clocks that buzz "Mommy!" at 6am). Everyone had a great time and about 1/2 the group was home by midnight. We made it home by 12:30-ish. Not too bad for a couple of parents!

A very amusing discovery... in the 3rd pub-stop we had mulled wine in a library/pub. Great idea, if you ask me! Looking at the books, we couldn't help but laugh. Check out the titles and sing (if you remember Sesame Street) "one of these things is not like the other, which one doesn't belong..."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Middle Bit with a Big Heart

Today, I was just about bursting with pride for our Middle Bit. She is so very committed to getting Klicks. She was riding her bike home from the bus and asked how many Klicks she earns going to and from the bus stop. I told her .75 there and .75 home so 1.5 total. She asked if we could take a trip all around the compound so she could earn 2 extra Klicks for today.

That doesn't sound like much but its about 5C and windy. She was hungry and tired and yet, she asked to keep going.

She seems very tuned in to how this connects us, all the way around the world, back to her Aunt Chrissy.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dance the night away

The Dad and I were fortunate enough to get tickets to the 238th Marine Corps Birthday Ball. US Marines all over the world were celebrating and we joined in!

The evening was lovely... it was so nice to have a reason to get dressed up and use our "fancy manners" as the girls would say.

I didn't take many pictures, but did get this silly "selfie."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Market Days and Biking Nights

I got to one of the big tourist spots today. Not Tianamen. Not The Wall. Not a temple... serious market shopping... Hong Qiao, the Pearl Market.

We had a great day popping into shops. The trip was set so two of us could find jewelry for the upcoming Marine Corps Ball. I wanted pearls, so Pearls I got. The woman who spearheaded this outing knows her way around and took me to Catherine's, her favorite pearl lady. You select your pearls and any embellishments and she makes what you want as you wait. So cool!

After pearls we had lunch at the famous Brown Door Restaurant. Yum, yum, yum.


Between the market and the kids biking all over today, plus my time with Paola (my road bike), we earned 20 Klicks today!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A visual AQI tutorial

This is the view from our bedroom window at the same time under similar weather forecast conditions (clear and sunny). On the left, a 300 AQI reading. On the right, a 70 AQI reading. When the AQI reading is under 30, you can see the mountains behind that farthest building. When the AQI is over 350, you can not see the houses past the black cars.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Paola, my pretty pal

Dad, aka Mr. Fix-It, earned some serious points this weekend by spending time with my other love...

This is Paola, my pretty bike . My slick and speedy friend. I have not had her out of her traveling case since we arrived in Beijing and I have missed my friend, Paola.

This weekend, Mr. Fix-It helped me get her put back together and set up on a borrowed bike trainer. Please note, by "helped me" I mean "did it for me while I held things." I can do many things but for some reason, putting bikes together is not my forte. 

My beautiful bike sits right next to my beautiful air purifier. I can ride whenever I please! I do not have a working bike computer so I will be estimating speed.  When I was riding consistently, I averaged 30km/hour. I don't think I'm close to that fitness level right now so I'm going to estimate 24km/hour when I ride.

In fact, I think I'll go have some girl time with Paola today....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When you're up you're up, and when you're down you're down...

The Grand Ol Second Grade,
we have 100 Kids.
We marched them up to the top of The Wall
then we marched them down again.

And when you're up you're up,
and when you're down you're down.
And when you're only half way up
there are lots of laughing sounds!

The second grade field trip was today. I was lucky enough to be a chaperone and yes, I said lucky!

The past few days have been horrible AQI; over 400 at times (when LA was in such hot water for poor air, they were at 70). All the parents were buzzing to see if the school would cancel the trip due to high AQI... the kids would have been so disappointed.

I was up about 1am and the AQI was at 429.

When my alarm went off at 6, the AQI was at 56. WHOO-HOOOOOO!

Big Bit and 2 friends were in my group. We went to Mutianyu (the same area we visited with Oma and Nonno when they came to Beijing). The air was so clear we could see mountains and mountains and more mountains. The leaves are changing; the colors were magnificent. We could not have ordered a better day.

All of 2nd Grade on The Wall
Big Bit and Buddies


Sunday, October 27, 2013


Our compound (neighborhood) has an enormous Halloween party every year. They turn the club house into a haunted house then open the neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating. Our little witch and her friend, the black cat, Snow Princess and Angel were ready for action! They walked about half the neighborhood before deciding they were cold, had enough candy, and would rather jump on the trampoline with their glow bracelets than walk anymore. Not too shabby!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Left, Left, Left, Right, Left

What a fantastic morning! Middle Bit and Big Bit's Girl Scout troops participated in the Big Hike. All the Girl Scout troops from around Beijing gathered to hike together. The hostess troop put together a scavenger hunt with so many fun things. This is the Big Bit's troop "walking across the wooden bridge like a family of ducks." Ha!
When the hike was announced, I was a little concerned because we would be visiting the Huanghuacheng portion of the Great Wall. This is the portion of The Wall we visited our first time to The Wall and it was a whopper. Very steep hills, a difficult trail leading to the wall and none of the surrounding area looked much better. We were told we wouldn't be hiking ON the wall but I still harbored some doubt and concern.

Thank goodness I didn't express my concerns too loudly because the hike was perfect! A flat-ish, paved path around the lake near the wall. There were trails heading off the lake path for the older Girl Scouts to explore but the younger troops had a nice, even pathway. The Little Bit's Daisy troop did just part of the path then turned around; Big Bit's Brownie troop made it all the way around.

It was such a perfect day!

I keep saying I have new favorite seasons in Beijing. October is moving up in my heart! The leaves are changing, the weather is crisp and sunny (when the AQI is low). I could get used to this!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Little Feet Field Trip

Little Bit earned a fair number of Klicks today on a school field trip. They visited Equilus, an equestrian facility surprisingly close to our neighborhood.

I wasn't expecting much and was thoroughly surprised. The facilities were beautiful, the horses were amazing, the riding was excellent. The prices are out of this world (about $200 US for an hour long lesson). But I did find out the girls can come visit the horses anytime. Hmmm... maybe a winter day outing!

Little bit (in the Puppy hat) & friends getting instructions

One of the 4, count them FOUR indoor arenas

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What to do when there is no school?


Yesterday and today were parent/teacher conference days at school. The Dad and I were at school for the fantastic reports on the Big Bit and the Middle Bit. We earned a fair chunk of Klicks biking to and fro.

Today, the AQI was pretty high and when asked what they wanted to do, they all wanted to head to Fundazzle, this massive indoor playground. After Fundazzle, we went shopping for the remainder of the Halloween costumes. They did quite a bit of walking, playing and laughing. It was a great way to spend a poor AQI day and earn Klicks!
The girls' favorite part of Fundazzle is the massive ball pit. The building once housed an Olympic (and possibly for the Olympics?) swimming and diving pool. The swimming pool area now houses a massive jungle gym. The diving pool is a ball pit. No kidding. The girls LOVE it! I cringe a little because we do living in the world of split pants (the babies don't wear diapers, their pants have a split so the bum is exposed and the kids just, um, 'take care of business' where ever they feel the need. again, no kidding.). But the girls love it. I disinfect them when we come home.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Good Air and Away we go!

We had a Bowling Birthday party for one of the girls' friends today. It was such a fun idea!

Middle Bit was moving too fast for the camera as usual.

A quick stop at the tailor to have some clothes made. It seems that some grown-ups in this family will have a night out on the town requiring Black Tie apparel. We are having a tux and a formal gown made... I've designed the gown myself based on a few pictures I liked so I'm excited to see how it turns out.

After the tailor, we headed down the road on bikes to 'The Fruit Lady." She used to have a stand on the side of the road, now she has a proper shop. I heard she had the best pumpkins and from what I've seen, I heard correctly. The Dad and the Bits selected the 4 largest pumpkins...

Did I mention we were biking? The Dad hauled these suckers home. Whew! I must say, they came out rather well. And yes, the girls did quite a bit of the "tracing" and cutting. Especially Bit Bit. She did that lovely heart all by herself!

Little Bit's
Big Bits

Middle Bit's
The Dad's

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blessings beyond Blessings

Years ago, I read a book titled "Mountains Beyond Mountains." It was the autobiographical account of a doctor working in Haiti. One of the local expressions about going through tough times is that you can only see mountains beyond mountains. The doctor never thought of his time in Haiti as problem after problem, only conquerable challenge after conquerable challenge to help his patients.

Sometimes I feel like we are traveling through mountains beyond mountains. But then something will happen to remind me that we are traveling through blessings beyond blessings.

The weather has been poor. The girls are very busy. The AQI has been very high. We are not able to get in our klicks. And yet...

Oma let us know last night that Chrissy's Garden has received a $1000 grant!

Blessings beyond Blessings!

Friday, October 11, 2013

International Day

One of the fun ways we earned Klicks this week, a parade!

Each year, the school holds an International Day where the children get to share their heritage with the school. All the students march in a parade organized into home-country groups. The kids love seeing the 'traditional dress' some students wear. Our girls chose to wear patriotic gear... Middle Bit chose Canada, Big Big chose USA.

Big Big and Friends marching in the parade

All School Photo op

Middle Bit (Canada) and her Teacher (Philippines)

Little Bit dressed in traditional Korean dress at the games after the parade

Monday, October 7, 2013

Technical difficulties

I can't get our Total Klicks to update. Grrr.

Maybe it's because we are not as far as I'd hoped to be...  I'd hoped we be at 1000 by October. But 940 will have to do. I'll update the total as soon as the site will let me. Not sure what's happening there...

We're back!

Did you think we were lost? We were, in a way... lost in vacation!

We spent 5 lovely days in Phuket, Thailand. We didn't earn much for Klicks, but we are back in Beijing recharged and ready to go!

So happy on our way to the airport

Anna, aka "The Sherpa" moving through the airport. The picture is a bit fuzzy because we were MOVIN'. Our layover was just barely long enough....

We made it!

Mom and Dad, These are sips, not klicks.

Elephant Klicks

Morning walk in the rain

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shout Out

I mentioned a tattoo parlor was going to put up a poster for Klicks4Chrissy. The name of the tattoo parlor is Mike Austin Custom Tattoos.

I tried to find a website to link to, but no luck!

If you are in the market for a tattoo, and you are in London, I think their business is at 306 Simcoe and their phone number is 519-642-3049.

Happy tatting!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Terry Fox Lives Here

Years ago, a young man decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. His story is pretty interesting.... average student, average athlete that worked so very hard to become good. Diagnosed with cancer, lost one leg, came back to run almost 10,000 km on one leg between training and his fundraising run. Only to succumb to cancer in the middle of his fund raising run... Terry Fox.

The girls' school has been participating in the Terry Fox run for 20 years. To celebrate, Terry Fox's sister Judith Fox, visited the school. There was a parent event one night I couldn't attend, but I did make it to the assembly where she spoke to the kids. It was short, but very sweet.

Her main point was Terry Fox's motto: Keep at it until you get it right.

Judith Fox is known as "the guardian of her brother's legacy." She was so young when he died, maybe 18 or so. I wonder about how she feels, 30+ years later, to have this be her life. Not in a negative way, just that I wonder if it is hard for her, or if it brings comfort... I wish I could have heard her speak Tuesday night. I heard it was amazing.

The girls both participated in the run (all three!). They each also donated their allowance to the Terry Fox fund. I'm so proud of them for working so hard to prepare for the run and for donating their allowance (that's their ice cream money... not taken lightly!).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Balance Tipped!

I had hoped donations would keep up with our klicks. Thanks to all the generous donations, we are behind in our klicks! What a wonderful problem to have.

As of today, we are up to $915. Thank you so very much for the generous donations. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

800 KM crossed!

As of today, we have passed the 800KM mark!

We had a beautiful weekend and first part of the week. Autumn temperatures are setting in with cold mornings, cool/sunny days... and breezes so the AQI has been low.

The girls have been riding bikes, roller skating and walking. I'm so proud of them!

We don't often get lovely sunsets. Beijing is in a "bowl" with mountains all around. We had this lovely bit of light and color last night. This is what good air brings!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pies for sale!

Have you ever tasted pie so delicious you must have more? Crust with just the right balance of flake and soft? Filling with the perfect balance of sweet and tart so that you can eat the. whole. thing.?

We know of one such perfect pie maker, and she is taking orders!

Miss Elaine, one of Chrissy's Angels, has offered to take orders and make pies for Canadian Thanksgiving. All proceeds will be donated to Klicks4Chrissy.
photo credit:

  • Apple and Pumpkin pies.
  • $10 per pie
  • Orders need to be made through Oma:
  • Orders need to be placed by Wednesday, October 9
  • Pie pick-up can be arranged when you place your order
Happy Pie Day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Such a beautiful day!

I am so very, very proud of Big Bit and Middle Bit! The weather was perfect today: low AQI, sunny, not cool, not warm, just right.

We rode bikes down to another compound to play at their playground. The big girls rode all the way there, played and rode home. They then rode all around the compound neighborhood visiting friends.

Somehow, I didn't get any pictures of the fun playground but did snap a shot over my shoulder as we rode down the road (the purple is Little Bit's helmet). My trail of children!

Later in the day, I got in a 5k run. I did intervals and tried to keep my turnover high even during my slower sections. I hit the best 5k time I've had in a while. Still not my best, and still pretty slow. But I was moving faster than I have in a while!

Total today? a Whoppin' 36 kilometers!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Prayers needed...

We had a message today that Chrissy is back in the hospital. Chrissy had been grinding her teeth and moaning some which indicates pain. Then she began crying... a sign that she is in great pain.

Oma and Nonno took her to the hospital and they are awaiting diagnostics.

Please keep Chrissy in your prayers. And Oma and Nonno. It is so difficult to know that your child is hurting but you can't help and you don't know why...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autumn Angst

High pollution + lots of rain = low klick achievement

I finally claimed my place in the gym on a treadmill to get some Klicks in. Monday-Wednesday gained 40.5 km.

The Beijing International Marathon is coming up but the spots are limited; I didn't make it onto the roster. One of my friends made it and is training but is injured. She may have to bow out. So I'm back in training! Basically, I'm the "understudy" for a 1/2 marathon runner.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Busy Week and Wow!

This week has been crazy busy for our little family. We've had meetings and classes, illness and trips.

We did not get in as many Klicks as I would have liked, but I'm hoping we'll have better weather and time this coming week and can make up some distance. This week brought us up to 685.

Despite our low kilometer earnings, there is lots of exciting news...

  • We've been added to the Participation House website! Click here to see the new link.
  • We had our first donation by someone we don't know... !!!
  • Oma has made some posters that will be posted in some London businesses to get the word out about our little blog. At the house picnic (read about it here), one of the guests offered to put a poster on display in his business... a tattoo parlor! Thank you!
  • Klicks for Chrissy has inspired the creation of a Participation House "Dream Fund!" Our willingness to raise funds has inspired other families to help their PH resident raise funds to help reach their dreams.
  • One of the businesses that sells supplies to the PH houses has offered a 10% rebate on all purchases to go back to the PH Dream Fund and so Klicks for Chrissy!
  • Miss Elaine, famous for her Maple Syrup, Local Honey, Corn and Pies... oh, her delicious pies... has offered to make and sell pies in support of Klicks for Chrissy!
  • And, last but not least, coming out soon will be Participation House Hoodies! Proceeds to benefit the PH Dream Fund and so Klicks for Chrissy!

I know, there are a lot of exclamation points in this post. There are just so many amazing things happening... what wonderful blessings!

I promise pictures as they become available...

Thank you to everyone who is reading and cheering us on.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Gift of Giving

I knit a scarf for each of the girls every year... ok, so I did that last year and I'm doing it again this year. That makes a tradition, right?!

Originally, Anna wanted stripes. Now she wants zig-zags. I didn't know how to make zig-zags so I had to find a pattern. The pattern I found (on is free but the pattern creator asks for donations to her cause, the Children's Liver Disease Foundation.

I donated to her and let her know about Klicks for Chrissy... she donated to Chrissy's fund!

I am amazed at everyone's generosity.

Check out Frankie's page (the pattern maker) here. Check out her patterns on

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Happy Back Home

Chrissy has been cleared by the doctors, she is smiling and calm and is heading home!

Nonno said she was giving some very nice smiles today and seemed to know something good was happening.

In celebration, the air is nice so Rachel and I went for a nice long bike ride.

So glad Chrissy will be home.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tough days for chrissy

As we sit in Beijing celebrating 600+ kilometers, Chrissy is in the hospital back home. She began moaning and grinding her teeth (her ways of communicating that she is in pain) so Oma and Nonno took her in. She has a urinary tract infection along with other issues.

She is on antibiotics and the doctors are working on helping her get back home.

One of the amazing things about Participation House is the care they provide. Chrissy has had a staff member from her home present around the clock.  The house staff know Chrissy, they know her medical history and personality. They are able to communicate with the hospital staff; they record every comminication or treatment so they can communicate with Oma and Nonno. What a blessing.

Please keep the family in your prayers: Healing for Chrissy, strength and fortitude for Oma and Nonno, wisdom for the hospital staff and gratitude for the PH staff.

Participation House Support Services - London & Area

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Running Joy

I was able to run today. The AQI was low. The air was cool. I had the time. I ran.

Just ran. 

Not running errands. Not going to or from school.

Just me, the pavement, the sun, the wind.

I ran. 

Rolling klicks

Little Bit asked to roller skate today. When she was done, she asked if I could push her in the stroller while I roller bladed (is that correct? Roller bladed past tense of to roller blade? It sounds odd!)

My answer? To the request to roller blade, not the grammar question....

Yes, of course you can roller skate then I will roller blade you to school!

I forget how much fun it is to roller blade. I went 8 or so kilometers and only came home because I had to get ready for Chinese lessons.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

10% Done!

I haven't posted because my computer has been on the fritz then crashed.  But I'm back AND.....

We hit the 500km mark!

In order to finish our 5000 klicks by May 31, we need to go 500km each month.  For August, we did it!

Truth be told, I am a little worried because this first 500 also included July. But it also included flights and the beginning of school. So hopefully we can keep up this pace...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Laughing in the Lane

The girls decided we ALL needed to walk our guest-dog, Loki, tonight. Normally, this is no big deal. But today... there are.... PUDDLES!!!!

Do you remember the dog treat commercial where the dog could smell "BACON!!!!" I think I heard Loki say "puddles" in much the same manner. I've never seen a dog so water crazy! He will jump on any puddle he sees then start to "dig" in it. He loves the water!

It's very cute, but when a 60+ pound dog wants to go to every puddle he sees, let's just say it makes for a very tight-leash walk!

Tonight, the girls are riding bikes trying to miss all the puddles. Loki is excitedly trying to get IN all the puddles.

I know the girls and I were laughing; I think the guards were laughing at me. And I'm pretty sure Loki was laughing.