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