Sunday, December 30, 2007

We are! Penn State!

Tovina showed her true colors today as we watched the Penn State bowl game.
Early on it was a real nail biter.
But Penn State pulled ahead and Tovina cheered for every touchdown!
Yup, she is definitely a fan from head to ...
She even learned the importance of all the activities that go along with watching a college bowl game. (note: this is a local Hawaiian brew)
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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Swam in the Ocean

Well, maybe swam is a bit of an overstatement, but Tovina definitely got in the ocean today. She was not sure what she thought of it. I thought she might find it too cold, but when she did complain - which was really not that much - her complaints mostly centered on the fact that I had allowed some gap between her body and mine which was completely unacceptable. Other than that, the ocean spray, the startling water, the wind, and the immediately soaked diaper did not really seem to bother her. In fact, it was hard to tell if she noticed that we were even in the ocean.
I thought she handled herself quite well and plan to continue the experiment tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

From the condo

We are lucky enough to be staying right on the ocean. Just outside are lava rocks (from old eruptions they say) with lots of critters. So far we have noticed these crabs
and these... uh.. no idea what these are actually. Anyone else have an idea? We thought they might be barnacles but that does not seem to be right.

In other news, Tovina finds the beach exhuasting
And sometimes really upsetting. Actually, this was because her mommy refused help her go to sleep. Bad mommy.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Safe travels

We made it and are now safely on the ground in Hawaii! I have also learned that one way to get your very own private bed is to weigh under 24 lbs. Here are some shots of Tovina sleeping in her Japan Airline supplied bassinet. Apparently it was quite comfy.
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Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm going where?

Having been home for all of 10 days now, me and Tovina are heading to Hawaii - weee!
Unfortunately, daddy can't come with us -sigh :(
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The best little Santa

We joined some friends in town for dinner tonight. In addition to the secret santa gifts we also brought one little elf.
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Safety First

Tovina and I stopped by the construction site last week to say hi to folks. As you can see here - Tovina was very careful to follow all the safely rules before walking the site.

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The furniture has arrived!

A couple of months ago we ordered up some furniture designed by Michael. It was just delivered today and wow are we excited!

Here is the buffet table
and the coffee table with these cool outward-rotating drawers.

This is the kitchen table. They brought the stand in first and then just laid the top.... well.. on top. It is still very stable though. And we tested it out tonight and food stays on it really well.

There are 3 end tables. Here is the one with an aleph (there is also a bet and gimel but they are not featured here.)

And lastly, here is our Active Susan! The furniture store called it a mahjong table, but we like our name much better. It started when we tried to get a lazy-susan for the dining table. And it is also in honor of a good friend of ours who inspired us to get some Chinese art for our home.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Making new friends

When we were in Shanghai, Tovina and I would walk past a park where people were doing their morning t'ai chi. Since we were usually walking past at 8am, it was just as one group was finishing. So here is what would happen: Tovina and I would be waiting at the crosswalk to cross to the park and at the other side would be a group of energized older ladieswho couldn’t help but notice this little person staring over at them. While I was waiting for the light to change, these lovely women who make their way across the street and congregate around Tovina – who was strapped into the front carrier. Every day the size of the group increased. On Saturday there were over 10 and they kept calling more friends over.

Unfortunately I understood practically nothing they say. After much repetition, there have been a few things that came through, mostly questions. Here is what they wanted to know:

She is 4 months old
She is a girl
She is mine
I am 32
We are Americans
She will be coming by tomorrow
She looks like Michael
I feed her breast milk

I learned to keep Tovina’s hands trapped with the little fold over flaps on her outdoor jumper, otherwise they admonished me about how cold her hands are. One day I had her in a little sweater under her outerwear. The top of the sweater was visible where the blue outdoor jumper was not quite zipped up all the way. The ladies were concerned that I had not buttoned the sweater up all the way so I woman took off her gloves so she could do up the very top button of the sweater which was right under Tovina’s little chin. I had left it undone because I could not convince Tovina to lift her chin enough for me to get it. Clearly these ladies had more skill, or at least determination, that I did.

They held us up through at least 3 turns of the cross walk light.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Studying hard

Tovina was a big hit with the class in Shanghai. Here she is at the Saturday night dinner.

You may notice that you are not seeing me in any of these photos - that was because I was actually eating my meal!
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Monday, December 17, 2007

Next installment - Talk to the hand

We've been informed that we are late with this month's screen saver. Please see the selection below to rectify this situation.

Things of note this month: There be hair! And apparently those hands follow her everywhere.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Traveling baby

This week Tovina and I are in Shanghai for the latest installment of my MBA class. Its been quite the adventure but everything is going fine. We had some friends recommend a friend who offered to lend us the services of her babysitter since they were heading to the States.
we'll let you know more as it develops
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thanksgiving take 2

We enjoyed Thanksgiving so much in the States that we decided to do it again once we got back to Beijing. We were responsible for bringing pumpkin soup and our whole family helped out in the prep and cooking. Everyone?

Here is Tovina and Michael washing vegetables together.

Oh, and the soup was a big hit yet again.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Protected from the cold

Tovina and I went out for lunch the other day but when it was time to come home, she didn't want to stay in her carriage, so she ended up strapped into her front pack. Unfortunately she was not wearing her coat and I was sort of afraid that she might get chilly during the walk. The solution? We decided to share my coat.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

And away she goes

One of the things we have commented on before is how the wait staff in restaurants will take care of children while their parents eat a meal. We have thought that was a pretty neat feature and a wonderfully positive comment on Chinese society but had not had a chance to experience it ourselves... until this week.

Having just returned from the States, we were out running errands and decided to enjoy some lunch. As we were ordering, Michael was holding Tovina on his lap and she was looking particularly adorable in her leopard print outfit (see previous post). Well, the waitress, having finished with boring ol' us, squats in front of Tovina and starts trying to get her attention with hand clapping and general friendliness. Being a social kind of child, Tovina's all for it and responds with a big smile and a happy noise. That was about all the waitress needed and proceeded to lean in and pick our little girl up out of her daddy's lap. It is a good thing we had been exposed to this behaviour before or we might have been alarmed. As it was, when Michael looked at me as if asking, 'is this okay?' I immediately responded, 'Yes!'

The restaurant had a number of different rooms. We were in the one that had the front door. We're not sure how many of the other rooms Tovina saw but we do know that she disappeared for at least 10 minutest at a time. At one point a woman who was apparently eating back in one of those rooms, appeared to pay her bill. As walked by us she told us that we have a beautiful daughter.

Tovina was brought back to us when Michael finished his meal (I was still eating) slightly tired from her social outing but quite satisfied that she had been able to expand her fan base.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wild animals in slightly different enviroments

To keep warm in this winter season, Tovina has donned this very stylish leopard coat. (No actual leopards were harmed in the making of the outfit.) While in Cincinnati we went and visited the real thing in the zoo. Tovina was less than impressed though she did manage to wake up enough to sort of look in their general direction at one point.
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Friday, December 07, 2007

so many dimples, so little time

We have a lot of stories to share but right now Tovina is learning to sleep more at night and it seems to be exhausting the whole family. Soon though we will probably have energy to share such things.
Looking at these pictures, its hard to believe that anyone who can smile that sweetly can be so tiring.
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cool new clothes

Many little tiny items of clothing came our way while in the states. Here is Tovina showing off her spiffy duds.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Back in Beijing

We had a great time in Ohio but now we are back home and struggling to get everyone in the family back on Beijing time. Tovina is doing her best to readjust but she is definitely missing the fabulous attention she was getting from her cousins - they are definitely more interesting than her boring ol' parents. Here she is with Emma and Brendan.
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