Thursday, August 28, 2008

Done deal

We be homeowners! Whoooo!
Drop us an email if you need our new address.
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T plus 97 minutes and counting

We may own a house but we are not quite sure yet because our power-of-attorney is not answering her cell phone.

We will cut her some slack though since we are guessing she is not answering because she is busy signing many many many pieces of paper with our names and then POA and then her name - Weee! 3 times the fun of just signing 1 name!

Unfortunately we are really tired so I guess we won't know if we actually are the proud owners of a house until tomorrow. We'll let you know then!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tovina update

We interrupt this housing blow-by-blow to let you know that Tovina has become a walking machine! When we go out (which we did for ice cream tonight to celebrate our anniversary) Tovina will take off between the tables... and then out the door and down the mall hallway stopping to climb any stairs that catch her attention. Its pretty funny how determined she is to explore the world and how happy she is to wave at us from the other side of a piece of glass - as she makes her get away.

We were able to call her back a few times with a (very small) spoon of ice cream. When she noticed said spoon being help out to her she let out a fantastically happy squeal of glee and rushed us with all haste. Upon eating the ice cream she immediately turned around again and headed off the great blue yonder.

24 hours away...

.. till the deal is done. I just got off the bank and they even agreed that we do in fact have an account with them and they are able to send our money where we want it to go.

We need a fax authorizing the transaction.
It has been sent to you.
When did you send it?
Oh, about 2am your time.
Ah... let me check.

Now I understand that they don't know yet since they did just open, but this goes back to yesterday's observation - couldn't they open at 4am and make this easier?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


in 2 days on the house.
Definitely a new experience.
I think it might be more fun with more sleep. Why can't people in EST be awake at 4am when it is easier for me to talk to them?

Monday, August 25, 2008


When one owns a house, one's mortgage holder expects one to have home owner's insurance. Now if you thought that talking to insurance companies was hard, try it from 12 time zones away. To make it more fun we bundled car insurance into the deal. The best part was when the agent asked me for the car VIN.

"Um... well, we don't actually own the car yet. See, we're planning on buying one after we get back to the states. But we are going to be renting cars right away so we will need auto coverage. Are you able to provide car insurance for people who don't own a car?"

*** Big old pause on the other end of the phone ***

It was a fun time for all!

(not to worry, it all worked out after almost 2 hours of discussion)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Women's beach volleyball medal games

Women's beach volleyball on Thursday was a blast! Admittedly it did rain the entire time - right up until the medal ceremony started. One of the nice things was the the guard gates handed out rain ponchos to everyone as we came in. Admittedly they were the thinnest ponchos I have ever seen and my pony tail managed to rip though my hood before I sat down in my seat. But still - very helpful!

Here are Josh and Chris walking to their seats. Chris brought his own rain coat - smart man! Took this picture to emphasize their lovely legs.
The crowd all prepped for the weather.
Some inflatable Fuwas (Olympic mascots) providing a show between games. You should check out the video for more on that.
Olivia and myself being not rained on for about 10 minutes - again it was between games. During the games it poured.

And here is the video

And what is this video? Well, at the women's beach volleyball medal games there were some games for the crowd between the bronze game and then silver/gold game. One of the events during the show was that random people from the crowd were brought down to the field and allowed to take a serve and try to hit the Fuwas. If they succeeded, they were allowed to keep the ball.

Helping clean up

As her walking skills increase, so do the number of chores we expect Tovina to take care of. 
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beach volleyball

I never thought I'd be watching beach volleyball in Beijing since I rarely caught it when I actually lived on the beach. But opportunity knocks so I will be checking out tomorrow's 9am game live! Later tomorrow Michael and I will be going to Women's bronze, silver and gold match for football tomorrow night!

Monday, August 18, 2008

And now for pizza

Continuing the list of things that Tovina likes to eat on her own, we have for you.. PIZZA!! 
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And here are some live action shots.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tovina eating an apple... whole

We use to cut up fruit for Tovina but lately she has become more insistent about wanting her fruit just as it comes off the tree. She is doing okay with it too, although she does show a marked propensity for eating the apple core.

You may notice that eating an apple is very serious work.

(There is now a shorter video in this post. If you want to see the whole thing then check it out on youtube.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pterodactyl Tovina

Ever notice how a child who is learning to walk holds their arms out like a pterodactyl? This had not occurred to me until one of our friends pointed it out.

Tovina is getting pretty darn good at walking around as seen here. She does sort of have a pterodactyl stance about her, but whatever works. And by works, what I really mean is sometimes works which also implies, sometimes doesn't work... Learning to walk is not for the faint of heart.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tovina cheering for the home team

After watching men's qualifying gymnastics last Saturday, some of the Chinese people at the event gave Tovina a Chinese flag and showed her how to cheer the home team. Here you can watch her getting the hang of it.

Packing is done

Here is Tovina helping me pack things up
Tovina sorting through papers
And Tovina with some of the moving crew. She tried to help them too
Our empty apartment

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Pictures from the Today show taping

All of us in front of the bird's nest
Tovina enjoying bouncing on Dad's shoulders (and making grabs for his glasses)
Meeting some of the members of the US synchronized swimming team!
Generally hamming it up for the camera :)
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Watching the olympics is surprisingly exhausting

So maybe we weren't down on the floor competing but our whole family is still tired. Therefore, instead of expending effort in trying to write a witty blog (I can dream can't I?), I will simply direct you to the photos from our friends that we went with today to see men's gymnastics and Thursday night for the Today show.

(Its called delegating and I learned about it in my MBA classes)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympic time

We've been watching the opening ceremonies at home on TV the way most of our friends are watching it but we are going to go and see some men's gymnastics in person tomorrow. To paraphrase a friend, "in spite of my best efforts, I'm excited about the Olympics."
Why, 'in spite of'? Because there has been a lot of things we had to deal with/work around/worry about/learn about/and explain all due to these Olympics and it seemed like it should be a jading kind of experience. But here's the thing. I'm not feeling jaded. I'm excited and I'm glad we are going to a couple of events. I'll be even more excited once we are done packing and we can hopefully enjoy it a little more, but still - this if fun!

And thank you to our friends who were able to record some of Tovina's appearances on the Today show. We would really like to save a copy somehow so we can add it to the grand Tovina digital scrapbook and we will get in touch with you about how best to do this once things have calmed down a little. If you have not seen Tovina on TV, then you can check out this picture which goes with this video (thanks Matt!)

Since NBC is not available at our apartment this was our first chance to see Tovina on the show.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Tovina's famous!

Or at least she made it onto TV!
That's right, we were on the Today show ... well... today....actually. I'm told there was a sighting at 7:48.
To help you out, Michael is in red, I'm in purple, and Tovina is in light blue with jeans on - often seen sitting on shoulders and having a blast. There was one other baby there, our friend Mirabelle, who is slightly younger than Tovina and wearing a dark blue dress.

After the live broadcast they did some taping for use during tomorrow's show and we are in it lots more. Look for us particularly at the left hand side of the screen next to Meredith. And in the teasers for the opening ceremony.

You can also see our friend Carolyn with her parents though Sophia was unable to join :(
But Carolyn got to speak on camera which was very very cool!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Enjoying chocolate on her birthday

First some background:
The night of Tovina's birthday the family was sitting around enjoying some ice cream bars. As it was her birthday, Tovina got to try some too. Her opinion? The results were surprisingly mixed. Other than one confusing piece of evidence, I would have said she clearly liked the ice cream and chocolate because she kept coming back for more. In fact, the video shows Tovina's 5th and 6th tastes of the ice cream bar. It was the same reaction each time. For the 3rd and 4th taste she did the closest she comes to running, tongue hanging out and mouth wide to get to the ice cream as fast as possible.
So what was the verdict?
Well, you be the judge.

I’ve been told that it is hard to understand what we are saying during the videos, so I have transcribed the text for you
Tovina’s Mom: I think it is her first chocolate
Zaida (grandfather): I think she might like it
Baba (grandmother): Did she stick her tongue out again like last time?
Zaida: Oooo. What's the matter?
Mom: Is that cold sweetie?
All: Heartless laughter

Did you catch her expression after each taste? Oh, you missed it because it went too fast? Well here, let me help you.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Today (actuallyThursday and Friday)

If you live in the US, or really most of North America, you may have heard of this TV station called NBC and further, you may know that it has a program called the Today show. As it turns out, this particular show will be broadcasting live from the Olympic village Thursday night our time - or Thursday morning for you North Americans.
It further happens that we will likely be in its very select and small audience and if all goes well, we will have a very adorable baby with us and may be able to get some screen time. It that works, then we should also be part of the crowd for the Friday morning broadcast of the Today show (EST).

Just in case you were interested in seeing us on TV. (Anyone got some recording space to spare?)

Monday, August 04, 2008

crazy days

My folks left for the States today
We are in the process of closing on a house in Ohio
I am submitting job applications
Tovina is lamenting the fact that her parents won't hold her as constantly as her grandparents are willing to hold her
The movers are taking everything we own away next week
Uncle Sam doesn't care how hard he is making it to get our cats home with us
And Beijing is a quiet and calm place right now because the Olympics are about to start. Errr... actually, I meant the exact opposite of that.

And we are only freaking out a little.*

Not bad for a day's work

*This does not count the kitties who are becoming progressively more alarmed by Tovina's daily mobility improvements.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Tovina has made it through a whole year and only a bunch of teeth, some longer hair, and only a few bruises to show for it.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Sleepy time

Tovina has gone back to not sleeping all the way through the night (parenthood is fun!) and while our historic solution is to help her learn to sleep on her own (re: 'cry it out' or, as it is otherwise known to many a parent, 'how to justify listening to your child cry her heart out') we have discovered that the presence of grandparents brings a whole new clarity to having a crying baby wailing away.
Their very own, very first, precious, crying, unhappy, just-wants-to-be-held grandchild would be the baby we are talking about here.

We have found a solution to this.
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