Monthly Archives February 2007

Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Earl

One of the greatest challenges of living overseas is staying connected with family. We’ve been pretty darn creative though. We have phone calls, we have Skype calls, we have video i chats, we have care packages going back and forth… I have to admit though that there’s no replacement for having family come visit and there’s no replacement for us heading back to the States to spend time with them. Within the past year, we’ve had Grandma Barbara, Grandpa Earl, Aunt Susan, Grandma Dotty, Grandma Bill and Mary, Great-Aunt Rhonda, Great-Uncle Jack, and we have Aunt Sissy and Unca’ Bubba heading our way at the end of March. We have been very, very lucky!

As soon as Barb and Earl arrived this time, Maddie was right in step with them...

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Dad and School


Having your father work at your school must be terrific when you are three years old. I knew that it was important to Maddie, but I really didn’t how important it was until Andy was gone recruiting in the States for over two weeks. In short, Maddie was miserable, I was miserable… and we were really good at being miserable together! On the first night that Andy was gone, we made a sign that spelled out WELCOME BACK!!!. We then proceeded to color one letter each night before heading off to bed. This was our way of counting the number of sleeps until Daddy came home. I don’t think she has a real concept of how long (or short if you’re an optimist) two weeks really is so this helped her count it out each night. Big things happened while he was away...

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Back to School!

Maddie LOVES school. She was so torn this morning at about 7:15. Andy and I were walking out the door for school and Maddie couldn’t decide if she wanted to come with us or wait until after 7:30 when Ms. Zhou arrives. She also wanted to walk to school with Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Earl. It was almost too much to handle, but in the end, school won. She raced to the car with her backpack and coat! We played in the school office with dad and the office ladies for about 15 minutes before heading to class. She couldn’t wait to gallop into class to hug Ms. Preeti. As Maddie says, Ms. Preeti is her friend!

I see Maddie every single day at 12:00 on the button. It’s the end of my lunch period and the beginning of hers...

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A Sunday Brunch minus the Funnies!

Sometimes you just want a newspaper…. a big, thick newspaper full of ads, coupons, stories, weather, and of course the Sunday funnies. We all sat around the Sunday Brunch table today on the 38th floor of the JW Marriott Hotel realizing that Maddie will probably never yearn for that particular comfort. She’s a digital native and can get all of the good stuff online, including the funnies and the ads!

It was a very cloudy day in Shanghai today, but you could still see forever. When you sit in a boat on the ocean, you see ocean forever. Well, when you sit on the 38th floor of the JW Marriott, you see Shanghai forever! We had a great picture of People’s Square!

Maddie is such a delight to be around these days that you can take her to posh places that serve champagne brunches complete with ...

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The Special Child Syndrome

Maddie is a blond…. Maddie is a blond with curly hair…. Maddie is a blond with curly hair AND blue eyes. What’s the big deal we say? Maddie is growing up with Special Child Syndrome as her Grandma Barbara calls it. She’s a STAR and people stop us on the sidewalk to take her picture. So then I take pictures of them taking pictures everywhere we go! Part of me is actually amazed that she doesn’t get the same treatment when we go home for the summers, but I’m supposed to think that – I’m her mom!!

This morning we woke up to a beautiful Suzhou day and Maddie decided to walk around the city with us on a photography tour. We took a picture of the pagoda at the Ruiguang Ta right behind the Sheraton hotel...

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Adventures in Suzhou!


I’ve mentioned how Maddie really knows how to travel. She’s getting quite flexible in her old age! Today she managed a two hour car ride to Suzhou which is a canal town northwest of Shanghai. Maddie checked us into the Sheraton (hey, it’s all about the airline miles!) which is a gorgeous hotel that is built with pagodas and authentic Chinese architecture. We then traveled via taxi to the Yang Yang Shui Jiao Guan restaurant which serves the cheapest and best dumplings ever… well, next to Ms. Zhou’s of course! Maddie chowed on dumplings filled with beef/coriander, shrimp, and other mystery meats. The only struggle up to this point was the lack of a sit down toilet! She used to be really go at going anywhere, but she’s getting very opinionated in her old age and refuses to go...

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The Circus in Shanghai!

I have to laugh because when Maddie travels, she knows what she is doing and she tells us exactly what to do. When we were in the Shangri-La last week, she reminded us to be quiet in the hallways because people could be sleeping. Today she insisted on having her own ticket for the subway and insisted on standing by herself. She’s brave because when she is on her own, she knows that people will always enter her personal space by playing with her hair. She stands out and people stare, point, smile, touch, whisper, yell, take pictures with cameras/cell phones… all of which make her very uncomfortable. She survived the subway ride quite well though and we arrived at our destination an hour later...

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Happy Year of the Golden Pig!


As I sat in the audience at the elementary assembly last week, I was completely amazed at how confident Maddie was up on stage. She IS the minority here yet she doesn’t even notice… unless of course we’re walking around Shanghai! She had spent the entire week preparing for her very first on stage performance. Lessons were filled with the meaning of Chinese New Year and she made lanterns and scrolls filled with Chinese characters. I very simply asked her what they said and she very simply told me, “Shin nien quai le.” “Of course it did,” I thought as I searched the files in my brain to recall that little tidbit I had forgotten! We had a Chinese dress made for her at the fabric market in the fall and she just managed to squeeze into one last time for the New Year celebration at school...

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