Monday, April 11, 2016

Day In The Life | April 2nd

In light of moving to China and a few upcoming link ups, I decided it was time to record a day in our lives again! Since moving to China, no specific day has been 'normal', but we are working towards getting there :).  A couple of things to note about this particular day: I used my iPhone for all of the pictures this time, we arrived in China on March 24th and had been here a little over a week when I recorded this day, we were trying to get ready to move into our house the next day and I didn't decide to do this post until breakfast so there is a substantial lack of pictures before we ate, just a few I went back and grabbed!  In case you are new around here, you can read more about me here, you can find out about our opportunity to move to China here and I answered some of the most frequently asked questions about our expat assignment here.

6:47am: I am jolted awake by a crying Everly.  I try to shush her because Emma is still sleeping, but she wants none of that. She is starving and wants something to eat. Two things are worth mentioning here, I had gotten in a really bad habit of sleeping with the girls since moving to China with adapting to the time change and Everly must be going through a growth spurt- she literally wants to eat all of the time which is so not like her.  I unhappily roll out of bed and get her goldfish.  When we get back to bed, I check my phone and my sisters want to FaceTime.  I text back letting them know we would call.  Emma is now awake because no one can sleep through Everly's hunger cries.

We call Austin, Adge, Theo and baby Helena before we even have coffee (which ironically was their first question to me- they know me too well), we get to see everyone and from what I can remember we chat about what we like in China (the pizza place we discovered), what has surprised us the most (ease at finding food for Ev's and her new found hunger) and we showed off our flexibility skills (i.e. the girls new yoga moves).  It was so good to catch up with them even if Emma was bossing us around with the phone the entire time ;).

7:32am: The three of us emerge from the room and I immediately push the start button on the coffee extra thankful that Wes had prepared everything the previous night.  I check to see if it looks like the sun is going to come out and realize that it is another smoggy day and pour my first cup of coffee.

7:47am: We all sit down to eat breakfast where Wes made us scrambled eggs and sausage (well kind of sausage, it turns out that I had bought some kind of cheddar bratwurst when I had gone to the grocery store by myself earlier in the week).  It is at this point that I decide to document a day in our life.

Emma's breakfast also includes a side of watermelon and pizza cookie, from our favorite pizza place that we had discovered two nights earlier.

7:52am: We are still at the breakfast table where we start to plan out our day.  We go ahead and make a grocery list because there is a public holiday starting today and running through Monday so we must run every single errand we can think of today because we have to pay a premium to use our car on a holiday.  We also make plans to try out a burger place owned by Americans thinking that we must eat at all the restaurants that cater to expats before we move further south.

Wes checks on clothes in dryer- he has put them through two times and they are still not dry, possibly we don't know how to work the Chinese dryer?

8:13am: We FaceTime with Wes's parents- this is now two people in one day which is very unusual for us.  Emma shows them her cookie and then she and her grandparents discuss how much they miss each other and we chat about the weather back in Texas (there have been a lot of storms, but I am guessing they have seen that bright blue sky way more than we have in the last couple of weeks!) and Emma gives hugs and blows lots and lots of kisses.

8:15am: I go find Ev's to try to get her to come say hi to her grandparents and I find her hiding in her 'el-ba-bator' (otherwise known as a closet  :)).  This girl has become obsessed with elevators since living in hotels for the last three weeks.  She finally comes to find us and gives her grandparents hugs and kisses over FaceTime as we say bye.

8:22am: I give the girls a piggy back ride into the living room and it is time to start getting ready for the day.  I remember that I did not WeChat Steve the previous night to let him know where we wanted to go (we have a different driver today than we normally have due to the public holiday and our driver doesn't speak English so we coordinate through Steve on these days).

I pack a few of our suitcases to take to the house so we have less to take tomorrow when we move into our house.

And continue to get ready by gathering grocery bags, checking on the laundry (the clothes are finally dry!) and get the girls dressed.  Somewhere along the way, I drink my second cup of coffee.

During all of this, Ev's finds old fruit snacks in her 'Lambie' backpack and proceeds to eat them, see what I told you about her being hungry all of the time and I start the tedious task of brushing Emma's hair.

She wants her picture made, so I go ahead and snap one of her tangled hair.  I would love to know how she got such tangly hair- it can be a beating to brush it!

We use the detangling spray and brush away and she even lets me put a bow in! Then, she wants to have a look for herself.

Once she sees me snapping pictures, she wants more pictures taken (I am now thinking we chose a good day to record day in the life, because she is usually my 'no more pictures' kind of girl).

And she wants to see the back so I take a picture and show it to her.

It is now time for me to actually get ready and the girls act like crazy little people while I run around trying to finish everything.

Ev's hears Emma say that she wants to wear her new Toms (which is not true by the way, Emma just hasn't been that into Toms lately and so even though she has had them for a long time, she hasn't worn them in awhile and calls them 'new') and insists on new converse.  Her sad puppy dog eyes make me cave and I bring out her size sevens even though I know they are way too big for her.  I snap a picture of these shoes and pause to think about all of the place these shoes have taken her and the memories she has made in them- her first pair of shoes other than moccs. My girls feet grow so slow!!

9:32am:  I told our driver we would be down at 9:30 and we are now officially running late but I want Wes to snap a picture of us three girls ready for our day.

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again and get slightly more awkward faces each time :).

As we walk out of our room, it is always a race to the elevator.  The girls have worked out a fairly good system, Ev's pushes the up or down button and Emma pushes the button to what floor we are going too (because she can recognize her numbers and Everly can't- we will probably be in for it when Everly can recognize numbers).  On this particular day, it looks like Emma is also helping Everly with her 'down' duties.

Family elevator selfie with mirrors on all four walls ;).

9:40am: We are in the car and on our way to Ikea making smiley faces as we get in.

9:54am: We make it to Ikea.  The pointing and looking at us has already started in the parking lot.  I know that we look different, but I am going to be honest here, it has been difficult to adjust to always been looked at.  I know they are just curious and most of the time people are all really nice (I really appreciate the people that ask to take the girls pictures before actually just taking them even though I mostly say no thank you), but the staring and pointing is hard to get used too.  Then, the second they notice us notice them, they proceed to talk in Mandarin and I can only imagine that they are talking about us which just makes the whole thing even more awkward to me.

We need to grab a lot of supplies for our house- towels, sheets, bedding, kitchen utensils, plates, coffee mugs and not so importantly panda bears for the girls.  Our air shipment we know has arrived in Chengdu, but it has not cleared customs and we are moving into our house!  We also knew we were running out of room in the van with the suitcases that I packed and the grocery store run we still needed to go on so some things we just had to take a picture of to remember to buy later- this particular item was chairs for the girls.

Emma picked out the bedding for her and Everly's bed.

And the girls hemmed and hawed about which panda bear was right for them (sidenote: they were all exactly the same!).

Evsie's had wanted one the previous time we went to Ikea, but Emma was sleeping on my back (when we were still adjusting to our new schedule) and so we put it off until we went back- to say she was pleased with 'pandi pandi' was an understatement.

We stop to debate on which rug we should get for the house- I will have to post pictures of the house soon, but I think we will go with the bottom rug. Even though none of the three rugs are really my design aesthetic, we are really just looking for something comfortable to sit on in the living room.

We got there early and it wasn't crazy at all- best idea we had :).  In case you are wondering, the Ikea in China looks exactly the same as the Ikea in the US- the only interesting thing was that each kitchen display had a rice cooker on the counter top which you would not find in the US.  As you can see our cart was filled to the brim as we walked to check out.

11:07am: We are all done and checked out (a nice guy let us use his family Ikea card to save 10 RMB on the pandas) and we reward ourselves with some pre-lunch ice cream.  We find a place to sit down and Ev's is not happy- she really wanted the waffle cone that my ice cream came in (it is weird, but you get vanilla ice cream in a cake cone (costs about 15 cents or 1 RMB) and you get chocolate/vanilla twist in a waffle cone (costs about 30 cents or 2 RMB)) and she wanted vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone, but I don't know how to ask for that and she was not pleased with the cone they gave her.

However, this girl is being extremely cooperative on the picture front today :).

And even requests a picture of her with her ice cream cone!

Everly has settled down so long as she can hold my ice cream cone,

And this, because she is my 'me too' girl, she wanted to take a picture with mommy- please note, still holding two ice cream cones for ultimate happiness:).

She eventually gives me my ice cream cone back so that I can finish it :).  The girls then request sausage on a stick and I cave because even though we are going to go to lunch, it's only 50 cents (so cheap here!!).  Here is just a quick example of people taking pictures of us- see that sweet girl there in the background taking a picture of Emma and Everly. Happens every single time we go out and about.

Wondering what sausage on a stick looks like- Emma is more than happy to show you :).

Sister negotiations or something like that ;).

11:41am: We arrive at Carrefour which is basically the grocery store that we feel most comfortable shopping at- we actually know where a few of our favorite things are located.  As we get out, I take note that Emma has buckled her panda bear up.

This grocery store has the coolest invention- you have to ride up these escalator type things (minus the stairs) and you need to take your cart with you.  You might think it is hard to keep your cart up them because the climb is pretty steep, but they put magnets on the bottom of the cart and you can actually have your cart go up hands free!

I thought you might want to see what the inside of the grocery store looks like- this is a snap of the imported section of coffee and jelly :).

We need to get groceries and toiletries and basically we don't have our crap together- Emma pushes the cart over while Everly is in it which is a parents worst nightmare.  There was total chaos and Emma eventually had to go to timeout for pushing Everly (not over in the cart, but another time when they were racing to be first somewhere).  We push through it and get paper towels, groceries, snacks and diapers and head back to the car completely wiped, but still needing to run a few more errands.

12:42pm: We leave the grocery store and stop at one of the Peter' restaurants to order breakfast sausage and cheese (yay, we found really good breakfast sausage!).  We have a hard time communicating if they sell tortillas, but ultimately we find out that they do and go ahead and purchase a dozen of those as well.

The girls play in their play area while we are working on buying our products and while we waited, we meet someone from Fort Worth but who has lived in Chengdu for 14 years.  I went to high school in Fort Worth and it is about 20 minutes away from our house- such a small world!!

When we go back outside, our spirits are immediately lifted- the sun is shining and the sky is bright blue!

We also see a tuk-tuk type of transportation that we want to get for puttering around our neighborhood so we go ahead and snap a picture so that hopefully we can ask someone and figure out where to buy something like this.

We locate our driver and head to our next stop, Red Beard Burgers- we had wanted it for delivery the night before but they don't deliver as far as where we are staying.  The girls are super cranky when we arrive and we start to question ourselves about did we make the right decision to go to lunch.  It is a very small restaurant- it holds about 15 people.  Of course, both girls want to sit by me so I go ahead and snap a selfie.

This nice couple asks if they can take our picture for us (it turns out that they actually know some of the people that I work with) and here is the series of pictures she got.  All you can do is laugh- we were a total mess :).

We finally get the girls settled coloring with paper and markers while we wait on our food.

Our hamburgers are supper yummy- mine is the first one pictured below with bacon, blue cheese and an onion reduction, Wes ate a burger with a fried egg on top (he said his was pretty good minus the sweet sauce) and we shared chili cheese fries.  Well not many chili cheese fries because the chili has a very weird aftertaste to it (you win some, you lose some when you are in China).  Luckily, Ev's french fries are good (she just got plain) and are plenty to share.  Emma decides she does not want any sausage (read: hamburger meat) and ate her 'burger' as just bun, lettuce and pickle.

2:14pm: We leave Red Beard burgers and head towards our house.  The girls are being goofy, doling out kiss after kiss and playing baby.  I can tell that it is definitely past their nap time as we arrive at the house.

You can see the tiredness in Everly's eyes.

Once we arrive at the house, we take everything inside.  Our driver helps us to carry our suitcases upstairs and we are immensely thankful for him- they are heavy!  Here are a couple of sneak peaks of the house.  Here is our front door :).

And our kitchen.

And this is what sold us on the house- looking outside our backyard is the golf course!

With amazing views!!

3:05pm: After just a brief visit at the house (we were literally there less than twenty minutes), we leave and head back towards the hotel.

3:30pm: We are back at hotel and the girls bust open the Pringles they picked out at the grocery store for a quick pre-nap snack. By the way, they do not taste like Pringles in the States, but that does not bother the girls one bit :).

4:14pm: It is unusually late nap time, but everyone is asleep! I lay down with them to get them to nap hence the big hole in the middle :).

4:28pm: I sneak back into our bedroom with Wes, we watch a silly movie - Fun with Dick and Jane.  It is nice to actually see a movie- I am pretty particular with movies that I watch and the only two English channels at our hotel for us are CNN and HBO and HBO plays a lot of shoot em up type movies that I am not into at all- so a comedy was much needed.

5:28pm: My alarm goes off and I need to wake up girls but I don't want to knowing they need their sleep, but at the same time, I really want them to go to sleep tonight.  I decide to sneak back in and just watch them sleep- they are angels when they sleep :).  Not creepy at all, right??!!??

5:37pm: My alarm goes off again and I torment myself as to 'when do I wake them?'. I go ahead and peruse the Old Navy website, make a mental note that I haven't been on social media all day (a new normal in China) and finally decide to go for it and wake them up with promises of swimming.  Upon waking, Ev's asked for more chips right away- see what I mean about growth spurt!

6:11pm: We are dressed and ready to go swimming.  This is my first time to go swimming at this hotel, because it is not nearly as heated as our Embassy Suites life back in the states.  Since you have to wear swim caps here and we are all in ours- selfies ensues.  Emma must be riding a nap time high and tells me 'I really like you' to which I respond, 'I happen to really like you too ;)'.

ps. Emma really wanted to make sure that her chip got in the picture.  Why, I have no clue :).

And once again, it is a made race to the elevators!

We have the swimming pool to ourselves and so we get to swim in the adult section and the kid section which the girls thought was a major bonus.  It is freezing cold! Ev's stands up by herself in the baby pool with no floaties- I swear she could not do this when we arrived and has physically grown in the 10 days since arriving in China.  At one point, she goes under water, but swims right up.  I think this girl is definitely ready for swim lessons- she doesn't even mind going under water! Wes works out while we go swimming and then I have him grab a couple of pictures of us when he is done :).

Happy to be all dried off and warm again :).

7:35pm: We are back upstairs for a dinner of leftovers, pizza and spaghetti and 'lohgurt' for the girls and nothing for us because we are still full from our late lunch.  I snuggle up on the couch with them to watch a few shows, text the driver about our needs tomorrow (this is really hard to get used to - always telling someone where you need to go, when you need to be there and when you need to be picked up) and just decompress from the day.

We FaceTime Nonni and Papa George who were on their way to the zoo run, watch a final episode of Paw Patrol and get ready for bed fairly exhausted from the day :).

Whew!! What a day, right?? Not every day is this busy, but some days have been busier than this.  We are going to spend the next couple of months exploring locally and getting settled in our new home :).


  1. Awesome post - I love the photo of women in swim caps!

  2. by far my favorite China post to date :) fun to see a day in the life on the other side of the world. You are rockin' that swim cap btw. ;)

  3. Facetiming is seriously the best invention ever. I don't know what I would do without it as I have a husband that travels a lot for work.

  4. I loved this post! Everly in his black dress and gray shoes - so cute!! I think you should take lots of pictures of people taking pictures of you. And then make a book of it. Thanks! ;)

  5. Kelli's idea is fantastic - and it may be a little fun for you. That's what happens when you have a beautiful family. I bet you got stares in Texas, but it probably didn't feel as creepy and you could hear them say in english - Aw, what cute girls.

  6. I'm super excited to have found your blog! (I'm a Horned Frog, by the way -- albeit a long time ago!) Are you also on Instagram by chance? If so, under what name? [Google isn't letting me link to my blog; it's on the DITL round up (Payette Pigtails) and my Instagram is the same (payettepigtails).]

  7. I do! It's laurenelizmitchell :)

  8. How interesting it will be to look back and compare how different it is there... and yet the same (Ikea, etc). I look forward to reading more about your experience there.