Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dear Thursday,

Some letters from this wonderful day that I couldn't just let slip by.

Dear Thursday,
   Thank you for being such a productive day. With a toddler in tow since 8:30am we were on the go, ready to tackle the big To-Do list because we had access to a car today. By 1pm we had completed everything and still had smiles on our faces. We even picked up our favorite books from the library and had a impromptu play date at the park with our friends. You were great from start to finish.  Thank you for adding so much to this already fantastic week!
A productive mother/wife

Dear Taryn,
You amaze me. How you can make it so long in a car seat, in a stroller, in a shopping cart just baffles me. You can find funny in most any situation and constantly remind your mom that there is a need to laugh throughout the day. I love that you call each person you see a "friend." Thank you for being my constant side kick. I am also so overjoyed with how obedient you are. Your tantrum phase seems to have been brushed away and I am happy to see it go. I cannot believe the amount of words/phrases/ and sentences you know. Please tell me again and again how "excited!" you are to be on the swings. That just makes my day!

Dear Tyson,
   This first week of classes has been a great one for you and I love to see your excitement grow each day as you continue to discover more and more about what is making your last semester the best. You are incredible.

Dear Little Toddler Hands,
   I love to see you reaching up to the table to grab a handful of blueberries from the bowl over and over again. Please, take as many as you want.
A Costco bulk buyer (and one happy momma!)
Dear Krispie Kreme,
   Thank you for allowing T & B to have a mini date at home with your company. I am so glad that Valentine's Day means dark chocolate to you.
A Full stomach

Dear Crystal City,
  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways....
Two major grocery stores, Costco, Target, A major mall, Old Navy, a library, a million parks in any direction (all within walking distance from my home), beautiful bike trails, tons of food places and gorgeous homes to entertain my thoughts as we walk- all within 2 miles or less. You make living easy :)
I <3 CC

Tyson in China part 2

The coordinator of this China trip was a PHD student. He had lived in China for years prior to starting his PHD program. He took the group to this popular Dumpling restaurant. They only serve dumplings, but they are unique. Dumplings in Shanghai are filled with soup and served very hot. An expert eats these dumplings by using the special spoon to cradle the dumpling your holding with chopsticks. Carefully, because it's so hot, you nibble a tiny hole in the top, let the steam out and stuck out the soup. It's very messy but also very tasty. Tyson said everyone was constantly looked down at their suits to insure that they didn't get them messy from the food.

 --------------Overnight Train to Beijing--------------
In the overnight train the bed was long enough for Tyson to sleep in which was great.  Unfortunately, after arriving in Beijing at 7:15 am they had to quickly shower and change for a 9am meeting.  Though everyone was extremely tired, they had to power through three meetings.

The Olympic "Bird's Nest"

More interesting buildings

Breakfast food for lunch in Beijing ....doesn't look like Breakfast to me :)

A group of 9 students  met up with a Chinese student that is currently going to the Bologna Center but is back in Beijing for their semester break.  She took the group to some awesome "hot pot" dinner. That night, one of the interesting things Tyson tried was cow stomach.

The food was brought out on a platter and the group decided what to add to their pot of soup. The soup already contained chunks of fish. Each person could create their own dipping sauce.

Beijing at night

Tiananmen Square

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tyson in China part 1

Tyson and his group of American Foreign Policy and Global Theory and History students (14 people in all) arrived in Shanghai, China exhausted but excited. After a good sleep, Tyson woke up refreshed and ready for their first couple of meetings the next day. One of their first stops was at the Fudan University's Center of American Studies where they listened to the dean speak for a few hours. Their second meeting was across Shanghai with a Johns Hopkins SAIS alumni who is now the V.P. of Stragey for  HSBC's China Rural Banking (Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation).  But before sitting in on the meeting, the group stopped at a food court to grab Duck Crepes (for only 2 US dollars!) Tyson loved them!

For all of their meetings with SAIS Alumni and various businesses and organizations, Tyson and his group were dressed in business attire. He said it made eating their delicious soup dumplings very hard. :) There were only two days of sight seeing where they were able to wear street clothes.
The buildings are ornate and unusual. 

Special dinners are served "family style" on lazy susans. The waiters placed the food in various locations on the lazy susan and the group would take samples of each plate and spin the lazy susan to the next person. By the end of the trip, Tyson decided that eating with a lazy susan was not his favorite. Only being able to have one bite of your favorite food!??!!  After dinner, the group walked down to the Bund- a pretty modern skyline along the river that is comparable to the lighted Skyline in Hong Kong which Tyson has seen before.

This wall is decorated all with flowers
Exploring the city at night with the students was a lot of fun for them. Tyson took a few videos of large groups of people dancing in the middle of the common streets. It looked like a flash mob, but it happened everywhere they went. Maybe it was a form of group exercise? Tyson also talked about the various workout equipment that would just appear in tiny parks on the streets. They really like to stay moving and active.

Dinner, anyone?

After meeting with a SAIS grad who works for Wells Fargo Bank in Shanghai (one of Tyson's favorite meetings) There was one meeting held over a fancy lunch with two men from a financial consulting firm. No sign of silverware anywhere (which is to be expected). Tyson said he and the other students commented on how hard it was to pay attention while eating with chopsticks. They didn't want to make a fool of themselves.

 The first run of steel made at BaoSteel
A group favorite was the tour of the BaoSteel plant in Shanghai. They loved wearing the red hard hats and naming the BaoSteel robot Statue Dr. BaoSteel. 
After arriving back to their hotel, the group met with some journalists. Tyson loved
listening to the business/economics correspondent for China from the
New York Times.  He had some great stories about his 8 years of
experience reporting here in China.

Seeing this picture gave me a headache just thinking about how difficult it would be getting around. Bikes, cars, pedistrians.....oh wait, I guess it's not that much different from D.C. 

Monday, Monday

We spent the rainy day inside except for when we ran a short errand across the street and jumped in every puddle we could find. 

Taryn painted several times, we watched some Curious George clips online and played games like mancala -it's her favorite because of those fun little marble pieces. We had fun with her toys and a "new" toy that my landlords were going to get rid of- a new set of batteries and the interactive table is as good as new! 
We both took a long afternoon nap. 

Tyson called after his first day of his last semester (YEAH!) and told us he was coming home. I started to make dinner and Taryn wanted to help. So she sat on the kitchen floor next to me with her spice bottles, a pot, a few spoons, and a little water. She stirred, added her spices, and gave me some tastes of her creation. After each mommy bite, she asked, "Mommy, more?" and of course I ate more. When I asked her what she was making, Taryn responded with, "umm....sauce!"  
I think it was the sprinkles she added that really made her sauce perfect :)

After some delicious Tortilla Soups ...oh cilantro, how I love you... Tyson, Taryn and I played on our bed- jumping, hiding under pillows, tickling, and laughing.
We sang songs for FHE and talked about how we have two eye, hands, ears, and feet.
 Taryn recently decided that skipping around with her numbers while counting is the way to go. 
Tys: "Taryn, how many toes do you have?" 
Taryn: " 1..3...4...7...8..9...10!!!!"

This Monday was a great start to our week. I can't believe that Tyson will be done in less than 4 months- that seems like nothing!
Now that I've sorted through Tyson's China pictures, I will be sharing them this week!
This week is going to be good :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Waking up to snow makes all this freezing weather worth it.

Thursday morning I was making Tyson's lunch and out of the corner of my eye, I glanced outside to see all white. I jumped up and down and as quietly as possible (because Taryn was still sleeping!) came running into where Tyson was getting ready for work and said, "LOOK!!!!!! YEAH!!!!" (again, whispering) as I pulled up the blinds to the window. The snow was gently falling and it all looked so peaceful. I was so excited to show Taryn the snow.
The snow makes all this cold weather worth it.

Taryn and Brianna

After touching the snow and being outside she said, "Mommy, cold. Inside!" So it lasted for about 3 minutes but I am still happy see got to see snow this year.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tyson's Home !!!!!

 Best welcome home ever! 
Tyson came home on Monday night to Taryn jumping up and down, screaming with excitement (and me all too excited to have my love home again.) After the longest hug in history, Taryn wouldn't let Tyson out of her sight. She followed him around the house, and made sure that he was still in the bathroom as she impatiently knocked 100 times on the door calling, "Daddy, open da door!!!!" until he was done.

 Tyson brought home a special China fish purse for Taryn to tote around her toys. She couldn't wait to put something inside and loves it so much!

 Those faces!!! Where does she get it?!

We are so happy to have Tyson home and I can't wait to share a little bit of his China adventures.