Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mr. Butterworth Is Dead!

Before you have children it would seem others try to share their own experiences to brace you for what in reality nothing really can prepare you for. Children have a way of bringing out each emotion to a capacity that didn't exist before they did. When I'm happy with my children, it is a greater happiness then I have previously experienced. When I'm scared for my children, it is a greater fear that I have previously known, and so forth. However, along with that my children have the ability to make me laugh in such wonderful ways that I never have before and in ways no one could have possibly seen coming.
An example of this took place during our weekly pancake breakfast. My daughters first real and still favorite food are pancakes, so each Saturday my sweet husband makes them for her. As we sat down to this sweet and fluffy feast I whipped out Mrs. Butterworth. ( I have in my life time only purchased Mrs. Butterworth and I don't see this changing any time soon.) As I begin to glaze the fluffy blueberry stack with this sweet concoction my daughter broke the silence with an unforeseen announcement, "Mr. Butterworth is dead". We sat in silence not sure if we should laugh or begin the grieving process. Thankfully my husband broke the silence after this startling announcement with a simple fact, "He was probably poisoned". And so the Saturday morning table conversation began. My son oblivious to anything except what could be put in his mouth, my husband and daughter carrying on a matter of fact conversation on this tragic death and me sitting there with mixed waves of emotion from trying to figure out where my daughter came up with this special announcement to bouts of laughter that caused my eyes to water and my stomach to hurt.
My son not to be out done in the shock and awe department, held his moment of extreme emotion for bath time. Now let me just preface this story by saying we are trying to potty train our son. So his bath was over and he ran at slippery lightening speed into his bedroom, and directly for his closet. It is in this closet that we keep a basket filled with books for his reading pleasure. My husband was hot on his soapy little heals so he could contain him and get him dressed, but all to fast the incident happened. I heard my husbands voice partially filled with fear and partially fill with laughter call for me. By now he had the destroyer contained and as I passed him in the hall way running with our son to the potty he told me to simply look in the closet. Apparently, at the end of bath time my husband told my son he could pick out a book to read. In all of the excitement my son forgot about his clothes and went right for the books where he surprised him self my peeing on the books. Scared at what was coming out of his body and not sure how to make it stop he quickly just sat on the floor until my husband rescued him from himself. The damage was minimal, the laughter was not. My poor son was embarrassed by the whole experience but my husband and I still find ourselves laughing about the incident. Thank goodness for carpet cleaner, but mostly thank goodness for the sweet angels that come into our lives and the privilege we have to call them our children.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

China Baby!

Here we are, all four and a half of us in China baby!
The first city on our China tour was Beijing. Our first stop was the city wall on the way to Tienanmen Square. This was the very beginning of our trip so we had to make sure we got a picture of this really cool city wall in case we never saw another one. As it turns out they are every where.
Tienanmen Square. We were told that here would be our safest stop not just because of all of the soldiers and police officers but also because of all the undercover authorities.
This was the first photo that our children received a request to be in, we thought it was cute and the kids had fun. We had no idea that it was the tip of paparazzi frenzy that would inundate our trip.

As we walked through the square it was impossible to not think about what took place here 22 years ago. Our children did not realize what tragedy had taken place on the very ground they tread, instead they looked for other children that they could make new friends with. I couldn't help but wonder what a different place the world would be if each of us remembered the lessons and sacrifices of the past and moved forward with the hope, innocence and open hearts of our children.

These are a few pictures of us in the Forbidden City, not so forbidden any more.
Our Diva.

Here we are at the Temple of Heaven. Our favorite Chinese buffet in North Dakota had a large mural of this on their wall. We used to joke about how funny it would be to be here in person, and we actually made it.
Day Two
Our trip to the Jade factory. Here we got to learn all about Jade and see pieces being created. This Replica Terracotta Warrior behind me is made of Jade.
We finally made it to the Great Wall. I'm still in shock that I got to go and be there with my family. I am very lucky to be married to someone who keeps making all of my dreams come true.
This was only day 2 and already our children were sick of having their picture taken. Any time we tried to stop and take a picture we were swarmed and unable to get a shot. Here my cute husband is hiding with our children so we can get a photo before they get mobbed again.
This is an example of the paparazzi that would swarm my children constantly. It made getting anywhere and sightseeing a little more difficult than we planned. However, it gave us the opportunity to meet a lot of very sweet people.
Even our hike on the wall resembled the scene from Forest Gump where the large crowd starts to follow him, it was the same with our children. Only people would try to hang on to our children as they would climb.
It's funny to think that so many people made this great journey to see such an interesting part of history and instead they were looking at my children. Recognizing this made me take a step back and remember just how special and precious they are. Also, this is a picture of a baby they thought was cute so they wanted their picture with him, we thought it was only fair.

Notice that as soon as my sweet husband turned around for me to take his picture that they were already being approached. We were not prepared for this.

Of course the reward after any great journey is ice cream. These two have never earned it more. They did more walking and hiking than I thought their little bodies were capable of.
This wall was built to help protect workers on the Great Wall from the dangerous wildlife. I loved that everywhere we went there were kites flying. Over each city and various sites people would be out flying grand and colorful kites. I became fascinated with this beauty that filled the skies. No matter the scene, calm or chaos below, in the sky peacefully bobbing above it all were the kites. I even saw one being flown from the middle of a construction site. Would that we could each find a way to gracefully rise above the chaos in our lives and beautifully gain perspective of the bigger picture.
This is the Ming Tomb which is actually an amazing garden filled with statues.

My cute family waving hello.
We had the most awesome opportunity of getting to see a show that I had hoped for a very long time I would get to see some day. I had no idea and was very excited that we got to attend a performance by the Shaolin Monks. Afterwards our children got to take a picture with them. It was another amazing experience.

The view from our hotel room in Beijing.
The walls to the bathroom in our hotel were all glass. Thankfully we discovered they had electric shades that covered them. My cute husband found it quite humorous to tell me that people who use glass bathrooms shouldn't....(whatever phrase seemed appropriate at the time).
Day 3
As you can imagine we ate a lot of local cuisine. Our children started out fearlessly eating what was put in front of them. Our daughter quickly became frustrated when nothing was what she thought in was. She ate squid on the airplane thinking it was a roll and a piece of fish thinking it was an orange. She finally gave up and refused to have her taste buds betrayed anymore. She would eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and then not touch anything the rest of the day. So twice we made stops at McD's. The funniest part is that our daughter has not ever had the big M that she can recall, so she thinks it is a China thing. She ate her fries, chicken nuggets and her dad's double cheese burger.
Lunch was followed by some jumping on a bouncy castle. Apparently bouncy castles are universally awsome to all children.
We made a quick stop to the Beijing Zoo to have a look at some Pandas on our way to the aiport. Just next to the pandas is this fun wall with each tile individually designed by a different child.

I love this picture becuase there are people everywhere but in the center of it all are two young soldiers taking a break. No one is sitting next to them except for the statues of playing children.
Day 4
A visit to the Terricota Warrior dig site and museum in Xi 'an.

This is the general, he is pretty awsome, but I have met better.

These are a couple of friends that we made on our fun trip.
It wasn't uncommon to see three poeple riding one scooter. However I couldn't get used to this image. Mom and dad on scooter with baby standing in the front. Our daughter was jealous.
Xi' an city wall. Our children had a wonderfull time playing up here. Apparently it was the best place to play tag that they have yet found.

At night we went to the Tang Dynasty show. It was a visually stunning performance of dancing and music.

Day 5
We went and played in Shanghai.

This same eavening we enjoyed a fabulous acrobat show.

The view outside our hotel room in Shanghai.
Our last night in China we went for a boat ride on the river to see the lights of Shanghai.

The entire sides of buildings were turned into t.v. screens.

It was a very fast and eventful trip and the children learned to sleep whenever they got the chance.