Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Is Chocolate a...

liquid?"  Ana asked sweetly after coming home from the doctor.  "Why?" I thought, "is she asking that?"  Then I remembered the doctor going on and on about the great importance of drinking lots of liquids when you're sick.  "Nope, sorry!"  I replied.  "It's definitely a solid!"


I've had a LOT of time lately to work on my quilt. Even with all the extra time I've been putting into it-I'm only a quarter of the way finished.  Quilting is definitely a marathon sport--you're in it for the long haul! 

My New Drying Method

We haven't seen the sun in quite a while! As we don't have a dryer I've discovered that our radiators do a pretty good job in getting our clothes dry.  Many people can't do this as their radiators are enclosed to look nicer.  I'm thankful for my exposed (rather ugly) radiators! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Things To Do!

As we've been laying around the last four days, here are some things we've discovered

We Give Books  a fantastic site to read high quality books at three different levels

 Radio Theatre  we listened to "A Horse and His Boy"  I love that these are so well done and it makes Ana use her imagination!

Adventures in Odyssey again, a great thing to listen to stir up the imagination!

Club Jelly Telly  lots of great things here!

Hopefully we'll be back to school tomorrow.  I'd like to have my Chinese lesson!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Ana and I both caught a stomach flu when helping a friend with her garage sale.  This is on top of pneumonia and bronchitis.  Thankfully, it's the weekend and Matt is here to help. If our DAD brings us to mind, please lift us up.  We're very weak physically!  Thanks!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ana's Skirt

Ana is very pleased with how this skirt turned out.  She sewed all the small squares together.  (I did pretty much everything else :)  I think the key to keeping her interested is making something she can wear/take out to show everyone.  (Of course it's too cold for this skirt now!) 

My day...

was spent at the doctor's office.  Ana, although not well, is on the road to recovery.  She just needs a few more days of antibiotics.  I (thankfully) do not have pneumonia, just a bad case of bronchitis also treated with antibiotics.

I also had my first experience with Chinese x-rays.  In Singapore, you change, put on a nice "robe" and saunter in to be x-rayed.  In China you just take off all the clothes in front of everyone in the room (which happened to be two technicians, my translating nurse, and Ana)  It was interesting! (Thankfully they do lock the outside door!)

I was reading this article on CNN and was glad to see Singaporean Chicken Rice in the World's Top 50 foods.  Amen!! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


We're going back to the doctor today for Ana and ME.  Unfortunately I can still clearly hear Ana's rattle, so she'll need more medicine or a different kind.  I've developed quite a cough and am lacking in the energy department.  Pray we can get this cleared up.  Ana has missed a week of school and we leave for Thailand in two weeks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ana has...

pneumonia! She has antibiotic and some breathing treatments which has already helped out quite a bit. She goes back to the doctor on Thursday to make sure it has completely cleared up. This has been much better than the ear infections. She sleeps pretty well at night and really isn't in much pain. The hard part is getting her to be still!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Our Second Sewing Project

Today we started our second sewing project.  It will be a purple, patchwork skirt.  I thought it would be easier for her to sew short seams by herself.  I first turned her loose with the iron.  She did fine with it --esp. after I told her not to leave it face down on the ironing board :)  Next, she laid out her pattern.  Then I reviewed what we learned on the last project and set her free on the sewing machine.  I expected wild use of the pedal, but she was actually pretty careful.  Even remembering to back stitch at the beginning and the end.  She did one row and then chose to stop for today.  Not bad for a five year old though!  I'll post pictures of the finished project later!


because Ana is sick (again-current temp. 103 or 39.7!!) we rode our horses out to the restaurant.  The bad guys (Chinese warriors from our other set) had to sit all by themselves--so sad. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Very Own...

light show!  I was amazed at the light show in Hong Kong (in the bay area).  It was incredible.  Watch out Hong Kong--Qingdao has it's own! (and we can see it from our kitchen window!)

First Lessons in Sewing

Our first lesson included sewing a straight seam, zigzagging the edge, pinning the hem, and turning the handles inside out.  She did great.  I sewed the handles on to make sure they could hold all the stuff she would put inside!  And there we have a brand new bag. 
Now I have to think of a new project with more straight seams.  It's hard for me to keep it simple.  I wanted to add pockets and decorative strips!  :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Ana told me to post this picture and tell everyone (mostly I think she was thinking of the grandparents) that she designed this herself. OK then! I wasn't too sure about the polka dot and plaid, but in the end I think it worked!  Keep in mind she's in Junior Kindergarten--we're nowhere near the teenage years!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Secret Recipe Buffet in Le Meriden Hotel

Matt and I went to the 2 for 1 deal at Secret Recipe before going to hear Libby Stephens speak.  IT WAS AMAZING!  I should have taken more pictures.  There was sushi, sashimi, choose your own stir fry, salad bar, at least 5 soups, fresh breads, cheese, pizza, and a few more western dishes.  Of course I was most excited by the desserts.  Fresh ice cream, cheesecakes, mousse, a chocolate fountain, fruit and more.  It wasn't cheap, but it was a nice treat (esp. with no kids!!)

Me Oh My!

Ana discovered  that our bedroom wall was covered with mold yesterday.  I guess it's pretty common here especially on the external walls.  I didn't hesitate though to run out and get some bleach and will be watching for new outbreaks!

High and Low

The ocean is so interesting to me.  It's amazing how LOW the tide can be at times.  On this day you could literally walk way out to the big rocks and see what is usually on the ocean floor.  (You can see the tops of the rocks in the sunrise picture above.)  What a fantastically complex world we live in! 
This got me thinking about my own life.  When we're having lows (hard times), a lot is revealed about who we really are as well.  What are my challenges showing about me?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Nice Chat!

Matt and I had a great talk with Libby Stephens this morning. (She specializes in helping kids that have grown up overseas transition back into their passport culture.)  When we did the NICS PFO for several years she was always there speaking.  It was like seeing a long lost friend.  She had some great advice for C and M.  It's nice to speak with someone who can speak with us from her vast experience. (and believes 100% what we're telling her.) Sometimes the world seems like such a small place--wonder who we'll run into next?

A Manly Meat Night

So Matt and China went out with some other fathers and sons to enjoy some char. He was instructed to take pictures, but got too busy eating. So here's what you get--meat!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Community Soccer Club

Ana got to try out soccer with kids her age on Saturday.  She sat with her team (France), learned their cheer, and practiced learning the kids names.  Her coach this weekend was Uncle Zach, a middle school history teacher.
They did drills and some kicking.  She had a hard time not touching the ball!  She can kick and run at the same though. 
The best time was had at snack--talking with new friends.  They did play one short game at the end (which mainly consisted of kids running in a clump or asking their moms what to do :)
At the end the parents formed a tunnel for the kids to run through. Ana wasn't sure she would like soccer, but she had a lot of fun, loves her uniform, is excited to practice, and expended a lot of energy. Yeah!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Goin' To Thailand!

The Eilers are going to Thailand over Chinese New Year!  We're super excited to have found a child psychologist that specializes in adoption--seems to be a perfect fit.  I also don't mind that I will have no cooking for nine days straight! 
As we're staying for quite a while, we decided to rent an apartment rather than try to get adjoining rooms in a hotel.  It's a little further away, but we think it will help us to have a little more space.  Here's where we'll be staying.  It's brand new which makes me happy because it will be clean!
It even has a small pool--so there is a way to keep three kids busy for an hour or two!

My Five Year Old Teenager

There is ONE poor high schooler on the staff kid bus--the rest are mostly younger.  Ana thinks he is SO COOL.  Today when we went to pick up C and M she insisted on wearing her headphones (attached to her TAG reader) to be more hip.   I wonder if he would think listening to "Dora Goes to School" qualifies as cool?  (It's not what you're listening to--it's all how you look!)

5 Times!

I've been up this hill five times today.  Once to take C and M to the bus, once to take Ana to the bus, once to go to the store, once to pick up Ana, and once more to pick up C and M!  Yikes, I got my excercise today!  Come stay with us and I'll let you have a turn.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Afternoon

We just started Ana doing five half days of school per week.  So, when I have my Chinese lesson in the afternoon she has to come upstairs with me. She didn't really enjoy sitting quietly through my two hour lesson! BUT afterwards she got to entertain a baby and paint with a Chinese brush and ink.  I think that made it OK!
From the upstairs offices you can watch them play on the roof top playground.  A nice way to secretly see how your child plays with others.  It was -8 C today, but I guess they run around enough to keep warm!

Links Moving Review

Sorry--normal readers!  I want to post a review so that others can find it on the web. 

In March or April of 2012 we hired Links Moving Asia to ship our household items (a full container load) from Singapore to Qingdao, China.  A very professional person came, gave a quote, and gave almost immediate feedback when e-mailed.  However, when we went to set a date for the movers to come, she no longer answered any e-mails.  After countless attempts to contact her we went through the main office and were informed that she had "left the company."  Nobody ever said a word to us. We had put down a hefty deposit and couldn't communicate with the company.  The person we talked with next had no idea of our situation and had us pack our things over a month too early.  The packers were friendly Indonesians who had all our things ready to go in a day and a half.  (The list of items in the box was really poorly done.  Sometimes they would list one our two things in a box that had 40-50 different objects.) When the day came to load our things, the truck did not come.  THIS WAS A MISTAKE!  Watch all your items being put in the container.  Some of our things went missing.  We think it was at this point.  All our things sat in the humidity and extreme heat for an extra month.  (We think this led to our Clavinova piano malfunctioning and a large crack in our leather chair.)  When we finally got all the paperwork necessary, they were not ready to ship our container.  It sat in Singapore for another three weeks.  At this point we were beyond frustrated.  Communication with the local staff was awful.  They almost never responded to e-mails.  And if they did it gave little or no information. 
When our container arrived, they had two young Chinese that did speak some English unpack the things.  They had a checklist and were supposed to help me remove all items.  After it became clear that there would not be time to unpack everything, they left. I had to rate them and sign a form saying that everything was there.  I really couldn't do this as 1/4 of the items were still boxed and/or wrapped up.  They accidentally left behind their checklist which showed three items not checked off.  They never told me that items were missing. Because I hadn't unpacked everything I had no idea what was not here.  (They also left a horrible mess of boxes, bubble wrap, and paper outside our apartment.  While they did removed it from our apartment, they literally dumped it right outside the door.  Poor service!)  When we e-mailed the staff about what was missing they had us fill out insurance forms and said they would look into it.  I honestly believe they never did.  (I've read other reviews online that say the same thing--they couldn't be bothered to look for lost boxes.)  Our boxes contained scrapbook paper, scrapbook dies and cases, China's handmade quilt (I figure I spent at least 50 hours quilting it), a teak chair, and other misc.  items.  A few months after we filed the claim and then they told us they would pay us a whopping 2 US dollars!  Unbelievable.

PLEASE avoid this shipping company.  They have poor communication, could care less about the things they are shipping, are extremely slow about getting your container on a boat, not completely honest when they lose something, and the insurance is the biggest joke I have ever seen.  Seriously, how can you e-mail some and ask them where they would like their two dollar check sent to?  Matt had it sent to Links Movers for all their services rendered.  :)

Monday, January 7, 2013


There are many awkward moments in my life... when some speaks to you and you have no idea what they're saying and you try to get away without being offensive (that happens like three times every day).  But, today was the worst.  I went to a branch of a Japanese grocery store (mostly so that I could get some good lettuce).  I was there right when it opened and there was a line of ten staff bowing and greeting me as I passed through--Yikes!  I think I'll go 15 minutes later next time!

Ana's Skirt

Ana's skirt is finished!  The best part about it is that it twirls.  I like it because it is long enough to last for a while!  On to Mitike's. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Matt's Favorite!

Hiding in our deep freeze I found some leftover Molasses Crinkles dough.  We enjoyed them so much I thought I'd share the recipe. 

New Shirley Temple Fan

When I was in Carrefour one day I saw a collection of Shirley Temple movies on sale for 40 yuan.  (About 8 US) Can't beat that!
Ana loves them.  I love that they are clean and we can enjoy them without having to discuss language or violence.  I'm going to be on the lookout for more collections like these!
Five year old hair stylist looking for work.  Has A LOT of experience styling Barbie's hair! Loves braids, ponytails, and clips.  (She was so proud of this--it was just too funny not to post!)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sewing Again...Finally

I've had no time to sew until recently.  I used some fabulous batik brought from Singapore. You can't see it, but the material has gold foil that reflects the light beautifully.  This tutorial from Noodlehead is what I used (although, mine looks nothing like hers).  I reduced the width quite a bit and made it longer than hers.  How did it turn out?  I love it!  It's going to be a great summer skirt.  I'm making different skirts for Ana and Mitike...stay tuned.

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's COLD!

When cheeks come in this pink from riding a scooter outside for a few minutes you know... it's COLD!  So much for this being a temperate city!  Lucky for us this next week looks to be warmer.  Hopefully they can play outside at school!

H & M

As I hate bargaining, going shopping in the local markets isn't a lot of fun for me.  I need to learn how to say, "What's your best price?"  really badly!  We live right down the road from one of the nicest malls in Qingdao.  In it are quite a few "foreign" stores.  My new favorite is the British
H & M.  Although their original prices are pretty high, their markdowns are amazing.  I just picked up this dress coat for around 30 US dollars.  So much simpler than getting something tailored and NO BARGAINING involved!
Here's Matt's handiwork.  It's actually a lot of work because the walls are plaster covered cement.  Whoever moves in here next is going to hate us--we've hung up so much stuff!  Now I just need to get them all filled with more recent pictures!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Blogger is not letting me upload pictures!  I'll be posting as soon as they get it fixed!  Three more days 'til school starts! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


My new phone takes pictures! (I know I'm only a decade or so behind!)  They changed out all the flags in the olympic circle to Chinese flags.  Eye Catching!

The Designer

Ana has been at it again.  She wanted to make a flower pillow.  She picked out the fabric, drew me a sketch, and stuffed it all.  I can't wait until she can use the sewing machine by herself!!
In other news, we've been filling up the freezer with breads and different burritos so that we have food when we can't get around to cooking.  Matt also hung up all the frames in the bedroom!  If it wasn't so cold (hovering around 0 F!!!)  we'd be out and about more!