Monday, March 30, 2009


Soooo Big!

We give Chloe a bath most nights. She had a phobia of baths for awhile, but she got over it suddenly a few weeks ago when we put a toy in there with her. She splashes around and has a jolly old time. Afterward, she's usually in the best mood of the day.


Eat your hearts out Emma and Zach

So, this is for Emma and Zach, who requested us to bring a panda home. This is as close as it'll get. The crazy alien sounds are coming from a kid next to me shooting the panda with his bubble gun. On Saturday, we went to the Beijing Zoo, which is chalk full of everything you can imagine. The pandas cost extra to see, naturally. We went straight there, and this video sapped the waning battery life of our camera. So we'll just tell you what we saw: red pandas, snub-nosed monkeys (with blue bums!), a jackal, mini foxes, wolves, Asiatic black bears, grizzlies, lions, tigers, white tigers, a panther, a jaguar, kangaroos, and elephants. Some of it was a little sad, like watching people chuck stuff at the bears, and seeing the elephants in 30x30 cages (they do have a dirt patch they get to hang out in too). It was really neat to see the animals though.


The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven park is a few blocks from the Pearl Market. It's a welcome reprieve from cement, glass, and steel. And mysterious stenches. It's a haven of trees and grass, and it smells good! It cost a few yuan to get in. A stereo played near the entrance where a bunch of people were dancing. Old couples were shuffling, and a few ladies were jammin' by themselves, all to different beats. People singing opera wandered around the paths, and people played instruments under the long pavilions.
We found the entrance to the Temple of Heaven area, which we had to pay more to get into (we've found that this is a common tactic). But no one was at the ticket booth! We rounded up a few girls who worked there talking to each other. "Can we get some tickets?" "The temple closes at 5!" "But it's 4." "But it closes at 5." "It's 4!" "Well, you can buy tickets at the ticket booth." "There's no one there." "Really? [Something I didn't understand.]" "Uhm... there isn't anyone there." "Hey! Come out of there, someone wants to get a ticket!" She went up and knocked on the door and a lady sold us tickets.
The pictures tell you the story about the inside. We bought a ten yuan kite while we wandered around, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On the way home, a gaggle of teen girls came up and fawned over Chloe, shrieking and jumping up and down. One of them held her. When we got off the subway, they screamed with sorrow. Literally. We think her aversion to being held by other people was born there. People are seriously baby crazed here. It's endearing. They only get one chance!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Faith Pie

As we hurdled through the streets of Beijing crammed with some friends in the back of a taxi, one of them said, "I had a weird thought the other day. In the US, I would pray for the nation, the nation's leaders and its people, you know. That was just 300 million people or so. But now, in China, when I pray for the country, I'm praying for a whole 1.3 billion people! So I was thinking, maybe it takes more faith when you're praying for more people."
"Kind of like a faith pie that you divide up among the people you're praying for," I said. "If your faith pie that you give to China is as big as the one that you give to the US, then the Chinese don't get quite as much."

A faith pie that you slice up and distribute among the people you pray for? We went on this subject for awhile. A little facetious and inaccurate, but may have some metaphoric value. I thought of a dilemma with faith pies though. If I bake up a big faith pie praying for China, then is the sum of the pieces as valuable as just giving the whole thing to a single individual? What if the distribution is too sparse to do much good if it's divided among too many people? And if I'm praying for multiple people, it seems like I should be careful to not sneak a bigger piece to my wife than to the elevator boy at our apartment complex looking for a job. That doesn't seem nice.

Also, what if a whole bunch of us are shipping huge faith pie pieces to one person? Is it possible for them to get a surplus of faith pie pieces, while someone who really needs pie isn't getting enough? I suppose we could coordinate our efforts to make sure that pieces of faith pie are being distributed fairly and according to peoples' needs.

There's no breakdown in the delivery system, but there could be a problem with ensuring that pie's destinations meet everybody's needs, and there aren't big conglomerations of pie pieces piled up on someone's doorstep when someone in ample need of grace has too little. I don't think pie pieces should be distributed evenly across the board, just to make sure everyone gets what they need. President Monson needs a lot of pie, and I'm sure he gets it. Hopefully we're mindful enough to remember to give some big pieces to those who aren't quite as prone to frequent our thoughts but need us nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Behind closed doors

Put Chloe down. The birds are chirping in the trees (only proverbially, in reality the home-made bike engines are belching in the streets), the sun is warming the curtains, all is well.

The whiny sounds for the last half hour may have sounded like "I refuse to sleep" bark, but we enter to find that they were baby Bruce Lee sounds while she practiced her kung fu.

How she does it, we may never know. She seems confused too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


A Sentimental Journey

Yesterday after lunch we laid down for a much-anticipated Sunday afternoon nap and I felt a sensation I wasn't fully prepared for. I looked at Ethan and said, "I miss Rexburg." Now I was expecting and have felt the longing for Vashon Island with some of my family, clean air, and abundance of green, but missing south-east Idaho caught me off guard. I enjoyed my time there, but felt like I was so ready to leave that I failed to recognize completely the wonderful place it is. We spent some time talking about things we missed in our Idaho home, specifically our fabulous friends and incredible family there. I was surprised to be missing our basement apartment. With it's little quirks it still feels like home in some ways. I miss sourdough pancakes at Smitty's (although I hear Kneader's in Provo is better), taking walks, campus, driving past potato fields and pastures, having the temple so close, sunsets, not the wind and snow but definitely the fresh mornings. People in Jackson, Rexburg, and Idaho Falls. So we may be crossing the line of sentimentality, but just so you know, Idaho, we miss you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Chloe's Hangouts

Our apartment is really small which is perfect for an 11 pound baby. It's still enormous to her! These are the places she spends her awake time when we're at home.

Chloe got a play gym and spends a good part of her awake time here. She's holding her favorite toy in this picture: a plastic cookie monster with a couple rings that are good for grabbing. Also, you can see one of the scary monkeys is about to bite her on the diaper.

We were so excited she finally fit into this dress that we thought we would do a little photo shoot. Although we covered the couch with blankets, that's where she's at. Such a good sport.

This is Ethan's new favorite picture of Chloe. What could she be thinking about? Maybe she's trying to read the blue Chinese characters stamped on the side of the light fixture above her head. Or she could be calculating the optimal timing for her next bowel movement (those seem to take a lot of planning lately). Perhaps she's just enjoying the ruse to keep us in suspense. But, I guess we'll never know.

Chloe and dad chillin' on the bed after a long day at the office and a long day sleeping, eating, and playing.

The incredible firmness of this mattress has proved to be a great place to play with Chloe and help her move and learn new things. It's probably a step up from sleeping on a bench; a step down from sleeping on nice carpet.

Or maybe this is Ethan's new favorite picture....

This girl loves getting her diaper changed! (This is the coffee table converted into her changing table.) Who could blame her? Nothing but good comes from that spot and she gets undivided attention. This is one of her favorite hangouts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009



Here are the various environments by which we've tried to crush Chloe's tenacity for staying awake. Whenever we hear a forlorn squawk a little too early and a little too often, we switch to a new bed. As you can see, Chloe has taken over our bedroom. We moved the mattress into the other room. The one other room. Sleeping, cooking, eating, playing and... don't worry we do have a bathroom... all of it in the same room messes with your mental compartments a bit.

90 degree angles and plywood. Effective until she kept whacking the sides with her hands. We don't know if it mattered to her, but we figured we might as well retire it back to the closet it came from.

The previous director of IBJ in China had a wee one before she went back to the states. She left this basket with my supervisor, so he kindly passed it on. Apparently there's a market for babies that are three feet long and wide as a forearm. In any case, Chloe seems to have enjoyed it!

The deluxe crib. Chloe's grandparents' suitcase. It's wide enough, but she crams herself into one corner of it. Too much freedom is a dangerous thing, after all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Laughing Girl

The best time to catch her smiling or laughing is right when she wakes up. She'd already been playing with Katrina for a few minutes before this video was taken, but we got some good laughing on camera.


Holding her head!

For those of you who requested a video, here is Chloe holding up her head. She is loving the sitting position lately so she can hold her head up, and fights being laid down.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Mystery Grocery Item Revealed!

For those who were playing, nice guesses, but unfortunately none were right. The correct answer is milk. That's right. This is a picture of individual-size containers of milk in a grocery sack. The bags are kind of like how Capri Suns are packaged, except no straw hole. So, melamine was a close guess. (Seriously, though, let's hope not.)


waste management, cheap treasure, and a sick valentine

We visited the Pearl Market last weekend. It's a huge indoor market with vendors selling shoes, pearls, wallets, and everything else. Outside the Pearl Market, we found a 220 volt power cord for the Wii!! That's the only important thing to say about the Pearl Market, but since some of you may be concerned with the more petty contrivances of life (just kidding), I suppose I'll describe the more inferior goods that we found at the market. We bought a bunch of pearl jewelry and some Chinese outfits. Katrina did the serious haggling, since Ethan couldn't wipe the apologetic look of compassion off of his face whenever he tried to lower their prices. All the vendors at the market were trying to get us to stop so that they could look at Chloe, allegedly. What a cute baby! How about a wallet? kind of a thing. They did seem to love her, though, and it took us about an hour longer than it would've because we kept stopping so people could squeeze her legs, click at her and chide us for taking her out before nine months, dressing her too lightly, and letting her look at the lights. This is a lady that we bought some cufflinks and a pearl necklace from. She said, "since you speak Chinese, I'll give it to you for [I don't remember how much it was]. Ethan said, "How about you give it to us for [Whatever I said} since] since we have such a cute baby." She laughed, slapped me on the arm and gave us the discount without trying to raise the price.

Katrina got sick on Valentine's Day, but she still looks gorgeous. Ethan went to Wal-mart and brought back these flowers. We chilled with Chloe in the apt all day.

Waste Management of Beijing. In the picture with the trash bags, there is in fact a guy riding the bike in front of the bags, he's just a bit smothered. There really isn't room for large trucks such as garbage trucks and semis, and they haven't established the infrastructure, in many cases, to facilitate their use. As a result, bikes are often the way that a lot of stuff gets transported to and from businesses. That's more true in the rural areas, but not always.

This just seemed like a cool picture because her eyes look so blue!

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