Friday, June 25, 2010


If you read these play along....put your answers in the comment section!! Thanks to those of you who have fun with is great reading your awesome answers!!
1. My mom has been here all week and I finally talked her into reading The Shack so I would like to know....What are you reading right now?
2. What "thing" would be most offensive to you if you found it in your house?
3. If you have one...what is the standard baby gift you give?
4. What would you do if you didn't have to/want to work?
5. Where in the world have you been that you thought was paradise?

Thursday, June 24, 2010


(China posts are almost done....just trying to record a few more thoughts, experiences, details before they are all forgotten in this decaying mind! Thanks for bearing with me!)

Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China is not exactly a place you would probably choose to visit if you were traveling to China (It is kind of like bringing someone to Omaha to see all the sights here and then taking them out to Hershey.) but my cousin had spent several years there teaching and has a real soft spot in her heart for the place. After hearing so much about it over the years, when she asked if I would be interesting in going there I, of course said yes!!

It was a quick, two-day trip. Kristina got to show me all her favorite haunts and she was especially excited to see donkeys in the streets (you don't see that in Beijing).

We visited a classroom where English was being taught and got to interact
with some of the students (no great pictures of that).

We shopped at The Green Door where DVD's are....well let's just!!

We had an Easter potluck on Good Friday with the teachers that are living in Hohhot.

We toured a Tibetan Buddhist temple. (Such a sad place full of lifeless, graven images and people praying to them, feeding them and even paying them to secure their fortune.)

We visited some shops and street vendors and even found a Christian church tucked up in behind the street.

We even saw this amazing artist who painted this picture. He wanted me to buy it so bad but I didn't think Sam would appreciate a 5 foot painting of a
Chinese/Mongolian man in our living room.

We enjoyed a lunch in the Muslim area of town with some new friends. (You must note their new NE souvenirs!!).

All in all, we packed a lot of action and interesting experiences into less than two days!! Hohhot was completely different than what I had expected but I'm so thankful I had the chance to experience it!!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Just under the wire....

Don't be a party pooper....if you read these play along....put your answers in the comment section!!

1. UFOs......fact or fiction?
2. What is the best way you have found (or think you would try) to stop kids from fighting?
3. Do you shoot off your own fireworks or watch a display somewhere?
4. Do you wake up to an alarm or music?
5. Where do you get most of your news?

Happy Weekend everyone!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Yesterday Camden needed a haircut, the air conditioning went out on my car and we had to make a trip to urgent care (Camden had a very swollen eye...thought it was pink eye so wanted to start getting it treated. It was just a sty. That's $150.00 we could have used elsewhere!).

I've always said every family needs a mechanic, a hair stylist and some kind of medical person (I'm not picky!).

We sure could have used all 3 yesterday!!

Monday, June 14, 2010


(Outside of the Pearl Market)

What do you picture when you think about shopping in China? For me, the Pearl Market was a small space where several Chinese people set up their tables, haggled with shoppers and sold jewelry made with pearls...that's what I pictured.....that's so not what it is!!

I don't know if I wasn't listening when my cousin talked of the shopping in Beijing or if she didn't do it justice in her stories but the Pearl Market is definitely not a table on the side of the street....try an eight-story building with each floor dedicated to a particular product (i.e. 1st floor-Chinese trinkets, 2nd floor-Clothing, 3rd floor-Fabric and Scarves, 4th floor-Purses, 5th floor-Electronics, 6th floor-Jewelry, 7th floor-Exclusive Jewelry). Each floor is full of little booths, many of whom have the same or similar products, and (mostly) Chinese women trying to get you to come into their area and shop.

(Jewelry floor)

It was quite an experience for the girl who DOES NOT like to bargain. In fact, if I'm at a garage sale here and the price tag says make an offer, no matter how much I want the item, I will just put it back down. I HATE HAGGLING!! But, that is how it is done in China. Luckily I had my secret weapon with me otherwise I would have financed many of these people's booths for years if I had paid what they wanted me to.

Here's kind of how it went....

Kristina and I would walk up to a booth and the sales people's eyes would light up as only they can when two Americans stop to shop. Then came the inevitable questions (say these in your best Chinese accent).

"What you looking for lady?"

"You like this (as they hold up one purse after another)?"

"How about this?"

"How much you give me for this?"

Then if we would start to walk away they would say, usually as they grabbed our arms,

"Next booth have same stuff. We all have same stuff."

It got kind of intense at times. One time a little lady physically held me in her booth by my arm and would not let me leave. Another time my shopping bags were literally ripped out of my arms as I was trying to walk away.

This was a bit overwhelming, even for one who prides herself on being an amazing shopper. (Remember I was expecting a table on the street.) So, Kristina suggested that as we walked up to a booth we just kind of ignore them until we figured out if there was something I wanted to buy. Then once I decided on what I wanted for sure, she sent me on ahead to the next booth and she started bargaining with Chinese! They didn't see that coming!! The way their faces fell was priceless but they recovered quickly (saved face) and would always say,
"Since you learn our language we give you best price. Remember us next time.
Bring you friends here."

(Claremarie's new "UGGS")

An awesome example of the power of Kristina's bargaining...

I was looking at a little boy's Chinese outfit for Camden and it was marked 1,100 quai (which is about $150 US dollars). I just figured it was out of my price range. Kristina asked me if I really wanted it and I said yes. She went to work and I ended up paying 35 quai (about $5 US). I felt kind of bad about it later but K assured me that they wouldn't have sold it to me that cheap if they still weren't making money on it.

Shopping was most definitely an amazing part of my adventure and I was able to persevere :-) enough to come home with many treasures. As you can tell from one of my previous posts, purses were my downfall.

(Bought this for my mom...this girl made it while I waited.)

Friday, June 11, 2010


Better late than never....

1. Would you let your 16 year old sail around the world by his/herself?

2. What is one cartoon, as a parent, that you CAN stand to watch?

3. What is your favorite morning show?

4. What is your pet peeve in traffic?

5. What is the best thing about the Huskers moving to the Big 10?

My Answers:

1. Perhaps......strangely I can see both sides of the issue.
2. I actually would possibly stop and watch either Arthur or Phineas and Ferb even if my kids weren't home.
3. I used to really like Regis and Kelly but now we can't get that show in Omaha....stupid KMTV!
4. Watching other people text while they are driving....I sometimes talk on the phone but I do not text!!
5. Beating Texas at their own game!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Whoever knew such a cute little bundle would grow up into someone who would

fill our lives with so many new experiences and so much love!!

She has turned into quite a young lady.

Happy 10th birthday to my sweet daughter!

I Love YOU!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Sam got an alarm call at 2am this morning and headed into the store. It is now 4:30am and I haven't been back to sleep so these might not be very coherent today!

1. What is your favorite "vintage" sitcom?
2. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
3. If you are a LOSTIE, how are you feeling about the way the show ended?
4. Do you nap?
5. What is something that is a new favorite thing for you (can be anything)?

1. This questions inspired by me watching MASH right now, which also happens to be my favorite!!
2. The lack of demand on our schedule (although June looks pretty busy).
3. Pretty good other than a few questions that I knew I would have...I can live with the ending.
4. Sometimes but then I always feel guilty about it. Wondering if I'm being too hard on myself or if others feel the same.
5. Around here we are enjoying some of the new flavors of chips, particularly Baked Tuscan Herb and Parmesan Lays and regular Tomato Basil Lays.

Have a good weekend everyone!