Maddie's Minute

Maddie shares a minute of her life in this flat world of ours.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We've MOVED!!!

I've done it.... I've been talking about it for months and I've finally done it. I purchased my first domain name. I've exported all posts and comments from blogger. I've installed Wordpress 2.3.1. I've installed several themes I'm playing with. I've installed a new ClustrMap! I've installed some funky Plugins. I've downloaded FileZilla so I can start the whole FTP thing as it's so much faster. Please come visit us at! I'm learning so bear with me!!!!! :) As you can see, I've completely demolished my sidebar to the right. It was an accident. I thought you had to push the blog from blogger to Wordpress. You can actually pull it from blogger using Wordpress.... learning everyday!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas at the Links!

This entire week has been about children running around the Links after dark, knocking on doors as loud as they can and then running to hide as fast as they can! There are about 20 kids out at the Links and they were all part of a Secret Santa gift exchange. I keep forgetting (sometimes) that Maddie is four as this is all still very new to her. We had participated in Secret Santa last year, but doesn't really remember doing so. Maddie first heard the door on Monday night and was ecstatic as she was opening the present... when she realized it was a book she burst into tears because "Santa" didn't bring her the ballet slippers she wanted! It was then that we had the discussion about the difference between Santa and a Secret Santa. She decided a Secret Santa was like a leprechaun - it worked for her! :)

Tonight we did the final gift exchange, but before we did so we were entertained a bit during a dinner. Sometimes you just have to pinch yourself and ask, "where am I and how did I get here?"

The young boy on the bicycle juggled and threw plates onto his head while riding a unicycle. I loved the look in his eye when he tossed three bowls at once to the top of his head from his foot... even he was proud! Then there was a young woman who did a dance for this kids where her face changed colors. It's difficult to describe so look a the clip and watch the color of her face change in the middle of it. I think it changed seven times in all! The girls then came out in their purple outfits with roller skates on where they spun as fast as they could in a very small space.

Girls twirling plates on the top of long sticks and a magician ended the show! Maddie sat in the front row with her mouth wide open the entire time! The gift exchange is what they all were waiting for though. Maddie gave Cleet his basketball and then received a PINK SAS sweatshirt from Cooper! It was a great night had by all... now it's time to head home for real down home Christmas time! One week and counting!!!!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Santa's Workshop

This week at school Maddie had Santa's Workshop at school. Neither Andy or I were able to attend with her so we gave her a set amount of money to spend and sent her on her way. Maddie bought presents for Ms. Zhou, mommy, daddy and Amelia. She decided that she wanted us to open the presents as soon as she got home - she must get that from me! She bought me a beautiful necklace, dad a great tie, Ms. Zhou a pretty necklace, and Amelia a cute little Santa Clause! Thanks for the Christmas presents Madeline Anna!!

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Friday Night Date Nights... with Amelia!

While Maddie and Ms. Zhou enjoy their Friday night movie ritual, Andy and I go out for date night. I thought for sure that we would put it on hold after Amelia arrived, but this kid likes to be a part of it all! If she's sitting in your lap, she's a happy camper. So... dad I continue the date nights (with Amelia in tow) while Maddie continues on with her Ms. Zhou/Maddie bonding time. Life is good!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shanghai Wild Animal Park.... WILD!!!!

Forgive me if I mentioned this, but I was really sneaky and put "Personal Day" on Andy's school calendar last month so that he could take the day off today? Why you ask??? Maddie had her first field trip of the year to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park and the whole family joined her for this wondrous event! It started off with a very Jurassic Park like tour through the various kingdoms in the school bus. It stared off light with looking at the vegetarians, but ended with lions, tigers, and bears... literally! They walked right up to the bus as the children sat there gobsmacked. The seal show was... hilarious is the word I'm looking for here. Maddie was giddy with excitement all day long and crashed hard when we made it home. Coincidentally, Amelia has decided that lemurs are her favorite animal... or perhaps it's the other way around!

Mom and Maddie at the Seal Show

Dad and Maddie break for a snack... apple and peanut butter sandwiches!!

Maddie runs through the Chicago Eagles nest!

Maddie enjoys one of the four pandas at the park...

Maddie and a few lemurs have a conversation about snacks...

Parents of the Year or just cute??
"Hmmm... what's in here?"

Not quite Sea World, but....

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Presents from Grandma Dotty

Maddie loves it when there is a box waiting for her when she walks in the front door from school. Today though, the package came to Maddie at school because the Chinese government couldn't figure out where we lived! She saw it though and immediately wanted to open it in front of her friends... she didn't 'cause mom said "I don't think so" to the little lady but Maddie opened it as soon as we got home!

Mom has sent us lots of packages while we've been in China. Sometimes, we'll order things online and ship them to her. She in turn stuffs them in box and includes other goodies above and beyond what we've ordered. I get my Splenda or favorite hot sauce, Andy gets a golf ball or two, and Maddie, well, Maddie gets everything from dresses to coloring books. She truly looks forward to these almost Christmas presents from Grandma! So Grandma, hope you enjoy the clip here and thanks much for the awesome things once again!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas, Flat Tires, and Ballet

This was our day in our nutshell!! It is the day after Thanksgiving which means that it's technically an okay thing to put up your Christmas tree. We are still hear for three weeks, so why not enjoy the lights and the ornaments? Besides, it's the perfect time to talk about Rudolph and Santa and flat tires...

After getting the ornaments on the tree, the star on top, the stockings hung over the fireplace and a wish list made for Santa (which consisted of ONE thing... proper toe ballet shoes) we realized that we were going to be late for ballet. Andy ran out to the car and noticed it right away... a flat tire. As Maddie says, "Bu Hao!" Andy was quick as whip and got that doughnut wheel on the van only to find that it too was flat. Ron to the rescue and we borrowed his car to make it to ballet class in the nick of time! It's a great thing when life throws your curves, but you learn to swerve!

I actually think that Maddie is learning something in ballet class... I can't be sure as they won't let us parents into the class. Maddie comes home though, makes us sit on the couch and shows up everything she has learned that day. She always starts off with how sad she is that she can't dance on her toes because she doesn't have toe shoes that tie around her ankles. After she gets over that one, she spins and twirls around the living room with a grin from ear to ear. She loves the ballet - hope she likes The Nutcracker just as much when we head home!

The holiday season is in full swing!!! We are so excited to head home for Christmas this year - it will feel good to be with family again!! :)

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Maddie's Third Thanksgiving of the Year...

Days like today are the ones that people will talk about years later. Holidays overseas can either be really, really great because you may be sitting someplace exotic and forget that it's even a holiday OR they can be really, really tough because you know all of your loved ones are gathered back home - together - as a family. I think that most of the Americans overseas at SAS this year felt the latter, so we invited them to our house for a Thanksgiving feast.

Maddie and I made jello/marshmallow/popcorn balls for the kids early in the morning and Andy made one turkey with AMAZING stuffing - but that is all the cooking we did as everyone brought a dish. The weather was brilliant allowing the kids to play across the street at the playground all morning before everyone showed up around 3:00 for a rerun of a football game (it was new to us)!

It was quite the spread we had of food and there was lots of laughter. All in all we had 25 people at our house.... 11 of those were kids! When the last guests walked out the door at 9:00, it looked like a cyclone has just run through out house! It was well worth it though... must have been because when Maddie said her prayers before going to sleep she actually prayed for another party tomorrow just like this one! Um, Maddie.... only if you do the dishes!!!!


Friday, November 23, 2007

Maddie's Second Thanksgiving of the year...

Moving to China means working on Thanksgiving. When we were in Saudi, the weekend fell on Thursday and Friday so the only work to be done was cooking, beverage partaking, and swimming! Moving to China has meant work. Maddie had her party at school on Thanksgiving which is great, but we were also able to have a Thanksgiving meal at home Thursday night! Once again, we invited Todd, Tonya, and Cooper over for a meal of sorts. The meal was definitely pulled together at the last minute, but they are such good friends of ours that it's really about the company not the food. We ordered a turkey from Eurest, the school's cafeteria, the day before and then Andy made gingered carrots and boxed mashed potatoes. Tonya brought over a great bottle of Chinese wine and Todd brought over balloons to entertain the kids.

Maddie always has fun playing with Cooper as they are like brother and sister. Andy always gets to unwind with Todd as he's one of the few people that don't see Andy as the Deputy, and Tonya and I.... well, we just gel. Pretty soon Bauer and Amelia will start forming a relationship!!

Thanks for the memories and a Happy Thanksgiving! Tag, you're it for next year!!!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Maddie's First Thanksgiving of the Year

Maddie has been looking forward to her class party all week long. It ends up that the kids made a place mat and each was laminated for the shindig. Since I started back to work this week, I wasn't able to go in a help the other moms (and some dads) help set up and I knew that it would be a slight shock for Maddie. However, I promised her that I would come to the party for 10 minutes at least and so I did! My kids were in the midst of learning about rate of change and I gave them a task that had to be completed in 15 minutes, told my colleagues I was leaving, grabbed Andy in his office, and we zipped to the party.

The room was bustling with activity and we saw Maddie sitting at the end of the table a bit long faced, but when we both walked through the door she simply BEAMED from ear to ear! She was so proud to show off the things she had made for the party and was more than willing to share the food on her plate - (read: "the sooner my plate is cleared of this stuff, the sooner I can get to the dessert!") The only thing that she really, really, really wanted to clear off her plate was the seaweed.... the child is addicted to seaweed! (So much for tradition!) Thanks for sharing your party with us Maddie and thanks to Preeti for organizing the event!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Interesting Concept...

It has been an excellent weekend!! I am heading back to work on Monday so Maddie decided to come to school with me for about five hours on Saturday to get my room ready. She watched cartoons and actually helped me a bit by cleaning off tables, putting books away, erasing boards....

We had some interesting conversations to boot! We were talking about me returning to work and in her most honest voice possible this is what she had to say to me:

"Good mommy! That means Amelia can crawl back into your tummy!"

Sounds painful, doesn't it?

Thanks for perspective Maddie Anna!!!!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

So Hopeful....

The mood is set...

A hungry Amelia awaits her feeding, the boppy is in place, Maddie stands by adoringly looking at her sister....AND DAD WANTS TO STICK WHAT IN MY MOUTH?!

I get to head back to work on Monday so we're trying a few different things out and a bottle would be one of them. This time didn't work, but the absolute joy on daddy's and Maddie's face is enough to want to make me keep trying!!

Here's the thing with returning to work. My heart is really heavy and I've been thinking about the little things I'll miss during the day, but leave it to Maddie to put it all in perspective.

Maddie: "Mommy, will you be a teacher again?"
Me: "Yes, Maddie - next week... four sleeps from now."
Maddie: "Will you come see me again at school? I've missed you..."

So there you have it. Even though I've been a stay at home mom for 8 weeks and gone into Maddie's class a few times, I actually saw Maddie more during the day when I was working full time. I would see her at least once a day during her lunch time and sometimes during her recess which was my plan time. It was our "thing" and one of the reasons I love being a teacher in an international school. I get to keep my family close so that I don't miss those little moments that happen at every age.

I've missed you too Maddie!!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Good Year...

Maddie is speaking in terms of years now...

Me: "Maddie, how about you take a bath before bed tonight?"
Maddie: "Next year Mommy...with bubbles!"

Me: "Maddie, aren't you going to school today?"
Maddie: "Um... no... next year Mommy! I want to go to ballet class now!"

So... Maddie is having a good year! And just to confirm that she really is having a good year, we "ran into" the Goodyear blimp in Shanghai! :)

In English

In Chinese

Sunday, November 11, 2007

At the ballet...

Maddie has been looking forward to this day for a long time! She has opened her eyes almost every morning and said that she is ready for ballet class. She has AT LEAST 10 different books about the ballet and I'm pretty sure that we've read all of them every night this week. She even took one of the books to school for Show-and-Tell so that Ms. Preeti would read it to the class...

She has several ballet outfits, but she understands that the special tutu outfits are only for performances, according to the 10 books. So she was content in her tights and leotard! When her teacher opened the classroom door and asked students in the hallway who was ready for ballet class, Maddie every so sweetly looked up to her with big blue eyes and said, "I am ready for ballet class." It's difficult to catch the breathless sound of her voice in this blog, but it's a moment I will never forget.

Parents aren't allowed in the classroom as there will be a final performance during the last class. So I sat outside her classroom for an hour and listened to Maddie giggle with delight as she danced on her tippy toes oh so high! When class was over she even ran back to her teacher, Becky, so that she could give her a big hug.

She is such a little girl!!!! :)


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hair and Nails

Maddie is starting to really understand this whole concept of time. She knows that when the clock reads 6:00, her favorite show is on T.V. She knows that she gets to put up her Shanghai Christmas tree in 14 days because she is marking them off the calendar. She knows that tomorrow is ballet class. So when she woke up a little cranky saying that she didn't want to get her haircut, I played the ballet card. "But Maddie, you'll want to make a good impression on your first day of ballet class!"

Hook - Line - Sinker!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Parent-Teacher Conferences!

Sometimes I just have to pinch myself... where are we and how did we get here? I have a four year old daughter who goes to SCHOOL... Not a daycare - not a nursery school - not a preschool. I must be growing up.

Maddie's report card came home last week which made me crack up for two years in a row. Every report card Maddie has received ALWAYS says something like "Maddie can count to 65.... WHEN SHE WANTS TO." This little sweet child of mine is so her own person and everything has to be her idea most of the time. I love her for it...

The pic to the left is her thank you note to us for attending her conferences. As you can see, she copied Dear Mommy quite well, but what is even cooler is that she wrote rainbow under her paw there. Ms. Preeti sounded it out and Maddie wrote what she heard - R-A-N-B-O!

Not too shabby kiddo!!! Keep sliding on those rainbows and everything will be just fine!!!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Fish Died...

Maddie's class blog is password protected so I've copied with permission the latest entry to be posted. When I dropped Maddie off at school this morning, Preeti showed it to me and said that Maddie was the star of the post! So... kind of morbid, but fish die - it's a fact of life!

From Ms. Preeit's Blog...

Why did our fish die?
Last Friday afternoon, we realized that our fish were not doing well. Three goldfish did not look good. They were swimming belly-up in the tank. I took the three fish out into another tub, as advised to by a colleague who is knowledgeable about fish. He also suggested I check the quality of the water with a PH value kit. I did this discreetly - my intention being not to upset the children. The PH value was in the acceptable range. It was almost time for the buses, so children didn’t quite realize what I had done. Nor was there enough time to explain to them, since the fish looked pretty bad. After the children left, the three fish died. Now, there was only one that survived. I fed the fish, crossed my fingers and left.

Monday morning, when children started to arrive, Maddie was the first to notice that the lone fish didn’t look too good. “The fishy is sick, Ms. Preeti”, she said. “Like this”. And she opened our “How to take care of Fish” book to a page which gave info on signs that meant the fish were sick. A couple of other girls came by to check the tank. They compared our fish with the picture in the book. Samantha said that we needed a thermometer and medicine for the fish because he was sick. At that point, I went to ask the colleague for more advice and he suggested trying to check the levels of Nitrate in the water. This time, children saw what I did. I explained to them that I was checking to see if the water was good for the fish. We measured 5ml of tank water and put in 7 drops of the chemical together. We then shook the tube and compared the color with that on the chart. It was yellow-which is what it should be. The water was good. But the fish wasn’t. And it did die. Children saw that I was bothered. Maddie said to me: “Ms. Preeti, don’t be sad. I will buy you some new fish”.

At our next meeting, we discussed what had happened to our fish and children were pretty sure that the fish died because they were sick. We also discussed that living things don’t necessarily die if they are sick. I asked them what we should do. Most children wanted to buy new fish. In our class, children take turns everyday to feed the fish and turtles. And they are quite responsible about their job. Even if the child whose turn it is forgets, invariably someone else will remind the child.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

47 Shopping Days Until Christmas

Our little American now has her passport in hand so we are counting down the days until we can head back to Oregon to put our feet on homeland soil. It may be 47 shopping days until Christmas, but it's only 37 until we can shout "TIMBER" at the top of our lungs as we chop down the tree! Can't wait to see you all...

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

We love Book Fairies!!

There are two things Maddie said to me this morning the very second she opened her eyes.
  1. I'm ready for ballet class now (more later on that one...)
  2. The Book Fairy is coming to school today
I knew it was Book Fair day at school, but I had no idea that it was the Book Fairy that delivered the books! I love looking at life through Maddie's glasses. I am so very humbled by being a mom!!

We kind of went way out as she took her shopping bag and stuffed it with books from every corner of the room. Before checking out, we went through and counted the books to see how many we were splurging on and found that Maddie had grabbed a book in Spanish. This is how the conversation went...

Me: "Maddie, mommy doesn't know how to read Spanish... I can read Japanese, but Spanish I cannot do."
Peanut: "Hmmm... maybe daddy can read it to me!"
Me: "Daddy can order certain items at restaurants across, but I don't know if he could read this book."
Peanut: "Hmmm... maybe Ms. Zhou can read it to me!"
Me: "Ms. Zhou can read Chinese, but not Spanish. What shall we do Maddie?"
Peanut: "
Hmmm... maybe we should give the book to Pattie Lou. Pattie Lou can read Dora Spanish!"

And so Maddie searched the room for the newest student to join her class. Pattie Lou is from Mexico and speaks very little English, but is quite the celebrity in class because she speaks Dora's language! Maddie was so excited to give the book to her and the heartfelt look of knowing she had just done something darn good beamed across her face!

In the end, we purchased 12 books! After the big purchase, we went back to class and I offered to read books to groups of kids. This may surprise you, but they all wanted to read the newest Dora books. Go figure...

Happy Reading Maddie Anna!

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dad Came Home with a Prize!

I return to school from maternity leave in two weeks.... oh my gosh, two weeks. How time flies! I've been thinking about how to make it as easy as possible on my heart. I'm been planning and worrying and thinking some more and decided to have a "rainy day plan"... literally. IF it's raining, it doesn't make sense for Amelia to enter the rain to come to me... it makes sense for me to go to her! So.... this is what dad came home with today!! The nice thing about it is that everybody in the family can enjoy it!! We can zip to school in a jiff or zip to the village when we need some grub. And it's RED!!! Thanks Andy!!

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dad's Home!!!

At last... we've been waiting and waiting! Dad is HOME!

Before Andy left for Thailand, we all went to the Shanghai Fabric Market and ordered a family set of cashmere coats! This is Maddie's first tailor made cashmere coat and, of course, it is pink! It was in the 60s today, but as soon as she saw it, she had to wear it for the rest of the day! She can't wait to show it off at school on Monday... I hope it's cold then!

We took Amelia and Maddie down to the Bund for Amelia's first visit. The wind was calm, the neon was out, the boats had their horns blaring.... it was awesome! Full of giggles and light...

Hope you enjoyed your day girls!

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