Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Quicky :)

I have a confession. I am a HORRIBLE Blogger!! I never have time! Plus, when I do have time, What would I even write about? How Work was CRAZY (like usual) and I had a bunch of crazy patients (as usual) who mark that they have "Frequent Diarrhea" On their health history form. Seriously, why do any of us need to know that? You're at a dental office. Calm down. Although, I should probably write about all the stuff that does go down at work being that 70% of our patients are Zoobies...ahem... I mean BYU students. They are a whole different sort of breed. Believe me. And even after working at Cougar Dental for going on 11 years, I still get surprised every day by one of those zoo...BYU Students. My job, to say the least, is quite entertaining/exhausting/frustrating/one of my most favorite things despite all of it's stresses. Plus, we make time to have some fun. Like planking in random places around the office :) After my crazy days at work, I come home and kick my feet up....BAHAHA!!! Yeah right! I wish! I have an 8 month old who melts my heart but is all over the place and is super strong willed and a sassy 7 year old. I don't know where she gets all of her attitude from;) And my husband... can I count him as my 3rd child? Just kidding!! He works just as hard. Being an adult all of the time is exhausting. But, I have little reminders on a daily basis that make it all worth the ulcers and headaches. My little man Sawyer is 8 months old and I'm really sad about it. He is scooting around and just all over the place. The rocking and cuddling went by way too fast. I would even remind myself as my arm would go numb from holding him so long, to savor every second because it would be gone soon, and it was. And No! I'm not saying I'm baby hungry again! I just miss those snuggles. But he is at such a fun stage now. Smiling, laughing, saying "mama" and "dada" and even a really high pitched "hi". And he melts my heart when he reaches out for me. That always makes me feel special no matter how hard my day was. Ava is getting more and more beautiful. She is 7 now and has everyone she meets wrapped around each one of her pretty little fingers. She has a BIG attitude that comes with all that prettiness though. But even she melts my heart at least once a day by either saying something sweet or being an amazing big sister. With my lil man being born and Ava being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, we've had some ups and downs but nothing we haven't been able to over come, and I'm thankful for that. That just proves what great support we have from our family and friends because God knows I couldn't have done it without them. I'm very blessed and I realize that. I really try not to take it for granted even when life catches up with us. I love my life. Even with the hardships. They have made me who I am today. A strong women, mother, and wife. I will promise to try harder to update my little blog. I have some fun things that I have been involved in called Jamberry nails And It Works!! Both such AMAZING companies that have been nothing but FUN!! Until I get a little break....LOVE YOU ALL!! XOXO

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Home At Last!

I haven't updated my blog since Easter!! I don't even have an excuse. I just didn't have a whole lot to write about. Now I do! We are back in the U.S. of A. Thank God in the heavens above! Ava and I are here for good. My husband has to go back in a couple of weeks until mid August, so, that is kinda sad. I just want this whole China thing to just be over now. It was a good learning experience and all, but I would never go back and there really isn't much I will miss. It was so hard to be there away from everyone. It really was the biggest relief when we stepped off of that plane and knew we were home.
We are staying with my Amazing Aunt and Uncle who are just the best in every way. They are so supportive and have helped us in countless ways. Staying with them and their cute family has been so fun!
Ava is just loving every second of being back. She doesn't have people bothering her all of the time trying to take photos of her and touching her. She has friends and can communicate with everyone. She can just run around outside and be a little girl. I am just so happy that she is happy now b/c she really got lonely the last 6 months of our stay in China.
Joey and I have been eating WAY too much! but we can't help it! We have missed American food so bad that we just keep eating it all like it is going somewhere. We LOVE Wing Nutz and we ate there first when we got home, but we have eaten at 5 Guys and Fries, Chili's, Rubio's, Carl's Jr., Happy Sumo, Wendy's, Iggy's, Malawi's, JCW's, way too many Sonic drinks, and on top of all that food, we have been to a few BBQ's. I should get a gym pass real soon b/c in no way has my eating the last couple of weeks been healthy. Amazingly yummy though!
Is it normal that I have been to Target 5 times already since I have been home? I seriously LOVE that store! I missed it so much while I was gone! I always end up buying something that I don't need. I can't help it! Just way too many fun/cute things.
I think we have been playing a little too much since we got home. We have been to seven peaks, Cowabunga Bay, Lagoon, Family parties...It has been non stop fun! Ava had never been to Lagoon though so it really was a blast! She is pretty brave! She went on all the rides that she was tall enough for and some were even scary for me! I am a pretty big pansy though when it comes to that stuff.

This Ride I thought was the scariest! It's like a mini version of the Rocket!

Lagoon seriously has some of the best corn on the cob!

Here's all of us Lagooners, minus Joey who was taking the pic :)
I was so happy that we got back in time for the 4th of July! I just LOVE it! It is always so much fun. There are so many fun things going on and it is just a feel good holiday. We had a big family party that was filled with fun, food, and games. SO MUCH FUN ALL DANG DAY!

Ava loved the sparklers!
We have been having so much fun since we got home that I forgot that I will need to start working again. That's a bummer! I have been pretty spoiled with the whole "stay at home mom" thing the past year and a half, but it will be good for me to start working again and getting back onto a schedule and Ava will be starting Kindergarten in August! CRAZY!
Anyway, that is a brief little breakdown of what has been going on in our lifes since we have been home. Lot's of fun!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our Chinese Easter

Last Easter, we didn't do a darn thing. We were still trying to get used to our surroundings and Easter just isn't celebrated out here, so, like other holidays, we skipped it. Kinda just pretended it wasn't happening so that we weren't feeling sad about missing out on all of the fun back home. This year though, Ava is getting very anxious to go back home and just needs things to look forward to. So, we did the best that we could with bringing Easter to China.
I know that Easter isn't all about the Easter Bunny, Easter egg hunts, and getting candy. I know that the true meaning of Easter is about Christ and the sacrafice he made for us so that we could be forgiven for our sins and that this day symbolizes Christ's resurrection from the dead, but, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank the Lord for sending us his only begotten son. So, of course I kept Christ in my heart today even more so than any other day, but, we let Ava just have fun and be spoiled. Call me a bad parent, I don't care. The poor lil thing has been living here in China for over a year w/ no friends, and is bombarded with crazy Chinese people wanting to touch her, take pictures of her, and just bothering her everytime we step foot outside. She deserved to just have a fun day with the excitement and anticipation of the Easter Bunny.
Since they don't celebrate Easter out here, there obviously wasn't any plastic Easter eggs, Easter baskets, or Easter Egg dying kits, so, my husband looked online to find other ways to dye eggs. The methods were a little old school, but we really had no other options. We don't even know where to buy food coloring since we have never seen it out here! He found that you can actually use fruits and veggies to dye the eggs by boiling them. For example: red cabbage turns eggs purple. You boil the cabbage and add the vinegar and eggs, then let them sit. You can use Orange peels, bluberries, get the idea. The thing is, is that this method doesn't work well with brown eggs and that is really all you can find out here in China. So, our eggs ended up looking kinda grayish. Not very pretty. So, we just let Ava get her water color paints out and go to town on them. She had a blast! And they looked a whole lot more colorful after she was done with them!
After the eggs were all painted, it was time to prepare Ava's Rapunzel hair for her Easter curls. I wrapped her hair all up in sponge curlers....what a task!! Her hair is down to her bum and my arms were actually achey after I was done rolling all of her hair!Look at that head of rollers!

When we all woke up Easter morning, I had to keep Ava in our bedroom so Joey could go set up the Easter Bunny's little surprises. I hurried and did her hair and got her into her cute lil Easter dress. Doesn't she look adorable?!
She has her purse substituting for an Easter basket :)
We opted to have her egg hunt inside the apartment b/c otherwise, people would just be bothering her while she was trying to find her eggs and if any other kids found any of them, they would just take them for themselves. They honestly will just come up and take things out of your hands if they are curious. So, we just did not want to deal with all of that.
The first surprise that she found when she went out to the living room was this fun lil pretend set which she just LOVED!
Then she started noticing the eggs that were hidden all around the apartment. She had a blast looking for all of them and Ginger even helped out :)
I think Ginger actually helped her find some that she might've had trouble finding herself.

Joey did good at hiding them in some sneaky places :)

She found all of her eggs!

The Easter Bunny also brought her "Rango" It was the closest thing we could find that resemled him! ha ha!
And of course the Easter Bunny didn't forget the candy!

Ava wanted to open her play set up ASAP and put the pretend make up on.
And she was loving the dress up shoes that came in the set.
After all the excitment from the Easter Bunny's visit, we all took a walk outside. The weather was PERFECT today. 74 degrees with a nice breeze! We walked down to a big grassy area that is fun for Ava and Ginger to play on.
They both had a blast! Ava blew bubbles while Ginger tried to eat them!
And Joey played ball with Ava. I think she had more fun trying to throw the ball at Joey's head though lol!
Ava even practiced walking in her new dress up shoes. She still needs some practice :)
On our walk, there were so many beautiful flowers in every color!
These ones were Ava's favorite.
And these are all just so bright and happy looking!
Lately, Ava has really been into taking pictures. She took this one of Joey and I today. She does pretty good!
On top of it being Easter, it was also our little Miss Ginger's 1 year old birthday!
Happy Birthday to our tough lil puppy! We love you!

We had an AMAZING Easter! It went as perfectly as it could have for being out here in China. Ava had a blast and hasn't been so excited since Christmas. Just watching her have so much fun made our day priceless! The only thing that could have made it better is if China had some of those Cadbury mini eggs! Those things are the Devil! but so dang good!
I hope all of our family, friends, and loved ones had a great Easter as well! Can't wait to be home with you all next year to celebrate such a special and meaningful holiday.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So Close But So Far

62 more days until we leave China and make our LONG journey back home. I know 62 days doesn't sound like very many, and it really isn't, unless you are needing those 62 days to fly by. The days are not flying by. In fact, they are doing the exact oppisite. They are dragging! The universe is trying to punish me for something. I just haven't figured out what I have done that deserves this kind of punishment. Every morning I wake up, I look around and tell myself "Just get through this day." and I do. But my patience is running low and I am in desperate need of a Diet Coke with Lime from Sonic.
Poor lil Ava has had it too. At first, she was excited being in a new place and even enjoyed all of the attention she was getting from everyone. But now, the poor thing keeps asking "When are we getting out of Chinese?" And she hides when people want to take her picture. We are all just so tired of being bothered and feeling like a walking attraction. Of course it's flattering to have people always telling you how beautiful you are but, I have had 2 lifetimes full of compliments out here in a year and the only person I need now to tell me that I'm beautiful is my husband.
God, please keep giving me the strength and patience to make it through these next couple of months without having a mental breakdown and without punching anyone in the face. I really would rather not go to jail out her in China so, please bless me with self control and a peaceful heart as well. Amen.
Everyone else who reads this, you better start praying for me also cause I need all the help I can get to make it through these next 62 days cause they could get crazy! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Smelly Smells

For the past week, the little rectangular area in the parking garage of the our apartment building where you wait for the elevator has been "under construction". They have painted and re painted that little rectangle green. I don't undertsand Why. The entire basement garage is a non painted cement. Why are they painting this tiny little area? You are probably wondering why I even care, but believe it or not, this little “remodel” has caused way too many problems, the first and worst problem being the smell! I don’t know what kind of crazy paint they are using but it smells like no paint I have ever smelled before. It is SO STRONG and has made it’s way up into out apartment on the 18th floor. I have had a non stop headache for a week straight b/c of the smell. Even lightheaded at times. There is no way that it can be healthy. So, because of the smell, I have had to keep all of the windows open which is nice at times, but my entire apartment is all hardwood floors that are the perfect color for showing every little partticle dust. China is dusty outside, so, all of that comes inside and onto my floors and anything else with a resting area.
Another problem this paint job has caused is that b/c this area they have painted is the in and out entrance area for the elevator, you can no longer use the elevator to go down to the garage. Instead, you have to go to the first floor, walk outside and go down the stairs to the basement. Not a huge deal except when I need to take the dog out to the bathroom and it’s raining and my key won’t work to open the entrance door to our building so I'm just stuck outside waiting for someone to go in or is not a fun time. I even prop the door open with a rock or something so I can get back in, but there is always some idiot who thinks they are the door police and they move the rock locking me outside again.
I guess I wouldn’t be so frustrated about this situation if there were no dangerous fumes coming up the stairwell and elevator shaft but there are and they are making me cranky. If I pass out and hit my head from these fumes, I will sue…or write a letter…or something scary! All of these unnecessary, frustrating situations for a green, painted, cement rectangle that these Chinese people have been taking their sweet ass time with finishing up. Any sort of renovations that they recieve, whether it be big or small, they will draaaaaag it out until it just drives you crazy! China! I have had enough of you! You have tested my patience over and over again and my departure day couldn’t come soon enough! Peace out China!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Poor Head

So, I have had a constant headache for the past...well, forever. And I thought that most of the reason it was hurting was from the 2 car accidents I have been in. They really gave me some whip lash. But, the other day while my little girl was talking to me, I realized it was b/c of this lil munchkins booming voice! It doesn't matter if she is just talking to you, her voice level is SO LOUD all of the time!I don't know how many times a day I have to say "Please lower your voice", or "Not so loud". I could be a rich women if I got a penny for every time I ask her.
Obviously she doesn't realize she is talking/shouting all of the time. I'm sure it's probably annoying for her to have me asking so many times to keep it down. Maybe she needs to be a singer so she can belt her thoughts and feelings out in song. Or maybe her ears are plugged up and so it sounds to her like she needs to talk louder than she really does. Whatever the reason is, I hope I can help resolve it soon b/c you can only take so much Excedrin before it eats at your tummy's lining. Then you would still have a bad headache plus an ulcer. No good.
When we get back to America, she is getting her ears checked. If they look ok, then singing lessons here we come! I wonder if Christina Aguilera or Mariah Carey shout/ talked when they were younger...or even still do. Hmmm...
I Love my little Ava, I just need her to stop shout talking so my head can get a little rest. I'm sure all of you moms know what I'm talking about :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Little Miss Ginger

I wanted to dedicate a post that was all about our little miss Ginger. No, we don't have a red headed child. Ginger is our crazy, sweet and smart 50 pound Golden Retriever puppy that we were blessed to find out here in China.

Who knew that this little ball of fun and cuteness would bring more happiness into our family's lives than any of us could have ever imagined.
Being out here in China with my husband gone at work all day and no friends for Ava and I, it gets lonely. We needed something to help us cope a little better and help pass the time. So, my husband and I talked about possibly getting a dog. I got online and did some research for different breed options. I was looking for dogs that were patient with kids, did good in apartments, and that were smart. I did not want a dog that could not learn how to come tell me that it needed to go potty. So, with all that in mind, I actaully found the perfect breed called Papillon. It was a smaller breed, had good characteristics, and was #8 for being one of the smartest breeds of dogs. So, we asked one of my husbands co workers to help us try to find one out here in China and after a couple weeks he found a "breeder" that said he had one for sale. That next weekend, we all got into the car to go look at the puppy.
Once we met up with the guy that was selling the papillon, he had us follow him into an alley that our car could barely fit through. Then, took us into a very old and run down apartment building. I wasn't really surprised since this was just how things were done out here and people just live in all sorts of places and buildings. So, we followed him into his apartment. As soon as he opened the front door, a wave of stench that smelled like urin and feces hit our noses and the high pitched whines and whimpers of puppies rang our ears. I stepped into the apartment and couldn't believe what I was seeing. Crates stacked on top of crates stuffed with puppies that were hungry, dirty, sick, and sad. We had walked right into a puppy mill and I was instantly sick to my stomach. Not because of the smell, but because I couldn't believe that any human being could think that this was okay. It wasn't just the guy that we followed into the aprtment either, there were 3 other people there that were just ignoring the whimpers and cries of all those precious puppies.
You would think that a little 4 year old would have been estatic to be in a room full of puppies, but even my little one could tell that this was not right. As soon as we entered the apartment, she wasnted to be held and would not look around. She was upset by the situation also. If my 4 year old knew it was wrong, how did these people feel ok with what they were doing?! We just needed to get out of there so, I had our friend ask the man where the papillon was. He said that it was at the vet and that they would get it back in a couple of days. I was furious! "Why didn't he tell you that on the phone?" I asked our friend. "We just drove an hour to get to this hell hole and they don't even have the dog that we came here for." I could tell that our friend was embarrassed but it wasn't his fault and I knew that. I was just mad that any of us, especially my little girl, had to have this experience and that these people were trying to jerk us around.
While our friend was talking with the man trying to figure out why this happened and when they would have the puppy, another one of the guys was trying to get us to buy a Yorkie. The poor thing looked too small to be away from it's mother and it's hair was all greasy. It occured to me as this man was trying to get me to hold this poor, sickly dog, that they probably never had a papillon. They knew that we were an American family wanting a dog so they thought they could lie to get us to their "buisness" and then try to get us to buy a different puppy. I was mad at these people and I refused to hold any of these puppies they were trying to get me to play with. I did not want to get an attatchments to any of these dogs because I knew that even if we did buy one and take it away from that awful place, it's chances of survival were slim to none and that was just something non of us wanted to go through.
We left there upset, let down, and disturbed. The saddest part may have been the realization that there was no one for us to call to report what we had just witnessed since there are no animal protection laws in China. We just had to try and put that place out of our minds.
Our friend continued to search for a papillon but it was a rare breed here in China. The places that claimed to breed them were all puppy mills and so I started my reserach again. This time, my only requirements were that the breed was good with kids and smart. Yes, we do live in an aprtment, but not for much longer so, I figured that it would be ok for a year as long as we played and walked the dog everyday.
During my search, the breed that always popped up was the Golden Retriever and I felt good about that because my grandparents always had Golden Retrievers. Stella was the dog they had when I was born and I remember loving her so much and would climb all over her. She would just let me. She never snapped at me even though I probably gave her plenty of reasons to do so.
When she passed away, my grandparents had her cremated and kept her ashes in a beautiful urn. Not too long after her passing, they got Amber. She was such a smart thing and she LOVED playing fetch in the water. My granparents lived right off of Lake Cresent and so my brother and I would spend hours on the dock throwing Amber's tennis balls and sticks into the water as we watched her dive into the lake, and somehow fit 2 tennis balls and 3 sticks into her mouth and then swim back to us just so she could do it all over again. I had nothing but good memories with Golden Retrievers and so, we approached our friend once again to have him help us out with our search. He was such a great sport, especially since he probably didn't quite understand what our obsession was with owning a dog. Out here, it just isn't very common to own a pet, and the people who do own dogs, are usually small, brown colored poodles or pomeranians.
If you are wondering the most common question about dogs out here and that is, "Don't they eat dogs in China?" Then I will answer you honestly. The answer is, yes. The poor eat dog if it is slim pickins for them, but it's not like stores or butchers sell dog meat and it's never on a resturant menu. If money is tight and they see a stray dod.... They will eat dog. It is sad but every country or religion has some animal that that they eat that other countries/religions think they are crazy for doing so. Like the Hindus think that the cow is sacred and worship it, while our food in America is mostly based around the cow. Just different cultural beliefs.
After a few more weeks of searching, our friend was able to find a nice couple who's parents Golden Retriever had puppies. They were helping sell the puppies for their parents and only had one left. The wife had wanted to keep her but was not able to so, My husband and friend went that night to go look at the pup. This time I did not go just in case it was some other upsetting situation.
Later that evening, I got a call from my husband letting me know he was coming home with a puppy! I was so excited for him to walk through the door and to see the look on Ava's face! It was indeed, priceless!

She was kind of in shock!

Ava and the family was in love with this little cutie pie! She was just so sweet and good natured. We felt so lucky to have her! She melted our hearts and we were attatched as soon as that ball of fur came through our door.
That first night was a blur! There was a whole lot of excitment going on and we needed to decide on a name. We tried out Lady, Goldie, Princess, and Beauty. We liked those names but none felt totally right. Then, Ginger popped into my head. We all liked it and it just sounded good! Poor thing was probably so confused since the name she had been called was Chinese. Piao liang which means beautiful. Actually, all of the commands that she had been learning thus far had all been in Chinese so, it was like she was starting from scratch again but she caught on fast!
A couple months after Ginger came into our family, the usual little ball of joy was beginning to act different. She was becoming lethargic, and seemed depressed. I was worried it was b/c she felt cooped up, but then, a day later, she began vomitting. We took her straight to the vet and they ran the Parvo virus test on her. It came back borderline so, we were instructed to watch her overnight and if she was still vomitting, then we needed to bring her back. Sure thing, our lil Ginger could not keep anything down and we took her back the very next day. They ran the test one more time and it came back positive for Parvo. The vet explained to us that it was a very serious virus and that there is no cure. Only support for the dogs immune system to help fight the virus off. He also explained that the treatment was very expensive and long. We told him we didn't care. We just wanted our pup to get all of the care and help that they could give here. A lot of people in China cannot afford the kind of treatment that our Ginger needed, so, I think it came as a surprise to him that the cost would not be a factor that we cared about. The vet then let us know that 50% of puppies that catch the Parvo Virus end up losing the battle. We were beyond scared for our lil cutie. We felt so helpless. All we could do is shower her with love and comfort her throughout this time. She was so sick and weak, my husband would have to carry her from place to place. And everyday for 14 days, we had to take her to the vet where she was put on an IV drip and recieved 6 different shots every visit. The poor lil thing was so sore from being poked so much that she would whimper if you touched her wrong. We couldn't even give her one drop of food or water for a whole week while her digestive system was repairing itself.
After a week of the treatment, we began to see some spunk come back to our puppy. She started to walk around a little more, wag that lil tail of hers, and even give us some playful nudges. Even though we were estatic to see these changes in her, we tried not to encourgae any play. We needed her to rest and recover. We continued the treatment and everyone at the vet's office began seeing the changes as well and kept commenting on how strong she was. After the 2 weeks, our Ginger could keep her food and water down and was getting stronger everyday. She had survived the Parvo Virus! What a trooper!

Since her battle with Parvo, Ginger has been nothing but a our crazy puppy! She loves to play! She is so smart as well! She knows how to "shake", give a "high five", "sit", "lay", "beg", and does pretty good with "staying".
Potty training her was fairly simple considering we live on the 18th story and didn't have a whole lot of control over how fast we could make it downatairs. Needless to say, she had a few accidents in the elevator that we had to hurry and clean up in the beginning. No accidents at all anymore though!
On top of being smart, fun, and affectionate, Ginger is very protective of our family. Not protective in the sense that she would bite or attck anyone b/c that is just not in their nature, but protective in the way that she always needs to know where everyone is at all times before she can relax. If one of us closes a door, she whines and paces, even scratches at the door that is closed. She will actually come get one of us to open the door for her if it stays closed for too long. And if we are all in seperate rooms, she has to come peek in and check on us and then position herself somewhere in the apartment where she is able to see all of us. It is so sweet but sometimes just taking a bathroom break can be a rushed situation b/c she is needing to know what is going on!
We can not wait to be able to bring Ginger home to the USA and have a yard and parks that she can go play in without people being scared to death of her. She is bigger than most dogs out here so people get very scared when they see her even though she has the sweetest face. We have people all of the time that will not get into the elevator if she is in it. We have also have had girls AND guys scream out when they see her. It is pretty weird and I can't help but laugh. Could you imagine if we would have gotten a a german shepard or a great dane?! ha ha!!
Well, now you know about the best thing that has happened to us out here in China. Ginger has helped keep our spirits up when we have been lonely and homesick and makes us laugh every single day. What would we have done without this 50 pound (soon to be 65 pound) hunk of love? Little Miss Ginger, thank you for your unconditional love you give us everyday and the smiles that you put on our faces! We love you!