10 on 10: February 2017

This last month been full. We have grown more comfortable in our new home of Shanghai and are settling into some routines. On the other side, we are actively trying to see everything we can, so we can fully experience this fantastic and quite different location.

Pollution is something new we're learning to deal with. It hasn't been as horrible as I thought it would be, but there have been several days where we've woken up to toxic levels of smog and a sun you can look right at all day and never have it burn your eyes.

Scarlett is settling in so well to her new school, but there have been some challenges. The bus has been a big one. They had her by herself, not allowed to color (because she could poke her eye out, apparently) or move seats. She also had to deal with some mean girls, but she continues to press forward with the most positive attitude of anyone I've ever met.

We took a weekend trip to Suzhou and 2 hours in Scarlett threw up EVERYWHERE! It is at that point that we learned AirBNBs in China do not provide towels, so we (mainly Nathan), did our best with what we had to clean the mess and take care of our little girl.

Fortunately, her bug was short lived and we went to the Leaning Pagoda of Suzhou the next morning. Pisa has got NOTHING on this beauty. The kids were constantly surrounded by people taking their pictures, or taking pictures with them, and Atticus even fell face first off a bench trying to get out of a photo.

My new favorite spot in town. The Bird, Insect and Flower Market. There were so many insects being sold as pets it was insane! Cricket fighting is popular here, so there were a ton of old men carefully inspecting their crickets, seeing which ones would be the best warriors.

I feel like I go about my days, comfortable in what I'm doing, and then bam! We run into something completely unexpected, like this pigeons and Chickens waiting to be Chinese New Year Dinner. They were just on the side of an alley outside a park, tucked between trash cans.

This is the spot where Scarlett found real treasure. While walking through the park she found a sign written on a rock. I was sure it said "No Swimming. No Fishing" in beautiful Chinese Script. But Scarlett told me it said, "Congratulations. You've found the secret treasure". In case someone is listening in, when we talk about it now, we talk about how we found "the dirty laundry", so as to keep our secret a secret.

I've always been a little afraid of crowds. I don't like being in a crowded building, in Italy, when there were strikes and marches daily, I steered clear. My reason is that I know how little it takes for a spark to ignite and for panic, violence, whatever, to breakout in a crowd. I probably need to get over that fear because China is crowded. We went to the aquarium over Chinese New Years and we crushed into this tunnel with thousands of people. It was pretty tough for me to not think, "If even the slightest thing goes wrong, this is how we all die".

Everything looks so beautiful during CNY, with all the lanterns and lights. Even our building is decorated.

Once again, Scarlett had to say goodbye to a true soul sister. If there is one thing I could remove from all this, it's the having to say goodbye to incredible friends. That's not real life, though, so instead we are grateful for the time we have with those we love, and grateful for the heartache, because it shows how much love we have in our lives .

Now please continue the circle on to the wonderful Breanna Peterson. I love her and her work so much and cannot wait to see what she has in store.

September 10 on 10

I've been generally using this wonderful blog circle as a chance to give an overview of my month, but this month we had a really big day, so I've decided to focus my post on that. This month (only 5 days ago), my sweet Scarlett started Kindergarten. Here are some of our snippets from that 10. 10 snippets to be exact.

A portrait within 5 minutes of waking up. Wide eyed, a little sleep and a healthy mix of nervous and excited.

Buttons. I feel like maybe I subconsciously buy her clothes sometimes in which she needs my help putting them on...just so I can help a little longer.

The Elevator has arrived.

Waiting for baby bro to pick the flower he picked off the ground. She thought he was getting it for her. He wasn't.

"It's here!!!!" Only it wasn't. This happened 4 times, when finally on the 5th bus (and 20 minutes late) her bus came.

Scarlett learned how to play "Red Light, Green light" with the bus stop kids. She kept getting a little confused on which light was which.

The bus finally made it and sweet Sophia in First grade grabbed Scarlett by the hand and took her on board.

My heart felt peace when I saw the warm smile from the bus driver, so thankful that the first adult she would come into contact with was tender to her new and kind of scary first experience.

What there wasn't room for in my 10 on 10, the pictures of Ace and I chasing her school bus, hoping to see her get off at school. We didn't manage to find her, but we were able to drive by and say from the window, "By B! (B for Big Sis)". Sophia's mom managed to get there in time and helped Scarlett off the bus, finding her the nearest teacher to help her the rest of the way. Our day was spent missing her tons. We love spending time with the bright light that is Scarlett, but we had fun on our own as well.

7 hours later, and she's back! Smiling and energetic.

Sweet little Atticus looks like he's about to cry he's so happy to have her back.

A family portrait on the walk home where Ace picked up construction rocks, Scarlett held Nathan's hand and told him all about her day and I trailed behind, soaking it all in.

Thank you for following this month of mine. Now head over to Chris Stephens. I have long admired her work. If you aren't familiar with her, you should be and if you are, you know you'll love her post.

August 10 on 10

We've had a really lovely month. I got out of whatever summer funk I was in (I'm not really a summer person when I am living in a city) and have really tried to enjoy our time in this beautiful city. I remembered that the DC metro isn't "that bad", 95 degrees with 80 percent humidity isn't "that hot" and even if it is, we're always happier when we go out.
We also did our fair share of staying in and both were wonderful.

Atticus learned to fly as Scarlett learned how to play Nintendoland

Scarlett made this piece of wearable art which has inspired me to start a new photo project...an inspiration I haven't felt in a while.

Atticus and Scarlett spent a little time close, but doing separate things and I intervened when I needed to.

We started working on this.

I spent a weekend in CA with a wonderful friend, my parents and some crazy (but wonderful) Liverpool Fans.

We went into DC a lot

They were adorable more times than I can count.

Scarlett was melancholy for a while when she couldn't wear the Hope Diamond or other jewels on display at the Museum of Natural History

We've spent the better part of a couple weeks without a car for an air conditioning problem that is still not fixed.

Atticus picked Scarlett a flower to make her feel better after she tripped over her shoes and it scared her.

That was our month. I hope it's been wonderful for all of you. Next up is my wonderful and talented friend, Kristi Burton http://www.kristiburtonphotography.com/2016/08/10-10-august-2016/