My little girl isn't so little any more! We celebrated Lily's sixth birthday with friends from school and the class mascot, Ollie the Orangutan. The princess bash was a huge success, Lucas and Charlie headed to the Wild Insect Kingdom for some boy time, while Jane, Ayi, and I watched over seven princesses. The girls were amazingly good, they played with Lily's princess castles and dolls, colored, and played with the kitchen. They took a break to fuel up on sandwiches and goodies before ripping into the gifts. We ended the party with a pink cake and seven happy girls!
Lily's class is the orangutan class, hence Ollie, the orangutan mascot. Every Friday Ollie goes home with someone, and since it was Lily's birthday he came home with us and enjoyed a busy weekend. Saturday we took everyone to the kids favorite place in Shanghai, the Ocean Aquarium, and spent an hour enjoying all the wonderful sea animals. Ollie even found a long lost cousin hanging in a tree and posed for a picture to put in his journal. Of course he also graciously posed for pics with the birthday girl too. After the aquarium it was time for lunch and then a quick trip to the market where Ollie got a prime seat in the basket. After such a busy day we headed home for naps. Ollie and Lily snuggled together and got in a nice nap and feeling refreshed we headed out for dinner at The Blue Frog. By the end of the weekend Ollie had a lot to put in his journal but, since he can't write Lily helped him out. We pasted pictures of his weekend and then Lily wrote all about what we'd seen and done, finishing it off with a lovely drawing of Ollie.
More recently we spent some time exploring Puxi. Sunday we headed to a breakfast place called Egghead Bagel that had, wait for it... bagels! OK, it had more than bagels, it actually had an impressive menu that had many classic American breakfast foods. Lily and I stuck with bagels, while Charlie and Lucas opted for a hot breakfast. After out yummy breakfast we went to Tainzifang, a pedestrian shopping area. This little block is a warren of alleyways filled with cool boutique shops selling unique (Beijing mask fruit forks) and some not so unique things (cheesy magnets). There was also a cool candy shop where we could watch them make candy and, yes, we brought some home. There is also a variety of restaurants, but one in particular caught my eye. It's called More than Toilet, and it is themed all around toilets. The seats are toilets and you sit at a glass covered sink, and the food is even served in mini toilettes. Oh yes, we will be going back to try it!
We've been back a few weeks now, jet lag is behind us, and we have quietly settled back into life in Shanghai. Lily started at Dulwich, her fourth school, this August. Dulwich is a large British run international school that covers age 2 up to high school seniors. They have several schools around the world and they are absurdly expensive! Thank goodness BASF takes care of the tuition. Lily as always has adjusted to her new school incredibly well. She likes her new teacher and is making new friends quickly. She is the oldest in the class since they have a strict cut off of Sept 1 and her birthday is Sept 8. Technically she is repeating kindergarten, but I've talked with her teacher already and she is aware that Lily is way ahead of the other kids. I will be working closely with her teacher to make sure that Lily continues to be challenged at school and not bored. My hope is that by the time we move home she won't be too far behind her American classmates.
This year my little boy started school too. Charlie was super excited to be going to school like his big sister. He is really enjoying school and his new friends and feeling like a really big boy. The nursery program is five days a week from 8:30-3, but I will pick him up after lunch tuesday and thursday since he still naps most days. We'll see how he does with napping at school and home and adjust his schedule if needed.
I've also made new friends with many of the moms at the school and Lily and Charlie went on a playdate today with another sister and brother that are in their classes.
Lucas has been away on business in Malaysia this week, but we did manage to get in a family trip to the Oriental Pearl Tower before he left. This was the third time Charlie and I have been, and Lily's second, but so far Lucas hasn't been able to join us. It was nice to go as a family and check the tower off the China bucket list! The kids enjoyed the views from the top and had fun pointing out the boats on the river. We grabbed surprisingly good pizza in the base of the tower and then headed to the Shanghai History museum. It was a really nice day and we look forward to seeing more of China through the year!