We had such a fantastic time visiting my brother and his family in Beijing last month! This will be a super photo-heavy post, because despite all my attempts to narrow the pictures down to just a few there are so many I want to share. I suppose everyone should just be grateful that I'm not making you sit down in my living room and watch a long parade of you can scroll as quickly as you'd like!

We packed so much into our time there and it passed in a bit of a blur. We were lucky to have amazing weather, and many days we could even see blue skies. We generally took the subway everywhere, though we did pack into the car a few times and braved the insane traffic.

Since moving out to the suburbs we have used the baby carrier with Annika a lot less, and she isn't as used to it anymore. We took her out for a quick test walk around the neighborhood, and she seemed to really enjoy it:

To try to appease her we decided to take the stroller to the Summer Palace instead. This meant we ended up doing a LOT of this -

Thank goodness for our super lightweight stroller! I also carried Annika in my arms up all the steps to see the Fragrant Buddha. She wanted me to sing the entire way (The Wheels on the Bus, and she won't accept any repeats on verses) so that was an additional challenge to the climb. I thought about all the days I spend doing Stroller Strides and singing to her while working out - this is what I'd been training for!

The Summer Palace was massive, it was truly amazing. Everything was huge, actually. Forbidden City, The Great Wall, etc. Even the sheer amount of people in China was staggering to me.

A lot of stairs. This is apparently how our family likes to climb them.
Annika slept through many of the sights. Oh well.

 Daniel and Holly helped us eat our way through Beijing! We tried hot pot, Chinese noodle, dumplings, Peking duck, Taiwanese, Korean BBQ, and of course some good ol' street vendor food. Did I mention Holly makes fresh bread nearly every morning? We trie a lot of new foods, and the cub learned the word "rice." They seemed to know the best restaurants to eat at for everything, and I feel like we got the full gamut from nice and fancy to the hidden (and delicious) dives. We also went to a cat cafe, where cats wandered through the restaurant while we ate. Our food all had a nice cat motif, as well!

Because everyone asks, yes, the cub did get a fair amount of attention while we there. Less than I expected while wandering around Beijing, but anytime we went to a very touristy location there were always several people wanting to say hi to her and take a picture. Her reaction depended on the day. Most of the time she just ignored them, but there were a few days where she was extremely friendly!

I love this picture. These ladies were so sweet to her, and it was fun to see people playing Tai Chi Ball, especially because we had tried to learn it at the Folk Life Festival a few years ago!

I referenced Around the World in 80 Diaper's guides to seeing Beijing with children quite a bit when planning our trip. I love her rules for traveling with children, and think we'll adopt a lot of them. We definitely found time to play at playgrounds on our trip - and even a little dip in the neighborhood pool. It was fun to do touristy things, but also fun to see how our cousins live and what they normally do.

When we went out to see The Great Wall we went to Gubeikou, which is (supposedly) less touristy and is a less restored section of the wall. We went the night of Moon Festival, which was really neat and the little watertown was buzzing! We stayed at a neat farmhouse just out of the city that Holly found for us. They were so nice and fed us wonderful food that had been produced right there on the farm, including delicious eggplant! It was really fun to get out of the city and see a little more of China.
A few more random pictures:
Jeff wanted to see if he was as flexible as the senior citizens stretching at the Temple of Heaven. He wasn't. But we think Beijing would be a terrific place to retire, because the Temple of Heaven seems to be the ultimate senior center. Dancing, calligraphy, knitting, games, tai chi ball - so many fun things going on on the grounds. He has some time to work on it until we get old and head back there.
I think the cub's favorite part of China were all the stairs in Daniel's house. She loved going up and down over and over. And over.
We took the cub on a spinning ride - similar to the teacups at Disneyland - and she enjoyed it. Jeff and I felt sick the rest of the day, though.

SaveSave And to finish it off, a cousins shot: and the whole group!