Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Annalise's Arrival

I have done birth stories for each of my children, only Annalise, my firstborn and my first pregnancy, was in the form of a survey called "My First Pregnancy":

1. WAS YOUR FIRST PREGNANCY PLANNED? All of my babies are planned, no matter what.


3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? Surprise and excitement as well as thinking "that was so easy!"



6. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? My cycle was a little late but since we had traveled around the world to China I just assumed it was messed up from that. I ended up taking a pregnancy test just to see one morning and saw immediately that it was positive.

7. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST? Jeremy, and he was excited as I was.

8. DID YOU WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX? We weren't sure at first, but both changed our minds later since we were already praying for her and wanted to know how to pray better.

9. DUE DATE? Nov 11th 2008

10. DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS? Yes, but before I knew I was pregnant I thought I just had food poisoning or that I was sick from drinking Oolong tea in the morning. I really doubted at first that I could possibly be pregnant so easily!

11. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE? Cold noodles with peanuts, spices and cilantro they sold on the streets in China

12. WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST? When I began to grow out of my normal clothes and had a hard time finding well-fitting pregnancy clothes while in China


14. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING? No, once we found out later in the pregnancy I was super excited to have a girl - about dressing her up and teaching her as she grows into a beautiful young lady. Jeremy was always afraid of having a girl - he will be very protective of her and need a shotgun when she's older.





19. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH? Olmsted Medical Hospital in Rochester, MN

20. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR? 2 days at home and then 12 hours at the hospital, I would call in twice a day and the nurses advised me to labor at home (I had such a calm voice over the telephone they couldn't tell how far along the labor had progressed!), by the time we went in to the hospital I was 8 cm dilated.


22. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH? Jeremy, 2 or 3 nurses and the doctor


24. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN? I had an epidural for the last 3 or 4 hours with pitocin


28. WHEN WAS YOUR CHILD ACTUALLY BORN ? November 11th, 2008 ( right on her due date )

30. WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER? Annalise Pearle 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Little time left

We've been more busy lately and neither one of us can sit down to write in our blog! It's also difficult when you are learning another language to spend long periods of time each day writing in English. Chinese classes are going well for both of us. We are in different classes now, and Jeremy is actually a couple chapters ahead of me now. It was difficult to face that at first, but it's nice to ask him for help now with grammar or words he's already learned :). The class we were both in together originally was great because we had an excellent laoshi (teacher), and we worked really hard. At the beginning, it was great to be at the top of the class and an example, but the minute I began to get a word wrong or sentences incorrect I would be embarrassed (bu hao yisi!). I was sick from morning sickness and missed lots of class for a period. Now I'm feeling much better and back in classes, but in a different one with a great new teacher. But Jeremy and I both liked the teacher we had together the best though. She and all the other teachers at the school have been so excited for my pregnancy. I am so glad I have been able to be back at the school and spending more time there. We only have about 3 more weeks left there. It will be sad to say good-bye to them.

All our Chinese teachers and friends we've made here tell me to make sure that I "chi hao" (eat good) and eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Here this has been easy to do. We have an outdoor market behind our apartment buildings where we can get baby bok choy, carrots, green onions, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cherries, and all different kinds of interesting fruits for good prices. Chinese cooking is supposed to be healthier and simply - just stir fry meat and vegetables, and then make rice. I also ran into some ladies at the gym where we can work out at after school, and they were all concerned that I not exercise "too severely" or it could harm my baby. I think they were expressing concern because I was standing outside of a belly dancing fitness class at the club at the time and thinking about coming to the next one. One of the ladies who works at the club who is a friend to Jeremy and I recommended that I "you yong" (swim) and do other lighter sports instead, and stay away from "tiao wu" (dancing) or running. I've only been walking on the treadmill since the beginning of my pregnancy, but I thought it was neat how concerned everyone has been. They seem to be very cautious about pregnancies in their culture and some have suggested funny ideas to me. I've also been warned that it isn't good for pregnant women to drink cold liquids or to have things such as ice cream. I can't imagine why when it's in the mid-summer and really hot and dusty outside! There was also a custom after birth that we heard of that I won't mention here.

We've also been busy with BICF activities...Jeremy went and spent a Saturday doing outside work and painting at an organization that helps Chinese migrant children and families in Beijing. He did such a good job and I am so proud of him. I saw pictures from somebody else's camera and he was all up on a ledge painting the second level of a new migrant school building. This is one group of people we have had a heart for in China. Another Saturday we travelled outside Beijing to a neighboring city called Langfang, about an hour away, and visited one of the orphanages there. It was a bigger orphanage, NGO, and really nice. There was a nanny to every 3 babies and they were all playing and interacting really well. We were allowed to jump right in and hold the babies! Most of them were labelled "special needs" and had had cleft lip palate surgeries, and a couple had cerebral palsy. They were all precious. We really have a heart to adopt someday, it's something we talked about even before we got married. We'll just wait and see if the desire continues to come back and if it's something God is putting on our hearts to begin at some point, whether from China or some other country. Adopting children from China has many restrictions, but is supposedly fairly stable. It just takes a little longer (from 2 to 3 years), but most of the restrictions don't apply to us anyways...we are both over 30 years of age and that was one of them. Enough for now, we will try to write more later. Thank you so much to everyone for thinking of us!! We know it's helped alot, and we have continued to grow in so many ways through difficulties here that we've faced and come through together. Jeremy says he feels he has grown more in the past 4 or 5 months of being in China than in several years of living in the states like usual, and I agree with him. Living in a foreign country and trying to learn Chinese together as a married couple is a challenge!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Our Chinese Names

I forgot to mention that we also were given our Chinese names and surname within the first couple weeks of classes. Our teacher gave them to us after waiting a few weeks to see what our personalities were like so that the meanings fit us accurately. I made sure that I was given the same surname as Jeremy. In Chinese, the surname comes first. Lisa's Chinese name is 李瑶 (said "Li Yao"). Jeremy's Chinese name is 李瑨 (said "Li Jin"). These are our Chinese names.

我们的中文名字叫 李瑶和李瑨。

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Life in Beijing


Hello! We safely arrived in Beijing on February 10th, 2008 after our honeymoon and other trips. We settled in here quite nicely and have enjoyed our new life, together here in China, for 2 months now. We had one week off before our classes started at the Academy of Chinese Language Studies and that was very nice. We live in a northwest ring of the city and enjoy walking around our neighborhood. It's actually nice to be outside and walk, but we normally don't go running outside because of the pollution levels. There are many parks in the city. One evening we were out walking and found a huge park a couple blocks from where we live, and there were crowds of people just out dancing in different groups with boom boxes. One group was ballroom dancing, another group was some sort of Chinese line dancing aerobics, and another group was swing dancing. We joined in for a little bit and plan on going back some evening when we are dressed nicely for it.

Within the first month we were able to go to the Beijing International Christian Fellowship on weekends and have made many invaluable friendships there. These have been so important to have. Some times we will just end up spending the whole day with them after the service, hanging out and sharing. It's really neat because there are so many different people who have come here from different backgrounds, and we are all able to worship together in harmony and get along well. We don't have the time for silly debates over theological issues in a foreign country!

Our first month in classes we covered nearly half of our first book. We are going through much quicker than normal college classes in Chinese. By the end of the semester we will have gone through more than 2 books or levels. We also met many of our Chinese language exchange partners the first month of school. We get together with them and learn from each other. We had one young boyfriend-girlfriend couple over for dinner one night and Lisa made Coca-Cola chicken. We could tell they were really blessed to come over to our apartment and share a meal with us.

Living in another country so far around the world and being "foreigners" here has been a challenge for us as a newly married couple. But with His help we've been able to grow much quicker in ways we couldn't have imagined had we not been willing to place ourselves in this adventure prepared for us at this time in our lives. We've also been able to grow much closer together than we were before. We can look back a couple months to our honeymoon and see how much we've grown since then! We are so thankful for all our friends and family back home who think of us so often, we have really needed that. Think of us also for Lisa's pregnancy. It is progressing well and currently at 8 weeks. We just found out almost 4 weeks ago that we are expecting a baby in November. Lisa gets sick often, but especially when she thinks of or smells white buns (Chinese "bao zi") and sweet red bean paste. We are flying back to the U.S. the end of June when our visas are up and staying to have the baby at home. After that we will be open to the next adventure in store for us. We both also are so excited to become parents!

We also are hoping to visit rural China at some point before we leave in June. So far we have only seen the city of Beijing. Many of the people we have met here actually come from other provinces and move here either for college or work. There is probably a huge difference between the urban city and rural China. It would be so sad if we didn't see that part of this great country.