Monday, August 3, 2015

Sayde turns two!!

Yesterday was Sayde's birthday, and one of the first things she did that day was swing in her favorite swing that Gandy hung from the tall tree on the hill in his and Gamma's yard. It was lunchtime and we needed to go inside, but she didn't want to stop her swing short of the normal 45 plus minutes. She threw a fit back inside the house and screamed, hugging my legs and trying to knock me over, "I want swing!"

Finally I brought her back outside with her pizza slice, and she ate it happily and peacefully as she swung gently in her swing. I got to take some pictures of the kids while they all had fun swinging. Hudson likes the rope swing best. Annalise is learning how to pump her legs and swing herself. It's hard when the swing is so high, hanging from the tree branch. They're not your everyday swings at the playground!

When she finished her cauliflower pizza slice, she held out her bowl and asked for more, happily getting out of the swing that time to go inside for another slice. That after noon we had a family party for sweet Sayde with her cousins, Oma, Opa, aunts and uncles.  Here's a few photos from the day...

By her second birthday, Sayde already can sing "Jesus loves me this I know..." and all the rest of it. She can say "honor your mother and your father," one of Annalise and Hudson's memory Bible verses  this past year. She mixes in a few Chinese words with her English, "where zai (在) Daddy go?"  She can also say "hello kitty", "oh my goodness!", and "I want my own bed." Although, she still has to fall asleep next to Mommy first. And she still nurses as much as any younger baby. She could be nursing until she's three!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blog Changes

Jeremy says I need to rename our blog to "morelandadventures" since we are back in the U.S. and no longer in China, and merge our old stateside family adventure stories with the current blog.

One of our local friends in Shanghai told us that our English surname was prophetic, "more land for Jesus," is what she said, and we will say yes to that.

Though we're renaming we still enjoy tea times with others and look forward to inviting many friends over for tea when we have a place of our own. You may continue to find our spot here as well, so come and have tea with the Morelands.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Birthday Celebrating

Yesterday was my husband's 39th birthday. This is Jeremy's last year, and mine, in our 30's...And today was our son Hudson's 5th birthday. We took a drive to the pretty town of Lanesboro and rented some bikes for a 10 mile bike ride, and then buying some bikes for Hudson and Annalise on the way home.

In our car ride we had plenty of time to talk. We talked about how old we are...I can remember when I was in woodworking class in the 7th grade, getting my 80's permed hair stuck in the drill and having the instructor help take the drill apart to get it out, all frizzed and singed. And the stuck-up girls in my home-ec class with their Esprit bags laying on the floor, stepping one on accidentally as I was flipping pancakes at the stove and one girl saying, "you're stepping on my Esprit." Later, I even had an Esprit bag. :)

Later, at home we sang and had Panda bear Birthday cake, chocolate cake on the inside with cream cheese frosting on the outside. Don't laugh! I decorated it myself.

We are loving the Minnesota summer and the green countrysides right now. Huge change from the cement and well-manicured gardens in Shanghai.  Though we will miss all the folks in the park doing their tai chi and group dances. I am so thankful we have the next couple weeks free before my husband's new job starts. I am so proud of him!

Annalise lost her front teeth, so cute!!
Here are some photos from our last week in Shanghai...

Sayde on the glass floor of the Pearl Tower

Our hilarious shoe choices that day

Annalise's favorite building in Shanghai

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Life is Good in Minnesota

We have returned back home to Minnesota and our time in Shanghai is officially over. Jeremy put in his notice at work last month and we spent many weeks preparing for the return and saying good-bye to all of our friends and church family in the city, not knowing what was up next for us. This was one of the most difficult aspect of our decision to leave...The church community we had become part of...a one to two hour commute to visit friends in their homes for all the kids groups, Bible study groups, and our home cell group. Here in the States, these groups do not exist! We hope that we can bring the sense of fellowship, and how we desperately need it, back home with us and get things started here. We will miss this kind of community, but believe this can be possible here too.
We know that many seeds were planted and new life begun as we left Shanghai. Jeremy was able to witness to many friends, even Chinese Muslim. We gave away lots of literature. Lisa met another friend who, along with her husband, held prayer and worship day and night and was able to connect a couple of our other searching friends to this family. We were a little more bold and focused this time than last time.
Right now, we are adjusting to a life back in Minnesota. Jeremy starts his new job in mid-July. Thankfully, we have a couple weeks to settle in.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Family Life

We are having internet and computer time issues, so the most I can hope for in our blog at this point is to post a few pictures as fast as I can and talk about them a little...

This past week we had a leak in the pipe running to our washing machine, and the repairman could not come until a few days later. So Jeremy and Hudson put together a tube to catch the drips and drain the water into a big bucket sitting on the floor next to it. They made it with some masking tape, scissors, and an empty paper towel roll. I was so thankful that it was no longer dripping all over the floor and around the machine! So helpful! The leak is now fixed nicely with a new pipe fitting that allows you to turn the water on only when using the washing machine. Hudson is still very interested in pipes and plumbing, and concerned about leaks.

Hudson puts on his tool belt and looks down the drains with his flashlight.

Hudson and Annalise trying out their scooters at the park!

At 21 months old, Sayde now says
 "I want some of that," I git you," and she can say "I love you" in English as well as Chinese.

Right now the kids have some colds and coughs, and Sayde is still up next to me in bed squirming, twisting, turning and bumping my elbow at every second, unable to fall asleep. It is now 10:45 pm. Hudson and Annalise have fallen asleep already. They are still doing well with earlier bedtimes. With the family being sick this past week, we stayed home over the Mother's Day weekend and watched Danny Silk parenting DVD's. Sayde decided to do a somersault off our bed and ended up with only a scratch on her forehead, thankfully. Sayde was paying attention to Danny Silk and even picked up a few phrases, one of them "oh no!" Only those of our readers who have watched these and is familiar with Danny Silk will find this funny! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Visit Home

We are now back at our home in Shanghai after a visit home to the States. Finally a rainy-looking, foggy morning here in the city so I felt like catching up on our news. Jeremy's Grandpa passed away this month in Illinois and we were able to travel there for his funeral, see Jeremy's relatives and attend church on Easter Sunday. It was a last minute surprise visit. Our kids did great on this visit and were very happy. We travelled from there to Minnesota to stay with our families. The only people who knew we were coming was my sister and Jeremy's sister!

Wheelbarrel ride from Gandy


Returning to Shanghai was a much more difficult, sacrificial decision this time around. Last July when we first arrived it was a big adventure. This time we know what we are getting into and all the normal difficulties we face in every day life. We've learned to rely on God more for everything and to do hard things, because this is hard. On our visit we had the freedom and the luxury for two weeks of driving our family around in a vehicle, with everyone safely buckled into their own seats, and safety seats for the kids!

We all crammed into a taxi cab on the way back to our apartment from the airport, all five of us to four seats and only one working seatbelt in one seat. Taxi minivans don't exist here. Sayde's car seat was back in our apartment, never used here. Though we did have a nice chat with our taxi driver in Chinese. I wish we could take taxis more often. So when I say that it is a sacrifice to live daily life here overseas, I do not believe that it is to sacrifice our children. Big difference! God made it very clear about 4,000 years ago with Abraham that He does not approve of or call for that.

We still haven't figured out transportation, that is why we only take the Metro/Subway on a normal basis and we are comfortable with that. Thankfully we live right next door to a station. If you lived in Shanghai you would see me often carrying or strolling Sayde while holding onto both kids' hands as we go to the subway or walk to the park. If we live here longer, I would like to get bicycles - not motorized - with a baby seat and a wagon in the front. This is a European style and it can carry more than one child!

Now I will write about some positive, happy stories in our family. The jet-lag from our travels re-set the kids' bedtimes. Within the first week back in Shanghai, the kids were going to bed at 6:00 pm and waking at 6:00 am. They are now going to bed around 8:00 pm most nights and waking from 6:00 am and 7:00 am. Hudson's chapped mouth and chin is almost healed up now after we found a jelly contained in an orange tube, his favorite color. He applies it all by himself. Sayde has been running around at the children's playground giggling and going down the slides over and over again all by herself. She said hello in Chinese all by herself to the man in our hallway who smokes by the window. When eating, she can say "bao le" when she is full.

We like our new Chinese teacher and can sneak in some spiritual language with her. While we don't teach English, we do bring up words or language that we want to learn in Chinese and can chat in Chinese over things such as fear - how we have no fear when we are in Christ.

Sayde on the slide

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Almost 8 months!

It's almost 8 months now since we came to Shanghai, and Spring has arrived. There are flowers budding on the trees and a few warm, sunny days before the rain starts this spring. Around the six month mark was when we finally experienced some homesickness and a little culture shock. For me, the mama, this usually involves being protective of my kids and getting tired of being looked at all the time. Hudson has a rash below his mouth from licking his chin often. We don't know if it is from the winter weather, nervousness, or just a habit. He gets comments and looks to no end on this. He hates it when I sneak up and put vanicream or aloe vera plant on his face. On a positive note, yesterday at the park I had at least three gentlemen give me positive comments and looks on my three children. God is opening my eyes to the beauty of the people around us. They are so precious and we are privileged to live here.  

 I finally paid for the kids to go on rides at the park for the first time since living here. Ayi is helping them on their horses while Sayde is with me, taking a nap. Before that, Sayde practiced going up and down the stairs with Annalise close by. Sayde is almost 18 months old. She says too many words to count now, including hello to people in Chinese.

Below are also some more pictures of the kids in dress-up clothes sent from Jeremy's aunt in America. We recently made a trip to our local post office to send some letters to Oma and Gamma. The kids miss them so much and it has been a real challenge getting our video conversations to work! Old-fashioned handwritten letters is still important. 

And, we have another Chinese teacher who we meet with twice a week. Annalise is doing really well with her. I also like her alot and spend lots of time just talking in Chinese with her while Jeremy keeps the kids quiet. Next week he will need to have more lesson time in business terminology. Those of our readers who are lifting up kinds of people, remember our Chinese teacher. I have such a heart for both of our teachers and want to see God's plans and purposes unfold in their lives.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Normal Day with Our Three Little Superheros

Yesterday I took the kids to an indoor playground to meet a friend.  The kids were able to get some energy out and play while we talked here and there for 20 minutes. We stopped at the restroom on the way out and as I was busily helping the kids wash their hands while washing mine with Sayde in my front pack carrier, many of the other ladies in the restroom were watching us closely. One handed me a paper towel to dry my hands with and another one brought up the fact that I have three children. This is brought up on a constant basis as soon as we step outside our door :) This time the lady gave me a thumbs up and basically told me that I am doing a good job. That meant the world to me.

 Our kids have been having fun with their new superhero costumes from Gamma and Gandy. Even before they had them they would improvise with just about anything to create costumes and capes. Now even Sayde enjoys dressing up with the other two... 

Below, Hudson likes to play "Abe Lincoln" after we read a story together about his life, how he would bundle up his belongings in a hankerchief and tie it up on a stick to carry over his shoulder and travel around through the woods practicing speeches. He packs all his clothes, underwear and pajamas in blankets and carries them with him everywhere...

Below is our school shelf with books we are reading together throughout the year. Some Annalise will be able to read by herself soon, others we are reading aloud as stories. Little take-out containers when washed well make good crayon and marker containers later :)

Sayde loves to hold the music player and hum along, dancing and bobbing up and down to the kid's songs...they are memory verses for the kids to learn set to songs, such as "Children obey your parents..." which is set to a salsa music tune. I wish I could share the video!

Another lunch date with Jeremy at the coffee shop next door. The new Chinese year's animal is the ram sheep. For the new Chinese year fireworks will be set off all the time the next couple of weeks. We live far enough in the inner rings of the city where they are not allowed to be set off, but right next to the border line area, so people will be setting them off still quite close since it's kind of a gray borderline area. Whenever we do hear them we immediately say, "oooh, pretty" to Sayde so she will not be scared of the loud sounds!

This is our third bedroom which is the guest room where my parents stayed. Right now all 3 kids share a bedroom, but after Sayde is ready to sleep with Annalise in the big double bed in their room Hudson can then move into this room. After reading The Boxcar Children story together, about some orphaned kids who lived in an empty boxcar in the woods until they were happily adopted by their Grandfather at the end of the book, we now pretend that this is the "boxcar room" and the kids play in here...

We are exploring possibilities of hosting a small group in our apartment from the international fellowship, but haven't heard of any interest in it yet from other families with small children in our area. We are hoping that can come together eventually.