Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lisa's Parents Visit in January

We just spent a very blessed three weeks with my parents staying with us. They arrived safely on January 9th in the evening just in time for some Chinese beef stew I had made, and the next couple of nights they were in bed quite early recovering from the jet lag. We remembered our flight with the kids and how we felt that first couple of weeks, the dizziness and tiredness. In Shanghai, you often feel dizzy from all the tall buildings. But my parents recovered within a day or two and were excited to get out and explore our city with us :)

The first week we went to two of our closest parks, all three of the large shopping malls that surround us on every side, the Shanghai Museum, and to our international church which they loved. We have a very good worship service, but I often don't hear the messages after singing is over because Sayde is up. She is not happy in the nursery so I won't leave her there. She is still very dependent on me and nursing day and night, but Jeremy and I were able to go out on a date one evening while my parents babysat. We went to a restaurant close by and came home just in time, Sayde had been crying for one whole hour. So, no overnights away from Sayde for me yet! I have yet to be able to go on any women's retreats either. There is no way it would be appropriate to leave my baby at home overnight. Maybe by the time she turns two...

Later on in the middle of the night we were up with both Sayde and Annalise sick, they were throwing up. The rest of the week everyone in our home was sick at different times, but the nice part is that my parents decided to change their plans and extend their stay for one more week! My parents were able to attend Jeremy's company dinner and watch him dance the hip-hop penguin shake on stage with all his co-workers, and help me with the kids at our table with all the many fancy, delicious food dishes. The next weekend, Jeremy and my Dad were able to go the Crossfit Iron Dragon for a WOD and brought t-shirts home for us to proudly wear. I would have loved to join them. It is still not very popular among Chinese women's fashion to be strong; rather, the fashion is to be skinny. This crossfit gym is the first authentic crossfit gym within China, and hopefully "strong is the new skinny" will become popular here also. We did some crossfit workouts at home as well. My mom and I did a 50 squats, 40 sit ups, 30 pushups, 20 lunges and 20 burpees WOD and the kids did stairs in our building to the top floor with my dad. I think our building has over 40 floors.

We also spent the last week of my parents visit shopping for clothes, something we normally never have time for! My mom and I went out twice looking at sweater tunics, shoes, and coats. Annalise and I found some boots at a sale next door to our building. Hers are pink with fuzzy material on the inside and mine are black ankle boots with silver crosses dangling from the zippers. It is easy to find my size in clothing and shoes here! And, Jeremy visited a local taylor shop at our market and had a complete suit sewn up for him, and it fit perfectly. Although he mistakenly had white pants made instead of black ones that he had to have for his penguin dance, but luckily he had some black ones already at home that he wore.

The rest of the time we spent on homeschool. We started the Sonlight curriculum core and get to spend time every day reading fun books together like the Boxcar Children. We also are reading lots of Bible, geography, history, and travelling adventure stories. Having a schedule with plenty to do each day has made homeschooling so much easier for me. We try to take field trips and outings as much as possible (lately it has been cold and rainy outdoors), and include as much practical life skills as we can. Rather than trying to imitate the classroom experience as if our kids are missing out on not attending school, we believe that they have an advantage over school attending children in that they learn more practical life skills by not sitting at a desk all day.

Now we are feeling kind of lonesome and homesick, our apartment feels so empty with no visitors. But we know we are placed here for a reason and have a destiny that we cannot yet see. For those last few weeks our home was very similar to a Chinese home with extended family living with us. Many Chinese families have parents living in and they take care of each other in many ways, leading to not only a more lively home but a more orderly one as well with so many adults around to care for the kids. Here are some pictures of our time together...

Annalise and Gamma

Sayde is wearing one of my baby dresses

Sayde with Gandy

Sayde loved having the snake tied around her waste :)

Annalise playing resturant

Jeremy is up on stage doing the penguin shake on the right

family photo in some bamboo

blowing bubbles

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year - 新年快乐!

Jeremy has two days off from work this week and we have been resting and recovering from our colds.  Last week Jeremy did not have any days off from work. I am so thankful to have him home and have a few days free. Yesterday we went to the Mr. Pancake House for brunch and tried to take a walk in the park, but it felt too cold with our headaches and earaches. We should recover soon though, especially by next week when my parents come to stay with us for two weeks!

Here is some artwork of the nativity and manger scene Annalise and Hudson made, and our simple, fun Christmas tree, called a "Shengdan shu." Annalise also made a piece titled "heaven" which we used as wrapping paper for a gift to a friend of ours.

The manger scene by Annalise & Hudson

"Shengdan Shu"

Remember to think about the lives that were lost on New Years Eve and their family members. We care a lot about the people in our city and want them to find hope, faith, and life.