Thursday, March 31, 2016

Our Church Turns 40

Our Church anniversary is on February 29th and this year was our Church's 40th anniversary.  To celebrate, our church has done several things- our favorite being hosting a bounce house day for kids complete with a spaghetti dinner and s'mores.  If there is a bounce house- we will be there.  I think there is little that the girls love more than a bounce house.  They did not hesitate when we got there, bounding right in.


Emma was the first one through the obstacle course and down the slide!


I should have taken a picture, but this thing is huge (stretches the entire length of our gym) and Ev's was the youngest kiddo to go through it.  She may not be fast (no surprise there :)), but she is determined and awfully cute ;).


The slide is the last part and she always had quite the crowd cheering her on :).


Soon after we got there, we ran into Bobbob and Colleen who headed over to the obstacle course to cheer their girls on!


Evsie's coming down again- the picture is dark and blurry, but just check out that smile!!


These girls and their love of bounce houses and celebrating our Church's anniversary had me all warm and fuzzy inside :).


We decided to take a break and eat some spaghetti with Bobbob and Colleen- we just love watching them with our girls; something hilarious was definitely being discussed :).


I am pretty sure, Everly was keeping everyone entertained.


After our bellies were full, we headed to the bounce houses one more time and opted for a few different ones this time around- the girls even convinced me to get up.


Well, I made it to the top and both girls and I came down, but I had a heck of a time getting up- this one was definitely not made for adults :).


Last but not least, we headed out to grab s'mores before heading home- and ran into some of the girls friends from school :).




The perfect evening celebrating one of our favorite places that we hope will serve as a foundation for our girls (this is also where the girls have gone to school for the last three years and where I have gone to church since I was born).

February Little Things | Part Two

My blog will skip around a little bit between China and finishing posts up from our time in the US, so for today, we are back in the US to finish up all of the little things we have done in February.  If you missed part one, you can check it out here.

We left off on February 15th with the girls opening their Valentines from Nonni and Papa George.  The following day, Emma turned 4! and we spent the day celebrating our baby girl.


On Friday we had a double dose of well visits for both girls (Emma's 4 year old appointment and Everly 2.5 year old appointment).  Emma went first and she could see that Everly was hesitating when it was her turn, so Emma turned to her and said, 'I will hold your hand so you will be brave.'. Queue my heart bursting with love for these little ones of mine :).  We survived, even Emma's vaccines (where she needed all of us to help her be brave ;)).


More Alice and Ames dresses arrived for the girls that day and so the next day we headed to the park and I attempted to get a few pictures of the girls.


I quickly gave up and we headed to the park to do what they do best, just play!


I love her twirly dress paired with converse- I think it is the perfect balance of girly girl meets tomboy.


After we were done playing, we dropped by Nonni's for a 'baprise' visit and for our weekend helping of ice cream ;).


And some impromptu peek-a-boo :).


Later that evening, my in-laws kept the girls and Wes and I headed to our favorite date night spot, Cantina Laredo.  We were sad to see that they took our favorite flatbreads off of the menu, but it let us discover new-to-us now favorites like the sliders :).


We adore their crab cakes too!


Love this sweet guy of mine :).  We thought that this would be our last US date night, but since we were delayed we actually snuck in one more in March :).


I am not sure what we did Sunday morning after Mass, but on Sunday evening we headed over to Nonni's house for a visit after naps :).


Where Emma was being sugary sweet and doling out lots of hugs and kisses.


That night at home, Emma and daddy worked on their coloring skills together ;).


We must have had a pretty uneventful week, because the only picture I have from that week is this one that Wes texted me while I was at work.  This girl loves dressing up and can walk in heels better than me :).


On Friday, instead of heading to our Church's fish fry, we decided to hit up Razoo's (we always try to go there at least once during Lent) and it was delicious as usual :).


And this girl was too cool for school in daddy's sunglasses :).


On Sunday morning, the girls and I were by ourselves (Wes was getting in his last golf game) and so we had an impromptu picnic to eat our snacks before church.



I thought it would be fun to take a few pictures of ourselves :).


But, alas, Emma did not ;).


We turned our picture taking moods around - three happy girls :).


A little later that morning, Austin and Craig brought Theo and Helena over so that her and Craig could go on a lunch date.  I was certain I could handle four kiddos, four and under.  And I did, I just had to get creative :). Ev's fed Theo his snack while he was in the laundry basket...


... while Emma fed Helena her bottle.


All four cousins :).


Emma is getting a little more brave with Helena and really really really wanted to hold her while she was standing up.  Luckily, no babies were harmed (or dropped) in the making of this picture :).


We loaded Theo up with some of our favorite stuffed animals to pick and choose from :).


Overall, I think Aust and Craig were only gone for an hour or an hour and a half, but those 60 - 90 minutes were pure chaos (the best kind of chaos!) with our favorite cousins.  That afternoon, we took naps and then headed to our Church's 40th Anniversary Party (a separate post to come!).

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

China Musings Thus Far


Everyone stops and stares at girls which is much more alarming than I thought it would be.  They start by gasping when they see them, which usually leads to calling their friends over to stop, stare and point and occasionally ends with pictures of the girls or even touching their hair.  The girls don't seem to be bothered by it too much- Everly is just her typical easygoing, oblivious self, but Emma finally did say 'I don't want people looking at me anymore'.  When I see people taking pictures, I always try to jump in and say 'no pictures' and swinging my arm out wildly so they get the idea :).  I am just wondering if I will ever get used to this.


We have already eaten at McDonald's and it was delicious.  We were driving by a McDonald's closer to where our house (~20 minutes away) is and our relocation consultant told us that it had closed down; Emma quickly piped in, 'oh well, guess we will just have to go to the one at the boat.'.  She refers to the Chengdu Global Center as the boat which I think is hilarious and endearing at the same time.


I had my first meltdown.  Ok, maybe it was my second meltdown because I had one on the plane too ;).  When we arrived at our temporary living location, it was late at night and we were tired so we went to bed, but the girls were up just a couple of hours later.  This is when we noticed that they had only given us three bottles of water at our hotel.  Like 10 inch bottles of water.  I headed down to the front desk to ask for more bottles and they said that it wasn't in my contract.  That was the worst thing they could have said to me, it brought me to tears, the girls were concerned to see their mommy crying.  A few stern emails later, we were greeted by some upper level management of our hotel and promptly had a huge bottle of water (those kind on the stands) delivered to our room :).


Our first outing by ourselves was to Starbucks- it is attached to our building, but you do have to walk outside to get there.  The girls were acting absolutely adorable on our walk there, garnering lots of attention- from me included :).  We are already missing our favorite Starbucks drink- a White Chocolate Mocha- they just don't have those here.


One morning, we ate breakfast at our hotels and had spicy dumplings for breakfast.  I am not sure I will ever get over that what we would consider traditional lunch or dinner food bleeds over into breakfast food.


Our sleeping schedule has been the worst part of adjusting to life in China.  The girls sleep schedules were so messed up- they would fall asleep at 3 in the afternoon and wake up at 1 in the morning and be ready for a nap at 7 or 8am.  This wouldn’t have been so terrible, if we didn’t have things that we needed to get done (visit the house for a walkthrough, grocery shop, set up a bank account, buy small appliances, etc.) and people that were taking us to do all of these things.  Slowly, but surely we are coming out of the fog.  My first day at work was Tuesday and Wes worked really hard to get the girls a proper nap and we all had a good night's sleep last night as a result.  We know that we will get there, but this has been much harder than I imagined.


We found bread at IKEA of all places and we have already purchased five loaves (it only comes in packages with 8 slices).  It is something that we told would be hard to come by so we were over the moon excited that we found bread for the girls to have their beloved peanut butter and jelly or sometimes just jelly sandwiches :).  We also found ice cream ;), Emma was taking a nap on my back so Ev's was the only participant this time.

The girls love our house and they affectionately refer to it as a castle.  We have been by a couple of times, but we don’t move in until Sunday and I can't wait to show you some pictures!!


We saw the sun three times!!! And it was glorious every single time.  It is true that sunshine improves your mood and make everything around you seem better.


Our first holiday abroad (Easter) was anti-climactic to say the least.  I didn’t want to upset the girls that the Easter bunny wasn't coming and that there wouldn’t be an egg hunt (we are still living in a hotel) so we didn't even mention it.  If you have been reading for long, you know that birthdays and holidays are part of my love language.  I love making the holidays special for the girls so I was a bit torn up inside that we did nothing.  I know this is just temporary and that even though our holidays will look a little different the next couple of years, we will still be able to make them special. P.s. this picture is from our church Easter egg hunt that because of our delay we were lucky enough to participate in :).


We are lucky to have an indoor play place (where we have had numerous tea parties) and a swimming pool in our temporary living facility- in all pools over here you have to wear swim caps.  It was definitely one of our first purchases so we could get the girls back in the swimming pool.  Added bonus, I feel like they look ridiculously cute in their swim caps :).

That is it so far- for the most part, we are settling in nicely and recognize that this will be a process and will not happen overnight.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Landed

We made it to Chengdu! All in one piece (#barely).  Just kidding for the most part ;).  Parts of the plane ride were better than expected (Emma zoned out to TV shows for more than two hours just sitting in her seat happily) and parts of the plane ride were more terrible than I expected (once we got them to sleep, one girl would wake up every 20 - 30 minutes; however, they did not wake up happily- they were always howling with their dissatisfaction over something).  All in all though, I watched a movie, had two glasses of wine and slept for three hours on and off so it wasn't completely a bust :).  I have taken a few notes of our observations over our first few days and will come back and post soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

All The Feels


Today is the BIG day! In just a few hours, we will be leaving on a 'hairplane' headed for Chengdu! We seriously have all the feels right now.

... we are so so so excited about the adventure that awaits us
... we are terribly sad to leave our families behind - because of the delay we have now said goodbye approximately 423,583 times ;)
... we are anxious to know what everyday life will look like living in a foreign country
... we are filled to the brim with anxiety as to how the airplane ride will go (say all the prayers!)
... we are optimistic about all of the traveling we will get to do while abroad
... we are apprehensive about the language barrier and how that will affect us
... we are hopeful that the girls will learn adaptability and flexibility as they join a new school
... we are looking forward to getting all of our items of comfort that we had packed up to be sent to us
... i am looking forward to the challenge of starting a new role at work
... we are nervous about what we will be eating and more realistically what Everly will be eating
... we are eager to scope out new 'local' weekend hangouts (and to take the girls to see the pandas!)
... we trust that this is the right decision for our family

We have made the most of our 7 bonus days in the states visiting parks, having dinner with Wes's family, our church Easter egg hunt, visiting Six Flags, date night for me and Wes, visiting Austin, Theo and Helena, time at their grandparents house (Wes's side), time at Nonni and Papa George's house and loads and loads of time at the hotel swimming pool.  Bear with me on the (potentially) lack of blogging over the next couple of weeks as we get settled into the next chapter of our lives.  We are excited to share our adventure with you!