Thursday, April 5, 2012


We spent a few days away from the city this week. We've been enjoying spring break--it's nice to have Adam home more often. Willow and I both enjoy the extra company, the help, and the fun that we have when he's around. We were invited to go to Guanmenshan with a group of friends this year. We drove about two hours out of the city and stayed in a lodge of sorts in the mountains. Willow behaved pretty well during the van ride there, which was a blessing since it was during her nap time. We arrived in the midst of snow flurries, huge flakes were falling, and it felt like we were going back in time. It was more like a Christmas get-away, than a spring break reprieve.

We had a wonderful time with friends. Playing games, hiking on the snow covered paths, and sitting for hours in front of the fireplace. It was a great memory to add to our China experience and we were so thankful to be included! We were the only people staying at the place where we went, so we had the whole building to ourselves, essentially. It was nice to get out of the crowded city and smog for a little while.

It was a chilly stay at the lodge. There were a few thermometers around the hotel, and it never got over 40 degrees Fahrenheit! Partly, this is because it is still cold outside, but it was also because the heat was turned off on the first of April. Our room had a Chinese style shower (which means there's a drain in the floor and a curtain, but there's nothing really keeping the water from spraying everywhere else in the bathroom if you aren't careful). It was sort of a gross experience to shower (the curtain was moldy, and the floor was grimy), but at least the water was hot! We had a fairly comfortable bed, with an electric blanket. We were really thankful for the electric blanket to keep us warm! They eventually turned some heat on for us too, and with the fireplace downstairs we were able to stay warm most of the time. Willow slept with us, which was a little difficult. She wasn't very comfortable (and neither were we). We're not used to sleeping together, and she woke up six or seven times each night. Poor baby! It was hard to say if she was hungry, or scared, or uncomfortable, or too hot or too cold...Nap times were also trying. I didn't realize how tired Willow was until after we returned home. She slept twelve hours straight through the night, and took two naps that were over two hours each! I'm so glad that she got to recover some sleep!

Willow and I only went out for a 'hike' on one occasion. It's not very easy to walk on slippery trails with an almost thirty pound baby. I was also concerned that she would get too cold (I guess I'm turning Chinese). On the one time that she went out, we were on our way to see a frozen waterfall, which you can see in the picture below. Adam slipped on some ice, and he and Willow went down fast. She got some snow down her onsie and was scared so we went back to the lodge to get some dry clothes on her. It was a littler scary to watch Adam fall so quickly--there was nothing I could do to help him. At least he was able to protect Willow from getting hurt.

You can see the frozen waterfall in the distance. This was right before Adam slipped. The others continued on lots of hikes--I look forward to when Willow can walk around on her own and enjoy more of nature on her own.

This is not a picture of Adam falling. There was some uneasy terrain to negotiate while carrying a baby. I'm sure Adam would not even think twice about it if he was on his own, but with Willow it's a different story. I was just glad to have him hold Willow during the tricky parts--I would have been scared of slipping/falling...ouch!

The main point of this picture (below) is to show you the side of the mountain that Adam hiked up and down the day before. It was pretty steep, and his jeans got very wet/muddy from his little side-adventure.

We had to cross a few bridges--they moved when you walked across them. Scary!

Willow was definitely tired--but Adam was enjoying her cuddles.

The lodge where we stayed, at the foot of this mountain/hill thing.

The place where we stayed was decorated with 'glamour' shots that were taken around the area, as well as stuffed creatures (some, I wasn't sure what they were), and other Chinese inspired trinkets. It sort of reminded me of how my grandparents decorate their home--very eclectic and sort of kitsch.
This picture was in our room. Sort of awkward. I was trying to think of a funny caption, but my mind is currently drawing a blank.

Women don't shave here.

Pool in the basement.

Willow 'reading' her book. It truly was a very fun trip, but I did feel a little bad for Willow. There wasn't a lot for her to do, and the place was far from baby proof. It was a little on the dirty side, and there were tons of breakables scattered about--so it wasn't the ideal place for a crawling baby. But, she still had a ton of fun playing with the little girl who was in our group of friends. Willow loved to play with her! And the little girl was so sweet toward Willow--she showed a lot of patience.

A little scared in the basement. I think the pool balls hitting each other startled her.

Here is the sweet little girl who played with Willow. She moved to China this year and goes to the school where Adam teaches. Her mom is the kindergarten teacher, and I enjoyed getting to spend some time with her.

So, I stink at pool.

Lauren, dressing Willow up with Pretty, Pretty Princess accessories.

The dining room was very cold, but a nice place to eat. There were large windows along the exterior walls so that you had an excellent view of the mountains. We brought our own breakfast for one morning, but all of our other meals were prepared by the Chinese staff. We enjoyed lots of yummy food while we were there. It was especially nice not to have to cook or clean up after meals for a few days.

The view. I couldn't really get the whole 'picture' with the lens I was using.

Chinese style breakfast, with western coffee and bacon.

The sugar bing! Yummy! Basically doughy bread with sugar in the middle. Willow was eating this egg yolk until she got upset and threw up. Oi.

It snowed on the day we arrived as well as the morning we left. A nice way to bookend our mountain trip.

More pictures of our trip to come. Our internet has been incredibly slow this week. It took me all day to upload these pictures. Hopefully, it will be more efficient tomorrow. I'm just thankful for a few more days of spring break--it's so nice to have extra time with Adam. There are only about two months of school left. I can hardly believe how fast this school year has gone by!


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