Monday, October 1, 2012

Twenty Five

fresh raspberries, from a Chinese farm

September 24 was my 25th birthday.

Hmmmmm.....mixed feelings.

I actually had a lot of fun this year.

My birthday was on Monday, but the fun got started on the previous Friday when I went raspberry picking and bought 11 pounds of raspberries for less than $20! That was my first birthday present, since I am in love with raspberries and we see them so rarely in China. 

Here are some pictures that I took on my phone of the raspberry farm. Willow ate nearly a whole pound of raspberries while we were there---as soon as I plopped them in the bucket, she stuck them in her mouth. Above, you can see raspberries in my water bottle. I ran out of container space, but emptied my water bottle and discovered I had room for one more pound of berries!

Some little dogs were across the street, locked behind a gate. They were desperate for attention and Willow was more than willing to give it to them. We still look at these pictures on my phone because she is obsessed with seeing them again--she was so brave about letting them lick her fingers.

On Friday, Adam brought home three packages that had been shipped from family in America! Thank you family for spending all that time and money and shipping gifts and treats to us! We were able to eat yummy snacks, and even eat some tasty meals because of it! The clothes and all the goodies were so wonderful--Willow enjoyed her little treats too! I opened one box on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday! What a blessing. Thanks for the necessities, the American chocolate, the bath and body works, crafty things, and even a pair of gloves that are specially made to be used with touch screen phones. Thank you to my two moms for putting those gifts together.

More evidence of Willow's play time. She did this while I was speaking to a new friend I met about the Word. 

These arrived in one of the packages! New moccasins...oh so cozy for the feet!
Saturday was a great day at home with Adam and Willow and included fajitas.

Sunday, Adam let me sleep in, and then we went to fellowship (he took Willow home early for a nap so that I could stay the whole time). I got to take pictures of two wonderful people who are about to get married, and Adam played a China vs. US basketball game. Willow fell off the curb and landed on her face. She scraped the skin off of her upper and lower lips and cut the inside of her mouth. There was some bruising and a lot of blood. We were worried that she might have damaged her teeth, but they look like they are doing ok. Initially, we were trying to find ways to keep the swelling down, but she wouldn't let us place a cold pack on her mouth. So we fed her ice cream and frozen raspberries (as you can see in these pictures)

I saw Adam on his way to his basketball game with Willow in the stroller. I was to meet him at the court as soon as I was finished taking pictures of our friends.

Can you spot Willow and Adam? 

You can see poor Willow's mouth looks pretty brutal. 

Visiting dad on the court after his game. I'm pretty sure they won....but now I'm forgetting what the score was. 

Can late summer be my favorite season? 

On Sunday night, one of my awesome friends treated me to a Chinese massage. It was very painful, but definitely worked out a lot of tension. Thank you! On the way home, I crashed my bike, fell off my bike, and landed on top of a pile of bikes (that I had knocked over in the process). It was so graceful. I had to laugh at myself, but then quickly stopped to check over my shoulder. Good. No one saw. Phew!

After the falling off my bike incident on Sunday night, I returned home to find that Adam had baked muffins for me and they were sitting on a plate with a little box....much to my astonishment (that he was able to surprise me yet again), inside the box were ruby earrings! Apparently, rubies are Willow's birthstone. How sweet and thoughtful, I was truly touched!

Monday, Adam played with Willow outside for two hours (which was a wonderful gift). We ate chicken enchiladas for dinner. I loved watching Adam and Willow play together. They can be quite entertaining. I thought to myself that watching them play was the best gift of all. I have such a special family! Adam dealt with my exhaustion and helped me to make two white chocolate raspberry cheesecakes (which is quite the process in China when you only have a toaster oven) for Tuesday.

This is what Willow resorts to when the vacuum cleaner comes out. She is frightened of the noise for some reason and we've noticed that she finds a place of safety whenever we vacuum.

 On Tuesday, I cooked an entire dinner for 19 people. This is sort of a feat in my tiny kitchen. We ate together and prayed for our friends who were about to travel to America for their wedding. I was also surprised by an enormous card that many people had written notes in for me, and a birthday cake decorated with bubble gum! Quite special friends, we are blessed with here! I had been finishing cooking our meal in the kitchen when I saw that all the lights had flickered off. Adam called to me and said that I needed to come out because a fuse had blown. Everyone heard me huff in frustration. But, actually, they were just waiting for me to come out and see the cake so that they could sing happy birthday. 
The lovely cake with the ladies who baked it! The lettering is constructed with bubble gum pieces. 

Remember Kaeya? I think Willow finally realizes that she is a real human being. She was extremely interested in holding baby Kaeya. It sent terror into my heart, however, since she has no idea how to safely hold a baby. Willow had a very satisfied expression while holding baby Kaeya and gave her a few kisses. She also threw a tantrum when Kaeya had to be extracted back to safety. Kaeya, on the other hand, didn't show any outward signs of distress.

Lauren, babies look good with you. Just so you know.

Does holding a newborn make me want to have another baby? Short answer: no.
There is always a possibility for a 'someday', Lord willing, but that day is not today.
Maybe tomorrow, but not today. Can you deal?  Ok? 
Kicking myself for not taking pictures of the 'before'.....they ended up being more like cheesecake bars....but were still tasty. Thank you, Adam, for helping to bake these! Pretty unconventional cheesecake, but that's what you get over here. Just accept it. 

It was nearly a whole week of wonderfulness and I felt very blessed. And the sweetness continues!

Today I discovered that someone had mysteriously placed more minutes on my phone--putting enough money on my phone card to last a month! In China, you purchase pre-paid minutes and use them as you need them. This ends up being a cost efficient system, and I so prefer it compared to what goes on in America with cell phone packages and heinous bills (which, I've actually never had to pay myself, thanks to my generous dad). Anyway, my phone needed more minutes, and a friend blessed me with them! What a sweet bit of thoughtfulness!

 25 feels like a good, round number.

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