Well, so much has happened in December, though this corner of my life has been fairly quiet. I thought I would sum up our December Adventures for you. Perhaps there will be pictures again someday soon. Today is not that day.
Top Ten Adventures in December!
10. Bought Paint: it ended up being quite an adventure. I went with a friend and her Chinese friend (who had a nice car with 3 tv's in it!) to buy paint for our living room. We need to paint it for obvious reasons. There's some murals going on right now, thanks to our resident artist. We ended up at a home-depot-esque store that we not heated at all (think way-below-freezing-temps), and ended up staying there for a while. Then went to a mall that was composed entirely of paint stores. It was crazy large, and only sold paint. Finally purchased everything we needed, and I was never so happy to be home and warm.
9. Got a Metro Card: After nearly four years of China living, I finally have my own Metro Card. I only go there about once a year because you need a card to enter (like Sams Club). But they have lots of great selections, and it is CALM there. It almost feels like being trasnported to America. I also bought bacon and brought it home.
8. Received 7 packages from our wonderful families! We are quite the talk in Shenyang, because I think we might receive more packages than any other foreign family. Sometimes I feel guilty about that fact---but really, to all of you who have sent us care packages--thank you so, so, so much! We feel loved and remembered by the sacrifice you made to send it! How great is it to get a piece of America in a cardboard box? Even the Small-One gets to experience her birth place through the US post service. She squeals when a package arrives. She knows there's bound to be candy inside.
7. Christmas Parties Galore (+a concert): it has been the busiest Christmas ever for us! A total of 9 Christmas parties. I've been thankful for all these opportunities. They've been varied in theme and form, and have really helped us to remember Christ in all this chaos. Christmas Day is tomorrow and we're blessed with two different pot lucks (breakfast and dinner). In all this activity, I am ready to be introverted again. We're only half way through all our parties.....
6. Danced all Night: I've been dancing a bit. Willow thinks it's hysterical, and I have to agree. It's not a dance party. It's waltzing. How can I waltz? I don't know. Dusting off some old skills, and watching loads of youtube videos. Because not only do I have to waltz, I have to choreograph. 1 dance turned into 3 separate numbers....and now I'm teaching lifts and steps that I don't know the names to. It's legit because I pulled a muscle. Just in case you were wondering, you either have to be doing something very right or very wrong to pull a muscle. From all these dancing escapades, I've decided that Willow WILL take dance lessons and she will not be allowed to quit! (sort of kidding).
5. Play Land Extravaganza: Willow and I were invited to join two other families for a morning at a amazing play land. I took some pictures with my phone (some videos too) and maybe someday, I'll get around to posting them. Because you need to understand how INSANE this place was. I would have loved it as a child. It was all I could do not to join in on the fun. Willow couldn't do anything longer than 10 seconds, that's how over stimulating it was. She left a tired person. Running in circles while shrieking because there are too many options is quite exhausting.
4. Lost our Appetites: otherwise known as "hey-do-you-want-the-flu-for-a-week?" We are finally eating again. I realized today that I was cooking for the first time in a week. It was liberating. Also exhausting.
3. Not One but TWO Nativities: For our team's Christmas party, I got to be part of a nativity as the narrator. It was especially interesting to read, since it was in the KJV. How does one pronounce these words? At one point, Mary and Joseph were on stage with a baby doll. Well, it wasn't really Mary and Joseph, but our friends who were pretending to be them. Willow saw that doll and beamed excitedly. Before Adam could catch her, she was crawling up the steps and walking across the stage. She went up to baby Jesus and took him from Mary. She was so pleased with herself. I wish I had a camera at that moment, because it was absolutely priceless.
Hopefully, not too many people were offended or annoyed by the interruption. But later, I was misty eyed as I reflected on the scene. Just as Willow was excited to see that baby, we ought to approach our Savior with child-like hearts. She had no gift or talent to offer--absolutely no contribution except her eager heart. Isn't that all God truly wants from us? During this crazy Christmas season, I pray that we can approach the throne of God with child-like eagerness and excitement. We approach not because of who we are, but because of who HE is. It's beautiful.
Oh yeah, then I got to help with a very similar nativity at another party for our neighborhood. It was a unique opportunity to present the true meaning of Christmas and the true story of Christmas to people who've never heard it before. There's lots of confusing ideas over here over who Jesus is and how he relates (if at all) to Santa Claus. Some mixed up notions----is it Santa Claus' birthday? Who was that baby? What are angels? I hope some seeds are now taking root. I invited my neighbor and her family to this party---I'll write more about that experience later! It's still unfolding (I hope).
2. Ice Skating: I went ice-skating with a first grader! She was great--we went together while her mom finished up some shopping. I fell once trying to spin in my plastic rental skates. It was then that I realized...."Wow, I don't remember the last time I went skating". Probably five years ago. And that made me feel extremely old. Willow should definitely take skating lessons.
1. Christmas Eve. That would be today! We had a lovely day--spending it mostly at home. Which is so nice, considering how busy we've been (and will be!). We had a special brunch with a breakfast casserole and homemade hash browns. We played with Willow, opened presents, and ate tacos for dinner. Now Willow is sleeping, Adam's hair is cut, and I'm sitting on the floor typing. I should be sitting on a chair, because now my legs have no feeling and my back is killing. Christmas Eve is magic to me. I think Willow felt a little bit of the magic too after she ate half a bag of M&M's.
5. The Smoothie Debacle: sort of self-explanatory. I was making a whole liter of smoothie...smoothies....how to say this? Anyway, as I picked up the pitcher off of the blending dock....smoothie went everywhere. On my cook books, on the wall, the counter, the cupboard, the floor, the door, my sock (just one sock), the vitamins....etc. It took a while to clean that up.
4. The Vomit War: also self-explanatory. Willow was throwing up everywhere. We did so much laundry and cleaning. It did get a little scary at one point when she started to vomit blood. All is well now.
3. The Joys of Aging: I injured my back/neck while dancing through the night and couldn't move very well for a week. Then I fell while ice skating, and still have a bruise to prove it. Adam also is falling apart.
2. The Attack of Crayola: We have some new additions to the mural. They sneak up on me, but morning by morning new wall art I see.
1. The Candy Invasion: From all the loving care packages we have received (plus gifts from students at Christmas time) we now have boxes and boxes of candy. It is a land of paradox for Willow. "So much candy all around me, yet I cannot eat any of it!"
Willow's Top Five:5. Favorites: her new doll stroller, her new stuffed animals, candy, Toy Story, the Christmas Tree, and helping around the house.
4. Health: She was pretty sick for a week (and still getting over it). She seemed to have every symptom under the sun, and it was exhausting taking care of her. Poor baby! She watched so much TV, because she was so exhausted from the flu, that we have since put a ban on movies. She is not coping well with this.
3. Behavior: Lately, she looks at us, waves goodbye (makes sure that we respond with our own 'goodbye') and then darts away to another room for a few seconds. She soon returns with a toy. Do "Terrible Two's" start early? She is definitely pushing the envelope.
2. Vocabulary: Tonight at dinner, she warmed my heart immensely. While Adam was praying, she leaned close to me and said "iss, iss". Since I've never heard her say this before, I was confused. I leaned closer to ask her what she meant, and then she kissed me! So cute! She was saying, "kiss!" Later, when she was opening her gifts, she was super excited to receive a cute little stuffed kitten. She squealed, "Itty!" Which I think means, 'kitty'. She still isn't talking too much--it seems like as soon as she perfects a word, she stops using it altogether. Still drops off consonants and word endings a lot. Today, she wandered to another room, and I was worried she was getting into mischief. I called out to her, and she yelled from where she was playing, "Whaaa!" And then came peeling around the corner like, 'what the heck do you need now? I'm in the middle of something life changing!'
1. Idiosyncrasies: She has started clapping her hands very properly. Like, imagine one hand palm up and stationary, and the other hand tapping it politely. She looks like such a lady. She anticipates plots in movies and books. For instance, if she knows people will be clapping in the next scene/page, she will start to clap (this freaks me out that she knows/remembers, since I never remember these things) before hand. Or if I'm cooking her food, she will go to the cupboard to retrieve her dishes and then hand them to me. One more funny thing--she has been practicing the 'disapproving/skeptical/disbelieving' look. We get that look a lot these days. It's especially funny if you're asking her a question, and she flashes you the look (cocked eyebrows, narrowed eyes, expression of shock).
Merry Christmas!Now it's Christmas---and we have no Christmas Family Pictures. No Christmas Card......bla, bla, bla. Should we do this thing? It's not really practical currently. Besides, it's a 'grown up' activity that we have yet to partake in. Such as having to actually pay taxes (we're so poor, the Government pays us), choose a cell phone plan, or think about our credit rating.
But, even without a picture, because I'm too lazy to post a picture (let alone find a way to take a picture)---we wish you all a Merry Christmas! It's directly from our hearts to yours. I hope our message warms you up like hot chocolate with mini marshmallows after a snow ball fight (and your brother just rubbed snow all over your freezing face, so you decided to quit).
We're enjoying the rest of 2012 (can't believe we survived the Apocalypse by the way--I was really worried how that would go over, being in a foreign country and all) the two weeks vacation from school/theater, and all the goodies that were mailed to us!
Willow would like to officially offer her artistic services at a reduced price (Free!). She uses only crayola, but would be interested in expanding her portfolio to include Sharpies. Anyway, if you want any mural in your home that really scream, "Drawn by a one-year-old", let her know. Her only condition is that hugs, cookies, and other forms of positive reinforcement are provided. I just spoke with her about this offer, and she's willing to add a delightful mural to your television screen at no additional charge. Please call her toy cell to schedule an appointment. I 'highly' recommend this opportunity! It's been a great experience.
What I'm really looking forward to right now, even more than putting pictures on this blog... is READING!!! My parents sent me a Nook gift card and I think I can squeeze at least 10 books out of it. Ha. le. lu. jah.