Sunday, January 27, 2013


Adam likes to make tents. 

Willow likes to play in tents. 

No one likes to put the tent away. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


So, anyway. Here I am, at 10 weeks pregnant, shopping for fabric. I had brought the true Brawny Man with me to lug all the fabric. Actually, it's because of Adam that these fabric trips even happened. I needed to have all the fabric by a certain date. Two weeks before that time, I still had nothing--so Adam found a babysitter and pushed my lazy butt out the door. I just say..."I'm pregnant! I don't want to go to the market". But that's what happened, because that's what needed to happen, and it wouldn't have happened if Adam hadn't made it happen. Haha.

How do you take a sick, hormonal woman fabric shopping? Well, usually, you don't. Or at least, you shouldn't. What happens is that she isn't on top of her game and forgets to have her costume idea documents printed during the week. So, you have to bring the iPad, which makes her feel self-conscious because then the market vendors think you're loaded and wont give you the best price.

The other problem is that she can't make decisions. Put her in a building with millions of meters of fabric and she will become clueless. Mr. Brawny Man, do you know how to make these decisions?

Problem Continued: said pregnant lady doesn't know how to sew herself. She just has experience telling other people to sew (such as her mother). What is her understanding of fabric? Hmm.....

So, there's all these looks to achieve which require many different kinds of materials--and this results in a million decisions. This equals pregnant lady's worst nightmare. She would much rather be lying in bed with her book, not haggling in a foreign language about things she has no idea about.

Can you see me? 

Apparently, I'm that pregnant-hormonal-lady because I'm sounding pretty melodramatic right now. Actually, I had a lot of 'fun' at the market. I especially enjoyed spending money that will get reimbursed. We've come a long way since Secret Garden. I remember going to Nan Er with Christa my first year (when it was in a different building) and looking for all the cheapest fabrics. This means buying material that has been heaped in piles on the dirty floor. It was ripped, and stained, and less than appealing. But it was fabric, and we needed costumes. I think I spent only a few hundred kuai on fabric for several dozen costumes. Christa showed me how to do things the cheap way, and I'm so thankful for that! Because that first year we had absolutely no budget. The drama program was a spur of moment thought and sprang up mid-year.

This year, we have a budget. Plus, a huge bank of previously used costumes from 3 other plays. Plus, profits from last year's show. So...we can afford nice fabrics. We spent 4X as much money this year, and there is not an iota of stress matched to that fact. The first year, I used all my own money and kept my fingers crossed that we would sell enough tickets to reimburse my account. Well, we almost sold enough tickets. Was it worth it? In my mind....yes!

And even thought I was being a bit melodramatic earlier--I love costuming. It's so much fun to research for period shows and put together costumes that will look good on stage are feasible with our budget and available sewing talent.

On the other hand. I'm so glad the bulk of my costuming responsibilities are over. We still have fittings (which  I hope will be a success! There's always some nail biters in the mix), and then ironing, and such.

This guy is my new best friend. He was so helpful and gave me some awesome deals. I think I bought 50% of our fabric from him. He got really into helping me select colors and textiles. He was so nice--like a friendly market grandfather.

January Willow Pictures

I was recently noticing that I've hardly blogged at all in the last several weeks. I've also taken only a handful of pictures. I sometimes think of something to post and then motivation fizzles out before the idea has even finished it's course across my brain. This is pregnancy.

Last week, I tried to remedy this by uploading pictures onto Adam's computer and then uploading them onto my blog. I've had 4 posts sitting around all week waiting to be finished. But I haven't. Here's why:

1. Pregnant
2. Willow
3. My VPN stopped working and all I can do is skype and check news sites which report the same stuff all day anyway.....While I'm on this, not only is my VPN not working (the little creation that allows me to check sites such as blogger and facebook), but my SD card reader is also out of order. As is my email. I feel so handicapped on my computer now! No facebook book. No blog. No email. No pictures to edit. Nothing.
4. Reading. I continue to read when I have free time. Reading is easier than dealing with my reality. I like to escape to fictional worlds and ignore the dishes, the laundry, the blogging, the showering...I hope this is just a phase I'm in.

The sad thing is...these are pretty much ALL the pictures we've taken in January so far.

Yesterday I took a few more of Willow--they were a little more 'artsy' (I can't really claim's just that they weren't candid snap shots). And maybe I'll post those eventually. When I was taking those pictures yesterday, though, I thought---"Whoa, I haven't done this in.....FOREVER!"


I recently showed Willow how to clean the lint out from between her toes. I showed this to her only ONE time. But still, weeks later, she is obsessed with the practice of it. Several times a day, she's whipping off her slippers and socks so that she can meticulously clean in between each and every toe. I need to take a video of this. She usually exclaims, "No, no, no, no, no!" If she finds any lint.

Willow de-linting her toes

When people ask who Willow's friends are...I have to stop and laugh because if Willow were able to answer the question herself she would say that Emily was her kindred spirit. But Emily is like...5 years older. She is such a sweet girl to play with Willow on a weekly basis, though. We will miss her when she moves back to Texas!

Maybe these two will be best friends someday. This is Willow's little friend, Kaeya--who is about a year younger. She is starting to become more interactive and mobile, which Willow likes.

This is evidence that Willow is brawny. She has figured out how to flip the cushions up using her own strength. It's quite a bit of resistance training for her. She likes to sit on the couch ledge, since it's more her size.

Adam took these pictures of Willow eating kimbop while I was at drama rehearsal.

He was proud of her for eating it on its own.

Here Willow is eating a cracker. Probably after she stole it from the kitchen.

And here is Willow's first hair cut on Christmas Day (not quite January, but whatever). Her hair was so damaged from the dry air that it was actually DISGUSTING. Couldn't brush it, could use enough products on it, could get it to become un-frizzy. So we chopped it off.

Sorry Willow. Usually bad hair days (or months, in her case) don't end in a hair cut.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Appetite Returns

This is a big deal! I literally have not wanted to eat in 6 weeks. I'm still not feeling 100%, but I have returned to the kitchen without gagging.

I even tried out 4 new pinterest recipes this week. But my favorite new recipe was something we ate tonight. It's called Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken (click on the title to link to the recipe). It was so easy to make, and took nearly no time at all. I'm also a huge fan of chicken + honey mustard, and this dip recipe is delicious!

Try it out and see if you agree. It could just be me....or it could be your next favorite chicken recipe.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baby #2

So, what are our plans with our second baby on the way? In a nutshell, here is what our near future looks like:

1. Sign another 2 year contract with our current company
2. Adam finish his graduate studies with 3 week in Beijing over the Summer and a semester in the Fall
3. Julie and Willow will travel to America without Adam (while he studies in Beijing)
4. Adam will fly to the US as soon as his Summer course has concluded
5. Celebrate Willow's 2nd birthday in America
6. Deliver the baby in America
7. Apply for baby's birth certificate, social security card, passport, and visa. I think I learned from all my mistakes last time.
8. Adam will take his paternity leave at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. We plan to return to China as a family of 4...together this time!
9. Julie will perhaps direct another production if a consistent babysitter can be found. A musical is on the horizon!
10. Adam will graduate with his Master's in Curriculum-something-or-the-other

My first prenatal check-up went very well, except for the fact that it took forever and that they had to draw blood from the top of my hand (near my knuckles) because they couldn't find a vein anywhere else.

Lately we've been thinking about saving money and spending money. Saving money for the future, but spending it on a vacation to South Korea, and a new bedroom for Willow.

In the meantime, I ate food yesterday for the first time in 6 weeks because I was HUNGRY, and didn't feel queasy or extremely uncomfortable afterwards. I hope that the worst is over!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

5 Reasons I Know That.............

1. Our tiny apartment has never been so difficult to keep clean. For instance, the cupboards I mean to organize a month ago are still not organized (and worse than ever, by the way). I have 4 packages we received around Christmas time that I still have not unpacked (all the items are just sitting in the boxes waiting for me to do so). And the paint I bought so that we could paint our apartment during Christmas break is still sitting in the guest room waiting to be used. 

2. Willow has watched more television in the last month and a half than she has ever watched before. The poor girl is now addicted to her favorite movies--but this is what I call "survival mode". I have to be okay with this reality or else I wont be able to cope! 

3. I am sick and tired of being so sick and so very, very, tired! I just want to feel normal again. 

4. Food is my new enemy. I can't stand the smell of green beans. They make me want to lose all my accounts, which is a nice way to say vomit. I crave ice cream all the time. Probably because I'm calcium deficient. I even dream about it! The problem is, China doesn't sell the ice cream that I really want. 

5. Adam has been promoted to Super Dad. He wakes up at 5:00 in the morning so that he can go to school early. This allows him to come home early. He comes early to clean, cook, and take care of Willow. While I lay in bed and read or sleep or vomit. I could not do this without Adam! It's a whole other ball game with a 18 month old running circles around you. 

So just in case you haven't guessed yet...These are the 5 Reasons I Know That I'm Pregnant! Currently 11 weeks pregnant and due on August 6, 2013. 

I can't believe Willow will have a little sibling to play with in less than 7 months! No 'baby bump' yet. We went to the doctor yesterday for a prenatal check-up and I left without the ultra sound pictures....ooops. Willow is already competing for attention! 

Pray for us as the first trimester comes to a close. That we would continue to act in patience and that Willow would have some fun as I start to feel better.