Tuesday, February 12, 2013

15 Weeks

I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions, mostly because I can never think of them--let alone resolve to keep them. But just now, I realized that I actually have a resolution this year. Not to get incredibly fat. Okay, I'm pregnant, so I'm going to gain weight. But it is my personal goal not to be the 160 pounds that I was just before Willow was born. I'll settle for anything less than that. 

It's just so darn hard when my favorite food group is cookies. Are cookies a food group? They should be. I get all my daily nutrition from cookies.

Morning sickness has been officially over for 5 weeks. PTL! It was so much harder this time around--but much shorter in duration. Morning sickness with Willow didn't subside until sometime into the second trimester. Does this mean we are expecting a boy? Or an easy-going girl?

This picture = My Life. Willow running past me in a blur. 

The Smell of Fireworks in the Morning

Lunar New Year.

It is a wonderful holiday in Asia--although you might not even mark it's passing in the USA.

It's pure magic. In a city of uncounted millions--the streets are all but deserted. Everyone is at home, celebrating with their families. Watching the National Variety show on CCTV, shooting off fireworks and noisy fire crackers. They feast on traditional dishes that are symbolic for everything they hope for in the coming year. They burn symbolic money and other disposable goods in the streets for their deceased relatives. They eat jiaozi (aka, potstickers or dumplings) at midnight. It seems like they stay up all night, blasting off fireworks until you can't see through the gunpowder haze that settles over the city. It sounds, smells, and even looks how I imagine a city under attack might be like.

For some Chinese people, it is the only time of the year that they get to see their spouse and kids. Read this about migrant workers.

2011: Pregnant with Willow
16 Weeks

Every Chinese New Year that we've spent in Shenyang, we've gone to a hotel. Saturday night, China ushered in the year of the snake (yes, our second child will be a snake...) and we went off to the Holiday Inn with a group of friends. Here's a post from our Holiday Inn trip in 2011 when I was pregnant with Willow: War Zone. I especially like the pictures of people shooting fireworks from their high-rise apartment windows.

Chun Jie 2013: Pregnant again--wearing the same maternity shirt at the same hotel.
Because I'm weird like that. 15 Weeks

Well. I'm pregnant again, and I  can't believe it's 2013! How have two years gone by so quickly? It truly leaves me speechless--to think that Willow will complete her second year in five months...it's just craziness!

Here are some pictures from Chun Jie 2013. There aren't any pictures of fireworks yet, but I'm sure there will be eventually. Adam is going to buy some boxes to set off this week. 

There was a little wardrobe in this hotel room. The kids pretended to go to Narnia or Terebithia through it. I think Willow hoped that the Oreos would multiply if she put them in the magical cupboard.

All the girls, minus Kiera and Kaeya who were on their  way over. 

One sad part about Willow's first Chun Jie was that she started to run a high fever some time during the evening. After we checked into the hotel, we walked over to Starbucks to meet some friends. While there, she seemed fine. But by the time we returned to our hotel room, she was very fussy and lethargic. We went out to dinner at Pizza Hut---where she refused to eat and wanted to be cuddled the entire time. During the evening, she seemed to play, but started to look worse. She burned with fever all night. I don't think she fell asleep until 3am--which means that we all had a late night. She was so hot in our stuffy hotel room, she ended up sleeping in just her diaper. She slept until 10:30, and woke up 'happy' enough, but still didn't seem quite herself. By the time we were returned home around 2pm, she took a super long nap. That night, her fever spiked yet again and we were trying our best to keep her comfortable. It's the 4th day of her fever now, but she is feeling much better. She is playing and laughing, and actually eating. We decided that if she refused to eat and drink for yet another day, we would take her into the hospital for an IV. We are turning so Chinese.

Willow, when she woke up the next day.

Adam's hamburger: egg, beef, onions, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. No mayonnaise  ketchup, or mustard. This would be considered an awesome find in Shenyang.

Okay, that's all for now--but there are more pictures coming from our Chun Jie break.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Smoggy Day in Shenyang Town

Do you know that song, "A Foggy Day in London Town" with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald? Those two are gold together. 

You've probably heard in the News that Beijing (or China in general) are experiencing a lot of pollution. I know that it is terrible in Beijing right now, as well as in cities with lots of factories and climates that don't allow for the wind to take the pollution away. In Shenyang, it's not as bad as other cities, but it's still not good. This is the first year we've been here where the pollution has been so severe for so many consecutive days. 

Usually, Shenyang has an epic amount of blue sky days. Compared to the time I spent in Chengdu, Shenyang's skies are much clearer. This winter, however, we celebrate if we see the sun or a patch of clear-ish sky. I think pollution counts should be under 50 to be considered normal and safe. We have many days that are in the range of 300-800! Those are the days when visibility is poor, the sky and sun have disappeared, and it's advised that you not do anything active outdoors. What are we breathing? I don't know! 

In the past, I remember reading weather reports that forecast "Smoke" for the day or week. I'm not sure if "Smoke" is a legitimate weather word. Simply put, it's a euphemism for "Pollution". Or perhaps dust storms that trickle down from Mongolia. I don't know! 

I stole these pictures (with permission!) from a teacher friend here. The first is of our famous Shenyang bridge that is down by our river park on a clear day. The second picture is of that same bridge. Except you can't see it through all the smog. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Two Thirds

One-third completed...just about anyway. We're coming to the close of the first trimester, and I'm so glad that part of this pregnancy is over! I'm still exhausted, but I no longer am feeling the constant nausea and queasiness that once plagued me. No longer gagging at the slightest whiff of something, throwing up, or experiencing food aversion. So, we're headed in the right direction! Nap time is my favorite time of the day and I am so thankful that Willow is still taking an hour long nap in the afternoon.

Just like when I was pregnant with Willow, I receive weekly email updates from Baby Center. I'm always amazed at the development that is going on without any direct control on my part. I mean, I eat food, get rest, and take vitamins--but there's so much going on in this baby's life already! Fingers, eyelashes, billions of heart beats. Honestly, God is amazing in how He designed life. But, sometimes I freak myself out. There is another human being inside of me! How surreal is that. As you can see, there is a little baby bump. It's starting to get difficult to sleep on my stomach... :(

And how is Willow doing with all of this? She has no idea and would not be able to grasp the concept. But she is a budding perfectionist at the moment, and we're dealing with all sorts of lovely new traits that go along with a strong type-A personalty. If you have any advice for demanding, guilt-ridden, perfection loving 18-month-olds......PLEASE send them my way.