Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Flying and Felt Projects

It's time to fly.

But leaving home for 2 months? It's pretty crazy. Especially when you consider that we're going to have a baby while we're gone. Not being in my own home while giving birth to a baby was never on my list of things to do - I'm pretty sure it would have been high on my "never do!" list. But being at a dear friend's wedding and being with family and having a home birth in the comfort of familiarity... It makes you change your mind.

But it still seems crazy. And I'm realizing that this place really does feel like home. I'll miss it. I'll miss the friends God has blessed us with here. We actually really have friends here now.

And yet, I look forward to reconnecting with so many friends in the states. Two months hardly seems like enough time to spend with all of those we know and love so well.

I'm up late again. It's the night before we leave. Finally, the bags are almost all the way packed and weighed, I've made endless lists of things to buy in the states and more, and the washing machine is humming. I couldn't bear to leave towels wet for two months. And yet no dryer means I have to hang them up and ask a friend to come up in a few days to take them down and close the windows. But, I have friends to ask to do that so it is a blessing!

The days and evenings have been full this week. So much to do to prepare to go for so long! And to leave for so long... We've stayed up late and worked together, but every night after Hadassah goes to bed, we've enjoyed a slice of pumpkin pie. I finally got an oven that really seems to work and celebrated by making this fall-time favorite. No matter how busy, relaxing with my husband and this and a glass of milk for 10 minutes on the couch was always rejuvenating!

We're traveling as light as we can. But planning to bring quite a bit more back! Mostly clothes and shoes... It's still hard to figure out sizing and quality differences here, and I don't feel too bad when a mom who has lived her for 12 years says she still buys most of her 5 children's clothes when she is in America. But I've tried hard to keep carry ons especially light. We've learned our lesson trying to cart too many heavy bags on our backs around airports. And besides, having a young one means very little time for ourselves to read or do anything - the most important things are activities and snacks for her!

I've researched tons of "quiet" activities, and thought I'd share a few in pictures. A friend from church gave me colored felt scraps a while ago (after an online ordering fiasco left me with just gray and blue!) and I've been wanting to make some things I'd seen for quite a while. And when my hot glue gun malfunctioned after I'd cut almost everything out on Friday, with no where to buy one locally that I knew of, a friend from church came to the rescue bringing hers on Sunday for me to borrow...

Flying for 14 hours gives the perfect excuse to make something new, not to mention how handy these will be for other things for a toddler  to sit through, like church and a wedding!

None of the ideas are mine. A friend's pinterest board and blogs gave me most of them, though I made some design changes. :)

Butterfly foam board to lace, a color wheel to learn to clip and unclip little clothes pins (matching colors on the handle) and a tube with letters written in sharpie to stick the matching letter sticker to!
This idea looked like too much fun: a traveling, roll up doll "house"! I added making little food, as Hadassah loves "feeding" anything these days!
The doll house rolls up and ties so nicely with a ribbon, and I had fun making the "Popsicle pack" on the right!

This summer Hadassah discovered the wonderful joys of a cold Popsicle, and also loved helping me make them with the homemade holders I got. She also is fascinated with putting things in and out, so sliding these sticks in and out of the popsicles (and back into the packet) kept her fascinated for at least 10 minutes when I tried it out on her during church. :)

With felt boards like these keeping Hadassah quiet and happy during long church services for the past 6 months at least, it was time to make more, especially as she's able to do more. :)

Some are pretty simple, some more elaborate and requiring my help, but we'll be sitting right there with her on the plane, so no problem if we need to help a little bit! ;) And I am amazed at how quickly she catches on to things these days...
I was a paper doll addict when I was little, so this felt "paper" doll was so so much fun for me to make!
It's amazing how much joy I got out of designing the little clothes and accessories, and a very very crude version of this has kept Hadassah very happy for the past weeks at church, so I'm excited to show her a prettier version. :)

So, we're ready to fly.

Please pray. The 14 hour flight from China to the US is exhausting no matter what, but being 35 weeks pregnant adds a new set of challenges! Pray that there is little to no turbulence so that I can get up and walk and stretch a lot. Pray that Hadassah manages to sleep some so we can get some rest too! She has her own seat this time, which should help.

And pray that we get through the airport smoothly. We're leaving extra early tomorrow - 9 AM our time, although our flight doesn't leave until 4:20 PM our time (that's 3:20 AM CST so if you happen to be up in the night, pray! ;) ). Part of it is the fact that it's the first day of a week long national China holiday, so the 1 hour taxi ride to the airport may take longer. Part of it is the fact that we may have issues in the airport...

Although our airline has no restrictions on pregnant passengers flying even at 35 weeks (we called them twice to be sure!), we have been told that most Chinese airlines don't allow you to fly past 30 weeks, and so anticipate that airport staff may have questions. Ryan helped me find the best outfit to make me look more on the plump side and less so pregnant, but it's really hard to conceal a baby bump so conspicuous! So I'll be hanging in the background and playing with Hadassah, and hoping no one really cares to question. If they do, we've got some things printed (Delta's policy for pregnant flyers, a report from my doctor on Tuesday that states I have no signs of early labor), but still... Just being able to go through without issue would be the best.

Pray for health. Some friends have been sick and Hadassah showed signs of potential getting it just before bed, and Ryan's been battling some himself. Pray they are completely healthy tomorrow, and that I stay healthy. Thankfully my back/hip has been doing better - pray that it continues especially with all the walking then sitting!

And of course, pray for no early labor. ;) I'm pretty confident baby will stay put, but pray always helps! Prayers are appreciated over the rest of the weeks ahead too, as we recover from jet lag, enjoy a week's stop at Ryan's parents, spend a weekend at a friend's wedding, and then reach our final destination with my parents on October 11th.

Hadassah couldn't be more excited. We've been counting down the days on a sticker chart, and talking a lot about flying on an airplane to see Grandma and Grandpa and she is beyond ecstatic. We said goodbye to friends tonight, and when we got back to our apartment, she was upset that we weren't actually going on the plane yet! We told her we needed to make sure we got good rest before we flew, that it would be AFTER she slept... Which reminds me. Sleep. It's late and I need to get what I can. I'll likely be awake for at least 30 hours once I wake up tomorrow morning... 


  1. Your crafts look amazing Anna! You are such a fantastic mother -- making your own pumpkin pie, creating your own felted quiet books and education toys...I'm so impressed and inspired! =)

    I'll definitely be praying for you and your family as you travel. I hope everything goes well and I'll be checking back to hear how the international trip went. I hope your time in the States is wonderful! I'm excited for you guys, and I'm sure it will be a blessed time.


  2. Hi! I am a lurker... Never commented before, but I read every post, including the interesting studies about the book of Romans from your husband. In the past I rused to read your former blog, Maidens of worth. One day I googled you because I was curious what happened after you stopped blogging there, and found out you got married, had a daughter and was living in China!

    I just want to say I like reading your posts very much. I admire your positive attitude about living in China, far away from family, well known grocery stores and lots of activities for children. I love that you try to see the blessings in the little things. Those little things are actually big things, because God uses them to lighten up our days.
    You and I are somewhat in the same situation (although I am much older than you). Me and my husband are Dutch, but we live with our 3 foster children in South Africa. I miss the same kind of things you miss in China. Winters are equally cold here and we don't have heaters either. I miss my country, I haven't been there in four years. But when I read your blog I am always kind of comforted by your example of trust and joy in the Lord. Thanks!

    I love the felt things you made for Hadassah. If you have time in the future to make more felt projects, you might get inspiration here: This mother made three felt books (big, little and baby). Very nice.
    It's wonderful that you can give birth in the US. May God bless your time there and give you a healthy baby daughter.

  3. This is Helen-
    Those felt projects are cool! I really like to work with felt myself because it doesn't fray! Did you hot-glue all that? It looks great!

    1. I really enjoy using felt for the very reason that it doesn't fray! I think you would like it. :) And yes, other than the popsicle set and the doll play mat, which I mostly sewed with a machine (mainly because my hot glue gun was broken) I used hot glue :)

    2. I really enjoy using felt for the very reason that it doesn't fray! I think you would like it. :) And yes, other than the popsicle set and the doll play mat, which I mostly sewed with a machine (mainly because my hot glue gun was broken) I used hot glue :)