Sunday, December 27, 2015

Our China Christmas: The Eve

Christmas Eve was our family day. We took everything a little slower in the morning, with Daddy home, a successful party in the books, and no special plans. Because Ryan was home, I was able to leave him with Ellie and a bottle of pumped milk (we're giving her a bottle once/week to make sure she takes one in case we can get away on a date - and so far she's taking it great!) while I took Hadassah on a walk to the university campus across the street. It's been a while since it's been JUST me and her outside, and it was fun to explore our old favorite spots on campus. I love my biggest girl. :)

It was cold, though, so we didn't stay out as long as we could. The promise of leftover party cocoa with marshmallows helped us hurry home, and we enjoyed the sweet treat together. Spending Christmas without extended family may be a rare thing for us, as it's an easy time to travel with vacation days and other family off work. But, it is special to build memories of our own. And I'm someone who likes traditions, so I started a list based on what we did this year... If we're traveling, maybe we'll just declare the week before we go Christmas for us, and do the traditions then. Like using paper plates to make less dishes (thus more time for family fun!) and having a family dance party to Christmas music in the living room. :)

 Since I'd done a ton of cooking for the party and we planned a special Christmas dinner with friends, we headed out on the crowded subway on Christmas Eve for a dinner out. It was a normal work day for most people, so the subway was crowded with people going home. But, Hadassah's getting old enough to stand and hold onto the center pole, which she enjoyed. And Ellie just slept and slept in the ERGO carrier, making it easy to be out and about!

 We ate dinner at Blue Frog and Grill, which was delicious! Wow. We ate too fast to take pictures of our food (knowing Hadassah could get squirmy or Ellie wake up any minute) but the burger and fries and beef fajitas were the best we've had. For all our hurrying, we actually finished eating before Hadassah, who devoured all of her steamed vegetables and a fair share of what she'd picked from the kids menu: noodles!

 It was fun to be out as a family and see some holiday decorations and lights... Most places don't decorate much and I miss that, but the malls usually go all out, so it was worth going 30 minutes by subway to get to a place all fixed up for the holidays!

 It made it feel more like Christmas to see lights, and their decorations were lovely.

 We stopped by our favorite frozen-treats place at this mall for their fresh mango popsicle, and while it was still good, we decided it was definitely fit more for a summer treat. :)

 We then went to the pet shop in the basement, as Hadassah absolutely loves animals, so wanted to give something special for her amid all the craziness of walking here and there. She loved seeing the animals, but "I want to touch them!" was her constant desire. She still misses and talks about my parents' dog and cat.

 When we got home, we had Hadassah open one present, a book called Daddies. "What do Daddies like to do best? By bus or taxi, car or train, daddy rushes home... to us!"
Then it was matching PJ's for the girls (sweet gifts from some of their cousins!) and off to bed for them. 

Ryan and I then enjoyed the Christmas tree... so peaceful when it's the only thing lit up! We shared memories and exchanged our gifts for each other. We decided that will definitely be a tradition - it's so nice to see what your sweet spouse thought up without the distraction of kids opening their toys! And Ryan totally surprised me, by taking a taxi to a mall on his way back to work from lunch one day, picking out beautiful earrings, and even making his own wrapping paper to print at work since he couldn't find Christmas wrapping paper in the store (neither could I - I didn't even look, though!). All his effort made me feel extra special. :)

Our time was cut short by a baby's cry - Ellie still has trouble settling down and sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time in the evening. But we really can't complain. For all my worries of messing her up immensely by switching her days and nights at a month old, it seems like maybe that actually helped... A week after coming back to China, she was sleeping 8 hours at a time. Now, she often goes a solid 10 hours, once she's finally out for the night (usually after 9 PM she doesn't wake). No clue what it is... whether the jet lag righted her confused night and day, or the fact that she's a bigger baby makes her sleep longer stretches, or that she eats every two hours usually from 4 PM on due to her shorter naps in the evening. Or the fact that Ryan convinced me not to wake her to nurse in the night, when I thought "she should be up and eating by now!" Either way, we are very thankful. And yes, I am keeping an eye on my milk supply, but so far she nurses really well during the day and doesn't seem to have a lack. So I am enjoying full nights of sleep - and feeling rather crazy for getting them with a 7 week old! I know it may not last, but she's gone at least two weeks with no night wake ups, so I am just thankful, knowing it's definitely not something I made happen, and hoping it continues! :)

It was a beautiful Christmas Eve... a wonderful day with the ones I love best.

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