Thursday, January 14, 2016

Two Dates in a Day

Ryan is great at taking a gal on dates. He just has a way of making one feel special, whether it's something he planned ahead or decided spontaneously. He's fully there, thinks of things to talk about, and doesn't ever say something is too expensive. :)

He's awesome, whether he's taking Hadassah on a daddy-daughter date, or me out for what we tell 'Dassah are mommy-daddy dates. Last Saturday, he got to do both!

Hadassah has been mostly inside all week long every week since moving back. :( Between rain, air pollution, Ellie napping a lot, and the hardship of getting two littles bundled up only to find it's pretty cold outside (recently it's hovering in the 30s-40s)... Hadassah wouldn't mind as much, but it's still just hard to get out. Ryan sometimes takes Hadassah for a walk in the car parking lot basement on crazy days, but she still has a ton of pent-up energy that used to be released outside.

So a local "park" was the perfect place to take Hadassah on Saturday! A mom came upstairs to talk and pray for an hour with me (benefit of apartment life, and such a blessing to do with a sister in Christ!) and Ryan took Hadassah out for the morning. Now, we wish more "parks" actually had free playground equipment, but most of the ones we've seen here have gardens, lots of sidewalks, and sometimes a mini-amusement park, like this one. Hardly anyone is there, but it always seems open, with an attendant at each activity. When we go, we often choose one thing to do, but this time Ryan just let Hadassah have fun and do a lot of things! As you can tell by the picture, she was pretty thrilled!

Choo-choo train ride with Daddy!

When Ryan came home and told me Hadassah had ridden the boat by herself, I said "What??" They have no life jackets or seat belts in those things. But he said it was her idea and he wants to encourage her adventurous spirit, and as you can tell, she felt pretty grown up to be able to control the hand-crank boat herself while Daddy was in another boat close by. So, it's a good thing God gave children fathers to do things mom would never consider! ;)

 When the cold got to them, they went to another favorite, near-by spot, Zoo Coffee shop! They have an upstairs corner for kids and tons of stuffed animals they can play with.

 They also have a delicious waffle. Hadassah told me she had "a waffle and chocolate ice cream and strawberry ice cream and white stuff!" Pretty special!

And you should see her eyes shine when she gets back after a date with daddy!

That evening, we had our first opportunity to go out since coming back! Some friends offered to babysit BOTH girls, and it actually went really well! Hadassah is more comfortable with the American friends we've gotten to know and spend time with frequently, and Ellie is pretty laid-back and thankfully takes a bottle without protest.

It felt amazing to get out and just walk the local streets. I hardly set foot outside of the apartment these days, so just walking in brisk air was incredible! Made even more wonderful that I had my love's hand to hold, his undivided attention, and no little ones to look out for, much as I love them. Until you have children, it's hard to communicate the feeling it is to get out for an hour or two alone. It feels so strange - and refreshing!

 We didn't have any huge plans, and I preferred to walk instead of ride the subway for more assuredly good food. So, we first walked 20 minutes to a coffee shop and had a not-so-great pizza. It took over 30 minutes for them to heat it up (it looked to be the frozen pizza variety, and came with shrimp which we assuredly had not pointed to, but oh well!) so we had plenty of time to just enjoy talking with eye time and no interruptions. Everything from daily life to reflections on past and future. Then we did the parent thing and went ahead and picked up diapers and bread since we needed both and were out, then headed to a local "tang bao" place.

 These soup dumplings are pretty good, and perfect for a cold evening. They arrive steaming hot, and are filled with meat and broth. Not the healthiest, but tasty and just right when you've walked through the cold.

Now, eating them is a trick. You want to poke a hole in them to let the steam out so you don't burn your mouth when you stick the whole thing in. I think I only got two eaten perfectly. Usually in the process of poking the hole and letting the steam out, I managed to lose all the broth from the inside onto the little plate (but it was still good to drink it up!) or I just dropped the dumpling all-together or had it fall apart. But it still tasted great! And, it gave me a better appreciation for the food. The only other time I've gone we had Hadassah without a high chair, and feeding these things to yourself is a feat, so feeding them to a (then even younger) toddler is quite interesting, and hard to get you both filled! So, we decided this is a better date night place for just us.

We're continuing to make memories here. We are so thankful for friends, to pray with and play with and trade dates with (we're watching this couple's children this Saturday so they can go out). God is providing and blessing and we are so thankful.

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