Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our Chinese New Year

Every year around this time, China has a national holiday. Though business operates by the same calendar as the rest of the world, they also have a lunar calendar that determines the dates of holidays. The "Chinese New Year" or "Spring Festival" is the biggest one, where almost everyone goes back to their hometown to celebrate the new year with their family. Others take it as a time to see the sites or go to a nearby country for tourism. Other friends go to conferences, so Shanghai kind of empties out.

So, we planned to make the most of it in a more-empty big city. Ryan was really sweet, wanting to give me the week "off" as much as possible from chores and cooking and dishes. So, we planned to stay downtown for a few days in the apartment of friends who were out of country, order in or go out for most of our meals, and see friends almost every day. We also planned to go to as many parks and zoos as we could with Ryan's week off of work!

What actually happened couldn't have been more different. ;) Ryan came down with a really back cold on Sunday. Hadassah and I got it Wednesday. It wasn't just the type that was annoying and was past the worst after a few days... We're STILL dealing with it over a week later. It settles in your lungs and gives you a hacking cough. It also depletes energy and just leaves you feeling pretty miserable. Not exactly our idea of a relaxing time off - when the week was over, we felt like we needed a vacation! ;)

But still, it was a good week. We grew closer as a family. Instead of traveling miles all over, we hardly left a one-mile radius of our home. But, we enjoyed those familiar things and all the extra bonding time.

Our internet VPN provider also was off that week, so we were unable to access Facebook, Gmail, Blogger, Youtube, and more. But in a way, that was nice. We didn't have social media distractions, but were able to use our time in other ways.

It means, though, that I'm way behind on pictures, so here's a long picture-y post with ones we took over our week off at home.

 Despite his sickness, Ryan was an amazing Daddy. He used his small amounts of energy to play with his girls. I love this man. :)

 And I love these sweet sisters :)

 Having two girls stacked on my lap for a story is so much fun. Every now and then I pause amid the fast pace of life and realize what a blessing it is to be living my dream as a mom...

 The weather was, thankfully, absolutely beautiful during the "Spring Festival" week. It truly was a taste of spring. Before we got sick, Hadassah and I got outside a few times, going for a walk on campus and enjoying the feel of no jackets! Though I still got strange looks to be in short sleeves, despite the 60*F!

 Me and my big girl. It was a treat to spend one-on-one time with her doing the thing we love (going outside!).
 We went down paths we hadn't gone on in months. I was literally singing and dancing down the path. I started singing a made up song with the words "Thank you, thank you Jesus..." and later on Hadassah repeated it on her own. I just enjoyed the SUNSHINE and conversation with my big girl. Memories to cherish.

 She's adventurous and fun and kind and sweet and generous. Hadassah Faith is growing into such a great little girl.

 And Eliana Grace? Full of patience and sweetness and grace for us. Her smiles are more and more frequent and such a joy to see.

 Even though Ryan was sick he was still up to go to our favorite field and enjoy some sunshine. He and Hadassah kicked a ball around the field and we enjoyed the sun going down over the water.

 Hadassah is at the age where a stick is the best toy. I wouldn't let her go close to the water's edge to throw them in, so she enjoyed dropping them in the little slats of the drain.

 There's something about a wide open field that is just good for the soul!

 And ending at our favorite pizza place (Papa John's) makes everyone happy! Ellie just laid in the booth and started at the ceiling, allowing me to eat too!

 And there'es nothing like a blue-eyed baby peeking over the shoulder. :)

 Our second blue-eyed blondie :)

 She absolutely LOVED having lots of extra Daddy play time that week too! Probably the best benefit of having to be mostly home was the bonding they got to do.

 Friday was an absolutely perfectly gorgeous day. Reached 70* F, sky was blue, clouds were white... I was reminded what sky is supposed to look like! ;) We sat on a bench on campus, field in the back, water in the front, and just enjoyed it as a family. Sick though we were, being outside can't help but make one feel better!

We are blessed. 

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