Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Summer Memories

We take a lot of pictures. More than we put on here - and we do a lot here! Sometimes I wonder if we share too many... But it is a blessing to be able to capture these precious memories, to share them with family and friends, and have this as a record to look back on one day...

 It's hot these days. Not as much rain. But still the summer afternoons sometimes have breezes that make it bearable to bike through the mostly shady campus to our Secret Garden. It's the most sure way to show love to Hadassah too - she loves this place, and now always wants to take a picture there, especially if she has a fuzzy friend along!

 We talk a lot about God making things. So this day, as she walked, she kept asking me, "Did God make the flowers?" "Did God make the water?" and so on. "Yes, He did." Sometimes she'll spontaneously even thank God for things outside. It is such a joy to hear thanksgiving from little lips!

 Some ducks came wandering over looking for food, but instead got a conversation with a penguin. :)

We still try to get out for at least 20 minutes in the morning around 7:30 or 8 AM, before it gets too hot. But when the temps are over 100* F (with the "feels like" temp 15 degrees higher!) we often just stick to shade. Thankfully there are plenty of benches in the shade in our complex, where Ellie can practice standing...

 ...while big sis mothers her baby. Lately taking her baby doll everywhere has been quite the thing, as she's grown attached to the doll carrier my big sister made for me and my younger sister. She feels very important to have her own "baby in the ergo" and takes her out to practice walking, nurses her, changes her diaper, and so on. I call her "Xiao Mama" (little mommy) and all of the grandmas smile. Quite a few have made jokes that I have three babies. :)

 We're eating out a little more these days, as it would be a shame for Danielle and Alex to come to China and not experience the good food it has to offer! It's pretty cool that we've been here long enough to have quite a few must-tries, like this Ajisen Ramen restaurant. It's Japenese-ish food, but hey, still Asian, right?

With Ellie getting older and more able to at least engage in things Hadassah does, their relationship has grown closer and sweeter. They're going to be best playmates, I keep telling Dassah, and it is a joy to watch it become more of a reality!

 This little one has creativity! We try to do something crafty at least most days, and she wanted to make a ladybug this day, so we did. :) Then she went on to cover three pages with the letter "H" - she taught herself how to write the letter of her name somewhere along the way!

Heading out with each of us having a baby in the Ergo! :) On Friday, with Danielle and Alex exploring downtown (so cool that with the subway system they can go on their own!), I decided to take lunch TO Ryan instead of him having to commute home. It was good to get the girls out of the house, but with it feeling like 118* F outside, I knew we couldn't play outside long. It was a HOT walk until we found a taxi to take us, but it was definitely worth it. We made "our favorite cheesy noodles!" as Dassah calls our homemade mac 'n cheese. It's actually a very simple and easy stovetop recipe: 2 cups noodles, 2 cups milk, 1/4 tsp salt - boil together until tender, then stir in 1 cup of cheese. We've learned to double it because it's just so good!

Hadassah was beyond excited to see Daddy's work again, and it was fun to eat in the cafeteria attached to his office, and greet coworkers as they walked by. It just may become a weekly tradition.

 On Friday evening we enjoyed a date after the girls went to bed. We were both tired from a busy week, and it was nothing fancy... A nice walk in cooler evening breeze around the lake, then a relaxing cafe. Cafe Seraphim is really pretty amazing. It's run by a Christian, and they have English Christian music playing so it is such an encouraging environment. They also have little booths with couches near tables, so it made for a perfect place to relax and talk with my love!

 On Saturday morning, rain threatened, but despite the drops I kept peddling. Dassah had requested the Secret Garden again (as I took her out while Ellie napped) and it just felt way too good outside with the rain cooling things off. What did a little wetness matter? Thankfully the rain stopped after just a few minutes anyway, and it left beautiful water droplets making flowers even more beautiful!

 Ryan was going to stay home and nap, but then decided he'd rather be with us. :) Benefit of having extra people around is that he could just leave Ellie napping with them there and chase after us! It was fun being out with just our big girl for the first time in a while.

 Aren't the raindrops on lotus plants amazing?

 Then we relaxed on a bench while Ryan told one of his amazing stories to Dassah. Simple moments to treasure.

On the way back, we stopped at this amazing site. This is usually just a normal little lake. But in this season, it is overtaken by lotus plants!

 Amazing lotus flowers...

 The complexity of God's creation is amazing!

 I made homemade pretzels that afternoon while playing games with Alex and Danielle. Doesn't get much better! And Ellie learned that if she pulls herself up on Dassah's chair while she's having a snack, she gets extra tastes! I love seeing how Dassah loves to share (most of the time!).

 We couldn't let the cooler-than-normal weather go without a trip to our favorite park by the river! There were so many boats docked there that day too!

 We discovered this place when Dassah was Ellie's age. Now we have TWO little girls standing and watching the boats passing by. Where does time go??

 And never did I think I'd be showing my niece and nephew all of these places! It's been pretty awesome having them with us for so long too!

 There are still moments when the girls just want me, despite extra arms around. And usually I make one of them go to somewhere else. But for just a few moments, holding both made for arms and heart full.

 Another little one to walk over the bridge!

Then it was out for supper with more friends! We were late as taxis just wouldn't come... Always a reality that is hard to plan for! But they were understanding and had gone ahead and ordered for us! It was another fish pot kind of place, but the taste was good! And there were extra side dishes: fried cabbage (my favorite!), rice, a cucumber dish, and little lobsters! Hadassah was intrigued and enjoyed eating them, then standing outside and watching the ones still in the tank afterwards. In one of her "sticker stories" about a store, there is a tank of lobsters, so she was pretty excited to see and eat them in real life!

Thank you, God, for this summer in China.

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