Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Our 3rd China 4th of July!

I've always been someone who likes to celebrate holidays. I like traditions. And 4th of July has always been one of my favorites. It's harder in a foreign country, where the outside isn't all decorated and everyone celebrating too. But, we've made it work. Though, I admit, with this being the 3rd one, I was almost not going to try very hard... So I am thankful we had guests who brought fun festive things and helped give motivation to make it a celebration!

 Though, as a mom, I'm realizing I need to be careful about what I can do. I did a lot of extra cooking and things, and I could see attitudes suffering as a result of less structure. In fact, with Hadassah we've had more attitude and trantrums overall lately. Realizing that lack of structure, with 3 weeks in the states, then a week of trying to get over jet lag, then more company coming - wonderful though it is - she hasn't had a consistent routine lately and we are seeing some negative things as a result. So our holiday was a bit overshadowed by some screaming tantrums and and ended with over an hour of us talking and reevaluating our parenting strategies - just keeping it real!

But these girls are pretty cute and any excuse to wear red, white and blue is one I'll take! Ellie started the day in this outfit, but I soon realized, though it's size 12 month, she's too long for it already!

 Had to do our traditional crepes for breakfast! Though with 2 children making them is a bit harder and breakfast was late and kind of threw the whole morning off... But oh they were good! :)

 We changed our hair things out for more patriotic ones - gifts from the cousins and their family! They had a shirt for Ryan, hair things for the girls, and earrings for me - very special and fun!

 The day was HOT but at least not raining! So some water play with chalk was in order for the morning. :) And yes, Ellie's legs turned red and blue crawling around on wet chalk!

 But the water sure felt good - Dassah even sat in her tub for a while!

 This watermelon lemonade was a delicious treat! Definitely something I would never have had time to make, so I'm thankful to Danielle for squeezing all four lemons to make it! We all agreed it was better chilled and with peaches and more watermelon blended in after supper, but it was good for lunch too!

 Danielle also brought mocha brownie mix and fun decorations for them! So so amazing. Thankful for family who sent and brought things from afar to make this holiday more fun! Brownies are one thing that are just way better made from a mix than from scratch...

 This little one had a rough day too. Learning new skills is hard works, and hinders naps when all she wants to do is try to stand up in her crib and then gets stuck on her knees. I love how fast she's learning things but it does throw things off for a bit. ;) All for a good cause though! And that little "I did it!" face is pretty much the most adorable thing!

 Since it actually wasn't raining, we biked to the "secret garden" around 3:30 PM. Probably won't do that again... hot!! But it is shady there and we definitely enjoyed walking around, Dassah especially. She loved showing cousin Danielle her favorite spots. :)

 My growing girls... Their legs just seem so long these days! This was the one July 4th in China I didn't plan a picnic for supper, since the last two my plans got rained out... But it was nice to get some outdoor time regardless!

 It seems like every time we go here, there's something new in bloom...

 Hadassah took this picture! (with lots of help holding of course!) We got to tell her about Tiger Lilies.

 These flowers just seem the essence of summer.

 My favorite spot in the garden... Such a huge field of wildflowers!

 Dassah had a conversation with two ducks that wandered over hoping for bread.

 We enjoyed an all-American feast for supper!

 It was really nice to have our previous neighbor Y join us! She really seemed to enjoy it too. Ryan brought up history questions that had us all laughing (Was the "shot heard round the world" heard in China?). :) Y posted about the meal and conversation later online as her first Independence Day celebration. I was a bit sad the internet stopped working just as I was going to play patriotic music and fireworks, but that also seems to happen every year here, incidentally!

After Ryan took Hadassah on a post-dinner run to get out energy (always helps her mood!) Danielle brought out the glowing things. By then it was dark enough to turn out all the lights and get the right feel for things!

So, all-in-all, a wonderful 4th of July. I think our best celebration here yet! I'm still learning what I should and shouldn't plan with kids, but Ryan reminded me that I'm building traditions that will bless them in the future. I am thankful for a man that helps me not just thing in the moment but look down the road a bit...

Thank You, God, for America.

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