Thursday, July 14, 2016

These happy, ordinary days...

 These "sticker stories" as we call them, entertain her for sometimes half an hour at a time. They got relocated to her table in her room to prevent the now-mobile baby from eating them, and she'll disappear back there and just tell stories as she puts them on in different places. Pretty amazing! When she first got them as a Christmas gift from friends, she would just randomly put all the stickers in a pile, though she would often beg me to "tell a story with them please!" So to see her progress to this in just half a year is pretty incredible to see.

Bonus tip: remove all of the sticker outlines! They used to sit unused for days because it took way too long to match them all back on to their individual spots on their page. Sometimes I would sit up after the girls were in bed to put them back, knowing they'd buy me time the next day, but still.... Just removing the dividers and teaching her to put them back on the page after she uses them has helped a ton!

 This little one is pulling up on everything! She's one determined little miss, and for the most part hasn't had any major falling accidents. Always keeps us on our toes though!

 I saw a Pinterest idea called "invitation to create" with different shapes cut from construction paper to make cupcakes. Given that Hadassah usually uses a glue stick more on her hands then the paper, I thought making them out of felt might be more fun - plus they're reusable! They weren't the hit I thought they'd be, and toddler fashion, in an unsupervised moment while I showered, she spread all of the "sprinkle" pieces all over her rug, then reported she had made a "big mess." I had her help clean it up, and put this away for another time. I can see it being fun when she's a little older!

 I've enjoyed picking up one Chinese lesson a week while Alex and Danielle are here! My teacher is wonderfully teaching me only things related to children and my daily life. Finally I am learning answers and phrases and adjectives and nouns and verbs so maybe I can talk more with the people always trying to talk to me about my children! What I've learned so far in two sessions is so useful... Now I just need to make sure I study and retain and use it!

Ellie naps during my lesson (and Alex plays with her if she wakes early) while Danielle takes Hadassah over our friends' apartment (where D&A are sleeping at night) for some special play time. Pretty convenient!

 Then Alex has a turn! He's taken 2 lessons a week, adding to his knowledge from the year of Chinese he's taken so far in high school. There's nothing like learning in the country where it's used and you'll be able to apply it more easily!

 One day Ryan had to leave early from lunch to get back to a meeting. Hadassah said "I'll miss you - I'm lonely!" so we suggested Alex scoot over to sit next to her with Ryan gone. She was happy for that, and afterwards wanted to sit in his lap and read a book. :)

 Baby in a box! Alex has come up with lots of creative things to do with Ellie - she loves zooming around with him pushing!

 Hadassah is fascinated with tape. After I fixed a book accidentally ripped with tape, she wanted to rip it again so SHE could tape it. I quickly diverted her to this instead, cutting out shapes for her to tape on a page. She couldn't have been happier. :)

 Alex has also discovered that Ellie loves the guitar. She really seems specially tuned to music. She smiles when he takes it down to play for her, and loves it when she can bang on it too! Ryan bought this the day we moved to our first apartment in China, as he couldn't live without some outlet for music. He deliberately bought the cheapest one, since we won't be here forever, and so he could let the girls play along with him with no worries!

 I had a pretty bad cold + migraine on Wednesday. Help with playing with the children, Danielle taking Hadassah to a special play place in the morning during Ellie's nap, tylenol, and people to play a game with during afternoon naps and distract me from my dripping nose was just what I needed. And seriously, this game is pretty cool. "The Golden Ages" - made completely by Alex, looking at some pictures online, pulling together directions from various sources, hand drawing all of the cards and board, and getting pieces for the game from various games we already own. Pretty amazing!

A post wouldn't be complete without a food picture, right? Ryan had a co-workers goodbye party to attend tonight, so we did breakfast for dinner, something I don't often do with my meat loving, not-big-on-sweet-bread-things man. And boy was it good! Peaches and cream were just made to go with pancakes I've determined! Turned out so well I'll have to try it again and see what Ryan thinks. :)

Based on the pictures, it's a very Alex-y post. :) But Danielle has been pretty amazing too. She just steps in often at all the times I'm busy and can't take pictures. ;) She takes Hadassah out or does activities with her when I need to get something done. She's Ellie's second mom when we go on dates or I take Hadassah swimming for a special mommy-dassah time, like today. She makes two meals a week, helps with others and instead of me facing a mountain of dishes right after I finally get both girls tucked in bed, she's done the dishes and the kitchen is looking ready for the next day. Add to that Alex doing both breakfast and lunch dishes every day since they've come... Seriously, every mom of a baby and a toddler should have teenagers too. It's a pretty awesome combination! :D

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