Thursday, September 3, 2015

September Catch-Up

If you were wondering what has been happening in these last few months of blog silence...
1.We spent the summer in America, hitting up Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and California.
2.I’m pregnant!
3.And it’s a girl!
4.We came back to China.

You probably knew that from Facebook, but in case you missed it, now you’re caught up.
Juliana was particularly thrilled to be getting another sister. I'm not sure Adalyn cared too much one way or the other, but she did like the wig.
We returned to China two weeks ago. It was a 36 hour trip and far less than fun. My personal favorite part was throwing up a bunch in the Beijing airport and feeling truly horrible. I could hardly stand up, but we had to catch another flight - in a different terminal 20 minutes away. So Kevin wrangled all the luggage while I carried a sleeping Adalyn and tried not to pass out. There was also that one time they couldn’t find Adalyn’s ticket in the computer, and the other time we lost my boarding pass as we were about to board, and some other times of screaming (just Adalyn, not me). But in the end, we were all still alive.

We have done a lot of moving over the years - new cities, new apartments, new schools. If you have moved a lot, you know what a great feeling it is to come back to the same place. Our familiar city where we know people and can find things, our same apartment - no moving in required. There is something about coming back home after months away and putting your clothes up in your own wardrobe that is very satisfying. We have now lived in the same city for 3.5 years (a record!) and the same apartment for 1.5 years. I don’t take that settled feeling for granted.

Now that our suitcases are stored and we are once again sleeping through the night (well, theoretically, except my allergies are kind of ruining that), we are working on getting back into routine. Our school technically starts this week, but we our first holiday this week so Kevin won’t actually see his students until Sunday - make up day for Thursday’s classes. While he still has a lot of planning, Kevin has a much lighter class load than in the spring.

This week Juliana joyfully started back to Chinese kindergarten. She has moved up to the third floor with the big kids, but fortunately the same classmates and teachers all stay together! They have graduated from spoons to chopsticks for meals, so Juliana needs to work more on chopstick skills. Juliana had two days of school, then was disappointed to also have a two day holiday.

We also started home school kindergarten! We will continue using Five in a Row (a unit study curriculum using different children’s books) that we started for preschool last year.  We’re also adding reading (Get Ready/Set/Go for the Code and All About Reading) and math (Math-U-See). I plan to take it slow since Juliana is already in school all morning, but I think we’ll enjoy it.
This peaceful attentiveness lasts for at least 5 minutes.
Adalyn is sad to see her sister leaving again every morning (particularly since she has to stay home), but she has done well with a little more quiet play and mama time. She also seems to be remembering her Chinese pretty well with ayi and is picking up new words. She is also happy that home school has started back. She enjoys doing school like a big girl - at least for ten minutes of singing and repeating days of the week and such. She is a big fan of Math-U-See since it has lots of little math blocks she can play with while we work.

As for poor baby #3, who gets so little attention, she is about the size of a bell pepper. I have felt her move a few times when I actually pause to notice. Adalyn likes to pat (smack) her through my belly, and Juliana has already named her Cinderella, and speculates she will be born with rainbow hair. I think the lack of prenatal attention will be made up for in lots of sisterly attention after birth. Adalyn loves being around babies and helping to “take care” of them. Currently Adalyn and Queen Elsa both have dollies in their tummies. No wait, Adalyn’s is a kitty.
When I just told our ayi I was pregnant, she said, "I thought you were looking fatter! But your arms were still thin."

I am 18 weeks pregnant - just two weeks to halfway! I have been significantly less miserable this pregnancy than the last, many thanks to Unisom. I still felt pretty sick this whole summer, but I was much more functional and didn’t even throw up every day. Now that we have settled back in, my nausea has mostly abated. Unfortunately terrible allergies have kicked in to take its place. I’ve never been a huge winter person, but right now I can’t wait for cold weather.

So right now we are getting back into routine. While I have half a dozen organization projects I really want to get at, realistically the house is about as clean as it ever is for more than those rare, glorious 15 minutes. I have started cooking again and been doing a lot of dusting and mopping. The allergies and lack of sleep are getting to me, though, and I’m having trouble finding the energy to do anything extra - like plan anything with students! I’m struggling to figure out how to do the things I’d really like to be involved in (which is more than last semester...hmm) while also keeping reasonable expectations for this year of pregnancy and babyhood.

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