Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Family Update

No, I'm not done with China, but at least I have notes on all of the days left so I don't completely forget them all.

In the meantime, I'm sorely behind on the present days of February.  Although I was glad to get Titus started on his surgeries, the beginning of February is already busy for us.  Someone had a birthday, despite my suggestion that she stop growing so fast.  Luke informed us that he'd also like to have the Super Bowl for his birthday.  We also celebrated Chinese New Year with dragon dancers that same weekend.  We enjoyed a special Valentine's meal with Aunt Susie and Miss Caroline, and then Aunt Katie came to visit too.  And now all of a sudden, February is over.  In no time at all, I think I'll be writing about how the year is over.

We are definitely settling into a routine here, but I still haven't figured out how to fit everything in.  It's hard to balance all the activities while taking care of myself and the house.  And food.  And all the extras that pop up.  And spend some time with David.  As my mom says, everyone has the same amount of time, so I should probably work on figuring out what the priorities need to be and where I can be more efficient.  Now if I could just find some time to do that...

Six years old!

Someone else is growing too fast as well... 

After his morning coffee (just kidding, although some mornings....)

I'm not sure what this face is saying...but he has learned to say "uh-oh!"


Guan xi fa cai!  Happy Year of the Monkey!

Someone is a lot more willing to feed the dragons now.

Yummy breakfast (homemade crepes) with Aunt Katie.

Someone likes reading now!  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

More China Days

We had a great week with many happenings, but I'm heading back to China for a little while.  If I don't finish this soon, I'll forget it all!

Day 9, December 31

I had been looking forward to this sightseeing part since we left China the last time.  Our guide asked us what kind of sightseeing things we'd like to do, since we had already visited once before.  We suggested a few things, but I knew I wanted to visit the Chen Family Academy again.  Before I became a knitter, I enjoyed doing counted cross-stitch, but the embroidery done in Guangdong is some of the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen!  If you want more information, you can read about it here.  I knew I wanted to buy a piece to have at home, so we wandered around the shops at the Academy and finally settled on one that I liked.  I'm going to hang it in my kitchen so I can see it every day.  Of course, I still enjoyed all the other folk art there as well.

We also visited a Buddhist temple with our guide that I found on the list of "things to see in GZ."  Our guide's family is Buddhist, so she was able to share a lot of the traditions and practices represented at the temple.  I was able to share a little bit about our Christian beliefs, and she seemed very curious about it. 

Ivory Carving

Glass etching 

It was actually warm enough to visit the swimming pool this visit, although not nearly inviting enough for me to suit up.  David took Titus in, but he wasn't having much of it either.  We don't know if it was too cold or if he was nervous, but he didn't last very long.  We had dinner in the executive lounge again and called it a night.

This is fun, I think!

Never mind...get me out of here.

That's a little better.

 Day 10, January 1

Happy New Year for us!  We had a free day, so we ventured out onto the subway for the first time.  It was so easy--I wish we'd known about it the first time we visited.  I had done some investigating on GZ tourist sights, so we decided to visit the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.  It was about five blocks from the subway stop, and we basically walked through a sea of red to get there (all in preparation for Chinese New Year).  Of course, when we actually got to the cathedral, the ushers were guarding the door and turning away tourists due to the service inside.  We wandered over to the side, and I guess we looked like English speakers to the usher, because she let us in!  We caught the last 15 minutes of the English mass, and even sang a few songs.  Thankfully these were songs that are etched into my childhood (like As the Deer), so the words were no problem.  It was lovely to ring in the new year surrounded by brothers and sisters. 

Our next stop was the Sun-Yat Sen memorial, but while the grounds and building were beautiful, all of the displays were in Mandarin.  Titus was also getting tired, so we didn't stick around very long. 

We were pretty close to the hotel, so we decided to walk back...or we would have been close if we hadn't taken a wrong turn! We managed to end up at the north side of the park (our hotel was near the south side), so we weren't too far out of the way.  Of course, I will always be grateful for this wrong turn, because on our way home, we walked by this:

The lady was filling dumplings, and although I had no idea what we were getting, I just pointed to the tub and made hand motions to indicate we wanted them to go.  Out. of. this. world. delicious.  Let's just say, we had lunch plans for the rest of our time in GZ.  And I want to go back now and get more.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The End of a Long Week

I was sharing our week with my friend, and at the end, she said she was exhausted just listening to it.  I told her that when I look back on this week, I'm going to try and remember how God answered our prayers so quickly and provided people to help us when we needed them!

Tuesday ended up being much better than I expected.  Thank you so much for your prayers--I know they helped.  Titus was still very tired and a little bit fussy, but we didn't end up using any morphine, and he was able to take in some food and fluids.  Another friend took Katie for the morning (thanks, Leslie!), and Debbie also came by for a little while to help spell me.  I was pretty wiped out as well from my almost sleepless night, so David took the second night shift.  That first day I just felt like Titus was hiding somewhere inside this poor little boy, and it was nice to see some glimpses of his familiar self that second day.

Wednesday morning I ended up taking the kids to see Titus in the morning so David and I could swap, even though I'd managed to share the pink eye I picked up in the hospital with Katie and Luke.  :P  After David left to take the kids home, I got a call from him--I can't find the car, and how do I know if Luke needs stitches?  He fell on his chin.  So David ended up taking Luke (and the other two) to get some glue for his chin!  Thankfully, Titus was doing well enough to put a call in to the surgeon for our discharge.  He did get a bit fussy around 11AM, but after changing an explosively messy diaper (out of respect for you, I will not go into details), he was doing much better.

We were on our way home by 2PM, and then the second half began.  I'm sure a lot of this has been in my head, and thankfully David is much more laid-back about these things, but it's been pretty stressful keeping a super-active youngest of four children in what I consider a "safe zone."  I ended up taking the three older kids out Thursday and Friday morning so Titus could have some hover-free time with David.  :)  We are almost through the first seven days now, which are the most risky according to the nurse.  Basically, I've had a constant video running in my head of all the ways he could split his lip...meaning when he's with me, I was pretty much holding him.

Of course, as I was going through all this, I kept thinking we would be all done with this in six weeks, when the surgeon did the final surgery of this stage.  Haha.  After the surgeon had a chance to really look around Titus's mouth, he's decided to split the second stage into two more surgeries that will be three months apart.  So the next one will be in May, and then the final one for this year will be in August.  At least it'll be warmer!

Let's get this show on the road!

Monday afternoon, during a brief respite.  Poor little baby.

Tuesday evening, playing with Daddy.  I only look a little like a zombie, right?

Time to go home!

At IHOP this morning for Katie's birthday breakfast.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Post surgery report

Poor little guy.  The surgery went very smoothly yesterday, but it was pretty rough for Titus.  He needed a lot of pain meds during the surgery, so the surgeon warned us before we even got back to him that we'd be in two nights.  He was crying pretty hard when we went back to recovery, and aside from brief moments of respite, he was like that till early afternoon.  Thank you for all your prayers concerning his pain management.  He seemed to start feeling a little better and was able to rest for longer periods.  Debbie even got him to attempt some smiles last night.  :)

I'm so thankful for our friends on friend took Katie so David could be there when Titus got out of surgery, one came to the hospital to be with me while David got the kids from preschool and came back in the evening too, and another came over to the house and watched the kids so David could come back for the afternoon.  Thanks, Diana, Debbie and Kate!

All things considered, I think last night went fairly well for Titus.  He was pretty restless and stirred a lot, but he always went back to sleep pretty quickly.  Of course I was super worried that he'd bonk his face in his sleep, so after realizing the little fold out cot wasn't going to work, I crawled into the crib with him.  So I slept off and on for about 5 hours, until I woke up at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep.  Now we are on to day two!

Here's my last picture before the surgery...I probably shouldn't have been surprised that he was so chipper, despite having no food or drink since the night before.  I hope we get to see him happy again quite soon.