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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole… a murder mystery

Last Halloween, in keeping with a tradition started by our friends the Mosbys, we had another murder mystery party around Halloween time. The hosts, Zach and Heather, remained the same, but the theme this time around was “Alice in Wonderland.” (If you want to read about the last murder mystery party, you can read the post A Halloween Harry Potter Murder Mystery). Now I’m not the biggest fan of “Alice in Wonderland.” Ever since I was a kid, the movie freaked me out, and even as an adult, Trent and I tried to watch the newest version (with Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway), but I couldn’t get through it. Even so, that didn’t stop us from having a great time at this party!

Much like last time, Heather sent out our character descriptions a few weeks before the party so that we could begin preparing our costumes. Trent was going to be the white rabbit, and I was the rabbit’s maid (thanks Heather for always giving us “couples” roles). The night of the party we got dressed up and headed out to find a taxi to get to the Mosby’s apartment nearby in Qingdao (I always wonder what the taxi drivers must think of us crazy foreigners all dressed up).

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As always, their setup was amazing! The decorations, the food, their costumes… it really was quite the wonderland!

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Everyone else arrived in their costumes. We had the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts (our host and hostess), Alice and Cheshire (our friends Kelly and Antonio from work), The White Rabbit and his maid (Trent and I), the Duchess (who literally “borrowed” our friends’ baby Elijah to use as a prop!), Tweedle-Dum (Matt, another friend from work), the cook who loved pepper, and three detectives (friends from work and church).

Here is a group shot of all of us and a few others of the different characters.

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Our wonderful hosts!

Our wonderful hosts!

Trent and I

Trent and I

Antonio as the Cheshire cat

Antonio as the Cheshire cat

Kelly as Alice

Kelly as Alice

The duchess (Nicole) and the Queen of hearts

The duchess (Nicole) and the Queen of hearts

Tweedle-Dum (Matt), Valerio as a detective, and the Mad Hatter (Zach)

Tweedle-Dum (Matt), Valerio as a detective, and the Mad Hatter (Zach)

Trent and I with the "borrowed" baby Eli.  Pretty shortly after this, Catherine and Justin came to get him (they lived in the same apartment complex)

Trent and I with the “borrowed” baby Eli. Pretty shortly after this, Catherine and Justin came to get him (they lived in the same apartment complex)

Erik as one of the detectives and the cook who loved pepper

Erik as one of the detectives and the cook who loved pepper

Heather ordered my costume on Taobao, which is China’s version of Amazon, and I think Kelly and Antonio also got their costumes on Taobao. I also know that Heather used it to order lots of the props for this party.

We sat down to dinner and began to let the mystery unfold. As usual, the scripts guided us along, revealing different clues along the way. I have to say that Trent did an AMAZING job acting his part. He kept freaking out and pointing to his clock (which was our bathroom clock that we attached to him with an old chain) talking about the time. The other actors were excellent too. This was one of the best parties as far as acting went! The wine and food were great, as always, and the night unfolded wonderfully. We laughed and laughed! These parties are so much fun!!!

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Towards the end of the evening, we broke out the Limoncello, from Italy, brought by the one and only Valerio. Heather even got these cute little cups for the Limoncello shots. Her attention to details is amazing!

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After dinner we headed back into the living room to make our accusations and have dessert- Zach made pie!!! I won’t tell you who did it, but I will tell you that I didn’t guess right. I guess that’s why I was a maid and not one of the detectives!

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Afterwards, Zach and Heather tallied the votes for the evening’s awards. Trent and Zachary both tied for best actor of the evening, so they decided to each take half (literally) of the award. Trent also won the award for Best Improviser, which he indubitably deserved!

Tallying up the votes

Tallying up the votes

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The best actors of the evening- The Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit

The best actors of the evening- The Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit

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We hung out the rest of the evening, talking and laughing and enjoying the camaraderie. Heather and Zach throw the best parties!!!

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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“Bumpdate:” week 38

Wow, I can’t believe how fast the time is going! We just finished our 38th week of pregnancy! This week Jedidiah was the size (length) of a leek. He is over 19 and a half inches long and weighs close to 7 pounds!

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I can’t believe I totally forgot to include this in the last post, but we went to our checkup with our midwife, Amber, last week and she said that baby boy is “locked and loaded.” He is engaged head down in my pelvis, he’s sitting at a -1 position (0 is active labor), I’m about 50-60% effaced, and about 1 cm. dilated. This was big news that should have been included in last week’s “bumpdate.”

Now that that’s out of the way, I will jump to this week’s happenings. 🙂

Sunday I ran into an old friend at church who I haven’t seen for years. It was nice to briefly catch up before heading out. I’ve known Rick and his brothers since I first moved here it seems (so like 5ish years).

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Monday I babysat for my friend Sandy’s son Cyler before heading to church for an important meeting. Our church is moving, well, at least they are beginning the process of moving. So we are in a time of transition where we are being challenged to “bold faith living and sacrificial giving.” We are watching and waiting on God for his guidance for our part in Revolution Church’s future.

Tuesday morning, I went to zumba at DeVoir Fitness, as usual. But after class, they threw me a lovely baby shower. It was such a blessing and I definitely felt the love!

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Thursday night, as soon as Trent got out of school, we headed to Georgetown, just north of Austin, for a night of mystery and intrigue. Our good friends from China, Heather and Zach, were hosting another murder mystery party (You can read about their first murder mystery party in my blog: A Halloween Harry Potter Murder Mystery). This one was “vampire” themed. I’ll write another blog about it with more specifics later, but we had such a great time! I’ve said this before, but she throws the BEST parties!!! Even though we ended up driving about 3 hours, it was totally worth it!

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Friday evening was spent with a couple we met at our birthing class that live pretty close-by in New Braunfels. They had us over for a delicious dinner of tortilla soup and then we played a game called Rummikub, which we’d never played before, but that we quite enjoyed. The first time we played, neither Trent or I even got to lay anything down. So we considered that first round a wash and just jumped right into the second round. The second time was a success! It didn’t hurt that we shared brownies (fresh out of the oven) and ice cream while we played. 🙂 It was a very enjoyable evening.

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Saturday, amidst the monsoon that was taking place in San Antonio from the hurricane, I had another baby shower. Unfortunately the weather was a MAJOR deterrent. It ended up just being three of us, so we didn’t do any games or anything, we just ended up hanging out with some pretty elaborate and awesome Star Wars decorations. The ladies did such a nice job of planning everything, it was such a shame that no one else could make it. 😦 Look at how cute the invite was and all the decor! Traci even had her kids dressed up in Star Wars outfits (R2D2, Chewbacca, and the cutest little Darth Vader).

These two ladies are awesome!  Love you Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Lippincott!

These two ladies are awesome! Love you Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Lippincott!

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We finished off the week by Skyping with my parents, and we got the added bonus of chatting with my youngest sister, Jackie, and her boyfriend Billy, who we rarely get to see. Yay!

Symptoms this week: Baby boy is really sitting on my sciatic nerve, so when I sit down wrong, it gets pinched and sends shooting pains through my right leg and up my back… that’s fun… Jedi’s still moving a lot- I can feel his little hands moving way down low in my pelvic area. That is definitely a strange, and pretty uncomfortable feeling. It kind of feels like I’m being groped from the inside! His legs and feet are running out of room so I feel a lot of shifting around way up at the top of my uterus and I finally understand what people mean when they say that there is a foot under their rib cage… definitely not the most comfortable thing. I’ve also been finding that I need to eat smaller meals more frequently. There just doesn’t seem to be so much room in my stomach anymore. I’ve been starting to use Evening Primrose oil, per my midwife’s suggestion, to finish “softening” things up down there so that labor will *hopefully* be easier.

week 38

Bring on week 39!

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Walking Dead… in China

So last year, right after Halloween, on the following Saturday night, there was a zombie bonfire hosted by some local expats. Trent and I didn’t personally know the expats running the party, but our friend Matt did and he invited us along.

I should start by saying that my husband Trent LOVES zombies. He has for forever. His man cave (yes, he is lucky enough to have a man cave) is covered in zombie books, games, and other paraphernalia. So basically, this invitation was like his dream come true. I am indifferent to zombies… but for the sake of my husband, I get into things like The Walking Dead and things like dressing up for this party. Trent and I put together some costumes and then he tried his hand at zombie makeup. He did a pretty good job! We felt a bit conspicuous leaving our apartment all zombified… imagine being in a country that traditionally doesn’t celebrate Halloween and then seeing people looking as freaky as we did… I’m sure we were quite the sight to see!

Matt didn’t live far from us, so we hopped on our scooter and headed over to his place to meet him and get him made up before heading out. While we were on our way, we snapped the BEST. PICTURE. EVER. We look uber creepy!

Don't worry, we were stopped at a red light when we took this photo.

Don’t worry, we were stopped at a red light when we took this photo.

We got to Matt’s place and waited for him to come down and let us in to his apartment. While we were in the parking lot, we tried to take some zombie-looking shots. This was the only decent one.

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When he came down and got us, we headed up to his place and fixed him up and then grabbed some beers at the corner store. Then we prepared to get a taxi (Our poor driver probably thought we were insane… or terrifying) to go to the beach spot where the bonfire was going to be held.

Trent getting Matt all zombified

Trent getting Matt all zombified

Me being creepy and passing the time while Trent did Matt's make-up.

Me being creepy and passing the time while Trent did Matt’s make-up.

The three of us all set and ready to be ZOMBIES...

The three of us all set and ready to be ZOMBIES…

Trent outside of the corner store, taking full advantage of this opportunity to look the part.

Trent outside of the corner store, taking full advantage of this opportunity to look the part.

We drove down Xiang Gang Dong Lu, not too far past Polar Ocean World and then stopped near a hotel (I couldn’t tell you what it was called). Matt cautioned us then that we might have to “sneak” past the guards to get to the bonfire location. Geesh, now you tell us! Anyways, there really wasn’t much “sneaking” that we had to do. We just went down by the beach and then had to pass through the hotel’s backyard to get to the cliff area by the beach where the bonfire was being held. As we were walking, our other friend Andrew joined us. He was also in need of make-up, so Trent got yet another chance to practice his zombie-making magic.

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The four of us: Andrew, Matt, me and Trent

The four of us: Andrew, Matt, me and Trent

It was kind of a nasty, misty night, but thankfully there wasn’t too much rain to deter the actual fire. We mingled with the other “zombies” and hung out by the fire. There were some pretty epic costumes- even a zombie panda (who ended up being a friend of ours from church, but we had no clue until we saw her the next morning).

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There was also a gentleman there who was “couch surfing” in Qingdao, just for the night. He came to the bonfire equipped with his accordion and after a short speech introducing himself and where he was from (France, I think), began playing us some tunes.

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We all enjoyed his antics until a lady from the hotel came over and told the guy in charge that if we wanted to continue to stay, that we would have to pay her some money. Everyone was willing to chip in a bit of money so that we could stay (bribery at its finest), but as soon as we paid, she changed her mind and still made sure everyone left by threatening to call the cops. Obviously no one wanted any trouble, especially since we were all “visitors” in this country, so we packed up the party and left. There was a bar a short distance away that we decided to relocate to. We spent the rest of the evening there before heading back to our apartment.

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All in all, it was quite an eventful evening… never a dull moment in China! Happy Halloween!

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Halloween Harry Potter Murder Mystery

A murder myster

Rewind the clock two years to our first Halloween in China. Even though we had just moved there a few months prior, we had made some good friends through church and school. Some of our good friends, Zach and Heather Mosby, hosted this Harry Potter themed murder mystery party for Halloween. These two (well, mostly Heather) are born party planners. Oh my goodness, they are so good!

If you’ve never been to a murder mystery party, I highly recommend them. They are a lot of fun, involve some acting and role play, and are hilarious! Trent and I both received our parts a few weeks in advance and began planning out our costumes. Trent’s role was Ronald Weasley and mine was Rita Skeeter. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a Harry Potter “fan,” at least not in the sense that I know much about it. I enjoyed the movies but I don’t remember many details from them and I never had time to read all the books. Honestly, I didn’t even know who my character was- I had to look her up on Wikipedia to find out that she was an annoying reporter that likes to be in everyone’s business. I did know Trent’s character (I know Harry, Ron, and Hermione at least). After borrowing a few props from some friends, here were our final costumes.

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When we arrived at Heather and Zach’s apartment, it was literally like stepping into a whole new world! The decorations and mood definitely transported us to Griffindor. They had candles lit, magic “wands” for everyone, party themed decor and appetizers out on the tables. It was amazing (even more so living in China where you can’t just run to the Dollar Store or Hobby Lobby for supplies). They even had a drink station where you could mix your own “potions.” So clever.

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As we arrived, we mingled over appetizers and drinks in the living room. Even the appetizers were Harry Potter themed… she put so much thought and effort into the details!

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It was so much fun to see everyone arriving in character and to learn who everyone was dressed as. Here are some group shots of the whole crew.

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Characters from left to right. (front row): Professor Snape (Justin), Bellatrix LeStrange (Cat), Rita Skeeter (me), Professor McGonagall (Heather), Mundungus Fletcher (Abigail), Ginny Weasley (Nicole), and Hermione Granger (Kate). (Back row): Draco Malfoy (Justin), Gilderoy Lockhart (Warren), Harry Potter (Erik), Luna Lovegood (Rosana), and Ron Weasley (Trent).

Characters from left to right. (front row): Professor Snape (Justin), Bellatrix LeStrange (Cat), Rita Skeeter (me), Professor McGonagall (Heather), Mundungus Fletcher (Abigail), Ginny Weasley (Nicole), and Hermione Granger (Kate). (Back row): Draco Malfoy (Justin), Gilderoy Lockhart (Warren), Harry Potter (Erik), Luna Lovegood (Rosana), and Ron Weasley (Trent).

After everyone had arrived, we moved to the dining room where the acting began. Heather had already set each place setting with a character card and the table was decorated with all sorts of Harry Potter themed stuff. The set up was amazing!

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Everyone settled into their roles as we began our meals with a salad. Now, like I said, I don’t know very much about Harry Potter, but the cool thing about these parties is that during each round, you receive a sort of guide as far as what you are supposed to do, how you are supposed to act, and what questions you are supposed to ask. It was so much fun watching everyone engage in their roles. We laughed and laughed. We continued on to the main course, spaghetti and some delicious bread. The plot continued to unfold, accusations began to fly, and the banter was hilarious between characters. I have to admit, I was a bit jealous because my husband’s character was being extra flirty with Hermione… but it’s all a part of the game. Here are some pictures of our dinner and the acting that went along with it.

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After dinner, we moved back to the living room to make our final accusations. We drank a delicious butter beer that Heather had made while munching on desserts. Everyone wrote down their guesses as to who the murderer was down on a piece of paper and then they were read aloud. I won’t tell you who the murderer was in case you ever get invited to a Harry Potter murder mystery. But I will tell you that it was a lot of fun! There were also awards given out at the end for best acting, etc. I won a small pumpkin for doing such a great job of portraying Ms. Rita Skeeter (I am pretty proud of that fact, since I didn’t even know who she was). We stayed and chatted and laughed until it was late. Then we thanked our wonderful hosts for a wonderful first Halloween in China and headed home.

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What a wonderful night. Happy Halloween everyone!

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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“Bumpdate:” Week 37

I’ve decided to move to weekly “bumpdates” now that I’m getting to within a few weeks of delivery. This will help me keep up, because Lord knows, when this baby comes, we may not have time to do much blogging (or what I do have time for will be all about the baby)!

Week 37:
Jedidiah is the length of a bunch of swiss chard this week- measuring over 19 inches long and weighing in at about 6 and 1/3 pounds. He’s working on letting his brain and lungs fully mature before he makes his grand entrance into the world. Baby boy has been having lots of hiccups this week- I’ve enjoyed feeling these rhythmic little movements. It’s a nice change from the big shifts and kicks I’ve been feeling lately!

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This week was kind of uneventful (for once!).

Sunday night we watched the season premier of The Walking Dead. Anyone who knows my husband knows that he’s a zombie fiend… he’s been counting down the days until this series was back. We don’t have cable so we went over to his mom and dad’s house to catch it. Their dogs seem to know that I’m pregnant and even the one who usually doesn’t give me the time of day (she only LOVES Trent), was snuggled up against my belly all evening.

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On Wednesday night, my friend Traci of T-Cup Designs took some maternity photos for us. We’ve been wanting to take some photos and even though we’re way past the recommended 32 week mark (they say that that is the best time for maternity shots), we made it happen. We met Traci up at Brackenridge Park and took lots of pics. Hopefully I’ll get them back soon and be able to post some of them.

Thursday night was our last birthing class. We’ve been attending Natural Birth Classes at our New Braunfels Family Birth Center every Thursday for the past 6 weeks. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know some of the other couples there and we learned SO much! Trent is so cute, he loves to talk about what we’ve learned and share it with everyone. This Thursday we had a little time to hang out and eat together as a class to celebrate our time together. And in January, after all of our babies are born, we will have a reunion party so that we can all meet each others’ babies!

The whole crew!  One couple already had their baby.  :)

The whole crew! One couple already had their baby. 🙂

Friday morning I spent with my friend Abby and both her kids and some other kids she watches every day (another friend’s kids). We had a fun time hanging out and it was really good for me to get out of the house and to enjoy some fresh air with them. We played outside, read stories, had a snack, and drew with chalk. When I left her house, I had just enough time to swing by Trent’s school to surprise him for lunch. We ate together and enjoyed the time to just hang out and then I headed back home. Friday evening we spent with Trent’s best friend Casey and his wife Shala and some other friends at their house. It was a nice time to decompress from the week and catch up before our lives are turned upside down in the next few weeks.

Although it probably looks pretty irresponsible, I'm drinking an O'Doule's beer and there's tortilla soup in my shot glass (I wanted to make sure it wasn't too spicy).  Rowdy pregnant fun!

Although it probably looks pretty irresponsible, I’m drinking an O’Doule’s beer and there’s tortilla soup in my shot glass (I wanted to make sure it wasn’t too spicy). Rowdy pregnant fun! (Also note that my shirt is great at catching whatever I spill…)

Symptoms:
I’ve been having lots of dreams about the baby- some strange, some normal. One that made me laugh was that we were up north visiting my family and our baby (still very young) had a long, curly ponytail to like mid-way down his back! It was a bit ridiculous! Hopefully he doesn’t come out with quite that much hair!
I had to go to the chiropractor this week- my back was all sorts of jacked up. I think when baby dropped, it shifted a lot of my weight around and put strain on my back in some areas that I wasn’t prepared for. Anyways, he fixed me up and I’m feeling much better now!
Another thing that’s been happening a lot this week is that I’ve been having night sweats. Yuck! I’m not really hot at night, but my midwife says that it’s just because of the hormones. Of course, because of this, my sleep hasn’t been the greatest… when you wake up to go to the bathroom and you’re all sticky with sweat… it’s kinda gross.

week 37

Only a few more weeks to go!

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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“Bumpdates” Time Hop… weeks 35 and 36

Anyone who read our last set of “bumpdates” knows that we received some news from our ultrasound technician that we might be further along in this pregnancy than we thought. We had to wait until mid-week to meet with our midwife to see what she thought about the results. When we did finally meet with her, she agreed that my due date should be moved up to November 1! She said that they will rarely move a due date from a late ultrasound, but because baby boy was measuring almost three weeks ahead, she said that it was significant enough to warrant a change. She looked at all of my fundal measurements from the all the past appointments I’ve had with her, and I measured about two weeks ahead each time, so she said that the ultrasound measurements mesh with her own. Our technician is also very experienced (over 30 years) and has a reputation for being within one or two ounces in predicting baby’s weight. SO… it looks like we are going to do a little “Time Hop” with our “Bumpdate” weeks.

Week 35 (would be week 32):
Since we didn’t know for sure yet whether we were ahead or right on schedule according to our own calculations, we stuck with the week 32 veggie. This week baby would have been the size of a large jicama (weight wise)- 3.75 pounds and about 16.7 inches long. But we already know that baby boy weighs at least 5 pounds so, in hindsight, this is not so accurate. Since we skipped ahead a few weeks, we missed the cantaloupe and honeydew stage. The major developments right now and over these few weeks that we’re skipping are that his skeleton is hardening, he is becoming less wrinkled and more “filled-out” with fat, he is rapidly gaining weight, his central nervous system is maturing and his lungs are preparing for the outside world.

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A honeydew melon would have been the more appropriate size comparison for this picture. At 35 weeks, he should be about 5 and a quarter pounds and over 18 inches long.

A honeydew melon would have been the more appropriate size comparison for this picture. At 35 weeks, he should be about 5 and a quarter pounds and over 18 inches long.

A cantaloupe was supposed to represent 34 weeks of pregnancy. We skipped over this pic.

A cantaloupe was supposed to represent 34 weeks of pregnancy. We skipped over this pic.

On a side note, I wore this shirt to church and to HEB (our local grocery store), and I got so many comments on it. EVERYONE loved it! It was a total hit!

This week we celebrated two very special birthdays- Trent’s and our friend Amanda’s. Trent had his 36th birthday (Gosh, he’s old ;)). I went up to his school and brought him some cookies to share with his kids and co-workers. We had our birthing class that night, but there were treats there too! We celebrated on Saturday night with dinner and cake at his mom and dad’s. We spent a relaxing evening watching the Aggie game and hanging out with family.

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My sister-in-law who is also expecting in early December.

My sister-in-law who is also expecting in early December.

Amanda was celebrating her 30th birthday, and she loves the TV show “Friends” so she had a themed party on Sunday afternoon. We played “Friends” charades and took pics together. Her cake was “Central Perk” themed and they had birthday episodes of Friends playing during the party. It was a fun time and we were glad to be able to celebrate with our friend!

Amanda's awesome cake

Amanda’s awesome cake

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Playing “Friends” charades

We had the chance to celebrate another friend’s birthday, a bit early, on Saturday. We went over to the Steele’s house for some BBQ and cookies and delicious ice cream cake in honor of Richard’s birthday. We had a great time chatting and catching up with these friends. And I got to finally hold their little one-month old, Declan! It’s kind of strange being this pregnant and holding a little newborn. He sat right on top of my bump, like a little shelf. He is still so tiny- weighing just over 8 pounds. I couldn’t help but to think that this will likely be the size of our son when he is born! It was so much fun to hold him… it was good practice for this mommy-to-be!

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Some other fun things that happened this week… we got a package from Jedidiah’s uncle Derek! He knows me so well. He got me a bib with this now infamous quote from…

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anyone know? Allen Iverson. Yeah, yeah, people are probably thinking that that would not be someone you would want your kid to know about. He’s not a great example or leader, BUT for me, he made me fall in LOVE with basketball! I absolutely loved watching him play, so this made me laugh. I put him next to my A.I. bobblehead and took a snapshot. Thanks Derek! Oh yeah, the tag made me laugh too… for el sessibito (the little sessibo).

This picture was taken several months ago now when I was home over the summer.

This picture was taken several months ago now when I was home over the summer.

In other exciting news, we got ourselves a birthday present with a little help from Best Buy and from my parents and grandparents. We put all of our birthday money (and our refund from our other camera) towards a new, NICE camera. Thankfully it was already on sale- 200 dollars off the normal price, and we were able to use a 10% off coupon for the accident coverage (which in the past, has been well worth it). We bought a Nikon D3200. For me it was an absolute MUST to have a camera by the time Jedidiah came, and now that that date was sooner, it was time to buckle down and order it. Now we have a new toy to play with!

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Symptoms this week: well, the dark vertical line that starts to show up late in pregnancy has arrived. It doesn’t go the entire length of my belly, but you can see it on the underside up to my belly button now.
I think I might have forgotten to say this one in past “bumpdates,” but my belly button has officially “popped.”
My pastor this week pointed out that I was walking with a bit more of a “waddle” which could be because I (and several others) think that I’ve “dropped” a bit.
My belly is getting bigger, and now serves as a shelf (classy, right?) for beverages or whatever I’d like to hold (See? multi-purpose…).

Excuse the photo without any make-up. This was an early morning shot!

Excuse the photo without any make-up. This was an early morning shot!

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Bumpdates 35-36

Week 36:
Baby boy is the size of a head of romaine lettuce today (length), measuring about 6 pounds and more than 18 and a half inches long! Space is getting tight in there! He’s losing some of the vernix and the downy hair that covered most of his body during pregnancy (to protect him from pickling in the amniotic fluid). He is now considered “early term” and we only have a few more weeks to go until he’s “full term!” This week we decided to unveil the change in weeks in picture form, using the pineapple that would have represented 33 weeks and the romaine lettuce which more accurately depicts where I am at 36 weeks.

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We had all sorts of things going on this week. Our poor kitty got a big wound that we noticed on Saturday, but not until the vet had already closed. It was about the size of a dime but by Sunday, it had not closed up and in fact had stretched to more the size of a quarter. We decided to keep a close eye on him to make sure that he didn’t start showing any signs of infection and waited until the vet opened on Monday to set up an appointment to take him in (emergency clinics are hella expensive!!!).

This is his wound.  You can see the blood pooled up inside.

This is his wound. You can see the blood pooled up inside.

Our kitty was feral when he was born and is now pretty good with humans, but he sure doesn’t like being caught and contained in the cat carrier. I was nervous about catching him by myself (only because I really only had one shot to get him in before he would have been pretty wary of my intentions), but that part went smoothly. I hated driving to the clinic listening to him cry (I guess this is preparation for motherhood). I kept telling him that I wasn’t being a “mean mommy” but that I was only taking him in for his own good… I don’t think he understood me. Anyways, the vet said what we expected, that he would need stitches to close up the wound. So we left him there overnight for them to clean it that evening and then sedate and stitch him up the next morning. The result… Franken-kitty… just in time for Halloween!

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Poor guy had to get a lot of stitches and then had to stay in the house all night so that we could make sure he didn’t eat or drink anything, per the vet’s orders. At first he was freaked out and kept trying to get outside, but then it was like he remembered how much he likes to be inside and have constant attention from either Trent or I. He chilled out and just hung out with us for the rest of the evening.

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Tuesday night Trent and I made our way out to our neighbor’s house for National Night Out. It was nice to reconnect with people living on our block after being away for two years. Most of the people haven’t changed and the new ones didn’t come out, but even though we didn’t meet anyone new, it was still a nice time to catch up.

Thursday night we always have our birthing class. This one was on breastfeeding. It is incredible all the stuff we learned about how our bodies interact with our babies’ bodies to give them what they need. It was some really cool stuff!

This weekend was quite eventful. One of Trent’s best friends got married! Beau was one of the groomsmen in our wedding a few years back and this time around Trent got to return the favor and be a groomsman in his. Friday night was the rehearsal. They had their wedding at the small chapel in La Villita in historic downtown San Antonio. Although Trent and I had been to La Villita before, we’d never seen the church. It was very quaint and I loved the feel of it!

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After a short rehearsal, we headed to The Cove for some delicious food and time to catch up with Beau and his soon-to-be-wife Karrin. We’d both been to The Cove before but not since they expanded… now it’s huge! The food is just as good though, and we really enjoyed the atmosphere and fellowship.

The middle one is my "root beer"

The middle one is my “root beer”

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Saturday was a busy day. We had some friends come in from out of town for another San Antonio wedding. My college roommate Sheena (who was also in our wedding) and her husband Nick were in town from Houston and came to our house for a pre-baby visit. We hadn’t been able to see them last summer when we were back visiting from China, and Sheena doesn’t have Facebook, so we had a LOT to catch up on… China and all the other places we went, baby stuff… LOTS. We had such a great time talking and laughing together and it was so refreshing to my soul to see them! It was such a blessing that they visited. They also brought Jedi some cute gifts.

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After Sheena and Nick left, we got ready for the wedding and drove downtown to La Villita. I brought the camera (I did for the groom’s dinner too) to play around with and snapped a bunch of photos while Trent did his thing with the boys. The wedding was beautiful and we were blessed to be a part of such a special day in our friends’ lives!

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The reception was nearby at The Vault. Our delicious dinner began with a goat cheese salad, then Trent got the steak dinner and I got the chicken. We always share so we get the best of both worlds! For dessert, there was the most delicious bread pudding!

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PicMonkey food Collage

After dinner, we danced the night away (the DJ had a great mix of 90’s and early 2000’s hip-hop). We were very thankful to be a part of such a wonderful night!

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These weeks have been very full, but very blessed. We’re trying to live in the moment as we’re waiting to meet our little guy and enjoy every stage of pregnancy, especially these last few weeks of “just us” time!

Symptoms this week: I’ve been having annoying night sweats most of this week… not sure why, but it hasn’t contributed to me sleeping very well. I’ve been congested with some allergy stuff (although not too bad), and I’ve had some pains down low in my pelvis. Hopefully that means my hips and pelvis are preparing for this sweet baby boy to vacate his current premises! 🙂

Week 36

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Jimo Hot Springs

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This post is a throw-back to last September, between Trent’s and my birthdays.

Several of our friends at QISS (Qingdao No. 1 International School of Shandong) had mentioned some hot springs not too far north of Qingdao in Jimo.  So for our birthday celebration (our birthdays are 10 days apart), we decided to go up and enjoy the hot springs for part of the weekend.  We asked our classroom assistants for help getting tickets and booking a hotel for the night (the websites needed to book said tickets are all in Chinese…).

Our plan was to go up after school on Friday and come back sometime Saturday- late afternoon or evening.  The hot springs are attached to a beautiful hotel where we intended to stay… until we saw the prices!  Yikes!  Grand Metropark Hotel was well over 100 dollars just for the one night, and that didn’t include our admission to the actual hot springs.  Luckily our old principal, Alejandra, who had been there several times before, came to the rescue.  We gave her a call and she put us in touch with a “friend” of hers that she met the last time she was in Jimo.  He told us that he would help us to find a hotel for the night and that he would pick us up and make sure that we got to the hot springs.  It turned out that the availability in the big hotel was very minimal and extremely expensive, so he ended up making arrangements for us to stay at another hotel only a mile down the road, which also had some “hot springs” inside.  He also offered to pick us up from the bus stop when we arrived in Jimo.

So, with an overnight bag packed, we headed to the bus stop about a mile up the road from our school.  We walked there, and caught bus 617 just outside of Ocean University (also knows as Haida).  By the time we actually got on the bus, it was already getting dark.  Honestly we were a little nervous about knowing where to get off the bus and about getting where we actually wanted to go this weekend.  Things are always a bit of a toss-up when you don’t speak the language well and you don’t really know where you’re going.  About 40 minutes later on a very crowded city bus, we arrived at the correct stop (we thought).  Luckily it was- we’d been talking to our friend several times throughout the journey trying to coordinate everything.  He helped us to get off in the right place.  He greeted us as we disembarked and told us about this other hotel.  He wanted to show it to us before he booked it, to make sure that it was up to par.  So we climbed in his car and chatted with him a bit while we drove the 5 minutes to the hotel.  Now, for the life of me I can’t figure out which hotel it was (sorry), even with all the help of the internet and Google maps… I have no idea what the place we stayed at was called.  When we arrived, we were given a quick tour of the rooms available and we decided that at only about 250 Yuan, this was a much better and more affordable deal.  He also got us into the hot springs that they have inside the hotel for a discounted rate, and he got us into their dinner buffet, which was already closing up.  We paid for the night and said goodbye to our friend for the evening before practically running to the buffet (not because we were excited about the food that they had there, so much as excited about food in general.  It was already close to 8:30pm and we were starving!!!).  We didn’t even drop our stuff in the room!  As we got a few plates full of semi-warm food, the atmosphere was boisterous with lots of very drunk businessmen (this is very common in China).  We ate while watching the spectacles they were making of themselves, all the while gambei-ing (gambei means “bottoms up” in Chinese… so essentially taking shots… of beer) each other in toast after Chinese toast.  We finished up our food as the help was cleaning up and watched a man run down the hallway to projectile vomit in the men’s room (gross…).

Then we headed to our room to drop off our bag and to check out the hotel’s hot springs. After changing into our bathing suits, we headed downstairs and paid for our entrance.  They gave us each a wristband that gave us access to a locker and then Trent and I met on the other side of the locker rooms.  I have to say, I was impressed with how nice they were, and clean too!  On the other side of the doors, we found several different pools, each with different temperature readings.  It wasn’t a huge area, but it had several options, and after the long day (and week) we’d had, we just wanted to soak and relax!  It was kind of awkward though, because even though we were the only people in there, the guard/worker on duty stared at us shamelessly the whole time (which, quite honestly, we should be used to by now).  We didn’t stay very long- maybe 40 minutes.  We took some photos of the inside.

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After heading back to the room, we were exhausted! We both took quick showers and then headed to bed! Our friend would be picking us up at 8:30 the next morning!

The hotel, which I think was actually more of a business training center, was comfortable enough. The bed was still very Chinese… meaning extremely hard. But we slept well (that happens when you’ve had a full week of teaching 3-6 year olds). When we woke up, we got our first glimpse of really where we were. It was light outside and it was very beautiful. We enjoyed the view from our window until the grumble in our stomachs told us we’d better get a move on!

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We headed back downstairs for breakfast. Again, it was very Chinese, but at least they had some hard boiled eggs, fruit and bread. Somehow, fried sprouts and other hot foods are not what my body wants to eat for breakfast.

Then we headed outside to meet our ride. Somehow overnight he had changed cars and came rolling up in this Pepto-Bismol pink car, with a big ol’ smile on his face. Trent has picked up on the Chinese way and is now unashamed to take photographs of the things we would consider ridiculous, this being among them. For your viewing pleasure…

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He drove us to Ocean Springs Resort, which makes it sound like the springs are from the ocean… they’re not. We didn’t learn until later that these “springs” are just man-made ones (despite being RIGHT NEXT TO the ocean…). The place is beautiful, as is the hotel that we initially wanted to stay at. Here are some photos.

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The inside of the Ocean Spring Resort was beautiful and very fancy (we would expect nothing less).

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Then we made our way to the counter and showed them our tickets (which our assistants had been kind enough to help us order and print out). They gave us each a wristband that opens a locker containing flip flops, a robe, and a towel. Tickets were about 200 Yuan a person (about 40 bucks). We changed (in front of a million watching eyes) in our respective locker rooms and then headed to the springs. When we entered, Trent started snapping pictures, but about 2-3 shots in, he was told by one of the staff members that photography inside the hot springs was not allowed. Boo on you. Here are the few shots that we got.

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The inside was HUGE. It was all in this massive dome-like structure with lots of natural lighting. There were tons of little pools, each labeled with their temperature. They had different themes, there were some with games in them, others with waterfalls or fountains, and there was a huge one for the kids with a massive ball pit in the center! There were hot springs in the “ruins” of an old ship, and all sorts of other cool pools. Trent and I made our way around the different pools enjoying the people watching and relaxing. After a while, we decided we needed a break. We were able to snap a few winning shots without detection…

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We went back through the locker rooms and got these clothes that you are required to wear if you leave (kind of “scrub”-like) and then met upstairs, where someone had told us there were snacks! Indeed there were, but many of them were not necessarily appetizing to us. We stuck to fruits that we knew and recognized, and drank some juice while watching others playing in the springs.

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After we’d rested sufficiently and eaten enough to tide us over, we changed and went back downstairs. This time, we decided to try out the outdoor springs. Here there weren’t any people watching. The weather was getting cooler, so there weren’t many people outside at all! We busted the camera back out and took some more photos out here where nobody seemed to care. You can see the ocean from some of the springs, although the view isn’t the greatest. It is through a chain-link fence that kind of detracts from the natural beauty. The hot water and the cool air were the perfect combination, and we spent the rest of our afternoon out here.

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When we were sufficiently pruned up, we decided we’d had enough and we went back inside to change our clothes. But we’d seen how lovely the outside was, so we decided to go on a little walk. We ended up walking by the HUGE hotel we were going to stay at, and their lovely grounds, as well as out along the ocean. It was beautiful!

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We figured out how to catch the correct bus back to take us back into Qingdao and enjoyed a lovely sunset on the bus. It was a great “end” to a great birthday weekend!

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Overall impressions and suggestions:

It was definitely worth going to.

We know one person since our going who came back with an awful rash. Be careful!

You could easily make this trip in one day if you left early in the morning and came back in the evening. One day of hot springs is enough!

I would suggest staying at the hotel that is connected, simply for the reason that the hot water makes you tired, and it sure would have been nice to go back to our room to chill for a bit between our times in the different pools.

Book online for cheaper entrance! Most of the websites are in Chinese, but you can find a friend to help you!

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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