Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Party

On Wednesday nights William leads an Open Mic/Poetry reading night. We usually meet at a restaurant or coffee shop and share favorite poems, and songs. (our friend Glen always sings)
This past Wednesday we had Open Mic at our home and had a small Christmas Party. We read some Christmas Poems and sang some Christmas songs and had ALOT of really good cookies. We also served homemade apple cider, Glog (a Swedish hot spiced wine) and hot chocolate.

Luckily our friend Syria came and took some pictures. Here is a picture of Glen holding the baby and our Christmas tree...

We also had Fun With Hats! Syria has a Lilo (from Lilo and Stitch) hat and I have a bear hat and Bonnie has a little pink hat with some ears on it. Here's our hat picture.

And she even took our first family Christmas photo!


It was so much fun to have our friends over and share Christmas with them.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Counting down the days

When I was little we had an advent calender. It was just one of those paper European ones that you open the little flap every day till Christmas and there's a cute picture behind it. I loved opening those little doors.

One year my mom got us an advent calendar with little pieces of chocolate behind each window. That year was especially fun. We got to eat a piece of chocolate every day!

When William was growing up his mom had a little Christmas tree that sat on a bunch of drawers. Every day (starting on December 1st) she would open a drawer and pull out a little ornament and put it on the tree. By Christmas the tree was completely decorated.

I've been looking for something like these two calendars for a couple of years now. I didn't want just anything... I wanted something that was special and unique looking and fit our little family well.

THIS year I found it.
I really loved this as soon as I saw it. It's a string of little stockings numbered from 1 to 24.
I loved that it has kind of a mountain/Tennessee Christmas feeling to it.

I had ALOT of fun filling each little stocking with a little gift, candy, or a note with a clue to a hidden gift. And I think William has had fun pulling out the little surprise everyday.

I look forward to this being a part of our family Christmas celebrations every year. But it does mean I have to start my Christmas shopping ALOT earlier from now on.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Deck the Baby


Baby Bonnie helped me decorate the Christmas tree!
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Me and my Christmas Angel

Last year my Christmas theme song was "Tender Tennessee Christmas" and I cried every time I played it.

This year my favorite song is "All I Want for Christmas is You"

I told William he could just put a bow on the Baby and put her under the tree and I would be happy. And it's true. She's my Christmas Angel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Outings with Baby ... Carriers


Baby Bonnie and I often go out... of the house. At first we just took short walks to the store for some fresh air and exorcise but then we started getting more bold with our outings. Yesterday and last week we went to the fabric market. (you'll see the results of THAT trip in another post... and trust me, you'll LOVE it)

The one thing that has made our outings comfortable and possible are baby carriers.

For one thing carrying your baby close to you is very good for your baby. Research has shown that babies thrive when they are held close to their mothers (and fathers) and have lots of skin to skin or in arms time. They physically grow healthier and they are more confident and happy babies.
I'm not making this up... research it your self. (I'd recommend starting with Dr. William Sears.)

Also, Shanghai is not a Stroller friendly City.

The first carrier I got was my Ring Sling.
I got a really pretty one from BaoBeiBaby Carriers, run by two moms who live in Shanghai.

I liked to put Bonnie Rose in the cradle position but she didn't like it too much. She likes the upright "hug" position.

Here we are in the "Cradle" position in out of our first times using the sling.



This is a pretty funny picture of Bonnie and Me all Bundled up for an outing. I wonder what the Chinese people think when they see me. It was pretty funny when they would realize I had a baby under my coat. They would act all shocked.
I guess you can't really tell there's a baby in there.



After using the Ring Sling for a few months I decided to tray a new carrier that the ladies at BaoBei Baby Carriers were selling. They call it "The Wrap".

It's basically a long piece of fabric that you wrap around you a few times and then put the baby in. It's simple and super easy to use, but best of all, Bonnie LOVES it.




It's incredibly comfortable for both me and baby Bonnie. I like it because it distributes Bonnie's weight to both shoulders as well as my hips. I hardly feel her weight at all, which is great because she's gett
ing pretty heavy.
Here is a picture of my new friend Gina. She runs the Bao Bei Baby Carriers. Which by the way means "Precious Baby" in Chinese. Please check out their site and consider buying something from them, they do ship to the US and their prices are very good. Also, they donate part of the proceeds from every carrier to feeding Chinese Orphans.
(They make REALLY great Baby Shower gifts)


We go everywhere with our carrier now. It keeps us both warm, it keeps Bonnie close to me which is healthy for her... And I have more control over who can get close to her because I can run away really fast.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gangsta Baby

The best thing about having a baby (besides when she smiles at me) is getting to dress her up.
The 4 Aunties gave her this pink velour Hello Kitty jacket that I think makes her look like a little pink Gangsta...

Totally Bad Ass...in her bunny slippers


Hello Kitty

Rollin' in the dough
(by the way, for those of you unfamiliar with our funny looking money... That's money under her arm.)
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Sweater Baby

Here's another video for you of our little Christmas Angel.
She's started being more vocal during her play time.
William was out of town this past weekend on a business trip so Bonnie and I made this video for him....

video

Friday, December 11, 2009

HATS

I like hats. Hats make me happy. I like to wear hats. I like to see people wearing hats. I like buy hats. I like to laugh at people who look silly in hats... I like to look silly in hats.

When William and I first got married (I'm talking on our honeymoon!) I told him I wanted a winter baby so I could dress her up in puffy marshmallow outfits and put hats on her.
Naturally this freaked him out,(being that we were 5 days married) but he has accommodated me well.

So this winter Bonita Rose and her Daddy got new hats.
Don't they both look splendid in them!


Bonnie takes ofter her father and looks great in hats. Hopefully she won't have as hard a time finding one that fits her.
So far so good.



My hat on the other hand is not quite so fashionable. However, it is amazing for making Bonita Rose forget why she's crying and even better for making her laugh out loud.
And that's worth looking silly any time...


If only I could get her father to agree with me... I'd like to have a picture of him in the antlers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Cheer

What would the holidays be without food? Food is half the magic of this Holiday season. And a very important part of Holiday food is Holiday DRINK!



I don't know what it is about Apple Cider that makes me feel all warm and Christmasy.. but no matter what time of year I drink it, I feel like Christmas.

Apple Cider is probably the easiest Christmas treat to make. All you need is some Apple Juice (buy a good brand. I use Dole) Some Cinnamon sticks (not powder... I tired that, yuk) and some whole cloves.

Pour the Apple Juice in a sauce pan and drop in a few sticks of cinnamon and some cloves. Turn the flame all the way down and let heat slowly. Don't let it boil or it will be too sweet. When it's hot pour it in a cup and drink it. I like to put the sticks of cinnamon in the cup. I like the extra cinnamon taste.
I reuse my sticks and cloves a few times (it's hard to find real cinnamon sticks in china)

If you don't like the taste of cloves don't put very many in. but it tastes good if you put a few in.

I keep apple juice in the house and make this almost every night now. It's less fattening than Hot Chocolate.

Also, it tastes best (and more romantic) if you serve it matching mugs... best is Christmas mugs.
Final step. Cuddle up with your Santa Baby and watch Star Trek. mmm a perfect evening.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving

I used to say that I didn't really care for Thanksgiving. But actually, I quite enjoy it. Especially in Shanghai. I don't know why but every year it gets better and better.
I really enjoy gathering my friends and sharing a big meal with them. And then later hearing what they are all thankful for.

This year we kept it simple and small. And this year we had to ask for a little help.
But isn't that what Thanksgiving is really all about? Gathering with friends and helping each other ... while being thankful.

This year Cathy made the pumpkin pie. (I only helped a very little. Mostly I held the baby)


It was her first pie and it tasted really good.


Lukas was the biggest so we thought he'd have the best luck with the whip cream. We ended up passing it around ... Fanny ended up being the best at it. I think she was the one who finally got it thick.


Our Shanghai Family.


In the end I'm not sure who the bigger star was...

The turkey or the baby.


Cathy liked the turkey.






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Friday, December 4, 2009

Little Friends

Bonita Rose (or Rosie as I'm calling her lately) has a little friend.
She doesn't know she has a friend yet. But I'm hoping someday soon she will.


Our very good friends, Heidi and Lukas, had a baby boy about 4 months ago. This is him with William at Thanksgiving. Isn't he a good looking kid!

It's really wonderful to have friends that are new parents the same time we are. Plus they have 3 months more of newborn knowledge than us.

Heidi and I take "the kids" for walks and outings. Nothing really elaborate yet.
So far we have gone to Ikea, the mall,Starbucks and the grocery store.
We have plans to go to the park and tomorrow we will go to the German Christmas market.
These outings usually consist of feeding the babies in a public place. Changing a diaper. And having people stop us to stare at our babies and tell us how cute they are.
Also we get to share exciting news like "Today Rosie lifted her head by her self!"
Or, "Today Emil played Peek a Boo!"

Thanksgiving was the first time that Emil and Rosie really "met." Usually they are in the same room but in different strollers or concentrating on their own personal eating needs.
But this time we thought it would be fun for them to meet face to face.



Bonita Rose locked her eyes on Emil and tried to figure out what/who he was.
Emil, who is old and a little more aware, was amazed to see another little person. He kept staring at her and then looking back as his parents, as if to say "mom, what is that?!"

It was super cute and we all stood around watching and giggling and taking a ridiculous number of pictures.

It was nice of Rosie and Emil to be our entertainment this Thanksgiving.
It was by far our best Thanksgiving ever and we had so much to be thankful for.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Red Eggs

In China when a Baby is born her parents pass out "Red Eggs" to everyone they know. In the past (and in more traditional areas it is still done) the entire family would get together and boil and dye eggs red.

The egg represents fertility and prosperity and red is lucky.

Most of the people in Shanghai give out packaged red eggs. You don't have to make them yourselves. You can just buy them and hand them out. There are even companies that will put them together in a cute little package for you so you don't have to do anything.

Here is a picture of a packaged red egg. It's wrapped in a thick red plastic. It's boiled and the shell has already been take off for you and everything. It's all ready it eat. (and yes. People love to eat them)
Packaged cooked red egg

In the States the tradition is to pass out Cigars. Though hardly anyone does any more.
Well since we are in China William decided it would be great fun to pass out the red eggs. It's a great way to share you joy with everyone around you and let people know your baby has arrived. So, with the help of our friend Penny, William ordered a box of 70 packages each containing two red eggs and two pieces of Dove chocolate. He wanted people to know he was double happy about his little girl.
After giving one out to every person at his company we soon realized that we needed to buy another box. There were still more people we wanted to share our joy with.

Bonnie Rose is happy about her red eggs.


We gave red eggs to all of our friends. That made them very happy and Penny told us that the more we gave away the more joy we were sharing.

Well that sounded good to us so William gave some to the employees at our favorite Restaurant where we have ordered dinner so many times since Bonnie has been born that they know where we live now and always want to come and see the baby. They also always give us free dessert. (HengShan Cafe, They have great duck)
He also gave them to all of our neighbors. And to the guards at the entrance to our building. They were all so surprised and happy to receive them that they STILL always greet us with a smile and ask to see the baby.

Bonnie Rose with Chocolate in her pocket and an egg in her hand

I gave some to the drink stand where I bought my daily boba milk tea when I was pregnant and the girls squealed and smiled over Bonnie. (I got a free drink too!)

Penny was right. It was really fun to share our joy with so many people, to see the smiles on their faces when we gave them the eggs ...

And to hear them tell us how beautiful our baby is.










Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Nana








We call my mom Nana. Yep. Just like the dog from Peter Pan.


Nana is very special to us. She's protective and funny and super smart. She's always there for us when we need her. Just like Nana from Peter Pan.
But OUR Nana is even more to us than that. I would not be the person I am today without her and Bonnie Rose would not have had the delivery and easy transition into the outside world without OUR Nana.

Bonita Rose is named after my mother just like I am. The other day someone asked me why I go by Michelle (one of my middle names) instead of by Bonita (my real first name).
The truth is. I've often thought about switching to Bonita but when I look at my mom I never felt like I could live up to the name.

She's my hero and my roll model.
She's my best friend.
When I grow up I want to be just like her. Now more than ever.
I love you Mama.

Well today is Nana's Birthday. We wanted to send something really special to her for her birthday...





Happy Birthday Nana!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baby Smiles

Bonnie Rose wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all her fans out there. I know this may seem really boring to alot of people. 2 minutes of a baby making funny faces at a camera. But for those of you we are interested (mainly the grandparents) I wanted to share a little of our "awake time" with you.


video

Bonnie Rose is very active during her Awake Time. She likes to kick and squeal and wave. It's one of the funnest times of my day. She's also a very happy and smiley baby.

I tired to get her to suck on my thumb so you could see her cute sucking faces... but she didn't want to.

Doesn't she have a great smile though!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Troubles

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few days.
We're having some trouble with "The Great FireWall"

I'll keep trying. We have some good pictures coming up so keep checking back.

Until then...
Happy December 1st!!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

True Love

Ok. I don't really have much to say about these pictures. I just thought they were wonderful and wanted to share them with you.


Who knew some one so small could bring so much joy and peace and love!

There is just something healing and spiritual about holding a baby. Especially when that baby is YOUR baby.
When I am sad (like when my mom went home or when I think about missing another holiday season with my family) I hold Bonnie Rose and she makes me feel so much better.
I don't know how to explain it. William said it was the same for him... when he was sick the other week he said holding the baby made him feel better (she's breast feeding so we aren't worried about her getting sick).

I remember when she was first born and for the first few weeks I was just in awe. I couldn't believe it was real. That this little baby came out of me and William and I actually had a baby!

Now that she's a month old it's all sinking in deeper and deeper. Yesterday it struck me. WE GET TO KEEP HER! She's in our lives forever!! I don't have to give her up. I don't have to give her back to someone else. This little angel is our very own. And we get to hold her and kiss her all we want all the time.
And that is just wonderful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nap Time = Cuddle Time



They say you should sleep when the baby sleeps.

Bath Time




We all have to get used to things. Especially new things. When Bonnie Rose was just a couple weeks old she had her first in water bath. (for pictures of her very first towel bath see my mom's blog)

At first she wasn't sure what to think, but then she got used to it. Actually I think her Mommy and Daddy had to get more used to it more than she did. She was so small!


It's a little work to give her a bath. We have to warm up the living room. Set up her tub on the table. Arrange a pile of warm towels for her. Argue about the water temperature. And pick out a new outfit. THEN we get to gently put her in the water and hope she doesn't complain about the temperature.

Well as you can see by this picture she loves her bath time. And so do I.

I think we are all getting better at it and Bonnie Rose loves her naked time. Yup. She lives up to her name sake ... and her mother.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday

Bonita Rose is ONE MONTH old and she has changed SO much in just 4 short weeks.

Here she is just few days old


And here she is at 1 month


Can you believe how much she has grown?!
She was born at 6pounds 7ounces
and when I weighed her last week she was 9pounds 5ounces. and I'm pretty sure she's gain more since then.

Here she is sporting some Shanghai winter fashion...


and yes. Those are leg warmers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby Dedication


Many cultures and religious groups have different traditions when it comes to welcoming a new baby into the world.When Bonnie Rose was born a couple of our Chinese friends asked us if we had any special ceremony that we did for the baby since we are Christians.
I explained what we usually do is called a "Baby Dedication." The parents usually take the baby to church and stand in front of the church with the Pastor. The parents promise to raise the child to know God and by doing it in front of the church they are also asking their church family to help them raise the child in this way.
Simply put, we dedicate the child to God. We say to God "Thank you for giving us this baby, we acknowledge this beautiful gift and give it back to you."

Anyway, I wasn't sure what we were going to do for Bonnie Rose. We are far away from our home church and our family and it would be nice to do it with them. But since we don't know when we will be home again to our home church, and the International Church in Shanghai was having a Dedication Sunday we decided to do it now.
So we got Bonnie Rose all dressed up in her beautiful rose covered outfit from her Nana and made the adventurous outing to church.



Any time you have ten babies sitting in the first 2 rows of church it's an adventure. For every one. But all the babies behaved very well and we got to practice what it's like having a baby at a public event. It was fun, and it was special. And Bonnie Rose looked Beautiful.



The church people were so sweet and supportive and super patient with all the babies. They gave Bonnie these beautiful flowers and a Certificate for us to remember this special Sunday by.

Baby dedication isn't some magic pass straight to heaven. It doesn't guarantee that the baby will have a perfect life. It's not superstitious or for good luck. It doesn't really mean much to the child.
But it is special for the parents. It's a way for us to refocus our goals and intentions for our daughter. It's a time to stop and be thankful for our blessings. And it's a time for those in our community to remember the value of children and to be reminded of our communal responsibility to them.

And it's a great excuse to get our baby all dressed up and have people tell us how cute she is.