Well....we are still in the States. Not planning on going back to China until baby Enlu is a little older...main reason being we don't want to deal with trying to find safe milk powder, etc. We will wait until he is eating solids better before returning.
Enlu turned 7 months old yesterday and, as always parents always say, we can't imagine life without him. He is a sweet, if rather vocal and constantly hungry, baby and our little "half blood" baby is growing up so fast!
My hubby even started a WeiShi account for him where you can check out all of his cute videos...stay tuned and I will post the link for it later.
More updates coming soon, I promise. Can't believe it's been so long! But between my job and baby, I really have been preoccupied. Let's remedy that. :-)
Today marks the 37th week of this pregnancy...I finally gained close to the amount my midwives advised, so I definitely look pregnant now/am doing the pregnant waddle.
I am not resting as much as I should perhaps (still working), but being active has been good for me, and I have been really grateful recently for this season of confusion, uncertainty, and challenges. I have learned more and more to take things one step at a time, accept help, persevere, and let go of things I cannot control (with only an average weekly weeping breakdown, ha).
I cannot control what happens with my husband's visa. I cannot control when the baby will come. I cannot control many situations in our lives, and a lot of situations are not ideal. But it's ok. Trusting God is always a challenge for me, and these circumstances are being used by Him to teach me in ways nothing else could have taught me.
I have worried about my husband as he is forced to stay home on a tourist visa, with no driver's license, and in a situation which can be frustrating as he feels helpless, he has learned to rely on God more too, and he has been an endless source of encouragement for me.We came to the United States for the birth of our child, as my visa was expiring, and just at the right time as my father had to have unexpected heart surgery a couple weeks after my arrival...
I have had days when I doubted our decision to come here for the birth of our child, but I am reminded often that this is part of God's plan, and that it has been valuable time for us as a couple.
I miss Hohhot, Inner Mongolia oftentimes too.
I miss riding around on the back of my husband's motorbike.
I miss cheap DVD's (which I know I shouldn't buy because they are pirated....but....anyways).
I miss my doggies.
I miss friends there.
But overall, I am grateful to be where I am for this season of life.
Currently sick. Combined with being 31 weeks pregnant, not so fun, but attempting to take it easy this weekend and praying for hubby to have a good time on his Easter retreat with the San Antonio Chinese church.
For all the people wondering why I haven't posted belly photos...time for an honest statement, followed by some visuals....I am not a glowing pregnant person.
I look, and feel, exhausted. I don't love being pregnant, and I don't make it look especially cute.
So....in comparison with all the lovely professional photo shoots of glowing mama-to-be...here is my reality:
31 weeks pregnant and sick...but I have consistently looked that exhausted before getting sick.
Anyways....I keep reminding myself that, as with all things, pregnancy is not something that I need to be rating myself in comparison with my pinterest board photos on.
Aside from some exhaustion, it has been a relatively smooth and healthy pregnancy thus far, and for that I am thankful. Our son has already been an active little boy, we could feel him moving like crazy starting at 16 weeks! He gets hiccups, and wakes me up a lot. He also kicked Daddy in the face while he was trying to listen for the baby's heartbeat.
We picked a name, which I will share here only because I think it is doubtful that any of my readers are going to steal it. 刘恩路。 We haven't found an English name, so the Chinese name will have to do. He, like my students, can always give himself an English name later...and he will have mom to advice him on not picking a name like "Demon" or "Will.I.Am" (yes, those were both self-named male students of mine).
Anyway...the name, which means something like "a thankful path/journey" alludes to the grace of God in mine and my husband's lives, and the blessing that our son is. We are looking forward to meeting him! Hopefully only 8 or 9 more weeks to go!
In this journey, I've been so blessed by my husband, who has been supportive, encouraging, and even gives me a foot/leg massage every single night (and makes me eat protein even when I don't want to).
In spite of the hardships we have faced, we have learned more than ever to trust God together, and as we are looking forward to this Easter Sunday, when we can celebrate Christ's triumph over the grave, I am thankful to also be able to attest to Christ's triumph over many things in our lives as well. Happy Easter!
I'm homesick for China these days...not all of it, of course, but parts of it. Food, people, and some aspects of our lifestyle there (although of course there are parts that I don't miss at all and don't even really look forward to returning to).
It has been fun, however, to watch my husband navigate life in the U.S. at times. I don't enjoy watching him have to navigate the not fun parts, such as no driver's license or job because of our in limbo visa situation, but other parts...it's quite funny.
I only realize just how much has has adjusted to some things when I listen to him talking to friends and family in China.
One notable thing, of course, has been his adjustment to preparing for baby...which would have been a completely different experience in China, as we'd originally thought it would be.
As we've taken our Bradley Method class, and prepared for what we hope will be a natural birth at a birth center instead of a hospital, he has certainly had his eyes opened to a lot of things you wouldn't see in Inner Mongolia, China.
We've been able to compare things with his sister, who recently gave birth to her daughter back in Inner Mongolia. As I've heard about her experience, I have been reminded how honestly thankful I am to be in the U.S., preparing with my birth team here. In spite of the financial difficulties, it will be worth it.
Last night, I laughed a little bit as I heard him lecturing his mother on breastfeeding and the wrong care instructions that she was giving his sister. His mother was completely silent on the other end, and I know she had to be thinking, "What on earth has happened to my son?"
Overall, we are grateful for this time "in limbo" as it were. Our time here has been an opportunity for us to switch roles and bring a bit of "China" life to America.
So, no update for quite some time...I am not Jules in 中国 （China), still Jules in 美国 （America).
Life has been challenging (not a shocker I suppose) and mostly we have been preparing (as much as we can) for the arrival of this little guy....
Our own little 混血宝宝。（mixed-blood baby). Who is, yes, a boy. And who we still have no idea what to name. We are mostly preoccupied with how to pay to bring him into the world, I suppose. Navigating life in America, just like life in China, is a series of massive headaches as part of an international couple.
Anyways, more posts to come as I process thoughts about life in America vs. in China, our child's racial/ethnic "identity", raising a cross-cultural baby, and yes, thoughts and observations on the hype surrounding male babies in China.
We've been back in the U.S. for almost a month now, and it has been a welcome time of refreshment and quality family time for us.
While we didn't do anything particularly exciting for New Year's, it was better than last year in that I didn't have food poisoning. We ate tamales, listened to fireworks (felt almost like being back in China for a moment, where fireworks go off nightly), and then reminisced about 2013.
2013 was a big year for us.
In January, we returned to China after our first visit together to the U.S.
We finished our apartment (which was a huge undertaking).
(our master bedroom)
In April, we got legally married.
(our wedding certificate)
We took our fun wedding portraits.
We planned our wedding celebration, and got to have the wedding with my family coming to China for the first time.
We got Hali, our Golden Retriever.
(Hali with Xiao Bai, another stray dog we feed sometimes, and Oscar, another dog in the background...at one point our house was fullll of dogs)
We saved 5 newborn puppies from the side of the road where they had been abandoned. 4 of them didn't make it, but the 1 who did was so worth it. He is precious.
(blurry picture, but this is "puppy", our little survivor)
We went on our honeymoon in Sanya, where we enjoyed surprisingly good weather (it was the rainy season).
(enjoying a walk on the beach in Sanya)
I gained several new work experiences.
(one of these new work experiences was modeling for an online shop...here I am getting hair extensions put in....ridiculous, haha)
We enjoyed cooking classes with friends!
(our Thanksgiving cooking class event...with Rachel, my dear friend and chef extraordinaire)
We decided to try getting pregnant, fully expecting it would take us a while...to our surprise...it didn't.
We came back to the U.S., rather unexpectedly due to a series of events, and thus got to be here when my father unexpectedly had to undergo a quintuple bypass.
All in all, it's been a year full of challenges and surprises, but God has been good to us, and we are thankful. 2014 will be a year to remember as well, and we are looking forward to our newest adventure, parenthood.