December Snapshots 2017
December, oh how I LOVE December! Packed full of love, blessing, fellowship, and reminders of the biggest sacrifice over made, I just can’t help but love this final month of the year. It never-fails me make me sentimental, it causes me to reflect, and it ignites hopeful feelings for the new year. With Christmas in the air, and lots of special events happening, there really is so much to appreciate during December.
Miss Out on the Other December Posts? Check them out here:
The Christmas excitement started to build when Our Christmas Box Arrived from Texas. We put up our tree and Eli completed the decorating with a tradition of ours: The Star is On the Tree. I discussed my struggle with infertility, and Finding that Content Place. Eli is halfway to four! Link up to his update and pictures here: Eli 3.5 Years: Photo Shoot. We did some baking, held hands with a stranger on the bus, and dug out the face masks when the pollution rolled in. For the third year in a row, I had a table at the ISQ Christmas Fair. That evening I also hosted a Christmas Cookie Swap.
With Eli sleeping at some friends, Justin and I enjoyed a Magical Night at the Shangri-La, attended the QISS Winter Wonderland Gala and marveled at the amazing newly opened Qingdao Metro. We celebrated Christmas early, completed our New Zealand stories on the blog and then jetted off to the Philippines!
Besides the bigger December events, below are some unblogged snapshots from December 2017. All taken on my iPhone, and you guys KNOW how much I love phone pictures *Sarcastic tone*!
We got to say hello to a new addition to our group, little baby Hope. Holding her, it just amazed me that Eli was ever this size. He looked like a giant compared to this little newborn! Coming up to four years, I can barely believe that he was born at the same as this little Hope. She felt too small to be real!
Eli kissed the baby repeatedly, and rubbed her tummy gently! My heart!
Lots of sweet acts of service this month.
I have learned SO MUCH about loving and serving others while we have lived in China. It started in 2011, and it just keep going… Our eyes have been opened to a world of giving – one that we never even knew existed. It has been easy to see how God provides, cares, and uses us in His works. It has truly been a blessing!
The Grubby Hood
Things tend to go from pretty in Autumn, to deathly-looking in winter. Imagine my horror, however, when we discovered that there would be construction in, and around, our apartment complex for the entire month of December. Not only did all the trees shed their color and the skies turn to grey, but there was trash EVERYWHERE!
In the picture above, This is where Eli and I usually sit to munch on Tea Eggs and Baozi. Yes, I realize that this little local spot isn’t the best looking eatery, even on a good day! But with scaffolding overhead, trash covering the ground, and polystyrene-shavings floating through the air, we didn’t frequent our little lunch-spot like we usually would!
Below, At least we had signs reminding us to take care. I love how they decided to throw a letter “G” onto the end of “object”.
Life in China – always packed full of adventure, surprises and giggles!
After six months of following a ketogenic lifestyle, I am able to order whatever I like via online Chinese clothing stores. Not only does it all fit, but often some of it is too loose!! I bought a beautiful white gown for the Winter Wonderland Gala, and ended up having to ask Bethany to take it in for me. Definitely a nice feeling to not be an XL in China anymore!! haha… FYI a Chinese XL is probably equivalent to a Western medium. However, since there is no consistency in sizing, you just never know what you might get!
While Bethany acted as my personal tailor, Eli caught up on some reading.
We celebrated an amazing lady, who has since moved from Qingdao to Canada. It is always sad to see friends leave, but in this expat-world, we know that it is never goodbye for good, but rather “See You Later”. We laughed, we ate, we drank, and we arm-wrestled… it was a great night amongst a group of wonderful woman.
One of the ladies brought a Polaroid camera along and we took old-school pictures with our dear friend. I had been working on a scrapbook for her, so we also present that to Catherine at the dinner party.
Above, Sentimental words of farewell from Cat
I was quite touched by this sweet card that Catherine gave to me before she left. This lady is incredibly kind and loving, but the things that she said about me were really amazing! Talk about getting choked up…
Somedays you stay in warm fuzzy jammies all day, and other days you wear your stilettos, after a run, while cooking dinner. I believe that they call this: balance! I am so happy that I wore those shoes in a little before the Winter Gala. Last time I wore them, I could barely walk halfway into the event — It was awful. I definitely managed to wear them more gracefully this time!
And FYI, those PJs are the best I have EVER owned!! My mother-in-law sent them for me in our Christmas Box, and they have been a lifesaver. I find it difficult to take them off at all. They are so soft and comfy – I am barely ever cold!
There was lots of indoor, and outdoor, giggles in December.
Below, Eli fell asleep on our staircase, while he was waiting for me to open the front door. Now that’s a pretty good sign that he had enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon!
We Need a View Like This
A number of foreigners live in this sky-rise apartment complex located along the coast. The windows are big, bright, and boast amazing views of the ocean. I did a newborn family shoot here, and the lighting was simply amazing. If we lived in a place like this, I would have a bazillion more pictures than I already do! Lighting is not great in our apartment, so when I get to do a shoot in an apartment like this, I get pretty excited!
The QISS Christmas Concert
Just before school closed for winter break, the students put on a Christmas Concert. Eli and I went up to the school to enjoy the festivities. The show was amazing, and I couldn’t stop laughing at the clever lyrics and lines.
Below, “Facekinis” – I am pretty sure that I have done a post on these (Oh man, I hope that I have)
Just in case I haven’t, check them out here, Facekini: China’s most terrifying swimwear trend.
“First there was the bikini, then the monokini and now the facekini! Chinese women looking to protect their delicate porcelain skin from the sun donned facekinis in addition to full body suits while on the beach in Qingdao.”
Another action-packed day at school left Eli exhausted. He crawled under a chair, and dozed off… while sucking on a candy cane, of course! 😂
Too Cold for Outdoor Shoots
Although I did do a couple outdoor shoots, most of my shoots in December, took place indoors. I absolutely LOVED the final pictures from Parker’s Newborn Shoot, which I did at in his home. A wonderful enclosed sun-room provided plenty of light for this shoot.
During Lukas’ Cake Smash, Eli posed for me beforehand. He was reeeeeeally excited about this being a birthday-event. Look at that face! He was so thrilled when I sang “Happy Birthday to You”, and let him put a birthday hat on. Sweet boy – he is just so funny.
A friend brought over some pretty roses, and they brightened up our dining room.
And yup, as the colder temperatures roll in, and the heating gets turned on, the pollution thickens. We haven’t had too bad of a winter, but who I am kidding, we were gone for three weeks of it!
A great month, but I have to admit, it flew by too quickly. We left for the Philippines on December 16th, so we really enjoy got half a month in China. That meant that our Christmas festivities got cut in half, but we did have the beach, and some great tans waiting for us down south!