October Snapshots │ 2017
October flew by! I can hardly believe that we are already moving into the second last month of the year… Christmas and New Years are just around the corner! I love November-December. All of the festive gatherings, the hot chocolate, the boots and sweaters, and the falling leaves. More than those though, I LOVE summer. We will be jetting off to the Philippines for Christmas. This is our first Christmas off in seven years! That, however, if not the subject of this post. We are busy planning our December trip at the moment, and we will fill you in on all of that later, but for now… Here is a look back at some of the un-blogged activities of October.
First Image. We enjoyed an evening of hot pot with some friends this month. We have been gathering with another family on a weekly basis, but for our hot pot evening, three families gathered. It was a great evening – with lots of laughter, huge crabs, tons of meat, fresh vegetables, and tasty peanut butter dip. DEEEEELICIOUS!
I love hot pot, and as we move into the colder months, it is a perfect meal to warm us in the cold evenings.
Lots of fellowship this month – a baby shower, gatherings, and studies. It has been good spending more time with these ladies, both one-on-one and as a group. Sarrah and Misti (above right) are both eating like me, and it really does help to make me not feel like a complete outcast when we do group meals. Trust me – I don’t mind eating differently, but when you aren’t alone on a mission there are definitely MORE OPTIONS! Bethany (above left) is also very accommodating of our healthy-choices. One Sunday she made a big pot of soup for everyone else, and a smaller low-carb one for us. Isn’t that super sweet?!
Below, I am 4.5 months into my keto-journey and LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Initially I said that I would try it for three months, hoping that I would get pregnant in that time. I’m still not pregnant, but I feel absolutely amazing and I have no intention of going back to my old ways. I have learned so much about food, about grains, about lactose, and even about fruit. Food is NOT what you think it is people! I won’t lecture though. If you want to know more, check out my instagram page which documents this journey: Contoured by Cat
As I mentioned above – I’m loving the sweater and tights whether. I guess it’s more about how I feel in these clothes, and not really much to do with the weather itself!
A New Kind of Craft
In at attempt to make Eli a Halloween costume, I took out my mom’s sewing machine. Bethany came over and showed me how to set it up, and how to do some basic sewing. We made a couple of mini pillow cases to practice using the machine. After that I got to work making Eli’s parrot wings, tail and a beak. Not to brag or anything, but the end result was pretty darn awesome. I do think that this because the project was super simple, but being my first sewing project: I was quite proud of the outcome!
Below, Annnnd that is what Eli would have looked if he had been a girl. hahaha! We ordered a wig on Taobao, for Justin’s Halloween costume. When it arrived, we each took turns trying it on. Needless to say, we were all highly amused!
Eli is still climbing into any box or basket that he can find. We have a plug box that he always tries to get into it. Besides the fact that its is amazing that he can get inside it, and close the lid, I have been trying to explain to him that it is dangerous. He simply doesn’t understand, so I give him other things to climb into. Just like when he was a 15-pound toddler, he still loves to watch TV while eating a snack, inside the washing basket!! It is hilarious – and never really gets old!
Our Near Death Experience
This huge, metal-framed, red sign almost killed Eli and I this month. We were coming home late one night, after a dinner at friends, and the wind was howling. It was raining, and Eli fell asleep in the taxi, so Justin told me to hurry ahead of him. Holding little man in my arms, I walked by this sign and then heard a horrifying crashing sound less than two steps behind me. The sign had blown over and hit the ground with a crashing force. Had I walked any slower it probably would have hit me straight on the head. Justin was on the other side of the sign, so had he walked faster, it would have hit him! We both stood there, completely shocked – mouths hanging open – staring at each other! Between us, on the ground, lay that huge sign. WOW!
Despite that crazy stormy night, we have enjoyed some really gorgeous days this mont. The temperature is definitely dropping by the week, and in two weeks from now the government-controlled heating will come on.
Crock Pot Season
There have been lots of tasty meals prepared this month. A number of crock pot meals are on the go already – yup, winter is definitely moving in, and I LOVE those slow cooker meals. So easy, so convenient, and oh so tasty!
Little man insists on sitting with me in the kitchen when I cook. Sometimes the takes his chair and stands at the counter with me – chatting, playing and soaking in good times with mommy. Other times he will sit behind me, munching on some seaweed or a handful of almonds. Oh man – this kid is like his mommy. He can put away half a ton of almonds in five minutes!
We met with some new friends for a Taco Night at ART 138. When our friends, and everyone else with kids, had gone home, the Esser Family stayed to party! We barely ever get to have a really good time dancing and sining with Eli. This is something we would do on a date night, while he is at home in bed. This night was quite different though, and we were really happy to share this experience with him.
Little man enjoyed hours of playing outside with all of the other kids, and then later, when the party music came on, he charmed some young South American girls. He went to take this girl’s hands, to dance with her, and look at her face was priceless…
And so was his! (look at that little smile)
He posed, danced, laughed, and had a ball!
Thankfully, Art 138 is one block away from our apartment complex, so we only did a short stroll to get home. It is safe to say that all three of us had an amazing night. This kid knows how to party!
Below, There have been a couple of beach shoots this month. Unfortunately though, it has been getting dark earlier so time is limited! I do so love to be on the beach, even if only for a photo shoot. This particular beach is close to the downtown area of Qingdao and the late afternoon light is golden.
You might remember us posting on a playgroup that we used to attend at the ISQ Bright Start Kindergarten. This school recently moved further away from us, but they provide a free shuttle service to the new campus. We attended the first playtime at the new location, and Eli absolutely loved the singing and circle time. He is completely obsessed with songs at the moment! No matter the time of the day, you will hear Eli singing or humming a song. It is so cute.
When we climbed back on the school bus, to head home, Eli lay down and went straight to sleep.
The boy sure does love his naps!
October was a great month. Lots of rest, good food, healthy ways, and happy vibes. We are surprised that the end of the year is fast approaching, but since we are excited about the Philippines, we don’t mind if the last few weeks hurry on by. Since we will be away for the weeks where we usually enjoy our Christmas decorations and music, I think we will be starting all of that a few weeks earlier this month. The American rule is that all of that starts after Thanksgiving, but I don’t think we will be waiting until then to get our Christmas jams going.
This was supposed to be our last post of the month of October but we haven’t yet shared any of our Halloween activities with you. Those pictures, and more, coming up soon. Thank you for following!