Sometimes in His amazing and ever-new grace, days happen that just go perfectly. Or at least, almost perfectly. Today was one of those kind of days. I am so thankful!
It began with an agreement between John and I; we stayed up late watching a movie last night because he wanted to, so I negotiated with him (teasingly) and said I would stay up if he would get up with Christin this morning! So when her internal alarm clock woke her up precisely at 7am, he got up, brought her into bed with us to snuggle a bit, then got up and gave her breakfast while I lounged in bed--the first time in a very long time!--had a relaxed quiet time, and then enjoyed a hot shower. . . by myself. That may not seem unusual to you, but many is the time where one of the girls or even my helper needs to knock on the door to ask me something when I'm just trying to take care of personal hygiene! So that was a lovely time.
Then there was hot coffee and this coffeecake http://http//thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/12/make-this-cake-today-trust-me/ for breakfast. (Sorry, I don't know how to hide the link's whole address!) Yum! I've been really enjoying the pioneer woman's website recently, especially her wonderful recipes and beautiful photography. I laughed at her description of how much her husband liked it, then I watched in amazement as John ate one piece, commented how delicious it was, then helped himself to seconds...and thirds! Good thing it made a whole 9x13 pan!
The next extremely happy news came in doing a little straightening after breakfast. I found Chloe's discarded pull-up on her bedroom floor, where she had tossed it after taking herself to the potty and putting on panties this morning. Much to my surprise and delight...IT WAS DRY! Hallelujah! A new era has been entered! The era of dryness and potty using and no more buying of expensive pull-ups!
The dry pull-ups meant that Chloe could finally open her gift that had been hiding in the closet, and there was a similar gift for Clara Anne too! We took lots of pictures and so I will wait to tell you what she got until I post the pictures. The girls then spent the entire rest of the morning, I kid you not, playing with these gifts. They sat at the table and played and I had some relaxing, lovely reading time this morning on the couch, enjoying being nearby and hearing their happy chatter.
Christin took an excellent nap, and when she woke up, slightly after noon, we packed everyone up and went riding, all of us, on bikes to McDonald's for lunch. This was our first time to go out riding as a family! It worked well: Clara Anne sat in the kid's seat on the back of my bike, Chloe sat in the seat on John's bike, and Christin was in the Ergo on John's back. They all liked being on the bikes!
We had a nice lunch and then decided to do a little exploring. The Yellow River is not too far north of here, John thought we could get there in about 15 more minutes of riding. We set out, with small exclamations and cries of amazement following us as all those around us saw two foreigners and three kids passing by! Those crazy foreigners! There were a lot of people out and about, and traffic was quite heavy, but we finally did make it to the Yellow River. There is a huge levee built up next to the river with a park on top of the levee. We biked up to the entrance, only to discover that Chloe (who had fallen asleep very soon into the ride) was only wearing one shoe. Argh. Realizing it could have fallen off anywhere along the long road we had just taken, we gave it up for lost and entered the park.
The park itself turned out to be sort of a non-event, though it was nice to be able to see a non-city vista--the broad sweep of the river, with its characteristic muddy color, the openness and naturalness of the setting was definitely nice. Now if only there wasn't so much smog! I think on a clear day, when things have gotten green, it will really be a nice ride out there.
Happily, some men who had been following us finally got our attention, not to take a picture or ask us 1,001 questions, but to give us Chloe's shoe! They had found it on the road that led into the park and went looking for us. What a blessing! Those were cute little boots that I had bought on consignment originally for Clara Anne and they still have lots of wear left in them. So glad he found them!
We finally made our way home again, after 1.5 straight hours of riding! Wow, I think I may be sore tomorrow! We were in a bit of a hurry because our friends had offered to babysit for us tonight so that we could go on a date. We had learned about a movie theatre in our town that shows movies in English on a regular basis, but we had never tried it out. So we planned to go see a movie and then eat some grilled beef (called "kao rou") together. It doesn't get much better than that for dates around here!
The movie theatre was quite nice (though very firm seats), and watching a movie in English made me forget where I was for awhile. We saw "Slumdog Millionaire" which had been recommended but also cautioned for some rather gritty scenes and some language. After the movie, though, both John and I remarked that we didn't remember ANY language, at all, and that there really weren't any gratuitous scenes of violence, etc. Then we remembered that the government of this country often censors things, and that was what happened with this movie. It's the first time I've been so pleased that some things are censored! I actually appreciated it in this context!
We walked from the theatre to the kao rou place, enjoying the night air and time alone together. So refreshing! After a yummy meal we came home to put our girls down and profusely thank our friends for providing us with such a nice time to be out, just the two of us. It does wonders, I tell you!
What a wonderful day! Thank you, Father, for showering us with so many blessings and fun things today. I feel refreshed and renewed, ready to start another week again tomorrow. This week has several special events going on that will make it more busy, so I'd better get a good night of rest in preparation. Good Night!