Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas break here we come

It is almost Christmas break in the Christensen house. All that's left to do is for Brad to come home from work Emily to finish tutoring and do some packing. Tomorrow evening we fly out to England. We are hoping that since it's a night flight Joy will sleep most of the time. We are very excited to be spending some time with the Condie family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

10 months of delight

 What Joy is doing: 
  • Joy loves to stand. She has figured out how to stand up and then get back down and "swim" to the next destination. She has also started to move along the furniture. Watch out world! This last week she has barely fallen which is great because our apartment is all tile and when she falls she is pretty sad. She is always on the move, so there aren't as many pictures this month of her sitting with a cute smile :-) 
  • Joy loves to feed herself but is super slow. I try and sneak in bites between her feeding herself.

  • Joy has two bottom teeth and one top tooth. Her second top tooth is close to poking through. Teething is a very LONG, slow and painful process for Joy (and us). There were two weeks where her night time sleep was really disturbed by teething
  • Everything still goes into her mouth still. 
  • Joy has started giving us "kisses" (that are very wet and slobbery) and high fives. Also yesterday we distinctly heard her say 'Bye bye" as she waved to Brad.
  • Nursing:Joy still eats every 4 hours and once during the night. 
  • Solid food: Joy loves to eat and likes to feed herself, especially her dinner meal. Her favorite combination is peas and brown rice. We are trying to teach her the sign for all done, so she doesn't SPRAY her food when she is full.
    • Loves: pumpkin, carrots, green beans, apples, pears, avocado, bananas, peas, zucchini, egg yolks, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, flax seed, eggs, pasta, lentils, kiwi
    • Verdict is still out on: Joy likes egg yolks to be scrambled and not hard boiled!
    • Introducing this week:chicken
    • Joy still can't hold the sippy cup herself.
  •  Night time: She still sleeps for 12 hours and goes to bed at 6pm. She sleeps in a sleep sack and thankfully took to that well.
  • Naps: Joy is taking 2 naps a day. I am enjoying this new routine because it means we can get out a little more. However,  it is a little hard to meet friends for lunch dates because Joy naps during that time.
Weighs: Joy weighs 17+ Lbs. She is too wiggly in my homemade scale and I can't get an accurate reading. So I will weigh her on a regular scale at Grandma's house in a couple days. 

*Bear (and sucking her thumb) ...I will stop writing about Bear because Joy's love for him (and her thumb) will last a life time :-) 
*Joy bored at home and needs at least one outing.
* She likes playing with her blocks and we find her by her books countless times during the day. We have to make sure that the silverware closet is closed because she LOVES to play in it. She also still loves the dog toys and I have to admit we do let her play with them from time to time. 

*She loves her bath and likes to play with her stacking cups (and is really interested in the shampoo bottles).
* Joy loves it when people on public transportation pay attention to her. She is constantly trying to touch them/pull their hair and get them to interact with her. So far everyone has been very obliging in entertaining Joy.  

*  Joy loves the Christmas tree and playing with a couple of the ornaments. We have the tree barricaded in the corner so she can't pull the whole thing down.

Dislikes: Joy is usually a happy baby, but we are realizing that she wears her emotions (both happy and sad) on her sleeve. When she is tired, or wants to get down from her high chair or is left in the room alone for a moment (while I go to the bathroom) she lets us know she is UNHAPPY.

Favorite event:Joy has gone to so many fun Christmas activities. She went to her first cookie exchange, countless Christmas parties (including a mom's group Christmas party). She also went to her friend Elena's birthday party. In less than a week she will get to see Grandma and Grandpa Condie in England!

We love you Joy and can't imagine our lives without you. You are precious and full of life and laughter. We are excited to have our first Christmas as a family. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gingerbread house

This Christmas season I had a lot of firsts. Maybe it is because I have more time being a stay-at-home mom and I was intentional about starting Christmas activities as soon as Thanksgiving was over. This year I went to my first cookie exchange, baked Brad's favorite Christmas cookies (sorry it took me eight years Brad) and assembled my first gingerbread house. I'm impressed house is still standing and I don't know if I have the heart to eat it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kadoorie Farms

This weekend we ventured out to Kadoorie Farms & Botanical Garden.  It is only a 10 minute bus ride from our village and we can't believe it has taken us this long to go there. We spent the morning walking around the path ways, exploring the garden and enjoying the wildlife (boar, barking deer, reptiles, birds). It was a beautiful sunny day and about 70 degrees....great December weather :-)


 Our beautiful blue eyed baby
 Daddy carried Joy because: Mommy+ walking uphill+ Joy= very tired mommy
 Joy loves being outside but with nap time approaching and the cheerios running out we decided to head home.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christensen Christmas Letter

In Luke's Gospel, Mary sings the “Magnificat” - her song of thanksgiving. We sing with her as we celebrate the little life that has been added to our family. It is hard to imagine our lives without little Joy. We have always loved the Christmas season, as we remember the birth of Jesus. With Joy, we more fully understand the spirit of celebration with which Mary sang in the Book of Luke. Truly the birth of a child is cause for celebration.

The past year has seen many changes in our family. Emily quit her job in February (after Joy was born). She now spends her days at home, chasing Joy around the house. Emily has continued teaching, as she is tutoring students in the afternoons. She has also begun attending a “Moms' Group,” where she and Joy have both made a number of new friends.

Brad continues to teach History full time at “International Christian School” here in Hong Kong. He counts himself very fortunate to be teaching in such a vibrant school. Brad reckons his students are among the most respectful and hard-working in the world.

We travel a little less than we used to (for a number of reasons), although we did still squeeze in a trip around the world last summer. In June, we flew from Hong Kong to England, to spend time with the Condie family. Along with Emily’s parents, we took a weekend trip to Ireland, which we regret to say our daughter will likely not remember. From Britain, we flew on to the US & Canada, where spent a month driving up and down the West Coast. Joy grew to hate her car seat, as we racked up over 3,000 miles on our rented car. Needless to say, our return to Hong Kong came as a welcome break to the busyness of the summer.

This Christmas we are packing up our winter clothes and heading to England to visit Emily's family. We are excited about having a “real” Christmas tree, and about the possibility of seeing some snow. We look forward to time with family and roaring fires. We also look forward to Joy's first encounter with the Christmas tree (she is fascinated by flashing lights and shiny objects – we anticipate a great deal of interest in Christmas trees). Jet lag is always a struggle for Joy...which means that it is a struggle for the whole family. Please pray that she is free from the effects of jet-lag this Christmas.

We wish you all health, happiness, and time with family this Christmas. We pray that you will know the love and joy of the Prince of Peace this season.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” -Isaiah 9:6-7

Brad, Emily and Joy

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fun week

Joy and I have had fun and busy week so far. On Monday we had a breakfast Playdate with friends. Joy enjoyed playing with her friends toys and. Joy got to touch their Christmas tree which was not barricaded away like ours !

On Tuesday we had a toy swap at mom's group. Joy got some "new" toys. And Brad came home from work with piglet for Joy which she loves.

Today we had a Christmas cookie exchange so much fun. Thankfully a friend held Joy so I could decorate a few cookies. Let's hope I don't eat them all before Brad gets home from work :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Busy baby

Joy is a very busy baby and into everything! She likes to sit for a few minutes but would rather practice standing up.

Dragon baby

Joy was born in the Year of the Dragon very auspicious and lucky year. She finally fits the Dragon onesie that was given to her at her baby shower.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daddy is so funny!

Look at me stand

Joy has been practicing kneeling this week. Then yesterday she attempted to stand up. She still gets a little stuck and needs someone to rescue her from standing (or the splits :-)

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree.....

.....why are you so enticing?

After a little time of exploring this great new "toy" in our house with mommy and daddy watching carefully....the ottoman is now securely in front of the tree and for the time being Joy hasn't figured out how to get behind the chair. I'm giving her about a week to figure it out. This baby has a great memory. She now knows where the dog food is kept and makes a bee line for the bathroom door if it is ever left open. :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Setting up the Christmas tree

Brad had Friday off work (for Thanksgiving) and we set up the Christmas tree (I have been waiting patiently for weeks). We did it in shifts while Joy napped because putting up a tree with a little one around is a little hard. Joy loves the tree and will "sit" with Brad and look at it..or should I say strain and try to propel herself towards the tree so she can touch it. So far she has just been in the walker so we will what happens to the tree once she is crawling around. We may have to rig up the baby gate somehow :-)

Monday, November 19, 2012

9 months of cuteness

 What Joy is doing: 
  • Joy loves to move! She is still doing her crazy "swimming" crawling.
  • She finally mastered sitting but she hates to sit and likes to stand up. She can get up to her knees (sometimes) but can't pull herself up to a standing position. She has fallen over a few times when standing so when she is in the standing position she holds on for dear life. 
  • Joy has two bottom teeth and is working on her top teeth but nothing is poking through yet. 
  • Everything still goes into her mouth still. The finger nail clippers are still her favorite toy as is my lanyard from grad school. 
  • Nursing:Joy still eats every 4 hours and once during the night. 
  • Solid food: Joy loves to eat and really puts it away! She likes to feed herself cheerios and peas.
    • Loves: pumpkin, carrots, green beans, apples, pears, avocado, bananas, peas, zucchini, egg yolks, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, flax seed
    • Verdict is still out on: I just introduced egg yolks and they are a strange texture. Joy eats them but is a little unsure if she totally likes it.
    • Introducing this week:Lentils, chicken 
    • Joy has mastered drinking out of a sippy cup without drowning in the water. She still can't tilt it on her own...but she is getting close
  •  Night time: Nothing has changed in this department. She still sleeps for 12 hours and goes to bed at 6pm.She is still swaddled loosely and once the weather gets cooler she will try a sleep sack. 
  • Naps: Joy is taking 2-3 naps a day. Many days she only wants to take two naps,  so we are still trying to figure out the new schedule. She hasn't slept in the carrier at all this month. 

Weighs: Joy weighs 17 Lbs. Although weighing her using my homemade method (aka sling attached to a suitcase scale) is getting more tricky now that she is so wiggly!

*Bear (and sucking her thumb) and Joy are inseparable even during waking hours. He comes in the car,in the stroller,  in the carrier and sometimes when she is playing. Thankfully Grandma & Grandpa Christensen are mailing us bear's brother "frog" and we will get him at Christmas.
*Joy is a people person still. She greets each new person who enters an elevator or who sits next to her with a cute little screech.
* She likes screws in things and metal objects (like the door stop) and will 'play' with them for a long time.
*  Joy loves trying to climb out of her bath is a dangerous and slippery endeavor.
* Joy gets a kick out of other babies and gets very excited when she sees one.
* Joy loves Rudy, especially when he is close to her. Rudy has been a little traumatized by her recently because she has been crashing into so many things with her walker, chases him around the house and wants to be in his dog bed. So we moved Rudy's dog bed to the back so he has a retreat from little miss Joy.

Dislikes: Separation anxiety are in full swing, but at church she did let two people hold her for a few minutes. She also still doesn't like her stroller. Joy is very vocal about expressing her dislikes, as you can see in the picture below (she didn't want to be sitting anymore :-)

Favorite event:Joy went to her first Thanksgiving lunch at church this past Sunday. Mommy and daddy are going to another Thanksgiving dinner on the actual day but are leaving Joy with a babysitter. This will be the first time someone other than mommy has put her to bed. We hope it goes well!