Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Mistake I Will Never Forget

So, do I have your curiosity brewing? This morning while we were hanging in our hotel room in Guangzhou I was trying to figure out how to copy pictures onto the hard drive of the computer. Yep, the worst thing possibly...I hit the wrong button and deleted every video since adopting Eli. Of course we hadn't figured out how to make a copy of the videos, so everything is gone...I was devastated to say the least!!
Moving on to better topics...Jace did fantastic on his first plane ride. He fell asleep midway through the three hour flight. So far, he is such a calm child. Arriving at the airport, we found out that we have the same guide, Helen, that we had when we were here with Eli. It has been great to chat with her as we are much more relaxed this time around and can ask a lot more cultural questions. She is so accommodating. For example, we received a memory book from Jace's orphanage and she offered to translate the pages for us!
This morning, we met a family from Wisconsin that was heading home as they adoption was finalized yesterday. We also met a family from Grand Rapids, Michigan that we will do a few things with as we have the same guide. They adopted a little boy about three years old. All of us met down in the lobby this morning to walk to Shaimen Island for visa pictures and medical exams. Jace passed the medical exam with flying colors. He refused to have a nurse pick him up to put him on the baby scale. Rob brought him to the big kid scale, he jumped up and stood there. Then, it was time for the shots....OUCH! He had to get three shots and his TB test. Being Rob's little shadow, Rob had the priviledge of holding him during the shots. Oh boy did our little boy may have had more to do with the people touching him than anything. After the medical exam, we walked to Lucy's and had an American lunch. We also went into a Chinese restaurant that had tanks of live fish, squid, snakes, various bugs just ready for someone to order. I took lots of pictures except for the snakes! The island is very peaceful right now as a lot of the construction is wrapping up. It was sad to hear that some shops had to close due to all of the construction hurting their business. During our walk back to the hotel, we walk through tiny streets with lots of vendors (I asked Rob what he would call that area and he said a shopping mall...yeah, not quite my idea of a shopping mall). The vendors sell anything from medicinal herbs, junk toys, clothes, fish, dried scorpions, an entire alley of fish and tanks, and lots of puppies (yeah, just grosses me out to think what might happen to them). It is quite a sight...something you wouldn't see on Shamien Island. Once we got back from the island, Helen came up to review our paperwork...big relief that we had everything in order!
It's bullet time:
* Jace is already starting to respond to his name.
* Loves to play peek-a-boo.
* M&M's and mango juice don't taste very good together.
* Started to play with his toys without one of us sitting by his side.
* Does a lot babbling.
* Loves to be tickled. He will even point to areas that he wants us to tickle.
* Enjoys baths and swimming pools (just not being placed in a floatie)
* Loves checking out the view from our window
* Weighs 24 pounds
* Only likes to have one thing on his plate at a time...he will push a plate to the very edge just to get it out of his sight
* Noodles, watermelon, bananas, hot oatmeal, and fried rice are his favorites to eat
Tonight we went as a large group for dinner at a fabulous Chinese restaurant. The sweet and sour chicken was the best I ever had! The soy sauce in the States is so different compared to here...much better here! Rob loved the the dim sum shrimp, beef, and the pork dishes. For dessert, we even had Dim Sum (?) for dessert. It had bananas, nuts, and some type of crust...looked scary but tasted great. Jace kept begging for the shrimp and fried rice!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Day at the Museum

Today we visited the Mongolian Museum of History. The size of the building was enormous. Part of the museum had many different dinosaurs, which Eli would have LOVED! Jace's little finger was pointing left and right at everything. Throughout the museum, he had to step on all of the little electrical boxes that were on the floor. It was fun to watch him. When we entered one section, there were a few Chinese children (mostly age 9) that said hello to us. I ended up talking with them for 15-20 minutes. I had to sign all of their personal books. Being a teacher, this just made my day!
Construction, Construction, Construction... I think we counted 100 different cranes (probably many more) being used to build new buildings...the on-going construction is unreal. Our guide was telling us that the government came in and told a bunch of farmers that they were going to take their land to build condos....they were generous and gave the farmers a job as a taxi cab driver. Somehow going from a farmer to driving in the streets of Hohhot seems to be a drastic job change! Another thing that is unreal is the way they drive around here. The only way to explain it is mass, buses, bikes, and walkers going in and out of traffic like they were jumping waves. When a driver pulls out of a parking lot they don't even look for traffic, they just "merge."
Jace continues to slowly warm up to me. It is funny that Rob has to get everything for him...I am not used to that. We finally made it to the was quite the experience. We thought swimming was suppose to be enjoyable...stressful was more the case! To start things off, we had to "register" at the desk for the pool and they gave us a key. I didn't realize the key had a number so I must have set off two locker alarms before somebody showed me what I was suppose to do...I started to laugh and in walks a lady that wouldn't leave me side...argh!! Once we made it to the wading pool, we had to remove our robes and slippers. Jace had fun splashing...thank goodness after all of that. :) Both Rob and I were shaking our heads on the way back to our room.
Tomorrow we head to our next destination, Guangzhou. It will be bitter sweet leaving Hohhot. The guest relation managers have been extremely accommodating. Someday, we will come back to show Jace his roots.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quiet Day

We didn't have much that we had to do today. I (Rob and Jace stayed at the hotel) was glad to have been able to visit a factory where they made leather products, cashmere sweaters (which was amazing to watch the process), paintings, swords, and many other products. It is astonishing how much hard work goes into making the various pieces. I bought several items: jerky (which was made there), sandals, a belt, a very cool purse (it was 50% off...sweet deal!), an adorable pair of shoes/boots for Jace and a couple other trinkets. The rest of our day was spent hanging in the hotel, playing with Jace. Jace is very, very attached to his daddy. He will give him kisses, me not so much. In time it will come. If he doesn't like something, he will give it a strong arm shove. He is getting out Eli, you have some competition! While I was gone, Rob and Jace were playing hide and seek and had a little tickle time. Rob got to laughing at him because he was being very silly.
Whenever he goes to the bathroom, he loves to sing and hum. It is so cute to hear him do his little songs. He also says the word Mama. He keeps good tabs on when someone isn't in the room.
We did receive his passport today. Tomorrow we get the rest of his paperwork and head to the history museum. We are excited to check out the museum! We are also going to attempt to take Jace swimming. He should really like the pool as he took a bath today and loved splashing around! He was even tossing water into his face and laughing. His little fingers and toes were little prunes by the time he got out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What a Daddy's Boy

As I was typing today's entry, I could have titled it many things. I happen to choose this title as Pan Yu (Jace) is very attached to his daddy (ba-ba). He points every time Rob walks out of the room, has to mimic however Rob is so fun to watch. We began our morning with a huge breakfast at the hotel. Jace proved to be a great eater as he polished off rice, noodles, watermelon, congee (rice and water combo), and Honey Nut'o (better known to us as Honey Nut Cheerio's). The milk wasn't warm enough so he wasn't thrilled to drink it but he still tried it. After breakfast, we went for a nice walk through the park. We got a lot of looks as Jace was in the Kelty backpack that we use for hiking (a side note...Eli isn't happy that he doesn't fit into it anymore!) After checking out all the fun activities (even shook the hand of an one arm monkey), we started to head back and our little man feel fast asleep. We were a little nervous when his nap didn't last long, but he was a trooper.
At 2:00, we were to meet up with our guide, Sandra and she was going to bring us to the bank to exchange money. Rob (with Jace in the backpack), myself, and our guide covered a ridiculous amounts of ground in a very short time...we were sweating our booties off. We had a very short amount of time to get back to finalize some of the paperwork back at the hotel. Whew...we were only five minutes late! During the crucial paperwork, the orphanage assistant director tried to get Jace's attention. He didn't want anything to do with her. He clung onto his daddy (ba-ba) so tight. For this adoption, we have to follow Hague requirements. This required a lot more paperwork and red thumb stamps than the first time! We were a little nervous to how Jace would interact with the assistant director. There wasn't any fear when he attached himself to his daddy!
Once back in the room, did our little man's personality start to come out! He was Mr. Smiley pants. He also started to be a little turkey, pushing his toys on the ground, smacking his books, and at one point he head butted me (his head is about as hard as Eli's....yeah, that was a big OUCH!). He is slowly learning the word no. When he goes to the bathroom (yes, he is 100% potty trained...yippee!) he likes to unroll the toilet paper so Rob had to take them off the roll...he wasn't very happy about that! He likes to bring you all of his toys, then take them all back. He also loves to look at books (thank goodness as he has a ridiculous amount of books at home) and play with his stacking cups. He will pour things back and forth into the cups and giggle. While playing with his trucks, Rob noticed his little head falling down. Before we knew it, he had fallen asleep. He must have a busy day being outside and having two adults full attention! We thank God for bringing him into our family. He is a perfect fit into our family!
On a different subject, we would like to wish Mike and Lynda (my brother and sister in law) a happy anniversary (its a little late...oops)! To think it was a year ago that we tried to set off on a short hike by Mt. Rushmore...enough said!! We can't wait to the day you guys can meet your latest nephew in person. Even though we miss Eli like crazy, we feel it may have been a blessing in disguise that he stayed with Nana, Papa, and Unc Joe. Uncle Joe has been his little buddy the past few days!! My mom would be pretty proud that I actually had the guest relations manager personally give me her card. The staff at Shangri-la Hotel have been very accommodating, making our stay extremely inviting. Last night, I even received a phone call from Ming. She works for Adoption Associates and is the liaison for the China to USA.
Thanks for all the comments. We love hearing from everyone back in the would be interesting to find out how many different states have people following us. My adoption yahoo group has been amazing and so informative since we started this process. Well I best call it for the night as I am sure it will be a early morning in our hotel room!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gotcha Day!

Today was the day we have waited a long time for...we have enjoyed watching Pan Yu attach with us throughout the day. This morning, he was very sad to leave his care giver, but as I was finishing paperwork Rob took him to look at the lights. Pan Yu pointed to the water. Once there, he enjoyed watching the fountains. Today was very low key as we spent a lot of time bonding with Pan Yu. He is very fond of Rob and has slowly started to warm up to me. Everything takes time. He has great motor skills as he loves to twist the caps off of the little bottles. He has even smiled at times throughout the day...amazing how much progress we have seen in such a short amount of time! Tomorrow promises to be another great day...have a great day everyone!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Qingecheng Park

Rob and I went to this amazing park today. We couldn't believe all the different activities that were going on: karate, people singing, duck boat rides (ducks were a little scary looking and later we found a dead duck..haha), various exercise areas, lots of people resting in hammocks and lots more. We will probably visit the park a few more times throughout the week. There is a kids area were you have to pay 20 yuan (around 3 bucks). We figured that if Eli was with us, he wouldn't have wanted to leave! Boy, do we miss our kiddo!!! The temperature is around 96 degrees with lots of humidity. As we are wandering around, some people will say HELLO and giggle when we say hello back. A dad was walking with daughter and stopped us after we said hello. He wanted his daughter to be in a picture with I asked him to take a picture for us as well. Tomorrow is the day we have waited over a year for....very exciting! Just think the next post, will most likely have pictures of Jace!!

The pictures attached are:
1) Airplane Delight..yum yum
2) Rob with our bags in the airport
3) The view from our hotel
4) McDonalds
5) The Chinese kiddo with us

Enjoy your day everyone...we are signing off and getting ready for a little shut eye.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

1st Update

Rob and I made it through the flight without any hiccups...yeah! We are now residing in our residence at the Shangi-La Hotel in Hohhot for the next week. It is currently 9:20 am in Wyoming which makes it 11:20pm here. No wonder we are whipped! Tomorrow is a recooperation day and Monday at 11:00 (China time) we will finally meet Pan Yu. Sorry for the short post everyone, but we are exhausted! We will post more tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Travel Plans

What a whirl-wind week it has been! I have been attending a fabulous Lucy Calkins conference all while trying to get the last minute things around for our trip. I am very thankful for our long lunches (and being able to run errands kid free). Our money has officially been wired to China. I think I only have the following things to do:
* Finish packing for Jace
* Start and finish packing for me
* Gather toys for Eli (send him off to Nana & Papa's on Friday...yeah, there will be
some tears shed but the trip will probably be a little more smooth sailing)
* Double (yeah, try triple) check adoption paperwork
* Write up SKYPE directions for my parents (why do I find myself chuckling??)
* Clean up the house...nothing beats coming home to a clean house

I am sure there are numerous other little things that I will find myself doing!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pan Yu .....In Our Arms a Week From Today????

Hard to believe that a week from today, we will be walking the street of Hohhot. Will our little man be with us or will we have to wait until Monday? We haven't received our agenda yet...oh, the suspense!

If you check our blog, maybe you will consider becoming a follower. Everyone that has a blog loves to see who visits. At the bottom of the page, is a place that you can click to become a follower. While we are in China, please feel free to post as many comments as you want. We will love hearing from family and friends while away....just like email and facebook you kind of look forward to saying, "Oh, we have five new messages to read!!" When our trip is over, I will print the comments and add them to Jace's scrapbook (which is already started...holy cow!!). I did this for Eli and we go back and read the comments quite frequently.

It has been one busy week. With Eli not going with us, I wanted to do as many adventures as we could. On top of swimming lessons, we went to the Botanic Gardens, Children's Village, Swetsville, hiking, quading, and a few other silly little things. Rob and I are going to miss him like crazy....and Nana and Papa are going to count down the days until our return.

Once home, it is going to be so weird (and nice!) not to be in this mode of preparing for children. Since Rob and I were married, we have been in some form of chaos (maybe not the best word....) to have our family. First it was invetro, then it was his reversal, job changes and moving to different cities (and then states) which delayed our 2nd adoption international adoption. There has been a lot of ups and downs, but we will finally have our two little boys....and a grandson on the way! I miss my brothers, sister-in-law, nieces, lots of family, and friends like crazy (by far the hardest thing about moving away...thank goodness for FB and unlimited connection to my zany nieces on a daily basis)....making new friends at this stage of my life isn't that easy, but slowly it's all coming together. Those of you that know me well will understand why I didn't mention my parents, one never knows where they will call home as they have lived as gypsies for the past 15 years (I think). They always come to visit, but you never know how long they will be able to stay or where their next journey will take them! What we do know is how much they love all their children and treasure every moment they get to spend with their grandkids!! This thought is hard to tie-in, but Labor Day Weekend's will never be the same. Getting together with many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and friends that we have known for so long that they are just family was so much fun for so many years!! I would love to have everyone list some of their favorite Labor Day stories over the and crazy times!

I will end my post with this....Life is a puzzle...sometimes its a 100 piece, other times its a 1,000 piece puzzle! After eight years of marriage, Rob and I can say we are(will be) a family of four...which will bring many crazy events!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Travel Dates

This is the million dollar paperwork...Our Notice to Travel to China!! The crazy thing is that the date on the stamp is my birthday.
Eli is very excited!

What an adventure the past two days have been but we FINALLY have the golden ticket. We will be flying from Denver on July 23rd and coming back Aug. 7th. Our gotcha day will probably be July 26th! We will know our exact travel agenda next week. It feels great to finally have ordered the tickets. Stay tuned to our agenda :) On a bright note, after three years I finally figured out how to load our camera for the computer. Now we will be able to skype while we are i n China.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Call We Have Been Waiting On!!!

While Eli and I were reading books at the library, we finally got the call from Mary at Adoption Associates...we have received our TA (travel approval). Rob was sleeping so I couldn't share the news with him! We do have to wait one more day to find out when we are traveling....always something isn't it. :) Now the to-do lists start to get longer of things I must accomplish before we fly off. Hopefully by this time tomorrow we will have our travel plans...this is all becoming a reality quite quickly. Before I know it, I will be a mom of two boys....oh my!! This blog update is also a test run to see if my friend can add it to our blog since I won't be able to update my own blog while in China. I am very lucky to have her willing to do this for me!!