Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fun with foreign foods!

From a billboard - I wish I had the other half
Nanning free market finds
Well......maybe if they were coated with chocolate...or not!
Supper one night - black fish which minutes before was swimming. I've never seen Kenton so relieved to complete a meal. : P
At the Beijing food market - labeled for your convenience.
Kenton thought that gray blob was a pig?
Seafood?
Lunch one day - sweet and sour fish. Looked revolting, tasted pretty good.

If you haven't been to China.......

Here's some things you might enjoy seeing. The pagoda in the garden of the Forbidden City.

The ceiling of some building in the Forbidden City.
Look at this picture. Now look 1000 more times and congratulations! You've seen the Forbidden City. Okay, cynicism aside, but it did get a little old looking at numerous versions of the same building.
I thought all these little one-room shops in Beijing were fascinating.
Like the Olympics? This is the Water Cube. :D
This is a really bad shot of the Bird's Nest.
I wish the scenery this time of year had been green, but maybe this will give you some perspective on the Great Wall of China.

Kenton's favorite billboard in China.

video video
The first video is just of a street in China. We couldn't believe the number of people!
The second video is from my favorite place in China, the People's Park. These women dancing were one of the first things we saw as we entered. I'm not very happy with myself that this is the only tape I caught of this. We saw women dancing in all three cities. It was beautiful to watch.

More later, but wanted to share a little. :D

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Home again, home again.....

Jiggety jig. Okay, not many jigs around here right now. But here's a smile anyway. Enjoying daddy the horse
One day in a moment of temporary insanity........okay, I am making a real effort to not have my older kids think that life revolves around Kaitlyn.
Sticker fun

Saturday night Megan came home from our friend's house and threw up. All over the bathroom. I sent her upstairs WITH A BUCKET. Do you know where this is leading? Naturally, about 11:00 p.m. she threw up again. NOT in the bucket. At 12:00 a.m. Kaitlyn woke up screaming. At naptime she stripped completely and peed and plastered diarrhea all over the crib. My theme song for the week: I've Been Scrubbing in the Washtub. Anyone have any words of wisdom regarding pack-n-play cleanup?

Overall Jamison, Megan, and Davis are doing pretty good with the transition. Jamison thinks she's HIS. Megan loves her, but tends to overdo it a little. Davis likes her but hasn't totally connected with her yet. The novelty is starting to wear off a little which is probably good otherwise Kaitlyn would end up thinking the world is HER oyster. Davis did ask me yesterday why I always hold Kaitlyn and never him. WARNING: martyr syndrome! "All you need to do is ask." That won me a grin. : D

Kaitlyn is doing pretty well. She's still fighting the bug a bit, had a shot yesterday, and we found out that she has a heart murmur. We head to the pediatric cardiologist as a precaution on March 17. She's having some (screaming) tantrums, still making lots of eye contact, sleeps soundly (with or without pajamas and/or diaper - yes, it's happened more than once), wants to be held a lot unless she's on the move, loves to be outside in the snow(weirdo!), eating good (hates plain milk - that will have to change : D ) and is adding a lot of joy to our household.

On the farming front - Lots of snow meant barn roofs needed to be shoveled off. Manure disposal has been a pain. Tractor has gotten stuck and the spreader Kenton just worked on broke badly today. He's in a quandary about fixing it or buying a new one. Yep, it was that bad of a break.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here's a few more!

Sticker entertainment - inexpensive, somewhat reusable, and easy to pack!
Unimpressed at the botanical gardens
Warning: banana thief extraordinaire

And this is only because I've enjoyed sharing this moment with so many others.

video

More pictures

The kids in our group. Ryan, Annali, our girl, and Abraham all look so thrilled to pose for their red couch picture.
Daddy and Kaitlyn Ying
checking out her acorn necklace from Jamison
The little copycat liked the panda carrier. Wrapped around her twice it worked for her bear.
Oreo cookies and peanut butter were huge hits. : D

A picture's worth a thousand words.

Yep! She really does have her smiley moments. : ) This was the first night before she let us take off her coat. You gotta love those obnoxious yellow shoes, too.
She did just fine until we got in the van to head back to our hotel. She cried most of the way home clutching her bear( a care package gift from us), a bag of cheerios, and Davis' John Deere tractor.
By day 2 we were already starting to see her personality come out. She loves to be outside and she loves to tease. I'm going to stop for now and start a new post after breakfast....but for all of you that have followed our journey, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We truly felt God's presence throughout our trip. And now, breakfast! : D

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's almost Friday in China!

We head for home in twelve hours.  WooooooHooooooo!!!!!  We fly out from Hong Kong on Friday 11:40 a.m. and arrive in Chicago on Friday at 11:41a.m.  Frankly a one minute flight sounds pretty good.  :D  See you all at home.  : )

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One more day!

Last night we enjoyed dinner with Marie, Herb, and Annali at Lucy's.  We have really enjoyed getting to know them and plan to continue our friendship back in the states.  It's been a pretty special way to make friends.  :D
 
Botanical gardens.  There's so many beautiful Chinese parks here that I was a little let down.  I love seeing all the people doing people things in the parks.  So many grandparents enjoying their grandchildren.  : )  My favorite thing is to watch the women "dance"  I keep trying to capture it on video but I don't think it's the same.   It was a nice break from Shamian Island.
 
This afternoon we signed papers at the U.S. consulate and swore or affirmed an oath that we were honest about the paperwork for our adoption.  I wonder how many times I've signed words to that effect now? Point being, that Yingying's now completely ours.  Tomorrow Bob picks up her passport for us and Friday we head for Hong Kong and home.   Woooohooo!  

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday in Guangzhou

Did some shopping this morning.  Took "red couch" pictures with our group this afternoon.  Walked some more on "the island."  Took a nap.  Now heading for supper. 
 
We've loved most of our time in China but a bit saturated at this point.  It's time to come home.  Met a lot of really special people.  Some we plan to keep in contact with when we return to the states.
 
Someone told me today that leaving is bittersweet.  My child is leaving her homeland, possibly for good.  It is beautiful here and the people have been lovely to us.  I know that her memories of this special place will probably not last long.  That seems very sad to me.   I think as a family we need to plan to come back.  The trouble will be deciding what is a must see and what will have to be missed...... : D 
 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday in Guangzhou

Yingying passed her TB test.  Bob went to the consulate for us.  We continue to spend adoption money.  She is totally worth it!  : D
 
In Nanning and Guangzhou they have a national geographic channel in English.  They play in the same shows several times.  We've seen several two or three times.  The rain finally stopped today so we went for a long walk shopping. 
 
Shopping in Guangzhou is crazy.  We made a big mistake and took the stroller we borrowed from the hotel.   It was wall to wall people.  People, people everywhere and not a spot to step.  Think of that part in Nemo where the dad heads off the fishing grounds.  That was us.  Okay, Kenton  thinks it's more like the part where the turtles hit the "swirling vortex of terror."  Fascinating!   It's a little intimidating and I wouldn't want it all the time, but it is fun to be in the middle of.    I wish I could capture on film what it is like.  
 
Well, we're off to enjoy the dry weather.  Actually the humidity means it is not dry, but at least it is not raining.  : D
 
Three more days and we head for home.  : D

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Guangzhou

We've made our fourth flight since this journey began.  We were sorry to say goodbye to Allison, Shunshun(sp?), and Ottoleen, but looked forward to meeting Marie and her family again, not to mention that we looked forward to meeting Annali.  She is a sweetie.  : )  It is fun to be in a place where there are lots of Americans running around with Chinese little ones. Not to mention that we are tired of being noticed and ready to have some American food.  I never thought I'd live to hear my husband extolling the virtues of pizza hut.  : D
 
Yingying is doing better everyday.  She's having less trantrums(We're working to achieve the balance of not rewarding her, but understanding that she's been through a lot this week. How's that for a balancing act?)  She's been a real mommy's girl. The other night while I was retyping my blog entry (for the third time) she wasn't sleeping.  Apparently she and Kenton had a heart to heart.  She screamed her head off for thirty minutes, but he won and got her to sleep.  Fun times!
 
She is a total tease.  When she's getting bored while we're out and about, she'll throw her toys on the ground (It was a real trip as we were racing through the airport!) and giggle like a hyena.  She'll offer us a bite and then snatch it away and.....you guessed it, giggle like a hyena.  Kenton gave her a jelly belly bean the other day.  I kid you not, it took her 10 minutes to eat it.  Here a nibble, there a nibble, everywhere a lick and nibble.  I've been smothering her with lotion every night after bathtime and she's pretty well stopped itching.  Woohoo!
 
This morning we raced through passport pictures and the medical exam with Bob.  Then filled out more paperwork.  After a short tour of "the island" we went to Lucy's for lunch.  Wooohooooo!  American food sure tasted good.  We spent several hours communing with two or three other adoptive families.  It was so much fun.  People we've never met and might not otherwise really connect with have become instant friends.  I think we all wish that the last flight had been heading home.
 
 
   

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Life on the farm and toddlers

My two-year-old joined me in the business center earlier.  It was a real trip.  After deleting my almost completed blog entry TWICE, wrapping herself in the curtains, running out the door, pushing the buttons on the copy machine, playing peek-a-boo, and shutting off the computer I finally took her upstairs. Unfortunately she does NOT like to be alone with dad. 
She's doing pretty well I think overall.  We did have toddler meltdown in pizza hut today.  I took her outside to scream her head off and provided a show for EVERY passerby.  There were many since we were downtown.  There were a couple other tantrums today too, but they were not as public.
 
The real fun today was visiting a farming village about an hour(?) from Nanning. It was very special to see the contrast between city life and country life.  I think we would feel it was fairly primitive.  There were pigs, ducks, chickens, and cows.  (Our guide was nervous when Kenton petted a cow.  City boy!  : )   You can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy!  : D   I'm sure you can guess whose idea that was.  )  There were women washing their clothes in the hot springs, children playing(school is on break for New Years), mopeds, old women,  people sitting around fires for warmth ( I was totally comfortable in a sweater) trash, and barns next to houses in the village.  It was fascinating.  One woman was kind enough to show us her house.  One thing we found interesting was that they had a TV, but not running water.  They had a well outside their home.  If I caught it right from David, well water is safe to drink, city water is not.  Hmmmmm.  There were people working in their patchwork quilts of vegetable fields.  We saw some terracing from a distance, oxen in the fields, the local school, and Kenton is still disappointed that he didn't get to drive a Chinese tractor (we saw several) or interview a Chinese farmer.  I wish I could better describe the village.  Everthing seemed to be built of brick or cement block with narrow alleys running in between.  The houses were two story (mostly) with one story sheds for the animals next to them.  They were surrounded by storybook mountains shrouded in mist and also lots of trash, occassionally gagging smells that were not from livestock.  One pond had six or so dead piglets floating in it.  One woman was sewing on a treadle sewing machine out in the courtyard surrounded by lots of staring children.  They all liked the candy we took along to share.  I
 
I know that my writing is not the best.  I really want to record what we've seen, but now that Yingying has joined us : )  I don't have time to write out my thoughts coherently.  Sorry!  I'm really hoping that our friends in Guangzhou can help us send a few pictures.  I can't wait for you all to see Yingying. 
 
One funny thing on the home front.  Mom made tater tot hotdish one night.  She said that the kids ate it and drank lots of milk.  She later overheard Jamison say, "This sure is yucky, but mom told us to eat it even if we didn't like it and so we are."    I guess they're doing pretty good.  
 
     

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

People's Park and meltdowns

Meltdown......Not getting her way today touched off a crying jag that had Yingying crying for an hour or so.  Not fun.  Right in the middle of it there was a knock at the door.  I thought, "Great, complaints.  Sorry, there's nothing I can do about a crying baby that's legal."  Instead it was the pictures from the disposable camera we had sent to Yingying.  It was really special to get pictures of her foster family.  She cried and looked at the pictures and cried and slept a little and cried some more.  After all that, she calmed down and was as sweet as sugar the rest of the day. 
 
People's Park  -  the most perfect part of China.  Absolutely gorgeous.  People playing games, hackey sack, playing instruments, singing, dancing, feeding the fish, peeing, riding in boats.  All within a very small space.  Kenton got video of the different instruments.  There's a even a shot of an electric hammer dulcimer, Becky.  : )  There were children and grandparents and it was like seeing the China that I dreamed of.  You wouldn't believe how beautiful it all was.  There were spreading trees and palms and flowers and graceful bridges and carp(sorry, I just automatically connect huge goldfish with China) and people at play everywhere. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

People's Park

We're done with paperwork here but need to hang around until Thursday to get her passport.  We leave for Guangzhou on Friday.
 
We have really sensed God answering so many of our prayers with "Yes!"  We've had good health, we've had wonderful times in Beijing and Nanning, our guides have been topnotch, and Yingying appears to be attaching well.  She's making eye contact, relating to us, amusing us, eating everything.  I'm sure there's more but I am drawing a blank.  I know that the "mountain top" won't last forever but we're sure enjoying the view while we're here.  : D
 
Yesterday Yingying wanted to run out of the room in the civil affairs building where we were supposed to stay.  When we'd go after her she'd run for all she was worth and giggle like it was the greatest thing in the world.  This summer ought to be interesting. 
 
We've had a little more down time here in Nanning.  I think we needed it after the whirlwind of Beijing.  We have taken some walks and found a free market where Kenton bought a big grapefruit looking thing.  It had a rind thick as the Great Wall and was dry as the sahara.  A couple of bites was plenty.  We bought corn candy the other day to give to the orphanage.  Our travel mates said it had the consistency of stale marshmallows and tasted awful.  Now I really wish we had kept a few pieces.  : )  
 
I love walking around here.  There's always lots to see and we feel totally safe.      

She's doing great!

Yingying is doing great.  I guess I should tell you first that the initial Y in her name is not pronounced.  We did LOTS of paperwork today.  As far as Guangxi province is concerned, she's all ours. 
 
We had a chance to talk with the assistant orphanage director today.  She so obviously wanted to hold Y during pictures, but Yingying wasn't having anything to do with her.  She told us that Y. has Excema.  I wondered what all the itching was about.  She didn't have signs of scabies but itched frequently.  She said that  Y. is very possessive....so we've discovered. Apparently the scratches on her forehead happened when the other child in the foster home tried to touch HER bear and photo album.  She hates to use pockets preferring instead to stick things down her shirt.  In the home, Y. was the older foster child and liked being the helper.  We have already discovered that she likes everything just so.
 
Our   guide is a little like the wedding planner in Father of the Bride.  However, he LOVES these kids.  He's taught us some Chinese, taken us shopping, told us what to get, but more importantly, he checks frequently to make sure the kids are doing well, plays with them, told us we needed to use their Chinese names for a bit(and how to pronounce them), etc. 
 
Today I asked him if he's ever had an adoption fall through.  He looked close to tears when he acknowledged that has happened.  Apparently the little ones haven't been such a big deal, but one with an older child was really devastating.
 
Yingying is adorable.  She's pretty independent and smart.  She keeps hitting the caps lock as we sit here together and then she giggles.  She is also a tease!  Janelle, when I see a big smile on her face, something about her reminds me of Micah. She also keeps dropping the calculator and her dolly on the floor.......and then laughs.  She's doing remarkably well.  Not really any tears today, including naptime, except once when she didn't get her way. 
 
Gotta run, my two-year-old has had enough.  Maybe tomorrow I can think of something else besides the kid!  : P   Keep the prayer coming our way. : ) 
 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gotcha!

Yingying is all ours and she's even more wonderful than we hoped.  She and Kenton are upstairs sleeping.  She came in clutching the musical bear we sent her in a care package and wearing black embroidered snow pants and a Chinese style red winter coat (Please keep in mind it was around 75 degrees fahrenheit today! : D  )
 
Initially we bribed her with candy and she was sober but okay.  Then we got in the van to leave the CAB and the waterworks started.  She cried until we got to our hotel room.  We tried to take off her coat but she acted like she was going to bite me if I insisted so the coat stayed on.  Cheerios were a huge hit and she loved putting them into the stacking cups.  Like Megan she wants everything just so.  : )  Someday my house will be immaculate.   ; D  We had a chance to play with her for about twenty minutes before we needed to leave again to file more paperwork.  At supper we started to see some smiles and we even got some chuckles out of her.  It was amazingly beautiful!  What a special gift from God on a special day.  After supper we were able to get her out of her snow suit and she played for a little bit, but she was tired.   She wanted to dump the bottle over and spill it.  When I wouldn't let her, the waterworks started.  She cried pretty hard for twenty minutes, sometimes writhing but never pushing me away, until she fell asleep in my arms clutching her musical bear and Kendra's taggy blanket.  Poor little baby girl.  My heart breaks at all she is losing. 
We have one beautiful picture of her laughing while Kenton pretended to fall over when she pushed the ball at him.  I can't wait for you all to see that beautiful smile.  It is adorable.  
She's walking, has perfect coordination, takes a bottle of formula three times a day, wears diapers,  feeds herself very well with a spoon, and did I mention that she has a beautiful smile and an adorable giggle?  She's also very smart!  She had those stacing cups figured out in no time.....and she has a darling smile.   : D 
The hardest day is over.  God is good.  We already got our first smiles and giggles.  Please continue to pray.