Friday, February 29, 2008

Green Eyed Monsters and Toddler Beds Woes

White Swan family photo.
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Well, it was inevitable. Mya is not liking sharing her toys. Pretty normal. Can't really capture that on film but suffice it to say that things get grabbed from hands and dirty looks abound. This will pass and of course, spring weather will improve all things. Can't wait til they can go play in the grass and sunshine.

Noah has developed a strong dislike for his room. Also no surprise since he got angry at going back to the hotel room. We think he associated it with having to go to bed. Actually, he did play in there with Mya tonight but somehow he knew that brushing teeth would lead to time for bed. Kids are way too smart. He's still wailing and crying and trying to get out of the toddler bed. Last night Keith gave up when Noah woke in the middle of the night and brought him to bed with us, something I do not wish to continue. Noah is sharing Mya's room. We were hoping that having her close would help lessen this issue and in time, it probably will. After all, it is only the 3rd night. :)




Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Getting ready to go Home

"I heard this wind-swept hair style is all the rage in the States"
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As you all wake up this morning, we are packing our bags for the trip home. Noah has had a bath and was walking around wailing and whining. That has subsided for the moment. He is wearing his travel clothes to bed. Wish I could do the same but just isn't the same for an adult. Anyway, we will be leaving the hotel at 5:30 am and in the air around 8 am Wed China and will get home just before noon MN time. We have the benedryl ready and lots of toys in Noah's backpack. He seems content to look out car and bus windows but I think clouds will be pretty boring.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Pictures

Noah gets hold of the disposable camera that we sent with his care package. It's full and we need to have them developed. In the meantime, he's having a ball with it.

Medical check up-- Yes, it's only his hand that is the need. Yes, his hand. OK, check every part of his little body and make sure but it's only his hand!!

All the cars must be in a row. The room looks like our family room at home--MESSY!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sunday in Guangzhou

Happy Sunday!! We would love to be able to go to church. Missing our church family and the routine of home. Hotels are only fun for so long :) Sorry, no pictures right now. Blogger is being a pain.


Did some shopping yesterday and found a really nice dress for Mya. I'm not a huge shopper. So, that portion of Guangzhou holds little enjoyment for me. Keith and I have picked out a little boy outfit for Noah and plan to get it before we leave. Haven't decided on the matching outfits but will probably do that. We might venture down to the pearl market that we went to 3yrs ago. Also thinking about another Wal*Mart trip. Gotta do something. Hey, Nikki, if you read this, please comment what park Jay when to. Was it 3 bulls or ??


The group went out to dinner together last night. The food was wonderful, of course. Shiyan picks what she knows we will enjoy.


Otherwise, we're enjoying the warm weather and trying to keep Noah busy in limited areas. Lots of strolling!


Have a great day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Guangzhou Arrival

First airplane ride--Wuhan to Guangzhou.

Ready to step in to daddy's shoes?

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Today was another long day with a visit to the registration office, the notary, the turquoise place and then a 1.5 hour flight to Guangzhou. Everything has gone well today. No major fusses. However, we have not gotten Noah to bed yet. That seems to be the most difficult part of the day. Every night when it is time for bed, he wails--lots of noise but not many tears. I just think it is so funny. I'm going to try to get a video just so that we will remember. Another master of the bedtime delay tactics.

Today, Noah planted a big we kiss on my cheek, out of the blue. Caught me totally off gaurd and made me laugh. He and Maddie chased each other around the registration office table. That was fun to see.

We ate at Lucy's tonight. For some reason I really started to miss Jay and Nikki. I miss the rest of our fist travel group too cuz this is the place we really formed a strong bond. I hope you are all feeling just a little bit like you are here with us cuz it kind of feels like you are.

Noah is such a little comedian/stinker. He put on his daddy's shoes tonight. So, of course, I had to take a picture. He pushed the stroller around the room and can't wait to get out to use it.

Tomorrow is the medical checkup. Then we have a meeting sometime to double check all the paperwork. Will have to study the schedule better. We feel like we really missed some stuff since we were not with the majority of folks and Shiyan was with them.

Ok, it's 10 pm here and Noah is still not asleep. Guess we should shut off the lights and encourage sleep. Good night!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fu-Mart and Wailing

Mya had a good time at Underwater World at MOA.
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I'm getting pretty sick of this hotel. Can we blow this pop stand???!!!

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Pizza Hut -- Yummmy!!!



Toys and books and surprises for the sibs. Yeah Fu-Mart!!


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This whole thing is getting on my nerves. Let's all just go home!!!
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Today, 3 of us ladies,(the only American adoptive families staying at our hotel) took a little shopping trip. We asked Eric, our guide, to take us to Wal*Mart but it's really not one, it's a Fu-Mart. Fu means Lucky. Anyway, we found what we thought to be fun things for keepsakes and some toys for the kids. Next door to the superstore, is a Pizza Hut. So we took back pizza for the guys, who had watched the kiddos during our absence. We took a taxi home. It was a fun trip.



I'm so glad to have these other families with us. I think it would be more difficult and mostly lonely without them. Colleen and Alan are from another agency. They live in TN. Heather and Brian are with Bethany. Their website is listed my sidebar.

Today was a more grieving day for Noah. He is not nappping well and has to be forced to sleep by holding tight. For both nap and bedtime, tonight, he fell asleep on the floor, watching TV. I had given him his meds (the orphanage gave us amoxicillin, a chinese cold reliever and some eye drops). I also gave him some benedryl with the idea he would crash in about 15 minutes. Not our little fighter. It took an hour for him to finally fall asleep on the floor.

Tomorrow, we leave for Guangzhou and the famous White Swan Hotel. We're looking forward to seeing all the babies from the rest of our Bethany group. I hope they are all doing well. Check my sidebar for some of their addresses and go check out their cutie patuties!

Hello to all of our Church family--Spirit of Grace. I also want to send out a special "Hello" to Nicole at work and Jo and Marnie, too. I did get Nicole's email. Howdy to everyone else from FLRMC who is following our journey and also to the Smith's folks that Keith works with. Hi to our families too. It is wonderful to know there are so many people who are interested and care about our journey--people who most likely have not been reading our blog much prior to this trip. I feel so popular ;).

We appreciate all the wonderful comments that folks are leaving. It takes me a long time to get through them each day. They are truly a blessing. I want all who are praying to know that God has blessed us with a peace and calm that we did not have on the first trip. We can certainly feel His hand.

OK, enough chit chat. More pictures. Maybe tomorrow we can put in some video of the fireworks from tonight. It is the lantern festival which marks the end of the Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai! - Happy Chinese New Year

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

For all You Cheek Pinchers!!

Let me tell you that you are WAY lucky I figured out how to crop on the Photo Shop program that was already on this laptop!!

Pinch Away!!!

2 3 4


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Registration Day

The Backpack Boys

Paperwork Millionth check

Getting in to the van when all was final.

Today we spent the morning at the gov't building answering questions and getting our signatures and fingerprints on the paperwork. Keith and I went to a local restaraunt for late lunch and then to the store to purchase a toy that makes noises. Yeah, that really is a crazy thing to do. Please do not take this a permission to send me all your annoying electronic toys. Noah fell asleep in the van on the way back to the hotel and has refused an afternoon nap. He is getting more and more sullen, the more tired he becomes. He has cried so little that I am surprised and truly expect there to be a flood at some point. Here are some pictures from today.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What's Up at Home

I've been asking Mya to make me a snowman for quite a while but each time it snows, the snow is not sticky. She was thrilled to tell me, via webcam, that she had finally been able to make one. We received this photo today. Way to go MYA (and auntie Colleen)!!
Thank you to our dear friend Katie (and her BF Phil) for keeping Mya busy on Saturday. They took Mya bowling, giving Colleen a break from continual chatter.
Big Bro, Joe and his GF Rachael, and Erin are supposed to go to Under Water World today at the Mall of America. Erin said Mya could get a certificate for petting a shark. Hope they get lots of pictures so I can see what they did. My clock says it is 6:30 pm at home. So, I guess they have already done all that.
Today is registration day for us. Noah is layered up and ready to roll. Keith got him in to some shoes. He ate very well this morning. Love seeing those beefy noodles get sucked in to that little mouth. He's drinking lots of water and juice which is good because his cough and cold seem pretty bad to me.
We're hoping to go to a store that has toys with buttons. Noah is playing with the phone, the safe, the alarm clock as well as the computer. And now he has found the remote control for the TV.
So far we have been able to maintain the potty training. He will pee in the big toilet and pooped this morning. For those who feel that is too much info, I'm sure there are a 100 who know just how important this is.
Catch you all later.

More Pictures and Schedule Update

Daddy, the sleep magic man. He could soothe Mya to sleep too.
I am again on the lower rung but that is OK with me as I now understand that all comes in place in time.

Daddy also got Noah into the tub. But mommy fninished the bath and slathered him with baby lotion to get that dry skin in check.

This is what I saw often today. Noah likes the computer buttons and really likes daddy although I could have sworn he was saying YeYe (grandpa) instead of BaBa (daddy).

He likes to have his shoes and coat on at all times. He has also pointed to Keith's coat and brought him his shoes. He pushed my shoes at me too.

Thank you for all the support. Things are going well. Noah has had some really sad faces and a very short time of crying. So, mourning has been minimal so far. I expect more in time. It felt like a really long day-- just kind of hanging in the hotel and eating McDs. Hope we can find something better to eat where there is less of a language barrier, soon. Official paperwork and transactions occur tomorrow with a museum tour and orphage tour on Wed. I think Thursday is free and Friday we get the Visa and fly to Guangzhou. The weather was cool and cloudy today. It's supposed to warm up and get sunny by the end of the week. Guangzhou should feel summer-like by the time we get there.

We've Got Our Boy

First sighting
Look at those layers--5, I think--2 of which were winter coats!! It's about 45 degrees here.
Maddie Luke is to the left.

Boy bonding with an airplane, of course.

First time daddy picks him up.

Even a sucker can't keep him awake.

Holding, almost clutching the photo album we sent.

Noah woke up at the hotel and loved the truck with the soft push handle the starts an engine. He's a bit cautious at this time but has smiled, gone to daddy and at a big lunch at McDs.

His smile is infectious. He giggled when Keith scratched his back . . . hmm. . . ticklish?

His skin is as dry as can be--we slathered him with hand lotion but will need to do that a lot in the next few days. He seems a bit congested and has a runny nose and a cough. Hoping it is minor but will have the doctor examine him in Guangzhou, if Shiyan brings one to the hotel.

Funniest moment so far: Noah went to the door and indicated to go out. I opened the door. He steps out, turns around, looks at me, raises his hand and waves bye-bye!

Sorry buddy. You're ours!!!

Keith just now worked his daddy magic and got Noah to sleep. He seems to like his little fleece blanket, especially the silk tag.

More later. Hugs from Wuhan. All is going well so far. God is truly in this.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wuhan Arrival


Keith has not downloaded any photos from today. The above picture is out our window in Beijing. We arrived safely around 1pm. Our guide, Eric, met us and took us to our hotel and then to a store across the street. There is a "lake" and a park just across the street also. Tonight, we enjoyed genuine Chisese cuisine at a local restaraunt. We are very happy to have to Luke's with us. It is a treat to have another couple with us. Many of the families in our travel group got their babies today. Some were able to post but others are having difficulties. So, check them out to see what you can find. We will meet Noah at 10:00 am tomorrow--2/18 (8pm 2/17 CST).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ni Hao! from China


We arrived in Beijing at approx. 9:15 pm and were safe in our hotel by 10:15. We called home to speak with Mya. She is VERY excited. However, she did have a night terror the night we left. Fortunately, I had warned Colleen to expect them. She had had a couple in the last few weeks. I feel they are brought on by the stress. Keith and I slept for nearly 12 hours--Ambien for me and exhaustion for him. We ate at McDonalds for lunch. I have attached a picture of a tree in the lobby of our Hotel--Days Inn Beijing. There are many CNY decorations still up. (Wonder if they have big after CNY sales . . . but I digress.) We will attend the acrobat show with the group tonght. Everyone is wonderful. Having a pretravel Yahoo group to talk and share pictures was a great way to get to know folks. We are off to Wuhan in the morning and have a day to catch our breath and then we get Noah on the 18th. So far things have gone very smoothly. We both have knots in our stomach today, though. I can't help but wonder what our guy will look like. All of his pictures are from last summer. That is an eternity in a 2 yr old's life/growth. Soon, soon . . .

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's Distractions

Meet my buddy, the Dyson Animal. We are hanging out today, making sure all is vacuumed prior to leaving. Can't say that I will miss him. Just need to make sure the cat/dog hair is at a minimum. Joe watched the house when we went to get Mya and, being a guy, he did not notice the layer of yuck on the carpets. So, I vacuumed when I got home. Will have to ask Erin to do a cleaning before we get home.
Tomorrow, Colleen arrives. Poor girl. I think we have an instruction manual to give her. Stuff that we take for granted but she won't have a clue.

The lotions arrived this morning. I got them packed and will be required to check them as the airlines now have strict rules about liquids. One of our travel mates had her shampoo taken at security. Sounds crazy to me but I guess you could make your shampoo or lotion in to an explosive if you were really that kind of person.

OK, gotta get back to Mr Dyson. Mya is playing with the packing peanuts!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chinese New Year

Mya and I discussed Chinese New Year. She was bummed that we didn't go to the local FCC celebration but I just didn't want to try to fit it in before travel. Anyway, we talked a bit about the zodiac and I told her it is the year of the rat and Noah is a rooster and she is a monkey. She tells me with disdain in her voice, I'm not a monkey, I'm a princess!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Checking it Twice

Keith is the paperwork guy. As you can see, he will make sure it is all there and organized prior to leaving. Tonight was the beginning of that process. He checked it all out. Made copies of necessary stuff. All the T's will be crossed and I's dotted.

He also got his packing going. I took a closer inventory and was able to take some things out. Unfortunately, there was much I had not put in. So, it was a wash, space-wise. :o) Hey, we had to have room for snacks!!! The packing will not be really finished until Wed when we go to bed. Clothing we can do without. Paperwork, we cannot!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

My Yahoo Weather Links

Temps on Sat, Feb 9 at 11 pm CST. I hate being cold but I may remove a few of the shirts from my luggage if the temps stay up there.

My Yahoo! Locations

-12...24 FSaint Paul, MN

-13...23 FMinneapolis, MN

20...38 FBeijing, CH

45...54 FGuangzhou, CH

30...42 FWuhan, CH

Massive Suitcase

I got out the biggest suitcase that we have--yep, the one we bought when we traveled to get Mya. It is huge and now, it seems like it weighs about 100 pounds cuz it's filled to the brim turtlenecks, long sleeved T-shirts, sweaters, jeans, socks galore, PJs, undies, lots of warm little boy clothes including a winter coat and snowpants, pull ups and bibs. I have a duffle full too. The good news, we will have Noah on the way home and a bunch less pull ups!!!

I ordered some soy lotions today for the orphanage director, nannies and Noah's foster grandma. Go HERE to take a peek. The are made in good old Minnesota from soybeans. Since I was raised in south-central Minnesota and spent a year at the college in Marshall, I thought it appropriate to purchase this product to share with those who took care of Noah.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

For Nikki (and all you curious folks)

Dear Nikki,

You asked how I was doing, really doing, not just the bloggy details. Well, I'm here to tell you (and all those reading this note) that I am doing well, for the most part. I can't really get my mind around the fact that in 10 short days, we will not only be in China but be meeting Noah. It is like something you can't explain until you do it, and even then, it is so surreal that in many ways it's like you just float through it, in some sort of haze.

I have prepared as best I can for this trip. No knight in shining armour attitude this time. I know that it could go badly. The Ogle's (see post on Noah's foster bro) said Paul William ran from the room when he saw them and kicked the hotel door for at least 2 hours. I realize that the same thing could happen with Noah. I've done this before and I know that it is just plain hard at times. I also know, as you do, that the rewards far out weigh the difficulties. So, in many ways, I have hunkered down for the possibility of a "fight".

We have not done our final packing. It is hard to do that until you don't need your things for daily life. The pull ups and diaper wipes are in the bag, along with bunches of clothes for Noah, all of which I will take out and reassess prior to leaving. I have gotten my perscriptions filled, stocked up on OTC meds and purchased travel sized items as needed. We have discussed the need to bring a power converter and decided it is not necessary. We have uploaded some 500 songs on to the little IPOD that Keith won. One thing I have not done is purchase gifts for the nannies, foster grandma and director of the orphanage. Better get to that soon.

So, how am I really doing? I'm spending lots of time at the computer, ignoring the things I need to do. ( Go here http://kariskafe.blogspot.com/ and here http://bargainbright.blogspot.com/ to see what I have been up to.) No nesting here. Don't feel nervous but then I didn't feel nervous for Mya's trip until the day we left. Go figure. Not sure if those are the details you were looking for but that's basically how I'm doing. Tomorrow's my last day of work. We are celebrating with pizza. Maybe it will sink in more then.

~v

Seven things you may not know about me: The Meme
1) Married at 19 years old, after my freshman year of college.
2) Mom at 23 yrs old
3) Graduated college in June 1983 (BS Medical Technology UofM)
4) I'm a Clinical Laboratory Scientist--yes, I do collect blood and examine urine
5) Raised sheep during my junior year of HS
6) Worked for Green Giant during the corn pack a couple seasons
7) Take care of the weekly bulletins for my church

Go here http://nevertoomany.blogspot.com/2006/06/blog-tag.html for more of my story.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Update on My Back

It's been nearly 2 weeks since my back started acting up. I am doing MUCH better. However, I have decided to see my doctor just to be prepared and make her aware of my concerns. You know how it goes, though. You make an appointment. Then you feel better and think about (and sometimes do) cancelling your appointment. I nearly did cancel yesterday but didn't get it done. By the end of my shift last night, I was glad to be going in. The last thing I want to do is be in China without adequate pain meds.

For those recommending a chiropractor, I really need to find a good one in my community. The last one I went to was a brute. It took me longer to recoup from the adjustments than to just stay home and heal. I do appreciate chiropractors. The very first time I had a major back problem, the MD didn't do any thing but the chiro took the time that was needed to get me walking straight and pain free. Unfortunately, we moved and, he is also getting such a big practice that it is hard to actually get in with him. Don't you just hate trying to find a new doctor, dentist, chiro, etc. when you move?

Thank you to all who commented and prayed. ~v

Monday, February 04, 2008

2nd Post--- Getting Worse?!!??


This just boggles my mind. Go here for another concerned parent: HAPPY HOPPES
Many waiting parents are very worried for the orphanages. Keep the Chinese in your prayers.
Mya's orphanage--Pingjiang, Hunan--is now listed as needing supplies.

Here's the link to help financially: http://www.halfthesky.org/work/littlemouse.php

Not So Little Noah

We got an update on Noah's measurements today. He is not much smaller than Mya. I'm preparing for major sibling adjustment!!
Here is what I got:
Height: 95 cm -- ~38 in (1.5 in less than Mya)
Weight: 15 kg -- ~33 lb (same as Mya)
Foot: 15 cm -- ~ size 7.5-8 (1/2 size smaller than Mya)
Life will be very interesting for the next . . . . . . FOREVER!!
The only thing that could have made the update better would be a picture. Only 2 weeks until we meet our boy. Guess I can wait.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Shoes- Luxery or Necessity?

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Shoes are something we take for granted here in America. Many of us have closets full of shoes. We have sandals, dress shoes, tennis shoes, slippers, flip flops and whatever else that you can think of to match a particular outfit. Not so in China, especially at the orphanages. * * *

China has been hit very hard by recent snowstorms, causing many hardships. As you sit in your well heated home tonight, please look at your feet and think about those who don't have shoes. Imagine a child in an orphanage who is bare footed during a snowstorm and now the power and heat are no longer working. These are not carpeted floors--most likely cement. Brrrr.

Other things are needed too. Blankets, diapers, space heaters, etc are in dire need. If you are feeling warm tonight, go to this website: http://www.halfthesky.org/work/littlemouse.php , read the needs, let them sink in deep and realize just how many children are being affected. Noah's orphanage, Wuhan, Hubei, ( http://www.halfthesky.org/work/sites/wuhan.php )is on that list. Now, if you have a few bucks you can spare, please make a donation. Please remember that an American dollar is worth 7 yuan in China. When we were there, a little outfit for Mya cost about $5.00. Some Chinese workers make the equivalant of $4.00 each day--the cost of a Starbucks coffee!!
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I thank you personally for my son and all of his little friends at the orphanage.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

(2nd post) The Nominee for Best Husband Is . . .


Keith!! Here's a pic of 11 bags of groceries from last night when he and Mya went to Cub to stock up. Leave a comment about why you would nominate your Hubby.