Friday, August 04, 2006

So we are having a few jealousy issues but Tim is still smiling. Julia is doing great and has almost adjusted to everyone in the house with the exception of Meshu aka the dog. Carson, on the other hand, is learning to share with big sister. It becomes comical at times around the house with one crying and then the other and the many tug of war battles the two are having. We took her for her first outing as a family of six today. We all got up around 5 a.m. and by 8:45 a.m. we made it to the Cracker Barrel and were seated to eat. It goes something like this: My plate sits and gets cold and I turn to the left and give Carson a bite and then turn to the right and give Julia a bite. If you do not turn quick enough, one of them will wine because they are not getting your attention or food. It's official, I have the upmost respect for people with twins, triplets, etc. Matthew and Chase are such a big help. I am grateful that God has given me the experience and wisdom to know that the time of our kids being babies will pass so soon and that the stressful times will be a distant memory. Tim and I both feel so blessed to have these children even though we look a little frayed right now. Tim has been great during this whole process and I am so lucky to have him as are the kids.

Thank you again to all of those who have followed us and we look forward to sharing Julia's progress with you. Thank you to Lori for all of the prayers and the priceless pictures that you took for us earlier this year. You were right on the money with her personality. She does have a smile and a comical side to her. She fits in perfectly with our family.

We're home! Life as we knew it has now changed again. Wow, four kids..two in diapers. We arrived at the Montgomery airport around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night only to be greeted by a crowd of friends and relatives. Julia did great on all five plane trips and then decides to scream and I mean scream the last 15 minutes of the 45 minute trip from Memphis to Montgomery. She had had enough and was ready to get out of the cramped quarters that she had been confined to for 20 hours. No, I did not purchase her own seat and I'm glad that I didn't waste the money. She would only sit in my lap and it was only until the end of the longest flight did she let me lay her across my lap and Matthew's. What's the record for holding a kid for the longest time? I felt like I was coming close to matching or passing such record. Thank goodness Nancy and Mother were with us in Memphis. I got a touch of air sickness or pure exhaustion and became motion sick after we got off the plane. Matthew and I slept sitting straight up in the terminal while waiting for our 7:40 plane to leave. Around 7:00 p.m. I awoke to the announcement that the gate had been changed. We moved our luggage and were then told we had no plane. We ended up taking off around 8:30. Dramamine works wonders!

I would like to say thank you to those who came to the airport to greet Julia and for all the wonderful gifts that you presented her with. I would also like to say that we know that the power of prayer works. I have heard of how many people were praying for us and I know that we were watched over during our trip and Julia's transition. It has only been until now that I have been able to see my blog and the many comments that were left during our trip. I was so touched by the kind words and only wish that I could have gotten them sooner. Yes, Chaz, I will mention your name. Even with a computer that crashed, you managed to get your mother to take you to the local library to watch us. That was very thoughtful of you. It's a little crazy around here right now and a little bit of a change for all of us but the craziness will pass in time.

Tuesday, My mommy took me to the US Consulate and swore to love me and take care of me forever. Julia had to be taken there in style. She had on her Alabama (Roll Tide) dress with her initials engraved on it. Yes, we got some looks but we didn't care. We spent the morning at the Toy Market..five stories tall. You had to walk past all the dried delicatesents and cross a death trap street to get there but we made it. I now see why the people in China are so tiny. They do not believe in elevators and they use so much energy talking. We are spoiled here in the US. The toy market was okay for me but great for all the boys in the group. We really didn't find much of anything but somehow I managed to find a silk tablecloth and a linen purse. "We do good deal for you since you are a good customer." I heard that several hundred times.

They had a dim sum goodbye dinner at a local restaurant and sadly I was too exhausted to make it. Matthew attended and had a good time. I spent the next several hours trying to weigh in my luggage within the required limits. That took until 2 a.m. in the morning. We got our wake up call at 4:30 a.m. and had to be on the bus by 5:30 a.m. I know Mom and Nancy never went to sleep and decided they could sleep on the airplane all the way back. Ha! Ha! I am so grateful for their company during this trip.

I would like to mention our China Facilitator, Lily and our last guide, Rebecca. Lily went above and beyond to make sure that we were at all times taken care of and is a super nice person. She does a Grade A job and is the perfect person for making your China experience as good as it can get. Thank you, Lily. Rebecca has her tour guide speeches down to a science. She is funny and always gets you where you wanted to go and then some. Our last afternoon, we had two hours before we all had to board a bus to go to the US Consulate. Well, Lisa and I had mentioned that we wanted to return to the pearl and gold market. Not on did Rebecca get us there and back in an hour, she also took us on the tour bus, just the three of us. Now, we did ride back in the wonderful taxi that was filled with gas fumes. You win some and you lose some. Lastly, Lifeline,
they have been great even considering our excruciating wait on our TA that was out of their control. I would like to thank Karla and Jenn for doing such a good job of walking us through this process. We have been so blessed.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Yes, it is four days later and I am going back and blogging. Long story short, I wasn't able to blog Monday night due to internet issues. Tuesday was a blur and we traveled Wednesday. I am going to attempt to catch us up. I have several pictures from Monday so bare with me.

Monday, we went to the zoo and had a great time. Julia slept during the first half and woke up around the fish aquarium part. The lady in the pic with her is someone that asked to have her picture taken. I guess she thought we were going to post it on our blog or something.:) I actually, asked for her daughter to get her pic with Julia and then she wanted hers done as well. She walked away pretty excited. I have put several animal pics on here because at the time Chase wanted a picture posted of every animal in the zoo. I don't think so.

We returned to the hotel just in time for lunch and then a few hours of shopping. We all met up around 5:30 that evening we all met up for the infamous red couch pictures. I had no clue that the moms were going to be in the pics. Don't I look really happy about it? Not when my hair looked like it had been through a whirlwind and my tank top was not what I would have picked. Yes, I resorted to the tank top once returning from the zoo soaking wet from head to toe with sweat. Nevertheless, Julia took good pictures.

Afer the pictures, we went on our Pearl River Cruise. As you can see, Julia slept on the way to the boat. She always seemed to fit her naps in on our tight schedule. You will see photos of Julia and I in front of the White Swan Hotel from the top deck of the boat. You will also see a picture of Julia and Madelyn (Julia's peek-a-boo) friend. Madelyn was a great help on the trip and her new little sister is very lucky to have her. Thank you, Madelyn. Julia enjoyed the cruise but it was a job chasing her around the boat. Seeing the town in lights at night was a real treat.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The lost Gotcha Day photos.

Photo #1 - Orphanage Worker walking Julia in first.

Photo #2 -Her first look at me.

Photo #3 -Orphanage director behind me in Red and White striped shirt.

Photo #4 - She kicks into her deep-thinker mode and her wheels starting spinning as to who we are and why am I holding her.

Photo #5 - She wonders why I am giving her a doll that speaks Mandarin when she speaks Cantonese??

Day 11- We are still going strong here but will be glad to go home this week. Julia is still doing great. It is amazing how each baby is different and seems to be a perfect fit for the family that adopted them. God works in great ways! All of the children have been wonderful. I now look back to the first two days and feel so bad for Julia. Her first night she just layed in her crib and looked up saying nothing. Tonight, when it's time for bed, she fights me because she wants to stay up and play like a typical child. Her true personality came out and you can see how inverted she was during that adjustment period.

Today, we had to say goodbye to Andy. He had to fly back to his province in China. Andy is our China facilitator's son. He knows no English and Matthew knows no Chinese but somehow they figured out a way to play together. We took one last photo of the guys together this morning.. Conner, Matthew, Andy and Austin. We then headed off on a bus to the "Mall". It was very interesting and huge..several layers of floors. The took us to a pearl and jade market. The dads and sons took off to the DVD/CD store where there are DVD's that are still at the movies??? The movies were about 16 yuan a piece, cheap, less than $2 a piece. They then took us to a luggage store so we could all buy another suitcase. You can imagine how we are running out of room. We got a photo of Julia with Lily Grace. We have waited a long time for those two to be together. Lily Grace will also reside in Alabama. We have three southern bells heading home this week.

We took Julia to Lucy's restaurant tonight for some American food. She decided she wanted to start eating on her own, eggs and mashed potatoes. She actually did very well considering she was on her third outfit for the day in the photo. We then decided to fancy the deli beside the hotel and you can see in the picture what kind of wonderful cakes they have by the slice, of course. Julia picked her slice out herself but didn't seem to like it too much once returning to the room. Could it have been the ice cream Grandma Susan fed her on the way up to the room? Matthew stays down in the game room for hours at night with his new friends. We have to trick Julia when I go to check on Matthew. I'll stroll behind her and then switch with mother and take off in a different direction than they are going. You should see her face when she realizes that we did the big switch on her and her Grandma is pushing her and not me.

The blurred picture is in front of the waterfall on the 1st floor of the hotel. This hotel is absolutely beautiful. It is supposed to be one of or the finest hotels in the world. I believe it. This whole island caters to the adopting families. Each shop has a routine down to a fine science of luring you in and asking you the three basic questions - Which province is your baby from? How long will you be here? How many children do you have? They then play with your baby so you can shop. They do not want your baby to get upset so you have to leave. I then turn Matthew loose on them to barter. That kid is amazing. I think I will rent him out as a personal shopper to the other families.

BTW, Julia has officially had her last bowl of meat congee. Thank you for trying to find the recipe Aunt Cindy but she will no longer accept that as her food. Last night at the Thai restaurant she shook her head no when they put it in front of her and pointed to my food. Didn't take that girl long to start getting westernized.

Tomorow we will go to the Zoo to see the pandas and come back and rest tomorrow afternoon. I am going to blog twice tonight because I found several Gotcha Day photos on Grandma Susan's camera tonight that I didn't know she had.

Please pray for the final transition of these children as we all prepare to leave Wednesday morning.

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