Friday, January 29, 2010

What's new??

OK... So a stalker has let me know that I have not added any new pics lately.  Refereeing Watching 2 four yr olds does not leave much time for downloading pictures.  And then there is the never ending laundry.  How does adding one 4 yr old to the mix add up to so much extra laundry?  And then there is also Mom's taxi service, taxes to be done, bills to be paid, house cleaning, sorting through the mass of adoption paperwork to file and that left to be done (don't think that once the adoption is done that the paperwork is over!), cooking, helping with home work and who is that man that sleeps in my bed every once in a while?  OK, OK, I know, that is the life of a mom!

So what is new??  The girls have gone to 2 birthday partys in the past week.  I heard from another mom that there were 2 while we were gone also.  One of the ones they did get to go to was Sydney's "boyfriend"!  These 2 have been in pre-school together the last 2 years and are always together.  When you ask Sydney if Miles is her boyfriend, she says " Yes, he likes me!"  Too cute!  Miles had his party at the bowling alley and the girls loved it.  Sierra was a little overwhelmed at first.......






but she soon overcame that!






Sydney as usual had no trouble having fun!





They both enjoyed the cupcakes, I don't know who enjoyed them more??








And everyone enjoyed the few days of nice weather we have had.....











We want to thank everyone who has been praying for Sierra's cardiology appt.  We had that yesterday and got great news.  Her repair was done in China and from what they can tell it was done great.  She has a residual murmur, but this is normal.  She has NO limitations on her activity.  She will need to be followed at the cardiologists every year for a while and then may go to every other year.  Many times people with Tetralogy of Fallot will need a valve replacement as a young adult, but that is years away and may never need to be done.  We also got the results of all her labs and everything is normal.  All her immunization titers are also great.  We are just waiting on the poop patrol results and should have those today or early next week.  So health wise she is doing great!  Let's just say we are still working on everything else!  Keep praying!

  
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A day of firsts

Today was a day of firsts for Sierra.  First day of Preschool, first Dr.s visit and first night of going to bed without screaming!!

Today was the first day back to school for Sydney and first day for Sierra.  The school was out for MLK Day and then had a teacher's workday.  Samie still had one more day off and will return to school tomorrow.  We all dropped the girls off at school this morning and Sierra did great!!  She was a little unsure when we were saying good-bye, but no tears.  We threatened the teachers we were going to turn our cells off but no need.  Their teacher said she did great.  They both were very tired when we picked them up.  They only go from 9- 12, but they do go Mon thru Fri.  Hopefully tomorrow  morning will be just as easy.

Here is the toddler duo this am.....this is why there are no group photo sessions planned any time soon.








The Dr.s visit went well also.  She definitely wants Sierra checked soon by a cardiologist as she still has a murmur and a gallop.  That along with the fact that she sweats like crazy with just minimal exercise has her wondering if more heart procedures are in the future.  We have an appt for the 28th and will wait and see what they have to say.  We were sent on our way with a load of containers to fill to check for various parasites and bacteria.  The poop patrol has begun!  Then we went to the lab to have 4 tubes of blood drawn.  After the shots episode in China we were ready for the worst.  Tim and I were holding her tight, but she only wimpered and tried to move once or twice and that was it.  YEAH!!  Hopefully all will be well with the labs, we should know some results fairly quickly and others may take a week.

After that we came home and the girls went outside to play.  It has been gorgeous here lately.  Tim left to go into work to catch up on some things before he officially returns Friday night.  I was prepared for a battle come bed time.  Sierra did start to cry when I was getting their pjs ready, but after bath they still had play time and she came out of it very quickly.  I think when it finally came time to go to bed she was so exhausted she had no fight left!  She willingly crawled in and was OUT!!  Not a peep.  Remember though, first day of school, Dr visit, blood draw, NO nap and played outside.  Maybe the key is to wear her out everyday!

And just because she is so darn cute....



She has been such a big help to us, Thank you sweetie!  (That will make her blush!)

I don't know why, but it looks like my signature has disappeared from here-
Sandy


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The best four letter word there is.....



HOME!!
Yes, we made it home and we could not be happier.  The flights were pretty painless as far as the kids went.  They slept a great deal of the time, thankfully.  We were delayed leaving Chicago by about one hour and at that point we just wanted to get home.  Of course we had to stop at McDonalds for an ice cold Diet Coke and some good ole greasy fries.  YUMMMM!

We finally made it home around 1:30am and fell into bed about 3am.  Boy, those beds never felt better!  Everyone slept well the first night and we were lulled into a false sense of, "Oh, things are going to go great!"  And then reality set in the next night.  In China Sierra would go to bed at nap time and bed time with not a peep and sleep through the night.  The first night home was the same.  Then the next night she woke up crying and would not stop for hours.  The next day at nap time was a nightmare!!  She screamed, fought, kicked and would not stop for a solid hour.  The night held the same thing and she continued to wake at 2am crying.  Right now it is nap time and you guessed it, crying.  Not just crying, this girl is MAD!!!  She will bang her head against the wall, we have to move her to the middle of the bed to stop this.

During the day she can be so happy and carefree, but don't get in her way or tell her no.  Sydney is learning to share and will give Sierra something after she has played with it for a while.  But Sierra is NOT going to do the same.  She will refuse to give something up even when we ask her to.  She will hang on to it for dear life.  She is bull headed, stubborn and will hit and kick.  And she is STRONG!!  We are trying everything we can or know to do.  We just have never encountered a child like this before.  I have also never prayed for guidance, patience and strength so much before either.  It is so hard not to let this affect the girls.  But it does.

Will try to post pics later.  Still digging through piles of mail and paperwork for insurance, taxes, etc.
So how is your life???
  
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good Bye From China!!

Sierra after bathtime


Sydney and Sierra
Sydney at the park
Samie and Sierra
This is Samie's new boyfriend, Nolan. I can't seem to get a good picture of him! He is always on the move! Whenever he sees Samie he has to hold her hand and walk with her.


I can't believe that in just 10 hrs we will be heading to the airport to begin the looooong journey home! In some ways it seems we only just arrived and others it feels as if we have been here for YEARS!!! It will be bittersweet to say Good-bye, but we are so ready to come home and start a new routine. Sierra seems to take each new hotel and adventure in stride. I just wish I knew what was going on in that little head of hers.

Today we spent some time packing and picking up the last of the shopping items. Tim went with our guide to the consulate to pick up Sierra's visa. When he got back to the hotel our guide called and told us that someone from Sierra's province had called and stated our Article 23 had 2009 on it and they needed to send us a paper to re-sign. They wanted our home phone number. OOOOKKKK??? Why do they need our phone number to send us a paper? And why was this not picked up before?? We signed those papers 10 days ago. Something just isn't adding up and we are not sure why? Guess we will find out when we receive the papers. Our guide did say that everything was fine with the adoption.

After all this, we met up with another family and headed out to Carrefour to stock up on snacks for the journey home. We ate out at Papa Johns and I must say it was pretty good! Now the girls are all down for the count and we are finishing the packing. We leave the hotel at 7am and it will come VERY early!

I have no new pictures today so I will leave you with some I haven't posted for prior days. It may be a few days before I post once we are home. I remember how hard the jet lag hit us last time!
See you in the WONDERFUL USA!!
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One More Day


Samie trying out the exercise equipment
Being Silly at Dinner!


Today we walked to a nearby play and exercise area. They have equipment there that the adults can be seen using every morning. It really is kind of cool! There is also some play equipment for kids. The girls had a blast. And of course what day is complete without a little shopping??

In the afternoon we met up with the other families and headed to the consulate. I really am at a loss to understand why this step is even necessary anymore. We went in and when our name was called we stepped up to the window and showed our passports. We then signed a form we had previously filled out and sat back down. When all the families had done this we were all, the parents, told to stand and raise our right hand. We then repeated some words that basically sated that the info we provided during this adoption process was true and accurate to the best of our knowledge. How many times have we had to state that now?? And that was it! Now we wait until tomorrow to pick up Sierra's visa and the infamous brown envelope, the one that holds all the adoption and immigration documents that is sealed and can NOT be opened until we hit US immigration or our child is NOT admitted into the US. Then we can head HOME!!!

Tonight we went to dinner with a few families from Faith. We went to the Orient Express, which by the name you would think served Chinese food. Not! It serves authentic German food and it was wonderful! It is located in a train car and was so cute. For those of you about to travel I highly recommend it!

YIPPPEEEE!!! Less than 36 hrs and we will be heading to the first of four airports we will be going through! Excited?? YES!! Dreading it?? YES!! But we will be coming home.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another Milestone Done!!

Of these three things- together finally!
Attempt #24(?) at the red couch photo

Samie was invited to play Hackysack with a group of Chinese men and women in the park


The girls in front of a Koi pond in the park
Samie playing hopscotch with the statues and don't know what the girls are doing to the statues!

Group shot- we had to squeeze in so tight Sierra and Tim got lost in the back


Today was the consulate appointment. Our guide took the paperwork to the American Consulate in Guangzhou to get approval for the visas. Our children are still considered Chinese citizens until they go through Immigration in the US. Therefore they must travel on Chinese passports with an American Visa stamp in them. All the adoption paperwork and medicals go to the consulate for their final approval and then the visa can be issued. So today was the day we would find out if the paperwork had all the is dotted and ts crossed right! Apparently we passed as we did not get any calls for further clarifications.

Tomorrow we will go to the consulate to take the oath. This is just a formality where we swear we are who we say and we are adopting these children. Then the visas will be ready for pickup on Thursday. And Friday will be the real test of Tim's and my marriage!! Just kidding! It's been tested many times in our years together and we are stronger than ever. But it will certainly be a test of our sanity. 2 four year olds and more than 24 hours of travel will certainly test what we are made of.

Today we walked around the island more as the sun was out and shining brightly for the first time since we have been here. It was still cold, but much more bearable. We also had our group photos, red couch pictures and our group dinner. The photos were such a madhouse. Imagine 11 children from just under 2 years up to 9 years old, parents all trying to get their child to look forward or just to sit down. Total chaos!! The group photo was not much better with the photographer trying to get the shot on his camera and also take a photo on each families camera. And everyone with hungry squirmy children!

We were finally able to get to the restaurant and have our group dinner. It was yummy! We will be sad to see everyone go their separate ways. Myriam will leave in the morning, she is the China director for Faith and has been here to help as this is one of Faith's largest groups. It was so nice to be able to meet and get to know her. She really is as fantastic in person as she has been on the phone.


Our time here in China is winding down and it is bittersweet. We are so anxious to get home, but I am sad to leave the country that has given me 2 daughters. We are unsure if we will ever be able to return, but we are taking the best of China home with us.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Cold Here!!




It was cold and rainy when we woke up and now it is just darn right cold! And the shop keepers are telling us tomorrow is predicted to be colder. I thought we were in the south! But it is never to cold to shop!! And shop we have.

Today we started out at the government arts and craftsman shop. Beautiful porcelain, jade, glass bottles with the paintings on the inside and some beautiful Chinese outfits. We came away with a glass bottle that had a plum blossom scene painted on it. The artist was there painting at the time and she painted our name on the inside of the bottle also. We also got a beautiful leather box with a panda scene on it and outfits for all three girls. I think we may be going back for a beautiful tea set I saw. The quality of these items is much higher than what we find on the island and I could have spent a lot more! We then hit the pearl market and did some more spending. We got Sierra her string of pearls, each girl has one now for when they are older. We also got each girl and myself pearl earrings and picked up a ring for a friend of Tim's to give to his wife.

It was then time to come back for the kids TB tests to be read. There was quite a bit of fussing when we walked into the clinic and the kids thought they were in for more shots. Fortunately everyone was negative. Thank you again for all your prayers. There was a close call, one little girl's was negative by about 1 mm and we were all saying extra prayers that she would be negative. And she was!!

After this we went to lunch with another family and then it was time for all of us to take naps. At least the little girls and I took naps. Samie and Tim went for more shopping on the island.

Tomorrow we need to stay in the hotel room until we hear that everything is OK from the consulate appointment. This means that all the paperwork for the visa has cleared. We are then free until the evening when we will have the infamous red couch photo, group photos and group dinner.

Sorry, no pictures of the girls today, just some funny signs we have seen around. Tomorrow I promise to have more of the girls since that is the only reason you even read this blog!!


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Safari Park







Today was a great day. Even though it was drizzling in Guangzhou it was fairly nice, or nice for China weather, in Puna. Safari Park puts all zoos in the US to shame. This is the first time we have gone to a zoo and all the animals are out and active. And the exhibits are not crowded together and they are very well cared for. They have an amazing variety of animals also. We saw all the usual zoo animals, but they had at least 10 Pandas, 6 Koalas, including the only set of twin Koalas in the world, white tigers, white rhinos, at least 10 elephants including 2 babies and countless other animals.

There was also a safari ride through the animals. You ride in an open train and the animals are just a few feet from you. We did not understand how the tigers, lions, bear and other predators were kept in their individual areas. The fences were very low. All the signs were in Chinese in the safari ride area and we figured this was so the crazy Americans did not know to keep their arms and legs in the train and the animals would get their afternoon snack!

We were able to get an awesome picture of Samie holding a baby white tiger. She loved it and said it was so soft. It was starting to get a little agitated when it came her time to hold it and we were wondering again if the crazy American might be a little nibble for it.

After the safari Park we came back and did a little negotiating at the shops. We finally had to come up to the room and let Tim go back to negotiate on his own. Samie kept getting upset with her Dad for trying to go lower on the shop keeper's prices. She keeps forgetting how this works and will shout out, "Daddy!!" And we have to shush her! I hate it too, but we found Chops, which is a name stamp, at one store for 90 Yuan. The keeper would only come down to about 60 Yuan. And this was for only the Chop, no ink or box. We walked around the corner and got the same Chop with box and ink for 25 Yuan. Daddy does know what he is doing sometimes!

I want to thank everyone for their prayers about Sierra's TB test results. It is looking negative, no swelling and no redness whatsoever! We go tomorrow for the official reading, but if it was going to be positive it would have been raised and red by now. So thank you!

Tomorrow we are going to the Six Banyan Temple and to do shopping at the govt shops, Samie doesn't have to worry about us bargaining there- not allowed, and to the Pearl Market. YYIIPPEE!! More shopping!!



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Saturday, January 9, 2010

We are in Guangzhou!


The Swan Room will never be the same again

The girls in front of the Koi pond
Look at those pouting lips!
Their version of a hearing test

Measuring her scar


And we are loving it. Although the island is just a shell of it's former self it is still nice to be where things are familiar, diet coke is available and people understand English. There is so much construction going on that most stores appear closed but are actually open, just shrouded in green construction meshing. The Aisian Games are this summer and are in this city so they are sprucing everything up. The shop keepers are also not bargaining as they have before. There are so few families on the island that they can not afford to drop their prices much. But you can still find things that are very inexpensive.

Today was the dreaded medical exam. Sierra did not mind it until time for the shots and TB test. We had very good records of her vaccinations but she still required 5 vaccinations and the TB test. One vaccine, polio, was given in oral form. It was very traumatic, Tim had to hold her and it also took 2 other nurses along with the one who gave the shots. Don't know who was sweating more after that, Tim or Sierra.

After this is when Sierra had her first real melt down. Just crying, but usually when she is upset at us she will just shoot daggers at us with her eyes. Today we got the full blown, snot producing wailing. She still does not thrash around like some kids, VERY thankful for that! Monday we go back for the reading of the TB test, please keep Sierra in your prayers for a negative test.

Tomorrow we are going to the Safari Park. It sounds like a lot of fun and I think the girls will have a blast. We will get to see the Pandas and maybe even feed a tiger cub.

6 more sleeps and we are home!!


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Hi I'm Sandy, a stay at home Mom to Samantha and Sydney and wife to an amazing man who is not afraid to live in a house full of estrogen...although he does work a lot! Welcome to our blog~

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