Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Busy Busy Life

Sorry for the lack of blogging activity these days. We have been busy as beavers with the kids being out of school. Alot of fun things going on around here. Faith is fitting in quite perfectly. I am still waiting for the "bad stuff" to come with her, but so far nothing but good :)


I have seen a few of my cousins recently that I don't get to see very often. We attended my cousin Brittany's wedding last weekend and she looked beautiful. Also, we had a visit from my cousin Alan who happens to be married to a woman from China. So Faith got a little taste of China this weekend when she was speaking Chinese to her. Faith soaked it up and enjoyed every minute. It was really neat to watch her react to hearing Chinese again.

Hope you all have a very happy new year! Looking forward to an exciting 2009!!




Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fun Firsts

We had a wonderful Christmas and we are truly blessed. Here are some pics from the wonderful holidays we had. The kids of course received WAY more stuff than they ever needed, but enjoyed every minute. This was Shelby's first year to really understand about Santa and she counted down the days and minutes until it was time for Santa. She was so excited and it was wonderful to witness the magic in her eyes first hand.
We are getting to experience many more "firsts" with Faith and it is really neat to see her blossom before our eyes. Unfortunately we missed alot of those with Shelby so every new first for her is a very special one. The joy of Santa Claus was really special to enjoy with Shelby. I have to remind myself to slow down sometimes to be sure to capture all the "firsts" with all of my children.

Travis had a first this year too...shooting is very own Red Ryder BB Gun for the first time. He is certainly all boy and really gets excited about guns and stuff.

I wasn't too excited to witness Caleb's "first" this time...it was killing his first bird-YUCK! I hope I don't have a weird kid on my hand for being so excited about killing a living animal, but he really really was excited. I guess it must be a boy/man thing since I certainly don't get it. Oh well we told him to not shoot anything else alive especially not in the back yard anymore. Caleb had to go bury the bird along with a rabbit that got hit by a car in front of the house. He was just as excited to bury dead animals-weird child.

And last but not least, here is a video of us watching our baby Faith started to take her first steps with a little help of course. Our lives are so much fun it is truly a miracle :)

video

Friday, December 26, 2008

Another Homecoming

Please join me in encouraging Lucy and her family on their adventures traveling back to China for their second adoption. I can't help but feel a special connection to their newest addition Alaina as I have watched from the sidelines from referral picture to now their journey to get her. Their trip hasn't started out easy, so please stop over on their blog and make an encouraging comment or two during their journey. You have no idea how much a simple little comment means while you are in China "alone". Little Alaina will be home soon!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your family a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! I can't imagine ours being merrier than it is this year. We are truly truly blessed. God has given us the gifts of all of our children and we are so very grateful. However, nothing compares to the gift He gave us so many years ago on this very special day. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back in the Groove

We are slowly getting back to the real world. I tried to make yesterday as normal as possible by getting out and about. Fortunately I was able to find a lunch date with Ellen who happened to be meeting with my adoption coordinator-Aisha for lunch. Aisha was plesantly surprised to see her latest accomplishment in person. Aisha has such a heart for children and thoroughly enjoys seeing these kids come home to their Forever Families. I pray that she is able to continue her work even though Hope for Children has closed its doors. Anyway it was fun to show off baby Faith!
Say Cheese... Ok Faith now you say Cheese too...
OK girls how about at least one good pic together-please!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking Good

Lesson learned from trip to China last year: One cannot bring home too many Wahahas!










What cha talking bout Willis?!









Baby torture for sure









My new view :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baby Jetlag Stinks

We are all up and running pretty easily except for the girls. Faith is doing better than Miss Grumpy Pants though. Shelby is the one having the hardest time adjusting back to Georgia time. On Sunday morning Shelby woke up at 4AM and would not go back to sleep. Faith woke up around 4:30AM. So we were up and running. I woke the boys up at 7:30AM and CJ woke up around that same time. We were off to Waffle House and then to church.

The problem then came around lunch time when both girls did not want to wake up from their naps. Shelby was miserable and would not stay awake. I took her and Faith to her friends house to play to just try and get her awake. Then we went to the grocery store where Shelby looked like she was drunk sitting up in the racecar cart. She just could not stay awake any longer and was OUT at 6PM!

So that brings us to now...12AM...AWAKE :( Faith is awake too and Shelby has now managed to wake up Travis too. It is going to be a really long night and day I can tell. Hoping to get back to sleep soon after maybe a snack and maybe with some pharmeceutical help ;)

Here is a little clip of my angel baby doing a little dance to a Christmas song at Waffle house yesterday. Too Cute! video

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Surprise From Work

video

My boss was kind enough to send me this video clip from our company Christmas Party that I unfortunately had to miss while I was gone. Guess what...I got Employee of the Year!! YEAH! This comes with some needed extra $$$$ plus an extra week's vacation...sssaaaawweeeeeeettttt! Sorry I missed the celebrations, but I was excited to get this special surprise video from everyone. I do really love my job and actually missed seeing everyone at the annual party. So this was definitely a welcome sight :)

We Are HOME

Well after an unexpected 4 hour delay in Detroit due to snow and ice, we are finally home! We landed in ATL last night around 10PM. There were lots of heart warming faces there ready to welcome us home. Coming up the escalator to see everyone was such a wonderful experience. It is such a reminder of how much our family was missed and loved :)

It was definitely a LONG journey home, but we are here. The kids did great on the trip home-all of them. We had no troubles from the kids or anything on the flights except of course the torturous long flights. Once we landed in Detroit in the snow and ice, we wound up in a big mess at the airport that had us waiting for our luggage for 2 hours. So of course we then missed our ATL flight along with everyone else at the airport who also missed their connecting flights, so we then had to wait another long hour in a line to rebook our next flight home. They said that the luggage door on the plane was frozen shut and that was the delay. Not really sure about that considering that about 3 other flights were delayed in the luggage department too. Oh well it worked out and fortunately for us our children were wonderful during the fiasco. The girls slept the whole time in the stroller and the boys dealt with it.

Just to make our trip home a little dramatic, we LOST Travis at the Detroit airport! Yes, LOST!! Sheila and the kids and I were around the corner from the gate CJ was sitting at. We were playing with some toys when Travis wanted to go get his iPod from his dad. I said OK since it was just next door. Well 10-15 minutes later when Travis didn't return, Sheila went over to CJ and realized Travis never made to him. Panic set in and CJ was off and searching as was I. Sheila went to the desk to report him gone, and they immediately said that they had Travis all the way at the OTHER END of the airport! He had just kept walking the entire time he was missing down the long airport and then he finally stopped and told someone he was lost :(. Thank goodness he was smart enough to do that and he gave him his name and my cell phone number! By this point, security was already in route and CJ ran to meet Travis who was scared to death-poor kid. Obviously lesson learned is no matter how tired one is, don't ever let one of your kids out of sight at a busy airport!!


Needless to say, it was the longest Friday in history for us. But we did it and we are home and we are super blessed to be a completed family of 6. I know Sheila was THRILLED to be united with Scott and her family as it was definitely a long hard trip for her to be away from them for so long. I am grateful for their sacrifices and not sure how we are going to make it now without her help with the baby. I guess I am "on my own" now as a mom to 4! Good thing I don't go back to work for another 5 weeks so I can get it all figured out ;)

This was truly a great trip to China and we are so blessed to have been chosen to take this journey to our daughter. We owe it all to God and our so fortunate that he blessed this trip the entire time and brought us home safe and sound :)

“For this child I prayed,and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.”~ I Samuel 1:2

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last Day in China!



As much as I would love to make some profound post on our last day here in China, sorry but I am wiped out ;) You will just have to wait until we get home to find out any more stuff about our trip to China. The great news of the day is that our baby Faith is officially free to come to the US and be home with us FOREVER!! We took the official oath today to never leave or abandon this sweet baby girl. We leave the hotel tomorrow morning at 6AM, that would be 5PM Thursday night for you guys. Please say some special "easy flying" prayers for us. We can't wait to be home!!

Here are some pics from the spice market last night and some from today at the consulate and then some are of our baby girl actually eating something solid...ice cream! She is obviously a STRAIGHT :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Only 2 More Sleeps Left


video

We have had another leisure type day here. Only 2 more sleeps until we get to board the plane that will take us from Guangzhou to Tokyo, then we will board another plane from Tokyo to Detroit, then finally we will get on the last plane in Detroit to bring us to home sweet home in Atlanta. We should be arriving in Atlanta at 5:40Pm on Friday night on Northwest Airlines Inc - Flight NW 0469. We can't wait to see Chris and Kim and Michael and any other familiar faces at the top of the escalator!

Here is a video from church the other day. You should notice the familiar Chrismas carol song in the video. It was very neat to see everyone there to hear about Jesus. We went to the English/Chinese service so when the preacher would speak, then a translator would then repeat in English. For the songs, they would sing one in Chinese and then the next in English. They even had a big screen with the words on it. So the Chinese have even moved up in technology and don't have hymnals ;) It was a neat experience for sure.

Today Sheila and I and the girls ventured back down to the nail salon. We went the other day and Sheila had her eyebrows shaped for only 5 yuan. That would be about 75 cents! So we knew a pedicure would be reasonably priced. So we went today and Sheila and I both got pedicures and Shelby had her fingernails and her toes painted. Everything combined was 100 yuan ($15 bucks for all 3 of us)! Shelby even received the "special" nail coloring in multi-colors :0

The baby feels better today and she is definately getting more and more attached to me-YEAH! Last night she didn't want to sleep in her crib and only wanted to sleep beside me in the big bed. It made for a restless night for me, but a closer step for us to bond I believe. Faith still won't eat anything solid. She will barely eat congee anymore and she won't touch the baby food anymore either. She still loves the baby puff cereal though and she will eat some baby Chinese wafer cookie things. Other than that she just wants formula and Wahaha in a baby bottle. We will definately have to work on her eating issues at home. Maybe some of Nana's Chicken and Dumplins will straighten her right up!

Massage ala Shelby


Hopefully we will have the kids fully trained in back massages before we get home! Shelby has been getting ripped off as Sheila is only paying 1 yuan for her services. Shelby thinks she is getting $1 dollar ;)

Kids in the Park Today

video

Bullet Style Again

  • Faith had a rough night due to the effects from the shots.
  • She has run a fever off and on all day. She just feels yucky.
  • This is a picture of Sheila baby-sitting
  • Sheila and I spent the day shopping with Ann again
  • We went to some places that were creepy...but CHEAP
  • I think everything is Made in China ;)
  • We bought lots of cool stuff
  • Shelby wanted to stay with her daddy today instead of going shopping with mom-a first!
  • Shelby and CJ are growing closer than ever during this trip
  • Shelby still loves on her sister constantly and takes good "care" of her
  • Shelby freaks out if she witnesses me forcing medicine down her baby
  • Sheila is truly a born shopper
  • I don't think Sheila would ever be "done" shopping!
  • Faith went shopping with me and Sheila today in the pouch
  • CJ did well with the other 3 kids all day
  • I have obviously had way too many Big Macs in China since today I needed size XXXL in a traditional Chinese blazer for myself
  • Chinese people are way too skinny ;)
  • We had Lucy's again tonight.
  • I was brave a tried the "burrito". Note to others... it's Not really a burrito
  • Lucy's broccoli is good and an actual green vegetable you can eat in China
  • Our official consulate appointment is tomorrow
  • I am wiped out from a long shopping day
  • We don't have anything planned out to do tomorrow
  • Faith is the sweetest and biggest baby in China!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hague Rules Stink

Well I realize you non-adoption world people don't really understand, but I am putting this out there for all the others. HAGUE rules stink for the babies!! My sweet and happy little girl cried her little heart today at the medical appointment.

Since she is a Hague baby she has to be completely current on her immunizations before she is allowed to enter the US. So she had to get 5 shots today all at once. One in each leg and then 2 in one arm and 1 in the other arm. And trust me they aren't too gentle with the babies either. It was bad enough that they had to have 2 doctors examining her heart as they wanted to make sure that I understood she still has a heart murmur. I told them I already knew that and then they seemed Ok to complete the paperwork. Faith cried and cried and cried like we have never heard her cry :( It was so sad.


I gave her some Tylenol before we left for the shots, and then had a full body ready for her afterwards. She was wiped out after all of that and went right to sleep sucking the bottle. We then finished up the paperwork with our guide and paid the rest of our adoption monies. Oh and by the way if you are a Hague case be prepared to fork over some extra $$ for the required shots. The shots were $50USD each! Crazy. I had to dig into my shopping funds for those and my poor baby had to suffer with them-NOT FUN!


I realized that Shelby wore the exact same outfit as Faith had on today for her medical appointment last year. Too funny! Faith is just a big as Shelby was last year. Faith weighed in today at 21 pounds...big baby as everyone keeps pointing out to me. I happen to just LOVE my big baby :) Here are the 2 side by side on their medical appointment days in China. What sweet memories both of my girls are going to be able to share a lifetime full of :)




Also, if you notice there were no other adoptive families at the doctor today. That goes to show you how much adoptions have slowed down from China. Notice in the pics from Shelby's appointment last year that the place was packed and last year we used to always see a line outside of the clinic. This year, they literally had to turn the lights on for us when we arrived at the room marked for international adopted children. So strange at the dramatic difference.

Sheila and I spent the day with Ann from www.redthreadchina.com shopping-YEAH! We took the girls and had a great time. We are even going again tomorrow afternoon. CJ hung out with the boys and had a lazy day on the island. We are about to go to the park for the 800th time it seems. We sure are ready to come home!!

Pictures Pictures Pictures

Our day: Breakfast, Park, Church, White Swan playroom, Red Couch, Subway, Zoo, Bakery, Ramen Noodles, Massage-AHHH! And of course for your viewing pleasure...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Short and Sweet

Sorry but don't have much time to blog as I have a hot date with a foot massage again! We are eating ramen noodles in the room for dinner, did Subway for lunch, so that we could have room in the budget for more foot massages :)

I will just have to leave you checking the blog all day until I get a chance to post pics ;)

Pics from the Park

By the way, Travis and Shelby have become closer than ever during this trip. SO SO different from our last trip to China ;)

Laundromat-Not

We did our laundry today at Lady Bug store because it was the closest to the hotel. We already had a price list from Susan's Place that was marked "45% off", so we just handed them the price list and asked them to match the price. Worked out great. The total for all 6 of us came to $50 for a week's worth of clothes. Not exactly a bargain by my standards, but we were all out of clothes. I only brought 2 outfits for the baby that were 12-18 months and everything else I brought is too small. She is definitely ready to just move on into Shelby's clothes from last year that are 18 months. Love it as I already have lots of those :)


I am going to need to get a walker or one of those stationary play thingy for Faith when we get home. She loves to be in the walker and it keeps her happy and upright and out of all the stuff in the hotel room. I have a feeling she may be walking soon though, so I imagine that peace of being "confined" will be short lived ;)

We went to the Children's Amusement Park today and blew about $50 on the kids. It was fun, but I believe it was a little over priced if you ask me. The kids had a great time and we stopped afterwards by a fruit stand for some more of those yummy little oranges. I ate the whole bag today which was 10 Yuan ($1.75) worth. It was really about 20 of them. I can't seem to stop when I start :)


At least it was oranges and not chocolate bars I guess ;) I will have to post pics of the park later as it is on the other computer. I am currently using the free computer in the room at the moment. Sheila has the laptop in her room so she can call home frequently. The trip is getting to her to be away from her family for so long. I imagine it is pretty tough and getting tougher by the day. I told her today it is kind of like she is on that Trading Spouses show but at least she doesn't have to go live with a weird family. Then I really had to rethink that statement! She is having a good time and is certainly a big help, so I am very grateful to her and her family for the sacrifices made in order for her to be here with us!


We are about to retire for the evening. We spent the afternoon on the island just hanging out and playing at the park. We had KFC for lunch and Lucy's for dinner. I think I have gained at least 10 pounds already and we still have a week to go! We are going to go to church here on the island tomorrow and I am very excited about that. I can't wait to witness Chinese Christians worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ. He is wonderful no matter what country you live in!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

More on Baby Faith

Just wanted to post more info about our little one. She came to us in a couple layers of clothing. She didn't smell great for sure. She did have a brand new pair of squeaky shoes on though. She came with 2 ayis (nannies) from the orphanage. Neither one of them were her "special" nanny as they said her special nanny gets car sick. Faith's orphanage is about 5-6 hours away from here, so that is why we did not go to the orphanage.
It turns out that they did apparently give Faith something to keep her from having a bowel movement on the trip here so they would not have change a dirty diaper in the car. I had already heard from other parents that they may do this. Unfortunately this has been very tough on Faith in the digestive department. Her stomach was bloated and hard and very odd shaped when we got her. I really thought that she may have a hernia especially since her belly button pokes way out and she was very sensitive to touching her belly. Since she has now had a couple of BMs, her stomach looks normal now thank goodness.

Faith also has something on the back of her head that feels kind of like a marble under the skin. Looking at it it just looks like regular skin but there is something under there. I have no idea what it is or even what it could be. She is not sensitive to me touching it. Looks like the pediatrician back home will have to figure that one out for us.

Faith also had alot of congestion but we had a doctor listen to her lungs and she said they were clear. So I have just been giving her some cold medicines and that seems to have helped alot. She is much clearer now.
Faith's little bottom had some regular looking diaper rash and she also has some scars from diaper rashes before. Nothing looked too bad. However, on day 3 Faith broke out in blisters on her backside up high. I have never seen anything like this kind of rash or reaction or whatever it is. We had been treating it with Neosporin and then I also tried the Lotrimin stuff. I also switched to 2 kinds of diapers, and nothing has worked. It has only gotten worse and now spreading and peeling. So today I decided that she may be allergic all together to disposable diapers. We went to the store today and purchased cloth diapers and we are now going to try that for a while. Please pray for her little bottom to heal quickly and not get any worse.
As you saw from the pics, she was just a big lump of baby when we got her. Now she is a very sweet happy baby who thinks we are all crazy! She tolerates all the kids getting in her face and pulling her up and down. She can now crawl and she started "cruising" on the couch for me this morning. She is finally starting to cry for me now when I leave the room or put her down somewhere. She will go to Sheila just as much as she will go to me. I know that isn't the best thing for bonding at the moment, but it sure does help things right now. I will work on her attaching to only me when we get home. She isn't crazy about CJ anymore, but she will stay with him if she has to ;) She is blossoming out more and more each and every day. Obviously all your prayers are working for my sweet baby girl :)

Mexican Memories

Note to all who come after me... Pack and bring Taco Bell taco sauce with you to China!! I am thinking if I could at least have that to add to the food I could make an octopus stick taste like a burrito :)

How many more days until I can eat a taco again?!?

Touring Day

Today we started the morning off at the toy market and then we toured the Chen House. We went there last year so it really wasn't that big of a deal this year. We had our guide drop us off at the market place where we ventured out from McDonalds and had...Pizza Hut for lunch! It was really good and tasted very much like home. We had ice cream later as you saw from the pics below.

Then on the walk home, we passed a hair salon. So Sheila and I ventured forth and we both had our hair cut by the salon where no one spoke English. It was certainly an adventure. We started with about a 30 minute shampoo and head massage, then we had a full cut and style. All for a whopping $5 bucks! Hey we even tipped and left for under $10 each. They did a great job especially for the money. We may even go back just for the shampoo and style.
We wrapped up the evening with a dinner cruise down the river. It was great and we had alot of fun. The food was edible and we really enjoyed the event. We managed to hail a taxi back to the hotel and all was well with the world. It was so exciting Faith even pooped tonight :) YEAH!
Speaking of pooped, we all are so I am going to retire and go to bed. Thanks for all the kind comments and thoughts and prayers from everyone. We are starting to miss home about now :(

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 5 or 6 or 7 or 8

Or Whatever day today is! Boy it sure is hard to keep track of what day it is around here when you aren't going to work and your days and nights are backwards than they normally are. I thought I would do this post in honor of the boys' school mates back home. I know the teachers are watching the blog, so hopefully they can put some of these "cool" pics up for the kids in their classes. (Teachers: You can click on a picture to blow it up for the class to see)









Here are some of the sights and FOODs around China. Anyone care for octopus on a stick? What about some fresh chickens hanging on the wall? I know, Caleb and Travis' favorite-Chinese McDonald's! The boys tried the purple and green ice cream cones-YUM! But we don't have any idea what flavor they really were.

Caleb and Travis miss all their friends, but honestly they don't really miss school :)