Thursday, September 27, 2007

One Week in the Good ol' USA

We have been home from China for one week! So far so good, as long as you don’t count jet lag. We are all starting to finally feel better, and Sophie slept better last night. She is sleeping in our bed which really isn’t a big deal except that she considers co-sleeping a contact sport! We are hoping to help her to feel more comfortable in her crib, but at the moment she won’t even go near it! I am reading “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” and so far it makes perfect sense to me. I’ll let you know if it works. Well here are some pics; I know that is what you really came for anyway!

Sophie enjoying the NC sunshine!

Sophie enjoying her dinner.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hints, Suggestions and Lessons Learned

It seems that “bullets” became all the rage while we were in China, so in an effort to keep up with you bloggin’ chicks here are some bullets for you future travelers to China:

• Buy a stroller, especially if you go to China during a warm time of the year. We could have really used a stroller on the way home. Waiting in line at immigration with a squirmy baby was a little tricky.

• Ergo makes the best carrier ever. It is comfortable for parents and baby.

• Stay at the Victory if you want a little extra spending cash! The rooms were bigger, breakfast was good, and the overall service was excellent. We stayed in the annex building and were very comfortable.

• If you don’t stay at the White Swan but want to try their fabulous breakfast be sure to take enough cash! The breakfast is about $25 bucks per person. It is good, but not that good.

• Don’t do your laundry at the “ladybug” store next to the Cow and Bridge. It was very expensive, granted it was about half of what we would have paid at the hotel. Use Jennifer’s.

• ART64 has the least expensive traditional dresses on the island. Mike is the sales person there. When you walk in to ART64 the store is the first one on the right. His dresses are 15 yuan.

• You have to buy a MeiMei doll at “A Gift From China”. This is a charity store on Shamian Island that supports children in China. They have lots of other great gifts. They also have a website.

• If you travel with your big kids you can rent bikes on Shamian Island. Chris took Ben and Hannah out and they had a blast riding around.

• Go to the Cow and Bridge early for dinner. Around 5:00 is best. After that the service gets slack and you will wait forever for your dinner.

• Lucy’s fish and chips were pretty good!

• I wouldn’t suggest buying Jade or pearls in Beijing, they are way more expensive than in Guangzhou.

• We didn’t buy any chops. I am sure they would have ended up in a drawer somewhere.

• We went with Ann from shopping. She walks about a hundred miles per hour but she brought us to the markets and got us very good prices on the items we bought. It was well worth the $30 it cost us for her to take us around for 3 hours. It is less if there is a group of people.

• I wish I bought more wall scrolls. I bought 2 large wall scrolls for 40 Yuan a piece.

• You will need the 100+ zip lock bags that everyone says to bring. Eddie Bauer makes a small bag carrier. You can find it at traget as well as the refill bags. They take up less room and are good for stinky diapers, but you still need those ziplocks!

• Bring 2 bottles of the baby meds that you decide to pack, just in case you spill one.

• I couldn’t get Sophie to drink prune juice or eat baby prunes. Bring a baby laxative just in case.

• You don’t need to bring tons of snacks with you. You will be fine. If Ben can go to China and find something to eat… anyone can!

• You won’t have as much time and energy to blog as you think you will!

• Jet lag there isn’t bad….coming home jet lag sucks. You have won’t know until you live it, but it will kick you in the butt!

• If you are doing a life book or scrapbook for your child bring a page with you. We had the Nanny and the director write something to Sophie. As part of the adoption paperwork you child will have to place a red handprint or a footprint on a document, we pressed Sophie’s on a page for her life book.

• Ask if there is a way to contact the orphanage when you get home. We were lucky enough that the nanny that came with the director spoke English and gave me her email address. The director gave us her phone number.

• You can buy split pants outfits at most department stores. I bought an outfit for Sophie to show her what kind of baby clothes she probably wore in China.

• The U.S. Consulate is about a 45-minute drive from the WS. Be sure to bring food with you just in case. The traffic in GZ is wicked!

I think that is it. If you have a question just leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer it for you!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Red Couch

I know we shouldn't laugh at this picture.....but we did. I have no idea why she was crying, but as soon as a sat her down she just melted. I put her in a pretty Carolina Blue dress, maybe she is a Duke fan???

Here is a picture of Sophie with her buddy Nathan. As you can see from the photo Nathan has already perfected the "whats up with her???" look!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Auntie C.J. do you think I have a future as a baby catcher????

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hey It's 2:00am and My Kid Won't Sleep.....

**UPDATE*** My kiddo never went to sleep last night....yep we stayed up aaalll night. She/we finally went to bed at 9:00. I let her sleep until 12:00 and it took about an hour to wake her up. I had to put a ice cold cloth on her feet. She stayed up until about 2:00 at which point she could no longer stay awake....seriously the kiddo could not stay awake! We both went back to bed until took another 30 minutes for my poor tired baby to wake up! We are outside trying to soak up some sun and adjust the ol'body clocks. Wish me luck tonight. I would be happy if she went to bed at midnight. We have soccer in the morning.....let the fun begin!

How long does it take a baby to get over jetlag?? I know that we...(Sophie and I, everyone else is sleeping) are in for a challenging few weeks. Seriously, she should be sleeping. We were up early, she took a long nap; but was up at 4:30. I gave her a bottle around 10:00 and she went to sleep, but woke up at 11:00. Of course there is no letting her cry herself to sleep. She is exhausted. I am exhausted. We need to sleep. They must have put her to sleep in the orphanage with a bottle, she doesn't seem to be able to go to sleep without it. Any suggestions, hints etc will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Hi all! I am sorry that it has been such a long time since my last post. My computer was acting up and I wasn't able to email or post.

We rolled in to NC late last night after a marathon flight home. Hannah got sick again on the last part of our flight. 15+ hours on an airplane is obviously too long for Hannah. Sophie did great on the flight, she and Ben slept like champs! Chris has graciously shared his cold with me, so I am fighting jetlag and a nasty head cold. Sophie is doing great. She walked into the house like she owned the place! She loves the dogs and is just one happy and sassy TBG girl! I have about 200 hundred pictures to download, and will post some tomorrow.

Thanks so much for all of your good guys are the best!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Welcome to Guangzhou

I am soooo happy to be in Guanghzhou! This is a difficult trip, no matter which province you go to.Taiyuan was a tough city. Not much for us to do, little access in the city etc. Not to mention that we turned heads and stopped traffic every where went. By the end of the week it was getting pretty old. Sophie is worth it though...she is a funny, sassy, smart girl! We love her, even when she is being a stinker. Ben and Hannah have been great. This has been a challenging trip for us grown ups, but they have hung in there. It we had any money left we would buy them something really cool when we got home! LOL

Sophie had her medical exam and pretty much screamed the entire time. I had to bounce Chris out of the chair when they were trying to check her ears. He couldn't keep her head still. Hannah has always hated having the doctor look in her ears, so it was sister like sister. We did a little shopping today, because we all know nothing relieves stress like a little shoppy. We picked Sophie up some squeaky sandals and she loves them! They really are cute. She learned how to walk this week, just like my Dad predicted.

I will take some more photos tomorrow since we are all feeling better being in Guangzhou.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Photo's By Hannah


No Words, Just Pictures

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sophie's First Day as Member of the TBG Gang

Sorry no pic's we have been busy smooching and giggling with our girl! Sophie has had a good day. She cried when the caretaker tried to give her to me so I just sat down on the floor with sophie and the nanny. I just couldn't rip her out of her arms. She cried for a little, but I think it had more to do with her 4 hour car trip and that it was past lunch and her nap time.

It took Sophie a little bit to warm up to us, but in no time she was making funny faces and cracking Ben and Hannah up! She is as cute as a button and very easy going. She is so smart....I know, but seriously our little 16 month old can work some stacking cups! She has obvioulsy been well cared for and loved. I will find out more info tomorrow when we finalize the province paperwork.

Our girl took her first steps with us tonight ( with Hannah). She is a little wobbly but I think she will making alot of noise with her squeaky shoes before we get home! The only big trauma of the day was when I tried to give her a bath. You would have thought I had dipped her in a pot of oil! She was trying to climb out of the tub! It was like she was in "flight mode". I think her next bath will have to be in the sink and with a sponge.

I will post some pic's later, I promise!

We Got Our Girl

She is fantastic. She is doing great, and is quite the entertainer. She cried some at the civil affairs office, but other than that she is doing great. She is on the floor now making funny faces and eating cheerios with Ben and Hannah! I promise more photos to go play with our girl!!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

We Are in Taiyuan!

Today is the day! We almost didn't make it....I am not kidding! Hannah and my Dad went for a walk while we were waiting to board our plane. They were gone for awhile and they annouced we were boarding. I ran looking for them and couldn't find them anywhere! They announced final boarding and they still were no where to be seen!!! I was crying and telling Chris and Ben just to get on the plane! I seriously thought that we would miss our plane. I finally spotted them and was a screaming maniac in the Beijing airport, and we all made our flight. I of course am guessing that this little event shaved about 10 years off of my life!

We will meet Sophie today at 11:00. They could be late they could be early, but I will post pictures asap.....I promise!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Just Some Pictures...

Door at the Forbidden City. My peeps with the super camera's are going to go crazy in China! Kris you made need a dozen memory cards!

Ben and Hannah hangin' out on the 13 hour leg of the plane ride!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Day 1 China September 7th

We had a super busy day of touring Beijing yesterday. We went to the Forbidden City, Tinnamen Square, a pearl factory, a silk factory, rickshaw ride and an acrobatic show. Everything was great, although we aren't big fans of being a part of a tour group we had an exhausting day! Today we are heading to the Great Wall, a jade factory,and the Living Hope Learning Center. We are all hoping to have enough energy left to go out at night and walk around.

Let me tell you that it is not only the street sellers who can be very aggressive, the salesperson at the pearl factory was insane. She wouldn't leave me alone to look or think. I kept walking away from her, trying to get to Chris, but she would not leave me alone. I was pissed that she was so aggressive. I wished that I didn't buy anything. I won't buy anything at the Jade factory today if I run into another salesperson like that again! On a shopping note Beijing is not inexpensive as far as shopping goes. I have heard to buy silk and pearls in Beijing because they are more expensive in the markets in on Shamain Island.

The food has been good (nothing strange), the kids have been great and are really enjoying themselves. We are all anxious to meet Sophie!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We Made It!!!

Hello all!

We made it, but let me say that it was a loooong trip. The kids did great, I am really proud of them. Hannah got sick on the last leg of our trip, but now she gets to tell her peeps that she
"barfed in a barf bag".

The TBG gang has all agreed that we wouldn't make a trip to Australia....waaay to much time on an airplane!!

We are in the "ming dynasty" room at the Capital Hotel, but it will just fine for the 2 days that we are actually here in Beijing. Chris and I got a king size Barney Ruble bed ( pretty stinkin hard), but I have to admit that it was comfy.

My Dad made it here without any problems and it is pretty cool to be in Beijing with my Dad!

Today we have a busy day of touring and we are all looking forward to being outside, even if it is a little smoggy.

Well peeps I have to run, Chris needs to check his email etc.

Oh! I almost forgot to tell ya, Sophie day is the 10th around 11:00!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

See Ya on the Flip Side!

Well friends I have crossed everything off my list...

** A belated thank you to the secret ladybug sender***

Our bags are packed. We actually could have gotten away with just 2 bags and our backpacks, but I know I will need the extra room for the stuff we will buy in China. We just filled the extra space in the suitcases with bubble wrap ( for breakable purchases) and diapers.

The car is ready to tote around a family of 5!!!

Heather will be my back-up blogger chick if I have any problems posting from China. Thanks Hedda...

I can't believe the time to leave for China is less than 24 hours away. We are all pretty calm here in the casa de TBG. We still don't have a definite date to meet Sophie. I suspect that it will be September 10th not the 9th. I will post when I know something more specific, but I am afraid it won't be until we actually get to her province.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have been so supportive during this first chapter to Sophie. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would share so much with so many people. You all have been such good friends.

Talk to ya from China soon!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Just Crossing Stuff off My List......

I have been busy crossing things of my "to do list" and feeling much less stressed with each item I cross out. Ben and I are packed. Chris and Hannah will finish up tomorrow. I am just about finished with the laundry and only need to pick up a few last minute things for our trip.

Do you remember the week before we got our referral for Sophie I decided to buy a new sofa and loveseat? I wanted a slipcover sofa with machine washable slipcovers. I looked all over NC and finally found what I was looking for and at a price I thought was resonable. Well we finally got our furniture last week!! It took forever because the fabric I chose was out of stock, although it was part of the "over stock" sale. Go figure. I would still recommend this company and their furniture. Chris and I painted the room, changed the window treatments and LOVE the new look of our family room.

(the photo came out dark, I'm to tired to get up off my new comfy couch and take a better one)

I think because our furniture took longer than usual we were the "lucky winners" of this kids size leather club chair. You can register to win the same chair at theFurniture Homes Store web site