Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Snotty baby

How is it possible that so much snot can come out of one little person? Sorry, I don't have any new adorable pictures. Katelyn's had a cold the past few days and she's been snotty and coughing and has had a fever on and off. Overall, she's still been in good I think she'll be just fine in a couple of days. We took her to the pediatrician this morning and she's got an antibiotic and they said she looked healthy other than the cold. She weighed in at 21.2 less than they told us in China. Still enough for me to carry around!

This morning she spit up and somehow managed to get it on my clothes, hers, the duvet cover, the sheet and therefore the mattress pad. Then she peed on the changing table while I was changing her. Quite a an extra two loads of laundry later I started to understand what my new life really looks like. Good thing she's worth it!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Special visitors

This morning our good friends, Rich and Megan and their sons who are 2 and 5 came over to visit and brought us breakfast...(Thanks, yo!) and we all got to hang out. Because they've adopted their boys, they understand our journey to Katelyn at a whole different level and it was so awesome after all this time to have them with us and to have Katelyn home. They've been through the waiting, the frustration, the sadness and this morning we rejoiced. Their boys are awesome and seeing that has always helped us to remember that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and the wait is always worth it once your child is home.

Katelyn's favorite thing to do is blow rasberries. I just wish she wouldn't do it with food in her mouth. Hee hee. Gross.I purreed some boiled chicken breast, broth and egg noodles for lunch and Katelyn tried peas for the first time...she loved it all. Such a good eater.
This afternoon Brandon and Ashley came over to meet their new sister. They thought she was so cute. They sat on the floor with us and played with her. She started warming up as the afternoon went on. I think they'll all be great with each other as they get to know one another. I'm sure it will be an adjustment for everyone. We hung out on the patio eating popsicles.
Daddy let Katelyn taste sugar Daddy, gosh! (Says the mommy.)
Katelyn slept from 7:30-11pm last night. Was wide awake and ready to play from 11-1:30 am and then slept from 1:30 - 5am and then was up for the day. We've limited her naps today and are hoping she'll sleep better tonight. We really all need a good night's sleep!!!

Our first day home...

Have I mentioned how good it is to be home??? Katelyn went to bed at midnight last night after we got home and settled. She woke up at 2am and I rocked her and she went back to sleep. She was up and ready for the day at 5am. Josh was sweet and got up and changed her, gave her a bottle and played with her for over an hour so I could get a bit more sleep. She took a two hour nap this morning and then Nanny Mona came over to visit and then she took a three hour nap this afternoon. By 7pm she was melting down and so we put her to sleep at 7:30 hoping it would be for the night, but 11pm she woke up ready to play so we've been hanging out together while I do laundry (thought I'd be productive since I'm up anyway.) So here are today's highlights...
It was a beautiful day so we went outside for awhile. This picture is in honor of my grandpa. His favorite flower was the dandelion. :)
Katelyn loved playing with daddy today. I took her for a walk around the block in her new stroller and she liked that too. We were trying to keep her out in the sunshine as much as possible to get her body's clock turned back around.
Oh, you can blow on this thing, how fun!! (So now I'll have all those pretty yellow flowers in the yard).
Last night Katelyn SCREAMED in terror at the sight of the dog and cats. Today they're her best friends. She especially loves Brody, our dog and he's been sweet with her too. Here he was her backrest while she was playing. Amazing to me that this is our first day home.
Katelyn petting the puppy. So nice. If we could get in the right sleep schedule all would be perfect. So she seems no worse for wear after the day of travel. Her parents on the other hand are wrecked....someone won't let us string many hours of sleep together....

Friday, April 25, 2008

And somre more pics

Yep, you too could have 50 grams of live water beetles for about $3. What for, you ask....well, for dinner of course. Also available were frogs, snakes, sand worms, and snails. We went to this restaurant...we didn't eat any of this stuff...that we know of. Josh and Katelyn at the Starbucks in Guangzhou. Got to start the caffine early.

Pictures from the last few days....

Hangin out in the jammies.It's tradition to take pictures of all the babies at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou on the red couch. This is Katelyn with her friend Karlie. Aren't they beautiful???!!!
Here's our travel group in Guangzhou at the hotel.
Here are the babies on the red couch, minus one. It's quite a task to coordinate all ten babies at once and get them to stay calm. Katelyn is secong from the left.
Do you not love her dress. I bought four or five of them in different sizes so I could do her pictures each year.

We're home!!!!

I've never been so excited to be home. I'm about to go to sleep in my own bed. I've been up for 34 hours now and am about to pass out. Our baby is asleep in her crib, in her nursery, in our house. The empty room is filled and this kid is the perfect fit for our family. She's sassy and full of personality and she makes us laugh.

I need that drug that helps you forget traumatic experiences. All I have to say is 30 hours of travel with a 10 month old. Not pleasant. Overall she did well, but it was such a long trip. It's just so good to be home. I wanted a shower SO bad.

I'll give more deep reflections in the next couple of days.

I must say that we came home to a clean house (yeah Mona) with groceries in the fridge, the lawn is mowed (Mona Lee you rock!), our front yard has been mulched (Brandon and Holly our neighbors did it), and the baby gates are up (thanks Mike). It was so nice to walk in the door and have everything taken care of. What a blessing!!! We are so tired.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We're in Guangzhou!

Hi everyone! We're in Guangzhou. We don't have internet access in our room, but we're using our friend's computer. It has been awesome to be here. It's much more western friendly and it's a ton easier to get around. We've been able to wander around and do some shopping. There's even a Starbucks!!! We're in heaven. We fly out in the morning. Pray for us, it's going to be a LONG day. Our consulate appointment is this afternoon and then the adoption is official on China and the US's ends and Katelyn will be a US citizen when the plane touches down in Detroit. I'll post pictures from Guangzhou once we get home...just wanted everyone to know that we're doing great and we're so excited to head home. I can't believe our time in China has come to an end!!!! See you in the US!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some more cute pics...just because!

Just because she is SO stinking are some more pics! Below is Popeye face.
Oh, I love the park!
Oh, oh..can I touch it???!!!!
Oh those people are really funny.
Today, (Sunday) we've had a pretty quiet day around the hotel. Josh and a couple of the other guys took a taxi to the store (diaper run) and stopped at McDonalds on the way back. McDonalds has NEVER tasted so good. A double cheeseburger is the same in any country. :) No worries, the baby had rice cereal and mashed bananas. No fast food for her. Josh even brought me chocolate. I know, really unhealthy lunch...but we just couldn't eat Chinese again. We'll have it for dinner.

Then to People's Park

Saturday afternoon we went to a big park in Nanchang called People's Park. It was a great place to walk around and enjoy being outside.

We've seen all kinds of crazy things in China, but this dressed up goat at the park was the best thing yet...followed by the guy in front of Walmart with his monkey on a leash.
This is most of our group. Two babies and their parents are missing...they were at the hotel napping.
The babies (minus Ava and Karlie). Katelyn's on the far left.
Our little family...look, Josh is smiling!
These are our two FABULOUS guides, Susan and Sissi.
By dinnertime, Katelyn was melting down. The orphanage visit and the park all in one day were a bit much. Naps and food hadn't been at their regular times. So our evening was not very enjoyable. Baby was asleep by 7:45. Mommy was asleep by 8:45. We're all doing much better today. (Katelyn slept 11 hours straight!!)

Orphanage visit

Today was a very full day. Our guide Susan hired a car for us to go down to Zhangshu City and visit Katelyn's orphanage. It was about an hour and a half south of Nanchang and the drive was beautiful. Very green and lush. It's a more rural, farming area. We are so glad that we got to go. It was good for us to see where Katelyn had lived for her first 10 months and meet the people who had taken care of her. The tiny lady to the left of me in the picture below was Katelyn's primary nanny. It was obvious that Katelyn liked her...she smiled at her and kept looking at her. I was a little worried that the baby would freak out when it was time for us to leave, but she didn't. No tears at all. We were so thankful that it wasn't a tramatic experience for her. The assistant director and the person in charge of the children at the social welfare institute (they have 20 children and 90 senior citizens at this institution) is the lady in the pink sweater and the man to the left of Josh is the orphanage director. He made me laugh. They were so kind to us and allowed us to see a couple of the other babies of families that are waiting to travel. We were so happy to do that for others because getting the pictures and videos of Katelyn before we traveled made it bearable for us to wait those last couple of weeks. We drove around Zhangshu City and got lots of video footage of the area. We're thankful we'll be able to show Katelyn when she gets older. The area she is from is famous for Chinese herbs and also some type of wine. Driving around the city, we saw just how poor a community this was. The area around the city was just beautiful. Lots of people working hard in the rice paddys.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just hangin' in Nanchang

Well it's day six in Nanchang. We're just about ready to move on to Guangzhou. Today we went to a local museum that had some beautiful art and a nice garden area to walk around. The weather was just perfect today so we really enjoyed being outside. Katelyn is doing well overall. She's teething so sometimes she's fussy. Baby tylenol and orajel are our friends. She took a nap for about an hour this morning and then two and a half hours this afternoon (Josh and I even had a nap this afternoon too) so we did pretty well tonight. We ate dinner with some other parents this evening in the hotel restaurant. I ordered a tuna sandwich. The food has been great, I just wanted something familiar. We had pizza last night. In China it's not like it is in the states where there's lots of different food options. Overall, there's just Chinese food...which has many different dishes, but it's not like you walk down the street and see an Indian restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, etc.
Here's the princess hanging out in the room.
Katelyn's friend Ava came over for a while to play.
This is my new friend Leslie and Katelyn's new friend Karlie.

Tomorrow we're going down to Zhangshu City to visit Katelyn's orphanage. We're thankful for the opportunity to go. Not all orphanages will allow you to visit. We feel like it's important to have pictures and videos and to have met the people that have taken care of Katelyn in her first months. It's about an hour and a half from here and one of our guides will be making the trip with us. I will say that our agency's greatest strength is on the travel end of this whole journey. Our guides have been awesome and have really done a lot to accomodate each family. They've taken us on great outings and have found good places to take us to eat. They've gone to the hospital with one family that had a sick baby. They've taken us shopping and have gone out to get extra formula. They've arranged orphanage visits and have arranged for us to have laundry done outside the hotel (for 1/2 the cost). I don't know what we would have done without them. We've been very well taken care of.
China is beautiful and overwhelming...a mix of 21st century and ancient times. A culture that is rich and traditions that are long. This really is an amazing experience and I can't wait to get to tell Katelyn all about her country...and hopefully bring her back here one day to see it for herself.
Two more days and we head to Guangzhou.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Playing, playing

The peanut woke up from her nap in a GREAT mood. She was laughing and playing. Lucky for you I didn't take pictures tonight when she was feeling icky and overly tired (her afternoon nap came too early while we were driving back from the countryside.) She's teething and gets out of sorts and she pitched a bloody murder, flailing body, crying fit for half an hour before she fell alseep tonight. These pictures are much more lovely. In this picture below you get a glimpse of her Popeye look where she squishes up one side of her face. It makes us laugh every time. Don't you think she has Josh's hair?? Hee hee.
Chumpa wumpa (my new nickname for her- it fits) is 10 months old today. To celebrate, she ate her weight in Cheerios!!! If you want to buy her a present, just buy snacks...the girl packs them away.

A journey to the countryside

We went on a great adventure today. We drove about an hour and a half outside of Nanchang to a village in the countryside. It was beautiful and SO nice to get out of the busy, busy city for the day. The weather was warm and sunny today...probably mid to high 70s. The fresh air did us all well. We wandered through the village and there were some structures we were able to walk through. This rural area had rice paddys all around and was similar to the area Katelyn is from. China really is a beautiful country and if you can get away from the huge crowds and smog you actually get to see how amazing it is. It's such a rich culture and the people in this village were very friendly to us and wanted to ohh and aah at the babies. This was the main little road/walkway through the village. We got video footage of a man walking his ox down this path....coming from or going to the rice paddys.
This tree was REALLY was huge and so beautiful. Katelyn loves being outside.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And of course some pictures...

Oh mama, why do you keep taking my picture??
This was a big deal that she would sit up on her own and play without one of us holding her. The pillow is back there just in case she falls backward, but she's sitting up all on her own. It's one of her new tricks. Yep, I know, she's cute. She's snuggly and sassy. She has the longest eyelashes ever. Everyone loves her cheeks and her eyes. Can you blame them?? She's sportin' the overalls and I finally got the hairbow in...although it won't stay. We just love her. She was pretty mommy focused today. That hasn't been the case before now. Josh is great with her and has been helping with everything. Tomorrow we're going to the countryside...about an hour and a half from here I guess. Fine with me. Katelyn LOVES being out and about. She just looks at EVERYTHING. She prefers an outing to staying in and when it's time to eat or sleep she will do that anywhere..but it must be at the exact time it's supposed to be or she gets cranky quick. 6am wake up. 7am breakfast. 9:15 bottle. 9:30 nap. Noon lunch. 1:30 bottle. 1:45/2:00 nap. 6:00 dinner. 7:45 bottle. 8pm bed. 1:15-ish bottle....start again. I mean she has an inner clock like you wouldn't believe. The rubbing of the eyes and the mmm, mmm, mmm cry means I'm tired. The aaahhh cry means I'm hungry. Everything else is secondary. She's a mess.

An outing to the Teng Wang Pagoda

We went to a beautiful pagoda and garden this morning and then out to lunch. The pagoda was just beautiful. This is a great time of year to be here. Things are green and blooming and it's not too hot and humid. Katelyn did really great. I just carried her around in the carrier all day...she even took her morning nap in it.
The picture of us below is with Katelyn's Chinese zodiac. She was born in the year of the golden pig...and apparently the golden part only comes along every 60 years or something and is considered particularly favorable.
You could see all of Nanchang from the top of the pagoda. It was pretty cool. Nanchang is a city of about 4 million...which is just a small town by China's standards. Beijing is 4 times this size.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Napping 101

Katelyn is a napper. Josh's prayers have been answered. How cute is this kid?? It is so easy to get her to sleep. She's obviously been on a schedule and she sleeps like clockwork.
I just had to post this one because it's just so sweet. Her favorite place to sleep is all cozied up with mom or dad. She'll eventually let us put her down, but she has to be snuggled for awhile. That's just fine with us.
We did get to the bookstore tonight and got Katelyn some children's music in Chinese and some books that have english and chinese. Their cds are like $2. It's awesome!

Then our whole group went out to eat and everyone finds Katelyn's feeding routine hillarious. She hollers if you aren't putting food in her mouth fast enough. I had Josh on one side and the baby on the other...I didn't stand a chance for a bite. Katelyn had dumplings and soup with yams in it. She loves soup.

We're going to some pavillion tomorrow so I should get some pictures of the baby doing something besides sleeping or eating (although those two tasks consume most of our day.)

And how cute is she in her outfit today??? There's more cuteness to come!

Stir crazy day

Today has been a slow day spent around the hotel. Five of the seven babies in our group have cough/cold/respiratory stuff and it's a bit rainy out today. We were supposed to go to the park but are saving that for another day. We're going to a bookstore this afternoon and then out to dinner, which is great because I need to leave the property for a while! Our guide is going to help us find a good Chinese children's songs CD to take home for Katelyn to listen to.

Because many of the babies are a little sick, our guide had a pediatrician come by the hotel to visit with each family for a brief check up. Katelyn is fine and there are no health problems at this point. Please pray that she stays healthy.

Today has been about eating, playing and napping. The princess is good at all of these things. She actually was sitting up on her own for a while which was good progress.

The baby slept well all night again. She was up for about an hour from 1:15-2:15 but other than that it's 8pm-6am for her.

She is crazy strong willed. When she wants something she wants it...and when she's hungry or tired you better hop to or she'll give you an earful.

I will try and post some more pictures later. Today's been pretty uneventful. We're supposed to be going on a drive to the countryside tomorrow which will be fabulous. I need an adventure.

Monday, April 14, 2008

And my favorite pictures from today...

People in Jiangxi (the province we're in) like their food spicy. So they say that Jiangxi babies are spicy...strong willed. This is definitely the case with our little Jiangxi princess...
Here's Katelyn at lunch.

And here's what happens after lunch. Could you just eat her up???!!!