Friday, December 31, 2010

On the Seventh Day of Christmas...

my True Love gave to me...

one very tired hubby (and father of 2).

Paul took the kids to his parents house today so that I could start working on the mess that is our home at the moment. I didn't get as much done as I wanted, but I did get the toys organized. I put up 3 boxes worth to rotate later (or possibly donate/sell, I'll decide that in a couple of months). I had a box of baby toys set aside to donate. I changed out the toys we keep in the living room and found places for everything else in the kids rooms. After all that, I went into the office for awhile. Just trying to catch-up and get a plan of action for the next couple of weeks. I'm not working next week (although Sophie will be going to preschool), and the week after that will depend on how Logan's evaluation goes. It was so nice to have a few hours to focus and get something actually completed (well, maybe not completed but at least I made a good start). Paul came home and promptly fell asleep on the couch. It's amazing how quickly and easily 2 kids can completely wear you out.

Thank you, sweetie!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On the Sixth Day of Christmas...

my True Love gave to me...
2 homemade blankets.
I actually made the blue one in 2003 for someone else, but Paul convinced me that I needed to save it for my own child since it had elephants on it. It's just been in the closet all this time. The brown one has owls on it and I found it at our church fall fest a few years ago. I had it monogrammed for MIC, but since it has pink in it and matches the chair Sophie has claimed as hers, I decided she could have it and Logan gets the blue one.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

my True Love gave to me...

a brother and sister playing together.
Logan has figured out how to get in and out of the pack 'n play. He got in and of course Sophie wanted in too. So I put her in and they played together for quite a while. I know they are going to eventuallt fight, but right now they are having so much fun playing together.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

my True Love gave to me...

15 bags of trash.

The trash collectors must hate the first pickup day after Christmas. I can't believe how much trash we had. And that doesn't include the recycling (which doesn't get picked up for a few more days). Although, I probably could recycle more, in the chaos of a dozen plus people all trying to help, I'm not too worried about separating the trash, just getting it all picked up.

Monday, December 27, 2010

On the Third Day of Christmas...

my True Love gave to me...

a rare quiet moment with both kids enjoying a drink in the big chair.

Today was a much more laid-back day for all of us. We did venture out this evening to take them to a Christmas lights display and then dinner at Chick-A-Le, but mostly we just played. And napped, we all took about a 3 hour one this afternoon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas With the Families

We've made the joke about what Logan must have thought about America. He gets to the house and opens presents, he wakes the next morning and gets presents, he gets more later in the day, wakes up on morning 2, and gets more presents. I'm sure he's figured out a pattern, then comes morning 3...NO PRESENTS. What?!?

But he had lots of fun before that reality set in. He figured out how to unwrap presents after the first one and then would help others if they needed it. We had the Walkers' over on Christmas Day. It was chaos, as usual. Paul's mom brought everything for the meal. It was so nice to be able to celebrate Christmas at our own home. We celebrated Christmas with my sisters the day after Christmas. I think Logan was a little overwhelmed with all the kids running around (and I'm sure the jet-lag didn't help). But he managed to make the best of it and enjoyed his toys (and some of Sophie's too).

On the Second Day of Christmas...

my True Love gave to me...

2 grandparents and their 7 grandchildren.

We had my sisters and their families over for Christmas today. Logan seemed a little overwhelmed, but 2 days of family fun can do that to you. He had fun playing with all the kids and loved getting to go outside.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

It required several cars to get all of us and our luggage back to the house. Maw Susan wanted to let us open our Christmas pajamas before we went to bed. Of course, that led to more presents. That's just how we do it in my presents Christmas Eve then Santa gifts on Christmas morning. My sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew were still at the house, so that got to open a few too.

Eventually, I had to kick everyone out. We all needed our sleep and we still had 2 more days of Christmas with the families.

On the First Day of Christmas...

my True Love gave to me...

our newly adopted son Logan waking at 3:15 am. (And eating chocolate from his stocking.)
Our first night back home was obviously hectic and chaotic and amazing. We decided to put Logan in his room with the door ajar so my parents would hear him if he awoke and could come get me. As it turned out I woke up just before 3am and started going through 2 weeks of mail, so I was able to get to Logan when he woke. I tried laying back down with him hoping he would go back to sleep, and we had a very special moment, laying face-to-face with his hand on my cheek. Then he sat up all smiles and I knew for him the day had started. Paul and I decided to go ahead and get him up for a little one-on-two time with Santa presents and playing, before the little sister joined the fun.
We had a nice time with just us three. For more about our Christmas Day check out my other blog.

Friday, December 24, 2010

China Trip Coming Home

I was hoping we sleep on the plane ride from Hong Kong to Detroit, but no such luck. Paul had the window seat and probably slept more than the rest. Logan hardly slept at all, but did stay pretty distracted with the in-seat video screen. We had several meals and snacks on the flight, with all us eating quite a bit (probably just from boredom). Logan's tummy had been bothering him before the flight, but managed to right itself during the flight. They had sat most of the adopted families and kids in the rear of the plane together. I did notice one lone guy who was younger and probably single right in the middle of us. If he was bothered with his seat, he never acted that way...just put in his earbuds and his sunglasses. Once I realized that Logan and I were going to be a little while in the bathroom, I had to poke my head out and try to get Paul's attention. Thankfully, this guy was standing there and got Paul for me. I was so tired by the time we got to Detroit. We had to wait in line at the customs area. This is where we handed over of VISA paperwork and Logan becomes a US citizen. We didn't have much time between flights because of this, which was actually kind of nice. The plane from Detroit to Dallas was small, just 2 seats on each side. Logan and Paul sat together and I shared the row with a nice older lady. Logan fell asleep almost immediately, with Paul not far behind. He'll try to say he didn't sleep, but he was snoring loud enough for the my seatmate to notice and comment. We had to wake Logan up just before we landed. He hates to be woken up like that but we didn't really have a choice. We went ahead and changed into our Star Wars shirts and freshened up a bit. Once we got off the plane, we had to walk a ways to get to the baggage claim. I could see my niece and nephew looking through the window as we came through.

As soon as I saw Sophie, I burst into tears.

I finally realized that everyone was wearing a shirt with Logan's picture on it. Mom had gotten them made for the whole family.

My friend Jill came to the airport to take pictures and she did a great job. Here's Logan and Sophie meeting each other.

Logan meets Grandpa Mike and sees himself on the shirt.

I wish I could remember more about what all was said but it was such a whirlwind. We were all tired and I was so glad to be HOME!

The Twelve Days of Christmas

In my jet-lagged induced insomnia, I had this great idea to use the premise of the 12 days of Christmas to chronicle these first couple of weeks as a family of four. I had a vague idea that the song The Twelve Days of Christmas was actually based on those 12 days after Christmas leading to Epiphany. Knowing that I'm getting old and my memory is going, I googled "origin of 12 days of Christmas" and came up with a site that confirmed my idea. Now I also know that there is probably some other source that has a completely different take on the song, but it's my world wide web and I'll use what I want. Apparently, there are a couple of different ways to count the 12 days so I'm adopting the one where Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas and go from there. (Although, I'm starting this a day or so late, I'll post with the appropriate dates.) So be on teh look out for the First Day of Christmas tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

China Trip Gongzhou

I was exhausted by the time we landed and just wanted to get to the hotel and sleep. Our guide here, Jack, is great. He got us settled at the hotel (which is just amazing). The hotel takes special care of their families who are adopting. This is the crib and goodies they had waiting for us in the room.

We are across the hall from one of the other families, along with 2 more who will be with us this week. Paul gave Logan a bath and then we all got some sleep.

Saturday morning after the breakfast buffet, we met the other 3 families and then took a van to the Medical Center for the exams. There are 3 boys in the group and 1 girl. All have cleft pallets and repaired cleft lips. The girl is Logan's age but is very shy and completely attached to the mom. The other 2 boys are both 2 years old but look like they are at least a year difference. One is small and looks to be about a year and the other is quite tall (almost as tall as Logan).

The clinic was crazy and packed with lots of families. Apparently it is where all adoption exams occur plus the public clinic for the locals. There were 3 steps and then a TB test. The first step they looked at his eyes, ears, and mouth. Then we got his height and weight (93 cm and just under 30 pounds). They also took his temperature with an ear thermometer and said he had a slight fever. We had to go to a different desk for a re-check. The re-check was with an old-fashioned mercury thermometer under his arm. He didn't show a fever with the re-check, of course, he was wiggling so I'm sure it wasn't accurate. The last step was in a curtained-off exam room where they listened to his heart and lungs and did cursory check of his skin...all his skin. Poor guy gets his pants yanked done, quick feel of his privates, and done! We were able to ask about medicine for the pin worms I observed just before we got on out flight. Jack took Paul to drug store after we got done at the clinic. After the exams, all the children have to get a TB test. He did fine with that, no tears. All in all, Logan did great. He did have one tantrum because we wouldn't let him run around in the curtained exam rooms. Not bad for a 4 year old!

After the clinic, we had a couple of hours to eat lunch and do some shopping. The clinic is on this island so there were several shops that would cater to the American families coming to adopt. We found some t-shirts for us that had the Chinese name for mother, father, brother and sister on them, I got some bracelets for the girls in the family, and swords the the boys. We ate at Lucy's for lunch and I was able to have some American food (grilled cheese and baked potato). There was a playground nearby that Paul took him too while we waited for the van to take us back to the hotel.

We were on our own for the rest of the day. Logan took a nap and we ate at an Irish pub one of the families recommended. Paul had a burger, Logan got pizza, and I had spaghetti and meatballs. Logan didn't eat the pizza but loved my meatballs.

The weather here has been great, not cold like it was up north. We found Paul a jacket at one of the shops on our way back to the hotel. Back in the room we had a bath and played before going to bed. Logan decided on his own when he was ready for bed. He went to the crib and pointed to get in. I took a sleeping pill hoping to sleep longer than 3am. It worked but my mom texted at about 6am wanting to skype. She was with Paul's parents so we got up and were able to see George and Noi.

After breakfast, we met everyone for a trip to the zoo. It was great. I wish we could have stayed longer but we got to see monkeys, bears, tigers, elephants, and of course...PANDAS!Logan loved it. I had decided for this outing we would borrow a stroller from the hotel. Paul thought Logan would be too big/old for a stroller, but I figured at the very least we could use to carry all our stuff (purse, water bottles, snacks, coats). Logan loved being able to ride and he did great staying in it and waiting until we stopped to jump out and look at the animals. The zoo definitely wasn't built for strollers, lots of steps and uneven ground.

After the zoo, Jack met with each family individually to go over some VISA paperwork. Then we went across the street to have lunch at McDonalds. They had chicken wings so we tried those for Logan. He loved them. He went down for a nap (after playing in the crib for a bit). After nap, we met up with the other families to go to a park Jack told us about. We found it but it wasn't what we expected. We were hoping for a playground where the boys could run and play, but it was more of a mini- amusement park with rides.The grounds were very nice (reminding me of the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens) so we just walked around. We stopped and listened to some musicians that were playing and watched some paddleboats go by in the river.

For dinner we went with one of the other families to a Chinese place they had been to. I had pineapple fried rice and Paul and Logan shared ginger chicken. Everything was really good, including the mango coconut milk drink I had. The rest of the evening went as normal. Logan did wake up during the night and cried when we tried to put him back in the crib so we let him sleep with us.

On Monday, we went back to the medical center to get our TB results, then we spent a few hours on the island shopping, playing on the playground and eating at Lucy's. Logan loved the slides. He just kept going up the ladder and sliding down. We found the "big boys" the bad mitton/hackey sack things that everyone was playing. We also got Sophie and Logan these custom made name prints and some shirts for Logan (he's running out of clothes). We watched the artist create the name prints, using the Chinese animal for their birth year in each one. We had met one of the shop owners the first day we were here and he was so nice that we just had to find something from his store. We got an adoption Barbie for Sophie. He also did a name translation for Logan. After lunch, we all took a nap, then had dinner at the chinese restaurant again. We found Logan another pair of jeans for trip home.

Paul woke up Tuesday feeling pretty bad. He helped me with breakfast then I let him go back to the room and sleep while Logan and I went for a walk. Our first stop was the hotel's pond of koi fish. For our walk, we basically just did the block around the hotel. We did have to backtrack since I didn't want to carry the stroller up a flight of stairs to go around the front of the hotel. There is a starbucks across the street from the hotel and I went there to get a frappucino. We have our consulate appointment in the afternoon so I put Logan down for an early nap. We met Jack at 2pm to go to the consulate. After getting through security, we had some waiting to do. Paul and Logan found some toys and kept busy until they started the proceedings. The woman in charge started out explaining some statistics and recognizing some of the children and families, including Logan who was the only child out of the 35 present with a December birthday. Then we all stood and took an oath of citizenship on behalf of our child. After that each family was called to a window to sign some papers. It was Chinese employees doing the paperwork and it was so hard to understand what some of them were saying. I was afraid we wouldn't even recognize our name when it was called. As the woman explained, we are now officially parents of a Chinese citizen (at least until we get to the US).

We all met for dinner at a fancy Chinese restaurant that had singing and dancing waiters. One of our moms, reluctantly joined them for one of the dances. After dinner, I was able to skype with Kelly before we went to bed. After breakfast on Wednesday, Jack took us to a Buddhist temple. Jack was very knowledgeable about the temple and the monks. He even arranged for our sons to have a special blessings from the monks. We were sprinkled with water during the blessing which Logan thought was funny. Although there are only about 7% of Chinese people who are Buddhist, I imagine that it is possible that Logan's biological family might have brought him to a temple for this same blessing.

After the temple, we went to the pearl market. Jack knows a little about pearls and helped Paul pick out something for me and Sophie. It's a wholesale jewelry market and Mom would have gone nuts. I got her some strands of turquoise she can use to make her own jewelry. After lunch, we came back to hotel to nap and read. We met up with the other families for our last dinner together. Paul and Logan fell asleep fast, but I was too excited about going home. I did some packing before I finally crashed.

On Thursday, I tried to skype with Sophie but skype's website was down. I was so bummed. I've gotten to see her everyday and even though we will see her in just over a day, it was still really hard. We mostly just stayed in the room except to go eat. We had dinner with the singing waiters again but had to leave in order for one of the families to catch their flight. Jack brought us our paperwork from the consulate. It is the last step in this process. I was finally able to get on skype and see Sophie just a few hours before we left for Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong is a separate entity from the rest of China, there was a checkpoint to get there, plus the security check in the airport. Because there was several adoption families on the flight, they let us board early.

Texas, here we come!