Saturday, July 5, 2008


This will be my last post at this site. Please feel free to follow us to the old/new blog The Complete Set.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Going Back

I am getting ready to return to my original blog. I just need to get the new heading ready since, as Julie said at the Hong Kong airport "You've found your number four!". I am planning the switch on the anniversary of us officially becoming four. Annika Day was on May 26 but we weren't all back together until June 4th so I will switch over one July 4th (or there about). I will post the link as the final post on this blog. Please feel free to follow us back to the old/new spot.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Week

We had a pretty lazy summer week. Alex started reading camp and we took our first trip to the beach. We have been together as a family of four for a month and three days (although David was gone on business trips for two of those weeks). Annika is settling in well and making progress.
  • She is starting to roll and has so far got herself underneath the recliner and the coffee table. She hasn't quite figured out that she can use it as a way to get from one place to another but is enjoying getting around.

  • She likes to lay on her stomach and play with her toys. I guess it is easier to work things over when they are stabilized on the floor and you can get a good look at them.

  • She really enjoys eating things that you can chew. She discovered peas tonight. She also enjoys potatoes, crackers, bananas, and the Graduates diced pears. She is not feeding herself yet, but is trying really hard to get the hang of it. She is getting closer everyday to picking those puffs up with her fingertips.

  • She is a big time bouncer. She LOVES the jumper. She likes to really get going and then pick her feet up so she just bounces for awhile.

  • She has started standing with assistance. She also likes to bounce up and down by bending and straightening her legs.

She has an appointment to get evaluated by early intervention this week. I don't know that she will qualify but figured it was worth the effort to try just in case. I don't think you should pass up the opportunity for free help.

We went to the beach on Friday afternoon. Alex played in the sand with some kids while Annika and I relaxed on the blanket. The water was too cold, 54 degrees, to really do much swimming but it was a beautiful afternoon (besides the fact that it started trying to rain about 30 minutes before we left).

This is the results of Alex's first attempt to feed his sister by himself. You'll be happy to know that some of it did end up in her stomach as well.

Not only do life guards watch out for drowning victims and sharks, they also serve as photographers for beach goers. I wasn't sure how we would get a picture of the three of us together and than the life guard walked by.

He always brings the boogie board but doesn't use it since the water is freezing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mid Sommer

Last Saturday we went to a Mid Sommer party at the house of some friends down in Massachusetts. It was fun. There was some frog dancing (kind of like the Swedish chicken dance) around the maypole and singing and lots of good food. There were also several families who had adopted from China. There were children from about 12 years old down to 8 months. We spent the afternoon on a blanket in the shade with a family from our travel group (whose daughter is looking LOVELY, by the way. It is amazing what some good food and alot of love can do.) So anyway, I know you only come here for the pictures so her she is (I couldn't decide so I just posted a bunch with a bonus Alex at the end. David only got a couple of him because he was busy being chased by girls the entire party so he was hard to catch).

Check out the piggies!!! I still haven't mastered the placement yet, but at least they are looking less like antennae. Now she just ends up looking like her head is tilted to one side all of the time. She has now started to cry when I am just finishing up the first one. I don't think it hurts, I think she just knows they are lopsided with a horrible part and is embarrassed.

She really is pretty damn cute isn't she??? Can you see how I can't get anything done around the house???? Who has time to clean up when you could be kissing these cheeks??? Ya'll haven't even seen the full four tooth grin and the yucky face yet, they'll really do you in.

This is face has a couple of possible meanings. She has either seen something very interesting that she would really like to get closer to (we see LOTS of interesting things) and check out or she sees a man off in the distance who is not paying attention to her and she is trying to get his attention. She is very interested in men, especially if they have facial hair or wear glasses. She loves the pediatrician because not only does he wear glasses, he also has a goatee and mustache and wears a bow tie. She even overlooks the fact that he keeps digging obnoxious amounts of wax out of her ears every time we visit. (Check out that wonderful part between the piggies, I really need to practice)

And here is handsome brother, probably thanking his lucky stars that he has briefly escaped from the girls who were after him for most of the afternoon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Flight

I want to go back and post about some of the memorable things that happened to us while we were on our trip. One of the most memorable was the flight from Nanchang to Guangzhou. The flight is supposed to be like an hour and a half long (SUPPOSED TO BE). We got to the airport fine, had no weight issues when checking our baggage, and made it through security without a hitch. When we got to our gate, there were several other families there who where not in our travel group. It seems that the airline booked out group of 14 families and another group of 11 plus one single family all on the same flight. We all thought it would be so neat, a plane full of babies. Well, the trouble started when we got in line to board. For some reason the line stopped moving. There was quite a commotion at the front of the line. The other travel groups guide was yelling at the airline staff at the gate for some reason. Our (wonderful) guide threw her hands in the air and went to sit down while the other guide continued to argue with this extremely short man (ESM; he was even short for a Chinese person) from the airline. It turned out that they had too many babies on the flight and they were not going to let us board. After much more arguing from the other guide, they finally decided it would be okay.

So we get on the plane and all of the non-adoption people are at the front and all of the adoption people are in the back. Okay, not big deal. WRONG!!!!! ESM approaches the other guide and more arguing in mandarin ensues. Eventually the other guide comes on the speaker system saying that there can only be 24 babies on the flight so two families are going to have to volunteer to leave the plane. Two families quickly volunteer and we are ready to roll. WRONG!!!!!! Seems they have some rule that there can only be one infant per row on airplanes. I don't know if this is only applicable in China or a rule everywhere, but it nearly started a riot on our plane. Like I said before, we were arranged so that ALL of the adopting families were in the back of the plane. The flight attendants started going through row by row rearranging people. Asking for volunteers to switch seats so that there would be only one baby per row. We were one of the first families to be moved. As we went to the front, a man laid into our (wonderful) guide. I don't know what they were saying (all in mandarin of course), but they had to be physically separated, and all of the women were patting our (wonderful) guide on the arm as she moved to the back to get another family.

As you can imagine, everyone was starting to get a little bit irritable and this is when the yelling started. We were in the 3rd or 4th row, pretty much in the middle of the fray. A rather large man behind us started in on one of the flight attendants shortly after we sat down. It is kind of scary to be in an airplane surrounded by people yelling angrily when you don't have any idea of what they are saying. I didn't know if they were mad at us or the airlines at first. Eventually the large, yelling man said it wasn't us it was them and pointed at the flight attendants. The man who went after our (wonderful) guide told me that he really commended us for what we were doing but we should have planned our flights better. I had already decided that I did not like him very well after his original argument. I told him that it was the airline that had screwed up the reservations because we were two separate groups of families. He just turned around and didn't say anything else.

After the yelling stopped, they gave us a boxed meal of a roll, grape tomatoes (which we were all deathly afraid of because they couldn't be peeled), a small bottle of water, a small packet of (what I later found out were) pickles, and a piece of sponge cake (evidently something that I did not know was a Chinese specialty before our trip). We then had to sit in the plane for about 45 minutes because there was bad weather in Guangzhou. We ended up being 3 hours late arriving.

We later found out that the arguing match between the other guide and ESM was as intense as the commotion that we experience in the front of the plane.

The most amazing part was that all of the babies behaved wonderfully. It was the first airplane flight for most of them. Annika ate some cake and then fell asleep. The yelling didn't even seem to irritate her. A lot of people were down to their last diaper and low on formula by the time we landed, but everyone made it in one piece with no meltdowns. The White Swan seemed even more wonderful after that experience.

Friday, June 20, 2008


It is currently 9:54 pm and Annika is still going strong. She usually crashes around 8. I don't know what her problem is this evening. She had a serious case of the sillies from 8 until I decided to give up and put her in the pack and play at 8:50. She had a bottle about 20 minutes ago and is currently laying smashed up against my leg (she moved from the middle of the bed until she was comfortable snuggled in) alternating between waving her right arm as fast as she can back and forth in from of her face and kicking her legs straight up in the air. She is seriously fighting sleep. She has been doing great for the last few days, going down around 8, waking up for about 20 minutes at 4:30ish for a bottle, and then up for good between 7:30 and 8.

The poor thing has been cooped up in the van for the last couple of days as we have ran back and forth between where we live and where I work. She is definitely more of a stay at home girl and gets tired of the car seat after awhile. (Now, here we go with the fake cough) I can't wait until next week when we can really work on a schedule. We only had one full day at home this entire week, the rest either involved commitments at Alex's school or little things I needed to do at my school before the end of the year.

Well, I'm gonna go see if I can wrestle her into submission. I almost win and then she does the full four tooth grin and wrinkles her nose and we start over. UGHHHHH!!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

All Night Long (Updated)

I forgot to mention in the big post that Ms. Annika Lin LuMu slept through the entire night. And to top it off, she didn't get up until 6 am instead of the obnoxious time of 4:30 which she had been favoring.

I have been telling everyone all day that Annika finally slept through the night and just now David told me that she woke up at 2:30 and drank a bottle. I don't know how I slept through that.

The Week in Review

I wrote a real long post on Thursday night and some how it didn't end up posting or saving on Blogger. Don't know exactly what happened there, so I am trying again.
We had a very busy week and Annika is doing new things everyday. Here are a few things that we learned about her this week.
  • She loves to swim. We took her to the pool at the Y on Wednesday evening and she thought it was pretty cool. She tries to put her face in and loves to be pulled around on her stomach while she kicks her legs.
  • She doesn't like to share Mom's lap. Alex got into my lap while I was holding her and she started to whine and try to push him away with her feet. She smiled really big when he got up. Alex says that she is going to have to get over it because he is not going to start sitting in my lap.
  • When she doesn't want to eat something, she refuses to open her mouth. She is not a fan of fruit and will not drink anything but formula from a bottle. If you try to give her either of those things, she tightly closes her lips and refuses to open her mouth. Sometime she will even shake her head back and forth.

  • She is starting to roll over more and is able to sit for longer periods of time. She loves to jump and really enjoys the jumper that a friend let us borrow.

  • One of her favorite things is a good stretch. After she wakes up or has been sitting (in her car seat or stroller) for a long time, nothing is better than to lay down and stretch.

  • She loves to look at things upside down. She is always flopping her head over when you carry her. She started this in China and is just doing it more and more. She has discovered ceiling fans and likes ceilings that have patterns on them.

  • She still loves her brother and really enjoys their play time every afternoon when he gets home from school. They play on a blanket on the floor in the living room.

  • Annika really likes television. I have figured out that when she watches it she will let me do things to her hair. I have done really bad piggy tails the last two mornings. It is kind of hard to get them even when you do them from behind and above. I definitely need some more practice.

Alex had two fun events at school this week. Thursday was field day. We stopped by for a little while and it really looked like fun. He wanted to introduce everyone to his sister. On Friday, they had a wax museum of famous Americans. Each student had been researching a famous American. For the museum, they each dress as their person and then stood behind their desks. You would push a circle on the desk and they would raise their heads and tell about who they were and then put their heads back down. It was really neat. Alex was Thurgood Marshall (the first black supreme court justice). We have been calling him Thurgood for the last few days. He looked really cute in his costume. He only has 4 and a half more days of school and then it is summer vacation. He can't wait.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our Little Peanut

Annika had her first doctor's appointment this morning. She is 27 1/2 inches long and weighs in at 15.3 lbs. When she had her physical done in Guangzhou, they said that she weighed 6.9 kg (which is 15.2 lbs). I think their scale was wrong (the one in China) because she is getting all sort of rolls and dimples that weren't even there when we got home so we know she is gaining weight. Plus she is eating everything that is put in front of her and lots of it. People can't believe how little she is when they see her in person. We took a picture with the bear that Alex built her to give everyone something to compare her too. She is currently wearing 6-9 month clothes.
We also had the fun experience of getting lab work done. I really hope they got all they needed today and we don't have to do that again any time soon. They had to draw out of both arms to get what they needed.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Misc. Pictures and Chinese Baby Food

Here are some miscellaneous pictures of Annika from our last day in Guangzhou and our trip home.Over a business lunch at Lucy's, David asked Annika's opinion of the latest email we received from the office. I missed her laying her chin on the table as she concentrated on the screen. She loves the Blackberry almost as much as Daddy, although her favorite things are the pictures of the cute Chinese baby and the big brother. Any time David took it out she would angle her head so she could check out the screen.
It's much easier to get a good Red Couch picture when there aren't 16 other screaming, squirming babies and your in a comfy dress.

"Hey Mom, quit taking my picture and get me out of this box they call a bassinet. I'd much rather be sleeping on Dad right now." Everyone recommended getting one of these things on our way home. First of all, they had a very hard time anchoring it into the wall so that made me a little nervous. Secondly, they placed a cardboard box like you would sort mail into in an office mail room into for her to sleep in. The male flight attendant was going to just leave it at that, but the female attendant filled it with pillows and put a blanket over the top of them. She woke up as soon as we laid her in it. We didn't even bother to ask for one on the flight from Tokyo to Minneapolis.

I wanted to take our little American citizens picture as we came out of customs, but four carry-ons, a stroller, and three large suitcases made it a little difficult, so I waited until we got to the lounge area to take her first picture in America. She insisted on getting dressed up for the occasion, even wanted to wear her new shoes with the roses on the toes. Who am I to argue.

So on to baby food. Be sure that you don't have any baby food that contains meat products when you go through customs. They confiscated our last bottle. It was marrow and vegetables and I wasn't going to feed it to her anyway because how gross does that sound!!!! They were concerned because they weren't sure what kinds of bones it came from (no one could read Mandarin) I also ended up with a bottle of shrimp and vegetable baby food (I know some people that would have serious panic attacks over that one). It was in a three pack that wasn't labeled in English on the outside of the packaging and went directly into the trash once I saw what was in it. So two important lessons on baby food from China (1) read the small English label very carefully before using (although there are helpful pictures on the front of the jars as well) and (2) don't take meat foods through customs (although I think they are mainly worried about poultry).

First Haircut

We took Annika to get her first haircut yesterday. Her hair is incredible. It is long and thick and gets really stinky when she is sweaty. We couldn't do anything with it so we decided the best thing to do was get a trim. The woman who cut it is related to the author of Daughters from Afar (have never read it). Here are some before, during, and after shots.

Before the big cut.

We needed a few Cheerios for make it through. (Notice how small her head looks next to my hand)

We made it through with just a few tears (mainly when it came to the bangs).

Our pretty girl all finished and off to lunch (don't worry she was in her grandpa's lap in the backseat while we were parked in the parking lot, we weren't doing a Brittany Spears and driving with her out of a car seat.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Red Coach Picture

We took the red couch pictures last Tuesday. As you can tell, Annika was very excited and couldn't wait for her picture. She fell asleep about 5 minutes before I was going to change her into her dress and then I had to wake her up to put it on. Those dress aren't exactly something you can just slip them into while they sleep. Any thing that requires a side zipper to get it over there head is challenging but even more so when you are trying to get it on a sweaty, screaming, sleepy 8 month old.

Who ever started this tradition must have not been in a very large travel group. We had 14 babies 8 month and younger and than 4 older children (who didn't seem to be too excited about the prospects of sitting with all of the squirming, screaming younger girls. Can't say that I blame them). The picture was scheduled to happen right at nap time, which should have been a tip-off that we were headed straight for disaster. Several girls showed up already crying. By the picture you can see that those who weren't crying were not paying a bit of attention to the hoard of paparazzi who was desperately trying to get the perfect picture (Wish I could have taken a picture of all the photographers, they were pretty funny too). The guide tried to give us some direction at first and then ended up just sitting back and laughing as it became chaos.
After what seemed like 30 minutes of attempting the picture, everyone finally gave up and moved to take one giant group photo of everyone in our group. (David and I are the two giants in the middle of the photo. Maybe we would have been less noticeable if we would have sat on the front row or at least not have stood next to two of the shorter families.) We drew quite a crowd when we would go out together places. I can only imagine how strange it would have to be to walk out of a building into a group of 20 American families each with a Chinese child(some with two). One woman even snuck in behind out guides as they were taking this picture and took some with her own camera.

Friday, June 6, 2008

We Made It

We got home late last night. We had some weather issues in Minneapolis and that set us back a few hours. Annika was a trooper, she slept most of the way home and only got fussy while we were sitting in the plane in Minneapolis for two hours waiting to take off.

We weren't sure how Annika would react to everyone once we got home, but we shouldn't have worried. It was love at first site when she saw her brother. He got giggles and she couldn't stop kissing him. She would go for his cheek every time he got within kissing distance. She was still very happy to see him this morning. She also really likes her Grandma and Grandpa. She is still trying to figure out the dog but thinks she may like him and hasn't really seen much of the cat yet.

Since I didn't do as much posting as I had planned from China, I am planning on posting more pictures and things here over the next few days to catch everyone up.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Lazy day

Today and yesterday were our "off" days. We didn't have any appointments and didn't need to rush anywhere. Yesterday some women came to the hotel selling silk clothes. We got Annika a pretty two piece set (they call them pajamas), David got a tie, and I got a custom silk blouse (since there is no way I will ever be able to find clothes to fit me here). We are going to get clothes for Alex once we get to Guangzhou, although I don't know exactly what to get for a seven year old boy. In the afternoon, we visited the Tang Pavilion which is about 10 minutes from our hotel (probably less than that). It was pretty amazing. I am sooo impressed with the old buildings here in China, they are magnificent (I LOVED the Forbidden City, which I still haven't blogged about yet). There were beautiful gardens surrounding the pavilion, one was a park full of bonsai trees. After the Pavilion we walked a few blocks to a pedestrian mall to look for baby stuff (I only brought three baby outfits with us, bought a few at Wal-Mart on Tuesday, and have been trying to find things as we go along). We found some pjs and one cute outfit and were able to find somethings to hopefully tame the mane on our sweet baby. When we got back, Annika fell asleep and David went to restaurant in the hotel to pick dinner up for us. I am not getting tired of Chinese food unless it is bad Chinese food. The stuff in the second floor of the Gloria Hotel in Nanchang is the good stuff, if you come here we highly recommend the pepper steak and the shrimp in brown sauce (YUMMY), Annika recommends the congee and the steamed eggs (YUMMY).

Today we went shopping for porcelain and then to a department store that would give Macy's a run for their money. We bought several porcelain items and now have to figure out how to get them on the our next destination. We may end up shipping them home depending on how much it costs.

Tomorrow we head to Guangzhou.

Annika is already making progress. She can sit up by herself for long periods of time now and has started to pick toys up by herself (it is still a happy accident when she actually gets ahold of them). We have decided that she really likes food and are not going to waste anymore formula trying to feed her all day. She got up this morning and ate a bottle and a good helping of vegetable cereal, then after a nap we went down for breakfast and she had congee and some banana bread. Then for lunch she had more vegetable cereal, steamed eggs, watermelon, and various pieces of white rice from David's plate. Last night she ate jarred food and loved it. We definitely have an eater on our hands (fits right in with the rest of the family, loves to sleep and eat!!!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Day One Pictures

Here are some pictures from our day at the Great Wall and in Beijing. There is really no order to the pictures, just ones that I liked. The first ones are at the Olympic Park.

This is the Dragon apartment building I mentioned before. I think it is pretty cool.
Bird's Nest stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held.
Water cube, where swimming will be taking place
Torch Tower, self explanatory.

The next few are from the Great Wall.

This was a boat that was at the jade factory. It was incredible. There was carved chain on it where each link was individual.

We just thought this sign was funny. David saw it from the bus.

Our Beautiful Girl

Here are some pictures of Annika on day two of being with us (once we could actually get her to sit up away from us without screaming).Here she is before her bath with a slight case of bedhead. It was even worse this morning after having to rub elimite into it last night to treat the scabies.

This as at breakfast, enjoying a bowl of congee. Congee is basically really watery white rice. They serve it on the buffet and when we go out to dinner. Sometimes it has scallions floating in it and on the buffet there are all kinds of unrecognizable dried "goodies"to add in (no they aren't fruit, probably dried sea creatures like the ones at Wal-Mart yesterday).

Here she is enjoying fruit puffs at the notary office. This is shortly after she discovered the cute baby on the digital camera that she is soooo fond of.