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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First Kiss

I forgot to mention in my first post for today that I got my first kiss tonight at dinner. I have been kissing on her every since the minute she was handed over to us. She seemed to like to be kissed on the cheek and right on the corner of her mouth. Today we showed her a picture of herself in my digital camera and she was very interested in the baby and she kissed the camera. Tonight after dinner when her belly was full I was kissing her again and she open her mouth up and gave me a big baby kiss right on the lips. She did it about 4 times. I would give her a kiss and then she would kiss me. I was so excited!!!! She won't kiss David but she is constantly looking at him adoringly (it's really pretty disgusting LOL) so I'm sure his turn is coming soon.

I can't believe how much I already lover her. She's most definitely our girl.

Busy Day

Today was very busy. After sleeping from 9 pm until 4:30 and then going back to bead until 7, we started the morning with our first smile for Mom and Dad after just a couple of kisses and a little tickling. Then it was off for the first bath and the washing of the crazy hair. (I think she has more hair than me on her head, and that is saying something. There is so much that it will not be contained by the puny baby barrettes that I couldn't wait to use). She enjoyed watching her feet in the bathtub and didn't fuss at all. We washed the hair in the sink because we couldn't get her to lie back in the tub (too busy watching the feet for that). Next came some nice hot congee at the buffet then it was to the bus. We spent about 2 and a half hours at the un-air conditioned adoption office first getting rid of those crisp bills and being interviewed. (Every place we stopped to day required a picture with eyes open which guaranteed that she fell asleep right before we got off the bus at each stop.) After that visit we made a quick stop to get her passport pictures taken and then visited the notary to get our red books (guess this means she's ours now). We got back to the hotel at almost 1pm and some of decided that we wanted Pizza Hut. I think it was the best pizza I have ever had in my life, I was so hungry. We have been eating at some very nice places, but the food just isn't the best (or at least not what I like) plus now we are also feeding a baby so you kind of lose track of what is going on and when your eating family style alot of stuff is gone before you even get a chance to start.

After lunch we took a nap (Annika slept while we ate since we were in the room) and then we went to Wal-Mart. I have been looking forward to Wal-Mart and I wasn't disappointed. It is two stories, food on the first floor and everything else up stairs. We started on the second floor and then rode the escalator down stairs. There were soooooo many people there. One thing I have to say about the Chinese is that they are noisy. The music was blaring and everyone was talking. They always sound like they are arguing to me, even though I am sure they probably aren't. Alot of people gave us a double take and most were looking at Annika with some interest, one woman even stopped to ask David some questions about the adoption process (someone else asked about it in the elevator at the hotel too). Anyway, Wal-Mart in China is similar to Wal-Mart in America, the signs are similar (except for the language obviously) and some of the brands are the same. There is a live market in the Wal-Mart here though (snakes, fish, turtles) and they also have one are that is all dried sea creatures (different kinds of fish, shrimp, etc.). Kristin said she saw squid chips with the snack foods and they sold durian (the stinky fruit) in the produce section. They had several different types of prepared foods: salads, roast duck, chicken feet prepared a few different ways. At the checkout counter they sale gum and mentos right next to shrink wrapped (unrefrigerated) chicken wings (which our guide said are very good, but I'm not going to be the one to try them. She was very surprised we do not have them in America and said that we probably all have allergies because of the way we eat.)

So, at dinner we found out that most of the girls have or recently had scabies and that we need to treat all of them with the cream. Annika had some brown spots on her face, arms, and lower legs when we got her as did several of the other girls. The doctor who traveled with us just wants to make sure that everything is dead and that they don't have any further problems so we got to apply the cream tonight before bedtime.

Well, guess I should go so that I can get some rest. Tomorrow is a fun day with no big plans except to get measurements for dresses and to go see the nearby pavilion. Hopefully I can find some time to get some pictures on as well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Annika Day

We got up at 7 this morning after a night on a wonderful bed that felt like plywood with a couple of blankets on top, much better than Beijing. We ate a little breakfast and then tried to kill time in our room until the babies arrived at 9:30. We made it in the room until 8:45 and then headed down. It was easier to wait with some of the other families than to hang out in our room by ourselves, everyone was very excited and a little slap-happy. Then the babies showed up. It was crazy all of us video taping and taking pictures of them, trying to figure out if they were our baby. One of the first babies to arrive had alot of hair and looked similar to the picture and we all thought she may be Annika, then there was another who might have been. In the end we had it narrowed down to three of the thirteen babies. It was one of the most emotional things I have ever done to watch the people I know get their babies, to see a family being made.

We were wrong about which baby was ours. We were the last family to get called. When it was our turn there was a woman in the door holding a baby that we had not seen earlier when we were guessing. She had more hair than I have ever seen on an 8 month old. That was our Annika. I took her from the woman and gave her a couple of kisses and she checked me out. Then I gave her to David and she checked him out. She has been clinging to us since about 20 minutes after she got handed over. She cries if we put her down and she is pretty quiet. She looks at you and you can tell she is trying to figure everything out. She liked the hip hammock and went to lunch in it. She wouldn't take a bottle but we tried custard and rice at lunch and chowed down on it. We have since got her to take a bottle (don't think the first one was hot enough). David put her in the stroller to run to the grocery store earlier and she was fussy at first but then fell right to sleep and took a decent nap. She woke up right before we headed back when she and I were alone for a minute in the store and we drew a small crowd, who I could not understand since they were all speaking Chinese. All she wants to do is be held, but you have to stand and sway or she starts to cry again. She and David are sacked out in the bed right now. She is on top of him and they are both out cold.

Here are some pictures for your viewing enjoyment.

Tomorrow we are going to the consulate and then to Wal-Mart (YIPEE!!!!!) I will try to post more pictures tomorrow and tell you about the forbidden city.

I have to tell Big Brother Alex congratulations and that we love him. And that Annika loves the singing bug that he got for her.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We're in Nanchang

Just a quick post to say that we are in Nanchang and are 2 1/2 hours from meeting Annika. We got in last night. I was getting a little cranky so decided to go to sleep instead of blogging once we got everything ready for today.

I will post about the Forbidden City (AMAZING) later. Gotta go finish getting ready so we can eat and go get that baby (YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Beijing Day One

(I have lots of pictures to post but blogger is not cooperating tonight, I will try to get more up some time tomorrow).

We had a very busy day today. We started out at the breakfast buffet which included fried rice, lo mien, dim sum, an omelet bar, toast, and two types of vegetables and sauce. Then we loaded into a bus and headed for the Great Wall.

We made one stop at a factory that does jade carvings. They told us about the different grades of jade and how to determine if jade is real or not. The most interesting thing that I learned is that Chinese cabbage is an important thing when it comes to fung shu (I think I totally spelled that wrong but you know what I mean). You are supposed to put it in your house to bring good luck. The leaves have to face the door and/or window and the roots should face in or all of your luck will leave (who knew?????). After a bit of browsing, it was back on the bus and off to THE wall.
It is pretty exciting to be able to see it as we drove up. I had every intention to climb a least a little way up, until I saw it. No on bothered to mention that is practically straight up in the spot where we were going. I am scared of heights and knew that if I went up I would not be coming back down again. Needless to say, David and I climbed the ramp up to the tower at the base of the section we visited. David took a bunch of pictures and I video taped a little. Then we found a couple of soda and enjoyed the shade until everyone else was finished. A few people from our group made it to the top (including a 4 and 5 year old, it was less scary for them because they are much closer to the ground). It looked like the view was great based on the pictures I have seen, but I am totally satisfied with having kept myself close to the bottom people watching. I can still say that I climbed the Great Wall, don’t have to tell anyone how far we went.

The food here is okay. Everyone is kind of scared to eat because we are afraid we will get sick. I have been trying things and feel fine so far. I was very excited when we had mini bean paste spring roll things at lunch (THEY ROCKED!!!!). We had Kung Po chicken for lunch and dinner and it was pretty tasty as well. I think that we will have more options once we are out of Beijing and can get out on our own a bit more. On a strange side note, there is a seal living in our hotel. He lives between the aquariums of living food (including one cute turtle) and the fancy restaurant where we ate dinner tonight. I felt sorry for him because he is in a little, tiled pool surrounded by glass that is about 3 or 4 feet tall. He kept giving everyone the stink eye when they were standing and looking at him.

After lunch we went to see an acrobat show. It was pretty good except we were all fighting to stay awake the entire time. If you have seen the Big Apple Circus or Cirque de Soliel it was similar to what they do in those shows. They did an amazing bicycle act where there were like 12 girls on one bicycle at the end and there were these amazingly flexible girls who had me wondering how they avoid serious neck injuries since they could lay on their chins with the butts on the top of their heads and their feet flapping around in the air.

I almost forgot that we drove through the Olympics park today. The Bird’s Nest is BEAUTIFUL!!! We also saw the Water Cube building and the tower where they will light the torch (It is outside of the main stadium which our guide that was very strange because it will make it awkward to light the torch.) There is a giant apartment complex across the street that is built like a dragon. It is three or four buildings in a row that are 10 or 15 stories high and then at the front of them is a very tall building that they have built so that it looks like it has a dragon’s head at the top (use your imagination).

Tomorrow we are going to the Forbidden City/Tiananmen Square and then flying off to Nanchang where we will meet Annika on Monday. We are going to meet the babies in the hotel at 9:30 Monday morning (China time).

Gotta go so that I can get some sleep.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We Made It

We arrived into Beijing at about 9:05 pm Friday night. Our flights were really good, no delays and very little turbulence. Our adoption agency sent a car to pick us up from the airport because we got here later than the rest of our group. David had trouble getting the Internet up last night so I had to wait until this morning to post. The pictures above are the view from our hotel window. The sun is courageously trying to break through the smog, but seems to be losing the battle.
I figured I'd just make a list of a few things about our trip so far.
  1. If you have to fly to any place that is more than about 6 hours from home I highly recommend world business class on Northwest airline. The seats lay flat, there is a huge selection of movies (watched Juno and 27 Dresses), they feed you good food constantly (ate 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners on the way over here. It was GOOD!!!!!). Also, numerous layovers aren't that bad of a deal.
  2. One thing that you always hear before you travel to China is that the beds are like sleeping on plywood. OMG, they are hard!!!!!! It is like a boxspring without a mattress. Let me tell you though if you are tired enough it doesn't really matter.
  3. We are going to be pros at brushing our teeth with bottled water. You can't put the tap water in your mouth because of all the little buggers that live in it.
  4. David just says "MMMMM Fresh Air" (see pictures above)

Well, gotta go. We are eating breakfast and then heading to the Great Wall. We are doing dinner and then heading to the acrobat show. I'll post more tonight when we are finished for the day.

Gotta tell Alex we love him!!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On Our Way

We are about an hour and a half away from starting the end of our big journey. We have been waiting for this day for almost three years. I still don't feel like it is really happening. Even after spending the majority of the day packing and running around getting last minute items. I am happy to report that the bags weigh in at 41 and 42 pounds. We each have four changes of clothes and two pairs of shoes. There is a whole lotta medicine and some baby stuff. Alex thinks he is very cool because we let him stay home from school today so that we could have some last minute time together.

I will try to post at some point tomorrow to let you all know that we made it on our way.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Travel Meeting

We had a meeting for our travel group this afternoon and received our travel itinerary. The meeting was basically to cover the travel package that they sent us before we got our referral and to cover any questions that people may have. Here are the highlights of the trip

Thursday, May 22 Fly out 6 a.m.

Friday, May 23 Arrive at 9:40 p.m. (That's right 27 hours of travel, good thing I have LOTS of things to keep me busy on the plane, including the DS that I got for Mother's Day)

Saturday, May 24 Great Wall (SO EXCITED about this)

Sunday, May 25 Tienanmen Square/Forbidden City (SO EXCITED about this); leave for Annika's province

Monday, May 26 Meet Miss Annika Lin LuMu

Wednesday and Thursday, May 28-29 Sightseeing (check back for lots of pictures)

Friday, May 30 Head for Guangzhou

Sunday, June 1 Sightseeing (possible Converse factory tour, can't wait)

Tuesday, June 3 Take Oath (SHE'S STUCK WITH US NOW!!!!!!)

Wednesday, June 4 Hong Kong

Thursday, June 5 Fly Home at 8:50 am

Thursday, June 5 Arrive Home 5:10 pm (OH if only it just took around 7 hours to fly home)

Make sure you check here often to get the latest scoop, I will start posting here daily once we leave.