Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The rest of the Beijing photos!

It's pretty busy around here but I thought it might be time to post the last of the Beijing photos.  We've been home for a good while now by why not?

Here's a photo from the Jade factory.  We had a lovely lunch there and Felicity had an incredibly messy diaper in a place where the bathrooms had no real place to change a baby.  Luckily there was a cleaning person who was very helpful and also impressed with the messiness of Felicity's diaper.  It's amazing how well two women who don't speak each other's language can communicate over one awful diaper!!
Then it was on to the Great Wall of China - pictures just can not do it justice!

Faith and her new friends.  We met up with another family for our days in Beijing and the kids got along great.  It was good for everybody!

Ummm....  Okayyyyy.....  look out for those speaking cellphones!

Family Photo!

 Not so bad going up but...... don't look back down!

posed shot...   itttttssssss sssssoooooo ssssttteeeeeeeeeeeeppppp!
(although they really didn't need to make it look any steeper!)

Kevin looking down at Felicity while she's in the carrier.  She was enjoying herself!

Group shot!  (the Grandmas were back at the hotel that day but that's a whole other health story)

a photo of Daddy and his new little girl just like we took with Sassy girl 7.5 years ago!

waiting in the van for a bicycle race to go by.  Look who wants to get going now!
and then later that day.... (it was the day that just kept on going!) we had a wonderful Peking Duck dinner.  The restaurant was noisy and crowded and we thought they would never stop explaining the process to us so we could eat but once we were allowed to, it was very good!

Group shot with everyone before we got in the van to head to the airport to go home.....

We were happy to be going home but I'm not sure anyone was happy to have their picture taken right at this moment!!

back by Costa Coffee - the first place we went when we got off the plane at the beginning of our journey...
Wahoo!  we made it onto the plane and so far so good!

I don't think anyone was as happy as the Grandmas to be going home - it was a challenging trip, travel wise!! 

 Sassy Girl relaxing before falling asleep for most of the plane ride (whew!)

look who doesn't sleep on airplanes!!! Since, with the time difference, we arrived only 25 minutes after we left (even though the plane ride was 12 hours and 25 minutes) I can safely say that that was the longest 25 minutes of my entire life, hands down.  Sure, I can look at the photos now and say "what a cutie!" but at the time I was thinking, "pleeeeaaaaasssseeeeee go to sleep, pllllleeeeeeaaaasssseeeee!!!!!!)

Welcome home!!!!

What a journey.  We were so glad to make it back home safe and sound.  And we were so happy to add the wonderful Little One to our family.  We can't even imagine what life was like without her anymore.
Life is Good.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Recent Photos

Well, even though I offered my kingdom for some sleep, there were no takers - in other words, not a whole lot of sleep around here.  Things have evened out a lot with both Sassy Girl and Little One though.  After some time, Sassy Girl has finally been getting the sleep she needs and it has been wonderful to see her happy nature return and kiss those tantrums goodbye (for the moment, anyway - I'm not going to jinx this if humanly possible!).  What a stress all that travel was on everyone's bodies and emotions.  When we were talking to the immigration officer when we landed in Toronto on our flight home from China, he was trying to tell us what would make it most easy to travel out of county with Little One again - the Man and I looked at each other and then at him and then told him that we had zero plans of travelling anywhere even slightly far from home for quite some time in the future!!!

Little One has settled well too.  As I suspected, the tables have turned between her and the cat and it is now he who runs away when this little toddler comes towards him, yelling (she seems to have only really quiet and really loud voices - no middle ground at the moment) and with her arms outstretched, trying to either hug him or pick him up.  He's still pretty quick for his age and usually makes a speedy get away, after a puzzled and somewhat disgusted look at the Man and me!

Even though Little One is much more relaxed now and doesn't wake up screaming and inconsolable in the night, she is still 15 months with teeth coming in and also not fond of having her immunizations or blood taken (not that any of us are fond of it either!) so, while not as dramatic, there is still waking in the night.  Ahh.... sleep...... have I mentioned how much I miss thee????

It has been interesting to see the similarities and differences in our two beautiful daughters.  Every child is different but our two also had different starts to their lives, Sassy Girl in an orphanage and Little One with a foster family.  We certainly see a difference based on the amount of stimulation each child had.  Sassy Girl was well loved and cared for but seemed to have only one toy to play with and when she first came home was quite content to play with one or two toys that were placed in front of her for quite some time.  Little One however, is quite aware of her greater surroundings and that there are lots of interesting things out there to get into - like the one socket that wasn't protected (no worries, we were there to stop her) or pulling out the carbon monoxide detector just to hear the loud screeching it makes.  Sassy Girl is still sensitive to loud noises.  Funny how different kids are, just because of who they are and because of how their lives have been.

Each day is definitely one of discovery, that's for sure!

Here's Little One asleep in the stroller.  I have a similar photo of Sassy Girl taken when she was around the same age - I'll have to look that one up....

Who knew that Little One would love to ride on the scooter.  She's going to be our daredevil, I think!

Just a few photos of fun times around the house....

These one are from when we were out celebrating being a family of 4 for 4 weeks!

Here's a family get together with the Man's family - lots of people and lots to celebrate!
Little One is right in there - Sassy Girl gets in there now but it took years for her to work up her confidence.  All children are so different!

All the Grandkids on the Man's side - ages 9, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2 (almost) and 1!

did I mention lots to celebrate and lots of people?!?!
and then it was time for Happy Halloween!
We really liked the irony of dressing Little One up as a cat but of course by this time, she wasn't so afraid anymore :-)
We had a little black cat and a super fast Cheetah on our hands for a wet and miserable Halloween Night....

but lots of fun and candy was still had by all!


It turns out that we have two noodle lovers in our family!
and two music lovers....
So it's fun times around here.  Not a lot of sleep, but lots of learning and lots of fun.  Someday we'll sleep again.......

Monday, October 29, 2012

steps forward and backward...

It's been a tough transition this time around with good nights of sleep followed by ok nights of sleep followed by I'm not really sure what happened, did you get any sleep? nights.  We're slowly making our way forward though.  This past weekend helped and hopefully we will keep up with the forward trend this week.

We're all starting to relax as our bodies finally adjust and recover from our trip.  What an exhausting adventure this time around.  I was sending an e-mail to our adoption agency to discuss the craziness of our schedule and I worked it out for the first time.  From when we woke up the day we went to China to when we met the Little One for the first time, we were up 50 hours with only 3 hours of sleep in a hotel somewhere north of Beijing and what ever moments of sleep we could catch on airplanes.

It's no wonder we were all so sick and no wonder we're having such a hard time recovering.  Here's what the schedule of our first days going to and in China looked like:

Time without brackets – Chinese time                   time with brackets – Canadian Time

·         Up at (7:00 am Wed.) Canadian time to get ready to go to China!

·         Leave Toronto at 2:55 am Wed. (2:55 pm Wed.) and arrive in Beijing at 4:05 pm Thurs. (4:05 am Thurs.)

·         6:00 pm Thurs. (6:00 am Thurs.) to 7:30 pm Thurs. (7:30 am Thurs.) - line up for over an hour due to the overcrowding from the national holiday just to get boarding passes for our flight to Guangzhou so we can visit Sassy Girl’s orphanage

·         8:00 pm Thurs. (8:00 am Thurs.)– learn that flight to Guangzhou is cancelled – join mad crush of people to find out location of overnight hotel

·         9:30 pm Thurs. (9:30 am Thurs.) – it took 2 guides and a driver to be able to get us on a bus to the overnight hotel, surging of massive crowds kept filling the buses before we could even gather our belongings and step forward

·         9:30 pm Thurs. (9:30 am) Thurs. to 10:30 pm Thurs. (10:30 am Thurs.) long bus ride in the dark without knowing where we were going and having the bus stop to let an elderly lady wearing a face mask get off and throw up because she was so sick

·         10:45 pm Thurs. (10:45 am Thurs.) – join long line to sign into hotel and finally get a room

·         11:00 pm Thurs. (11:00 am Thurs.) – melt down by Sassy Girl who is exhausted, scared and worried she won’t get to go to her orphanage

·         12:00 am Fri. (12:00 pm Thurs.) – everyone in bed

·         3:30 am Fri. (3:30 pm Thurs.) – awake and leaving the hotel to get back on bus to go back to airport to try and get 6:30 am (6:30 pm Thurs.) flight to Guangzhou – no breakfast.

·         4:30 a.m. Fri. (4:30 pm Thurs.) – arrive back at airport and join line for flight to Guangzhou.  Some people stayed in line all night so they wouldn’t miss their flight – airport is completely jammed due to holiday.  We have been in Beijing airport before and have never witnessed anything like this.

·         5:00 am Fri. (5:00 pm Thurs.) – airline moves where line up is and there is a mad and massive surge of people rushing from one check in area to the other and now we are at the back of a very long line with very little chance of getting on the 6:30 am flight.

·         6:30 am Fri. (6:30 pm Thurs.) – by some miracle we make it to the front of the line and are given boarding passes even though it is the actual time the flight is supposed to be leaving.

·         6:45 a.m. Fri. (6:45 pm Thurs.) – running through security and hurrying our moms out of the bathroom because they’ve started calling last call for our flight

·         7:00 am Fri.  (7:00 pm Thurs.) – make it through the gate just before it closes

·         7:30 am Fri. (7:30 pm Thurs.) – plane leaves Beijing for Guangzhou an hour late.  The first time we eat since the snack we had in the airport the night before

·         10:30 am Fri.  (10:30 pm Thurs.) – arrive in Guangzhou and wait for our luggage – have to wait until the end and learn that 2 of our bags are missing

·         11:00 to 11:30 am Fri. (11:00 to 11:30 pm Thurs.) – waiting in line to fill out forms about lost luggage

·         11:30 am Fri.  (11:30 pm Thurs.) – meet guide and have to make the call that we don’t have time to visit Sassy Girl’s orphanage and still make flight to Nanchang at 8:00 pm (8:00 am) that evening.  Our guide tries but there is no way for us to take a later flight since every single flight is booked for the national holiday.

·         12:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm. Fri. (12:00 am to 4:00 am Fri.) – spend afternoon in Shamian Island in Guangzhou to make the best of what has happened.  Have lunch with our guide and do some shopping for Sassy Girl and try and convince her that this is enough, instead of visiting her orphanage.  We are all exhausted so we head back to the airport early

·         Somewhere between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm Fri. (5:30 and 6:30 am Fri.) – going through security – they take one of Sassy Girl’s new toys that she got on Shamian Island.  Once through security she loses it because she is completely exhausted, did all that travel, didn’t even get close to her orphanage and then they took her new toy

·         8:00 pm Fri. (8:00 am Fri.) – we are on our flight to Nanchang.  No one feels well, everyone is exhausted and emotionally spent.  I am remembering that the adoption agency said that if we arrived after 10:00 pm that she asked that we not meet our new child until the next day.

·         10:00 p.m. Fri. (10:00 a.m. Fri.)  - arrive in Nanchang and are whipped through the airport and into a van and told that we are going to meet our new daughter.

·         10:45 p.m. Fri. (10:45 am Fri.) – we have now been awake for 50 hours with only a couple of hours of sleep during the plane rides and a few hours in the mystery hotel an hour away from Beijing and we meet our new daughter for the first time. 

·         Up until 2:00 am Sat. (2:00 p.m. Fri.) – with children and paperwork

·         Up again 4 hours later at 6:00 a.m. Sat. (6:00 p.m. Fri.) to get started on adoption paperwork
That was so not what we asked for or what we signed up for.  We are really disappointed that we we were so set up to fail by our adoption agency.  If we'd not travelled during a national holiday and if we'd gone 3 days early like we asked, missing one flight would not have caused such a challenging and difficult chain reaction like the one I describe above.  What a nightmare that was but we did it, we all got very sick, but we made it through and we're all home and we're now a family of four.  We're just working on becoming a rested, healthy family of four........

Friday, October 26, 2012

more photos from Beijing...

Because we spent so much time in Nanchang, we had very little time in Beijing so we had to squeeze a lot into a few short days.  These pictures were taken in the morning of our second day in Beijing....
Beautiful scenery in the Huotang area

and some shopping for our young shopper....

and her mom :-)

Cool vehicle.... we certainly don't see these in Canada!
The drums at the top of the drum tower.  We climbed all the way up with our kids, babies and shopping (we at least left the strollers at the bottom) in a mad rush to see the drummers in action only to get there as the last drum was beat.  Exhausting and disappointing but seeing the drums was cool.

Here's Felicity wandering around at the top of the Drum tower


These are the crazy steep steps that we climbed up in a hurry and back down very carefully!


Here's the outside of the drum tower and the bell tower across the way...  Only a few of us had enough legs to climb the bell tower after the great dash up the drum tower!

Here's Faith at the top of the Bell tower.  The bell is only rung for special occasions and people can pay to ring it during the Spring Festival.

View from the top of the bell tower of the drum tower and of those of us waiting for them at the bottom!


Last stop before lunch - an art shop where the owner made scrolls of all the children's Chinese names for free - and they had chairs for people to sit in after all that tower climbing!!

That's it for the morning!!