Sunday, January 31, 2010

D&T's Saturday in Guangzhou

We finally made it to Guangzhou!! We are so happy to be here, I can't even tell you. Marissa did so good on the plane. She's actually done well anytime that she's in something a van or stroller. As long as it keeps moving, she's content.

There is a night and day difference between Wuhan and Guangzhou. First of all, the weather here is beautiful. Today we were wearing short sleeve shirts and no coats! The warm weather means lots more greenery and flowers everywhere. We even saw some loquat trees today. They were very tall and just beautiful! The air quality is much better here and you can actually see the sun instead of smog. It has a feeling here of being more trendy and modern. We didn't get any granny police on us today either, and Marissa was definitely showing some ankles. Our hotel is right alongside the Pearl River and we can see it from our windows. Again, it's beautiful and as soon as Ladybug wakes from her nap we are going to explore along the riverside. Our view outside the last hotel was all construction and it was going on 24 hours a day. While there is still quite bit of construction here in this city as well, it's in smaller doses.

Today's plan was to go have the babies passport photos taken for the US passport and have the medical examinations done. Jack, our guide, got us in and out of both places pretty fast! We are seeing a lot more Americans here, also adopting babies too. The medical exam office was completely packed with new parents and babies. Thomas even ran into one of my blog readers. (I'm a fan of her blog too.)

After those errands were done we finally went shopping!! We honestly haven't shopped much at all so far. In Beijing we were kind of wavering about spending money on our first stop and then in Wuhan there wasn't any neat places to even do any shopping. I'm excited that our first stop was a big score. The ladies in this little store called A Home of Love were just delightful and spoke very good English. They were good too, they gave Marissa a little rattle to play with and then played/teased with her while Mommy shopped. It was a lot of fun and I found some really cute barrettes for her hair and little shoes that are so cute and they actually fit! They carried them in red too so I bartered a good price in order to buy both pairs. $4.40 each! Wow! After shopping, it was time for another trip to their version of Wal-Mart, called Carrefour. Just needed bottled water and diet cokes for us...and diapers and formula for Marissa. I'm mixing her formula with this Chinese brand and will eventually wean her off onto what I can buy at home.

After Carrefour, we had lunch at a local restaurant. We learned today that we were eating all wrong!! The tables are always set with a small plate, small bowl, cup for tea, and chopsticks. We were placing the items on our small plate to eat them. Our guide, Jack, let us know today that the plate is actually for the "trash" or bones, rinds, etc. Now we know, and it's actually a lot easier to eat with chopsticks using the bowl instead of the plate. Ha, we had a good laugh. I'm sure in those other restaurants we were certainly being giggled at.

Marissa's spirits were really good today. She hasn't smiled very much at all since we've had her. Her expressions tell me that she's content, but I want her to laugh and have fun too. We've been working on that and I believe we've almost turned a corner. Today, she was doing a lot of cooing and these little happy squeals! They're kind of loud, but I love it! Oh, and I'm feeling her more and more laying her head on my shoulder or chest to rest or look around. It just keeps getting better and better! We are so in love with her!

Much love,

Friday, January 29, 2010


Deana and Thomas have spent the rest of their week in Wuhan doing things required for the adoption and some sightseeing. I've included some pictures of Marissa getting her foot stamped, Deana and Thomas at "The Crane Tower", and Marissa's Chinese passport! They received the passport this morning and should have by now traveled to Guangzhou where they can apply for Marissa's American passport. Another 5 day wait here, then they can travel home Thursday afternoon!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gotcha Day!!

I got an email from Deana about "Gotcha Day!" I'm just posting what she wrote and adding some pictures she sent along. Enjoy!!

"Today was simply amazing!! We arrived at the Office of Civil Affairs right around 10 am this morning. When we stepped off the elevator, there were several ladies holding bundled up babies. Thomas and I walked around and immediately saw Marissa. Even if she had not had on the same clothes as the last update picture, we would have been able to pick her out of the crowd. She is a tiny little thing at 11 months today, but all those clothes made her look huge. I got to hold her first and she was a little apprehensive at first but she warmed up real quick when we handed her a little toy to hold. No smiles yet, but she accepted Thomas and I passing her back and forth a few times. We tried to talk with the ladies from the orphanage but they didn't speak any English. Our guide, Shirley, did come over and translate for us. They gave us the clothes that she had on when she was found and they also gave us a copy of the newspaper 'finding ad.' That's the ad that the Chinese govt requires them to place in the newspaper for a certain amount of time to locate her parents. I also found a priceless photo album in the bag, it contained many pictures of the orphanage and pictures of her almost every month to show her growing. They wrote letters inside and even gave us their email address so that we can email them pictures later to keep in touch. After signing a 24 hour release, we were free to go with the babies. The four families in our travel group all received precious babies and all were happy, not one cried from when we received them nor as we traveled all the way back to the hotel.

Marissa laid down on our hotel bed and we peeled off those layers of clothes. As we peeled off each layer she just became more and more alive. Her arms started moving and those little legs started kicking. I have to say also that the toy keys that we gave her at the office, she never let them go. We had to pry them out of her hand in order to get her clothes off. She looks great, her little hands and feet are all in the right places and she has a little belly. We didn't see any birthmarks or anything, nor did we see any teeth.

In comparison with the other babies she is a little behind. Her head falls back sometimes, so we are having to be careful with that. She also isn't able to sit up by herself. We weighed her too, and she actually weighs 16.1 pounds which is a little less than what we had originally thought. I am so thankful I brought those 9 months clothes because they fit her perfectly. They actually have a little bit of room to grow too.

After dressing her in our clothes, she feels more like our little baby. She started drooling and doing some baby talk which sounded like bababa and she is able to roll over on the bed. That's a great sign, her being a preemie we expected for her to be a little behind. Thomas and I will love cuddling and working with her to get her up to speed.

Thomas went with some of the travel group for shopping. I stayed here knowing Marissa needed a nap. She has slept really good for 2 hours and should be waking up soon. I'm mentally prepared for her to be upset when she wakes up, not knowing where she is. But I have her bottle all ready and we're in for the rest of the night for baby time together as a new family.

p.s. I'm such a soft heart, I was the the only new mom that cried there today!!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tonight's the night!

This morning I received an email from Deana that they had reached Wuhan. This is where they will be staying with the baby while waiting for their paperwork to be finalized. She sent along some pictures of the hotel, which you can see here.

I spoke with them on Skype this afternoon. They sound like they are having a great time. We are all looking forward to their trip this evening to the Hubei Civil Affairs Office where they will register and notarize their adoption papers, apply for a passport for their ladybug, and receive their bundle of joy! Yay!

Update! Better late than never!

I received an email from Deana Friday afternoon that they were in Beijing and heading downstairs for breakfast and sightseeing around the Great Wall. She sent along some pictures Saturday morning to share!

Us and "The Beckys" at the Great Wall. (Becky, who is getting her baby, Abby, brought her friend Becky with her, so we dubbed them The Beckys.

The locks at the great wall, people place them there with a red ribbon and most are engraved with names of people they love.

A man on the street making Chinese calligraphy with a huge brush and water. When it evaporated, he would do it all over again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

They're off!

Dropped D & T at the airport today! Can't believe they are heading to China to pick up a sweet little baby girl. I am very excited for them to come home in 2 weeks +1!!!

For now, I'm off to bed for an hour or so. Here's the first picture of the trip!

I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

On our Way!

Spent most of the day being lazy and attempting to pack. T was done with his suitcase pretty quickly and promptly realized it was 47 pounds! I was extremely worried about filling my suitcase after that, surely everything that I wanted to take was going to have to go into an extra bag. But how would two new parents be able to handle 4 suitcases AND a Ladybug?! Not even going to attempt that one! I worried for nothing though...mine right now has lots of extra room and is way under the weight limit. What in the world did T pack? I've no idea...perhaps I'm just a better packer.

So, what did I do with that extra room in the suitcase? I packed more cute clothes and hair bows for Ladybug of course!

It still feels very surreal that we are flying to China tomorrow. There were so many things that had to happen for this trip to even be feasible and I'm sure now more than ever that God paved the way for this little girl to be a part of our life. Everything continues to come together just as it should and I'm so blessed and thankful. My sweet family and friends have been supportive and I know their prayers have definitely made a difference and will continue to do so.

Wow, we really are on our way!

Love and Huggles,

What do you mean there's a luggage limit?!

I'll be back later today with an update...I'm busy packing!

Drawing from here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Working out the details...

Just 2 more days before we leave!!!

There's so many things to worry about and pack. Then I wonder if we're going to miss not having something if I choose to leave it at home. At least my priorities are in order and the cute clothes and hair bows already packed.~

I'm working one more day but T went ahead and took today off. I fixed him up with a little "Honey Do" List so he may wish he went to work after all. hehe

Oh and Cricket...she definitely knows something is up. Ever since we moved the crib downstairs, she's acted a little territorial.

We had originally planned to leave her at home knowing my housekeeper would check on her and then Nikki could pop over and check on her. But guess what? She's going to Kitty Daycare! aka Nikki's house. She'll get to romp and play with her two kitties....uh oh, she may not want to come back home!

Nikki, who will now be known as Aunt Coco, will be keeping our blog updated with pictures and updates while we are in China. We wanted a back up plan if we were not able to access and post to our blog.

She may also entertain you with silly stories, cooking, and other profound life experiences. (She IS a great cook.)

Thank you Aunt Coco!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Travel Itinerary

We have it! In my heart, I knew that we were going to get to hold Ladybug for the first time on the 25th and I was exactly right! She'll also be 11 months old that day.

Jan. 21 - Leave DFW Airport at 10:10 am

Jan. 22 - Arrive in Beijing at 9:30 pm

Jan. 23 - Sightseeing - The Great Wall and the old Beijing area. Tour the Hutong's ancient narrow streets by rickshaw. Evening - Watch the Chinese Acrobatic Show *Wow, busy day*

Jan. 24 - Leave Beijing and fly to Wuhan. We're staying at the Poly White Rose Hotel through Jan. 29

Jan. 25 - GOTCHA DAY! We'll meet her in the morning! Shopping and then Skype with the grandparents in the evening!

Jan. 26 - Paperwork. Fumble around learning to be parents. =)

Jan. 27 - Sightseeing - Yellow Crane Tower

Jan. 28 - Sightseeing - The East Lake Park or Hubei Provincial Museum. More Paperwork.

Jan. 29 - Pick up Ladybug's passport! Leave Wuhan for Guangzhou. We're staying at the Riverside Hotel until Feb. 4...which means no Barbie for me. *sniffle*

Jan. 30 - Ladybug gets American passport photos taken and medical examination.

Jan. 31 - Free time

Feb. 1 - Visa appt with the U.S. Consulate General 9:30

Feb. 2 - Free time

Feb. 3 - Pick up Visa and Celebration Ceremony

Feb. 4 - Flying Home Sweet Home. We'll be arriving the same day at 3:35 pm.

Welcome Alivia

Marshall and Kameron had their baby girl on 1/15/10.

7 lbs, 1 oz

She's precious and we're so happy for you two.

We're an aunt and uncle!

Mimi and Papa are getting double dipped! Two grand-girls in one month!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

White Swan Hotel

T and I are crossing our fingers that we will be staying in this hotel during the last leg of our trip in order to receive this special Barbie. It is officially called 'Going Home Barbie' but her nick-name is 'White Swan Barbie' after the one location in the world, The White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China, where she can be obtained.

To become the proud owner of a 'Going Home Barbie', you must: a) adopt a child from China, and b) stay at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou while awaiting clearance for an exit visa, for your baby, from the U.S. government. There is no other way to come into possession of the 'Going Home Barbie'.

Wouldn't that be a special souvenir from China for Ladybug?


We received Ladybug's plane tickets and our Visas yesterday, thankfully everything arrived on time. We hope to receive our complete travel itinerary on Monday. That's when we will find out where we will be staying and what day will be "Gotcha Day!"

5 more days until we leave! My lists are getting longer and my head is spinning!



Thursday, January 14, 2010

China Journal

Before I organized and cleaned up my Scrapbook Nook, I made this small China Journal to carry around in my purse. I wanted to be able to write down my thoughts during the trip so I did very few embellishments and left plenty of room for mostly journaling. I will probably add a few pictures when we get back. It's important for me to capture all of the feelings and thoughts of seeing a new country and becoming a Mom, both for the first time.

it's secured with a pretty band and pen and ready to be packed. A week from today we will be on that plane! Wow, one week away!

Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Operation "Closet Clean-out"

Mom and Dad came up to visit (and help) Monday and Tuesday, which I was so grateful for. Dad helped T move the treadmill out of our bedroom so that the crib could be moved downstairs into our room. The crib looks so sweet in our bedroom and I can't believe that in just three short weeks Ladybug will be napping in there.

Mom spent most of the day with me in Ladybug's room. We washed and sorted all of her clothes and put away all of the baby gifts after finishing Operation "Closet Clean-out." Yep, that closet that has been a storage area for the past 4 years is finally ready!

We also packed her bag...there's no chance of us getting it confused with someone else's now is there?

I went back to work today after being off for 5 days. (Had some use it or lose it time.) Looks like I am working every day from now through Tuesday and will have just one full day to be 100% packed and ready. In my mind, I knew this was going to be a tough week to get through. I pray that it goes by quickly and easily.

p.s. Here's a link to Abby's Blog, her mom is from the same agency and traveling at the same time we are. We will be receiving our babies together!

p.s.s. When all the referrals came out, I looked at all the pictures and we definitely had the two cutest baby girls! =)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our flights are booked!

We are going to China!

Our flight leaves on Thursday, January 21 at 10:00 am!

I am completely freaking out....

and I have just 9 more days to continue to freak out.~

Oh, and pack!

More soon,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Showered with Ladybug Love

I feel so blessed and loved after spending the weekend with T's family. They did so much for us and our Ladybug. The decorations were gorgeous, definitely lots and lots of pink!

Jill made this fabulous baby diaper cake which was covered with ladybugs. The little ladybug photo album is going on the trip with us filled with pictures of the grands, aunt, uncle, and even Cricket so she'll be able to get to know everyone before we get home.

The pink cake was delicious!

We played several games that Krystal had organized with prizes! My favorite was the diaper race to see who could do the best diaper on a stuffed animal while BLINDFOLDED. I didn't do so hot at that game.

We were showered with so many lovely gifts. Thomas and I loved everything and can't wait to enjoy them. Thanks everyone so much and a special thank you to Mimi and Papa.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Hey, we're up here

Today has been a busy day:

*We spent the morning on our travel meeting conference call. It lasted almost 3 hours and was comical at times as we listened to some of the questions. One person asked, "Do they come with clothes?"

*We visited AT&T and talked to them about using our Blackberries in China. Well, they will work if we pay big bucks for it. There was a rumor that Blackberry Messenger was free abroad, but it's not true. So, we decided to forgo adding an international plan. I'll be leaving my phone at home...the temptation will just be too great for me! T will be bringing his, but we don't plan to use it unless we are in the states.

*We signed up for Skype! We just need to test it and ensure it works.

*We sent our tentative flight information to our agency's representative in China. We're just waiting for his approval and then we are booking those tickets!!! Umm, it's soon too! Very soon! I would secretly welcome a week's delay. You'd be freaking out too if I told you what day we might be leaving!

*We packed for our trip down to Temple as we are planning to leave at 8 in the morning. There's a family get together in Florence and they are also throwing us a baby shower! We got the invitation in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I remember T opening it and saying, "It's a baby shower invitation." My response was, "Who is having a baby?" He said, "We are!"

Yes, we are!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Getting ready for travel

We worked on the last leg of our traveling paperwork yesterday and had passport photos taken for our visa applications. This was after we spent a couple of hours with our family doctor finishing up on our Hepatitis shots. T made me get a flu shot too, I fought him every step of the way but finally relented.

The visa applications are getting dropped off at Fedex today!

Our travel meeting with our agency is Friday and we are hoping we will have some travel dates to share at that time!

Woohoo! We are getting closer!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

We got it !!

Yes, we sure did!

Travel approval arrived yesterday!!

I'm so excited that I can't sleep!

I'm back on cloud nine!!

We are soooo close to having our Ladybug! My heart is singing with joy right now!

More soon,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My first win

I enter my scrapbook layouts in contests ALL the time and have never won...until recently! In November, I entered the sketch challenge over at Magpie Club with my "I love beignets" layout.

I won!

The fabulous prize was her January CC kit and my layouts showcased on her site. I love her CC kit, it's affordable and trendy and comes with more than enough stuff to make several layouts.

You can read my interview with Tara over at Magpie here.

This is what I made with the January kit:

Everyone keeps telling me that I won't be scrapping when Ladybug gets here. That I won't have the time or the energy. I hope they are wrong, because after Ladybug gets here is when I'll want to scrap the most. It will be her stories that I will want to share and document.

p.s. No word on travel approval yet.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas #2

We spent most of our New Year's Eve driving to New Boston for Christmas with my family. Everyone was waiting up for us when we finally arrived and I just assumed that we would be opening our presents on New Year's Day. They all said, "No way. Check out the Christmas tree." Well, when I saw all the nicely wrapped presents...I was ready to tear into them as well!

I love how that Bart Simpson bag always seems to find it's way under the tree every year.

My favorite Christmas tradition is our stockings. I don't think anyone else really understands it, but we love it and it's the best part of our gift exchange. Everyone wraps little "happies" and places them into each other's stockings and we go around the room opening our treasures one by one. Sometimes, it takes several hours until the last present is opened.

Yes, I look like I've been working all day and then driving in the car for 3 hours but those little presents must make it into the stockings!

Mom found a sweet little stocking for Ladybug and hung it between mine and Thomas' stockings. It had several little presents inside too!

Nikki gave Ladybug some of the cutest little ladybug gifts I've ever seen. I love love love the little booties and the little metal ladybug is actually a magnet from Brighton. I <3 Brighton. Thanks chick! (I'm keeping the toothbrush holder for me.)

We really did have a wonderful Christmas. I just wish we had more time to spend with our families for the holidays.