Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday - USA

Hi all,
Last night was our last group dinner, and it was really good. We also tried Benadryl last night (ahem) to see what it will do if we need it on the plane. I didn't notice much difference until she went to sleep, and she was OUT. I had to get up a few times and poke her to be sure she was alive. She slept for almost 10 hours. NICE.
Today Jason, Vivian and I took the subway to Hangshua, which was really crazy. It was very poor and kind of scary. Then we got to a market-type thing where we saw a bunch of stalls with medical equipment (weird?) and then some hanging meat that made me very nauseous. Then we arrived at the herb and dried item market. We saw dried seahorses and dried snakes, among other things. Daddy got some good photos while Mommy was green and Vivi was chilling in the stroller. Then we went to Shamian Island to finish shopping. We found some great things for Vivian today!!
This afternoon we watched the video CHI made of Gotcha Day, and it was very sweet. We have our own copy! Then the dad that went to Leizhou to the orphanage showed us his photos, which were great, and he will burn those and mail them to us. He did get photos of the more "common" areas of the orphanage (not where the kids actually are), and of Martyrs Park, where Vivian was found. We think he got a picture of the exact place where she was -- it's a memorial obelisk in the Park.
Afterwards we went to the US Consulate and did our oath and received Vivian's Chinese passport with Visa. I think she has dual citizenship. Once we land in the US she will be an American, but will retain her Chinese passport until its expiration. The person at the Consulate did advise us to have her travel with her US passport from now on. DUH
It was SO cute -- one of the moms brought little American flags for all the families, and Vivian walked to the Consulate waving her American flag with glee. I'm sure the Chinese didn't appreciate us parading our Chinese baby with an American flag, but heh, we're outta here tomorrow! :) She's proud to be an American!! Oh, in true Vivian style she fell asleep as we were waiting to take the oath. Her response to boring government bureaucracy....sleep.
We are SO SO SO glad to be leaving tomorrow morning! We did find out that our 9 am flight had been cancelled, but we got on the 10 am flight, so that lessens our layover in Beijing to about 3 hours. That's fine with us!! Even though Jason and I thought Newark was an armpit, we may kiss the ground when we land there. And our fellow passengers may do the same after the 13 hour flight with our little girl. Hopefully the Benadryl will help and she'll sleep. We leave Beijing at 3:45 pm, so hopefully she'll sleep some, since most of the flight will be after she normally goes to bed anyway (8:00 pm).
Packing -- so we bought a knockoff suitcase today for about US$7. Hopefully it'll make it all the way. Packing has begun, and so far it's going well. Who knew our carryons would be ALL ABOUT VIVIAN on the way home?!!??
Okay, we love you. Please pray for safe, easy travel tomorrow. :)
Rachael, Jason & Vivian

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tuesday-Wednesday update

Hello all!
We've had a rough couple of days. Tuesday we did our Visa paperwork and hung out around here while Daddy went with some other folks in our group on a subway ride and to some monuments. Things were fine until bedtime, when Vivian melted down. She screamed and cried for 2 hours (9:00-11:00 pm), and we seriously thought we'd get kicked out of the hotel.
It was so bad that Daddy got in the crib with her! Yep, too bad the camera batteries were charging, because that would have been a great picture. Desperation at its finest. She woke up a couple of times in the night crying, but we were able to quickly get her back to sleep. We figured out the next morning that she has TWO new teeth coming in. That was the problem!
Yesterday (Wednesday) we went to the White Swan hotel for the famous "red couch" picture of the babies. She hated changing into her little traditional Chinese dress, so she was already a grump. Of the 7 babies on the couch, 5 were crying - great photo! Then we took group photos, which were a little better. After that we had to do the medical examination for the babies to leave China. She was very good (asleep, actually), until they took her pants off to see that she was indeed a girl. She weighed 7.4 kilograms, or about 16 pounds. Yep, she's a hoss. :)
After the medical exam we went to a jade/pearl outlet type mall, and Vivian and I got matching jade necklaces. Then we went to lunch and shopped at Shamian Island. We got her a bunch of neat things to give her on Gotcha Day each year.
Last night when we got back we tried to have a little nap, but we had to get the stroller out to make that happen. Finally she slept for an hour. We went to dinner last night on the 40th floor of our hotel at a fancy Italian restaurant that overlooks the city. It was very pretty, but Vivian was quite the finicky eater. She would only eat Gerber Graduates and Cheerios. Daddy tried to give her ice cream at the end, and she hated it!! That was the worst face we've gotten when trying to eat something -- even our strange waitress laughed.
Bedtime was better last night, thanks to baby orajel and motrin. I think her teeth are finally poking through, but she's still chewing on everything.
Today we're staying in our rooms for a while because our guides are at the American Consulate with our paperwork, and we have to be easily reachable in case there are questions. This afternoon one of us will go to a knock-off market with the group to look for a suitcase and maybe some faux Gucci or Prada items. Tomorrow we'll probably go to a crazy Chinese market and finish our shopping, and tomorrow afternoon we'll take the oath and get her Chinese passport.
Oh, tonight we're planning on trying the baby Benadryl just in case we need it on the plane. Hopefully it'll have the drowsy effect, and not the hyperactive effect.
We're VERY ready to come home. I would love some real iced tea, and I can't wait to brush my teeth in the sink with faucet water! This trip has been about 4-5 days too long. Oh well!
Oh, grandmas - Vivian ate scrambled egg this morning, so finally some protein for the little carb-head.
We love you and miss you!

Monday, September 3, 2007


Mmmm cheeseburgers!
Vivian and Maya playing together. Their cribs were next to each other at the orphanage, and Maya's family is very nice!
Vivian laughing at Daddy - she has FOUR teeth (we were mistaken on day one). 2 on the bottom and 2 on the top.

Tuesday morning

Hi all!
Sorry we've been lax about blogging - we've had busy days and some crying fits when trying to sleep. Monday we went sightseeing at Beiyun Mountain. It was pretty, but still very hot, until we had a rain shower. We went to eat as a group, and then came back to the hotel. Vivian didn't get a great morning nap, so she was fussy for her afternoon nap. Finally after a big crying fit she was out! Late yesterday afternoon Daddy and Vivian went walking in the park by our hotel, and they saw a huge waterfall/fountain. Mommy was glad for the quiet time, but missed her little girl.
Last night we had dinner and then strolled around IKEA store near our hotel. It was nice, and Vivian was a little gem in her stroller. She likes the room key.
Speaking of likes, here are some of her dislikes:
Sprite - yes, we are bad parents, but it was just a sip as an experiment. Projectile spitting!!
Fruit of any kind - banana made a good showing last week, but not today. So far we don't like cantaloupe, watermelon, kiwi or strawberry smoothie.
Beef noodle - nope, slimey and not having it.
KFC mashed potatoes - really, who does like these?
When she doesn't like something, it's very obvious. It comes rolling out immediately, sometimes with force!
She likes:
Congee - especially chicken or pork congee.
Cheerios and Gerber Graduates.
Crackers - regular saltines.
Fried rice.
Rice cereal.
Mac & cheese.
Scrambled eggs.
I'm seeing a theme here. LOTS OF CARBS!

We got her some squeaky sandals, but she didn't love them when we tried yesterday. So far she's pretty agreeable about clothes and getting dressed.

Today we're doing paperwork for her VISA. We found out this morning that one of the dads in our group is gone to Leizhou today!! This couple is very nice, and the mom's uncle lives in Beijing, and her dad is here with them. So dad, grandpa and uncle took off this morning for the long trip to Leizhou. It's about 200 miles away - probably on windy strange roads. This dad is the one who's the other documentary filmmaker of the trip, and he's going to share lots of pictures and video from Leizhou. Our guides called the orphanage to tell them they're coming, and they're going to get to visit! They may not be able to see everything, but at least they'll get to visit. The dad is also going to try to take pictures of all the Leizhou girls' finding spots, if possible. We're so blessed to have this family with us -- he has been wonderful about taking LOTS of pictures of all the girls. Needless to say, we can't wait to hear how the trip goes today!!
Tonight we have the option of going on a river boat cruise on the Pearl River. If Vivian has a good afternoon nap we're going to try to go. If not, Daddy will go and Mommy and Vivian will stay back at the hotel. Our poor little girl needs a routine!
Okay, we love you and will update again soon!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

We miss America

Hello all!
Yesterday was MUCH better for Vivian. We went to the Guangzhou Zoo and she had a good nap in her stroller. There were lots of cool animals, and they were very easy to see. We saw ONE panda, but she was sleeping. Vivian woke up about 2/3 the way through the zoo and enjoyed some crackers. She also did a big stinky for us, so we had to change her on a bench. EW.
Then we went to a dumpling restaurant, and it was really good. When we got back to the hotel she had a 2 hour nap and was really sweet.
Yesterday morning she was coughing and snotty, so after talking to the doctor and the pediatric nurse in our group we agreed to start the antibiotics. She took it like a champ and it seems to be helping. Hopefully whatever it is will be knocked out by the time we go to the medical exam next week.
So last night we took a cab to a nearby mall - it's the 5th largest mall in the world. We walked around a bit, and we tried to feed her mashed potatoes from KFC. Granny & Nana -- she did NOT like their potatoes, so ya'll are going to have to show her what the real thing tastes like. Everywhere we went people were staring at us, and it made me really uncomfortable. I felt like WE were the animals at the zoo. I didn't see any other Americans at the mall, so I guess we were an oddity. We did find a Starbucks, and that was good. BTW, I went to the bathroom at the mall and all they had were squatty potties. GROSS. I just couldn't do it....wimp.
This mall had the supermarket/Wal-Mart store like we went in the other day, and we decided to get more formula, diapers and rice cereal. BIG MISTAKE. Imagine the day after Thanksgiving at WalMart when it opens. Now multiply that by 10 and everyone is Chinese. The signs are in Chinese, people don't form lines at the 2 checkouts you can find, etc. Add in a really squirmy baby who crawls out of the buggy. Yep, it was bad. Finally we found our way out and took a cab back to the hotel. For the first time we were really homesick and ready to come back to America and the nice Publix in Franklin.
Today we're going back to Shamian Island for shopping. I'll update with more pictures later.
We love you and miss you!!

Friday, August 31, 2007


Hi all!
This morning we went to the Yuexin park (the largest park in the city) where we saw some statues and people playing hackeysack and ballroom dancing. It was cool - retired people go there every morning to do Tai Chi and dance. Vivian slept only 20-30 minutes on the bus and on us. It was SO hot that we were all dripping after the park.
Then we went to the Chen Clan Temple, and that was really neat. It's not a religious temple; more of a family/museum type thing. We saw the world's most beautiful and exquisite embroidery and some really neat carvings and furniture. We also bought a long scroll to hang on the wall with Vivian's Chinese name painted on it. She was very good in the stroller, but we were all so hot that it was hard to enjoy for more than a couple of hours or so.
We came back to the hotel expecting her to nap, and all hell broke loose. She was a maniac today! Mommy had to get into the mini-bar at about 3:00 and have a glass of wine. She was playing like crazy, then acting tired so we tried to change her and do the nap routine, but NO! She was not having it. When Vivian cries it's a full-on red face scrunch with a scream!! We even tried the Baby Einstein video John K gave us - we should get our money back if our baby cries during Baby Einstein, right? My sternum is bruised from her pushing off me when she realized we were doing snuggly night night routine.
The highlight on this stressful day is that Vivian learned to clap her hands and smile!! If we do it and go "YEAH!" she will do it -- it's SO cute!!
Anyway, we finally went to the restaurant here and filled her full of congee. We had bath and bottle, and played a little more, and then we put her in the crib with a couple of toys. She is FINALLY asleep. YEAH!!! (we are clapping and smiling)
Tomorrow we're supposed to go to the Zoo, bu I'm dreading it because we'll leave at 9:00 and probably won't get back until 1:30 or so, and I'm afraid naps will be disrupted again.
By the way, Thursday Jason went with our guide and another Mom from the group to a Spa, and he had a 2 hour massage! Guess how much it was? 108 Yuan - or about 17 dollars. I NEED ONE SOON!!
We're off to watch a movie and go to sleep after our crazy day. I guess it was our turn to have a cranky baby!
We love you and miss you!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday - more pictures

Hi all,
Vivian is about to finish her nap, so I thought I'd upload some photos! Bathtime went great last night - she was really fun and happy! We went to the pool today for a little while; see our little swimsuit model? This afternoon we went to the mall across the street with big girl in her stroller. She loved strolling while holding Daddy's finger.
Having another good day here. Will update more later.
Rachael & Jason