Friday, November 16, 2012

All Is Well

I met Lydia in the recovery room and she was wide awake.  She had already had two popsicles by the time I got to her and was starting on her third.  They took us up to a room and the nurses checked her and gave her fluids through her IV.  By that time, she wanted to be "bobo-ed" (Chinese for "hold me"), so we snuggled for a while and watched another episode of Sesame Street.  She spit up a little of her popsicle, but not much.  We were able to leave the hospital at a little after 12pm. 

She stayed awake in the car on the way home and wanted more popsicles when we got home.  She had that and some chicken broth.  I wasn't sure how much I wanted to give her...really I didn't want it to come back up! 

We put her down for a nap at about 2pm and when Brian went to check on her a half-hour later, she was laying in bed wide awake!  She and Baba read for a little bit and then we watched some TV.  She was acting like her "normal" self, so we decided to go to the library for a few DVD's to keep her occupied.  : )

We are just finishing a yummy supper from one of my friends and Lydia is looking a little tired.  I think she might sleep good tonight.  : )

The doctor said that her ring finger wasn't pinking up, so please pray that it will be ok.  We won't know anything until she has her cast removed in about a month.  I'll try to keep you updated!

All Done

Dr. Daley just came to tell us that he is all done with Lydia's surgery.  They were able to separate all of her fingers.  He said that her ring finger that was under her middle finger wasn't doing very well.  When the other fingers were pinking up, that one was turning purple.  He said that he's hoping it's spasms, but there is a possibility that it won't make it.  They had to take a skin graft, but they took it from her arm, under the cast, so all the pain will be in the same place.  He said we'll have to come back in a month to take the cast off and at that time, he'll be able to tell us more.  Because her middle finger has so much bulk, it will need to have another surgery to remove some of that - maybe sometime in January or February.  He said that her hand was about as complicated as it gets.  I'm so thankful that God gave him such wonderful skills.

Surgery Started

Lydia went into the OR at about 8am this morning.  She went through all the preliminary exams very easily.  They had Sesame Street on in the waiting room, so she liked that a lot.  We met the surgeon and anesthesiologist and the OR  nurse.  Everyone was great.  Last night we read a book about going to the hospital and Lydia was so excited about the bed with wheels.  I told her that Mama and Baba weren't going to be able to go with her, but she didn't care.  We prayed with her right before she left and off she went as happy as can be.  : )

Here are some pictures from this morning!

Ready to go to the hospital.

Lydia and the anesthesiologist resident.

Getting checked out!

Lydia and Wong on the bed with wheels with the OR nurse. : )

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A New Hand

Tomorrow morning at 7am, we will be arriving at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee for a surgery that will change our daughter's life.  As most of you know, Lydia was born with webbed fingers on her right hand, a condition called syndactyly, caused by amniotic banding syndrome.  We knew this when we adopted her.  At the time, we did not know what would be able to be done for her.  Her doctor, Dr. Phelan, had looked over Lydia's medical records before we adopted her and knew of her condition.  Another of Dr. Phelan's patients had a baby who was born with the same condition.  She did research on the surgeons and recommended that we take her to Dr. Dailey, a surgeon at Froedtert who specializes in hands.  We took her for an exam and he was very optimistic about the possibility of surgery for Lydia.  She has bones in all her fingers and even though they are not fully developed, with separation she will be able to use her right hand more like "normal". 

It took a very long time to get the surgery scheduled, but we finally got word that it would be able to be done on Friday, November 16th.  Now that day is almost here. 

We have Lydia's special bear and blanket packed as well as her headphones and the I-Pod with her new favorite song - Zacchaeus.  She got some special gifts from her grandmas as well as a bag of surprises from my Moms By Design small group.  She is very excited to watch her new movie and eat her snacks.  She already started playing with the toys and wearing the hat that she got from them.

We've talked to her about the surgery, but since she hasn't ever experienced anything like it, she isn't really sure what I'm talking about.  When we were talking about it the only thing that Lydia was worried about was if the doctor was going to give her shots. : )

Please pray for her and us as she has surgery tomorrow.  The surgeon was not sure if he would be able to fix her hand in one surgery or if it will take two surgeries.  Pray that he will be able to take care of her hand in one surgery.  Also pray that there will be enough skin to use on her fingers, so she won't need a skin graft.  Please pray that Lydia's pain will be minimal throughout the healing process.
I will post more tomorrow as we have more details about the surgery.

Here are some pictures...Lydia was having fun taking pictures last night. : ) 

I made a plate with Lydia's "old" handprints.

Having fun with her presents!

Monday, October 29, 2012

California Cousins

Swimming and jumping at in the Palm Desert

Lydia's first view of the ocean

Building sand castles

So Cute!!!

Jumping the "Big Water"

The Petersons on the beach

Carsen, Lydia, and Gracie
We got on a plane on October 15th and headed for sunny California.  We have come a loooonnnnngggg way since our last plane ride.  Lydia was so excited to ride on the plane.  She was dancing down the jetway, singing "I'm riding on the airplane."  She got in her seat and played with her stuffed animals, books and listened to the "talking" on her earphones.  We ended up with an extra hour in Chicago, but she and another little girl made up dances, played and hide and seek and watched for the airplane. 
When we arrived in California, Lydia had her first taste of Del Taco.  By the end of our trip, she was not only pointing out all the McDonald's (she does this all the time when we drive), but also all the Del Tacos! 
A few years back on a trip to California to visit relatives, we discovered that we had "kindred spirits" in my cousin Dwight and his wife Shana.  We spent the week with them and their daughters, Carsen and Gracie.
On Tuesday, we headed out to Palm Springs to visit my aunt and uncle who were vacationing there.  It was nice and hot there.  We enjoyed time by the pool and feeding the fish in the pond.  Lydia warmed up to Carsen and Gracie quickly and got them to jump in the pool with her over and over and over again. 
On Wednesday, we went down to Oceanside and spent a few days at the beach.  My cousins' neighbors had a timeshare that was going to expire and offered it to them.  We were just a few blocks from the beach, right behind the harbor with a view of the ocean sunset.  We were so blessed to have this shared with us! 
Lydia loved the ocean and hated it.  On the first day, she walked along the ocean and picked up shells.  She buried her feet in the sand and tried to bury everyone else's feet too.  She put her feet in the water and thought it was so fun.  On Thursday, though, when she had her swimsuit on, she wanted nothing to do with the water.  She stayed far away from the water and had "Baba" help her build sandcastles.  On Friday, I dragged her into the water and she had so much fun.  She was jumping and called all the waves, "Big Water". 
We were able to see all my other relatives on our trip, Uncle Dwight and Aunt Kelly, Aunt Connie and Uncle John and my cousins Kelly, Paul and David and their families.  Lydia loved all the attention she got.
It only took Lydia a very short time to realize that Gracie would "bobo" (carry) her just about anywhere.  She had Gracie "bobo" her all week.  Carsen and Gracie also helped Lydia get over some of her fear of animals.  By the end of the week, Lydia was petting their cat. 
It was such a blessing to be able to spend the week with Dwight, Shana and the girls.  Lydia really grew to love them like we do. 
Since we got home, Lydia keeps asking to go to "Shana's house".  I tried to explain to her that it was too far, but she doesn't quite understand the distance.  Today she asked to go to Aunt Connie's.  I think we'll have to make sure our relatives get Skype. : )
We're so thankful for our relaxing time in the sun!  We didn't want to leave after our fun week.  Next time, we'll make it 2 weeks. : )  Thanks, Carsen, for giving up your room so we could stay with you. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finally...A Blog Post

So all the best intentions in the world don't equate to a blog post.  I keep thinking of things I should write down to remember for the years to come, but it just seems that laundry, cleaning, cooking, writing lesson plans, spending time with Brian and Lydia, etc. seem to get in the way of my blogging plans. 
Lydia is in bed sleeping right now, Brian is at work, the laundry is almost caught up, the house is somewhat clean, supper is in the crockpot and my lesson plans are all ready for tomorrow.  No excuses...time for a post.
I can't believe that it's been over 5 months since we first met and held Lydia.  She has come so far.  Her language development is way beyond what I had imagined it would be.  There's still a lot of times that she has to repeat herself, but luckily she's very stubborn about being understood.  She will repeat something over and over until I finally get it.  Unfortunately there are many word that sound alike when she says them - Patti or potty, Eva or zebra, YaoYao or yellow - you get the idea.  I play the guessing game and try to figure out the context.  : )  She has lost all her Chinese.  One of my former students who is taking Chinese, came to talk to her a few weeks ago.  He said hello in Chinese and she just looked at him like he was crazy.  Her last Chinese word to go is "bobo", which means "pick me up".  Other than that, she's an all English-speaking girl. 
Life has changed so much and yet it's still the same.  I'm still me and Brian is still Brian, but now we have this wonderful extension of our family in Lydia.  We still enjoy all the things we used to, but now with one more person to enjoy them with.
Lydia loves life and is outgoing and talkative, when she wants to be. : )  She loves nature and being outside.  She could live outside and loves walking, going on hikes and especially "sleepy - outside - tent".  She even convinced Brian to brave the allergy season for one last camping trip a few weeks ago.  Reading books has become a new favorite activity.  She even wants to read them herself.  Sometimes she will give each of us a book and then want us to read it while she reads her own book.  She understands the concept of words and is beginning to recognize some of the letters.  She has the LeapFrog fridge phonics letters and the other day she pointed out "X" and told me the name.  She also likes to do the letters and sounds like the kindergarteners do.  She does pretty well with the vowels.  The funniest one is when she does the letter "U".  The word to go with short u is umbrella, but she can't pronounce it right so it goes something like, "u, u, gabrella".  Not exactly right, but the right idea!
We started school a few weeks ago.  I have switched from my beloved 4th grade to teaching kindergarten part-time and gifted and talented.  It's three days a week and I love the schedule.  I must admit though, getting used to kindergarteners has been quite the challenge!  Multi-step directions, using the bathroom only at recess and being responsible to get things done alone is a thing of the past.  It's been really good for me.  I think all teachers should make an effort to move around in the grade levels.  It keeps me on my toes and makes me think.  I could do 4th grade on autopilot, but kindergarten is really stretching me to develop and learn more and more. 
I'm at school three days a week, so Lydia goes with me those days.  She LOVES it.  I was a little nervous about how she was going to respond.  The first day she was a little clingy when I dropped her off, but on the second day she said to me, "By self, Mama" and walked right over to her room.  She has some great teachers who love her and are helping her learn all sorts of new things.  The other kids are great for her too.  She is motivated to try new things while watching others.  Her new found favorite activity is puzzles.  She will put together puzzles up to 100 pieces with guidance.  Her coloring is getting better and the other day, she even wrote "L" for Lydia.  I know that for a three year old, this may not be amazing, but to see her go from not even feeding herself to beginning writing and coloring and other small motor skills, it is amazing to me.  She has truly come a long way in five months. 
We have had the most difficulty with sleeping, but she is getting into the swing of things now.  After visiting Cousin Violet in Iowa, Lydia could not be outdone.  "Nigh-night by self" has been happening for the last few weeks now (for the most part).  Now if she will only learn to stay "nigh-night by self". : )  Oh, well, like Brian says, "It's only been five months.  Give her some time." 
Becoming a parent has been overwhelming, all consuming and wonderful all at the same time.  It is so humbling to realize that God has entrusted us with this wonderful, little life.  I sometimes just lay in bed thinking about how amazing it is that we are now a three-part family.  I have a lot to learn about parenting, but our little "YaoYao" is such a joy to have in our lives.
Here are some pictures I hope you enjoy!!!

Mama and YaoYao on the first day of school.
Lydia and Mrs. Biver on the first day of school.

Sporting our sunglasses!

YaoYao and Baba on a hike

Our family

Friday, May 4, 2012

No More Lost Bags!!!

As most of you know, our bags were still off in China after we had arrived home.  We filled out a request with United Airlines to find our bags, but after waiting for their five day waiting period, they still had no idea where they were.  I emailed our agency to see if they could get us the email of our facilitator in Guangzhou to see if she might be able to help us.  They didn't have Helen's email, but they said that since the founders of our agency are Chinese, they may be able to help us by calling China, etc.  I talked to "Lily" and told her the story of our bags.  She said that since they were on China Southern Airlines when they were "lost" that United probably wouldn't be able to help us.  Over the next few days she made many calls to China to see if she could locate our bags.  They finally found out that they had been sent back to Guangzhou from Beijing.  Our facilitator in Guangzhou went to the airport to see if she could find out what had happened to our luggage.  Because of the bad weather and missed/cancelled flights, there were many people who had missing bags.  The line at the missing luggage counter was huge.  No wonder the people there didn't answer the phone calls that Lily had made to them.
We are not exactly sure when or how our bags were located, but on Sunday morning I received a call from Lily.  She said that she had an email from Helen that said our bags had been sent.  They should be in the states soon!  A few minutes later another call said that she had misread her email and that the bags were already in the US!  She told me that I should call United and see if they were tracking them for us.  Before I had a chance to call United, Brian got a voicemail saying that they were in Milwaukee and were being delivered to us.  That afternoon while I was putting Lydia down for her nap, all three bags arrived at our door.
Brian and I enjoyed looking through them together and got started on laundry right away. : )  I'm really not sure how they got to us...One bag had a tag that said it went through Chicago and another through LAX.  I don't know how they arrived, but I do know that the Lord had His hands in the details.  Both Brian and I had come to terms with the fact that our suitcases and everything in them were probably lost forever.  I laid awake for a few nights worrying about them, but as I was agonizing over where they were and what we could do to get them back, the Lord brought a thought to me.  I had lost suitcases.  I left them at an airport and filled out the forms to get them back.  They had things in them that were precious to me, but nothing that I couldn't live without.  This loss I was feeling was just a tiny glimpse into the feelings that my precious little girl's birth mommy feels every single day, hoping and praying that her daughter was found and taken to a safe place.  That someone is helping her and loving her and caring for her.
If the Lord cares about the details of our lives like our luggage being lost, how much more He cares for each of the little ones who are lost from their families.  He brought Lydia into our lives and we don't know all the details of how he worked things out for us to be together.  We don't have to know everything, but He does and He is already there at the end of our lives knowing how the pieces fit together.
We have all had a great week.  Lydia is an early bird...we're hoping this is just more jet lag...5:30am is still night time to both Brian and I. : (  Today it was 6am, so hopefully we can work our way back to 8am. : ) 
Lydia had her first play-date on Wednesday.  She had so much fun with Eva.  She learned a little more about playing with some of her toys and learned a little about sharing, but that could use a little more work. : ) 
On Wednesday night we were out of yogurt and bananas - the new staples in our household.  We decided to head to the store after dinner.  When we got out to the garage, Lydia went over to the wagon and gave Baba "the look".  He decided that we could walk to Piggly Wiggly instead of driving to Pick-N-Save.  Lydia loves her time outside and I think if we let her would live in the wagon or stroller.  Since the route to the store takes us right through the park, of course we had to stop and show Baba how Lydia can go down the slide by herself now.  So much for an early bedtime! 
On Thursday, I went to school for the day to teach.  Before we left for China, Brian suggested that I go back and teach one day a week and he and Lydia would "hang out" together.  They had a good day with only a few accidents. : )  They came to school at the end of the day to meet my class.  Lydia LOVED the attention and my students thought she was sooooo cute.  We had gotten bookmarks in China with each students' name and Lydia passed them out.  The kids wanted to know "thank you" in Chinese and were saying that to her.  She put on a show for them.  It was really cute. 
I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  Hopefully we'll all sleep in tomorrow!!!
Enjoying a ride in the wagon!

Captivating the audience of 4th Graders at LCCA!


The bags have arrived!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Ok, sorry all you aunts, cousins and friends out there who have been waiting for this post.  We have had a few bumpy nights and some crazy days over the last week, but we are home.
We left our hotel at 6am on Thursday morning.  There was a lot of fog that morning and when we arrived at the airport, our flight had been cancelled.  Well, our facilitator, Helen, got right to work to get us another flight.  She was running all over to other airlines that had flights and finally got us on a plane that was about to leave.  We had to get our baggage checked, go through security and get to the gate.  A representative of China Southern Airlines came with us all the way to the gate to make sure that we arrived.  All the passengers were in their seats and the plane was ready to go.  We took our seats (not together - but it was only a 2 hour flight) and took off.  Lydia did pretty good during take off and fell asleep for most of the flight.  When we got to Beijing, we went to get our bags, but they hadn't made it on the flight.  We were expecting that, since we were late.  The agent told us that if they didn't get on our flight, they would be on the next one.  Well, we really didn't think about what that meant when we were getting on the flight, but that meant that our bags would not be in Beijing until 3pm.  Our international flight in another terminal left at 4:30pm...We left without our bags and went over to the international terminal.  The people at United were helpful and said they would do whatever they could to get our bags from one terminal to another and onto our plane.  Unfortunately nothing happens very quickly in China and our bags once again did not get on our flight. : ( 
The flight went amazingly well for being over 12 hours long.  Lydia slept a lot of the way and woke up to eat when they brought us food.  I didn't let her get unbuckled, so she just slept in her seat in all sorts of strange positions.  Brian and I unfortunately weren't so lucky.  We both slept less than an hour.  It's just so hard to get comfortable in those seats.  At least we were in economy plus so we had a little more room.  We watched a lot of movies - including The Muppets - which I must say was great!!!  I think Brian read a little and listened to music. 
We arrived in Chicago almost an hour ahead of schedule, thanks to the strong tailwinds that we had.  That was good because the line for customs and immigration was really long!!!  Lydia was a trooper though and we got through there.  We turned in her paperwork and she is now a US citizen. : )  Of course we didn't have any bags to recheck, so that saved us time.  But we did have to trek all the way across the Chicago airport with 2 backpacks, a diaper/toy bag, a carry-on suitcase and a 2 year old.  We arrived at our gate just in time to use the bathroom before getting on the flight to Milwaukee.  That flight only takes 15 minutes, but Lydia fell asleep.  She was so worn out from all the travel and the time change. 
When we arrived in Milwaukee, my parents were there to pick us up.  We had to fill out a lost baggage claim, so that took a while, but we were finally home!!!  We were starving, so we headed to my favorite pizza place, Marty's where Lydia met her other Grandma and Grandpa and her Aunt Heidi, Uncle Jared and cousins.  She ate spaghetti while the rest of us ate pizza.  She has yet to acquire the taste for pizza. : )  I thought I was going to fall over after having just a few hours of sleep over the last 48, so we quickly headed home.  Lydia fell asleep right away and so did Brian, but even after feeling so tired, I couldn't sleep.  I was really worried about our bags.  We packed as many things as we could in our carry-ons, but a lot of the gifts we bought in China were in our checked luggage.  We got Lydia a present for each year for 10 years on her "Gotcha Day", but we only have about 3 of them. : (  We are still waiting to hear about our bags.  United called yesterday and said they might be in customs in Chicago, but we are still not sure of their whereabouts. 
The first four days back, Lydia woke up at 2am and wouldn't got to sleep.  Brian got up with her and played the first night.  I had gotten sick on the plane, so I was feeling horrible.  He came in and got me about 7am because Lydia discovered that I wasn't around.  We laid around most of the morning and then headed to Target to get some essentials like a potty seat and stool for the bathroom.  : )
My parents left on Sunday morning and Brian's parents and sister came for lunch that afternoon.  We tried to be low key all weekend. 
On Monday I discovered that Lydia loves going outside.  She wanted to be outside all day.  We didn't get much done in the house, but we did get a few sections of the garden weeded.  For not liking to be dirty, she is a great gardener.  She wanted to take all the weeds that I pulled and put them in the bucket.  She also used her broom to sweep the sidewalk. 
Yesterday we went to the doctor.  From the first look everything is good.  She has to have a bunch of tests run, just to make sure there's no surprises that we are looking at.  All the blood tests that she needed required 7 tubes of blood.  The lab tech at the doctor's office was not too excited to have to take that much blood from a 2 year old.  She called down to the lab to check on the minimum amount of blood that they needed and had a nurse come in to hold Lydia down.  I told her that I thought that she would be ok, but the tech was very nervous.  She told me that if she didn't see a good vein, she was just going to send us to the hospital to have the blood drawn.  Well, she found a vein and Lydia was as still and quiet as if nothing was happening.  The tech got done and pulled out the box of stickers and told Lydia she could have as many as she wanted.  Lydia wasn't phased at all.  The nurse commented that there are many adults who aren't as calm.  I'm sure she has been taught that you just deal with whatever comes your way...but still...she's two!!!
Well, she's taking a nap now, so I finally have time to blog a little.  It's almost time to wake her up though, so anyone who comes to visit my house, sorry about the mess, but I'm sure you aren't coming to see my clean house. : ) 
Just let us know if you want to stop by...a pizza is always welcome. : )  Just kidding, but we would love to have you stop for a few minutes.  Lydia enjoys being the center of attention!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last Day in China

Bittersweet - our last day in China.  I'm ready to get home, but not ready to be back to reality...ready to see people we know, but not ready to leave the birthplace of my sweet little girl.  We've already talked about putting money into a savings account so that we can bring her back someday when she can really appreciate the country and culture of her birth. 
Today was another relaxing day...nothing on the schedule to do except pick up her visa in our hotel lobby.  We got up late and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.  I can't believe how much Lydia likes plain yogurt.  That is her food/beverage of choice for breakfast.  The yogurt here is mus more liquid, so she drinks it out of a straw and won't put it down until she can't get anymore out.  While we were sitting at breakfast, two of the families from another group were saying that their older children were throwing up in the night.  Another little girl next to us was coughing and croupy sounding, so I told Brian that we should get outside as soon as possible into some fresh air.  We'll, I'm not totally sure if that's possible in big city China, but at least we got outside.
We took a taxi down to Shamien Island to pick up some things that we had ordered.  They were ready when we got there and we also did a little more shopping.  I got a new flute for my collection.  : ) So DiBlasi girls, you'll have another one to try out the next time you're over!!!  I also found a panda bear quilt that we had to have and a lady bug backpack for Lydia.  Every time we were in the shops, there were more things to see.  Lydia was walking around and we started to go into one of the shops.  There was a little kitty on the step and I pointed it out to Lydia.  She started screaming and jumped into my arms.  We tried going in the shop, but no matter where we went in there, she kept crying.  Needless to say we decided to leave! 
We were planing to go to some gardens for a picnic this afternoon, but it started raining while we were on the island and it was very cloudy.  We just came home and Lydia had more noodles and Brian and I had some snacks.  Lydia took a good nap while we packed all our stuff.  We made it without having to add another suitcase.  The suitcase that was full of food is now full of souvenirs and we left a few things behind that we don't need.  We just have a few things to pack up in the morning, like the computer and our pajamas.  We leave at 6am tomorrow to fly from Guangzhou to Beijing, so we have to be up early. 
When we went to the lobby to get Lydia's visa and immigration packet from Helen, our facilitator, Lydia was going crazy.  She was running around the lobby and talking.  We decided that she needed to burn some energy, so we took her to the play place.  The Kragels (from Saylorville) were there again, so we got to talk to them.  Lydia suddenly became a wall flower.  We put her in the swing and she started screaming and then she just stood there.  In a matter of five minutes she went from going crazy to standing in one position, not moving a muscle.  We are wondering if she is not used to being outside, because her orphanage did not have an outdoor play area.  Maybe she just doesn't know what to do when she gets out there!
Well, we ended up at McDonald's again for supper.  We were going to go to the Cantonese restaurant again, but it was raining and I really didn't feel like lugging a 30 pound 2 1/2 year old down the street for 15 minutes to eat something that I'm not sure is going to be good.  Brian consented and we ate McNuggets again.  Lydia liked the ketchup and kept using her fries to get the ketchup into her mouth.  She just sucked it off the fries and didn't eat them. 
Back in the hotel room we turned some of the videos on just to see how they looked and she was so excited.  She watched them for a half hour and probably would have watched them longer.  She was so funny when she was watching them that we took a video of her.  She kept talking to herself on the screen and told her what to do and then laughed.  So funny. : )
We took a bath and now we're off to bed.  Lydia and Baba are in bed, but Lydia doesn't want to sleep tonight.  Hopefully she falls asleep soon, since we have such an early morning tomorrow. 
Our flight from Beijing arrives in Chicago around 4:30pm and then we have to go through immigration and customs.  We leave for Milwaukee at 6pm and are scheduled to arrive at 6:48pm.  Our plan is to head to Marty's Pizza in Delafield to meet family and friends.  We should be there around 8pm - we know we'll be hungry, so we thought that would be a good place to meet.  Don't know how long we'll be there, but if you want to stop by, feel free!!!
My next blog will be from the good old USA. : )
Doing the Chinese picture pose!

McDonald's fries - a way to get ketchup from the box to your mouth. : )

Nap time!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Relaxing Day

We had to get up a little bit early this morning to have time for breakfast and make it to our consulate appointment.  We got dressed, but because Lydia had a white dress, we decided to just have her eat in her pajamas.  We have already experienced getting dirty at breakfast while wearing white. : )  We left the hotel at 7:50am and got down the consulate in plenty of time for our 8:30am appointment.  We got the one paper that we forgot notarized and then took an oath on behalf of Lydia.  It basically said that we got all her paperwork and filled it out to the best of our knowledge.  They looked over Lydia's paperwork and had us sign one more paper.  Tomorrow our facilitator will go pick up Lydia's visa, so that she can enter the US.  Once we drop off her paperwork at Customs and Immigration in Chicago, she will be an official US citizen.
We were back at the hotel by 10am and had the rest of the day to ourselves.  We ran into one of the other families from our agency in the lobby.  Their son, Gwong Wei, was very upset that Lydia had bare feet.  She has taken to removing her shoes and socks when she is bored/wants attention.  I just put her down in the lobby without her shoes and he kept telling her (in Chinese) that the tile was too cold and she needed her shoes on.  I'm sure that they didn't let them go barefoot in the orphanage!   We got back so early that the maid hadn't been to our room yet.  Not a big deal, except that we needed our towels changed.  We decided to find something to do around the hotel.  We decided to go swimming.  The pool is outside and it was cloudy today, but the temperature of the water wasn't too cold.  At first Lydia wasn't sure about the pool, but she decided that it was ok, as long as I had a tight grip on her.  Hopefully she'll like swimming this summer, so we'll have a good way to keep cool!!!  After a while it started raining, so we decided to head back to the room. 
Brian went to get Lydia some noodles from 7 Eleven, while we got dry and warm.  Lydia was beside herself when Brian left without us.  She waited at the door almost the entire time that he was gone.  That was the first time that she wasn't with both of us.  Brian tried to warn her that he was going to have to go to work next week. : )
After the early day and the swim in the pool, Lydia was ready for a nap after her lunch.  She fell asleep with Mama and Baba, but she stayed asleep a lot longer.  We decided to get up and try to get our stuff organized.  We have bought so much stuff.  Hopefully we have enough room without having to add another suitcase.  We do have a duffel bag, but we're hoping that we won't have to use that.  We have a few more things to pick up tomorrow, so we'll see where we are with suitcase room tomorrow.
Lydia woke up at about 1:30pm and we headed out to the Guangzhou Zoo.  It is a really big zoo - but much different from the zoos in the states.  People were throwing food into the pens (even though it said not to), and the enclosures were much less realistic.  When we first got there, we went to the monkey area.  Lydia was freaking out.  She started crying and clutched onto me for dear life.  She did not like the animals at all.  We finally decided to sit on a bench so she could get used to the animals without being too close.  She started waving to them then.  After we had been there about 30 minutes, it started raining.  We checked the weather and it said that there was 0% chance of rain.  Well, I guess we're not going to trust the weather channel here!  Lydia had fun in the rain though.  I'm not sure if she had ever been out in the rain before.  She was stomping in puddles and letting the rain fall off of the picnic table umbrella into her hands.  It was pretty cute.  After the rain we found the elephants and she loved watching them.  It doesn't make sense that she liked the elephants, but not the monkeys, since the elephants are so big and there were no bars between us and the elephants, but oh well, she likes the elephants. : )  We found the pandas next.  She wasn't too sure about them either.  There were even some panda statues that she was very scared of.  Brian commented about how much better the pandas in the San Diego Zoo are treated.  When we were there a few years ago, you had to wait in a long line to see the pandas and then walk through their exhibit without talking.  They had tons of bamboo and had a very clean and fancy exhibit.  Here in Guangzhou, they were just in a regular type enclosure with people all around making noise at them...nothing special.  I guess since they're Chinese, they have to live like they're locals. : )  After carrying Lydia the whole time, I was getting quite tired.  I put her down and she decided to walk.  She was so proud of herself.  She went ahead of us and led us toward the exit.  We got to some trees that had dropped nuts on the ground and Lydia took it upon herself to clean them up.  She handed them to Brian at first and he threw them.  She thought it was so fun to pick up the nuts and throw them.  We're hoping that when we get home, she'll like to pick up pine cones. : ) 
We left for the hotel and Lydia was so excited when we got back.  She was chatting with the bellboy who opened our taxi door and walked through the lobby.  The motto for the hotel is "Walk in like you own the place" and she does.  She can even figure out which room is ours.  We cleaned up and walked back down to get something to eat.  We were going to go to a Cantonese restaurant, but it was a 10-15 minute walk and it started raining again when we were just about to leave.  We decided that we would just go to McDonald's again which is right next to the hotel.  We discovered that Lydia likes McNuggets.  She also ate ketchup again. : ) 
We came back to our room and now Lydia is entertaining herself with all our toiletries.  She took them all out of their bags and she's been rearranging them for over an hour now.  She's having a lot of fun.  We'll have to see what she thinks of toys when we get home. 
Tomorrow we don't have anything planned except getting our visa from our facilitator at 4:30pm, so we're planning on having another relaxing day tomorrow.  We just need to get ready for our trip home. : )
Family Photo after our consulate appointment.

Swimming in the hotel pool

Watching the pandas at the zoo

Monday, April 16, 2012

TB Check, OK

Today we got to sleep in a little.  We left a little before 10am, so we had a nice leisurely breakfast for the first time. : )  We took a van to the clinic again today for Lydia's TB test to be checked.  It took about a half hour in the van each way and about two seconds for them to look at her arm and say it was ok!  All that time in the van, for just a few seconds at the clinic.  Well, at least the test was negative.
We headed back to the hotel and ate lunch and put Lydia down for a nap.  This was the first time since we became a family that we have been able to eat lunch at a normal time and to put her down for her nap at her "regular" time.  Well, this began a battle of the wills.  She really did not want to take a nap, but we knew that she was getting tired.  We ended up with her in the middle of the bed and Brian on one side and me on the other to keep her from getting up.  She was not happy at all...kicking, screaming, etc., but just a few minutes of that and she was asleep.  Hopefully this will not become a regular occurance! 
Once she fell asleep, Lydia slept well.  We opened the curtains about 2pm and she slowy woke up.  She really doesn't like waking up, which is fine with me, since I feel exactly the same way.  We ordered Papa John's pizza for an early supper tonight.  It tasted so good.  Almost like home, they even had the garlic butter for dipping the crust.  Lydia didn't really like the pizza (hopefully this changes soon!) and she really didn't like the dipping butter.  She kept pointing at it like she wanted it, so I dipped some crust in and gave her a bite.  The look on her face was hilarious...almost like we gave her a lemon or something like that!  I let her spit it out since she thought it was so disgusting.  She ate a granola bar and some fruit for her supper.
After that she was running around the room throwing the beach ball.  She had so much energy that we thought she would enjoy playing on the playground.  She was all energetic until we got outside and then all she wanted to do was stand there.  They had slides and swings, but nothing interested her.  Some other kids came along too, but that still didn't interest her!
We met our facilitator, Helen at 5pm to go on a cruise on the Pearl River.  Another couple with us requested that she help us get tickets and it was recommended by some of my friends, so we asked if we could tag along.  We took a cruise on a traditional type dragon boat down the Pearl River.  We got to see all the lights of Guangzhou, including the new TV tower, which Helen said was over 600 meters tall - that's like 6 football fields stacked upright.  It is really tall and very pretty with the lights on it.  Those lights, the lights on the bridges and some other buiding lights change color and make it like a light show.  Lydia thought the lights were pretty too.  It was raining a little as we got into the taxi at the hotel, but for the boat cruise, the Lord provided perfect weather - not too hot and not too cold.  Because of the rain, there were some low clouds that covered some of the tall buildings and the TV tower.  They had a rice and chicken dish for us on the boat.  I had already filled up on pizza, but Lydia ate some of my rice and Brian had my chicken.  We enjoyed a fun time together as a family.  Toward the end of the cuise, Lydia started getting very silly, which we have discovered means that she is getting tired.
We headed back to the hotel for a short bath, which she is beginning to enjoy a little.  Tonight she was eating the bubbles!!!  She and Brian are both in bed snoring and tomorrow is an early day for us, so I'm going to head that way too.
Before I close, we ran into that couple with the older girl two more times - once yesterday and once today.  They are doing much better and the girl looked a lot happier!  Also at the playground, we were talking to some of the other parents, asking about their kids, where they're from, etc.  We told one dad that we were from Wisconsin and he said, "Oh, just one state over from us.  We're from Iowa."  Well of course, my ears perked up.  I told him that I grew up in Iowa in Ankeny and he said, "That's where we live, over by Crocker Elementary."  Their last name is Kreagle (I don't know if the spelling is correct), and we started talking about different things in Ankeny.  I asked where they go to church and he said Saylorville - the church I grew up in.  They had just started attending, but knew some of the same people we knew.  Such a small world!!!  If you're from Saylorville, be sure to say, "Hi" to Mason, their new son.  He and Lydia are about the same age, so maybe someday they'll meet at a church function and we can tell them that it isn't their first meeting. : )  Amazing who you run into when you're in China!!!
Lydia and I on the River Cruise

On the way to get checked.

Waiting for the boat with a sucker and two wet wipes!

Our cruise boat - a traditional looking dragon boat

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Museum + 2 year old = ???

So...this morning our facilitator took us to a folk arts museum.  While this would be an interesting trip and there were many beautiful things to look at, it was not Lydia's favorite place.  Lydia either likes to be held or she likes to walk around and touch things.  It was so hot today that she didn't want me to hold her.  She wanted to walk around, but as you might guess, there were too many breakable things at her level.  I tried to carry her, but she was so sweaty and hot that she didn't want to be in my arms.  To complicate things, there were artists there doing work for people to buy.  Of course this art work - scrolls, fans, paintings, etc. were very high quality and we wanted to get some.  Lydia was flailing in my arms while I was trying to look around.  I had to let Brian choose the things he thought were best for us to buy.  Our facilitator was so excited about looking around at things, and the artwork was very beautiful, but I was very glad to be done at the museum. : )
After our museum visit we went to the pearl and jade market.  We got some nice things there.  It was in a mall that was full of jewelry shops.  While they were stringing the pearls, Lydia walked around and picked up trash.  She kept handing it to people to throw away!  Then she started finding pearls on the ground and bringing them to the workers.  She charmed them so much that when we left they gave her a pearl bracelet (made of uneven pearls).
We went to a noodle restaurant for lunch.  Our guide told Lydia we were going there and she was pretty excited.  Once we got there though, she wanted the dumplings more than the noodles.  We couldn't believe it.  She only ate 2 bites of noodles!!!  I guess that we found something she likes more than noodles. : )
It was quite late when we got home, so we put Lydia right down for a nap.  She was so sleepy and didn't want to wake up.  We took some time to organize all the things we bought yesterday, so we would know what we still needed to get at the shops.  After Lydia finally woke up, we headed back to Shamian Island to buy what we needed.  We got a lot of stuff at one of the shops and visited a few others.  We ran out of Chinese Yuan and so we started dealing in US dollars. : )  They are just as happy to take that!!!
We ate McDonald's for supper which is right next to our hotel.  Lydia wasn't so sure about hamburgers and French fries tonight.  She did eat a little bit of French fries finally. 
When we got back to our room, we let her stay up, since it really hasn't been that long since she woke up from her nap.  She's been playing with a beach ball and reading "Good Night, God" over and over again with Baba.  She doesn't let him hold her yet, but he's ok for reading, feeding, kissing booboos, etc.  I think she's getting tired...she gets really silly when she's tired and she's acting really silly.  I better go get her in the bathtub. : )
Living Hope Adoption Group in front of the Folk Arts Museum

Finger painting artist

Lydia before the museum

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Doctor Visit, Shopping and Ice Cream

Our day began way too early after our long day yesterday.  We are staying in the China Hotel in Guanzhou.  Many people have stayed in the White Swan Hotel in the past, but they are completely closed for remodeling right now.  Maybe next time we'll be able to stay there.  But this hotel is super nice - another 5 Star!  It's very interesting that here in China most of the hotel rooms we've stayed in have a window in the bathroom next to the tub.  It must be some sort of Feng Shui thing, but it really opens the room up. 
We went to breakfast this morning and it was a site for sore eyes.  I really like the Chinese food, but the American buffet was fantastic.  Lydia still isn't so sure about American breakfast, but Mama is thankful for it.  I tried to give Lydia a doughnut this morning, but she refused to eat it.  She ate cherry tomatoes and yogurt (which in China is more of a drink like kiefer).  I had a muffin and grapefruit juice and hash browns. : )  Brian also found us some really yummy French toast. 
At 8:40am, we left for the clinic that is approved by the American consulate.  The tests that they did were very minimal.  They looked at Lydia's fingers, checked her height and weight, took her temp, looked in her ears and attempted to look in her throat.  It went by all very quickly and Lydia did well for the most part.  They also require a TB test for all children over 2 years old, so they injected her and we'll have to come back in a few days to get that checked.  We went there with 2 other families from our agency who are adopting here at the same time. 
After our doctor's appointment, we stopped at the grocery store where Lydia picked out some "gong" (candy) that she wanted.  Everyone in Iowa will be happy to hear that she choose a corn flavored sucker!  I should have tasted it, but it sort of smells like corn syrup. 
We came back to the hotel and our facilitator made sure that we had all our paperwork, which we don't.  I guess there was a paper that we had filled out and notarized that somehow didn't get into our stuff when we were packing.  Fortunately we can get a new copy notarized on Monday. 
We came back to the hotel room and ate a light lunch of snacks and Lydia and I took a nap.  She slept for a long time and finally we opened the curtains a little to wake her up.  Lydia doesn't really like waking up very much, but she is so happy when she does.  She has such big smiles for us.  We are so thankful that God has placed it in her heart to be so happy so much of the time.  We met a family from Alabama who have a 4 year old daughter that they adopted from China and they came back to adopt a 14 year old girl.  She was very angry and having a difficult time with being adopted.  Before a child who is old enough to understand is adopted, they have to consent.  I'm sure that she was excited about it at one time, but when it came down to leaving her friends and all that she knew, she wasn't sure about that. 
After waking up, we took a taxi so Shaimien Island to do some shopping.  The White Swan Hotel is there on the island, so there are many tourist shops that cater to Americans.  Since the White Swan is closed, it has really hurt business on the island.  There are not as many tourists all the time.  We were hounded to buy things from every shop.  They said they would give us good prices, and we probably did.  I just felt bad for all the people who make their living this way and lost the thousands of people who were walking by each day in the past. 
We ate dinner at a restaurant on the island, Lucy's.  It caters to Americans as well.  It is a location known well by adoptive families who spent any time on the island.  I got spaghetti - noodles - so Lydia and I could share.  She loved the spaghetti!  She also ate a lot of her Baba's French fries.  She's learning to be American already. : )
We headed back to the hotel and took a bath, ate some ice cream and now Lydia is laying in bed.  I'm not sure if she'll go to sleep before we go to bed or not, but I do hear her thumb being sucked.  I'm so thankful that we get to sleep in tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to not having to get up at the crack of dawn!
Happy girl!!!

Visit to the doctor

Getting tested for TB - a requirement for all children who are over 2 years old

The obsession with cleaning continues : )