Monday, August 11, 2008

Finally Home

We've been home for 5 days, but things have been a little crazy! Will has finally adjusted to "Cincinnati time", sleeping 11 hours at night and an hour and a half in the afternoon. He is terrified of the cat and still scared of the pool...even with only a few inches of water in it, but is doing really well considering he is in a whole new world!

I only have a few photos after returning home, one from the airport (after our 27 hours of traveling) and two taken at the house.

Thanks for all your support and for reading my blog and following us on our journey! I plan to post updates on how Will is doing, maybe on a monthly basis.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Leaving Tomorrow!!!!

I am sooooo excited to be going home tomorrow. I'm so excited for Will to meet his brother and sister, his grandma's and grandpa's and all his aunts, uncles, cousins and friends! It's so funny, many adults will stare at us and we're not sure what they're thinking, but when we talk to teenage kids, they all tell us how lucky Will is to be going to the USA. One thing is for sure, we are very lucky to have him. He is so sweet! As every day goes on, I'm getting more smiles, and more kisses. He is playing and laughing more and more everyday as well.

This morning, all the babies from our group got their picture taken on the red couch. Will would only stay on the couch if I held his hand, so I had to duck down behind the couch and hold his hand.

In the afternoon we went to the U.S. Consulate to take our oath and get Will's Visa. When the plane lands in Chicago tomorrow, Will will officially become a U.S. Citizen!

We ate dinner at an Italian Restaurant later in the evening, which was really pretty good. It's now 9:30 PM in China so I have to start packing. We need to be down in the lobby at 5:30 AM tomorrow to begin our 27 hour journey home....this time with a 2yr. old!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Will's Birthday

Today is Will's 2nd Birthday! We've been singing "Happy Birthday" to him all day. He just looks at us like we're crazy!

This morning Kyle went on the group tour to a Buddhist Temple and a Folk Art Museum. I didn't want to go because we already went to a Buddhist Temple in Xi'an and I wasn't really that interested in the Folk Art. So Will and I hung out at the pool for a little while this morning. He did a little better than yesterday. He didn't cry, but still needed to be either in my lap or holding on to me at all times. Then we went for a walk and found a park. It was really neat. They had a part for kids and then exercise stuff for adults. We met these two girls, ages 10 and 11, who were really interested in Will and so they followed us around to play with Will and practice their "English" on me.

Later, we went on a dinner cruise on the Pearl River, the river outside of our hotel. The cruise was really neat....the food, not so much!

When we went back to our hotel, room service came to our room with a really pretty cake for Will. Someone from our group must have told them it was his Birthday. It was really good too! Coconut Cream cake with chunks of coconut still in it!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Shopping and Swimming

Today our guide took are group to the Jade store. It's a government-run store so they wouldn't bargain with us at all, but we did get a few things. After that she took us to a mall that had five floors....five floors of nothing, but jewelry. It might seem hard to believe, but we only got a few things there as well. I think we have a lot of souvenirs and momentum's bought for all three kids, but I have to admit it's the most fun to shop for Karli.

After the shopping trip, we ate lunch
and walked around by our hotel and did a little more shopping....oh and Kyle found a girlfriend.

We attempted to take Will swimming again. He still wasn't too thrilled about the pool, but he did much better. He got off my lap for the first time and stood on his own in the pool. The water was up to his chest. But when he started to walk, he fell forward a little bit...and then it was back on my lap.

Right now we're watching a show about the Olympics on a HUGE flat screen TV that is on the side of a boat on the river behind our hotel. China is so crazy about the Olympics's everywhere!

Tomorrow is Will's 2nd Birthday. We found a cheesecake for him at the Bakery next to the hotel. We're going to wait until we get home to give him presents. I've discovered something that he LOVES.....Lego's. They have some in the play room and he does not want to put them down. He loves to build stuff and stack stuff....Lego's, blocks, shampoo bottles, cheerios, anything!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Old Friends and Meeting New Friends

Yesterday we went back to Star Fish so that Will could say goodbye to Amanda, his nannies and all his friends.

After the visit, we basically spent the rest of the day packing and traveling. We arrived at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou at about 9:30 PM last night. The hotel is amazing. The view is beautiful (right), the pool is beautiful, and the people are very friendly. I was starting to feel very home sick, but when we arrived here and saw all the American families with there children, it made me feel much better. Don't get me wrong, I still want to get home, but this hotel is making things much more tolerable. It has a great breakfast buffet and a really nice playroom for the kids....of course Will is just trying to "climb" everything!

This morning we took Will to have his medical exam and his Visa photo taken. He was not happy about his exam! We did some shopping....much better then the shopping in Xi'an. In the the afternoon I went to fill out paperwork for the U.S. Consulate while Will was napping. When he woke up and saw that I wasn't there, her cried and screamed for a half between the M&M's Kyle was giving him to get him to stop. By the time I was finished with the paper work, Will was covered in chocolate slobber! After that we did more shopping....did I mention how great the shopping was in Guangzhou? One of the store owners (Jordan) printed Will's name for us in Chinese and told us it meant "Excellent". We had dinner with another couple from Cincinnati...Matt and Tracy....turned out I graduated from Seton with Tracy....small world! They adopted a 3 yr.old boy, so now Will has a new friend!

Tomorrow we're going shopping for Jade and Pearls....gotta love that shopping! I have SO many more photos to share and stories to tell, but there is only so much time in one day. But, below are some miscellaneous photo's for your enjoyment....taken on one of Kyle's exploration walks, of course:)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The City Wall

We didn't make it to The Great Wall of China so today we went to see the Xi'an City Wall....not as "great", but it will have to do. The wall is 10 miles long and goes around the city of Xi'an. It was built 600 years ago to protect Xi'an from enemies before the Chinese Provinces were unified. There's a moat on the outside of the wall and four original gates to get in and out of the city. The gates would open at dawn and close at dusk.

We toured the South Gate of the City Wall.

Will's favorite attraction was the "toilet" sign. We see these signs everywhere instead of Rest Room signs. ....Yes, Griffin, I made him wear the pink plaid shorts:)

We also went to a Buddhist Temple. It was very interesting.

After the tours we went to Pizza Hut to get some American food and then just hung around the hotel room and played with Will. The photo below is Will sitting on the blanket that Mary (Mom's club girl) crocheted for him. It looked like it was a lot of work and took a very long time. Thanks Mary, it's beautiful and Will loves it!

Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors were very amazing. These terracotta statues were burried with the emporers tomb to protect him in his afterlife. They were just recently discovered by a farmer and continue to be unburried and pieces put back together to this day.

Before we went to the Terracotta Museum, we went to the Terracotta Workshop, where replica terracotta statues are hand made. We wanted to buy a large statue for our porch, but the cost, plus shipping was very expensive, so we settled for a few smaller statues for the bookshelf.

Will was frightened of the large statues. I guess they looked a little too real! He finally decided to ride in his stroller for a while today so I didn't have to carry him the whole arms and back have definitely been getting a good workout! As you will see from the photo below (Annie, our guide), most Chinese women carry umbrellas to shield their skin from the sun. They want their skin to stay as light as possible. You will even find lots a "whitening" cream in most stores to try and make their skin look even lighter. It's very interesting to see what "beauty" looks like in different cultures.

After a long day of sight seeing, we decided to eat dinner at the hotel restaurant and go to sleep early. Kyle and Will were asleep by 7:30 and I will be there by 10:30 (hopefully).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Star Fish Foster Home

This morning we gave Will his first bath and then went to the Super Market and did a little shopping.

In the afternoon we went to visit Amanda and Will's nannies at the Chinese Star Fish Foster Care Home. I think this is the only place in China you can adopt "spoiled" children. Between the volunteers and the nannies, the kids get constant attention. I'm sure it still doesn't compare to having a family and being able to grow up in The States, but it really is a wonderful place. Will was a little hesitant to go back at first. When they opened the door, he stood in the doorway and waved, but wouldn't go in. Then he saw his main caretaker and went to her right away. He then started hugging all the kids and playing. He had so much fun!

I also learned today that Will is not as delayed in his language as I thought. He speaks lots of Chinese words...I just didn't know he was actually saying words. He understands in English because the volunteers speak English and the kids watch American cartoons. He also understands in Chinese because all the nannies are Chinese and Amanda spoke to him in English and Chinese. But because he was mostly around the nannies, he learned to speak from them.

I know this post was short, but I'm exhausted! Will is constantly "on the go". I'll post again tomorrow after we visit the Terracotta Warriors. Thanks for all the great comments!