Monday, January 30, 2006

We're home! Gung Hay Fat Choy!

We're home indeed!...Okay we know we haven't posted anything in a week but this getting home thing and transitioning back to U.S. time isn't always easy. So we will fill you in. Our flight home from Guangzhou to LAX was very good - not a full flight at all. We got to move to seats with more leg room and a bassinet for Indigo. Plus we got in early! We were the first family to come through customs and then our dear friend and the girls' Auntie, Carolyn, met us and guided us through LAX so that we could check in again for our flight to SFO - we were scheduled for a 10:10 pm but were able to be moved to 8:08 - we were so happy. The visit with Carolyn was too short - but we've never wanted to get home so badly. We landed and had our bags and found my parents and Quinn and Erik's parents watching for us to come down a set of stairs that we didn't come down so we found them and made our way home. Our house had been decorated by Quinn and friends with "Welcome Home" signs and lanterns and other festive decorations - it was a great homecoming. The rest of the week sort of blurs together - lots of gradparent time, doctors appointments, baptism, birthday party, some quiet time. The grandparents all leave tomorrow morning - early - so we send our goodbyes tonight. No offense grandparents but we are really ready to settle into our own routine. Quinn is looking forward to returning to preschool, having not been since last Tuesday. Indigo had her first doctors appointment today, she weighs 21.8 pounds (60%) and is 30 1/4 inches long (88%) - Dr. Steve was impressed with her size. She may have a bacterial infection - it's a skin thing - so we are treating it with topical stuff (Rx) - if that doesn't work we will have to do oral meds. - Wait a minute this is so not fun information - She is also practically walking - she walks holding on to you for a while then she stops and stands on her own and claps until you clap with her. She loves Quinn and is already trying to do everything Quinn does. Quinn is amazing - the best helper wqe could ever ask for - (although she has confided in us that "sometimes Indigo bother me"). We love that she is talking about how she is feeling - she also beat the crap out of two stuffed elephants the other day - we didn't say a word...we figure better the elephants than Indigo.
Indigo had a few rough nights adjusting to the time change but I think we have finally broken that internal clock of hers and are now resetting it.
We want to wish everyone a very happy lunar new year - Gung Hay Fat Choy! Chinese new year lasts for 15 days so lets keep celebrating the year of the dog. We are thrilled with the way our new year is beginning and we are thrilled to be home and to be a family of four. Looking forward to catching up with everyone.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Monday, a capital day in Richmond

Ready for the journey home

It's Tuesday morning for us and we all packed except for a few things for the carry ons and Indigo is preparing for her big journey home by taking a nice morning nap. We have a final group lunch and then we check out and go to the U.S. consulate for the oath for the babies' citizenship and from there we go directly to the airport. Our flight doesn't leave until 9pm China Time.
We just had to post a picture of JanLee in the hotel hallway - it's just a little odd how low the ceiling is. It's higher in the rooms.
Well, this is it - our next post will be from home.
Quinn, don't forget - you need to go to bed at bedtime tonight and then get up to get us at the airport and then you can go back to bed after we all get home. We love you and we can't wait to see you. We are sending hugs and kisses and waving to you. We'll be home soon.

One more busy day in China

It's Monday night here and we've had a very busy day - very intentionally - trying to make the time pass quickly and still enjoy that we are here. This morning we needed to stay in our rooms until 10:00 just in case, as the China Team was having our paperwork approved by the U.S. consulate. Everything passed just fine. A bit later two of the China Team members took us and one other full family and part of another to a huge wholesale marketplace. It had just about everything you could image. We were really glad we got to go but we can totally understand why they don't make it a regular full group outing. It's so crowded and crazy. This afternoon we went over to the park across the street. This is not a local park like you may typically image - it's huge -- we maybe covered a quarter of it and we were there for a couple of hours. It's very pretty - lots of bamboo trees and everything is decorated for the Lunar New Year. It was a beautiful day and a great way to spend the afternoon. This evening we had our farewell dinner. It was a lovely meal, with lots of Chinese Rice Wine, and then karoke and dancing - We had a great time. One of the best things about being in such a small travel group is that we really got to know people in the group and we really feel like we got to know the China Team better, because of course they didn't have nearly as many people to look after as last time (36 families) As ready as we are to get home we can easily say that this has been another wonderful trip to China.

As a last note that we haven't been able to fit in anywhere else - we have been having some fun taking note of some of the more humorous English names given to stores and restaurants here in China - most of which we were unable to photograph but I did manage to catch this "Nice Shop" photo while going to the park today. Two of our favorite finds are a store in Chongqing named "Vague Concept" - I'm not sure what they sell but maybe they don't either. Last night JanLee spotted a restaurant that surely gets the best of reviews - "The Village of Gruel".

Quinn, we can't wait to get home and cook with you and your new spoon. We talk about you to everyone in the travel group and everyone has seen your pictures. They all think you're great. We will write another short blog in the morning as we don't leave for the airport until afternoon. Please listen to Grandma and Pa-Pa about the going to bed on Tuesday night and then getting up to come to the airport to get us. Our plane gets in very late and we want you to be awake when we get there - sort of think of if as a long nap at bedtime. We love you! Sending more and more hugs and kisses and we're waving.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


The day began with the surprise. Quinn took Papa to her kitchen this morning and did some cooking. She did some more with me this evening. We did go to church. I thought the service was excellent today. Michael has participated in a Presbytery event addressing racisim education and will be one of the people who helps lead workshops around the Presbytery. He sounds quite excited about it. Laura announced that the new Jokela will be a girl. She's very excited about that.

After nap today David brought in the easel, and we put it together tonight. There just hasn't been time to do that until now. Quinn was delighted. It comes with chalk for the chalkboard side and a little paper for drawing or painting. She tested both sides. We haven't painted yet.

Quinn was a very vivacious and happy girl today with lots of smiles and giggles. She pointed to the two surprises in the basket and talked about only two more. We both said "And that means only two days until Mommy and Baba get home!" She has an amazing grasp of the concept. We also started talking about Tuesday evening - going to bed for a while and then going to the airport. She thought we were a little crazy I think, but she didn't argue.

Six Banyan Tree Temple

This morning we did a bit more siteseeing. We went to the famous Six Banyan Tree Temple (Buddist). We received a blessing on our family, performed by a Buddist Monk, who was wearing a Nike ski cap. He was very sweet with our group. When we went with Quinn, 2+ years ago, we went on a holy day or festival day and it was very crowed so that you could barely move or breath for all of the incense buring. Today, I guess was a more normal day at the temple, not crowded but certainly not empty or quiet. The Lucky numbers in China are 3, 8 and 9 - so we bow 3 times after our blessing, and when we lit insense we lit 3 sticks and made a wish or prayer and bowed 3 times before placing it in the burning incense cart. After the temple we went to a government run shopping center where they ensure the quality. They do have a lot of very nice things. We bought a little and looked a lot. Indigo enjoyed the outing and then enjoyed a good nap in the room this afternoon. While she slept I started packing - just wanting to make sure I can fit everything in - we may have to buy another small piece of luggage -we'll see. This evening they took us on a River boat dinner cruise. I can't say much for the food - I had a protein bar back in the room later. But the boat ride itself and seeing all the lights was wonderful - chilly - but wonderful.
Indigo, continues to show us more of her personality everyday. She loves to laugh and has a very funny little giggle. She is also coming up with new sounds everyday. She makes a very good piglet sound and this evening started making a very good snake sound. She continues to babble a lot and likes singing - both listening to others and trying it herself. Maybe she and Quinn can have a band some day.

Quinn, we are so excited that you are getting everything ready for Indigo's birthday party. The hats look perfect! Are we going to make a ladybug cake like the one you had? We're also glad you are enjoying your basket of surprises for the countdown until we get home. There can't be too much left in that basket now. And just so you know, we also like to look back over all the pictures everytime we look at the blog. We love you, and miss you and we are so excited to come home to you. We are so very very proud of you - you really are a very big girl and a terrific big sister, Jie Jie. We're sending more hugs and kisses. And waving at you.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday, January 21fter

Today was quite extraordinary. The surprise was the capsules that would grow into animals. We used one of the glass bowls to watch them grow. It was lots of fun.

We went shoppping again. This time we found party hats. Quinn is modeling one for you. She also got a "1" candle for the cake. She is a good shopper.

After her nap she helped clean the cars a bit. Then we came in to get ready for your call. Supper was ready soon after our telephone call and Quinn had a big dinner. She ate a lot at lunch too! She started talking about her bath early, so we took the sponge animals and went to the tub. We had a good time there too. She was really sleepy while we read stories, and glad to get to her bed.

We really had a good day. We had already looked at the birthday cake picture, so she was feeling in touch. When we look at the blog now, she always wants to go back and look at all the pictures. That's easy to do. This is a terrific was to be in touch!

Indigo's 1st birthday January 21, 2006

Today was another busy day. First and foremost today is Indigo's birthday!! She had a very good time and is looking forward to her birthday party at home with her Jie Jie (big sister). Erik had to do more paperwork this morning, so Indigo and I and Mark and Elise went to explore the big park across the street. When I say "the street", it is a major intersection -- we ran across fearing for our lives with our babies in our strollers and once we were safely across we read a sign stating "Pedestrians please use the underpass to cross the street". OOPS! Well we made it all in one piece, the park was lovely and we returned using the correct route - very easy and not nearly as terrifying. On our return to the hotel everyone was in the director's suite for final interviews and paperwork check -- and a birthday party for Indigo! Our China Team really is the best and they never miss anyone's birthday. We still remember the cake Erik had on our trip with Quinn. Definitely a birthday to remember. This afternoon we did more shopping with friends Mark, Lisa and Elise. We ended up wearing ourselves out and ended up choosing Mcdonald's for dinner in the room. I never thought I'd be so thankful for Mcdonald's - especially since we rarely eat Mcdonald's in the states but we were ready for it in China.

Quinn, we hope your weekend flys by - ours is already half over. We love you sooooooo much! We love seeing the pictures and hearing about all that you are doing. Try and keep grandma and Pa-Pa busy, we will be home soon. Counting down the days and sending you hugs, and kisses.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday, January 20

Quinn took this picture while Grandma was calling up the blog spot today. Notice that Grandma is holding up well! Quinn had a pretty good day. We got to Preschool early and she waved goodbye from a table where she was already engaged with some others.

Tonight we went to Bobby's BBQ, not realizing that is was primarily take out. However, Quinn liked what we ordered and ate a lot. Tomorrow we will finish the birthday party shopping.

Household tasks are getting done and we are having a good time. This week had really sped by. Now we are surprised at how short the time is. See you soon!

Medical check up day

Today was a very busy day and went quickly. We began with visa photos and then directly to the medical clinic approved by the U.S. consulate. Indigo did very well, the doctor was very fond of her and said she is a "good baby". She got fussy when then wanted to poke at her but was fine when we finished. She weighs 21.2 pounds and is about 29 inches long. After the check up we decided to stay on Shaiman Island and do some shopping and have lunch. Indigo was quite the trooper while we were shopping and haggling - our friend Bob is an excellent haggler so we like shopping with him. Erik got to sit in the front seat for the taxi ride back to our hotel - he said he needed to be in a Zen state to handle the ride - the driving here is crazy. We got Indigo a hat that is sort of a pirate style - she fits right in with the Whitemarsh pirates. Jordon, one of the shop owners writes all the girls names out and tells you what they mean to him in Chinese, Indigo means strong, excellent and cool, (3 syllables, 3 characters) Quinn means style. Tonight we have a group pizza party with our agency director. It began raining on our taxi ride back so I'm glad that we don't have to leave the hotel tonight. We will write more tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thursday adventures

Today was an excellent day! We got a good start and enjoyed a sunny ride to Preschool. Quinn decided that she did want to go to Humma's after school, so I called Lisa when I got home. Jamie is at home with the flu, so Lisa didn't want to take Quinn to her house. So they had a little outing with ice cream! Quinn was one happy little girl when we met them.

We did transfer the carseat and when we got home we listened to your message. We didn't get home until abouth 5:40 our time. Quinn ate a big dinner and played a bit. She watched Hi-5 and asked to see it again, so we negotiated and she got ready for bed and then watched Hi-5 in place of a story tonight. She was very ready for bed and turned off the TV and went immediately to the end of her bed and was ready to snuggle under the covers.

We did pick up the carseat from Lisa. The shower ceiling is nearly finished. The little chest is painted. The highchair is upstairs and scrubbed, as are all the removable trays. The rocker is getting some attention. WE will review the list again tonight and get clear the things that need to be completed.

Back in Guangzhou

Today was all about getting back to Guangzhou, although we didn't leave Chongqing until 4:40pm. Indigo did very well on the flight. We thought she might sleep but she was too excited to sleep. We learned she likes cheese and she seems to be getting a little more adventurous when it comes to food. She is really starting to relax and play with us more - she has been a very happy baby today. She loves Guangzhou - lots of bright lights, it may also have something to do with her parents also feeling excited knowing that being back in Guangzhou puts us that much closer to going home. There isn't much to say today - we didn't actually have to travel very far but we are all wiped out.

Quinn - your art work is amazing! We love it and can't wait to see it in person. We are looking forward to playing the fishing game and the cootie game with you. We love you and are sending more hugs and kisses to you. >wave< >wave<

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Today the surprise was the soap dish and Quinn was quite excited about it. This afternoon when we came home from Preschool she went and got it and put it in the bathroom. The duck has become one of the bath toys. That made tonight's bath much more interesting. Quinn was ready to take her bath early, so the entire evening program moved up a notch. She must be in a growth spurt. She ate a lot of her lunch, snacked on the way home on everything available and was read to eat dinner too!

She was very proud of the art work she brought home today. I especially like the black and green one. Notice how she covered the whole page. David apologizes for missing the picture of opening the soap dish.

Tonight she said she didn't want to go to Humma's tomorrow. We will check again in the morning and I will call Lisa and make arrangements to pick up the car seat if Quinn does not go there. Beth called today about the baptism. We will do it pretty much like Quinn's with Beth presenting Indigo to the congregation at the end. I assured her that we would be happy with any music Michael picks. The days are speeding by. We'll see you soon.

Tuesday, January 17

We tried to send this message last night, but the power kept going off and on and our connection didn't maintain. So here we are on Wednesday morning. Yesterday was back to the normal routine of Preschool. The day went well, though Quinn didn't sleep at naptime. We enjoyed Chinese dinner and some play before an earlier bedtime. Today's surprise was the fish game. It is a lot of fun! We are noticing that the basket is getting empty and that there are only a few days until you come home.

The grandparent projects are coming along. We are finding that the time flies by. Quinn is enjoying the telephone calls too. She seems to have more to say each day. Today's paintings were very nice. Maybe we will have a picture of them tomorrow. Keep on having fun.