Monday, December 24, 2007

Miss Mistletoe

Lydia doesn't actually give kisses. She'll lean into you. She'll turn her check, but she doesn't seal the deal. "MMMMMM Muh!" she'll say. There's no smoochy sound at the end, but the intent is clear & we'll take anything we can get.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More Cute Things Lydia Does

Lydia has become obsessed with belly buttons. She is so proud of hers and never hesitates to expose most of her front half to identify its location if asked, "Where's Lydia's belly button?" The flip side is that she'll come looking for yours, too. It's become our catch phase to get her to stop doing something undesirable. So, if she's about to touch the fireplace tools which are sooty, you can say, "Lydia, where is your belly button," and she'll come running to show you.

Also, Miss Bossy Britches has decided that Mojo, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who so desperately wanted to be her friend, is pretty entertaining. She thinks it's a hoot to act like he's chasing her (even if he's not even looking at her) and run to Mama. She'll watch him the whole time she's rushing to me.

Tonight, she found an even more amusing way to play with Mojo. She'll stand at his crate if he's in it, finger up and lecture him. If he's out of his crate, she'll go near him (again with that index finger up) and tell him to go to his crate. Now, it doesn't matter if Mojo or we can understand the words. The meaning is clear because Miss Bossy Britches will walk over to his crate pointing to its interior with the index finger of which she's so fond.

Finally, and this is the newest and possibly funniest thing: she's interested in people using the bathroom. When Gene goes in and shuts the door, she start talking to him. This progresses to getting down on all fours and trying to look under the door while talking away. Apparently, she'll do it while I'm in the loo, too, but I'm not on the other side of the door to see. I'll have to catch her in the act and get a picture. I'm sure it'd be worth the 60 minutes it would take to upload on the blog.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Slower than Christmas

Ok, I'll admit it. I am. Usually, I get Christmas cards out with a realistic expectation of them arriving BEFORE Christmas. For many of you, that will not be happening this year. My beloved husband even pointed out that someone else we know included a Family Update and that he'd always thought that was something I would do, too. Well, if you read the blog, you might have an idea all year long. In any case, I'll do a brief version right here:

Suzy worked her tail end off for the first 7 months of the year: 40 hours/week at the pediatric daycare and 3-9 hours of home health after that.

Drew left UofA for UALR.

Gene continues to work for the most remarkable company on the planet.

We continue to attend a fantastic church.

Gene & Suzy attended "A Weekend to Remember" and highly recommend it to others when it comes to your neck of the woods.

We received our referral for our daughter, Lydia, from China.

Gene & Suzy traveled to China, and Lydia returned home with them.

Suzy resigned from the daycare and only does home health part time now!

We got a new heating unit, new refrigerator, new oven, new dishwasher, and new microwave.

I started blogging!

When we get something faster than dial up, I'll post more pictures. I PROMISE!!!

The house is a mess quite often, I can't seem to sit down in front of the sewing machine, and I wonder how it is that I used to work so much and still send out Christmas cards. BUT (yes, it's a really big but) I am happier than I have ever been, and I am so grateful for all the blessings in my life.

Merry, Merry Christmas to all of you!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ten Things You Might Not Already Know About Me

1. I love how people over a certain age keep their houses toasty warm in the winter.

2. The scent of candles almost always makes me sick - I'm either nauseated or get a terrible headache. The exception seems to be cookie (Christmas or butter) scented candles.

3. My favorite times to cook are Thanksgiving and Christmas.

4. I married one of the first guys I ever dated -so you can count them all on the fingers of one hand.

5. I really, really wish I could sing and dance - but I don't do either.

6. I ADORE, COVET, LOVE tiaras.

7. I want to go back to China (I may have mentioned that to a few people)

8. I prefer not knowing what I am getting for Christmas. PLEASE do NOT tell me what I will be getting. PLEASE!!!!

9. My 10th grade biology teacher had a profound effect (if that's supposed to be affect, you'll have to forgive me. I used to know the difference but someone recently confused me about it.) on my life. Her love of the subject was infectious, and my education took a different direction because of Mrs. Joyce Parnell.

10. I love taking pictures but don't really enjoy having mine taken. I'd share the pictures I've taken more often if I had DSL or anything faster than dial up.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


A wet fall seems to be an invitation for spiders to come out of hiding and set up housekeeping out in the open. My front porch must have the perfect feng shui for spider webs. This fall there have been DOZENS of them, and no spider web is complete without a spider. No Itsy Bitsy Spiders for me, either. Oh, no, mine are all super sized.

Let me tell you everything you need to know about spiders: they are arachnids (so they have 8 creepy legs instead of the 6 creepy legs an insect has). Because their legs are so long, it's difficult for an exterminator to kill them. Their bodies don't drag through the poisons so they aren't as susceptible to them. Still, a good, direct squirt of Adam's Flea & Tick mist to the body can yield instant results. If, as in the case of the story that follows, you're in direct contact with one of these creatures, enough force applied to the spider with a shoe (on or off the foot) will render him or her lifeless as well.

If you're one of those people who think the spider is such a wonderful, necessary part of nature, just try putting yourself in my shoes on that sunny day a few years ago that I'm about to share. If you'd have reacted differently, God bless you. If you think I'm a monster, I hope you'll just pray that the spiders and I learn to co-exist peacefully.


Well, it was an eventful night tonight. I wanted to get the opinions from some of my dog show friends about the puppies. They're 8 weeks old now, and you can tell something about their conformation. It's always good to get the evaluations of others so you don't fall victim to kennel blindness (just like every mom thinks her infant is the most beautiful baby ever born - clearly not all of them are right).

Drew was assisting me. He's a good kid, and I'm grateful to have his help. Sometimes we're like a Laurel and Hardy movie, but we usually get the job done. So, I've set things up to my satisfaction. Drew can't move around much because the video camera battery is dead so he's plugged into an outlet. We're all situated so it shouldn't matter, right?

I get the first puppy, I am about to set the puppy down on the table as I sit on a stool. I notice something that seems to fall out of the sky onto my left bosom. Hmmm. I just adjust my gaze without ever moving my head or the puppy. HOLY COW!!! OMG!!! EEEEEccccccccckkkk!!!!

It was an enormous, I mean HUGE not to mention COLOSSAL big gigantic SPIDER on my chest. How big was it, you want to know? I'd say it was at least a C cup as it nearly covered my whole, well, you know.

I had Drew hustle over with the manual to the video camera (no, I didn't think there was a trouble shooting section to cover this situation), and just as I was about to flick it off, it jumped down to my pants leg, then on to the bare, naked flesh of my calf, and then Thank our dear Lord, onto the ground.

And let me just tell you, it wasn't any smaller when it was off me than it was when I was up close and personal with its nasty hairy self, either. Drew said I couldn't let it get away, and so I removed my very heavy soled, very cheap shoe from Walmart and I smashed it!!! That'll show IT not to mess with a Texas girl. Then the ants came to consume what was left over, and I proceeded with the video. The show must go on after all.

I am so grateful I won't have to have another tetanus shot or wound care in an area I'd rather not expose to just anyone. You have to know someone would want a picture "for the medical record" and the next thing you know my spider bitten boob would've been all over the Internet.

No, Drew's not cut out for work on documentaries. He didn't get any of it on film. That's a good thing, though, since a close up of that spider would naturally give grown men and small children nightmares for the rest of their natural lives. Thank goodness I'm made of sterner stuff than that. I didn't even pee my pants, and don't think I'm not proud of that. It's always nice to know you can control your bodily functions in a crisis situation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's starting to feel like time is running out. It's just like the end of summer vacation, but instead of starting the next school year, it's back to work for WooPigSuzy. Yep, in just one week, I'll have to return to "the real world."

At one point in my life, I'd have sworn that being a stay at home mom was NOT for me. At that point, it wasn't. Today, it could be. I love every minute when my occupation is simply being Lydia's and Drew's mom and Gene's wife. Instead of feeling like the drudgery I used to think of this life being, I see it as the ultimate luxury.

We went to the library today for story time. None of the other babies in our age group showed up, and there was no story time. Lydia and I had a great time anyway! We looked at books, we watched the goldfish, and we played with some of the cool toys the library has. Maybe next week the others will show up! I've still got one good week left, and I'm not going to waste one single moment of it

Thursday, October 4, 2007

How funny

Tonight Gene asked me if all babies were as funny as Lydia. Of course they aren't! Some babies are serious, some are cranky, and some take a while to come out of their shells. Lydia, however, is amusing - even to herself.

This whole conversation started when she came over to me, buried her face in my midriff and repeatedly turned her head right to left and back. I picked her up and did the same thing to her. She SQUEALED with laughter.

Some of Lydia's other laughter inducing tricks:
*She dives for me when the phone rings so she can participate in the call.
*She'll splash until she falls over in the tub
*Almost any bad mood can be fixed by taking her picture
*She'll chase you laughing all the way if you crawl out of the room - the faster you crawl, the harder she laughs
*She'll play peekaboo with just about anything you could hide your eyes behind
*Watching her interact with her reflection is sure to make me laugh
*She loves to point her index finger while speaking
*She's learning to call the Hogs, but sometimes she point her index fingers (see above) instead of wiggling all 10 fingers over her head.
And other things she does are just spontaneous, never to be repeated funny little things she does. She's got a funny big grin that is likely to get her out trouble - you know, if she ever does anything wrong...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Waste not, want not

Before I ever met Lydia, before I even saw her picture, I shopped for her just like any mom in waiting does. It's trickier when you're adopting internationally, though, because you have no idea how old your child will be and recently with China adoption - you have no idea what the season will be when you'll be meeting your child. So, I had visions of MY daughter being quite petite in winter, and I bought heavy duty winter wear. You know, the cute snowsuit kind of thing that is oh so practical and necessary in central Arkansas?
Lydia just turned a year old in September, she's on target for her age in height, and she's unlikely to need any of those outfits that would keep an Eskimo warm. I decided to send them to China with a mom who is adopting a child from Lydia's orphanage. My head said it was a good decision. My heart said, "Oh! But she would have been sooooo cute in them!" While it's still warm here, my head told my heart, "Just put them on her and take a picture!" So, I did. I knew she'd be cute!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy Birthdays Week

We celebrated Lydia's birthday last Saturday with friends and family and CAKE! Then we celebrated again on Wednesday when the folks with whom Gene works gave her a combination shower/welcome to America/birthday party! I was overwhelmed by their generosity. My husband is one lucky guy to work for such an awesome company and with such wonderful people.

Last night we went out to eat because a)our downstairs air conditioner's fan unit went out and b)Gene has a birthday today! We were so lucky because there is a guy there on Thursdays who plays keyboard and sings. Lydia was convinced we'd arrived in heaven: food AND music!!! You've gotta love the big cheesy smile this earned. It was almost hard to feed her with her wiggling, bouncing and swaying to the music. I doubt that gentleman has ever had a more enthusiastic or appreciative audience. As we were walking to the van, Gene was singing (to the tune of I like to eat, eat, eat apples & bananas), "I like to eat, eat, eat Casa Mexicana."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A hat?

We weren't having the best hair day, but I couldn't convince Lydia that a hat was an acceptable means of dealing with a bad hair day.

At the gate

This morning Lydia and I spent some time on opposite sides of the gate. We played peek a boo, I took pictures, and we goofed off. The time is coming when I'll have to spend more time away from her, and I want her to be ready.

We've got the Beat

Lydia loves music more than just about any child I've ever met. She likes to clap, wiggle, and bounce while listening or bob her head up and down to the beat. Sometimes, she'll even get her whole car seat to rocking (just a little - it's secure and was installed by a car seat specialist). You might wonder what sort of music she likes. Just about anything, but she's quite fond of Head, Shoulder, Knees & Toes, Yankee Doodle, the GoGos, and 80's music is about her favorite. Of course, the first song I sang to her was the Arkansas Fight Song. I sometimes sing it slowly and softly to help her go to sleep. It's important to start teaching your child early...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday plus pictures from Saturday

Today Lydia went to the church nursery for the first time. She seemed content when we left and did ok for a while. A diaper change became necessary, and it seems Lydia doesn't want just any woman to change her diaper - it's mom or no one! She did, however, love meeting Shannon, our new (male) associate pastor. You can bet I sprinted over to the nursery to see how things were going and was relieved to see her playing happily with Shannon.

Yesterday, Lydia was so tired that she fell asleep eating in her highchair. It was actually pretty funny to watch. One moment she was eating as fast as I could feed her and the next she sort of clamped her eyes shut and was down for the count.Of course there is a picture!

One of our dogs, Mojo, is desperate to become Lydia's friend. He's been very patient and very good in his attempts. One evening she was sitting on the floor looking in another direction so her sat down next to her. I'm sorry to say that what ensued could have been on Funniest Home Videos, but it was sad for both Mojo and Lydia. He'll win her over, though. He's a very sweet and persistent dog.

MORE PICTURES (our trip to the county fair):

Saturday, September 8, 2007

To Do List

It's funny that even with "all this time off" I still can't seem to get everything done. Poor Gene had a stomach bug this morning and didn't get to do his "To Do List" for the day, either. Luckily, I may be able to check off several of the items on his list for him next week. Here are a few things I really need to do in no particular order:
1. Print pictures.
2. Give away the gifts from China so I can see the dining room table and the entire living room floor.
3. Finish the curtains for Lydia's room.
4. Clean up the computer/sewing room once the curtains are done - It's quite scary in here.
5. Teach Lydia about an "inside" voice so we can eat in relative peace.
6. Arrange for child care for when I have to go back to work (really finalize the plans I have already).
7. Make plans for Lydia's first birthday party. Heaven help me this one alone could generate several more To Do Lists!
8. Have professional pictures taken
9. Get my hair cut
10. Start exercising again

There's more, and I know I'll think of several the moment my head hits the pillow and still more as I am on the brink of sleeping.

Two things Gene did get checked off of his list: Make scrambled eggs for Lydia's breakfast and take her to the county fair. I'll post pictures later!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

One month anniversary

It's hard to believe Lydia has been with us for a whole month. How her life (and ours, too) has changed! Be sure to check out the previous 3 posts for updates and pictures if you haven't been here in the last few days.

I saw my first home health patient since returning home. She just got out of the hospital, and I didn't want to turn her over to anyone else (even though Katie is a fantastic PT and the other PTs are, too). Gene asked if I remembered how to do "PT". Yes, it's like being a mom: it comes back to you.

Please be praying for one of my co-workers from my full time job, Shiquita. She had a stroke, and I am hoping for a full recovery. Shiquita has 2 little boys who need their mother, and she's a lovely person.

Ok, back to Lydia: she's crawling like a pro, her hair is really growing, she's so smart and even funnier, and I love to taking her places and doing new things with her. It's 13 days to her birthday! I must plan a party for the little empress. She will not tolerate anything in her hair or on her head - which is a shame since I bought so many cute hats for her. People are just going to have to recognize her royalty without the tiara to clue them in. It's a good thing I never earned one, though, because I'm afraid I'd still be wearing it. TTFN!

More pictures (I hope)

On our way to the first game of the season - a minor miracle considering I was up until 4am with food poisoning.
Hey, the boat is pretty fun!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Meeting Grandma

Laughing as mom blows bubbles
Wearing a bow exactly long enough to take a picture. She forgot about it for a second while Dad distracted her.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dial up, better than???

A poke in the eye with a sharp stick? Nothing? Maybe a little better. I keep TRYING to add pictures of Lydia with no results.
On a more positive note, we are doing great. Lydia rides in a car seat like she's done it all her life and doesn't mind a bit! She's been to her first Razorback game (we won!), and none of that phased her. In fact, she's pretty excited about all the music and clapping.
*We've been to the lake. While it wasn't Lydia's favorite thing at first, it was A-OK after Drew was waving at her while kneeboarding. She laughed so hard while watching him!
*We've been to Mom's work, Dad's work, and Drew's work.
*We went to the airport to say goodbye to Carol as she returned to Brazil.
*Lydia's received THREE packages through the mail. One was even delivered while we were outside blowing bubbles.
Lydia is so willing to try new things and eat new foods (the food may be what won her over ;o) She loves her Dad & Drew. She's not too sure about all the new women she meets, but she seems to like all the fellas.
I promise to add pictures as soon as I can figure out how to make it work. I may have to take Drew's laptop to Hastings for the wireless internet, but I will find a way to add pictures. Really.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kiddie Pool

I've been told that spending time in the sunlight helps re-set your body clock, and so Drew and I got the kiddie pool out for Lydia. After the first bath, Lydia decided she LOVES being in the water. Today was no exception - she had a great time!

Friday, August 17, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

And if you're going to China, you might want to click your ruby slippers together while clicking your heels while saying, "There's no place like home," because the flying home can be grueling punishment! I guess it's better than walking and swimming, though.

As always, the travel was an adventure including a lost wheel from the baby stroller, "weather", flight delays, and lost luggage that was returned the next day with wet contents. We're just happy to be home with our little Lydia! She was a trooper through out our journeys.

We had a lovely reception from friends and family at the Little Rock airport even though we were very, very delayed. Lydia went to Drew and just adores him. She thinks he's very funny, and Drew is completely smitten with his little sister.

We've had moments where we felt like we were great and moments when we wondered if we were walking in our sleep. In fact, we had a 2:20pm appointment with a pediatrician yesterday that we overslept for. They were kind enough to take us anyway.

Internationally adopted children are supposed to have tests run within the first 3 weeks of coming to America. Poor Lydia had to give them blood, and poor ME, I had to collect a stool sample this morning. Ewwwwwwww! She's on an antibiotic for a runny nose with cough, and you can imagine this was a particularly ugly and stinky stool with 8 vials to fill, stir, and shake. I felt like I was doing some horrid chemistry lab.

I'll post pictures and fill in some gaps later!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

One more thing to do & then we're coming to America

The last thing to check off of the "To Do" list is go to the swearing in ceremony at the US Consulate. Our guide, XiXi, will pick up Lydia's passport, and we'll be off to the airport. Our flight leaves at about 8AM Arkansas time, and we get to LAX at 8PM Arkansas time. Again, I know you wish you could be with us on a plane full of babies for a 12 hour flight, but you'll have to settle for meeting us at the airport at 4:10 PM Arkansas time. This was at the medical exam.

Getting ready for the "Red Couch" photo shoot Lydia's friends, Mattea and Claire are on the right side of the photo. Lydia was quite happy to sit for a photo until everyone else's distress made her wonder if she shouldn't be upset, too.

Our travel group:

Kurt & Michelle's baby

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Catch up post

Friday we did paperwork - even when I'm not working, I have to do paperwork!!! There were only 2 of us who did our paperwork perfectly (a PT - me! and and OT).

Lydia hung out in the room with Dad and played and ate (and BOY, can she eat!)

Friday night/Saturday morning: I broke down and decided to eat a steak off the hotel menu since the buffet was much the same every night. At about 11:45, I began to itch and not feel so good. I took 2 Benadryl and hoped for the best. An hour or so later, I took a 3rd Bendryl. About an hour and a half after that I took a Zyrtec. At about 4:45, I got Gene up to get the epipen. I wasn't sure if I should take it. I mean, I wasn't having trouble breathing but head to toe I was bright red and had huge bumps all over except for a stark white square on my abdomen. In a last ditch effort to avoid waking our guide, delaying everyone's travel, and a trip to the hospital, I used the epipen when I started feeling dizzy. I jerked it out and wondered if I'd gotten anything in of it IN me before I was startled into pulling it out. I immediately started heaving and threw up, and then the itching finally stopped. You could see parts of the rash all the rest of the day, but I was ok.

Saturday: Travel day. I began to understand how the passengers on the Minnow felt when they set out for their 3 hour tour. We were heading to the airport for a 1 hour flight. We got there in plenty of time, and then we waited for hours because our plane had mechanical problems. There were other flights available, but they only had a few seats. Our guide didn't want to break up our group - XiXi is a SMART woman! Lydia was a total wiggle worm at the airport, but after eating an incredible number of HoneyNut O's, she fell asleep in her Daddy's lap. Then she did the cutest thing EVER: sound asleep, she clapped her hands the way she does when we say, "Good girl!" She slept the whole flight: take off, drinks, and landing.

We finally made it to Guangzhou, and it is FANTASTIC. It's humid, but it was a little cooler because a typhoon had blown through somewhere else cooling things off. Our hotel is very nice - the famous 5 star hotel for American adopters in China, the White Swan. Shopping here is sensational. Baby clothes and shoes like you can not imagine await you in just about every little shop.

Sunday: Disney Land claims to be the happiest place on earth, but I disagree. The White Swan has to be the happiest single place on earth. Go to the breakfast buffet and see all the new families - little girls and boys who've gone from being orphans to cherished family members and if your heart doesn't leap with joy, then I think you may need a heart transplant. There are older children being adopted who may have a minor special need (like, hey! you're not a tiny baby anymore) to more noticeable special needs, but they are all joining their new families. It is a beautiful and miraculous sight.

Lydia and Gene went shopping around Shaiman Island while I went to 6 Banyan Temple and climbed the stairs all the way to the top of the 9 story Pagoda. I was soooooo hot!!! Many of the girls received a Budhist monk's blessing.

Then we were off to the Pearl Market where we were able to buy fresh and salt water pearls at whole sale prices. OMGoodness! I could have spent a year's salary there, and I wish I could have bought something for everyone. Next, we crossed the street (and I said an ugly word when I came closer to getting hit by a bus than I've ever come) to the Jade Market. I found a few things I couldn't live without.

When I came back, Gene said he'd shopped until Lydia dropped in her brand new stroller. When she woke up we fed her AGAIN and went to check out more of the shops around the White Swan. Holy Cow, again, I could spend a year's salary buying shoes and clothes, but fortunately, the prices are very cheap. We ate at Lucy's which has American style food, and I can't remember a better tasting cheeseburger.

Tomorrow is the medical exam and the guys are going to the Electronics market. I'm sure I'll have to hit the local shops again.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thursday-the Embroidery Factory

If you've followed enough adoption blogs, you've read about the embroidery in Changsha. You may even think, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Embroidery." Well, in person, it IS so incredible. Guys, there are enormous pieces which look like photos or paintings right down to texture. There are pieces that have one picture on one side of the silk and a different picture on the other side of the same piece of silk. They don't use knots. Of all the artistry we've seen so far, this is the most amazing. I'm going to include a picture of the dalmatian just because I want my "dog" friends to appreciate how intricate this is. This particular picture is the same on the front and the back.

This picture is HUGE. I think Mao is taller than I am. We purchased one picture and a few boxes with embroidery on them. There used to be 4 different types of embroidery that were from 4 different provinces. Now, only the Hunan style remains.

On a more personal note, Lydia is really warming up to us. She really enjoys walkers, and she can scoot around with pretty impressive speed and control. After her nap, Lydia was able to check out the pool. She warmed up to the experience more than she did to her bath. Since she loves to swing her arms, she managed to do a fair amount of splashing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday - Will the real Lydia please stand up?

Lydia decided that since she appears to be stuck with these two goofy people, she might as well get to know them better. As long as Gene isn't wearing a hat - she prefers Gene to me, but NOT if he's wearing a hat. Oh, and that red bouncy pony in the back? She doesn't trust him, either.

Every night after eating, Lydia get wiggly and silly. She's all smiley and bouncy. Would you believe that the moment you say "good girl!" or begin to sing, "If you're happy and you know it," that she starts to clap? What a cut up!

We tried to go walking outside the hotel yesterday to expose her to a few new things. I don't know that any of us can imagine how her life was turned upside down recently. Before Sunday, she'd hardly ever left the orphanage. If they had the doctors come to the orphanage, she may not have ever left once she arrived there until Sunday. So, a few things have been rather startling. For instance (maybe you can relate to this one) riding an escalator in a shopping cart at a 3 story WalMart was a little scary.

Some new things are really great, apparently. Having someone who will feed you on demand is pretty good. She has the potential to be quite the little empress. She can sit in a high chair and bang the tray, "FEED ME!!!" We were told she simply took what she wanted from the other girls at the orphanage. Having your own toys, toys you don't have to share, is ok with Lydia, too. One of her favorite games is to drop the toy so mom or dad will have to pick it up and give it back to her. She looks like she's saying these are all MINE. Don't touch.

Jiang Yong - Lydia's 1st Home Town

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

China says it's official

After taking a really long nap yesterday, we didn't really expect Lydia to sleep all night, but she did. She didn't wake up angry, she was kicking around in her crib, and then noticed I was watching her. We finished getting ready, then we went down to breakfast. She had rice congee and watermelon. The girl can eat when she's hungry!

Next we went back to the civil affairs office to finalize the Chinese end of the adoption. The director from Lydia's orphanage was there, and BOY was she dressed up. She was wearing a lovely black dress, strappy high heels with rhinestones, and she really looked nice. Lydia was looking very pretty, too, in her outfit that Kim gave her and the shoes Katie F. and Chris C. gave her.

Once we signed papers, put red thumbprints on the signatures and a red footprint from Lydia, we were done. We headed back to the hotel. We were oddly tired and had to nap even though it was probably before noon.

Later, we braved the wildest taxi ride (our driver had wild, spikey hair, was wearing board shorts and flip flops and drove like a wild man) to get to WalMart. I mean it. WalMart is alive and well (although a little different) in China.

Lydia finally took a bottle, and she sucked it down like there would be no tomorrow. She got her first bath, too, but since she didn't seem to be enjoying it and that was freaking Gene out, we didn't take any photos to commemorate the event. Bubbles did help soothe her feelings afterwards, though.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

She's here!

Here's Lydia with a nanny.

Our group met downstairs at 10am, we were at the civil affairs office by 10:30, and by virtue of having the last name starting with "B" we received our baby first. XiXi is soooo funny. She said we didn't pay any extra to get our baby first, it was just the order of the list, and we had the only baby from our orphanage. A lady checked our passports and then Lydia was handed over to us.

She wasn't exactly happy to meet us, but she snuggled right into my shoulder as she cried for just a minute. Any time we handed her back or forth she'd whimper a little, and then she would settle down. She was wearing an adoreable little outfit with ladybugs on it. Even in China they must believe in Cinderella. Lydia lost a shoe as they were handing her over to us. When we put it back on, the other one fell off.

It turns out that the many parents who have adopted before us know what they are talking about: she likes Cheerios and stacking cups. I think she really enjoys all sorts of toys, though, because she played with a few of the other toys we brought.

Our little angel (who may wake up to be a bit less angelic) is sleeping right now.


I forgot to mention one of the best parts of yesterday: we were reunited with our lost piece of luggage!!! There's supposed to be a picture of it posted above. I hope it was.

We're on the part of the count down where we are at hours instead of years, months, weeks, or days!!! I can't tell if my stomach is a bit upset still from the other day (I don't think I've completely recovered from that spicy Hunan food) or if it's just excitment.

Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat!!!!

One more day!!!

Li River fisherman on bamboo raft

We'll be meeting Lydia tomorrow!

Today we took a 12 hour train ride in a soft sleeper car from Guilin to Changsha. 12 hours is a long time to do just about anything, but we had good company and decent air conditioning. It's a pretty good way to see a lot of China in one day. What I don't recommend is squatty potty use on a moving train. The problem is that they lock the bathroom while stopped at a station.

Yesterday we visited Jiang Yong, the town where Lydia lives. We met the orphanage director and the assistant director of the Civil Affairs Office. We had lunch at the only local restaurant with an air conditioned room. It was nice to see where Lydia has spent most of her first year. Because we believe Lydia will want to know where she lived and what it was like when she lived there, we thought it was important to make the trip. Lydia's orphanage director said she is quite naughty and had a spicy temper. Later, the spicy food had a rather undesirable effect on my digestive system. I'll have to add pics later since Gene hasn't added them to the computer.

If you've ever wondered if the pictures of China were old or staged when you see people plowing with a water buffalo, or wearing the pointed hats, the answer is that they still do things in the traditional way. We've not seen anyone using a small tractor or much of anything mechanical except a tiller and a rice husker (dethatcher?).

Friday we floated down the Li River. The scenery was really great, but one of the best parts was meeting a speech therapist and her engineer husband who were both from England. They were interesting travel companions on the long float - great conversationalists! I hope they'll read the blog or email me to keep in touch.

We spent the night in Yang Shou. Yang Shou is FUN! It's a lot like Mexico in that there were stalls and shops with vendors everywhere. You're expected to bargain for everything, and Gene is pretty firm in what he decides he'll pay for something.

We had dinner with the Oetjen family: wood fired pizza, fairly cold coke, and later an ice cream bar. Finally, we went to the local show. You would NEVER believe the scale of what they accomplish in that little river town. The director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon helped create it (he's also doing the opening and closing ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics), and it is really spectacular. If you're ever in Yang Shou and it isn't raining, you should go. It's held once or twice a night.

Ok, hopefully lots more great stuff to report tomorrow! If you're from Fellowship or really anywhere and want to pray for Lydia and us, we'd appreciate your prayers. Her whole life will be changed tomorrow, and we pray that God will show us the best way to help her through those changes, that she will be healthy, and that we will be equal to the task of being good, loving parents to her.

Good night!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More Guilin

Well, I'm trying to post pictures, but I have no idea whatsoever if they're going through. Fairly frustrating. If you're reading the blog and wondering whether to do Blogspot or one of those adoption websites for pay, I say pay for it. I'm now wishing I had. If someone reading the blog can email me to tell me if there is a picture with this post, I'd very much appreciate it.

We went to Elephant Hill today then to SEVEN Stars Park (I short changed them earlier). There's another hill there that looks like a camel. I used a squat pot for the first time today. Gene and I ventured off on our own to the local department store - the procedure for making purchases is quite different from buying things at walmart. Tomorrow is the Li River cruise, and then we head to Jiang Yong the next day. Sunday is the train ride to ChangSha, and Monday is the day we meet Lydia!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Made it to Guilin!

Wow! We were up so early this morning to fly to Guilin, and the flight wasn't very fun. It's all good now, though because we're in the Bravo Hotel which is really nice.
If you ever get to come to China, go to Beijing and get Joe to be your guide there. Xixi is great, too, she's a native of Guilin. Her English is very good, and she has the nicest smile.

I'll try to update again when we've been out to see Elephant Hill, Five Star Park, and the pandas and tigers. I'm hoping to avoid the cobras, though...
We can't read the comments on blogspot so email me if you have a question!

No pics for now, but here's what's happening

We've had the most incredible time, but our internet access has been pitiful in spite of the incredibly high price we're paying for it. Gene deleted all the pictures on the camera for today when I was trying to copy them. So if you want to see the Jade factory, the Great Wall, the cloisonne factory, or the Summer Palace, you'll have to go to China and see them yourself.

Yesterday was fantastic. We went to the Forbidden City, we toured a very old neighborhood and had lunch at a family's home. Then we went on a rickshaw ride that would have topped most amusement park attractions for thrills. Traffic in China is anything but boring. The food has been so fantastic! The Chinese Acrobats are phenominal. I've learned that not all tea is icky. It turns out I like hot oolong tea way more than I ever liked iced tea...

My friends I've made over the years because of the dogs will have to ask me about the cocker spaniel we saw today. It would be great if I still had the picture, but I'll tell you all about it if you call when I get home.

Hopefully, I'll have more time to post and better access tomorrow pm. We fly out to Guilin tomorrow. I've been thinking about my friends from work, play, and church. I'm praying for a dear lady who fell and broke 3 vertebrae. I hope you'll pray for her, too.

We meet Lydia in 4 days!!!

Monday, July 30, 2007


Take a long look at the black bag Gene is resting his left hand on. It may be the last time we ever saw that bag, photographic proof that it once existed. Somehow, either from Little Rock to Houston, it didn't arrive in LAX with us. Continental called to say they found it and would put it on the plane to Guangzhou, China with us. We may never know if they found it, if they did indeed put it on our plane, or some other plane, or if it vanished into thin air. What we do know is we never saw it, Continental says talk to China Southern, and China Southern says talk to Continental. All I know is all of Lydia's darling clothes are missing, all our meds (over the counter and Cipro), my SUNSCREEN for goodness sake, diapers, bottles, Ergo baby carrier, and diaper backpack are LOST. So much for being prepared...

On a happier note, Premium Economy is THE way to go to China. I can not imagine flying economy. I had a miserable time trying to get comfortable enough to sleep even though I was exhausted by the time we took off for China, but at least I had some room to attempt finding a comfortable position. If you are one of those brave souls who have done economy and think I'm a wimp, all I can say is I salute you. I may have delivered my son without an epidural, but I don't think I'm tough enough to fly economy 14 plus hours. I think it'd be worse than labor.

We were given slippers, a bag to store our smelly shoes and socks, warm wet wash cloths to freshen up, eye masks, ear plugs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and all sorts of goodies to make our ride more pleasant. These seats are much wider and recline further than economy seats. They also have private video screens to watch movies or check out our GPS with data about how long we'll be before landing, the outside temps, etc.

We're in Beijing now. It's pretty hot and humid - just like I like it! And Katie, I was sooooo right about what my hair would look like. That photo at the airport is likely the last one you'll see of me without a ball cap. The food is incredible here. I'm including pictures. You're probably all wishing you were on this great big adventure, now aren't you?

Part of a market we visited in Beijing - ALL BY OURSELVES. Amazing how many people in China speak some English! Lily says they MUST pass an English exam to graduate from the university. I wish Americans valued speaking Chinese almost as much (allowing a little wiggle room because I'd still want to get my degree...)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

China or Bust!

Ok, so the curtains aren't finished, but praise God, I think all my paperwork is! Drew is going to be taking a few things to Katie who will be seeing my home health patients, but it is done. Most of the week Drew hasn't been scheduled to work, but he went in at 7 AM this morning -wouldn't you know it. He set 2 alarms this morning and must have gotten up for the first one. The second helped get me up. My brother is taking us to the airport. We have the super marathon of travel ahead of us, but the finish line is in China and the reward is pretty special. Let's hope there are lots of photo opportunities to share with you as I travel & something faster than the dial up here at home to upload them. Keep us in your prayers, please!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Traveling in one week

We're leaving a week from tomorrow. Lydia's room is nearly completed - I need to make her curtains, and Gene & I need to reach an agreement on where to hang certain pictures.
I have 5 more days of work, and then I'm off for 12 weeks. Can you even remember having 12 weeks off? It sounds like a fantasy, doesn't it! I just feel so blessed. I hope to have pictures of the new curtains and the baby room up next time I post...

Monday, July 16, 2007

If I'd only known...

that scheduling the carpet cleaners to come would hurry my Consulate Appointment (CA), I'd have done it last month! We're going to China!!! And we meet Lydia in 21 days!!! I think I've met the quota for exclamation points used in a post, and I haven't even completed the post. WoooHooooooo!!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

All the LOAs

All the LOAs for my travel group were sent off to China yesterday! Now, in the seemingly unending waiting game, we wait for travel approval from China. Then we need a consulate appointment, and then we make travel arrangements. Finally, we'll get to travel to meet Lydia in person. Hang on Sweet Potato, Mom & Dad are coming just as fast as we can! Happy 9 month birthday!