Saturday, May 31, 2014

Guangzhou

You can almost hear the sigh as I type out the name!  We are on our last city in China and it really feels good to be here.  It is warm, there are palm trees, there is  a Starbucks in our hotel people...this is a good place!

We have the number to a Papa Johns delivery, we watched some Baliwood in our hotel room and bought the kids happy meals at the 24 hour mcDonalds next door. 

We also did a little exploring and found a mall very close to our hotel room that has souvenirs written all over it.  We haven't done any souvenir shopping at all because we have been worried about our money lasting until the end of the trip...but now the end of the trip is near and we have some cash left to blow.

For some reason a couple of months ago, Violet decided that there was tons of candy in China.  I'm not entirely sure where she got that idea, but she and I spent like an hour on the seesaw plane we have out in the backyard - flying to "candy china" and bringing back boxes of candy and putting them in an imaginary refrigerator near the dome climber.  Anyway, she asked on Skype while we were here if we were in Candy China and I said no there wasn't a whole lot of candy here.  So she concluded we were in present china and would be bringing her back presents.  So....we are definitely in need of some presents to bring back! haha.

Benjamin is expecting a Chinese yellow blanket.  I would not want to disappoint him in that regard!  There are 16 families with CCAI here at our hotel right now.  Our guide is taking care of us and 3 others.  Tomorrow we are headed on the optional guided tour that will include some shopping. 

Guangzhou is very nice and you can actually see that there is blue in the sky.  I am pretty sure my new boys have probably never seen a blue sky! 

So in summary...Guangzhou good, Keith and I are a tad rejuvenated and I think we are going to make it the rest of the week!  Ulysses is developing an infection at his stoma site...green purulence and much leaking around the stoma.  We have started him on some antibiotics and a serious topical care regimen so we would appreciate prayers for the antibiotics to stop this infection in its tracks! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Last night in Hefei

We are leaving for Guangzhou in the morning and I am soooo glad.  I am so ready to be heading home.  We just have one more week getting visas for the boys then home!

The boys have been very good, but it has become clear some of the issues we are going to have at home.  Ulysses is ummmm...very exuberant!  He is nonstop bouncing around and all over everyone...me, dad, Han.  I think the first phrase he will be introduced to is "personal space".  He is just so darn full of life.  I expected that he would be more grieving early in the trip...I was wrong! 

Han is a teenage boy trying hard to navigate that weird place between being a kid and being a grown up.  I suspect he had a lot more freedom and control over his life here then he is about to have at home.  There is sooooo much that is going to change for him.  He struggles to be in charge of us everytime we leave the room.  I feel like he is on board with the family thing and is just trying to take care of us.  It is a little frustrating for us because we are the parents and we have no idea what he is ordering for us at Dinner or what he is saying to the waiter.  I understand his behavior is coming from a good place, so it has been a very good lesson for me in terms of letting go of some of my control freak tendancies! haha. 

Ulysses is a first rate, Olympic competitor in pouting when he doesn't get what he wants.  He will give Ben and Zeb a run for their money! He is amazingly resilient

I hope that time flies by in Guangzhou.  So far, I have read 3 books, written out a menu plan for june, done our family budget for june, written out our master weekly lesson plan sheets for each group of kids and family electives (6 different lesson plan sheets), and the master attendance form.  I have also played every free board of free flow on Keith's kindle...ok I am exaggerating..I have only done 450 game boards.

I just really want to go home.  I am sick of smog and carbs and living out of a suitcase. 

One of the books I read while here was by a psychologist named Stephen Birchak.  It is called How to Build a Child's Character by tapping into your Own.   It has been a super read...a super hard read.  Our children's ability to be resilient, content, and to develop a moral compass is directly related to how we treat them and model behavior for them.  I know...duh.  This book was really inspiring.  Keith and I both read it and were both very, very moved to make some changes in our everyday behavior.  I can't recommend it enough!  You can find it at on it's publishers website...Royal Fireworks Press. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dora?

Apparently, both of my new boys are big fans of Dora the Explorer.  Yes a cartoon to teach English speakers Spanish that is partially dubbed into Chinese.

mmmm...very interesting.  Both the boys are totally transfixed by it. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Waiting for paperwork

Keith and I live a pretty hectic life and while we have been in Hefei...it has kind of slowed to a crawl.  Yesterday the kids watched cartoons for hour and we watched like 4 episodes of Once Upon  Time.  I can't even remember the last time I did that! 

Last night we decided to come up with some sort of plan to get through the scheduleless hours of today, Thursday and Friday.  Breakfast at 730, Skype calls with the kids around 8; morning walk to the shopping area and stopping at Starbucks...yes that's right...starbucks..yum.   Then back to the hotel for an hour or 2 of tv.   Then out to lunch and an afternoon walk in the park (where it is nice and shady).  Our plan is to stop somewhere every 10 or 15 minutes and let the kids run around for 10 minutes or so.  Our hope is that we can stretch the afternoon walk in the park out to about an hour.  Then we will sit in the lobby and play with some clay we brought and work on our English flashcards.  Back to the room for an hour of tv.  Play Uno and Tangrams for an hour and then dinner.

Yes we are desperate to fill our days! haha.  I think the kids would rather sit in the hotel room the entire time and watch tv, but it is driving us batty! 

It is a weird feeling of the land in between while we wait to go home.  We are trying to balance keeping everyone entertained, excited and involved.  We would really like to get home before the grief, defiance and frustration hit...I'm afraid we might not make it with our little teenager.  He seems to be getting less excited and more withdrawn.  They are both good boys and this is going to get hard for them.  I just wish we were home before the enormity of the change hits them!

Monday, May 26, 2014

PIctures

My boys playing drive ya nuts

 My new boys watching tv
 It's official...you can tell from the matching shirts!
 My boys in the park
 The park

More park.  
I have no idea what we are going to do to keep everyone occupied for the next 12 days....aaahhh!

Registration Office

This morning we headed back to the adoption center to register Ulysses adoption.  We met his orphanage director there and she was just so sweet.  She was in tears thanking us for making him our son because he is so sweet and special. 

Before today we had one amazing story this trip.  The first night we had Han we were looking at pictures.  I pulled up Facebook to show him some of the pictures on it and he saw a picture of a cross and pointed at the cross...said cross and then pointed at himself.  I pointed at him and asked "Christian?" and he said "yes...Christian".  Ok whether or not we understand each other I am not sure...but it certainly seemed like he was saying he knew about the cross. 

Today was another interesting story told to us by Ulysses orphanage director.  They drove in from Fuyang yesterday early and then caught a taxi to the adoption center.  The taxi driver was so happy that Ulysses was being adopted he donated 51 rmb to us to help take care of him.  That was very unexpected.  I think there are probably very few families who come to china and get a monetary donation from a taxi driver!  It was very encouraging.

After we finalized our adoption of Ulysses (may 26...which is also the day Zebbie's adoption was finalized in Kyrgyzstan), our driver dropped us off at the gate of a very large park.  When Hefei was just a village many years ago there was a moat around a city wall.  That city wall has since been torn down and turned into a road, but the moat remains to mark the city center.  Now there is a giant park inside the moat.  It is a beautiful park with lots of large trees, walking paths, amusement park rides, a zoo, tons of rentable transportation...bumper boats, paddle boats, those balls you run inside of on the water...all kinds of things.  We just walked around today taking stock of all the fun to be had later in the week.  We don't have anything to do until Thursday so we will have lots of time to visit the park. I do have some pictures of the park to post later.

Everyone is doing so good.  The boys just yammer back and forth and Han is starting to say a few words to us in English.  Just a minute ago he was trying to say something to us and got frustrated and grabbed our visual Chinese to English dictionary and looked it up.  He is such a smart one!  He has definitely learned to say Hungry and Tomorrow...yes it is a random combination! haha!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ulysses!

I started the morning swearing that I was done eating carbs...my whole "lose weight in China" plan has been a bust...thank you noodles and fried doughnut sticks!  However, the buffet here was too carbolicious for me to refuse. 

We talked with Han through our guide and told him about Ulysses and asked him to be a good big brother and help Ulysses not be scared. 

Around 915 we met in the concierge level and headed to the adoption center.  Since Ulysses was coming from Fuyang he wasn't there yet.  There were some Italian families getting younger girls from Hefei and they were there already and crying at full volume!  After about 15 minutes, Ulysses got there.

He walked in looking extremely cute and immediately when he saw us he got a terrified look on his face...he was about to lose it.  Keith and I shot into emergency distraction mode...out came the stuffed panda, the toy cars and hard candy...go go go.  It didn't take much to get him laughing and smiling. 

Han jumped in too...taking pictures, playing cars with us and talking to him in Mandarin.  I think Han is just excited to have someone to talk to!  I was so proud of both my new boys...laughing, playing, and giving mom hugs like they are suppose to!  Strangely, the orphanage had brought the translator computer, some foley bags, diapers, a change of clothes, some snacks for him to eat later and 2 bottles of milk.  I haven't ever had that happen before!

I seriously can't believe how darn lucky I am.  Ulysses is full of JOY.  He has seriously not stopped smiling or laughing or just enjoying everything. 

We got back to our hotel room and I gave him a bath...I know the whole adoption world says don't do that, but I wanted to check out and see if he still had a bed sore, see if his AFO's were rubbing his feet wrong, see what kind of foley bag he had...that kind of stuff.  Also, his shoes and AFO's were without socks and it was a whole new kind of stinky feet smell...uggg.

I can not even tell you how much he enjoyed the shower...he just laughed and splashed!

There is a noodle house in our hotel and we headed there after the shower.  His AFO's were rubbing a small place on his foot raw and smelled so bad that they are now wrapped in a plastic bag.  He is still able to get around...I think the AFO's just make it a little bit easier.  He was already visibly getting tired of ambulating by the time we got back to our hotel from the registration center.  So we pulled out our super cool EZ Rider.  I was worried that he would not think a wheelchair would be cool.  He is so excited to walk so I was worried he wouldn't want anything to do with it.  On the contrary, as is consistent with this joy-filled little boy...he was ecstatic to climb in get buckled and roll down the hall.

The floor of the hotel is set up with the elevator in the middle and a giant square hallway that goes around the elevator area.  When we got to the square dad took off running around the square one way with Ulysses and his EZ Rider and Han took off the other way in a loud raucous race!  Oh the squeals of laughter!

We had a delicious and carbed out lunch of noodles, rice and tea.  We came back up to the room and the boys played some games and now we are watching some crazy cartoon on tv that involves moped riding pigs that turn into battling birds. 

We are so darn lucky. 

Ulysses the pictures





Saturday, May 24, 2014

The evolution of pictures

I have followed along with many an adoption blogs in my time...maybe hundreds.  There is something in the evolution of the pictures of the kids.  The gotcha day and the first couple of weeks of pictures most of the kids have the same kind of dazed look.  Then slowly, the children blossom into smiley family kids. 

As I was looking though our pictures today, I realized that Han totally has that look.  He is trying so hard to take care of us and be a good son, but he is really a scared little boy under so much stress.  I remember our previous adoptions, the kids slept a lot.  Most of the pick up trips were literally scoop and fly home trips and the kids slept almost the entire way home...hours and hours.  Han has been sleeping almost nonstop.  Naps, early bed times.  Even though he is almost 14yo, he is just like the little kids in so many ways. 

Of course, there are a lot of ways he is a teenager too.  I have been hit so many times today by things that remind me that even at 14yo...kids are still just kids!

I can't wait to get home and start the hard work and start getting to that silly, happy little boy that I know is in there.  Oh yeah and start working on manners...egads the slurping up of things right off of his plate is going to make me crazy in the next 2 weeks!

Sightseeing in Beijing

We started off today in a not so promising way...it was pouring rain and Han was in the bathroom with explosive tummy problems.  He would not have been my first choice as to who would be the first one to get sick on our trip!

We launched into immodium therapy and busted out the Thieves Spray from Young Living.  Within a couple of hours the weather improved dramatically and so did Han!  In fact, the weather was perfect for today.  It was cool and misty with a few showers of very light rain.  There was a small wind and perfect temperature. 

We left around 930 and headed to Tiananmen Square and enjoyed the sights.  It was interesting to hear the description of the 1949 "liberation" from our Chinese guide.  My favorite historical tidbit from today was that Mao actually wanted to be cremated, but the state went against his wishes after his death and preserved him in his mausoleum for the people to come worship him.  I wander what he would have though about that!

Then we headed over to the Forbidden City.  There were so many buildings involved in the compound...the sheer magnitude of buildings was impressive and just the size of the compound itself.  It was an interesting trip.

The best part of the trip was after the Forbidden City.  We went to an older part of the city near the forbidden city...I totally forget the name..I think it was Hutang but I am not sure.  We left our car and took rickshaws through the little alleyways to a "common person's" home for lunch.  It was very interesting.  While we were at the Forbidden City, our guide kept saying that it was set up to mirror the common people's home.  Ok...I saw a little resemblance.  There was a main entranceway and a courtyard.  There were little rooms built all around the very small courtyard.  This particular home, in addition to being a "certified" tourist home also raised competitive carrier pigeons.  The little dining room had pictures up of his prizewinning pigeons and close up pictures of their eyeballs.  Not withstanding the eerie d├ęcor...the food was super delicious.  I swear I have eaten so much pork since I have been here.  I don't usually like pork, but there is a lot of it around here.  It is also very good..it is ground up really fine and made into little porkballs.  I am a fan. 

After the dinner we rode the rickshaws back to our car.  I am not usually the rickshaw type of girl but there was something very nice about it today with the weather.  Although I must admit - I guess I don't really know a rickshaw type girl is! 

After lunch we went to a tea house and had a very educational tea experience.  In an uncharacteristic move, I also bought a little tea mug and some tea that I liked.  The lunch and teahouse were my favorite part of the day.

Once we were back in the room we played some Uno, watched some Scooby doo and now some sort of Chinese cartoon that is cracking me up.

We will hit the noodlehouse next door tonight.  Tomorrow we head for Hefei.

Sightseeing in Beijing...the pictures!






Friday, May 23, 2014

Our last day in Shiajiazhuang

 We started the day with some delicious starchy breakfast at the hotel and then headed up to the table tennis room.  Han has some fancy moves despite the fact that his vision is waaaaay worse than I thought it was going to be.  I wasn't keeping track of the points but I am pretty sure that Han won! 
After Ping-Pong we packed up and headed out.  This is the picture of the Shiajiazhaung Railroad station.  It is very new and very huge.  I was impressed.
 Once we got back to Beijing we checked back into the Dynasty Sunworld Hotel.  The room was so much smaller than the hotel at Shiajiazhuang that we literally couldn't find room for our luggage!  After we found aplace for our luggage we headed for the noodle house.  Right next door to the hotel, delicious, and super cheap!
Tomorrow morning we head to Tiananmen square and the Forbidden City.  I am going to do some fast research on what we are going to see tomorrow so I can get the most out of our sightseeing adventure.  I have come to one big conclusion...I am not a big city girl.  I dislike smog and traffic. 

Han is doing really well.  He loves to talk and talks nonstop with our CCAI rep when he is with us.  He is a little resistant to speaking English.  I suspect he understands more than he lets on...he just doen't want to try to speak it because lets face it....it is a hard language! 

His vision is sooo bad he has to hold things way up to his eyes to see and he holds it above his eyes...like at the level of his forehead to try to focus on it.  He has such a good disposition.

I remember when we adopted Zeb and even the girls.  When we picked them all up and travelled home it was lots of eating and lots of sleeping for them.  He is the exact same way.  I don't think he is nutritionally deficient...I think he is just a teenage boy.  Despite him being older than our other kids...he is sleeping a lot.  I think it is a response to the stress of all this change.  I find it very interesting. 

The Great Wall...the story

We woke up in the middle of the night last night...around 3am because of the joys of jetlag.  We took that opportunity to Skype with the the kids...which was really great.  They were playing with the little toys we put away for my mom to give them every night.  that was fun to see.  I am really glad we did that.  We talked for a few minutes then distracted them with telling them to go get a snack after we said bye. 

We took another little nap and then got ready for a day at the Wall.  We finished early so we wandered around the area near our hotel and found a 7-11 and Beijing's odlest Catholic church....who knew!  There was a group of women doing what I think was Tai Chi in it's courtyard.

 
After wandering around for a while we met our CCAI guide and headed out the Great Wall.  It took about 45 minutes to drive there and I wish I would have taken some pictures of the transportation oddities I witnessed.  There were all sizes and shapes of mopeds with multiple passengers on them, pulling trailers of unusual sizes.  One of my favorites was a man on a moped pulling a wooden trailer with a push lawnmower on it and 2 other bicyclists flanking him and holding the lawn mower in place.  There was a woman on a moped with a giant propane tank under her feet....I don't know how that could go wrong...eek!
 
Some things at the wall I didn't expect.  I knew there was a mountain involved at the wall, but I didn't know I was going to actually  be scaling 3000 feet of uneven stairs.  Part of the fun after we climbed to our stopping point was watching the stairs as people crossed the top of that layer and the hilarity of their exhaustion, panting, and unusual methods of staying cool.  I have never, until today, seen a man roll up the bottom of his button up shirt and make a halter top.  Well done crazy man who had to be from Germany...well done.
 
From the Great Wall we went to eat at a restaurant that was above a ming vase factory.  I had no idea how those vases were made.  I won't go into detail but it might turn up in our curriculum next year.  It was neat. 
 
We drove by the Olympic Park on the way back to our hotel.  I am not a big fan of the Olympics...ok..I never watch the Olympics.  I think my distaste for the Olympics stems from it pre-empting all of my favorite TV shows when I was younger.  I am just not a sports afficianado.  Keith knew all about it...I'm not sure how since we were married at the time and I wouldn't let him watch the Olympics.  He must have been sneaking around with another tv watcher.  I can forgive.
 
We got back to our hotel around 3 and now old man Keith is napping.  We had a super day and the next post has some pictures of our jaunt to the Great Wall.  We initially were going to skip the wall, but we ended up having an extra day in Beijing so threw this trip on our itinerary at the last minute.  I am glad we were able to do it.  We will be back in Beijing on Friday and doing some sightseeing on Saturday.  I will let you know where the Great Wall stands on my very limited must do's during a China Adoption Trip!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The pictures


The day is only half over...so I still have time to take some more pictures....don't judge!

An early morning

We woke up early this morning and had a "speculator" come to our hotel to exchange our money then we hit the train station for our 8am bullet train.  It was a VERY smooth ride.  The train station in Beijing is HUGE.  We spent about an hour and 10 minutes watching the scenery change from urban to farmland and slowly back to the urban landscape of Shiajiazhuang.  Which I have been saying incorrectly for about 2 months...oh well. 

The ride on the train gave me a little too much time to think.  I thought about how super darn lucky I am that my husband is crazy enough to agree to some of the things I suggest.  I thought about how lucky I have been with all of my kids.  Every single one of them is such a joy and so special.  I can't express how amazingly blessed I have been and how grateful I am for all of these blessings. 

And I prayed all throughout the train ride that I would act the right way, do the right thing when we met Han.  What could this little boy be thinking?  I tried to put myself in his shoes...but there is just no way I can do that.  The big question has been...should I hug him or not the first time we meet.  Yes, seriously...that was the big question. 

Finally we got there.  We took a car straight to the registrar's office and Han was already there with the director of his orphanage.  We knew he was going to be there already...the pressure was on.

When we walked in..he was sitting on a little couch and he stood up nervously.  He looked so much younger than in his photos, and small and so nervous.  Our CCAI guide entered before us and told him I was his new mother..he held his hand out kind of uncomfortably to shake my hand.  Nope..none of that..sorry adoption world..I am a hugger and he got a great big hug.  Keith swooped in for a hug too. 

It took a really long time at the registrar's, so Keith eventually took out the travel tangrams and the two of them tore it up.  Han is smart, he is a talker and he knows exactly the same phrases in English that I know in Chinese and you can bet it is only what I learned watching Kai Lan.

So many things stood out...he was constantly talking and making everyone in the room laugh, he was constantly saying things that were way more insightful than you would expect from a 13 yo.  He constantly wanted to help - he wanted to carry the luggage, pour Keith's water at lunch, hit the buttons on the elevator.  Yes...that might pass quickly since we wouldn't let him get online on the Chinese equivalent to facebook!

Wow...what a kid.  Seriously, there is always worry when you enter in an adoption.  There are the many unknowns and the worst case scenarios that so often scare people away from adopting older children.  My new son is a gem.

We are leaving in the morning to go back to Beijing for some sightseeing with Han.  Some pictures are to follow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We're here!

The flight felt very long to Beijing! I must be getting old! We managed to get everything we think are going to need into 2 suitcases and a carryon. Yes...that's right we made to China for a three week trip picking up 2 boys with no extra luggage or overweight charges....it's a miracle! haha. We were also very lucky with the weather...apparently it is the windy season here and according to our guide, a big wind came through and blew all the smog away for our arrival..haha. Which reminded me that I didn't pack an inhaler..oops. Our hotel is in the center of town. There is a very trusted noodle restaurant next door and a 7-11 across the street. I wonder if it is safe to drink slushpuppies in China? I think I won't push it. It is very hot here and our brief trip from the airport to the hotel felt very generic big city. I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of the area. Tomorrow (in 5 hours) we meet our guide for a trip to the Great Wall. I am so excited to take some pictures and post them up here on this lonely old blog. We fought to stay awake last night until bed time...we made it until 7pm. I was so tired I thought I would sleep all night...guess not. We were up at 3am to Skype with the kids. It is extremely hard to be away from everyone...I just wanted to scoop kids up through the computer and give them a great big hug. We packed up a big box of toys to for the kids there. Every night the kids each get a new little toy from the toy box and last night was pinwheels...so they were showing us their new toy. We got them bigger toys for Sunday nights. I really, really hate being away from my kids...ugg! I probably need to try to go back to sleep for another couple of hours.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

hitting the road

We are as ready as we can be! We took some pictures of the kids to take with us..they are excited about filling up the new beds with brothers! Our house is full of people waiting to get two new brothers! We leave at 950am for Beijing and we are so excited. It is totally boggling my mind how all of this will be experienced by Han and Ulysses. What an exciting adventure for us all. I can't wait to start the hard work to become a family. I read somewhere that spending one day in Beijing is the equivalent to smoking 5 packs of cigarettes in one day...nice. We will be flying all day Monday and arriving Tuesday at 245pm. On Wednesday we visit the Great Wall and Thursday we pick up Han...10 days before he ages out. I am dedicated to posting some great pictures during the next 3 weeks! Off to bed...I think I might need to save up some sleep!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Getting closer to sane...

Ok...probably not a lot closer to being sane...but a little bit. We have managed to make some serious headway on the house and the ginormous moving of the bedrooms. So the only thing left to really clean is our room. Believe me when I tell you...my room is a disaster. When I make my cleaning list...my room is at the very bottom of the list. Thursday will be the day I finish cleaning our room. I took today off from cleaning to try to catch up on laundry and to start the actual packing process. Now I have a list of items that are amatuerishly shoved into a suitcase, a list of what I am supposed to have and now...right now...I am going to compare the two and make a master shopping list for a big family trip to Costco. After I make the big master list..I have to devise meal menus for while we are gone, when we get back and make a master grocery list for that too. Plus I have to get some sleep for the early morning adventure to costco. So i am blogging..hahahaha. We have found a couple of games to play with the boys which won't require too much language. We are ready - ish. It is going to be impossibly hard to leave the other kids for so long in order to pick my new boys up. I know they will be in good hands and they are so darn lucky to have grandparents who are up to the challenge and a fearless babysitter! haha. There are only 4 1/2 more days for me to obsess about these things! I will make it!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The lists...the shopping..the horror!!!

Oh my goodness. I have now sat down and made 3 separate packing lists. I keep changing my strategy for packing...pack everything I think we will need...pack light we can buy stuff there...pack like a doctor with meds for every eventuality..ok I think I don't need the emergency cricoithyrotomy kit (oh yeah now I totally jinxed myself..)..wait..pack light again. We went half-list shopping today and spent like $500. Seriously..we just need to go pick them up and get home.

We got our final itinerary for the trip today..it was $1500 more than the estimated in country costs...ouch! I looked up all of our hotels on trip advisor thought and I am looking forward to them..they look pretty good.

We arrive in Beijing the afternoon of the 20th and then head to our hotel. The itinerary has a little picture of our rep so we know who to look for at the airport...a nice touch. We are staying at the Sunworld Dynasty Hotel...it looks pretty nice. We are hoping to get a day of touring the Great Wall the first day we are there..but it isn't set up yet so we will see.

We head to Shijiazhuang on the bullet train on Thursday and get our biggest boy, Han, and do all of our registering and notarizing on Thursday..spend one night at the Zhong Mao Hai Yue Hotel - which looks super nice and then head back to Beijing on Friday for sightseeing on Saturday.

Sunday we fly to Hefei and Monday we "receive Ulysses" at the Registration office. We are staying at ....... The Holiday Inn..woohoo. We will be much smarter when we wake up in the morning oh wait it isn't a Holiday Inn Express...darn. We spend the rest of the week in Hefei and leave for Guangzhou on Saturday.

We will be staying at the China Hotel in GZ all week. On Sunday we will be missing Zoe's birthday (sad! she will be 6) On Tuesday, Han will turn 14 and have his medical appointment with lots of birthday bloodwork...yeah needles for your birthday. On Wednesday Keith will have his birthday, on Thursday we will have consulate appointment and on Saturday we will head home.

I feel like it is a whirlwind at the beginning and a whirlwind at the end...but slllooooow in the middle in Hefei and the weekend in GZ. Although, we will be there for the Dragon Boat festival so that should get keep us busy over the weekend. I am really looking forward to being there that weekend.

I have perused many packing lists and probably need to stop doing that! Haha. Tomorrow I am pulling the old suitcases out of the basement (ok Keith is pulling the suitcases out and cleaning them our...eek i hate bugs) and I am just going to pack and THEN make a list and buy what I need. It isn't like we are going to Mars.

I am giddy and unprepared.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Travelling!

We got word today that we are going to be travelling on May 19!  yeah.  That means we will get to China on May 20, travel to Han's province on May 21 and get him first on May 22.  I am so relieved.  I am relieved that we finally have an actual date that we are going to pick him up and that date is before his birthday...phew!  I am relieved that we are not leaving in 6 days.  I will be more relieved when we get this stupid house clean.
It is very hard to do the requisite nesting when the entire house is torn apart from top to bottom trying to re organize the bedrooms...egads!

I am off today (tomorrow!) so I will be able to get some stuff done...of course, I probably would be getting more done if I didn't sit up until 3am researching medical supplies I have to bring for Ulysses..haha.  Oh yeah, and putting potential mother's day gifts into a wish list on Amazon!

We will have some packing to do and I am so excited about it. 

We will pick up Han on Thursday and register his adoption.  On Sunday we will head to Hefei to meet and pick up Ulysses.  I can not wait for that...but I will have to!

We will stay the whole week in Hefei and then head to Guangzhou I think.  The Dragon Boat festival is that weekend so the embassy is closed on Monday.  I am excited to be there for that.  I wonder if we will see rin too kick a boat on top of a pavillion?  Ok Ni Hao Kailan joke...anyone see that one where rin too learns how to be a good loser?

I hope I take some time to blog this week as we pack.  I will be on nights next week at work so I will have lots of time during the day to obsess and get things done.

The whole trip will be from May 19 - june 7.  Not too bad!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Travel anyone?

We finally got our travel approval Wednesday.  Of course, thursday and today are Chinese Holidays so we won't know until Tuesday exactly which day we are travelling.  If you have been following along...Han ages out on June 3rd..so there are not a lot of travel option for us!  We are either leaving on may 12 or May 19 and we won't know until May 6th which one it is.  Our first choice is May 19th...I will have two weeks of vacation already scheduled so it will be significantly easier for my peeps at work to get a long without me..haha.
 
It will also be easier to plan travel with more than 6 days to book stuff...yikes!  We still haven't decided who is travelling in all honesty.  We seriously thought that just Keith would go by himself...we even have my specialized power of attorney being authenticated in Washington DC right now.  Wednesday morning I had a huge change of heart and I just really want to go...so there.  Now we are oscillateing between only Keith going or Keith, me, Zeb, Ben, and Violet.  I am not exactly sure how that all happened...but Zeb really wants to go and I think part of the reason is a quest to fill in pieces of his own story.  Benjamin wants to go anywhere that Zeb goes and yes....he has a kinderpack to ride in and that is pretty much the story.  Violet just keeps asking when we are going to China.  Somewhere she has gotten the idea that there is a lot of candy in China and she keeps calling it candy china.  Although I have not officially met my new sons, I feel like they will be happy and excited to have some siblings there.  Also...we really miss our kids when we are out of town and 3 weeks is a long time to be away from everyone. 
 
I have been obsessing over the packing list...there are a lot of things to pack for 5, but I am even more stressed about packing for the new boys! You should see the crazy huge long list of things to pack that I have laid out...egads!  More on that tomorrow!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power