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Showing posts from November, 2010

Photo Shoot!

We took the kids to have their pics done tonight, so of course Johanna was tired, solemn, and obstinately refusing to smile often like she usually does. We still got some good shots anyway. Here are a few for you to enjoy.

All the kids together and clockwise from top left the Scientist, Starshine, Daredevil, and Princess J

And Princess J herself. I'm biased, I know, but I think she's gorgeous.

Back To Reality

1. Today, I'm doing my best to pick up my regular schedule and run with it.

2. I'm thankful my parents are still in town to help with that!

3. They leave on Wednesday so by Thursday afternoon, I might be a psychotic mess.

4. Those of you who just snickered and wondered how that would be any different from my usual M.O. can go dine on a breakfast buffet in Nanchang without the benefit of Pepto Bismol.

5. I spent the last week adjusting to being in the Central time zone again, helping Johanna adjust as well, dealing with Johanna's ear infection, spending time with my boys, celebrating Thanksgiving, and celebrating my hubby's birthday. Oh, and I got 95% of our Christmas shopping done over the weekend. Online. Which made me far less homicidal than braving the jam-packed department stores, I assure you.

6. This week, I'm jumping back into my work schedule, homeschooling, house cleaning, socializing with people, blogging, running private workshops for clients, and doing…

Our Traveling Comes To An End

We're home,  now, and busy trying to recover from some serious jet lag. We've worked to get our days and nights straight and Johanna is almost there. She's still waking up ridiculously early, but it's getting better. She cried for the first couple of hours after we got home, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that she literally hadn't slept for the past 17 hours since she decided it was much more fun to talk to her fellow passengers than sleep for most of our four plane rides.

Speaking of plane rides, the security in the airports in Guangzhou and Hong Kong make our security look like a walk in the park. We literally went through three identical security checks. By the third one, we were wondering what in the world we could possibly have done to our belongings after walking fifty feet from the last security check. When Clint became frustrated and informed the Communist soldier currently checking our bags that the whole system was stupid (or somethin…

Heading Home

It's been a full week here in Guangzhou. We filled out Johanna's Visa paperwork, visited the American Consulate to take the oath of citizenship on her behalf, went to the local pearl market, visited a mall, took her to a clinic for her mandatory physical examination where we were given antibiotics to treat her continuing chest cold/bronchitis, visited the zoo, and did some souvenir shopping.

About three days ago, we were done. Not done with all the tasks we needed to complete, but DONE with being away from home. We wanted to see our boys, sleep on a bed that didn't feel like a park bench, and eat some good American food. Pretty much every couple in our group felt the same way. This is a long trip, in more ways than one.

Through it all, Johanna remains cheerful and easygoing. She's definitely become Daddy's little girl! She lights up when he walks into the room and starts performing tricks to make him laugh. I'm okay with it because when she's tired or need…

Day One in Guangzhou

I didn't realize how much I missed Western food until this morning. We're staying at the White Swan hotel, a beautiful five star hotel that smells normal (the hotel in Nanchang smelled off to our Western noses). A breakfast buffet is included in our room charge. We had a breakfast buffet in Nanchang as well, but it was always a challenge to find anything appetizing to eat. There were intestines, stewed fish, "preserved" hard boiled eggs (eggs that were 4 months old), rice, noodles, mustard buns, and various other concoctions that just didn't appeal to me. Today, I recognized almost everything on the buffet and it tasted GREAT. I felt revived as I ate crisp bacon, an omelet that wasn't drenched in soy sauce like the one in Nanchang, French toast made the way I would make it, and real orange juice (the juice in Nanchang tasted like weak Tang). I want to make it clear that I'm not complaining about the food in Nanchang. It was plentiful. And it was appealing …

Leaving Nanchang

Yesterday was our last day in Nanchang. We boarded a flight for Guangzhou mid-morning and began the second half of our stay here in China. Johanna did very well on the flight. She took a bottle and fell asleep just after take-off, slept most of the flight, and then woke up to charm the surrounding passengers with her consistent attempts to fling herself backwards into the aisle so she could see everyone behind her. Trying to hold on to her when she's awake is like trying to wrestle a twenty pound wet fish.

A few things really stood out to me about our time in Nanchang (pronounced Nan-chung), so I thought I'd share them with you. First, of course, it will always have a special place in our hearts because it's where we first met Johanna. I'll always treasure the hours we spent in our hotel room playing, sleeping, and bonding with each other.



I'm also grateful to our agency's staff. Evelyn and Karen were available to us 24-7 and clearly loved our babies. It was sa…

A Trip To Johanna's Roots

Today was a hard day, in a good way. We'd requested a trip to Fengcheng, the city of Johanna's abandonment and orphanage. Our agency reps (who are FABULOUS and who make sure we are well taken care of every step of the way) took all 8 Fengcheng families on a 1 1/2 hour (one way) bus ride to the city this morning.

The Fengcheng orphanage director takes pride in his job and has kept meticulous records for us. One of the things the director is required to do is run an ad with a baby's picture and where the baby was found because parents have one chance to reconsider their decision and reclaim their child. The director saved that ad for each of the babies from the Fengcheng orphanage, so we not only have a newborn picture of Johanna (Yes, she's always had those cheeks!), we know exactly where she was abandoned.

Today, our agency reps took us on a brief tour of the city, stopping at each point of abandonment so the parents could see it, take pictures, and get any informatio…

Johanna: Day Two (Plus Photos!)

Johanna continues to thrive with us. She's a little social butterfly who has two speeds: Full Speed Ahead and Sleep. Our only difficulty at the moment is that she really doesn't sleep well. She wakes about every hour and a half all through the night and that means I wake up too. I'm pretty exhausted now, but we'll figure it out!

She now shows a clear preference for us over the Chinese people who come up to talk to her, even though they speak her birth language. She turns from them and burrows into us for comfort. We hold on to those moments!

We've also discovered she has a special skill. She's a champion noodle sucker. It's hilarious. We'll place the tip of a long noodle in her mouth and she'll just suck the whole thing up in no time flat. She's going to give her brothers a run for their money on spaghetti nights!

Here are a few pictures taken of her over the last day. Isn't she just precious?








Our First Day With Johanna

We've had Johanna for just over 24 hours now, and things are going really well. I'll have more pics to post soon, but in the whirlwind of the last day, this is the best I can do for now. Johanna cried for the first 2-3 hours after we received her. She'd had a tough day. She'd been taken from her foster mother, driven three hours in a bus to a strange city, and then handed over to two strangers who couldn't even speak her language. It was a rough day for her. Once she started crying, she refused to go to Clint. In fact, if she even SAW him in the room, she'd start crying harder. I held her on my lap, did my best to comfort her, and had our first breakthrough when I offered her the new toy giraffe we'd brought with us. She'd refused her rattle, her soft blanket, and her teething ring, but she grabbed onto the giraffe and began chewing on his ears. A few minutes later, I was able to give her a bottle and she fell asleep in my arms. The sleep helped. When she …

Journey to China: Part 2 1/2

Hi, everyone! This is CJ's friend MG, blogging on her behalf while she's without blogger access in China. She'll be sending me updates to post for you for the next few days.

At 2:00am Eastern, CJ arrived in Nanchang and was only two hours away from holding Johanna for the first time. The full update regarding their meeting is coming soon, so stay tuned!



Journey to China, Part 2: Flight To Hong Kong

We sat at our gate, waiting for our flight, watching the chairs fill with people. Several families arrived, and I realized that for the first time in years, the sight of a little Chinese girl no longer sent a shaft of pain through me. Instead, I smiled and tapped my foot impatiently because I knew it was only a matter of days before I would have MY little Chinese girl.


The flight was full. Which wasn’t really a problem, except that the woman sitting next to Clint in our little row of three seats had the stomach flu. She got up shortly after she sat down and announced to us she needed to get to a bathroom so she could throw up.


We were hoping maybe she’d decide not to fly, but she stayed on the plane. Now, we’re hoping maybe it wasn’t the flu and therefore isn’t contagious. The last thing we need is to be sick as we receive our baby.


Most people slept a lot on this flight. I couldn’t. I watched a movie. Read a little. Took some cat naps but couldn’t ever get comfortable. Besides, the…

Journey To China, Part 1: Flight To Los Angeles

Blog post written late Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 but sadly not posted until now due to lack of internet connection.


I must look like a threat. A very loud, red-headed threat. Why? Because while everyone else flew through security in Nashville, I was stopped for a pat down. And then? When we went through security at LAX to enter the international airport? I was subjected to a MUCH MORE THOROUGH pat down. The kind where I was offered the choice of a private room. The kind where the term “pat down” is actually a euphemism for “I’m going to slide my hands down your waistband to search for contraband.”

It was awesome.

I passed, of course, because the only contraband I’m packing around my waist is the evidence of my lemon bar addiction.

During the flight to L.A., we watched Dinner for Schmucks. It was a waste of two hours (and this is from the girl who loves Steve Carrell), but it didn’t matter. I was just glad to have the time pass quickly. I’m anxious to get to Hong Kong.

Because …

Butterflies

We're boarding a plane at 3:45 this afternoon and beginning the first leg of our trip to China. We fly to Los Angeles, where we have a five hour lay-over, and then board a plane around midnight bound for Hong Kong. 
I'm almost packed.
I spent last night combing through piles of baby clothes, trying to decide exactly what size I should bring. What colors. If I needed short sleeves, long sleeves, pants or dresses. Shoes? Or just socks? This blanket or that blanket? Or maybe both?
It's not like I can't buy something there if I've left out anything important, but I don't want to leave out anything important. I want to have everything my daughter needs from the moment she's placed in our arms. I want to have prepared well for her.
There are so many unknowns.
How will my boys do when we're gone? I know my parents will take good care of them, but I already miss them and I'm not even leaving for the airport for another five hours.
What if she's inconsolabl…