Sunday, July 11, 2010

One year later.....

It is really hard to believe it has been one year now on July 13. Wow, what a difference a year makes. Amie has grown from a small, timid baby to a charming, outgoing, active, funny, and happy little toddler. She is into everything! If it opens or locks, she focuses on figuring it out. We have been blessed with a healthy and smart little one. The room brightens up when she enters it.

Amie sleeps great and is still taking one long nap a day. She is very strong and physically corridinated. The kick-n-go scooter is her new passion this summer.

She loves watermellon and eggs. Amie is a great eater and will try anything.

Her first word was Ab for Abby our dog, but now she can say three word sentences. Amie loves to chat.

Kate and Amie are enjoying a true sister relationship. Lots of love at times and some sharing pains. Kate likes making Amie laugh which is easy to do.

We have taken many great trips including Augusta, Florida a few times, and Birmingham a few times. Amie really enjoys going places and seeing new things.

We love Amie with all our hearts and we are truly blessed to have her in our family.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Week Home

Our first full week home has been so exciting and things are going just great. We are finally unpacked and over the jet lag. Amie is sleeping soundly through each night. She has started to eat baby food and we are working on her fiber intake. Both Grandmothers have visited to a smiling baby and we have videoconferenced with Grandpa and Grandma Sharon in Chicago.

Amie biggest challenge is the car seat. She just doesn't like it after a short time. We are doing nightly walks around the neighborhood in the stroller which is progressively getting her more comfortable with the seat restraint concept. We made it only about 100 yards on our first walk. Now, we are can do about half mile and make it to the playground and pool.

She is crawling fast now around the house and exploring. Kate is really helping during play time and does a great puppet show from behind the couch. They both love dancing to the toy piano music. Kate likes to dress just like her sister.
We have recieved so much love and support from our friends and family. Thanks to everyone.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We're Home!

Final Post - We're Home!

We finally made it home yesterday night around 6:00 pm. After staying in Newark Wednesday night, our 6:30am plane was suprisingly cancelled so we then got bumped to a 1:50.....another 6 hours in the airport.

Amie came home to a great welcome from her big sister, Kate. Amie was a little sleepy, but then started smiling big once Kate started dancing. Kate is just so excited and is helping Amie. A few other friends showed up for the homecoming.

When we got home, our dog Abby gave Amie a big lick in the face and suprised her. It is taking some time for Amie to figure out just what a dog is so we are still seeing some curious looks.

Thanks for all the comments and support during this journey. Amie is really sweet and we just love her so much. She has a great spirit and personality.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flight delays
We were delayed 3 total hrs on plane flight from Beijing to Newark so we missed our connection to Atlanta due to a storm and a gate arrival delay. Amie's first night in America will be at the Newark Airport Days Inn. The flight was very long, bumpy, and full of diaper activity.... They changed flight paths due to the storm so we flew west over Russia. So, Liz and I have both offically flown around the world now which has been a goal of mine to do one day.
As we were landing, we flew by the Statue of Liberty which is so symbolic of the great country we live in. Amie is now offically a US citizen when her documents were stamped at immigration!
We will send more pictures tomorrow. We need to be up at 3:30am to make our flight. We are really ready to get home!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Well tonight is our last night in China. We are leaving with a mix of emotions. We are ever so ready to get back home and get into our routine, but we are also sad to leave this wonderful country behind.

The Chinese people have been so great to us, we have enjoyed their warm embrace of us. We took Amie down to the American Embassy in Guangzhou and she received her visa to America. We will have to "re-adopt" in the states so she can get an American birth certificate.

We gave Amie her first ice cream cone tonight after dinner- Mango ( Blanton's suggestion:)) She loved it!!!

We also took the traditional picture of the babies and families on the "Red Couch" of the White Swan Hotel today. All the babies were just so cute dressed in Mandarin style dress.

We will post pictures tomorrow while we are hanging at the airport.Can't wait to be home- Please pray for a safe, smooth trip home!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hello All, Bill had just written a terrific post and the computer has lost it. I just wanted everyone to know that we are unable to view our blog in China and any comments you all have posted at this time, but we are looking forward to reading what everyone has to say when we get back to the states. Last night was a beautiful night and we ate dinner at an Italian resturant with the group. The skies were clear and the temperature was perfect. The weather here is so nice, almost like Ga. The riverfront of Guangzhou is just beautiful, it is very similar to Savannah so we feel very much at home here.Bill took a run the morning down by the river and he saw lots of old fishing boat and boats carrying rice. There were also a few folks swimming/bathing in the river. Bill said he thought about taking a dip but then thought better of it. The river is pretty dirty. Yesterday we purchased some "squeaky shoes" for Amie and also a few gifts for both Amie and Kate.We sure do miss our Big Girl!! We went to the White Swan play room where we were able to let Amie go. She is doing so well, she is starting to crawl and put up on things. She really likes toys that have music- she is a dancer!! She continues to be so happy engaging and outgoing. She has a very sweet temperament, not to mention the cutest giggle

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 18 and July 19- First day in Guangzhou

Well we had a fun day yesterday, but we were just tootired to write We went to have Amie's medical exam done and to take her visa photos. The medical exam is required as part of the adoption process, Amie is a very healthy baby!! She is 17.1 lbs and 28 inches tall. We saw three different doctors and everyone said she is "normal". Never thought "normal" would be so good!!

The photo for our visa is so cute- Amie has a great smile!! We took the photo in a little shop. Right next door at a little booth shop keepers are letting parents borrow strollers, for free, and for as long as your are visiting. Putting Amie in it for the first time was very interesting. She has never been in a stroller before. She whimpered at first and we took her out. A few minutes later after she saw all her buddies enjoying their strollers she settled in. She still would rather be carried than strolled. My arms are sure getting a work out.

Yesterday afternoon we took Amie for a dip in the pool. It was lovely. The White Swan Hotel has a beautiful pool right by the Pearl River which is the third longest in China. Amie really took to the water- she even managed to drink a large mouthful! After the pool Bill took her to the room for a nap and I went to finish up the paperwork. Boy, am I glad to get rid of that beast of paperwork!!

We ate dinner at the Famous Lucy's Restaurant. The food is good ol'American fair. Hamburgers, and Apple Pie. We then went shopping and we will do more shopping later this afternoon.

So today we went to visit the Guangzhou Folk Art Museum- or aka Chen Ancestral Hall. Chen is a Chinese last name that is very common like Smith, Brown or Johnson. The museum was beautiful. The detail in the Hall was just incredible. We got to see artwork from local master artist. I just loved the embroidery- it looked three dimensional and also like someone painted it b/c it gave you the illusion of brush strokes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 9- 07/17/09 Friday

It will be very sad to leave Chongqing after four nights. Amie's passport arrived this morning so we are all set from that perspective. This city is absolutely full of life in the streets. There are major economic gaps between the rich and poor. The poor live off about $7 per day and you see this reflected in all the shops, food stations, and services. For example, it is very hilly in Chongqing so you typically pay someone to carry heavy items up the side of the mountain using a bamboo pole with net baskets on each end. They will easily carry over 200 lbs.

The night lights are incredible and construction is everywhere as more people move into the city. China is really in a major transformation. Daddy touched the mighty Yangtze river and saw the streets up close on a few long runs. With the new baby, we did not venture out much though to eat due to the heat and the crowds. Both of us have had some stomach issues but feel better today. Maybe on a future trip someday we can see more of the night life of Chongqing.

We went to the Chongqing Zoo this the morning and saw a few Panda bears which Amie was very curious about. Panda bears are from this region of China. Then, we saw some tigers. It was extremely hot outside and Chongqing is like a furnace by mid-day in the summer. Amie was asleep on Daddy most of the Zoo trip. We have been asked periodically to take pictures with Chinese people as they want photos with Americans.

We called home today for the first time and sister Kate was very excited to talk with Amie. We miss Kate.

We fly to Guangzhou this afternoon for five nights waiting on the visa appointment at the US embassy. It will be Amie's first flight. We are a little concerned about the major storm approaching that area. The famous White Swan Hotel should be nice though and we can visit some local markets.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 8- Another great day under our belt!! We had a good breakfast at the hotel and then we were off to the Flying Tiger Museum. The museum is very interesting, there were 4 rooms dedicated to the Flying Tigers of WW2, however the rest of the museum is an art gallery that showcases local artists. We received an interesting but brief history of the Flying Tiger squad and then an art lesson form a local artist about how to paint on Chinese rice paper. We did pick up two lovely paintings done on silk. I think they will look very nice in our dining room.

After a nice 2hr. nap we took Amie to the hotel pool. She loved it. I thought it might be too cool for her, it was too cool for me to get in but Bill seemed to enjoy it. After the pool we came back to our room to shower and go to dinner at the hotel.

After dinner we then went for a walk in the mall that is attached to our hotel. I found the mall to be pretty interesting- all very high end stores, Prada, Gucci, D&G, Calvin Klein, Versace..... there ain't no Baby Gap here!!!

Amie fell asleep during the walk and then had a hard time going to bed - we finally have gotten her down around 9pm. I'm off to bed myself- we have a big day tomorrow, we are going to the Chongqing Zoo to see the Pandas and then we are off to Guangzhou. There is a tropical storm coming that way so please pray for our safe flight in and out of Guangzhou. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 7- Well we are half way through our trip and it has been wonderful. Today was a free day so we did not get in any sightseeing, which is just as well because it was over 100 degrees today. We did go to the park on the 7th floor of our hotel- it was beautiful. There was a huge coy pond there and lot of pretty plants that Amie enjoyed.

She continues to do very well. She really enjoys other babies - even the baby on the pampers diaper box. She just chats away to the picture baby when she gets her diapers changed. Its very cute!!

Today we got her to say Mama. Oh how my heart was bursting with pride as she spoke "Mama" and looked right at me during dinner tonight. Tomorrow we are going to the flying tiger museum. It should be interesting, I think there will be WW2 airplanes.

Sorry there are not any pictures attached as Bill is usually the one to post and unfortunately he is a bit under the weather tonight.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 5 07/14/09 - It's Official Amie slept a solid 12 hours last night and woke around 7:00am. We got up several times to check on her and put the covers back on. After the first bottle in morning, she became much more playful and is adjusting well. We are slowly transitioning her off the Chinese formula to some USA brands which have better nutrients.

The big event of the day was going back to the processing office to apply for Amie's passport and be sworn in as her official parents. We delayed our ceremony a few minutes and were pretty flustered when we had some quick diaper duty calling. We stamped our fingerprints in red ink over our names to make it official. The office people were all extremely nice.

We went to dinner at the nice restaurant hotel which has a great buffet selection. Daddy ate some baby octopus, jellyfish, stomach, sushi, duck, local fish (maybe not the best choice). There were several other dishes that I deemed to risky to try such as duck mouth.

Overall,we really enjoyed just having a relaxing and playful day with Amie. We look forward to tomorrow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 5 - "Gotcha Day" July 13, 2009

Amie is finally in our arms! She is sleeping right now after a very long day. The day started at 4:30 am with a flight from Beijing to Chongqing. Chongqing city is in southern, central China located at the point of two mighty rivers (Jialing and Yangtze). It is somewhat close to the incredible Three Gorges Dam. The city is massive with over 30 million people. Towering condo housing sit on top of the mountainous terrain as far as the eye see with the wide rivers running through it. It is truely unbelieviable and to put it in perspective, New York city would just be a small neighborhood within this golath (it is 4 times bigger than New York). After arriving, checking in, and hitting the local store, the anxity was building. We got on the bus and drove across town with the 6 other families. On the 14th floor, we finalized the paperwork while the babies were waiting. All the dad's were trying to figure out which ones were which from an adjacent room with glass walls.

Then, the moment came, we signed some final documents, and they started calling out the names. Tears were rolling as well as the video cameras. They saved the best for last and Amie just looked at us both with warm, curious eyes. We gotcha you! She hung onto Liz tight for a while and then she fell asleep on Daddy's shoulder a short time later. She was very hot, running a bit of a fever, and just plain tired from a long day. She is soundly sleeping now snuggled up in the crib. Amie likes her two fingers instead of a passy. She has two baby bottom teeth and none on the top. Amie was reported as being very chatty so we should start experiencing that once she is rested. Sleep tight little one!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 4 July - Beijing Last Day

We will be feeling a little sad to leave Beijing especially after another wonderful day. There is just so much culture and history here. We started off the day with a visit to Tiananmin Square which is just huge. There were thousands and thousands of people. From there we entered the Forbidden City which takes about 45 minutes just to walk through the sequential walls to the royal palace. Each building has a full set of meanings and purposes. The Forbidden City is set on the meridian with north being the most royal, east, west, and south all having specific meanings. In addition, the number 9 means long lasting and good luck and is iconic everywhere. The right side is for female statues and the left for male. We saw the emperor's offices, home, and official harmony buildings. So much history through the dynasties.

Next, we went to an old city section built around well water with small alleyways called Huatong (based on Mongolian ancestry). We rode on a rickshaw through this maze of old houses which includes some true Chinese culture and lifestyles.

We visited and had tea with a local family in one of the small houses with a courtyard. Her family had lived in that house for over 150 years. We then went to the pearl and merchandise market. Shopping for the girls was really fun and hard bargaining was required to get a good price.

Finally, we had Peking Duck (a must have in Beijing) for dinner which was very tasty.

Feeling a little nervous and excited for tomorrow. We are up at 4:30am to catch the flight. Tomorrow we meet little Amie for the first time!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 4
Well we started out at 8:00am on a 1 1/2 hr. trip to the cloisonné factory. We were able to see the actual factory workers hand making the beautiful cloisonné. Then of course it was off to the gift shop where we had to pick up a few goodies.
Next we drove to the Great Wall of China- boy was it crowded. It was busier than the streets of NYC, but it was beautiful and very impressive. We did not have clear skies so we could hardly see past the guard posts. Our guide Joy gave us some very interesting tid-bits of information about Chinese culture during our ride to the Great Wall.
Joy then took us to a traditional chinese lunch which was very good and to a Jade Mart. All the jade statues were so ornate. Just amazing! On our way home we took a pit stop at the olympic village. Wow was that neat to see- especially after watching it on tv this past summer. Bill and I were talking and we realized we have seen three olympic villages so far, Atlanta, Munich, and now Beijing. The Birdsnest and Blue Cube are very impressive structures. The Chinese people are very proud of them-as they should be!!
Tomorrow we will visit Tiananmen Square and take a rickshaw ride through Hutong Village. We have also asked our guide to take us to the Pearl Mart. You know I'm looking forward to that!!Only one more night here in Beijing then on to Chongqing and AMIE!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hello All,
Well we had a terrific day today. Bill started out for a 8 mile run and got lost. He was searching for a park but went the wrong way out of the hotel. He did say that running is a great way to see the city!!
After breakfast we went in search of the park and found it. Boy was it beautiful. There was a wonderful lilly pond with lillypads that were about 2-3 feet across. After the park visit we came back to the hotel only to get a call that we needed to have our temp taken!!! We have to be monitored twice a day for 2 days. Not everyone in our adoption group got that lucky call- I guess there was someone on our flight over with H1/N1 flu. In addition, it was also very interesting- when we went into the acrobatic show today we all had to be scanned for our temp.
The Acrobatic show is like a smaller version on Circe du Soeil, but with a Chinese flare. The building picture that is attached is one of the buildings we saw on the way to the show. After the show, we headed out on an eating adventure by ourselves to a local restaurant. Luckily the menu had pictures which made it a little easier. We were a little nervous about what we ordered, but it turned out GREAT!! Dinning is a lot slower when using chopsticks.
Tomorrow we are going to the Great Wall and a cloisonné factory.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9th - Arrive in Beijing

It is Thursday evening here in Beijing. We arrived with no problems with amazingly smooth flight. We flew over Canada and down through Russia. The weather is wonderful about 85 and sunny. The smog is not too bad. Our hotel is BEAUTIFUL with a great indoor pool and nice work out room that Bill will make good use of. We have meet 3 other families. I believe there will be a total of 7 families traveling to Chongqing. One family brought their 8 year old son. We went to a Chinese grocery store with our guide (Joy) to pick up waters, cokes and a few snack. It was quite interesting as the store was 2 stories with tons and tons of food. Most shoppers looked like they were only shopping for one meal at a time- I did not see any grocery carts only little baskets. A few street folks actually started talking some broken english to us for practice. We tour Beijing tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The night before....

We are finally packed and ready to go. Early 4:00am wake up call tomorrow to leave for the airport. Amie's room is finally of course. Kate helped with painting and put her hand print in the closet. We are looking forward to arriving in China!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Getting Ready

It is July 4th and we are listening to the fireworks outside trying to get ready for our trip to China. We are only a few days away from meeting Amie and really can't wait. It has been over a three year journey.

We leave Wednesday, July 8 and return July 22, 2009. We will first travel to Beijing for a few days of site seeing. Next, we travel to Chongqing for "Gotcha Day" and then on to Guangzhou for the visa appointment on July 20.

Kate is super excited about mei mei (little sister). We have been practicing our numbers and a few phrases.