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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life As We Know It

First of all, I need to apologize for leaving you guys hanging for so many days.  Especially those of you who don't live near and haven't visited.

Life with Parker is grand.  We had a good flight home from China.  Parker wasn't really interested in watching the movies (must be because the foster family only allowed him to "watch 30 minutes of cartoons a day as to protect his eyes.")  We still get a chuckle from that!  Instead of watching tv on the plane, he shredded his headphones and then wanted us to fix them.  Repeatedly.  As in every 5 minutes.  It was ok.  After awhile, I got so good at that I could do it without taking my eyes off my movie!  :o)

He only slept for about 4 1/2 hours total on both flights so by time we got home, he was exhausted.  It was 4:00am China time, by the way!  We were greeted at the airport by neighbors and friends and it was so awesome to see everyone that prayed this baby home get a chance to finally meet him and love on him.  

Since we've been home, Parker is really struggling with potty training.  He's getting used to our big potties here in the US and isn't crying or resisting as much as before.  We've actually had some success yesterday and today so I'm hoping we're on the road to a diaper-free lifestyle!  

His temperament is great.  He's very happy and content most of the time.  He still gets angry when we tell him that he can't do something or when we tell him no.  But we've been showing firmness with kindness and he's showing less and less anger.  I know part of it is just being a 3 year old and part of it is being part of a new family.  He loves to talk on the phone and has his hand out every time one of us is on the the phone.  He will say, "Ky-lo" when he gets on the phone and then attempt to repeat what you tell him to say.  He also just talks in Chinese, which cracks me up because he leans back and starts chatting on the phone like he's talking to an old friend.  So cute!  He says I love you so much (I law bu soooooo macheeeee) which is my favorite.  He also gives kisses and hugs, usually at bedtime when we're snuggling with him or first thing in the morning when he wakes up.  

He L.O.V.E.S. his daddy, whom he calls Ba Ba.  When he sleeps with us, he loves to put his head on his daddy's pillow.  But, since he doesn't really like to sleep on a pillow, he ends up sleeping sideways in the bed between us. Thank goodness he's short!  He's had some bad dreams and has been kicking, punching, pinching, and scratching whatever he can grab.  Vuong actually has a pretty big scratch on his back from Parker scratching him one night.  Since we've been home, Parker has been suffering from some jet lag.  He's been waking up between 1 and 3am and wants to get up and play.  Vuong got up with him the first night and stayed up for about 2 hours.  The next night I got up with him but I didn't take him out of the bed.  We talked for a while and then he went to sleep.  The third night,  he was up for about an hour in the bed talking and playing and wouldn't get quiet when I asked him to.  He was also trying to wake Vuong up.  This was also the night before Vuong had to go back to work.  So, I moved him to his own room and we fell asleep in his bed. The following night, we started out in his room which he did NOT like.  This was Tuesday night and he had started crying about almost anything that day.  Taking a nap, taking a bath, getting in his chair for dinner, going to bed.  It could be some grieving  or just that he's really tired.  Either way, I just loved on him until he felt better.  He got up at 1:40am and didn't go back to sleep until about 4:30am.  He was back up at 6:30am.  Last night, he FINALLY slept ALL NIGHT!  Whew!

Many of you have asked about his bath.  He LOVES his bath now.  He still sits in one place and asks me to help him get the toys that have floated to the other end instead of getting them himself.  But he's learned how to move the water around with his hands to get to the toys to come closer.  He's also gotten much better as letting me rinse his hair.  Bath times are no longer stressful times for him.  Thank goodness for that, because for those of you who know me know that I am the QUEEN of baths!

The dogs came home from Mary's on Monday afternoon.  He was terrified of them.  He was cringing in the corner of the sofa and wouldn't take his eyes off of them.   By the end of the evening, he was kind of okay with them sitting on the same sofa, though if they looked at him, he would start whining.  He's very particular, and so he was upset that the dogs weren't chewing on the bones or toys that HE wanted them to.  Then he was upset because the dogs were leaving their bones and toys on the carpet and not putting them back in the basket.  Sometimes I wonder if he might have a bit of OCD.  He worries about things all the time-- the doors and drawers aren't closed; buttons on coats or shirts have to be buttoned all the way from the top to the bottom; jackets and sweaters have to be zipped to the top; there can't be an food or liquid on the table and if there is, you have to clean it RIGHT AWAY; he doesn't like ANY food on his face or around his mouth on the plastic bib we've been putting on him; and the list goes on.  We'll see if these are just behaviors he's learned from his foster family or if there really is a problem as time goes by.

Anyway, back to the dogs.  He still doesn't prefer for them to be near him, but as long as they aren't jumping on or near him, he's ok.  He doesn't want to walk around when the dogs are out because he's afraid they will jump on him.  I do think that with time, he'll learn to love them. 

And that's it for this post.  I could go on and on with more, but I'll save something for next time.  Next week, we'll be going to the dentist and maybe a few other specialists to see how he is and if there's anything we can do to help him catch up.  I'll elaborate on that more later when I have more information.

Thanks to all those LURKERS who've been reading my blog daily but haven't had the guts to comment.  I do feel blessed to have so many caring friends who've shared this experience with me!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 15: Goodbye from China

Well, folks.... we are nearing the end of an amazing adventure.  We've loved every minute of it, although some minutes were better than others.  We're heading to Hong Kong bright and early tomorrow, where we'll stay one night and then start the L=O=N=G journey home. 
For those of you interested in meeting us at the aiport, our plane from Detroit will land in Atlanta on Saturday, December 4th, at 3:49pm.  If you're there, you will see another baby coming by escalator! :o)  We do look forward to seeing everyone.  We also can't wait for you to meet Parker.  He is so awesome!
Thanks so much for following along on our blog.  I've definitely had fun sharing it with you. 
I probably won't post while we are in Hong Kong so this will most likely be my last post until we are home!
Remember, this Saturday at 3:49pm!
I can't wait to see you guys!
Love from China,

Day 14: Last Full Day in Guangzhou

Today has been a sad day of sorts.  A day full of goodbyes to new friends that you hope to see again.  A day when we all will leave the place where our families were made.  A place where our families grew.  A place that brought us all together for a common goal:  Adoption.
We slept a little later again today and then got up to take a cab to the Dim Sum at a restaurant that our guide, Lily, said was 'famous'.  I don't know about famous, but we were just excited that they had the carts we are used to ordering from.  I forgot to mention that our first Dim Sum experience wasn't so much fun because the menu was entirely in Chinese with NO PICTURES!  Such a sad day for us!  :o)
After breakfast, we walked around in the same shopping area on 'the other side of the bridge' because that's where the restaurant was.  It was, amazingly,  the same stuff that had been there the day before and the day before that.  (I'm being sarcastic here!)  We walked back home and decided to put Parker down for a nap.  He looked so nice and cozy on the bed that we both decided a nap sounded like a good idea.  Mmmm, I could get used to that!  We played with Parker for a while, then went out for a walk.  We had to return our stroller that Dong at Susan's Place has let us borrow.  It was kind of a sad walk because I knew that tomorrow I would have to leave.  It has really been nice and relaxing to be here.  Parker has been a joy and has settled into our family nicely.  It's hard to imagine what life was like without him!  Since we've been in Guangzhou, his personality has really come out.  He's a silly goose most of the time.  My favorite thing he likes to do now is pretend like he is cracking up at something.  He throws his head back and (fake) laughs and laughs.  Sometimes he slaps his leg or chest because it is just that funny.  He also does that little sigh at the end, like he's is catching his breath and thinking about how funny it was.  I just love it!  Tonight he was pretending he was sleeping.  Snoring and all.  So funny!  I hope that once we get home, Vuong can still be relaxed and enjoy all this kid has to offer.  God wanted us to come to China to get Parker because He knew that Parker was the perfect fit for our family!
Tonight, we are working on packing up.  It's a amazing how much junk is in this room!  We do have LOTS to pack.  I did send our laundry out yesterday so it's all nice and neatly packed in plastic bags in the suitcase.  Now, just to find room for all the OTHER stuff!
I should go!  Lots to do but not a lot time!  We're leaving for the train station back to Hong Kong tomorrow morning at 7:30am.
Love to all!

Day 13: Shopping with Ann

Today, we met Ann in the lobby of our hotel for a morning of shopping.  First, we headed to the pearl market where I got a necklace, bracelet, and several pairs of earrings as well as two strands of unstrung pears.  Then we went to the jade market where I got a pendant.  There was another shopping area nearby where we got some ornaments for our Christmas tree.  Later we went to the toy market where strangely we bought silk items and clothing.  We really enjoyed shopping with Ann.  We'd read online that she walked very fast and that it was hard to keep up with her, but Vuong actually set the pace and Ann and I had to run to catch up!  He was carrying Parker in the carrier, too!  When we finished shopping with Ann, we walked around the island to finish up with some things we'd looked at earlier in the week, but decided to wait until after shopping with Ann to be sure we'd be getting a good deal.  All in all, we think we got some pretty good deals.
Parker played in the hallway area with the little girl down the hall.  Her name is Anna, and she's two.  They played with a ball for awhile, both of them learning how to share.  They were both on their best behavior and I didn't have to leave embarrassed because Parker was beating her up because he wanted the ball all to himself!  :o)
We started packing up tonight and trying to find places to put all of our treasures from today.  Vuong is leaving a few clothing items behind and we've freed up some room by eating the instant oatmeal, ramen, and goldfish we brought with us.  We're pretty sure we can leave China with the same luggage we came with and no more!  That's good!
I'm sad that tomorrow is our last day in Guangzhou.  Although I AM ready to come home, I'm just having so much fun here.  Every day feels like Saturday.  Even through we do have places to be and things to do, it's just nice to be able to walk around as a family and have no other worries.  I know once we get home, life with start again and we'll be busy all the time.  It will be good for Parker to be home.  I'm sure he thinks we live in a one room hotel room, eat out every night, sleep in the same bed, and keep our clothes in or around the suitcases.  There are a few surprises for him at home! 
Happy Wednesday to you!

Day 12: Consulate Appointment and Oath

This morning we slept in a little later than usual because we had no place to be or anything to do.  Our guide, Lily, was at our Consulate appointment and we had to say in our room until about 11am in case she had to contact us.  Fortunately,there were no problems and we were able to go out and about for a while before we had to meet some families from our group at the White Swan Hotel. 

We went to lunch at Lucy's and then headed down to the White Swan.  There were lots and lots of families there waiting for the 1:45pm bus to the Consulate.  We all got on the bus and took the 40 minute ride there.  We went walked up to the 5th floor and then went through security before being hustled into the waiting room.  We waited there until 3:30pm which gave us the opportunity to visit with other families that we hadn't seen before.  It's always so interesting to hear how we've all been brought to the same place, although we've not all taken the same road.  One mom has adopted 3 deaf children.  Another family is made up of all little people.  The mom and dad are both little people and their new Chinese daughter is a 9 year old little person.  Some families have lots and lots of adopted children.  One family was in China to adopt two children.  It's just amazing to see how God has worked in our lives.  I love it!
Once we got back to the island, we decided to 'walk across the bridge' to Guangzhou which is very different from the island.  The island caters to adoptive families.  There are lots of shops selling adoption souveniers like t-shirts, dresses, shoes, etc.  The island is also pretty western.  Most every one speaks English or at least just a little.  As I said in an earlier post, it feels like Savannah or New Orleans here.  The buildings are Western, there are huge trees that line the streets with Spanish moss swaying in the breeze, and people walking everywhere.  The thing I've noticed about Shamian Island, it is THE place to have your wedding pictures.  Every day, with the exception of today strangely, there have been no less than 5 bride and grooms having their pictures made.  The dresses are beautiful.  Not all of the girls have veils, some have little teeny tiny hats with feathers, lace, or some other kind of doodads on them.  It's kind of cool.  But not only can you have your wedding pictures taken here.  No, you can have some MODELING photos taken, too.  We've gotten a few giggles watching the girls either try to change in the street or climb into the little pop up tent that serves at a wardrobe room.  It certainly makes walking around more fun!
Ok, so back to my original thought.  We decided to walk across the bridge.  I had only been over there by foot once before and it was getting late so I didn't get to stay long.  It was also getting late when we walked across tonight, but it only added to the circus like atmosphere.  We walked through the Chinese medicine area where you can find all sorts of herbs and things, from mushrooms to dried lizards splayed out on sticks.  All of the shops are very tiny, about the size of a master bedroom closet, and the walls and sidewalks in front are lined with either jars or large bags filled with stuff.  Once you get passed the medicine market, you get to the pet area.  There are the same kinds of shops but these people are selling pets.  Cats, kittens, puppies, fish, turtles, lizards, you name it.  They have it all.  They also have 50 lb bags of dog food that are open and you can buy by the scoop or bag.  There are pet beds, toys, mats, leashes, collars, and bowls.  And I can't leave out the fish bowls, aquarium decorations, and plants.  It's very interesting. 
Once, you get through all of that, there are lots of real shops that sell clothing, shoes, sock, undies, jewelry, street food, books, makeup, and I'm sure more, but I've drawn a blank.  The streets are closed to cars and there are hundreds of people walking around.  The buildings look fairly new and there are brightly lit signs on them.  Some stores have people standing out front clapping and yelling to try to get you to come into their store.  And then, there are some alley ways in between the stores that also have things to buy.  They are a little bit scary so we only went down one.  Anyway, we walked around for awhile.  Our friends, Karen, Ethan, and Mei Mei, were with us.  She bought a few things.  Then we ate at McDonald's and while we were there, we saw our friends, Kimberly, Abby, Wei Me, and Grandma.  It's nice accidently running into people you know when you feel like you're a million miles away from familiar.
We headed back to the island late and the babies were a littel cranky.  We got Parker ready for bed and of course, no matter how tired he is, he wants to talk it up at bedtime.  That, of course, is how I know he is MINE!  :o)
I hope you have a great day!