Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Raising my head to say hello....

Aubriana, and her big brother "Lil Dude"

A picture 3 years in the making!

American Consulate Day

I knew buying this outfit 3 years ago would pay off some day!

Hey Everyone,

I know I kind of left everyone hanging on how the trip ended et al; kind of like when you are watching an episode of a show and it is interrupted for a news update.

Let me pick up where I left off we went to the American Consulate and as a group we were sworn in. The American Consulate is simply a floor in an office building, it is nothing extraordinary.

The flight home was LONG and Aubriana was amazing not a peep out of her during the entire 26 hours of travel time!

I did have a panic attack on the last leg of the flight from San Francisco. No sleep, non-stop travel and the seats I had reserved before we left China were somehow no saved, resulting in me sitting in a window seat and Gary in the middle with the baby....not a good position for me, I totally freaked out and had to get up and stand in the aisle. I asked the poor man coming towards me to switch seats and give me the aisle, he was such a gentleman and that is the only reason I stayed on the plane, otherwise I would be living in a studio apartment in San Francisco right now.

Thankful Moment: We were standing in immigration in San Francisco, and I was overwhelmed with emotion at being home in the States I started to tear up and when looked at Gary his eyes were moist too. We really appreciate home so much; the cleanliness, the structure and order of things....we are so lucky to live where we do.

We were so excited to see friends and family at the airport to greet us when we touched down we all went out to a hamburger joint to visit and food never tasted so good.

Aubriana has adjusted amazingly well. The first night she woke up around 1:00 am, took a bottle, played and was back asleep by 2:00 am. The second night same thing only she woke up at 4:00 am and went down at 5:00; she has slept through the night ever since.

The biggest news is how well she is adjusting to her "virtual twin" aka Lil Dude; they are 30 days apart and really like each other. I'll post more about that later.

I am going to add some pictures from the last part of the journey, I want to try to document events as time permits; but with two babies under a year...time doesn't really permit.

Thank you for all of your support during our Journey.

Love Valerie

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Medical Exam

This picture goes with the one below (I'm still getting the hang of this Blogger thing) this artist takes a picture of your baby and paints it on the inside of small bottle; so that is upside down and backwards - very impressive.
The required medical exam, it is not a big deal very cursory, Aubriana did great until they tried to put the tongue depressor in her mouth - no food no open mouth.

We were told she weighed about 14 lbs. back in January, but she weighed in at 16 lbs. today 4 months later.

The exam area was air conditioned but there were many mosquitoes inside, TIP bring your own bug repellent, as we haven't seen any here and I'm told if you find it, it isn't very effective.

This is Alina, she is part of another group of families, but we were told several times from people in her group that they thought she looked like tell me?

Another view of the artist painting in the bottle.

Tomorrow our guide takes the paperwork to the American Consulate, then the next day we have the swearing in ceremony.

On a side note, a few people have left derogatory comments judging me, my personality, and family based on nothing more than a few paragraphs of reporting the details of MY journey.

I am not trying to author a fairy tale of Ribbons and Roses where everything is perfect and the birds sing your name, this is an honest reporting of my experiences and my feelings.

You don't know me or my situation; and I feel disdain for anyone who thinks that assessing people without personal knowledge and randomly (and anonymously) criticizing and judging them and their thoughts is a constructive use of time.

You and your comments are promptly deleted.

To all my friends and family, we love and miss you and can't wait to see you very soon.

Love Valerie

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Gardens and Red Couch Photos

Hello All,

Today was a trip to some lovely gardens, they were so beautiful and would have been a perfect day except for the oppressive heat and humidity. My skin does feel very soft though! The photos are a little out of order so please forgive...

We got to the couch a little early to get a few shots solo before the chaos ensued (she never had an afternoon nap and we were worried about a melt down.

Valerie invited herself into this group shot to immerse herself in the local culture, nobody was smiling before this shot!

A very large green house and a working clock in the grass.

Beautiful architecture, the fountains and architecture were set off by beautiful music over loudspeakers.

The park was all decked out in anticipation of the upcoming Olympics.

We bought Miss Aubriana a princess pink stroller for the trip home. She much preferred it to the rickety loaner strollers here on Shaiman Island. We were on our way to the Red Couch.

Aubriana and her Chen Zhou sister Abby.

A very happy family.

Mommy & her little Empress

Daddy's Girl

Tomorrow, we get visa photos of the babies and the medical exam.

We miss everyone and really enjoy your comments, keep them coming.

Love Valerie, Gary & Aubriana

Friday, May 2, 2008

Do you know the way to Guangzhou

This artist painted beautiful and amazing scenes,using only the side of his palm and finger nails.

Braving the heat at Chen Family Temple - You can feel your jeans shrink while you are wearing them.

This is basically how all the beds in China feel - Not kidding. I have asked for 8 pillows and three feather beds to equal a very firm mattress in the states. The sleep number here would be around 897

Chen Family Temple, lots of carvings and intricate artistry

Hello People,

Sorry for the delay in posting, but yesterday was a travel day....and oh what a day it was.

We left the Dolton Hotel at 12:00 noon to head towards the Changsha Airport....our group was traveling as a whole for the first time and we looked like we had been living there about 2-3 years with the trolley carts full of luggage we all had.

We made it to the airport and thought, great, we have a guide this time (Grace, the amazing) and this will be smooth sailing; yeah smooth sailing, like the Titanic.

Apparently on May 1 (the day we traveled) the entire country implemented a new rule that only one carry on was allowed per person; this meant a purse was a carry on. No more one carry on and one personal item, i.e. diaper bag, lap top computer, medical supplies et al.

We had already waiting in a long line to get our ticket and check our bags, when we were told to get out of line and check all of our carry on baggage, thus began the great dumping of the babies' food, formula etc.

Due to all of the extra baggage, our group was fined for being "over-weight" and we all had to pay more money before being cleared to go though security.

We paid the fines, and then proceeded to wait in the security line, where after about 25 minutes we were causing too much delay and they told us to get out of that line and go to another! We were all stopped for something or another, this time they didn't like the ice block I brought to keep my insulin cool. One of our travel mates was stopped for a baby toy - because it squeaked.

Then we got though security and walked to our gate, only to learn the flight would be delayed by an hour.

Tip: PACK FREAKING LIGHT - Be prepared for most things to go differently than you anticipated.

We were all scrambling to change babies in the airport and try to get them something to eat with the limited rations we had with us, as all of their stuff was either trashed or on the tarmac waiting for the ghost plane.

We landed after 7:30 pm from a flight that was only 50 minutes long.

Today we went to the Chen Family Temple.

I'll try to upload more photos tomorrow as time permits.

It is really hot and humid here, still little to no air conditioning in most places and a finding a cold drink is akin to winning the lottery, you hear it happens, but most likely not to you. I'm off to dream about my La-Z-Boy and all the iced tea I can drink.

Love V