Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Little Things

Just a few things to update everyone - we all have a small cold and we think it has been waking Sarah up at nights around 4:00am. We have been having some trouble getting her back to sleep, although she still seems to have a large amount of energy during the day. She did very well at her doctors appointment - there was a little bit of crying and she had to get two needles - the first one she didn't even flinch but the second one hurt her and she cried. We have just been receiving friends and family in small groups as visitors and it seems to be working out well. Sarah takes a while to warm up but usually she is quite the little ham bone by the time they are leaving.

Sarah has been playing with her toys although her favourite toys are not toys at all - the mostly desired items seem to be those items in drawers and sitting on the counter. Sarah is still a fussy eater and we have been trying to get her to try different foods - a lot of the time she won't even put it in her mouth to try. We did have a breakthrough yesterday when Laura came by for a visit and brought timbits, coffee and tea and she brought herself a lovely fruit yogurt - she offered Sarah some and Sarah then proceeded to eat at least 1/2 of it and then ate one her her Daddy's yogurts and two timbits - Aunti LoLo is now her favourite Aunti, well at least until her next favorite Aunti bribes her with something she likes - but Laura is planning on a return visit fairly soon to keep her standing.

She did have some fun playing with Aunti Mandy's extra large teddy - she was really just picking it up and throwing it down but she seemed to really enjoy it. The other place she really likes to go is the park, although it's been a bit too cold for it - she is usually a little shy at first but then she decides it's a lot of fun and just marches up the stairs on her own to the slide - I have got her to wait most times to sit down and hold Mommies hand for the slide down - that's mostly for nervous Mom as I think she would have very little problem sliding down on her own.

Also once she get more comfortable she climbs up to the higher part of the slide and wants to go down the big slide - even Daddy doesn't like her doing that one on her own.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cyclone Sarah

We have had a number of family and friends come and visit and Sarah has done beautifully. We couldn't ask her to be doing better than she has been. She is laughing and playing and the cats (Brandy and Millie) have been great with her - she has poked them in the nose and eyes and used their tails for occasional handles, yet they still come around her - we keep reminding her to be gentile and she then pets them softly. Bear has been great as well and has not had any complaints about cleaning up her spills of Cheerios and various other bits of food.
Wes's Mom and Paul stopped by on Sunday for a visit and Sarah sat on Grandma's knee but only for the few seconds to grab this picture before Daddy had to rescue her. By the time they left she had warmed up a bit - she had just woken up from her nap and it takes her a little while to come around. Just like her Daddy.
By the next day she willingly posed in her coveralls to show Popie that she was all set to help bring in the hay for the horses.
Our little Sarah is a bundle of energy and has no problem playing with her toys and wearing out Mommy and Daddy - here is a shot of our family room after our little cyclone Sarah has gone through.
Tonight she decided that the animal treat and plastic's cupboard needed some reorganizing and decided the best way to start was to empty everything out onto the floor and then decided it was just the right height for a seat - what better way to clean out a cupboard than climbing in? Needless to say - she wasn't able to complete the reorganizing before bedtime so Mommy had to put everything back in while Daddy worked on the toys in the family room - when your a busy little 19month old - you just don't have time to pick-up after you play.

Tomorrow we go and see the doctor for a check up - luckily we were not caught up in the OHIP problems that a lot of our fellow international adopters have been caught in recently - some OHIP offices are denying our children coverage for three months - it is causing an incredible amount of unfair stress and duress on everyone in the adoption community and we are hoping everything will be fixed by April 1st so all our children can again be treated equally.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We're Home

We made it home after the long flight from China. Sarah was great on the plane - she slept some of the time and played on the seat the rest of the time. Here she is in her own seat on the plane.

We had a grand welcoming committee waiting for us at the airport. We were greeted by Auntie Heather, Uncle Kevin, Grandma, Auntie Mandy, Auntie Meghan, Cousin Rachael, my good friend Catherine and Kevin and Heather's good friend Heather. When we walked out of the arrival gates it was a flurry of camera flashes - we felt like celebrities arriving. We were greeted with a big welcoming sign and Sarah was showered with gifts of teddies, dolls and balloons. Heather was the official photographer and from the preliminary pictures we've seen they are going to be fantastic. The excitement was just beginning. Kevin took us to the "van" he had arranged to pick us up with - it turned out to be a beautiful stretched limo with all the bells and whistles. Sarah was whisked home in style. Once we got home we were again receiving royal treatment - Kevin had all our luggage brought in and he took out Sarah's car seat and installed in into our car so we wouldn't have to worry about it. Auntie Janice, Cousin Liam, Grandpa and Montana were waiting at our house for the big arrival. The house was decorated with pink and white balloons, inside and out.

They had some nice snacks waiting for us and Heather was able to take some more pictures. Everyone stayed for a little while and then left to try and get some rest. Sarah was quite tired and didn't want anything to eat so she had a nice bottle then went off to sleep in her new bed with her new quilt made by Auntie Janice - it's just beautiful, she also made a lovely bedskirt to match.Sarah had a good nights sleep and got up nice and fresh and had a lovely breakfast in her new highchair from Grandma and enjoyed playing with some of her balloons this morning.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Forbidden City/Tienanmen Square

Today was our last day of touring. We visited Tienanmen Square - lots of history and vast - it seems to go on and on - it's hard to get a perspective from the picture - there are soldiers walking around everywhere but you are not allowed to take their picture - if you ask - it's a definite No. Across the street is the Forbidden City - so today we were warned that there would be lots of walking and they were right.

The Forbidden City is very large and consists of a number of buildings and courtyards as does most of the Chinese architecture seems to have - what we have seen anyway - lots of stairs up and down and walking from court yard to court yard - not very stroller friendly but everyone in our group seems to have they system down - one takes the front of the stroller and one takes the back and up and down you go - everyone is now watching that everyone has their stroller buddy - if one parent is carrying the baby - a free parent or traveling friend/grandparent will grab the other end of the stroller - seems to have been working well.

Sarah even tried to do some of the walking herself - she seemed to really enjoy it - not something she would have tried just a few days away but she seems to become more and more confident and show more of her adorable personality. She still is very shy if someone else tries to talk to her or touch her - then it's right back to shy Sarah, but she seemed to enjoy walking with Daddy today.

She even did some stairs and was very pleased with herself when she got to the top.

It was a very warm day today and very humid - the pollution is also still quite high and noticeable in Beijing and we could really feel it today - still it was a nice day to see everything.

Sarah didn't quite make it through the entire Forbidden City and decided to have a nap before the gardens - she had a good 45 mins before we had to get back on the bus - it was enough to re-charge her as she was full of energy for the ride home and when we got back to the hotel.

Tonight we have a final dinner with the travel group - kind of farewell party - then we have one more sleep then we fly home tomorrow - we have enjoyed China but are ready to come home and see all our family and friends.
When we were getting our passport pictures done for the Canadian Embasy they had brought some clothing in and offered a photo package for the children - we got six pictures and a CD done - Sarah did not like getting her picture taken at all - she still didn't feel comfortable out of our room without being carried or in the stroller so posing by herself even though we were right there did not go over well but we did get some cute photo's - this is one of them - they photoshopped the backgrounds in.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pearl Market

Today we went to the Pearl Market - it's not just for selling pearls - it's a full market with everything - four floors with a food court in the basement. We were taken to the 4th floor which had a very nice store that sold pearls - you are of course their best friend - they were expensive but they make the necklaces custom and knot the string of pearls by hand while you wait. We only got the one strand of pearls as they were expensive but you are suppose to pass them down through the generations. The other floors had shoes, handbags, toys, clothing, fabric - they are designer labels but our guide said they are most likely knock-offs. You also have to barter with them - something Wes and I are not good at and they follow you right through their "territory" - they seem to have a territory they don't seem to cross into someone else's booth area - but they will still call after you. We picked up a pair of shoes for Sarah and a pair of pants and sweater and a shirt for Wes. Nothing too exciting. After the market we were taken to a tea shop where they gave us a tea ceremony demonstration - very interesting and we were able to sample some tea. Afterwards you could shop there as well but the tea again was very pricey so we decided not to get any.
We have been having dinner in our room most nights and as you can see Sarah is really starting to master the spoon and her favourite dinner is still spaghetti - she just loves it.
Tomorrow is Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City and we then have the afternoon off. In the evening they are arranging a party at a restaurant for the travel group - should be a lot of fun - we have gotten to know a few in our group and they are all very nice people. Some are staying due to flight times are staying to Friday - we are heading back on Thursday - we are really enjoying our time in China but are still looking forward to coming home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beijing Zoo

Today we went to the Beijing Zoo - we went in the afternoon so we had a nice relaxing morning - our little solider passed out in the bus on the way over and slept through part to of the Panda Bear exhibit. Luckily she woke up before we were finished. Here are some of the sights we saw - Sarah seemed to enjoy them and was full of energy by the time we got back to the hotel.
Tomorrow is shopping day!!!!! Sarah and I are looking forward to it - Wes - not so much.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Great Wall

Today was the day we visited the Great Wall but first we stopped at a Jade factory. They gave us a presentation and then we could shop - the workmanship and skill for some of the pieces is incredible. We only bought a couple of small pieces as it was extremely expensive.
Then it was onto the Great Wall - it's a bit of a ways out of the city and you travel into the mountains. It's incredibly windy and not what you think. The wall is made of stones that are worn down in the middle which is like walking on sea of pot holes. The temperature wasn't cold but the wind made it feel a lot colder - we had two coats on Sarah to keep her warm and you can't take your stroller on the wall because of the steps and in incline. It is like walking up the side of a wall - some spots are incredibly steep and I was very nervous - luckily Wes was caring Sarah - we only went to three towers which is considered pretty good but between the 2nd and 3rd tower it was so steep I used the handrail to get up as I was worried about slipping and falling - I have no idea how Wes managed on the way down since he was holding Sarah he really couldn't use the handrail - I held it all the way down that section.

As you can see our brave little solider made it to the top - then passed out - she had a nice little sleep all the way down and for a bit in the coffee shop before we left. We stopped at this copper factory to have lunch - it was really good - the guide ordered for everyone and it was a family style - it was really quite good although we didn't try some of it. Then it was time for shopping again. On our way out we got this cute little shot of Sarah between two solider statues.

On the way home Daddy and Sarah had a lot of fun on the bus.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2nd Day

There was a slight change in plans for today. We still did our paperwork for the Canadian Consult - they had to take Sarah's picture for her passport and then, if you wanted you could buy an additional photo package with traditional dress. We tried to get some pictures taken but Sarah doesn't like a lot of crowds and she doesn't like us not to hold her or sit on our knee, especially outside our hotel room. As you can imagine taking her picture was going to be a challenge. Firstly, she like to have something in her hands and her choice toys right now seem to be her diaper cream and baby power, so her lovely pictures have her holding them - we managed for the 2nd set of three to exchange them for another toy - but no smiles. Instead of the Zoo, they changed the plans and this afternoon we went to the Summer Palace and silk factory. Here are some of the pictures at the summer palace - it seemed to be a series of courtyards that passed into each other. As you are able to see - it was incredibly crowed and trying to get from one courtyard to the next was a bit of a challenge at times for the group as many of us have strollers and there are lots of steps up and down between the courtyards with tons of people trying to get through. - it's also along a lake and had some beautiful scenery.

It also has the longest corridor - which runs outside along the lakefront and is covered with very detailed painted ceilings.

Sarah again was as good as gold - she doesn't seem to mind her stroller - here's Sarah and Daddy at the Summer Palace. Considering she doesn't like crowds (already like her Daddy) and no afternoon nap (just about 20 mins on the bus) she did amazingly well. We don't know what we've done to deserve such a perfect baby.
At the silk factory they gave us a brief tour and explained how the silk was made, as well as the life cycle of the silk worm - very interesting. We were also able to pick up some items at the store at the factory - luckily - or unluckily for Wes - they take Visa. Sarah is just improving more and more each day - by the time we were coming back on the bus she was laughing and playing and even smiling at other people - up until now if we are out and someone talks to her she just goes into staring mode but not on the way home - she was just so relaxed and having a great time. When we got back to the hotel she was walking around the room on her own with no problems - she hadn't really ventured from the coffee table without taking one of us with her - but not tonight she was all over the place - we couldn't be more happy with her progress. Unless plans change tomorrow - we have an early call - ready for the bus by 8:30am - we go see the Great Wall, visit the Jade factory and in the afternoon we go to copper factory and drive by the Olympic Statium.