Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now she's walking!

Well after we got back from China, it took us quite some time to recover from the trip. Plus Kyle had to make up the 3 finals he missed and then take his qualifying exam in late June. (I'm happy to say that I passed, even if it was marginal!)

But we wanted to show some updates at long last so you can see what the girls are up to. The big news of the last week or so is that Julia is really walking, mostly unassisted now -- we never know where she'll go in the house anymore. This is something she has been wanting to do since we got home in May. Now we wonder what her next project will be!

Here are a couple of our favorites of Emily & Julia together:

In late June, after Kyle's biggest test was over, we all spent some time with the grandparents in Corpus Christi at the beach.

We also worked on getting Julia's US passport. Here is the picture we ended up using:

Another picture of Julia playing at home:

And once again, I'd like to share a couple of favorite translations with you. This one requires a little explanation: on one of our domestic flights within China, we were provided a handi-wipe with this helpful translation:

On that same domestic flight, I had a free moment and was looking through the in-flight magazine. (I'm not sure quite why I did this, as my Mandarin is really rusty these days.) But I noticed that the editors helped us English speakers out with a headline from time to time, apparently to give us an idea of what the article was about. I found this headline interesting. It seems that their spell-checker broke down:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Praise and Prayer

Thank you for all who have written in and given us your support on this incredible journey. There are so many things to give praise for I can not even list them all. May God receive the glory for all that has been done and that he will do.

We are still in need of prayer. Jet lag has taken its toll on everybody more than I thought mostly Julia which in turn takes its toll on us. Please pray that she will adjust quickly and that the Lord will give us strength and endurance during this time. Please pray for hope that sleep will be in our future.

Kyle said he has taken some time off from blogging so you will probally just have me when I can.

Thanks again to all you wonderful people giving us support and praying for us.

love, shannon

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finally Home!

A picture from Guangzhou a few days ago: Big sister Emily feeding her little sister.

Well, we all made it home safely last night. All in all, it was a fairly uneventful trip home. Luckily the flight from Beijing to San Francisco was fairly empty. Julia and especially Emily were real troopers through the whole thing. There wasn't much crying or screaming at all, given the circumstances.

After sleeping off and on until about 2:30pm today, we took Julia to the park nearby for what may have been her first experience in a swing. She really liked that!

So for a few pictures, I thought I would focus on our big day in Beijing on May 8. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. We got to see Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and then we drove by the Olympic Village on the way home. It was a long day, but it was great to get to see all of that and keep those memories.

Here we are at Tiananmen Square, just before going into the Forbidden City.

Now our excellent guide Grace is showing us that we need to touch the door into the Forbidden City for good luck. (I was thinking about the millions of hands on the door and skipped out on that one.)

Now we're on the Great Wall:

Emily, Kyle & Julia climbed up higher on the wall, along with some of Sarah's family (Emily's friend). Here we are coming down the extremely steep steps:

Shannon may kill me later, but this is a shot of family and friends greeting us at the Austin airport yesterday evening. Julia was doing real well at the time.

And to wrap up, here is another translation I liked. This one was posted prominently all over the Great Wall. (It appears that talking cellphones pose a real danger at times.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Last full day in Beijing

Well we made it to Beijing yesterday, safe and sound. For some reason, these little flights are completely exhausting. (Of course getting up at 4:30am probably contributed to that.) We were all getting on each others' nerves yesterday.

Today (May 8) is our big tour of Beijing. Somehow we'll see part of the Great Wall, Tiananman Square, the Forbidden City, and maybe the Olympic Stadium? We'll see how all that goes. Then the next day we head home at noon.

Maybe I'll have time to add pictures later, but thought I'd publish another quick update while I had the chance. Landing in Austin at 5:07pm on May 9!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Final days in Guangzhou

Just a quick note to say that all has gone well with the medical exam required for the US Consulate, and our paperwork was in order. (a sigh of relief) Tomorrow (5/6) we will have a quick ceremony at the Consulate and will have official permission for Julia to enter the US and become an American citizen. Here is a picture of Julia (and Shannon) talking with one of the doctors we had to see yesterday for all of this.

Also, here is a "clear" day in Guangzhou from our hotel room today. Not sure if the sun was out or not.

Then here is one more picture of Julia (and Kyle) taken at a park in Changsha a few days ago. A Chinese lady really wanted to see and touch Julia. That happens quite often.

So on 5/7, very early, we'll head to the airport and fly to Beijing for a final day of sightseeing. We're starting to pack now. Hopefully we'll blog one more time before heading home on 5/9!

Friday, May 2, 2008

From Changsha to Guangzhou

On Thursday (5/1) we left our hotel in Changsha, our home for the past 9 days, and headed to the airport. It was quite a sight to see all of us families (8 groups) loading up and heading out together. I thought we were getting to the airport way too early. But this was the beginning of the 3-day May Day holiday in China. As it turns out, a new regulation about carry-on luggage went into effect on May 1. They are now extremely strict about "one bag per person," and very focused on the size (as well as weight) of the carry-on luggage. As we had traveled with a laptop computer and video/still cameras in two separate carryon bags without any incident earlier, we assumed that would be no problem. But in the end, we had to reshuffle our bags and check just about everything. Even though all this work was only for a one-hour flight, we were completely worn out and hungry by the time we got on the plane. Above is a shot of us in the middle of our long wait at the Changsha airport.

Then we made it to Guangzhou (along with all of our bags). It was nice to grab a quick bite at McDonald's as we headed to the White Swan Hotel. It's a great hotel. Here is a shot of us in the lobby. It has taken us a little while to recover from the trip. That's one reason we're just now getting around to posting anything. Thankfully Emily has finally found a friend her age who is in the other Great Wall China Adoption group that has also landed at the White Swan. They are getting to spend some time together as we wait.

Tomorrow (5/4) the babies will have medical exams in order to request visas to enter the US. We are getting closer to the end! We'll leave here on May 7 for 2 days in Beijing. Hopefully we'll have time to post again in a couple of days.

Now for some more humorous photos... This first one is from the Changsha zoo. In addition to the great English translation on the sign, you can see a black and "tan" panda in the background if you look closely.
Then our group's favorite translation so far: "Stuff Only" -- intended to say "Staff Only." This is at the entrance to one of the parks we visited in Changsha.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Now we're smiling!

I thought I'd start off with some of our most exciting news - we're getting smiles and giggles now! Especially today. These top two pictures are "hot off the press." We just needed to figure out some basic things like what formula to use, how hot to serve it, and in what bottles. Also a few good days/nights of sleep and bonding didn't hurt.

In the last couple of days we have been to a couple of parks and then the zoo today. The zoo was a little different, of course. As usual, our group of families was the center of attention. Here are a group of girls who wanted to tell me that Julia is cute. Of course they had to touch her also.

Then Emily got a dinosaur balloon that walks. Pretty cool for $3. She wanted me to show this one.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we'll be packing, then on Thursday we fly to Guangzhou to get ready for our US Consulate appointment. It will be interesting to see how we'll get all our junk into our 3 bags to check.