Sunday, December 26, 2010

Anna & Leo

They are quite the duo.  This video was taken last week.  Now, rather than barking with him, she tries to discipline him as I do by saying "baah" in a growly vioce when he barks - a useless endeavor yet often used trick from an unsuccesful round with b@rk bu$ter$.
Anna wasn't at first, nor ever has been afraid of him. He on the other hand, it sometimes afraid of her grabby little hands. He also is getting more attention than he ever has, but is terribly jealous of her. She gets more.

Anna is an amazing girl and amazes me more every day.
language - she seems to be picking up some level of understanding English. She says "upa" when she wants to be picked up or taken out of her high-chair. She babbles mamama but hasn't used mama appropriately to mean me, yet.
When asked "Anna, what does the tiger say" (unless distracted by the poodle) she'll ball up her fists and growl - very cute!
She is a very observant and busy girl.

She loves music and will dance anytime she hears a tune. I'm looking for a toddler music class to get involved in because I think I boring her with the same old things every day.

eating - she's a great eater. most days cheerios and yogurt and sometimes a half banana for breakfast. Usually a slice of whole wheat bread, slice of turkey and slice of cheese with applesauce or banana. Dinner is more difficult for me as is getting in veggies. She has spit out any green veggies so far except coarsely chopped green beans on Christmas eve. I'm trying that again tonight. She loves sweet potatoes and carrots and will have one of those for lunch and/or dinner. Meat is on and off - somedays she loves it some days not.
All in all she's eating well. We went for her 15 month well-baby visit on 12/20 and she had gained a pound since our return home ( were in the ped's office 11/22 for a quick check). She's now a whopping 19# - not on the American growth charts for her age yet, but we'll get there.
She's also grown a half inch since coming home and is in the 25% in height. Go Anna!

She loves Cara, my niece who is living with us and she will squeal with delight every morning when she sees her and every evening as Cara comes home from work. It is a mutual love thing with those two :) She waves "bye-bye" and blows Cara kisses as she leaves for work in the morning.

Sleeping has been a challenge, but I think we'll figure it out someday. my main goal is that she feels secure. She has, in the last week slept two nights - all night - in her crib without needing me to come in and help her back to sleep. That's amazing. Last night she was back to not being able to go back to sleep so I packed her off to my bed so I could sleep at least and she drifts off eventually, too.

She loves textures and likes to rub everything across her lips to feel it. Her blanky at night is a must for soothing.  Last week she was rubbing her lips softly across Cara's eyelashes and yesterday a visiting pooch 's tail was wagging and hitting her lips, she stood for quite a while taking in that sensation. It was hysterical!

That's the 411 for now,

I'll leave you with a photo from our 0ne-month anniversary of our family day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

On Christmas Eve Santa's Elves brought us all new Christmas pajamas to greet Christmas morning.

Anna & her cuz-aunt, Cara.  She was fine until she became worried that Leo was going after her toy (which he probably was)  then the wiggles were out of control.

First taste of bacon... num  num

My sweet brave girl on Santa's lap a week ago.

Hope your day is merry & bright

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We're home

A final wrap-up of China.   The red couch photo was the evening before we left.  It was a hilarious disaster with 18 screaming kids.

We then began our LONG journey home.  
As we entered San Francisco, my little girl became a US citizen.  
We sang America the Beautiful to honor the occasion.

And, finally in our home which couldn't have gone better.  
Not one screech or scream from or about Leo.    

We are now slowly adjusting to life at home.  ahhhh.....

Monday, November 15, 2010


This video was taken Sunday - donna went on the group trip to the zoo. Anna and I stayed behind for a little down time. It has been non-stop with some appointment or trip every day so a break was much needed.

Monday was the big day where we went to the US consulate for the swearing-in ceremony. Now, in both China and America's eyes, she is mine. It was so ordinary seeming, yet so monumental.
Anna woke with a fever and was fussy and not feeling well all day. The bus ride was torture for us both she totally melted down and was inconsolable. Many of the babies in this group are only happy when being walked. This was one of those times, but unfortunately, no walking allowed while on the bus.

The night was no better, and a visit to the clinic today revealed a sore throat and an ear infection. Medicine has now been started and hopefully Annabean will be feeling well soon.

Thanks for all the comments and e-mails.  I'm really appreciating them although I'm not able to respond too often.  We're really looking forward to coming home.  In the meantime, thoughts from home are so appreciated.

Shamian Island is a beautiful, tranquil place.  We've spent a lot of time wandering it's streets.  Walking and the ergo (love it!!!) are the sure-fire way to get this little energetic girl to sleep.

And when I say I love the ergo that was so generously gifted to me, I mean I LOVE it.  It's been so easy to carry her - which is her preferred mode of travel, and often as I'm involved in conversation I will glance down and these beautiful dark brown eyes are staring at me.

So far a bath is a VERY traumatic experience.  I thought a dip of a toe in the pool would be a slow introduction to water.  She didn't care for that either.

Dinner with the Tharps.  Anna and Ocie are destined to be long-time friends.  "dance party at Ocie's house!!"

Aunt Donna and Anna's Erkel jeans - not nearly enough booty to keep these on.

Jut before bedtime, she gets ramped up into giggle mania.  She climbs and crawls around like a little monkey cracking herself up.  Otherwise she is pretty reserved and shy and not very generous with her smiles.
This giggly time is the calm before the storm.  My girl has a tough time going to sleep and a lot of walking and rocking and crying is involved every night.

I am so impressed with the folks who have gone before me and have been able to blog regularly.  Between, sporadic computer service and the amazing amount of time it requires to keep one little girl happy, healthy and safe in a 150 square-foot hotel room, I've hardly had the time.  Hopefully there will be more posts coming.  But if not from China, then definitely stateside.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

15 months on 11/11

Anna turned 15 months on 11/11.  In honor of her birthday (according to me)  we took part in a city tour of the Six Banyon Tree temple - with a flower pagoda that is 1600 years, or so, old.  It's amazing that this peaceful place is in the middle of this bustling city of over 13million people.  It's a beautiful oasis of calm.

A ceremony blessing all the babies

Later in the hotel Anna showed again some of her mad crawling skilz.  

a few more pictures

Day 2 started with breakfast where we discovered that Anna was ready for table food.  Up to this point she has only had formula and rice cereal.  She LOVES cheerios.  At breakfast she also ate steamed eggs, sucked on watermelon (her Aunt Donna's favorite), had some yogurt and mashed bananas.

After breakfast, a 10 second bath was too much.  She is not fond of these yet.   not. at. all.

This is also the day she started to show us how flexible she is.  Her feet are two of her favorite toys - she can fold herself in half to play with them.

Day 3 was medical exam day:

All done

8.2 kg
75 cm in length

you do the math :)

Anna in Action 1

The first video of Anna in action - very long and redundant, but mesmerizing to me.

A few random pictures

Anna and Ocie

Anna with Auntie Donna

The orphanage director and Nanny

I have to say that Anna's sad eyes in all these pics slay me.   She is such an amazing girl.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

quick post

It's amazing how time flies here and we're sound asleep before I've had a chance to post a little eye-candy for you.
A more ordered post will come soon.

Yesterday we were sitting in the room and Aunite Donna put Bean on the floor.  Before you know it she was everywhere.  Hopefully the youtube will post from here. (it's long, but she was really showing off)

Anna in action

Monday, November 8, 2010

We have the baby!!!

This is Donna posting for Barb, who is a little busy right now holding the sweetest little baby you ever did see!  Today was the shortest bus ride we've had since we got here!  Anna went right to Barb and did not cry a tear.  Now, however, she does not want to let Barb go!  She has the darkest hair and the most beautiful dark eyes....and I'll go on forever, so best I let you see for yourself!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Killing time

It's actually Monday morning here in Guangzhou and I've woken early - a little before 5 am.  I guess that's what you do on the day you're going to see your daughter for the first time - you wake early.

To kill a little time before the breakfast buffet opens I'll put up the pics from Hong Kong.   I know, I know - you're not all that interested, you just want some baby candy -some pics of that Bean.  Me too. I promise those will come.
In the meantime, these will have to do.

We were taken on a tour of HK that started at Victoria Peak.  Unfortunately, it was a wet and rainy day and the peak was socked-in.

 After the peak and a huge traffic jam, we went to the fishing village for a ride on this little boat.

After a dim sum lunch that was quite tasty, we headed off to walk around a bit.  The crowds were great just as you would expect.  A little jostling to keep up with the others, but much fun and much needed exercise to stave off the jet lag.

Sunday morning we left for Guangzhou.  While waiting in the hotel lobby a lovely bride and her entourage cruised by.  Red is a very fortuitous color in the Chinese culture and the color still worn by most brides, I'm told.

 I didn't get a picture of the entrance, but after 4.5 hour ride with much of it sitting in traffic in Guangzhou, we arrived at the White Swan Hotel.  This is the view from the window of our room.

This is the view in the room   (!!!!!)

After along bus ride we've made it to the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou.
I will catch up with photos of Hong Kong soon.
Tomorrow is the big day.  I'm hoping for some good sleep tonight.

Friday, November 5, 2010

We've made it to Hong Kong

After 24 hours of flying, waiting, flying some more.  We've finally arrived in Hong Kong.

I flew Denver to Chicago to meet my sister, Donna there.  I sat by a lovely couple on that leg who were heading on vacation to Beijing.  They were thrilled to hear about my trip and to share about their little granddaughter, only a few weeks older than Anna - it was good insight for me.

Once in Chicago I met Donna (yay!!!!).  And then met up with a few others on the same flight from our travel group.

We then all excitedly, but reluctantly loaded ourselves into the plane for our 15+  (15:33,but who's counting) hour flight.  cramped, but we made it with the necessary gear in tow

Eye, pillow, ear plugs, neck pillow,blanket and ambien all added up to about 5 hours of sporadic sleep.

We finally arrived

made it through immigration resulting in Donna getting her first stamp in her passport  :)  A very proud moment.

Finally meeting our rep once clearing customs.  Then the reason we're here came back to me in a flash.

 As our bus pulled into the hotel, I looked in the lobby and there stood Rob and Michelle who are here with us to get Ocie.  They started their trip a bit early and visited Beijing first.  It was really good to see them!  Now it feel like this trip is real.

We're still adjusting to the time different - it will take a while with HK & China being 14 hours ahead.  By Monday we'll be grand.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bean's room

I'm leaving in a few short hours.  Now really isn't the best time to try to figure out how to use my video camera, but better late than never.

China bound

Tomorrow at 0'dark:30 I will begin the loooong trip to China.  I'm meeting my sister in Chicago then it's on to Hong Kong and eventually the Bean.

See you there.