Sunday, February 28, 2010

Forbidden City

Today we visited the Forbidden City. Wow. There isn’t much I can say that can adequately describe what it is like to walk through such an unbelievable place of history. It was amazing. The colors, the details, the architecture…everything about it just took our breath away. We weren’t able to stay as long as we would have liked because it was so bitterly cold and we didn’t want to keep Pudding out in the terrible wind. I am just thrilled that we were able to go and visit and show Pudding such a vital piece of his history. I do think he will appreciate seeing these photos of himself at such significant cultural landmarks when he is older.

Today he started showing us so much more of his personality. We are getting unprompted kisses from him…completely melts our hearts. We have gotten the first big belly laughs; he thinks it is hilarious to knock down the tower of blocks before we can even finish building them. He is such a rascal – we’ve discovered he likes to throw things in the trashcan and toilet, things like the remote control and important papers. I think he is going to keep me on my toes when we get home. Many of you have commented on how much he smiles. He is the happiest kid on earth. He wakes up with a smile on his face and it stays there all day. His smile lights up his whole face and brings a little twinkle to his eyes. He is such a flirt too. Everywhere we go, all the woman surround him and take turns holding him. He loves the attention.

As for his relationship with us, he definitely looks to Stu as the nurturer and me as more of a playmate. He wants Stu to carry him all day and is always willing to cuddle up in his arms. When he is in the mood to play, he brings me his toys with a big smile on his face. I think that this is because Stu is the one who feeds him (since he is much better with chopsticks than I am), but it’s such a reversal from our roles with Chipmunk, Monkey and HD. Whatever the reason, I think bonding is going great.

Time for bed now… if we can sleep through the fireworks. Evidently today is the Red Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Spring Festival here. Fireworks started at about 6:45 and have been going Not sure how long they are going to last but I don’t think it will affect our sleep at all. Jet lag is hitting Stu and me hard and by early afternoon we are struggling to stay awake. Hopefully Pudding will go down soon so we can all get a good night’s sleep.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Great Wall, great climb!

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet as we are so tired after our big climb. We started out bright and early with an hour-long drive to the Great Wall of China. I have been fascinated with the Great Wall since I was a young child and had been looking forward to this excursion since we knew we would be coming to China. No amount of research, however, can prepare you for such an amazing sight. The sheer size of the wall is enough to take your breath away.

We began with a rough start. Pudding did NOT like being in the ergo carrier at all. It was the first time we had tried it with him and he let us know immediately that he was not happy. It didn’t help that it was so cold outside; it had snowed earlier in the morning. I’m sure being stuffed into a carrier with a bulky coat on wasn’t fun, but I really wanted him to have the experience of “climbing” the Great Wall so we continued on. Our guide continually asked if we were sure we wanted to climb with him. We quickly found out why she was hesitant within the first couple of stairs. The steps were so uneven and steep. We found a rhythm though (about six steps up and then stop to catch a breath) and before we knew it we had climbed about half way up. We stopped at a landing to take pictures, and to get used to the difference in altitude, and I was suddenly surrounded by tons of people that were anxious to get their picture taken with the blonde woman with the Asian child. It was really the first time we had been approached because of our “western” appearance. We are stared at constantly walking down the streets; older people stop in their tracks to watch us pass with Pudding. But today was the first time people had actually come forward to ask questions about why a Caucasian couple had an Asian baby. Of course, maybe they just wanted their picture taken with the crazy lady who was trying to climb with a baby strapped to her chestJ Whatever the reason, I obliged…a little happy to have an excuse to take a few minutes away from climbing.

The higher we climbed, the harder it became. By this point Pudding was sound asleep and it began to snow. We finally made it to the first guard tower and took the obligatory picture. People everywhere were coming up to congratulate me for making the climb with Pudding. I was happy to begin our descent but soon found out that it is just as hard to climb down. Not only is it jarring to climb down that many uneven steps but by that point your legs feel like jello. We made it down without a fall and took a few minutes to bask in the fact that we had just climbed a (very small) portion of the Great Wall. While many people told me I was crazy, I am so glad that I was able to do that with Pudding. Such a tremendous experience for my little boy. I know he will have no recollection of it, but he will at least have pictures of it and be able to say that he made the trip to the Great Wall. There was no way I could pass up that opportunity for him.

At the end of the climb Stu and I took a picture at the stone with Chairman Mao’s quote “One cannot call oneself a hero until one has climbed the great wall.” Does that make me a super-hero since I climbed for two??!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Day (Part 2)

Apparently, not all of Ally's post made it to me last time, so I got the second part tonight. This was written last night there, which was this morning here.

He had his first bath with us tonight too. He liked it a lot I think. He kept trying to pick up and hold the water. He smells so good now; nothing like the smell of a clean baby rubbed down in baby lotion.
The only real issue we've had so far has been sleeping. He sleeps great once asleep: he went to bed last night at 8:30 and he didn't wake up until almost 9:00 this morning. He's taking 2+ hour naps too. But he refuses to have anything to do with his crib. The only time he has cried at all has been when we've laid him down in the crib, then the sobs start immediately. At this point, we can't even lay him down in our bed. He wants to be held to go to sleep and we can't lay him down until he's in a deep sleep. I know co-sleeping is great for bonding and I don't mind it a bit right now, but I can see where this is going to develop into a long-term habit. I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
We were also able to skype with Monkey and HotDog today. I was a little worried how HD would do with seeing us but I think she handled it great. I'm not sure she knew exactly what was going on but she did recognize us and blow us kisses. Monkey loved seeing his new baby brother and kept asking when we were coming home. It was so nice talking to them and introducing them to Pudding. We hope to skype with Chipmunk tomorrow when he'll be on the farm with Monkey and HD.
Thanks for all of the comments. While I can't see my blog, I do get to read all of the comments you leave and it's so nice to receive so much support and love from our friends and family.And a big thank you to my favorite sister-in-law Dana for posting to my blog and keeping everyone updated.
Off to sleep now. We are going to the Great Wall tomorrow so I need to make sure I get a good night's sleep.

Oops, I forgot a few...

Sorry, I forgot a few pictures! Here are a few more!

Happy Day!

Today was another fantastic day! It was a free day for us so we hung around the hotel all day, just getting to know more about each other. Pudding has really come out of his shell today. He is a funny little boy that loves to smile and laugh. He was a little subdued upon waking; I'm sure he is still very confused about where he is and who is with. After a big breakfast the smiles started and they lasted all day. We pulled out the stacking cups and after he knocked down the tower of cups we got our first real laughs. We made such progress in eye contact with him today too. Yesterday he avoided looking at us in the eye for too long; today he was studying us intently and started to mimic silly faces I was making. I know it's early in the game but I feel like we're making great progress in bonding. Tonight at supper we let him walk around our table and a waitress came over to play with him and pick him up. He played with her for a few minutes but as soon as Stu held out his arms, Pudding came running back to him with a smile. Speaking of supper, I am SO impressed with his appetite. This kid eats anything we put in front of him: congee, fruit, pork ribs, rice, french toast, sausage, celery and onions...the list goes on and on. The only thing that he has turned down so far is a tomato, and I think that is more due to the consistency rather than the taste. Maybe Pudding will teach HotDog how to eat her vegetables.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

So, I am new to actually posting blogs, I am doing the best I can, but here is a run down of the pictures so far of Pudding.
1. Just hanging out...
2. Pudding checks out his new brother's and sister
3. Pudding seems as happy to be with his parents as they are to be with them
4. Having lunch
5. First time Daddy held Pudding
6. Mommy and Pudding, love at first sight

Simply Amazing! 2-25-10

Such an amazing day! We picked up Pudding this morning and have had a wonderful first day with him. At the orphanage he was a little subdued when they brought him in and we hung back a little bit, as not to overwhelm him. After a few minutes, Stu held out his arms and Pudding went right to him! We had to run several errands around town and he was very quiet in the van, just taking in all the sights. His face lit up when I pulled out a little musical toy and that was the opening we were looking for. He quickly learned how to push the button to make the music play and we started to see brief smiles. The first real smiles happened when I pulled out the Cheerios. He took his time eating the first Cheerio in four bites; about 2 minutes later he was shoving three and four Cheerios into his mouth at a time. Later at lunch, he chowed down on some lemon chicken and a pork dish (thank goodness Stu is an expert with chopsticks; me...not so much. I just about blinded myself the first time I used them). This little guy can eat some serious food...which is good because he is tiny. He is just about 2.5-years-old and the 12-18 month clothes we brought are rather large on him. He definitely has some catching up to do.
After going to the Civil Affairs Office for more paperwork we can back to our room for nap. As soon as I put him in the crib he started crying. Of course I picked him and he snuggled right down on my chest and fell asleep. He ended up sleeping for about 2 hours like thatl anytime I tried to put him down he would start crying again. Not sure how that is going to bode for a good night's sleep tonight but I'm not complaining - I love my little snuggle bug! As I sit here typing, he just finished his bottle of milk and has fallen asleep in Stu's lap. So sweet.
While he has remained fairly quiet and withdrawn today, we've seen brief glimpses into quite a mischievious personality. He loves anything that makes noise or plays music. He's also quite ticklish on his feet and legs. And he LOVES books (a boy after my own heart). He spent about 30 minutes looking at a little photo album we had sent, full of pictures of us and the kids. We are hoping to skype with our little ones tomorrow so they can see each other for the first time.
I can't believe that after almost ten months of waiting, our little Pudding is finally in our arms. It feels like all of our dreams have finally come true. I know it won't always be smooth sailing, and we still have a long journey of bonding and attachment ahead. But everytime he looks up at me with those big black eyes (with such long eyelashes) or offers me a quick smile, my heart just melts and I know he was worth every second of waiting.
Now off to sleep while he sleeps. Good night!

Ok, so this is Dana, I have some pictures to post, but I am having some difficulty at work getting them to upload, but I will have them up for everyone as soon as I can. I am so sorry, but there are pictures on Facebook on my page and Ali's.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


We are in China! Our plane landed a couple of hours ago and we are now (at 11:50 p.m.) settling into our hotel room. The flights were great (even arrived early on one leg) and I was able to sleep most of the way.Now I'm going to have to force myself to try to get some more sleep but I have a feeling I'm going to lay awake with excitement for most of the night. We meet Pudding tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Yahoo!!!!
I'll update when I can.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Flood of Emotions

It seems like it was yesterday that I was posting we had two weeks until our trip; now we have less than two days! Between moving, basketball games, snow days and sickness, the time has flown by and we leave in about 40 hours.
The good news is that the move went great. Thanks to help from some incredible family members, we managed to move all of our big furniture on Saturday morning and I had most of our boxes unpacked by Sunday morning. We've settled in and the new house is already starting to feel like home. I am amazed at how well the kids handled the transition too. The boys were so excited about it, and many of their best friends (and cousins) live nearby so they were already familiar with the neighborhood. I was very concerned with how HD was going to take the change. We moved when Chipmunk was right around the same age as HD and he had a very difficult time for the first month or so. HD was a little apprehensive for the first few hours but she quickly found her favorite toys in the playroom and she hasn't looked back since. I think it helped that I had her room set up almost exactly like her old one so there was some familiarity there.
I was hoping that I would be able to focus on getting ready for our travels this week. No such luck. Between snow cancelling two days of school, waiting for the TV guys, Internet guys, and Josie having croup, I got absolutely nothing accomplished this week. We did have a LOT of mommy-and-kids time which is always a good thing.
So now it's Sunday afternoon and I need to start packing. But as I sit here and pack clothes for Pudding, I get lost in my thoughts of the coming weeks. While I am SO, SO, SO excited about finally meeting our little guy, I can't help but think about what a monumental change is about to happen in his life and how scary it is going to be for him. Stu and I know that this is a good thing, but all Pudding will know is that we are strangers that look different, talk different and smell different. We will be taking him away from everything he has known in his life. Even if the caretakers have tried to prepare him, there is no way you can explain the concept of a family to a 2.5-year-old. While I'm hoping and praying for a smooth transition full of hugs and smiles, the reality might be far different. I'm prepared for that (as much as possible). It just breaks my heart to think of the fear and hurt that Pudding is going to experience.
And then there is the fact that Stu and I will both be gone for 18 days. I know that my children will be very well taken care of (to the point of being spoiled) by family members, but 18 days is a long time to be away from my children. While two weeks of traveling to Kyrgyzstan for HD by myself was not ideal, I took great comfort in the fact that Stu was home and my kids had one parent with them. I have to keep reminding myself that this one-on-one time with Pudding will be a great start towards bonding and attachment. I have been joking that just having one child to handle will be a vacation for Stu and me but I know that I'm going to miss my kids tremendously. We will by skyping with them daily (we hope), but I'm not sure how HD will do with that. It might make her separation anxiety worse; I guess we'll play it by ear.
I still can't believe that we are so close. It seems like years ago that we saw his picture and now we are three days away from having him in our arms!! Yes, I did say three days: we leave here early Tuesday morning, arrive in Beijing late, late Wednesday night, and receive Pudding early Thursday morning. Not sure how I'm going to handle that as I am a notoriously bad traveler. I don't mind traveling (Stu might disagree with that point) but it completely knocks my body off kilter. I tend to sleep the entire first day we arrive at our destination; I'm not talking about a light catnap, I'm talking a dead-to-the-world sleep for the first 24 hours. Guess that won't be happening on this trip. Now you are prepared if I happen to look like a zombie in the first pictures we post. Speaking of which, my sweet sister-in-law has volunteered to add my posts to the blog while I'm gone so I hope to have daily updates here, with pictures too. I can't wait for everyone to see how adorable our little Pudding is! Thanks to everyone for all of the support, prayers and good wishes. I can't believe it's finally time...after I finish packing, of course.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two Weeks!

I can't believe that in two weeks we will be leaving for China to pick up our Pudding! It has been nine long months since we first saw his little face and dreamed of the day he would become a member of our family. Now, with just 14 days left to go, our days are flying by. Between preparing our new house for the big move (this weekend) and gathering documents/packing for China, I don't seem to have enough hours in my day. Instead of getting as much rest as possible before our trip, I find myself awake at 2:00 in the morning, my mind racing with thoughts of things I need to finish. I have been a bundle of stress and felt so anxious and overwhelmed. And then today it hit me: this is ridiculous. Yes, we are moving to a new house this weekend and we still have work to do before it's ready. But this time should be about Chipmunk, Monkey, HotDog and Pudding. My three children at home are getting ready to have their worlds turned upside down; they will be moving to a new home, having both their mommy and daddy gone for 18 days, and getting a new brother. Pudding deserves for his mommy and daddy to be jumping up and down in joy over our impending travel. I go into total nesting mode before we travel on each of our adoption trips. I've been unable to do that since we are moving, but that shouldn't stop me from getting deliriously happy over pulling out my little boy clothes from storage or trying to decide which blanket to take with us, knowing that soon I'll be cuddling my new little boy in it. Today I decided that I'm letting go of all of the stress and worry and simply enjoying these last few days as a family of five.
Two weeks....can you believe it?!?!?