Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Where's the poop?

I know it's a strange title. But right now, that's the big question. Poop is a real milestone and so far, we haven't seen any. I've never been so anxious to change a poopy diaper. Poor little Grace has been eating like a champ but it's not going anywhere. Sorry if this is TMI, but it's really an important topic of conversation. It seems the rest of the group has seen poop and their babies are all quiet and content. Gracie is fussy and uncomfortable. Steve fed her a whole bunch of prunes so we're waiting for them to work their magic. I'll keep you posted.

Today we visited a museum in Wuhan. They have a set of bronze bells that are thousands of years old. Grace was fussing, so I'm not sure how many thousands of years, but they are older than Christ. They were amazing. They had a bunch of bronze relics that were so detailed. One particular urn was so unique that only in the past year have they been able to figure out how to replicate it. The bronze work is so intricate and delicate - not an easy thing to do.

I think we were the biggest attraction at the museum. A large group of young Chinese girls followed us around the whole time and some wanted to take our pictures. I think they were most interested in our guide. He's a very cute young man. I love listening to him speak English. I want to repeat everything he says because his accent cracks me up.

I keep seeing Chinese people who look like people I know back home. It really is funny. It makes me feel more at home.

There's a park across from our hotel with a number of sculptures made out of flowers. The whole park is decorated with beautiful flowers. There's some kind of artist meeting here.

One unrelated bit of info, on the breakfast buffet this morning there was some pig stomach in chili oil. It sounded really good but I was already full. They also had preserved duck feet on the lunch buffet yesterday. Oh, and they have snake and turtle soup on the menu.

We ventured into the grocery store yesterday and saw quite an array of different foods. All their meat is just out in the open, not packaged up. They even had meat hanging out in the aisle. I hope I'm not repeating myself. I can't see our blog, so I'm not sure what I've already posted.

Hopefully I'll be able to post another picture soon. That's all for now, our angel is napping and I'm praying that the prunes kick into high gear soon!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Gracie playing in our room:
It's hot in Wuhan!

I don't think I've stopped sweating since we got here - probably more information than you all need to know. But my daughter sweats too! She was obviously meant for me. We had to do some paperwork this morning and she fell asleep on Steve and she had little beads of sweat on her nose. It was the cutest!

Wuhan is a really interesting city. So much going on and so many people - 8 million! I think all 8 million are outside on the streets at all times. Trying to cross the street is like playing Frogger in real life. The cars don't slow down and they certainly don't stop. You just kind of cross in between cars and hope you make it. I seriously have feared for my life a couple times.

Yesterday we went down to the 4th floor of our hotel at 10:30 a.m. to meet the babies. I had to make a copy in the lobby beforehand and I got a glimpse of the babies. Boy was my stomach in knots. All 14 families went to this really hot conference room (notice I'm sticking with the theme)to meet our babies. When they brought out Gracie I recognized her right away. She had a ponytail on top of her head and red chubby cheeks. And she was sweating. Must be my girl.

She cried when we took her, but when we got back to the room we took off some of her clothes and gave her a few toys and she was much happier. We even got a smile from her within the first hour.

She seems to like us both which is really good. There are about four other babies who will only go to Dad. That's pretty normal, we just got lucky.

Last night we ventured out to the department store that is similar to WalMart but has a couple levels. It was a madhouse. They play really loud music and I think all 8 million people were there at the same time. (Yes it's even worse than Eureka WalMart on Saturday afternoon!) It's really hard shopping when you can't communicate with the people. I feel bad that I can't communicate with them.

Our walk over there was interesting, too. We were somewhat of an attraction. People stared at us and many people wanted to talk to us - they all seemed very friendly and curious.

People eat a lot of food on sticks here. Everywhere you go there is a little store selling some kind of food on a stick - chicken, fruit, mystery meat. It's kind of like one big state fair everywhere you go. I notice that the people, both men and women walk very close together - just an observation. I guess in a town of 8 million you don't worry about personal space, even if it is 800 degrees!

I really should be taking a nap. Daddy and daughter are snoozing and I'm missing out. Sorry about not posting pictures. It seems they have to be compressed and I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Where is an Art Director when you need one!

I've been trying to reply to emails but I'm sure I won't get to all of them. I'm reading them and love hearing from all our friends and family. I'm ready to come home and we still have 10 more days!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

News Alert - Split Pant siting in Wuhan...details to follow.

Let's try this again...I tried to post once before and blogger would not cooperate - so I apologize for not getting any info to those who are anxiously waiting.

First I have to start with a story from Wuhan where we are currently residing in the White Rose Hotel. We decided to be extra daring and extravagant our last night without Grace, and eat at McDonald's. It was quite an experience. First of all it was the busiest McDonald's I've ever been to and it was two levels. We ordered by pointing to a menu. It pretty much tasted like McDonalds and everything was going along fine. Until I noticed another couple at a table across from us with their little boy in split pants. If you don’t know what split pants are, just take them literally – pants with a split right down the middle. Anyway, this little boy had on split pants and you could see his little behind, among other things, just hanging out. So, no big deal – you see split pants everywhere. Until the next minute when they sat their darling little boy down on the table in his split pants! So that his little bottom was on the table! Good thing we had already eaten and had not let our food touch the table – yuck! We got a good laugh from that. But shouldn’t there be some unwritten rule about not setting your kid down on the table if he’s wearing split pants??!!

Now on to the more important but not as funny stuff. We started our trip with a 4 ½ hour delay in the airport in Chicago. Needless to say, we could now give guided tours of O’Hare including the location of all the good restaurants! We finally arrived in Beijing around 7:30 at night and got to our hotel (the Swissotel) at 9p.m. We were exhausted and carefully got into our very hard twin beds to get some much needed sleep. Oh yea, the flight was pretty uneventful – cramped, long and we met some nice people who were adopting for the second time.

We started Saturday morning with an excellent buffet in our hotel. We met many of the families we’re traveling with and they are all so nice. I look forward to forming some lifelong friendships.

We took a bus to Tiannemen Square and the Forbidden City. It was very interesting and huge. It was amazing to think that this city was built for an emporer and his family and servants. It was very large with multiple palaces. The inside rooms were very expansive and looked pretty hard and cold. Not a warm cozy place – but a very old place. It was hard to imagine that it was built back around 1100. Wow!

My favorite part of the day was definitely the Great Wall. It was incredible and breathtaking. We climbed up the steepest side and made it to the second guard tower. My legs were about to fall off, but it was so worth it. Just to feel the stone and imagine the soldiers who used it and the men who built it. It was something I’ll never forget. Pictures can’t do it justice.

The ride to the Great Wall was also an experience. The Chinese live very modestly. Many live in what we would call shacks. There are many buildings that are falling down yet people still live in them. I also saw people living in large tents. I definitely think that people spend a lot more time outside – probably because their houses are not the kind of place you can kick back and relax in. There were people everywhere, in the most random places, at all times. And there are just lots of people. Traffic in Beijing is terrible- much worse than anything I’ve encountered in St. Louis!

One last thing about Beijing…we ate lunch at a restaurant that’s famous for their duck. Steve liked it. I was too chicken to taste it, but I had some great spring rolls. Four couples sat around a large table and the food was served family style on a big lazy susan. I also had to use the squatty potty at the restaurant. It was not easy and very hard on the thighs!

So far it's been a wonderful trip. It's kind of like being on vacation with a bunch of good friends. We just seem to click with everyone and we all have a good time.

Tomorrow I'll be a mom. We get our babies at 10:30 a.m. (So Mom, I'll be calling you around 10:30-11:00 p.m.!)

We miss you all!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ni Hao from Wuhan!

Finally a post. I meant to post last night but after climbing the Great Wall (that's right, I said Great Wall) I was exhausted.The trip has been a whirlwind so far. It started with a 4 1/2 hour delay in Chicago. Instead of getting into Beijing at 2:30 p.m., we arrived at 7:30 p.m. We were tired so after checking into our hotel, we went to the room, relaxed and fell asleep. The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast at the Swissotel buffet. There was a nice mix of American food along with Chinese. The omelets were great.

We started the day with a trip to Tiannemen Square and the Forbidden City. The enormity of it all was amazing. This little "city" was built strictly for the emporer and his family including concubines. It's huge and the rooms are very cold and expansive. It was very interesting. Everything looked very old and dusty - not very kept up. Considering that it dates back to the 1400s I guess that's to be expected.

After we toured the entire city we drove to the Great Wall. It was unbelievable. We climbed the steepest side to the 2nd tower - I felt like my legs were going to fall off! But it was so worth it. It's breathtaking. I've never seen anything so old and it felt surreal.

Just driving to the wall was an experience in itself. The people of China live very modestly. The apartments aren't decorated beautifully and cozy like our homes. It seems like people spend most of their time outside and only go inside to sleep. Some of the houses were little more than shacks and I saw many large tents that appeared to be homes. There were a lot of buildings that were half falling down with people living in the other half. I can tell you that there's no such thing as HGTV here.

We had lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant with roasted duck. Steve tried it but I wasn't brave enough. I did have some tasty spring rolls and rice with green beans and olive leaves. We sat at big table with a large lazy susan in the middle and everything was served family style.

We are now in Wuhan and are about to do some paperwork for the big day. There's a crib in our room - yikes! And we receive the babys at 10:30 tomorrow. They are being delivered to our hotel!

I'll post more with pictures later after all the paperwork. We are having an unforgettable time. We've met so many wonderful people and look forward to lifelong friendships with them.

We miss you all!

Steve and Chris

I ran out of time - look for pictures in the next post!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Random Thought...
I've been thinking a lot about what I can sing to Gracie when she's sad and needs some soothing. I love to sing and I've been waiting a long time to sing to my baby. I happened to be listening to some old Anne Murray music today (I love Anne Murry - she's right in my voice range) and I came across "A Love Song". It has the perfect chorus that I can't wait to sing to Grace. I hope she doesn't mind my singing. Steve doesn't seem to mind it. He never tells me to zip it! So here are the perfect words to the chorus:
I wanna sing you a love song
I wanna rock you in my arms all night long
I wanna get to know you
I wanna show you the peaceful feelin' of my home.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm going to be a Mom in 20 days! Eeek! Will I be a good Mom? Will I be as good of a Mom as my Mom? I can only hope that Steve and I can give Grace the kind of childhood my parents gave me - extremely happy. I can't imagine a better family life than what I had. If we can give Grace a life half as good she'll be lucky. But I won't settle for half as good. I want her to be as happy and satisfied in life as I am. I am truly blessed. I have faith that sustains me. I have a family that is second to none. If I can give those things to Grace, she'll be in good shape.

"God help me to be the best Mom I can. Give me your guidance in raising our daughter. Help me to teach her patience, kindness, compassion, optimism and happiness."