Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We are a family!!

This morning was our American Consulate Appointment and we officially have a new family member. Tomorrow afternoon we pick up Tatum's Visa and we are on our way to Hong Kong!!

This afternoon we will head to the Island for a few last minute purchases, have some dinner on the Island and start the packing process before we check out of this beautiful Marriott to head home.

This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I am so thankful to have shared this journey with my best friend. Todd has been amazing these past two weeks and I think I have fallen more in love with him (if that is even possible). It's been hard, challenging, exhausting, and tense at times....but I am thankful to say we have had many more happy times than the other emotions. Adjusting to life with a toddler is hard for anyone, especially first time parents....but we are learning all of our needs and then we work it out with ease.

2 more sleeps until we are home!!

Guangzhou Zoo

 We had a great day at the zoo in Guangzhou. It was HOT, a lot of walking, and Tatum is still not really a fan of her stroller....but it was beautiful!
 Map of the zoo layout
 Tatum and Daddy watching the Monkey show

So sweet....holding Daddy's hand watching the monkey show

 Getting sleepy on the train ride through the safari

 Feeding the giraffes for $1
 I feel like this was a dream come true...I LOVE Pandas
 Chillin' on some ice....I wish he would have shared!
 Laid back eating some bamboo
Fun with Mom on the bus ride back to the hotel

We had a great time today....no nap, but it is 5pm and we are still smiling! I think this evening we will get an early bed time at last!! :)

Tomorrow is our American Consulate Appointment...Yahoo!! We are going to the Island in the afternoon then getting ready for some packing!! We leave for Hong Kong on Thursday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chen Family Temple and Pearl Shopping

Today we toured the Chen Family Temple with our guide and travel group. It was a hot, humid day...so it was tiring walking around the temple with Tatum. Thankfully she enjoyed some Daddy time which is a welcomed break for my hips!!

 We had Tatum's chop/stamp made by this man. He carved her Engligh and Chinese name on the stamp

 Daddy and Tatum taking a break from touring and shopping
 Mommy and Tatum getting ready to leave the Temple
 A view inside the market we bought some pearls. It was amazing-all these stores were jewelry as far as the eye could see.
 Inside the store we bought Tatum's pearls
 The sweetest lady helping me choose the strands I wanted for myself, Tatum and our beautiful God-daughter, Lucy. I can't tell you how inexpensive these are here, and so beautiful.
Then, you choose the clasp you want and they string the pearls for you as you wait...what a neat thing to see.

We also walked across the street to another market and bought some squeaky shoes. Tatum wasn't too sure of them at first...but I think the more she wears them the more she will like them. It's so funny to hear them walk with these shoes on!

We got back to the hotel and we played for a little before heading to dinner with David, Tia and their family. We ate at the hotel restaurant and then were all in bed very early...Tatum had a long day with a very short nap. This baby needs her sleep!!

Today we are scheduled to go to the zoo here in GZ, but I think we will see what time Tatum wakes up. It is going to be hot and humid again today, and as much as I want to see a real Panda in China....a happy baby is my priority! I really want to go back to the Island for some more shopping and we need to buy a new suitcase to bring home all the goodies!! :) This adventure has been life changing, but I am also very ready to go home and get into our daily routine. I feel like there is so much to still see in China and I am worried we will miss something, so that is hard too. I hope one day we will return....who knows, maybe we will adopt again?!

Tomorrow is our American Consulate Appointment, then on Thursday we travel to Hong Kong and Friday we fly HOME!! This really is the home stretch now....I will miss our travel group so much, they are all wonderful people and such special friends. I hope we meet up in years to come.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guangzhou-day 2

 We had a very relaxing Sunday at the hotel today...Tatum is NOT much of a morning girl, so we skipped out on the Park Tour today and just enjoyed some time playing and bonding as a family.
 Not really a bath fan still....so we bribe her with toys afterwards
 Fun in the hotel play room
 A family from our travel group is staying in the room right next door to us. They have a 6 year old, Sophia, that loves to play cups with Tatum!

As soon as Tatum went down for a nap today, I slipped out and enjoyed a 2.5 hour hair cut, shampoo and blow dry...it was heavenly and I felt HUMAN again! Tatum woke up while I was gone and Todd changed a dirty diaper and set her up with some Smurfs on the IPad. I think that really helped her get over the hurdle with him.

 Guys, I can put my shoes on myself...backwards, but on by myself!
 Before dinner....Tatum and Daddy were walking down the hall together holding hands....then she let him pick her up. This melted all of our hearts....I think the day off paid off leaps and bounds!!
Dinner....chicken and rice....she is a rice machine!! We also gave her a spoon tonight, and she would push it to her mouth then use her hands to shovel the rice in....too funny!

Today we have a tour planned for the Chen Temple then the Pearl Market in the afternoon. I am not sure if we will do both yet or not. We will see how Tatum wakes up this morning. I definately want to do the Pearl Market in the afternoon though. We want to get a strand of pearls to add to her Wedding Box for the future. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First day in Guangzhou (Saturday) and Medical Exam

 One interesting sleeper!

 On the island...outside the visa photo store/laundry/clothes store
with our travel group
 Outside the Physical Exam office
 Inside the clinic
 Waiting our turn to be seen by the doctors and nurses. There were 3 steps to the process: ENT, physical and height and weight
 Physical-head measurement
 Pretty nurses weighing me (22lbs)
 I did not like the ENT exam Mommy!!
 A beautiful bride getting her pre-wedding photos
 This is HUGE in China. They rent dresses from the photography store and get photos before the wedding with their groom....so pretty to see!
 Happy baby playing on the bed before a LATE bedtime Saturday night
Daddy and Tatum playing together

We had a great afternoon playing in the playroom at the hotel. We did ALOT of walking back and forth between Mommy and Daddy, and lots of giggles. Then, we went to dinner and enjoyed rice, chicken, watermelon and cantaloupe. This was one of Tatum's best meals and happiest. We even tried ice-cream for the first time, but that was pretty cold.

I didn't have my camera with me for the walking or dinner...and it was totally worth it. Those are memories I will never forget...and it was nice not to lug things around. Poor Todd is really feeling like a pack mule, but Tatum wants me to hold her constantly...which we will happily abide to!

After dinner, we played in the hotel room with lotion, rolled around on the bed and giggle alot! It was fabulous.

Today we are skipping the tour to Chen's family temple. Tatum needs a break from tours and buses to just be a 2 year old....and we need a break from a fussy baby!! As soon as she goes down for a nap today, I am high tailing it to the salon for a hair cut and blow dry...Todd went yesterday and said it was fabulous! Once she is down for a nap, we have a good 2-3 hours....and I can't wait for some pretty hair. It's been a tough week with a poor hair dryer and winging it in the beauty department....I need to feel pretty again!! LOL

Tatum is still waking up right now...she is a SLOW waker upper that's for sure. We are learning that and rolling with it. Anything to do what she wants so we win her trust and have fun together as a family.

Happy Sunday from Guangzhou!! We couldn't be happier as a family of THREE!!

West Lake and Guangzhou arrival

 This girl LOVES to eat!! (Sorry about the yucky nose....)
 Our happy family of 3 at West Lake
 Stacey, Ray and Zhou Lei (our friends for life...I don't know what we would have done without them this trip)

 Beautiful view of the lake

 So happy to be leaving our hotel in Hangzhou!!

We had to meet at 4:30pm to get a van to the airport with the Constantian family and our guide, Michael. Our flight to Guangzhou was at 7:05pm. Tatum played really hard and really happy on Friday afternoon in the hotel...and only took a 1.5 hour nap, if that! I was really nervous for what the flight would bring....but we still had a happy baby and it was a success!!
(Pictures from the flight to come from Todd's i-phone...he's sleeping right now so I can't upload)
 The beautiful Marriott in Guangzhou...we arrived a little after 10:00pm and I cried tears of joy entering this hotel room!
 Tatum and Daddy spending some time getting to know one another...she is slowly warming up to him
Thank you Marriott-Guangzhou for our baby arrival basket!