Happy Beginning of the Holidays!

 The Family

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We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at Nana and Poppy’s house.   This was Surae’s first big social outing and she did very well.  All the kids running around didn’t seem to phase her one bit and she seemed fairly relaxed.  Michael and I are still getting over stomach bugs, so we didn’t eat as much as we would have liked, but we still filled our bellies pretty full!  Surae has continued to struggle with a cold and also the switch to whole milk.  We had initially tried to give her American formula and she did not do well with that, but didn’t do much better with the milk.  So, yesterday we switched her to soy and so far it seems to be helping.  I just want Surae to feel better!  I feel so badly for her that she has been sick since we got home.  It can’t make her adjustment any easier.  Today, we got out all of our Christmas decorations and Graham was very excited to see everything come out this year.  I am so thankful that we were able to bring Surae home before Christmas!

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Surae Update

Life is starting to resemble normalcy in our household, thank goodness!  After 4 nights of almost no sleep, Surae decided on Wednesday night to give sleep a shot and try out the American Eastern time zone.  She slept in her crib Wednesday night without waking until 12:30 am and then woke every hour or so to be consoled, but stayed in her crib and went back to sleep really quickly.   Last night was absolutely great!  She slept until about 2:30 am and then went right back to sleep.  She woke up around 5:30 both mornings, but we can work on that later 🙂  It looks like we may be on the right track and I am starting to feel like a human again.  Sleep really does help. 

Surae’s Nana and Poppy came over yesterday.  Happy Birthday Nana!  Surae is enjoying meeting all of her new family!

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Back Home and a Bit Crazy!

 We arrived home Saturday night around 11:00 pm after a very long flight.  The plane ride was the part of this journey that I feared the most and it really turned out to not be as bad as I thought it would be.  After fussing for a couple of hours, Surae passed out and slept for quite a while.  Well, little did I know that would be the most sleep she would be getting for some time!  In China, Surae slept through the night since day one, but arriving home has been a different story.  The combination of the 13 hour time difference and the total change in environment has thrown her for a loop!  We have been up most of the night every single night since we arrived home.  She is really needing constant attention from me right now which is very understandable and which I am ready to give, but, boy is it exhausting!  So, for all the people who have called and emailed and received no response, I have to give a blanket, Sorry.  I have just been totally swamped.  In China, I could put Surae down and leave the room.  But, she here needs the comfort of my arms most of the day.  This makes little things like showering pretty tough!  Luckily, my dad, has been here and helping a lot and Surae has really taken to him, thank goodness!   To make things a little more difficult, Surae also has a pretty bad cold.  I took her to the doctor yesterday and she has to be on the nebulizer and had to receive a chest x-ray. 
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Graham has been a fantastic big brother so far.  He has wanted to feed Surae her bottles, hold her, and when she cries, he gives her toys without me even asking him to.  Of course, with mommy being gone for 3 weeks, he has needed a good bit of extra attention from me which I am trying desperately to give at the same time as meeting all of Surae’s needs. 
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Micahael went back to work on Monday and was totally jet lagged and then on Monday night developed a stomach virus and was up all night sick.  So, life has been a bit hectic to say the least, but I know Surae wil get more and more adjusted each day and things will get better!

Qing Ping Market

We are home although most people wouldn’t even be aware of that since I’ve been unable to even pick up the phone, but more on that in a second.  I wanted to do my last Guangzhou post with the pictures we had taken from Qing Ping Market which is right across the bridge from Shaiman Island in Guangzhou.   Qing Ping Market is a real locals market and not the type of place where you find souvenirs to take home from your trip.  Qing Ping is filled with all types of spices and creatures that the Chinese consume and some of them are quite questionable.  For instance, we saw buckets and buckets of scorpions that are cooked and eaten and canisters of roaches as well.  We also saw millions of dried seahorses and starfish.  Our guide told us about the Chinese philosophy of eating that really came to light in this market.  “The only thing without legs we don’t eat is the table.  The only thing in the water we don’t eat is the boat and the only thing in the air we don’t eat is the airplane.”  Here are some pictures that show you just how true that is!

Mushrooms 
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Snakes

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Starfish
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Roaches
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Scorpions
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Some kind of really brightly colored fruit.
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Here is Surae eating at a Guangzou Thai restaurant, the Cow and Bridge.  We are there several times and it was yummy.  I wonder if they bought their ingredients from Qing Ping Market!

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Yuntai Gardens and The Infamous Red Couch Pictures

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The group made its final big outing yesterday to Yuntai Gardens. What a gorgeous place! The city of Guangzou has really poured some money into these gardens. This is the Disneyland of Gardens. The Yuntai Garden is located at the foot of the Baiyun (White Cloud) Mountain. The weather was again absolutely spectacular and we had a great time.
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Michael especially loved the enormous ancient bonsai trees.
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There were lots of school kids there on field trips and they were adorable. A lot of the groups wear matching outfits and they again all wave and say hello in English. I loved seeing all the kids!
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After we returned from Yuntai, we prepared for the Red Couch Picture. This is a White Swan tradition. All of the families dress their babies up in traditional Chinese clothing, put them on a couch, and then the babies proceed to scream their heads off and pictures are taken. It’s a bit torturous, but the babies do look so cute when they all arrive dressed up. Surae did well and just seemed concerned for the other babies that were upset.

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This is the inside of the White Swan Hotel- Not too shabby!
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Chen Family Temple and Surae’s First Doctor’s Visit

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We are in Guangzhou now on our last leg of the trip and staying at the White Swan. The White Swan is on Shaiman Island which is a small island filled with lovely old mansions and pedestrian streets. What a wonderful change after having to play frogger to cross the street in the big cities! It is filled with baby shops catering to all the families here to adopt. The people are really friendly here as well and I really can’t speak kindly enough about the Chinese people. They have been so welcoming to us. Michael even has a special Chinese girlfriend who cuts him extra special deals on dresses and t-shirts. Just kidding!
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The day after arriving in Guangzhou, we headed out for the Chen Family Temple also known as the Guangdong Folk Art Museum. It was built in the 1890s and has nine halls and six courtyards. It had lots of great little shops and art to look at as well as being a beautiful place to visit. The weather was amazing as well, so it was a great day to be outside.
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People at the Chen Temple were as curious as ever about Surae and wanted to see our tag of explanation.
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Here is Surae with her friend from Fenyi, Natalie. She is Stepanie and Jubal’s new daughter and she is such a cutie pie!
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Surae had her first doctor’s visit with us today. They checked her height and weight, ear, nose, and throat, and checked her heartbeat. She did such a great job and didn’t cry at all. What a trooper!
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Street Life in Nanchang

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We have moved on to Guangzhou now which is fabulous, but before I start posting about that I wanted to post a few street scenes from Nanchang. I am of course behind in posts. Having a one year old will do that to you and on top of that Rui keeps us really busy with touring!
Rui made us tags to wear that tell about the adoption process and that we are from America and going to take good care of the babies. When people stop us on the street, we show them the tags and it helps immensely with the language barrier because some people are downright confused about why we are carting around a Chinese baby. People here are so supportive overall and give us the thumbs up or say thank you. The people here are wonderful.
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The only negative reactions we get are from people wanting us to put more clothes on Surae. They want the babies bundled up like Ralphie from a Christmas Story. Some of the older people will really get onto you about it and feel her clothes to see how thin they are. It is not that cold here at all, but we went ahead and bought this really thick blanket in Nanchang to try to make the Chinese elders happy. Here she is asleep in it.
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The school kids in Nanchang were really fascinated with us too. We ended up walking by their school one day just as it got out and they followed us around for a long time practicing their English. They had an English school book and they kept picking out phrases to try on us. It was too cute!
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Surae is still doing so well- So happy and content. She is a buddha baby!!
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Happy Halloween to My Little Pirate

Graham had a great halloween with his Pop Pop. We are missing him lots! I can’t wait for him to meet his new little sister. We are having a fantastic time here, but I am of course ready to see my little man again and ready to get our whole famuly back together. I know Graham and Surae are going to be great friends.
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Also, here’s a link to a site of another family on the trip with us, David and Marie. They are doing a great job of describing Nanchang and China in general. Just copy and paste this link- http://ciaochina.blogspot.com/

Sightseeing in Nanchang

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The first two days in Nanchang were filled with paperwork, but for the last 3 we have been seeing all the sights of Nanchang. When you look at our window, it is extremely drab and dreary here. There has been a constant fog or smog since we arrived and the town is very industrial. But, then we hop in the bus with our group and our guide, Rui, takes us to the most beautiful temples. They are truly magnificent and unlike anything I have ever seen. The one we went to the first day you can actually see right out of our hotel window. It is called Shengjin Ja Pagoda. It was first built during the reign of Tianyou in the Tang Dynasty. It is the highest ancient building in the city and we climbed to the top.

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Rui also bought some incense for us at a local store and we burned some to symbolize our past, present, and future.

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The next day we headed out to Teng Wang Pavillion. The pavilion was built in A.D. 653. This was another beautiful pavillion which held a surprise at the top- a Chinese performance was taking place and it was fantastic. The women were wearing amazing costumes and the music was enchanting. Surae seemed to really enjoy it!
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People in Nanchang are really interested in Surae. We have a tag that Rui, our guide, gave us to wear that explains the adoption process that we can show people. They seem very appreciative overall although some people are upset that we don’t have more clothes on the babies. They want them bundled to the point of a heat rash!
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Today, we explored Xianghu Lake Park. This is a Daoist temple and was another beautiful sight. It is really, really windy today and chilly!
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Surae is still doing really, really well and her little personality is emerging more and more each day. She is starting to become more verbal and active. We can get her to laugh a lot now. She is really a sweet girl and only fusses when we put her down to sleep. Then, she calls out for her mama which breaks my heart. She must have been attached to someone in the orphanage which is a good thing! Photobucket
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