An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
- Chinese Proverb

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year 2012

We celebrated Chinese New Year today!!! It is the year of the Dragon so the kids and a few friends made Dragon masks. They also got to taste egg rolls, rice cakes and fortune cookies. I only had one that liked the egg rolls other than Landry but I was impressed they tried it. Especially Avery and Britten. If it had been ice cream in the shape of an egg roll I think they would have turned their noses up just because it didn't look like ice cream. Yup, they are a mess. And little Micah kept cracking me up. He kept speaking Spanish to Landry and we had to remind him that Landry was from China not Mexico. Landry would just grin and nod. He seems to nod at everything. He understands just about everything we say, but Jason likes to tease him and ask him silly questions to see if he will just nod yes. Except if you ask him if he wants to go Night Night. You will get a quick NO nod to that one. Anyhoo, check out our little slide show of fun. They worked really hard on those masks and HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!! **Click on the speaker on the slideshow to hear the music**

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Amazing God!

Landry had his first surgery last Tuesday to repair a urological condition he was born with.  This was the first of 2 (possibly 3) surgeries.  This first surgery will have to heal for 6 months before they do the second.

Vanderbilt Children's Hospital was a dream. Have never had one have surgery before,  but they were so wonderful with our little man.  They had bubbles and a fisher price ride along car waiting for his arrival.  He was thrilled.  They even took him back and gave him a little sleepy gas before they even gave him the first stick.  Helped calm my nerves knowing that.  They also called every hour and gave us an update as well as had his stats on a rotating monitor for us to check.  3 hours later he was up drinking apple juice and wanting to go home.

To our amazement this kid has done remarkably well.  He really hasn't even missed a beat.  He's been running around and playing like nothing ever even happened.  We did finally get to take his gauze off and give him a bath yesterday.  I think that was the first time he really cried.  The gauze was not easy to remove, but it reeked of nastiness and he desperately needed a bath.  Whatever they use in surgery along with 4 days of no bath resulted in one stinky little man.  Narly is the word our surgeon used and narly it was.  Yack.

He's had a bath and seems more tender today but still not all up in bed and in pain like I had thought he would be.  He goes Wednesday to have his catheter removed which I know will make him feel even better.  All the prayers worked and we are so thankful and amazed at what God can do.  Now I ask that you all start praying for surgery #2 to go just as well.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Life here is busy these days. So busy I've not blogged on either of my blogs much since we returned from China. I'm working on getting more organized with the addition and hope to get back to some of my loves very soon. I was finally able to compile all of our China photos into a slideshow. It's a doozy. I think about 7 minutes long, but I hated to leave anything out. Watch until you get bored.
Click on the speaker on the slideshow to hear the music.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

China Adoption Packing List

I feel the need to post our packing list in case anyone else out there decides to take this same journey. I stressed so much over what to pack and scoured the internet for a good list and never found one. Please pass this along to anyone who may need it. Everyone else...just skip over this post. I know it is boring stuff.

We took 2 large suitcases, one carry-on suitcase, one carry-on bag and 2 backpacks. Here is a picture of our luggage for our 2 weeks minus the backpacks.

We adopted a little boy age 2 in October so some of this may be different if you have a smaller or older child and if you go during a different time of year. We traveled to Beijing, Guizhou province, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Beijing was cold but all the other places were very warm upper 60's/70's. We did not need jackets just took layers.

You are allowed 1 free checked bag per person that weighs 44lbs or less on China in-country flights!!!!!!

We were told not to bring anything nice. I stressed that I really would need something nice to wear to the civil affairs office or at some point, but I truly never did. Everything is very casual. Jeans, t-shirt and tennis shoes type stuff. We were also told to only take clothing for a week and wash things, which we did.

I'm the worst packer ever on a trip. I tend to take way more than I could ever use. I forced myself to be strict.

I took 6 pairs of pants: 3 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of khaki's, 1 jean capri and 1 khaki pair of shorts.
I then took basic tops that I could layer and stuck to one pop of color. It was boring but worked perfectly on this trip to save space and weight. Black/Grey/Pink is what I stuck with.
I had 2 tank tops - white and grey.
1 White and 1 Black short sleeve t-shirt
1 White and 1 Black long sleeve t-shirt
1 long sleeve striped shirt
2 pink pullovers.
1 grey zip up hoodie.
1 short sleeve nicer printed t-shirt
1 blue jean button up shirt
2 sets of PJ's
7 pairs of Socks
Undergarments for 7 days
1 pair of Tennis Shoes
1 Black pair of Flip Flops
1 Black Mary Jane type walking shoe
1 Black Blazer
Everything was easy mix and match stuff.
I also wore on the plane a grey velour jogging suit (jacket, pants and a t-shirt). Thought I could use it to go to the gym if I had time while we were there. It was comfy for the plane and I could also use the jacket to layer if I needed it. Wore my tennis shoes on the plane too since they are heavy and bulky.
Bathing suit -it was too cold for us to swim since most of the pools are outside and not heated. But, I'd take it again just in case.

I will not even try to tell you what Jason took but I do give him props for also packing light. I think he had about the same amount of clothing as I did or maybe even less. His was a bit bulkier than mine just because he's a guy.

For Landry I really worried about sizes. I got his up to date measurements just a week or two before we left, converted them, and came up with size 24 months and a size 6 shoe, but had been told by others that I should take smaller clothes just in case. For some odd reason the measurements never seem to add up right and the kids are usually smaller. I took three 18 month outfits and three 24 month outfits, 2 fleece pull overs/zip ups, one size 5 shoe and 7 pairs of socks. My thinking on shoes was that he would come in shoes and if I needed to get another pair I could while we were there. CarreFour is like a Walmart Supercenter. They have clothes and food. Basically anything you could need or want.

Landry actually ended up being a size 18 months and the size 5 shoes fit perfect. Do wish I had gotten pants with the adjustable waist and NO onesies. Children in China are potty trained at a very early age and Landry was already using the potty. He was is not a pro and still has accidents so pull ups were a must but onesies are hard to get on and off if you've got one going to the potty. I also wish I had packed layering tops for him. It was alot hotter than we thought it was going to be.

Snagged this idea from a list on the net somewhere and would totally do it again. Buy 2 travel size items of all toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant etc.)and make 2 toiletry bags. One that has your make-up in it for your carry on and the other one in your checked luggage. Large containers of shampoo/conditioner and such are bulky and can add too much weight. 2 travel size are plenty for 2 weeks.

Cotton balls
Disposable Razor (2)
Travel shampoo (2) - (all hotels had soaps, but I like my creature comforts)
Travel conditioner (2)
Face wash (2)
Travel size soap (2)
Baby shampoo/body wash (2)
Travel size tissue packs (4) - great to have on handfor paperless squatty potties
Floss (1)
Baby Lotion (2)
Baby Wash (2)
Baby Powder (1)
Desitin (1)
Hand sanitizer (2) Many of the bathrooms have sinks but no soap. So strange.
Chapstick -something about the air there dries you out terribly

Some people I talked with took a pharmacy with them but I tried to take the bare minimum and we were fine. Don't let people tell you that you can't get medicines or really anything else that you would need there. They have EVERYTHING you could need for purchase. It just may not be the brand you are familiar with. And if you need medicine your guide/translator can help you find it.

Cipro - We did not have to use this but it was FREE from Publix with a prescription from your doctor and I was glad we had it. It will basically knock out any stomach bug you could get there. Just call your regular physician and tell them that you are going over seas and they will usually write a scrip easily for you.
Tylenol PM or your preferred sleepy pill
Cough Drops
Vitamin C
Infant Tylenol - including dosing chart and syring
Infant Benedryl - think plane ride home
Small travel first aid kit with bandaids and such
Cold Medicine -didn't have and had to borrow from someone else.
Visine - the smog does a doozy on your eyes
Nail Clippers
Swiss army knife
I took everything out of the box and cut out the directions and stuck it all in a large zip lock baggie.

House Hold Supplies:

Tide sink travel packs (4) We had our laundry done while we were there and we also washed clothes in the sink several times. You can get these at Target on the isle with the travel items. Just know that it takes about 3 days for jeans to hang dry. Trust me!!!!
Several dryer sheets to make clothes smell nice. Just make sure you don't put them near your ziploc baggies that you want to put food in. Baggies tend to soak up odor and can make your food taste terrible.
Downy Wrinkle Releaser (2 travel size)
Ziploc Baggies, lunch size (14) You can stash fruit or a few snacks from the breakfast buffet everyday in these. We did this in every hotel. Even took back yogurt and put it in the fridge for Landry.
Ziploc Baggies, Snack size (10)
Ziploc Baggies, Large size (5)
Reusable shopping bags (2) - We didn't take these and totally should have. You have to pay for plastic shopping bags at the grocery. Just take these with you when you go.
Clothes pins (16)- for hanging laundry - hotels have clothes lines in the bathroom.


1 package of diapers/pull ups (30 or so) - you can buy more when you get there. I know they have Huggies for sure.
Swim diapers (4)
Bathing suit
Baby Wipes - Baby wipes are super heavy so I decided to do a little research and found a super easy way to make baby wipes once we got there that was very inexpensive and light weight. Click HERE to watch the video. I did have a hard time finding a container deep enough but ended up finding a great one at Lowes in the painting isle. I altered her method a bit too and just used Johnson's baby wash and baby oil. I also went ahead and precut my paper towel roll. I only took half of the roll with me but wish I would have had the entire roll. These were great!!!
Tip: Stash granola bars and snacks you don't want crushed in the container in your luggage for the trip there.
Huggies Travel Wipes (2) I used these alot more than tissue packs for squatty potties and bathroom visits. You can buy more of these at CarreFour or Walmart. I bought Johnson's while I was there.
Snack Trapper and D ring to clip it onto your backpack
Take and Toss Bowls (3)
Spoon and Fork
Toothbrush and children's toothpaste
Bibs (2) plastic ones are easy to wipe clean
Soft, comfy blanket
Toys - Beach ball, stacking cups, light weight books (3), coloring book (1), crayons, small mirror (loved looking at himself), bubbles, matchbox cars (6), small stuffed animal
Kids Preschool Backpack - I loaded this with all of Landry's toys and then packed it in one of our large suitcases. Took it out once we had him. He was considered an extra person and he was able to take the backpack on the plane as his carry on. Freed up tons of room in our suitcase for us to bring treasures home.

The more the better unless you are an adventurous eater!!!! Fill light weight plastic bins with snacks. Great to be able to bring goodies back home in when empty.
Goldfish (2 packs) I emptied these into a large plastic ziploc and then put them into a plastic bin.
1 box Cheerios. Emptied these too and put them into a large plastic bag and then into a plastic bin.
1 box granola bars. Put these into the wipes container.
Individual oreo cookie packs. Also put these in the wipes container.
Individual packets of Peanut Butter (6) Was able to find them at Walmart. -snagged bread at breakfast and made PB&J's in the room.
Individual drink mix sticks for water. Great for all the bottled water.

Adoption Paperwork
Travel neck wallet- to carry passports and large amounts of cash
Credit Cards
Converter (needed this for curling iron and such)
Travel Pillow
Tylenol PM for flight and Tums
Hand Sanitizer
Video Camera
Chargers and connecting kits for all three
Lipgloss and Chapstick
Reading material for plane

We were told to bring 7 but were left a little in the dark as to who they were all to go to once we were in country. We asked our guide but she had no clue. We just decided to hand them out to who we thought they needed to go to.
We took boxes of GooGoo Clusters because they are made here in TN. A small novelty from your home town is great. Just make sure it doesn't say "Made in China" on it. Hee, Hee.
We also took Jelly Belly's to give out.
Took red bags and red tissue paper to wrap them once we got there.
Other ideas are:
Bath and Body Works products (can be a little on the heavy side)
American $2 bills and give them out in Red envelopes (this is such an awesome idea and totally light weight)
Sports hats
Some agencies have things set up where you just give a donation in advance. Totally like this idea better but we didn't have that option.

I think that is about it. If you've been and see something I left off please chime in. Would love to help others out however I can.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Welcome Home!!!

A sweet return from family and friends.
A big THANK YOU for all of those that came to the airport.