Two China Dolls and a Prince!

This blog chronicles the story of 2 of our adoptions, both older children when they came home. It begins in 2008 and will continue in the hopes we can be of encouragement and information to anyone thinking of older child adoption.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Finally back!!

I'm baaaaack! Well, for now anyway! Here's a brief synopsis of the last few months....Judi started preschool in August and loves it. BUT she hates getting up early! She is so not a morning person. She still has a tendency to say mean things when she's upset so we're working on using our nice words. She's got Christmas figured out already. She's good, Santa likes that, so she gets presents! We haven't put up the tree yet, but should be great to see what she far she loves everything to do with Christmas. All the kiddos are doing well...Jessica is 15 and a half and now has her permit; yikes! James finished basketball and is now onto baseball practice; this kid is all about sports! Jazmin loves piano and dance and Judi likes her dance class. Though next year I think I will let Judi choose between dance or tumbling, she's just such an energy ball!
Having 4 kids is more of a challenge than I thought, I just have to take it day by day most times. Here are a few pics until my next post..

Monday, May 18, 2009

What do we do in the summers???? Baseball!!

Another day in the life of the Cavenders! Today was Judi's first day at her daycare; a home daycare. She did really well, no tears or anything. Daddy said she gave him a high 5 when he left and she didn't even ask for me until just before I showed up. Tonight we have a baseball game for James and Jazmin's first game. They're at the same time, but at least at the same ballfield. I can stil between the fields with my head swiveling back and forth! Jazmin is so excited; she is very into softball right now; I hope she stays liking it even if they don't do well!

James is pitching and playing first base this year; I think he looks good. The first game he walked a couple but struck a couple out, too. As the season goes on, I'm sure his skills will improve. I do love watching him out there on the mound.

Tomorrow is Jazmin's piano recital; she has what I think is a really hard piece, but she's been practicing a lot. Then next week, she's got dance recital. May is always such a busy month for us.

Judi is gaining so much English! In fact, so much, I've started putting in at least one movie a day in Chinese, to try to keep it going. It doesn't seem to hamper her English skills, which I worried about at the beginning. She's just hysterical with her antics and funny the way she "handles" the older kids! She and Jazmin are getting along so well now and play together wonderfully most of the time. They still have their moments when they irritate each other, but that's just sisters for you! Judi is in teeball and liking it very much, except she peters out on the practices early. Her first game is next week; should be veeeerrrrry interesting!
The picture is of Jaz in part of her dance costume and her hair all curly (shhhh, the curls are an add-on!), but they look great!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I love my daughter..........

For those of you reading this who aren't familiar with adoption, it's not always a case of "love at first sight". With Jazmin it was; she was a baby, and who doesn't just fall in love with babies instantly, especially ones with huge eyes that stared into your soul?
With Judi, it was different. I had hoped that it would be the same, but instead of a sweet, quiet baby, we were handed a 3-year old teenager! She had a fully formed personality with some rather undesirable habits and was fully articulate in Chinese, and just by the tone of her voice you could tell what she was thinking, which wasn't always a good thing!
So I had to fall in love with my daughter over time. I've been Judi's Mama for 60 days today, and I'm thrilled to say I'm no longer going thru the "motions" of mothering. There's a saying in the adoption world, "Fake it til you make it!". That's what I did; I did for Judi all the things I am supposed to do as her mother: fed her, played with her, comforted her, hugged her, kissed her, you name it. At first, I felt like I was babysitting; when was someone going to come get this rambunctious, misbehaving child??
Than last week, something happened. We were at Grandpa's house as usual. I was fixing dinner and called everyone to come eat. Judi came running at full tilt, hit the kitchen floor in her socks, and WHAM! Right on her little hinny she went, and slid right into the stove; ouch! Well, you can imagine, she came up wailing and grabbing for me, her Mama! I picked that little girl up and held on tight; she was sqeezing me so hard I could hardly breathe! But I felt that amazing rush of emotion, that overwhelming feeling that you're the only one in the world who can soothe the hurt and take away the pain. So for all the world to know, I love my funny, silly, rambunctious, stubborn, always-on-the-go Miss Judi!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More happenings in April............

April is a busy month for us..with baseball for James, softball for Jazmin. Jaz is also in dance and piano, though I think next year she may have to make a choice as she now wants to do cheerleading as well! James' basketball team finished up in 2nd place in their tournament, not too shabby, they played some great b-ball. He wants to stick with it, so in the fall he'll start on the junior high team. If he works just a little harder, he might be a starter.

Finally got Judi's Social Security card ordered, now have to get her birth certificate, I am such a procrastinator! Dad and I are also having a huge garage sale on May 2nd! I wonder how I ever fit work into this schedule, but I better remember, cause I go back to work fulltime June 1, but am working some evening hours now because they basically guilted me into it.

I'm happy to say Jazmin, I think, has morphed into her role as big sister. When she comes home, Judi follows her everywhere. She (Judi) still seems a little jealous of her big sis, yet wants to do everything, get everything, and be everything Jaz does. And she kind of goes into baby mode when Jaz is first home from school, wanting to be held and carried. But then when Jaz says, "come on, Judi, let's play", she's off like a shot!

Her English is just flowing along, new words every day; her newest is "no", which she likes to use frequently! And "nobody"! Where did that come from??

Something she does i find soooo funny, is when we go to the store and she picks up toy after toy and I say, let's put that away, we're not getting that today - she will say in a forlorn tone, "ooooooh, noooooo". But she puts it away! So far, no tantrums! She pouts when she doesn't get her way; thank goodness! I've been through some whopper tantrums with my older kids; glad to not have that to deal with, at least for the time being!

Some new pics to enjoy..............

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter and Judi's birthday on April 14th

Suffice to say, Judi likes Easter because not only did we have an egg hunt at my Dad's place where she discovered not only the fun of finding eggs, but that they had CANDY in them! Then we had a small birthday party for her at the park. We invited a few friends who'd gotten to know Judi in the month she'd been home. She had a blast and when she saw the playground, she said "Wow!!". The pics tell the rest of the story.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The "eyes" have it!

Wow, been awhile since I posted! I could not resist putting these pictures of the girls' eyes on here; we were just goofing around with the camera, but I thought they turned out so cute! Can you guess whose eyes are whose? On another note, here's the scoop........Judi is just fine! Her CAT scan showed no atrophy whatsoever, and all her bloodwork came back fine. Children's Mercy did say she'd had Hep A in the past and now had immunity. So knock on wood, our special needs little girl is completely normal! Well.....unless stubbornness and an inexhaustible energy level are special needs! We praise our Heavenly Lord for his blessings on all our children, we are truly fortunate to have these great 4 kids to enrich our lives!
Judi continues to settle in and try to establish herself as the boss; she and I have really great days together. She occasionally tries to assert her will over mine, most notably at nap time, but she concedes if I push the issue firmly. The biggest thing that works with Judi is simple firmness; I'm the parent, you're the child, period, my job is to love and protect you, even if you don't like being prevented from doing something you think is fun!
She is really starting to use English spontaneously now; her vocabulary includes "wait", "I fink so", "night, night", "one more", "Hello, Kitty", "cookie", "lotion", "hello", "bye-bye". I believe she understands a great deal of what we say now; whether she chooses to listen is another story.
She and Jaz are still working it out; Jazmin has taken on kind of a bossy big sister role in a gentle way, but Judi does NOT like her telling her what to do! She will play with Judi on days when we're all home together, but during the week we're so busy with basketball games and now baseball and softball, we're not home that much! Jazmin is in machine-pitch with Jr as the coach; she seems to really enjoy playing, hope that lasts. We're going to try tee-ball for Judi, I showed her once how to hold the bat and run the bases and she had it down, plus I think it'll help her run off some energy.
James is finishing up his basketball season; he's really become quite good; still not a starter, but with a little more practice, he'll get there. He wants to continue all through high school, so you know where we'll be all the time!
Jessica, our oldest, is just concentrating on grades right now. We had to do a worksheet for all 4 high school years and she was really excited about that; she likes to have things planned out, like I did at her age. She's been a huge help looking after the girls' at "gege's" games.
If I don't post again til after the weekend, everyone have a Happy Easter! Judi's birthday is the 14th, but we're going to celebrate it Sunday night with just us and then have a party on the 18th.
Enjoy the pics of my crew!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All's Well (so far).....

Such beautiful princesses, my Jazmin and Judi! They have found at least one thing in common; they both love to dress up! Jazmin has taken to taking Judi's arm and they will parade around the house singing "da dum da dum"! So cute! I took these pictures when they were at it; I just love this picture of Judi. My little angel with the slightly bent halo!

As far as Judi's medical tests, so far all have come back normal!! Praise be to Him for his blessings on this child! Her bloodwork and CAT scan showed absolutely nothing significant; after her final appointment at Children's Mercy in KC, we'll know for sure.

Other than that, we're keeping busy with Judi's antics, James' basketball games, and everything else that goes with being a big family. Only 3 more kids and we'd be the Waltons!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Like sands through the hourglass...............

I have been Judi's mother for exactly 18 days today; each day it gets easier and more believable. That may sound strange, but sometimes it just still seems so unreal after 13 months, that she's here! And wow, is she here! Everyone knows when Judi's around; she's almost constantly talking, laughing, squealing, or giggling. It's when you DON'T hear her that one MUST go find her, because it usually means she's found something to occupy her interest that isn't desirable.
She is becoming much more affectionate with me over the last couple of days...........I find the more patient I am and don't stress over every little behavior issue, the more she seems to respond to me.
And I've discovered that she, like Jazmin, is very willing to help do things, like today when I was emptying the dishwasher. She helped me empty and fill it and I told her "good girl!" She knows this phrase very well, because I use it often. Can I teach this aspect of her personality to my older two???
Couple of things to note; Judi has slept 11-12 hours the last 3 nights! Once she's asleep, she doesn't wake up; she's down for the count! When she wakes up, she calls "Ma-Ma!" and waits for me to show up before she'll get out of bed. Also, tomorrow I'm getting the results of all her labs, immune titers, and CAT scan. The doctor's office told me there's no cause for concern, but I want to read it for myself. I think I can safely say, however, that whatever is up there in her little head, it certainly has not affected her intelligence! She's picking up more and more English phrases, like "be nice", "this-a-way", "goodnight", "be carefy (be careful)".
Something else I found that's helped a lot is a website with 6 pages of phrases to use with kids her age; I went through and said them all and she laughed at me after each one! I don't know if I was saying them funny, or if she just thought it was funny that Mommy said something she could understand! I used some of them today and she knew exactly what i was asking; now if I just knew what she was saying in return!
Will post some new pics tomorrow and the lab results; hopefully good news all around...stay tuned...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sleep..what a precious commodity

Bringing us up to date:
Thursday night, we finally got Judi to bed at 11pm, she slept til 4, but Jazmin was up at 3! I've been sleeping on the couch in case Judi calls out or needs something, so still haven't got back to my own bed! Finally got Judi back to sleep at 5 and sent Jazmin to Jr, where she fidgeted until time for school.
Friday, I took Judi to the doctor because her cough is not improving; it's so bad at night; I don't know how she's sleeping through it. Hard to believe the pollution in Guangzhou would be that bad. The doc gave her a breathing treatment and said to continue the antibiotic. She said there's no redness in her throat, ears, or fever, so who knows?? Monday, we have to get her blood drawn for titers, general blood workup, and a CAT scan. I also asked the doctor about possible heart disease, so she checked her right finger and right foot; they matched within two percent, which she said was an indicator that there was nothing wrong, nor did she hear a murmur either. We want the CAT scan to see how it compares to the one from China, so Monday will be a rough day for Judi.
Saturday we stayed home all day; gave Judi one nap, and got her to bed at 10:30; yeahhh! She slept until 5am; 6 whole hours of sleep, except that I finally caught her creeping crud, so now I'm all sniffly and coughing! At least it waited until I was home!
We had a busy day today, Sunday. We went to church, where everyone wanted to see Judi; she shut down for the most part and showed her shy alter ego. After church, she loosened up, and we went to our local Chinese restaurant for lunch, where she acted like she didn't even know the Chinese language! She zones out and stares straight ahead; weird!
Then we had a birthday party, where her fireball alter ego came right out as soon as she saw the bouncy house and trampolines; she loved it all; I definitely see gymnastics in this girl's future! She also loved her first piece of birthday cake! Then we went briefly to our Chinese school because again, everyone wanted to see her. She promptly fell asleep through it all, so they all think of course, that she's a little angel! I said, just watch out, because her halo's bent a little!
Came home and settled in for the night, and guess what, we finally got those darn science projects done; they're due tomorrow! I'm so glad they're over with; I dread them every year.
Now for the drumroll.............Judi went to bed at 9pm! So what am I doing instead of sleeping, I'm blogging!
I will say now after 5 days home, Judi seems to be calming down and just having fun. There are longer stretches now where I don't feel I have to watch her every move, and she and Jazmin are doing better; I hope that continues; their relationship will take awhile to develop, I think. She still will try some stuff, and cries when Daddy puts her in time out, but she quits pretty quick, and I'm learning to be more patient with some of her undesirable behaviors. I'm slowly learning to love my new daughter; she is spunky, and funny, and already has James and Jessica under her thumb, especially James; he's a sucker for a pretty face! My favorite times are at night when the lights are low, and everyone else is quiet, and tonight, she came and sat in my lap and wrapped up in her China blanket for some "Mommy" time. That's when she can just be a little girl who needs to know she doesn't have to be so tough anymore.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Well, we made it! 9 out of 9 flights safe and sound! Tuesday, the day before we left Guangzhou, we went to the Yuntai Botanical Gardens. It was so beautiful, the prettiest thing I've seen so far this trip. Jr stayed in the hotel with Judi, because her cough has come back and gotten worse; she really sounds congested; we even started her on the antibiotic we brought from home in preparation for the airplane rides home. So Jazmin and I trekked off; and all the pictures you see (except for the ones Jazmin is in), Jazmin took. She was my official photographer for this site. She loved it and I have to admit, did a great job with the pictures!

When we got back, we walked down the shopping district to the Pizza Hut (I wanted to bring a menu back to give to our Pizza Hut here for menu ideas!). They have such a variety of stuff; I would never get tired of it like we do here. Then back to the hotel for the very important oath-taking. Got the girls "decorated" for Judi's big day and off we went.

There was a play area and I watched how Judi interacted with other kids; as I expected, she bossed them around and most of them avoided her after that; we'll definitely have to work on that! Then we all took the oath and the lady had those of us who'd been there twice be acknowledged. What was really cool was there was a 14-year old being adopted who was crying with happiness; the family looked really happy.

That evening, we went to dinner with the Hammonds, Julie Thompson, and the Blackburns; a great meal with really neat people; and we all shared the Whitman's sampler I brought, which I had to keep spinning away from Judi; we now know how much she loves chocolate! Or should I say any sweet at all?! She will stash candy in every nook and cranny and next thing I know I'm catching her eating it. I'm going to have to "Judi-proof" my house, since I do like my chocolate as well!

After staying up late packing, we got to the airport and all went well up until Dallas. During our long flight (only 10 and 1/2 hours, yeah!) the girls fell asleep the last 5 hours of it! That didn't help me though, as they squirmed throughout all of it, so I couldn't do more than doze. Then at Dallas, we got held on the plane because a little boy also adopted from China got really sick and went in an ambulance to the hospital. We dont' know what he had, but the parents had caught it too, so we had to fill out some paperwork. THEN, we finally got off, only to be held up a ridiculously long time in Immigration. By the time we got done, we had 45 " to make our flight (we had a 3-hour layover!) and still hadn't gone through customs!

We scrambled and thanks to a delay, made it with 20" to spare. The flight home was quick, and Dad, Jessica, and James were there to meet us. Our older kids were so glad to see us; they looked so BIG after just seeing little girls and boys for two weeks! On the drive home, of course, both little ones fell asleep, which meant Miss Judi was up THE ENTIRE NIGHT!!!.

Jazmin stayed up til 1am cause she's slept so much on the plane and then got back up again at 5, ready for school. Judi pitched a heck of a fit when all 3 kids took off on the bus and about 10am she and I crashed for 4 hours. Then up and to the orthodontist for Jessica, but when I picked them all up, Jazmin dropped off to sleep in the car and only woke up for dinner and then went back to bed. So we'll see what tomorrow brings; hopefully more sleep!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Leaving tomorrow...sad, but happy, too

Well, our time in Guangzhou is going really fast; seems like we're doing something all the time or I'm trying to find shopping time. That's usually about 9 at night after Judi goes to sleep; since we are at the Shifu, the shopping street is well-light with lots of people, so I can shop til about 10:30 safely when all the shops start closing.

Monday, we went to the toy and electronic market. The only good thing about it was that we bought 92 DVDs for our home collection to replace many of our VHS's; they cost about $1.50 USD apiece. We split them up in our suitcases and had no issues with customs. But I was kind of disappointed in the rest; Nintendo Ds's, Wii stuff, etc, were all about US prices, so no bargains there. The toy market was ok, we got some little things for Jazmin's classmates, but it was really stall after stall of the same stuff. Probably wouldn't put on my itinerary again; once is enough.

We were free that afternoon, so walked to the island and did some major shopping; dropped about $300 USD on all kinds of stuff; lots of gifts for people and a suitcase to put it all in! Jr became quite the good haggler; I was very impressed and we got some great deals. Then of course, we went to Lucy's; still great food; Judi liked it because she could get up and run around without us saying too much.

She continues to show us her "spunky" side and loves to test us; cars are still tough because she just doesn't get the concept of sitting down. Jr has been seatbelting her in now to get ready for the US, and she HATES it, so then will start trying to hit him. She does it once, then he gets on her and she lets loose with the loud tears. We've learned this is a ploy for sympathy, so we just ignore it and she calms down pretty quick, though she still gets those sulky looks on her face. Wonder if she'll settle down or get worse when we get home. Staying home for 10 weeks with this little fireball has got me somwhat worried. I hope I'm up to the challenge.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

ok, I'm back!

We got to Guangzhou Friday evening and the internet costs $16 a day in our room, and just haven't had time to get down to the lobby and blog. Friday night we just chilled and had a drink in the bar with Dad; then the next morning we saw him off to back home. I think he was happy to be going back, but was going to miss the girls, especially since Judi had really seemed to bond with him, too.
Saturday, we went and had Judi's medical exam. She was an angel! She sat there perfectly and it was one of the few times I've seen her silent and not moving at 100 miles an hour! At one point, the doctor referred to her "heart disease". I told Kathy and she tranalated that the paperwork had indicated their testing showed no problems. They brought a cardiac doctor in to check her and found no evidence of a heart murmur, though I noticed the regular doc wrote down "VSD" on her stuff. So I don't know whether she had heart problems that have resolved on their own, or if she never had it in the first place. Then we went into the "brain" room, where they asked her some questions. Since she can speak as well as any adult, they also pronounced her fine in that area also! So my little "special need" cutie pie so far is turning out to be just fine. We still plan to tak e her to the IA clinic in Kansas City, but we are so blessed that she is healthy, strong, and what many Chinese here have referred to as even "advanced".
Jazmin and Judi's relationship continues to evolve; some days are better than others. The hardest thing is teaching Judi that she doesn't have to fight for everything; there were two biological kids as well as two foster kids in her foster family, then a week at the orphanage, so she basically had to fight for every little morsel and probably never had anything that was just hers. She eats like a horse and her energy level is still off the charts, but she's doing much better in staying close to us now. Also, if we're out somewhere busy, she'll voluntarily ask to be picked up and will hold on I have to give kudos to Jazmin; she's trying so hard to be a good big sister. She's learning to laugh at Judi's antics and not take her so seriously. She's such a well-behaved girl, and delights everyone who meets her; I'm not saying that because we're any great shakes as parents; she just has a beautiful personality.
Judi HATES to be disciplined, and will rattle off a string of Chinese when we do, but we just ignore it, put her in time out, and go on. The great thing is she doesn't stay mad too long, and she is a great sleeper once she settles down! The pollution here has got her cough revved up again, but soon we'll have her in some good country air!
Guangzhou is soooooooo crowded! It amazes me just how many people we see on the street in front of the Shifu; I mean we're talking thousands! And I'm thrilled because back in 2004 there was a major shopping street I went to that was awesome and I discovered Saturday that the Shifu is on this exact street! So I'm in shopping heaven!
Yesterday, Kathy and I went to the Jade Market; stall after stall of every kind of jade imaginable! Each vendor rents a tiny little stall from the government and purchases their wares from various resources; then it's all in the hands of the consumer; and let me tell you, there are millions of consumers here. I just don't remember such a crush of people 5 years ago; I've learned to push and shove my way like everybody here; no one says excuse me or I'm sorry, but no one gets mad, either. For dinner,w e went to the Guangzhou Restaurant right down from the Shifu and 6 of us ate for only 136RMB! Love the chaep food here, could just walk the streets and never go hungry.
This morning we went to the Safari Park; I wish we'd known about this back in 2004; it was awesome! We were able to get on a little trolley that drives you around right in amongst the animals; very cool photo opps for the camera enthusiasts. Just be aware; waiting for the trolley is a new experience in "crowd control", meaning there is none! We were jam-packed like sardines in the line waiting and Jr and I were holding on to Jaz and Judi for dear life. And readers, you already know just how hard it is to hold onto Judi! And I splurged and got Jaz and Judi the cutest little panda hats for the cold weather and two little panda backpacks; tonight or tomorrow I've got to start looking for another suitcase!
Well, I'm going to run, the Hammonds, Julie Thompson, and we are going to meet up with the Blackburns; zaijian for now!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Off to Guangzhou today...

Last night, we went to the Flower/Bird Market, though it was raining. Jr stayed in the hotel with Judi just in case so just Dad, me , and Jazmin went . I thought it was very cool, lots and lots of stalls with everything imaginable. There weren't many flowers this time of year, but just a really good look at the not-so-flashy parts of China. Then we went into this upper-scale store right around these tiny little stalls , literally from rags to riches. Did I mention I love the shopping here?? We got some really great deals; Jerry is a great haggler and he and I were getting on the same wavelength of what I wanted to pay. He says I am a "crazy shopper"!
After that, we went to Pizza Hut! Their pizza was wonderful and nowhere near as greasy as the USA's. Their menu also has salad, shrimp, soup, hot cocoa, etc, etc, We had a 9" pizza (6 small pieces), one hot cocoa, one yummy twin berry smoothie (a must try!), soda, and grilled cheesy chicken and rice dish, and a bowl of mushroom soup with chicken all for 184 RMB!
I'm going to run now, we're going to visit the Green Lake Park one last time, then get ready to fly to Guangzhou. I will miss Kunming, but ready to move on. I had a bit of self-pity last night, worried about how much this was affecting Jazmin, that now our ordered lives have been turned upside down; but I realize it could have been much, much worse, so I am very thankful that she is healthy, happy, and full of fire! I keep thinking, I'm 40 and she's only 3 - I can do this!

Money exchanging....and more

Wanted to post this before i forget; the Grand Park will cash up to $300 in American Traveler's checks each day. We went to the bank the second day we were here and it took forever and they charged a 7% fee, so use the hotel, they charge a much smaller fee. In Nanning, the hotel wouldn't do traveler's checks at all, so it really depends on where you are. If you have traveler's checks and the hotel won't do it, then the main Bank of China is also the only bank that will do this. Overall, we've had no big issues with our money; we brought mostly T/Cs.
Went to the Kunming orphanage today. It was very clean, and nice, of course, we saw the best parts. There were a few kids around, and those with moderate to more severe special needs. One girl was very sweet and pretty, about 8 or 9 in the physical therapy room; she waved goodby to me when I waved to her.
Judi led the tour and remembered everywhere she'd been during her week back at the orphanage; she even found the room and the bed where she slept. She seemed subdued though still walked with her typical swagger. Then we went to her finding place. Jazmin asked what it was, so I explained; she was very quiet on the ride back to the hotel, so later I'll have to talk with her privately to see what she's thinking.
Once back at the hotel, Judi let Dadddy pick her up and for the first time, put her arms around him and grabbed onto his shirt. She'll do this briefly and then she's down and off again! Wow, it's an experience keeping up with her; she has no sense of danger or fear; just barrels into everything head first. Jazmin said today she was thinking what it would be like when we get home, if Judi would not mess up her stuff. We'll have to work on that really hard. I've learned the Chinese words for "be quiet", "that's enough", "bathroom", "no", "nap", and more. This trip has certainly improved my Chinese vocabulary! The language barrier has not been as big an issue as I thought; she's gotten the idea of how to show us what she wants, and I'm learning more with my little book and the internet to communicate with her better.
Got her down for a nap fairly quick today; now my thoughts are beginning to turn to the long flight home; how on earth we'll get her to sit still for that long!

Another day gone by...

I had to look at my last post to remember what we did yesterday! The days tend to blend into one another and are going by so slowly, I feel as if we've been here forever. I'm glad, because this is a beautiful city and I just love to watch the people. There are not so good parts of course, but it's all part of the experience. Today we did the Kunming zoo, and to be honest, it was no great shakes. There were some little amusement rides we let the girls do a bit, but that was it. It kind of made me a little sad, because the animals don't have the elaborate enclosures we have in the US for our animals.

After the zoo, we headed back to the hotel and just had lunch and nap again. Then Jr and I took the girls to just sit on the street by the hotel and blow bubbles. That was a big hit; I even remembered the word for bubbles from when I first heard it in 2004; it's pronounced "pa-pow"; have no idea how to spell it.

Back to the Bluebird for dinner, another 210 RMB (the cheese pizza's kind of high, 68 RMB for a little 6-slicer, but good for 2 or 3 kids, maybe not older ones with big appetites though! Fish and chips,hamburger, fries, chef's salad are all good, and I absolutely have to recommend the fruit salad; they drizzle it with chocolate and peanuts so it tastes almost like a banana split without the ice cream; yum, yum!

Sent out our laundry today too; it's going to cost 400RMB; ouch! But we have a lot just because of all the girls' clothes; Jerry said the hotel would have been $100!

Judi continues to be a challenge, not so much in any bad respect; she's just so full of energy and adventure, it's hard to keep her still! We have to really work to get her to sit at a restaurant table for any length of time, and occasionally we'll but heads over something she wants, but so far, with persistence, it's coming slowly. She is such a happy kid and up for anything, so that makes it a little easier.

One thing I absolutely recommend is the Dynamic Yunnan show; an incredible display of minority tradition, dance, and song; don't I sound like a commercial? But it was just incredible; if you do nothing else in Kunming, do this; it's worth every panny. Seats are 400, 300,or 160 RMB; we chose the 300. I think the 160 would have been just fine, too, but we had great seats. The show is loud, so if you have little kids, cover their ears, and make sure they go potty BEFORE the show! For me, there was an added bonus; Judi of course got extra tired and by the end of the show, she was finally holding me in return and laying her head on my shoulder; I felt this was very good progress; I think she's still not totally trusting us quite yet. Then before bed, when we all asked, she willingly gave us all goodnight kisses! So sweet! Tonight was probably the first time I didn't feel like I was just "babysitting"; that she was really ours and we were hers. I've taken the advice of others before me and just do what Moms do; I know the deep feelings of love and trust will come in time on both sides.
Tomorrow we go to the orphanage; I'm a little worried how this will affect Judi; will see how it plays out.
It's late now, so good night!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Good morning!

Forgot to mention we didn't eat lunch yesterday, between all the snacks I bouht at Walmart and the oranges and bananas Jerry brought us, we were set. Got the girls down for a nap, Jaz was zonked when we got back from the village, but Judi takes a while to be convinced she's tired. She finally did take about a 2 hour nap.
We went to the Green Lake park, what a beautiful place! So serene, simple, and uncomplicated. Jerry said since people retire early here, (some as early as 40!) they come to the park, play music, majhong (don't think I spelled that right) and dance. There was music playing and large groups of people just dancing. Interestingly enough, I saw a lady there with a little girl with Down's Syndrome.
For dinner, we went to a restuarant; when we asked Jerry the name, he said "Chinese Restuarant"! Ya think? But it was very nice and had a garden in the middle of it; we ate in a glass solarium area. We had a pork dish, chicken with peanuts, egg rice, bamboo shoots, and a really ornate fruit plate; lots of food for all 5 of us, and only 204RMB. But make sure to tell them not spicy! I bit into something and my throat was on fire! We did a little more shopping and I got a great backpack to tote around water and snacks and such for only 40 RMB. We also got some chopsticks for home.
Got the girls to bed again around 9pm, but as usual Judi took awhile to settle down. Jazmin was upset because she couldn't sleep, but since she has to share a room with Judi, she's got to learn to go to sleep with her in the same room. So I told her to count sheep until she fell asleep, and that worked. Judi finally fell asleep once I got settled in.
Dad's got a cold now, probably from Judi, so he may not go to the zoo this morning. We're going to do laundry today and go to Pizza Hut tonight for a little Western flavor.
Zaijian for now!
Whoops, forgot to mention one little the restaurant, I took Judi to the bathroom, got back to the table,then of course Jazmin had to go. I took off, not remembering Judi would want to go. Apparently,she tried to follow me, and Jr gently picked her up and brought her back to the table. She was NOT happy, but didn't tantrum, just big crocodile tears. I got back and soothed her; she's still not big on hugs, and she finally warmed back up to Daddy when he let her have a little sip of Sprite (which she loves, so we really have to limit!). So she's just learning how far she can go with us; we figure we can't let her run completely wild; she really needs to mind because of the traffic and amount of people here. I have to laugh at Jazzy's experiences with the squattie potties! She will NOT do poo-poo and waits to get back to the hotel; Judi is a pro of course. I make it a point to go before we go somewhere; just can't get down that far very easily!

Monday, March 2, 2009

New day...

What a wonderful, stupendous day! Last night, we went to CrossingBridge restaurant and had local Yunnan food. A big bowl of soup and add-ins and noodles for only 29 yuan! We got 3 bowls but could have got by with one really; very cheap place to eat! My Dad even ate a fried bumblebee! I wasn't that brave! We went to bed last night around 9pm, and finally got Judi settled. We also did the FIRST BATH! She absolutely loved it! For a girl who apparently has never seen anything modern, she is taking to all of it like she's been around it her whole life with a joy and bounce in her step that I still find amazing! I keep waiting to see if this is the calm before the storm; I can't help but think this is too good to be true.

She slept til about 7am, then we got up, with her not appearing to be feeling well. She coughed a lot last night. We debated about going to the Minority Park or not, but Jerry said if we went to the orphanage doctor we'd be there all day! So we decided to bundle her up in 4 layers of clothes and go. She never coughed once and loved it; she really loves the car rides! She's calling us Ma-Ma and Ba-Ba all the time now, and is also responding to Judi. She never really seemed to respond to anything, even WangRou, so we just dropped it and started with Judi. She is such a firecracker; did I say that before? Jerry is translating some for us, and the things she says are hysterical! We were in the car and wouldn't sit down, so Jr tapped her on the leg. She whirled around and rattled off some Chinese; Jerry said it was "What I doing??". Just too funny! Then we were at the Minority Park and a guy was in a swing going across the lake, again she rattled off; this time it was "If you fall in the lake, I will be happy!" Oh, boy!

The Minority Park was awesome and I loved, loved, loved the shopping stalls! Got two gorgeous outfits for the girls; they were originally 200 RMB apiece, but Jerry (the guide) and I got them down to 100 RMB for BOTH! I could have shopped all day, but would have needed an extra plane! I also recommend paying for the little bus, for 200 RMB per group, they take you around, you get off and see what you want, then get back on, and off to the next village. Wonderful and you don't get tired of walking that way! Then we went to a teahouse, which was way cool and very interesting. Jr bought some tea that's supposed to help with weight loss that's been aged 8 years.

Jazmin is experiencing a little jealousy and is making sure that whatever Judi gets, she gets, but she's not being bad about it, she's been so great about helping out. Most of the stuff Judi has let us do is because she saw us do it first with Jazmin. She even knew about brushing her teeth; so whereever Judi has been, I feel she was well taken care of. Her sense of humour for an almost 3-year old is really incredible; she gets it totally when Jr teases her and plays with her.

It's about 4pm here and we're off to Green Lake Park and then to eat again. Will post later with the juicy details!


This morning, after we all slept til 7, we ate breakfast and met Jerry at 9. We went to the Civil Affairs office to do the paperwork, it was crazy! I was concerned Judi would think she would be going back to her Chinese ladies, and she did start to cry a bit at the end, but came to me willingly when it was all done and waved goodbye to them without a tear! We then went to the police station to apply for her passport and then back to the hotel. Lisa, Kunming is a beautiful city! Tremendous architectural masterpieces next to old, dilapidated apartment buildings. Even Jazmin has commented that there are so many "poor" people! Our room is great and plenty of space for the five of us (see my pictures below). The Bluebird Cafe is great; we had lunch there again today and after some explaining, you can do "take out". At 3pm, we are going to the bank, then to Wal-mart and then will eat at the CrossingBridge restaurant. Lisa, I will post how much it runs. At lunch, Jerry brought us a huge bag filled with bananas and oranges, so we have lots to snack on! Also, forgot to mention when Jerry met us at the airport, he gave my Dad and I a dozen roses each! Can't wait to see what a Chinese Wal-Mart looks like! Then tomorrow, we're doing the Minority Village. I still want to get out and just walk around, but am leery because of how Judi runs ahead of us; we've really got to work on that!
We also got Judi's care package back and from the expression on her face, I don't think she ever saw it, but at least we have it now.
The girls are sleeping now, thankfully! They are both bundles of energy, and Judi has to "encouraged" to stop and slow down; she's so funny, though, and all girly girl! Loves the purse and bag we brought and is a pro on the Leapster already! Remember, this child grew up in the countryside and never saw anything like this, but has it figured out already! Her facial expressions and looks she gives Jr just have me in hysterics; she's pegged him as a softie, so he realizes now he can't be the "fun and games" guy all the time. What I think is cool is that even when we tell her no or stop her from doing something, she'll pooch out those rosebud lips, but doesn't melt down, knock on wood! So far, today's been awesome!

This is Judi at breakfast this morning. She loved the buffet and would parade me around pointing at what she wanted. Both girls thought the hotel restuarant's play area was cool. Judi has the coolest laugh! Jazmin wants me to refer to them as my China Cutie Pies, so that's what they are!

On the playground!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


It's 9:30 and do you know what I'm listening to??!! My new daughter laughing at my husband's antics in the bedroom when she's supposed to be sleeping. This is a miracle, guys, because up to now she's been one terrified kid! This was our day: we got to Kunming at about 11:35 am and met Jerry. He told us we would get Judi at 2:30 and that (get this!) they were bringing her to our hotel room! Then we discovered we needed the government fees in 4700 RMB so we had to rush to the bank and then went to eat at the BlueBird Cafe (it's great by the way!). We had a good lunch for about 200 RMB and it's right outside the hotel.
At 2:25 Jr and I looked at each other and couldn't remember if they said to meet in the lobby or they were coming to the room; I was so nervous I couldn't sit still! Finally, a little after 2:30 Dad went downstairs and sure enough here comes a knock on the door. They walked in with Judi; she is absolutely precious! She came in very nervous, remember we were told she knew we were coming and was ready??!! I don't think so! She sat on our couch but wouldn't let me or anyone touch her. She played with the stuff we gave her, but when the first lady left she started crying. She stopped again and kept playing but wouldn't maintain eye contact. Finally, we all came over to the desk and signed some stuff and the last lady and our guide slipped out. Judi didn't notice at first, but THEN she did. What ensued next was the temper tantrum of all eternity! She threw herself at the door, screaming and crying. She was also reaching for the door knob and the thing that locks the door. I stayed next to her, but she tried to slap and kick me away; I said "bu" at this point and she stopped trying to do that, but didn't stop screaming. Finally, about 30 minutes later, she wound down and settled back on the couch. Everything we gave her, she stuffed in that one corner of the couch and put a pillow over it. She's got a cold, too, and is on some kind of Chinese herbal medicine and guess what, amoxicillin!
After a while, she lay down, but suddenly popped up and looked at the window. She crawled up over the couch, laid across it and the window sill (we're on the 12th floor) and screamed for her nanny. I can safely say there appears to be nothing wrong with her intelligence! The things she can do are amazing! She does everything herself, even made up and took her own medicine; but she finally did let me put her water bottle top back on.
We had Dad and Jr go out and bring back food and I got her to eat a little; she kept going back to our couch and laying down. Then about 8pm we had a breakthrough! I got our Jazzy and her's matching pajamas out; it took a while, but she finally chose to change. She came to us in beautiful clothes, but 4 layers! She took all her own clothes off, but let me help put the jammies on (Yeah!!!). THen we laid the girls down in their sleeping bags. I got on the computer and all of a sudden I heard something incredible; she was laughing! She hadn't even smiled up to then! I snuck in and Jr was making her laugh by pretending to snore funny. Then they got into a pillow fight, Jazzy woke up, and now it's 10:30pm and we're all playing! She's still a little leery of me, but that will come; she appears to be a Daddy's girl right now. We're going to try to get these firecrackers to bed cause we're wiped; a long, emotional, up and down day! By the way, Judi's got the cutest little voice!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Day in Nanning........

We had such a wonderful day today! We got up leisurely, meaning we stayed in bed until about 7! Jr took Jazmin down to eat breakfast while Dad and I slept in. We went back to the People's Park and today, Saturday, there were all these cool stalls with food, trinkets, games, basically a whole carnival complete with amusement park! We never saw any of this the last time we were there; it was lots of fun!
Then we called our guide and went to see Qing Xiu Mountain and the Buddhist Temple. The Buddhist Temple was very beautiful and Jazmin wanted to know who Buddha was so we talked about how some people believe in Jesus Christ and lots of Chinese people believe in Buddha.
Jazmin has acclimated great, though is still tired out by 8pm. But she's up for anything and enjoyed our day thoroughly. We took our guide and driver out to a nice restaurant and Dad had fun trying out the local beer. He's having a great time and is glad he decided to come.
Now, one point I need to make: at 9pm Jr and I went to have a Chinese massage. I recommend this only if you enjoy GREAT PAIN!!!!!!!!! I am still so sore today no one can touch my skin. The little Asian women who did mine must have gotten a kick out of beating the crap out of the chubby American woman!
Now it's off to bed and to prepare for tomorrow, Gotcha!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Posting from Nanning, China!

Hi, once again! We made it to Guangzhou late Thursday evening and talk about wiped out! Our last flight was 4 hours of which Jaz slept the whole thing. I kept trying to wake her up so she'd sleep that night, to no avail. She went to sleep great, but was up at 3:30 raring to go. I tried to keep her quiet and she was really great about not making any noise. We got up at 6 for breakfast and scooted off to Nanning.
What memories when we landed! Nanning is where we got Jazmin, and the ride to the hotel was fascinating as always. We pulled up to the hotel and I saw Jazmin again as a sweet,scared 17 month old; now she is an energetic 5 year old coming back to see her country. The whole way to the hotel last night she kept saying "My China!". Today, she is just soaking it all in. She's finally getting a little more comfortable with all the people staring at her and us and trying to talk Chinese to her. She's saying "ni hao" and "zaijin" to everyone instead of being shy.
The "baby" restaurant is still there, right next to the Majestic hotel we're in; we ate lunch for 77 yuan or $11.50 US dollars that included spareribs, rice, fruit salad, and some yummy type of potato pancake. Then we walked behind the hotel to People's Park, a huge lake with walkways, statues, and places to stop and feed these HUGE koi fish; Jazzy loved that part. There's an amusment park I think we'll check out tomorrow. On the way back in to the hotel, we saw several adoptive families with their babies. Oh, so cute, and one of them, an 18-month old,w as absolutely breathtaking! It brought back such memories of our first days with Jazmin; I was even able to offer a little advice as they are experiencing a problem similar to one we had with Jazmin.
Haven't been able to phone the kids yet as it's only 2:48 am in Missouri, but Jessica passed her Constitution test! Yeahh for her! And we've been texting, they seem to be enjoying their time with their friends.
Will post again on our adventures tomorroow!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

1 down, 8 to, that is!

We're in Dallas! just waiting for our next flight to Tokyo that leaves at 10:10. Jazzy did great on her first flight (that she remembers). She said "awesome' at least 5 times on takeoff, then promptly fell asleep for the whole thing! Now she thinks the Dallas airport is pretty cool. So fun to see these things through the eyes of a child; reminds me to look at things with wonder and awe instead of thinking like an ! i think we actually didn't forget anything either, which is just simply amazing for me! We rushed out of the house so quick, i was sure we had. Then we got to the airport in KC at 4am! Got to do electronic check-in and no fees for checked bags; hooray! And even my heaviest bags came in at only 35 pounds, so way even under China's restrictions. i could have sworn they weighed 100 lbs, since i can barely lift them, that's sad, i'm such a weakling!
Well, i'm off to explore with Jaz; will post again soon! And Tina, if you're reading this, hope you're feeling better and on your flight!\

Sunday, February 22, 2009

3 more days!!

Only 3 more days to go..........I'm starting to finally get excited and not just stressed out! Got most of our packing done and I think to a manageable level of suitcases (i'll post a picture when it's all together!). Jazmin is all excited about staying in the hotels; I hope the long flights don't mess with her too much. But she's such a trooper, I think she'll do alright.
Our travel came in quite a bit higher than expected, but after some slashing and negotiating, it came down. At least I don't feel I have to mortgage one of the kids to go now! The biggest bummer is we had to take out the side trip to Jazmin's orphanage, due to the extra cost and incredible hectic pace it would have put us at. Now we are just staying in Nanning for a couple nights to recuperate and show Jazmin the places we went with her as a baby. I think that'll mean more to her anyway.
Jessica and James are just psyched as all get out to go to their friends' houses; almost to the point they're pushing us out the door early! I will miss them so much! I was never able to get webcams for everyone, so will just have to rely on Skype and pictures; hope it all works out.
Today, I just have to go to church, go to work for a few hours, work more with the kids' on their science projects, and go over our adoption paperwork packet. Just another typical day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We got TA!!!! on February 6th........

Well, I'm a little late, but we did finally get TA (travel approval). This means we are now officially approved not only to adopt Judi, but to actually enter the country to pick her up! It's been a frantic few days waiting for CA confirmation, which we got today. Now I'm having the dickens of a time getting airline flights; hopefully we'll get that settled tomorrow.
Now for the bummer; my dad's basement flooded tonight; a backed up drain or something. He's not sure he wants to go now; he feels like he can't take a chance on it happening while he's gone. I don't blame him there, but I still want him to go; maybe we'll try to get him to go for at least a week, then return home early. Why does stuff like this always seem to happen at the worst possible time??!!
On the home front, the kids are super-excited about us leaving, because they get to stay with their friends; a neat change of pace for them. Jazmin has the date we leave, Feb. 25th, circled on her little calendar; she can't wait to meet Judi. I just hope she handles the long flights alright. She's always up for an advnture, though.
Well, I have to go, just waiting for Jr to call and tell me what's going on with Dad's house; he went over to help suck up the water. Ta, ta for now!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I was going to post something stimulating and interesting, but nothing happened today! I grabbed the kids from school, ran to piano lessons, dance lessons, and karate lessons, and met up with JR for (gasp!) a fast-food dinner at Arby's. Got home at 7:30 and read 3 books to Jazmin to fulfill her Book-It for January, got James to start on his weekend homework, and plugged myself into the computer. Tomorrow I'm going to sell my car (anyone want a 1997 Geo Metro with only 39,000 miles??? - great price!) and start counting down to Monday when the CCAA opens up again. We are hoping they come back raring to go and plop our TA in the mail ASAP! To all my good buddies waiting with me, this week'll be over soon!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bumming in Missouri....

Hi, all! Been awhile since I've posted; check out our new family photo, too, down at the bottom of the blog. This one's from Christmas; it's also the one I had put on the picture pillow I sent Judi in her care package. It's actually two put together; it's hard getting 5 people to stop moving all at one time!

I was all excited last week anticipating TA and THEN, nothing..............not a word. Now the CCAA is off for Chinese New Year and our TA is still sitting on someone's desk. So now our travel may be pushed back to March. I really wish I understood why all these delays have happened. I still can't believe we started this process right before Judi's 3rd birthday and now she's almost 4! Jazmin has a little calender on her wall; every night she checks off one more day and asks me again when we're going. I have the girls' suitcase mostly packed; Jazmin has insisted on matching clothes so we have matching hoodies, Princess crocs, shirts, pants, and dresses in size 6 and size 2-4T. On the advice of another mom, I'm bringing safety pins for Judi's clothes in case they fall off her little hinny!

We also didn't get new measurements for Judi, so I'm operating under 6 month old numbers; it'll be so much fun to shop for the two girls in China!

I'll post an answer to the joke tomorrow; stay tuned!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TA, TA, where are youuuuuuuuuuu?

we're still hangin' in there just waiting for TA. TA is Travel Approval. China first gives you pre-approval to adopt, then waaaaay later, the real approval, THEN the approval to actually enter China! The good news is today we got our passports back all stamped and ready to go.
Chinese New Year is Jan. 26, and if the CCAA holds true to form, they will want to clear their desks before the holiday, meaning we might get TA next week! There is one glitch though; there is news that there is a new step in the TA process, where the LOAs have to go back to immigration here in the US for re-approval or something! It is really crazy; they don't think about the kids waiting for their families; it's just all bureaucratic nonsense! Pray that this does not slow us up even more; there are so many families this would affect and these children wait so long, they shouldn't have to wait longer!
On the home front, we're doing well. Jr's still employed, Jessica's doing really well so far this semester, and Jazmin already has her "airplane" bag packed! I keep saying i'm going to get packing, but can't seem to get to it. I'll probably be throwing things in a suitcase the night before we leave!