Sunday, October 5, 2008

New pictures

Sorry posted some duplicate pictures on my last post. Here are a few new ones from Clare's first day of school.

Six months home

Hello everyone. Yes life is busy with our little Chinese chatterbox, Jack our new middle schooler and 2 full time jobs that we are horribly behind on our blog. It was 6 months ago last week that we were in China and became a family of four. We are amazed at how the time is flying.
Clare is in K4 with her brother Jack at St Mary's School. She loves school and asked just about every day since we came home when she could start school. After our return from China she just couldn't understand why Guh-Guh was going to school and she wasn't. She proudly tells everyone now that she goes to school every day now- like a big girl.
Reading the blogs of all the people that we traveled with to China it is amazing that everyone is doing so well and we all sound so similar as far as the adjustment period has been. Clare too is happy, inquisitive, talkative (that's putting it mildly!) and doing great in school. The transition to speaking English has been so easy we can't believe it. Someone asked us how we taught her English and my answer was "we talked to her". Wow, wish my brain worked like that. In fact we are now sending her to a Mandarin Chinese class once a week and she can barely say any Chinese words. She said "Mommy I don't talk China anymore- I forgot. I talk English now!"
We are looking forward to our many first Holiday celebrations coming up. It will be great. So far, she thinks the whole Halloween thing sounds wonderful- Candy from all the neighbors! Life is good.
Here are a few pictures from the last months. Hello to all and we'll post again. Thank you for everything the last 6 months and for welcoming Clare home.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Too long

OK my blog posts are so few and far between that I am probably the only one now reading (and writing). I think of things I need to post all the time- but sitting at the computer and doing it is another story!
So an update- on Memorial Day May 26 we celebrated Clare's 4th Birthday. The big event for her was having a cake with her name on it and everyone singing to her. She's been happily singing Happy Birthday to Clare ever since.
Two weeks after the big birthday we headed to Hilton Head for a family beach vacation with all of my family- With my Mom and Dad, brothers Jay and Chris and sister Leslie and their spouses and all the kids and a couple of girlfriends for the two oldest kids(who are adults) there was a total of 22 people for a few days! Wow that's what I call a family gathering. One of the fun things for us was Clare getting to meet everyone in the family. We really had a great time. Clare loved the beach but the getting in the ocean was a one time event for her- one big splash of salt water in her face and she was done. Thankfully there is a pool at the house and we spent lots of time there too.
I'll do another post with more updates. Until then here are a few pictures from Clare's birthday and the beach trip- I love the picture with her and Jack on the path to the beach for the very 1st time. In the pool she is with her cousin Adam- she loved it in the pool with him holding her.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yes we are still here

Yes, I am the slowest blogger ever! Two things have impacted my failure to post. First now that there is a 4 yr. old in the house I have absolutely no time. I am on my computer for work alot and then I don't have time to get on for other stuff like the blog.
Secondly, I always like to post pictures and my camera is broken and sent in for repairs with Nikon. It seems as though a certain junior photographer at our house dropped the camera and broke it. I won't mention any names but she is 4 years old and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese as well as some English which is becoming more fluent every day!
I will still post a few pictures that I already have until I have new ones.
Things are really going well. We have had lots of visitors and we love it. My Mom and Dad were here last weekend. They go by Nana and Poppi but Clare calls Nana Banana instead. Hey she's busy learning English for all the fruits and Nana and Banana are so similar- what the heck!
My friend Liz and her daughter Isabelle from Charleston came to see us and gave Clare the most fitting gift- a Princess dress. What a perfect match for her. I took a picture with our old camera and I will try to post it. Isabelle was adopted a 6 from China and Liz was my adoption mentor for years and years. Isabelle is now 17 and she is absolutely gorgeous and a wonderful girl. They live in Charleston, SC and they were in town to visit a couple of colleges as Isabelle is Junior. Our top pick is Furman because then she would be nearby- we would love that!
Today our good friends Charlie and Caroline and their two kids Charlie and Margo are coming for the day. We are looking forward to seeing them.
All in all things are going very well. Clare continues to amaze us with the amount of English she is learning every day. She really understands most of what we are saying and she can say more and more in English every day.
We went to visit her teacher at St. Mary's for 4 year old pre-school this fall. Her and Guh Guh Jack will be at the same school and she can't wait. The day after we went for our visit she didn't understand why she was not going to school when Jack went. I couldn't quite explain that concept to her that she would start in the fall when Jack went back to school after summer. Jack is out for the summer in 4 days so it will be fine when he is not leaving for school every day. School will be great for her- she is so busy and loves to interact- and I do mean interact all day long! She will have other kids her age to be with and keep her busy, while she is learning lots of new things.
I promise to post again soon. Monday May 26th is Clare's 4th Birthday- Happy Birthday Clare!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fun on the Homefront

Just wanted to say Hello and give a quick update with some pictures. Things are going amazingly well since our return home. Better than we could have ever hoped for. Clare is doing great and learning more and more English words every day. She seems to be understanding much of what we tell her in English and she is beginning to interject a few English words here and there when she is talking. She still rambles on (and on!) in Chinese and loves to tell animated stories. Of course we don't understand most of it but it is too cute.

As you can see from the pictures she is quite comfortable in her new surroundings. She now loves the animals after starting out 2 and 1/2 weeks ago absolutely terrified. Check her out with Brownie our dog.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

There's no place like Home!

Yes we are home and very happy! So sorry it has taken a week to post on our travels to home. We made it home safe and sound Saturday night 4/12 at 10:00 pm. Our wonderful sister-in-law Melissa picked us up at the airport and was waiting holding a sign welcoming Clare home. Thank you Melissa!
Our plane trip home really went well after a rough start with a 5:00 am wake up to get to the airport in China. Clare was not to happy to be shuttled around at such an early hour. After a power nap on the flight from China to Tokyo, Japan things improved greatly. Our 12 hour flight to Detroit(which I was really worried about) went really well. Clare slept for a good 5-6 hours and we were able to entertain her the rest of the time- even though we were speaking different languages!
Sunday was a wonderful day- the sun was shining and we went outside first thing in the morning. Everything looks so beautiful- Spring is in full bloom. The grass is green and the dogwoods and azaleas look better than ever before! Our neighbors came out when they saw us out and about. It was great to see everyone and Clare got to meet the neighborhood gang. She was off and running in no time! It was really a great sight to see. We are so grateful to be home safe and healthy and our long journey complete.
By late afternoon we were really feeling the affects of our jet lag and the 12 hour time difference. Clare fell asleep for what we thought was a nap around 5:00 pm- instead she was done for the night! She slept until 5:00 am Monday morning.
Our sister-in-law Melissa came through yet again- her and my brother Jay arrived around 6:00 pm with a full cooked dinner for us. It was a great meal and it couldn't have been more needed- we were really exhausted and it was such a luxury to have an entire dinner delivered our first night home. Thank you again Melissa!

The week went well as we all recovered from jet lag. Jack bounced back just fine and went to school on Monday. Clare and Mom went to Jack's school on Tuesday for lunch and playground time and Clare got a VIP reception from all of Jack's classmates at St. Mary's. It was really wonderful. Jack was quite the proud big brother- as he should be! Each day got better as we got into the swing of being home. Clare is really quite the character. She is also very strong willed and definitely wants her way. As I write this it's Sunday and today was our first day without a "meltdown" the entire day. We're making progress!

Attached are pictures from our travels to home.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Homeward Bound

It's 11:00 pm in China and we are packed and ready to go. We can't believe the journey is almost complete.
We went to the American Consulate today and got Clare's visa for immigration to the U.S. When the plan lands at the airport in Detroit she will officially be a citizen of the greatest country in the world!
Jack, John, and Clare all got haircuts before heading home tomorrow. Attached are a couple pictures. We went to dinner with our great friends who we have met along the way. We have spent so much time together and we were really lucky to have such great people to share this experience with. Joe and Cheryl, Michelle and Frank- Thank you. It has been wonderful.
We leave tomorrow at 8:00 am (8:00 pm Friday night Greenville time) We will be in Greenville at 10:00 pm Saturday night- we hope! See you soon.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. We love you all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

We're almost there!

We are feeling great. Clare is getting better and better each day. Saying lots of English words and seems very happy. She is definitely a character.

We roamed around a bit today- it's very walkable here. In the afternoon we gathered with our group for pictures. It is a tradition to talk pictures on the famous "red couch" here at the hotel.

The waterfall picture is from here in the hotel- you can see why we feel like we're in the Emerald City now.

Apparently Clare feels strongly about keeping a good amount of moisturizer on her face. Here's a picture of her face moisturizer application.

We'll post again tomorrow before we head for home. We're almost there!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Land of Oz

We're out of the dark, we're out of the woods we're into the light! We feel like we're in Emerald City. We are now in Guangzhou, China

The end is in sight. Only 2 days until Saturday and we're homeward bound. Sorry we have been out of touch- we had a computer glitch and had trouble getting online. We're up and running again. Yeah!

Yesterday we flew from Shenyang to Guangzhou. This was our short warm up flight for the trip home. It was 3 hours and 40 minutes. All went well. We are now at our last stop before we head home. We are here to get a travel visa for Clare. We are staying at the White Swan Hotel which is famous for all the adoptive families that stay here. It feels wonderful. All kinds of people speaking English and lots of cute babies and kids. No one is staring at us- it's great.

Guangzhou is a tropical city- at some point in history the British were here so it seems very different from where we were. It almost has a Charleston feel- somewhat provincial or colonial. But the city has been here for 2000 years- quite a long history.

Today was the medical exam day for Clare and then we went shopping to a very large complex with a huge times square type central courtyard. We had lunch at McDonalds. We never eat McDonalds at home but it was awfully good. We needed an Amercian meal after many Chinese dinners.

Attached are some pictures from the last few days. All is well. Clare is responding to her new name and starting to say a few things in English. Surprisingly, she can sing the ABC's from her pre-school in China. It is very cute. She is quite a character and we are loving every minute of it. Her transition to our family has really been remarkable- we feel like it's really a miracle!

We can't wait to see everyone. We are counting the hours!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Sorry about the absence of the taxi ride on the previous blog. I had been feeling pretty computer savvy but I guess I had inflated my skill level. If I can find a geek with our group I'll see if I can get someone to help my post the taxi ride.

Well, It's Sunday night in China. Jack and Clare are sleeping. We are in the hotel room counting down our time here. On Tuesday at noon we fly to Guangzhou, which is a 4.5 hour flight. We have to go there to visit the American Consulate and get an American passport and Visa for Clare. All adopted Chinese children going to the U.S. must leave the country through Ghangzhou. We can't wait to go!

We have done something fun every day but the days stretch out so long in foreign city in a hotel room. We are so very homesick for everything- our home, our family and friends, our pets, green grass, open space, running outside on the path in our neighborhood,ice in our drinks, forks, mowing the lawn, seeing the spring in bloom in Greenville, the list goes on and on. Tomorrow is Monday so we can see the end in sight. We can't wait to board that plane on Saturday morning to head home. I guess I better re-word that and say we can't wait to get off the plane in Greenville. The flight home with our little spitfire non-English speaking Chinese daughter is a bit daunting. To be honest I'm terrified! One way or another we'll get through it.

The journey continues..........we'll keep posting. Thank you for all your love, prayers and support.