Monday, March 30, 2009

Chloe and Lily

How did the visit go? In a word? FANTASTIC!


The weather was not great, rainy and fog. But we got to Gettysburg in good time with Lily unaware we were coming. So her dad sees us first and pulls her out of the gift shop full of 50 8th graders, and the squeals began. Squeals of joy, of laughter, of fun.



These 2 girls were such a delight to watch together, Lily is a WONDERFUL person, she made Chloe so incredibly happy to see her and be able to talk with her and know how happy and loved Lily is in her family. Lily took time to sit Chloe down and express to her how truly happy we are to have her home. How much we love her, but also some important family things that will help her to blend into our family easier.


As I told Lily she was PRICELESS, and she wasn't sure what that meant:) but Dad explained and Chloe was able to listen, not take offense and begin to USE some of the things Lily was teaching her.


It was soooooo worth the trip, we thank you Lily for being such a super friend to Chloe and to Sally and Eric for having such a neat and caring daughter. I think you have a lot to do with that:)



We had a lovely dinner then stayed over to talk, or should I say, let the girls giggle and talk. Chloe was on overdrive but I got the answer to every one's question, is she happy here??- YES!



She is picking up English so fast, it's really amazing. She understood when we offered Lily to come this summer and stay and she asked where she would sleep as Chloe wanted to know. Chloe understood when I said I could put Kat in with JieJie Mal, allowing Chloe and Lily to have her room together- no translation needed:)



We really hope Lily can come to stay a few days, it was a fantastic blessing to pull off this meeting and was obviously not long enough:)

video

In sad news, my Great Aunt Stella passed away yesterday. Of course on a Sunday, the day of rest for our Lord. This woman who chose my name ( thanks for the Vickie and NOT VICTORIA) lived for God. She NEVER had a bad word to say of anyone. EVER- she was a rare woman of faith and a more beautiful person you could not meet. As children we went every Sunday to Aunt Mary ( lost her 4 years ago) and Aunt Stella's house for Sunday dinner. Our grandmother's sisters, never married so we were their family. I always considered them as 2 more grandmothers, as I know the rest of us "kids" all did. You never went to see Gram without seeing the Aunts and vice versa.



For all the homemade pickles you made, the mashed potatoes filled with LOVE, your last words to me, "pray, always take time to laugh and take care of all those kids." I will Aunt Stella, I will. Hope you got my baby boy Tristan covered up there in Heaven now. Rock him side to side and pat the butt, he loves that. I know you are loving on him. Give him a kiss from his momma for me. Loved in a lifetime, never forgotten now that you have passed.










Friday, March 27, 2009

Chloe's week

Chloe's week in review:

Child thinks we have endless money to spend on groceries. She has gained 8 pounds in 2 1/2 weeks. It's taken me 2 YEARS to get 8 pounds on little Miss Kat! Chloe heads for the beef jerky in every store I shop in- although she has not figured out that the Dollar St*re sells it too- shhh don't tell her!
She can down a WHOLE bag of it in less than an hour!
She will say "store and shopping" she knows what both of these mean already! And she means groceries, she doesn't really care too much about clothes shopping, although she did HAVE TO HAVE some hair thingys today.
She even pulled the "Kat/Chloe trick, like they would share them and BOTH benefit so greatly from having a NEW pack of barrettes. They had a jolly time using all those new things to make ME look like a goof, she also prodded me downstairs to show me off to Baba while her and Kat giggled themselves silly.


She got glasses ordered yesterday. She is farsighted and has a astigmatism. This is in addition to her nystigmus, the nystigmus really has no affect on her vision other than to make it quite hard for her to focus on anything, her pupils dart from side to side randomly, more so when she is nervous. There is no treatment or cure for the nystigmus. We had a hard time figuring out the right strength of glasses but the doc thinks she got it as close as possible with the limited English we have.

The issue then became the glasses. She did not like any, or was trying to say she didn't want any when I used translation book to say she HAD to chose one pair, that she needed them. Then she did not understand why she could not take the sample pair with her. They will be in next week and I think I got her to understand that.


Her language skills are improving greatly. She is quite funny and ornery. She has learned to shout a song, and I mean SHOUT, we will we will ROCK YOU, ROCK YOU.



She is picking up lots of words. She will tell me "English" when she wants to know the English word for something. She had me read her an ABC book with animals and she told me the ones she knew and wanted to know the rest of them. She has found the spider solitaire game on the computer and is very good at it. She understands much of what I tell her.



Tomorrow, we are going to meet up with her friend, adopted 18 months ago, they were roomies for 5 years at the orphanage. They live in CA, we are in PA so it's a rare opportunity for us to go and see them as they are traveling close to us and we can't give up this opportunity to get together. Chloe has been saying for days " Lily tomorrow" and I have to say " tomorrow tomorrow." Now it really IS tomorrow and she is excited.


She is quite funny, still very much on overdrive when we go anywhere. She is better in the store now but she had to be scolded in the eye doctor's for touching everything and I mean EVERYTHING. She is so curious about everything. Very bright, that's obvious and she is just wanting to know is all :)
She slid down the handrail at the post office today, I thought it looked quite fun and really wished I was a few years younger and less fluffy so I could try it too. Kat and Chloe decided to dress alike today, I thought they looked so adorable. They had their red skirts on, their leggings, they wore different shirts and socks- Chloe is still dressing like she is in China, she covers her leggings with her socks over top them. Guess she is so used to that, I have noticed she will cover up Kat's legs if her leggings slide up, she'd make the Chinese clothing police very proud:)
Everyone wants to ask Chloe if she is happy here, I don't know how to ask that, but she seems very happy if I have to guess. She is very playful, very loving, still a little rough but learning to tone that down. She smiles a lot, laughs more. Doesn't seem to have trouble finding things to do. Is ornery, will refuse to wear seat belt so I just keep saying it till it goes on, she says " go" I say "seat belt" and will not move van until she complies:)
She LOVES ice cream, as soon as supper is over she asks for it, I say "no, 8 o' clock" (that's snack time) so she knows 6, 7, 8, SNACK TIME:) Learning and growing, just like we had hoped.
Fulfilling her name-
Chloe means "blooming," and we are truly enjoying watching this girl bloom.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Funny things

Sometimes in a rare moment, I wonder what life would be like if we did not have such a large family. Quieter, of course, comes to mind first.

Mostly I think of what I would miss, if we did not have this large and rambunctious crew. It's hard to imagine a day without Kat giggles, the wonder I feel when I see Cam looking at me with my face, S giving me the "look" that he learned from me, saying good morning to my Chloe and feeling the urge to just hug her and have her welcome me with open arms when asked for a hug (she did this morning!!!)



These fun things added with the daily dose of goofy kids are what keep me going. Some of the funnier things that everyone should enjoy in their lives-

Last week, served chicken and a bacon spinach salad, salad filled with yummy toppings. S took one look at that salad and said "UGHHH- WEEDS, me not eat WEEDS. You feed me WEEDS" and went on and on about the WEEDS for supper:)


Kat and H arguing over how many times H should ride Kat's pink frilly bike and Kat says 2, H comes of with "I think 24 is a good idea." Where did that come from?:)


Chloe watching mom do crossword puzzles and being smart enough to figure out the answers are in the back of the book so she picks a puzzle and copies answers into puzzle hoping to shock mom into thinking she is a genius :)


Mal grumping over her paycheck and hours going to someone else at her job, ohhh, we start so young and so jaded into real life:)


Donobin telling Chloe how to open the ketchup bottle flip lid when she unscrewed the top by mistake, he talked to her like she was deaf and dumb, but was so proud he had taught her something. Yeah Donobin:)


Cam being happy with a 75 cent (didn't they used to be 25 cent) toy from a machine that looks like a freak thing with goofy hair and zits. Grossing mom out, this is the key to boy happiness:)


Having my older kids complain about my cheery message on my answering machine, so I get them back by placing this message,
"my adult grown children have complained about my message so even though they do not HAVE to call here they OBVIOUSLY do- so I changed this just for them, so here you are guys, leave a message- why don't ya?" They quickly changed tunes to accept my cheery message with no gripes:)



Trying to get a nice family photo (what was I thinking??) since I have NONE with Chloe included, this is the best one we got, no laughing. It was a chore, I'm not trying again. Off to enjoy the fun of all these kids....... is it bedtime yet?

BTW, nothing wrong with Chloe's arm, I strained my wrist hauling giant loads of clothes from washer to dryer, SHE is fascinated with torture device mom is wearing to heal wrist, which is what she has on in picture. Guess I should have left it on my wrist, I didn't really want it in the picture:)





Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring has sprung

I love spring. There's nothing like the warm days, but cool air, the sprouts coming up again this year planted years ago, some by unknown people, some by us. Lovingly planted to come each year to remind us, no matter if the kids stomp them to bits, they will come again to grace our yard. So many shades of green, the wonderful color of life.



Out we went today to enjoy the sun, riding bikes, scooters, trying out the pogo stick, just having some fun. Everyone joined in and the kids were having a blast. Kat got to try out her Christmas bike, the girl finally has some legs to fit a bigger bike :)



Our college kiddos, Chinese friendship students came yesterday and helped us with some translation issues we needed to address. Will, Tony and Emily. They did a great job talking with our Chloe, it seems she needed to hear a few things. She very much does not want anything to do with Chinese but she was willing to talk with them. I wanted to be sure she is happy ( she is) I needed to see if she understood some things ( she does now) and if there was anything I should know.



WELL, it seems Miss Kat has been doing some things, like PINCHING sister, which I found odd as she is certainly NOT an angel but pinching is not something she is prone to do when mad. Come to find that CHLOE was pinching HER first, per Kat, so she did it back. Okay GIRLS, let's act like sisters already. Oh that's right, ya already ARE. Those 2 are like two 5 year olds in many ways, so they are treated as such. Till we ACT a bit more mature we have to consider the level of Chloe has nothing to do with her age right now.



I did make sure Chloe understood that she can come to me and TELL ME, pinching is not allowed by anyone, she seemed to think Kat was more important to us and she had to just put up with it. NOT SO> she was told both are mother's daughters, both matter same. She doesn't understand yet that she is important too, that she is allowed to even have an opinion!
She doesn't realize she already is opinionated, she wants to keep her hair up, mom would like it down sometimes, she told the translators, she knows what mom wants. Doesn't matter though:)


The college kids were concerned she asked me ( via pulling me) to do something for her ( no language needed for that) and she didn't say " thank you." I told them I was not worried about that- honestly I'd like to hear her call me mama more than say thank you. She did say to me the other night when we were going to bed, "I love you" and she patted my head, I think she was just trying it out, but hey, I'll take it:)


Our translators also explained to her that in touching her, we are being affectionate, she said she did not know how to take it, so I had them explain we NEVER hit, she never has to worry that we will touch her to hit her. She is MUCH more comfortable now that she knows that, she pretty much figured that out with me, but I think it just reassured her to know we never hit.
It seems some of the simplest things we do, like play with her ponytail, she is not sure what is going on. Just basic family fun things, she doesn't know them. She is quick learner though, she likes to know where I am all the time and she is very affectionate with me. She's a leaner, always leaning in, touching, which I think shows a very healthy child.


She is very close to me mainly due to the providing of food, I make sure she has what she likes, she has gained 5 pounds since coming home. A whopping 80 pound girl.
We really do well even with the language barrier. She has sucked up everything for 2 weeks and barely spoken, as of yesterday she started using English words, banana, dog, Kat, stop, no, yes, okay, Cam, go, thank you, ice cream, pizza, chicken, today, tomorrow. The "huh" seems universal. She knows more, she is just trying them out and I am happy to see her feeling secure enough to say them.



She's also learning to ignore mom photography, that I will sneak in pictures no matter what:) Tonight the kid were entertaining each other when Kat got a bloody nose, stuffing tissue up their noses and blowing them out, terribly cute. Then they taped their OWN mouths shut, I can't get away with that but they can?? How is that fair?









Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Girls just wanna have fun

So far so good. Chloe is finding her place in the family. She is eating great, much better than Kat does to this day! She has even learned to use the microwave, with my being ill she managed to figure out how to make toast and use the microwave- making toast and hot dogs.

Not that she is going hungry, she just eats constantly. Which is fine with us, she needs it. She tries just about everything and she loves taco/hot sauce. She tried that on tacos this week and has used it on everything since then!



Our only downfalls we see so far. She is a bit rough. We suspect this is from orphanage play being quite rough, Kat was the same way at first. We have to teach her to be gentle. She does not wish to have any Chinese used, but this also means we can pretend to not understand English. Not happening. Mom is too smart for that trick.


I told her to share with Cam over legos, she still refused, I sternly said her name and she went off in a huff. She cried in her room, I left her for a little bit then got her to come out to take a walk. I realized it quite hard on her but I also will not pity her and let her get away with stuff, this will only make the others resent her, not give her a chance to fit in.



She also does not realize that this is a HOME> we are teaching that this is NOT a playground, not all child oriented play is allowed in the house. She understands often, but will try me, to see if I mean it. Baba said to me " does she listen?" and I said "mostly, but she ignores me first" and what does this wise man say? " Well that means she is ours". Yeah, we are patient in knowing she is bright, she is eager to fit in, these are 2 of the major battles won. The little stuff will come and fall into place for her.



It's hard not to want it to happen overnight but for 10 days home, we are impressed with her. She is very easy going and is trying hard, that is very obvious. But she also know how to be a kid. That is so good to see.




Kat is adoring her, she tells Chloe she loves her and kisses on her often, they remain closest, it's not often to see one without the other. I think they will go off to school in the fall and it will be great for both of them. They wore their "Made in China" shirts today and fooled around with Baba's camera, I am still thinking of replacing mine since it is a goner. But Chloe has a ball with the camera, taking pics of everything. Cute as can be those 2, see what I mean?








Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'll live

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Yep, decided I'll make it. I know, everyone is glad. None more than Chloe, I think. She was eying me up a few days and I wondered if she thought she got a bum deal, sick and horrible sounding momma.

Guess not though, as she is now coughing. I pass muster 'cause I give out the yucky tasting medicine she shakes head "no" to and momma says " yes" till she takes them then she feels better:) Fun having a mom :)

We ventured out yesterday as I couldn't take one more day in the house. Couldn't. Not one. Actually went out to get asthma med there was some issue with filling med for me. It's sad when pharmacy dude says " call doctor on call" to get something right then and there. "Can't walk around like that"- hummm.... I beg to differ, had been doing it for days. Got me covered and breathing decent again, breathing is good:)

I was happy Chloe got to Skype with her friend and former roomie of 5 years, Lily has been a great help for Chloe and yesterday they spent over an hour chattering away. It was the most we have heard Chloe ever speak! Fun to hear her laughing and to have Lily say she is quite happy here, she likes her momma. YEAH- and I have even been laying down the law:) No standing on chairs, no eating in living rooms. It made me feel good to know she is happy, she refuses a translator, really wants to learn English and is trying.

Cam was happy to report he got her to say " yes, no and don't know", he still can't stand not being able to love on her, she pops him like a typical big sis whenever he tries that.

Birthday party for one of the kid's friends today, a basketball playing party. Chloe was a little lost at first, not sure what to do, but then an air hockey game with Kat and a scramble for pinata ( or "piano" per Kat) candy, and she fit right in. Candy need no translation.

Other misc. stuff I wanted to post before it's lost the muddle of my brain about my trip........

Tips- do take enough socks, forget the hair bows in a box to keep from crushing them- honestly, what was I thinking?

Also do not pack a ton of toiletries, no one cares if you have matching lotion and body spray.

Take the comfortable- but smelly shoes you always wear. Take Febr*eze spray if you must, but really the fur lined clogs I took?? They lost the fur on day 3, and I was stuck with too big shoes and sandals, no shoes to be found in my huge size in China.

Do NOT allow mother to give you undies to wear for trip. See old post. No more being said.

Do not lose sense of humor no matter what- it will get you far. I now own a pet "rock" also known as a breakfast roll from one hotel. We were served this treat already hardened to the brick form. We HOWLED over this, and I am now quite fond of the little guy. Not to mention, he bridged language barriers to make our Chloe laugh and continues to do so.

Never, never stay in hotel that sells men's undies on the "bar." Not saying anymore about that either.

Enjoy your guides, use them to go everywhere. We initially planned to do some stuff on our own, it's really not worth the aggravation, it's so much easier and not that expensive to use a guide. Also known as " child carriers" when needed:) Very helpful! But also know when to say " we do not wish to go there, or that's too much in one day." Pace yourself, you will not enjoy seeing 10 things in one day if you are wore out, if you see 3 and they are amazing, it is so much nicer. Pace is your option for the sightseeing, what you are up to, they will drag you all over if you don't speak up.

Take TRANSFORMER plug, not adapter and know difference.

Biggest tip- do not EVER go to NEW stylist and do anything with your hair before big trip to anywhere. China water is NOT perm friendly, very drying. Get pretty highlights, a trim, do not, I repeat, do not perm hair to shorten "getting ready time."

Take less pictures, and soak up the trip, I did this this time round and enjoyed SEEING much more this trip. Pictures can remind you but being there and missing it as the one always getting "shots" is not always fun.

Buy extra stuff, take a list, but buy extra little things and something I have done for the girls is buy them something small from China for each birthday till they reach 18. ( on # 18 they get their tea sets) but buy from one shop, many things, as the more you buy the more they discount:) And walk away if the price isn't right, they will come down.

Do not take shoes you "think" will fit child that she will LOVE and refuse to not wear when her feet are crammed into them.

Most of all be patient with child, enjoy the amazing fun they have over simple elevator doors, hotel key cards, etc. I let Chloe go wild with all that. Why NOT? She was as fun as a kid in a candy store. I can only imagine the freedom she feels knowing she can now be a kid and not be worried about what will happen to her when she is 14 and would not be able to ever have a family. And really, who's gonna remember she climbed out of a cab window like a monkey?

And finally speaking of cabs, place guide in front seat, do not look out toward front during any part of driving experience. Look out side window unless view is a tail light 2 inches from your window, then it's good time to need nap. Try not to scream, it scares driver, throwing off his super abilities to communicate with the other crazy people willing to drive on those roads, throwing the entire driving experience to a new level of " insanity.

At least I stayed where I belonged, in the BACK.......











Friday, March 13, 2009

Flu

Apparently some flu bug thought is would be fun to hop on the fluffy American woman as she said farewell to China. All those hacking people in the plane made me wonder if we were getting some nasty bug heading back with us.

Monday started the fever, chills and aches. At one point when I laid down and thought " well if I wake up I will live" and I realized I was heading for a major ill. By Wed when I needed my doctor as my asthma decided to join the fun, and I was slamming every med I have for it and still not getting ahead- I come to find he is not in. So off I go to his "on call" doc, who does not take our insurance but I am former patient (switched due to the insurance issue) so I paid out of pocket to get the steroids I needed to kick this crap.


Now don't worry I will not turn into an Olympic hopeful so I do not have to report this usage to anyone. Ha Ha. It's enough to get me over this illness. Asthma is not a fun thing, I can not be around any cigarette smoke and strong odors are horrible when I am ill, specifically any type of sprays.



Here's where I am going to be thankful. I did NOT get this while in China. I had some worries as EVERYONE smokes over there, they smoke everywhere too, hotels, elevators, restaurants, cars, everywhere. I would NOT have been in good shape to handle this. As it was my terrific hubby ( not enough credit given to this man) stayed home yesterday to let me rest, heal, rest and he got everyone off to school and managed the house.


Kat was quite worried I was ill, she said " daddy you stay home to feed us children?" Yeah, her concern? Mom can't get up to feed us, oh no. Her and Chloe are like mice, they eat all day long. Not that it hurts either one weight wise and they eat healthier than any kids I have ever seen but it was just really funny the way she said that.


I accomplished one thing with Chloe this week. The dentist. Not good news. I'm cursing the roller blades I sent her as he comes in to tell me she has 2 front teeth that have taken a "blow" and need root canals, they are abscessed right now. Yikes. One is her chipped front tooth I wanted to have repaired as it affects how much she smiles, and the other is next to her other front tooth and it's cracked badly. We have antibiotics and will have a consultation in a month to go from there for options. I do not know for sure the roller blades were to blame, but I just bet.

She had NO cavities, but had NEVER been to the dentist or brushed, it's obviously NOT a priority between feeding children and teeth, you feed them. So we teach the dental care now. Chloe did really well, the book I use for translation is a small dictionary she can read the Chinese character for whatever English I need to tell her. The dentist did say " do you have someone teaching her English" and I was not going to say " Dora The ExPL*er and Kat, that she isn't able to even adjust to the time here yet, I just said " we have been home for just days" and left it at that.


What are we doing with schooling? Well, we can't register Chloe till she has doctor clearance of her shots. That's next week at least, depending on what all she needs. I spoke with Elementary school ahead of time, they are willing to allow us to place her where we want. We are basically going to work with her here at home, if we feel she needs to be a school setting before next fall, then we may go with placing her with Cam, in second grade for the remainder of this year. Only due to her lack of English skills, lack of American culture skills, and it would give her someone familiar to be with. We could then eval her for higher grade in the fall.


Otherwise how is she. Still wonderful. Spunky. Like her sis. They are tight, she is very comfortable with her. She is less so with the boys, including poor Baba. He was feeling left out. I told him just go grab her and kiss on her, she KNOWS by now I will do this and I get her a few times a day, she always laughs, even while trying to get away :) She NEEDS the lovings. Baba is more laid back and reserved, I explained to him, there are many women at the orphanage, just one director man. SO she doesn't know how to relate to a quiet dad, she may think he doesn't like her. Who knows?? SO as I grabbed her for hugs he came and kissed her till she squealed at his whiskers.


He also got to go get us comfort foods, TAKE OUT this time, Chinese food. That went over VERY well. I needed some wonton soup and the girls ate their meat sticks, some soup, and I ordered them noodles too. They saved some of the noodles and that was their first breakfast of the day today:) Baba being home and getting them what they needed made Chloe much more relaxed around him. Kat is very loving to her baba too, so this helps her to see also.


She is doing wonderful, she said "S" today, the first time when she went out to put him on the van and check out where I was taking him every morning. I think she understands he goes to a special school. She was great today too, when the local escape artist, aka Tallulah, our deaf dog, of course, who has taken to darting out the door any chance she gets. We are certain she is going to get killed thus, devastating the kids, not so much mom. Mom is to a point that if i must go after said dog one more time in my lounge clothes and bare feet, I may turn back and say "Tallulah who?" when asked. Chloe did the chasing this morning and got her back.



Actually I think Debbie's new honey is going to take her, he is smitten with the doggie bug and the dog needs someone who will not have 6 kids letting her take off out the door. I'd rather re home her than see her killed. Honest.



Chloe is sucking up everything, you can see her taking it all in, she is trying out new words, she does NOT want us to use Chinese with her. I think she can't stand my butchering of the language:) But even when I give her chop sticks to eat her noodles she gets up and gets a fork herself. We are following her lead and have dumped her head first in English. I told her I can contact an interpreter anytime, but she doesn't even try to use the reverse part of our dictionary to tell me anything. She motions, pulls me, points, says a few things, and we manage quite well. She is eating good, the girls slept till 6 am this morning ( getting closer to normal).


I think she is one happy girl, if her smiles tell me anything? And look at those pearly whites?? Just beautiful. Inside and out. Love her. Tons and tons.




Sunday, March 8, 2009

Who has jet lag?

I thought I was the one who traveled with these girls but look who is sleeping in the chair? Ha ha, it's tough having us home.

We ventured out to Walm*rt and Chinese buffet today, I wanted Chloe to EAT, but this was not so good of an idea. Should have done take out. We walked in to the 2 choices we have in tiny town, and she walked back out. Ouch. Being able to say " you okay?" and not much more to her wasn't cutting it. I felt terrible.


She finally agreed to go back in, I wasn't going to make her, I offered to take her to the store next door instead, but she said "no" by nodding, and we went back in. I asked the waitress to talk to her and see if she was okay and all she would say was she had a headache from the car- a 4 minute ride, I didn't believe it, I KNOW her enough by now to see she was upset and nervous. She ate a little, then we went to the store where she did MUCH better.


I got yogurt, she likes that, sunflower seeds, she loves those, beef jerky, little sausages, bananas. All things I know she will eat. We'll have to work on that cute little Chinese squat, she does it everywhere, but especially in stores, looking at everything, and no one is expecting her to be at that level, she's gonna get run over. Too cute for that to happen.



She has been asleep now for the rest of the evening. Made an eye appointment for tomorrow, she needs glasses badly, so I didn't want to wait. Hope it goes okay, I hate to overwhelm her but her eyesight is very poor. It may help us to use our translation dictionary if she can read it!



Trip update, Nintendo DS gone, camera fried, 2 memory cards for camera FRIED- AHHHH- but pics on Kelly's computer saved, which is most all of what I took there till camera fried.

Gonna use translation site to write her a note, telling her I am so proud of her that she is so brave, and I know this is hard for her. Give her a little loving, make up for the error of eating out :( Hope she understands I am learning as well and we love her so much, it's hard when we goof up. We are hanging in there together though:) That's what being a family is all about.
We also Skyped today with her friend and former room mate of 5 years, already adopted to here, I think it made her feel good to see her friend happy and obviously loved by her terrific family. They have graciously offered to be available for Chloe whenever she needs to talk, hopefully I can get her over the fear she seems to have of the video calls.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

HOME

3 planes later, an overnight with my cousin ( thanks Connie) and we are HOME.


SOOOOOO incredibly glad to get home. I think Chloe may never get in any car with me again:) Every trip was an hour or more, she slept on her way to the house, so I doubt she will believe the local Walm*rt is close by.



WE got here and signs all over the house, Kat opened the mail slot and yelled "anybody in there" and the craziness began. S and H were outside and at me first. "BICKIE- blah blah blah" from S, I think I got the dickens. H was just excited.


Chloe seemed a bit overwhelmed ( no wonder) as they launched themselves on me and my bags to figure out what suitcase had the gifts. Deb took S and H and Cam to a birthday party soon after we got here and we started to wilt. The girls were up last night after getting in till 3:30 am, they woke everyone in the house goofing off at my cousin's till I ordered them to bed and I could not go back to sleep then. So I napped then we got some good chicken -NOT boiled then refrigerated, cut up whole and served with head.


I need to go to the store, I started our laundry, the house is clean ( huge thanks Grandma) the puppy was said to be doing well house training then I came home, she has gifted me with the knowledge she is here TWICE- deaf dog needs new home, thinking of ads- oops did I write that- ha ha.


Chloe played the V-sm*le game with educational games we have hooked up to the big TV, took a snooze, ate some chicken, no side dishes though, smiled for Baba and said Hello to him, gotten kissed and hugged by mom, dad, Kat and Cam, called "China" by S ( had to tell him her name is Chloe NOT China and made H think she wasn't able to speak. I've told them all she is bright and speaks Chinese, do not treat her as though she is dumb. She just doesn't speak English well and the few ( and I mean FEW) words she does know she is scared to speak, I think she is afraid she will say them wrong. But she had laughed when I told the puppy "bu yowl" this is the pronunciation of (no) in Chinese. She laughs when I tell anyone Bu yowl, as I do when I tell them "no" so she is associating and also seeing she is not the only one getting "bu yowled."


Cam must be like me, he can't stand having her here and not being able to love on her, he keeps asking me by whispers ( like she understands) can he kiss her, can he hug her. He asks and she always shakes her head no, so I have tackled her twice to give her lovings myself and then when she was laughing said " gie gie, give Chloe kiss di di give Chloe kiss, Baba, give Chloe kiss" and they all came and got her. She loved it. She understands kiss, from, Kat, who kisses her hands, or leg or arm if she won't let her kiss her face:)


She is doing well, she is working on a puzzle with the kids, getting to know them, Cam got a silk outfit this time and he LOVES it, hat and all, he put it on, went to Chloe, said "di di Chinese boy" and she told him "bu yowl" and they laughed together.


She is finding her place. She is a sweetheart. Knowing what I know of her story I am amazed. Our saga continues, we have things we must take care of, not one thing is bad about her. We have NO regrets here, not a one. We are totally in love. She is sweet by shy, helpful, and caring. She shares her toys she brought with her we bought in China, amazing since everything I sent her ( which was a lot) she had with her and most was unopened- we guess she treasured having things that were HERS and hers alone. She wouldn't even USE them. But it gave her security that her family sent things to her.
Everything arrived safe but for the Nintendo DS of Chloe's. Not sure if it's in a bag pocket somewhere, will recheck tomorrow but as Baba says " we got her home safe, that's the most important thing." SO true. I will be sad if we did lose it though.


Our main issues will be shopping for food she likes, some beginner bras, a hair trim, doctor visit, eye exam and glasses, start schooling, a trip to the dentist. One day at a time, minor issues, table manners, getting her out of the jacket and into pj's, etc will come. I don't sweat that stuff, with so many kiddos it's fairly simple to follow along.


The Year of Chloe. So happy to have this girl home..............wow. Kat is sooo happy to have her Baba and Cam, she missed everyone badly, as did I.
We are home!




Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back in GuangZhou

Side trip done. Visit went WELL. These women LOVE our girls, so obvious. They were THRILLED we went to the trouble to visit them. They made us a HUGE dinner, it was about a 10 course meal and it was so good!



Even the guide was shocked at how much Kat remembered, where things where, sleeping with Po Po. She was snuggled in Po Po's bed when another issue arose. Chloe girl was NOT willing to stay, Kat wasn't staying without momma so guide did a WONDERFUL job explaining to them that I could not chose to leave Chloe with Kelly when I had just gotten her and am her new momma. I think she wanted to be brave and say she did not need me, but when asked again, she said she wanted me with her. So we slept 3 to the bed, since I had not booked a hotel room and we doubled in with Kelly and Caidi, not sleeping well, especially when Chloe woke me at least twice with what I thought was crying- touched her and asked if she was okay.




So imagine my surprise when the guide asked her in the morning if she was crying for me, and she said "no, laughing, good dreams" oh dear. And there's mom, waking her up and asking if she was okay!



Very emotional visit, soooo very worth the time and trouble to see where my daughter lived for 2 years and the love these people have for her, she is truly their grand daughter, no blood tie needed. I told them she will always know them as such. She loved on them, kissing them and hugging, being carried and even fed by them. She lapped it all up like the princess she is:) It was awesome.



Other issue that has arose that some folks know about and I can't post details of yet. Issue on this end, can not accomplish anything here, will be going home tomorrrow:) Will continue quest from home.



Next post will be from HOME................................

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Girl's got a visa

The girl's got a visa:) She seemed quite unaffected by this news but her momma sure is glad! Oath taken and done. Kat said afterwards " does this mean we get to keep her now"- uhhhh, yeah!


Hard not to want to hop a plane to the states IMMEDIATELY:) as all the adoption stuff is done. I miss that crazy family of ours, I'm tired of hopping from hotel to hotel, I'm tired of living in hotels. My camera died, the DVD player needs charged, and I am whining. I hate whining.



We leave tomorrow for QinZhou, Kat's city. We go to see her Po Po (grandma) aka her foster mom. This has been over 2 years since we adopted her, they had her for 2 years, so they are VERY excited to know we are coming. As Kat is thrilled to get to visit her Po Po. Not sure how posting will go from there, may have to post after back here on Thursday night (our time).


Chloe continues to do well, ornery, she was a treat today when we ordered Cantonese food and not one person in there spoke English, I have a small dictionary/ translation book and we managed to tell them we wanted non spicy noodles, I ordered chicken, knowing we were getting the WHOLE chicken but did manage to tell them to not send the head PLEASE, then said daughter ordered duck and laughed like a nut when I made them take back that poor quacker's head off the plate. Ughhhh.


I also told daughter via book to behave, she did not like that too well but climbing on chairs is not allowed. She listened too. Became somewhat somber even, I figured she was realizing she got a MOMMA, good behavior cool- bad behavior NOT, not going to overlook it. That's my job:)



One issue we did have (girls only post) was at 75 pounds, 4 ft 5 1/2 inches, nearly 14 years old, NO IDEA about facts of being a female. Oiy. I certainly didn't want to have to try to explain THAT through language barriers, so I asked guide (female) to help. She did a great job, all till she told her not to drink anything cold or put hands in cold water at that "time." HUH? I asked WHY? She said Chinese belief, not healthy. Okay then.



Kelly and I continue to go goofy at various times - once was the "hard as a brick" roll that I took to make pet rock, from XinYang hotel breakfast. Cried till we nearly wet ourselves. Today's funny- I bought a set of "health balls" they have a chime in them and help strenghten your hands as you roll them in your hands. Didn't think about what I was saying when I blurted out to Kelly " I need another set of balls"- we looked at each other and totally lost it. We're so gross. Didn't mean to be but you just don't EVER have opportunity to say that at home and it was just priceless.


We've seen a ton of "brides" here, not sure if they are doing magazine shoots as they are all posing for photos, sure are pretty and Kat loves that they are "getting married." She is such a girly girl. Loves those big gorgeous dresses.
Kelly went to the pearl market tonight, we are just hanging in the hotel, Chloe girl is tired of shopping, Kat is not in a good mood, (she bit Dan Dan!!) Miss Kitty's got an attitude.
Enjoy the pictures of our fun today:)




Monday, March 2, 2009

All's well

Green for GO. Passed the consulate appointment although had to redo a paper stating I knew of her nystigmus, they had her listed as healthy, SN age, so I checked "healthy" and they wanted to clarify that we knew of the eye issue. Got it, get over it. Done as of today, oath ceremony is this afternoon.



I fell asleep waiting for the call that everything was good, couldn't believe it but our guide stopped by and rang the door, I didn't even hear it. Might have been that 1:45 am shower catching up with me? Not sure a digital would have even helped me, although great idea. Another note about Vict*ry Hotel, no clock in room. Bummer.



Got foot massage last night, WOW so worth it. Too bad Chloe was nervous and unsure, but she climbed all over chairs and foot stools so mom could practice her "bu yowl" (NO), we were messing around at Lucy's at supper, pointing to things and she would tell us Chinese word then laughing at me when I tried to pronounce it. I told her "momma - pointed to tongue, bu yowl Chinese" and she loved it.



We took pics with the "famous fluffy woman of China", outside Lucy's, I told Chloe "momma" and pointed as a I posed next to her, she laughed and agreed- I do not care that we fool around and poke fun at momma, if she sees we can do that and have fun, it allows her to open up it's totally worth it. We'll work on the hard core- you must respect momma and listen when we get home and no cabs at home so no worry there:) I did tell her I call Baba on her,she laughed as her and Kat goofed off.



Chloe eats MUCH more variety of things than Kat does to this day, Kat is a very picky eater, Chloe eats bread ( yeah!) and dairy. Yogurt drinks are very popular here. She also loves french fries and ketchup, Kat HATES ketchup, ranch dressing for that princess PLEASE.



The massage guys ( yeah we got guys) were amazed at the famous tattoo and shocked by my calluses, well, I do have lots of kids to run after- hello! They chattered till they figured out Chloe spoke Chinese then they told her a bunch of stuff about Momma and Baba and I have no idea what they said to her, I'd love to know, but darn it, they KNEW I did not know what they were saying. Guess I got a taste of how she feels when we chatter away :(



Got my 2 new suitcases, bargained down to $23 for 2 medium sized name brand ones :) As long as they make the trip home they are worth it:) Bought Kat the cutest little coat, I love her little coats and SHOES, Kelly said "no more shoes." Can a girl have too many??



Kat is very homesick, she has been really sad. I was really glad we convinced the massage guys to do her little feet. They didn't want to do her at first but we insisted. They massaged her for over an hour, we thought just a small massage but she got the full treatment and did she ever love it. She nearly zonked out right in the chair, but for the giggling. The guy was very gentle and I was right beside her so I could tell him if I thought it was too much on her.



Chloe is saying MANY more English words, we have heard counting up to 10, colors, go, stop, baby, thank you, yes, no, she is slipping up and even volunteering some words she knows, which is wonderful. I am glad to hear her trying the words out on us.



I will be relieved to do the oath ceremony and be done today, we have a small side trip to take tomorrow, then home we come:) Only 4 more days till we fly, 5 till we are HOME.



There's no place like home, there's no place like home.... isn't that in a movie???? Ha ha.





Sunday, March 1, 2009

Medical exam and consulate appt

Sitting in the hotel waiting for word the consulate appointment goes okay. Really hoping the guide calls and gives good news. The new Hague Rules and us being the first family for our agency does not give me a sense of peace about anything here. Tattoo pictures, no comments on the swelling, going for massage today:)



Medical exam was fun, no pics, camera died, will get pics taken by Kelly of now famous tattoo ( ha ha) and Chloe today. Only about $75 for the exam and $75 for shots. I was surprised by that.I was told to expect more than 3 shots, and lots more $$$. SO that went well. Chloe wasn't the least bit afraid, just jumpy:)



The one doctor was fascinated with me (don't worry my head is not swollen- it's the horrible hairdo) so when handed the shot precautions he tried to explain to me I could call back if she had any reaction, I told him I was a nurse, then he asked how well their nurse did with the shots. Yeah, I'm gonna say BAD. Right. She didn't do bad, I told the guide when she asked if I worried about Chloe getting 3 shots in one day, I said "no, as long as the needles are new. Hey, just being honest.


She's not a tiny baby getting 6 shots. Although she is small. Wearing 10-12 girls size perfectly. Size 4 shoe. Fits nicely out cab window:)


I laughed at the guide today, someone did their usual gross "hack up my lung" sound in the medical exam area, she cringed, I said " you not like that sound" she said "no, never get used to it" I said "ohh but you Chinese" just picking on her and we laughed. I told her Kat could spit like a wild woman when we brought her home at age 3, our kids took forever to learn it and that was just to brush teeth. No hacking allowed- PLEASE.



I got back to the hotel and Kat had been at breakfast, she has a major meltdown, upset we had left her, but then I explained it was like home with big brother watching her for me to do errands, that Chloe went to the doctor and got shots and no stickers, no toys, no cute bandaids even. WOw was she offended, Chloe deserved sticker, she thought.



Chloe does need glasses, I kinda thought so, she has nystigmus, not her special need, her age was her SN but the nystigmus is a "shaking" of the one eye back and forth, a weak muscle, does not affect vision or make her need glasses, her vision is poor otherwise so she needs glasses. She doesn't see well far away. They were very worried that I knew about her nystigmus (I did) and that it was not listed as a SN. Silly people, she's coming home with us if she grows a horn off her head, she's our little devil:)



We are shopping again today, mainly picking up laundry (wish these women could come home with me- it's soooo cheap and easy) and a necklace Chloe picked out I had made for her. I need more luggage too:)

Apparently everyone at home missed Kat so much they caught her bug to feel close to her- sorry Baba, they share nothing else well, but bugs, viruses, colds, germs, creeping crud, ohhhh you get the picture. Hope they get better soon, don't care to come home to get sick. As my mom will be calling and telling you now, bleach, bleach everything, dishes, doorknobs,phones, the kids, yeah......


Off to enjoy my day with my girls. Both in red today, looking lovely. I can't express enough how wonderful it is to be bringing this girl home, anyone considering an older child, I tell you, GO FOR IT> we originally looked for a 9 or 10 year old, but once we saw Chloe's picture we knew a number did not matter, this was our girl. I am so glad we have this precious daughter to love. Meant to be ours, of that, I have NO doubts. Can't see any negative behaviors, worries yet, I swear, I'll post 'em if I do. Pretty normal fantastic young lady we got here. Proud to be her momma.













Funny things

You know- it's always good to laugh at yourself. We're going to share some of this in my post, mainly due to the fact that it is 1:45am here and I looked at my watch upside down and thought it was 5:45 am and got up and showered:)

Today is an early day with medical exam and visa application. I didn't want to be late and was wondering why we did not get our wake up call. Yeah, it'll come- in about 5 hours. AHHHH.

Other "funny happenings"
We have had at least 2 people say to the guides- those look like Chinese girls- about Kat and Caidi. hummmmmmm- 'cause they are? We thought this was obvious. Apparently they are dressed too nice, speak English very well and have long hair. SO sorry China to treat girls so well, but we LOVE them!!

Most people here assume we are here for the girls- hence they try to talk Chinese to the girls and figure Chloe speaks English. That's made for some fun! Kat and Caidi have various responses from "I am Chinese but I speak American" to " I don't know what you say" ( add drama queen- ahhhh's in here)

People here go NUTS over my tattoo, I told very few people but I tattooed CHLOE's Chinese name on my one ankle, Kat's is on the outside of the same foot and I have 10 Japanese dogwood flowers winding down from my lower leg to foot. BIG- beautiful tattoo- makes quite easy on time when Chinese shop keepers wish to make daughter's name for me into some beautiful art piece for free ( aka- you buy from me and I thank you!) COOL.

No so much fun to find out yesterday when all banks were closed and Vict*ry Hotel will not allow you to exchange more than $200 per adult and they rip you off of 27 yuan p 100 dollar. "Cause today is medical exam and the NEW (hateful) rules mean SHOTS for Chloe and as guide says " big bucks you pay"- ah yeah, like $600. SOOOOOO thanks to an American couple a the White Sw*n Hotel that we stopped in the lobby when we went there to see if we could get money exchanged (no- no room- no exchange) who went and exchanged my money under their room number. THANKS- forgot your name- but bless you.

Also do not ask for massage from our hotel. Kelly made this mistake and was sent to "second building" and when she asked they looked at her funny and said "massage- dirty massage for men>" well, not what she was looking for- so that was a "no thanks". Simple foot massage (non dirty please) not to be had here.

Everyone thinks Kelly and I are sisters, it's easier to say "yes" and let it go than to get into the whole " we met when we adopted girls #1 as they were fostered by sisters and grew up together and no, we did not know each other before that trip and yes, we keep the girls in touch as they are like sisters"- see what I mean?

I'm gonna go lay back down now, no pics, on computer in my room bugging my girls only, they hate my noisy typing and are groaning in sleep... such princesses:) Keep up my comments, I need 'em, you are my link to home, I miss everyone so much. Can't wait to get this girl home and share her:)







Shopping in GuangZhou

Ahhh, retail therapy, french fries and sweet tea. Thank you God. We started our day at the children's warehouse factory. Wow, many shops in one place. We got some cute dresses for summer for Kat. Shoes for Chloe, we have shoes on order with Baba for home, Chloe LOVES the Lelli Kel*y shoes I brought her, beaded and cute as can be, but one size too small. She refuses to take them off. I did convince her to let me buy 2 pairs of shoes for her today but she is still wearing the too small shoes.



So Baba is getting her a pair one size bigger to have when she gets home. Same design :)



We had a fun time dickering for prices, I even got really good deals on everything I wanted to get. Then we ate at Lucy's, french fries, sweet tea, not sure what the MILK for my iced tea was for, but I enjoyed that tea something fierce. The people here think Kelly and I came for the girls, they do not understand why I come for a "big girl" and I tell them, she is my girl, she was to be my daughter.




Chloe has shocked Chinese people, I had to laugh when she crawled out the window of the cab as we were all waiting to exit one side and she figured out how to get out faster. She wasn't trying to get away from me, so I was amused, the cab driver not so much. Our guide also is trying to get her to stay with me, I am thinking we are fine, she follows direction but likes to be in front, she checks to be sure we are still there, but I certainly don't need her to hold my hand! None of my other kids wanted to be seen with me either at age 13:)



I had my first request for picture with Chinese people. I didn't think I was cute enough for that! Ha ha.



Today was a good day, Chloe ate a TON of food at breakfast, I was sooo happy to know she is comfortable enough to eat her fill. She's coming out of her shell more and more and emerging is a spunky fun girl. I took a shower and was getting dressed when I heard giggles, sweet sister giggles from the room. It just warmed my heart.



I am soooo thankful we have this girl to be our daughter, she is a wonderful child, just a total blessing.
Chloe wore her hair done today for me, it's so pretty, I wanted her to, so she made 2 ponytails like her lil' sis:) I hear her telling off that lil' sis right now, Kat has her spunk back and has been a turd today. Chloe is quite good at telling her to "git" and helping with her to try and get the girl to behave -Ahhh sister love:)