Friday, July 25, 2008

Going Private

We have decided to make our blog private. Now that we are home and will be posting more and more pictures of Sophia we feel it is a safe guard we must take to protect her. We have held off doing this until after we were home form China. The time has come now to make the move to a private blog. If you are a follower of our blog and would like to continue to follow our lives as a family of three please e-mail me and I would be more then happy to send you an invite to the blog. The only difference is that when I send you the e-mail you will have to accept and then sign into your yahoo account to view our blog. We will give it a week or so before we go private to give everyone the opportunity to send me an e-mail.

Thanks so much for all the love and support during our wait and then our trip to China for Sophia. We hope to see all of you in the private blog world.......

Susan and Riz

Update: I have received all of your request to join the private blog. I am saving all of them in a folder until I make the blog private and will send invites to all of you at time. I will send to all of you who posted to the blog as well at that time. Thanks for all the kind words and interest in our lives. I should have posted our e-mail address too it is

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our first Picnic

Last week we packed a picnic lunch and took Sophia to a local park we like to go to for our first picnic as a family. We had a nice time and Sophia was being super cute. I had to share her super cuteness with you... Enjoy......

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Adventure

Today marks one month since our family grew by one. Sophia has added so much to our life and we can't wait to see what is to come in the months to come.....

We have to thank our friends Luke and Layla for taking time out of their busy schedule to come to the airport the night we came home from China. We have said before that Luke is our Tech Guru go to guy.

Luke Video taped the night we came home and made us the greatest video of all the excitement prior to us landing and then as we were greeted by all our family and friends. It was an exhausting but wonderful night. We wanted to take the time to thank everyone who came out to the airport to welcome Sophia home. It was a very special night and now thanks to Luke we will have it captured to share for years to come with all of you and of course with Sophia. The Music Luke Chose is very fitting it is called "The Adventure" from "Angels & Airwaves" Here are the lyrics and the Video that Luke made for us.. Enjoy... we sure did... Luke we can't thank you enough......

Click below it will take you to Youtube......

"The Adventure"

The Adventure
Angels & Airwaves

I wanna have the same last dream again
The one where I wake up and I'm alive
Just as the four walls close me within
My eyes are open up with pure sunlight
I'm the first to know
My dearest friends
Even if your hope has burned with time
Anything that is dead shall be re-grown
And your vicious pain, your warning sign
You will be fine
Hey oh here I am
And here we go
Life’s waiting to begin
Any type of love it will be showed
Like every single tree reach for the sky
If you're gonna fall
I'll let you know
That I will pick you up
Like you for I
I felt this thing
I can't replace
When everyone was working for this goal
Where all the children left without a trace
Only to come back as pure as gold
To recite this all
Hey oh here I am
And here we go
Life’s waiting to begin
Hey oh here I am
And here we go
Life’s waiting to begin
Hey oh here I am
And here we go
Life’s waiting to begin
I can not live
I can’t breathe
Unless you do this with me
I can not live
I can’t breathe
Unless you do this with me
I can not live
I can’t breathe
Unless you do this with me
I can not live
I can’t breathe
Unless you do this with me
I can not live
I can’t breathe
Unless you do this with me
I can not live
I can’t breathe
Unless you do this with me
Hey oh, here I am (do this with me)
Here we go
Life's waiting to begin (do this with me)
Hey oh, here I am (do this with me)
Here we go
Life's waiting to begin
Life's waiting to begin

Shopping tips...

1.In Beijing we did not do a lot of Shopping but we did make 2 purchases one was a silk comforter and sheet set for Sophia's bed when she is older. We got this at the Silk factory it is beautiful and we are glad we bought it. We however did not have our bargaining legs when we got this so we probably paid way to much for it but we have no regrets it will be one of Sophia's yearly gifts that we give her on our Family Day anniversary. So I say buy stuff like this if you want just don't be afraid to bargain all they can do is say no and then you have to make a decision how much you want it.

2. The second thing we bought in Beijing was a Large Jade Puzzle Ball. We got this at the Jade factory store. You can find these in Guangzhou but the one we bought in Beijing was much better quality. It was more detailed in carving and a richer jade color. We bought Jade balls in Guangzhou as gifts but really wish we would have been able to buy more when we were in Beijing.

3. One more thing about Beijing shopping when you are in the Forbidden City or Tiananmen square you will have people trying to sell you stuff the are HIGH Pressure and I do mean HIGH pressure. Say NO or in Chinese Boo yao keep saying it and keep walking they will cross the street with you tyring to get you to buy their stuff they are relentless just keep walking. We did buy 2 books from them 1 on the Forbidden City and the other on the Great Wall but Zhou our guide helped us with that transaction and even after we bough them the same girls we got them from was trying to sell us the same books over and is all part of the China experience go with the flow...

Nanchang Shopping...

again we did not do a whole lot of Shopping here but we did make a few purchases from Walmart so we could say we shopped in the Walmart in Nanchang China. Pay for the cloth bag at Check out it makes a cool souvenir later.....

the one place I would send everyone to is Tiffany's Place it is right next to the Galactic Peace International Hotel. You walk out of the hotel and turn right go 2 or 3 store fronts down and you will see her store. She is very sweet and helpful. She was able to get us the news paper from the day we got Sophia along with the whole paper from the day Sophia's finding add was placed She also translated the news clipping for us all for free... We had Sophia's Christening dress made there with a hat and shoes it was done in one day and is beautiful. We made a few other purchases from her for Sophia's Family Day gifts. Nanchang is known for the beautiful Blue and White porcelain so we got her a nice set of chop sticks done in the blue and white porcelain. Tiffany's also does laundry and although we think it was cheaper and packaged better in Guangzhou it was still OK and much cheaper then the hotel.

if you have space and time go to the Computer mall several store fronts down from Tiffany's they have everything electronic you could imagine and CHEAP! We got an extra battery for our digital camera for $7 US. They also had I-pods for $30 I wish I had more weight space in my suitcases because they would have made great gifts....

GUANGZHOU.... AKA Shopping MEACA for all China adoptive Mommas and even some Babas too...

there are so many stores and they are all great all have basicly the same stuff for around the same price. So I would say window shop first see what you want write down prices from each store and then see who has the best price and Bargin like crazy... Riz wanted a Jade Buddah in the worst way we started out in one store 750 yuan and we bought it in an other store for 280 yuan so BARGIN BARGIN BARGIN ...... The one store I did not bargin in was the store "A Gift From China" I LOVED THIS STORE! I bought most of my stuff there for 2 reasons..
1. They seemed to have nicer better quality things a lot of hand made stuff and things that were unique.
2. The store was owned by a family who had adopted from China and who wanted to give back to the Children who were left behind. The profits from all the sales in this store go back to helping the Orphanages and the Children who are still waiting.

I wish I would have bought more in this store but as it was I left with 4 huge bags of stuff... LOL....

OK now that is a breif over view of shopping in China I hope it helps some of you still waiting to travel...


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More tips about travel to China

So we have had more time to think about tips to pass along to all of you.

1. If you are going to buy t-shirt buy them at least 1 size bigger then you would normally wear or maybe even 2 sizes.... LOL Let me just say those Olympic t-shirts Riz bought are going to make nice night shirts for Sophia in a few years LOL

2. NO liquids in your carry on bags in China travel. NO liquids no 3 oz containers in a quart size bags no medications (only insulin).

3. Bargain everywhere you shop it is customary and they expect it. We started at half the asking price and then settled somewhere in between.

4. Have a back up plan if you intend on posting to a blog or website. I was able to post to our blog while in Beijing but not in Nanchang plus I was so exhausted some nights I just could not post. My good friend Cheri was gracious enough to post pictures to our blog to keep everyone happy.

5. While traveling keep your Passports, ID's, and Airline tickets easily accessible not packed in your carry on. We seemed to always be behind the family who had packed theirs in their carry on suitcase (they were not with our agency. Those of you who traveled with us know who I mean, just think BIG COUNTRY LOL) It was SO annoying to always have to wait for them to dig out what they needed.

6. Bring a thermos so you will always have freshly boiled hot water ready for a bottle or washing bottles/nipples

7. Have your laundry done outside of the hotel it is way cheaper. While in Nanchang we had it done at Tiffany's (it was a bit wrinkled but clean) and while in Guangzhou we had it done at the Ladybug Store next to the Cow and Bridge restaurant.

8. While in Guangzhou take a morning walk down by the river to see the local people doing Ti Chi it was really a nice morning and so amazing to see hundreds of people doing Ti Chi.

9. Don't be afraid to try the local food we went with 3 other couples and our guide to a local restaurant in Beijing and had the best meal and experience dinning out.

10. Did I mention not to over pack? LOL

11. Download SKYPE to your laptop and practice using it before you go so you will know how to while you are traveling. having SKYPE allowed us not only to talk with family and friends while we were there but also take to the Airlines the day our flight was canceled. We were able to get confirmed seats on the same flight the next day. We were very lucky the flight was full and most of the rest of our travel group had difficulty getting home.

12. Which brings me to this one.. IF you happen to get stuck in China one more day or even a few more days try to not stress everything will be OK you will get home. Try to make the best of a bad situation we all chipped in helped each other and shared Chinese money, SKYPE, food and Water while at the "Hell Hotel"

13. Don't feel bad about using the stroller if you need to. Sophia LOVED and still LOVES the stroller. When we got our disposable cameras developed that we sent in our care package she had been sitting in a stroller so was very used to it. We just made sure that every time she was in the stroller one of us was in front of her so she could see us and we would bend down and kiss her over and over. I have a beautiful Mia Ti wrap that Sophia HATES and it has never been used LOL.....

14. When you get home be prepared for JET lag it WILL kick your butt. If by some chance you manage to be OK you can count on your baby's clock to be turned around. It will be several days before everything is right again. It took Riz and I about 5 days to feel like ourselves again (even yesterday I got this wave of overwhelming tiredness and we are back 2 today).Sophia still is not right her sleeping is way off from her China sleeping habits...I am not sure it will ever get back to that but it is improving so it is all good....

and now for some 4th of July Baby Cuteness............

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

Our first outing with Sophia's beautiful cousin Breanna was to the mall for a little shopping of course. We had a great time and Sophia told me she can't wait until she is old enough to get all dolled up at Libby Lu's like Breanna did. We can't wait for the next outing.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Travel Tips

For those who are waiting behind us and for anyone thinking of traveling to China we wanted to share a few tips that we found to be helpful while we were in China.

1. Don't fly United if you can help it
2. Fly the best possible way you can afford... Economy Plus at a Minimum.. You wont regret it..
3. Fly with as little carry on as humanly possible. Think small and light when packing your carry on.
4. When you fly home BUY THE EXTRA SEAT. Every flight we took was completely full 400 passengers on the last flight. When I got sick the poor guy next to us had to sit in a Flight Attendant seat for 3 or 4 hours. When we had the extra room it was really nice.
5. Stay hydrated on every flight and while you are in China. Use hand lotion, chap stick, eye drops, drink plenty of water. I did not do this on the flight home ie. the air sickness.
6. When you get to your room organize yourself right away. It will make life much easier especially after the baby is with you.
7. We took everything out of the mini bar and used it to keep our own soda and water cold.
8. We moved stuff off the shelves and used the room to stage bottles, and our own snacks and such.
9. If your room is hot complain and keep complaining we got a floor fan and they finally came and fixed our AC.
10. We took Gerber bowls with lids and took food off the buffet that we knew Sophia would eat (watermelon, noodles and dumplings)
11. We found Avent bottles to be the easiest to use while traveling in China. No need for liners and you can mix formula right in the bottle. The hot pots work GREAT and we were able to clean them with really hot water right in the sink.
12. We bought baby spoons at a local grocery store that are GREAT I wish I had bought more. They somehow have a better angel and the spoon part is more round and shallow then the American ones I found. They had these at the hotel when we asked for a baby spoon for the baby.
13. The people of China are wonderful and very accommodating. If there is something you need ask for it in a polite way and they will get it for you.
14. Have an pen mind about China. The culture is different then ours so are the customs the people the food the smells the sounds the traffic everything is different but some how the same. They are just people living their lives and we are guest in their country. Take it all in enjoy every moment absorb it so you can share it with your children one day.
15. Talk with others in your group. Do not isolate yourself and your child to your room. Traveling half way around the world is not easy especially when you add the stress of adoption and bonding with a child who may be ill or at the very least does not know or trust you yet. Your group members will all have advice, listen to it, cry on their shoulder if you need to, let out your frustration and fears, you will be more relaxed and your child will know it somehow.
16. Pack light you can get everything you need in China. They sell Diapers, wipes, bottles, baby clothes etc in China. We were in Nanchang and there is a Walmart there but better then that there is a great little local grocery store right around the corner from the Galactic Peace international Hotel. We were able to get Diet Coke, Chips, American Chocolate along with the Chinese formula Sophia was eating.

I know there is more but I am tired and I want to add what I was glad I brought and what I would leave home the next time..

Glad I brought
1. All Baby Meds and adult Meds (did not use anything but Motrin and Pepto Once after eating at Pizza Hut) We did not need to use any baby meds but were able to share with 3 families we traveled with (Cortisone cream, Vicks vapor rub and Little Noses for colds and Eye drops for eye infections)
2. Bowls with lids
3. Avent bottles
4. Lap top with SKYPE downloaded
5. Digital camera and Video camera (we took 2500 pictures and countless hours of video)
6. Sneakers and Flip Flops
7. extra clothes for the baby (although you can get lots of cute clothes in China)
8. Sponges with soap added to them already (found in Walmart camping section)
9. I-pod with Chinese Lullaby on it (the only thing that soothed Sophia a few night)
10. Hair conditioner. You could get shampoo but I never saw conditioner.
11. Hefty zip top bags we found them to be better the Ziplock brand. We used these to organize electronics, snacks, baby formula, wet bathing suits on the last day in Nanchang. You can't have to many of these...
12. Extra clothes for us it was hot and we changed clothes alot
13 a sporke we used it to measure and stir formula and eat noodles in the hotel room.
14. charger for our digital camera and camcorder
15. Save some of your Chinese Money at the End of your trip just in case you wind up in the Hell Hotel like we did. They did not exchange money, no bank in sight and the store did not take a credit card. We were saved by one family in our group who had 190 yuan that 10 families shared for water and soda and Chinese beer LOL...
16. I brought 12 Pampers with us I wish I had brought a few more. I ran out before we went to the store and borrowed from friends in our group. I liked the Chinese pampers I found them to be just as absorbent and they fit Sophia's little tushy better.
17. bring plenty of q-tips I ran out but managed

DO NOT OVER PACK you WILL regret it. It is hard to lug all that stuff through multiple airports. Especially when it is 9 million degrees and you have a baby.. You can get everything in China.

would have left home...
1. The DVD's we brought to download video to. We have a Hard Drive camera we were able to video 28 hours of video without downloading..
2. cords to run cameras on the TV, adaptors for Chinese power (every hotel had them and were happy to give them to us).
3. Never used one roll of travel TP
4. Used 2 packaged of travel tissues
5. Never used Sunscreen
6. 1 anti bacteral was plenty
7. Magazines and books never read anything in 2 weeks LOL...
8. Uno Cards again never used them
9. Movies never watched TV once in 2 weeks
10. Most of the snacks ( I was glad to have cereal bars a few mornings when I just wanted that for breakfast) Never ate M&M's or Hershey Kisses.
11. Less shoes
12. More bras (Rhonda I though of your friend LOL)
13. Tongs for taking things out of the hot pot (never used them)
14 bottle brush I used pre loaded sponges instead.
15. baby wash clothes (huggies preloaded kind) i never used them. They have wash clothes that were fine in every hotel and I bought baby wash and shampoo at the grocery store in Nanchang.
16. I do not use and did not bring any hair appliances the hotels all had hair dryers even the Hell Hotel did.
17. It was so Hot that every women in our group including those of us who wear make up everyday gave up on it day 2 of our trip. I was glad I had it for Gotcha day but I would have brought a lot less.
18. I would have left toothpaste and tooth brushes at home every hotel had them available for us.
19. Photo tubes. I bought a lot of farmer art and it was packaged nicely in square boxes that protected them.
20. first aide kit
21 sewing kit
22 Baby q-tips

I will post more as i think of them

Happy Forth of July ! Today we celabrated with our new little american Citazian, it was a wonderful day and her first Holiday with us in the USA!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A quick note and some pictures

We just wanted to post a short message saying that we are home and adjusting to the jet lag. The trip home is definitely the hardest part of the journey. Riz and I are at about 90%, Sophia is taking a bit longer to adjust. While in China she would sleep from around 8pm to 7:30 or 8 am in her crib and take 2 1.5/2 hour naps a day. Since we have been home from China she is still taking the naps but the sleeping at night has been a challenge. We think from what we have been told and from the pictures we received on gotcha day from the foster mother that Sophia was with that Sophia was either sleeping with the foster mother or she was sleeping in the same room as the foster mother. We think this is why sleeping in her crib in her nursery is scary to her (she HATES the crib). She is not even real fond of the Pack and Play but if we get her to sleep first we can get her to sleep in it the rest of the night. Last night it was 10pm when she feel asleep in my arms in our bed and then I put her in the Pack and Play and she slept until 9 this morning (pretty much the same the night before). Tonight we tried taking her for a walk in the stroller first and she feel asleep in the stroller and is now upstairs with Daddy in our room trying to go to sleep. It has been a challenge but a wonderful one. We have been very blessed with an amazing healthy child so the sleep issue is not a big deal at all to us, She (and we)will get through it before we know it. Today we had our first doctors appointment and everything was great. She has a bit of a head cold but nothing to worry about. Her ears, eyes, mouth, throat, head butt and everything else all checked out perfect. The doctor ordered a boat load of lab work to be done in the next few days along with a stool sample (daddies job). Sophia also had a PPD test along with 4 immunizations today she cried like a beast but was fine as soon as daddy picked her up and gave her a snuggle.... Things are getting back to normal slowly around here... We would not trade one second of the last 3 years... we are over joyed with happiness....and love....and now what you really want the pictures....

Daddy and his girl
HU WI (Pronounced Who Way)13yr old boy who practiced his English on us

Our BeautyA local women who was happy about SophiaSophia's little twin buddiesThe prettiest little handLets play

A Local women selling corn on the cob and not to happy about Riz taking her picture

Our friends from the trip to China Nicole and Claire

What a great smile