Saturday, December 30, 2006

So how long does it take for a baby's clock to reset...

...she still sleeps 8 to 10 hours at a time, but now it's from 3:00 or 4:00 am to 1:00 or 2:00 pm. I'm sure everything will even out someday just not sure when.

Here's Esther trying to catch the elusive bubble:

Mommy's trying to feed Pan Pan but she likes the bib better:

Here she is enjoying a cool drink of water:

She's studying the present from the her aunt, uncle and cousins in California:

"Open it, open it!":


Friday, December 29, 2006

Home, Sweet, Home!

We made it home in one piece! Esther did very well considering we traveled for about 24 hours total. She slept off and on with only one major unconsolable crying session. I think she was a little confused about waking up on the plane.
Most of our family was there at the airport to welcome little Esther home. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the homecoming, but I'm sure our family does! Esther was very sweet and loved meeting everyone. She was her smiley self and was very charming.

Here's Pan Pan lounging on the plane (we were lucky to have an empty seat between us):
Stretching the legs on the eleven hour flight:
After the long day, Esther wasn't very happy to see our cat Sydney (Audrey was hiding under the bed and still is). In fact she was really scared of him and every time she saw him she burst into tears. This fear transferred to the stuffed animals in her room so Daddy had to go around her room showing her that they were all "nice" toys. Needless to say, last night we had to keep Sydney in our office so Esther wouldn't see him. But this morning she was ready to make friends with Syd and now, as you can see, they are buddies (whew!):
We ventured over to Target today to get some stuff...and we bought a video baby monitor (which has night-vision). Yes, Gene likes to spy on our little girl which we've been told won't go over well when she's older. Look how cute she is on TV:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Our last post from China!

I can't believe we are headed home already. I've really had a great time in China. I will miss the families we traveled with. I'm not looking forward to the flight home, hopefully Esther will sleep a lot of it. We have to get up at 5am tomorrow to go to the airport, yeah!

Today we went to a beautiful park that was immaculate. Here are some photos:

Tonight all of our travel group got together to say goodbye and take a group photo. Here's Allie (who's 22 months) and her buddy Gene. She is so sweet and has already learned many English words:
Here's us with our guides Linekar and Amy (they were fantastic!!!!):

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

OK, here's the pictures to go with the last post...

Esther is funny when she's tired, she plays and plays then suddenly she's out. Yesterday morning (the 26th) we had to wait around the hotel room while our guides were completing our U.S. Consulate appointment. Esther got tired of waiting and zonked out on Daddy: Here's her first carousel ride:
The only way to travel:Gotta take a picture of the bamboo:
Hey, it's the Wagners...Jeremy is taking a picture of Stephanie and Meilyn (she's thirteen months:
Workers in the park taking their siesta (I think the U.S. should follow this example, but that's probably because I love sleeping):
Aww, look at that face:
She might be saying her "dadadadada" or "mamamama" here:
If you click on this one, you can see those cute dimples better:

She's ours in the eyes of China and the USA now...

...and our eyes of course. We went to the U.S. Consulate and took an oath stating that all our paperwork was true and valid, we all said "I do" and that was it. Esther now has a visa to get into the U.S. She is still considered a Chinese citizen so she has a Chinese passport. But as soon as we touch U.S. soil she's a U.S. citizen. I was trying to post pictures to Blogger but it's not working for me so I'll just write a note.
Tomorrow is our last full day in China, it's a little bittersweet. China has been wonderful and very easy to get around in (due to our excellent guides). I'm not looking forward to the plane ride home, but can't wait to sleep in our own (soft) bed. Esther is such a good sleeper, I hope we don't screw up her schedule too much with the time change.
Today, the Wagners and the Blakefields headed to the huge park really close to our hotel. Esther and Meilyn both love the outdoors, lots to see and touch. In our wanderings we came across an amusment park so we took the girls on the carousel. Esther did her trademark stare, which means she's taking everything in.
I don't think Esther was feeling her best today, because she kept throwing up her formula and was a little irritable. She is sleeping now, and Gene keeps checking on her using the nightvision on our video camera to make sure she hasn't puked on herself. So far, so good.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from the other side of the world!

Here's some pictures of the Christmas decorations in the Nanning and Beijing hotel (I didn't take any picture of our Guangzhou lobby yet, but it's decked out too):

Today we went shopping on Shamian Island, which caters to the adoptive families. As soon as you walk in to any shop a charming salesgirl accosts you and tries to get you to buy everything. These are shops you can haggle prices, I am much better at it than Gene, but Jeremy Wagner is the expert. The island used to be rented by western countries and has a New Orleans feel to it:
Here's Esther lounging in her highchair at lunch. It was so nice out we got to sit outside:
Here's the adorable Blakefield family: (ma ma and ba ba are wearing their hats in case your not sure who ma ma and ba ba are, and Esther is wearing her newly purchased Chinese outfit)
Trying to get a better view of the dress:
Here's a slightly better look:
This is the famous red couch in the White Swan hotel. A lot of adoptive families try to get a group shot of their kids. Left to right is Allie, Lydia, Stella, Noelle, Esther (being very lady-like), Meilyn, and Luke:

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas Eve!

Today we headed out to the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum. It housed one of the richest families in Guangzhou back 450 years ago. We had lots of people coming up to us to see Esther. I got a thumbs up from an older gentleman and two men wanted to have their picture taken with us. The local people have been amazingly friendly and supportive. Gene even played a little "hacky sack" (but with what looked like a badminton shuttlecock) with a couple.

After the Museum we went to a tea house where they showed us the proper way to make different teas and we got to taste a few of them. We decided oolong tea tastes like asparagus water. Our favorite was the rose and jasmine teas. A gentleman also showed us the difference between a good teapot and a bad one. Don't worry, I bought one so I can teach you also.

Tonight being Christmas Eve, all the families in our group had a get-together where we listened to the Christmas story and sang Christmas carols. Here are some of the girls enjoying some playtime. Esther is on the left, Yazi is in the middle and Stella is on the right.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Goodbye Nanning...hello Guangzhou!

We left the province that Esther was born in. I have to admit it made me sad, though I can't explain it very well. I guess it's because her birth parents will never know what a sweet angel they gave birth to. She was a champ during her first plane ride; it was only an hour long but hopefully she'll travel just as well in about a week. We are now in Guangzhou to finalize the U.S. part of Esther's adoption. We are living like kings here (or should I say emperors)! Each family has their own apartment which are huge! Ours has a kitchen, living room, dining room, foyer, bedroom and bath. Some even have washer and dryers, which the families have generously said we could use.
There's Gene and Esther sharing a good joke while waiting for the flight to Guangzhou.

It seems like everyone in Nanning travels by scooter or motorbike or bicycle and they are all fearless.

This is the outside of the medical facility in Guangzhou where all the babies had to have their exams. Each kid had to get their ears, nose, throat checked out, had to be weighed and then examined while naked.

Dad and Esther are waiting for their turn. Esther did great, no crying at all. She now weighs 19.6 lbs and her ears, nose and throat are fine. She decided to wait until completely naked to go pee all over Gene's arm and the exam table (better Gene than me) and seemed pretty happy with herself. Apparently what we thought was a pimple on her nose is a boil, which we have to put antibiotics cream on (luckly our pediatrician had prescribed some just in cause).

Here's Dad and our little Pan Pan enjoying a great Japanese dinner. Yummy!

Watch out! Here she comes!

She loves to eat all our electronics. Tasty! And there is a pretty good shot of her boil.

There's me and my girl enjoying "our" living room.