Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Disney World!

(I made this movie of our weekend at Disney. There is music and a few videos, so make sure to have your sound up. I have been working on this movie for hours and hours since we got home and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.)

First off, today is an important day on 2 parts. 1) a year ago today, we recieved that glorious call that we had TA and would be leaving in 17 days for our little Bu!! 2) it is the one year gotcha anniversary of many of our friends (Addie, Lucy, Shaoey, Caroline, Sara, and Esther happy 1 year gotcha!!)

Secondly, I had really hoped to post from Disney World, but had no internet and did not realize until our last night there that I needed to request a cord to plug into to access internet.

And thirdly, what you really came here to hear all about... OUR TRIP!

I cannot even begin to explain what an amazing time we had. There is simply no way my 725 pictures will even come close to showing how much fun this weekend was. We finally met "The Chatties". It was only mamas and babies and then Livvy and me. It was just way too much fun. I don't think there is any way to realize the tight bond we have formed with each of these families. The little ones are literally little cousins to me. Most of the families we had never even met before, yet it seemed like we had known them forever. Before I get into the story, let me tell you how the "Chatty Girls" came to be.

On the AWAASN board, there were a group of women who constantly chatted. It was actually AWAA who came up with the term "chatty". Shortly after we were all home from China, Sara's mommy made us our very own yahoo group so not to block the AWAA boards. We have talked since August of 06, when we all received our referrals. We had all hoped to travel together, and although that did not happen, we remained close and chatty. I honestly do not know what we would've done throughout the adoption without these friends, practically family. Over the year, we've gotten closer and closer with each family and early this year we began to plan a reunion when we would all meet for the first time. "Florida in November" was the plan and that's exactly what happened! Not everyone was able to come to our reunion but there will be many more to come in the future, so hopefully we will have a chance to meet the rest soon! As for the ones who were there, let me introduce them:

Addison (b. 10/6/05 a. 11/20/06)
Bekah (b. 11/4/05 a. 12/11/06)
Caroline (b. 10/29/05 a. 11/20/06)
Emily (b. 4/25/05 a. 2/26/07)
Lucy (b. 11/23/05 a. 11/20/06)
Mia (b. 9/27/05 a. 12/11/06)
Shaoey (b. 8/6/05 a. 11/20/06)

As you can see, they are all very close in age!!

So back to Disney World!

On Thursday, Mom picked me up early from school and we headed out to the airport. Addie and her mommy had a connecting flight in Charlotte, so we were actually on their flight to Orlando! That was fun! Addie is a total doll, as is her mom, and we were lucky to be sitting only a row apart on our flight! Once we made it to the airport, we got in touch with Lucy and her mommy who were landing around the same time from New Jersey! We met up with them and waited for our luggage. Lucy is just sweet as could be with the cutest little voice! We got a rental car with 3 carseats and loaded everything in for a packed drive to Mia's house! the conversation on the way went something like this:

"Girls, are you ready to see Mia?"
AnnaClaire, "Mia!"
Addison, "Mia!"
Lucy, "Mia!"
Addison, "MIA MIA!"
AnnaClaire, "MIAAAAAAAA!"
Addison, "MIA MIA MIA MIA"
Lucy, "MIA!!!!!!!!!!"
AnnaClaire, "MIA MIA MIA MIA MIA!"

Gotta love 2 year olds =)

After a few minutes of sleep, many cute 2 year old conversations, and reading directions, we reached Mia's house were we were greeted happily. We hadn't seen Mia since December when we were in China, and my has she grown! She turned two on 9/27 and she is all two! She has a huge vocabulary and is extremely verbal! She's so sweet and was great to share her houseful of toys with all the other girls! We chatted, toured the house, played, and ate a delicious lasagna and veggie dinner! The girls were just darling standing around Mia's little table! After a fun night of catching up, Lucy and her mommy and us went on our way to Disney world. Addie and her mommy stayed with Mia as did Shaoey and Caroline. What was supposed to take less than 30 minutes took us over an hour! But finally we made it and luckily both girls slept, as it was late. We checked in and immediately we knew we were in Disney World. We stayed at the Riverside which is very pretty. AnnaClaire was up a lot of the night just screaming. I'm thinking it was a mixture of tiredness and also fear. She has done this same thing a few times when we are somewhere different, but only on the first night. It was a fairy early morning and we met Lucy and her mommy and went to breakfast. Breakfast was fabulous! Afterwards, we took the girls outside to the nearby park. It was actually quite chilly to be Florida, and we were really surprised to see people in the POOL! It was in the 50s! We let the girls get some energy out before going back to Mia's where we enjoyed a day of fun. Mia's backyard was a hit with all the girls, having a trampoline, swingset, and numerous toys. We had a Chickfila nugget tray for lunch and enjoyed treats from our home states. The day went all to fast and soon it was afternoon. Of course this was not a bad thing beause Shaoey and Caroline and their mommies arrived! Both girls are just precious. We all played somemore and soon Emily came with her mom! Emily is an absolute doll! We played a little longer and made plans for the night to go to Downtown Disney. We called to make reservations at the Rainforest Cafe and the lady laughed when we told her we had a party of 18! She informed us with that many, they couldn't seat us until 10:30 or 11 PM! Yeah right, not with 8 two year olds! By this time it was almost 5, so Lucy, Emily, their mommies, and AnnaClaire, Mom, and I left to go back to the Riverside and get ready before meeting the rest of the pack at 6:15. When we were done we headed over to the food court place where we were meeting for dinner, but they were stuck in traffic, so we went in the store while we waited. The girls enjoyed looking at the many things the store had a playing with the stuffed animals! All of a sudden precious Bekah walked in! Bekah is cute as always, and has grown so much since we saw her in May! I think AnnaClaire remembered Bekah because she ran over and they greeted eachother with a big hug! So sweet! The 4 girls enjoyed playing with everything from animls to swords to tee shirts to noodles as we waited for the other 4. Soon, they got there too and we headed to the foodcourt. However, not before AnnaClaire could make friends with a sweet lady on a scooter! The lady even offered to take AnnaClaire on a ride! All 19 of us enjoyed a dinner together. The foodcourt place is the best place to eat when you have that many! After dinner, we went in the lobby and the girls ran around and we took group pictures before taking the boat to Downtown Disney. We had a blast there. The boat ride was really nice. Downtown Disney was great. We only went into the big Disney store but we were there awhile. Didn't do too much damage there. We got AnnaClaire an adorable Walt Disney World fleece with Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White on it. So cute!! I got an Ariel pillow =). That store is amazing. It is so overwhelming. It is just covered in everything Disney. There are all different sections. We, of course, spent most of our time in the princess area! All the girls enjoyed playing with these little spinny light things. We ended up getting them all Cinderella ones at the Parade on Saturday. Anyway, after we purchased out things, we went next door for some hot chocolate. It was that cold. We all enjoyed drinking it, the little ones especially. They really did all enjoy being together! We caught the boat back and were entertained with singing as boat drove on. We returned pretty late and said bye to Shaoey, Addie, Mia, and Caroline as the rest of us made our way back to our rooms. Saturday morning we got up pretty early and headed to breakfast before going to Magic Kingdom!!!!!!!!!

The bus ride there was packed. We had to stand which was so hard with our squirming toddlers! Finally we made it to the Magic Kingdom. My goodness, it was an absolute ZOO. We had some issues getting in because they had messed up on our ticket, but finally we made it in took a few pictures by the front and went in where we found Bekah and waited for the rest. Soon they made it and we strolled down the busy Main Street with the most beautiful view of the castle. I started having memories of being there when I was little! First we rode It's A Small World. It was great. All the girls loved it and by the end, AnnaClaire was in the front just dancing to the music... too cute! It really is a beautiful ride. I cannot believe detailed everything is in it! We rode the merry go round which was fun. We also road Peter Pan and ate a really yummy lunch. After lunch we bought AnnaClaire some PINK mickey ears! They are so cute on her! We strolled through the park and went to Tooneytown or whatever its called. AnnaClaire was borderline sleep, so we went back to Fantasy land while everyone else played at a little playground. Strolling did not get AC to sleep, so we rode on Snow White because the line was short. It was really scary, actually! AnnaClaire had her eyes just covered the entire time. We went in a few stores and took picture by the castle before rushing back to catch the train. We missed it, so we rode the next one. It was a nice train ride and we even caught a glimpse of a parade going on! We got back and met up with everyone else and walked over to Pooh. That was a very cute ride. Shaoey, Lucy, and Mia were all asleep by this point and the other girls had just just gotten up. one of my favorite parts of the trip came up next. Addie, Emily, and AnnaClaire all had Sara Beth Bows in, so we were trying to get a good picture of the three of them for Jeanette. All of a sudden, the held hands and the three of them started running around, clutching hands. That of course attracting much attention and we had many sweet comments about how beautiful they were. Someone even asked if they were triplets! They were just adorable. Imagine 3 Chinese beauties holding hands and running around... too cute! Then they decided to spin around in circles and that was just a blast in their eyes! They spinned round and round until we stopped them and made our way to Dumbo! The line was so long but all the girls did great! I guess when your with your friends, or more like sisters, lines aren't so bad to wait in! They all kept eachother occupied and we met a sweet family from Germany with a gorgeous 4 year old from China. They were almost in tears when they saw all the little ones. Finally it was our turn on Dumbo and AnnaClaire loved it as did most of the girls. AnnaClaire loves saying "Dumbo" now. Dumbo was my all time favorite when I was little, as well! Right after Dumbo ended, we headed over to the castle for the highlight of the trip. We dressed each girl in a princess outfit (AnnaClaire, Shaoey, and Emily- Snow White, Bekah & Addie- Jasmine, Caroline- Mulan, Lucy- Cinderella, and Mia- fairy princess). All the girls were precious in their outfits and Emily and AC enjoyed posing for pictures in their matching costumes. We then went into the castle for our Cinderella dinner! It was amazing. We got to get our pictures with Cinderella, and they gave each girl a Cinderella wand. They even gave us a huge table which we all could fit at. It was a wonderful 3 course meal and possibly the best steak and chocolate desert I've tasted in my life. The babies got free pasta and princess ice cream sundaes with a chocolate princess crowon on top, which each girl throughly enjoyed and proved it afterwards when each girl had the most chocolately mouth ever! AnnaClaire definitely loved her and ate the whole thing by herself and was literally scraping her bowl. They had a little show as we ate with the mice and fairy godmother. It was fabulous! The mice were a little scary to some of the girls, but AC did warm up to them. Emily was sooooooo sweet with the mice. She loved them! She even danced with one of them which was just the sweetest site. The dinner which was just amazing and I definitely recommend it! After dinner AnnaClaire and Shaoey were holding hands and took off running through Fantast Land. They were so cute in their little Snow White outfits, running around just giggling and looking at eachother. EVERYONE made comments about how cute they were, asked if they were twins, moved aside for them, etc. They actually ran pretty far before we caught them and yet they still grasped eachothers hands as we walked back. We did a little shopping and admired and castle, gorgeously decorated with beautiful white lights. After about an hour, we went out and got a spot for the upcoming parade. AnnaClaire and a few other girls had fallen asleep by now and AnnaClaire was just darling clutching her wand in her sleep. We set all the strollers up and it was the most beautiful sight. 8 little stollers with a beautiful "Mei Mei" inside, some asleep, some not, just enjoying the company of eachother. The parade was amazing and although AC and Shaoey were pretty scared, it was definitely worth it to watch. Afterwards we talked awhile longer and said our goodbyes to everyone. It was such a bittersweet moment. The weekend had just zoomed by it was hard to believe that was goodbye. I think everyone was teary eyed as we went opposite ways. Emily, Lucy, and us went to order pictures from the Cinderella dinner. We met a beautiful family with the most darling 9 year old from China. It was Tabby's 9th birthday and she was so sweet. We definitely enjoyed talking to them and were excited that they are going to Vietnam in March to get Tabby's 2 1/2 year old sister! Tabby was the smartest, sweetest, most beautiful girl and you could tell she was so excited to see 3 babies from China! The girls enjoyed playing while we waited for our pictures and then we left to go back to the hotel. Since getting the pictures had taken awhile, the crowds had died down a little and we actually got a seat on the bus. The girls enjoyed picking out everything that had Mickey Mouse on it. "Mickey Mouse" is a new favorite word in our house, that's for sure!

In the morning we met again for breakfast and talked awhile. We went back to our rooms and finished packing and then it was time to say bye to Lucy and her mom. I feel like Lucy and AnnaClaire share a special bond, as they were both from Chenzhou, and we think they might have been in the same room. It was hard saying bye to sweet Lucy and her mommy. But we made it through and then Emily and her Mommy took us shopping for the day, because our flight was at 7. The rest of the group's were around 1.

We had a wonderful day of shopping and both girls managed to sleep. We had a yummy lunch, met many people, and had a blast playing in the park across the street. Chasing birds, hunting for acorns, and throwing the acorns in the pond were all big hits of the park. Emily and AC were just total and complete dolls running around. So many people asked if they were twins. We bought nothing except for in a store we saw on the way out that we just had to go in. It was kind of a strange store because it had some really, really cute things and then other just tacky things, inclduing a black foofy dress that said, 'birthday babe'. It doesn't sound bad, but oh, it was. Bling pacifiers and wipey cases, red nightgowns... fun times. But we did find the cutest green dress with little pink and green presents at the bottom and both Emily and AnnaClaire got that dress. Emily's mommy and Mom have very similar shopping tastes, as you can see! We have some hilarious memories that will forever be in my mind from being in that one store. We then left for the airport and both girls, once again, slept. Before falling asleep, Emily and AC had a conversation that went something like this:

Emily - "Toes, toes toes toes"
AnnaClaire- "Toes!"
Emily- "My toes!"
AnnaClaire- "No, my toes!"
Emily- "My toes!"
and on and on

As I said... gotta love being two!

Emily's mommy was so sweet to spend all day with us and drive us to the airport (she lives in FL).Thanks so much again, you don't know how much it meant! It was so sad saying goodbye again. Emily and AnnaClaire had such fun times together and I know Mom and Mrs. M did, as well. It was then that our reunion was over =( and back home we headed. AnnaClaire enjoyed wearing her Mickey ears, wearing her Disney World fleece, and holding the Minnie Mouse (she calls it Mickey Mouse) that I got her. She looked like quite the Disney girl and everyone commented on her cuteness. She was pretty good on the flight and loved seeing Daddy at the airport. Dad met us right where we were greeted when we got back from China, which brought back many memories. AnnaClaire loved telling Dad all about her time. We really did have an amazing time. Even after this long post, I still don't think I've explained well enough what a great weekend we had. It was just amazing.

We had someone ask us if we were all family. To that, Mom responded, "now we are". I cannot think of a better way to say that. They really are our family. When all 8 strollers were lined up on the side of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, tears were brought to my eyes. It is that site that reminds me what a miracle adoption really is. You don't get it until you actually go through it. The bond that forms with other families, people you might otherwise never meet, is unbreakable. Those 8 strollers... it was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Those 8 girls... all 2, all from China, all once orphans with now a forever family... They are all different in so many ways. They are different shapes and sizes, different haircuts, different personalities. You look at each one and it is amazing how perfect she is for her family. It really is. It is impossible to see any one of those girls with any other family. Adoption is truly a miracle. I think that anyone who saw these 8 beauties would not disagree with me on that one.

To each family who we saw this weekend: We love you all. Thanks so much for a wonderful weekend! Can't wait until next time!!!!!!!

I posted the precious stroller pictures and then a group shot, but I have many more that I'm waiting to post... but there's a reason that I can't say yet
UPDATE: the video is now posted! =)


Anonymous said...

Emily, what a great weekend we had with you. You were a great help with Addie, and she ADORES you!! It was so fun watching her share the parade with you, I can still picture her looking at you then pointing to everything she loved.
Can't wait until our next reunion!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fabulous time! I love the pictures. :-)


Anonymous said...

Wow..that sounded like such a wonderful time. How is amazing is our God to bring families together in this way. :0) The Cinderella dinner sounds like fun too. I'll have to start saving so I can take our Maddy down sometime.

Great pictures. Love the one with all the strollers lined up. :0)

Jie Jie to Sarah Lu and Chayah Ru said...

Aww... It looks like a really fun time!!! Great job on the video! It's so sweet! I love seeing pictures of all the little girls together! And seeing updated pictures of Bekah and Mia is so fun! They have grown so much since last year. :)

Jeanette said...

Emily, AnnaClaire is so blessed to have you as a big sister. I don't think I've ever seen a more photographed little girl! You did an awesome job on the Disney video. It was so sweet to see all of the girls enjoying each other and their time there. I hope Sara Beth is blessed to have a group of friends as special as AC's! Love your new blog!

Jeanette R.