Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December 19, 2006

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.”
Mark 9:37

Today was a really good day! We had our swearing in ceremony which was very nice but also different from what I thought it would be like. But, our swearing in was at 4, so we had quite a day before that. It is our last day in China! I can’t believe it. The time has flown by, and I’m not quite ready to leave. I really love China and I am really dreading the flight tomorrow. Breakfast was delicious!!! We planned to go to Shamian Island with the Howards, the Dagenbachs, and the Martins to do a Red Couch picture! We took taxis and met up by the “bird cage couch”, which Mrs. Martin informed us, was the famous one. We dressed our girls into their Chinese clothes and posed the girls cutely. They all cooperated quite well and we got some good shots. We then did babies with family members there, babies alone, and AnnaClaire and me. It was a blast. We kept AC’s Chinese clothes on to take some pictures by the beauty of the White Swan. We then went on shopping. We got quite a few last minute things. We found tons more squeaky shoes at Sherry’s Place. It is the best for squeaky shoes. They have all the shoes organized by size, so you just go to the sizes you want and pick out the shoes you like. AnnaClaire is wearing 20s now, so we got 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24. 24 is the biggest. It was VERY helpful that it was organized by size. We got some other cute things and by then it was just after 1. We went to see if my comforter was ready. It wasn’t. They said they’d bring it by the hotel tonight. We said goodbye to Stella and then left. AnnaClaire fell asleep just as we were leaving and we basically had to wake her up so she’d be ready in time for the group picture at 2. We got her all dressed in her pretty dress. (not the dress we had planned~that one was huge! We put her in her Christmas dress.) We posed her for pictures and she is just so cute! Our whole group was present for the picture, which was nice. We got a few good shots, whole group, Moms and babies, siblings and babies. Our family headed to McDonalds after that because we had never eaten lunch. McDonalds was good. Same ol same ol. I’m sick of McDonalds and I’ve only had it twice!!! We put AnnaClaire in the high chair and she loved it. I fed her corn which she loved! We got back and got on the bus for the consulate. It was about 30 minutes away from our hotel. We had to walk up about 5 escalators and there was a room with a sign that said “American Consulate”. We went in and had to go through security. We got through right before the big crowd… that was nice. They told us to be seated. It was a huge room with all these chairs. A few people were already in it. We sat kind of in the middle with the Martins. We talked to them for awhile. AnnaClaire was being sweet although she wouldn’t let Rosa put the bow in her hair! She needs to keep it in! I saw a family I recognized from their blog so I went over there. There was a small table with a few chairs. AnnaClaire was very happy to be there with the toys. We talked to the other families and one lady came up and said, “Emily!” She introduced herself and it was the mother of a little girl, Holly Wen, whose website we have been following for who knows how long! We got to meet little Holly and her family! We also got to meet a little girl, Sophie, and her mom! It is so cool to meet families that you’ve been on their websites! Anyway, I thought that was so neat! I also recognized Lucy and her family, the family who was on our flight from Changsha who we had made friends with. They came up to us and told us they had a surprise. Turns out, their friends adopted a boy and so they didn’t need the Going Home Barbie the White Swan had given them!!! (The Going Home Barbie is a blond haired, blue eyed lady with an Asian baby made especially for the White Swan Hotel. They give all the adoptive families who stay at the hotel this Barbie). Anyway, Lucy’s mom had remembered me saying I was disappointed we weren’t staying at the White Swan because that meant we wouldn’t get the Barbie. So she told her friend she knew of someone who would love the Barbie! I was amazed on the kindness of this family! Earlier today we had been talking with the Martins that we’d need to go on EBay and get the Barbie for $200+! They told us we could come pick it up tonight. We talked around with other families both known from websites and from our TG and finally the lady started the swearing in process. It was very simple just I swear to blah blah blah. She gave us all this info and then sent us on our way. We had to wait for the brown envelopes and visas to come out and then we came back to the hotel. On the way, Rosa and Fontana presented us with some presents. They gave us a shirt for the babies that has a traditional Chinese girl on it. It has the babies name in Chinese and says something about cute girls at the bottom (in Chinese). It is very cute! They also gave us 2 pictures. I forget what the technique is called, but it's very pretty and "big" here in China. One of the pictures is red with fish on it, and the other has santa. They are both matted in silk and framed beautifully! There was also a sweet poem for the baby. Thank you so much, Rosa and Fontana! WE LOVE YOU! We played with AnnaClaire a bit before heading for Shamian Island. We went to the White Swan and were given the beloved Barbie. Thank you so much Isaac and family for this gift!!!!!! Our whole travel group is jealous! We got to see a White Swan room. I SO wish we were staying here. We had heard they were small and not-so-nice, but it was beautiful and not much smaller then our rooms! But that’s okay; we have the Barbie, no fear! We went to the silk place to get my blanket so they wouldn’t have to deliver it. It was ready and it was made right!!!!!!!!!! YEA!!! We also picket up the Dagenbach’s comforter and pillow and the Martin’s pillow. We then decided on a place to eat. I said “Let’s just go to Lucy’s!” But Dad was determined to find something better. We found some sort of chicken head fondue place that didn’t have an English menu---nahh… We passed up another place that had the animals in the windows… eewww…. And finally after circling around most of the island, went to Lucy’s. It was really good! We all liked it today! We ended up getting ANOTHER suitcase, so now we’ve bought 2! Gosh, we have a lot of stuff!!!!!! We got back to the hotel around 8 and delivered the Dagenbachs and Martins stuff… it was wrong, what a surprise. They still liked it though and it wasn’t horribly wrong, just wrong trim on one pillow and wrong size on another. We got to our room and AnnaClaire was asleep. Mom had put her down just before 7 and she had woken up coughing and screaming a few minutes ago. Mom had finally gotten her back to sleep. Since then, it had been a pretty rough night. She falls asleep but doesn’t stay asleep. She is now up talking with Dada and it is after 11! At one point while she was sleeping, I went down and gave Fontana and Rosa their gifts. The Martins were in their room as well and we talked for awhile. They lent me sissors and we have everything pretty much packed. We're ready to go!!!!! (I guess). Dad and I enjoyed a last Guangzhou Starbucks and now it's time to sleep!

AnnaClaire was very good today. She has gotten better at the whole "going to everyone" thing and lets anyone from our family hold her without crying. It is so nice. She let me hold her for a very long time today, and I enjoyed every minute of it. She is so sweet and cuddley and makes the absolute sweetest baby noises. She talks and sings to herself and blows kisses constantly. She can keep herself occupied very nicely! Today we saw a new trick: she claps her hands! We had seen her do it once, but not exactly CLAPPING. Today she actually clapped! Our group was clapping on the bus because our guides had just given gifts, and she saw me clapping so she clapped. Now she claps a lot. It is so cute! She doesn't mind getting changed (which is good, we had her in 5 different outfits today! 1 for shopping and then we slipped her in her Chinese outfit for the pictures because it was to cold to wear, her consolute dress which was fancy so she couldn't wear it all day, then we slipped her into a play dress because she was tripping over her CA dress when we got back, then her pjs). She also doesn't mind getting her diaper changed and helps you by handing you the diaper. She still doesn't keep bows in, we need to work on that one! She waves and has the cheesiest grin. She is absolutely precious, and I love her SOOOOOOOOOO much!

So today has been a fun and eventful last day in China. I hope to come back some day. I really love it here…. I would stay another 2 weeks if I could! But I will admit, I am ready to brush my teeth with tap water, eat Chickfila and Qdoba, have my own room again, and SEE MY FRIENDS!!!

We love you all,

P.S. for some reason, the pictures are showing up our of order. Sorry about that!
It amazes me to think that a year ago today, we had our swearing in ceremony. I remember in the morning a couple of us went to Shamian Island and took Red Couch pictures. Bekah, Claire, Kenzie, and you. You guys were so cute. It took a couple of tries, but you all looked so pretty in your Chinese outfits! You were so interested in Kenzie's yogurt! We shopped around, as it was our last day in China. It was a very sentimental day because of that. At 4 we had our swearing in ceremony which was a little ways. We took the bus there and it was a fun ride with our entire group. We all compared stories and as we arrived there, we were in shock this day had come. We had to go up tons of escalators until we got there, where we had to go through security. We got there early, so we hardly had to wait. A little later, there was a huge line. It was packed. We saw tons of people we "knew" from their blogs, which was really quite fun! All the kids were precious. We had to recite an oath and then do something with the brown envelope before we went back to the hotel. It was an amazing feeling... as soon as we landed in the US, AnnaClaire would be a US citizen. We headed back for our last night in China. Lots of packing was done, as we left at 5am the next morning. It was an emotional day. I was definitely not ready to leave China. AnnaClaire had already grown so much in the 8 days we had had her... I fell more in love with her every second I saw her. She has grown so much, a year later. God is SO good!

My precious Mei Mei,
It is very hard for me to believe that it's been a year since we had our swearing in ceremony. That was a very special day. It was also a sad day, as it was our last day in China. I loved China so much. I miss it terribly and I cannot wait to go back someday soon. You have grown so much in the past year. I look at these pictures and you are a BABY. Look at your hair... so short. I remember you would never leave your bows in. I remember standing in the lobby of the hotel and just putting your bow in and the you taking it out every time until finally I gave up. Now you never take out bows! You have grown and developed so much. I simply cannot believe it's been a year... God has brought us so far. All praise to Him! I love you sweet girl. Love, Sissy

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