The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One fav photo I missed...

Dressed for pee-wee football game day, Christina (16) and Hua Hua (3) watching Barney on Mama's bed together. Apparently Christina is remembering her former love for Barney and happy to pass it on to her little mei mei... :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Past Few Days....

Our little Katie Grace 'Hua Hua" is doing very well! She is really adapting and is quite the little trooper as this past week has been very busy with school in session as well as dance, marching band and football beginning for the big kids. She just goes along without much trouble. When she does get agitated, and starts to cry, then it does still escalate into a tantrum, but these are even less dramatic and more like crying fits as opposed to screaming like before.

She is more patient and plays and shares better. She knows that her food is indeed coming and that food is not going to "run out". She can see that her toys are here to play with and that sharing does not mean that she will lose everything.

Katie Grace is smiley and cute and makes silly fun faces and loves to giggle. She LOVES to be tickled! She plays well and adores her siblings.

She is still totally attached to mama and panics if I go in another room and close a door. She will allow our oldest daughter Christina to take her a little farther away from mama, for instance at our son's football game the other day, Christina took her to the concession and to the bathroom which was a big step! She won't really let anyone else carry her much except Matthew occasionally although she does sit in daddy's lap now for a bit if he will tickle her ribs!

Our family babysitter Jean, who has been coming to babysit our kids as they have grown for years, has been coming over regularly this week and Katie Grace likes her. I will have to go to work this Thursday and Saturday evening for 4 hours and Jean will be here Thursday evening because Christina has band practice. Please say a prayer that Katie Grace will not be traumatized when I leave!

Here are our latest pics:

1st bowl of ice cream!!! So cold but she loved it!!

Joshua's first day taking the school bus! Sometimes we drive, but sometimes they take the bus. He was very excited to take the bus with big brother Matthew!

Katie Grace loves playing on the back patio with her cars and slides. She also loves her little parasol!

Matthew's first official football game of the season. Hua Hua and Christina all set with snacks, tent and chairs. Let's just say that it is hot her in Central Florida. SO HOT. But we stay under the shade. Matt loves to play football though! Katie Grace even yells Go Maphewww!

The boys all worn out from the heat after the game.

It's tickle time with daddy!

Ok, so she LOVES Barney! Christina loved Barney when she was little and we still have some VHS tapes of Barney so I thought I would try it. Well it is the only thing that "hua hua" loves to watch. She is enthralled. She dances and giggles and sings! I always said there is something about Barney!

SO happy to watch Barney on mama and baba's bed!!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Christina, Matthew and Joshua went back to school this past Monday. I was sad to see them go so quickly after we got home, but glad to get into a schedule here at at the house.

Katie Grace watches them go in the morning and says "bye bye" and when they come out of school she squeals and jumps and giggles and yells, "Tina!!!! Mafffewww!!! Joshua!!!!!!" It is the cutest thing to see how excited she is to see them after school, I will try to get those moments on video if possible. Just priceless.

Joshua started Kindergarten this year. He had half day pre-k last year so this is going to be a change for him. He had a very hard time with us being gone to China, especially as it got longer, and is having a little bit of a hard time with not being the "baby" anymore with new little sister getting so much attention. Especially when she is so much of a mama's girl right now and wants me only to hold her. Although, as the week rolls on, he seems to be relaxing about it much more and enjoying being big brother. I am really hoping soon Katie Grace will be more comfortable to stay with daddy so that I can go to Joshua's school and volunteer in his classroom. Jacob and I and Katie could go have lunch soon though!

Here are some pics from first day of school.

Boys all dressed in their uniforms ready to go. Thier mei mei (little sister) sticking close by. :)

Christina is a junior in high school this year, can you believe it?? She is a great honors student and involved in a lot of activities so she is ready for a busy year. She and Katie Grace have already been on the computer making funny pics to put on Christina's facebook page!

Joshua heading out to the car with his Sponge Bob backpack. Oh was he happy to find Sponge Bob! Yes, we are Sponge Bob friendly in this house. He is the ultimate optimist! :) :) :)

Did I mention how much Katie Grace loves Matthew?? She sticks by him a lot. In fact he may be my second care giver for her at this point! Matthew is going on 13 and is starting 7th grade. I've mentioned many times here what a tender spirit he has and she saw it right away. She loves playing with all 3 siblings but holds onto Matthew the most right now.

Joshua and daddy.

Joshua's Kindergarten classroom and his teacher, Ms. Kaiser.

Ready for a great 1st day!!!

Ok, we sort of had to peel her little hand off Matthew's and tell her we would see him later. She was not thrilled about us leaving the boys at that place. It may have seemed a bit like a orphanage to her with lots of rooms and kids. She had a concerned look as we left. She was so happy when we returned to pick them up!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Sorry I haven't had time to post since we returned home! You can imagine how tired and busy we have been getting settled in over the past few days. We have 24 hours and 4 flights home. Katie Grace "Hua Hua" ("Hua Hua" is what she calls herself, but it almost sounds like "Qua Qua" or phonetically "Qwa Qwa", obviously her nickname for her Chinese name "Xi Hua", isn't that cute?!) did a great job traveling - she was awesome on the international flight, but did throw 1 dinger of a tantrum one of our domestic flights, but oh well, we made it anyway!

She was jet lagged and a bit in shock at the new changes again upon arrival. New home, new siblings who were happy to see her, new grandparents happy to see her, new everything. She slept for almost 18 hours. I was getting worried and then she woke up a happy little girl and has been doing quite well since.

On top of that, Monday was first day of school for our other 3 kids which we went to dazed and confused due to jet lag and China bodyclocks, LOL ! Thank goodness, Jacob's parents stayed just a couple extra days to help us get our brains going again! They are so wonderful, cooking and helping us with the kids and in the house, I miss them already!!!!!

We (she!) were sleeping on China time for the first couple of days, ( I was getting NO sleep and was starting to get really out of it. I slept only 1 hour on all flights combined too) then on day 3 she stayed up all day until 6:30 PM and went to bed so we were able to get onto US time. I am still waking up early, (it's 4:30 AM right now) but happy to get on schedule!

Her adjustment, I would say, is going well. Some of the behaviors that were really trying earlier like yelling at us to get things, being really demanding, tantrums for not getting things, have decreased day by day and it is only the first week. She likes to play with her animals and dollies. She likes to play with her little kitchen and "food". She is learning to share a little. She is still stuck to mama and needs mom to do all of her care at this point. She is a very happy little girl for the most part as we go through the day. She still is very nervous about others helping her with things or if someone wants to show her how a toy works, she thinks they are taking it and she grabs it and hides it! She is getting a little more relaxed though.

Tomorrow I will post some pics of the first day of school and try to write more! Also, I have 5 million videos from China that I need to upload to youtube (unpublished) so that I can post them here and also send to the moms and dads who are waiting to see their kids from our orphanage visit. Here are some pics of her first few days.

What a wonderful welcome this was and what a joy to see my kids, I can't tell you! Thanks to Jacob's parents, Lolli and Pops for making this happen! Why don't I have them in some of these pictures?? That really stinks!!

Jet lag baby and on China time sleeping all day wherever she would walk to and just lay down! Then I would just grab a pillow and put it under her head!

Jet lag Jacob fell asleep playing with Katie with a lamb on his head, HA!!!!

So guess what, she loves pancakes! But honestly, who doesn't????? Thanks Lolli for making pancakes!

She loves to play with her Minnie Mouse. She actually thinks it is funny to squeeze Minnie's nose and make her cry and then hug her and make her feel better. Umm, not sure if that is nicest game, lol, but at least she makes her feel better! Of course it doesn't help when we say (in a Minnie voice, "owwww my noooose, give me a kisssss")

Daddy picked me up out of the car yesterday for the 1st time!!!!! This was a milestone that I let daddy pick me up!! I let him pick me up once more later in the day, but only once. That is progress though!!!!!!!!!

She saw her tutu and just loved it and wore it around the house! She also loves buttons. Remotes, phones, computers.....

Playing on the computer, taking funny pictures with Christina, Joshua and our neighbor girl Amber who plays here a lot. They were laughing a lot at the pics!

Playing on the school board with Joshua. I love those sweet faces!!!!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Leaving Guangzhou Tomorrow.

First of all I want to say, Christina, this is my last post! Thanks so much for doing this for me my dear daughter! I would not have been able to blog once I got here because it didn’t work out as I had planned, so thank you!!!!!!!!!!

We leave Guangzhou tomorrow evening and fly to Beijing.. Then we stay overnight at the Airport Hotel (only for about 6 hours) and then fly from Beijing to Seattle. Then from Seattle to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Orlando. 4 flights! I’m pretty sure that I have plenty of little toys and treats to keep her busy for some of it!

We will miss Guangzhou and Shamian Island and our stay has passed so quickly. But we are also definitely ready to get home to our kids and home and family!

Katie Grace Xi Hua is doing better everyday. She is such a wonderful little girl. She is quite affectionate with me much of the time with lots of hugs. She wants me to carry her 80% of the time which can be tiring, but good for boding. She still has some digression some mornings where she will wake up and not want to interact or hug or even hold my hand, then by afternoon she is happy again. She is making progress with daddy, laughing at him. Squealing and giggling when he passes by in the swimming pool like at sea creature She tries to “get” his feet with her animals when he is “sleeping” and he reacts and she laughs. She feeds him noodles with her chopsticks. So that is all great! Still no holding though. :)

Here are some parting pics.

Matthew, Joshua and Christina, we will be home soon! We miss you all so much and cannot wait to hug you and give you kisses!

Lolli and Pops, thank you so much for taking such good care of our kids while we are gone. We don’t worry while they are in your hands and that is a blessing.

Katie Grace Xi Hua loves the playroom over at the White Swan! She loves Barney a lot too! Robbie, this picture with Snoopy is for you!!!!!!

Yay for slides!

She’s in a little bed with her babies, on a “cell phone”! Ha! I haven’t even been on one here!

We had our US Consulate appointment today for her visa!

We will miss our awesome guide Lily!!!! She is the best!

We will miss all of our fun foods and trying new things. Of course I will look forward to eating some of my old favs again too. :)

Will will really miss our dear friends Lisa, Michael and their new daughter, Mikaela. It wouldn’t have been the same without them here with us.

Swimming in the pool was a hit! She loved it so much, I though she might swim away if she could!

She makes the cutes little faces!

We went to the park daily for a fun activity!

The view of Guangzhou from our pool.

Guangzhou Zoo.

We went to the Guangzhou Zoo yesterday (Wednesday) and had a great day! Katie Grace Xi Hua loved the Zoo and laughed and smiled as we approached every new exhibit! This zoo was really beautiful and I was glad we went!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guangzhou and Shamian Island Continued.

This was some sort of Choir practice that was occurring several days a week in the park. There was a leader and she had a music chart and was directing and teaching. The singers sang beautiful and loudly. I have video and will post the videos when we return. I wish I could understand what they were singing and I don’t know what it was for. I recognized the words to one of the songs and it began with “Wo ai ni” “I love you”. Many in the group were dressed nicely in skirts and blouses. Anyway, if anyone sings in a choir and complains about their rehearsal, imagine rehearsing outside in 98 degree weather! We take so much for granted.

I thought this was just the cutest!!

We attended Church on Sunday and a Christian State Church just a few blocks away. The service was in English and Chinese. The room was packed and the music was beautiful. We really enjoyed this beautiful opportunity.

Everyday that you walk down the streets and through the parks of Shamian Island, you will see photo shoots happening. Most of these shoots are wedding shoots, but many are also modeling shoots as well. I am not convinced that all of these beautiful and perfect looking couples everyday are actually bride and groom, I imaging that many times it it a shoot for a bridal magazine and other magazines as well. The island has the perfect backdrop for a shoot.

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo