Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Official Canadian Citizen....and we can prove it!!!!

A quick bicycle run to the mailbox brought a very excellent envelope!!!! We received Clarissa's Canadian Citizen card, along with a letter from the Minister of CIC welcoming her as a Canadian!! Woo hoo!!!! As you can see from the picture she and her Mommy are very happy about the whole thing.

Today also brought fantastic news to Adrian and Roberta!!!! WOO HOO!!!!! We are so happy for you two!!!! Words of advice.....grab the log with the lemon chicken at the the cloisin factory and run!!!! It is awesome!!!! Ohhhh and go easy on the stuff in the bottles on the table. You will know what I mean. Also, Yulin knows all...so trust everything that she says. I can't wait to follow your journey.

Monday, September 28, 2009

You want me to sleep???????...more pictures from China...

Ok....last post I mentioned that Clarissa is sleeping well. This is true...however I should have clarified that she is sleeping well once we get her to sleep. This wonderful little girl hates going to sleep. We may get her to take a 30-45 minute nap during the day if we are lucky, but the last few days bedtime has not been happy time. She used to plop down after dinner and snoozing away in no time, but now she wants none of it. I have come up with some reasons:

Sleep??? But I have waaaaayyyy too much playin' left to do
Sleep??? But I have a few spots on the floor that still aren't covered with stuff yet
Sleep??? But I have all these toys that need my attention
Sleep??? But I have waaaaaayyy too much goobering all over Daddy left to do
Sleep??? But I have some Cheerios around here somewhere still don't I??
Sleep??? But I have to pet the bird's nose some more
Sleep??? But I have to check out the bunnies some more
Sleep??? But I have so much more to learn
Sleep??? But I have lots of trouble making left to do
Sleep??? But I have not stopped moving for 5 seconds all day why should I start now??
Sleep??? But I have a whole whack of diapers that I haven't peed in yet
Sleep??? But I have so much more love from my Mommy and Daddy to absorb
Sleep??? But I have a whole lot more cuteness to share with the world

Saturday, September 26, 2009

On the move... I have my own room... and vocal chords

Things are changing very quickly around here. Clarissa is learning more and more each day. She's also showing more of her personality each day. Over the last couple of days she has been testing out standing without holding on to anything and pretty proud of herself for doing so. She is also learning how quick she can move around on her hands and knees, and that she can go all over the place....she is pretty proud of herself for that also. Another fun thing that she just realized that she can do is yell pretty loud last night was a yellfest...and she is pretty proud of herself for that as well.

This morning she pulled her pants up almost to her neck....she had the real old man look goin' on.

She loooooooves Sunny the bird. She gets a good laugh out of him and Daddy when they whistle back and forth to each other. I think that he was the one who inspired her to start crawling all over after seeing him fly around.

She is still sleeping quite well, and we have now moved her crib into her own room. Other than being upset if she can't find her favourite little doll when she rolls over, she has had no problem at all with the move.

Walks to the store are fun also.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rainy day at home...Clarissa and Daddy causing trouble!!!

It's raining, it's pouring, Clarissa and Daddy are making a big mess!!!!

Since we can't go for a walk we have to find something else to do. What's the perfect solution?????? How about throwing newspapers all over the place!!!! Oh ya!!!

Yesterday was nice, we did a family road trip to our offices to show off our beautiful little girl to our colleagues. She was very well behaved and it was great to see everyone. She even did pretty well in her car seat. Still not liking it very much, and a bit of a fit here and there...but not too bad. Hopefully she will get used to it.

Another great thing to do on a rainy day is to (finally) make a huge pot of tomato sauce. I think that I'm going to do exactly that right now. More later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Busy days, but more is coming....

Things are a bit busy, and I'm too tired to say much more today....but don't worry, more (and more pictures) is coming. I didn't even make my tomato sauce today...tomorrow. I will post more tomorrow also. One thing that I will say is that as I was answering Tesia today one thing that I wrote was how part of us Clarissa is after only 3 weeks. It is amazing how huge a part of our family she is already. It just proves that the long wait was necessary to bring "our girl" to us. I can't even imagine her not being with us. There is no doubt in our minds that she was meant for us. We feel very, very lucky and blessed. She is awesome!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Slept through the night, a trip to the Farmer's Market, ball caps, and some more China photos....

Well Clarissa went to bed at 7pm last night and aside from a couple of momentary wake-ups (followed by a roll-over and back to snoozin') she slept until 6am. Woo hoo!! Mommy and Daddy are thrilled. We were beginning to think that we would just have to get used to being creatures of the night.

Today we went to the Farmer's Market where there are dozens of stalls set up with people selling their veggies and fruits, or homemade breads and pies etc. It was a beautiful morning and Clarissa even made the trip in the car without a fit. More good news for Mommy and Daddy. We bought a huge basket of tomatoes so I can make a huge pot of pasta sauce. That will be tomorrow's task. We also bought some potatoes and leaks, with which there is a pot of soup cooking as I type.

While we were at the market a lady came up to us and said "When did you get back?"...sort of caught me off guard for a sec before I realized that she was talking about Clarissa. She then said "We've adopted also." and she called her husband over with daughter and son over. Both children were adopted from Vietnam. "Where is your daughter from?" "Where in China did you go?" "Did you enjoy it?" "How is she adapting?". A month ago I might have had a different reaction to a stranger asking us such questions, but there is a feeling of "family" with other members of the International Adoption community that is comforting.

More of China:

Friday, September 18, 2009

A smile in the car seat, visit the Grandma and Grandpa's, and jolly jumpin'...

We actually got a smile from Clarissa while in her car seat!!!!!!! I even have a picture to prove it!!!!! But don't let that fool you....that was short lived. Even goofy looking Daddy and a bottle will only distract the "car seat fit" for so long. We then rapidly returned to what is the norm so far. Hopefully she will get used to it. I guess that she's not up for driving to Myrtle Beach with Daddy and Grandpa!!! Ooooooooohhhhh boy I can see that now. A gleeful seventeen hour drive that would be.

What's funny is that in China she loved riding on the bus (where she was facing backwards as in the car seat), and she is totally cool with the stroller (where she is strapped in in a similar way to how she is in the car seat). That sort of strikes out the main possibilities of reasons why she hates it so much (being in a vehicle, and being constrained). I guess either she'll learn to like it, or if we can't walk there we ain't goin'!!! We tried both the car and the van. I mean we're talking a real fit here...and she really is a pretty happy camper, she doesn't cry much. Way more than the "hey I hungry, give me something to eat....NOW!!!" type crying. It's heartbreaking to see her cry like that. I may have to buy a plane to get her around because she's ok with that.

We went for an excellent dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's last night!!! Clarissa really enjoyed the visit, and she enjoyed meeting her Great Grandma! Not only was the company wonderful, and the dinner fantastic....but lunch today (courtesy of the care pack of leftovers) was awesome too!!!! Ohhhhh and then there was the spectacular breakfast this morning (courtesy of the care pack of leftover chocolate ice cream cake.....hmmmmmm I just got hungry....I think that there might be a bit left...and Carolyn is upstairs.....hmmmmmmmm..."What's that Honey???? What am I getting out of the freezer???? Nothing. No I am not eating the rest of the ice cream cake!!!! I would never do such a thing!!! Huh? What's in my mouth??? Nothing. I just bit my tongue so I can't talk properly. Huh??? What am I washing??? Nothing. It is not the plate and fork that I was eating the ice cream cake with! Huh??? You're coming down to check the freezer???? Honey, I'm hurt that you would think that I would do such a thing! Oh oh!!!! I'd better hide!!!

Before I take off I should mention that Clarissa had her first go at the Jolly Jumper today.....she absolutely looooooooooved it!!!!

I'm playing my first game of hockey of the season tomorrow (missed the first two weeks while in China...I know...where are my priorities????) I can't wait to see the guys on the Red Team!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Highchairs, strollers, playpens, and (waaaaahhhhhhh!!!!) car seats

A few more things that we have learned since we've been home:

Clarissa digs her highchair. Probably because it means "I'm gettin' somethin'!!!"(as long as we don't take too long to get the "somethin'" ready. She gets a great view of the bunnies from her highchair, so that also helps.

Clarissa enjoys rides in her stroller. Probably because she can see all kinds of stuff as we walk around the neighborhood.

Clarissa is still deciding on how much she likes her new playpen. Probably because on one hand she can play with her toys and/or use the walls to climb and stand up by herself....on the other hand she can't go causing trouble wherever she pleases. We're leaning towards the "likes it" side so far.

Car seats.....Clarissa.....hmmmmmm how should I say this???.....ummmmmmm...what can I say about car seats?????? Ok how about this???? Clarissa ABSOLUTELY HATES car seats. We've tried both the van and the car since we have one in each. Both get the same reaction..."WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" and rivers of tears. Poor thing has a fit in the car seat. A bottle will temporarily stop the tears, but she downs it in record time so that she can get right back to "WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!". Hopefully she'll get used to it.

She has been loving her carrot cereal, so we figured that we would try boiling and mashing real carrots. She'll love that right???? More like "Mommy and Daddy what the heck are you giving me?!?!?!?! Mix me up a batch of powdered ones now and chuck these things!".

Channel 54 repeats the same Seinfeld, Threes Company, and Married with Children between 1am and 5am. They obviously don't have 10 month olds at home!

How about a couple more random China pictures (including the entrance to our favourite restaurant in Beijing).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Schedule is still whacked, a few thoughts, and some more pictures...

Will this be the night that we get to sleep through the night???? Ok...not likely, but we can hold out hope can't we?

We got Clarissa's OHIP number today!!! Woo hoo!!!! Now let's all pray that we never, ever need it.

She's doing very well, but we learned today that we should never, ever wake her up when she's sleeping. Whoooooeeee!! She was not a happy camper. She was maaaaaaaaaad at Mommy and Daddy. With the goal of getting her schedule on track we had her take a nap this afternoon thinking that she would wake up, eat, and play for a while and then we would put her back to bed around 7pm for the night. Well she slept, and slept, and slept. At 5pm we decided that we had better wake her up to have something to eat......mistake. Well after the meltdown we got her back to sleep...and so far all is well.

Some thoughts:

If you are going to China to adopt bring Cheerios and stacking cups. They are like gold!

If you are going to China to adopt read as many (I will break my rule and use the word for this one occasion just to make sure that you know what I'm talking about) "blogs" of people who are there as you possibly can... www.chinaadoptionsites.blogspot.com is a very good source)...I found reading about what others experience before we left was soooooo helpful. It really gave us perspective as we were going through it. It made the whole thing a lot less scary...it was all still kind of scary, but at least we knew first hand that others had gone through exactly the same thing. It made a big difference for us.

We really appreciated all the emails while we were in China, it really helped us to get notes from home while we were so far away. Thanks to everyone.

Also, I finally got a chance to read all of the comments on our site. Thanks very much to each of you, especially Roberta!

Something that I don't think that I've really mentioned....we travelled with THE BEST group of people! We feel lucky to have met such awesome families. In particular, the Ottawa Crew were fantastic. From beginning of the journey to the end we travelled with Manon, Richard, Marie-Eve, Jacqueline, and Pierre; and Frances and Cat. The rest of the Ottawa Crew who we met at the pre-trip dinner at Manon and Richard's place, were Adrian and Debbie, and Victor and Sharon. These folks and all of the other families really were important parts of our journey. It made a huge difference to know, and feel that we were all in it together. The support was huge.

I also have been thinking a lot about how incredible Family Outreach International was/is. I can't even begin to express what they mean to us. They took such good care of us, it's almost hard for me to think about. I think that I've been avoiding bringing it up because I just don't think that I can say adequately what they did for us. It was sooooo much more than bringing our wonderful, beautiful little girl to us. From beginning to end (including Bob being at the airport in Ottawa when we arrived) they were....well there just aren't words. Yulin and Bob are the heart of FOI...they are so....I think that I need more time to capture my thoughts on Yulin and Bob. They care soooo much about these children and about us it's beyond description. But it's not just them, the guides working for them...Mary in Nanchang, and Vivian and Fe in Beijing....they just took such good care of us. They made what was not an easy situation (a very, very wonderful situation, but not always easy) so much better. We are so grateful to all of these wonderful people!!!

I think that I'll leave at that for now.

Oh...the pictures....family shot with the Canadian and Chinese flags, me posting from the hotel room, and the first picture with the three of us together just seconds after we first met Clarissa.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Help!!! We need sleep!!! :-)

Sorry again for not posting. We are struggling through getting adjusted back to Canada time. Carolyn and I can rationalize the whole time change thing, but Clarissa's system is still on China time...this of course means that Mommy and Daddy are up allllllllll night long playing instead of sleeping. Not helping is the fact that she has just realized to her absolute delight that she is able to stand up on her own with the help of the bars in her crib. Instead of lying down to sleep she stands up and dances. It's fun to watch....however, I think that we would prefer to witness the joy at 3PM instead of 3AM. I checked to see if she had an "off switch" because I'm beginning to think that she could replace the Energizer bunny. She keeps going, and going, and going.......but she could also be in a MasterCard commercial because she is priceless!! We are loving every sleepless minute. Off to try to see if we can get her to sleep for a few minutes.

I'm going to add some more pictures as we go along.

More later.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We are home!!!!!!!!!

We are safely back at home after a long day travelling. It was pretty tight at the Toronto airport (hate that airport), but we just made our flight to Ottawa. Thanks so much to Grandma and Grandpa for picking us up at the airport. It was very nice to see their faces when we got there. Also very nice to have all that great food in the fridge (even though it was midnight when we got here we sat and had a little feast...the watermelon in the fridge was a big hit with Clarissa), the beautiful flowers, and of course the "Welcome home Clarissa" sign and balloons. We appreciate everything hugely.

We had a few hours of sleep and then got up to have coffee and Grandma's homemade apple pie for breakfast.

After some more watermelon, some scrambled egg, and a bottle Clarissa is sleeping beside me on the couch (in Daddy's snoozing spot I might add). Clarissa and I have both picked up a cold. I think that we had better take the advantage of the chance to sleep a bit while Clarissa is. More later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Packed and ready to go!!!!

Everything is packed up and in less than an hour we head to the airport to begin the long journey home. It's just after 12pm now, and when we get to Ottawa it will be 10pm tonight in Ottawa, but the next day 10am here in China. It will be worth every minute to bring our new little Canadian citizen home.
China was spectacular in every way. The food, the hotels, the people, the shopping, the history, the weather, but most of all our treasure Clarissa!!!
I've been hearing about a site that is documenting our trip....I can't wait to read it, it sounds great ;-)
If I can access the wifi at the airport I will send a post from there. If not, my next post will be from home.
Take care everyone!!!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last full day in China!

Today was our last full day. We head back to Canada tomorrow.Our bus leaves the hotel at 1pm, and our flight leaves at 6pm. We will get to Toronto at 6:45pm (nice 45 minute flight...going back is much quicker than coming here was.....what??? I have to factor in the 12 hour time difference???? Oh.). We fly out of Toronto around 9pm and back in Ottawa around 10pm Friday night!! We are looking forward to getting home.
Today was another great day. We went to the Olympic park and went inside the water cube and bird's nest. The park is very impressive, and the two buildings were also. It was very cool to be inside these places that we spent two weeks watching on tv last year. They still have all of the countries flags up in the water cube, and we were able to go down and sit in the front row seats at the Bird's nest. What an incredibe building that is!!
When we got back to the hotel, I kept Clarissa busy while Carolyn packed things up. Clarissa was in a mood today but we managed to have a short snooze before we headed out for dinner with two other families. Dinner was spectacular! Kung Pao chicken that was nice and spicy, and a bunch of other excellent stuff.
We just got Clarissa to sleep....not the simple task that it usually is...she sure was in a mood today. Hopefully she'll be in better humour for the flight tomorrow :-) It will be almost her bedtime when we take off, so hopefully she will sleep through most of it.
I keep forgetting to mention that when we get back and I can actually access the site I am going to add a guestbook to it (assuming that I can figure out how to) We would love for those of you who have been following to sign it.
I hope to get a couple of posts in tomorrow..maybe before we leave the hotel, and maybe from the airport. If not I will post when we get home.
One more sleep until we get into our own bed!!!!! As I have said, we have throroughly enjoyed our time here, it's something that we will never forget....and if we do I'll pull out the 1500 pictures that I've taken....but it will be very nice to be home.
I've seen many people in our situation write how when they are leaving China they are sad to take their child away from his or her home country. I have to say that I don't feel that way at all (I thought that I would). I feel only joy in knowing that we are bringing her to Canada (the best freakin' country in the world for hundreds of reasons!!) where she will be loved and cared for, and have a wonderful life will every opportunity that we can possibly bring to her. To see the improvements that she has made in only a week and a half has enforced that belief. We have a very different little girl with us than we did on day one. We love her more and more each day...even the days when she's in a mood like today
:-) ...and wouldn't trade her for anything in the world. We feel very, very lucky.
Let's see if I can pick a couple of pictures to include....

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FW: Another long day comes to a close...well after a cold Tsingtao that is....

Here are the pictures that I tried to send with the last post.....

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