Tuesday, December 1, 2009

3 Weeks and 2 days later...

Sorry it has taken me so long to post.  The last few weeks feel like a blur.  This post is a bit long...hang in there!

We arrived home at 2:00 AM on November 8th- after traveling/flying for over 30 hours.  Everyone adjusted well to EST except for me- it took me 10 days to get over the time zone change.

Zach is adjusting well.  He loves exploring the house and the neighborhood.  He loves playing with all of his new cars and trucks and legos. He loves trying to ride XiXi's big wheel.  He loves chasing XiXi around.  He loves scribbling on his art pad.  He loves to laugh and smile.

the verdict is still out on the dog!  he is slowly warming up to our furry canine friend- Xavier! :-)

XiXi is also adjusting to being a big sister and having to share the love and attention with someone else after being the sole recipient for the last 4.5 years.  She has grown up so much since we flew out of Reagan on October 20.  Much more confident, independent and nurturing.  It was so much fun seeing China through her eyes.  She just LOVED her time there!  She talks about it all the time!

I'm adjusting to being a mom of two.  We are so grateful to our wonderful friends at our amazing church who brought us meals the first few weeks we were back.  We continue to be amazed at the ways God provides for us and these meals were such a tangible measure of that!

We were able to go to South Carolina for a quick trip for Thanksgiving.  It was great seeing my parents  my sisters, brother-in-law, and niece.  Zach and Helen totally hit it off.  I loved watching them play together!

At one point during- Helen came up to Zach and took a toy from him and he just looked at her and yelled, "MEI MEI!" (little sister) and started laughing.  Mei Mei it is for Helen!

It was also fun to see Zach follow Ayi Jennie around again.  His face just lit up when he saw her.

He loved getting to know his Lao Lao and Pop Pop- he would just smile and laugh everytime he saw them!

According to the doctors- Zach is in great health!  50% height and weight- on target for gross and find motor skills.

We had our first visit to the Hopkins Cleft Clinic last week.  They are very optimistic about the palate repair and said they can do a great lip revision in the future as well.  We are waiting to get scheduled for his palate surgery- it will probably be sometime in late January/early February.

So- yeah- we have a lot of be thankful to God for...a smooth and safe trip to and from China, Zach is adjusting well to our family (especially to MaMa after not wanting much to do with me in China!), our family is adjusting well to Zach.

This will be my last post for a while to this blog.  Please continue to follow our family's journey at my other blog

Matching Christmas outfits courtesy of Lao Lao!

Zach was not liking XiXi's cuddling at this point!

What a difference 5 weeks makes!

Belly laughing on the floor!

XiXi sure loves her DiDi!

Zach and his tractor! (this was Ross' when he was a kid!)

Cousins hanging out in their matching Oscar the Grouch shirts (in honor of Uncle Bo!)

Zach and Helen hitting it off!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A few final pics!


Last Day in China!

Number of days spent in the Middle Kingdom: 17
Number of shopping items purchased: lost count
Number of undeleted photos on my digital camera: 1107
Number of memories made: infinite and priceless

Our bags are packed.  The shopping damage has been assessed and another suitcase purchased to accommodate the damage.  Good byes to our new friends we've made have been said.

I am typing this last post listening to Chinese pop music on the radio as we get ready to go down for our last amazing White Swan Breakfast Buffet.

There is a sense of excitement and anticipation for two little people to ride on another airplane.  XiXi is excited to go back to her house again.  Ross is looking forward to sleeping on our SOFT bed again.  I'm ready to not live out of a suitcase for a while.

But at the same time, there is a sense of sadness as we get ready to leave a country that has captured such a huge place in all of our hearts.  How do you say goodbye to such a place?  How do you begin to describe the impact a trip has made on your soul?  I feel a bit like Frodo after he returns to the Shire after taking the Ring to Mount Doom.  How do you go back to your old life after such an adventure as this?

Our last full day was spent at the park.  Several groups of Chinese students studying English came up to us asking for wishes for the people and country of China on their 60th Anniversary Celebration of China Day (October 1, 1949).  As Ross and I wrote little wishes on post-it notes and took pictures with these amazing students- I felt a bit like I was writing snippet of my farewell to China.

Our guide took us to a famous noodle place for dinner.  Our "Last Supper".  It was one of the best meals we ate here- two kinds of noodle soups, fish, pork, eggplant, green beans, and dumplings to name a few of the dishes.  We got to watch the cooks make the dumplings and pull a 20-foot strand of noodles.  Pretty amazing!

Our flight for Seoul leaves at 12:50- we will arrive @ Reagan at 11:44 pm local time- after about 24 hours of traveling.

Thanks for following us on our journey- we can't wait for all of you to meet Zach and share in person more amazing stories that just can't be described on a blog post!

Zai Jian!




Guess who we ran into here in China?

XiXi spotted him first- sitting by himself on the famous red couches at the White Swan Hotel- looking sad, lost, alone- and a bit crumpled and flat.  She and Zach asked if he would like some company.  He just stared at them thru his sunglasses w/ a cheesy grin on his face.

After a few minutes of small talk, they wandered over to gaze at the indoor three story waterfall- complete w/ a pagoda and koi fish pond.

Many photos were taken- both by the kids' parents and the flat, crumpled, sunglasses wearing, camare toting gentleman.

When asked where he was heading, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know- I'm just gonna be moving right along!"

Having a blast here in CHINA- can't wait for all of you to meet the newest Blauwkamp!

Julie, Ross, XiXi and ZACH!

Tiger Paw Falls!

Go Tigers!!!

More playground fund!

The pictures say it all!!!



School Days

Right next to the park where XiXi and Zach played all week is a local school.  Every morning the students would march out onto the courtyard for the morning exercises.