I've been waiting...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nap-time Success!!!

Grace went down for a nap today and finally stayed asleep for well over an hour on her own with just few wake-ups needing my soothing.  She then continued to sleep for an additional 40 minutes in bed with me for a total of almost 2 hours!  This is a huge improvement in the "Napping Department" and I hope it is a good sign of good things to come!  
She was so happy when she finally got up I decided to take us out on an adventure.  It was a gorgeous afternoon and a PA day for my nephew D., so Grace and I drove out to pick him up and the three of us went on a lovely little hike to see the Autumn colours.  We walked along the lake and it did all three of us good to get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
On the way home, we stopped at the local store to get a treat.  Grace had her first taste of ice cream, yum!!! You'll see from the pictures, she appears to like it! 

D. trying to look pensive

Orange sherbert!  Yummy!!

A face only her mother would kiss!!!!

He's not looking!  If I'm quick... maybe I can get his ice cream!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Meaning of a Smile

As I laid Grace in her crib tonight, she went to sleep with a grin on her face from ear to ear.  Not sure whether it was a smile of contentment or a smile to say "See you in 2-3 hours Mom!!!"  I guess I'll find out in 2-3 hours...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Finally a Nap

So little Miss Grace has finally given in to sleep this morning.  We've been up since shortly after midnight and Grace has alternated between dozing in the rocking chair, playing, crying, screaming, and when I finally brought her into bed with me around 3:00, climbing all over me;)  She finally gave it up and fell asleep in my arms around 8:00 this morning, giving me time for a shower (finally!!!) and a quick post.  Thanks for the good wishes and prayers from you on getting Grace onto a schedule.  I know it will happen and I know things will get better (I've yet to meet a teenager who doesn't sleep through the night!!!LOL)  but I really pray that they do soon, I feel like a walking zombie!!
Grace on the other hand seems to be faring quite well on such little sleep.  She is bubbly and active all day, laughing when I play with her.  She loves  listening to me sing songs with her, especially songs with actions and she is so close to starting to clap on her own.  I saw her little hands today moving together to try it out.  So cute!! 
I've added a post about our visit to the Summer Palace in Beijing so scroll further down, Sept 12.  I still have lots of pictures from our trip to China but most of them are on my parents' camera/computer.  As soon as I get a chance to get there and copy them, I will start posting.  In the meantime, I may need to take a little break from blogging for a few more days.  I need to take care of my girl, but hang in there folks, I'll be back as soon as I can!!!!
Grace checking out her new toys at home

Gotta love that smile....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jet Lag Ugh

I think I'm in Jet Lag Hell.  I have come down with a cold and feeling crummy.  My little Grace is quite sick and a little bit cranky and apparently is not interested in sleeping for any length of time, day or night.  She hasn't really napped in two days now and is up most of the night, and so, of course, so am I.  We spent yesterday afternoon at the hospital, and then looking into getting her a health card  since I can't take her to a doctor without one.  I know it will get better but for now I'm not getting much time to add pictures to the posts I had written in China, heck, I haven't even had time to shower regularly (LOL Karen!!) so be patient and I'll catch up with pictures and posts and phone calls eventually!  Grace on the other hand is having a blast at the minute trying to climb up my leg, her newest trick!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We're Home!!!

Just a very quick post to let everyone know we're home.  Thanks for all the welcome wishes and phone calls.  I've stayed at my parents for the past 2 days, trying to get my Canadian legs back.  The jet lag has been a bit brutal for me, don't know why it's hit me so bad but I fell asleep 3 times just now waiting for the computer to start up!! It's only 7:30 pm.  So I won't be writing much more tonight however, I do have several posts ready to go and will post them over the next few days.  Be sure to scroll down through the past few days if you are interested in reading them because they will be fit into the blog according to the date they were written.  For tonight, I just wanted to let those of you stalking my house know that I am home now and settling in.  I will post again tomorrow!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

6 Years Ago Today

6 years ago today my file reached the top of a large pile of files on someone's desk in China.  It was stamped with the date, September 13, 2006, officially initiating "my wait."  How poignant that here I am in China, on September 13, 2012, Grace sleeping peacefully in her crib beside my bed, me packing, preparing to bring her home forever.  And that my friends, is an amazing end to an amazing journey.

Toilet Paper

In the "just so you know" category.....  We are on Day 15 of this trip and I have finally remembered to take toilet paper into the squatty pottie/toilet with me every time today.  Yeah for small blessings!!!   For those of you who have never been to China before, there is no toilet paper in the stalls.  You need to pick it up for yourself out in the main area first before you go in.

Ok so I promised not to tell you every detail about my daughter's daily functions but I didn't make any promises about my own!

What's For Dinner Mom??

We visited the Night Market this evening.  It is crazy there!!! There is absolutely EVERYTHING for sale on a stick, including snake, starfish, seahorses, silkworm pupa, scorpions, and live beetles of some sort.  If you don't believe me, check out the photos below!!!  After losing our appetites, we carried on to the hutong, a neighbourhood market that is jam packed with everything for sale.  I bargained like crazy and got a few trinkets to bring back home, nothing of any great value, but it was fun to barter and get a good price on things  Over all just a fun evening out.  Everyone of course is so impressed with Grace.  People stop us on the street and babble on and on in Chinese, fussing over her, smiling and playing with her in the stroller.  She's quite a sensation to them and they all want to know if she is Chinese.  That always makes me laugh!!!

Here were our dinner choices tonight....

Don't these bugs look delicious??

 Scorpions, silkworm pupa
 Tasty Snake....yum
Stafish on a stick
 Can't beat skewered Bullfrogs
 The best of all.... wait for it... and watch the video

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Today we visited the Summer Palace.  Beautiful place where the royality spent obviously their summers.  On the way home, I reluctantly allowed Grandma to take Grace back to the hotel on her own (you can laugh at me, I don't care, I totally trust my mom but it was the first time to have her out my sight in a week).  Anyway, Carolyn, my dad and I carried on to the Drum Tower and Bell Tower.  Great views of the city and really interesting history.  Some photos below.  Tomorrow is our last full day in China, it's so hard to believe I will be coming home with Grace.  I can't wait for you all to meet her!

The Great Wall

I'm catching up on things and have a few posts almost ready to go so you may see more than one post a day for these last few days in Beijing.  For example, I have a second post below this one titled Angel Amongst us, be sure to read it, a beautiful example of human kindness.  It's hard for me to believe we are going home in just three days.  At some points during the day, my life back home feels like a distant memory, like life before Grace never even existed.  I'm sure reality will set in quickly once I'm back at home.  Either way, I'm looking forward to returning home at the end of the week. 

Today we visited the Great Wall.  It was an amazing trip outside of the city.  It is truly breath-taking and unbelievable that such a structure could have been built thousands of years ago.  Grace and I climbed part way up as you'll see in the photos below, but Carolyn and my dad climbed much further, an accomplishment for sure!  We returned in time for Grace to catch a short nap (and most of us joined her!!!! LOL).  We ended the evening with a trip to the Night Market where we saw everything you could imagine on a stick, ready to be cooked fresh for dinner.

Tomorrow we are off to the Summer Palace and then a Peking Duck dinner at a restaurant.  Should be good!    


Angels Among Us

Last night the three families in my travel group thought it might be nice to go out to dinner together.  We decided to try a TGIFridays, since we've all had our fill of Chinese food for a while.  So off we go by taxi to the restaurant, only we needed three taxis to take us all there.  We were only able to get two.  One family and my sister decided they could walk to the restaurant, it was only 3 km away.  Sounded reasonable.  Somehow the directions were not clear and after an hour+ of walking, they headed back to the hotel to wait for us to return.  We took a very long time to get to the restaurant, but had a good meal once there. Coming home however, we weren't able to get a taxi.  Getting a taxi has proved to be challenging here in Beijing.  We considered taking the subway home although that can be quite an adventure when one doesn't know where exactly they need to go and they can't read the map because it's all in Chinese!!!  Eventually a woman walking by stopped to ask if we needed help.  She was a beautiful soul, helping us get to the subway, and eventually when she couldn't help us any further, flagging a young man down who could help us to get home.  Folks, there really are angels among us.  This young man not only took us to the subway, he helped carry the stroller up and down MANY MANY flights of stairs in and out of subway platforms, stayed with us until we got to our hotel.  It took us almost an hour and a half to get home and he stayed with us the whole way.  It's not that we were scared or in danger, we would have made it home by taxi or walking eventually but the kindness this man showed to my family astounded me.  When we got to the hotel, I offered him some money and he refused to take it. Absolutely refused.  Thank God there are beautiful people in the world and I can't wait for the opportunity to pay this kindness forward.  We could all take a lesson from this young man, and when we see an opportunity to help someone, take an opportunity to help someone.  I'm sure he went home last night feeling peaceful with himself knowing he bestowed kindness where it was needed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One Week Later

Grace has been with us for just a week now and the changes I see in her are astounding!!!! Gone is the bewildered little girl I held for the first time at the Civil Affairs office last Monday. In her place is a bubbly, smiling little monkey! These past few days have been amazing, getting to know her personality and watching as Grace learns all sorts of new skills.  I've learned so much about her already. I now know that she loves her food, every bit of it. We haven't found anything she doesn't like! Grace loves the water, and smiles non-stop splashing in the bathtub.  She loves having her hands and face washed with a warm cloth and has no problem using my cheek as a teething ring.  She now climbs and crawls all over me and is starting to pick up toys and use them as toys, shaking and rolling them in her hands and of course throwing them on the ground just so we can pick them up. She's started to crawl and thanks to Grandpa, is learning to pull herself up to a standing position holding onto Grandpa's hands. Thanks Grandpa! I could have used a couple of days of immobility when we got home to unpack!!!! LOL! She no longer pushes me away (at least most of the time) and is beginning to settle into a sleep routine where she will allow me to feed her a bottle and rock her to sleep. These are big things for my little girl and I'm so thankful to God for such an easy transition so far. We may still be in the "honeymoon" period, but I'll take it!!

From this.......

 To this in one week....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back in Beijing

We're back in Beijing now, having left Nanjing yesterday.  Grace survived her first flight well.  She fell asleep shortly after take-off, woke half way through the flight to eat lunch and then played until we landed.  Hopefully things will go that well on the flight back home!!!  She's travelled a lot for such a young girl, two train rides and an airplane all in one week!

Just before you read any further, please know I will NOT be one of those parents who tells you every little detail of my child's daily functions.  If I become one, shoot me in the foot to remind me of this.  Now, read on and hopefully get a chuckle.

This morning we had to go to the get the Visa photos taken.  Grace was kind enough to have a bowel movement just as I finished changing her diaper and putting her into her beautiful red dress for the photo.  So I quickly changed her again and headed down to the lobby, now running slightly late.  We rushed over to the Visa office and as soon as we got through the door, I noticed what has now become a familiar aroma.  Yes, Grace had gone again and from the odour, I could tell it was going to be one for the memory book.  It was!  I quickly held her for the photo and then asked the guide where I could go to change her.  She suggested I wait till we got back to the hotel, then she got a whiff as I brought Grace closer to her and quickly ushered us upstairs to yet another bathroom floor.  Imagine how fun it would be to change a baby on the floor of the subway station bathroom, that's how fun it has been to change a baby on a floor in China.  I swear I would not be one of those mothers that talks about their child's every bowel movement, but here I go.  I promise  I won't do it often!!!  It was a BLOW-OUT.  It was everywhere.  As I tried my darndest for about 5 minutes to clean her up with wipes, I heard a toilet flush.  Apparently I was blocking two women in their stalls!  They had finally ran out of patience and wanted out.  It was probably the smell.  Even I could hardly stand it!  They quickly stepped over Grace and me and got the heck outta there!  I tried really hard not to get anything on her dress but was a little unsuccessful.  I bundled up her panties and tights and shoved them in the backpack and headed back downstairs with a half naked girl to meet the group.  Her tights, I'm afraid will never be the same.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Spent the past several days in Nanjing.  People described Nanjing as a place to see true China and it was.  It was beautiful and smelly and hot and loud and a great experience.  Horns honk constantly.  When walking, you need to look both ways at every moment, since motor bikes, bicycles and cars go everywhere, in every direction and at every speed and carrying everything you can imagine.  We saw every imaginable item you could think of available to eat.  The street vendors have microphones to yell out their foods for sale and they all compete with each other to get your attention.  Everything is lit up with lanterns and LED lights, including the river and streets.  We shopped every day in the pedestrian market, where it was crowded with people selling everything I could think of buying.  Things are so cheap here. To quote Carolyn who was looking at some very pretty jade jewelery for sale.  " I guess for fifteen bucks, it's jade-enough."
Street food vendors

 Rickshaws looking for business

 Lotus plants in the river

 Grace playing peek-a-boo

 Ancient School site

The river lit up at night
 The Pet Market

Shoes anyone??