Saturday, January 27, 2007

Home sweet home! is near 4am Saturday morning and we have been home sweet home for hours...guess who is still awake! I've unpacked just about everything and am obsessively listening to the baby monitor...yes, she is still breathing!
The flight home went very well because there was a free seat next to ours so Ellie slept there for about eight of the twelve hours we were in flight...Mom got a lot of sleep too which is why she is awake and blogging at 4am!
This whole experience has been amazing. I feel so incredibly blessed that I feel like shouting to the world. It has been some time since I was reminded of how lucky we are to live in the United States. Our freedoms and our bounty are so often taken for granted. I was incredibly happy to come home to Arizona and begin our life with Ellie, always respecting the country that gave her to us, but unbelievably happy to live here in the good ol USA...(Canada is pretty cool too for all you Lougheads!)
I know I've said it before, but the love and support we received from our you all continues to astound're the best group of friends and families a couple of Zonies could ask for! love, Cassie & Shaun

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Red Couch...finally!

This red couch is famous here at the White swan because for years families have taken photos of the children and their families to commemorate their adoption...not sure how the tradition started, but you know what they say about tradition...don't mess with it. So, here are the three children from Gansu Province. From the left: Lola, Ellie & Sam. Ellie and Sam are the exact same age and from the same orphanage in Huining. Sam's Chinese name is Hui Ning and Ellie's is Hui Ping...I love the picture below here, it looks like they are having a long conversation about their new parents!

We went and swore an honesty oath before the US consulate today and when our passports are stamped in LA Ellie will be an official citizen of the USA! She is celebrating by playing and jabbering on the floor in the hotel room! We went out with Kelly and Ellen (otherwise known as Sam's parents!) after the consulate appointment and had burgers at a restaurant called Lucy's...reminded me of home...

We are so excited to start our journey home tomorrow..It is unbelievable that it is nearly over. What a fantastic experience...and what a wonderful blessing our little Ellie is. All things are perfect in His time...Don't know if we will get another post in before we head home...we have loved sharing these amazing moments in our lives with all of you. love, Cassie& Shaun

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

By the Pearl River

Well...we are having fun exploring the area...

Today we walked along the Pearl River and enjoyed the sights and sounds...It is not very warm here, but it isn't too bad with a coat. Ellie wore the hat Aunt Robin gave her today and made quite a fashion statement...I think pink bears everywhere were pleased.

Ellie is crawling a little now which is a treat to watch...she's pretty slow so we can keep up...give her a week and we'll be chasing her about!

We sure are looking forward to coming, C & S

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ellie reads...well she plays with books!

She's come a long way...when I first showed her the book she just would close it can keep her entertained for at least five minutes or so!

It is hard to believe we have just had her a little over one week. She has changed so much it is incredible!

Out and About in Guangzhou

We took to the streets least for a little while. The weather has cleared up considerably and we are thankful for that...

Ellie is sitting on the floor making the most hysterical gutteral sounds like she swallowed a small monster!

Shaun and I watched a little Football while she took her morning nap...felt like being at home minus the potato skins!

I tried taking some artistic shots while Shaun carried Ellie...the ally one was pretty good I thought...he took this bridge picture...much better than my attempts!

More, C

What a Sweetie!

What can I say...She has completely stolen our hearts...We stayed in most of today because the wind picked up with the rain and it was a bit chilly, but tonight it calmed down and we went out with the two other couples to Thai food. The curry was great...the place was very kid friendly and was packed with other adopting families. So many adorable babies and happy parents. It is wonderful to witness.
Ellie made it through the day with no fever...just a 24 hour thing thank goodness. We're all caught up on sleep and feeling good. We are starting to miss home. We can't wait to see Ellie in her room and see Kata's reaction to her (I doubt he'll be jealous...Ha ha) but we are content to take advantage of this very special time with our little girl...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Life in Guangzhou

We are so happy to be in Guangzhou. Even though it rained part of today, it was still warm enough to walk around a little bit and enjoy the beautiful area around our hotel...Shaun says it reminds him of what he imagines Savannah Georgia to be...not that either of us have been there!

Ellie had a fever last night, so we were put to the test with dealing with a little sickie...She is much better today...taking a lot of naps in between charming the socks off of her parents.

The medical exam and consulate paperwork went well today and now we just have to hang tight until our consulate appointment on Thursday.

These pics were taken very near our hotel. It is so nice here...there is a man from New York who has a restaurant with pizza that delivers to the hotel...I know we should be eating Chinese food, but right now, a slice of pie sounds to good to pass up!

I see on CNN that the Southwest is gearing up for another storm! Keep warm you guys! Miss you. C

Friday, January 19, 2007

We Made It To Guangzhou!

One flight down and two more to go! We made it to the airport and through the near three hour flight from Lanzhou to Guangzhou today...Ellie did wonderful until the airplane started to descend and then there was screaming and tears...and two new parents trying to do anything to make her feel better! She made it...and was chuckling in no time thanks to the chinese gentleman behind us making funny faces at her...

The White Swan hotel is a hot spot for adopting parents. It is on Shaiman Island on the Pearl river. The hotel is very nice...nicer than the last spot...We are feeling pretty posh. Our view is mostly city view...Ten million people live here, so you can imagine...a big city.

Tomorrow we have a medical appointment. A formality in the adoption process; then we are planning on walking along the river and doing some shopping. The weather is much nicer here...mid 70s and we are ready to get Ellie out and about.

Didn't have time for too many pics, but here are a few I just took...more later.

We love reading the posts...makes us so happy to have so many wonderful people in our lives. Love you all...until next time...C & S

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ellie's first bath (With Mom & Dad!)

Ok...first had to happen you can see...she was very unhappy with Mom and was the quickest bath ever! She has recovered and she smells sweet.

Thursday...leaving Lanzhou tomorrow!

Here are some pics from our city tour yesterday...We thought we would be going on a bus and getting out to take pictures...ended up that we were taking a bus to walk around various places...pretty chilly!! Note the Panda...the Panda had a nice habitat with rocks and trees...must be nice being tops! Not so for the Bengal tiger...he just had a cage with a concrete floor...
Ellie handled the cold a little better than Mom and Dad...but I got worried and put my scarf around her...made a cute picture too!

What a Day!

Ellie's floor time has become so much fun to watch...when she doesn't see us she works hard and squirming on her hands and knees to get to things, but the minute she sees us she cries for help.

The Pic on the left is of Ellie sleeping hard after our tour of the city...It was so cold and she fell asleep in her little suit as I walked around with her. It was sweet.


Here is Ellie at Breakfast looking out the window at the cars on the street...I was holding her up but she is getting pretty strong legs!
To the right is a bowl of Lanzhou Noodles...a specialty here. They eat it for breakfast and Shaun and I are loving it. The chef actually makes the noodles at the cooking station. He swirls the dough through the air...pretty amazing.


Last night at dinner...Ellie ate absolutely everything...even some spicy stuff...which might be why we were up a bit in the night!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Life with Ellie

We went out for a bit today on our own with Ellie...Lots of stares. When someone came up to us we showed them a card that explained that we came from America to Adopt Ellie. Many people thanked us and played with the baby.
Ellie is doing great...she just had her first stinky diaper with us! I know you all were dying to know! Shaun did most of the changing and I assisted...and yes, it was clean poo!

We made it through night number two!

Here we are becoming official...Our thumbprints and Ellie's little footprint...By the way, her feet are tiny! I thought they looked big in the referral pictures and couldn't decide what size...OK, I still don't know what size...but tiny!

Good morning all...Though I think it is night there. We attempted to put Ellie to bed early last night (Usual bedtime it 1030pm...which is way late for us). She did go down but woke up a few times...Shaun & I changed her and then he rocked her back to sleep. Tomorrow night is my night as we are still fighting the sleepy jet lag monster!

Shaun has completely charmed the socks off of our little girl. She thinks I'm swell, but she cracks that huge smile whenever he comes into sight. I guess I have some catching up to do! I have a little video of Ellie that I'm trying to post here, but It only loads halfway...if anyone knows how to do me. Until then, here are more pics!

Place Your Bets on the Number Two

Daddy's Turn: OK...It's been nearly 24 hours and she hasn't pooped yet. Despite our efforts to motivate her delicate system, the best she can do is make noise. Poop pool anyone? Everyone pick a day and time. We'll let you know when the big event arrives. If you are within 10 minutes (which is likely...I know lots of people are tuning in), proclaim yourself the winner, leave us your home address, and we'll FedEx you the dirty duds!

And if your just now finding our blog, you should check out the previous four posts...Cassie has done a great job giving an actual account of what we've been doing. I on the other hand seemed to be obsessed with her system.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

On our way to becoming "Official"

We got no complaints about not bundling up Ellie enough for our outing to the government offices for her official adoption....Everyone just smiled at the pink puff going by...and who wouldn't smile at all of that adorableness?
Above is a picture of the officials and the other two families with us at the government building after the adoptions were complete.

Pictures of Ellie Hui Ping

This is when Ellie finally decided it was ok to sit and play...Shaun was making her crack up with his antics...I always knew his dance moves would come in handy!

Hey Robin....she loves the blocks!

Here are more pics!

For those of you just waking up...the post below has all the ramblings...we got our pics straightened out so I'm just going to put up pictures...Also...our email is on the fritz...not sure why, so we haven't been able to check them today...if you have them here!

Yippee! Love you the way...the reason I have time for this is because Ellie is sleeping...again! Three naps a day...astounding.
This was right after they brought Ellie off of the elevator...she was so bundled up!

Yes sir...that's my baby!

Can you believe it?! We are finally parents....for going on sixteen hours! Let me tell you we are the luckiest people in the world...Our little Ellie is absolutely positively more than we had ever imagined. I have a zillion more pics, but Shaun forgot a cord so we had to switch to the old camera for blog purposes...I promise, more are coming! These pictures were taken after we officially became Ellie's parents. 1/15/07's the breakdown...
Shaun and I spent thirty six hours in very close proximity to one another ...traveling in a foreign land...where surprisingly few people in the airports spoke English...and came out of it still loving eachother...what a team. I laugh though because at one point Shaun looked at me and said...It's definate, we could never do the Amazing Race...I agreed.
When we arrived in Lanzhou at 6pm Sunday night, we were greeted at the airport by Steed and he took us to the hotel..about 75 km. When we got here it was 8pm and the babies were given to us in the lobby at 9pm. What an experience! All of this waiting came down to this moment. Shaun started saying, "I'm going to be sick." and I just fluttered about looking for bottles..picking things up and setting them back down. Let me tell you it was quite a scene!
Anyway, the babies...the reason it is plural is that the Shafers son is also coming from Ellie's orphanage and they brought him too....In our babies came with their entourage from the orphanage. The director, asst. director and a local policeman and friend who transported them to us. I couldn't believe my eyes...she was breathtaking...when I picked her up I realized that she was half as big as she looked...four layer of clothes on her! She had on her little red hat and a red dot on her forehead...we just held her and let her stare at us...I see from the video that all I did was say, "I'm your Mommie!" and act like a blithering idiot...but hey.. OH, and then she finally showed us that smile! It is so cute...she has two bottom teeth and she likes showing them off by smiling...she also squinches up her nose and eyes sometimes when she is smiling...reminds me of my nephew Johnathan.
I realize this is terribly rambly, but I'm doing it while she is down for a nap so I am rushing.
As I said in the e mail, she didn't want to be put down at all last night, until I finally put her in the crib and she zonked out. (We had to lay down on the bed next to it where she could see us though.) She slept all through the night...even though Shaun and I couldn't...By her third diaper change. (Which Daddy did all by himself) she didn't cry anymore. This morning I put her on my bed with a few toys and she sat straight up and played while I sat with her...she was very aware of where Shaun was though...I must say, Ellie sure likes her Daddy...And he's over the moon for her...I feel great when he's holding her and she does the lean toward Mommie! We are so happy..happy...I wish I could think of some fabulous metaphors for how happy we are, but all my literary abilities have left me...I will ramble on.
This morning after breakfast we went to officially adopt Ellie. We were interviewed by government officials...Ellie was just charming all of them. They seemed very happy that I pronounced Hui Ping properly. The director of the orphanage was there with the officials and they were all very kind. When the interview was over, we put her foot into red ink and stamped the official adoption papers. Shaun and I had to put our thumbs in the ink as well and put our thumbprint over all of our signatures. It was very emotional for Shaun and I...Ellie just played with her feet!
I'll keep the blogs coming now that our computer is hooked up to the internet....Many more pics to come...this is just the start

Monday, January 08, 2007

Packing...and grinning. the packing is in full force. The update is this...all of Ellie's things fit in two suitcases....40lbs each...and mostly Pink. Shaun and I have two carry ons...I'm thinking that there needs to be an adjustment...Or maybe we can wear the same clothes over and over...

We did the math and now realize that with three is looking like 36 hours of travel time...never fear dear love ones...we've packed Snickers and Pringles! When we arrive at the hotel to see our dear daughter for the first time we may smell, but we won't be hungry! Again...the prayers are needed! Love you all. C&S

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Let the packing begin!

We finally got the call this week....we are heading to China a week from tomorrow! We can hardly believe it is finally happening! I am now realizing that packing for Shaun and I to travel is one thing...but the baby stuff is a tad confusing for those of us rookies! So many people have given great advice so I think we are doing pretty well...The house looks like three bombs went off in it (which I'm told is how it will look all of the time when the children we'll get used to it!)
We found out that once our 24 hour travel marathon is over, our little girl will be waiting to meet us at the heart races a bit just imagining that moment...The China Director at our agency says just jump in and start swimming...I guess that's what we are about to do and we can't stop smiling.

Shaun and I celebrate our 11th anniversary this weekend, and though it seems like small potatoes compared to the other happenings in our lives, we are going to pause and go to our last dinner and a movie without getting a babysitter...We are taking movie suggestions...please give a star rating...or bag of popcorn all you guys. C