Monday, July 19, 2010


I have always said I would not dress my girls in matching clothes, rather I would dress them in complimentary patterns and colors. Well, sometimes I just see such cute things I think they both need the outfit. I love her pixie haircut with the headband (which did not stay on very long).
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Evan wanted to go bowling today, so a bowling we went! How is it that the 2 year old even beat me? Sydney loved it! Check out the dress we bought in China for Evan for about $1.50!! Too cute! It was until she got her ravioli all over it.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Catching Up

Tonight we will have been home a week. It has taken me a while to post because Sydney loves the computer, jetlag has been brutal, and I've been trying to get over feeling nasty. Sydney has gained 2 pounds since she was weighed in Guangzhou. She is adjusting well and has a love-hate relationship with Chloe. It is so great to see her opening up. Chandler, my niece, spent some time with us and went skating with Evan and me. We had a great time!
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First Morning in the US

Evan and I slept about 5 hours, but we had to eventually wake Sydney up. Evan couldn't stand just watching her any longer. She wanted to get her sister up and go get Chloe. She missed Chloe so much! Welcome Home!
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Let's Go Home

We got to our house, opened gifts that had been thoughtfully left for the girls, checked out the food friends had prepared for us, and put the girls in bed. How wrong we were to think they would go to sleep now. Sydney slept quite a bit along the way, but Evan had only slept about 6 hours the whole time. We'd all gotten our second wind, though. We finally put the girls in bed in front of a movie and popcorn where they eventually fell asleep around 2 am - right about the time we did.
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This is The Moment I've Been Waiting For

My Family Dressing up for the Occasion
Thanks for Your Support!

I love going to the airport to welcome families home from China. These are the sights that always choke me up! As exhausted as I was, I knew I had to hold back the tears because if they once started, I would be crying for hours! Evan was so excited to introduce her little sister to her family and friends. Sydney did pretty well as far as not shutting down around all of these new people.
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The Long Journey Home

We arrived at the Hong Kong airport early on the 10th for fear of other problems, but everything went smoothly ... until we discovered that Mike only packed 2 diapers in the backpack. Unfortunately, this was only 30 minutes before boarding, so he was on a mission to find diapers. He found the last 10 hidden at the back of a bottom shelf in one of the stores!! I'd been feeling a little off all morning but just chalked it up to nerves. About an hour into our 12 hour flight to San Fran, Montezuma's Revenge kicked in. Since we were split up and our seats were in the middle of a 4 seat row, I would end up disturbing the very nice man next to me at least twice an hour the rest of the flight. I can tell you that prayer really works because by the time we landed, I was feeling so much better and able to face the next stressful leg of our trip.
We were delayed leaving Hong Kong which meant the stars would have to align in our favor in order for us catch our flight to Dallas. I guess this was an important connection for me because it meant we could make it home within just a few hours regardless of cancelled flight or no rental cars. Family could always come pick us up. We approached both the Delta and Immigration staff for help on catching this flight, but no one seemed concerned. Hence, I was one very frustrated mother as we finally made it to the immigration officer who needed to review Sydney's paperwork for citizenship. AAGGHH!! She didn'[t know what to do! Once she found out, she felt the need to train her co-worker BEFORE processing us! We grabbed our luggage and ran to the ticket desk to rebook - we had missed our flight.
We were rebooked through Denver and made our way to that gate - which of course had been changed by the time we made it there. As we were boarding, I stopped a gate agent for a question and found we were actually NOT on this flight. They had redirected us since there was no way to make our connection in Denver. So, we were being sent to Continental where we would fly to Shreveport via Houston. The irony is that Keri (who lives in Houston) was in Shreveport waiting for us, and I was sure we would miss our flight and need to spend the night at his house. As we finally boarded our flight to Shreveport, we were told we couldn't get on the plane because our boarding passes weren't registering. How could we have boarding passes and not be able to board?? After waiting for what seemed an eternity, the problem was fixed and we were on our way home...

We Made It to Hong Kong

What Sydney will look like with hair. YIKES!
The view from our hotel room in Hong Kong. It's a beautiful place!
Room Service

(I wrote this post in the Hong Kong airport, but it disappeared.) We finally made our way to the Guangzhou airport with our guide Susan. We had a 10:30 pm flight, and she had an 8 pm flight back to Beijing. We could not check in until 3 hours before our flight, so we waited for her to check in. After Susan checking in, she just happened to ask if Lawrence - the agency travel agent - booked our tickets for this flight. WHAT?? We soon discovered that we had NO SEATS on this flight or any other to Hong Kong! I've been stressing so much over catching our connecting flight to Dallas out of San Francisco that I never dreamed we'd have another glitch. I started trying to figure out our options if there were no more seats available for this flight. After about 45 very tense minutes and about 50 new gray hairs, we had tickets in our hands! Unlike the US where it would have cost us a mint to buy tickets just a few hours ahead of time, China is highly regulated. It only cost about $630! I sure am glad we took extra cash!!
Well, it came time to check in, and we were all in 4 different lines. All of a sudden they decide to create 1 NEW line. It was so hot, SYdney was crying because she was miserable and exhausted, and Evan was crying because her stomach was hurting so badly. Sydney finally fell asleep in the stroller and didn't wake up until we boarded at 10:30 pm. Evan took a Pepto and eventually felt much better. Our next stops were very hot and humid security and then immigration checkpoints. An hour and a half later, we made it to our gate with 2 Yuan short to buy anything to drink (that would be about 30 cents). We were NOT exchanging anymore money, though.
We landed in Hong Kong around midnight, and by 2 AM we were eating club sandwiches from room service. A 6:30 AM wake-up call, omelets from room service, and a very full hotel shuttle later, we were ready for our 12 1/2 flight back to the US!!
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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Beginning of a Long Journey Home

We are about to leave the hotel in Guangzhou for the airport. We should land in Hong Kong around 11:30pm. We should land in San Francisco around 9 am Saturday. We only have 1 1/2 hours to make it through immigration and customs and board our flight to D/FW. I'm obviously stressed about this. Stay tuned to our blog if you are planning on coming to the airport in Shreveport. I will try my best to post if we are NOT able to make it to Shreveport by 10:15 pm Saturday (on American, BTW). We'll see you on the flip-side!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Consulate Appointment

We just hung out in the room and with our friends the Padgett's for most of the morning. We went to the US consulate in the afternoon to complete Sydney's visa paperwork and take an oath that all the info we completed was true. Afterwards we headed back to Danny's Place for another wonderful Italian dinner. It took us forever to catch a taxi back to the hotel, but Mike finally came through for us. Three adults and four children in one taxi ended up with one of the children (not ours) throwing up. Always an adventure! I guess tomorrow will be spent packing and then heading out to the airport for a late flight to Hong Kong. We are almost home!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shopping Trip to the Pearl Market

The Pearl Market in Guangzhou is a huge 6 or 7 floor mall with nothing but shops on the outside and kiosks in the middle of pearls, turqouise, and many other types of beads. This was Girl's Night Out where I only spent $20. It was fun to see all the pretty jewelry. Big Girl would love this place!

A Few More Safari Pics

Another family took these pics from Safari World yesterday and turned out good. I love Sydney's face in the one with the tiger.

Museum of the Nanyue King

We didn't take many pics today. Sorry! We went to the tomb of the Nanyue king this morning. It is right around the corner from the hotel and was actually found as a result of building the Marriott way back in the 80's (as Evan would say like it was 1780). Look at the explanation of one of the artifacts. What is an uncle?
Mike and I did a little shopping for a carry on and then met the group for dinner. We are hoping this is our last Chinese dinner here. Afterwards, some of us girls went back to the pearl market for a little more shopping. Since I'd already bought enough pearls for one trip, I bought 2 small pairs of pearl earrings for the girls. They were only $10 each, so I will not have to get mad when Evan loses hers.

I forgot... explain one of the pictures in the previous post. Two nights ago we ordered pizza and decided to try to eat together, so we spread out in the hallway. We were there about 10 minutes before security came up and said we'd had a few complaints. So we had to end our party early. The pizzas were delivered with a few unusual items. There were a ton of ketchup packets along with the plastic gloves that the cafeteria ladies wear. I guess that's so your hands don't get greasy?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Safari World

In the middle of a heat wave across China, we decided to go to Safari World today. What a cool place, but it was so hot and humid!! After a while our clothes were so drenched with sweat that it just didn't matter anymore. On the way in, Mike found a huge grasshopper that all the children wanted to hold. Safari World is better than Disney's Animal Kingdom. One section is a zoo, but another section is the Safari Ride. The animals were right there beside you. We saw wildebeasts, camels, tigers, lions, many kinds of deer, rhinos, zebras, and many more animals. During our ride, Mike would tap Sydney and tell her to look at whatever animal he saw. Before too long, Sydney was tapping his arm and saying something that sounded like 'look'. She continued to do that the rest of the day. We got to hold a baby white tiger and pose for a picture. (When you look at that one, remember how hot and humid I said it was!) The girls got to feed the black swans, but Sydney kept eating her bread she was supposed to feed to them. We've had such a fun, full day, but I am so ready for a free day tomorrow. Until then!