Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guangzhou Marriott

Ok first let me apologize for the pictures but really I just forgot until we were walking out the door.

We had a suite and a regular room across the hall. Now we love the Marriott and if I had had a choice on the number of rooms we could have done all of us in the suite but it did give some room to send children tired of being together in separate rooms (trying to look for a bright side!)

I'll start by saying we arrived at the hotel about 10 pm. I had called earlier in the morning knowing it was a late checking telling them we wanted to use out Marriott points to upgrade. Everyone seemed to speak perfect English and I got a confirmation this was ok. Now leet me tell you we started this journey with an American express card for points but then switched to a Marriott points card this summer once we realized our agency didn't take Amex. I had enough points to pay for he upgrade and probably some nights if they hadn't figured out our itinerary on fri night before we left weds morning. I guess I just didnt have that fight in me.

Anyhow got to the hotel at 10 pm and no they haven't upgraded told us we already paid they can't upgrade us, I was ticked, our new guide thinks I am partially a freak, so we go look at the adjoining rooms. Yeah no way in h@ll can you get two cribs in that room without taking out the desk - which is attached to the wall. So I don't let anyone enter and ask for the manager. I know I have over 100000 Marriott points and when the heck will I is them with 3 kids 5 and under. I ask her where she suggests I put two cribs and this is unacceptable and I called this morning. By now our guide thinks I am a freak and my husband thinks she is going to never talk to us. After some time we get our suite with a room across the hall.

People the difference is HUGE!! Well worth the upgrade and did I mention I am elcheapo on hotel rooms!

BEDS are awesome by china standards. I don't think I could have lasted on another concrete bed. They aren't the usual Marriott soft but the comforter and pillows are.

The suite has a door to the bathroom as the showers and everything are glass.

The 4th floor has a little playroom and then a huge outside area with swingset for the kids to play on it made for a perfect quick one parent adventure.

Breakfast is awesome! We all found items we lived and the pastry chef was awesome. Of course we all loved the French toast and the littles liked the noodles the man made when you first enter. Oh and the bacon yum!! They also have lots of highchairs - stitch says sorry for the plates Marriott.

Pool is also on the 4 th floor but neurotic daddy was so worried someone would get sick - heehee that'll teach him!

There is a street mall on the lobby floor which has a grocery ( didn't use) and Starbucks (fabulous!). If you continue down this little mall and out the doors there is a 7-11 where we got beverages everyday!

We also toured the block ( a big one) and if you continue down the street past the 7-11 you will get to Lola's bakery (you will see a sign across the street for creative hair). It is awesome and we fed the kids several times with the hotdog pastries and the ham and cheese croissants. But ask what's in it because one gorgeous one had fish - so glad I asked! We walked down the street after Lola's and went to the little market for the big bag of sweet rice cookies the kids like and the red milk with the baby on the front Cav came to us drinking.

All the way down the street before you head back towards the Marriott is a tea. House. It was wonderful and they were so kind. We kept emptying the cup and they kept filling (I think I already wrote this post Lol)

Everyone knows the Marriott only as the china hotel. Although it wasn't on the island if you crave soft beds it is worth that alone as I don't think I could have done another week.

ok I think the pictures are going to load
1. Awesome map we found in subway of things around you
2. Play area
3. Suite
4 & 5 regular room
6. Lobby
7. Suite
8. Playground
9 &10 suite
11 bakery sign and street

Sorry they ate so out of order, I'm on my iPad and have to use the blogger app which doesn't do pictures in order

Christmas day

I think I forgot to mention we were blessed with a white Christmas here - almost a foot of pure white snow at our house when we got home. It was all done, the roads were clear and someone had snowplowed our long driveway!

One of the deals with my old slightly Scroogie husbands was that if we were spending most of December in chine he wasn't decorating. Fine, so I went and bought two little trees I had been wanting and some decorations specific for them in the future and decorated a small area in the living room. This was the perfect solution since we figured a live tree would be dead once we got home anyhow. Of course I missed the after Christmas sale for an artificial tree so I guess next year we get another real tree much to my husbands delight - truly!

We felt well enough to wrap the few presents and Some clothes I had bought previously for the kids. I even went as low as wrapping new undies for them - something my husband made me promise never to do since this was all he ever got for Christmas (hmmm might explain the Scroogie disposition but I'm still working on it!). Besides we left a trail of old undies and clothes in china and promised new ones when they got home;0)

The kids loved opening the presents and stitch was awesome at cleaning up - another positive orphanage behavior we like - see they aren't all bad!

****Note- he is 3 1/2 years old and we bought him a remote control car for 3+ years. He had no idea what to do with it. Between illnesses I did get to the store and got him a vtech book for 6-36 months and a car set for 18+ months which was much better. ***

FeiFei got a doll with carriage and bed set which was perfect for her. So sweet to see her love on and nurture the little baby!

I was a little nervous as the family all planned to meet at our house since it is large enough and central. My mom and brother planned and prepared everything. Did I mention that I was sick and went to bed after presents until about 3.

The littles actually did great but I have come to find I already have mommy thought over cav's legs. Yes he very interesting but he is not a science experiment you just come and rip his socks off to look at ( my FIL). He is first and foremost a scared little boy.

It was interesting to see how the effects of daycare (I worked nights for years and not a big daycare proponent- I know a few are good but the majority are not sorry for the soapbox) and orphanage played out over the evening. Let me tell you the daycare won out after I found Cav being strangled by his cousin who he outweighed. It is sad to see the submissiveness he has at times.

We will give him back his confidence I just know slowly but surely. It's definately Like having a new piece of clay to shape just a little until our beautiful boy is one of us.

It is so interesting getting two - one from foster care for 3 years and one from and orphanage to see the differences. FeiFei acts like she has been with us for years, Cav can be down right frustrating to the most patient but he is also the most rewarding.

When we started this process almost a year ago all I prayed for is for our sweet FeiFei to be home for Christmas!

Christmas eve

Feeling a bit better and figured I could use the "bed rest" ( can I not have a child and not barf!) time updating some posts. I'll do Christmas and hopefully the end of our trip.

We got home late on the 23 rd but thank goodness I spent the extra money getting the nojetlag tablets from REI they are kind of expensive but worth ever penny. We had two boxes for 5 over and 7 back while being conservative on the amount given at times. To be completely accurate I think we would have needed 2 1/2 boxes but by the time I found them the night before we left I couldn't do that ,uh math anymore

They can be found here for your closest location nojetlag tablets

We used them. Oth ways and then the melatonin the whole time we were there. I am not sure if it was overkill or not but it worked for us and the kids. If I had not gotten sick we would not have had any issues at all.

We had original contemplated staying in hong kong through the holidays since our whole family was with us but at the last minute decided that home was still better. With my pre-leaving organization I had outfits for everyone for Christmas eve just encase we could make it. Ther is just nothing like Christmas eve candlelight service. We were worried how the little stones would do, but the did great. We sat in the way back encase we needed a quick escape. FeiFei was entranced by our dear pastor. Since we were in the back she could stand on the chair or look down the aisle. We even let behave a candle which oh I wish I had my camera it was true glory. We talked with a few people and saw a noticeable change in FeiFei's personality when someone picked her up so we are at the no one holds the kids but our immediate family stage. It was the first night she had a hard time sleeping through the night which I think she equates a stranger holding her with taking her away. So heartbreaking.

When we got home we opened up our chistmas pj's and little man was beyond thrilled. He had seen the elf slippers a month before but I tole him I hadn't bought them and they were sold out. I know there is something wrong with dressing two dwarfs as elves but I say if you've got it then fluent it! Besides he was so excited to open his gift. We had celebrated on the 6th before we left and told the kids that there would be one present each plus pj's.

Oh and the picture where Cav has his mouth wide open he just saw the "evil human eating cat" run by!!

Walking pneumonia & GI

I have either been in bed or at the hospital since christmas. So not what we needed right now but atleast today I am not as delirious as the past few. Atleast it isn't the Asian Flu which I feared at one point. That would have been good. My dear husband had to take off even more time from work and thankfully my mom is also here to help. Both now look like tired housewives.

We haven't let the kids in really to see me for fear they would catch the GI bug - so not sure how badly this is affecting the process. Little man is a momma's boy so he is having a rough time but if his 27 lb self got this sick it would do him in. Hopefully with a second antibiotic on top of the Zithromax I will be feeling better today.

Prayers all around please, I planned for everything but this.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I am so thrilled to be home!
I loved parts of china, I could even imagine living there for a time, but 7 people all living in hotel rooms, no kitchen, and constant appointments can wear on anyone!
We left hong kong at 8 am on the 23rd which was 8 pm on the 22nd Detroit time, and arrived home in Colorado springs at almost exactly 8 pm MST on the 23rd. Fom what my math challenged brain can figure out this was almost 36 hours of travel give or take a few. The flight from hong kong really went well, no screaming, crying just lots of trips to the bathroom but that was fine as we needed to stretch our legs. Thank God for seat tv's that even our new little ones watched. We couldn't find any in Chinese but seemed ok. They also are already iPad and leappad pros which helped.
They did great on the 2 hour car ride home. We had bought some of the pleasant goat movies in Guangzhou so we put those in the DVD player before putting them in their carseats. They did great. I also think that having them use the 5 point harness in the stroller since day one helped.
We were exhausted but thrilled to be home.
This morning started with me having bronchitis and sinus infection, cavanaugh barfing twice, princess I think has pink eye and little mans finger is infected where had been complaining of a splinter. Our new rice maker that someone bought for us is defective and just about all that could have gone wrong did while we are gone. However by noon I made my first batch of congee which Cav actually ate, and figured out that they both like ramen noodles oriental flavor!! For some reason this just made me laugh. The kids are playing and we actually found an old matchbox set which Cav is in love with.
I could have sat down and cried this morning but I felt so blessed, when I was looking for clothes that might fit Cav I I accidently opened up the wrong box for the rice cooker and found clothes for both kids, the Chinese rice a friend had brought by could also be made by stove, and of course RQ had congee recipes. I had tobramycin on hand for the trip to china for the pink eye. Friends came over with prepared food for tonight and helped shovel ( figured out the snow blower) before we got home. Due to the holidays Target was open late so that Chris could run out for a high hair and playpen for Cav to sleep in. I do have to laugh that we are such firsttimers at this adoption thing. We prepared for an almost 4 year old not factoring in his delays at all. I am not one to ask for help but through this last part of the process relying those around me has been at the for front.
Although Cav will take some time, as he is freaked by all the animals AND stuffed animals, he is also a constant reminder how much we take for granted, even the small things in our life. And on the dawn of Christmas is this not one of His most important lessons we should learn.
Merry Christmas from our little bit larger family, and our much larger hearts!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hong kong

Yeah we have started our trip home! We spent the day at the park across the street from the Marriott - think central park - it was beautiful. Then we took the CTSbus which picks up right at the Marriott, to Hong Kong. We were able to get tickets directly to the airport and since our hotel (regal) is connected it was by far the cheapest and dare I say the easiest way to go. We are one to many to just rent a van and if we took the train we were worried about being split up in two taxis for the $50 ride to the hotel. Luckily, no one had to use the bathroom during the 4 hours total door to door. We rode a greyhound type bus from he Marriott to the china border and then transferred to a minivan for the rest of the way. You can drive FAST in hong kong. The hotel doesn't really have many options for kids food so we ended up with room service at 10 pm but at least hey should be ready for a nap during the trip tomorrow. At least adult beverages are free on international flights. Actually Cav did great on the bus. He did start crying at one point but we think he was just tired and didn't know where he was. Poor little man I sure wish I knew more mandarin to comfort him during these times.

Poor FeiFei we are wondering if she has a food allergy, second time we gave her a pasta that she almost immediately threw up. Ugh I have no idea on this - I haven't heard of food allergies in the adopted children from china and since we received minimal information about her. I guess I will try to email the foster mom when we get home and try and ask her. I have to say that sweet girl has fit so well into our family. I am sure she is scared to death with all of the changes around her but she is a trooper for the most part. I am really glad that the big kids are home from school until the 5th so they can continue to be a constant with her.

Our plane leaves tomorrow morning at 10:45 bound for Detroit and then to Denver. Please pray that all goes well for all the kids. Little man is having some issues going from very much the baby to the oldest of the littles. He adores the new kids - especially FeiFei but also is having many issues which makes traveling that much harder. Oh I can't wait to be home!

We figured out that we could add the ergo to the back of the double stroller to help hold little man and give him a "seat". Works great, we get a ton more stares and I am thrilled he is only 27 lbs!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Red couch photos & US Consulate

We began the day with our 8:30 appt with the US Consulates office to take our oath and finish our paperwork. Some unnamed child was beyond a grouch - we had to go before breakfast I think and routine seems to be better for him.

After the consulate & breakfast! we went back to Shamain Island to finish some shopping - Squeaky shoes! FeiFei definately has the wide feet common with dwarfism. Striderite shoes are typical the only option, but the cheap leather squeaky shoes fit perfect so we bought enough for hopefully the next year or so!

We also had to stop and get the customary red coach pictures. The white swan is amazing!!

We also made it to the herbal & pet market. We saw lots of fun things and of course princess girl begged daddy for each animal!!

After dropping the kids off at the hotel for some down time we walked past the 7-11 and along the large city block looking for a grocery store. We found a wonderful bakery that made pastry wrapped hotdogs which the kids loved. A little further we found a small grocery type store which had treats for our long trip home. Lastly, we ventured into a tea shop and tried both green and jasmine tea. We bought both teas, a couple little cups and a few pots. It truly was a wonderful experience but I think that you aren't supposed to leave an empty cup as they kept refilling! The jasmine you count out 25 little flowers and the green tea is 5 mg I think or a small scoop.

I think we have everything packed including all of the squeaky shoes. Praying Cav handles the flight home!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guangzhou metro & safari

What a fun day we had! We rode the metro from the Marriott hotel all the way to the safari park. It was easy ( I have explicit directions below) fast and best of all only cost 48 yuan total round trip for all 7 of us ( 3 little kids were free). This basically made going to the safari park economical enough we could go versus 2 taxis or renting a van for the day. Besides no traffic, it was awesome!

The safari park is incredible. Probably one of the best things we have done as a family. It was a cross between Disney Animal kingdom and Jurassic park - ok no dinosaurs but at times I felt
Like we were in the movie!

A note for parents who haven't adopted before. Cavanaugh FREAKED. He freaked at the plants, the animals everything. Remember he came from
A porter orphanage so I think his experiences in the world were null. We were totally no prepared for this - I mean who freaks out over plants? We finally gave home a crispy cookie thing and put a sweatshirt over his head. I sure wished we had thought to bring a blanket but this was the best we could do.

I am so proud of him. He totally turned it around. We tried to get him touch the plants, understand that nothing would hurt him but he wanted nothing to do with us or his environment. After a bit we noticed he was playing in the stroller with FeiFei - looking at the map. He then started noticing his environment and by the safari part he was actually interacting. Best of all he was interacting
With us and actually laughing. For all we know he was saying we were morons but at least we finally felt like the little boy we came for was reaching out to us! Fascinating to watch and heartbreaking at the same time, a child 3 1/2 years old not having the slightest experience with the world we know.

Anyhow, this was definately a bucket list day! Consulate early tomorrow morning as our trip begins to wind down!

Specific metro directions to the chimelong safari park, Guangzhou

This is a copy of the current map of the subway system. Marriott hotel is off the light (bright) blue line, your first transfer is where this line meets the darker blue line, and the last transfer is onto the orange line 3 stops from the end (not sure why it is all one word on this map)
The metro station is right outside the Starbucks located in the food street wing of the Marriott hotel. This is the line 2 and you are at Yuexiu Park.

You will see machines as you enter the main lobby type area that look like ATMs. They are the 'ticket' machines these are actually touch screen and the metro charges different prices for how far your trip is. Touch the "Hanxi Changdong" circle off of line 3. It will enlarge so you can be sure to click on the right spot. Then for # of tickets there are squares for up to 6 tickets I believe. Make sure you have 5's & 10's with you!! Insert the money and little round coins and your change are dispensed.
When you go through the turnstile you will wave the coin over the sensor. Make sure you keep the coin for the end of your trip!

1. You want to take the train heading toward sun yat-sen (right side of the track) if I remember correctly. Each time you get on a new train you will want to look closely at what the next station is after the one you are at. This will tell you which one of the two trains to get on. It is not hard and is very well marked but make sure you have a map with you.

2. At Changgang (they will also say connection to line 8) you will get off and follow the signs for line 8 trains (or follow the crowd.

3. At Kecun you will get off again and transfer to line 3 ( just like step 2)

4. At Hanxi Changlong you will get off and follow the exit signs for "E". You will begin to see the wall pictures change to safari park ones. As you emerge go towards the information signs. You will see the big blue buses to you right of the information kiosk or the bus shelter. Don't go with anyone outside the building they are not with the park. The bus will take you right to the front gate

Going home is the same but once you return to the Yuexiu Park station you want to head toward the D exits. Both D1 & D2 get you outside next to the Marriott. The one with stairs is next to the Starbucks, and the one with the escalator is closer to the front door.

We traveled with 3 small children, 2 older kids and my husband and I. Not a single time did I get on the subway did someone not give up their seat so I could sit with the little ones. I did carry one (non walking) child in a carrier, and the other two by hand. We carried a folded up double stroller until we got to our destination.