Journey To MaryAlice

Join me as I journey to China to find my daughter, Mary Alice.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All's Well...

Would that be weird if instead of a pacifier, my daughter uses a Playtex nipple???

Things have been a little quiet around here(except for diaper changes). MaryAlice was a little under the weather last week, but all is well now. It is certainly scary for mom, but that just goes with the territory, I guess.

I don't have much to blog tonight, so will let you enjoy the photos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Mayhem Around Here!

This is my kitchen every afternoon....I love it! Who knew a canister of Cheerios could be so fascinating? And as far as the "make-do" squatty potty...well, I'm not sure if this photo will alter anyone's decision to eat at my house again.

I've posted some different pics of MaryAlice eating and the mess she makes. I gave up on trying to keep things neat and just let her go at it. At least some food products do make it in her mouth, sometimes in her nose, but mostly her mouth. We're expanding our food horizons and have added brocolli, tortallini, and pudding to her menu. She's not too hip on deli meats, or meat for that matter. She seems to be getting a well balanced diet as is evident by the photos...there's a green food, a yellow food and a pink food. This on top of the main staple...Cheerios, which are actually a pretty good source of nutrients. She's doing better with her sippy cup as long as its has water and apple juice. She's not too sure about milk in the sippy, but we're working on it.

The photo of the toy firetruck is purely for documentation purposes. It is possessed. I brought it out of the shed to wash up and out of the blue it starts with its bells and whistles and getting caught in circuit malfunction causing it to repeat, "Have no fear..fear...fear...fear"...which freaks me out. There's no ON/OFF button and there's not access to the battery. I gave up and put it out by the's still there. That's pretty bad. I once put an old lawn mower and edger out for trash pick-up. Some guy picked it up 15 minutes later. I think the firetruck may have some bad karma

I've also posted a picture of Smelley the Cat and her only mommy time she gets these days. Not that she's a needy cat, but she stays in my room all day and eats only at night when the coast is clear. Poor thing is stressed out. Her food bowl and water glass are empty every morning, so I think she's become an emotional eater.

MaryAlice tried some free demo classes at My Little Gym and Gymboree. She pretty much just practiced her walking and clung to mommy, and that's all good stuff. She's walking with one hand held, so it should be soon. We've had visits from friends and even went to a pool party on Sunday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bye-Bye Mr. Jet Lag!!!

As I'm writing this post, MaryAlice is still asleep at 7:15am and slept through the night. I can hear her stirring on the monitor, so things can change quickly here. So all you moms out there, "Don't hate me because my baby sleeps!" LOL! Knocking on wood as I type this!

I've posted a bunch of pictures from our busy days. We had our first playdate on Friday. MaryAlice's playdate was not too interested in the swing or spinchair...but what 6 week old is?? Besides, he was probably wishing he was playing golf with daddy. It was fun to get out and visit with friends. Also, check out the park facilities at Lake Eola...very nice...we'll be back.

I opened up the Corelle Kalin Yang doll to see what MA would do with her. I showed her how to kiss the baby, rock the baby, feed the baby. She watched, but then showed me how to walk over the baby to get to the puzzle of construction trucks (it was tastier!). She loves her wooden spoons. She love to bite them, bang with them, drop them.

I set up the water play table on the patio and she loved it. It is the perfect height for her to hold onto and she loves splashing the water...that is until she discovered the mulch. She is determined to see what mulch tastes like! I'm tempted to let her get one lick and discover it's not so good and squelshed the fascination once and for all. My luck, she'll love it. She is a Guangdong baby and they'll eat anything!!

Speaking of eating, we're starting the transition to whole milk and trying to work on drinking out of a cup during the day. I'll still give her a nightly bottle for awhile and before a nap. She'll take a sip or two and then be done, so we're working on that. Everything I've read says when toddlers get thirsty enough, they'll drink. She's going to have to be on a cup for daycare, so I can't delay the transition. I really need her to get the good nutrition (fats) from whole milk, so I'm probably being a little OCD on the sippy cup. This too shall pass.

She had half her labs drawn on Thursday and while she screamed bloody murder, they got it on the first attempt and she recovered in 2 minutes. We go next week for the rest.

Well, she's waking up and probably ready for her scrambled eggs, so I'll end now and get this posted published. I know you really want to just see the photos anyway.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We survived the doctor!

I love this photo of MaryAlice sucking her thumb and holding her blanket after her first pediatrician visit. She was done with the whole event when the nurse went to measure her head and then the doctor checked her ears, eyes and mouth. The good news is that according to her doctor, I "hit the jackpot with such a healthy baby from China". She's right on target developmentally and has a healthy dose of feisty that the doctor said she likes to see. "You know where you stand with her"! She stood up on her own, took some steps with assistance, transfered objects between hands, reached for mom for comfort, blew raspberries, and then proceeded to yell at the doctor regarding her dislike of the whole affair. She liked that she was bright eyed and curious about everything.

She got four vaccinations and a PPD test that the doctor will read on Saturday. She's given the go ahead to move on to milk now and gave me some direction on amounts and how often to feed her solid food.

You'll notice in one of the photos that there is a training potty seat in her room (thank Cheryl). I figure it's never too soon to start the subliminal messages!! She did have split pants in China and is quite the drama queen when it comes down to business.

She liked her congee and is actually doing quite well with her eating. She had a little meltdown at dinner tonight (I'm guessing its due to the vaccinations), so I gave her some Tylenol, a bottle and she fell asleep. Tomorrow morning we go for the big blood draw! My good friend, Susan set me up with a woman at Quest who is supposedly "the one" for baby blood draws, so fingers crossed they'll be able to get everything in one stick. We have a fairly extensive list of labs to run.

That's it for now. I'm pooped!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Need Food Ideas

Scrambled eggs (may need to start her on Lipitor)
Weight Watchers Oatmeal
Spaghetti noodles
apple sauce
peach yogurt
thai noodles

Gerber Graduates vegetable beef stew

mandarin oranges
cheddar cheese
Strawberry flavored puffs

I cooked up my own version of congee tonight using chicken broth, white rice, tiny bits of chicken and peas. I'll see tomorrow how that goes. Any other ideas on what I should have on hand? Also, I've started giving her a little plastic spoon to play/practice with while I'm also feeding her. Is she too young? I need to review my book again on what developmental skills a 12 month should have and what I need to do to teach her. Should she just be learning to pick up finger foods right now? And what about sippy cups. She's gradually figuring out what to do, but I'm worried that maybe she's not getting enough fluids. I usually give her a bottle of formula 2-3 times a day and will wait until our initial pediatrician appointment on Wednesday to figure out the plan on adding milk.

We're working on sleep issues with jet-lag and being up all night wanting to play. I wake her up from her afternoon nap, but she is not too happy about that. The stroller is my new favorite thing...put her right to sleep. Between stroller time and not eating, I may not miss my gym visits like I thought. She's so close to walking. She walked today holding just one hand.

My sister's kids came over today with my brother for a visit and all played nicely with the stacking cubes and sorting blocks. She wouldn't let anyone else hold her so that is a good sign for her attachment. She always wanted me within hand reach. She is such a happy baby, it kills me to have her go through the sleep issues and messed up clock.

Tomorrow, I think I will venture out for the first time to go do "something" so I can practice the whole carseat thing.

That's it for now...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

We made it home safely about 10pm on Thursday after traveling over 24 hours. MaryAlice slept about 6 hours on the long flight from Tokyo to Detroit after a mini-meltdown and was sprawled across both seats. I slept 30 minutes with one butt cheek on the seat while leaning over with my head on my knee. The woman in the aisle seat would not turn off her reading light and it was shining right in MaryAlice's face, so when the lady got up to go to the lavatory, MamaBear turn the light off for her. She never turned it back on! LOL! Anything to make sure MaryAlice slept as much as possible!! By the time we reached Detroit, she was beyond exhausted and the catnaps were not cutting it. She screamed for much of the flight from Detroit to Orlando until it came time to land and I tried one more time to get her to finish the bottle. She did and then konked out when the wheels hit the tarmack.

Thanks to everyone who made the trip to the airport to welcome us home (especially Lori & Andy from Lakeland and Susan, Riz & Sophia from Deland!). Also, a special shout-out to Ray for installing the carseat without the use of duct tape and for providing transporation services for my parents to the airport and for getting us all safely home. And to Jim, Wendy, Kellie and Jake for the professional Disney Welcome Home there no end to what the mouse will do to suck another baby into the Disney cult! LOL!

Thanks for the brownies, Susan. They hit the spot at 3:30am when MaryAlice decided her system said it was playtime! She's spotted the cat and has made the mad dash crawl to formally introduce herself, but Smelley Cat is playing coy and nottoo interested right now.

I included some photos taken somewhere over Alaska, I think. My sister happened to open the window and see this view. It was spectalular. The other photos are of MaryAlice playing peek-a-boo over the airplane seats. There was an elderly Chinese man sitting behind us on the long flight that kept playing with MaryAlice. Her reaction when an Chinese person is playing or talking with her is interesting. She kept staring at the Chinese man on the plane, but another time at a restaurant, the waitress kept talking to her and she would not make eye contact with her. I think her attachment to me is going well and progressing nicely. It is an ongoing process and not something I expect to happen in 2 weeks.

My house looks like a bomb went off...someone should really do something about that. I added a photo of my hotel room the day before we left...bomb went off in that room too.

There's a photo of a woman I had met online and we exchanged emails. On one of the last nights in China, we were walking to dinner and she walks up to me and says, "Sharon, is that you?". It's nice to finally meet people once you've met online. It's also nice to commiserate with someone going through the same experience.

Thanks for the many comments and tips through the trip. I was successful in changing two poopy diapers in the plane bathroom. MaryAlice was so scared when I laid her down on the changing table, she didn't move a muscle. The look on her face was priceless. I put my mat down in the tub at home and she did well with not standing up during bathtime. We've finished the last dose of antibiotics for her ears and will see the pediatrician next week for her first visit. We'll be making a trip to the local pediatric hospital, Arnold Palmer for her blood work. There's a whole list of routine lab tests done on international adoptees (lead levels, vaccination titers, stool specimens, CBC, etc). I'm really looking forward to that visit...not!

So, all is well in Orlando and I will post updated photos of MaryAlice. Thank you again for all your well wishes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Signing Off From China

As I type this, I'm eating a cold grilled cheese and fries from Lucy's and a cold TingTsao beer. Our bus leaves for the airport at 5:40am and our bags have to be ready by 5:15am. Of all nights, MaryAlice pulls the "fake sleep" routine. As soon as I lie her down in her crib, the eyes pop wide open! I think she's finally down for the count.

We had our swearing in ceremony at the Consulate this afternoon and I have her Chinese passport, US Visa and immigration papers sealed and ready for the immigration officer in Detroit. The rest of the day consisted of packing!!! Oye, it is going to be a fun trip home. But home is what I'm looking forward to and settling into my life with MaryAlice. I'm sad for all the adjustments and changes that she still has yet to go through, but if the past 10 days are any indication, I think she will do just fine. I'm looking forward to everyone experiencing her silly personality and tricks. I have been blessed beyond measure for having the opportunity to become her mother. She is a dream come true.

Wish us luck on our journey...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Red Couch Photo Day!

Here are some photos of the Red Couch Photo Shoot. MaryAlice did okay for about 20 seconds and then started crying! But that probably means good rain on your wedding day.

The rest of the day we just walked around the island, had some lunch at Starbuck's and window shopped (okay actually a few purchases were made). In one of the stores, this yellow tabby cat was meandering around and appears to be hanging on to his ninth life by a thread. He's missing his left rear foot from a car accident a couple of years ago and yacked up a furball while we were there. I felt right at home! I've also included a picture of Jordan who took a large portion of our money! LOL! There's also a picture of The White Swan Hotel and the view of the Pearl River from the lobby.

MaryAlice fought her afternoon nap and I ended up taking her downstairs and standing under the waterfall for about 30 minutes in her sling. She's zonked out, but it's almost 6pm and I'm going to be in trouble when it comes time to put her bed tonight. She was such a delight this afternoon, smiling at the shopkeepers and waving bye-bye. I can't wait to get her in an open area that she can just practice her walking freely without fear of her hitting something.

Tomorrow afternoon we have the US Consulate Swearing Ceremony and I'll get her Visa. I also need to start packing stuff since we'll leave very early on Thursday morning to come home. I'm a little nervous about how she's going to do confined in a plane for the long 12 hour flight between Tokyo and Detroit. But I'm more nervous about having to change a poopy diaper in the bathroom of the plane...yikes!! Is that why duct tape is on every packing list I reviewed???

Beijing, China

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