Life After Bigger Dirt

Life After Bigger Dirt

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Daddy's working and One week home

Lovin on Grandma
Still smiling with pink eye

Favorite time of the day
We have been home from China for a week and we are finally beginning to settle in. We are still playing musical beds, but hopefully we are almost done. Adaline has claimed a pack-n-play because she is SCARED of her baby bed and I can't sleep with her on me. She sleeps till about 530am in it. Wen sleeps in the big boys bed and sometimes needs daddy during the night. The two that have been here since birth are the problems. I woke up to one of them on each side of me this morning. I had to move them over to get out of the bed. ROTTEN, spoiled rotten...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Promised Pictures

Building their first bonfire at biggerdirt. Corbin was soooo excited for smores. Adaline loved them, Wen didn't feel good enough to eat them.

She doesn't know what's going on, but is happy to be a part of it. She hopped up oh her stool and watched the fire.

He loves having a baby sister. He "mostly" sweet to her. I love this pic! She got into a basket and he came to see what she was doing.
Poor little guy has an ear infection and feels rotten):
Napping while big boys watch Fox and the Hound.

Dressed for Chinese New Year celebration with Mom and Allison.

Stayed home and helped Daddy cook apparently.
Adaline was asleep in the van, when I carried her inside she did this and William is just watching her. He was so excited when she popped her head up.

Home and Blessed

I don't even know where to begin. We have been home for four full days and I still can't believe our entire family is HOME!!! The conversation of adoption has been going on for a few years now. It didn't become totally serious for me until right before I became pregnant with William. Brian's thoughts were we need to have one more biological baby, well THANK GOD for Daddy's wisdom. William is rocking off the super cool chart!! As soon as William was up and walking the subject of adoption became serious again. You all know how the conversation ended....after months of paperwork, waiting, praying, and tears, our babies are HOME. I don't really want to talk about our trip home from China. One of the three flights was fourteen hours with two toddlers who weren't really use to being held and definitely had never seen an airplane, toilet that flushes, white people, or escalators(their favorite things). But, we all made it home safely and were able to scoop up our William when we walked off the plane. Oh, the relief of being able to hold him in my arms again. Before I get too far into this *picture us, three adults, one teen, two toddlers in strollers and one four year old asleep on the floor on a pillow pet, TRYING to enter back into the United States....hilarious!!! Corbin was seriously sleeping on the floor on a pillow pet in front of the officer that checks your passports and decides if you may enter. He also had to check all the baby's paperwork and decide if they may enter the US. So, Corbin took a long nap there lol...then we added NINE pieces of luggage to the list. Then we were the circus on wheels. Two carts full of luggage, three adults, one teen, one four yr old in a stroller, one toddler sleeping in stroller and one running in the airport.* PRAISE GOD we are home!
Our first day home is kind of a blur. We slept as late as the kids would allow us to. Started unpacking and washing. Tried to minimize dogs or cats coming in the house. Tried to keep our eyes open all day. Tried means it didn't happen all the time. The little ones would flip out if they saw the cats or dogs. We took turns hitting the jet lag wall. Fed kids and changed diapers. Grandma blessed us with dumplings for supper. Wen ate three bowls and Adaline would have NOTHING to do with them.
The second day we had pediatrician appointments. That was no fun at all. Adaline and I went to the hospital to welcome baby Knox Cole into the world, he chose to come right before I turned into my driveway instead of while we were there. Congrats Cole family, thank you for waiting till we got home from China! Daddy brought home the boys for naps and play time. The babies have decided they don't like anything we cook. Guess Grandma will have to cook for Wen everyday. Watched some tennis...
The third day Allison, Adaline and I had to go see baby Knox. The last piece of our luggage with my CAMERA arrived home. So sorry for no pics. We visited Mimi, Papa, Aunt Amy and Bri for some spaghetti and love. Wen has discovered the great outdoors and LOVES it. Adaline doesn't really like grass yet. Since we are NOT taking five kids to walmart, Daddy and boys went home and to bed. The girls shopped for lots of groceries, trying to encourage the babies to eat.
Day four...we feel human again. We were all able to open our eyes before 11 am including the teen. The clothes washing nightmare has finally morphed into a daily sitcom. So glad to have the clothes done for a few minutes. We were able to see most of our floors and even clean them. Wen took his first tractor ride with the boys and then spent the morning outside with them. Adaline helped Mama with the house. She is much more comfortable with us. I can sometimes use the bathroom alone and she will walk into other rooms without me. She did go outside a little bit, but still unsure of it. She really does not want the animals near her. Wen chases them now and is not really afraid. If they stop for him, he pokes them and laughs. The Prathers and Books came by to visit. Thank you Abbi for picking up toys. Thank you Grandma for Jambalaya!!!
I really think the Smith clan is doing well. We are all still having some major meltdowns at times, but much fewer than last week. William isn't near as angry with us as he was the first two days home. He only tackled Corbin once for taking the teapot (pretend coffee pot because they are boys). He is playing with the babies instead of crying most of the day.
Wen has an ear infection so his day has been a little rough. He is running some fever and has a hard time at night. He is such a sweet, funny kid. He walks around making noises, kinda like mumbling under his breath. While he does it he tilts his head side to side and walks all over the place. He allows Brian to go into other rooms without him and he let me put him down for a nap today. PROGRESS!
Adaline is super sweet unless you mess with her food or toys. If she can't communicate or show you what she wants she will flip out. For the most part she is happy and covering every square inch of the house. She checks out all cabinets and pantries lolpacknplay. she is asleep for the night in there. PROGRESS! She still won't let the Chihuahua eat under the table while she is eating. Gotta work on this, he is my clean up help.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hong Kong Surprise

Today was the beginning of our journey home.  So anticipated, let me tell you.  We decided to forego the train to Hong Kong, instead taking two vans.  The train was all Corbin came to China for, but after 16 days away from his little brother, he didn't seem to mind.  So, at 10 am we loaded our family into two Toyota minivans, placed our lives in God's hands and the hands of two Hong Kong drivers, and off we went.  If you have never experienced a hired van in China/Hong Kong, well...let's just say I have a new respect for NASCAR drivers.  We made it QUICKLY to the border, through both immigration checkpoints, and on to the hotel.  All people and bags intact, and no embarrassing accidents in the vans, so a successful flight trip. 
So, what better way to celebrate our new babies and their first trip out of country, but to visit the happiest place on earth.  That's right, off to Disneyland Hong Kong!  Talk about some excited kids.  Corbin and Allie were pretty excited too.  Kelsey, Melissa and I were downright giddy.  We spent about 5 hours in the park this evening, enough to ride teacups, carousels, Its a Small World, and of course, Space Mountain!  We had a wonderful time, even the little babies shared some smiles on the teacups and the other rides.  Shhh, don't tell but we are going back tomorrow!
This trip has come full course.  The most important thing to my Corbin was to ride the train in China, but when it came right down to it, he only cared to see his little brother, and to get his two new siblings.  Such a sweet boy we have.
But we did manage to get a train ride for our boy.  The Disney Express around the park was his highlight for the day.  So, the Smith's to China has now consisted of 5 flights, a train, two boats, two vans, numerous buses, several taxis, and a few walks through the subway.  Oh, and Space Mountain.  That's my little thrill. 
One more day away from our William. 
Wen and Adaline were troopers today.  They were great in the vans, great at the park.  They seemed to love the rides they could ride.  They watched with great intent during Its a Small World.  That was pretty awesome to see their little faces and eyes light up.  They are still a bit uncertain in crowds.  That's gonna have to change, but they make great advances every day.  Can't wait to get them home.
See ya'll in 2 days!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Leaving for Hong Kong in the Morning

We leave for Hong Kong tomorrow!  Two immigrant visas arrived today, so the packing party with Papa John's starts tonight.  We leave at 10 am for Hong Kong via van.  The idea of an exceedingly busy train station and umteen bags of luggage, and seven passengers, did not seem very pleasant to me, so our plans changed.  I hope Corbin doesn't mind.  Anyway, we spend a day in Hong Kong, then on to the airport on the 23rd here, for a 10:45am departure for Detroit.  14hrs and 3 minutes later, we are on American soil and our babies become official US citizens!  Much easier than going through immigration classes and learning the Declaration of  We are ever anxious to arrive home in AEX Monday night, 9:33pm to be exact!  William, your mommy and daddy are coming to squeeze you!  Many of our travel group families have already departed to HK or Beijing.  I know they will all have a special place in our hearts from here on.  There is something very special about sharing Gotcha Days and medicals and buffet breakfasts for two weeks with incredible, loving, kind families from all over the US.  To all of our traveling families, thank you for your kindness and for listening to all of Corbin's stories and visitations.  You all are in our prayers and hearts forever.  To all at home waiting and praying and checking in on us, we have so felt your support and prayers, and we ARE coming home, with two sweet babies!

Look at this sweet smile!  I think she likes us

Daddy's new sidekick.  I'm gonna have two boys on my lap now.  This is his sleepy face

Serious poses for serious minds.  Corbin had to gel his hair after bath, then needed Wen's sunglasses because his eyes bothered him.  Wen thinks we are nuts

Bubble gun in the shower=hotel entertainment

Sister sugars.  I think she likes Allie a little bit

Caught Wen smiling.  He loves to laugh

Adaline's first shiner...Corbin got her on the playground with the swing.  Never cried.  She's gonna be just fine at BiggerDirt.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Loving Guangzhou

So the weather in GZ has been gorgeous!  The forecast has called for rain, but we have had sun and warmth, so we have taken advantage of the opportunity and explored some of the city.  Our travel group visited the Guangzhou Zoo today, which everybody loved.  Our new babies loved being out in their strollers, seeing the animals and enjoying the sun.  The zoo was very nice, with tigers, chimpanzees, zebras, giraffes, bears, rhinos, elephants, and of course, pandas.  The two pandas they have were quite the entertainers.  I know, ya'll want to hear about the kids, but the big kids loved the zoo!
The babies...they are so wonderful.  I can't tell you the difference we see in just a week.  They are so lively, funny, busy.  Very typical 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old kids.  I think they like us.  Wen calls me Mama, but he calls everyone mama, so I guess its ok.  Adaline has it figured out.  She calls Melissa Mama, and Allie she tries to say, and Corbin is GeGe, which is big brother.  And today, today, she called me Baba, which is daddy in Chinese!  Such an incredible moment for me!  She is realizing I'm not so bad.  She even let me change her diaper and give her a bath tonight.  Making steps!  Wen is my little sidekick, like William.  I can see now I will have two little boys in my lap at bedtime!
We took family and group photos yesterday.  The babies were all dressed in their chinese silks, so very cute. 
Tomorrow, the consulate appointment.  I hear it isn't very exciting, but for me, it means I get to bring my family home.  We love it here, but this is not home.  No matter what, we are biggerdirt people.  We miss our baby, our home, our family, our church.  We can't wait to see our babies all running around the house acting crazy.  Ahhh, that will be wonderful.
Just a few more days until we board a plane to head back.  China will always be special to me.  It is  beautiful country, with beautiful people and an interesting history.  I am fortunate to be here with the Lunar New Year approaching.  The decorations are amazing, the air of excitement is here like it is when Christmas approaches back home.  But I am ready to bring my two pieces of China to Louisiana.  They have my heart, as much as Allison, or Corbin, or William.  They look different, but they are Smith's.  And they are amazing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday and Tuesday in Guangzhou

I'm so sorry Dad is out at the moment. He had to take Allie and Corbin to the park via the subway corridor because the highway is CRAZY!!! Monday we went back to the clinic to have Adaline's TB test read-NEGATIVE! Then we headed to the pearl market (yeah Aunt Amy). For me they had PIZZA HUT!!! I could go on another day. For Corbin they had a remote control car "the coolest one I ever seen Mama". He has said thank you four or five times. BTW it's the quietest remote control car ever too...just a bonus for us. After nap time we took our first Taxi rides. We don't all fit into one taxi either. Kelc, Adaline and I held onto each other for our Nascar race to the Shaiman island for silk shopping. Corbin, Allison, Daddy and Wen rode together without much excitement. We found toys and traditional Chinese silk clothing for the babies. After shopping and a few pics we had dinner at Lucy's. They gave us and the Waite family our own room to destroy eat in. We enjoyed the 80's english music and posters of various stars. lol...garlic bread, coke and the babies noodles were the only things to write home about. Kelc and I ordered American cheesecake, ummmm YUK!!! The men had applepie. It came out black, but they ate it. Today we took our group and family pictures. Usually when you adopt from China you take pics at the White Swan hotel on their red couches. Since the hotel is being renovated we took ours on the red steps at the China hotel. Whatever works huh! Lets just say our kids didn't really want to have their pics taken. They were still pretty cute!!! Here are several pics of our past couple of days. All of our world travelers are doing good. We are definitely homesick and miss William (and Mr. Harry). Only six more sleeps for us and then we begin the long trip home. CAN'T WAIT!!! I love you William:)

All ready to go for her TB results. SO cute!

Waiting for his first Taxi ride. He was so excited!

I love this. I know you can't see their faces. This is my two girls walking on the Shamian together. It's just sweet sweet!

He likes us, can you tell??? Maybe he just likes Brian. But, I'm saying he likes all of us.

Our redstep pictures

Our travel group. Adaline had had enough of this. lol...

My two girls:)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Buddhism and folk art

Today was a free day, so we toured the city a bit.  We visited a buddhist temple built in the 1400's.  It was quite impressive actually.  The buddha statues in the center building were enormous.  No worries, no converts here.  We were quite impressed with the craftsmanship however.  Next, we visited the Chen house.  Chen in Guangdong province is like Smith in the States.  It is a large home that has been converted into a museum for the local artistry.  Again, quite impressive to see what the artists do with embroidery, ivory and wood carving, and ceramics.  I hope some of our pictures do justice to the craftsmanship displayed.  Lastly, a local artisan shop, which had amazing silk-work, ceramics, and jade.  However, we had tired and hungry children aplenty in our group, so we were more than ready to return to the hotel for McDonalds and naps.

Later today, we prepare our paperwork for the consulate appointment later this week.  That will be the culmination of the whole process, with only flights home and US Customs to finish.  So very exciting.
Our new babies think we are cool.  Wen wakes up with a smile, laughs and runs from us when it is time for getting dressed or changing diapers, and pretty much has us around his little finger.  He has really come out of his shell the past 2 days and is a very lively and fun 19 month old boy.  Adaline follows Melissa around the hotel room every step.  She eats the middle out of the Oreos, loves gummy bears, and ketchup!  She eats more ketchup than fries.  She is so so very tiny.  Pictures don't come close to showing how little she is.  She gives sweet kisses, but still isn't very sure about me.  I will do in a pinch, but she wants mama for most everything.  That's ok as long as she gives me that smile when I walk in the room!  So sweet to see.
Allie is ready to take the river tour in a couple of days.  She is intrigued by the second tallest building in the world on the tour.  I think it will be a father-daughter date, which will be quite nice I must say.
Corbin has decided we need to have a puppet show everyday.  We put straws together for the screen, then decided the bed and cribs work better.  Then, add a few socks and inanimate objects, and you have a ready-for-broadway production only a 4 year old boy can produce.  Never NEVER a dull moment in the Smith family. 
We so love our babies.  Mr. William better be ready for hugs and kisses, because his momma and daddy are so ready to give them to him. 
 the beginning of the puppet show
 he hasn't gotten the hang of hiding during the show
 mom is the sun
 my beautiful family at the buddhist temple, in the rain
 two of the four hugenormous buddhas in the temple
 the temple quad
 at the Chen house
 the roof of the Chen house
 can you do this with ivory???
 loving some french fries!
 prefers to just lick the ketchup from the fry
 love him!
and her!


Oh my goodness, nearly forgot the funniest thing so far.
Yesterday, during naptime, we went to the outdoor play area with Corbin.  There are swings and slides for him to play, and a big area to run around.  There is also a large decorative pond with a bridge and fake rock beach.  Well...there were a couple of boys pretending to fish in this pond, so of course Corbin had to fish.  Mind you, it is crystal clear and clearly no fish...anyway, after scaring his aunt Kelsey on the bridge, he decided to stay on the rock beach, until it seemed much more cool to step out onto a big rock IN the water...splash...Corbin is soaked head to toe.   6 inches of water and he manages to get wet every inch of his body.  He was a bit shocked and amazed, and scared he was in trouble.  I explained to him he was only in trouble for getting on the rock after he had been told not to, so he began to explain to every one he saw that he wasn't in trouble for falling in because it was an accident and accidents are ok, but he was in trouble because he wasn't supposed to be on the slippery rock.  He never missed a beat, kept playing for another hour until he was literally exhausted.  Even in China we can have a good biggerdirt day!