Monday, September 3, 2007

Long time no post.

Sorry that I have been slacking onmy posts. Jude keeps Mama hopping from before the sun goes up til when the sun goes down, and then some! He is doing amazingly well, but it has been an adventure. Let's see...... His cousin Ian came to stay and that was a huge help. Jude thinks Ian is awesome and follows his lead. Then his cousin Hannah (age 5) came to stay for a few days and that was great as well. They are more on the same level. And they look like 2 peas in a pod! We went to the swimming pool and he had a blast! We have been back several times. Mama is not crazy about wearing a swim suit, but it wears out the monkey and he always needs a nap on those days. Woohoo for Mama!! We also have been to the park and he really likes that as well. Jude now is the proud owner of a bike and matching helmet. Grandpa is in charge of bike repairs and upkeep and Jude frequently has things he wants looked at on his wheels!!

We are venturing out more and more, but mostly we stay home. Lots of time with Mama. Jude is learning to be an American kiddo. We watch PBS and color and play ball outside. He loves tohelp Mama with vaccuming and laundry. He still is working on being gentle with Cookie the Chihuahua. Lambert the poodle is like Jude's brother. They love to aggravate each other!! They both enjoy itbut it drives Mama crazy. Why can't we all just get along?

My little guy has learned how to work the VCR and we watch bits of Cinderella and Tarzan often. He also loves music. Meal times take considerably longer if the stereo is on because he has to get up and dance between bites of food!! Likes Country and 80s music, as well as Kids Bible songs in English as well as Mandarin.

Still sleeping with Mama, or at least in Mama's bed. Between Jude and Lambert, they is not much room for me!! I usually sleep in Jude's room or on the couch!! No rest for the weary and I know that's right!

The jury is still out on when I will send him to school. He is doing well with the ABCs and counting, as well as colors and shapes. I have no idea what I am doing, but I do try very hard to be a good Mama for my little monkey man.

Tomorrow he will get his first American haircut. Well, technically, his second I guess since he took a huck of hair out with his safety scissors today. Right in front center. Total bald patch about the size of a quarter. Such a poppet monkey, isn't he? :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

All quiet at the Alexander Ranch

First, let me say that I am really glad to be home. Secondly, Wow is it different now that Jude is home!!! I have lived alone for 10years. Just me and the dogs. Man, are those days over! I have my shower time down to less than 90 seconds. Forget makeup. While Jude is asleep I am always torn wheter to read or clean or sleep or just enjoy the peace. But we are having a blast! He has some sleep issues and a pretty hard core tantrum at least daily, but things get better each day. I know it has to be really scary and frustrating for him. Everything is new to him. EVERYTHING! Tonight he actually played with his bath toys and wanted to stay in the tub for a bit. He was used to only showers at the orphanage and certainly not all the fru fru bath stuff that Mama has for him. :) He eats a lot so hopefully he will put some weight on that tiny body soon. He still isn't sure if he loves or hates Cookie the Chihuahua, but it is improving. We still go over the concept of "gentle" quite often. Lambert still is staying at my friend Kim's house, but I miss him terribly. I have been talking about him a lot to Jude and showing his picture, but it is likely gonna be a pretty ugly homecoming for ole Lamby. But I think tomorrow will be the day and we will just get it over with. Full steam ahead!!! Tomorrow Jude has his first appt with the doctor for a well child exam. I hope that goes well. And his cousin Ian is coming to stay for a few days as well. Ian is 8 and Jude is so like him in personality. I am hoping Ian will be a good influence. (My family will laugh out loud when they read that!) Today we only ventured out for a very short wlak and that was fine. (We didn't see any dogs or cats.) The only other place we have gone is Walmart. After a while Jude was crabby and yelling he was tired. Well, duh, Cara!! Isn't that everyone's reaction to a trip to the Walmart? :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

We are finally home!

Greetings from home in the USA!! Happy to report there is now one more citizen. The 3 flights and 24 hours it took to get us here were no picnic, but we made it! Jude did pretty well. Had a little trouble sleeping on the 12 hours from Tokyo to Detroit, but he was trooper. We had to literally run to make a couple flights and the folks that work in Customs and Immigration Services were unhelpful to put it mildly. Thankfully, my brother and his family was there at the gate in KC to welcome us home! Jude didn't quite no what to think about the whole thing at first, but by the time we made it to the cars with all our luggage, he had decided he really liked his new family! His cousins were a big hit, just as I knew they would be. Ian taught Jude how to draw stick figures on the ride home. Nathaniel was soaking up every bit of Chinese I could teach him so he could make Jude feel more at home. Hannah was so excited to finally meet her new cousin that the very first thing she said when she saw us was "I'm sitting by you and Jude in the car!" Apparently there had been quite a bit of debate among the kids on who got this prized position. Jude and Hannah are about the same size and both have fine features. I just know they will be mistaken for twins more thatn once! :)
Jude was very excited to see his new home or jia in Chinese. And the look on his face was pure joy. He started in on his room ful of toys right away. He is still sleeping in my bed, though, just for a bit longer til he is settled. Today we played and played. But the biggest news of all is that he met my Chihuahua, Cookie. Started out terrified, and his Poppy wanted to take Cookie back to his house right away. I don't know who was more apprehensive! But Mama knows best, right? After a few hours of watching her out in the yard, then on the deck then feeding her treats and finally getting up the nerve to pet her, I though that was a great start. But my little guy is full of surprises. Once he was all tucked into bed he asked if Cookie could come into the bedroom with us! So in she came, just to sleep on the floor. She wandered all around, no doubt looking for my other pup, Lamby. But then she settled right down on her pillow beside the bed and went to sleep. Then Jude followed her lead and fell asleep as well. Amazing! Now I have to say that good old Lamby may not be such a fast friend. He will be so excited to meet Jude and will no doubt want to jump and lick and play. Uh, I don't think we are quite yet to that level. But it just has to be soon because I miss my Lamb dog like crazy and I know he would never hurt Jude. We shall see what tomorrow brings. The little neighbor came over to ask if Jude could play but he brought over his poodle, and Jude was havin none of that!
Jude is so smart. You can actually see him learning all the time. Torrow I think we will get out the play-doh and also maybe set up his play tent in the living room. Eventually we will venture out of the house, but I want to wait til he is settled just a bit more.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Last day in China

Tomorrow we are headed home!!!!! Yesterday we went to the Amercian Consulate for the swearing in ceremony. Lots of sitting around and waiting for a very unceremonious ceremony. No pictures allowed. Grandma and Grandpa waited outside. Raised my hand and swore that all the paperwork submitted to the US government was truthful and accurate. That's it. No "I will be a good mama" or anything. Kinda a let down but who cares? That was the last official thing to attend!

Yesterday morning we went to the electronic market. Huge and crowded. Stall after stall of electronic stores. Must have been over 100. Then bartering through a translator. Very tiring but I got a DVD player for Jude for the plane ride home (with an extra battery).

Today we have just bummed around the island. All the shop owners know us by now. It is so lovely here. I hope to come back someday. We have been eating at the Cow and Bridge restaurant next door every day. Last night we had fresh coconut milk. Holy cow, Batman! Delicious! We will really miss eating Thai food once a day. It just isn't quite the same back home. But aside from that, I am so ready to be back in the good old US of A. Miss my house, miss my bed and miss my dogs. Jude is getting better about the dog issue. By better, I mean he no longer screams when he sees one. Still a long way to go with that.

We will leave the hotel at 0530 tomorrow morning for the airport. Ugh! Mama really hopes he sleeps well tonight! Our flight leaves around 8am for Tokyo. About a 5 hour flight. Then from Tokyo, we fly to Detroit. 12 hours!!!! (explains the DVD player, right?) Once in Detroit, Jude with have to go through Customs and at that point he will be a US citizen!! Then we fly to KC where my brother and his family will meet us and drive us home!! I can't wait to see Jude with his cousins! I also can't wait to see the look on my brother's face when he hears Jude singing "Jesus Loves Me." :)

Next post will be from home!! Woooohooooo! Thanks for all the prayers and keep them up as we travel tomorrow. With the time changes, August 19th will last 38 hours for us!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Shamian Island Rocks!!

Greetings from Guangzhou! This city is in the very southern part of China, very near Hong Kong. We are in a section of the city called Shamian Island. We love it!! Our hotel, The Victory, is very nice and there are tons of little shops all around the neighborhood. I love to barter and I am getting better every day! We took our scummy clothes to a nearby laundry yesterday afternoon. We were pleasantly surprised when we picked them up this morning! All pressed and individually wrapped. And it was cheap!!! Can I take a Chinese Laundry woman home as a souvenior? Do I have to declare that?

There is an awesome Thai restuarant next door called Cow and Bridge. Dude! Fresh snow peas in garlic sauce and all kinds of neato fresh fruit drinks. Jude likes the watermelon juice best! But I think the banana is mighty tasty. He is helping me to improve my chopstick skills. Today we got him a stroller(which he loves!), even though I think my poor back has already formed a hump!! Loves to be carried and I have a hard time resisting the chance to squeeze my peapod. Right now he is napping. We went for a walk this morning and saw a group of ladies dancing in the park. Jude loves to dance so he joined right in. That kid can really get his groove on. Gets that from his mama (a shaker from way back). Everything is lovely on the island and many people speak english. We miss our guide and driver from Shenyang, but we are doing okay on our own. There is a guide from the agency to help with paperwork, thank goodness! Tomorrow morning we are going to the electronics market to spend some yuan(as in "yuander where it all went) and then in the afternoon we will be going to the Amercian Consulate for the swearing in ceremony. :) I was told that there are no pictures allowed during that. Jude will likely be pleased with that as I am sure he is sick of posing. Several families from our agency met today at the famous White Swan Hotel for the traditional kiddo photo on their red couch. Well, after a billion photos, JUde was overwhelmed and headed for the hills. He sat in a corner and rocked himself, scared to death. But Mama fixed it all with several hugs and kisses. The agency reps then really put the pressure on to finish the photos and I had to put the "smack down", so to speak. I said if he wanted more pictures then fine, but if my kid was gonna freak out then forget it. Jude comes first. Not somebody's scrapbook!! I finally agreed to sit behind the red couch and hold his hand. After 60 seconds he got up and ran around to me. I said "That's it." We packed up and headed out. I mean, really, does the kid need any more issues to tell his therapist about in a few years? With me for a mother, he will have plenty of issues already!!! :) Don't mess with my boy. I am one tough mama. ;)
Well, I think I will try to shop just a bit before the monkey wakes up. (Don't worry, Poppy is watching him.) We decided yesterday that not only is he a poppet and a monkey, he is POPPET MONKEY. That is the most rare kind of monkey, you know. I had to come half way around the world just to find a poppet monkey of my very own. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Goodbye Shenyang.

We are just about to leave for the airport. We are flying to Guangzhou, which is our last stop in China! We are staying the Victory Hotel and a lot of American families stay there. I hope to meet up with some folks I have met through online groups and out adoption agency. We will really miss Shenyang and our guide, Sarah. Traders Hotel has been excellent and the staff has treated us like royalty. We had a blast shopping all around the neighborhood. We discovered yesterday that Walmart in only 2 blocks away from the hotel! Don't ask why we didn't realize this sooner!! Silly Americans. :)

Yesterday Jude got a present form Grandpa. A harmonica!!! He loves it. I mean loves it! He thanked Grandpa (Lao Ye) about 5 times and even bowed to him. Then he played and danced around. It is his favorite toy so far. And now Grandpa is his buddy.

We also went to an underground shopping mall yesterday. It is just as big as the mall at home but the halls are very narrow and the shops are tiny. In the center is a food court. Very cool. Mama can't really shop much for clothes though. My size here is 2XL. Not great for the ego! :) I have lost a few pounds here in China (probaly from sweating all the time) but I can't buy any cute pants in my size!! I am like an amazon woman here. I did find a swimsuit today at Walmart and I had to indicate to the clerk that needed a "big" one. She nodded and found an XL. Pretty funny, huh?

Better go catch up with Jude and the folks. I will post next from Guangzhou!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rainy day

Rained all day today so we mostly stayed in until this afternoon. Then we went to an International Christian Church that our driver found for us. There were people there from all over the world that are in Shenyang for one reason or another. But we were very sad to find out that our guide, Sarah, and our driver, Mr Chong, were not allowed to atttend the service with us!!! It is illegal for Chinese to attend church services with foreigners apparently. There is a service earlier in the day just for Chinese, but no foreigners. Crazy and so sad. We take so much granted, don't we?
Jude was angel during church and they sang Jesus Loves Me just for him. He knows almost all the words already!! I sing it to him at bedtime. :) He loves music and singing.

After church we went out to eat at Pizza Hut. This is an "expensive"
dinner in China and very popular on dates. The staff was all dressed up like pirates for some reason that is still not clear to me. The menu is also a bit different. The veggie pizza has corn and pineapple on it. And since it is a one trip salad bar, the Chinese take great time and care with making their salad. One woman was at that salad bar for maybe 15 minutes layering cucumber slices around the edge of her bowl. Jude likes pizza but he LOVES spaghetti. Mama can handle that dish no problem. Boil water and open jar.

He was so tired and went to sleep in about 5 minutes. We are doing great and he is like a little learning sponge. Grandpa is now okay since he shaved off his beard. :) Tomorrow we plan to just wander around in the shops near our hotel. Hopefully it won't be raining. But we did discover that Jude loves umbrellas. He had so much fun just playing with our cheap travel umbrellas in our room today! He also can find a million uses for empty plastic bottles. :) Very creative. I am still amazed at how much he is like my nephew, Ian. If those two team up, the rest of us don't stand a chance!!! :)