Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mommy's Little Helper

Natalie likes to imitate everything that Mommy does.  Today I decided to see if she wanted to help with the laundry.

Putting her special owl P.J.s into the washer
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Time to move the clothes to the dryer
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Inspector Natalie makes sure this piece of clothing meets current regulations before she puts it into the dryer.
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It passed inspection, so in it goes.
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Here are my special owl jammies again.
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That was fun...got any more Mama?
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Guardian Angels

When Natalie is awake she can drive the Newfs a little crazy at times by trying to love on them a bit too much.  We are working on teaching her that the dogs need their space.  I think over time Natalie will learn how to behave properly around Katie & Louie and they will get used to her often jerky movements and high pitched squeals.  In the meantime though Katie & Louie fully appreciate Natalie while she is sleeping.  They often come check on her to make sure she is ok.  They give her sleeping body a little sniff and wag their tails approvingly.  Sometimes they lie down near her and guard her while she is asleep.
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Natalie's First Visitors

This afternoon some friends came over to welcome Natalie home to Arkansas.Photobucket

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Natalie loves her new musical picnic basket that her friends brought to her.
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Thanks so much girls for the lovely visit and sweet gift.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Welcome Home to the Happy Haus Natalie!

We arrived home Sunday evening after a grueling flight during which Natalie was dealing with a cold and Gary & I got food poisoning.  We are all doing much better now and are slowly getting over the jet lag.

It is wonderful to be home!  Natalie is getting used to the routine here and is surprising me by how much she likes the food. So far her new foods include green peas, scrambled free range eggs, carrots, provolone cheese (the first time she had it she giggled after every bite), long grain rice, broccoli, my homemade cinnamon raisin bread, various organic toddler veggie/fruit combos and lots of new flavors of whole milk organic yogurt.  I was afraid she would miss her noodle diet from China, but she is eating almost as much as I do.  I think our quest to fatten up our unnourished little girl is going to be successful.  I'm looking forward to feeling a little bit of meat on her tiny prominent bones.  She is 21 months old and just weighed in at the doctor a few days ago at 8.5kg which is under 19 lbs and is 30 1/2 inches tall.

She is still having bad nightmares at night, but during the day she is doing great.  We think that as she feels more secure the nightmares will subside.
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Between unpacking and lots of sleeping, there hasn't been much time for picture taking.  I did manage to snap a picture of the first time Natalie sat down near Katie.  She was a little bit afraid of the Newfs the first few days, but quickly figured out that they mean her no harm.  I think now we are going to have to teach Natalie to give Katie and Louie some space instead of the other way around.  She has been wanting to pet them all night.             
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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  We had our most simplistic meal ever of Amy's Organic Pasta Shells with a side of Broccoli, but were filled with gratitude to be sharing this Thanksgiving with our sweet daughter.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catch You On the Flip Side

We are in our hotel room in Hong Kong and leave tomorrow morning for Home Sweet Home!
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Natalie is ready to meet the rest of her new family and friends.
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It may be a while before I can post again due to jet lag and a big Newfie reunion at home, but as soon as things settle down a bit I will post a Natalie and the Newfs update. Thanks so much everyone for your support during this incredible journey to our daughter.

A Taste of Japan While in China

While we were in Nanchang we ate twice at the Japanese Restaurant that was located in our hotel.  The genuine kindness of the people working there made the experience as wonderful as the delicious food that we ate.  When we first arrived we were surrounded by three of the wait staff.  I think they were mainly just curious about the strange Americans with the cute Chinese baby.  They would not give us even a moment to look at the menu and make our choices.  They wanted to discuss each possibility with us in depth.  It was so hilarious.  Only one of the three spoke a little bit of English so she would have to translate for the other two plus for the two of us.  This went on for 15 minutes.  Finally the chef came over and thankfully spoke very good English.  We were able to explain that we eat seafood but no other meat.

Our hostess was so pretty and sweet.  When we asked to take a picture of her in her kimono she grabbed her friend by the arm and made her pose along side her for moral support.
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This is the fruit salad that they serve with every meal. It cracked me up that they only give you one grape. We didn't eat it though because we will only eat fruit in China that we can peel and vegetables that are cooked. So far that rule of thumb has served us well.
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This kind woman took pity on our less than perfect chopstick skills and offered to feel Natalie. Since we are in our bonding phase we normally wouldn't allow other people to feed her, but with the language barrier that was just too difficult to explain. We decided to make an exception.
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She was so sweet and tender with Natalie.
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Our chef was very friendly and spent quite a bit of time talking to us.  Everyone there wanted us to enjoy ourselves.  They were so sweet and patient with us.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Buddhism & Chinese Folk Art

I forgot to mention that yesterday we had our appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou.  It was THE big appointment that our whole trip was scheduled around.  I spent quite a bit of time the day before preparing paperwork to meet the stringent requirements of our government so that Natalie will be allowed to enter the U.S. It will also allow her to automatically become a U.S. citizen upon our arrival in Chicago. Thankfully, our CCAI guides did a very thorough job of walking us through the paperwork and double checked to make sure everything was correct. We made it through our appointment with no problems.  This afternoon we will receive Natalie's Visa from the Consulate.  Tomorrow we leave Guangzhou and will take a train to Hong Kong where we will spend one night before flying home.

Our first stop during our tour today was the Liurong Buddhist Temple, home of the Six Banyan Pagoda.
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A modern monk texting on his cell phone
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The three Buddha statues each have their hands arranged differently.  From left to right they represent the Past, the Present, and the Future.
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Mama and Baby under the Bodhi Tree
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Stone carving on the temple wall
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Next stop was the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum which is housed in the Chen's Ancestral Hall. The Chen's Hall is the most elaborately decorated building that I have ever seen.
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Notice the hold Natalie has on Gary's finger :)
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The embroidery is exquisitely detailed and looks like it was painted
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When you examine it up close you can see the individual threads which comprise these amazing works of art.
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Guangdong Province is the second most famous province for porcelain.  The most famous is Natalie's Province of Jiangxi.
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Bonsai tree
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