Monday, February 26, 2007

Daddy's girl!

Mike was so impressed to catch Samara glued to the tv on Saturday night. Can you see what she's watching? That's right folks - Hockey Night in Canada. How long before he's got her hooked on Elvis videos too? Sigh!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Making Progress

As I said in the previous post, every day gets a little easier. Last night Samara impressed us and waved good-bye to Victoria and Austin who were going to bed. It was the first time she waved and it just melted our hearts. So cute! She gave us a hard time going to bed last night and finally fell asleep around 9:00 pm. She stayed in her crib all night and slept until 6:00 am this morning.

Then this morning at breakfast she had a bottle with only formula in it (not thickened with cereal) and then proceeded to eat her cereal and applesauce by spoon.

Here she is waving bye-bye when Daddy was going to work:

Here she is helping me unload the dishwasher:

She also learned this morning that she could climb the two little stairs we have between our livingroom and diningroom. And then also discovered that going back down isn't nearly as fun - or graceful. Ouch!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Every day gets a little easier . . .

Coming home has of course been great but adjusting to the time change has been so hard . . . for all three of us. It doesn't help that Mike and I were both really sick on the weekend and pretty much had no energy to do anything except feed and hold Samara (and even that was a challenge). We are so thankful that Mike's mom stayed for a few extra days to help us out - she cooked, cleaned, unpacked our luggage, did a thousand loads of laundry, took care of the kids, etc. etc. Thanks a lot Peggy - we couldn't have done it without you! You can tell each day is better than the last though - today I'm already showered and dressed and it's not even 10:00 am!!

We've been trying to keep Samara awake all day long so that she'll get onto Canadian time. She hasn't been interested at all. All she wants to do is sleep all day and play all night - can you blame her really? I'd love to sleep all day too. Yesterday she only slept for an hour all day and the day before that, only two hours. I think she would have slept through the last two nights except that her little body is starting to get used to different foods such as applesauce and her bowels are starting to move on their own. It's a good thing except for now she has a lot of gas and it's keeping her awake at night. If it's not one thing, it's another. The poor little thing - I can hear her tummy gurgling away all night. Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

Considering everything though, she's been really happy and the kids are still having a lot of fun with her. She seems to like her new home and loves all the different toys. Here she is enjoying the exersaucer from a different view.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Morning

We went to the doctor yesterday and got Samara all checked out. The doctor didn't think the ear drops we got in China were enough so she prescribed an antibiotic to use instead. She also gave us some infant Colace drops to help move the bowels so hopefully that helps. She said the main thing though is that she needs fruit added to her diet. We told her that we tried to feed her with a spoon in China but Samara absolutely refused. We didn't want to force it on her since she was already going through so many changes. The doctor suggested that we try to put some applesauce in a medicine dropper just to get her used to the taste and then try the spoon after that. Well we tried it this morning and we already got her onto the spoon. Here are some cute pictures of her eating her applesauce.

She slept a little bit better last night - not great though. She was pretty much done sleeping at 4:30 but we kept patting her back and she dozed on and off until 6:30 am. When we got out of bed she was so much happier than yesterday. I think she's starting to feel better and her true personality is starting to shine through again. She enjoys the exersaucer and loves Victoria and Austin. She follows them everywhere with her eyes and they get lots of smiles and giggles out of her. She warmed up to them right away and they are so in love with her already. They can't get enough of her and they keep saying, "I love you Samara" - it's so cute.

It feels so good to be home and all together finally.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

We left the hotel at 11:00 am and were on our way to the airport. Everything went smoothy there except that our flight was delayed for two hours. Samara still wasn't feeling well - she definitely wasn't herself. When we boarded the plane she threw up about five or six times . . . before we were even in the air - off to a great start! Another couple from our group gave me Gravol suppository for Samara (thanks Deb) and it definitely settled her stomach and calmed her down a bit. It didn't put her to sleep like we had hoped but at least she wasn't throwing up anymore. One of the flight attendants had asked a kind man beside us if he would be willing to move to a different vacant seat so that we could have an extra seat for Samara. What a nice gesture and it really helped. She spent a lot of time laying on that seat with her eyes closed tossing and turning - you can't really classify it as sleeping. 13.5 long hours later, we landed in Toronto. What an awesome feeling - the end of one journey and the beginning of another. We were sitting fairly close to the front of the plane so we got off pretty quick. We had to go through Customs obviously but also had to go through Immigration for Samara. It was kind of funny because were standing in line at Immigration and Samara was actually screaming pretty loudly (still dealing with some constipation). We saw some of the officials talking amongst themselves and pointing at us. As it turns out, they felt sorry for us with our screaming baby (or perhaps felt sorry for themselves having to listen to that) and they put us to the front of the line! So all of you who still have to go through this process, pinch your babies to get them to cry and you'll get out of there much sooner! :)

It was fun to come through the doors and see familiar faces. Thank you to family and friends who were there to welcome Samara to Canada. I had the opportunity to meet one of my blogger friends Michelle and her husband Mark. She took a picture of us so if you'd like to see it, click here. Notice the white spot on my brown shirt (right arm) - yep, that's crusted baby puke! I must've smelled lovely - not the greatest for a first time meeting eh Michelle? Next time maybe we'll reverse roles - how does that sound?

We got Samara into the car seat and were on our way home. She wasn't impressed - not sure if it was the car seat or just the fact that she wasn't feeling well - or a combination of the two - but she screamed on and off the whole way home (sorry about that Uncle Bryan). We arrived home to Samara's two very excited siblings. It was a little hard because Samara wasn't feeling well and also felt very overwhelmed with the new environment. The kids were really good with her though and they even got a few smiles out of her. We had a rough night - Samara tossed and turned and complained all night. (we didn't sleep either). Being on China time, it really was the daytime for her and now all she wants to do is sleep all day. We've been trying to keep her awake but it's really tough especially because she's not feeling well. Mike went and got her Ontario Health Card this morning and we already have a doctor's appointment for her late this afternoon. We'll let you know how that goes.

I'll also try in the next day or two to post some pictures of Samara with her proud siblings, Victoria and Austin.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Here we go . . .

It's Thursday morning and we're on our way in a few hours. We've had Samara for two weeks now and she has slept great every single night . . . except last night. sigh. She fell asleep fine as she always does but about an hour into it, she was very restless and we didn't get her back to a good sleep until 2:00 am. Then I woke up at 6:00 am and that was it. So needless to say, I'm tired and it's not a very good start to our journey home.

Please pray for us as we leave here. I know I've been saying how much I want to go home but at the same time it's a little emotional to be leaving this country that gave us such an awesome gift. Who knows when we'll be back.

Please pray for our flight - for safety but also for peace for us and especially for Samara. Pray that whatever was bothering her last night is gone and that she can be healthy and happy on the way home and perhaps sleep for 13 hours of it - ok, I'll settled for 12! (just kidding). I don't have to tell you that it's a long flight and being cooped up for that long is far from pleasant for anyone - let alone with a baby.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who has been following our journey. The comments and emails have made our days and we are so thankful to have such awesome support through family and friends. Also to those of you who were following along silently, your thoughts and prayers have been greatly appreciated.

We love you all and can't wait to see you very soon.

Love Mike, Karen and Samara

P.S. I'll try to post when we get home as soon as I get an opportunity just to let you know we've arrived safely.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Forbidden City and Peking Duck Dinner

This morning we were scheduled to go to the Forbidden City. My throat was still so sore when I woke up so just Mike went and Samara and I cuddled in bed all morning. (Yes Victoria, mommy and Samara had a cozy pants day). As it turns out, it was a good thing we stayed back. It was a very cold, very windy day today and it wouldn't have been good for me or Samara to be out all morning in that. I was glad we stayed back. Here are some of the pictures from the Forbidden City. At one point our guide Shirley had to run ahead so she asked Mike to take the flag and lead the group to the next station. Apparently he totally took over, giving a history lesson as he went. Later today Shirley was telling me all about it and she could hardly talk because she was laughing so hard. She said, "your husband a funny man!"

This evening we had our Peking Duck Dinner. It was very good authentic chinese food and our bellies were full again - that's two nights in a row! They brought out many different dishes and Shirley showed us how to put together the "pancakes" (sort of like fajita shells) with the sauce and duck meat. It was so delicious.

Tomorrow we're off to do a bit more shopping in the morning. There's an opportunity for a bit more sightseeing in the afternoon but I think we'll be laying low - in case you couldn't tell, we've had enough of going here, there and everywhere. Two more sleeps and we're on our way home - Hooray!!

P.S. M&M, if you're reading this, I am unable to get on your blog here in Beijing for some reason. I hope all is well - we're continuing to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Love you lots.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Medicals and Acrobatics

This morning Samara had to have her medical check up so that she can enter Canada. All 10 babies and their parents boarded the bus at 8:30 am and we were off to the clinic. There was a lot of waiting as there was only one doctor that was approved by the Canadian Embassy to do these medicals. We were there until about noon. And of course Samara was very good. She weighed in at 9.4 kg (which is almost 21 lbs.) The doctor was very impressed with the chunky cheeks and thighs. She said "well it looks like she's getting enough to eat anyway!" She was an american doctor so it was great to talk to someone who actually spoke English as her native language and we knew she understood our questions clearly. She gave us a prescription for ear drops. Ever since Gotcha Day, Samara has had a lot of wax build up but she also has a little bit of discharge in one of her ears. The doctor said she may have had a bad ear infection in the past and that could be what it's from. It's just a little itchy for Samara so hopefully the drops will clear it up. The doctor said it really wasn't a big deal at all and we're not concerned at all either.

Perhaps the report will mention Samara's outfit and the Canadian Embassy will have no problem letting her in:

We had a quiet afternoon - I actually slept while Samara was having her nap. My throat has been sore for a day or two and today it's really bad. At 4:30 a few of us boarded a small bus and headed over to see an Acrobatics show. It was amazing. These people can bend their bodies every which way - and some of them seemed so young. The lights and music and dancing and colours . . . it was awesome to see. We also bought a DVD so we can see it again at home.

After the show, we asked the bus driver to drop us off at TGI Fridays for dinner. That's right folks . . . American food!!! We met some more of our group there and had a good time. Our bellies are full once again - we may be going there again before we leave as it's within walking distance from our hotel.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Jade Factory and The Great Wall

On the way to the Great Wall we stopped at the Jade Factory. A guide took us through and told us about the different types and colours of jade. We saw them working on jade - carving and buffing. We were taught how to decifer real jade from fake jade and then we were let loose to shop! This factory is regulated by the Chinese Tourism Board (or whatever it's called) and so everything is real and of good quality. There's a Chinese tradition that when a couple gives birth to a girl, the mother will wear jade (either a necklace or bracelet) and when the daughter reaches a certain age or gets married, it is passed onto her. Mike and I purchased two jade pendants - circles to represent family unity - and when Victoria and Samara reach a certain age, they will be passed onto them.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words and anything I say won't do it justice, here is the Great Wall:
(Victoria and Austin: Mommy and Daddy searched high and low for Big Bird but we couldn't find him and Barkley anywhere - we must have just missed them!)

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped for lunch at Yu Long Restaurant. It was our best meal yet! The restaurant was part of the Cloisonne Factory where we got to see how they make Cloisonne and of course we did some more shopping!!!

And for those of you who don't care about any of the above and are just looking for pictures of Samara, here you go: