Monday, July 30, 2012

Back To Work

As usual the summer has flown by and I find myself back at work. I should be grateful for the time I have but I still wish I had more.

I overbooked myself yet again so on top of school starting i am involved with
Google Apps Rocky Mountain Summit. I head for Boulder on Wednesday and while I enjoy it, it will be nice to put closure to it and be able to focus on school alone.

The month of August is a big one for me so I hope I can somehow make it through.

The girls have a few more weeks but it will go by fast as well. We did manage to get their school supplies taken care of so we can check that off our list.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rocky Mountain High

Zeb headed to the hills today to conquer a few more mountains. He really got into it last year so has been looking forward to having some time. It is hard to find in our busy schedule but he managed to hike Mt. Democrat.

I am a little nervous when he heads out alone but he made it back safely today and is looking forward to his next hike in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Camp Wenzel

Keara headed over to Aunt Tracie's this week for some "horsing around." Apparently Syd and Keara were in hog heaven and managed to enjoy the horses despite the heat.

We aren't quite sure if Keara will continue her current riding lessons but we know she still enjoys the horses and hopes to find a better fit for her.

Anyway, thanks Aunt Tracie. It's nice to for us city slickers to be able to enjoy the country every once in a while.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

North Pole Amusement Park

This is my last week off of work so we are making the most of it.  Took a drive down to the North Pole with the Wyman's and had a ton of fun.  You can't beat this place.  It is in the mountains, it is relatively inexpensive compared to other amusement parks, there are hardly ever lines of people to deal with and who doesn't love Christmas!  Our last few years have been combined with rain but today we got in between rain storms and had a super time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pool Time

Media Coverage in China

  • Chinese news report and while you may not understand it, you can see us walking on the Great Wall a couple of times.  
  • Special coverage in the China Daily

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Sweet, Sweet America"

The title of the post is what Kailei said as we arrived back home.  While we love our time in China it is nice to be back in Colorado.  Got home last night and didn't really have a problem sleeping at all.  Today is a lazy day.  Trying to get caught up on emails, bills and otherwise chillin'.  Hope to have more pictures and such soon.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Finding Spot

Kailei was left outside the Hunan Rural Credit Cooperative. She was in a cardboard box in a purple outfit and left with some milk and 8 yuan. We made our way to this location and the area looked more run down the closer we got. Most everything was dirty and not in the best shape.

Kailei was excited to see where she was left. We had prepared a rock with her name and finding date on it. Kailei found a special spot for it and put a few plant by it to make it look nice. We exchanged this rock for one she could bring home as a keepsake.

I am grateful once again that someone found her and that we became the family she was meant to have.

The whole experience was surreal and I think I was just in mom mode trying to help Kailei. I think it will all sink in more as time passes.

We left for our hotel in hengyang city after this. It was an old hotel but located downtown where we had lots of access to stores and restaurants. We made a beeline to McDonald's for dinner. It tasted great but I was dripping in sweat. I had to eat fast and get outside. That wasn't much better but we headed to Dairy Queen where N ice cream seemed to cool me down.

We did a little shopping in the local department store. Really it is a
Big building made up of mini shops. We found a clothes shop for Kailei where she tried on some clothes. The lady working there was extremely helpful but no one in Hengyang city seemed to speak any English. We tried to communicate but it was just a entertaining attempt.

We did want to buy some clothes for Kailei but they wouldn't take Visa and we were low on cash so Zeb had to try and find an ATM which was an adventure for him. In the mean time we waited in the little store where I think just about every employee made there way over to look at the Americans.

By the time Zeb came back it was a little after 8 and we were spent so we made our back to the hotel.

The Orphanage Visit

Well, as previously mentioned they changed the date of the orphanage visit on us which took me/us by surprise. But as Kailei said, "Schedules change Mom."

Oscar is or guide for the trip and is very nice. We have our own car as we are the only one visiting this particular orphanage. The drive itself took about three hours. It would have been shorter but the driver got lost I believe. The countryside was very pretty. Lots of rice fields, and tree with the occasional row of houses scattered around.

Hengyang County is actually a part of Hengyang City. It has about .2million people whereas Hengyang city has the largest population in Hunan province
- 7 million.

Since it was difficult to navigate we actually met at a local hotel and followed the director back. It was a god thing. I don't think we would have ever found it.

We were welcomed with firecrackers. It was loud and very, very hot as we stepped out of the van. We were greeted by the director, Kailei's ayi's , the Director of Civil Affairs and a few other government officials.

After our initial greeting we were taken into a conference room of sorts and provided an assortment of grit and some water. Kailei was a little shy and very clingy.

We showed them her photo album and brought out the book they all signed back in 2005. We are very lucky in that all of her ayi's still work there. They remembered her and said her face had not changed much.

At this point Kailei had prepared a speech to present but was too uncomfortable to do it. It was very important for her to do and knowing my child can be bought, I offered her money to give her speech. It worked. One of her ayi's even started crying.

We asked for the opportunity to see her file and went through it with Oscar. Nothing that we didn't already have except I did learn she was left in a purple outfit.

We then went to visit her room and was escorted to the orphanage. That babies room is on the second floor. There were four babies there. They were as adorable as any kid can be. We had asked if Kailei had a crib mate but they said no. It was a small room. One of the retired nannies was there and remembered Kailei as well so we took a picture with her. Next door was the playroom. Minimal at best but functional. Saw two slightly older boys but the rest were in foster care. Quit te a few elderly folks inhabit the place but we didn't go much further than those two rooms.

After the short tour we were taken out to lunch in a restaurant in a hotel. The restaurant was completely full so obviously a popular place. We had a private room which at least made it easier to hear. Lunch was awkward since Zeb and I aren't exactly chatter boxes. The men all had a smoke
First while we sat at the table. We were offered the choice of a lot spicy, a little spicy or no spicy food. Zeb tried most everything.

After lunch we said our goodbyes to the ayi's and the city workers that had joined us.

Kaileis Speech

Ni Hao,
(Chinese intro of name, age and enjoyment of dancing)

I live in Parker, Colorado and go to Pine Grove Elementary School. I am going into 3rd grade. My favorite subjects are art and math. I get good grades.

I take piano lessons and go to school on Saturdays for Chinese language and Chinese dance.

I have three dogs at home. One is a shihzu, one is a terroir, and one is a peekapoo. One is named Nala, one is named Lea and one is named Kodo. They are furry and playful.

My mom is so sweet and kind. My sister is nice and beautiful and my dad is nice and fun to play games with. I live near my Grammy and Poppy and my cousins.

My trip has been great. I've had fun many times and my heart loves China.

Thank you for taking care of me. It was great. You helped me grow up and now I'm very happy.

Xui Xui


After entering the hotel room in Changsha Kailei exclaimed: "I feel so alive!"

July 13th

We headed back to Changsha this morning. I'm glad to get back to the Dolton Hotel because as Keara noted , "it wasn't an international hotel."

We have not had time to really pick up souvenirs so I was hoping we could go to a market today. Didn't happen.

The kids swam this afternoon as I ventured out with another family to Walmart. The adventure was actually in returning as all the taxi drivers waved us off. Fortunately a security guard for a private residence took pity on us and helped out. We would have been in serious trouble otherwise.

We are all looking forward to coming home tomorrow. The time has come. Guess we better pack up. See you back in Colorado.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Thought we were going to the orphanage tomorrow. Actually it is today. Yikes!

Kearas Post

Today has been a long day for everyone because we are not having the best night. Today we woke up at
about 8:00 and nearly missed breakfast. Then we went to airport and flew to Guang Zhou and stayed at the airport for nearly 3 hours. Next we flew to Hunan and I sat by myself for the first time. (I was pretty scared) When we got to Hunan we got on the bus and went to the Dolton Hotel. In our rooms there are cribs, it reminds me of when Kailei was a baby. Dinner was the best I've had here.
Got to go

Kaileis Post

I am feeling so EXCITED! It is so fun. I am typing in a crib. :) :o :()!
Smile Ahh love

A Letter

Dear Mother China,
Here we are. We have traveled far to bring our daughter back to the place she came from. We are excited and nervous and grateful.

Eight years ago you decided for whatever reason that you could not provide for the child you gave birth to. Eight years ago we knew that your child belonged with us. And we promised to love her and care for her and cherish her. We are grateful more than you ever know for she has brought us countless smiles and a love that completed our family.

Dear Mother China, we ask that you continue to bless us and provide us with the knowledge and understanding that will fill our daughter's heart with a love like no other. And while her roots may be in China, her home is with us and we thank you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Changsha, Hunan

Leaving on a jet plane today to Changsha. It is really hard to say goodbye to Nacha. Funny how in such a short time, some people can find a place in our hearts.

We spent the day traveling so it has been a long day. Not sure why traveling takes it out of you so much.

They had a big welcome sign hanging at the Dolton hotel when we arrived. They are excited to have the girls returning. I love the slogan that has been used this whole trip.."Home in World, Roots in China."

We were welcomed by the Director for Adoptions here. She used to be the registrar so it is very likely she helped us with our adoption.

Today is a very sentimental day for us as it was on July 11th 7 years ago that they put Yang Qiong Xui in my arms. Today is our gotcha day and how lucky we are to be here in Changsha to celebrate it.


Todays adventure began with a cooking class. I'm not exactly sure where we were but it was along the river. It was supposes to be for just the kids but they had leftover spots so I tried my hand at it and Zeb was Kailei's official helper.

We made egg dumplings, steamed chicken and mushrooms, green vegetables with garlic and stir fried pork with vegetables. Keara did the beat job. Kailei gave up after a while - just more interested in the river. And me...well, I tried. We ate what we cooked for lunch. The egg dumplings and stir fry was awesome and I will be making it at home.

We had a little more time to shop before leaving town and heading back to Guilin.

In Guilin we visited the South China Pearl Museum (technically a store). We were given a little informative talk about pearls and then were treated to a pearl fashion show - both funny and corny. We did continue supporting the Chinese economy with our purchase.

On our way back to the hotel, Nacha, our coordinator since the beginning, gave a very heartfelt speech to say goodbye as many of us go our separate ways tomorrow.

We said goodbye to Sam as well. I think Zeb will miss him most.

Hard to believe we are already at this point in the trip. It went so fast. Dinner was wonderful as usual.

Tomorrow we leave for Hunan. Kailei is very excited. We will stay the night in Changsha.

Monday, July 9, 2012

To Sam

Hey Sam, missing you in China. Hope you are having a great time in Parker. It's not as much fun without you. Wish you were here.

Keara Lost A Tooth

Wonder if the tooth fairy will bring yuan instead of dollars?


Spent the morning cruising up the Li River. We were traveling from Guilin to Yangshou. The views were spectacular. Their mountains are very different then ours. Not quite as large, made of limestone and often very narrow they are stills sight to be seen. the river is full of tourists but that doesn't seem to bother the water buffalo and the locals that live on the water.

Our guide is Sam and he is quite a character. Full of stories. Zeb keeps wanting to video tape them because you just never know what will come out of his mouth.

Anyway, we had lunch on the boat so we were ready to go once we arrived in Yangshou. Such a pretty place but sooooo humid here today. We took a golf cart to our hotel and the kids decided to go swimming. I decided instead to do some more shopping. Really there has bee little time to do it. Not sure what I'm looking for but it is fun to browse. I went up and down the market street, melting while I went.

We gathered together for dinner which was another meal fit to feed 20 people instead of the 10 at our table.

We then headed out to see another show called "Impresive Liu Sanjie". And impressive it was!it was held outside on the water with the mountains lit in the background. There are 700 performers and the show was directed by the same man that did the opening show at the Beijing Olympics. It was bloody hot but I would not have missed it for anything.

Everyone is doing well though Keara is very tired and we can't seem to figure out if is because she is fighting an infection or her medicine or what.

Only one more day and we head to Hunan. Hard to believe. It has gone incredibly fast.

Life is good ... just humid and hot.

My trip in China by Kailei

I am having a great time! My favorite were the terra cotta warriors! I love it here! My second favorite is the silk Factory. In Yangshuo we went swimming in Yangshuo! It was awesome! I love the great wall of china in Beijing. We are going to and back to i will talk about it later. We miss you so much.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guilin Day 1

Loving today as it is very low key. Slept in this morning which was much needed.

Went to one of the local famous restaurant where we once again had a feast. Keara and I were happy since there was some corn we could eat.
Kailei and Zeb are more adventurous. Zeb is the official taste tester and let's me know if us know if we would like it.

Next we headed to a local art museum where the kids did a little painting. We also received a painting demonstration by a very famous artist around here.

Our last stops for the day included Elephant Hill and to see the only existing pagodas made of metal.

Still with more hours then we have ever had free, we went back the hotel for some pool time. Th kids were thrilled and so were we. Jeanne and I visited the local department store whose layout I decided I like better than Park Meadows because it is based on height so you can visit numerous stores by just going up to the next floor. Didn't require a whole lot of walking.

We are on our own for dinner. I think the McDonald's is too far to walk so we are heading to KFC. Yum!

Miss everyone and miss Colorado's dry air.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Good Night Sleep

Life is good. Keara is much better.

Another Day

Today we woke up early again to continue our visit in Chendu. Our first stop was the panda reserve. Oh my gosh, was that amazing! Loved it. Beautiful park and those pandas are so darn cute! We got lucky because it rained last night which made things cooler and the pandas were out and about. We saw big ones, little ones and red ones. Some folks even forked over the $220 to take a picture with a real one. We were not those folks.

After the panda preserve, we headed to lunch. More of the same chinese dishes served to us.

Our next excursion was to a local park and tea house. I loved this too. I just think the parks in Asia are amazing.
Bobbys goal was to have us relax and that we did. We had tea to begin the afternoon, then sat around a little. Zeb got a massage and the girls got their ears cleaned. Yep, that is right - they got their ears cleaned. It is a quite a unique procedure but I thought it might help Kearas since they have been hurting and Kailies are just difficult anyway. Needless to say, Kaileis was worth every penny.

We spent some time walking about the park, eating caramelized candy, and taking part in the activities. Chinese people love the park and spend hours there just relaxing and having fun. The girls did some water painting (hard to explain) and a little karaoke. We were quite the spectacle as Americans but it sure was fun. All the girls (Kailei, Catie, and Lily) are left handed writers and some of the elderly folks did not like seeing that and wanted them to use their right hand. Hard to explain to them but fun nonetheless. I'd spend days there to if I lived in Chendu (though I would have really bad hair because the humidity is brutal).

Had dinner in another nice restaurant. I actually ate a few items (noodles, rice etc). This was are final dinner with the Trautmans as they are heading to their orphanage. We will miss them but will see them soon.

On the bus ride to the airport this evening Bobby said his goodbyes but Nacha also convinced to share a story with us. He really is a wonderful guide and has been acknowledged by the chinese government as a hero. He was was on tour with some British tourists when the big earthquake happened a few years ago. They were traveling via bus back to Chendu in a mountainous area when it hit and with some very quick and selfless thinking on his part, he saved many peoples lives. They had to walk together over 10 hours to town but with his encouragement they did it. Bobby walked an additional 2 hours and talked with over 100 bus drivers trying to get one to pick up the tourists he had left. He was truly a hero to everyone.

We will miss Bobby. Kailei grew especially attached to him and he was more than kind in all that he did for us. Yep, I'm a fan of Chendu and now of Bobby.

We are now on an evening flight on our way to Guilan. Best thing is that we have nothing scheduled in the morning so we can sleep.

Tune in later.


Yet another place to love in China. It's a little like New York but the pace is like Walsh, CO. Our guide is Bobby and he has a wonderful reputation. He says there are three things to remember about Chendu...pandas, spicy food, and friendly people.

When we arrived we went to the hotel which was pretty fancy. As we traveled through the city, I kept my eye out for a Mcdonalds. We had an hour before we had to meet back down in the lobby for dinner and since Keara and I haven't ate much of substance, we took the opportunity to run to Mcdonalds. Downing a hamburger and fries and chicken nuggets for Keara I felt like we had our first real meal. :)

A dinner sichuan style was then served. Zeb is adventureouse and most of the kids are as well so they filled their stomachs.

Next we headed out to see a Chinese Opera. It was held outside and they served tea. The show was more variety in style with music, opera, puppetry, and mask changing. The hand puppets and the mask changing were pretty darn cool. You could also get a massage during the event and they used these interesting tea kettles whith very long spouts to replenish the water in the tea cups.

Keara has still been running a fever and kept complaining about her ears so it was obvious she wasn't getting better. We decided we needed to see a doctor. Both Nacha and Bobby went out of their way to help us. Bobby called ahead to see if he could get a doctor. Nacha preferred we didn't have to go to the hospital because she said that it would be very different for us. When got to the hotel, the doctor was not available and I explained that we could use some amoxicillian as I suspected strep. Apparently a prescription for this is not needed (which I doubted for a short time). Bobby got the Asst. Manager for the hotel to allow the bellboy to make a run to the pharmacy. Sure enough he showed up at our door with the medicine. Who would have thunk? We did have some other medicine but it was said to conflict with the one she was already on. Anyway, she has been taking it and feeling better as the time passes.

July 6th?

It was an early start but sooooo worth it. We went to the wall that surrounds Xian and got to bike around it. The wall is over 600 years and it was just awesome to be up there so early and toodle around. I loved looking over the wall to see the many events taking place around the city...morning exercises, farmers markets etc.. Keara rode a tandem bike with Zeb as she still isn't feeling well. Kailei rode a bike that was too big for her an took a couple of dives which added a little drama. That said, this was by far my favorite thing to do but I love Xian in general.

After the ride we headed to a terra cotta pottery center where we learned the process of making some of the more genuine replicas. The girls got to actually make some (not to keep but ready to fire. It was an interesting process. And for that hard to shop for person, know that you can have a terra cotta soldier made with your loved ones face.

Our time in Xian came to an end as we headed for the airport. I'm still feeding Keara tylenol and I'll let you know that I've pretty much lived on what I eat for breakfast and ice cream. What I would give for a McDonald's right now!

We are headed to Chendu. Will write later.

July 5th cont.

So we arrived late but our guide Richard decided that we could still go see the terra cotta warriors. In the mean time, Keara is up an down with a fever but doesnt want to miss anything.

After about an hours drive we arrived and it was hot. For some reason I was thinking there would be AC where the warriors are but I was wrong. Despite the heat, this museum never fails to impress.. They continue to discover more and more. We visited a few of the pits. It was hard to tear Zeb away. I knew this would be a favorite for him.
The location and museum are just beautiful, not to mention how fascinating the warriors are.

The last time I was here I mentioned the farmer that made the initial discovery spends some time here signing autographs. The girls wanted a coffee table book so we bought one and had him sign it. I'm not sure how much longer he is for this earth but we now have his signature. :)

Bought the girls ice cream which was my mistake and set events spinning. Kailei dropped her ice cream and boy did she lose it. Her "only fun was getting that ice cream and I just ruined it for her." I was the "worst mom ever". Nothing I tried calmed her down so I sent in reinforcements as she was sitting in a corner and the group was moving on. He managed to get her on track via the method of distraction instead of rationalization (obviously my mistake). It took him a while to find the group but he caught up and all was well. We then sat down while Zeb went to look at the chariot room. I've already seen it so I really just wanted to enjoy the environment.

At this point we were pretty pooped but the schedule continues on.

We were supposed to have a dumpling dinner and show but because we were late there was no time and we headed was 8pm at this point. The show was colorful and thankfully short (1 hr). Keara couldn't stay up any more and curled up on the floor. I would have taken her to our room but we didn't have those assignments yet. Kailei just loved it. Not sure where she got the energy to be up but she did.

So after the show we were finally going to get to eat. I decided instead to take Keara to our room so I hunted down our guide and got the key. Problem was we had no luggage as the hotel lobby was packed with luggage as we came in and there was no room for ours. We were on the 14th floor so I headed back down and was on a mission to find it. In the parking lot they had unloaded some busses so I found my luggage and had a bellboy bring it up. In thte meantime Kailei and Zeb were eating dumplings and I was going back and forth reporting on the happenings as they were going to be in a separate room.

When things were finally settled, I opened the door and Keara had crashed. I was right behind her and we didn't wake up until 5:00am this morning.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 4th

What a day! I'm having to write as I sit on the plane. Today is actually the 5th but I wanted to recap yesterday.

A great breakfast in the hotel and then we were off to CCWA (Children's Center for Welfare and Adoption). This is where all the paperwork and placement of children takes place. It was very special to see all the files of children in the process of being adopted. Process and procedures were discussed but I was most enamored with the huge sign as you walk in: Everything for the Children.

After visiting the offices, we went up to the 17th floor where they had prepared a cultural lesson for the children.
They watched cute but somewhat in your face videos about the China. Then the led the students in some calligraphy, and some paper cutting. They also presented the children with a nice papercut book. At this point it started to go downhill. Keara was not feeling well and I made a error in judgement with Kailei and she got very angry. We had to remove her from the session and she missed a significant portion because she just could not calm down. Keara was getting very clingy because she started feeling worse and worse.

I was happy to leave CCWA and move into lunch with was a ton of food yet again with the specialty provided being peking duck. They had some yummy vegetables so Keara and I were happy. We were there longer than we needed to be and just when I was in the bathroom they served the duck and cake so I missed both. Naturally I was more unhappy missing the cake.

Kailei finally befriended another little girl on the bus named Grace which was nice. They exchanged information including house and roof color.

Next was the big event at the Hall of the People. We all received special invitations and then headed into the building. Unfortunately we were not permitted to bring cameras which was the biggest bummer. It was a beautiful building. All 400 of us were put in place for a group picture. Some of the short children got to be on the carpet and surrounding the dignitaries. All of the MWCC kids got to be down there as well as Grace. Keara was almost dead center and adults were placed on top of the risers. I was a little claustrophobic and had to straddle an a gap in the riser. I was just hoping I would not faint from the heat of the lights. So Minister Li who is charge of International Adoption came and spoke. Keara actually got to shake his hand. There were a ton of cameras and news crews. I loved when the very formal lady told us to "prepare our smiles." As I looked down at my daughter she was sprawled out on the carpet lying down despite the fact I told her how special this event was, she was slowly making her way out in front along with Grace. Then little Matthew had to go to the bathroom in the middle of this event so some stranger had to help him since we parents could not move a muscle. Then Catie started crying during the event because she said her brother was poking her. It was just special as you can imagine. Anyway, the American Embassy also had a representative there who also shared some special words for all of us. Ironic that this multicultural event happened on the fourth of July. The children were all presented with a stuffed panda bear which was a big hit. We will also receive a copy of the group shot. I forgot to mention that Lily Ni from CCAI was also present for this event. Such a classy lady.

I was hoping that was the end of the day but we made another stop at the silk factory where we learned the process of making many beautiful items. I went to a silk factory last time I was in China and regretted not picking up a silk comforter so I didnt pass it up this time. Kailei had money burning in her pocket so she bought a calligraphy stone and brush. Keara was getting worse and worse as we spent time here so we were happy to be heading home after this stop.

Of course, it takes forever to get anywhere in China and somewhere between the silk factory and hotel I got very sick myself. Very nautious and got a migraine. I was so looking forward to having something other than Chinese food that night but both Keara and I went straight to our room. I'm not to sure what happened but I woke up around 10pm still sick.

Zeb made his way out to find some pizza (which we later discovered could have been ordered from room service). He told me by the time he got back Kailei had already fallen asleep. I thought maybe I needed to try and have something in my stomach so I sent Zeb out for a chocolate shake. He came back and I just couldn't stomach how it was made so I sent asked him if he could return and bring me back some a small scoop of ice cream. He is always such a great caretaker when anyone is sick. Dropping into bed himself we slept a few more hours until Keara came in with a horrible fever, chills and feeling just plain miserable. This proceeded to wake up Kailei who was just interested in having dinner at 2:00am in the morning. We were very worried about Keara and spent some time discussing our plan of action since we were supposed to fly out to Xian in the morning. There was no way she was going to make a plane ride feeling like she was. Kailei was wired and yaking up a storm. I actually started to feel better so I wasn't worried about me. Anyway, we fell asleep and just decided to deal with in the morning.

5:30am came early but Zeb and I still needed to pack. Kailei woke up ready to go. Keara woke up slowly. We gave her some Tylenol and she said she was feeling better. She did not remotely like the idea of staying back and insisted she was fine. She looked a little better which I think was a result of the medicine. We decided to chance it.

The Morning After

It is now the next morning. At 6:30 when we went out for breakfast, we were told that the plane had been delayed. Lucky for us we had not checked out so we could spend a little more time in the room. Sucked that we didn't get to sleep a little later.

Ninety minutes later we left for the airport. Our guide Claire gave quite a heartfelt goodbye so next thing I know I was crying. She was so very genuine in all that she said and I won't forget it.

Got to the airport. Keara's medicine has worn off and now she feels horrible again. Tried to convince her to stay but she just got more upset at the thought of it. Gave her another tylenol. She perked up a little so we just hope to stay ahead of her fever with medicine.

Got on the plane and sat. Apparently a lot of traffic. Not sure how the day is going to go. We leave for Chendu tomorrow afternoon. We are supposed to see the terra cota warriors and attend a show I think. I'll update you later.

Not exactly the trip I had pictured in my mind but it sure will be hard to forget.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sick and Tired

Literally. Will post more later.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3rd

Up bright and early this morning. It came way too soon, especially since Kailei woke up at 2:30 in the morning and was wired. Zeb took her and walked her around the hotel waiting for the melatonin to kick in.

Breakfast was a madhouse but we managed to gulp something down prior to our orientation meeting. I'm not sure if it was much of a meeting but we did get some gifts and met our group guides.

By 8am we wwere off . Our first stop was a jade factory. Who knew there was so much to know about jade? Anyway, Keara spent her entire wad of money here on a bracelet and dragon necklace and was quite happy with her purchases.l Kailei got a jade bracelet as well. I didn't manage to get much shopping done since I was helping the girls. I'm sure there will be other chances.

After the jade factory we headed to the Great Wall. You simply can't imagine being there. It is just amazing. That said, it was hot...VERY HOT. I really wanted to walk more than I did but between the heat and it being past lunch I felt a little qweezy. The girls hung with me as Zeb hiked up to one of the towers. We sat in the shade drinking room temperature water with one of the most awesome views ever.

After our visit to the wall, we headed to a cloisanne factory learning the process of how it all get made and then eating lunch at the restaurant upstairs. Keara and I aren't huge fans of the food so we are thankful for rice. We are never sure exactly what we are eating but a disposal plate seems to appear when the girls find items that they don't like.

At one point Kailei said,, " I think I just burped up tofu."

Tiananmen square was our next visit. Kaieli had a HUG meltdown along he way. I wasn't sure if she would be able to join us but she crashed and fell asleep. We had to borrow the Peterson's stroller because she is heavy and after walking quite a bit, she was getting too heavy for Zeb. We took a picture there and she was sleeping but at least she was in the group shot.

After the square was a rickshaw ride through the Hutong. Everyone really enjoyed that. We were by a lake and it really gave us a peak into the night life. There were tons of bars with velvet couches on the patios and live singers in every one of them.

We rode to a local family's home and enjoyed a home cooked meal.

We were really beat at this point and I had to work hard to keep Kailei awake on the bus. Zeb and Keara crashed but I could only deal with one of them. After we returned to the hotel, Keara and I had some more Baskin Robbins ice cream and I blogged as much as I could before falling asleep.

We all slept great and I'm finishing this while eating breakfast. Im sure we have another big day ahead of us but Keara and I are looking forward to having dinner on our own and not eating Chinese. :)

Our friends the Peterson's and Trautmans are doing well for the most part. Beth is pretty motion sick and that has had its typical side effects. Our guides are very nice. Claire is the main gal, Leo is from CCWA and then we have Nacha (she majored in spanish so has a spanish name).

Gotta run. TTFN