March 31, 2008

Medical Exam Day.....

This morning we went down to the fabulous breakfast buffet at the White Swan. I am feeling much better today after 12 hours sleep last night. Paul did a great job being a "single dad" while I was feeling bad.

Another new day means another new outfit. Mom comes to our room every morning to take a picture of the "outfit of the day". I think Avery is getting very used to having her picture taken.

After breakfast we walked around the hotel a little bit and took some pictures.
Today's family picture!!

Avery and grandma (who she already has wrapped around her finger!)

Her daddy is really good at making her laugh!

Later in the morning Paul and I went with the other parents for the children's medical exam. This exam is a US requirement. There were 3 different stations that we had to pass through. Avery was a trooper and didn't fuss at all.

Avery weighed in at a whopping 18.4 lbs and is 28.7 inches long!!

Checking out her ears!!

Measuring her head.

The doctor thanking her for being a good patient!!

We did a little shopping today and spent the afternoon in our room. We are about to get ready for a group dinner and to take the famous red couch photos.

Only 3 more sleeps until we head home!!!!!

Thanks for checking in!!!

March 30, 2008

Mommy's not feeling so hot today....

so no long post just a few pictures. After all, that's really why you visit, right?

Avery is ready to start the day!!

Chillin' out in the stroller. She likes the stroller as long as it is in motion.

Avery gives grandma the "evil eye" for taking her picture why she is drinking her juice. Aunt Kathy bought her the bracelet she is wearing. It is too cute!!

Modeling one of her new dresses!

We did make time for a little shoe shopping. A girl can never have too many shoes right?

Grandma digging in the piles and piles of shoes looking for the perfect pair.

Thanks for checking in, hopefully I will feel a little better and give you a better post tomorrow!

March 29, 2008

Throw-down....China style

We will get to the blog title in just a moment.

This morning we got up and about, and finished packing up to leave Nanjing. It was kind of bittersweet because even though we are ready to head home, we are also leaving Avery's home province as well as our wonderful guide Grace.

Our newly expanded family with Grace, our guide for the Nanjing part of the trip. She was great and we really appreciate all she did for us!

Now on to the title......getting to the airport getting, checking in and boarding the plane was no big deal. None of us had security issues this time so we thought it was smooth sailing. After we all got seated on the plane we heard a little commotion in the seats directly behind Paul, mom, and I (Kathy was across the aisle)basically it just sounded like two women arguing. Since they were only speaking Mandarin we had no clue what was actually happening. At one point they became very loud and one of the ladies started hitting the back of my seat. The flight crew quickly stepped in and seemed to diffuse the situation (so we thought). Fast forward about 5 minutes and the very loud arguing started again. This time when I glanced back I saw arms flailing. That's right was a girl slap fight directly behind us. I was feeding Avery and when all this happened my mommy mode kicked in and I just bent down covering her, Paul leaned over covering both of us, mom was just trying to stay out of the way, and Kathy jumped up to stand in the aisle and make sure the punches didn't come anywhere near us. The crew again quickly descended on the area and broke up the fight and actually took one of the women away to a different area of the plane. We still don't know exactly what the problem was, but it was definitely another crazy memory in this trip. Incidentally, does this crazy stuff happen to everyone or am I just the only one who blogs about it?

Avery did fabulous on her first flight. She did not sleep at all, but she was happy, smiling, entertaining everyone around us.
Happy girl enjoying her first flight!

She spent part of the flight enjoying Paul's Golf Digest.

Still hard to believe WE ARE PARENTS!!!!!

Couldn't you just smother those cheeks with kisses?

We made it to Guangzhou!!!

We checked in to the White Swan Hotel. It is beautiful. We are officially settled in our last hotel before heading home. We spent just a little time tonight exploring Shamian Island and managed to go into a couple of shops. There are tons of stores around our hotel. Between me, mom, and Kathy we are definitely going to be doing some damage here!!

Thanks so much for everyone that is following our trip. We are so blessed to be thought about by so many!! We love reading all the comments so keep 'em coming!!!

March 28, 2008

A mellow day in China....

This morning we ventured out to what we thought was a local temple, but actually it was a shopping district with a few temple gardens. Mom called it China's version of Canton (for all you Texas folks). We had a good time browsing around and picked up a few good deals. After our little shopping expedition we came back to the hotel to hang out and started packing to leave Nanjing tomorrow morning. We are going out to a group dinner tonight for Korean BBQ and to celebrate Piper's Birthday. She will turn 5 on March 30th and everyone wanted our guide Grace to be able to celebrate with us.

Since there has not been a whole lot go on today I will do a little Avery Q&A. I have received several comments and emails asking questions about her so I will try to get to all of them in this forum:

Before we begin let me show you how adorable she looks today!
Yes, baby girl, you were definitely worth the wait!!!

How are you and Paul adjusting to being parents?Well, we definitely still fall under the "learning curve" but we think we have done pretty good so far. We have had her for 4 1/2 days and we haven't broken her yet!! Incidentally I was thinking about significant dates today just realized that Paul and I met on March 24, 1989. Avery day was March 24, 2008. Exactly 19 years after the day we met we became parents!!!

How many layers was Avery wearing on Gotcha Day?These are the clothes we took off of her shortly after we got back to the hotel. She had 2 pairs of pants, a shirt, a sweater, a jacket, and socks and shoes. The inner layer of pants are split pants and the outer pants were meant to be but had obviously been sewn shut.

Have you purchased any traditional Chinese dresses yet?As a matter of fact she has 3 so far. We are buying in a variety of sizes so that she can grown into them. We plan on doing alot more shopping in Guangzhou when we are not so restricted on our luggage.

What size is Avery wearing?
She fits perfectly into a 9 month but we don't think it will last very long. We brought a variety of 9 and 12 month sizes with us and the 12 months are just a tad big.

What is Avery eating?
The orphanage director told us she took 6 bottles a day with formula and rice cereal as well as steamed eggs. Well, let me tell you: this girl will eat!! So far we have given her small amounts of scrambled and poached eggs, noodles, rice, ice cream, baby food, bananas, yogurt, and cheerios. The yogurt and cheerios are the only things that she has rejected so far.

Is she a good sleeper?
She is....she continues to sleep with her arms up and her legs out like this. We still believe it is because she is used to being in so many layers that she doesn't realize she can freely move.

Did you really buy her Crocs?
We sure did!! Paul and I both love our Croc shoes and when we saw a Croc store here in China we had to check it out. Daddy bought Avery and Mommy matching Mickey Mouse crocs and Aunt Kathy bought Avery the purple pair. Right now both pairs are a little big but she will grow into them before we know it.

Are mealtimes different now?
That's a definite yes. I can now hold Avery and feed her with one hand and eat with chopsticks with the other. Fortunately Paul eats fast so he relieves me pretty quickly. Oh the joys of motherhood!!

That's about it for today. We leave the hotel at 8:15 tomorrow morning to travel to our final destination in China. There we will complete the American portion of the adoption and then we can head home!!!

Thanks for checking in on us!!!!

March 27, 2008

Now we know how celebrities must feel....

Today we ventured out to the Nanjing City Museum. What started out as a nice easy-going museum visit soon turned to chaos! All of the sudden our group WAS the exhibit. We went through the first few exhibition halls admiring the jade statues, intricate carvings, etc. After we had been at the museum about 30 minutes a ton of school kids showed up (probably over 100 in all) and they surrounded us!! They wanted to practice their English, they wanted to take our pictures, they wanted to take pictures with us, they wanted to just listen to us talk, they followed us everywhere!! I have to admit at first it was kind of cute but after we had a hard time even moving (much less looking at the exhibits) it became kind of annoying. Believe me when I say it was CHAOS!!! They were all really nice mannered but I guess I never realized how excited they would be to see Americans. After we figured out that this was not going to get better we wound up leaving. Some of the students even followed us to our bus. We didn't get many good pictures of the experience but believe me none of us will need to see pictures to remember it.

Piper was in her element. She had a whole group of kids mesmerized under a staircase speaking Mandarin to them.

The Downing's take a family portrait with one of the students. If you look closely in the background you can see several of the students surrounding them. At one point Paul had a camera about 3 inches from his face! We are used to getting stares when we walk down the street but not this!

The kids following us to the bus!

After we returned to the hotel and recovered from our paparazzi experience we headed out to lunch. We all felt like we needed some "comfort food" so we went to "Tacos World Cuisine" located across the street from our hotel. Their specialty: Mexican Food. Yes, we found Mexican food in China!!!!!!!

Fajitas, tacos, Margaritas.....they had it all!

Kathy, Mary, and I all chose the chicken fajitas. They were delicious!!!!

After lunch Paul, Mom, Avery, and I headed out to do some exploring. We wound up at a local department store and decided to check it out:

Leave it to us to find the Clearance racks in any language!!!

A funny story from today: I have become quite proficient in gesturing to communicate. At one particular store I was trying to gesture to ask the sales girls a question and after I was done (in which I thought I had done a fabulous job) she looked at me and in the clearest English you have ever heard said "WHAT??" Paul and mom said the look on my face was priceless. Needless to say she was able to help us out and I didn't have to gesture with her.

Now on to the real reason you checked the blog today: Avery pictures!!! We have seen so many changes in her in just the last 2 days. When we brought her back to the hotel Monday afternoon she would/could not sit up unassisted, roll over, or support her weight on her legs. I am so happy to say that she is now sitting up for several seconds at a time on her own, she is rolling from front to back, and she LOVES to stand (with support) and bounce herself up and down. We are amazed in the changes in her in this short period of time.

How could we not love this face????
We received her notarized documents today. We will receive her passport tomorrow and then Saturday morning we are traveling to Guangzhou to complete the American portion of the adoption.


March 26, 2008

Another day of firsts......

Today we did not have anything official planned so our group headed out to a local park. It was a wonderful morning. We loved being out in the open away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The pictures can probably tell a better story of our day than I can so I will let them do the talking.

We decided to skip the breakfast buffet at the hotel and headed over to McDonald's.

Avery first time in a high chair. By the way, she was wearing the carrier that's why she looks like there is something around her.

First time in the carrier. Someone had asked the comment "Does she smile all the time?"

Here's the proof: she definitely does have her moments!!! She did not like the carrier. Yes we tried both facing in and out and she was having neither one!

For some reason she always raises her arms up and keeps her legs out. We think it is because of the many layers they wear in the orphanage. Not alot of leeway for movement.

Mommy and Daddy mimicking the "arm up" pose!

A family portrait at the park:

The detail in the topiary was amazing.

I was a little adventurous with a snack (aren't you proud Kelley?)

However, I DO NOT recommend the green pea popsicle. Nasty!!!!

Posing in some flowers blooming in the park

Getting Avery's attention was a little hard. She was busy taking in all the sights around us!

First slide with Daddy:

The slides here are all concrete.

First amusement park ride:

Avery got to ride with Sidney (our travel companion's daughter). She seemed to enjoy this!

Right next to all the kiddie rides was an adult exercise area:

China's version of the Gazelle exercise machine.

There were also some huge balls that you would get in and then they would inflate and then send you out into a pond. I thoughts this was too cool but decided against trying it out myself.

This photo is of all the Downing kids enjoying the balls. I couldn't talk Paul into trying it out either.

There was also a bird sanctuary that we explored.

Avery slept through all this but we enjoyed the beautiful blue peacocks.

Another adult exercise area:

Maybe we need these over in Texas.

Once again Little Miss Avery was the recipient of gifts.

Grandma bought her this gorgeous hand-painted umbrella.

Our 3 generation picture:

Her personality really came out this afternoon. She was smiling, laughing, and imitating all of us.

Thanks so much for all the comments everyone is leaving. We are enjoying reading all them and so happy that so many people are thinking of us and following along on our trip. Keep 'em coming!!!!