Sunday, May 6, 2012

We Are in Guangzhou

Woohoo....we made it to Guangzhou on Friday and we are taking care of
the final steps in Maggie Mei's adoption. The purpose of this trip is
to obtain her USA Visa which will allow her to come to America. Our
Internet in the hotel isn't working reliably so my optimistic plans of
posting to the blog each day have been shot. I'm trying to publish
this post via email from my phone....we will see if it works. For
now.....we are having fun and I'll have lots of pictures to post
later. We've tried to take shots of Maggie Mei in the same places we
took of Xan almost 6 years ago. That's been fun and nostaligic both.
Lots of sweet memories being recalled and many more being made.

~Chat with ya later

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Gotcha Day MM

Today we celebrated Maggie Mei's Gotcha Day......can't believe it's been a year since this little bundle of giggles and smiles joined our family.  While the world watched Kate and the Prince William get married last year we watched God grow our family.  April 29 will always be an incredibly special day for us.

That special, special day a year ago.

Today......celebrating our family of four!  

"Leave the whole thing to HIM, it is gloriously uncertain how HE will come in, but HE will come."
Oswald Chambers, My Untmost for His Highest (April 29)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lessons by Laoshi Xan #2

Here is our next installment of Lessons by Laoshi Xan.  She will introduce you to the fine art of tones used here in the Chinese language.  When the words are written using Pinyin (versus characters) there are markings placed over sounds that dictate not only the way you pronouce the word but also the meaning.
Tone is a very important and difficult aspect of learning Chinese.  Many characters have the same spelling in Pinyin but have different tones, therefore different meanings.  There are four tones and one neutral tone in Chinese.

Here is an example of how one word can have different meanings depending on which tone is used.  

Chat with ya later-

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adoption Trip

WARNING:  Excessive Photos in this Post

I wanted to share the photos that we took while we were in Nanjing finalizing the adoption.  I knew if I took the time to go through them and pick out only a few I'd miss a moment that was special so.....please enjoy a snapshot or two (or 46) of our special time growing our family.

Funny note about this first one.....we were waiting to board our train to Nanjing and asked a local girl to take our picture.  Ironically....she cut Maggie Mei out of the picture.  She apparently had no idea the significance of that cute little baby girl we were toting around.  haha

Being spoiled by Dong Mei.

These two have a severe adoration for each other.

So do these two. :-)

Maggie Mei LOVES bananas!

The hotel had a large fish pond and MM loved hanging out there.

Xan took many pictures this trip and this was one of them.

She also took this one and it's a little blurry but I love that it's me and my dear friend together....I don't know that I have another picture of just the two of us.

In true "hotel" fashion...I was charged almost $6 for this tiny glass of milk.  I then had to warm it in a sink full of hot water for the babies night-night bottle.  

Best Baba in the world!

We were trying to teach her to use a straw but she much preferred using her hands

Stan was making things happen.

I, on the other hand, was not.

This was Dong Mei doing her Chinese numbers for Maggie.

One of many self portraits I found on the camera.

I also found a whole lot of her cute little sister.

This was the guide that was helping us from our adoption agency. She met us in Nanjing and walked us through all the govt appointments and paperwork.

Jiangsu Registraion Service Center- aka Civil Affairs Office
(where it all went down)

We watched this gotcha moment and it was beautiful.  This little one is from the same orphanage as MM and his family is from Spain.  They were so overjoyed and he was a sweet little angel.

Here he is again....making things happen.  I can't begin to tell you what a rock he has been for me during this process that was trying at best.  I respect him so very much and still can't believe I am his and he is mine.  

We tried a couple of times to get one with the representative from the o and everyone looking in the same direction....she is so sweet and we were thrilled to have a photo with someone tied to MM's story. least you can see the baby's face.  

We went sightseeing near our hotel that evening and this sight just made me smile.  The colors were so vibrant and the guy on the right was snoozing away while the guy on the right was getting a kick out of the foreign white chick taking their picture in the rain. 

This is another one that Xan took and I love it!  The colors are just awesome.  Good job Xan!!

Playing in the hotel play area after breakfast on Day 2.

Seriously.....could that little bubble bum be any cuter.  

She is walking great but still works a few seconds to get balanced.

It was official and done.  Emotions overtook me in the office as tear streamed down my cheeks but I pulled it together for some photos right after it was signed, sealed and delivered.

I love this one too.....and all that it represents.  Maybe I should give the camera to Xan all the time.  

It's certainly not Maggie Mei's cutest picture but she LOVES getting her ears cleaned and this is the face she makes.  She gets limp and so relaxed.  (and check out those arm rolls)  

self portrait #247

A bit more sightseeing before we head back home.  She adores her Baba and he's 
pretty smitten with her too.  

We stepped off the elevator at our apartment to find this lovely surprise.  I'm amazed at the tangible ways our friends have loved on us here.  This was a great ending to an amazing trip.  

"Welcome Home Everitt family of Four" 

They even got both was so fun.

Yes indeed....this is the forever home of Miss Maggie Mei Everitt.

Chat with ya later-

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's Official!

   It's official.....she's an Everitt! This picture was taken just a few minutes ago after we left the Civil Affairs office where we completed Maggie Mei's adoption.  The certificate Xan is holding proves that she is ours and we are hers.  woohoo!!

We arrived in Nanjing on Sunday night and had an appointment yesterday at the Civil Affairs office to begin the completion. Here is a snapshot from yesterday. Dong Mei came with us and she was just as happy as we were. It was a very cool time because we were present when 9 other families received their children. I walked into the office and was crying within 2 minutes. Such a beautiful day and I'm so thankful we got to witness those moments for those families.

We have two very happy girls and Stan and I are overwhelmed by just how good God has been and continues to be to us.  We could have never imagined how going through this process for a second time would grow our faith in such amazing ways.  We are blessed indeed.

Thank you for loving and praying us through this journey.  We will travel to the US Consulate in Guangzhou soon to receive Maggie's US Visa (allowing her to come to the US) and then we will be bringing her home to meet our very anxious families and friends.  We are so excited to introduce her to you.....I think you'll like her.

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.' Yes the LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:2-3

Chat with ya later-

Sunday, April 1, 2012

No Frills Friday (well actually it's Sunday)

Here is another installment of the No Frills / Just the Facts wrap up of our week here.

Sat 3/24 - Taught English lesson in the morning and then decided to spend some time outside b/c it was so pretty.  We've been really ready for some spring time weather and it finally has arrived.

Sun 3/25 - Happy Birthday to NANA!  (Stan's Mom)  After church we had lunch with friends at an outdoor cafe and it was so warm and sunny.  I had dressed the girls in matching winter dresses we had just received and they were a bit on the warm side (although incredibly cute) but we all had a great time getting out and being with friends.  Sunday nights are usually pretty casual around here (ie--popcorn for dinner if you're lucky).

Monday 3/26 - Bible Study was cancelled b/c of many sick kiddos (thankfully not mine this time) and  spent the better part of the afternoon cleaning out my closet.  My wardrobe is waaaayyyyy slimmed down now but it felt good to get rid of all those things that I "kind of" still liked or that I've had for 3 years waiting to be altered, etc.  Stan finished reading a book that had been recommended to us and he said it was really, really good.  I plan to read it soon as soon as I get through the 47 books that I'm using for homeschool research.

Tuesday 3/27 - My dear, dear friend Danielle had her 3rd baby (it was actually 3/26 in the US for I have it on my calendar for today)  Claire Nicole....I can not wait to hold you!  Just a day of grocery shopping here....nothing too exciting and after school took Xan to have the picture printed that she wanted to put in her locket.  She insisted that it be her cousin Caed.  He's having his 7th surgery in 4 years this coming Friday so your prayers are certainly appreciated.  He is a very special little boy that belongs to an amazingly strong family .(Stan's sister is his momma).    God has an incredible plan for him and to watch it unfold is very difficult at times but we also get to see the huge blessings up close and personal too!

Wed 3/28 - Happy Birthday to my friend Julie.  I have a wonderful group of friends that live here in the same compound we do and both Julie and our friend Kim had birthdays this month.  I had them for lunch and served these totally girly sandwiches with at warm tomato salad and these wonderful (actually healthy) chocolate waffles for dessert.  I highly recommend both of these recipes......they turned out delish!

Thurs 3/29 - Baking day.....only 6 pans this week and some granola. The international schools are on Spring Break so a large portion of  my "target audience" is gone on vacation.  I also went to discuss doing an English story hour at a local Chinese Children's Bookstore.  I'm still not certain how they got my name but I received a random text asking me to meet with them about doing this and it went well.  They sell a small selection of English books so it was nice to find them and make the connection.  I'll let you know if it actually develops into anything.

Fri 3/30 - Delivery day and then playdate and lunch at my friend's house.  Xan had a field trip this morning to a local museum and she enjoyed that.  Her favorite part was seeing the elephant tusks that had been carved.  The girls and I were all kind of fighting a minor cold so our entire family was in the bed by 8:30.  Stan had started Hank Haney's new book so he took advantage of the quiet and got some good reading time in.

Well.....that's it for another exciting week.

Chat with ya later~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lessons by Laoshi Xan

I often get questions about Xan's school and I thought we might start sharing a bit about what she is currently or has learned.  She attends a bilingual kindergarten and her teacher is Chinese.  She also has a part time teacher that comes into the room 1-2 times per day that speaks and teaches English.  She attended this school last year as well and we have been so impressed by the Mandarin (official language of China) that she has learned.  Here are a few facts about the Chinese language: (Source: Chinese
-Mandarin is the most widely spoken form of Chinese
-Chinese language has more native speakers than any other language
-Chinese language (Mandarin Chinese) is 1 of the 6 official languages used by the United Nations
-Chinese language is written with symbols.  These symbols are called characters.  Chinese characters represent the oldest writing system in the world.  
-There are over 100,000 characters.
-Chinese language does not have alphabets.  Pinyin is a system developed to write Mandarin Chinese using the Roman Alphabet
-The most difficult part when studying Chinese language is getting your tones right and learning how to read and write Chinese characters.

Xan has been spending a lot of time this year working on learning Pinyin.  For example the following characters mean teacher
but when you read it in pinyin it looks like
and it is pronounced "lousher".  

Xan's Chinese teacher is Laoshi Lily and her English teacher is JoJo.  Hence the name of this post, Lessons by Laoshi Xan (Teacher Xan).  Xan's class is working on memorizing all the many "sounds of pinyin" which is a building block to learning to speak and read it fluently.  This is similar to us learning our vowels and consonants and how they sound.  It can be very confusing....for example the "x" in English is pronounced using the "zzz" sound  as in Alexandria or the "cks" sound as in ax.  However, when you see the "x" in pinyin it is pronounced with the "sh" sound.  For this reason many chinese people think that Xan's name is pronounced Shan.  

Tones are a whole other part of the language and we'll save that for another post.  For now, please watch as Laoshi Xan introduces herself, states that she goes to school and what they have been learning.  She then recites the sounds of pinyin.  

Stay tuned for more Lessons by Laoshi Xan.
Chat with ya later-