Posting at SHINE

After almost 3 years of posting to this blog I've decided I am going to simplify my life and put all posts (for all my children!) on my "photography blog": SHINE!
I hope to see you there!

Friday, February 29, 2008


sooooooooooooooo we did it! we climbed the Great Wall - and we bought a T-shirt to prove it :) It really is incredible to see this Wall winding through the mountains many kilometres before we arrived at Badaling. After we got to our destination we stopped and saw a few bears in cave-type below the ground enclosures. We fought our way through the vendors, paid for the roller-coaster like ride to take us part way up the wall to the section we started to climb from. We got off the ride and climed to the highest section. I know you are thinking we are wimps - however, our 2 older kids (11 & 9)didn't complain very much, my 70 year old mom did not complain at all :) and my husband didn't mention the fact that he walked up very uneven, steep stone steps for about 45 minutes with a 5 year old on his shoulders. I think we were troupers! The scenery was beautiful and the fact that this wall was made so many centuries ago is pretty mind boggling. We have some amazing photos and were very blessed with beautiful weather. The sun was shining and we realized when we got to the top and got our picture taken for our "I climbed the Great Wall" certificate (did I mention it was a teensy bit commercialized?) that we did this on Leap Year! How fun.

I was most proud of my purchase of a $4 Jade bracelet that I assumed was glass - because we had just been at the Jade factory and priced the bracelets at $300 dollars and up. The guide looked at it and said it is Jade, but just not a very nice piece as it had a flaw - I was happy with the price even if it had been glass!

We had to do a Cloissone factory shop stop on the way back and it was actually very nice. We only bought a few ornaments but everything was beautiful and it was a low pressure experience so that was great. We ended the day by going to a grocery store and had a lot of fun looking at all the interesting and different food & snacks.

At the end of the day I asked the kids if they enjoyed the Great Wall and if they thought it was awesome, Jonah's answer was - "Mom it was a great day but I came to China for one purpose and that is to get my baby sister!" (did I pay him to say that? - NO!) yes we are excited to meet Tia in 2 or 3 days.

I promise I will try to post some photos soon, just google Great Wall and photoshop us in for now :)

Cheers! from Beijing - home of the "I climbed the Great Wall t-shirt"! (and the $4 Jade bracelet!)

Thanks for all your comments, I loved reading them!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hello from Beijing!

Hello from Beijing, China.

It is so thrilling to be in the beautiful busy city! We arrived safely after a fairly uneventful day of flying yesterday. The kids were great on the flight and we all enjoyed those personal entertainment centers! We did get to watch a few movies and the recorded TV with plenty of use of that rewind feature :) Go Qantas! - it was definitely a good experience all around.

We met up with my Mom once we arrived at our hotel. She is a trooper as she missed an entire night of sleep and has kept up with us and the kids all of this very busy day. Our hotel is nice, the beds are hard but the down comforters are very soft. We all slept well.

Today was action packed and very exciting! We started out with a wonderful breakfast of American bacon, eggs, sausage, croissants, fried noodles and dumplings. Everything was really good - it was a great way to start the day. Our first big sight was the Temple of Heaven. What a interesting piece of Beijing life this large park/temple is - a highlight was all the people exercising on this beautiful day. The grounds were amazing and the buildings beautiful. We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant (I guess they are all Chinese restaurants here heehee!) the food was good.

Next we headed over to the Forbidden City. This place is massive! We enjoyed walking through the grounds of the former Imperial residence. We were losing the kids interest a little so the feathered hacky sack toy Jonah bough from a vendor came in handy.

The Tea House was next up, it was fun if not just a little bit staged for the big sell. oh well, the tea was excellent. Our last event of the day was the Chinese Acrobat Show. We loved the show. It was totally incredible and amazingly the kids enjoyed every minute even at the end of a pretty action packed day. We awarded them for being such troopers with McDonald's for dinner. (I can hear you saying YUCK! and I agree but hey, if the kids aren't happy is anyone actually happy?) Matt took the kids to the huge hotel pool now. We are hoping that wears them out so they fall asleep quickly and get rested up. Tomorrow we head to the Great Wall - I am so excited to see this, I can't even believe we are here!

I'm not even going to try to load photos to this public internet - sorry :) If you want to see where we've been go to my friend Rebel's blog - she went to the same places last and did a great job posting photos.

3 more days until we meet Tia!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Last night before we leave . . . .

The bags are packed, the paperwork is ready and so is the $$, the house is clean, the plants are watered. It is 12:30 am and we are ready to go to bed - to be greeted by 10 suitcases and just the last minute . . . eat brekky, shower, put the last bits in the bags, ZIPPP . . . . . . . ., taxi arrives and we are officially on our way to CHINA! that means we are only a few days away from "Tia Time"! Stay tuned as the exciting part is only days away!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I should be doing something . . .

I should be making phone calls, cleaning the house, packing - something other than sitting here looking at the photos we have of Tia. I was reading parts of this blog and just trying to prepare myself for the reality of this precious little girl who will soon be our daughter.

I cannot believe this is really happening. In 7 days we will have survived the 8 hour flight to China. We will have already been to Beijing and stood upon The Great Wall, visited the Forbidden Palace and the Summer Palace. We will have eaten Peking Duck and exchanged American dollars for Chinese RMB,. We will have fallen in love with a country so very different from any we've been to before. To top off all these experiences we will have a new daughter.

We leave for China in 46 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Feelin' Crook, and packing too :)

I was supposed to get all the packing done today but I was not feeling well. I have had a lot of sinus drainage for the last few weeks and then yesterday and today I just felt awful. I called the Dr., got an appointment and I do have a sinus infection with a slight fever. When I went to the Pharmacy to get the antibiotics prescription filled the pharmacist was so concerned about me, he said "ye feelin' crook are ye'?" well that made me feel much better :0 How cute are those Aussie expressions? heehee.

I didn't get much of the packing done, after all I was feelin' crook :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Flights are booked . . . .

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post - it is really exciting to share our journey with each of you.

My mind is racing thinking about leaving in 13 days! Our flight to China departs at 11:50 am on February 27th and returns to Australia March 15th (Casiana's 6th birthday - can you even believe that?) at 8:30 am. We are 13 days away from China. I am truly in shock about how suddenly this wait is going very quickly!

I took Elijah to the audiologist today as recommended by his speech therapist. His hearing is great, however . . . . one of his ear tubes or grommets if you are an Aussie :) has dislodged and there is very little airflow - OUCH! that will really hurt on take off and landing! Silly me it never even occurred to me to take him to the ENT to check that! He has an appointment for Thursday week (Aus speak again . . . )and hopefully if necessary they can remove that. Please pray all works out for Elijah's ears.

Tomorrow we should have everything DONE! We are making all copies and double checking paperwork. I still need to get the scabies meds just in case Tia has them (most do at her Social Welfare Institute). and a dog sitter . . . ok there is a ton to do still but we should have everything concerning the adoption part of things done tomorrow!

Taking all the kids is definitely LESS stressful than leaving them and having them shuttled around to different homes as we did when we went to Ukraine and adopted Elijah. It is going to be so great to have our kids there to be a part of Tia's adoption into our family.

Please be praying for Tia's transition - the kids have been warned that all may not be rosy - but it is hard for them to grasp that. They know how long we have waited and prayed for our little Princess but she has had no idea of the changes that are coming (we've been practising using our quiet voices - HAH!) she may not actually like us disrupting her world! (until she gets to know us ?)

Thanks for sharing our journey and praying for us,

Elijah the day we met him - 19 months.

Tia age 18 months.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I'd love to hear from you!

Hi Blogger Buddies,

I noticed I don't get many comments - so maybe noone reads this blog besides Rebel, Angel and Lynn? however . . . if you have been sharing our journey but didn't know how to post a comment, I have made it easier! You should be able to post one without having a blogger account now. I would love to hear from you so please drop me a quick comment and let me know you are following our journey to Tia. Thanks :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

CA confirmed.

Our consulate appointment is confirmed for 3/10. This means we will meet Tia 3/2 or 3/3 which is only one month from today! It is a little later than I hoped but with the storms in China it is probably better to have the extra time for things to get cleared up there. (and my house to get cleared up here!)

We are going to CHINA to meet our baby TIA!!! oh yeah!

LWB wins!

Love Without Boundaries won the $50,000 Facebook challenge! Thanks to everyone who signed up and gave. They also won many daily challenges and combined with the donations it came to over $93,000! That breaks down to about 19 heart surgeries for babies whose life depends on that surgery. Thanks so much for making the difference in the life of a heart baby - our Tia reportedly had heart surgery through the Tomorrow Plan so this is near and dear to our hearts!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11