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"Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes From Above" ~James 1:17

"Every Good and Perfect Gift Comes From Above" ~James 1:17
Thank you so much for coming to check out my brand spankin' new blog! I've never "blogged" before, so here goes nothin'! This page is inspired by our adoption process, and I am hoping to get words of encouragement or advice every step along the way :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's a long road, but it's worth it!

I meant to post more once we got home. I really did. But life has been so busy and time has flown. Today we have officially had Emily in our arms for one whole month! Wow how things have changed! Right now she's running around the house naked, squealing in delight because baba (daddy) is chasing her, stopping only to lay on and smother with kisses the kitties she was so terrified of a few weeks ago. I never would have thought that Emily would be this well adjusted so quickly. She definitely prefers to be home with all of us and misses daddy when he's at work or Austin when he's at school. But she loves too when we go visit her grandma (lao lao) and papa, her aunts, her other grandma, and even their doggies! She is reserved at first in new situations or around new people, but give her some time and the free spirited little girl comes shining out. We've been through Christmas eve and Christmas day, meeting new people and eating new foods, surrounded by lots of noise and presents. She had a blast! We introduced her to the beach where she got sand in her toes and actually enjoyed it! New Year's eve we went to our friends' annual party, there were about 20 kids and over 30 adults, and at first Emily was attached to my hip. But eventually she found some food she liked (her first priority) and she found where the M&M's were hidden. Soon she was riding the toys around the house with all the rest of the kids! She passed out around 10 and we were actually able to stay long enough to watch the ball drop!
Now the holidays are over, David has gone back to work (boo!) and Austin started school again yesterday. The good news is with all of the school work we did with him over the break he is actually a little ahead of the game. But he's so excited to tell all of his friends about his sister and his trip and what he got for Christmas that I'm sure this little chatterbox will be sent home with a note soon. Typically it's for talking when they are supposed to be quiet. Either that or he was acting too silly. Don't know where he got that from. Wink wink.
When he comes home Emily is so excited, she loves following him around and playing outside when he's out there with his friends. Then David comes home around 6 and Emily gets this insane burst of energy right before bed. She crashes hard between 7 and 7:30, and sleeps until early the next morning when something wakes her up. I don't know if it is nightmares or what, but she used to wake up crying hysterically and shaking around 3 AM. We tried so many things to get her to go back to bed, rocking, taking her potty and putting her back down in her room, laying with her for a while in her room, nothing seemed to do much else but buy us 30 minutes or so until it happened again. And when we would lay with her she would whimper on and off and she was just restless. So I honestly haven't gotten a good night sleep since we went to China! But the last 2 nights she has woken up, come into our room without crying, and asked to be picked up. We bring her into our bed (not a habit I wanted to get into, but I'll take a few extra hours of sleep for sure!) and she goes back to bed. It's not a peaceful slumber, she tosses and turns more than Austin ever did which was a LOT. I'll wake up and she's at the foot of the bed with her butt up. Then she'll be laying across my body sideways. Then we wake up and she's got her face pressed against mine and her feet on David's head. Wild child. But it buys us some more time of rest so I'll take it!
This post really doesn't have a point other than to tell everyone that we are still alive, just trying to figure out a new normal for our family. Haven't gotten all of the pieces figured out, we may never, but we are working on it and every day gets a little better. I was actually able to iron today while she played at my feet with her shopping cart! That was HUGE! A few weeks ago I didn't think I'd ever be able to get anything done without David being here. She is very clingy still but will go off and explore on her own little by little. I haven't been able to cook a meal yet, I've tried and it hasn't been pretty! Emily doesn't understand why I can't feed her right away while I'm cooking, the toddler mindset comes out and it's all about ME and NOW! When she's hungry, which is all the time, you'd better be ready with food. Our pantry door fell off the other day (projects never end) and now she has free reign of all the food she can reach. That's been fun. When I lose sight of her in a second I can always find her trying to open the wrapper of her favorite snacks. Little stinker. When anyone enters the kitchen, she is right at their heels asking for food (she says "hungry" but it sounds like "guppy").
So until I figure out how to get her to play on her own, which I'm sure will come with time, we aren't eating many of my usual home cooked meals. That was my favorite part of being home when Austin was little, being able to cook. Right now Emily requires my constant attention, which I'm more than happy to give as I'm sure she lacked a lot of that until this point. We cover her in kisses, snuggles, hugs, I love you's, and tickles, until she can't take it any more. We've got 2 1/2 years to make up for, so she hasn't seen anything yet!
-Erin xoxo

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 11: Shopping

Today we went shopping on Shamian island, which was fun despite the rain! We scored some squeaky shoes for Emily, a set of Chinese silk dresses to fit as she grows up, and Austin got his name hand painted on a scroll. He really wanted a huge sword but we told him they wouldn't allow him to fly home with it :) When Emily saw the hand painted bracelets and shoes she lit up and wanted to try them all on, I guess we should be preparing ourselves to bring home a princess!
Austin has gotten this bargaining thing down! I ask how much, the shop owner answers, then Austin pipes in with his price. It's really quite comical! In the end I refer to David, since he's the holder of the money (literally, he's wearing it in a tiny money belt around his waist) and he's much better at the conversion from dollars to yuan. Basically every dollar is 6 yuan, so we would get carried away at trying to drove down a price then we would realize we were only talking about a few bucks! But you have to bargain, because if you don't get something for a good price there are 5 more stores right next door with the exact same stuff. I heard once the island was booming, but due to the US consulate moving and other renovations there was only maybe 1/3 of the shops that were once there. And it was too gloomy and rainy to see any of the pretty sites. But there was a Starbucks of course so I was a happy camper!
Lunch was at a western restaurant called Lucy's, I got fish and chips and they were fresh and surprisingly tasty! Austin said the cheese pizza tasted like they used ketchup as the sauce unfortunately. :P he's just happy that everywhere we go he gets to order soda (caffeine free of course) since the water is questionable and I'm not messing around with stomach issues!! This means we can't use ice though, which is hard for a mega ice user like myself! So I just drink coffee or beer, and I'm happy!
More tomorrow,
-Erin xoxo

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Home. PTL!!

Well, we made it home! I've written this post 3 times now and it doesn't save so hopefully I remember what I'm typing ;) Time is not measured in day or night hours right now, just by who is hungry and who needs more sleep. But we'll get to that...
On 12/19 we started our arduous journey home from Hong Kong at 6:30 AM China time. Through our trip we survived 5 flights (3 with a feisty toddler), 4 hotel stays, multiple trains, buses, and vans, something like a flu for momma and a boisterous 8 year old boy who doesn't sit still. The point is, we ARE HOME!!!
The main flight was over 14 hours and Emily really only shrieked when she realized she was belted in. They don't do seatbelts and car seats in China so aren't we all in for a treat when her little personality comes out in the car and she wants OUT! ;) We were so happy to be home in the states though that we got an amazing amount of energy when we landed, which we needed to go through customs in Newark and then go through the whole bag checking and security checkpoint process all over again to get to Orlando.
My parents, sister, and her boyfriend were all at the airport ready to meet us, with a bunch of balloons. What a site for sore eyes! Emily allowed Brittany to hold her but was pretty reserved until we got home. My dad had his famous white chili ready for us at our house, I couldn't have asked for a better reception home! My mom had champagne and beer, which we were especially excited about :) 
Emily loved her new room and showed us all her toys, then we gave her a bath and put her to bed. We finally climbed into bed around 10:30 that night US time, which would have been 11:30 AM in China, the next day. Almost 30 hours of travel but we did it and are sooooo happy to be home! We used all the hot water, washing off the smog, airplane, and everything else a toddler can wipe on you when you are smooshed together on a plane for so long. I've never felt so clean! :)
Emily slept until 4 yesterday morning, Austin was up at 2:30 and couldn't sleep any longer so he heard her get up and brought her to us. We played until 8 in the morning, painting her nails, doing laundry, unpacking, drinking our 2nd and 3rd cup of coffee. I'm still sick so Nyquil is my friend but when I don't get the sleep I'm a teensy groggy ;)
This morning she got up around 3, ugh, but we gave her the benefit of the doubt since she went to bed soundlessly last night at 7 pm and slept a solid 6 hours. I finally got to rock my baby girl to sleep, I've been waiting to do that for over a year! She called to us this morning using Chinese baby babble from her baby gate, slippers on backwards and ready to face the day! So it's just now 7:30 in the morning and we're about to go down for nap #1. We might venture out today just to see some of her new world, but it's so hard with our weird sleep schedules and random couch naps. Austin slept on the couch yesterday for about 4 hours, couldn't get that kiddo up until I waved a popsicle in his face! 
So if you see us around and we haven't returned calls, voicemails, texts, emails... I'm sorry :( Time is of no relevance when you are sleep deprived, it's like having a newborn again! But this one throws things in the toilet and screams when the cats come near her. 
Thank you for following along, we will keep posting updates as they happen! I know I've said it before, but I am SO HAPPY to be HOME!!!!!
PS Thank you everyone for all of your birthday wishes this week, they meant so much when I was on the other side of the world!!
Love, Erin XOXO

Watch out world, this girl has her Foster Grants on!

Learning how to climb onto her new big girl bed!

*Smirk

Did you call me? I'm busy with play-doh!
Slightly tired the day after a loooooong day of travel!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last days in China

We're in Hong Kong gearing up for the longest flight ever with a toddler!  The last 2 days I've been super sick, but I made it through the border to Hong Kong Thank the Lord. They check your temperature before you come in so I loaded up on Tylenol ;) praying the flight goes smooth and as quick as possible. We are all packed up and enjoying our last few minutes in our luxurious guest room at the Marriott in Hong Kong, everywhere we've stayed has been super nice. But it doesn't compare to home! Can't wait to show Emily our Christmas tree, even though I'm sure she will be rearranging all the ornaments within reach.
We can see a golf course right next to our hotel and it's killing David ;) almost to America, talk to you when we are on the other side of the world!
-Erin xoxo

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Days 12 &13: Erin's birthday, the Guangzhou folk art museum, and the US consulate

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a fun day! After breakfast we went to the Guangzhou folk art museum despite the cold and rain. It was partially indoors so we were done after about a hour of drizzly cold. Austin got a necklace that has a pendant holding a grain of rice with his name carved on it. We also got a set of chopsticks. On the way to the museum everyone sang happy birthday to me, we are traveling with such a sweet group of families :)
When we got back nap time wasn't happening so we took the kids to the play area. I was able to sneak out and left them with David so I could get a foot massage. They also massaged my legs and back, took 70 minutes total all for about $30 (US). Woohoo!
I got back just in time for our last group dinner. We ate at a family style Chinese restaurant and I think all 17 families were there! It was really fun. Another family had a birthday this week too so they bought 2 cakes and we all shared. They were good!
Today we left at 9 for our appointment at the US embassy to get Emily's visa. The trip was uneventful except for the 5 minute run through the rain since umbrellas aren't allowed in the embassy.
Now we're playing in the hotel room and David is getting us pizza for dinner. I'm tired of Chinese food, noodles, and McDonald's because that's all that is around. I can't wait to get home and get some good Mexican from habeneros. I'm sure they are wondering where the Moreland family has been!
Tomorrow we have to wait around to get her visa and then we leave for Hong Kong in a van. One night there and we fly out to the US in the morning! Prayers are requested for a safe, uneventful flight on Thursday! We will leave for the airport around 9 in the morning and get to Florida at 7 that night, which will be 8 am China time. About 24 hours of travel once we actually walk in our door. Then we introduce Emily to her new home, room, bed, dogs, cats... No biggie!  ;)
-Erin xoxo

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Days 9 & 10: Emily's first plane ride and the medical exam

Yesterday we spent the morning in the hotel room counting down the hours until we could leave for Guangzhou. It was a windy cold day, too cold for anything outside. We couldn't wait for the warmer weather and more Western feel of Guangzhou!  Our plane left at 4:20 PM so we left for the airport at 1. Security in the airport was much easier to go through than in America, there's no taking off of the shoes nonsense. The flight was 2 1/2 hours, and Emily didn't seem to know anything was different. The landing was bumpy but she didn't flinch. She got antsy a few times and we had to share a row with a Chinese businessman so I tried to keep her as quiet as possible. This girl doesn't like to be held down or told what to do! I can't wait to see what she thinks of car seats since here they ride on our laps without even seatbelts!!
We got to our hotel after 7 but after check in and finally getting her crib it was 10:30, and this momma was tired. For some reason Emily had made a switch to not only preferring me alone but also to pushing away anyone else. This is exhausting, plus I feel bad for David because he tries to help but she won't let him at all. She's definitely opening her shell a little more and showing her true personality. We've had some great play times and some blow out temper tantrums. A good thing is instead of self soothing when she's hurt or sad she comes to me to be consoled. This happened when she bumped her head today and at the medical exam when she had blood drawn. Poor baby! Nothing a snuggle and an oreo couldn't fix. By the way Austin is in love with these oreos they have here. There's all different flavors but his favorite are birthday cake.
I haven't taken many pictures if at all these past 2 days because it's really been just stressful times and not too much scenery. Going shopping on shaiman island tomorrow and I'm quite excited about it! Really missing my family now, especially since I haven't been able to Skype with my mom in over a week! This whole internet blocking stuff is ridiculous and annoying :/ Ready to be back in the USA!! ☆☆☆

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 8: The Zoo in Shandong

I just have to take a moment to brag on my son. He's been amazing so far on this trip. He's tried new foods, most of which he didn't like, but he hasn't complained once about eating all sorts of different things than he's used to at weird times. Don't get me wrong, every other sentence he says is I'm hungry, but that's normal. He's always been a snacker. Emily seems to be the same way, eating all day long. But Austin has been such a trooper. We really have only been eating 2 meals a day. Our semi normal routine has been getting up at 5:30 (yes AM, we're still not used to this new time thing and may never be), Emily gets up at 6 or 6:30;so we have some morning quiet time. She likes to lay there watching us a while. Then we get everyone dressed and go down to our enormous buffet style breakfast. I thought our last hotel had a great Western breakfast but this one takes the cake. Literally, there's cakes lol. There are traditional Chinese foods, sushi, tea eggs, poached eggs, steamed eggs, quiche, scrambled eggs, and an omelet station. 5 kinds of juice including watermelon juice,  4 kinds of milk from whole to soy, 3 kinds of toast, 6 different pastries, noodles and rice, sausage and bacon, hash browns and roasted potatoes, roasted tomatoes, sautéed  veggies, baked beans, and traditional Chinese foods like steamed buns and dumplings. The fruit bar every day has whole and cut up Dragon fruit, watermelon, cantelope, mango, grapefruit, and mandarin oranges. There's a cheese and meat bar with brie and other cheeses, smoked salmon, and fried other little fishes I have no idea what they are. There's cereals, oatmeal, Chinese congee, donuts and pastries. Austin found a waffle station today that also had pancakes and crepes, with either syrup, honey, chocolate sauce, or about 5 fresh pureed fruits. I'm forgetting a lot but,  it's insane. I guess they think, or know, Americans love to eat!
So we eat a big breakfast and try to snack until around 2 or 3 when we get another big meal. Yesterday was papa John's, with chicken for me. Yes papa John's serves pizza but also noodle bowls and rice! Which was good because I have no idea what people would do when I asked for gluten free ;)
We went to a zoo today, we were only there about 2 hours but it was enough. It's getting colder every day and it was Emily's nap time towards the end so we had one upset toddler. Austin entertains her, plays with her, can't wait for her to get up from her naps or to wake up in the morning. He makes sure she doesn't have to pee, isn't hungry, and is warm. We keep having to tell him to get out of her face and to leave her alone at times because she gets annoyed. She's very self sufficient. But the second she's ready she puts her arms up and he's there to pick her up.
As a reward David has been taking Austin to the pool every day, it's heated and indoors. Usually the other families with kids are down there too for him to play with. We took Em one day as well, she wasn't having any part of it! We will try again at home when there's not so many people. We've gotta get this mountain girl ready for the beach!
The Zoo had the normal animals, elephants, tigers, giraffes, etc. We got to see some panda bears which was really neat, our first time! And another animal they had on display were seagulls. Interesting...
The boys are out getting our food right now (hunters and gatherers) while the 2 princesses stay in the warm room playing :) this situation works out well for me! I'm getting used to living in a hotel room that's cleaned every day with a huge king bed, but I miss home and we're only halfway through our trip!!! We leave for guangzhou tomorrow afternoon by airplane so we can test Emily's attitude towards flying. It's in South China and is much more temperate so I'm excited. Plus we can do laundry there cheap, I'm sick of washing clothes in the tub every night! Is much more Westernized there since all families that adopt go through guangzhou, and there's a little Mexican place and an Irish pub I've heard about that will help break up the constant Chinese food! Side note: of anyone is bringing us food when we get back, we want anything that's not Asian! ;) I love Chinese food but we are ready for our own comfort foods from home. And I want regular toilets, not sqauttie potties which are just holes in the ground with no toilet paper, soap, or paper towels in the bathroom anywhere. I want my new washing machine from home and to be able to order drinks with ice. I want Florida weather. I want to show Emily to my family and to be online whenever I want, not just when my vpn decides to work. I can't Facebook, check email, get on pinterest or even Google search Emily's condition because it's all blocked. So frustrating. But we are making the most of it, for 7 more days! Talk to you next from guangzhou :)
-Erin xoxo