Friday, June 14, 2013


We have been home 2 weeks tomorrow! I really can't believe it.  I also can't believe I haven't posted yet about our fabulous homecoming!  With re-entry, we also had the last few days of school and then summertime so it's possible I have been busy!! I will post a few pictures today and again soon. Since I didn't have my camera, I am relying on my family and friends to send me the pictures they took at the airport.  HINT, HINT!! I know there were lots of flashes going off so come on friends!

Our little superstar arrived in style with so many people excited to see her. There were some friends that didn't make it because Eric and I surprised everyone and flew in 3 hours early! Sadly we missed them but we were thrilled to be home early.  All of that travel just seems like a distant dream now.  Thank goodness!

Ella is an amazing little creature.  She has adjusted beautifully to this crazy lifestyle and she is bonding with her brothers.  Just like siblings, the boys love her and brag on her, then get annoyed by her! I love it because that is just "normal"!

Connor and Ella

Connor & Grayson

first family of 6 photo-wow.  that seems like so many people!
our American citizen
group photo-cracks me up.  because this is true life with a bunch of kids and most of them boys!

We are blessed by so many people that love us and celebrated our girl.  Besides the above people, we had more friends that brought meals and came to meet Miss Ella.  There are more waiting for the dust to settle.  She is one LOVED orphan no more!
This weekend we will host our family for our annual Father's Day weekend and golf tourney tradition.  I am excited for the rest of my family to get to know Ella.  I mentioned before that we chose her middle name for the joy that I hoped she would bring our family after we lost our precious nephew, Clayton.  She has definetely brought us joy and she is easing the pain of missing him-especially on this special weekend.  The day after we came home my brother told me we named her perfectly.  In my jetlag state I didn't understand what he meant.  Then he told me "she is full of joy and laughter".  It is true, her heart if full of joy and she is filling our hearts with joy.  Perfect name for a perfect girl.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

LAST post from China!!!

 I can't believe this is our last day.  The two weeks have gone by slow and fast at the same time.  We dreaded being gone from the boys for so long.  We dreaded traveling 3 different places, and flying on 7 different flights.  It is almost behind us!  We our packed up, waiting for Ella's visa, and then we head to the airport for our flight to Beijing.  There, we will be in our hotel room to sleep for about 5 hours before we go to the airport one last time in China.  We found out yesterday our flights were upgraded to business class.  Thank you so much Robb &Lori for helping us book our flights and upgrading us! We were on the wait list for our return trip and Robb checked with AA several times during the last 2 1/2 weeks until we were finally upgraded.  It has taken so much pressure off knowing that we will be more comfortable on the way home with little miss.  It's still 17 hours on airplanes, but at least we will have lots of room!   (and a reclining seat and movies and great meals and so on...)


So so many things we are thankful for.  God has answered so many of our prayers regarding our travel, Ella's adjustment and attachment, and for our boys at home.  We are blessed to have a HUGE support group that has made this much easier.  The boys have been spoiled rotten by friends and family and while they have missed us, there time without us was fun and went by faster! I am thankful for everyone making this time better for them.  Also, thanks to my special small group of family and friends that was with me every tiny step of this journey.  From the beginning when we were praying about adoption, and then thru all of the ups and downs. We could not have done this without all of their prayers and support!  I am lucky to have connected with a group of women that did this before me.  They were my rocks and helped me along the way by answering questions and getting excited over details that only they could understand.  These connections led us to our girl and we are forever grateful for their friendships.  I can't wait to get all of our China girls together! 

Our friendships made in China.  We will always share a bond unlike no other.  Especially thankful that Dan & Jodi were with us in Beijing.  We spent every minute we could with them and it made our time here alot of fun.  They left this morning and we've been lost! Good thing we start home tonight!

My sister in law, Peggy.  Oh how I am thankful for her.  She stepped into my life for 2 1/2 weeks and managed our house, pets, boys, and everything that came with it.  Because she was there, I was able to let go and be 100% in China, where I was needed most.  It was not easy I am sure, but she handled it perfectly and she and our boys will have a special bond because of these days together.  Thankful my brother "let her go" and handled their menagerie of animals so she could be on our homefront.  Our kids are lucky to have them.  Pretty sure my friends and their kids have attached themselves to "Aunt Peggy"! I've been told by several of them that "everyone needs an Aunt Peggy!"!!

Eric and I have had a wonderful time in China and bonding with our daughter.  We have enjoyed some much needed down time, we have found adventure in some things that weren't so fun! We have survived the travel and the stress-it has not been easy! However, because we are best friends, we were able to make it fun and there was a lot of laughter along the way.  We made it as easy as possible!

We are most thankful for the blessing of sweet Ella Joy.  She has adjusted beautifully and loves us more than we could have ever expected in such a short time. We are amazed at the spirit of this little girl.  It truly is like she has been with us her entire life.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for her.  I hope that she remains an example of what love and a family can do in the life of a child that just needs a chance. 

Thank you for following our blog and all of our adventures in China getting our girl! I appreciate all of your comments here and on facebook! Thank you for praying for us! I couldn't reply to them but I read them all and we could feel all of your support and your joy in watching our Ella emerge into a happy, secure, little girl.

We are so ready to share this little girl with all of you!

I will leave you with these-our last breakfast in Guangzho and the last post until we hit TEXAS!!!


Consulate Appointment

We survived the consulate appointment! We had Ella all dressed in her red, white, and blue for American day but alas, no photos.  We swore under oath to take good care of our soon to be newest American citizen. You aren't allowed to take cameras inside and our guide kept our camera to get a pic when we came out but mama was done.  Ella was great and it only lasted about an hour, but we had another family with us and honestly, I was just ready to get back to the hotel!  The wheels were falling off of their bus and it wasn't looking like a great day for them!  It's ok-I have lots of pictures from the last two weeks! So now we just wait for her visa to get delivered tomorrow afternoon and we begin our long journey toward home.  We are soooo ready to hug our boys! I know they are ready too.  I'm pretty sure they're ready to get their hands on little sis-she's the only one they want to face time with when we call!

Jodi & I left the kids with the dads and went back to Shamain island for a few more gifts.  It was a nice get away and I wrapped up my shopping.  As were leaving a store, the owner of the store asked us to please go back to America and tell our friends that there are so many orphans that need a family.  She thanked us for adopting the children and again asked for us to please use the internet to let people know the kids need homes.  Broke my heart.  She said she would love to help a child but it is very hard in China to have more than one child, and she has a 9 year old boy.  We take for granted all of our priveleges in America.   The Chinese people have very little control over their lives.  I just can't imagine living the way they do.  Eric and I have learned so much while we've been here.  We soaked in as much as we could so that we can share it with Ella one day when she asks.  As for today, I am just thankful to be bringing her home to a family and a better life.  I am thankful that she will have the oppurtunity to make her own choices and be anything she wants to be.  I am so very thankful that she will worship God.  Not many gods. 

Now look out family and friends at home-because sister is a little Mongolian FIRECRACKER!

her favorite party trick-one of many-hope she outgrows it! lol
she loves to pack things in bags-this kept her entertained for about 20 minutes!
before our consulate appointment-half dressed without a bow-have no idea where it was! her orneriness probably took it out when she saw the camera!

look out world!
she poses for the camera now-she actually points to the camera and then herself so I will take her picture! I'm telling you-we are in trouble with this one!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Another Temple

Today we visited another temple.  It had some really cool carvings made of wood, stone, and ivory. However, I am done touring! I just want to get finished and come home! 48 hours from now, we will have Ella's visa and we will be on a plane to Beijing to spend the night, and then on an American Airlines flight home!  Tomorrow morning is our American Consulate appointment and that is our last official meeting for the adoption.  Yay!

The 4 of us set out to find the Mexican restaurant, Tequila.  When we asked the hotel concierge for directions, this is the card she gave us.  Cracks me up.  Even funnier that we had to use it about 4 times before we found our destination.  Except when the hostess led us to the restaurant on the 3rd floor, it was The Italian Restuarant.  Hmmm, Takila or Italian Restaurant.  Yep, that looks like the same word on paper.  Anyhow-Italian for the 3rd night!  It was delicious though!

Little miss loves to play in her suitcase.  Today she got her purse and these pink shoes.  She's coordinating at least!
Digging more stuff out...
Carrying her bows over to me so she can choose one-except it was almost bedtime. She probably thought I'd let her stay up later if we put a bow in her hair!
 She loves her daddy now just as much as mama
Sweet girl

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


We went with shopping today with Ann from Red Thread.  She lives in Guangzho, and she is very popular with American families.  When we sent packages to Ella while she was in the orphanage, we sent them thru Ann and she would be able to get updated pictures of her.  She took us to buy silk dresses and wedding pearls for Ella.  We chose the pearls we wanted and the ladies strung them while we waited.  They tied a knot in the string between each pearl, and then attached a clasp. It was so interesting to watch!

Ann is selecting wedding quality pearls
Stringing the pearls
Ready to go out again! 
happy, happy, happy 
Ann picked out a necklace that Ella can wear now.  Yes, it's real pearls, but lesser quality than her wedding pearls.  $8 US Dollars! Crazy what the mark up is in the US for pearls!
another semi-successful dinner with two kids one week out of the orphanage!!

One More Time

Ella has learned "one more time!"  She uses it alot!

Look at this sweetness! This cup was fun until she learned how to take the straw in & out!
She started the evening with a pink bow on her dress and the pink headband.  When she got mad at me, she would chew on the pink bow & try to rip it off of her dress.  So I took it off and we were left with just a plain, simple, yellow and white chevron.  :))

"one more time"
This is what she does when we have to carry the stroller up or down the stairs-she knows I'm going to grab the front of it so she moves her legs!
 The gang headed out to an Italian dinner-it was delicious! We may go again tonight!
Eric checking out the competition!
Yeah! Happy girl!
Just to keep it real-we may have seen this face a few times!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Shamain Island & Squeaky Shoes

Today was a trip to Pearl River and Shamain Island.  It was gorgeous! Still hot, but beautiful and quiet.  There were so many photoshoots taking place.  Here the bride and groom take their photos like we do bridal portraits.  I was cracking up because the grooms had the same look on their faces as American grooms would.  Like "it's hot and I'm dressed in a tux-how much longer???!".  We did a little souvenier shopping, grabbed a Coke for lunch, and then came back to the hotel to hang.  We also tested the benadryl today-worked like a charm.  I wanted to make sure before the 14 hour flight in a few days that it doesn't work the opposite on little miss.  Today we've had Ella for one week.  It seems like so much longer than a week!  She is doing amazingly well.  Last night at dinner she decided to get picky and refused the rice we had ordered for her! I'd say she's very comfortable with us!  We have seen so many amazing things, I just can't put all of the pictures on the blog.  It would take HOURS.  We miss our boys terribly, but thankfully we are enjoying our time in China too.
Inside the mall at Pearl River Market

A bride & groom I think-love the balloons
A local artist, Mr. Wang, making Ella's "chop", a stamp with her name in English & Chinese characters.  They use these for their signatures. 
Another ADA approved ramp.  See the shop owner helping?  lol
Ella's chop.  It has a rabbit on top because she was born in the year of the rabbit.
Squeaky shoe mecca.  This lady has been working here for 23 years.  She gave me the price and told me there is a discount for adoptive families.  We both said "how'd you know??"!  Eric actually said "how'd you know I was adopted?"  haha.  They loved little princess.  The squeaky shoes in America come from their factory.  So thankful I found them because Ella needed some sandals & I haven't been able to get her in any I brought.  Her pink ruffly socks were getting smelly! haha!!
She was so excited when Eric walked her in and she saw all of the shoes.  She started taking hers off!
Of course she won them over.  They kept telling us how beautiful she is.
Isn't this beautiful?
Really...does this need explaining?????
Not sure what kind of shoot this is, but I thought she was so pretty.  There was a professional shoot going on too.  We could tell with all of the vans, wardrobe changes, and the video monitor to check the shots.  I'll be looking for those guys in Vogue magazine...
The famuous Pearl River
Shamain Island
Thank the Lord we found a show she will watch!!!!
Not sure where she learned what a cell phone is all about but sister's got it! She walked around for a good 30 minutes talking to someone!
More phone time
So a big tour group gets off of their bus, this guy heads straight to Eric and asks him where he's from.  Do y'all even have a clue what it's like traveling with Mr. & Miss Draws Attention???  haha! Cracks ME UP.  Turns out, this guy is from Poland!  He said "aww, cowboy hats!!!" when Eric told him he's from Texas.  He'll probably go tell his friends he met a true Texan.  Another funny thing about today-our guide, Richard, had a tshirt on that said "cow tippin' in Oklahoma"!