Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More About Day 2WM

But first, some photos, in no particular chronological order.
Sometime during Day 1

Day 2 at the hotel, doing paperwork.

Walking out of the White Rose Hotel after we had just made each others' acquaintances.

Paul, Staci and Anna Mae finalizing the adoption at the White Rose hotel. Turns out we were just considered guardians for 24 hours when we first picked up our girls. We went back yesterday, signed the official papers, and put our red-inked index fingerprints above each signature.

Emma with firm possession of teething necklace (transitional object of choice) and half of a pineapple cookie.

It's seven o'clock Wednesday morning and Emma is still asleep. She went down at 9:30 last night and made but a few peeps during the night. I call that championship-level sleeping and doff my cap to her.
Andi -- As to your question re: potty training, here's what happened. For those of you less interested in details of poop 'n' pee, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. Having been convinced by Judy that Emma just may well be completely trained and would possibly scoff at diapers, I dutifully placed her on the pot several times that first morning (she sat contentedly and looked bewildered, but nothing else). In between potty placings, she wet her undiapered pants. Oops. Accident #1. I chalked it up to maternal inexperience, changed her clothes and thought we'd give it another whirl. Multiple trips to potty chair as the day wore on....nothing doing....and as I picked her up to try it once more, I noticed she had wet again (sorry about the pee stain on the carpet, Best Western Premier!) So the diapers are on her, and on her they will stay. Plenty of time to potty train somewhere down that long toddler road. Was especially grateful for diapers after she pooped twice within 10 minutes yesterday morning after breakfast.

But enough poopy talk! When we finalized the adoption at the hotel yesterday, we were able to meet with orphanage personnel and ask some questions about our girls' recent histories, the answers to which were translated by the amazing Judy Wu. Turns out Emma was in a foster family that had another foster daughter a little younger than Emma. They also had a 10-year-old biological son, so she's been used to having a big brother. Foster mom said Emma loves to be with people and likes big crowds. She can be obstinate sometimes ("sometimes when you tell her to do something, she won't do it. Or if you ask her to stop doing something, she won't stop". What? Not perfectly well-behaved?) She also would sometimes exert supremacy over little sister and commandeer toys, with no apology. Her favorite activity is "unpacking things". We found this out yesterday when we bought a bin of blocks for her at the Walmart. Came home, dumped them on the bed, and Emma attacked them with fever-eyed, drooling intensity. Dump them out, plop them back in the can, take them out again, back in they go, dump 'em out, plop 'em in. She did this for almost an hour, until it seemed like she wasn't so much playing as trying to work out the solution to some kind of problem and she started to get frustrated. That's when we decided it was naptime. There's a lot going on in that little head.
Will write more later, but we're off to a mandated museum visit for a couple hours.
Thanks, everyone, for all your comments. If you love our posts, we love your comments more!!
Love to you all,

Captain's Log: Day 2 WM (with Emma)

Turns out she is a fan of the slap-stick
Here shown sporting Aunt Boo Boo's pajamas

It's me. My two ladies have worn themselves out fussing over each other, so I am left alone to blog. Nap time came a little later than usual, due to some heavy shopping and sensory overloading at the Wuhan City Walmart and Live Fish Emporium.

Every waking hour is another adventure, as we try to make up for 18 months of understanding of who Emma is and what is going on inside her noggin'. For example, turns out she has a slight temper, in a cute "don't-you-dare-put-me-down-when-I-haven't-finished-playing-with-my-new-blocks" kind of way. So I didn't. And probably won't for quite a while. I think we both learned that lesson. She has the roughest time at night, when she misses her foster family, and there isn't much we can do about that other than ride out the grief sunami. She slept for a good 8 1/2 hours last night, with only a short bout of "where the heck am I and how did I get here"for about ten minutes around 3:30 AM. You ought to look at her now, taking her nap. The words of Francis McDormand come to my mind: "She's a little angel!", and then of course the ubiquitous "Has she had her dip tet?"

She sure knows how to work the business end of a pair of chopsticks. We were able to feed her some steamed eggs, fried noodles, french toast, and watermelon at breakfast, with us feeding her with chopsticks. She uses her lips to take the food off, and waits just long enough before utilizing the 14 teeth she currently has at her disposal. We had to improvise with the chicken nuggets at lunch, because Ronad McDonald doesn't offer sticks with any combo meals. That's where we went for lunch after signing more official paperwork at the White Rose Hotel and before Wally World. We were with some great people who are in a like-situation as ours: John, Shelia, and Lydia, and Paul, Stacey, and Anna Mae.

Well, naptime is just about over and that about covers it; except to note that every time we go shopping, our hotel room shrinks. I don't get it.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Little Missy Em

Emma is sleeping in her pint-sized crib. It's been quite a day so far, and it's not over yet. We left for the White Rose Hotel at 10:30 this morning -- it was just a few blocks away. There was a big group of parents meeting their babies in one of the conference rooms and we thought we were going to stay in there to meet ours, but then Judy told us to come around the corner into another room and when I turned the corner I saw Emma walking through a door down the hall, holding her caregiver's hand. I knew it was her because I recognized her cute ears, but she has really grown up since those referral pics were taken. She looked pretty solemn and was checking everything out. I walked up and knelt down by her and talked to her a little bit, and then a couple minutes later picked her up. No tears (yet)...she was probably in shock from everything that's been going on. We had to go back in the big room and sign a couple of things and a few minutes later Emma starting looking around (probably for the woman from the orphanage who had brought her) and then started crying. Poor honey. She has a little bit of a cold, too, but it's not as bad as I thought it was at first.

We were able to come back to our hotel after a little while and we've been hanging out here ever since. Judy Wu talked to us a little bit more about her feeding/sleeping routine. She also said that when Emma's foster mom brought her to the orphanage (just yesterday), she said to make sure to tell us that Emma is "very smart." Emma seems to be curious and observant. She cocks her head and watches things going on around her very intently. She looks very healthy and I think she really might be left-handed. She has excellent fine motor skills and picks up pieces of paper carefully between her thumb and index finger...she also liked carefully picking cracker crumbs off my leg.

Joe got a big smile from her during lunch (congee, noodles and watermelon) when I had her on my lap and he fed her some noodles and then rubbed his stomach and said "mmmm". I missed it because she was facing the other direction.

She played on the bed for a while stacking up a piece of paper, a note card, her plastic teething ring (which she's been hanging on to the whole time) and a little doll -- then unstacking them, then stacking them, then unstacking them, then stacking them. At one point she realized that...hmmm, things are pretty weird today and I don't think I like it very much and she had a good, long cry and I did hear her say "mama," so she's missing foster mom. That's a good thing. I sense Emma has been very well taken care of.

She's now been asleep for about an hour.

Judy thinks Emma's potty trained. She's not wearing diapers and when we put her on the mini-potty she seemed right at home (but didn't do anything but sit). We shall see what the future holds in that regard...

So...we FINALLY have young Miss Emma and it's about time. Let the future begin!

More later.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The First of Many!

Wait for it.........

Here we go. We are now headed out the door to get our Emma Claire!

Is There a Wal-Mart in Wuhan?

Yes, and we were there today at about 3:00 with our new guide, Judy Wu, buying formula and Chinese bottles because we're meeting our child tomorrow. And there was a greeter wearing a Wal-Mart vest stationed at the front door (some things don't change in China), as well as an entire section of live fish in tanks where you can choose your dinner (some things do change).

We're headquartered in the Best Western Premiere Hotel for the next five days. Our room has a crib, a mini-potty, a little tub in the big bathtub, and a sippy cup and child's bowl and spoon on the counter, so they knew we were coming. We said goodbye to one of our traveling companion couples, Todd and Patty, this morning. They're now in Hunan Province waiting to meet Alyssa tomorrow morning. We are still with Sheila and John (the White Bear Lake couple) and Paul and Staci and are bonding with them more and more by the minute inasmuch as we are all in the same thrilling/terrifying boat. We had a great dinner with them and our guide, Judy, tonight in the hotel restaurant. Talked and laughed and laughed. Judy has been an in-country adoption facilitator for six years and had some great advice for us about all kinds of things. She told us that Chinese babies are typically toilet trained from a very young age, especially if they've spent any time in institutions. She thinks that Emma, at almost 19 months, may be almost completely toilet trained, but we'll soon find out. (Joe said, "Heck, she'll probably walk in the bathroom, lock the door, and start reading "Sports Illustrated"; that got some good, giddy laughs. Actually, we were all -- okay, maybe just the women -- laughing a little maniacally tonight. We're kind of on edge. Go figure.)

11:00 is the appointed hour, our date with destiny, tomorrow morning. We'll be bused to a nearby hotel where we'll meet the babies, along with several other groups of adoptive parents. There will be much happy weeping on the parts of moms and dads, and probably much gnashing of baby teeth on the part of the little girls. Judy told us that the orphanage is about 3 hours away and that the bus ride our girls will take will be the first time they've been in a vehicle. She also told us that the girls were brought back to the orphanage just this past weekend in preparation for meeting us tomorrow -- I thought they'd been transitioning for several weeks. So little Emma has only just left her foster family of the past 16 months and is probably scratching her noggin wondering what is going on...

Wow. Hard to wrap my mind around it all.

So...I'll post again after our lives have changed completely and forever! Wish us luck and say a prayer for us!

Love, Denny

P.S.: The above photo is a structure we saw on the drive in from Wuhan airport today.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Goodness Gracious, Great Wall of China

Okay, we're getting a little more tech savvy as we go along and can now put comments directly under a photo. The above exotic looking dish was presented to us, head and tail intact, as part of our lunch at the Yulong Restaurant on Saturday. It was deep fried. The parts that look like mandarin oranges are actually fish flesh. Tasty, but be careful of bones.

Today wasn't quite as jam-packed with activity as yesterday, but still plenty busy. Got started at 8:30 for the hour bus ride to visit a section of the Great Wall. We stopped at a jade factory along the way and saw many beautiful things and bought a few inexpensive items. Then we moved on to the wall, which snakes over 4,000 miles across northern China and is about 2,000 years old. It is, as you can imagine, a huge tourist draw and there were tons of buses and people around today (it was also a beautiful, blue-sky day with mild temps, which no doubt drew even more people). Joe and I chose to climb in the opposite direction from where most of the tourists seemed to be (it looked to be shoulder to shoulder people from what we could see); apparently our side of the wall had less impressive views but we opted for a little more solitude. We hiked up a little ways. The stairs (which I don't think were original; they were in too good of shape) were really uneven. Some stairs were a few inches high, the next one might be a foot or more high, so you really had to watch your step. It was also super steep in some sections and helpful to use the handrail. As neither Joe nor I had anything to prove in the way of climbing prowess, we stopped when we were tired, took a few pictures, climbed back down and had some ice cream.
After the wall, we had lunch at kind of a touristy restaurant then came back to Beijing and visited the Temple of Heaven, a set of beautiful buildings set in an expansive park. The emperors would visit the Temple of Heaven just twice a year to pray for abundant crops; the rest of the year it sat unused. Today the grounds are filled with people and it was interesting to walk through and people watch. There was a big singing group gathered in a pavilion singing revolutionary songs (according to Chen). Also saw an elderly gentleman rolling his Chinese exercise balls in his hand (I love this photo).

We were back at the hotel by six tonight, and I think we'll stay put the rest of the evening. The tailor who visited with us on Thursday delivered three pieces of clothing we ordered (two for Emma, one for me) to our room, and a little later another tailor will deliver a suit and some shirts Joe has ordered.

Tomorrow we leave for the airport at 8:30 a.m. to catch a flight to Wuhan City at 11:25. Wuhan City: The place where we meet Emma on Monday. Oh my goodness.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just Another Day in Beijing

What a day. Friday was packed full of activities. We started with breakfast buffet at the hotel (I had, among other things, a bowl of congee, a kind of rice porridge that Emma probably knows very well; not bad, especially when you top it with some chopped veggies). At 9:00 a.m. our group met Chen in the lobby and we walked over to Tiananmen Square (just a few blocks away)...huge open space...and then on to the Forbidden City, which abuts the square. Let's see how much I can remember of Chen's excellent commentary... The Forbidden City was built in the 15th century and was home to a series of emperors for more than 500 years (and was indeed off limits to the common folk -- it was open publicly in 1925, I believe). Anyway, it is indeed vast....a series of open spaces and buildings and courtyards and stairs and chipping cobblestones. We were there with about 20,000 of our closest friends. We did not go in any of the buildings but looked through some of the windows (Chen pointed out one area that was the royal concubines' quarters).

After the Forbidden City we hopped on a big blue tour bus and made a short stop at a silk factory; enjoyed a brief demonstration of how silk is gleaned from the cocoons of silk worms (which eat the leaves of mulberry trees excusively) and turned into thread and then fabric.

Then came the most fascinating part of the tour. We visited the Hutong area of old Beijing, an area of tiny little allies lined with small courtyard homes where families would live for generations. Lots of these quaint areas have been lost in recent years in Beijing's booming building expansion, but I believe certain areas have now been protected for historical purposes. Our guide had arranged for us to have lunch with a local family in this area, so we filed in to a tiny home and were served an unbelievable array of scrumptious dishes by a dear smiling woman (all we could say was "xie xie" -- thank you -- to her). She kept bringing out plate after plate of food -- great vegetable dishes in yummy sauces, spicy potatoes and meat, pickled radish, tender little shrimp dumplings, mushrooms in plum sauce, some kind of tasty green beans, rice and more rice. We'd been advised by Chen to clean our plates and we all (eight fully grown humans) gave it our very best shot. My personal goal was to eat as many of the little dumplings as possible. But when the stream of little round plates filled with steaming Chinese goodness did not abate, we finally had to announce that we could eat no more. What a meal. It's more than 12 hours later and I'm still full.

After lunch, we piled on bicycle-powered rickshaws and our drivers took us on a Hutong tour. The rickshaw drivers deserve a special place in heaven for hauling our hefty American behinds through the narrow streets of old Beijing (reminds me of the time Joe and I visited Las Vegas and took a rickshaw ride down the main drag; when it was over I chirped to the driver "Thanks, that was very pleasant," and he said, "Yeah, for YOU.") Anyway, this tour was fascinating. We were in a different world...another planet. The alleys are so narrow and filled with people going about their lives. We saw lots of little produce markets, old men squatting down playing board games, guys hauling big carts of sticks down the street, children running around, elderly women strolling down the street and observing the American parade with a jaundiced eye. The colors were kind of green and gray, the light seemed diffuse, there were ancient, gnarly looking trees that had sprung up in a dry patch of dirt and seemed melded to the cobblestones. And there were no traffic sounds -- sounds seemed suspended quietly in the air; the sounds of people going about their day. I LOVED it.

We thought we might be done after the rickshaw experience, but not so fast. Climbed on another big blue bus that drove us across town to an Acrobat Theatre where we were treated to a startling 60-minute display of impressively flexible Chinese youth contorting their limbs in ways that made us say "I didn't know you could do that". Then they'd construct elaborate human towers with people linked up all which a way with someone standing on a board that's balanced by a ball that's on the head of somebody else who's holding a horizontal girl in the palm of each hand and still able to catch a series of bowls on his head that are catapulted off the end of another board balanced on a bowl. It was super impressive but we were all so tired by then that all we could manage were anemic little golf claps.

After the acrobat show we piled on big blue again and made fitful progress back to our hotel in late rush-hour traffic. Much honking, many jockeyings for vehicle supremacy, a thrilling burst of speed for half a block, then back to waiting at a long traffic light and maneuvering the rig into just the right jaunty angle to nudge away the pesky auto at our right flank so that we can bust free and enjoy 10 seconds of unfettered forward motion.

Our eyes were glazed over and comments were taking on a terse quality. We were bushed! Got back to the hotel about 7:15, said wan goodnights, and we were flopped on our nice hard beds by 7:30. We had wanted to stay up later, sure, that was the plan. But we were tapped of energy. Slept until 12:30 a.m. and then...peepers popped! Alert! Rarin' to go! So here we are blogging about our day in Beijing. We're having trouble posting some of our photos for some reason; we'll try to add more (because we've got some great ones). The one above is a black and white Joe took of some of the walls in the Forbidden City.

Our traveling companions are wonderful folks --Sheila and John, Patty and Todd, and Paul and Staci. We're all in roughly the same age range; Joe and I are the senior members of the team, but not by much. Two of the families who are adopting have children, but none younger than 16. Staci is going to be a first-time mom like me. They are all congenial and good and we've enjoyed talking about this great adventure as it unfolds before us. There's lots of talk about "our babies" -- When we get "our babies," After we get "our babies", It will be more fun to shop when we have "our babies." Three of the girls are from the same orphanage and have similar names, Qi Jia Yan, Qi Jia Tian, and Qi Jia Li. We compared notes about the growth and development reports we'd received for these girls; I was curious if they described their personalities similarly or not, but there were several diferences. One of the girls had been described as "obstinate," another as "happy, likes to laugh and loves music." One of them "likes to watch TV" like Emma. We've pledged to stay in touch so that our girls can have a link to this unique chapter in their lives.

Well, I'm gonna try to catch a few hours of sleep before we're off to the GWo'C today. As my friend Kristen commented, this will be a great way to walk off those airplane kinks!

We'll fill you in later -- thanks for following our trip. We love you!

P.S.: Did I mention that in two days we'll be in the same room with Emma?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


We made it to Beijing, via Los Angeles and Guangzhou. Total travel time from walking out of the house until plopping in our hotel room was about 37 hours. We boarded the plane in L.A. at 11:00 p.m., then sat for two hours (the stewardess said they were looking for a "document")...and then it was 15.5 hours up in the air, in black sky the whole time. We were in the dark half of the world, flying into the next day. Despite taking some Ambien, neither one of us slept great (but no worse than usual, says Joe), sleeping a couple hours at a time, then waking up, readjusting, going potty, listening to music, going back to sleep, etc. We got to Guangzhou about 7:30 a.m. and because of the late L.A. start had to be rescheduled onto a later connecting flight to Beijing (walked and walked and walked through long airport hallways--see photo--until our necks were damp from the Guangzhou humidity). We got to Beijing around noon and found a young guy holding a "Haynie Family" sign (he'd been there two hours because he thought we were on a previous flight). He brought us to the Capital Hotel in downtown Beijing where we are now gratefully parked. We've met two of the other four families in our travel group (one of them is from White Bear Lake, Angie...last name Heubing?) and in a few minutes we are meeting in one of their rooms with a tailor who will show us a selection of Chinesewear should we want some specially made. Our guide, Chen Chen (first name Chen, last name Chen) told us that tomorrow we will see Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and some of the older historic parts of Bejing. Saturday we'll go to the Great Wall.

Impressions of Beijing: Sprawling, many tall high-rise apartments, acrid smell of air pollution, many bicyclists, surprisingly quiet and peaceful walking outside around our hotel despite the congestion. We'll see a lot more tomorrow and can give a better report.

One of the best parts of the day: A shower.

Very best part of the day: Knowing we're closing in on Emma...

Monday, October 23, 2006

T-Minus 16 Hours and Counting!

As I am unable to sleep this evening, the words of the poet Mars Bonfire are swirling through me noggin, and I quote, "Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway, lookin' for adventure, and whatever comes our way. Yeah darlin' go make it happen, take the world in a love embrace. Fire all of your guns at once, explode into space" (Apparently Mr. Bonfire had an affinity for words that end in "g," but didn't like to actually use the "g"). Back on task here; that pretty much sums it up. We have waited so long to be at this point, and now that it is here, it seems like a cool dream. After tellin' ourselves to be patient and not get too excited, it's unreal to turn that around and loose those inhibitions. Months of plannin' now come down to six hectic hours of last-minute hysteria before we throw everythin' in the car and head to the airport. We have had some fantastic input from many people, and it has really helped to calm our aprehensions about some of the unknowns. A special thanks to Ellen and Kristen, for sharin' their China experiences with us yesterday. The photo on tonight's blog (blo' didn't look good) is of Ellen, and she is even cuter in person.
We probably won't do much updating until we reach Beijing, so it may be a few days. We fire all our guns at once and explode into space tomorrow at 4:00 PM, and the next phase of our adventure begins. Be sure to join us! OK then.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nothing In Particular

OK then. Unacustomed as I am at posting, I decided to give it a go. Joe here. Denny and I are amazed at the interest you all have taken in our "Project Emma," and are glad you are along for the ride. It should get a little more "inaresting" (correct Utah spelling) here the next couple of days as we leave to pick up our little darling.
If you would take a look at the photo up above, you will see the beginnings of what is turning out to be Emma's wardrobe for the next year and a half. It is a good thing her closet is larger than mine, because she will need it. Anywho, we are making last-minute arrangements for our trip. I'm sure we will forget something, but it is the risk I take anytime I leave the house. I once left on a week-long trip and forgot my hairbrush, and didn't miss it for three days.
I am now listening to Hank Williams sing "Take These Chains From My Heart" while composing this missive. It seems to help the creative juices flow. You gotta love the XM radio, don'tcha know. I expect Emma will grow up with an appreciation of the finer performers of our time, such as Ernest Tubb, Hank (both Sr.and Jr.), Charlie Walker, Hank Snow, Merle Haggard, and Red Sovine (24 Truckin' Greats). If she only knew the rich treasures that were in store! I suppose Denny will have some say in the future artist selection, so the list may vary somewhat.
Off of the subject (do I have a subject to be off of?), I went with Andy to Kathryn's volleyball match up at the "U" tonight, where the Utes kicked the collective fannies of the San Diego State Aztecs. Kathryn had a great game; many kills were had. She is cute and tough! We are fortunate to have her joining our family.
That's about it for now. We will be updating our blog during the trip, so "drop on by, take your shoes off, and sit a spell," and be sure to leave a comment if you feel so inclined, as we would be glad to have you share your thoughts. Beauty.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Today's Featured Outfit

Emma got a delectable outfit in the mail this week from Aunt Julie in Vancouver, WA. Oh the pinkness! Julie also sent a purse she made for Emma at Enrichment Meeting. It's made out of a placemat (and Julie experienced a ladybug sighting when she was buying the trimmings for it; she found one on her shoulder in the notions department. Another cosmic ladybug moment!)

We went to the store tonight and bought the following for the trip:
- Winnie the Pooh coverall bib (it has sleeves!)
- Six baby washcloths
- Four soft-bite spoons
- Two pacifiers
- Strawberry smoothie shampoo for toddlers
- Baby comb and brush
- First aid kit
- Orajel tooth and gum cleaner
- Thermometer
- Children's Tylenol
- Children's Benadryl (also referred to as "travel vitamins" by our agency director)

I bought a little round travel brush for myself but then got it caught in my hair when I came home and practiced with it. Andy's fiancee, Kathryn, spent 10 minutes detangling me.

On Tuesday I met with the nice grad student at the U who taped some Chinese phrases. Some of the phrases I'm learning are:
- Ni hao ke ai (you're so cute)
- Ni shi hao hai zi (you're a good kid)
- Ni e la ma (are you hungry?)
- Xiao xin (Be careful)
- Guo lai (Come here)
- Wo lai bao bao (Let me hug you)
- Guai (sweetie)
- Wo ai ni (I love you)

Hua wrote down all of these phrases using different accent marks to indicate which of the four Chinese tones you use when you say them. It's really helpful to have them taped, as well. She also taped the correct pronunciation of Emma's Chinese name, Qi Jia Yan (sounds like Chee Jyah-Yen).

We leave in five (5) days. Depart SLC Tuesday at 4:00 for LA, to catch the big ol' flight to Guangzhou.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

We Have Travel Dates

So we got our official travel approvals from China, two crisp pieces of paper (one for Joe, one for me) filled with Chinese characters, a squished-looking photograph of Emma, and the heading "Notice of Coming to China for Adoption." We were told to not wrinkle the TAs; we must have to turn them back over to someone at some point.

Getting travel approval meant we could finalize our itinerary. We're leaving Tuesday, Oct. 24, flying to L.A. to catch a midnight plane to Guangzhou (bottom circled city). It's a 15-hour flight. I see Ambien in our future. From Guangzhou we'll fly to Beijing (top city; only a couple hours in the air), where we'll meet up with the Minnesota families in our travel group and spend 3 days sightseeing. On Sunday, we'll fly to Wuhan City in Hubei Province (middle city) where, on Monday, Oct. 30, we'll meet Emma (and never let her go). We'll spend five days in Wuhan, fly back to Guangzhou for another five-day stay, and leave China on November 9. Yeeow. It's finally almost here, and after waiting for a year and a half I don't feel ready. But every day we cross a couple more things off the to-do list. Here are some things we did in the last few days:

- Bought toddler socks and shoes, sleepers, a couple pair of pants, and a lavender toddler sweat suit. We can buy more clothes in China once we know Emma's true dimensions.

- Moved the box of cleaning supplies that's been on the floor in Emma's closet for six months to a high shelf in the laundry room. Babyproofing! It's easy.

- Arranged to meet with a native Chinese student at the U next week to record a few toddler-friendly phrases I can say to Emma. We got this cool handheld digital voice recorder that assigns a number to every recorded sound-bite. So I'm going to have a list of things I want to learn how to say (e.g., "You're a pretty girl," Are you hungry?" "Hand daddy the remote," etc.) and then Hua, the student, can record them in order and I can practice them on the 15-hour flight.

- Selected a car seat (a gift from Joe's mom and sisters)

- Bought big white letters that spell "EMMA" to hang on Emma's wall. Joe told the checkout girl that we're naming our daughter "MEAM."

- Met with Debbie, the genius quiltmaker, to deliver to her the fabric squares we collected for the 100 Good Wishes quilt (except it'll be a 110-wish quilt).

- Had breakfast burritos from Molca Salsa this morning to fortify us for the day's activities.

We have many more details to attend to before travel day is here. It's getting extry exciting.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Precious Photo

Today in the mail we received a copy of the earliest photo we will ever have of Emma. It is from her "finding ad" that appeared in the Hubei Daily newspaper in July of 2005. Finding ads are placed by orphanages in local or provincial newspapers after a child has been found in an effort to locate the child's family members. Emma was probably about three months old when this photo was taken. A fellow in Lehi who has three girls from China provides a "finding the finding ad" service and will track down a copy of the photo in the appropriate newspaper for a modest fee. It was amazing to open the envelope and see her little face (such cheeks! such hair! what a cute baby!) Bless her little heart.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Toddler Duds

I haven't bought tons of clothes for Emma, mostly because I didn't know how old she was going to be. Barbie and I went shopping about a year ago and I got a couple of outfits at Gymboree (the black overalls and the denim jumper). They're size 2T so Emma should be able to wear them pretty soon. The cute pj's are from Aunt Boo Boo. The dress is what Emma will wear at big brother Andy's wedding reception on December 21. Andy is engaged to the lovely Kathryn Lovell (an awesome volleyball player who plays for the Univ. of Utah; check out her profile here). Their colors are black and white and Kathryn's nice mom got this dress for Emma to wear for the reception. She'll look pretty in it with her black hair.