Wednesday, January 31, 2007

6:30 a.m. January 31st

Mary here again.
Whoo, that was rough. She just would not stop crying for hours. I couldn't sit down with her and I couldn't let her see Bryan or she'd really scream. So baby's crying, mommy's crying, daddy's at a loss...
I got her settled down enough to sit on the bed with me again and drink some juice (I've been cutting it with water), and some Cheerios. She'd start crying every once in a while and try to stand on my lap, so I knew her tummy was probably hurting. She also stands when she pees in her diaper, because she's not used to it. She hadn't poopied since we got her 36 hours earlier! So - I brought her in to use the toilet (MaoMao xuxu? pronounced like: MaoMao shooshoo?). She tinkled but did not chouchou (pronounced cho-cho = poopy). So, since we're getting her used to Western toilets and not a squatter, when MaoMao xuxu's, then MaMa xuxu's and I run through the whole bathroom ritual - toilet paper, flushing, washing hands. I'm doing my business and she just starts screaming her head off - and then the smell starts to fill the room. MaoMao chouchou'd! We got her all cleaned up and she was smiling before I even got her pants back on. Yay! She just needed to poopy! Then she looked at Bryan - and he was scary, but she didn't scream. Yay! She's getting used to BaBa! Thank God - I was at my wits end.
We played with her and Bryan played "peek" with her again, and she just started to feel better. We ordered up some fried rice with egg for dinner again and Bryan and I had a club sandwich (because when I napped earlier I dreamt about a sandwich! I really miss American food!). And as soon as her belly was full, she just flourished, she was smiling and laughing and playing with Daddy! I put her on the bed (she hates the floor) so I could eat, and Bryan started tickling her feet and playing with her and she went along with it! I got it on video, but we can't upload any of it because our internet connection here is so slow. I'll check my camera for pictures when I'm done writing.
MaoMao's happy, MaMa's happy, BaBa's happy. Good times.
Back to yesterday: We went to the Civil Affairs Building again to do the official paperwork. On Monday, we just signed a piece of paper that agreed to take care of her for a 24 hour test-drive. I'm serious! Tuesday, we went back in and they asked "Was baby satisfactory?". What?! Of course! We've been waiting 6 months for her, we're not turning back now! So we signed some papers and got her passport paperwork started and met with the director of the orphanage again. I asked her if I was making the formula right and she said "is it thick enough?", so I don't think they've been watering it down at all. I assured her that it was very thick and very hot, and she said that's exactly right. Then our host/translator Linda handed us a piece of paper in a nice booklet cover (like a diploma) and said "Congratulations! You have finished the Chinese adoption part of your process!". Really? I thought we were applying for a passport today! OK!

Notice the black fleece she's wearing? We all match, it's too cute.

Anyway - to answer some questions.
They called her MaoMao at the orphanage, so that's what Bryan and I have been calling her here.
She is very small. We threw her on the scale yesterday and she was 10 kilos, which is 22 pounds. (fireworks going off again - 6:55 a.m.) Her paperwork said she was 11 kilos last August, but I don't think that was accurate. We're going shopping for her today to get some smaller clothes.
She's been drinking half peach juice half water out of her sippy cup. We gave her water the first night to keep her hydrated, but now that she's discovered juice in the green sippy - there's no going back.
She's been doing some talking. She was looking at the window last night and was talking up a storm. Didn't understand a word of it - but we did get her to say MaMa and BaBa!
She's a really funny kid. She likes jokes and games and just being silly. She'll yell and do this weird like "Shazam!" move and laugh up a storm. She thinks she's pretty funny.
She also likes using the bottle brush to brush her hair. I don't care - as long as baby's happy - everybody's happy. And at least she's using some type of brush - unlike some people's kids. ;) (you opened yourself up for that, Ira)
She also likes horsey rides on my knee. "This is the way the farmer rides" goes over big in any language. And I accidentally tipped her upside down yesterday when I was leaning over to pick up a toy and she started laughing really loud. So we did that for a while to get her good and wound up before bedtime!
We never got her red truck back. But we have 3 others from the set that she's been playing with. She likes anything with wheels, even the luggage.
We did get back the picture book we sent over. It was really sticky on the pages with our picture on it and the pictures of her room. We also got back her camera (which we haven't developed yet) and the questionnaire we sent over. I haven't even had a chance to look at the questions, we've been too busy! We also were given her newborn picture that they used when they placed her "found baby" ad, and yesterday the director gave us a photocopy of that ad. Makes me cry, she was just a tiny little half-bald thing. Poor baby.
This is getting long - I may add later, but I'm going to upload this now before it's lost forever.
Update: OK, it's been 10 minutes. Here are the pictures of Bryan and MaoMao playing after dinner.

Original Comments from Post

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Lori Matt and the Girls on 1/30/2007
I am so happy that things are going better, I told Meg that Maggie didn't feel good, she said "Mao need tylenol". She also recognized the froggy cup. It is so good to see smiles.

We can't wait for the next update!!!!!

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Emily on 1/30/2007
Shazam is what daffey duck says on his new show Duck dodger!!!!!

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Davin on 1/30/2007
Wow - I haven't seen Bryan smile like that in the last 20 years.
Unbelievably cool!!! Obviously, one proud papa.

"MaoMao" is going to think Park Rapids is heaven this June. I can't wait to see her swim!

Hooray for China Rescue!
Hooray for Bryan, Mary and Maggie!
Mary - no matter how much you and bryan write, trust me, none of us can get enough of it. Thank you for your time away from Maggie while you type.

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Mom-Joan on 1/30/2007
Congratulations! First parenting crisis overcome with flying colors! So glad she is getting more comfortable with you both too. Thanks for the pics - they are really precious. I have a new desktop background of you all in front of the Chinese flag!
Love, Mom

He he By Emily on 1/30/2007
Have U seen the desert in China where the koala live?

hehe love Emily

ask By Jim and Joan on 1/30/2007
What size is she??? see ya

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Jim & Joan on 1/30/2007
That last posting was Emilys-but we do want to know her size. Sounds like things are getting better-Day by Day! We all can't wait to meet her!! Thanks again for the postings.

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Mary on 1/30/2007
She's swimming in the 2T's, and the 24 months are just a little bit big. I think she'll be going through a growth spurt here in the next month, so a 2T would be a good size. She'll fit in them very soon. She is skin and bones, so we just need to fatten her up a little bit. : ) She's wearing the outfit that Grandma Lois got her for Christmas (size 2T), and it's big even with long johns on underneath. It's 40 degrees outside, but we don't want to get yelled at by any locals, so we have bundled her up and made sure her ankles aren't showing!

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Joy on 1/31/2007
That's wonderful. Glad to hear that things are getting better with everyone. The best is yet to come...isn't that great? :)


Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Jennifer on 1/31/2007
Congrats on your daughter. She is so beautiful. Every day I have to call mom in AZ and give her the latest. Keep the blogs coming, it's the first thing I read in the morning when I get to work!
Jenn and Donna

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Davin on 2/1/2007
Okay - what's going on? Medical emergency or just pondering over the wonders of life? How about an update?

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Ira on 2/1/2007
Great pictures!

I haven't seen Bryan smile like that since Thanksgiving Day of 2001 when we realized it wasn't anything we did that caused the servers to crash.

Re: 6:30 a.m. January 31st By Cathy on 2/1/2007
You guys look so cute, you make a beautiful family..Can't wait to see her in person.
Love to all of you!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Official China Adoption Day!

Hey all, Mary here at last. Maggie went down for a nap so I have a chance to finally get on the computer. The last few days have been amazing and tiring. She is warming up to Bryan, but is still only tolerating him. He's the man with the Cheerios and juice, so she has to interact with him to get her favorite things - but that's it. He did get her to smile with a game of peek-a-boo this morning. Except here in China "bu" means no or not, so we play "peak" or "hey, baby". We don't want to play with her and tell her no at the same time. She's confused enough already.
We're still having eating issues. We saw the orphanage director again today and I asked her if I was making her formula correctly, and she said I was. So I don't know why she won't take her bottle. I don't think a two year old should have a bottle anyway, but it would be good to get something more than Cheerios and peach juice in her! She had some steamed egg at breakfast and some fried rice last night for dinner, so she's eating some food.
Maggie is very attached to me and does not like to be put down. She will cry if I sit her down by herself on the bed or try to get her to stand up. We have spent the last couple of days on the bed surrounded by Cheerios and juice, the Fisher Price people from Ali, Em and Sam, and the rest of the trucks from the set that the red one came from. (We sent the red one over to her last fall) And her comb, she loves her comb. She also cries if I lean back, she likes the physical contact of me behind her.
This is my life in Hefei:

She's also a very wobbly while standing and walking. About the level of a 14-16 month old. We have to work on that.
Bryan typing here. Maggie woke up crying inconsolably while Mary was writing this post. She's just scared I think. Mary will finish this post later.

Original Comments from Post

Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Sam on 1/30/2007
Sam really wants to tell MayMay that he is Piglet today for Make a Match Day at school. He will be looking for Pooh./When you have any ideas for food that she will eat, I have a noodle cheesy hot dish that I could make for you guys. I'm sure getting her to eat will be difficult. Thanks for the picture and writing. We are checking in all the time-Good Luck & God Bless! The Miotkes

Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Joy on 1/30/2007
Hi there. Welcome to parenthood. :) Formula is nutritious but Rachel's nurse told us that she should be drinking whole milk. It plugs her up a bit so we feed her a lot of fruit at breakfast when we can. Perhaps Maggie will drink milk? Also when we feed Rachel juice, we cut it way down with water. She also takes Flintstones, the first years or something like that vitamins. We dissolve it in her milk so she doesn't make such a mess with it. She won't just eat it, she'll put it in her mouth and take it out, getting coloring all over her clothes and face. Rae does drink from a bottle too, but we're trying to wean her off of it. She gets a sippy cup with meals.

Good luck. Sounds like she's going to need a lot of time to get used to the changes. I have two cousins on my dad's side that came from China. Not sure of the city though. Their children were younger though, so adjustment wasn't as hard. Little kids need time and a lot of patience. You've been waiting for a long time for her so I'm sure that you would have no problem with that.


Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Davin on 1/30/2007
I suspect Maggie is slightly scared of Bryan because (I'm guessing here) mostly women worked at the orphanage. Her growth progression may seem a bit delayed but I'm sure she'll rebound. No doubt, the crying is what worked for her at the orphanage. She's a two year old. I'm sure eating will pick up when she becomes more comfortable with the situation. I'm surprised that the orphanage director didn't say that she may have less appetite for a while. However, they are probably used to children being adopted well under two, with different behavior. This is a new experience for the child - as well as for the new parents.

The real question is - did you get the red truck back that you originally mailed to China?

Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Lori on 1/30/2007
I wish I could give you some advice, but all I can really tell you is once you figure it out she will change. Being two is so much fun. A lot of 2 year olds survive on cheerios and juice. She will have a lot more adjustments to come. Wait til we throw american food at her. (not literal) Meg will scream when she wakes up if she is not sure where she is. Hard to console her but we just keep talking to her. Good luck, our thoughts and prayers are with you. - Lori

Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Mom-Joan on 1/30/2007
Maybe the orphanage has been watering down her formula to wean her off of it. Also, don't forget to offer her water. Beautiful picture, Bryan. Is she scared of the flash? She is even prettier than her early pics showed. My sympathies, Mary. Just hang in there, each day will get better. I suspect the wobbliness is due to her not getting out of the crib very often. By the time you get back here things will already be easier. She is undoubtedly scared and missing what she is familiar with. However wonderfully you guys are treating her she is naturally scared now. Did you try the TV? They may have run one in the orphanage.
She probably hasn't had any contact with men at the orphanage. She'll warm up to you, Bryan. This may be the toughest day for all three of you. Good luck!
Love, Mom

Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Ira on 1/30/2007
We have days that sound very similar to this with our kids (although without the steamed eggs, and comb -- I don't even know if my kids have seen a comb), and I've known them for years. You guys are going to be fine.

I'm really excited for you. Congratulations, and I hope you have a safe trip back.

I'll save a few bugs for your return!

Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Beth on 1/30/2007
Bryan, before you know it she'll be jumping up and down on your lap and you'll be saying watch out daddy's ...... Just like you say to Meaghan, except for the daddy part.
As long as she is getting some nourishment don't worry too much. I was thinking if she's wobbly now, skates are going to make her really wobbly.

Re: Official China Adoption Day! By Ellen, Ariel, Charlie, & Kyra on 1/30/2007
I'm sure everything's going to be fine - just give it a little time. She'll eat when she's hungry. She'll settle down when she's tired. Just knowing you're always going to be there will occur to her soon no doubt.

Hang in there - we're thinking of you!

Do you know what size she's wearing? (She looks a little bit smaller than Kyra.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Two new pictures

It's been a long day. Mary is even too tired to blog. Maggie started to cry whenever Mary tried to set her down. We're very glad that she's bonding quickly. Tomorrow morning, we go to apply for her passport.

Time for bed here. Thank you for all of the great comments.

Original Comments from Post

Re: Two new pictures By Mom-Joan on 1/29/2007
Just the shadow of a smile in the top picture and there she is asleep in new jammies that look like the ones you got Kyra for Christmas. Is there a baby bed in your room? I imagine there must be some sort of arrangement since this happens fairly often there, I'd guess. She IS even more beautiful than her other pictures showed.
Love, Mom

Re: Two new pictures By Mom-Joan on 1/29/2007
Forgot to ask. Has she said anything yet? Have they taught her any English?

Re: Two new pictures By Sandra, Gary & girls on 1/29/2007
Just logged on and wanted to see if the pictures were in yet. She's beautiful!!! Looks like she's a thumb sucker....her and Paige will have something to talk about-hee hee! Can't wait to meet her!!!
Congratulations again!!!!

Re: Two new pictures By Teresa, Jeff, Erin & Ashley on 1/29/2007
Congratulations! She is beautiful! What a doll. Looks full of personality huh? Glad it's going well and we can't wait to see her. Take care and have a safe trip home!

Re: Two new pictures By Lori Matt and the Girls on 1/29/2007
She looks so content, those first day jitters are easing already. I brought the pictures over to Mom so she could cry again. Dad can barely look at the pictures without sniffling. I can't wait to see more pictures and of course to see her in person.

Re: Two new pictures By Kari Grimes (Schleicher) on 1/29/2007
Mary -

I guess lifetime friendships run deep....when I saw your picture with Maggie I cried. I am so happy for you and yes, she likes you. (remember our conversation?)

You are now a family.

I am so happy for you three. May the rest of your trip be safe and may the new chapter in your life continue to unfold.

God Bless....


Re: Two new pictures By Davin on 1/29/2007
I'm jealous!
I wish I could have another one, if I have to find a woman who could stand me.
I'm sure the priority shift has already taken place; Maggie is now the most important thing in your lives. Everything else takes a back seat.
Get some rest and God bless the new Mickelson family.

Re: Two new pictures By Auntie Loie on 1/29/2007
What a beautiful child! What a beautiful day. Don't worry, Daddy, she's just probably not used to being around guys yet. Mary, the two of you look like you were meant to be together.

Re: Two new pictures By Mom-Joan on 1/29/2007
Hope it doesn't happen but if there is some inconsolable crying, it just means she is lonesome for where she has been cared for. We went through that with Davin when we moved from Brainerd to Medford. You were only abou 8 mo. old, Bryan and didn't really seem affected but Davin grieved for a couple of hours one day. He was just over 2 and I kept worrying that he was ill or hurt. I finally figured out that he was just realizing we weren't going back. It passed. Maybe he was realizing where we were going to stay =-). Anyway if she becomes sad, it will pass and all will be well again afterwards. Good luck. Can't wait for more pics!
Love, Mom

Re: Two new pictures By Davin on 1/29/2007
Like gas, all things must pass.

Re: Two new pictures By Tanya on 1/30/2007
Wow! She's BEAUTIFUL! Mary, you look like you're in heaven! I'm sure the testers are wondering why I'm sitting in front of the computer crying. This is just so incredible. So happy for you and Bryan! Bryan, it won't be any time at all before she's climbing all over you. Tanya

She's here!

Everything went very well this morning. We're back in the hotel now, and she's napping. She doesn't like me (Bryan) much yet, but she's bonding with Mary very well. She's tolerating me being in the room now, and isn't quite as scared as she was initially. It's really going very very well, considering.

We had to stop at a grocery store on the way back from the Civil Affairs building. That was quite the experience. At least we had Linda, our guide in Hefei, with us. We didn't know she was still on a bottle with formula, in addition to solid foods. We bought a bottle kit with a cleaning brush, and the same formula that she was used to. She liked it at first, but that changed quickly. The complimentary fruit that was left here last night had a banana in it that she really liked.

Pictures seem to be uploading normally here, but our connection speed seems really slow, so we're still limiting the number of pictures uploaded. I may have a video uploaded today also if I can figure out how to shrink it a bit. I'll work on that next. She smiles in the video.

Original Comments from Post

Re: She's here! By Bryan on 1/29/2007
I'm having problems uploading the video of her smiling. The connection here is very slow. I'll have to see if I can get a picture of her smiling. Wish me luck.

Re: She's here! By Alison on 1/29/2007
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!I have a new cousin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!She's so cute!!!!!!!!!
can't wait to meet her!!!!!!!!
I can't stop screaming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: She's here! By Emily on 1/29/2007
I went to my bed at 10'30 woke up at 6'30 shes so cute i cant wait till I see the movie shes so cute!!!!

Re: She's here! By Lori Matt and the Girls on 1/29/2007
Just on the way to mom's and we had to check in, she is so beautiful. Meg says "Hey Momma, it's baby Mao My friend." Congrats again. I can't wait to show Grandma Lois the picture. You know she is gonna start crying. We love you!!!!!!

Re: She's here! By Joan on 1/29/2007
She's BEAUTIFUL!!! We are so happy for all three of you. Hope all goes well. I'm sure she is overwhelmed as are you. Sam is too tired to comment. And by the way I'd rather be saying She's Here!! Good Luck!!

Re: She's here! By Davin on 1/29/2007
"Proud Mary" in the picture.
Does she have teeth?
I shall forever be plagued with being an uncle to Asian kids.
Was Mary crying with happiness? Bryan, too?
The long wait is over.
She is beautiful.

Re: She's here! By Ellen, Ariel, Charlie, & Kyra on 1/29/2007
Congratulations! She's absolutely perfect! We love her already!

Wait a minute...plagued?!?

Re: She's here! By Joan on 1/29/2007
Sam know wants to say "Nee How" Maggie Mao" I'm sure thats not spelled right. Bye Loye Ya We are gonna be late oh well.

Re: She's here! By Beth on 1/29/2007
Oh she is perfect, I can't stop crying I'm so happy for all three of you. Again I can't wait to visit.

Re: She's here! By Mom-Joan on 1/29/2007
Wow!!! I got up thinking you might not be able to post anything yet. She is beautiful and I can't wait to see her smile. When she wakes for the morning may be a little tougher but it will get bettereach day as she gets use to you... Congratulations on being parents at last. Hope all your dreams come true. Love to you all/

Re: She's here! By Karen Schleicher on 1/29/2007
I have been checking in daily and enjoying your trip. It has been very interesting. Of course, nothing can compare to today's entry. Maggie is so beautiful! I can only imagine your feelings of elation at the first sight and touch of her. I'm teary-eyed in trying to imagine it. Just as with every birth, the time and pain endured are all fogotten when a child enters our world. I'm so happy she is bonding with Mary, and don't fret Bryan, your time is coming. Every little girl loves her daddy!
Celebrate this wonderful time in your lives. I can hardly wait to join the
celebration. Love and God speed to the 3 of you.

Re: She's here! By Faye and John on 1/29/2007
Hey Mary and Bryan,
She is beautiful. I saw the pictures this am and couldn't wait to show John when he came home from work. We are so happy for the three of you. Congratulations and keep the pictures coming. What a great family.

Re: She's here! By Milt & Joan on 2/1/2007
Hey guys;
She is one cute little girl. We can't wait to see her on our homeward trip about April 1st. Teach her to say "Daddy", "Mommy", & "Grampa".
Take care.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Good Evening from Hefei!

Sunday, Jan. 28th 7:25 p.m.
We flew from Beijing to Hefei this afternoon. Before we left, we met the other 2 couples that we will be traveling with. Gwen and Craig came here to Hefei with us, while the other couple (Rick and Antinette) went to another province and will meet us in Guangzhou next weekend. The flight was only an hour and a half and was pretty uneventful, except that the seats are very close together and the meal service was a questionable sandwich.
On the way to the hotel from the airport, our host Linda told us to not be surprised if we hear fireworks at night in the city. They will light off fireworks here for any reason at all, The Chinese New Year is coming, somebody got married, or a new job or a new apartment - any cause for celebration will bring out the fireworks. Well, sure enough - Bryan and I have seen or heard at least a half dozen fireworks displays in the last hour and half! We took a video of it that we will show you later. They are lighting off huge fireworks from the sidewalks down there. Keep in mind, we are in a major city. Can you imagine everyone lighting off fireworks in downtown Minneapolis?
By the way - the city has 1.5 million people in about the same amount of land space that just the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis take up. Imagine taking all the people in all the suburbs of the Twin Cities and squishing them into the city proper. We have not seen one house in this country, everyone lives in apartment buildings.
Also - Hefei is a much brighter city than Beijing (the area we were in at least). I will post pictures later of the lighted buildings you can see from our window. We are right in downtown Hefei which is comprised of a couple dozen square blocks of buildings surrounded by a river. Very pretty. The riverwalk is all lit up also.
Anyway - we meet Maggie in 14 hours! The time has been changed to 9:30 a.m. our time, so that would be 7:30 p.m. Sunday night Minnesota time. (I had the math wrong before)
Make that more than a half dozen fireworks displays - another one just went off.
I will blog in the morning and try to figure out how to fix the picture upload problem we are having. Cross your fingers.

Original Comments from Post

Re: Good Evening from Hefei! By Beth on 1/28/2007
I am so excited, I will still be at work and you will be meeting Maggie. I can't wait to meet her, I guess I will have to make another trip to MN.

Re: Good Evening from Hefei! By Joan on 1/28/2007
I can't wait either. I'm so excited for you "Mom & Dad". We all will be thinking of you at about 7:30. Hope all goes well. Don't forget the kleenex

Re: Good Evening from Hefei! By Mom-Joan on 1/28/2007
Have been following your adventure, though Davin has been doing the commenting. I've been here at Davin's since Fri. night. Your pictures are really wonderful and now the best is about to become. I am so excited for you !!! Hoping with you that she won't be too upset by all the changes. It's unfortunate that you have all had to wait so long.
Especially loved the pictures of the Great Wall - we don't really hear enough about China over here and really there hasn't been much until the last few years that we could see.
Jumping up and down over here too, Love you-

Re: Good Evening from Hefei! By Ellen on 1/28/2007
So I heard some advice from a friend of a friend whose a niece of a lady that adopted a 2-year-old from China. She said she kept her new daughter's sweater in a plastic bag (the one she was wearing when she first met her). (I think they might have kept it in the freezer too.) When her little girl ever had trouble settling down for the night, they would give it to her because it smelled familiar to her.

She also said she ate nothing but noodles for weeks and ramen noodles are her favorite to this day.

Re: Good Evening from Hefei! By Lori Matt and the Girls on 1/28/2007
We just got back from Wisconsin and the first thing we did was to check in to your site. We are so excited for you. I will be checking 1st thing tomorrow to see how every thing went. Did I tell you how excited we are!!!!!!!!!! I am counting the seconds. We love you all,
Lori Matt and the girls

Re: Good Evening from Hefei! By Davin on 1/28/2007
I just got to Des Moines (teaching at Wells Fargo this week) and am checking your blog. When things settle down, please tell us how she is!

Bryan - after you get back, we have to go to a new movie called, "Ghost Rider". Looks awesome!

Re: Excited By Emily on 1/28/2007
It's 10 oclock Sunday night here. I'm so excited I can't sleep. So I came down to the kitchen to bother my Mom. POST PICTURES ASAP. !!!!!!!!Love you May May and Bry!!!!!!

Piglet at the Great Wall

As many of you may already know, I have a Piglet stuffed animal that has been to Orlando, Phoenix, Grand Junction Colorado, and many many other places with me. Well, Piglet was a little big to pack for this trip, so I brought a miniature replica that I was going to take a picture of on the Great Wall. Long story short, we forgot to take the picture. The Pig did climb the wall, but he never made it out of the backpack.Here's what the picture might have looked like if we had taken it yesterday:

Original Comments from Post

Re: Piglet at the Great Wall By Davin on 1/28/2007
That's okay - I'd rather see a picture of Piglet being held by Maggie!

Re: Piglet at the Great Wall By Alison on 1/28/2007
I didn't know piglet could be so big!!

Re: Piglet at the Great Wall By Brian (buddha) on 1/28/2007
Mary, you are so weird, but I love my sisters.

Good Morning

Hey all, it's 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan 28th here in Beijing. We meet Maggie tomorrow!!! Bryan and I will fly to Hefei this afternoon, check into the Holiday Inn and then in the morning we become parents. Yikes! I can't believe we're finally here and this is all happening.

So - at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday night your time (Minnesota time) it will 8:30 Monday morning here and that's when we meet Miss Maggie.
Remember that Disney commercial where the little kid says "I'm too excited to sleep!"? Yeah, we're doing that. Mary's up at 5:30 a.m. people! Can you believe it?

Original Comments from Post

Re: Good Morning! By Ellen, Ariel, Charlie, & Kyra on 1/27/2007
We'll be thinking of you Sunday at 10:30! Kyra said the name "Maggie" for the first time yesterday!

Re: Good Morning! By Davin on 1/28/2007
I think Buddy, my dog, said "Maggie" for the first time, too!
Mary being awake at 5:30 is as amazing as Mary and Bryan walking the Great Wall of China. We always knew you had it in ya to be up early when you want to.
Well - this is why you came to China. I'm really excited for you two. Best wishes!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pictures of Day 2 - Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Coal Hill have been added to the gallery

Saturday, Jan. 27th 8:47 p.m.
I've been a busy girl this evening! I put yesterday's pictures in the Photo Gallery.
Here's a quick map of the area, so it will make more sense:

Jingshan Park (Coal Hill)

The Forbidden City

Tian'anmen Gate (with the picture of Mao Zedong)
The Congressional Building Tian'anmen Square The National Museum
War Memorial
Mao's Tomb

Our hotel was about a half mile east of Coal Hill. The Forbidden City is located in the very center of Beijing, with miles and miles of solid city stretching in each direction around it. Beijing is a city of 15 million people!

Original Comments from Post

Re: Pictures of Day 2 - Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Coal Hill have been added to the gallery By Davin on 1/27/2007
These pictures are absolutely amazing. You'll never forget this experience. Thank you for taking so many pictures and being brave enough to include strangers in the background, adding to their authenticity.

Lugou Bridge By Davin on 1/27/2007
Have you guys been to this cool bridge made entirely of granite - frequently by Marco Polo? Maybe it's too far away?

Re: Pictures of Day 2 - Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Coal Hill have been added to the gallery By Davin on 1/27/2007
Or the Ming Dynasty Tombs might be cool, too!

Re: Pictures of Day 2 - Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Coal Hill have been added to the gallery By Mary on 1/27/2007
We drove by the Ming Tombs on the way to the Wall, but did not stop. I have read about the Marco Polo Bridge in one of our books, but we won't be getting there. There are a lot of places we haven't seen. Too much to see, too little time!

Re: Pictures of Day 2 - Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Coal Hill have been added to the gallery By Ellen on 1/27/2007
I've always wondered - why is it called the Forbidden City?

Re: Pictures of Day 2 - Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Coal Hill have been added to the gallery By Mary on 1/27/2007
Because only the Emperor and his family were allowed inside, along with a few high ranking officials, some eunuchs and some concubines. There are three gated rings and the farther in you get, the higher ranking you have to be.

We just climbed the Great Wall of China

Can you believe it? We just climbed the flippin' Great Wall of China! I astound myself sometimes. It was super steep and it killed our lungs and legs, but it was worth all the pain. I will post pictures as soon as I download them from the camera.

I am so cool today, I can hardly stand myself.

Update: Saturday, Jan. 27th 8:16 p.m. I added a Great Wall album in the Photo Gallery. Go check it out!

Original Comment from Post

Re: We just climbed the Great Wall of China By Davin on 1/27/2007
I bet you two will travel more often. Having Peter around is making the trip a lot easier, I bet.
It snowed here today - about 1/4 inch.
We can't believe you walked the "Wall" either. AMAZING!!!

Re: We just climbed the Great Wall of China By Davin on 1/27/2007
I saw the pic of you two at the end of the Great Wall. How long is it? Can you walk the entire distance?

Re: We just climbed the Great Wall of China By Mary on 1/27/2007
The Wall is about 4000 miles long, we decided to just walk 1/2 mile of the restored section at Badaling. : )
We reached the end of the restored section on the steep side and had to turn back.
btw - it took a Chinese team 7 months to walk the length of the Wall. It is only restored in some places. Two-thirds is a ruin that is not open to visitors.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I feel like I've run a marathon.

Peter, our guide from Childrens, is in very good shape. He climbs 1500 stairs, and doesn't even breath hard. I on the other hand was breathing very hard.

We walked from our hotel to Tian'anmen Square, and then on to The Forbidden City. Everything was amazing. I still can't believe that we were walking around Tian'anmen Square today. Did you know that there are 9000 rooms in The Forbidden City? It's much bigger than it appears on the map. I love the architecture. I'm astounded by the luxury in these palaces for the times when they were built.

I'd say we'd walked about 4 or 5 miles, and then climbed at the park accross the road. Peter said it will get us prepared for The Great Wall tomorrow. I think it might just make me so sore that it will be difficult to climb at The Great Wall. Going up, I felt like we were the "out of shape, Americans", but on the way down, we met many other people of all nationalities that were struggling to get up to the tower. The view from up there was amazing.

Pictures will be posted later.

Original Comments from Post

Re: I feel like I've run a marathon. By Davin on 1/26/2007 I hope you brought great walking shoes. Hopefully, they told you to being some. Please don't die in China; shipping the body will be very expensive and laborious. Put a case of Coke Light in a back pack and tell Peter to carry it to slow him down.
BTW - are you two shooting videos? I can't wait until you get back and (of course, I want to meet Maggie first!) see you pictures and videos.

Beijing Day 2 Update

Posted by: Mary 1/26/2007

Hey everybody! Peter took us to Tian'anmen Square, The Forbidden City and Jingshan Park (Coal Hill) this morning. We'll attempt to upload pictures later. Blogging last night was a debacle. We've had to set our blog time and laptop time back to Minnesota time, some crazy stuff was going on last night with the time and date on my posting. So - ignore what the time stamp says on our posts from now on. We'll tell you that it's Jan. 26th at 2:40 p.m., just so you know.

We now have to try to fix the problem where the web browser closes itself when I upload pictures (just sometimes - it's keeping us on our toes!), I wrote last night's post about 10 times, then went to bed at 11:00, woke up at 11:30 because somebody was banging something really loud downstairs (Bryan and I have different theories as to who was banging what), got back to sleep and woke up at 3:00 a.m. wide awake and ready to go. I watched Japanese children's programming for a while, then a synchronized diving competition from Doha. China kicked butt. I fell back asleep at 4:30 and got up at 7:00 to shower and have breakfast. I really hope tonight goes better! Peter is taking us to the Great Wall tomorrow and I want to be well rested. He almost killed us today with the walk up Coal Hill.

Whoo, I'm verbose today. (look it up)

Pictures later!


Geography fun for kids!

Posted by: Mary 1/26/2007

Hey Alison, Emily, Sam and whomever else wants to check this out. Go grab your globe...I'll wait...

OK - Find these three cities on the globe: St. Paul, Minnesota; Gnome, Alaska; and Tokyo, Japan. Now, take your finger and draw an arc (like a rainbow) connecting those three cities. That's the flight path our airplane took to get from Minnesota to Tokyo. Pretty cool, huh? Flying over the Arctic Circle is shorter than flying straight west.

Love ya! Auntie May-May

Original Comments from Post

Re: Geography fun for kids! By alison on 1/28/2007 You flew half way around the world! cool!!

A restaurant review.

We went to the place down the street that was recommended to us by our host, Peter. I don't actually know the name of it, because we still can't read the Chinese characters. You'd think the immersion would work by now, wouldn't you?

We should have stopped as soon as we saw the people out on the street cleaning the drains right in front of the restaraunt. The smell of sewer gas was strong, but you could barely smell it inside, so we sat down. We'd put our jackets on the backs of the chairs we were sitting at. They immediately put plastic covers over those jackets right on the chairs.

Our waitress handed us 2 large menus with which to point to the food of our choice. Mary chose pork dumplings. I chose spicy chicken with peanuts. We both ordered Coke Light, because we drink a lot of hot tea in our room. I'd assumed that I'd get rice. There was one bowl of spicy chicken with some onions and a good sauce set down on the table. That's it. We both started to nibble on this and work on our chopstick skills. I'm getting pretty good with those things. Mary was looking for a fork and having no luck. She received her pork dumplings a few minutes later.

First, let me say that all of the food was very good. It's just different. The atmosphere was very strange. We were being stared at by the waitresses for a while, but we've gotten used to being stared at in the last couple of days. For a while our waitress was standing within 12 inches of our table watching us eat. A sense of humor is definitely necessary at this point.

Every few minutes, one to three cooks would come out of the kitchen and go outside to talk to the drain cleaning people, and then they'd return to the kitchen.

We'd finished eating just about the time that the wait staff was getting together to have a "rally the troops" meeting. They all lined up, counted off, (yi, er, san, si...), and were talked to for a few minutes and then spoke some phrases in unison. That's when the smell started to creep into the dining room. We were ready to go. We just had to wait for the meeting to be over.

The meeting ended and they all scattered, but it looked like they forgot about us. We sat there looking at each other for a few minutes asking, "What do we do now?".

Eventually, we got up, and took the jacket covers off, and I went to the front by the cashier. They quickly got our info together and we paid 76 RMB for the meal. That approximately $9.50 US for 2 meals with 2 Coke Light cans.

Overall, we're having a lot of fun, and trying new things.

Original Comments from Post

Re: A restaraunt review. By Davin on 1/26/2007
Day three in China and you still can't read Chinese? I think it's like Egyptian - just look at the letters and figure out the story. JK.
I wonder about the purpose of the jacket covers. Peter might know. Was there a coat rack? Also, what kind of tea have you two been drinking? Black, Green, Oolong, White or Yellow tea?
Nasty sewer smell, huh? Ick! BTW - once you get the hang of chopsticks, they can be a lot of fun. They also make you eat slower.
You two were eating authentic Chinese food. real Asian food will grow on you. Soon, you'll be back in Minnesota wondering why people here eat the crap we do in America. Thanks for the review!

Re: A restaraunt review. By Lois on 1/26/2007
I love gastronomic adventures.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple

Here are pictures of our day, along with captions. Here we go...

Our host Peter met us at the hotel this morning and we hopped into a cab and headed out to the Summer Palace. As it is winter, there were no gardens and the lake was frozen over, but it was beautiful nonetheless. And there were hardly any people there, which was very cool.

Here we are just inside the entrance. The building behind us was under construction, so it was wrapped in plastic.

We then headed over to the lake and looked at the tower we were about to climb:

(The upside down triangle just below the tower is a double set of stairs.)

On the way over to the tower, we saw a woman writing calligraphy on the slate tiles with a big brush and water.

Peter said she was writing a very famous old Chinese poem, I took his word for it. Here are Peter and I getting a close-up look at her work.

At the base of the tower was a building with a courtyard where the steps began. They circled the courtyard and brought us to the "triangle" set that I pointed out above.

The Tower of the Fragrance of Buddha:

We couldn't go to the top, so here's the view from just outside the courtyard that the temple sits in. Those buildings in the distance on the water's edge is where we took the picture of the tower from. (bad bad English - sorry, I'm tired)

We then headed to Yong He Gong - the Lama Temple. We weren't able to take any pictures inside the temple, but we did see a statue of Maitreya the future Buddha that was 60 feet high and carved from one giant piece of white sandalwood. Peter said it took 3 years just to deliver the wood from Tibet.

The skyway made us feel at home.

Here's a girl spinning a prayer wheel.

We have many many more pictures (161 total, plus movies!) that we just couldn't post to the web. I skipped all of the architecture at the Summer Palace - there's some great detail. (Jim - they have metal butterfly keys holding the stone bridges together.)We are thinking about putting all of our pictures on Flickr because the blog has been flaky. I've been working on this post for almost 2 hours and am ready to just chuck the laptop out the window. Flimflammin....aargh. Frustrated.

Anyway - 9:00 time for bed. Tomorrow we see Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City.

Original Comments from Post

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Davin on 1/25/2007
With those cameras, you guys look like American tourists! Nice pics, guys - keep them coming. I bet you two lose a little weight on this trip. I wish I was there - well, with my own motel room. Looks like you two are having fun.

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Mom-Joan on 1/25/2007
First let me say how thrilling it is to see you guys on the other side of the world just a bit after it happened! This is a new wrinkle in travel that most people of my generation would be jumping up and down about. It is wonderful! Almost like getting to go myself. Your pictures are, of course, good. That they actually came through is a miracle of sorts. What is the creature behind you in the first picture? Can't wait to see more. Love, Mom

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Davin on 1/25/2007
I am glad to see that the Lama Tower is handicap accessible.

Could you post the picture of the 60 ft. Maitreya, the future Buddha? Is it in the shadows behind the kid spinning copper? Maybe that is something else...

Who is Peter in the pictures?
Bryan says- Peter is our guide in Beijing. Can't take photos in some buildings, so we couldn't take a picture of the 60 ft. Maitreya.
Mary says - that was the Fragrant Buddha tower. Good to know they have a fragrant Buddha over here too - I only thought there was the one in Oregon.
I believe the Buddha that you see behind the kid is one of three Buddhas for the past, present and future. I can't remember. The Maitreya Buddha is in the center of a 6 story building, you can only see her feet from outside.
Also - Peter is an employee of Children's Home. He took care of all of our accomodations here in Beijing and also bought our plane tickets from here to Hefei, in addition to being our tour guide. He's the Beijing end of the whole operation, it's a pretty cool job actually.

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Mom - Lois thru Lori on 1/25/2007
Lori is printing out your blog so that I can keep informed. I am so glad that you are there and enjoying yourselves. Keep the info coming.

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Lori Matt and the Girls on 1/25/2007
Thanks for the pictures and all the bad grammar. It is nice to know what you are up to half a world away. When we ask Meg where MayMay and BryNay are she tells us "go bye bye in truck - in airplane - go pick up baby Mao in China". Very cute. We miss you!!!

Re: Beijing Day One - Tours of the Summer Palace and Lama Temple By Beth on 1/27/2007
It looks so beautiful. I am so excited for you two. I can't wait to meet Maggie, have fun climbing the Great Wall of China.

hi maymay By Emily m on 1/27/2007
mary today is day 3 i cant wait to see maggie! me and my friends R so excited i told them and keep them updated!
love you, Emily

hi By on 1/28/2007
so I guess you surrvied the wall!!!!! Wemiss U so much cant wait to see maggie!
Love U Emily

OOPS By on 1/28/2007
I ment We miss not wemiss