Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Happy Song

We sing this song together at least once a day...it has now evolved in to "Happy Family...Baba, Mama, Dang Hongyan, Meow Meow".


Monday, March 29, 2010

An Unexpected Gift

Recently, there was a discussion on the Yahoo group for Inner Mongolia (IM) families about how to find the families that fostered our children prior to them joining their forever families.  It turns out there was a non-profit that used to supervise and fund the foster family program in parts of Inner Mongolia.  One of the IM Mom's had a contact who used to work for the non-profit and he provided her a list of children who were once under his supervision.  Yep...our Sofie was one of them!

This kind gentleman sent me a lovely email with lots of information about Sofie Dang Hongyan.  He remembered her and her "big smile when we see her every week.  She like smile very much."

He also told me that Sofie Dang Hongyan was fostered by not one, but two different families...one she joined at about 9 months old and was then sent to another family about 15 months later.  Wow.

And, there was a picture attached to his email...it looks like she was about a year old...just precious.  The file is too big for the blog so I am going to see if Brandon the photoshop wizard can help me with that so I can post it.

Friday, March 26, 2010


We always have music playing in our house, especially while we are cooking, eating and cleaning up.  We almost always dance and sing along too.  Sofie Hongyan decided to join us last night:


Thursday, March 25, 2010

We Love To Wear Mama's Shoes...

And learning with Baba...flashcards are the best!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Learning To Catch

Learning to catch the ball...instead of it bonking you on the head

Stubbed toes hurt


Taking them all out is so much fun...

putting them back...not so much.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3 Weeks...

We were just saying last night that it's so hard to believe it's only been three weeks since we met Dang Hongyan.  She has been home with us for 10 days and already rockin' her routine.  Hongyan goes to bed (and to sleep) and gets up at the same time each day, sleeping through the entire night in her own bed.  We have our morning routine and activities throughout the day, then she knows when it is time for her bath, movie (while Mama cooks) and dinner. Hongyan is eating pretty much everything we eat now.  Some new favorites: salmon, kale, carrots, corn on the cob.

The english is coming along - she repeats most of what has been asking for things (banana, snack, juice) in english.  She wants to know what everything is and what it is for.  We've been out shopping a few times and she is very helpful - likes me to hand everything to her, tell her what it is for and put it in the cart for me.  She also likes to unload all the items on to the belt at the checkout.

Hongyan also likes to stash things - perhaps behavior remaining from her time in the orphanage.  I keep finding her things in drawers or tucked away somewhere.  She is also obsessed with what belongs to who and making sure she repeatedly identifies everything that is hers.  She is very proud to have her own things.   I was going to start back at the gym this week, but Hongyan is still a little bit clingy, which is fine.  She can be clingy for as long as she needs to be.

Now for some photos...from my Blackberry...I need to remember to keep my camera handy

Snake books...again!

What started out as organizing the storage containers...and has become a take them out and throw them back in the cabinet game...several times a day

Making music

Who needs toys when you have a laundry basket?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hot New Band

They rocked SXSW this year...


Friday, March 19, 2010

Working On A Schedule

This week has been all about establishing a routine and structure, and Sofie Hongyan is already really taking to it.  We're also working on getting a full-night's sleep.  Bedtime is actually pretty easy - we brush our teeth, wash our hands and face, read two small books with Baba and then it's lights out...literally.  She falls right to sleep.  But has been waking up crying several times a night.  The good thing is she goes right back to sleep as soon as one of us goes to her room and lays on the floor so she can see us.

We've also been getting lots of outdoor time, which she loves.  We went to the park for a nice long walk today...

Sofie Hongyan has been reading Baba's snake books with great interest - they are the only books she actually sit and look at for any length of time, beside the book Auntie Peanut and Cousin Drew made for her.  So, Baba decided it was time to meet the pet snakes.  She was fascinated and sat on the stairs after looking at the snake books for a long while.

One of our adoption friends and fellow Inner Mongolia Mom, was kind enough to send Sofie a package to welcome her home.  I let her open it yesterday...thanks Tammy & Joy!

We've been adding Sofie on to the beginning of her name this week and she says Sofie, but from what we've been able to translate, she is say "not Sofie, Dang Hongyan".  We'll keep working on it.  For those of you who will speak to her on the phone or by Skype, she only really knows Dang Hongyan...pronounced Dong Hoy Yen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Karaoke Part II

A Sofie and Baba duet...it's a little dark but you can hear the pipes on that silly kid.  This is pretty much what it sounds like in our house for 12 hours a day!


So, we heard about the jet lag coming back from China...but we weren't prepared for the utter lack of sleep and feeling like we are hungover for days.  We decided we couldn't let this go on for days...or weeks, so went for the "rip the bandaid off" method and so far, so good.

Sofie went to bed for the night at 6am on Sunday and Monday morning, which was her bedtime in China.  Of course one of us had to be up with her overnight so I took the first shift Saturday night and we all slept until about 3pm on Sunday.  The three of us stayed up all night on Sunday/Monday early morning.  Monday was rough!  Sofie went to sleep at 6am and we decided to get her up at around 9am.  It was the only way we were going to quickly break the cycle.  We had all been up all night and were so, so tired.  But come dinner time, Silly literally fell asleep at the dinner table!  And slept the entire night in her own bed.  Hooray! 

We got her up this morning and did not let her nap all day, so she feel asleep at 8pm.  We are hoping she will sleep the night again...a few more nights and I think we'll all be good. 

We have incorporated Sofie in to her name as we use it and she is already starting to point to herself and say "Sofie".  She also knows many English words now, which is great.  We had our first battle of the wills today and what a battle it was!  They told us she was stubborn...but Mama is stubborn too and has infinite patience.  It took 45 minutes to get her to clean up all the papers she tossed on the floor...but I know she'll think twice next time...she's a smart kid.

Some photos from our first days home...

Bird watching with Baba

Spaghetti was a hit  She also loves ketchup (apparently they produce it in the city she came from) and strawberries.  Can you tell I am a new Mom?  Who's idea was it to feed the kid spaghetti in a white shirt...?

Reading her special book written by Auntie Peanut and Cousin Andrew

Paperdolls were also a big hit

Such a happy little girl!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Future Karaoke Star

Sofie was rifling through the bath toys cousin Andrew passed down to her and found one that looked like a microphone.  She launched in to a karaoke session that was quite hilarious.  Thankfully I was able to capture part of it.  It ended with Sofie and Baba doing a tandem karaoke...both singing different songs.  The lyrics of Sofie's song was full of "Mama, Baba, Dang Hongyan".  Have I told you how much we love this kid...?

There's No Place Like Home

We are so happy to finally be home...all three of us.  I swear Sofie knows we are finally done with the traveling.  She's seen her pictures on the walls, desks and mantle...and of course loves having her own room and her own toys.  We have been living out of suitcases and ziplock bags for two weeks, so I made it a point to unpack and store everything today and get the house in order so she knows we aren't leaving again.

When I posted last night we thought Sofie was out, but she popped back up at about 1am...she & I were up until about 6am while Brandon got some much-needed sleep.  All three of us slept most of the day today which was a bummer because it was sunny and 80!  We got up, had some lunch and headed out for a nice walk and explored the backyard.  Sofie learned that she can only get so close to the pool and that she has to lay down on her belly if she wants to splash around in the water with her hands.  She also helped Baba clean the pool and skimmer baskets.  She's a very helpful girl!

The three of us had some dinner...Chuy's never tasted so good!  Then watched a little bit of a movie, read books and played a bit and she fell asleep at about 11pm.  We're hoping she'll sleep through the night.  Fingers crossed!

Mastering the stairs...slides down on her tiny hiney!

Watching her favorite movie, Ice Age, in her favorite spot

Karaoke Kid

Watching Sesame Street

Captured by YeYe Poppy while Skype-ing from Hong Kong

Some new things we have learned about Sofie:

  • Sofie loves tomatoes, bananas, leafy greens, spicy food (she macked on the creamy jalapeno from Chuy's tonight!) and of course noodles and chicken wings.

  • Sofie does not like bread, cookies, crackers (not even Gold Fish!) or red meat

  • Her favorite toy since being home...flash cards and her "baby", a bunny from Auntie Lisa

  • Home girl knows how to pull weeds!  Yes!

  • Did I tell you how much she loves to be naked?

  • She would NOT go in the squatty potties in Asia.  Nope, not having it.  Girl likes her a nice clean toilet.

  • She loves, loves, loves to be outside.  Perfect!

Tomorrow we will venture out to get some kid supplies - we'll see how she does out and about in her new hometown.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

27 Hours Later...

we are finally home!  Sofie Hongyan did brilliantly on all of the flights today - slept through the entire 11 1/2 hours from Tokyo.  She spent a bit of time exploring her new digs and chatted briefly with Nana Mary on the phone before hitting the sack.  We were sure she would not sleep tonight since she slept almost the entire way home, but she snuggled in to bed with us and was out in a matter of minutes.  It was an exhausting trek and I'm sure she'll need a few days to recover.

Favorites so far...Stella the Cat and her room.  She learned how to pet Stella and which parts not to touch and so far Stella seems to really like her too.  I just checked on Sofie and Stella is curled up at the foot of the bed...purring up a storm.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Homeward Bound

We spent the afternoon with Cousin Stacey in Stanley Park.  She took us to lunch and for a bit of shopping, then to the country club so her girls could meet and play with Sofie Hongyan.  Needless to say, Sofie had a blast and was quite smitten with all three ladies.  She was very, very sad when she had to say goodbye...it was quite a scene.  Stacey - your girls are both amazing!  We really enjoyed spending time with them!  Thank you for today!

Hong Kong is really incredible.  We wish we could spend more time here but honestly, we are ready to go home, get settled and spend quality time continuing to bond with our girl.  Our flight leaves at 9am tomorrow morning!  We head to Tokyo, then on to Dallas with a quick hop down to Austin and we'll be HOME!

Could that smile get any cheesier...?

It wasn't long before Sofie had charmed the socks off of Stacey...it's quite a talent of hers.

Playing with Destry

Destry was so much fun

Hong Kong

We packed up and headed to the train station this afternoon for a scenic ride to Hong Kong...where we are all now snuggled up cozy & comfy in bed. It was a long day, but little Miss Silly was such a trooper...again! She has been through so much the past few weeks and never ceases to amaze us with her toughness and resiliency.

A few photos from the day... Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Home Stretch

Today was our last full day in Guangzhou.  We did the group photo op in the hotel lobby and boy what a scene that was!  They tried to get all the kids on the red couch for a photo, but was just crazy to think that 24 kids of all ages were going to sit still for one moment.  Then we headed to the Consulate to sign Sofie Hongyan's visa paperwork and to take an oath.  We are now DONE with the adoption paperwork and free to leave after we get Sofie's visa tomorrow afternoon!  We will head to Hong Kong on the 4:10pm train.

Photos of Sofie in her traditional Mongolian celebration dress and hat...I'm sure you know by now what a bright smile she has and how much she likes to ham it up for the camera.  You can just tell by the look on her face in these photos, she was not having any of the group photo chaos.  And, that she was very much a Baba's girl today...which is always so sweet to see.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Few More Photos From Today

We got out for a walk while the sun was out.  It was very windy and still a bit chilly, but nice to get some fresh air.  Just got the kiddo down for the night...it was a tough one!  She is working on her degree from Dilly Dally University...she is majoring in Delaying Bed Time and so far has a 4.0 GPA.

The Pearl River

At the park near the hotel

Brandon found a good use for the China Daily News...making forts and pagodas to put Barbie in!

A Relaxing Day

It's been cold and rainy the past few days and is very cold and windy today, so we've been sticking around the hotel.  Late yesterday afternoon we had slop over to the medical clinic in the mud and rain to have Sofie Hongyan's TB test read.  She did not want to pull her sleeve up because that place was the scene of the 5 immunization shot crime.  Thankfully, she passed with flying colors.  We were all soaking wet from the rain so changed in to our pajamas and climb in to bed to watch Madagascar, which she loves, and spent the rest of the evening playing and bonding.

We skipped the agency touring today as well.  Not only because it is very cold, but we want to spend as much quality family time with our girl right now as possible.  It gets a little overwhelming for her when we are with all the other families - there are 23 of them here from our agency.  So we headed over to Starbuck's for some coffee and coloring.  Then we had to hang out in our room while our guide was dropping off our paperwork at the Consulate.  Sofie and Baba are down for a nap right now and Mama is enjoying a nice glass of afternoon wine.

I know I've said it before, but we can't imagine a child more perfect for us.  Sofie Hongyan is so, so smart and silly and funny and outgoing...and of course spicy, sassy and stubborn, but we would have her any other way.  We just love her to pieces!  And Brandon as a Baba...what can I say.  I knew he would be a great Dad...he is amazing.  He steps right in and handles anything and everything...knows how to meet Sofie's needs...and makes sure I get some quiet time.  And as far as Sofie is concerned, he is the most fun Baba in the world.

The sun just came out and my two loves are up from their nap, so we are going to head out for a walk along the Pearl River.  All of our paperwork was in order so tomorrow afternoon we will head to the Consulate for an oath ceremony.

Just a few photos so far today...

I found a Pleasant Goat doll!  It's a blow up, which turned out to be perfect since she wanted to give it a bath.

Guangzhou from our room

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Out And About

We did a bit of sightseeing today around Guangzhou.  We started at a beautiful Buddhist temple - The Temple of Six Bayan Trees - where Sofie Hongyan was blessed by a monk - it was quite lovely and very moving.  We can tell she has been raised a Buddhist.  When she sees a photo of Buddha, she bows with hands in prayer...amazing.  Then we headed off to some sort of gallery or museum - I did not get to see it as Silly Sofie fell asleep on the way over and I did not want to wake her, so she & I stayed on the bus.  Back to the hotel for good quality family time and a movie to finish off the day.

"Aw" moment of the day...we've been watching Kai Lan videos (and reading books - thanks Nana Joyce!) I downloaded on iTunes and in one of the episodes Kai Lan teaches the Chinese word for happy and sings a song about being happy.  Sofie Hongyan & I were playing on the bed giving each other kisses and we decided to get Baba.  We each took a cheek and started planting kisses on and hugging Brandon.  Then little Silly starts singing the Kai Lan song about being happy...it was SO precious!