Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ava Says...

Happy Halloween!!!!!

I Love Lucy and Rockstars!

I Love Lucy!! Well, I love Lucy's anyhow. This is a restaurant here in Guangzhou that caters to American food and families. We had dinner there last night, lunch there today, and are meeting other families at 7pm tonight for dinner! Last night we had burgers, fries, beer, and apple pie! Yum-O! Ava had her first bite of hamburger and loved it! She wasn't a big fan of the apple pie and ice cream, which was odd. But we have until March before Mel-O-Creme opens. So, we'll see...

Today, we went to a museum. It was okay. John and I just aren't history buffs so it was a little boring for us. Ava fell asleep, so I guess it was for her too! Haha!

After lunch (at Lucy's) we came back to the room and chilled for awhile because we met our group at 4:00 to go across the street to the market. A market. You would think it was this nice, casual, laid back strolling...NO! It was the furthest thing from it! It was insane. One of the girls in our group called it Times Square, New Years Eve, on acid. TOTALLY!

But, this leads up to the rockstars. We ARE rockstars here! People stop and stare, they take pictures, they ask to take pictures with us. It was funny at first, but now is getting annoying. I have a newfound respect for celebrities and paparazzi! So, we decided if they were going to take pictures of us, we were going to take pictures of them.

One more pic of Ava to close off...we are headed to Lucy's! This is from the White Swan Hotel on the red couch.

Love to you all! 5 more days!
John, Sara, and Ava

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guangzhou, Baby!!

Plain and Simple...We heart Guangzhou!!

Granted, we have only been here for less than 24 hours but it's completely amazing! It's so laid back and warm! We have an awesome hotel room with a soft bed and air conditioning!
But on to what you all really care about...our little China Doll, Ava!

We have a couple of likes and dislikes to add to her list.
First, a new like...SUBWAY! John got a tuna sub and shared it with her. She loved it and kept taking huge bites. But look closely at the picture. She has chips in each hand. We always joke that she has food "on deck". She just likes to hold her food until what you are feeding her is gone and then she will eat it. It's so funny!

Second, a new dislike...AIRPLANES! Well, maybe not a huge dislike. She did pretty well considering she is 2 and we sat on the runway for an hour before take off. She did great, but then got completely bored and had a couple of minor meltdowns until they brought food. And then all was well! But she was so adorable in her big girl seat on the plane. The flight attendants were so nice to her. They even gave her a little airplane keychain that said Shanghai Airlines. Of course, she threw it the second they gave it to her. But we'll keep it for future.

By the time we got into Guangzhou and checked into the hotel, we were ALL whipped. We had a super heathly dinner of sour cream and onion chips and Oreo cookies. Then we all passed out until Ava woke up at 7:30am! That was a major sleep in for her!

Today was another big day for Ava. For any of you who have adopted from China, you have to know what today was like for us. Enter medical exam...(major cringe)! What an experience. There were about 200 American couples in there with their children. They had to weigh her, measure her, check her ear, nose, and throat, check her poor little girl parts, and the poor thing needed 3 shots. Well, first was the weight. She wouldn't stand still on the scale, so they had to weigh her on the baby scale. She weighs 24lbs and she's is 2 foot, 8 inches tall. She took her shots like a trooper and seriously cried because they were holding her down. Once they were finished, she was running around and laughing again! Of course, her mama took it a little harder than her. I was bawling!

But, while we were there and waiting, John was holding Ava and then all of a sudden she got a big smile on her face and said "Bo"! That's right Bobo was there today, too! I love that she recognized him. We have actually ran into his parents quite a few times since then and even had lunch with them. We've exchanged emails and Facebook ID's so we can stay in touch. They live in North Carolina but have family in Toledo so they visit in the summers. So, we will be able to meet up with them when they are in town.

But we made it up to her and took her shoe shopping! Right now, she is running around the room squeaking! We bought her a pair of squeaky shoes and they are hilarious!! She just keeps moving so she can hear them. And I even bought her a couple of other pairs in a size bigger. I'm sure they will wear out their welcome, but I couldn't resist.

She loves to go away! She probably goes to the door about 5-6 times a day and just points at the door handle. Or she will bring her coat to us and say bye-bye. We keep taking her for walks in the hallways of the hotels we are staying in. It works for awhile anyway.

Well, I need to finish unpacking and then we are off to dinner! We are going to Lucy's, which we hear is great!

Here are a couple pics to enjoy!

John, Sara, and Ava

Friday, October 29, 2010

What Do You Get...

When you have a 2 year old with no nap and likes to defy her parents and parents who are so exhausted all they want to do it keep her from screaming?

Last night I was so worried that John wouldn't make it back with dinner before Ava fell asleep. Again, she called my bluff! Not only did she stay awake in time to eat french fries...

She refused to go to bed! She screamed so loud everytime John tried to get her to settle down. She was literally falling asleep while standing up. We were completely cracking up at her. I'm not too proud to admit this, but we left her to sleep on the floor. The hotel walls are so thin (John heard her screaming when he got back with food from the elevator) and we were afraid of complaints. So this is how our girl slept last night.

We have definitely made some progress! She is holding our hands now and waves and says bye bye! She still definitely favors John while we are in the hotel, but when we are gone she is a mama's girl! I think she likes to play on the bus and I can get her laughing pretty hard! I am so in love with that little girl!

We come home in a week! Woohoo!! We're so excited! And now we're off to Guangzhou!
Talk to you soon!

Love you all!
John, Sara, and Ava

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ava is a Daddy's Girl!!!

There is no doubt about it...Ava is a daddy's girl! Here is my current view...

John just walked down to get us some food and she threw an absolute fit! I tried to sidetrack her with food, but that didn't work. She wants her daddy.
Today started out rough, again. :(

Every morning is like starting at square one. But she is definitely getting better and better every day. Today we did a tour of the city. John and I asked that we do it in the afternoon so that we could get her lunch and a nap beforehand. Well, did she call our bluff on that one! She wouldn't go to sleep! She is going on zero nap. But she did surprisingly well for no sleep.

We did a boat tour down the river and then went to China Town. Now, let me tell you, China Town was completely overwhelming for me, so imagine a two year old little girl with people she has only known for 4 days and no nap. She threw a couple of small fits, but for the most part it was all good!! Here are some pics of the day!

Tomorrow, we fly to Guangzhou! I am so ready to leave Shanghai and I know John is too! It will be a nice change of scenery and hopefully a good change for Ava. Now, how will she do on a plane???

John, Sara, and Ava

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Big Day for Ava!!

So far today has been a pretty eventful day! Lots of firsts and lots of emotions. Let me start out with this picture to let you know how the day started...

This is what she does when John leaves the room. She is constantly by his side. I had to take her in the bathroom today while he was shaving and in the shower. And even when he is going to the bathroom, she is standing right by his side. It's a little sad for me, but we kind of anticipated it. We had been told by many that it's pretty common.

After the temper tantrum, we went to breakfast and she ate like a tropper again! But, it's weird because what we fed her yesterday morning at breakfast was nothing even close to what she wanted today. Yesterday, she had cereal and fruit. Everytime we gave her a bite of either of those, she spit it out. So, guess what she had? Fried rice, again. But if that's what she wants, we'll be more than happy to oblige. It's sad to watch her eat. She just hoards food and has to make sure all of the food is gone before she stops eating. If it's all gone, she's fine. But if you try to take something from her before it's all gone, WATCH OUT!! Hurricane Ava is on the loose! Haha!!

Our guide picked us up at 9am and we went to the place where she was abandoned as a baby. Even as I type this, I cry. It's just so heart wrenching to think of it. We found out she was left at an ATM booth from the orphanage. They had the machine number and the location. So, we were able to visit. We were able to take a picture before I broke down. Even John was choked up. It's just so hard to think of our little angel there at only 4 days old. But I'm thankful we had the opportunity to visit. We also got a copy of the newspaper article that they ran. After a child is found, they run an ad in the paper for the parents or a relative to claim them within 60 days. It's just so sad, but knowing these things had to happen in order for her to be brought into our lives does bring peace.

We are on our own for the rest of the day, so we decided to take a little family outing to a little mall down the street. We wanted to get her a new hat because she didn't like this one...

So, not only did she get a new hat, she got new shoes too!!! We didn't have much of a selection but I still think they are pretty darned cute!

And one more thing to add to Ava's likes...FRENCH FRIES!! She smashed! We gave her about 7 at a time and she had to hold them all at once even though she took little bites of each one. She is so funny when she eats! I love to watch her.

Tomorrow we are touring Shanghai and Friday, we are off to Guangzhou! Can't wait to meet back up with our group and see all of the babies!

Talk to you soon!
John, Sara, and Ava

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Official!!!

Today, Ava officially became our daughter. Well, with the Chinese government that is. Regardless, she became our daughter the second we laid eyes on her! Anyhow, she is really starting to come around and smile more for us! She is definitely showing her personality! And she still is loving her food! She had a complete breakdown in the notary public office because she spilled her Cheerio's and I wouldn't let her pick them up and put them in her bowl. It breaks my heart! Especially to see those big old tears run down her cheeks. Tomorrow, we are going to the place where she was found. The orphange was able to provide us with the address of where she was left. And on Thursday, we are touring Shanghai.
Here is a list of Ava's likes and dislikes:
Stacking cups
Baby Dolls
I've got some work to do!
Tonight we are going to venture out to a mall about 3 blocks from our hotel. There are restaurants and stores. We need to stock up on some water and hopefully find her some fruit to eat. And rumor has it...there is a Louis Vuitton there!! It's about time to introduce my girl to LV! :)
Here are some pics of the day! Enjoy!

One more thing...we were starting to get a little concerned because she hadn't pooped for us yet. Well, nothing to worry about! I won't go into details but let's just say Ava got two baths today!
Sara, John, and Ava

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our China Doll

As I type this, the little angel that we have dreamt about and worked so hard with mountains on paperwork and the longest wait times, is asleep in our bed. Sucking her thumb...

I can't believe she is here!

For anyone who has watched the YouTube Gotcha Day video's and know about the kids who are completely traumatized...yep, that was my girl!! She was heartbroken and cried and cried! It broke my heart that she was so sad. One of the workers came over and talked to her and seemed to calm her down for a short time. Please note I said a short time. She had about 3 breakdowns before we left. I think she was just completely overwhelmed and all of the hustle and bustle in the room was just too much. Once she left the orphange, she has calmed down. We came back and gave her a bottle and she was out like a light!
She is beautiful and everything we have dreamed of. Don't you agree?

Also, for those of you who are familiar with the birthday pictures...guess who we got to meet???? Bobo! Who is Bobo? He is the albino little boy in all of the pictures. He was being adopted today, as well!! His parents and us exchanged emails so we can stay in touch on Facebook! I was so excited to meet him.

The orphange also gave us a book of pictures of her during her time there and a stamp with her Chinese name on it. She had on the outfit that we sent through the care package and we got everything that was sent to her, including the camera's!!
Until later!!
Sara, John, and....................AVA!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We're in Shanghai!

Not much new to report...We got up this morning and met in the lobby at 9:30 for the shuttle to the airport. We had a very uneventful flight to Shanghai. Our guide for this week is named Sandra. She is so sweet and has a great English! Our hotel is not what we hoped for. We had to call the front desk numerous times for different reasons. The alarm clock didn't work, the internet didn't work, we didn't have a remote for the TV. And John had to double check to make sure our bed wasn't just box's really hard. :(

But in better 12 hours we get to meet Ava!!! 12's so hard to believe! Everything has lead up to this moment! Stay tuned...

Oh, and just one more thing...I have to share a traumatizing moment in China. I have done everything to avoid this. Have waited in long lines, held it for unbelievable times. But this was a time where I had no choice. I had to suck up and do it. So, I did. And I won't again....EVER!!!

Until tomorrow...
Sara & John

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Beijing - Day 2!!

We had a VERY BUSY 2nd day in Beijing! I thought this was supposed to be the relaxing part?!'s amazing here, but also makes you completely appreciate what you have back home.
We started the day at Tianamen Square. It was very cool and very busy! There are tons of tour groups here. But I have to admit our group sticks out the most. People just stare at us. Especially the women with the blond hair. Haha!
Next we went to a Silk factory. This was amazing! We were able to see the process from start to finish. And John even helped stretch the silk to make a quilt!

(Click on photos to enlarge)

After that we went to the Temple of Heaven. It is so beautiful! We went through about 4 different sections and each one was prettier than the next.

And then there was lunch. We went to the Peking Duck. I believe they are a chain and have restaurants throughout the world, but the one in Beijing is the original. But...those of you who know me will realize that I'm not a huge fan of any restaurant that isn't called The Cheesecake Factory or El Camino. So, I had rice. AGAIN. But my husband...he LOVED it! I think him and another lady in our group were the only ones who were eating the duck.

After lunch, we went to a Pearl Factory. I LOVED IT!! A girl in our group picked out an oyster and the employee opened it to show us all of the freshwater pearls inside. The one that was picked had 17 pearls! It was very cool.

And last, but not least...we went on a rickshaw ride! I was so nervous because the traffic is crazy here! But it was fine and we had a great time!

We just got back to the hotel and are heading to Pizza Hut for dinner. He wanted to go to the buffet at the hotel, but I may have whined a little and said I needed Sara food and I needed to SMASH!! So, I won! Haha!!
Tomorrow, we fly to Shanghai. Our flight leaves around 1pm. And Monday is Ava day!! And then Morgan Feather will finally get to see her! That poor kid has to think Ava isn't real. The first question she asked on Skype was "Where's Ava?" Haha!
John and Sara

Friday, October 22, 2010

Busy Day in Beijing!!

I still can't believe we are in China! I feel like we waited forever, but then we talk to the other families in our group and most of them have been waiting over 4 years! There is no way I could have been that patient.

We are stating in the Holiday Inn in downtown Beijing. The room is pretty nice and the breakfast buffet is awesome! Yes, I said it! But let me explain why...they have pancakes and donuts! Right up my alley! Now, of course, John tried a little of almost everything, but there was no way I was stepping out of my comfort zone.

Today was super busy! Wow! We started out at breakfast and that's where we ended up meeting most of the other families in our group. It wasn't hard to figure out who they were! Haha! Everyone is so nice. And they are from all over the United States...Alambama, Florida, and Massachusetts. There is also one from Medina!!
We started out going to a jade museum. It was pretty nice, but a little expensive for my taste. We didn't get anything there, but a few people in our group bought some bracelets. It was quite a bit of money for the first day!

After that we went to the Great Wall of China! Let me tell you...Oh.My.Word.
It was pretty foggy so we didn't get good pics, but I was so chicken! I made it halfway up the first part and then called it in. A. it's hard work but B. IT'S SO STEEP!! I am scared to death of heights. I just kept picturing myself falling down all of those steps and have to be carried out on a stretcher. I'm not too proud to admit it! John carried on and made it to the top, but then came back to get me because he felt bad because I was by myself. I was ok, I was hanging out with another dad and we were comparing knee surgeries! Haha!!

After that we went to a Cloisonne Factory! It was amazing! So cool!! We got to see how they were made and even bought a couple of small gifts.

And there was is the spread we had...

After that we shopped and went to Summer Palace. It was beautiful, but freezing!! I was so chilled by the time we left there!
And then we drove to the place where the 2008 Beijing Olympics were. It was cool so see, but by this time we were tapped out and exhausted. We ran over there, took a pic, and went back to the bus.
When we got back to the hotel, we were so tired. We bailed on dinner and are dining on crackers at 1am!! Haha!
Well, back to bed...Love to you all!!! 3 days to Ava!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

China Bound!

It's here!! The time has come!

All of this worry and revolving everything around when we "might" be traveling to China is over.

We're on our way...

We are going to meet the dream that I've envisioned since I was a little girl...

We're going to meet our little girl, our daughter, our family...

Talk to you in Beijing!

Monday, October 18, 2010

To Sleep or Not To Sleep? the next 2 days we are going into a world that is 12 hours ahead. That means when we normally sleep, we will have to be up and chipper. Now, many of you may know that I already suffer from insomia, so this should be interesting. So, I decided that tonight and tomorrow night we are staying up as late as we possibly can and then sleeping in. With that being said, it's 9:08pm, I can barely keep my eyes open and I am fighting to keep John out of the bed because he wants to go to sleep. So, how do we stay awake? We're going to walk around Walmart!! Haha!! Not sure this is the best way, but it's worth a shot!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


We got our Itinerary today for the trip! I can't believe we leave in 6 days...this still feels like a dream. But let's hope it's not the one I had the other night. I won't go into details, but let's just say I NEVER want to live in Tokyo airport!! :)

Check out our Itinerary!
Oct. 20th: Depart DTW at 3:20 p.m.
October 21st: Arrive in Tokyo at 5:40 p.m. with an hour and half layover. We will then depart and land in Beijing at 10:30p.m. Thursday night.
October 22nd: Visit the Great Wall of China and shopping!
October 23rd: Visit Tianamen Square and Temple of Heaven. And then to Peking Duck for lunch. And this is where I pray for noodles and vegetables! In the afternoon, we will go to a silk factory and a pearl factory. Also include a Hutong Tour and a ride in a rickshaw!!
October 24th: Travel day! We depart Beijing and fly to Shanghai! Once we are here, we will meet with our guide. Her name is Sandra and check into the hotel and get ready for the next day!
October 25th: This is the day, Ladies and Gentleman, that we have been waiting for! For 5 very long years!! This is the day we will meet Ava! AKA...Gotcha Day!!
October 26th: This is mostly a bonding day, but we will have to do some paperwork which will make her officially ours!
October 27th: This is a sight-seeing day! We can go shopping, sight-seeing, or possibly go to the orphanage. If we have the opportunity, we will go to the orphange. I know it will be hard, but so worth it in the long run.
October 28th: Another sight-seeing day! Depending how everything falls, I'm hoping we can go to the Shanghai Zoo!
October 29th: Travel Day! This time we are flying to Guangzhou. This is where the U.S. Consulate is located.
October 30th: Medical Exam for poor girl is going to get shots. :(
October 31st: Happy Halloween for all of you in the US! We are spending the day goiong o a museum, and a jade and pearl market! Though, Ava will not have a costume, she does have a Halloween T-Shirt and a hairbow with candy corn on it!
November 1st: This is a free day for our family. Some families in our group will have their Consulate appt.
November 2nd: Consulate Appt!!
November 3rd: Oath-Taking Ceremony
November 4th: Another free day for The Ho's!
November 5th: We will be leaving our hotel at 4:30 a.m. to catch our 9:30 flight out of Hong Kong to Detroit!! We're coming home!!

It seems like we will be gone for so long! But I'm hoping it goes by quick.
6 Days!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 days!!

China bound in 10 days....I truly cannot believe this time is here. The last couple of weeks have consisted with:

  • Putting the high chair together
  • Baby-proofing EVERYTHING
  • Setting up the Pack-N-Play
  • Shopping
  • More Shopping
  • Packing
  • More Packing
  • More Shopping and More Packing

We also found out we have to stay an extra day because Ava will have to have a TB test since she is over 2 yrs old. So, we leave on October 20th and return on November 5th. And I was told that we will hold Ava for the first time on October 25th!! Cannot wait!! The moment we have been waiting for!! Stay tuned for more details!!