Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nanchang Gang Inaugural Reunion

The reunion we've been looking forward to for such a long time--the Nanchang Gang (as we call ourselves) was back together in Minnesota this past Thursday and Friday! We are really lucky to have an adoption travel group that feels like family. In China adoption--as was our experience--many times travel groups meet their children all together, all in the same room at the same time. It's a surreal and powerful kind of chaos--kinda knocks you back a bit when you think about it. In our case, all of us families have girls who spent their early months together before we knew them. There are so many unknowns about those early months, but we know they were together at the same SWI. In a way, they are sisters of sorts--sisters of that early experience that only they know about. Seeing them together now is just awesome.

But first we had to get to Minnesota. While we had the "parental baptism by fire" of those 20-some hours of travel to bring Ned home, this was our first roadtrip beyond a couple hours. And let me tell you, Ned is a GREAT traveler. No choice in this family, right? :) Sooooo...being that Dan and I know the trip to Minneapolis like the back of our hands, we decided to give Ned the full experience, including a stop at the Mousehouse Cheesehouse just outside Madison. Funny story--we pull into the parking lot and she sees the huge mouse balancing on a wedge of cheese on the roof and--wide-eyed as can be--yells "Danger! Danger!" with her little pointer finger waggling back and forth in the mouse's general direction.

Notice the cheese in her mouth...

Well, the ride is long, but we entertained ourselves just fine. Ned surrounded herself with her travel companions...

She picked up baby every once in a while, slammed her head into the window and demanded her to "yook!" at the "brucks" passing by.

We switched socks for a while...

And finally, seven hours later, arrived at the Foley's home, which was our home for the night, too! When we arrived, everyone was there and ready for some hangin' out, playing, eating, and catching up. Man, was it great to see everyone.

Ned and the "big kids"--older kiddos of our travelmates who themselves were in the same travel group about 5 years ago. Cool, eh?

And here they are--the little ladies of the hour demonstrating parallel play. :) Christie's in red, Kaitelin has a ponytail, and Ned has blue pants.

And a group shot--not an easy task, I might add! Li An, Kaitelin, Christie, Sarah, and Ned.

The next day we met up again at Bill and Judy's, Jill's Mom and Dad who were with us on the trip. I'm so glad we got to see them! They fed us a delicious lunch and we got more time to hang out and watch the girls do their thing. Bill and Judy are so great--they were so much fun to travel with in China and are so in love with the girls.

And another group shot. Can you tell how sick and tired these kiddos were of the cameras by this point? :)
After Bill and Judy's, we stopped off at our agency in St. Paul to drop off our 6 month post-placement report. (We tried to see you, Juli. Not working Fridays, or what?! :)

We headed back home Friday afternoon because of a Saturday family reunion. Quick trip. Thanks goodness Ned likes adventure...including wayside diaper changes at 9:00pm!

Thanks for such a great time, travelmates! We love you guys. Can't wait to see our kiddos grow up together.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ABCs anyone?

Kid is funny. That's about all I can say. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Slummin' on a Sunday :)

My sister has a client in the area for whom she has worked for 26 years. That's a loooong time. (Not that Lisa is old. Because that's not what I'm saying. Ahem. I'm just saying that working for the same family for 26 years is impressive.) Anyway, our family benefited from that 26 year relationship on Sunday when we all spent the afternoon at their backyard "resort". See, said family took their private jet to a wedding this weekend and offered Lisa the use of their backyard. Big deal, right? Well, it is a big deal, because said family just so happens to have created (yes, created) a 6 acre, 12 foot deep pond--complete with beautiful fish, beach entrance and multiple boats--in their 500-some acre backyard. I should add that this bit of "refined wilderness" is 5 minutes from my parents' place in Cedarburg. How freakin' awesome is that?! Let me tell you, it's pretty freakin' awesome. We had a blast. Thanks for setting it up, Lisa! (And I still want to know how one fills up a 6 acre, 12 foot deep man-made pond...)

(Oh, and yes, we are indeed new parents--baby' Poor kid.) :)