Packed and ready to go

Bags are packed, and we’re ready to go.  We stayed in again yesterday so we could get everything packed up.  We then all met up in the Lobby at 6 pm to head out to a restaurant for a Goodbye to China party.  Our guide told us the food was from north western china.  I think it has more Arabic influences in it.  Not bad, but wasn’t my favorite meal.  It was really quite spicy, but they did bring out rice and noodles for the kids to eat, as there is no way the kids would have been able to eat most of what they brought out.
During the meal there were dancers, and a singer (who dressed a little like Elvis).  After the meal, there was a magician, and a guy from a Chinese opera who has special masks on that do quick changes from one mask to another in the blink of an eye.


After the entertainment was over, they brought out a cake, and sang happy birthday to me!  They asked who’s birthday happened on the trip, we told them that it was Ben’s on the 17th, and mine was on the 20th.  They ended up singing the happy birthday song to ME! haha.
After the cake, they handed out scrolls to each of the newly adopted kids.  The scroll has their Chinese names written on it.  They also handed out little gifts to all the other kids that came to china with their parents.  Not sure if they were all the same, but Maddie got a Chinese fan.


We got back to our hotel around 8:30. Got everyone ready for bed and then put to sleep, then we finished packing up our suitcases.


It’s now 9 am, and we are packing up the last of our stuff, then we head down to the lobby at 12:30 to head out as a group to the airport.  We have to leave really early because some flights are at 3 pm, some at 4 pm, and ours at 6 pm.


I’m putting the laptop away now, so next post, if I remember to post here again, will be from Canada!!


Ben learned how to hold his own bottle… sort of


Before supper

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On the bus to the party



His favorite pastime on the bus….


Our last supper


The entertainment

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The cake


Maddie’s Fan


2 day post

So I haven’t posted in a couple of days.  Nothing is wrong, just haven’t gotten around to it!

2 days ago, we stayed back at the hotel again.  We organized our luggage a little bit, and we went to the grocery store about a block away.  Other then that, we didn’t really do much.
Yesterday was much busier.  We met downstairs at 9am, and we headed out to a tea ceremony.  We learned about different types of tea’s and what they help with, for example, some help with memory, some help with weight loss, and some help with sleep, etc etc.  We got to taste the teas as well.  I’m no tea drinker at all, but I gave it shot.  Not bad.  Maddie tried 2 of them as well.  She liked the first one (it was pretty weak, and mostly tasted like lightly flavored water).  The 2nd one was still a little too hot when she tried it, so it went from cup, to her mouth to my knee!  Yep, it was hot!  She didn’t want to try anymore after that.


After the tea house, we went to the silk factory.  We learned about how silk is made, and a little bit of history about the silk road in ancient times.  After our lessons, we were set free in the store.  We bought a silk duvet cover for our bed, and some dresses for Maddie, and some traditional clothes for Ben.  We no longer have an excess of chinese money!  Good thing we leave tomorrow!


After the silk factory, we went to lunch as a group.  We ate at the usual type of restaurant.  10 chairs around a table, with a turntable in the middle that they place all the food on.


After lunch, we wen’t back to the hotel for a break.  We were behind on our schedule, so the break was only about an hour long.


We then headed back out.  We got about a block away, when the guide told us we had to turn back to the hotel because there were 2 families that we forgot at the hotel!


Next stop was at a market place, where you go to buy knock offs of everything!  You barter with the sellers, and it’s quite the game.  They tell you a price, and you come back with about 10% of that.  If you pay less the 20% of what they tell you initially, you’ve done pretty good!  I bought two pairs of “Beats by Dre Headphones”  for 120¥ (about $20 Canadian).  They go for $150-$400 back home.   They look just like the real thing.  They sound just like dollar store headphones! haha  That’s ok though, cause we really just wanted them for the plane home because the headphones they give you on the plane are not loud enough to hear anything over the sound of the engines.
After the market place, we went to an acrobat show!  There was a contortionist, some guys jumping through hoops, dancers, and 10 girls on a  bike!


We came back to the hotel after the show (about 7pm), put the kids to bed, and I went to bed shortly after.  Laurena and Shannan went to bed sometime after that.



This is his favorite position to take his bottle.  We call it the bird feeding position.  His legs and arms are always out, and he’s bent over in the hunchback form.


At the Tea Ceremony

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Maddies first sip of tea


I think this tea was Jasmine Tea.  It starts off like this little ball, then when you add the hot water, it expands into the flower

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Teapot for sale (about $2500 CDN!! )


Box of tea


Dragon tea set.


They had one fish in the pond.  I don’t think he’s a very healthy fish


Maddie near the “fish” pool


This is a silk worm


How they take the silk from the cocoon, and spool it into thread


He fell asleep with the bottle in his mouth


She kept going around touching all the mannequins bums!   Whose kid is this anyway?


Caught her shopping again.

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On the bus back to the hotel


Would this be called a truck-cycle


What one of the shops at the market looks like.  Basically just tons of random stuff in each stall!


Pictures from the acrobat show

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Jade Factory, Great wall, and Cloisonne factory

Today we headed out at 8:30 am.  First stop the Jade Factory.  We learned a little bit about the jade, how to tell real from fake, the quality of it, and the hardness of it, then we were set free in the store to buy it all up.


After this, we all loaded back in the bus, and headed to the great wall.  Both Maddie and Ben fell asleep on the bus before we got there, so Shannan stayed in the bus with them while Laurena and I headed up the wall.  We walked around some of the stores there, and then when we were done, I headed up the wall, while Laurena found a nice “cool” spot in the shade to have a break.  I didn’t even bother to attempt to go as high up the wall as I did when we were here in 2011, because it was too hot.  I probably only went a little more then 1/4 of the way that I did last time.


After the wall, we went to a Cloisonne factory.  This is where they make vases, and other decorations by hand out of bronze, then hand paint them.  Before we shopped, we headed upstairs to the restaurant where we had a typical Chinese meal.  Sweet and sour pork, rice, some sort of fried chicken, and other various dishes that I have no idea what they were, but they were mostly tasty! :P


We bought a few things then back to the bus.  On the way back to the hotel, we drove by the 2008 Olympic grounds where we saw the Birds Nest, and the water cube.  We were offered to go walk through the area, but nobody wanted to.  It was much too hot, and kids were much too tired.


An hour or so after we got back to the hotel some of the families met to go find supper.  We found a local restaurant where we managed to order some food like substance.  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t really something I’d eat again.  We got some kind of beef with rice.

We got back to the hotel, and fed Ben.  We was pretty fussy while eating, turns out he really need to do a #2.  Shannan put him in the bath tub, where he let out an Adam sized turd!  That’s my boy!

Anyway, kids are now in bed, and We’re probably not far behind.


These guys were making Family Balls.  It’s a ball inside a ball, inside a ball, carved from a single block of jade

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This is the life cycle of a Family ball, from block to ball


Showing us an example of some of the Jade.  This one is very translucent, and high quality


Someone is learning how to shop a little too well here!

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Some random piece of jade art

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Somebody figured out their toe tastes better then their thumb!


Great wall

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A cloisonne artist


It’s very hot out today…


But that’s ok, it’s “much” cooler inside the bus


Ben really digs his new hat!


Water cube and Birds Nest at the Olympic grounds

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Back to Beijing and to the Zoo

We were up at 3am to get ready to head out of Nanchang.  We got Ben fed, and packed up the last few things, then headed down to the lobby for 5am.  As we checked out, we were given boxed breakfasts for each of us.

So now that the group has checked out, and are fed, we all got on the bus to the airport.  Our guide doesn’t seem to understand group dynamics that well.  We get to the airport, checked in, through security, and by the time we get to our gate…half the plane was already boarded, so we had no time for bathroom stops, or to pickup some water.  She really should have got us going moving sooner as if anything happened, we would have missed our flight… though it turns out we really had lots of time in the end.

About 20 minutes after we board the plane, and the plane hasn’t left the gate, a flight attendant announces on the PA that air control hasn’t permitted us to leave yet.  2 and a half hours later, we finally have clearance, and we are up up and a away.

We are now in Beijing.  We got to our hotel around 2pm.  We need to meet the adoption agency owner in her hotel room at 3:15 to get the citizenship papers started, and to get Ben’s visa picture taken.   We’re all hungry, so one of the other fathers and I head out to McDonalds to get something quick to eat.  When we got there, they told me that all they had was fish burgers.  So off to KFC we went.  Back to the hotel, we ate our meals, and dumped all our suitcases everywhere, so we could quickly get to all the papers, and other things we needed.

The paperwork and picture went smoothly.  We also ordered Ben a stamper made from jade that has his Chinese name on it.

After that, all the families met in the lobby for a group picture on the staircase.  Then we went to the Zoo.


This is the moment Maddie has been waiting for for months!!!!  She told us several times on this trip that she’s not in China yet cause she hasn’t seen the panda bears.  So now after a little more then a week in China, we are officially in CHINA!!! :)


Everyone was pretty hot, and tired, so we didn’t stay at the zoo all that long.  We saw the pandas, the monkeys, some wild dogs, and a polar bear, then we headed back to the hotel to crash.


That was pretty much the end of that day.


Today, we are heading out to the Jade Factory, the Great Wall of China, and the cloisonne factory.



Ben getting his Visa picture taken with Vivian (one of our guides)


The display of stamps that we could choose from


On our way down the lobby


Our guide was talking about pandas.  Maddie stayed leaned over like this, listening to every word, and then telling Shannan all about them.



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Hmmm… what to buy..


Just one of her purchases at the panda store.  She named him Panda Sweetheart Stewart




A few people in our group

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Ben kept turning his hat around so that he could chew on the chin strap


Wild Dogs

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Polar Bear


Our Guide Michael


Sculpture in the zoo


packing day

There were no outings today.  We fly back to Beijing tomorrow, so today we just stuck around the hotel and packed our suitcases.
Maddie and I took a walk to a store up the street.  I got a coke, a sprite, a beer, and Maddie got a small package of candy ice cream cones.  The cost was about $1.85 CDN!
Not much else exciting happening today.


Here’s a couple pictures.


Why yes, that is a beer at 10am! But when you’ve been up since 4am, who’s to say you need to wait till noon! 



Maddie stole my camera… These are a few of the pictures she took.

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Here Shannan this is for you! Someone made stinky! Here’s a hint… It’s not Daddy!


Maddie decided these stacking cups made good high heel shoes


Maddie being her cute self


Maddie and ben spending some quality floor time


Someone got a hold of Daddy’s hat


Drank himself into a milk coma.


Park and Porcelain store

Today was a rainy day.  Yet our guide was still insistent on going to the park.  She’s been trying to get the group to the park since we got to Nanchang.  Nobody really wanted to go, but she just still had the bus take us there anyway.  yay.


We were there for about an hour.  We saw the usual, people dancing, people exercising, some trees, some flowers, some stone walkways, some grass.  The highlight of the park was Maddie got to feed some fish off a bridge, while I fed the fish my camera lens cover!


After the park, we got into the bus again, and went to a porcelain store.  Jiangixi province is known for it’s porcelain so we wanted to get both the kids something.  Nana really enjoyed the store, and was the last person of the group to leave the store!  Typical Nana! :P


Back to the room, where we all had lunch, cleaned some of our clothes, and some of our dishes, and Ben had a little nap.


That’s all we’ve done so far today.  Not likely anything else going on today, but if there is, I’ll post about it.




Thunderstorm last night.  It got real dark, real fast!  Probably part of Typhoon Matmo that is here today


Ben and Maddie in the hotel room last night


On the bus on the way to the park


Little bit of traffic today.  The guide said when it rains the traffic is horrible.  I think it’s because people are opting for cars instead of their scooters


At the park:



Just some guy hanging out in his underwear! :o


Nana and the kiddos

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River in the park

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Some fan dancers


Feeding the fishes

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At the porcelain store

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Would you stop taking my picture already?


Maddie helping with the laundry and dishes

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Day 3 – Quiet day

Last night we didn’t really do anything else.  We went to the pool, then had supper at the restaurant downstairs.  After that, we came back up to our room, and after both kids fell asleep, both parents fell asleep right after.  About 8pm!


Today we decided against going out with the group on a little tour.  We stayed back at the hotel.  So far, we’ve feed Ben, then he napped.  Then we went to get breakfast for ourselves, then Ben napped again.  Then we went to a store about 1/2 a block away to pick up some drinks for the room, then came back to our room, and Ben napped.  I think later we’re going to head back down to the pool.


Nothing else really planned for today.


Tomorrow we are supposed to be going shopping at some porcelain factory.  This is something that Jiangxi is known for, so we want to pick up some things for Ben to have when he’s older.

Also tomorrow, is a tropical storm.  Though latest forecasts have it veering off east of here, so hopefully it shouldn’t affect us too much.


Anyway, enough typing… I’ll post what you’re all really here for now….


Pictures!! :)



Gotta love the swim caps!  You have to wear these in china.

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The hotel we are staying in


Car seat?  Don’t take your kid on a moped?  What kind of crazy talk are you Canadians going on about?






Day 2

For those wondering what the bandage on Ben’s forehead was, we were told he had a bit of a fever, and this was a gel cold pack of some sort that sticks to his forehead.  I meant to write this in my last post, and forgot.

We all got up around 6am… though Shannan was up since about 3am.  Maddie woke her up, and she didn’t get back to sleep.


We went down to the breakfast buffet around 8am.  Daddy is a happy man, they had bacon!  The hotel in Beijing did not have any bacon this time!  It was pretty upsetting! :(

After breakfast we went down to the lobby to meet up with the group. We went to a notary office to get our final paperwork done (pretty sure it’s final anyway).  After that, we again went to a walmart to pick up some more stuff.  Water, snacks, clothes, etc etc.


We are now back at the hotel, Ben is bathed, and is now napping.  I think after he gets up, we’re going to go check out the pool in the hotel.


It’s a bright “sunny” day in Nanchang


Almost ready to head out for the day. Maddie picked out Ben’s outfit today including hat and sunglasses.


Maddie decorated Ben with a teether crown!


Maddie and Ben photo op


Maddie doesn’t think it’d be a good idea to bring home the turtles.


August 1st monument.  I didn’t quite catch all that the guide was saying, but it was something to do with the communist uprising that started on August 1st


Nanchang is a very tall city.  Just one of the thousands of skyscrapers in the city


Ben was really liking the tickle game


Daytime view from the hotel room.


We have him… Continued

We all got our MUCH needed sleep.  What a day!

Maddie, Shannan and I share a king size bed in the hotel room, so when Maddie woke up at 2am and decided to do gymnastics in the bed, well, we didn’t get much sleep lastnight.

We all met down at the hotel lobby at about 4:45 to head out to the airport.  We got checked out of the hotel, and we were given a breakfast box with a hard boiled egg, 2 pastries, a yogurt, and an apple.  Maddie ate her egg, my egg, Shannan’s egg, about 1/2 her yogurt.

We all got checked in to the airport without any problems, found our gate, then waited. The gate we were at was actually more of a bus stop.  We had to board a bus, and it drove us out to the plane.

We got on board, and then waited… and waited… and waited….   about 1.5 hours later, we started to taxi.  We stopped a few times before we finally made it to the runway, so now nearly 2 hours delayed, we are taking off.

Twice on the flight we circled in one spot.  We don’t really know what the delay was, or why we circled a few times.  I can only assume that there was a lot of traffic in the air yesterday.


So because of the delay, we were given only 1/2 an hour in our new hotel to freshen up and the meet down in the lobby to head across the street to get Ben.  So we went in our room, and exploded our suitcases everywhere in order to find everything we needed to take with us.


We all met downstairs again, and we headed across several lanes of traffic to the other side of the street where we get to meet Ben for the first time.  We got up to the 26th floor, and headed into the room.  Most of the children were there, except for Ben, and I think one or 2 other children.  About 5 -10 minutes later (felt like an eternity), Ben came into the room!




So now we have him, let the final paperwork begin.  We filled out a bunch more forms, took an official family picture, and probably a hundred unofficial ones! :) The temperature in the room was 31°C (88°F).  There were 2 large portable  air conditioners, but they didn’t even touch the heat in the room.  Everyone was very hot, and sweaty throughout this process!  Maddie shared the little water she had with her with baby brother.  She’s going to be such an awesome big sister!

When were done here, we all got on a bus, and headed to the passport office so they could begin working on creating his Chinese passport.   Then since everyone was hungry, and most of all thirsty, we stopped at a Walmart on the way back to the hotel to get some water, food, diapers, and snacks.


So now it’s about 7pm, we got back to the hotel, we still haven’t eaten anything since this morning.  We cooked Maddie some Mr. Noodles, then at 8PM, Shannan and I had to go down to a conference room in the hotel to sign a few more pieces of paper.  I nearly fell asleep in the VERY comfortable leather chairs!  After that was done, we came back up to the room, Maddie was asleep, and Ben was about 95% asleep.  So now that the kids are in bed, we finally get to eat!  Room service all around!

After that, bedtime!

We all got I think our first real nights sleep.  We all slept till about 6am!


Today, we have another office to go to for some final paperwork, and not sure what else is in the books, but hopefully it’s not outside!  It’s very very hot out already!


We’re on the right floor….


Just behind this door is the life as we know it changer!


These are the 2 ladies from his orphange that brought him to us


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Maddies first kiss!


One of the adoption workers


Mommy, Maddie, and Ben


Mommy, Maddie, Ben, and Nana


She’s a little excited!


The new family of four!


Mommy and Ben time!

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Maddie and Ben time

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Maddie put the teether in his mouth because we have a picture of Maddie doing the same thing on her gotcha day!