Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Few More Favorite Recent Pictures

Big day today--Lauren's first doctor's appointment in the U.S. She weighs 16 1/2 pounds and seems pretty on target developmentally. She did great at the doctor's office. We ended up bringing Aidan along when he complained of ear pain this morning (he's been sick and out of school for a week), and it turns out he has an ear infection in one ear. Poor guy! He hasn't had an ear infection since he was a baby, it's nice that he can at least tell us what hurts now. He was really unhappy at the doctor's but perked up after we left and picked out a new toy at Fred Meyer.

Lauren got two shots today and was fussy this afternoon, but then started the usual laughing, blowing raspberries, head-shaking happy routine after a little dose of Tylenol. What a sweetie.

Ryan dressed Lauren the other day in a little dress, sweater and leg warmers!

I am having so much fun introducing Lauren to new foods. She isn't really eating the apple, just gumming it. She lunges after everything we're eating. All you "Big Lebowski" fans out there will appreciate our "The Dude Abides" sticker in the background!

Cutie in the high chair:

And two more photos that our friend and photographer Jim Hatfield took the weekend before last. I think these are amazing!

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Trio of Cute Girls

Our wonderful friends Jessica and Shad, and their cutie pie daughters Hannah and Sarah, visited us this weekend. Aidan was sick and missed out on the fun visit, but we were so glad they came and finally got to meet Lauren. Hannah was very helpful with diaper changes, picking out Lauren's bottle, etc., and even did her best to keep Lauren from crying in the car. Here are some favorite pictures from the weekend.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Update

I haven't been too good about taking pictures, but luckily our family friends the Hatfields visited on Saturday, and Jim is a we got lots of good ones. We are doing pretty well here. The sleep is difficult and I have been busy with work, so we're kind of in the mode of figuring out how everything is going to work and learning to manage two children. Lauren doesn't sleep very much, which does make things more challenging. She seems to be doing very well but does not like to have any alone time. She will sit in her high chair for about as long as it takes to empty the dishwasher or throw a meal together for Aidan, so we're thankful for that. She is really sweet and fun! We are enjoying her so much. She gives a lot of smiles, makes kissy noises and shakes her head back and forth at us while smiling. It is hard to believe she has only been with us for two weeks; she really does seem to be adjusting well. And she is not scared of the cat anymore; she actually seeks her out and grabs her whenever possible.

Lauren, my mom and me:

Lauren meeting Amy, one of my oldest and closest friends:

With the hat Amy gave Lauren at my baby shower:

Big eyes:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good Neighbors

Our sweet and adorable neighbors, Hazel and Grace, are Lauren's biggest fans in the neighborhood (outside of our house, of course!). We all played outside yesterday and Grace kept saying, "I wish I could hold Lauren again." So cute! They are the nicest girls and play so well with Aidan. We can hardly believe they will be moving away this summer and are sort of refusing to accept it.

And just one more picture of Lauren that I couldn't resist posting, in her Baby Lulu dress:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Settling In

Just wanted to post a few more pictures and let everyone know that we are settling in well at home. After two sleepless nights and two very sleepy days for Aidan, he is almost back to his regular schedule. He is impressing us with how nice he is being with Lauren, and she is a very happy camper as long as she is being held. She seems to enjoy having a lot of people around and is very watchful--her big, beautiful eyes take everything in! Ryan and I are enjoying ourselves a lot and only worrying a little about how things will be once we actually have to accomplish things like work, etc. (Minor details!)

Checking out her new room:

She seems to already know that Bethie is a special person!:

Hanging out in my lap post-bottle:

Meeting her friend Chase last night:

Enjoying some rice cereal for the first time this morning:

Friday, March 09, 2007

Back at Home

Hi everyone! I'm happy to report that we made it home safely. We had no travel problems at all on either end, which was great. We went right through immigration in San Francisco and had plenty of time to catch our connecting flight to Portland. Besides both kids (especially Aidan) having complete meltdowns on the final flight (at least it was a short one), all went great. We were thrilled to see Bethie (and Jenn and Kylie, who were sweet enough to drive all the way out to the airport with signs, presents and balloons). We then hopped in the car and drove the two hours home. We had been very concerned about how Lauren would do in her car seat (first time for her), but both kids went right to sleep. We got home around 10:00 p.m. and Aidan stayed up ALL night, finally went to sleep at 8:00 this morning and is still sleeping, so I will make this quick so I can try to wake him up. Lauren is scared of Siena (our cat) but seems to like being at our house. We've even been able to sit next to her on a blanket a couple of times instead of holding her. Here are a few pictures!

Had trouble posting pictures in Taiwan. Here is one of Aidan and me across the street from the Longshan temple on Tuesday night. So many lanterns all lit up!

Lauren adoring Daddy:

Lauren smiling with Daddy:

At the airport with our sweet guide, Mei-Ru, right before going through security:

Finally home last night...yay! What an amazing adventure we have had!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pictures from Tuesday and Wednesday

Whew, what a whirlwind this has been! Here are a few more pictures. We leave tomorrow afternoon already. I had thought I would have more time to update this blog, but I can't type when holding Lauren and we are still doing constant holding. She is accepting me more and gave me a lot of smiles today, and took two naps on me. She really likes to have me sing to her and she makes a lot of cute noises. She is very busy when sitting still, and grabs at everything in her path. She is like a little tornado at the breakfast table.

Mei-Ru brought by Lauren's passport and her visa today. It is a relief that all of that went well. She will automatically become a US citizen when we land in San Francisco on Thursday afternoon.

We really love Taiwan and will be sad to leave. The people are wonderful and we've really enjoyed being here even though everything has been so hectic (and we are also so glad we brought Aidan). We are attracting a lot of attention out and about with Lauren, most people just stare at us but for the most part everyone is very friendly and nice. We met another very nice couple (with their 10-year-old son) at our hotel that just picked up their new daughter yesterday (they are not with our agency but also adopted from the foster care program). They live outside of Chicago, so maybe we can visit them next time we go see our family out there.

At the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial yesterday. The barrettes in Aidan's hair are his new style, he says "I'm a girl now." (He was playing with them with Grandma Bev.) The weather has really run the gamut while we've been here, the first day was broiling and yesterday it was rainy and cold. We took the kids out late last night to go to a night market (we put Lauren in a snowsuit per the local custom) and the doorman at the hotel was very worried that we were going out and told us how cold it was.

A quick meal on the go this morning. Grandma Bev watched Aidan while Ryan and I went out in a frantic attempt to buy some stuff to bring home. It has been hard to do all the things we wanted to do with both kids.

Here is the smile we were waiting to see (this picture is actually from Monday night). It was well worth the wait! She is so ridiculously cute!

Monday, March 05, 2007

More from Lauren Day

Here are some more pictures from yesterday. We are doing pretty well. It is 2:40 on Tuesday afternoon now (I know the dates and times aren't showing up correctly on the blog). Lauren is so sweet and adorable. She WAY prefers Ryan, which I am getting used to. I think she was very, very attached to her foster mother and so doesn't like me as much because I am not her. Lauren will not be put down at ALL--we slept sitting up holding her. She slept OK but keeps taking short naps (her schedule said she sleeps from 3-6 in the afternoon!).

This morning we had our AIT (American Institute in Taiwan) appointment to get Lauren's passport and visa. It seemed to all go fine. Then we went shopping at the handicraft market and then to the CKS memorial. Now everyone is napping and I should go join them.

A few more details from yesterday: It took a very long time to drive to the agency from Taipei (more than three hours) because of traffic. The drive back was easy and it was just Mei-Ru, Lauren and me because Ryan and Aidan took the train back. We did not meet Lauren's birth mother, we were told the day before that she would come but when we got there, Samantha (the agency representative) said she wasn't coming. We were able to get two pictures of her. The foster mother was very sweet and answered all of my many questions. Lauren was dressed in one of the dresses we sent in our care package (over pajamas) and we got back all the things we had sent, including the two disposable cameras--can't wait to get them developed. She called Lauren "Ling Ling" as a nickname, which we love. Aidan is a bit grouchier about everything today but is still hanging in there. Last night he climbed on the couch where Ryan and Lauren were sitting and said, "Daddy, you are a sweet daddy" and "Lauren, you are a sweet baby" and gave everyone kisses!

In the car driving away from the foster family's house:

At the agency (all the adoptive families sign a wall):

Enjoying a rice cracker with Daddy back at the hotel:

Lauren Ling Day

Just have time for one picture for now; sorry! It is late (9:30) and Aidan just went to sleep. Lauren is amazing. She smiles and laughs but seems pretty scared and she screams if we put her down, even just to change her diaper. We just tried to put her down in her crib for 5 minutes and we won't be trying that again anytime soon! She loves Aidan and he did so wonderfully today, we are very proud of him. She doesn't have any teeth yet but is drooling all over the place and putting everything in her mouth. She isn't crawling and is very tiny--it's hard to tell how small she is from the pictures. I'll try and post more tomorrow. Happy 4th Birthday to Hannah in Oregon! Love to everyone.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sunday in Taipei

Today was great! We had our breakfast buffet again (we all tried some new foods; there is a huge selection of both Western and Asian choices and I tried a white fruit with black seeds) and then took the MRT (the subway...very easy to use and very clean) to the zoo. Today was the first day that we attracted a lot of attention. Aidan got stared at a lot (he doesn't mind) and even had his picture taken with a gaggle of very excited, giggling teenagers who picked him up and stood him on a train for a picture! They kept calling him bao, which sounded like a term of endearment...Kevin and I-Chwen, do you know? He is impressing everyone with saying "ni hao" (hello), "zai jian" (goodbye) and "xie xie" (thank you). They usually smile and respond in English. In the late afternoon, we walked over to Taipei 101 and took the world's fastest elevator to the observation area (89th floor). It was cloudy but we could still see quite a bit.

Please keep Aidan in your thoughts/prayers tomorrow as we all travel to meet Lauren. He has been numero uno in a big way for the last nearly four years and we are worried about how this transition will go for him. He did wake up this morning saying "let's go get Lauren," which was really sweet. We keep trying to emphasize that she'll be staying at our hotel with us and then coming home on the plane with us, to try and help him understand. And of course please send out good thoughts that Lauren can have an easy transition into our care.

Ryan and Aidan in the lemur area at the zoo:

Aidan and me watching the Chinese otter (his favorite):

Aidan's other favorite: the water pump. You can tell how into it he is by how his hair is flying!:

Our hotel from Taipei 101 (it's the L-shaped building to the left of the building with the pool on the roof):

Aidan checks out the view from the world's tallest building:

First day in Taipei

Saturday we did some sightseeing with Mei-Ru (the guide from our adoption agency). She drove us to the Martyrs' Shrine, lunch and then to the Shihlin residence and gardens. It was very hot on Saturday and Aidan had a bit of a tough time with the sightseeing. He was much happier when we got back to our hotel and went swimming. He napped from 8:30 to 10:30 in the morning, and we all managed to stay awake until 7:00 p.m. He and Ryan slept until 5:30 Sunday morning and I slept until 3:00--a big improvement! We are thinking Lauren will probably want to stay up later than we do. Here are the pictures from Saturday!

Family at the Martyrs' Shrine:

Aidan saying "I want to go out of this place!":

Detail of Martyrs' Shrine:

Aidan and Grandma Bev at the Shihlin gardens:

Pigs made of flowers! There are a lot of pigs around since the Chinese New Year celebration (the year of the pig) just ended. Aidan loved watching a woman watering the pigs.

Pictures from our trip here

Ryan figured out how to make the blog work! More sleep=greater brainpower. Here are some pictures from our trip here:

Aidan on the moving walkway at the Portland Airport:

Our plane arrives in San Francisco:

Aidan's little sleeping nest on our flight! He slept great on the plane; they turn all the lights off and it's pretty quiet, so he did really well.

Watching the traffic outside our hotel:

Taipei 101: