Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Due to the amount of laundry to be done, pretty soon I'm going to be using paper towels to dry off after my shower and then sew them together for clothing and yet, I've never been happier. After Kara came home from Russia I had a difficult adjustment to motherhood. I assumed that because I wanted it so badly that it was going to be easy. The joke was on me. I remember after all the company had gone, Corey, Kara and I were watching Baby VanGogh and I thought "This is it? This is what we do now?" It was Corey that was the glue that held it together until I fell head over heals in love with her and then we figured out the parent/child thing together. So in preparation for Emily I had a pep talk with myself, reminding myself that the bonding takes time, 2 kids are a big change, etc. So I was again unprepared to find that I had fallen for her in about 24 hours. My theory is my heart was already trained in motherhood and Kara had done all the hard work for Emily. I'm happy to say that Emily responds to me in the same way as well. She's such a complete joy--funny, happy, silly, sweet and snuggly. But boy is she loud when you don't feed her fast enough!! Emily's just in a great stage--babbling, almost walking and did I mention sleeping through the night:) There are so many facets to a second child. Not only do I get to enjoy her, on top of my precious Kara, but I get to watch their sibling relationship unfold. It's so precious to see them chatting to one another and reaching out to touch each other as they talk. Emily's favorite thing to do is watch Kara be silly--she laughs and laughs. Sharing all of this with Corey and our families/friends has been great. Corey is very cute and funny with the girls. They really love their Daddy. I have to admit, I also get a kick out of Corey when the girls are loud and nutty and he's taking deep breaths rather than losing his mind. He's so cute!!
Kara has been a hoot. She comes home with the funniest stories, songs, etc. from school. One day she's buying ice cream for a friend who didn't bring money and the next she's smacking a boy at school who knocked her on her butt ("but don't worry Mom, the principal wasn't there"). Watching her begin to navigate life without us by her side is exciting, fun filled and scary for us. I feel very fortunate for all I have--we're very blessed. I pray that somehow God will let their birth families know how happy and loved they are and that we'll cherish our girls forever.
Have a great day everyone. Time to do the laundry:)
Kristen, Corey, Kara and Emily

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Update on a return to life as usual--with one more

Good Morning,
I've posted some pics this morning--finally, I know. When scrolling down the page, the first 5 are of the girls on various days and the last 4 are the night Emily came home. She's doing very well so far. She's adjusted to the time change and has been sleeping 8:00 PM to 6:30ish AM and takes an afternoon nap--no complaining here!! She's eating well and although she ate just about everything I fed her when she got home, she's now becoming more selective. She and I went for our first and last long walk together. 3 miles may have been pushing it, I guess. After 2 miles, she was done and screamed the rest of the way home. Nothing makes you walk faster than a screaming baby!! I carried her part of the way home and this morning my arms are feeling it:) She doesn't love the swing yet either--she gets all tense and looks very scared but she loves to go on another swing that we have when she, Kara and I are on it together. Depending on how silly I look I may post a pic of that.
Kara is still loving her sister and does not want to share her with her friends--and she's very vocal about that unfortunately. We're working on that everyday. I love watching Kara and Em together--it's so sweet--Kara talks to her and picks her flowers--gently touches her face--love it. I know the time will soon come when their exchanges won't be as sweet but that's okay too.
Corey no longer looks like he was hit by a bus--thank God. Those under eye circles were a bit scary. He's staying home with us thru Tuesday which is great. Yesterday Em was napping and Kara was at school so we spent some quiet time on the deck--first few hours alone since they got home. It was nice to chat with my husband:)
Gotta go now--baby's awake. Love you all!
Kristen, Corey, Kara and Emily

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Our Happy Girls

Hi everyone. Emily is adjusting nicely to her new life as a Film. She is a wonderful baby--happy, smiley, funny. Sunday night she began sleeping through the night--7:30-5:00. I'm an early riser so that's not as bad as it sounds. She still takes 2 naps a day but will soon be transitioning to 1. She loves to eat and when I take too long between bites there's probably a chance the neighbors can hear her. She loves to test out her voice--sometimes sofly and sweetly and sometimes not. She's slowly getting to know everyone and unlike Kara as a baby, she won't go to everyone. Right now she's holding onto Nana's hand and walking aroung checking out the house (carrying a small garbage hand, strangely). Kara continues to be a great big sister--helping her sister learn, to walk around the house and play with her. I couldn't have anticipated how sweet she is with her sister. We have enough arguments to come in the future so we're just relishing these sweet times right now.

Corey and Connie are recuperating. The time change is tough on all of them but they're quite happy to eat American food. Corey will be home with us for another week, which great for all of us. I've posted some pics from her arrival. More to come soon.
Kristen, Corey, Kara Michelle and Emily Xian

Friday, September 15, 2006

Home, safe and sound!!

Hi everyone. Last night was not as I had pictured but wonderful none the less. Their flight was from Beijing to Newark and then Newark to Albany. The last leg was cancelled due to bad weather in Newark (bad weather in Sept?? what the heck???) so my Dad and Don drove down to get them. We were very sad about that--not only did Connie and Corey desperately want to come home, but we were looking forward to a big group of family and friends meeting them at the airport. It wasn't meant to be. We put the kids to bed and got them up again when Emily was 15 minutes from home. While we waited Shell and I were exhausted so we slept on the couch but my Mom and Father in Law kept talking to me--asking questions. I believe my exact words were "I love you but stop talking to me!!!." We got the kids up and they were very excited. When they arrived we gave Corey and Emily some space and just looked at her. Kara was shy with her as I suspected--at first. When we went in, I took Emily from Corey and she seemed content. Pretty soon Kara was showing her every toy she owns and trying to teach her things. Everyone left at 1:45, I think and although she fought it a bit, Emily went to sleep at 2:20. She slept until 4:55. Corey got up wity her because he was unable to sleep. Kara and I got up at 7:00 and the first thing Kara said was "Can I go see my sister?". They've been playing all morning and doing great. Kara is awesome with her. Emily is so funny --happy and loud (hmmm.....who does that remind you of!!). She smacks her lips when she's hungry and yells if you don't feed her fast enough. Right now she and Daddy are sleeping. Kara is bugged by that and wants to know when she'll be up. Daddy's exhausted (and looks it). Today I'll be feeding he and Connie yummy food so they can catch up. Emily loves Connie to death and they're very cute together. I had forgotten how these first few days feel--when regular life goes away and everything's all about your family--except this time I'm not sick to my stomach over ut:) Gotta go and check out my presents:) I'll send pics later--I'm having an issue with my parents' camera and can't upload them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

They've begun the trip home.....

Up at 4:00am this morning. I think my excitement may be getting the best of me:) As you can imagine, Corey and Connie are sooooooo excited to be coming home--as we are as well!! At this moment they are flying back to Beijing. They'll be in Beijing for about a day and then will start the really long flight home. I'm sure I can't adequately express how much they want to come home, yet are dreading this flight. It's about 14 hours. I believe Corey's exact words after the flight to China was, "It really sucks when you watch 3 movies and still have 7 hours to go." And that was without the baby:)
After eating pidgeon the other day, Corey was back to french toast for breakfast and rice the rest of the day. Connie's meal of choice seems to be french fries. Incidentally, the day after the pidgeon dinner, Kara came home with some artwork from school. It was a picture she had colored of a pidgeon because they had read two books that day about pidgeons. How do you delicately ask your 5 year old, "You didn't tell them that Daddy ate some pidgeon in China, did you?" No, thank God she didn't--but only because she forgot, I'm sure.
Corey and Connie have been doing quite a bit of shopping--Connie's more of a shopper than Corey so after the abnormal amount of shopping he's been doing, I may be on my own for the Christmas shopping:) Em and I will drag Nana out to get some of it done while I'm home on maternity leave.
Kara's been so cute about preparing for her sister. She never refers to her as Emily, always "my sister". She wouldn't talk to Emily on the phone because each time I asked she'd get very shy, so the airport meeting will be interesting. She's made a welcome home sign for Emily and has put some of her stuffed animals in Emily's room for her. And she's hidden some books on higher shelves so Emily can't reach them:)
If any of you (our family and friends) would like to greet them at the airport Thursday, we'd love to have you. Give me or my parents a call and we can give you the details.
I've attached a few pics. Each group of children that are adopted from China have their picture taken on the "red couch" in the White Swan Hotel. I've included a few of preparation pics for that and also an awesome photo of our travel group, China 133.
Have a great day!! Love,

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006


I'm so proud--not because Corey helped a choking baby at dinner (that's really par for the course for him and the choking baby thing--not really my job (right, CP?)--Corey tried PIDGEON for dinner. YUCKKKKKKK. I don't think it was because starvation had finally kicked in--I think this may have been a manly thing. For all of the different types of food served in China, my guess is he may have felt pressure to try something. I can't imagine why he passed on the worms and beetle being served at the other table. I think he said they were eating that night with the national guides (those assisting them during the trip who live in China) so the food was a bit more "real" than they were ready for.
They're in the White Swan hotel now and will be until they go to Bejing on Wednesday. The hotel is beautiful--I'm including a few pics of the grounds in today's post. I'm also including one of my favorite pics of Em--she's such a happy baby.
The other night the ladies and babies had a playdate and the dad's had a playdate. A few drinks and some cigars--no not for the ladies--for the dad's!! Yesterday the babies were blessed by momls--I don't have pics of that yet. As we speak they're on a dinner cruise with the other fams. Or as Corey said "a social event where none of us eat but we do take pics and video.
As far as the USA Films--we continue to be busy and working my family like dogs:) Uncle Don took Kara and Zach to the tugboat thing in Waterford on Saturday and spent some time back at their house while Shell and I accomplished some things at home. Huge help--thanks Uncle Don!! Yesterday my parents were here for a while--helping me and buying some items Kara's decided to sell to them (postcards, etc). Her Daddy's taught her about garage sales:) Kara's been awesome--I couldn't be prouder of her--well maybe a bit prouder if she'd actually played soccer rather than just clutching my leg--we're working on that.
Well--gotta go or else I'll be going to work with very bad hair. Have a great day everyone. Enjoy the pics.
Kara and Emily's Mom

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Our Healthy Girl

I've just heard form Mr. Film. Emily had her physical today and she's 23.1 lbs and 30.7 inches tall!! That puts her (approx) in the 83rd percentile for height and the 75the percentile for weight according to American growth charts (which people from Northern China more closely mirror). Corey said she was the only baby that didn't cry during her physical and the other families were kidding with them, asking if she ever cried:) She appears to be calm, cool and collected like her Mom--haha:)
Corey said she continues to do well while he and Connie are super tired and worn out. These last few days he has sounded very tired and missing us, as I'm sure Connie is as well. I can't thank them enough for making this trip to bring home our girl. They definitely seem to be making the most of it--attending all the events, site seeing, taking lots of pics and video to share with us and more importantly for Em when she's older. It's awesome to see your child or grandchild's birth country--their heritage--creating memories for them because they won't remember but it's also super exhausting, overwhelming and sometimes uncomfortable. I am very grateful to both of them for doing this for our family. In addition, I'm also grateful to my family as well for all they're helping me with at home--they are being a huge help.
I look forward to taking Kara and Emily back to their birthcountries with Corey when they're older and hopefully by then China will have increased the baggage weight limit, allowing me to pack an entire suitcase of food:) I miss being with them and experiencing all of the good and the bad. The other families sound great and Corey can't rave about them enough which is so funny from Mr. I'm not going there to make friends (yes, he said that)!! He said everyone really sticks together and helps each other and they're really getting each other through the trip. Many of the travelers have gotten sick due to the strains placed on them by a lack of sleep, crazy schedule, etc. Corey and Connie are healthy--please pray they stay that way.
Today Corey was invited to a party!! Unfortunately it was the I-600 party for one parent of each family to complete a form allowing them to bring their child (currently a citizen of China) to the US. Lots of docs, writing and white out are needed (we were required to bring white out--thanks Connie). Apparently I made an error on one of the forms which Corey has to correct at the Consulate on Monday. You know what this is going to cost me, don't you?? Oops sorry--this is a rated G blog!!
Corey said each family was given a Chinese Barbie made by Matel for adoptive families. He was so excited about it--he sounded so cute:) Well, enough of that--I hate to start my weekend with mush!!
Kara has her first soccer game today--wish us luck. I have no guarantee this will go well but I will post some pics later.
Love to all,

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Emily!!

No, it's not her birthday but yesterday at a Tibetan restaurant they celebrated the birthdays of all the girls who turned one prior to be united with their families. She had her very own cake and birthday hat. I haven't shown the pic to Kara yet because I think she might be angry that she missed the party. However, all Kara talks about it the "celebration" we're having for her sister. I really don't know what her idea of a celebration is but I need to find out this weekend. Emily continues to do well and the pediatrician with the group reported to our agency that she's a happy, smiling, giggling baby--hopefully she's still that happy when she meets me:)
On Wednesday they were supposed to visit a zoo with Pandas (which I was strangely excited about) but it rained so they went to a museum and then to see the Yellow River. After the excursion they chose to stay back at the hotel for dinner. I think they were all a bit tired and Corey's back was pretty sore.
I borrowed this next section for Judy and Sean, another family traveling with our group. Corey didn't tell me about this part of the day so I'm filling in the gap:)
"Thursday, we went to a village approx an hour away from the hotel to visit a family. The families are mostly farmers. Our guide Steed said that people will look at us as if we were E.T. He was right! They were as curious of us as we were of them. The Chinese people are very friendly and hospitable. We did a little tour of the area (of course, we took lots of pictures) and the family continued to bring out food after food, after food. The children were very curious about our group and they gathered and giggled with each other. We offered them plenty of candy and captured great photos. To our surprise, the kids are taught English in school and some of them used the opportunity to thank us in English. They seemed very pleased with themselves. We couldn't eat the fruit that was offered but we ate the steamed potatoes and delicious dumplings." Thanks Judy and Sean!!
After that they went to the Tibetan restaurant. Corey said the food was awful (shocker) but it was a party atmosphere and the adults and babies had a great time. Corey said Emily was a hit with the restaurant staff. After the party Emily went to bed. Corey said he was being quiet and he was about to get on the computer when she started laughing at him and when he looked over she was standing in her crib smiling and laughing. Apparently we'll not be giving her sugar before bed:)
Kara was an awesome baby and it seems as though Emily is too. God has certainly blessed us twice. We're very fortunate and time can't pass quickly enough for me so Kara and I can meet our new little girl. Emily is on the verge of walking on her own--she toddles around holding onto Corey or Connie's fingers. Corey said she loves to be out in the hallway where lots of families are generally walking around with their daughters as well.
While we were sleeping last night the China group flew to a new city, Guangzhou where the US Consulate is located. The babies will have their physicals, obtain their visas, etc. They're staying at the White Swan Hotel which is supposed to be awesome and lucky for them there are several local restaurants/delis with American style food. There also is great shopping--woohoo!! I wonder how they did on the flight with Emily--4 hours long I think--they're flying from far north in China to southern China. Incidentally, it's in the 90's there--we packed bathing suits so maybe they'll catch tans:)
The USA Films have been busy. Kara is having a great time at school and is making new friends. She's met a boy named Tyler--she let him know that they'll probably marry so I'm glad she's got that decision nailed down. AGHHHHH!!!! I can't wait for the parent/teacher conferences--I'm so curious to hear her teacher's impression of her--how she acts in school, etc. My big girl--I just can't believe I'm making school lunches for my baby!!
Time to get ready for work and to wake up Princess Kara. Have a great day!!
PS--Mom, was that long enough?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Emily's Big Sister Goes to Kindergarten

Hi everyone. Today was Kara's first day of kindergarten. She did wonderfully. She told me she was "a little nervous but alot excited". She was very excited this morning--chatting away as she ate breakfast and got ready. She was a tiny bit nervous at the bus stop but got right on the bus with her friends. She said she had a great day. Her teacher seems great and I've heard wonderful things about him. Kara did however inform me that she doesn't like to have to follow directions--she doesn't like people to tell her what to do. That ought to prove interesting.

Crossing the globe to the other side of the world, the China Film's seem to be doing pretty well, aside from the starving thing and Corey's bad back. I'm fairly certain I'm not going to be allowed to serve rice at our house for about 10 years. I owe them some good meals. Today when Corey and I talked, the conversation revolved around Kara so I actually don't know what they're doing today. I do know that Emily slept from 9:00 until at least 8:00. Woohoo!! I'll have more scoop for tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hi again--I'll be adding the pics later--I'm having an issue uploading them. Sorry:)

Calling a hotel in China isn't as easy as it sounds.....

Hi everyone. First, Corey, Connie and I want to thank everyone for their posts and emails. They're all so sweet and we love hearing from everyone. And since they're homesick--they especially love hearing from everyone. Their email address is if you'd like to email them.
So-Emily and family had another good day. When Corey called me this morning his first words were "We have one great baby!!" She's doing so well so far--thank God for that!! They went shopping and bought Emily some more clothes and shoes. She's been doing very well eating and not so bad sleeping--last night she slept from 10-7:30 straight through, although today it took them a bit of additional effort to get her to sleep. She's been eating steamed eggs, tofu, rice cereal, rice, congee and cheerios and is drinking formula--sometimes from a bottle and sometimes from a sippy cup. I would like to give her at least one bottle:) She can walk while holding onto their hands. Here are a few quotes from Grandma about her "Funny thing, before the bottle when she was crying, she bit Corey. She has probably eight teeth. She is rough and tough. Just try to take something away from her that she wants (food) and she will fight you for it. She is illuminating though. She lights up the room with her smile. Very good natured. We are so blessed to have such a great girl." I'm going to post some pics of China--I'd tell you what they were pictures of, if only I knew. I'll get more info later and title them.
Big sister Kara is doing well. Missing Daddy and Grandma but having lots of fun with Mama. She is planning a celebration for Emily's homecoming and is so darn cute when she talks about her. Oh, my girls:)

Monday, September 04, 2006

She's saying, "Hellooooo--My pants are toooo small!

Em and Daddy

Their first day together

Hi everyone! Emily had a good day today (it's 10:30pm in China). She went to sleep at about midnight last night--she fell asleep on Daddy and then on Grandma. Grandma tried to put her down a few times and Em cried but then she put her down, she cried for about 30 seconds and went to sleep. She slept thru the night and they woke her at 6:30 for the day's festivities-they had to take care of some legal matters. Emily took a short morning nap on Daddy in the baby carrier and later slept for 3 hours in the afternoon. She's eating like a champ and is drinking from a sippy cup. While I was talking to Corey, Connie pulled a piece of rice from Emily's nose!!
He said her personality is great and she's a riot--until he tried to take something away from her--she yelled at him. Just one more Film girl with a mouth:) From the pics she seems very tall for her age--which I believe is common for Northern China. In one of the pics she has on an outfit that was Kara's when Kara was 14 mos old. It only comes to Emily's midcalf. They're going to a dept store tomorrow and will buy her some 18 mos clothing.
Corey's apparently done with discussing the food with me--when I asked what they ate today, his response was "Chinese food". He sounded tired--it was a late night of filling out paperwork with the group. It seems as though they are really enjoying the other families and they are helping one another with whatever issues arise. He, however, is not enjoying the computer. He's no peach when walking him through attaching pics to emails:) That's my boy.
That's it for now on the China Films. Happy Labor Day everyone!!

Finally, pictures!!

I haven't talked to Corey yet today but he did send an email with pictures of our new baby girl. She's just so cute--I look like a total goofball--sitting at the computer-grinning at the pictures. Kara's still sleeping but I can't wait to show her the pictures of her sister. More to come later:)

Emily with Daddy and Grandma

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Uh Oh!! The diapers don't fit!!

Hi everyone!! I heard from Corey and Connie this morning and they have Emily!! They said when they went into the meeting room with the other parents, the baby home staff was holding eleven babies and suddenly the room was very full and chaotic. They picked Emily out right away--she looks just like her picture. Cute and pudgy with peach fuzzy hair. She was one of the few babies not crying (for now). Connie said they got lots of pictures when Corey first held her. Corey had to stay in the room with the other parents for instructions and Connie took Emily back to the room. She said Emily was smiling and laughing within a few minutes, however when I spoke with them, she was not a happy girl. She had eaten Cheerios and they were trying to give her water--she wouldn't take a bottle. Corey and Connie were lightly bickering--it was all very cute. Her foster parents sent her with a note (which we'll have to have translated), a bear and 2 disposable cameras-which we're very excited about. Connie said other than crying due to being over tired, she seems like a very happy, mild mannered baby (we'll see, won't we?). She did mention she has big feet, like her Daddy. She also has the sniffles. The pediatrician with the group will be examining all of the babies over the next few days, unless there are issues to be addressed sooner.
Tomorrow they need to do more paperwork, meet with some officials and buy more diapers for my little porkchop because the ones we packed were too small!! Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pics to include. Off to a birthday party at Hoffman's--the USA Film's are keeping very busy:)

Today is the Big Day

Today is the big day!! Will she be hysterical? Will she just look at them and smile like Kara did? How big is she? What does she look like when she smiles? Will she like the bottles I packed? Boy, it feels strange to be watching this all unfold as all of you do--I should be there but I need to be here. Fortunately I'm completely comfortable that our sweet baby girl is in good hands-Corey, much to his chagrin, is a super Dad and his Mom is Grandmother to many so Emily will be as fine as she can be. They may actually have met Em by now. When the phone rings, I may just pass out!! But if not, I'll let you know what happened when they first saw each other!! Stay tuned.