It's morning here - and I missed an entire 24 hours of blogging. I'm so sorry folks ;). Really, I slept in with my sweet little man and then we were busy busy busy. I'll make the recaps shorter and try to include more pictures for your viewing enjoyment :) In beautiful fashion, my husband took the meaty post - and did a great job. I mean it, he stole the thoughts from heart and did the work of putting them on the page.
On Sunday we spent the day at Shamian Island and visiting the markets. Before the trip - and in the days leading up to it - I was re-reading the book of Joshua. I was impressed that, while the Jordan River was dried up, and held back but the Almighty power of God, God asked the people to step BACK in to the river and select stones - stones to serve as markers - standing stones. I was impressed by this ritual and wanted to select some precious standing stones for our kids - so that we can continuously remind them of God's faithfulness in the hard things. So that we can constantly tell them that God brought us to this, and He will not abandon us through each hard transition. So, Steve graciously handed over the wallet, and we broke the budget we've been doing so great at keeping. The kids have beautiful standing stones now. In addition to that, we ended up visiting a place to purchase cheomsangs. (The traditional dress wear that our kids love so much. Not everyone NEEDED new ones but everyone got new ones because well, according to my loving husband, "it's cheaper than a flight back to China.")
We arrived back at the hotel well after lunch - and into normal nap time, but Steve and I rested with Joshua for a while anyway. Then we tried the hot tub and ended the evening at a great little noodle place. The boys were up late - and we're really going to have to get better about that, but it's been fun to be a little bit flexible with the schedule - and see what happens. At any rate, Monday was a day to sleep in and relax a little. Nothing too pressing on the agenda. So, we enjoyed the leisurely late night.
On Monday we left the hotel around 10:00 to meet with the other members of our group. There are 8 families representing 10 children here with Madison right now. We are at various points in the process (separated by about a day). So, there were 5 families at the consulate yesterday and the appointments took until well past 2:00!!! We are hoping they run a little more quickly today, but are packing (snacks, if they let us have them) anticipating a wait. The consulate appointment is the last big appointment before we leave! It's a huge hurdle. I said to Steve, as I sat on the couch last night playing ridiculous iPhone games, with this leave I have from work, and the adoption paperwork done, I feel like I might be able to read my first book in over two years! Granted, when I get home there will be plenty to do, but, as far as evening work, after the kids are in bed - I'm starting to realize just how much I had been doing! It's glorious to have a breather from it all.
At any rate, Monday was the zoo and it was phenomenal. There was a safari bus to take us around and many many interactive exhibits. There was glass to walk on top of (to see snakes beneath your feet), there were monkeys in the ropes and vines overhead, there were games to be played and plenty of ceramic painted pandas with which to take a bazillion photos :). We enjoyed our time with one of the other families. And we were very thankful that we had chosen to smuggle in nutella sandwiches for lunch. The lunch choices were not noodles and meat and rice but different items like mixed meat hot dogs on a stick and fish balls. I wasn't feeling THAT adventurous in the sticky heat - and sort of likened the location to eating from a carnival food truck. It didn't seem the place to take a chance on food.
We came home around 4 and Josh decided he wanted to run an errand with Daddy while Ben stayed home and watched a movie. I got the glamorous chore of working on putting a dent in the in room laundry situation ... this mostly involved using the hard dryer to attempt to dry out some clean undies for everyone. Josh has experienced some night time potty regression (hence the errand with Daddy for Pull ups) and we were fresh out of too-big Lightning McQueen underpants. ** Side note on the PullUps = effective way to bulk up his booty so the shorts stop falling down.
***Personally, I was a bigger fan of Steve's home made balloon belt (hopefully he will show you a picture. Joshua LOVES it ... picture three balloons deflated and tied together, clipped in the front with a small plastic chip-like clip. This is what we put around J's waist to keep his britches from falling off when he runs!
Much to Ben's dismay we did Chinese food twice (budget purposes AND Daddy found a restaurant he wanted to try). Its as GREAT ... we didn't quite order enough (J left whimpering that the noodles were gone) BUT what we did order was great! We made up for it by filling to boys with nutritious caramel covered popcorn that we found at 7/11. A+ parenting right now on the meal fronts ... (insert rolling of eyes and shaking of head ... but seriously, I'm tired of eating out! HOMEMADE FOOD is a real craving!) :) ...
Today it's early ... nearly 7. We have to be down at breakfast in 30 minutes so that we can leave on time for the consulate appointment. Richard helped us pack up all of our paperwork and get it in order. We just have to add the passports. You can't enter the consulate without a passport and you can't enter WITH a cell phone. So, we'll be out of contact for most of the morning (evening back home) but on the flip side, Joshua will officially be a Van Dyk. I saw one of the families got a t-shirt for their boys that said that, "Officially a _____" I loved it :). We've got a different special sweatshirt for our boy's homecoming ... but for today, his regular clothes (with his special belt) will have to do :).
Looking forward to making this official!
LOVE YOU all,