Waiting in the room, a birthday cake, and a dinner cruise (Valentine's Day)

Happy Valentine's Day!!! And that means a big Happy 9th Birthday to Kylie's Uncle Alexander. We love you bubba!

This morning Kylie woke up around 7:15 (after sleeping for some 10 hours) rather hungry. Her loving daddy got up to make a bottle for her and after filling her belly, she and I sacked back out for about an hour. Thanks for letting us catnap daddy!

From there the morning went to playtime. Didn't Daddy do a good job getting baby dressed? He even picked out the right shirt (somewhat of a miracle because he asked me later if it really was Valentine's Day). Kylie was quite animated this morning and couldn't seem to decide if she wanted to play with the wadded up breakfast coupon or the alphabet links that spell her name. Much to my chagrin, the paper won out. Oh well... After playing with the toys got boring, she decided to cruise around the coffee table and couch. She is so funny when she gets excited, she will slam her open hand down onto the nearest surface and giggle out loud.

We had to wait around in our room this morning to see if Amy called. Actually we were hoping not to hear from her because she was at the consulate applying for Kylie's (and 42 other babies') Visa. A problem would mean a delay in getting a Visa for the girls to enter the United States which would mean delay in going home to the states. Normally that would mean only one or two days late, but with Chinese New Year starting this week, it could easily be a two week delay. And Sunday Ian discovered that we had a slight glitch in our paperwork... So we paced the halls of our apartment until we got a call from Amy saying there was a problem or we were released.
When the phone rang a bit too early for release time we both looked at each other with a worried glance, but thankfully it was Cindy asking if I wanted to accompany her and a few of the other moms to buy some individual cakes for the Guangdong babies birthday party. I met Shannon, Cindy, Cindy's daughters Mindy and Abby, and Wendy at the delicatessen. I know that Kylie won't eat a bite of cake, but I got a mini-chocolate mousse and a mini strawberry mousse to sit in front of her and for Ian and I to eat!

Finally we got the all clear! We met up with Hallie, Nellie, Marisa, Lottie and Caroline (and of course their parents) and headed back to Shamian Island. Ian and I had to pick up our granite etching and we heard about an open air market that we wanted to wander. LaoLao also said to buy Kylie a pair or two of shoes, so we decided to oblige her and get our baby some squeaky shoes. She is showing shopkeeper Dong (who is from Lianjiang) that she can mimic his squat. You can hardly see her shoes, but they are black with little daisy flowers on them. Talk about cute!

With both of them dressed for Valentine's Day, it was impossible to resist another picture of the Carolina girls. Speaking of Carolina, we heard about the Heels/Hokies basketball game...

After grabbing a bite to eat at the new Starbucks (and an iced coffee ~ man was it hot today!) Ian and I split off from the others and headed to the Qingping market. Let's just say that we weren't in tourist land anymore. This was real China and despite the unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells, I loved it! Here are a few pictures to help you get a feel for what we experienced there. (By the way, we wandered for about an hour and saw no other westerners in the market.) These were the biggest bamboo steamers I have ever seen. Oh how I wished that we could trust street food for our delicate western stomachs! I would have loved to tried the dim sum!

We felt brave enough to venture into this shop selling New Year decorations. To give an accurate idea, take what we do to decorate for Christmas in the states, multiply it by 10, and then you have an idea of the decoration level for Chinese New Year here. We bought a few packages of red envelopes to put small token gifts into and hang on a tree (or plant) to help celebrate Chinese New Year in the future at home.

Then we found ourselves walking down "pet alley." We had been in an area for a while selling foods, so at first I feared the worst for all these puppies (on down the alley were kittens, rabbits, hamsters, fish, and other house pets). Then we noticed that the shops lining the streets were selling leashes, pet food and even the silly pet sweaters we have at home. Man did I breathe a sigh of relief then! Otherwise I was going to buy freedom for some of the golden puppies.

There was vendor after vendor after vendor selling dried goods out of huge bags. We never did see anything written in English ~ we were in a market that doesn't cater to tourists, go figure ~ but we were pretty sure we could make out ginger, ginseng, mushrooms, and then after that it is any one's guess. I have no idea how you would pick a vendor, they all looked pretty much the same to me!

There weren't too many live animals, but the buckets of scorpions were interesting! I think that I've read you can roast scorpions and the venom is destroyed in the cooking process. I've seen pictures of them on sticks. My only question is how do you get the sucker on the skewer without getting stung? Pretty crazy stuff if you ask me!

When we wandered back over to Shamian Island (realized that we hadn't bought Kylie a Beijing Olympics 2008 tshirt) we ran into the Martens family. As you can see, Mickey (8 years) was done shopping. Lucky for baby Caroline that her daddy was in the mood to carry her. Mickey is a real sweetheart and he and I led the pack on the way back in the metro system.

We got back to the hotel in just enough time to feed Kylie, change her diaper, and then scramble down to the lobby to get on the bus (what am I going to do when I don't have a Trailways type bus to take me everywhere I need to go at home?) to head to our dinner cruise. I'm guessing about 25 of the 42 families here with AWAA went this evening. The picture in front of the cherry blossom tree was taken in our hotel lobby. That tree was not here the day we checked in. I'm telling you, the decorations for New Year would blow your mind!

Dinner was okay, but the cruise itself was quite beautiful. The entire riverfront has been fitted with lights to create a dazzling effect from the water. Some of the stuff was computerized and the animated light show was entertaining (we have on camcorder), others was just elegantly lit up and provided many "oohs and aahhs" from all of us on the boat, Chinese and Americans alike. I also found humor in the fact that when we went under a low bridge that the Chinese folks hollered like we did to hear echos and also reached up as if they could touch the bottom of the bridge. I guess we are alike in more ways than we at first realize...

One more family photo ~ Kylie was clearly impressed by the light show, or not. She slept through almost the entire thing. Something else cute, one of the 10 year old daughters of one of the families on the trip was passing out Valentine's Day cards. It was such a sweet gesture.

The area we disembarked from the cruise ship reminded me of Times Square in New York. There was tons of neon. And once again, proof that New Year is big ~ this is the year of the golden pig which is considered very good luck!
When we got back we had one exhausted baby on our hands. I declare that I fall a bit more in love with Ian each day as I watch him with her. He took putting to bed shift tonight which wasn't all that pleasant, she was too tired to give up the fight easily. But he managed!

I can't believe that tomorrow is our last day here! There is still so much that I want to see...


Aunt Traci said...

Wow to the scorpions... can I say "no thank you?" And those poor animals... I think I would have feared the worst too Kristi... glad to hear they were selling leashes and things with them! After having eaten mystery meat in the Philippines I would have questioned that too and maybe still do to some degree!
I can't believe you all are coming home tomorrow!!! YIPPIE!!!! I can't wait to see how much Kylie has changed in the week since we left! She just keeps getting more precious in those pictures!
See ya soon!
And... "ouch" on the Carolina/ VT game. :)

nai nai miller said...

You really had me concerned that we wouldn't see you for two more weeks. I know you are having fun but we want you home!! Kylie gets more adorable by the day. Thank you so much for keeping us current with all your activities. What a story you have to share with Kylie when she is older. Be well and see you soon.

LaoLao Shultz said...

Oh the sites you have seen. Some of the described food still makes my "western" stomach a little quizzy! Glad you didn't have to eat any of that stuff that you saw in the market.
How wonderful for Kylie that you two are experiencing all of these things and recording them for her to see in the future.
Can't wait to see her new little shoes. Hope you got several pairs.
Knowing that she is becoming so expressive with you is so exciting!
Can't wait for her to be here and learn to trust and love the rest of her adoring family.
God be with you on your travel home. Don't know if you had gotten my email about other babies on our plane trip home sat between their parents with the armrest up..even slept on a little pallet of blankets on the floor between their parents feet.
Love you and can't wait to get you in my arms.

Anonymous said...

I have loved every minute of following your blog. Chris fussed at me for getting him "hooked" as well :) We're so looking forward to having you at home so we can hear all of the stories from you! I know it must have been excrutiating to wait, but I think it is so neat that you have been there to see how they celebrate Chinese New Year first hand. Oh and by the way. . .a big YAY! for Ian! I must say that I am so impressed with you. . .spit up, pooh, a venture on your own. . . Remind me to tell you about the time Carter got sick on Chris. . .he didn't move and didn't get sick himself! I always knew Kristi and I got GREAT MEN! Be safe and know that we'll be praying for you! Love, Jen