Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Raleigh Fun

We had more fun days with Reese and Emma!  We went to Monkey Joe's (a fun inflatable play space).  Kate was so determined to go on all of the slides, even if it took longer for her to climb up since she couldn't "walk" but had to "crawl".  She did it though and LOVED it!  We went swimming a few more times and enjoyed playing at the house.  We visited the school on Friday and saw a few friends that were attending or teaching the summer camps at TRS.  Kate was a little shy but ran to Greg and Emma when he met me there to drop Emma off for the afternoon.  Kate was so happy to see a familiar face! 

We wore Emma out!

On our ride home, Emma fell asleep and ended up take a two hour nap.  Then Brennan fell asleep for a little over an hour... with everyone sleeping on different schedules we just ended up playing at the house.  Jenn came over to take some pictures of Kate for us which turned out GREAT!  Kate really enjoyed modeling for the pictures- it was so cute! 

Our weekend was fun as well filled with swimming and more playing. Hollis joined us at the pool on Saturday with her son Lyon (who is also eight) and our neighbor David and his five year old son swam all day too.   Brennan had Teddy over for a sleepover on Friday as well as Saturday night.  Teddy even went to church with us on Sunday!  I wonder what Kate thinks with all these kids in and out of our house. She seems to love it though! We also managed time to take Kate to Target for her first time!  She LOVED it and picked out a new swimsuit and a new pair of sandals.  She is so sweet picking out what she wanted.  She seemed to understand that we were only going to buy one pair of shoes and would keep replacing the pair in the cart with a new pair when she saw one she liked.  She was very decisive and very excited!

Kate was great at church!  She was quiet and when she received a loaf of bread for being a first time visitor at church, she was very happy!  It meant a lot when the question was asked at church during the service if there were any prayer concerns or joys to share and Lucinda shared our joy of having Kate with us!  Thanks Lucinda!  We love our church!  We were also happy to find out that a good friend's mom speaks Cantonese!  Alison and Sherman invited us over for later in the day, which was perfect!  Ivy (Sherman's mom) was able to translate quite a few things for Kate!  We wanted her to explain about our upcoming trip that we were only visiting the different houses, that she had to wear her seatbelt to be safe, that we loved her and were so proud of her, and much more!  Kate didn't talk to Ivy but she seemed to understand everything.  Ivy was so sweet and played for a long time with Kate and the other cuties- Brennan, Kiki, and Shephard.

We love Brennan's Sunday School
Teachers!!!  We will miss them next year!


We love Ivy!!!

 On Monday we were busy packing, Kate had a doctor's appointment (which took a long time), and we met some friends at the mall for some icecream.  Our week in Raleigh was certainly fun filled and busy!  We left on Tuesday at 6:20 AM for the mountains.  Brennan, Kate, and I will make the drive together and Dave will join us in Minnesota on July 9th for a week.  He'll also help us drive home afterwards.

Some firsts for Kate:

First time at Monkey Joe's
(an inflatable place space)

We didn't get to see her crawl or walk for the first time or say her first word... but we sure have had fun seeing some of her firsts in America! 

She loved her first Icee!
The water fountain was just as
much fun as the climbing structures!

First time in the food court at the mall
First time on the little rides at the mall.

First trip to the mall

I never realized how much fun the
hand dryers are in the public

First trip to Target!
First road trip- on our way to Wisconsin!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fun Days

We have been having so much fun since we returned to Amerca!  We have seen several friends, enjoyed the pool, and of course have gone fishing!  Brennan and Kate are growing closer and Kate hasn't yelled at Brennan in Chinese neary as often.  Kate gave Brennan a huge hug today- it was so sweet!

Brennan fell asleep at 5:30 PM today on the couch.  Of course he was awake since about 1:00 AM...  it seems like his China schedule all over again.  If I remember correctly it took about five days to get on schedule.  He's handling it well though!  Kate has seemed to adjust much easier to the time difference.  She just fell asleep snuggled against Dave at about 7:00 PM.  She didn't have a nap today or yesterday so that's pretty good!  I'm totally sleep deprived but I think it's because I'm so excited and happy!  Life is amazingly great!

Kate is adjusting well and has learned a few words to help her when she feels frustrated so hasn't cried as much, although she still has a few "moments".  I can only imagine all the emotions she is feeling!  We've tried Google Translator to help explain a few things, but we're not sure if she understands what the translator is telling her or not.  She didn't really talk to Peter either though, so it's hard to tell.  We can't wait to see her Uncle Spyros who is learning Cantonese just for her! 

We spent Tuesday with friends at the pool and had so much fun.  Kate smiled at everyone and loved playing with all the kids.  Brennan was so happy to be with the gang again!  The "gang children" now consist of five Asians (one actually born in the USA) and two beautiful blue eyed Americans.  We miss you Jean and Big Kate!

Today (Wednesday, June 22) Reese and Emma came to our house for the day.  Reese and Brennan are great friends and have the Korean Connection.  Emma is four years old and the cutest little girl!  The four kids had so much fun all day.  We are so happy that they are coming over tomorrow too!  If anyone else wants to join us at our pool- let us know!

The pictures will tell you all about our fun days!  Enjoy!

The cookie boquet that was sent
to us from the Logels!  Thank you
so much- they were a BIG hit
at the Ranheim house!
Sue came to visit!  We also saw Joy at
pool, but didn't get a picture.  We hope
they'll both visit us again soon!

Swimming at the pool with the "gang" as
Brennan calls them.

Could these kids be any cuter?!!!

So tired after a day of
playing and swimming!

Feeding the ducks at
Springdale Lake-
Brennan's fishing hole.

Emma and Kate are both four years old.
They had so much fun together!

Brennan doesn't care
how big the fish he catches
are- he's just happy to
catch some!
Kate tried fishing for the first
time!  She borrowed Emma's
fishingpole which just
happened to be pink!

Reese was so helpful with both
four year olds today!  He is
truly a GREAT kid!
She fished for so long she
needed to sit down!

Emma had fun finding
feathers- she asked us
to call her "Feather Girl".
When I told Emma that Kate liked her, Emma
asked, "Does she like me so much
because I am so beautiful?"  Of course
that's whyEmma- you're a
beautiful girl inside and out!

Notice all their jewelry!  The two
princesses had so much fun!
Kate loves floating around
the pool- she loves
anything that helps her
be more independent!

The two mermaids took a break
for a snack.

More Good News!

Our journey has been blessed with amazing people and organizations!  We received some more donations from several family members that were truly appreciated!  So many people have surprised us and their kindness and selflessness are how we want to live our lives!  They are a true inspiration! 

We also received another grant for $1,000.00!  Eliya's Heart has always held a special place in my heart and were part of God's plan in bringing home our sweet Kate!  We'll use their grant to help pay back some of my medical bills.  (My medical bills helped us several ways with a hardship withdrawal and the flex spending.  The money from both helped so much and now I can actually pay part of the bills back. My surgery was at such a perfect time!)

I continue to be amazed and still can't believe our precious Kate is actually with us!  She's cuddled up by Dave sound asleep.  Our sweet Brennan fell asleep on the couch at 5:00 PM.  He's exhausted!  We are so blessed to have two beautiful, happy, and healthy children.

Monday, June 20, 2011

We are home!!!

We had a long journey home but both kids did great!  Peter, our guide, walked us into the airport in Guangzhou and helped us check in.  The airport was so busy and the counter we needed to check in was in the middle of the airport instead of by the doors.  I was very thankful to have Peter's help!

Kate and Brennan fell asleep on the hour flight to Hong Kong.  Thank goodness Brennan woke up to help me with our carry on luggage.  We walked to the Continental counter to get our boarding passes for the next sections of our flight.  Our first flight was with Dragonair (although Continental works with them to schedule the Guangzhou to Hong Kong portion).  The Continental counter was closed which meant no boarding passes until 8:00 AM.  Since we didn't have any boarding passes, we couldn't go to the departure gates which have the lounges that we could have rented to rest and sleep in.  We were stuck sleeping in the arrivals which had one bench and one chair in each area.  Not very comfortable but we made the best of it!  There was one nice securtiy guard that checked on us several times and even gave us some cookies. 

We were happy to finally get our boarding passes in the morning so we could go to departures and eat some breakfast!  The arrivals area didn't have any restaurants either.  Our flight left on time and 16 hours later we arrived in Newark.  Both kids did great on the trip but slept at different times, which means I didn't get much sleep.  It took us over two hours to clear customs and recheck our baggage, etc.  It's a good thing we had a five hour layover!  We ate some lunch and then Kate fell asleep in her stroller again.  She woke up in time for the last flight and got to see the plane take off and land.  She liked it!

When we arrived in Raleigh there were several great friends to greet us.  Kate was snuggly and sweet and Brennan was excited to see some of his buddies!  Dave LOVED his Father's Day gift!

Our first day at home has been LAZY!!!  Brennan didn't sleep much last night but took a nine hour nap today!  Poor kid!  I have a feeling he's not going to sleep much tonight either.  We don't have much planned so he'll have a chance to get back on schedule.  Kate seems to be more on schedule and so do I, although we both took a three hour nap today.

Kate has enjoyed looking around her new home.  She's spent most of her day taking pictures, cutting with scissors, and playing with her dolls.  She's scared of Zamboni (our dog) and wants to be in the same room with me at all times so I can protect her from our giant scary mutt :-).  She did touch him today and talked to him a little.  Hopefully each day will get better since I plan on driving the kids and Zamboni to Wisconsin next week! 

It's nice to have access to our blog again and loved reading everything Wendy posted!  She was so fabulous to do that every day while we were gone!  I'm also happy to have Facebook again and plan on going on it later today!

Shayli and Kate with Peter
Leigh took some better photos of all our
 kids that I will post later.

Getting some exercise before the long
trip home!

Kenny and the kids

Looking for fish in the Pearl River

Our last meal in China was from
the Deli shop.

Sleeping at the Hong Kong airport.

First airplane ride!

Keeping entertanined on the long
 airplane ride- doing hair and accessorizing.


The greeting at the RDU Airport
10:00 PM June 19th.   Thanks Everyone!!!

We are happy to be home!!!

Father's Day 2011

How Brennan spent his day...
a nine hour nap!

How Kate spent her day...