Friday, August 31, 2012

Halfway to Home!

Today is day 8 of our trip--the halfway point!  7 more days until we leave for home!  We went back to the medical clinic this morning to have Madison's TB test read, and it was " all clear" so that was an answer to prayer. Then we left the clinic & headed to the zoo! It was a nice day out, but really hot...like 100 degrees HOT!  Madison seemed to like the zoo, and we took a lot of really good pictures. We were back at the hotel by 1pm which meant we had the rest of the day to try to keep Madison busy. We decided to take her to the pool...guess who DOESN'T like the pool?
When we first got there, David was holding her & they both got in.  She was fine but after about 2 minutes she wanted out & looked scared.  She sat down on a chair & wouldn't smile at us or anything.  I finally got her to come sit in my lap and for the next hour that's what she did...just sat in my lap without smiling or talking. I don't know if the pool brought back a bad memory for her or what, but her whole disposition changed. This is where I struggle--not knowing what's going on in that little head of hers!  I don't know if something's going to remind her of a bad memory & make her scared or if the pool experience was all new to her.  When our guide asked her if she had ever been to a pool before Madison responded "yes," so we are not sure why she withdrew like she did.

We did, however, have a sweet moment in the van today.  On the way to the zoo she was sitting in my lap (which she does often), but she finally laid her head on my shoulder for about 10 minutes...she hasn't done that before!  We can tell she is starting to "hold" us in a different way. On Monday when we would hold her, her legs would be straight down and limp while her arms would be straight, pushing against me--almost like she was afraid to be get too close. I would have to put her legs around me or put her arms around my neck, but today she is starting to doing it all on her own...that's progress!

We are back in the room now letting Madison watch a show on the iPhone.  We cut back quite a bit on tv time and letting her play games and watch movies on the phone, and we also moved all the toys and stuff to the closet to keep them out of sight.  We think we might have over stimulated her at first with several new toys, shows on the iPhone and then having the TV on trying to find something for us to watch on occasion.  We think cutting back has certainly helped a lot in keeping her calm.

Madison really hasn't had another one of those moments like the other day, because when we see it coming on we firmly tell her no (usually several times) and it gets her attention.  David's voice gets her attention more so than mine, so I do need to get a bit firmer.  It's just so hard and almost makes me feel guilty.  I'll get better though---please pray that I do! I told David that he is going to need to be at home more, especially at first as we establish new boundaries with her at home.

Tomorrow is a day all to ourselves, as we do not have any appointments or scheduled activities.  That means no guide, no translator, and a full day to handle Madison all by ourselves!  Please pray for us and for Madison and that God will bless us with a great day.  We just try to break the day down hour-by-hour and "eat the elephant one bite at a time" as David says.  I don't know where he gets all that kind of stuff, but hey, at least it's a plan!

Right now we are doing our best to establish a routine & try to teach her what it means to be a part of a family. It's a work in progress, but I guess we all are in some way or another.

Prayer requests: 

  • Pray for our full day all alone with Madison tomorrow!
  • Continued prayer for the language barrier.  She is very good at repeating what we say, but she doesn't really know what she is saying. So pray that she will start to remember & understand the English words we are trying to teach her, like "potty."
  • That we would all sleep well & continue to stay healthy!
Thank you all so much for your love & support!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Video: Roll Tide!

Because we want to teach her the important things :)   

Visit to the Orphanage

So far today has been a better day--keep the prayers coming, please! Today we went to visit Madison's orphanage. After her reaction on Gotcha Day we decided that I would stay back at the hotel & David would go see the orphanage. However, we both also wanted to go see the place where she was abandoned. Since it was close to the orphanage, we had to do them both in the same trip (it is an hour away from our hotel). So that meant that Madison & I had to also go to the orphanage . At breakfast, our guide explained to Madison that we were only going to visit & take a few pictures and that she wasn't going in...she said ok.  So we started out on our 1.5 hour drive on the wonderful streets of Guangzhou :).  Madison was playing & singing in the car the whole way...until we pulled up to the gate. As soon as she saw the entrance and we started to turn, in I looked over & she had this look of fear on her face. She immediately started screaming, kicking & shaking her head NO! It was awful. Kelley was trying to tell her that she wasn't going in and that she was staying in the car with baba (daddy), but she was still scared!

I got out of the car & went in to see the place that Madison had spent the first 2 yrs of her life and the last 5 days before we got her. I don't know if I really have the words to explain what I saw.  All I can say was that it was sad & sterile. Rooms lined with metal cribs and small beds. They have 150 kids there and 95% of them have special needs. The cribs & beds don't even have mattresses--just a thin piece of wood that they sleep on with a tiny pillow and blanket to cover up with. I now wish that I would have just let David go in and I stay in the van because I don't think I will ever forget the images I saw today. In that moment, I was so thankful that she went to stay in a foster home 2 years ago. I had our guide ask why they picked Madison to go into foster care.  She said that Madison got sick a lot when she was there, so they wanted her to go to foster care where she could have more one-on-one attention.

When I got back to the van, Madison was sitting next to David watching "Ni Hoa, Kia-Lan!" David said that as soon as the driver turned the van around she calmed down, and that's when David started distracting her with the show...thank the Lord for iphones!  We then headed to the corner of 95th street where Madison was left when she was 3 months old. It was a dirty street with a small, narrow alley beside it.  We got out and took a few pictures of the place, as well as a photo of us holding Madison at the very spot where she was abandoned. I noticed there was an apartment right above that corner, & I can't help but wonder if that is where her parents live & if that is why they choose those steps in that corner to leave her.

We then began the drive back home and Madison still looked a bit scared, but she did end up falling asleep laying next to David.  Once at the hotel we let her play in a little indoor play area.  Madison really doesn't know how to "play" well.  She gets a little wild acting, sort of like she did yesterday in the room.  But we let her play and then came back to the room where David finally had to discipline her, which was hard to do...but she did calm down and that's a good thing.  For us, we just feel like we need to set some firm boundaries.  This is tough because we also want to giver her everything because we know what all she has been through.  There is a balance somewhere in between, so please pray that the three of us can find it!

Right now we are in the room coloring and playing with playdoh trying to make it to dinner.  Dinner means bedtime isn't far away, which is good.  If it wasn't for the language barrier things would be much easier, so please pray that Madison starts picking things up quickly and remembering the words we are trying to teach her.  In all, we are doing pretty good but language is the biggest challenge.

Tomorrow we are going to the zoo and to get the results of the TB test.  Please pray for a great nights sleep, a negative TB test, and our overall sanity and well being!  Thanks!



Playing in the car
Madison's Orphanage
The room where she slept
Madison's bed
Visit to the street where Madison was left...95th St.
An alley off of 95th St
Apartment above the steps where she was found at 3 months old
Steps where Madison was abandoned
Photo from the day she was found
Back on those same steps today with her forever family!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle...by Madison :)

Here is a video of Madison singing...

A Good and Not So Good Day

Well everyone, today was quite the mixed bag, so lets start with the positives.  First of all, Madison did great today at the doctor appointments and wasn't a bit nervous going from room to room at the health clinic. Nor did she cry or even flinch when they gave her the TB test/shot! Our guide explained to Madison all that was going to happen to her before we went, which really helped a lot.  It also didn't hurt that David had a couple of pieces of candy in his pocket that he brought out right after the shot...they don't give out suckers and stickers when you leave the doctor in China, so that was a great move! You talk about a crazy and busy place; that clinic was nuts AND our guide said that today wasn't even a busy day.  So, praise God for your prayers and for His answering them...yea God!

Now for the not so good part of our day.  Yesterday there was a brief episode where Madison became really energetic and wouldn't listen to or respond to us.  We took her outside to the play ground to let her run off some energy, which in our minds seemed to help.  Today however, those actions and behaviors returned and unfortunately on a much bigger scale.

While Madison was perfect at the doctors office and at the table at lunch, once we got to back to the hotel she started running around, yelling, and acting out.  Nothing we said really seemed to matter (not like she can understand us anyway).  So after a few failed attempts to correct her, we just sat there and let her go.  Even when did correct Madison she would just laugh.  She laughs at everything, even when she falls she laughs, which is certainly not normal.  Whether its a coping mechanism, fear, a form of grief, nervousness, etc, it's hard and pushed us to the limit today.  While all this was going in the hotel room, David and I just looked at each other in disbelief and on the verge of crying.  Then after dinner, which went well, we gave Madison a bath and now she is sleeping...which honestly is our only saving grace at this point.

So it goes without saying that is has been a long day here in China. I am really trying to just be real & honest, so I am not going to just share the good without also sharing our struggles. Madison's testing of us is a challenge, and it bothers us that she has not cried at all since Gotcha Day.  At first we thought that was good, but now we think she needs to grieve before she can move forward and really bond with us.  The language barrier is also beginning to wear on all 3 of us.  Those apps we downloaded have been useless thus far because this evening, Madison spoke a sentence into the one that translates her words into english and what came back was "I have a silver platter".  Pretty sure that wasn't what she was saying.  Maybe "I have a full bladder" or "do these pajamas make me look fatter?", or "swing batter batter" (there was a baseball game on TV)...I could go on all night (honesty I'm too tired to do so). But in the end the apps are no good right now.

But enjoy the pics and please pray for us as it is VERY hard to be in a foreign country with a child that doesn't speak your language, missing my girls at home terribly, and living in a hotel for 15 days.  It is all VERY stressful and your prayers for a better day tomorrow are greatly appreciated.  Pray Madison sleeps well and through night, that we do too, and for our visit to her orphanage tomorrow, which is about an hour van ride away (and you all know much I love the transportation here). Thank you so much.

P.S. I must say she was rockin the zebra print today! :)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

3AM Thoughts (again)

Well it's 3am...and guess who's up?  I slept for 3 hours and now I'm wide wake. So I thought I would share a few things about Gotcha Day. Madison's foster mom sent her with a back pack full of all her things & also a video that she made for us....So thoughtful! We are told this is not the norm, so we are very thankful to have these things and we are happy that Madison will have these to look back on, as well. Her foster mom also sent us a photo album with pictures of the 2 yrs she spent there.  You can tell that she really loved Madison, and we even got a few pictures of the orphanage & the crib where she slept.

Speaking of the backpack...with all that's been going on we haven't had a chance to go through it and see what's all inside.  In addition to the schedule we are on, Madison is somewhat protective of that little pink bag and rightly so!  We tried to take something of out it earlier and Madison promptly retrieved the item, placed it back into the bag, and zipped it up almost like she expects to leave.  Again, it is so hard to know what is going in that little mind, but we pray that as each day passes she will feel more at "home" with us.

At dinner tonight we ran into a family from Utah who adopted a 5 year old girl yesterday and while their first day went great, day two has been a struggle.  The mom said once the little girl realized that she wasn't on a field trip and would never be returning to her caretaker and friend, she started crying and has not stopped since.  Would you please pray for this family from Utah and for their little girl, too?  While I can't remember their names, God does and they certainly need some help and encouragement.  Please pray for Madison because she too might be thinking some of the same things.  Pray for God to give her peace and to protect her little heart and mind from all the changes she experiences on almost a moment to moment basis with us.

Now, back to the little pink backpack.  After dinner, bath time, and putting Madison to bed, we took the bag to our room and quietly went through it for the very first time.  As we took everything out, it was humbling to see that all of Madison's earthly possessions could fit inside such a tiny container.  In addition to the little bear David mentioned yesterday and her blankie (that's right Jim C, we now have another little girl with a blankie you can mess with!  And McKinley, she is not quite as attached to her blankie as you are to yours--We miss you sweetie!), all that Madison has or should I say "had" thanks to the Lord's great plan, was the following:

5 dresses
3 shirts (one is for a boy and at least two years old based on a picture we have)
3 pairs of underwear
2 pairs of pants
1 small purse 
A few pieces of candy and two happy meal toys
1 pair of shoes (several sizes too big)
And cup and a tooth brush...by the way, when Madison brushes her teeth she does so over the toilet and spits in there instead of the sink--still working on that one!  David brushed his teeth with her and she spit in the sink twice but then smiled and went back over to the toilet.  :-) 

That's it...probably more than some children have, but not very much at all.  She was greatly loved by her caretakers / foster family, though, and that's so much more important than stuff, right?  A great reminder to parents everywhere about what's truly important.

So thanks for all the prayers and good wishes.  Please keep them coming and specifically pray for our doctors appointment today with Madison and her TB test, our continued bonding, the language barrier and our ability to communicate even though gestures (we both downloaded a Cantonese app on our iPhones tonight that allows us to play basic words and phrases out loud--cheesy I know, but when you are all by yourself you do whatever you can), and for Madison to continue to sleep well.  She made a few whimpers in her sleep tonight which we've heard about before.  Again, pray for peace and for God to protect her little heart and mind.  Thank you!


Day 2: It's Official!

So we asked you all to pray for us today as we had to go back to the Civil Affairs office to do paperwork & make everything official. I was really worried that Madison would think we were taking her back (or even that she might want to go back to her foster mom).

But not only did God show up, but He showed OUT!  Madison did amazing. Kelly, our guide, explained to her what we were doing & she smiled & nodded her head. No tears, no tantrums...she just smiled and held our hands the entire way.  Thank goodness because I just can't explain what it was like yesterday when we left that building with her & she was screaming, thrashing, & kicking. It only lasted an hour (thank goodness), but it was emotionally draining.

Today, at 9:14 to be exact, Madison was looking at pictures on the iPad and she called me "Mommy!" She has also given me several kisses on the cheek! :) At 9:45am she gave David his first kiss.  She asks me to hold her a lot, too. She feels heavier than I thought--she is only supposed be 31 pounds!  :) We went to Walmart today to try & find her a pair of white sandals and get some lotion. She has eczema on her skin really bad and it needs lotion several times a day. Then we went to pizza hut for lunch, and while it was a great taste of home, Madison didn't seem to like the dough.  She just ate the pepperonis & cheese (have I mentioned she can eat!?!).  She ate a huge plate of fried rice & noodles for B'fast and some dragon fruit, watermelon, & cantaloupe for breakfast, as well!  We are going to stop placing so much food on her plate, because we are afraid she might feel like she has to eat it all or she'll be in trouble or something.  We asked our translator to have her tell us when she is full or if she doesn't want anymore to eat.  We will see how that goes in the days to come!

We skyped last night with my parents and Morgan & McKinley & Madison smiled the whole time...she even said both of the girl's names and even "nana" & "pawpaw!" I think once she gets around them her English will take off. She already repeats a lot of words that we say. She's also been very good about telling us when she has to go to the bathroom...she usually grabs one of us by the hand & walks in to the bathroom. The only bathroom she has ever seen or used was the "squatty potty" so our guide had to come up to our hotel room and show her the toilet & explain to her how to use it.  But she's done really well!

Another answer to prayer...I slept through the night last night!  Yay!  This was the first night since we left last Thursday that I have slept longer than 3 hrs. So hopefully I will continue to rest well.

Tomorrow we take her to the doctor to get a TB test & physical and then off to go get her passport.  It is always stressful to go out and about here...or at least for me it is! The driving is CRAZY!!!!! We walked to McDonald's two days ago (which is right next to the hotel) & I almost got hit by a bus AND a taxi--I am not exaggerating!  I started out this journey afraid of airplanes, but now I would rather fly then drive on the roads here! :)

I will leave you with  few of my favorite pictures of David & Madison and a few prayer requests!

Prayer requests:

That the Dr visit will go well tomorrow, she has to get shots!

That I will continue to sleep at night, and that Madison will be a good sleeper too! They told us she takes naps everyday from 12:30-2...Well we tried & it didn't happen!  :)

That she will continue to bond with us.

That our girls back home will continue to do well while we are gone. I really miss them!

Safety & health for remaining of our trip!


More bath time pix from Day 1

More bath time pix from Day 1

Day 2...It's Official!!!

She is a great eater!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Almost through the first night!

Hello everyone!  This is David and currently it is around 3 am. We have almost made it through our first night with Madison.  After bath time we tried to put her in a crib because that's what she slept in at the orphanage, but she didn't want to sleep there.  We might not know Cantonese and she might not know English, but some looks are universal :-).  Nothing bad, but just a preference to sleep on the couch instead (see pics).

Madison went to bed around 8 and has been asleep ever since. Tonight reminds me of when you first bring a newborn home and every time they move or make a noise, you get up to check on them; that's been us with Madison tonight.  I think both she and Melissa were exhausted because they have both slept well tonight, which is another answer to prayer...thanks everyone!

Last night, as I sat on the couch with Madison waiting for her to go to sleep, she would look up at me and smile, close her eyes, and then start peeking as though to see if I was still there.  That went on for about ten minutes before she finally drifted off.  The little bear you see in the picture at the end of the post was given to her by her nanny before we left the Civil Affairs Office.  I'm not sure if she always had the bear or if it was a final gift goodbye, but before Madison went to sleep she leaned over, pulled it right up close to her face and kissed it.  It was a sad and sweet moment all at the same time.  I cannot even imagine what is still going through her little mind, but I hope she realizes that she'll never be left or abandoned again.  I also hope she doesn't wake up upset because she isn't in the same place anymore.  Would you please pray that Madison wakes up happy and has a great day?

Speaking of our day, we will venture upstairs for breakfast at the hotel.  This will be our first trip out alone with Madison since we returned to the hotel yesterday.  Once she calmed down and started to connect with us, we didn't leave the room.  No need to put a damper on such  good progress.  Afterward, we have a couple of official appointments to go to which hopefully will go well.

So, please put that on your prayer list as well, and we will keep you posted.  It has been a whirlwind 24 hours and we are grateful to have you with us on this this journey.  I hear Madison moving around a bit, so I need to look in on her, or stare at her sleeping...they're both the same right?


Another picture and a few videos of Gotcha Day!

Mama and daughter #3!  



I woke up at 1am this morning & have been up ever since!   I just can't seem to get on a regular sleeping schedule.  To say that today has been full of emotion is an under statement.  As we met Kelly, our guide, in the lobby at 2:00 both myself & David were excited , scared, anxious & tons of other emotions! The Civil affairs office (this is where we picked up Madison) is only 12 minutes from our hotel, but it felt like it took forever to get there.

Once we arrived, we saw several other families who were adoption, as well.  After about ten minutes Madison came in with her nanny.  When they first brought her to us she was smiling and happy!  But then as time went by and the nanny began to tell her she was leaving, Madison started to tear up and pull away from us.  We finally asked the nanny to leave so we could get the initial separation over with...and boy let me tell you, she kicked and screamed all the way out the door.  In fact, I had to hand her off to David because I couldn't control her at one point!  I can only imagine what was going through her little mind as she was taken away by two strangers.  On the van ride back to the hotel she kicked and screamed a bit and eventually went all the way back to the back row to sit by herself.  David went back and sat in the floor to be somewhat near her. Once back at the hotel she threw herself on the ground not wanting to go BUT...once we got to the room and our translator showed her around she settled down.  After about 30 minutes or so as we were doing more paperwork, she started coloring (in the lines I might add) and we slowly joined her.

Now, once the translator left the room were totally on our own! We had written down some words and phrases to help get us through the night.  We've been amazed at how she is now repeating some english words!  In watching her, several things came to light!  She likes to color with both hands--she is ambidextrous, or should I say, gifted!  ;-)  She likes all of the crayons to be in a row and facing the same way.  And she likes things to be organized!  Oh, by the way, this little kid can EAT!  Madison ate a handful full of fries, 3 chicken wings, 2 bowls of noodles and a cup of soup.  You talk about cleaning a chicken wing, too...she puts David to shame!  Chick-fil-a had better be ready!

While we didn't have much time or ability to listen at the Civil Affairs Office, the orphanage and nanny gave us several wonderful things:  photos of Madison as a baby when she was first taken to the orphanage; a photo album of her crib and orphanage building; some of her playthings; and even the disposable camera we mailed to her several months back!  We truly got more than we had hoped for, and words cannot express our gratitude.  Madison seems to have been taken care of very well and loved.  Answers to our prayers for sure!!!

So, after a few tense moments, or should I say hours, things have settled down for now and Madison is such a joy.  Not sure how bed time will go, but for now, what a little blessing!  It's amazing how all the doubts and fears we have had these last few day and hours went away in a matter of moments.

While the "delivery room" may have been different, all the emotions were the same as the day I had Morgan & McKinley...all the excitement and anxiety, the love I felt in that moment when they brought her out to me,  the feeling that I would do whatever it takes to protect her & love her for the rest of my life.  It was a moment that only my Father could have designed!

Please Pray for us...

1) that tonight goes well when bedtime comes
2) we have to go back to civil affairs office tomorrow at 10... pray that this does not set madison back & that she won't be scared that we are taking her back
3) that she will continue to attach to both of us
4) that the language barrier will get easier

I will leave you with some pictures now...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ni hao from Guangzhou

Hi everyone! We left our hotel in HK at noon & took a taxi (hated it!) to the train station in a city called Kowloon.  From there we took a 2 hr train to Guangzhou. This is where we will remain for the rest of our trip. 

So, I told you I would let you know what I thought about the Bullet train...we ended up being on a regular train & the ride was very relaxing! It was still very fast, though!  And guess what?  No seatbelts!!!  Trust me. I looked EVERYWHERE for a seatbelt...None!!!  The taxi ride--well, that was another story! I did not like that at all!!  A few things I've learned today: that taxis in HK drive REALLY fast, they do not slow down for anyone AND they cut people off often.   

Once we got to the hotel there was a little mix up--they didn't have us listed!  Long story short, our agency got us confused with another family who was going to use their Marriott points to book their room, so they cancelled ours!  They gave us our room & said they would work it out with our agency tomorrow. Our room is very nice & the bathroom is very spacious which is a good thing since we will be staying here for the next 12 days.

We met our guide, Kelly, and she was very nice. She said she met Madsion's nanny last week & that she knows we are coming & she is doing ok. I was very happy about this because we weren't sure if Madison knew any of this was about to happen!  We also learned that even though she has been in a foster home for the last 2 yrs, they took her back to the orphanage last week!  They said this was to help transition her, but I'm not really sure how that helps. Both myself & David are starting to get really nervous about tomorrow!  Just the communication barrier itself is very stressful.  Please continue to pray for us tomorrow!

David was very happy this morning, and you will know why once you look at the picture below...


Yes, he found Nascar on TV & his face just lit up! And I must say, when Tony Stewart took off his helmet & threw it at Matt Kenseth's car I got very interested in it too...that was live action!  :)
Well it is almost 7 PM here, and I only slept for 1 hour last night so I am planning on going to bed early.  The rest of my updates will all be about Madison from here on out.  Not sure when I will be able to update tomorrow, but I promise I will post some pics.

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

3 a.m. thoughts...

Well it's 3 a.m. here and David & I both woke up 30 minutes ago.  Since there is not much on TV I thought I would post a little update.

Tonight we both ventured out with our dinner. I had Kung Pao chicken & David ate sweet & sour pork, which right now, is making David feel a bit sour if you know I mean!  I love spicy food, but goodness gracious IT WAS SPICY and certainly lived up to the "POW" in its name. I started removing peppers left & right!  David said there is a Seinfeld episode about George's spicy chicken but I don't know what he is talking about. Here are a few pictures!

David's meal

My meal

Look at all of the peppers I picked out!

Speaking of David, he just remembered that our church's second annual beach baptism is taking place at this very moment back in Tampa.  Over 50 people are scheduled to follow Christ in believer's baptism today (the most ever at one single time in the 12 year history of FishHawk Fellowship), and we both are a bit bummed to miss it.  We are very proud of all those who are making a very public profession of their faith in Christ today...great job everyone!

Thanks to Pastor Daniel for the photo!

On another random note, we just checked the weather for Guangzhou and it's going to be 99 degrees on Monday.  I'm not looking forward to walking around in that heat, so hopefully we won't have much to do after the Civil Affairs appointment with Madison.

As each moment passes, it gets much more real that we are about to have a new daughter (which might also be a contributing factor to David's stomach issues)!  It's also a bit terrifying due to the language barrier that we'll have.  Please continue to pray for that first meeting on the 27th, and we'll keep you posted.


Touring Hong Kong!

Well we did it! David & I traveled the city of HK all by ourselves today--no guide or translator.
We roamed the city for about 6 hours before heading back to our hotel! We took a train, then double decker bus, then a trolley to a place called "the Peak". Yep, we used all forms of transportation this afternoon! :) The mall we went to was at the very top of a mountain (thus, the named Peak).  However, I didn't realize that when we started out this morning!  So when we (and 95 other people) piled on this double decker bus & started heading through town & up this very steep mountain with very narrow roads, I knew then that the Lord was really stretching my faith this trip! :)

But all went well. We had a nice day sight seeing and only got turned around a few times!  HK is much like America/Tampa just busier.  There were a lot of familiar stores and restaurants which made the city not so overwhelming. We've yet to venture out food-wise but taking all the public transportation is good enough so far.  Also, skipping the touristy stuff in Beijing and flying right into HK was definitely the right choice for us!  Not only did it give us a chance to catch up on some sleep, but not having a schedule to stick to made everything more enjoyable. Kind of like the calm before the storm, but we needed it.  We talked today how our lives are going to completely change in a mere 48 hours, and we often catch ourselves staring at little children and wondering if Madison is going to be that tall, or that size, or that so dang cute!

So, thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. We check out of the hotel tomorrow around noon and then take a 30 min. taxi ride to the train station for a quick 2 hr. bullet train ride to Guangzhou (which David loves...daddy wishes you were here for the train ride Morgan! :-)) Where we will stay for the duration of our trip, minus one day back in HK to fly out. I'll let you know what I think of the train ride tomorrow.

Enjoy the pics and have a great morning.  We're off to dinner as it is 6 pm here...goose necks and chickens feet anyone? Just kidding!


hotel lobby
Outside the hotel going to the train.  Very windy!
double decker bus to HK Island

Awww!  My happy place!

I can't believe they have a Bubba Gumps here!
Tour Bus

view from escalator at 5 story mall

inside of the mall--lots of people everywhere!
down town HK

Apple Store...just for you, Bill!