Friday, June 29, 2007

One More Wakeup

I wish I had a bigger picture to show my mom and dad with their "Waiting for my grandchild in China" coffee cups, but I borrowed it from my mom's blog . Feel free to check out this bloggin' grandma's thoughts on life, faith and Sojo.

My parents have been waiting about 38 years for a grandchild. Yes, that sounds dramatic, but it's close to true, and I think they were beginning to think it would never happen! They have been given 3 very late-blooming children in regards to marriage and children, but their time has finally come. In only one more wakeup, they will drive down our driveway and meet Sojo for the first time. Sojo can't quite register the idea of a voice and a face on Skype yet, but I know she'll flash her killer smile at them when my dad slows down the car enough for my mom to roll out the door before it even comes to a complete stop. I have this image of her screaming and running down the driveway (perhaps with some pinwheeling of the arms) and then remembering that she promised herself to remain a bit calm. Just be who you are, mom--Sojo likes screaming and she's big on flailing her arms! :) Picturing my mom brings back a childhood memory of my own grandmother-- she would hear our car coming down the gravel driveway in Pennsylvania, and the tears would start flowing right at the first crunching sound. The cycle continues...

Sojo is now sleeping on her side now and then. It's so cute. The most amazing thing about her is that when she is done sleeping, she does this little stretch and then gives us the hugest smile. We just love it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

In Island Mode

Getting ready to be a Seattle girl. They start them early in those parts!

Majorly in island mode here, hence the no posting for the last few days, and we are in love with the laid-back nature of life here. We are basically just eating and sleeping and hanging out and will be a tiny bit sad to leave tomorrow night. However, we are headed home to family and to our lovely house where we can wander around and show Sojo the blueberry bushes, the fish in the pond and the trails we blazed in the forest last summer. We bought this house b/c we wanted some roots for Sojo since we live abroad, and I love that we got married on the property as a christening of sorts. I can just picture Sojo rolling down the hill and covered in grass stains in a few years.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hello, Miss American Pie!

It's official--Sojo is a US citizen! Coming to Hawaii was the best decision ever, besides the sun and sand, because the whole process of getting her citizenship AND a passport will take only 4 working days by the end. Incredible! It was a long morning for her with a lot of waiting around, but she did a great job. The whole family was tuckered out from the sun and lack of sleep last night (no names mentioned, but someone decided it would be fun to just hang out and play for a few hours last night instead of sleeping), so a huge family nap took place in the afternoon.

Last night, during the hours that Sojo thought were playtime (crossing our fingers this was a jetlag thing), we finally decided that it was time to get out of bed and just accept that she wasn't going back to sleep. So, we flipped through the channels and wound up finding this show called John and Kate Plus 8, about a couple that has a set of twins AND a set of sextuplets. Oh my, and Dale and I thought WE were exhausted. Gave us a dose of perspective as we watched this lady work her magic with 8 kids, 6 of whom are only two years old.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Random Pics

hanging poolside

meeting my cousin Tisha
holding baba's hand
view from our balcony. sigh...

Just some random pics today of the cutie hanging with us and our niece, Tisha, who is stationed here in Hawaii in the US Navy. We found out she lives just 2 blocks away from where we are staying, so we're hanging out with her this weekend before she goes on the ship.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hanging Loose

This chica is seriously adorable! My mom sent this super cute bikini, so she was stylin' on Waikiki. Our first trip to the beach was short but fun. Took us a while to get ready to go to the beach and then we were worried about how long to keep her in the sun, so we stayed only about 30 minutes. That meant no color for Tara and Dale who seriously need it! She dug the feel of sand on her toes but wasn't as keen on the waves crashing--I think the loud sound was the problem, and it made her cry. We might hit the pool next time instead of the beach as it's closer (ok, that's lame b/c the beach is 2 blocks away, which seems far with all the extras needed with a kid).

She is a barefoot chick here in Hawaii--in China, people on the street will scold you rather strongly (even without speaking great Chinese, you can tell when you are being scolded) if your kid doesn't have socks on as they feel all cold begins in the feet, so we keep her socks on while outside. It's nice to have her footloose and fancy free here. Man alive, do we love Hawaii! Even thought it's crowded with tourists, it's the best weather I've ever seen. Since we have only one other immigration thing to do, we are free to frolic in the sun until Thursday. Again, so happy that the immigration is here and not in the middle of Iowa. No offense to anyone from Iowa. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Dale and Sojo post-flight

We arrived in Hawaii yesterday morning and checked into this great condo we found online that looks out at Waikiki Beach. Fresh air, sunshine, a breeze and an abundance of flip-flops--we're in heaven! Too bad there aren't international schools here...

A brief synopsis of the flight over here, mostly b/c it, like much of our lives lately, is a bit comical.

The day we left, I woke up at 4:30 a.m., determined to have a proper shower (read: longer than two minutes and perhaps even with shaving my legs!) and to make sure everything was organized for the trip before Sojo woke up at around 5:30. I was so organized that Sojo and I even got to go pick up some coffee for baba before the driver came to pick us up. Then, a flurry of getting the luggage in the car and we were off to the airport. When we arrived at the airport, we looked at the luggage on the cart and realized...wait for it...that somehow we didn't have enough suitcases. What the &%$#@$? We figured out that we were missing my suitcase! Yes, read that again-- I, in my valiant attempt to be so organized, left my ENTIRE SUITCASE for the six-week summer vacation on the bedroom floor in Shanghai and there it sits now. We were so used to always traveling with two big black suitcases that Sojo's extra suitcase simply didn't register. Better hers than mine, and there was nothing to do but laugh about it.

Flight was long, long, long with a 7-hour layover in Tokyo and a 7-hour flight to Honolulu. Sojo did pretty well, considering how long it was, but we couldn't sleep a wink and were exhausted (seeing a trend here--exhaustion in Dale and Tara and Sojo traveling better than we do). Thank goodness for bubblewrap, we say, because that girl loves it and also loves to hang on to sugar packets. Dale's pockets are now loaded with sugar packets at all times for a quick fix to stuff in her hands. She loved the bubblewrap so much that she held onto it during her entire bath the night before we left.

Still hanging on to the bubble wrap!

And still hanging on to it!

We went to immigration this morning to go over her papers, and we are scheduled for an interview for her official citizenship on Monday morning. Then, we're off to get her US passport b/c it's expedited here, so we'll have it before we leave on Thursday. Pics of our first trip to the real beach tomorrow. She was a beach cutie!

Random updates--Sojo is not vomiting when she coughs very much anymore and seems to be on the general road to recovery with her cough, plus we are using an inhaler now instead of the nebulizer. Yippee! She's rolling over like mad lately and now choosing to sleep on her stomach often. Starting to get her butt in the air while on her tummy which we assume means crawling is on its way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Digs and Hawaii Bound

Yesterday we moved house and headed to live on the other side of the river. Being that Shanghai is 20 million plus, "across the river" is a bit of a trip, but we are working at the other campus of our school next year and needed to be closer. Great digs--a breakfast place right around the corner (whew!), great light in the apt. and a convenient neighborhood. Gone are the days of us having only enough stuff to fit in suitcases, though--somehow we have accumulated a lot of Chinese furniture and are not as minimalist as we used to be.

Note to self: moving with an 8 month old is challenging. Being out of routine is not good at all. Sojo was a real Grumplestiltskin yesterday, and I think the translation of her crying went a little something like this: "UM, HELLO! I'm right here, looking cute! Usually we hang out all day long and play and you guys tell me how cute I am and then I get to eat and then play some more. WHY ARE YOU NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO ME???!!!" Whoa! She woke up this morning all smiles again, but Whoa (did I mention WHOA!)

Off to Hawaii tomorrow for naturalization. Nice that the US has that port of entry as the easiest to get naturalized, so we HAVE to spend a week there. The sacrifices we are making already for her! Crossing our fingers that the long flight goes well. Sojo is starting to feel better, which is good--there was about a week of vomiting most of her food by coughing (Dale's father's day gift was not one, but TWO projectile vomits all over his clothes), but yesterday she kept everything down AND we changed her formula so her ezcema is calming down. A light at the end of the tunnel.

Pic today is of Sojo in her walker. We found out these are not used anymore in the US, but the orphanages here are chocked full of them (maybe that is where all the cast-off ones went...) and she likes it. No stairs in our house, so we are ok, plus, weren't we all raised in one of these? She can scoot around trying to get close to our cats, who are slowly taking a liking to her.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sojo's Lullaby

Our dear friend Julie, an incredibly talented and wonderful woman, wrote a lullaby for Sojo that she sang at the beading ceremony, and I asked her if I could share it on the blog. Please forgive me ahead of time that Julie is sideways (if anyone can tell me how to rotate a movie that I took with a camera, please let me know as I couldn't get it to move at all. Grrr!).

Julie has been with us since the beginning of this process, over two and a half years now, and wrote us a beautiful reference letter for adopting. She herself is adopted and would often give us little nuggets of wisdom as we waited, sometimes not so patiently, for Sojo. The one I remember the most is that Julie said her own mother and father waited so long for her and that difficult wait became part of the story that her mother told her growing up. It made her feel even more cherished. Thank you Julie for your faith, your beauty, your spirit and your love for all of us. We think you are so amazing (and we'd love for her to be Sojo's music teacher when she is in school!).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

First Father's Day (it's Sunday in China!)

I love this man with such intensity, admiration, peace and respect. Dale is my good karma in life, I say, my reward for any goodness I have scattered out into the world along my own path in life. So, on this first father's day with Sojo, I give the deepest of thanks to Dale's mom for raising such a strong man who loves strong women and to my own father who has provided me with an example my entire life of what a good man, a good father and a good husband can be. And to Dale-a true and kind and loving person to the core. My blessings are immense in this life, and I am so grateful. Sojo will have a lifetime of love and laughter with this beautiful man.

Sojo the Nebulizer!

Hoping that the third time is a charm in visiting the doctor about Sojo's cough. Poor thing--I guess she has bronchilitis (not bronchitis), and it's pretty common in little kids. Dale has been sick for as long as Sojo has, and we found out that he has early bronchitis, so I am the only well one in the fam right now. We have to use this nebulizer machine on Sojo three times a day, and she was pretty mellow using it, (this after wailing while we were putting the mask on) and she had these huge tears sitting in her eyes. They started to roll out during the vapor part. Hopefully the nebulizer plus the other meds will get her on the road to recovery.

Attaching a few other random pics of the last few days. Sitting up has become soooo last week!

The Red Couch Photo

A tradition at the White Swan hotel in Guangzhou (this is where all the US parents come through for immigration before leaving China) is to have a picture taken on the famous 'red couch.' Usually, there is a big group of families traveling together, so all the kids get squished on the couch in tiny Chinese clothes, but it was just us in our group, so we opted for a family red couch photo. Makes me want to belt out that 70's song, "We Are Family!"

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Buddhist Blessing

One of the options in the adoption process in Guangzhou is going to a 1400 year old temple and getting a blessing from a Buddhist monk. Being that we feel one can never have enough blessings and Buddhism is such a part of Asia as well as Sojo's Miao heritage, we headed off with our guide, Judy, who is a Buddhist herself. It was a little haven of peace in the middle of the busy city with monks in gray robes walking about, some meditating by a waterfall while others milled about carrying their food offerings of the day. We kneeled down on the rug inside the temple with Sojo, and the monk came out and chanted while tapping a small wooden drum. He then took a perfectly shaped green leaf dipped in perfumed water and shook the water onto the three of us. We also lit three joss sticks each at the baby Buddha. Very interesting how the Buddhist religion shares similarities with other religions--the blessing with water and the number 3 being prevalent.

Back in Shanghai now, and it's good to be home after 3 days in a rather small hotel room and rain, rain, rain. Sojo is officially part of our family in the US government's eyes. Still sick with that cough, though, and it's just a bummer for her. Every time we say we had a rough night with getting up a lot, we remind ourselves that her night was rougher than ours by being the one who is sick. We're taking her to the doctor again tomorrow since cough medicine, hugs and kisses don't seem to be working as quickly as we hoped.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jolly Jumper Fun

Morning naptime now, so Tara has made it a mission to figure out how to embed a video into the blog. Success! Dale grew up with a Jolly Jumper (called a Johnny Jump Up in the US) but I don't think I've ever seen one (correct me if I'm wrong here, mom and dad). Just watching Sojo in it is hilarious. Wondering if there is a grownup size? It looks like a blast!

We did a bit of exploring while Dale was at the consulate getting the visa this morning and stumbled upon this little treasure of a tiger hat. I've seen Chinese kids wearing things like this before, and they are adorable.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Paperwork, Projectile Vomit, and Poop

Go Wildcats!

Yikes--long day today that started at 3 a.m. and eventually found us in Guangzhou, China to get Sojo's immigration visa for the U.S.

So, onto today's title...

Paperwork--lots and lots of it, but we have a guide that comes to our hotel room and walks us through everything, which makes it much easier.

Projectile vomit--WHOA on this one! Poor Sojo has had a bad cough since we got her, and now it's loosening in her chest and wanting to come out, but she doesn't get how to do that. After feeding her at 3 a.m., she started coughing and then suddenly projectile vomit started shooting out of her---all onto the front of me. I was rather amazed at the whole thing b/c she is a little thing and it was like this huge white fire hose! We've decided that she is so sweet even when she has a horrible cough and is scratching the heck out of herself with her excema that when she is healthy, she might just be unbearably wonderful.

Poop--Oh, the timing of the poop! Sojo seems to let one go and then screams to let us know that we need to change her immediately. We've been worrying a bit about the timing factor with this, and sure enough, she pooped five minutes before boarding the plane and five minutes before the plane landed. We managed to hold on long enough to take care of it without too much screaming.

One great thing about traveling today (finding the silver lining in a really, really long day where everyone is just exhausted) is that Sojo was our golden ticket in the airport. We were taken out of a long line at security and brought to the "old, weak and pregnant" line and treated like royalty. Work it!

She did great with her Chinese physical and didn't cry this time. They weighed her again with her clothes on, and she weighs 1/2 a kilo more than she did a week ago. We're staying at the famous (in adoption circles) White Swan hotel where there are Chinese baby sightings at every turn. Very cute to see so many families getting to know each other.
Practicing "tummy time" which is a bit challenging.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Day at the "Beach"

One of the perks of being an overseas teacher is that your housing is usually included in your salary package. Usually, the digs are basic, simple and just what you need, which is fine by us. In China, though, we are living large in this amazingly surreal compound that is quite posh. Gorgeous apartments, restaurant on site that delivers, a small grocery store, a gym, and, yes, a "beach." White sand was trucked in and put at the start of the pool's shallow end so it's a mini-beach right here in our own backyard. Little Miss Sojo had her first taste of the water yesterday and loved it! She's a fan of the bath, so this was just one big bathtub for her. Plus, we are headed to Hawaii in a little over a week for Sojo's naturalization, so she's working on that base tan.

The best part for Tara and Dale (besides looking at how cute Sojo was in her floatie swimsuit) was the fact that the pool delivers drinks to you while you are sitting in the sand. Nice....a latte and sangria while sitting in the pool. Tara's two brothers took full advantage of this a few years ago when visiting and you could often find them lounging in the sandy water. Not a bad way to spend a few hours.

Only one minor newbie mistake for us--forgot to put on something over the diaper when swimming. Oops! Just made for one heavy, watersoaked diaper when we were finished which allowed for her to pee all over Dale when we were done.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Who says TV is bad for kids?

After a week of doing everything together ("Hey, Sojo's hungry, let's feed her; OK!" and "Hey, Sojo has a dirty diaper, let's change her; OK!"), Tara and Dale are now giving each other mini-breaks throughout the day. So, Dale got an hour to play guitar in the backroom and then Tara got an hour to go for a run. But, when she returned it was to witness Sojo's first time watching the TV (somehow, we've been so busy we haven't even turned on the TV this past week). Dale, realizing the importance of Sojo's first TV experience, chose a worthy DVD: Eric Clapton in concert! And, Sojo pretty much dug the acoustic, unplugged set, but she felt that some of Clapton's guitar solos were a little long (translation: she fell asleep!)

Now, Dale has a list of important concerts that Sojo needs to see during his babysitting time: The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, and the Stevie Ray Vaughn. This is, of course, all for Sojo's musical education; it has nothing to do with her Baba's desire to see these DVDs ... we all must make sacrifices.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Cultural Ideas of Beauty

Having lived in a few different countries, I am fascinated by the ideas that different cultures have in regards to beauty. In Africa, it's the curvier the better as thin women are definitely not the ideal, and having a gap between your two front teeth is something one hopes for. In Ecuador, having "chicken legs" was a good thing, but it's not the skinny chicken legs we think of. They are like a true chicken's legs--big in the thigh area and then thinner down below. It's been so interesting adopting a Chinese baby while living in China because people will let us know what is beautiful about her, and people really check out Sojo (seriously, I thought our housekeeper was buying a piece of meat the first time she looked her over fully!). This is what we've heard from the Chinese thus far...

1. She has a high forehead and a hairline that starts way back. In China, this means she will be smart.

2. The hairline on the back of her head is not too far down. Not sure why that is good, but it is.

3. Small lips

4. She's very light-skinned. This is very important in China, we know, but we're hoping she'll be as brown as a peanut after some time in the sun this summer.

5. Her "tai jie," or Mongolian spots, on her buttocks, that symbolize a good life. I wrote about this a while ago but it's so foreign for those of us who are not of Asian descent that it bears repeating. They are purple birthmarks on her butt, and they look just like faded bruises. Foreigners are always reminded to tell doctors straightaway so they don't mistake them for abuse of any sort.

6. They like the shape of her eyes. A friend the other day said she met a Miao woman in a village on a trip and she had the same eyes as Sojo.

p.s. The beautiful Sojo decided we were talking a bit too much about her good sleeping habits, so she's decided to find a way to get us to stop talking about it by NOT sleeping so much. Whoa--a bit tired in our household!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

China Doll

Man alive, this girl is sweet! She is quickly getting used to the flash of the camera right in her face and is barely phased by it. Our friend Lisa gave Sojo a Chinese doll complete with a qi pao (chee pow) dress, and Sojo loves it. I can't tell if it's because, like a kid, it's close to her size, or if she sees the black hair and recognizes the Chinese face that she loves so much. Either way, I love having a doll that looks like her.

Yet another humorous moment when someone recently asked us whether or not Sojo sleeps well. Since Dale and I are huge 8 hour sleep people and are new to parenting, we admit we've been more than a bit tired of late and said quite unknowingly, "Well, she only sleeps about seven or eitght hours a night with a quick bottle around 2:30." Needless to say, people have let us know that indeed seven hours is a good thing, and we should be thrilled with how much she sleeps. Having jinxed ourselves now, she was up a lot last night and then up for good at 4:15. That'll teach us to be ungrateful! Now it's 5:40 and the bottom picture is her deciding to go back to sleep now that Dale and I are fully awake...

Dear 2TE,
You are all probably sleeping right now because it is your first day of summer vacation! Yippee! I loved seeing you all yesterday on the last day and being able to hang out with you for a little while. It's hard to believe that the year went by so quickly-time flies when you are having fun. Have a fantastic summer, and I hope you read lots of good books and have tons of time to play outside and swim. Look for me and Mr. E. and Sojo at International Fair next year when we come over from Pudong. I loved being your teacher this year... Peace, Mrs. E.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Have a Tongue! (and other discoveries)

The last few days Sojo got to meet some friends her age, and it was adorable to watch them interact. She seemed to regard Finn and Hayden as kinfolk with gentle petting and some handholding. She is doing so well in general--bonding with us and charming everyone she meets. Seriously couldn't ask for a sweeter kid, and we are loving every minute with her.

The last 24 hours have brought to light a few discoveries for Sojo--she is fascinated with her tongue and is now sticking it out constantly--and she kind of looks like someone out of Flashdance in this picture with that off-the-shoulder thing going on. She is also quite enamored of her toes and...drumroll just about sitting up on her own. Hard to believe that just last week she was still a bit wobbly in the holding up of her head. Look--no hands!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Chinese Passport

Sojo's Chinese passport arrived from Kunming yesterday, so now are preparing to go down to Guangzhou, China where the US consulate is that deals with immigration. Back when we were in Kunming, (seems like months ago now!) we went to the local civil security building and signed more papers. At that point, we were just going where they told us, and they needed to take a few pictures of Sojo. Little did we know these would become her passport photo. She came to us in all pink, and the background made it too light for the picture, so they asked us for something else for her to wear. Since this was the day we brought nothing, all we had was my jean jacket, so they wrapped that around her and snapped away. So, her first passport picture is of her wrapped in a faded jean jacket!

Off to meet her hopefully future ayi/caretaker. We are moving to the other side of Shanghai in a few weeks and need someone to take care of her when we are at work. Crossing our fingers that this Mrs. Liu will be wonderful. She comes highly recommended.

Dear 2TE,
So sorry I didn't make it to mini-community day. I hope you had a great time. Sojo had a lot of good eating this morning and with that, a lot of pooping! Yikes! I know that part is going to make you laugh when you hear it. Speaking of pooping, don't forget from our study of plants that it's one way seeds are dispersed. :) Over the summer vacation, if you are in nature, see if you can see seeds traveling in the four different ways we studied. Love, Mrs. E.

Monday, June 04, 2007


One week with Sojo already!

Here are the top ten highlights/lessons/comical moments of the first week...

1. Watching how much stronger she has already gotten in just seven days. She can now stand on our laps and can hold her head up much better. She has had tons of stimulation this week and it's paying off. Still trying hard to master the roll-over move.

2. Tara and Dale actually leave the house with everything they need in the diaper bag. This was not the case in the beginning. In fact, we actually arrived to the meeting place to pick up Sojo with NOTHING--not even a babywipe. Yes, that is almost unbelieveable. I wish I could tell you what we were thinking. Were we picking up a pizza???

3. The amazing reaction the Chinese have when they see Sojo. She simply loves the higher pitch of the Chinese tones and responds quickly to it. On the plane back to Shanghai, we had people taking photos of us while we were at the back of the plane with her. She's a bit of a rock star at the moment!

4. The mini-revolution staged by our cats when they figured out someone else was moving in. First, the good cat (yes, there is a "bad" cat) peed all over our bed just to prove a point, and then when we changed the duvet, Sojo peed all over the bed. However, Sojo is fascinated with the cats and they are slowly, very slowly, coming around to check her out now and then.

5. We keep trying to figure out why she is crying and generally have big discussions that go a bit like this--"Maybe she is teething and that's why she's crying?" "Or she needs her diaper changed." "She can't want to eat AGAIN!" "No, it's got to be something else." "Maybe she's constipated." OK, we need to learn that it's ALWAYS THAT SHE IS HUNGRY! I think the poor thing is screaming, "Good night nurse! Why do you keep wondering every time I cry? Stop analyzing me and give me the bottle!"

6. Our friend Steve told us recently that we'd always be late from now on. Well, Tara is never late, so we thought, "Yea, right." Of course we were late to the very first place we needed to be. Plus, our house is a huge mess (we also said that would never happen) and I've never seen so many little socks in random places. Lunch is officially no longer a meal in our house.

7. The yummy Meals on Wheels our friends have been providing for us so we don't completely forget to eat. You all rock, as does your food, and we are so grateful.

8. Watching this little trooper fit right into her new environment like the corner piece of a landscape puzzle. I swear she is soaking everything up and being contemplative already.

9. Family in the US is fabulous! Not sure this is the healthiest thing for her, but she is getting used to the glow of the computer while chatting away on Skype to family and friends in North America. By the way, she seems to be leaning toward Mac as her computer of preference.

10. The coolest thing about hanging with Sojo is watching her when she wakes up from sleeping. There's this little stretch and then a HUGE grin that says, "Yea, I really like it here. You two are pretty cool. Let's have a groovy life together."

Dear 2TE,
I loved seeing you all yesterday at the pool party and then at our secret meeting at school. You did such a great job with Sojo, and she really liked you all. I'm sure you could tell by the smiles she gave you. Good luck with mini-community day today. All that good behavior and homework has paid off because I'm sure you are rich by now! I hope you earn lots of fake money with your businesses and have a great time shopping around the other second grade classes. If Sojo is ok at home, I'm going to try and stop by and spend some money at your shops. :) Love, Mrs. E.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sojo's Beading Ceremony

This afternoon, a small group of women friends came together for Sojo's beading ceremony. Everyone brought a bead or two with special meaning to make a huge necklace of what we wish for Sojo's life. This is where I pause to tear up even writing it. Yet another incredibly beautiful expression of love for this little girl and the coolest part is that she got to be a part of it. She soaked it all up and seemed to feel the spirit of the occasion by acting like a complete angel and even making eye contact with whomever was speaking. Some examples of wishes were for strength, protection, Arizona symbolism, global living, Chinese heritage, happiness, the ability to endure hardship, and even a bridge-like bead since that is where it all began. Beads even came from the US family in Arizona, California and Pennsylvania, and I so appreciate all of you sending those to us. We read them aloud this afternoon as well, so you were with us in spirit. Even Dale, who had originally not planned on attending since it is typically for women, said to me this morning, "I have my bead for Sojo." Yippee for guys who choose to be a part of emotional gatherings of love! So, picture Army Dale, formerly not known to be a big mushball, right at home in a room full of ten emotional women (and now one emotional man) telling stories of all their hopes for Sojo as she is starting out her life. I just couldn't ask for anything more than being surrounded by so much love. If you didn't have a chance to get a bead to us, no worries at all--we'd like to make it a necklace that we continue adding to through the years with more and more hopes and qualities we wish for her.

If you're not familiar with beading ceremonies, each time someone explains what a bead represents, they string it on the necklace. The finished product turns out so incredibly unique, and Sojo was captivated by it. That is her looking at it in the first picture.

My next plan is to figure out how to put a YouTube video on tomorrow's posting. Our dear friend Julie wrote a song and sang it to Sojo today at the gathering, and I videotaped it. Julie was one of the people who wrote a letter of recommendation for us with the adoption and has been waiting just as long as us! Not a dry eye in the house while she sang...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Food Glorious Food!

Trying to feed Sojo rice cereal has not been a hit so far, so I finally found the time today to dig into my Super Baby Food book that friends recommended as THE book to have. It is all about making your own baby food, which I think is such a great idea. Less convenient, of course, but oh to live a life without so many preservatives. It gives step-by-step instructions on how to do it, and I need that. Carrots were on the menu today (the idea is to puree a ton and freeze them in ice cube trays for portions), and she LOVED them! Gotta say it was pretty exciting to know that I actually made the food she was eating!

We are trying to figure out what to call this face that Sojo makes--the very serious, "What the heck are you doing now, crazy people?!" face.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Doctor Love?

Just so you don't think it's all smiles and giggles here!

Sojo was not a huge fan of going to the doctor today, and so I thought I would document the other side of this cute little thing, but truthfully she doesn't cry much. She now weighs 7.1 kilos (15 pounds) and is 68 cm long. Kudos for growing and gaining weight since the referral picture! We loved the doctor because she was within walking distance from our apartment and because she took so much time to talk to us about Sojo. Ok, we really liked her because she told these newbie parents that we are, in fact, doing things right and to trust our instincts.

I can hardly stand the cuteness of this picture here, and this was about the only time she wasn't crying during the visit.

All is well--on our way to breakie at Rendezvous. Tara is wondering if she will ever have the time again to actually drink an entire latte before it gets cold...

Dear 2TE,
It was great to see you all on Friday, even if it was only for a short time. Boy, am I missing your great personalities! I'll come see you today by the pool at SRC, and then we'll meet in the cafeteria at 2:30 to meet Sojo. Remember that we'll have to be a little bit calm when we see her so we don't freak her out. I bet she'll give you guys some awesome smiles. Love, Mrs. E.