Friday, December 31, 2010

M is for manliness!

Christi and I love to laugh. We love watching comedies together. Unfortunately, most of the sit-coms currently on TV are laced (or drenched) with profanity and vulgar jokes, so we enjoy old movies and classic sit-coms. We own every episode of "I Love Lucy," we recently finished watching "Dick Van Dyke," and we are now watching a show from the 70's...

Last night I played in a church basketball game. I was once an above average basketball player. Now I am 38 and huff and puff as I run up and down the floor. But once in awhile I can get in a rhythm. Last night, Taylor and Parker came to watch me play. After each quarter, they would run out on the court and update me on my stats. "Dad, you've scored 6 points. That's one third of your team's score!" So I had a really good 2nd half last night. I went 7-9 with three 3-pointers including a go-ahead 3 with 20 seconds left. It was the only time we were in the lead all night, and the score stood. We won. The boys rushed the court afterwards. "Dad, you scored over half your team's points and you hit the game-winner!!!" "Aw, shucks boys. I just got lucky. It was a team effort." etc. But I must admit I did feel kinda manly. After all, I was probably the oldest guy there and Taylor had declared me the MVP of the game.

Afterwards, as the players were recuperating and talking, several guys talked about what they were going to do when they got home. Watch Sportscenter. Eat a big, manly meal. Watch the end of the Nebraska-Washington football game. I couldn't quite bring myself to let them know how excited I was to get home, relax with my wife and watch...Mary Tyler Moore!


PS. I was going to call my mom and tell her what a great game I had (since she's the only one who might care), but that drops so far off the masculinity scale that she'll just have to read it here:)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Problem semi-solved.

It's amazing how one little phone call from the guy you love, asking if you'd like to meet for dinner instead of cooking, can make the world seem so much brighter.

Our first "date" in several weeks. (:

Now to get out of these pj's I've been in all day...


It's simple, really...

I need an Alice.

(Think, "The Brady Bunch")

You know, someone who would just shop, cook, clean, launder, and basically spread sunshine.

Leaving me time to play, play, play with the kids, complete all of those wonderful science fair projects, read storybooks, build Legos, teach Braille, fix hair-- you know, the FUN parts.

I'm pretty sure that would solve my problem of bursting into tears before 8:00 a.m. (You know something needs to change in your life when that happens.)

Yes, an Alice would do nicely.

Is that too much to ask?



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mormon Times

My mom just pointed out to me that our video clip from Sunday is now online. I liked this version the best because it included a spiritual perspective. You can view it by going to and clicking on the "tv" tab, or by clicking directly on this link. Megan, did you notice you're in the video bringing in dinner for us? (: It was delicious!

Also, we had a beautiful Christmas, which I'll post more about later. But just in case our "friends" are reading, I wanted to take a minute now to thank them for the anonymous bag of gifts that was left on our porch on Christmas Eve. We felt so loved! Thank you, and what was brought supplemented what we had PERFECTLY.


Hugs for Sophi

(With a subtle shout out to my brother, Tyler:)

Sophi gives the BEST hugs! Hard to believe with no arms, but it's true. When she's in a hug-giving mood (which is fairly often) she nestles her little torso into your body and her head into the crook of your neck. She has now picked up on our response. We often say "oooohhhhh" when she does it, so now she snuggles in and says "oooohhhhh." I love it!!!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just Blind...

I love Elli with all my heart. Early this year at an IEP, it really hit me that far more than her blindness, it was her cognitive deficits that were challenging to deal with. As we considered adopting Lexi, the fact that she was "just blind" made it a more feasible possibility to bring her into our home. As we have gone through our adoption journey his year, I have often wondered what it would be like to have a child that was "just blind."

It is wonderful! I can't tell you how exciting it is to work with our little Lexi and see her grasp concepts and ideas so quickly. Prior to this, my only real experience with a blind person was with Elli, and so my expectations with Lexi were somewhat tied to what Elli has been able to do. But our sweet little Lexi is so capable! It is fun to see her learn new things. I get the impression that while she was in China a lot of things were done FOR her. She can go to the bathroom, get dressed, wash her hands, and do lots of things with some help. But I think she is going to learn to be more independent very quickly. As we have worked with her, it is easy to see that she is a very intelligent girl with the ability to pick up on things. Just little things like getting dressed all by herself or holding a PB&J sandwich the right way and being able to take a drink in between bites if she wants to. It is such a ioyous experience to see her progress so quickly. I look forward to seeing how her beautiful spirit blossoms and grows over the next several years. I love you Lexi!



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas is coming!

First of all, thank you for all of the kind and supportive comments about our news story. (: We appreciate each one. I was very relieved when I finally saw the clip. The funny thing was that after all the talk and excitement the kids had about it all day yesterday, I ended up being the only one awake when it aired! Everyone else was exhausted and in bed, and had to watch in on DVR this morning. Ha, ha. I'm sure most of you have already seen it, but for those who are still asking, I've copied and pasted it below. You'll have to scroll down and pause the blog music first.

I'm starting to hyperventilate about Christmas Eve being TOMORROW. Still have some shopping to do. Still have some wrapping to do. Still have several things to prepare. Can't seem to even find a minute to use the bathroom, so wondering how it's all going to get done...

Girls are doing FABULOUS. (Well, except for Lexi falling down the stairs twice today and Sophi getting a bloody nose from a faceplant within minutes of getting bitten on the leg by Elli. Not to worry-- they were soon all smiles.)

Jeremy continues to win the "husband of the year" award, as he was up most of the night with various children while he let me sleep! Finally, I feel like I can function semi-normally. (:

Hope all is going well with your holiday preparations! Love to all.


Video Courtesy of

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's done!

At about 1:00 this afternoon, I was really wondering if we would pull it off. Sophi had a fever, the house was a mess, I hadn't showered, and my brain was beginning to turn to fog again. I had three hours 'til the cameras would begin rolling.

Luckily, Allen was here.

He watched the girlies while I cleaned, cleaned my kitchen while I showered, then picked up the remainder of the kiddos from school before heading to the airport-- thank you, Allen! We'll miss you around here!

The kids and Jeremy all came home at the same time and we worked like crazy to make it appear that we have it all together (which, obviously, we don't!) Bedrooms got cleaned, bathrooms got scrubbed, junk got hidden.

After all of that, the cameras only entered the living room/kitchen-- but I'm so glad that I hadn't known that would be the case, because now (besides our room, where we stuffed all the unpacked suitcases and anything else we didn't have time to put away) the house is again clean. We even managed to get a few baths in and give X-man a much needed haircut.

Besides SEVERAL outbursts from Elli, one from Lexi, an unusually subdued Sophi, a very wild Xander, a messy diaper that warranted new clothes, and a mom who doesn't enjoy being on camera, I think it all went relatively ok. :)

After a couple of hours it was time to eat. My friend, Megan, brought dinner in (thanks!), and we ate it on the paper plates that another friend had brought. There were no placemats or tablecloths, fancy dishes or centerpieces and the cameras were rolling. But hey-- they did say they wanted to see what our dinner with our family is really like! Pure chaos. Simpleness. Happiness. And lots and lots of noise.

At one point, they said they needed video of me playing with the kids-- as many kids as possible. My mind went blank until someone suggested "London Bridge." This happens to be our family's favorite opening song for Family Home Evening (LOL) so it sounded good at the time. After the cameras were gone, Taylor said, "Um, Mom. I felt kind of silly doing 'London Bridge' for TV."

Now that you say that, Taylor, I see what you mean. (: A bit cheesy, perhaps.

So... because many of you are asking and because I haven't seen the final product yet (chances are, once I have, I will feel too embarrassed to share) I'll let you in on the details:

Tomorrow, Deseret News newspaper. (We are pretty sure it's tomorrow, but they said you never know until you see it in print.)
Tomorrow evening on 10:00 pm news, KSL channel 5.
Sunday morning at 10:00 am, KSL channel 5, longer version.

Pray that I didn't sound lame during the interview portion. Pray that they didn't ever catch Elli pulling the front of my shirt down. Pray that the 35 minutes I had to shower, find a clean outfit, and get myself ready without being able to find my curling iron (it's still packed away) looked like I had spent a bit longer.

All kidding aside, pray that someone out there will hear our story and open their heart to adoption. That would make the effort and humility to let four strangers into your home to see what your life is about, worth it in EVERY WAY.

--Christianne (:

PS I have been asked how I find time to blog right now. Well, I'll tell you. After the kids get settled into bed, I tend to go back on China time and feel wide awake. The last time I took an Ambien, it proved catastrophic, as Sophi woke up an hour later. So I have to find other ways to wind down. Besides that, I think I mentioned that writing is therapeutic for me. Somehow sharing my feelings (the good and the bad) help me work through them. So thanks, our loyal readers, for being our sounding board at this crazy, wonderful time! (;

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Joke's On Us...

We actually set our alarm clock to wake us up this morning. Hello! When we finally rolled out of bed at 3am, after another sleepless night with the Soph-monster in between us, Jesi was up and completely dressed for school, knee-high boots and all, sitting at the kitchen table doing her homework.

It's crazy that I'm actually looking forward to the day the alarm clock is what wakes me up:)

Good night,


Sunday, December 19, 2010


As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I belong to the largest women’s organization in the world, called the Relief Society. Members are over 6 million! The Relief Society’s motto is “Charity Never Faileth.” It describes perfectly what the Relief Society is all about. A line from a song often sung in Relief Society is “The errand of angels is given to women, and this is a gift that as sisters we claim.”

Part of being a member of Relief Society is having and being a “visiting teacher.” This is where one “sister” is paired with another, and assigned 2-3 sisters to visit once a month, befriend, and look out for.

Well, lucky me, I happen to currently have the world’s greatest visiting teachers! When we came home from China, we arrived to a clean and organized home, set up meals, and frozen dinners for when times are overwhelming. They even cleaned and organized our garage, put up bike hooks, and obtained a second refrigerator for us (heaven knows we needed that!) This was all done with the help of many people and I want to thank them with all my heart!

Channy, Jan, Julianne, Robyn, Kassidy, Adyson, Mary, Nikki, Jordan, Megan—you are all angels! Thank you for taking time to make our homecoming so much better. It meant the world to us!!! I’m not sure how I would be coping right now if I hadn’t started with a clean home. I say “started” because we’ve managed to do some damage already. (:

I also happen to have the world’s greatest parents, who not only watched four of the kids while we were gone, but took extra time to do all kinds of things around the house before leaving to Ferron. They sacrificed a lot during the last couple of weeks, and I am so grateful to them. My mom is truly an angel.

Not only that, but my in-laws have been AMAZING. I don’t think we have given enough credit to Allen for all of his help in China. It was such a blessing to have an extra adult around, and he was very good to just follow along and do as he was told. LOL. We are so grateful for his sacrifices. And, let’s not forget Rosemary, who spent two weeks without her husband so we could have his help. This would be tough on anyone, but someone with as many health issues as she has had to make huge sacrifices to make this happen. Besides that, she made the effort to fly out to Utah to be there at the airport to welcome us home and spend tome time with us. Most importantly, she brought me lots of new, pretty jewelry. (:

Our trip home was explained well by Jeremy. I want to clarify a couple of things. First of all, he was not exaggerating on the number of trips Lexi took to the bathroom. It was almost funny. Of course, I can say that because I only took her 3-4 times, and Jeremy did the rest. He was truly a hero during that flight. Secondly, his description of the “rude lady” was not an exaggeration either. In fact, if anything, he didn’t do her justice. I have never in my life met someone like her. I think she swore at me at least 10 times, all for the most trivial things. Once, I was bending down to get some wet wipes while holding Sophi so she wouldn’t fuss and I wouldn’t get sworn at. I guess my shoulder “touched” her seat, and she proceeded to reach her hand in back of her and shoo at me, as if I was a fly or something. Awesome. Looking back, I can almost smile, but being stuck with her for 12 hours was not a pleasant thing.

When we arrived in San Francisco and found our flight had been delayed, I was about at the end of my rope. I don’t do well on little sleep (as in 1-2 hours over the past 24.) I don’t really get impatient or angry or anything, I just kind of shut down and become zombie-ish. Allen could tell I had reached this point, and he kindly told me I needed to lay down and rest for awhile and that he would watch the girls. (This is when Jeremy was blogging.) I took him up on his offer and drifted in and out a bit. Jeremy woke me up after awhile, telling me he had just received a phone call that KSL/Deseret News might be at the airport to welcome us home. Had I heard this at a time when I was semi-coherant, I would have likely responded differently, but as it was, I was like,
“You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.” I looked awful. My make-up was somewhere deep in a carry-on. I had sweat through all my clothes, which were grubby to begin with. My hair was a grease bomb. But worst of all, I couldn’t think straight. I didn’t know if I would be interviewed, and DID know that I couldn’t form a coherent sentence. So I convinced myself that “might” meant “probably wouldn’t.”

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by the fact that I’m even telling this story, I was wrong. As we came walking down the aisle of the Salt Lake airport, there with our welcome home crew were the cameras.

I wanted to melt in the ground and disappear. It wasn’t that I was upset they were there—in retrospect, I’m glad that professionals captured some of the sweet moments of our homecoming. It’s just that I could barely walk straight, looked horrible, and all of sudden felt very self-conscious. Perfect ending to the longest day of my life. Perfect way to make my television debut. (;

Luckily, the camera crew is coming back on Tuesday and I’m hoping to redeem myself. (: There is nothing that would make me happier than to share our story and to open someone’s heart to adoption. We ourselves were led to do so by hearing other people’s stories and having them tug at our hearts and send us to our knees.


I must say that possibly my favorite moment of the last several days was climbing into our big old 12 passenger van at the airport and looking back to see all of my 8 darling, beautiful children buckled in. It was the most precious moment. I felt very, very complete. However, that completeness took on a whole new meaning when I went to set the table and realized I needed 10 plates. Oh my! My heart just kind of flip-flopped as I realized how big we have become! It is definitely a bit chaotic around here, but with much sweetness peppered in.

Taylor and Parker are doing SOOOOO well with the new girls. Lexi LOVES her older brothers. Just loves them! It is so cute to watch them interact. Sophi is taking longer to warm up to everyone, so she has been tough. She has a fit every time I hold Elli—she’s so jealous. I know it will wear off, but it’s very hard right now. Tonight gave me much hope, as Parker watched Sophi for over an hour and had her laughing and happy and smiling. YAY!! Elli had a rough night the first night, and was difficult yesterday, but seemed better today. All the noise is tough for her, plus she’s missed her parents and is having to share our attention a bit more. I did find it so heartwarming to walk into the living room last night and find her and Lexi seated next to each other, playing happily with their toys. Xander is feeling a bit overwhelmed I think, and is doing whatever he can to get attention. We’re doing everything we can to give it to him, but we are feeling spread very thin right now. I’m excited to get to the point where there is more balance. Actually, I’m excited to get to the point where I can just see straight! Which leads me to my next point.

Jet lag.

Jet lag is kicking my tail. Jer’s not doing so awesome either, but maybe a bit better than me. The girls aren’t doing too bad. Sophi woke up at 2:30 a.m. on the first night, happy as could be and ready to play. Graci and Jessica followed at 3:00 a.m. Lexi was more around 6:00. But after taking naps that day, they all went down that night at a reasonable time and slept semi-decently. I say semi, because Sophi was very restless, and we finally put her in bed with us, where she proceeded to kick us all the night long. After sleeping a total of maybe 1-2 hours, (partly because of Sophi and partly because our “clocks” are off) Jeremy and I finally gave up trying, and got up to share some time together eating breakfast and reading our scriptures. It actually seemed so heavenly just to have the two of us, even though we hadn’t slept and both had headaches. Well, that alone time lasted about 2 minutes, as Graci woke up early again, followed shortly by Xander. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

We’re still trying to figure out sleeping arrangements. Our original plan was Jess and Grace share a room, Taylor and Parker share a room, Elli’s by herself (she has to be) and Xander, Lexi, and Sophi share what used to be the boys room. (We’ve tried to add a bit of pink!) But Lexi needs help going potty in the night, and we didn’t know if we would hear her, so the first night we put Graci in with her and Xander. Sophi wakes up a lot, and we don’t want her waking up the others, so she’s on a little bed on our floor. I’m thinking we need to get a crib set up and then we won’t have to worry about her rolling all over.

All in all, things are going well. We haven’t even begun to unpack yet, laundry is already piling up, and we’ve been working like crazy to get all kinds of homework projects completed, but those things will come together with time. Mealtime is by far the most challenging, as we have many kiddos that need a lot of help. I still haven’t figured out a good system, so right now we’re kind of eating in shifts. Which is fine, being as how we can’t fit around our table anyway—but I do want us all together. I think we’re going to have to end up buying a high chair for Sophi. Right now, she and Elli are taking turns in the booster seat.

Bottom line, we’d like a bigger house. We’d like to fit around the table together, and we’d like to fit in our living room without feeling cramped. We’ll keep on praying for some sort of miracle. But after seeing the caves (literally-caves!) that many Chinese people live in right now, we’ll gratefully take what we have!!

I am so grateful to be home. So grateful for good bathrooms. So grateful for a big, comfortable bed. So grateful for skies that aren’t polluted. So grateful to speak the same language as those around me. So grateful for everyone’s help. So grateful for your comments—it is very therapeutic to feel like other are laughing and crying and praying along with you! So grateful for loving parents and in-laws who did so much to support us over the last couple of weeks. So grateful for a wonderful church family. So grateful for my good husband, who has maintained his sense of humor and goodness during very overwhelming times. So grateful for each one of my beautiful children. So grateful I have so many mouths to feed and lips to kiss and eyes to gaze into and heads to tuck in and souls that light me up.

Most of all, I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father, who gave me this amazing life. For my Savior who made it possible for Lexi and Elli to someday see, for Sophi to hug me with arms, for Xander to run freely and for Graci to do away with the oxygen she so hates to wear. I have the most precious family to spend eternity with, because of Him.
What a perfect time to come home! The Christmas spirit that surrounds us just deepens the love and appreciation that we have for these two beautiful new blessings. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate a new birth for Lexi and Sophi into a country and a family that will offer them so much more than what they have known.

So grateful.

PS. We’ve got lots of pictures to share, but not lots of time to share them! I’ll put on a few, and hopefully add many more over the next couple of weeks. (:

PPS. This is Jer. So last night we were trying to sleep, but couldn’t because Sophi is a vicious bed-hog. Sophi has the smelliest diapers you’ve ever experienced, and I’m not talking about when she’s messy. Her little body must have some way of concentrating waste liquids that makes for a very pungent experience if you’re close by;) To help Sophi sleep, we had put her in bed with us. She had about 2/3 of the bed, while Christi and I squished into the other 1/3. Even though Soph was asleep, she would keep moving so she could be close to Christi. And often she would position herself so her little behind was right by Christi’s face. At one point I turned to Christi and lamented with her, “I’m sorry hon—if you turn that way you smell Sophi and if you turn towards me, you get my breath.” “Yeah,” she replied, “but at least you had onions for dinner!” Poor girl☺. A little later Christi commented that she hoped Sophi wasn’t leaking through her diapers. “That would be terrible,” she said. “We would have to change the sheets and it hasn’t been several months yet.” Must admit, sometimes with a crazy family like ours, you can go a little while before the sheets get changed☺.

This is Sophi taking up way more than her share of our bed, along with pics of Christi, Graci and I showing how we felt early this morning when we got up with less than 2 hours of sleep:(

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rain Delays, Lemonades and Upgrades…

So close and yet so far. Before you read any further, I must warn you that I am writing this in a lack-of-sleep-induced semi-coma and I therefore claim minimal responsibility for the quality of this post. I am sitting at our gate at the San Francisco airport, so you know that the story ends (mostly) well. And a day during which Lexi and I got an upgrade to first class can’t be all bad! But let me start from the beginning…

When last I wrote, we had just settled into our seats for a short hopper from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. We were all showered and clean, nervous about the flight, but excited to be going home. That first flight sat on the tarmac for about a 30-minute delay. I guess I should have realized that might be a sign of things to come☺. As a result, we got into Hong Kong later than expected. Our dear friends, the Merediths, live in Hong Kong. We were very close to them in Tennessee, so it had been quite some time since we had seen each other. They made a huge effort to get out to the airport so they could see us during our relatively short layover. Trip took work off. They pulled the kids out of school. We were very happy and grateful that they would make the effort. BUT, our flight had been delayed, so our 3-hour layover had already been cut short by half an hour. On top of that, we were totally uneducated about immigration regulations in Hong Kong. We thought the Merediths would be somewhere we could find them easily. But once we were at the airport, we realized that we would have to go through immigration in order to find them.

At this point we had a dilemma, albeit one that a little education would have easily ameliorated. We were not sure if we could 1) go through immigration and enter Hong Kong without visas, or 2) get back out of Hong Kong once we got in. To complicate our predicament, we had 5 travelers with US passports and 2 travelers with Chinese passports. I just couldn’t deal with the possibility that we might miss our flight home if we tried to see them. So I suggested maybe it would be better if we just followed the directions in the airport and went to the gate for our next flight without seeing our friends. Oh, and just to make life a little more on the edge, my cell phone wouldn’t work for calls or email, so I had no way of communicating with them. The line for immigration looked huge, and I was sure if we tried to go through, we would never make our flight in time.

Several years ago in Tennessee I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting at which Elder Boyd K. Packer presided. Elder Packer is one of the leaders of our church, and a man whose opinion I respect very much. This particular meeting had only men in the congregation. Elder Packer said something that I have tried to live by ever since, and it has served me VERY well. He looked out at all of us and said, “Brethren, listen to your wives. They are usually more in tune with the spirit than you are.” So today (or yesterday or whatever this messed up travel schedule makes 24 hours ago) I listened to my wife. “Jeremy,” she said, “we have to go meet them. They disrupted their lives to meet us, we love them, we want to see them, and I just have to believe we will be ok. Besides, Trip flies in and out of Hong Kong all the time. He would have told us if there would be an issue.” So I listened to my wife and through immigration we went. And everything was fine. We had less time than we would have liked to with the Merediths, but, sad for them, we were their only Christmas visitors from the States, so we were extra glad we could meet up. By the way, Merediths, I can’t believe how much your kids have grown and how beautiful they all are. Trip, it’s a good thing you married Jen…☺!

So after some quick but fun conversation, a lunch they treated us to and some guidance through the airport, we were once more on our way. Of course we had more trouble from security regarding Graci’s oxygen concentrator. At every security check in China, they acted like her rechargeable batteries were going to bring the plane down. Fortunately with a little bit of Chinese from me, a little bit of English from them and a lot of sign language from everyone, we managed to return to the US with her concentrator with us.

Now for the fun part. A 12-hour flight with our girlies. Oh what fun. Oh what joy. Oh how many trips to the bathroom. Let me just say, I really was a good guy on this flight. I let Christi sit with the easy girl for almost all of the trip. And the “easy girl” wasn’t always the same person. To begin with, I sat with Lexi and Christi sat with Sophi. So have I described for you yet just how much fun it is to feed Lexi? She is really quite good at feeding herself-IF you control her surroundings. If all that is within her reach is a plate with her food on it, great! She will use her hands to slowly eat pretty much anything you give her. It’s a bit messy, but it works for now. If, however, there are other things within her reach (and she WILL find them!) she will grab onto whatever is there with a death grip and not let go until you pry it out of her fingers. If whatever it is makes noise (paper, for example) she will crunch and crinkle and rip it for all it’s worth. If it is food that she thinks you might take away from her, she will grip it as tight as she can, even if it’s an easily-breakable plastic airline cup. And what makes her craziest of all is when she hears any kind of wrapper crinkling. She will grab at this so fast it will make your head spin. So sitting with her in the confines of airline seats as everyone is served a meal is quite the experience.

Lexi was sitting in an aisle seat with me in the middle and Jesi on the other side of me. I had the stewardess put Lexi’s meal on my tray and I just held my meal in my hand. Then with my free hand I would feed alternating bites to Lexi and myself, all while using that same arm to keep Lexi from attacking the food. Of course, opening all of the plastic bags the food items were packaged in didn’t help at all☺. Lexi also has to go to the bathroom about every five minutes. We think that sometimes she asks to go just out of boredom. But her tummy has been upset off and on since we got her, and there have been enough trips that were VERY necessary, that we find it very hard to make her wait when she says she needs to go. She seriously went to the restroom at least 20 times during that 12-hour flight. It got old really quickly.

Meanwhile, Christi was with our little princess. Sophi was not happy and when Sophi ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!!! She was pretty loud as we started out the trip. She also had two messy diapers before we took off. To really ensure that this was the most difficult trip Christi and I would ever endure, Christi was blessed to have the world’s rudest woman sitting in front of her.

As we were getting into our seats, this lady made the loud, sarcastic comment: “Oh, aren’t we just lucky. We’ve got kids in front and kids in back.” Several times the lady literally SWORE at Christi. When Sophi had the messy diapers, it definitely stunk. But Christi took care of it quickly and did the best she could. She swore at Christi because of the smell. She swore again later in the flight when Christi barely bumped her head against the back of the lady’s seat as Christi leaned forward to get something Sophi needed. Finally Christi said, “I’m really sorry. It was an accident, and I’m doing the best I can.” She received a curt, “It’s OK,” but at least the lady left us alone after that.

So at the beginning of the flight, we both had our hands full. Christi was near tears with our rude friend, so I switched seats and girls with her. Shortly after that, Sophi fell asleep, and I switched her back again. Sophi slept almost the entire trip, so, although Christi wasn’t able to sleep much, she was able to rest in relative peace. Lexi, in the mean time, continued to make bathroom run after bathroom run. This got to be pretty annoying, but in the long run it led to our upgrade to first class☺. During one of our bathroom runs, one of the stewardesses noticed me carrying Lexi. She also noticed that all of the economy class bathrooms were occupied. She asked me if I would like to use the business class bathroom. Suddenly feeling very chic, I replied in the affirmative. Lo and behold, the business class bathrooms were also occupied, so she led me all the way up to first class. I must say, now I see why they have those curtains between classes. It is to shield all us normal folks from the glory of the upper class passengers. I feel lucky that I survived gazing on them with my mortal eyes, even for a few moments. Next time you are on an airplane and see those segregating curtains, don’t feel denigrated, be grateful that they protect you from…ok, so I’m being a bit sarcastic. She took me to the first class bathroom, past some fully reclining (as in lay fully flat) seats, and I got to use…a toilet. Believe it or not, even the first classers have a toilet. The sink was definitely an upgrade, though. As soon as Lexi was done, I was invited to return back to the dungeon, er, coach. So although our foray into fortune was but for a few moments, Lexi and I WERE given an upgrade to the first class restrooms on this wonderful flight.

Probably my favorite moment came with about two hours left. The stewardesses came by with pre-poured cups of juice for everyone. I took one for Lexi, one for Jesi and one for me. I was sooooo careful to keep them away from Lexi’s marauding appendages. I was cautiously holding a cup of apple juice and talking to Christi. At this point I was in the aisle seat and Lexi was next to me. I was talking to Christi, three seats away, and protectively holding the cup over the aisle. Suddenly, I just completely lost the cup. Have you ever been holding something and it just slipped from your hands? You felt kind of silly, right? Now imagine doing that with a full cup of juice in the small confines of an airplane. I felt it starting to go, so of course I grabbed for it with my other hand. This only compounded the problem. I basically ended up flipping the cup end over end. Time slowed down, and I was able to see the individual drops as my apple juice exploded like a little bomb all over me, my seat and the aisle. Fortunately, it didn’t really get on anyone else. I felt wet, cold and idiotic.

All good things come to an end, and eventually we landed in San Fran. Immigration went pretty smooth. There was an issue with boarding passes for Sophi and Lexi, but it was resolved pretty quickly and we made it to the gate with about 30 minutes to spare…only to find out we were facing a 2.5 hour rain delay. The upside to all of this is that I can’t help but look around me at these 5 wonderful girls I’m traveling with, and realize that life really has given me lemonade. These are 5 of my favorite people in the world, and if I have to spend an extra 2 hours with somebody, these are the people to spend it with. (Dad, you’re not too bad either☺). Although it’s been a crazy, exhausting journey, we are almost home, Lexi and Sophi are Greens and US Citizens, and I should still be able to catch that bowl game tomorrow!

Go Cougars!!!


Thursday, December 16, 2010


...BIG sigh of relief. We are seated on our flight from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. It is amazing how much energy it requires to get 4 young girls from a hotel to an airplane. Sophi was MAD this morning. She didn't get enough sleep (none of us did!) And she let us know how unhappy she was all through the airport. Fortunately, she is now asleep in Mama's arms. Lexi continues to have her everlasting smile, but also continues to flop down when we need her to walk, which makes everything just a little more interesting.

We've just begun the trip home, but I am already picturing myself leaned back on our couch Saturday afternoon watching the BYU bowl game with my boys:) I know I can make it through the next 24 hours, right. Prayers are appreciated. Thanks for all your love and support. See you in the USA!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A few pictures

Graci with Yisha, our wonderful guide in Zhengzhou:

Sophi likes fruit snacks (and pizza). She will fit in great!

Red couch photos:

Jeremy and Sophi with David. David is a 12-year-old boy who is being adopted by a Chinese-American family from Seattle. He is such a sweet kid.

Graci was always one to shy away from the camera...

Jessica with her new "best friend," Jessica:

Coming home soon...

The last two days have been pretty relaxed. We took the adoption oath yesterday. We went to the zoo today. Other than that, we have pretty much just shopped and hung out at the hotel. Tomorrow will be more shopping and packing to leave.

It is with mixed emotions that we prepare to leave Guangzhou. We have loved being here. The little area of this HUGE city that we are familiar with feels like a small town that caters just to adoptive families. The shops are fun. It is a treasure trove of trinkets and knick knacks. We have been here so many times that there are several shopkeepers that remember us. The weather is (usually) good. Unusually cold, wet weather has made this trip a little less tropical feeling. So overall it is fun to be here!

On the other hand, it is becoming more and more challenging to entertain the children even with two hotel rooms. It is cramped and noisy. We call the room that my dad shares with Jesi and Graci “The room of peace and tranquility.” We call our room “The room of churning human life.” It is pretty crazy with all of the luggage we have, the meals we eat here, the toys that make noise for Lexi, the paperwork from an adoption, two strollers, a crib, the gifts and goodies we have purchased to bring home. So overall we are very excited to get home!

On the other hand, while we are here, we don’t have to face reality. I don’t have to go to work. Christi doesn’t have to get kids to school and sports and dance. We aren’t worried about paying the bills. Christi doesn’t have to fix meals. We don’t have to help kids with homework and science projects and scouts. The house isn’t getting any messier with each passing minute of a 10-person family living in it. In our hotel, we have the “drawer of happiness” (filled with Dove chocolates, red vines and other American methods to cope with stress). So overall, we are loving it here!

On the other hand, we are DYING to get back to our other kids! We miss each of them so much. We miss coaching and helping with homework and science projects and scouts. We miss their smiling faces telling us they love us. I miss reading to Taylor and Parker each night before bed. Also, Sophi and Lexi are really needing more space and more stimulation than the confines here are providing. We already mentioned why we haven’t gone swimming more often. Sophi seems to have a phobia of the children’s playroom here at the hotel. (It may have something to do with the abundance of stuffed animals that make their home there.) So overall, we can’t wait to get back!

On the other hand, we have a 30-hour journey with four small children to endure before we arrive in Herriman. The 12-hour flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco is likely to be a nightmare with the two new ones. I basically can’t sleep on airplanes. Lexi has to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Sophi can be a princess who hasn’t yet learned that anyone besides her exists in the world. Once we get home, we’ll have days to weeks of jet lag. The last time we tried to help a child with no visual cues switch her nights to days it literally took months. The new children will have to adjust to the old children and vice versa. So overall, we’re terrified to leave China!!!

On the other hand, there’s no place like home. Despite any difficulties, challenges, tears and trials that may await, Christi and I are so excited to get to the most important part of this journey: bringing Lexi and Sophi into our home and helping them become a comfortable and integrated part of our eternal family. We have both commented on how much the boys will love these two new dollies and how much our dollies will love the boys. We are excited to see this process get started. We are excited for the girls to meet grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and cousins. They will feel the tremendous love that all of these extended family members have for them. We are excited for the girls to meet their church family, of which many members have been anticipating their arrival almost as much as we have. We are grateful for the great support we have there! We are excited for our bed! Chinese beds are as close to sleeping on the floor as you can get while actually lying on a mattress. We are excited for Christmas! Although our Christmas season has been different this year, we still have the Christmas Spirit. Our decorations were up before we left. We still have a week or so to try and enjoy as many of our traditions as possible. Santa Claus is coming to town, and we are ever so grateful to our Father in Heaven for the gift of His son, baby Jesus. So without equivocation, we are looking forward with great anticipation to our arrival home in 3 days!

See you soon☺


Monday, December 13, 2010

Life in Guangzhou

Hello from Guangzhou! I’m so glad that Jeremy has been keeping up with the blog. I’ve been exhausted each night and haven’t done as well as I wanted to with recording everything that’s going on.

Just to go over a few happenings of the last couple of days… Saturday morning was clinic day. We were sooooo grateful to find out that President Obama just signed a bill that did away with the required immunizations for Hague families. What did that mean for us?? No shots! Last year, Xander got EIGHT immunizations in one sitting. It was so sad—especially when you can’t explain what is going on and you are trying to build trust. This year, it was just TB tests and physicals. The clinic was extra busy--we’re talking 50-60 kids. I’m pretty sure that Sophi was the loudest screamer of them all. She was TERRIFIED of the whole experience, and boy did she let everyone know! She even broke the scale while fighting the nurses. I was quite amused at the whole thing. But Lexi, sweet Lexi… She was so quiet and compliant and had us soooo sad when she started to cry during her TB test. It was the first time we have seen her cry, and those alligator tears were just heartbreaking.

Sunday was a great, restful day for us. We needed it! We slept late and had a late breakfast, then spent most of the day in our hotel room. We took the traditional red couch photos, otherwise known as "torture the children" hour. Queen Sophi let us know she was not pleased, and was not one bit cooperative for the pics. Lexi is just not photogenic (though she is very beuatiful) so between the two, we were not loving the photos. That evening we had the traditional group dinner at the Thai restaurant nearby. We kind of balk at the fact that they call themselves a Thai restaurant, as it is neither like real Thai food (Jer would know, as he lived there for two years) or like American Thai food, which we LOVE. But we survived it, and they did have awesome kiwi shakes. Mmmmmm. Restaurants are a challenge with Lexi. She has a hard time waiting for food, and grabs at everything around her. I think we have broken three plates in the last few days…

This morning we had to go back to the clinic to get the TB tests read. Afterward, we decided that we wanted to go swimming. It’s been a lovely 75 degrees in Guangzhou, and swimming sounded relaxing and fun. They have a BEAUTIFUL pool here, with a waterfall and shallow area for the kids. It was one of the reasons that we wanted to stay at the White Swan. Well, when we got down there, we found it was closed for the season. They directed us to the lap pool instead. We soon found out that it was NOT heated, and just putting our toes in had us shrieking. Jeremy thought it would be funny to throw Graci in, and she in turn was trying to push him in. I went to help her, and (surprise, surprise) got thrown in myself. It was “take your breath away” cold! We called it the polar bear swim. I was very impressed that Graci and Jessica both ended up spending quite a bit of time in the pool. But I was most impressed with our Lexi, who would shriek with laughter as Jeremy would pick her up and turn her around in the water. She was shivering with cold, but giggling and happy and quite the good sport. I think we’re going to have lots of fun with that girl. (:

Tonight we went on the Pearl River cruise. We’ve done it before, and knew what a fun experience it was. The lights along the riverside are so beautiful. It seemed especially lit up tonight—likely for the Asian games going on this week.

Now, on to the important stuff—our sweet new girlies.

Lexi Li is SUCH a sweetheart. She has the sweetest, happiest disposition. She laughs if she falls down, smiles if she spills her drink—she’s just a special little girl. But she can also be quite stubborn. She seems to find it funny to get down on the floor in the middle of our walk and not want to get up. The cuteness of it is wearing off, and it’s getting quite difficult. So we’ve resorted to strolling her most places. I feel bad, because I know she prefers to walk, but getting her off the floor is not very fun, as she acts like a wet noodle if she doesn’t want to get up. (: She is good at feeding herself—very good—but of course, gets quite messy. It’s been hard to just succumb to the fact that she needs to feed herself anyway, and to just not worry about the mess she makes. She is soooo tender with “xiao mei-mei” (little, little sister). When Sophi cries, she comes over and tries to give her a stuffed animal or other toy. The problem is, Sophi is absolutely terrified of stuffed animals, so it only makes her scream louder. It makes me giggle every time it happens—Sophi is sad about something, Lexi goes to help her, and you see Sophi’s eyes just widen in terror as Lexi gets near her. We’re going to have to work on that… Tonight on the cruise, our guide was talking to Lexi and they were singing some songs together. Afterward, we all cheered for Lexi and I gave her a kiss. Our guide told Lexi that Mommy was proud of her and wanted to kiss her because her song was so pretty. Lexi obviously understood, because on the ride home, she would sing me a song, and immediately turn to me for a kiss, and then clap her hands and smile. So tender. I loved it. This girl is such an angel.

Sophi Bre has turned out to be quite the princess. She was so docile for the first couple of days, but has definitely gotten comfortable with us. (: She is so so cute. She loves to flirt and to charm. She only has a few words, but has no trouble communicating. She’s very good at speaking “Sophi,” which is essentially a series of grunts and squeals, along with a point of the toes or a shake of the head that lets us know exactly what she wants. I’m so glad that she has spunk, as her life will demand it. She is so LITTLE. She turned two in September, and I brought mostly 2T clothes, and she is swimming in them. I think she’s more of an 18 month size. Which, by the way, we LOVE!!! It is so much fun to have such a little one!! She is so babyish in so many ways and we are eating it up. I love holding her and cuddling her against me and having her so small. She is very adept at using her feet for everything. She feeds herself with her toes, waves with her feet, turns the pages of books, points at what she wants—she’s just amazing. People in China are not afraid to stare, and we’ve always had our share of stares here throughout our adoptions—especially because of our biological kids (they think Jessica is a little Barbie.) But we are getting more attention than ever because of Sophi. She just charms everyone as she waves with her little feet and smiles. A lot of times when we’re out, we’ll get a whole group of people just stopping and watching us. I often wonder what she thinks of all the attention. As far as walking—she can take a couple of steps on her own, and then she falls. She has a leg discrepancy of 3 cm or so, and is missing her fibula in her right leg. I’m assuming she will have a leg lengthening surgery to correct the discrepancy, but we won’t know for sure until we get home. I do think that she will likely be walking in the next year. (: She is such a sweetie. She has my heart.

And there you have it. We are so blessed! I am so grateful to our Father in Heaven for these beautiful girls and the way they have so quickly become bonded to us. I know He is watching over us. I am overwhelmed at His goodness and that He would bless us with such incredible little girls. I'm completely in love.

Still, I found myself in the bathroom today nearly hyperventilating at the thought of what awaits us. I am so excited to go home. I miss my boys and Elli like crazy. I want to get settled in. But here I have nothing to do besides take care of the girls. I don’t have to cook, I don’t have to clean. I have two other adults with me at all times, and I have my two oldest girls—who are a big help. And it’s STILL overwhelming at times. To think of going home to jet-lag, Christmas preparation, Jeremy working, and 8 kids is a bit terrifying. I know that it is just a matter of time before we get balanced and adjusted, but that doesn’t make it any less scary. I’m trying to tell myself that it will all be ok, but I’m not as convincing as I want to be. (:

Anyway… I’ll leave you with some pics.

Love to all, and thanks for your comments and prayers. I can’t wait to bring these sweet girls home and let you in on the fun!


PS I just spent over half an hour adding FIVE pics. That’s it for me. I’ll have Jer add more tomorrow morning. (:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And some more...

Sorry we haven't been able to post as many pictures as we would have liked during the trip. The connection is slow and unreliable, so it takes forever to get them posted. We also just post a few and then publish the post, because sometimes if we wait until we have a lot on the same post, we lose the connection and much of our work!

More from the Grottoes:

Our little rock star:

When Lexi decides she doesn't want to walk anymore, she just flops onto the ground. It can be quite the challenge to get her back up and on her feet!

Tired Papa!!!

Lexi said "Baba" and took my hand and held it:) How sweet!

Reading her book and chomping on licorice. An all-American girl:)

A stuffed animal in both hands. Life is grand...

OK, so the shower caps are mandatory...

How cute is that???