Lily Kay - Day 8

We are starting to feel so normal as a family, that I didn't realize something until the girls were in bed...

We took practically no pictures today.

I know...I know...bad mama!

Like I said, it comes from a good place, but still...no pictures of Zibing today, that's crazy.

And in response to several of your e-mails, here is how you pronounce Zibing: Zee bing' – with the accent on the second syllable, and bing rhymes with ring. (I know this is a little different than I told you a few days ago, mom, but we've been able to hear how she pronounces it better now)

Our guide, Kathryn, took our group to some stores to do some shopping this morning. Some of them where wholesale stores, with great prices. We purchased some strands of pearls, to make into a necklace, bracelet, and earrings for Zibing (who knows when she'll need earrings, though). We purchased enough pearls to also make Elisabeth a new bracelet, as she's outgrown the bracelet we purchased for her in Beijing 5 ½ years ago, the day before we met her.

We had success buying gifts for each of our children today, with more still to buy. You see, we've got a plan. We celebrate each of our children's adoption days every year – the day we first met in person.(Some people call it “Forever Family Day”, some “Gotcha Day”, we call it “Adoption Day” or usually “Elisabeth Day” and “Noah Day”, etc.) Right now we make it a big deal, and talk about it and look back at pictures, and video, and the child (now that they're old enough to have an opinion) gets to decide where we go out to supper to celebrate. Now we'll have a gift, purchased from their first home, to give them every year (until they're 18). We'd heard about people doing this, but the idea always intimidated me – buying that many gifts for that many years ahead of time. How do you plan that far in advance???

And I am nothing, if not a planner.

But now I'm ready to tackle this. I'm on a mission this week in Guangzhou. I've been thinking about this for months. And we don't know when we'll be back to China, so no time like the present to buy these gifts.

And yes, I have an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of eveything we're buying.

I went out shopping on Shamian Island here by myself while all my babies napped this afternoon and bought more gifts. The shopkeepers (who are usually willing to do some dealing) are really willing to do some dealing when they find out that everything you want, you want four of! Now some things I'm only buying two at a time - like carved knives for the boys (for like ten years from now), or cloisonne heart lockets for the girls. But most things are gender neutral, like a beautiful hand-painted scroll wall-hanging of the Great Wall.

And yes, we'll be buying another suitcase, like we always do, to carry home all our new stuff. (Jade told me yesterday that I could have the big “Samsonite” suitcase in their store for 100 yuan – about $15. “Good deal...just for you.” ) We've found that these new suitcases might not hold up very well, and might only barely make it home, but it will make it home – and this is a lot cheaper than shipping everything home.

Right now my spreadsheet is telling me that we have 7 gifts for each of the boys, and 6 for each of the girls...not done shopping yet!

For lunch yesterday, we found the Subway that is new to Shamian Island since our last trip. The Italian BMT I ordered tasted pretty much the same (well, not really)...but the Lay's Mexican Tomato Chicken flavored chips I just could not do! They had plain Lay's also, and that is what Zibing ate for lunch. Well, that and a few slices of tomato off her sandwich that she wouldn't touch. (Noah, Zibing is definitely on your team about liking chips!)

Our guide took us to a local place down the road from our hotel for supper. She told us earlier in the day a quote that we all loved: “Here in Guangdong we eat everything that flies...but an airplane. We eat everything that swims...but a boat. And we eat everything with four legs...but a desk and table.” And this is who ordered supper for us! But she took pity and went really easy on us Americans. We had some super yummy Sweet-and-Sour chicken, Black Pepper beef, fried noodles, and Young-chow style fried rice. Jas and the other dad at our table, Jeremy, had fun grossing us out finding yucky stuff on the menu - pig's feet, frogs, deep fried pigeon (the whole thing)...

Tomorrow morning first thing we're going back to the medical clinic to have Zibing's TB test results read. We don't see any reaction on her arm at all, thankfully. If positive, a child has to have a chest x-ray for further confirmation. If that x-ray is positive, the child has to start on medicine...and the trip home is delayed (due to rules by our CDC). One of the moms (here by herself, dad at home with other children) says that her 7-year old is definitely going to need an x-ray, by the looks of her new daughter's arm. We just pray that everything goes fine with all the children being read. .

I'm so thankful for this time we have here to bond and play with Zibing...without having to prepare our own meals...or worry about cleaning the house (which I promise I don't worry about too much even when we're at home)... BUT, having said that, I am. so. ready. to go. home! I want to see our boys. I want to sleep on my pillow-topped mattress. I want to eat our food. I want to see our boys!

I know they've been having a good time, playing with Laoli and Papa and their friends. And Noah and Daniel have each been opening a gift each morning, which they've loved - a fun way to count down until we're back home. (I got most of the gifts at Dollar Tree!) Mom has been having so much fun with the boys she says she's not going to give them back! And I'm so thankful everything has gone so well. Enough praying went into it, we knew it would be fine. But, while we know this was the right choice, that doesn't mean it has been easy for this mama!

They don't taste as good as they sound:

E's favorite purchase today - she made me take like 20 pictures...

...I'll just post two of them

Some of the stuff we did NOT eat for supper tonight

The best picture Zibing took today

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