Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Roll Tide from Beijing, China! (Jade Factory)

This is my favorite pic of the day, you agree? If only you could see Carlton's big grin!

Going down...

Our lock attached to the Great Wall

A finished product
A worker making Cloisonne...very tedious labor

Having a "real" tea party!!!

I can’t believe it!! I actually slept this morning until 4:30am!! (are you noting the sarcasm in my voice?) I woke up so early only to hear my hubby sleeping so hard a sonic boom wouldn’t wake him up. What is wrong with my body??? Everything is so out of whack! I am happy to report that I did not get sleepy at 9:00am this morning so that is great!

After breakfast, we met Helen in the lobby at 9:00am. She arranged for us to have our own personal driver for the day. Our first stop today was the Jade Factory. It was very interesting. Jade is very popular in China. When a girl turns 18, she is always given a jade bracelet as a tradition. The only thing we bought was a “generation ball”. Helen told us that we needed to have that and we might not be able to find it in Guangzhou. The ball has 4 layers that stand for each generation. Its really amazing how they form this ball. I got a small one for us to have as a family. Next, we headed to the Great Wall!!! Its going to be really hard for me to put into words our experience at the Great Wall. The pictures are not going to reflect the beauty either. One word….Breathtaking. First, all I could think was, “Am I really at the Great Wall of China????” Then, once I made myself realize that yes, I am in China, and yes, I am at the Great Wall…I started to take in all the sights. OK, one thing that was a surprise to me was how steep the wall was!! I didn’t know this was going to be the Biggest Loser and I was going to gain Buns of Steel on this trip. I tried not to whine too much, but at one point, Carlton was pushing me from behind. You can stop laughing now. It was a total body workout. I really wanted to quit at the first tower, but Carlton was like a kid at the candy store and of course, I couldn’t let him down. I toughed it up, and walked to the top. Seriously, though, people with heart conditions should not attempt to climb this wall. The view was amazing. We took lots of pictures. It is really amazing that this wall was built in the 1400’s. It was used as a protection for the city. It goes on for miles and miles and miles. Truly an amazing place….and I am not a history buff! We also purchased a lock that has our name engraved on it. The lock symbolizes love. Once you lock it, you throw away the key, and your love will last forever. I told Carlton he is stuck with me now. We spent over 2 hours at the Great Wall. It was not that cold, I actually ended up taking off my sweater and gloves. Carlton told me he was so proud that I climbed so high and I told him maybe I needed another massage??? After the Great Wall, we went to the Cloisonne factory. This is also very popular in China. They make beautiful things from copper. It is a very long process. We watched them make it at different steps in the process. Then, we went and purchased 3 things for Lily. We are planning to have a celebration every year on her Gotcha Day, Feb. 11. I plan to give her a gift each year from her home country. Today, we bought a beautiful bracelet, a jewelry box, and chopsticks. Don’t worry Hannah Grace, Mommy is going to get you some too! But, it’s a surprise!!! Next, we went upstairs to a fabulous restaurant and ate more Chinese food!! This food was a little bit more like American Chinese food…but way better! I ate until my belly was about to pop. Carlton says I need to fatten up…all I have eaten is healthy Chinese food and doing my Buns of Steel workout at the Great Wall. If I lived in China, I would have a hard time keeping my weight up. Everything is so very fats or grease. I have to say that I have never felt better. On our way home, Helen talked to us for a long time about Chinese adoption. She has been working with adoptive families for several years. She told me that in China, they do not give children cold things to eat or drink. It is not good for their stomachs. She told me to make sure and warm her milk. Helen does not drink cold milk to this day. The Chinese people believe that “warm” things are much better for your body. The people here are so health conscious, but in a different way than in the States. We are more…worried about being thin and what not, but here, they are more concerned with “whole” body health. Its very interesting to me and for those of you that know me…you know how I love to hear about alternative methods for ailments! Oh, and that massage that I had…Helen told me it was Acupuncture Pressure Points Massage. Oh, how I wish I could find someone back home that does this!! So….after the yummy meal, Helen took us to a Tea House. We had a tea party! (Hannah Grace, you would have loved this!) We tasted all kinds of tea. One tea, was good for your blood circulation and anemia, another tea was good for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, another tea was good for your skin and warded off the wrinkles!!! Ok, Ok, I purchased some tea. I also got this tea mug that has a strainer and when you pour in the tea, it changes to a different picture. My mug has the Forbidden City on it. Finally, we headed back to our hotel. Helen is going to come over to our hotel room tonight and she is going to put Lily’s Chinese character name on the silk painting I purchased. Have I said how incredibly sweet Helen is??? Then, we might just hang out together. I love just talking with her…I am learning so, so much. Like today, I learned that if you have an upset stomach to drink hot, hot water and to squeeze the soft part between your thumb and first finger. Sorry, that was random, but it might be helpful to you one day.

Speaking of being random, did I tell you that I got my flat iron to work? Ok…I thought I was prepared, but nope!! We brought 2 converters and neither one worked. We finally got the front desk to find what I needed…a transformer!! It’s a black box that you plug your appliances into. So, all is well on the hair front.

Tomorrow, we are off to tour the Olympics buildings!! I am really excited about this. I loved watching the Olympics this year. We are also going to Summer Palace and Nationality Park (Helen highly recommended this park). Oh, almost forgot…we are also going to see a Chinese Acrobatic Show tomorrow night.

Connie and Laine….could you please tell me where you went to church when you were in China. I know Connie went in Beijing and Laine went in Guangzhou. We would like to go in both places. And, oh me, I will be taking my little china doll to church in a week or so. (my stomach just did another flip-flop!!) Let me know where the church is located, if you can remember. Erica, where did you do laundry in Guangzhou? I am so excited to hear that Clara said I love you. How precious. I can’t wait to see her...

Better go for now.

Love to you all,



Elizabeth said...

So exciting!! I feel like I am seeing it all through your eyes! Not too much longer until Gotcha Day@

Red Brocade said...

Wish I were there! I can't believe it has been 3 months since our 5 year old son joined us. Soon it will be your turn!!! Are you from WB, WI?? If so, we live just down the road from you in Hartford. How about a play date???
Have a GREAT Gotcha Day!
Jeanne at

Jessica said...

ok here I am again with the tears. I was fine until that picture of Carlton grinning at the beautiful little girl and the huge smile she had on her picture truely says a thousand words.
Pictures were great makes me wish I was there. Especially to climb the great wall and get a work out.
Aimee, I know that you are just soaking up all that health information...reminds me of us sitting in the NY airport talking with that precious lady :)
Carlton~Madi saw your pic on here and said "I miss Tarlton"
So glad you are able to sleep past 3 am :) Maybe after today's workout you will sleep even longer.
Can not wait to read all about tommorrow's adventure.
Continuing to pray all of you!!
love you!

Green, Party of Five said...

Hey Girl!
You are really making me miss "our Helen". Oh how I wish you could just bring her home. Ok...the name of the church is East Church, also known as St. Joseph's Cathedral. This church has so many special memories for Jerry in Beijing. Helen will know which church this is. They also have a art gallary at the back of the church that we went to and purchased several things for the house. The workers at the gallary are so nice. I wished we had even purchased more there. One of the nice things we purchased was a painting of the church for Jerry's office.
Im so glad you are having such a wonderful time. When you get to Lily's province that first day before you get here....sleep. You body is going to be really tired from all your adventures this week. Just think we did this all with three kids at the end of our trip. Now I know why I was so tired when I got home.
We miss you so much and I cant wait to see you at the Shanxi Grand. Who is your guide???
Enjoy your day and give Carlton and Helen a big hug from us.

The Ferrill's said...

Aimee! I love reading all this! Today while reading your update I wanted to shout "me too!" or "we did that too!" or "I bought one of those too!" Your trip sounds so much like ours! I know what you mean about the Great leaves you speechless. Not to mention breathless! I love that you are learning all about the Chinese health practices. I was noticing in yesterday's pictures at Helen's house that you are looking really thin...Carlton, get her some ding dongs or Krispy Kreme or something! ;) Aimee you are beautiful as always!
Okay, the church we went to in Guangzhou is on the island...Christ Church. It's a quick walk from the White Swan. And very beautiful. I hope you get to go!
Not too much longer before Lily Day! I am just squeezing my hiney cheeks I am SO excited!!!!!!!!!

Tamara said...

You are in China...China!! I'm with Jessica, I can't seem to read this blog without happy tears. It does my heart good to see you both smiling and so happy! Soon you will have YOUR precious little girl! But, don't get too comfortable there...YOU DO have to come back!! The pics are so awesome! I can't wait to see more. Glad you are sleeping better.

Love you both,

Lyn Cook said...

my name is Clay and I am Chuck and Kathy Wood's nephew. My wife and I lived in China for 2 years, so it's been a lot of fun to read about your trip since we've made about 10 trips to China. The first thought I had when i read you were getting up at 3 and 4 in the morning was to pass along the tip of staying up til at least 9 at night, but it seems like you are making progress. :)
It's great to hear that you are enjoying so many aspects of your trip, including the food [especially jiaodsa (the dumplings) which are one of my favorites]. Not that you need help b/c you have a tour guide with you, but some other American favorites in the Chinese food department are (and these are spelled out in Chinese phonetics so you can write them down for your tour guide if you are interested) "gong bao ji ding", "gan bien si ji dou", and "qing jao ji si". Okay, enough tips, but I will say that I'm definitely jealous, so know that we are praying for y'all as you near the 11th; so thanks for the updates.

Barb said...

Again reading this with tears of joy for you! Amazing to be living history as you walked on the wall! Loving history I can only imagine how you felt, Carlton! The picture of you looking at the little girl on the wall is so precious! I am so excited for you both! Can't wait for the Gotcha Day!

Holly said...

WOW! What an amazing day! I need to move to China for health reasons, seriously. Thank you for posting as much info as you have... it is so interesting to read! Hope you slept well last night...the time difference is wild! Praying that God will continue to be present in every part of your journey. He is so good!

Nicole said...

Hola!! Iam having so much fun reading your blog..I wish I was there in China with yall...Keep writing and giving all the details..Make sure to get Lily and Hannah jade bracelets...Hope I can talk to yall tonight...Have fun today....Love ya

Misty said...

I am loving your updates! I am excited for you guys and I appreciate my ability to "experience" China through you guys!



Linda said...

I'm glad to hear you're having such an enjoyable time. I didn't get to go to the Great Wall, and that has been a big disappointment. My husband and one of our sons went during our second adoption, but I guess I'll have to settle for the pictures alone.

I know why you're not sleeping - you're heading back into that "mommy-who-only-half-sleeps-at-night-because-a-new-baby-is-in-the-house" mode!

Anne Marie said...

I love reading your updates. I am glad you guys are having a great time. Cannot wait to read and see pictures when you get Lily. My son talks about Llamas all the time. He'll be excited when he hears there is a Llama temple. We might have to go there when it is our turn...

kathywood said...

Hey! Have been captivated by your blog...and noticed that my dear nephew, Clay Cook, has commented, too. The Great Wall photos are incredible...glad you're young and in shape, cause I wouldn't be able to do it! Tell Carlton I never did try the dried squid sold on the street (or anywhere else, for that matter) when we were stationed in Seoul, Korea. NOT my thing! We'll find out on the 10th what time Chuck's surgery will be on the 12th...and by then, you'll have Lily in your arms! We love you!!

Kathy and Chuck

Shea said...

The picture of Carlton looking back at that sweet little girl is my favorite too! I'm so glad ya'll are able to experience all of these wonderful things together. And soon you'll experience the best part of the trip...."GOTCHA DAY". Can't wait to see those pictures!!! Have fun. Enjoy every minute.

Amy said...

I've loved your pictures and description of your travels this week! It looks like so much fun and adventure. Glad you are both having a good time. Can't wait to see the pictures from the Olympic areas...then pictures of Lily!!!! So excited for your family!


pooja said...

hey mrs aimme sounds like u r enjoying china and i luv all the pics u sent and we r doing very well in school and i cant wait untill ur family cums back...with an addition to ur family post back soon bye

jasmin and pooja

jill said...

I LOVE the pic with Carlton. I'm enjoying keeping up with your blog each day, and I can't stop crying! They are happy tears for you and Carlton and sweet little Hannah Grace and Noah. AND sweet Lily. She is going to have the best parents in you two. Aimee, it's so great that you're learning all of this stuff to be able to teach Lily when she gets older. How awesome it will be when she realizes that you took the time to learn about where she is from. I'm praying every day for y'all. Love y'all!

Laura said...

I am so excited...I can't soak in your words fast enough. Thank you for bringing all of us with you!

Praying for sleep for you the next few days...I know when Lily is with you, you won't be able to take your eyes off her!


Aaron and Erica said...

It's almost 10 pm and I'm sad to say I'm just now getting to read your blog for the day! We had an appraiser come to our house this morning b/c we are refinancing and then we went to B'ham right after that for Clara's cardiologist appt. We really liked the Dr. but the news was not so good. I'll give you the details when you get home.

I'm so jealous (is it okay to say that) of your time in Beijing...especially the Great Wall visit. But I'm so happy that you have gotten to enjoy this magnificent part of China.

You are getting close now my dear...can't wait :)



P.S. We got our laundry done at ladybug laundry which was next door to the Victory hotel. They were inexpensive and very quick :)

Tina said...

you are doing such a great job, it feels like we're right there with you :) (Roll Tide by the way)
Our TA finally came today. Can't wait to see gotcha day!!!

kimjoystewart said...

Can I come to the dumpling-making party?!? I want to learn too! I'll have to make a special trip to AL.

We've had a rough couple of weeks home. I guess you know from our blog what a little spitfire Rachel is. But something seemed to click today--keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow it's still there.:-) I can tell that she's feeling much more comfortable and getting used to the way we do things, routine, etc.

Can't wait to see you with Lily! But I am enjoying hearing about the things you're doing in Beijing. I'm jealous that you have time to enjoy so much--we were so rushed. But we'll go back someday.

I thought the Great Wall was amazing too! Like you, I just kept thinking, "I can't believe I'm on the Great Wall!"

Another tip--shop around on the jade or anything for that matter in Guangzhou. The sales people are very pushy, and I got ripped off on a jade bracelet I bought. Jordan's is great--no haggling over the price--not sure how much jade he had, but he had lots of other good stuff.

Enjoying your posts so much!!

kimjoystewart said...

There's an Aveda Spa in Rosemary Beach, Florida (an hour east of Destin) that does the accupuncture pressure points massage--amazing! Other Aveda spas probably do the same. Of course, it costs a lot more than in China--once a year trip/treat for me. That's one thing I wish we had done was get a massage.

Valorie Leonard said...

Oh, your jet lag sounds so similar to mine when I travel from the states to home. I suggest you take two benadryl tabs right as you go to bed. It helps me sleep sounder and longer and I am adjusted to the new time much faster!