Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Hot Pot

Helen cooking lamb!

Chopstick experts?

Standing in front of Temple of Heaven

This is me with Helen

Older people having a good time

We are pulling silk for a blanket

Hu-tong tour

She made us tea!


Drum Tower

Wednesday, Feb. 4th, 2009

This morning we started off having breakfast in our hotel. It is really fancy…and we had an interesting assortment of foods. They had your normal breakfast foods such as bacon, pancakes, eggs, pastries, and toast. They also had a few items that were interesting to say the least…baked beans, fried rice, sushi, and stir fry chicken. I love me so good old stir fry chicken and fried rice…but for breakfast?? Ugh. We were enjoying our lovely 5-star breakfast when all of the sudden I hear a loud bang on the table. I look up and Carlton is cracking his hard boiled egg on the table. All the ladies came running over to us as if we were making a noise to get their attention. I started laughing so hard, I couldn’t even speak. Oh, my husband, just a good ole country boy. After breakfast, we met Helen in the lobby. She sat down with us and we made a plan for the week. We decided to do the hu-tong tour, silk factory, and Temple of Heaven today. Traditionally, a hu-tong was a water well, but this word now refers to “old Beijing”. The hu-tong is an area in Beijing with traditional houses on narrow streets. Tours of this district are done on rickshaw. Our tour included the drum tower used during the Ming and Chen dynasty to count time. The tower was used until 1924 (the tower is about 600 years old!!). We saw them perform a show on the drums. After seeing the tower, we took a rickshaw through hu-tong and visited a local family. This family was very nice and even offered us a cup of jasmine tea. Next, we went and toured the Silk Factory. We were shown how the silk is taken from cocoon to blankets. We also went upstairs and I purchased the cutest outfit for Lily. These outfits were a little more expensive, but of very good quality. Helen then took us to see the Temple of Heaven. This temple was used by the emperors to seek the aid of the gods in producing good crops. Today, the temple is open for visitors and the temple is used by retired men and women for entertainment. We were impressed with the Chinese community. Helen told us that men and women gather together to play cards, dance, sing, play hacky-sack and other fun activities. Most of the time, they don’t even know each other. The Chinese are very friendly and welcoming people. It was really an amazing sight to see all these older people enjoying life together. I really liked it… We also purchased some local art. One piece was two panda bears painted on silk and the other was a mother with her children during Chinese New Year and it was painted on silk. After Temple of Heaven, Helen took us to a very popular local “hot-pot” restaurant. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. All I could envision was a big chicken head or fried cricket looking at me from my dinner plate. But, it was actually very tasty. Ya’ll are not going to believe it, but I ate all kinds of “weird” things. Hot Pot is a copper pot that sits in the middle of the table and you put your food in there to boil. Don’t fall out of your seat, but I ate lamb, beef, fish (strange looking), really odd peanuts, parsley, bean kur?, bean sauce and stringy potatoes. I attempted to use chopsticks, but had to resort to the use of a fork. (it took the waitress 15 minutes to find me a fork). This was a very good traditional Chinese meal. So, my motto this trip is, “When in China, do as the Chinese”.

We got back to the hotel about 6:15. The day was capped off by the most unbelievable massage you could ever imagine. For $28, I got an hour and a half head to toe massage, foot massage, and an herbal foot soak?? Oh, it was heavenly. This was a sweet treat from my hubby. J

Carlton and I are having the experience of a lifetime. I believe right now we are in shock. Being in China is such a shock to your system. It just completely rocks your world in every way. The sights, the sounds, the smells…its all very overwhelming. But, I absolutely love it here. I never imagined I would have these kinds of feelings about this country. I am very relaxed and I almost feel at home.

Several times during the day, I am reminded of the big reason we are here! I have seen so many precious children running around. Carlton and I just look at each other and smile! My stomach does a flip-flop every time I think about what will be happening this time next week. Oh, my heart….that sweet baby girl will be in my arms. Saying that I am excited is just an understatement.

Tomorrow, we are heading to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and we are having supper at Helen’s house. She is going to teach me how to make home-made traditional dumplings. She told me that Lily would love them and that it is tradition to cook them on Chinese New Year. So, of course, I have to learn!!!

I love and miss you all,

Aimee and Carlton

Hannah Grace and Noah,

We are hoping to have Skype working by tomorrow. I miss hearing your voices and seeing your faces. Are you having fun with Aunt Susie? I am sure she is spoiling you rotten and that’s okay!! I love you both and Daddy and I are sending you a big, big, hug and kiss. Talk to you soon!!


LeighAnne said...

Wow, you guys are having a ball. It is amazing all the things that you got to see and do on your FIRST day in China. :) I am so happy that you love it there! I can't believe in a week you will have precious Lily in your arms, I can't wait!! I hope you have a great day today!

Hugs, LA

Jessica said...

WOW! Aimee I am so proud of you for trying new things :) I love your motto "when in china, do as the chinese"
Your pictures are great! I can not believe all you guys did on your first day...but then again I can believe it because I have been on a trip with you and I know how much you can do in a day :)
I cannot wait to see Lily's outfit...I know how beautiful it must be.
I can just see the huge smiles on you guys face when you see the children makes me smile just thinking about it.
Oh I can not wait till Lily is in your arms!!
Get lots of rest...sounds like you have another big day tomorrow :)
love u!

Sherri said...

Good for you, Aimee! I'm so happy that you are enjoying all the aspects of Chinese life! You won't regret it!

Have a great day at the Forbidden City!


Aaron and Erica said...

I'm so glad you are falling in love with is such an experience! And you will be able to share all of this w/Lily one day. Let's plan on taking Lily and Clara back to China when they are a little fun would that be??!!!

Praying you stay warm and healthy...


Green, Party of Five said...

Im just sitting here crying when I seen the picture of you and Helen. Is she not just the greatest and how cool is that you are going to her house to learn to cook. She probably looked at me once and realized that I dont even cook (haha).
I knew you would enjoy that massage. Her friend was great and it was the best massage I had in years. Dont you wish we could get those here in Alabama.
On your rickshaw tour, that was the same family we also visisted. The sweet lady made us tea and she was so sweet. Did she tell you that her dog was also named Lily. I thought that was such a hoot. are doing good to enjoy every minute of this trip. I was so comfortable with all the surrounding this time around. I wanted to experience every moment of China. The people are so wonderful and you will never forget this time.
Ok...I think I writing a novel here for you. We miss you so much! Give Carlton a hug from us and please give Helen a hug. Just go ahead and bring her home. We can share her.
Love you

Linda said...

Take good mental notes on those dumplings because I'm going to beg you to print a detailed description of how to make them. Joanna (my 9 year old) has only been in the US for less than 18 months, and she has tried to tell me about them many times. I would LOVE to know how to make them for all three of my daughters!

I'm so glad you're enjoying yourselves!

Jennifer said...

What an experience! I am glad that you are enjoying yourselves. You will have so much to tell Lily, Hannah Grace, and Noah about. I am sure Mrs. Susie is lovin on those two plenty!
Jennifer and Huggy

Cathy said...

wow, listening to your comments make me want to visit there also. One thing is I don't like flying.
I am glad you are having a great time and learning so much about Lily's home. Will be back soon to see what has been going on there.

Jessica said...

Sounds like you had a busy and great first day in China! Elizabeth and I are enjoying all your pictures! She is following along and asking lots of questions about Lily. We had to get the globe down last night and show her where ya'll are. I know seeing all those little children makes you want to get your arms around Lily. You are so close the 11th will be here soon. Praying for you!!! Kadle's

Tasha said...

Wow! as usual I'm worn out from all you did, I know if anybody can make the best of their time it's you! All the pics are awesome, it reminds me of the "AMAZING RACE" alot of the things you saw and did were things they did!!We can't wait for another full day of your adventures!!The days will fly by and you'll be seeing your little "CHINA DOLL"! Our prayers are with you! Love from home! Tasha

Barb said...

Wow! I am so excited for you. Thanks for the detailed blogs, it makes me feel like I am right there with you! Now I want to tour China! You did so much in the first day. I am glad you are loving and experiencing so much. The dumplings sound great, you will have to show us all how to make them. It is less than a week until you have your precious Lily in your arms! It must seem surreal! I cannot wait.


Green, Party of Five said...

Hey Aimee
Its me again....If you want to take something to Helen when you go to her house, she loves ICE CREAM! Her Dad also brought her ice cream when he visited her and he only got to visit maybe twice a year. Cant wait to see more updates.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing all the details of your wonderful adventures. You are making me antsier than EVER to be there!!! Continue to have the trip of your life!

Julie Sexton said...

So proud of you and your worldly travels... the original intent of your adoption has led you so far away from good ole Bama. Our God is so mighty!

Nancy said...

Our kids went to Granny Boo's together way back in the day! Logan must be close to Hannah Grace's age. I am friends with Jessica - we grew up down the street from each other. I just read this blog & want you to know I will be praying for your family through this journey! Nancy Hudspeth

The Ferrill's said...

Oh Aimee I love how you love China! I am so thrilled to hear how you are soaking it all in! Your tours bring back memories of our trip to Beijing 18 mos. ago! We LOVED the silk factory...
I'm with Linda, bring us good instructions on making dumplings! Candace would love that too!
Praying for yall! Reading your updates are like reading a good book...I don't want them to end! ;)
Thanks SO much for sharing the details of your days with us! Especially the funny Carlton moments! I've only met him once, but tell him thanks for giving us all some good laughs! ;)

Tamara said...

Look out China, the Weathers have arrived!! Sounds like you are having so much fun! I am so proud of you Aimee for being so brave about the food and I can just picture you laughing when Carlton was cracking that egg and everyone came running. I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures so far and can't wait for the next blog. All the details make it feel like your right there with ya'll. You had me laughing and crying! I am so excited for ya'll...I wake up thinking about ya'll and go to sleep thinking about ya'll and praying for you.

Love you!

The Ferrill's said...

P.S. I am VERY amazed at how you are trying different food. You are more of a woman than me! I was a big fat C.H.I.C.K.E.N.!!!!!!!!

Greg and Steph said...

Hi! We just found your blog!
Praying for your safety, health, and great bonding!
Greg and Steph
dd Hannah Grace, Guizhou
awaiting Sarah Hope, Guangxi

Friends and Family said...

Hey Carlton and Aimee. I haven't checked your blog in a couple of weeks and got on tonight and much to my surprise - ya'll are in CHINA!!! I'm so excited for ya'll and am praying that things continue to go smoothly. Ya'll are an awesome family and Lily will no doubt feel your love for her the minute she meets her mommy and daddy. Love ya'll - Jay Foster Pickard

Shea said...

I wish I could be there to experience China with you. It sounds like such a beautiful, interesting place. What joy you must feel knowing how close you are to Lily. Keep the posts coming. Thinking of you and loving you lots!!

Amy said...

You just look so happy and excited I can hardly stand it! :)

kimjoystewart said...

Really weird to be looking at your photos and seeing the same places we were at just a few weeks ago. I think we even stayed in the same hotel you are in. I hope it is a little warmer for you--the Beijing temp on your blog says 52 degrees. It was 8 degrees the morning we went to the Temple of Heaven and there were still so many older people everywhere playing cards, dancing, etc. We had to cram Beijing into just 2 days because of our missed flight. I think you will enjoy having more time to see it although I know you just cannot wait to get your arms around Lily! So excited to be following your travels!

kimjoystewart said...

One more thing--you can get the exact same kinds of jade jewelry in Guangzhou for much cheaper than in the jade factory in Beijing. Just a tip I wish we had known. We bought several gifts for friends and family there and some thing to give Rachel when she gets older.