Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Night out on the town

We wanted to show you all the beautiful pictures from our night out to dinner on the pedestrian mall close to our hotel the other night. The lights are great and festive!

Our day at the zoo and art gallery

Here is Ava starting the day off at breakfast yesterday. She is very independent and likes to feed herself with about three utensils at a time.
After breakfast, we went with the group to the local zoo/park. It made me quite proud of the Sacramento Zoo! We did however see Pandas and a few Tigers. The joy was, of course, watching Ava look at the animals with such intent.

We also went to a local art gallery and had a chinese painting on rice paper made of Ava's Chinese name (Jiang, Mei Yu) made. It was a full day. We ended up at a place called "Hot Pot" for a late lunch. It was a Chinese version of our Melting Pot fondue restaurant, without chocolate course at the end.

Here are a few shots of Ava. She is precious and very much alive! You can see that she liked riding on our shoulders. Will my hair ever look good again??? You know, both my curling iron and flat iron went out here in China.

Love to you from China,

Jim, Michelle & Ava

Monday, February 26, 2007

More Ava

Of course, we want to show you all more pictures of Ava.

We're trying to capture her firsts with us! Here's her first morning after waking up and a bottle in her Minnie Mouse pajamas. Also, here she is after her first morning bath (which she didn't like too much - I stood in the tub to move my feet and splash a little so she'd be happier!). She did love Jim brushing her hair after the bath AND she loved the little red shoes and outfit that we put on her. Her face lit up when Jim showed her the shoes! He said she is a true girl - loves the sparkly pretty things already.

Also, here are pictures from her first trip to the River (Yangtze) and on the bus to Walmart (yes, we went to Walmart as a group to buy stuff we'd need. The Walmart is a bit different and two floors, but still very much Walmart! It is a cross between ours in the states and a super market in Mexico that we went to in the Mayan Riviera).

Thanks for the e-mails and prayers. It so wonderful to know that our family and friends are so excited along with us. We are so glad that you all love her already!

Love to you,

Ava's Mommy and Daddy

We have Ava!!!!!

Today was the day. Our girl is with us. Words cannot express our emotions and true joy.

I spotted Ava as soon as we walked down the stairs (with our group) going into the Civil Affairs Office to pick up our babies. She was twirling and dancing around with two pigtails in her hair. No one had to point her out to me - I knew it was her. I started crying and crying with joy and amazement. She was the center of attention for the entire time we were at the Civil Affairs Office. She has such a magnetic personality - we're amazed at God's goodness and grace. She is perfect for us. Jim had her laughing while we were hanging out there at the office. She was the only baby laughing. You all know how much we like to laugh in our family!

Here are a few of her pictures. She truly is amazing - I'm not just saying that. One of the ladies in our group at dinner tonight said that if there is a "Miss Congeniality Award" for the group, Ava gets it.

Without further due - here's our girl, Ava Lu!!!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

We're in China

We're now in Guangzhou where time with our adoption agency begins tomorrow! We left SFO on Wed, Feb. 21 and were in Hong Kong for a few days. Our hotel in Hong Kong was fabulous - they upgraded us to a suite for free. It was great to see Hong Kong and it was exactly as we pictured - lots of people, TALL buildings, neon lights and shopping galore. We took the tram up to Victoria Peak (you'll see in the pictures) over on Hong Kong Island. What an amazing view of Hong Kong and Kowloon.

Phillip from our agency's China Team met us at the Guangzhou train station (we took the train over from Hong Kong) and had the hotel bus there ready to take all of our luggage - YAY.

Here are a few pictures from our first few days. They are not nearly as exciting as our photos to come on Monday and Tuesday but I wanted to test out loading photos onto Judy's laptop (thanks, Judy, for letting us borrow your laptop for the trip!) and posting them on the blog.

Please keep praying for us for continued health and blessing while we're in China.

Love to you,
Jim and Michelle

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tea Party Celebration

Oh my, the celebrations and outpouring continues. Today, my dear workmates held a wonderful tea party shower for us (at Kim's beautiful house). All of the planning, food and hostessing put forth for such a special party - wow! We had such a nice time toasting tea to Ava Lu. I even received Ava Lu's very first play tea set, gardening set, barbie doll, teddy bear, chinese outfit and pea coat - so amazingly cute. When I got home, Jim enjoyed seeing all the gifts as I carefully re-opened and displayed each one.

"Thank you" just doesn't seem like I'm saying enough. Our hearts are full with gratitude for the generosity of all the gifts but mostly for the amazing spirit of celebration that is taking place around us in anticipation of meeting our sweet baby girl. I truly am blessed to work with very special people.

With such appreciation - Michelle

Travel Dates!!!!

We received our travel dates a few weeks back. Below is our travel timeline. It's hard to believe our time to get Ava Lu is just around the corner. When will it set in that this is really happening????

Feb. 21 - SFO to Hong Kong
Feb. 22-24 - in Hong Kong
Feb. 24 - train to Guangzhou and arrive at our hotel
Feb. 25 - meet with our agency travel group at the hotel
Feb. 26 - fly to Chongqing & get Ava Lu!!!!
Feb. 26-Mar. 3 - in Chongqing
Mar. 3 - fly back to Guangzhou
Mar. 3-9 - in Guangzhou, finalize paperwork and receive consoluate approval
Mar. 9 - train back to Hong Kong and stay the night
Mar. 10 - Hong Kong to SFO

We appreciate all of the prayers for our safe and amazing journey to China to get Ava Lu. We'll do our best to update our blog while we're there so you can see new pictures of our baby girl.

Thank you for your continued support, love and prayers - we are amazed at the outpouring of encouragement.

Jim and Michelle

Sunday, February 11, 2007

In fullness of time

Yesterday was the most extraordinary day. My dear friend Melinda hosted the most beautiful shower for me. The theme was In the Fullness of Time. What an honor to celebrate God's fullness of time and to receive amazing gifts for Ava Lu.

The food, decor and company was perfection - truly! I was speechless at the end of opening the very generous, beautiful gifts. Jim and I continue to be amazed at how all of our friends and family have already fallen in love with Ava Lu. We never imagined such celebration and joy. Below are some of the pictures from the day.

Thank you so much to my amazing friends and family for showering us with such blessings of love. We are humbled and amazed that God would give us such fullness with you sharing our joy.