Cleanapalooza 2013

48 hours from now, we’ll be in the homestretch of our flight to Beijing. Wow, we’re almost there! Suitcases are out, lists have been made, and clothing is being packed.

Today, I embarked on a cleaning tornado to whip the house into some sense of order before we leave. I won’t tell you how many vacuum canisters of cat hair I dumped, but I think that I might have enough for something here. Just kidding! Although I still have a bit to wrap up tomorrow, I promised myself a little quiet time before the craziness begins.

In packing-land, I’ve managed to organize our suitcases using really large ziplock bags.  Since our entire time in Beijing will be pre-Alexander, I wanted a way to differentiate between our stuff and his gear without totally wrecking each suitcase. We’ve accepted the fact that we’ll have laundry done at some point (which I’ve never done before when traveling), but I also packed some travel packets of handwash detergent for small things. We made our umpteenth trip to Target in the last 5 days. I think the cashiers are starting to recognize us…

I met with our neighbors today who will assume “Cat Command” while we’re gone, and Brian dropped off car keys with our good friends for our eventual pickup on July 4th.

The long, long list of things to accomplish is getting shorter. The end is in sight!





A little update

Not too much to report, but we did get the official word that our paperwork arrived at the American Consulate last week and will be ready for pickup (exactly 10 business days later) on May 9th. Then it’s couriered to the Chinese government for our official Travel Approval. We also have our final travel meeting on Monday night with our social worker to complete our visa paperwork and talk about the various interviews we get to have with various levels of the Chinese government once we’re in-country.

Our guest bedroom is now starting to become a dropping-zone for our China gear, which we’re slowly learning how to use. The Burns family most kindly allowed us to use their son/our Godson to test out our baby carrier– success! Hunter, we hope our ineptitude didn’t scar you too much! (They say little kids bounce back quickly, right??) To add to the gear insanity, our good friends/neighbors across the street handed down many, many things to us just last weekend. We don’t know exactly where Alexander will be developmentally, but we do know that we have most, if not all, of the gear we’ll need when we get home.

The kindness, love, and generosity of our family and friends is such a blessing!


April showers bring… baby clothes?

Things are getting real.

We are now at the point in our paperchase where we don’t really have to do any more “work.” After checking in with my newest friend, the National Visa Center, we got word that Alexander’s application and our petition has been logged in and will be cabled to Guangzhou within the next two business days. (For those who need a map– our little man’s application was mailed to Texas, where it was forwarded to Missouri to the National Benefits Center, then forwarded on to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire (?), and will finally land at the American Embassy in China.) We’re incredibly grateful that with only one minor hiccup, our paperwork is still all together and headed onward. From this point, our agency and the American and Chinese Consulates take over– the end product being a formal letter to us inviting us to travel to China within a specific 90 day window (called a TA- or travel approval). So now, we just have to sit back, relax… and pace our home in anxious anticipation of our big adventure.

Back at Casa Kelly, Alexander’s room is beginning to fill with baby gear and clothing, almost all of which is the result of our generous family and friends. Brian’s sisters, neither of whom live in Chicagoland, hosted a baby shower in honor of Alexander last weekend at the home of one of Brian’s cousins. Family and friends drove and flew in for the occasion, and we were truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for the little man waiting for us in Shanxi Province.  We can’t wait to share with him the stories behind all of the thoughtful and handmade gifts he’ll be surrounded by once he comes home.

I thought about posting a photo of my first attempt to wear our new soft baby carrier (compliments of my good friend Teresa), but it was just too embarrassing. I tried strapping in a stuffed polar bear unsuccessfully. I think Brian and I have several hours of reading instructions ahead of us before we attempt with a human!



We’ll want a video camera, right?

Electronics, huh? You’d think I have a one-track mind. You’d be pretty close to right.

So, we’ll be in China for almost three weeks. The point being that we’ll have a cultural experience of China that we’ll share with our child. God willing, we’ll be able to return as a family when our child is old enough to think that we’re lame parents.

We’ll be tourists as well as new parents. Both tourists and new parents need a video camera, right? I’ve been thinking about investing in a nice digital camera that also does a good job of doing video. Add a big SD card, and we’re all set.

Has anyone out there done this kind of thing? I just figure that with the level of technology in high-end digital cameras these days, what’s the point in having a video camera, and a separate still camera? All digitals take video of course. The fewer gadgets we’re hauling around, the better.

The question is whether to get a video camera, or to just upgrade to nicer digital still camera that takes great video as well. Thoughts, gadgets geeks?