Sunday, December 24, 2006

Me and Alex on a Field trip to the local Christmas Bush, Oh I mean Tree farm. Boy was it cold that day!!!
A coulple of days later when it was 80 degrees, we got Gwynn out on the hand me down bike. How cute is she!!!
Don't they look like such good helpers decorating the tree. We are lucky they haven't knocked it down.
And last is one of the pictures that didn't make the cut for the Christmas card. If you were wondering, we didn't move. We are actually sitting on the front steps of my In Laws new house.
Here are just a few pictures from the last month. We are looking forward to a most amazing Christmas and an even more blessed New Year.
The Jamail Family

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More proof that I have the most amazing husband!!!
The Egyptian exhibit at the Met

A view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the South Sea Port
The Great Lawn in Central Park.

For the fifth anniversary of my 29th birthday my husband took me to New York. No kids, no diapers, no baby monitors and a whole lot of fun!!!

We flew out on Thursday night and spent four wonderful days exploring New York city. It was Brad's first trip and I enjoyed showing him a few places I had become familiar with while living in Queens. We saw two Broadway musicals, Chicago and Mamma Mia, and literal ate our way from battery park to the upper east side. We went to ground Zero and visited the back rooms of China town, hee hee. Our hotel was right next door to Madam Trouseau's wax museum, but we couldn't seem to fit it into our busy schedule. We did seem to fit a trip to Tiffany's in, immagine that, but little other shopping. I can't wait to see where he takes me next year!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Halloween
I hope your holiday was as fun as ours. We had a block party, a costume birthday party and then the actual Halloween night of fun. Our costumes payed for themselves this year. Alex dressed like the Hulk and would show his muscles when asked and Ethan dress up as Peter the night from Narnia. Of course our Gwynnie went as Tinker bell in a costume I slaved over for the last few months. It wasn't totally finished by the 31st, oh well, still looked cute.
This year Alex decided to be scared of just about everything Halloween. He would put his little hand up to his mouth and start chanting "too scary, too scary". We had to walk him with his eyes closed past anything the lesast bit questionable. I think he almost had a heart attack at wallmart when a halloween decoration started talking to him. Hopefully he gets over this by next year, I really missed decorating the house with all of our fun and scary decorations.
Ethan is doing great in school. He is reading like a champ and taking Tai Kwon Do lessons two days a week. He loves riding the bus and is in a wonderful science program two afternoons a week. The bad news is, at 5 1/2 he is having his adnoids removed for the third, yes I said third, time and tubes put in his ears. The doctor said we are his first patients to have adnoids grow back twice and that Ethan should have grown out of this by now. So I told him that all my children are extraordinary, hee hee.
Gwynn has officially hit the terrible two's. Everyone askes me if she is adjusting well, don't have to worry about that girl, she is over the adjustment. She is doing great, and letting me know exactly what she likes and doesn't like. She has started talking some, and is doing great with her sign language. You really can tell the difference between boys and girls. No offence boys. She is just as cute as they come and is a great helper around the house. We are really enjoying her!!!
I hope you all have a great thanksgiving.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My first Hair cut!!!
This is the before picture


She sure knows how to mug for the camera!!

She wasn't too sure of what was going on.

If it is at all possible for Gwynn to get any cuter, than she has. After her first hair cut she is adorable. We just evened up the back and cut bangs. Of course the hair dresser cut the bags just as I was uttering, no bangs please. Isn't it always what happens. But she looks too cute with her new doo. I am so happy to finally have a little girl!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day of School
Riding the bus for the first time
I couldn't help myself, you know that I am a scrapbooker at heart. Couldn't pass this photo-op up.hee hee

Here is Ethan sitting at his desk on the first day of school.

It is official, I have a big kid now. Ethan started Kindergarten on September 17th. He is so excited every day to get up and go. We even got him an alarm clock to start his day. Good thing we did because he usually wakes mom up to help him get ready. He has to catch the bus at 7:15, yuck!!!

After the first day of school when asked what the best part of his day was, he said "riding the bus". So I changed tactics and asked, "ok, at school, what was your favorite thing?" He replies "Recess". What a stinker, huh? After much prompting, I got a little information out of him. The third best thing about school was when Ethan read out loud to the class. Boy, talk about swelling with pride, I think my bra size jumped up a few. We are just so excited and proud of our big guy!!

Poor Alex is having some issues with his big brother going off to school with out him. Alex keeps asking where his bus is. I tell him when he turns 5 he will get to ride the bus too. That is when he looks at me strait in the face and says "Me five too". Now, there is no arguing with that one. I really think he believes it. We have tried to go with the pretend bus, or that mommy drives his bus, but none of that works. Right now we are just letting him stay up later so he is still sleeping when I have to walk Ethan down to the bus stop. We will see how long this drama goes on.

All in all, school has been great. It is quite a challenge juggling the three kids with totally different schedules. I am hoping that one of these days I will get the hang of it. Right now I am considering painting my truck yellow and getting a class C license, I sure feel like a bus driver!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Long awaited update to the Jamail Family Blog.
I have been having some serious technical difficulties trying to upload pictures to this blog. I had all but given up. Just for fun, I tried again tonight, and hey, it worked. Yippee!!
Below you will find pictures of our 4 week vacation to California. Two weeks of that was spent camping at Eagle Lake. The kids had a blast, as usual., swimming in the lake, taking boat rides, catching frogs and getting VERY VERY dirty!!! All if you can complain about how hot this summer was, but I have you beat, it was 117 degrees one of the days we were in Redding California. Talk about out of the frying pan and in to the fire!!! If you were wondering, we potty trained Alex while on vacation. Wherever he went, the potty went, much to my grandmothers delight, hee hee. We also took a drive through Lassen Volcanic park and played in the snow. The boys thought it was the coolest thing that they got to play on a Valcano.
I hope you enjoy the photo's and I will try harder to keep this thing updated.
Sledding down a volcano!!!
Gwennie and her friend Naia Partlow. Does it get any cuter than thoes two?
There must have been hundred of frogs out on the shores of Eagle lake. The boys would just bend down and grab them by the dozens.
Here is the cutest pig tails EVER!!!

We had a camp fire every night, Ethan would help light it. Gwynnie only stayed awake long enough to see a couple of the camp fires. Hey if you don't get to eat the some-mores, what it the point, right?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Cutest Kids!!
Ok, so I may be a little biased, just a little, but didn't our photo shoot come out great. A few weeks ago I sent Brad on a Birthday Extravaganza and I took the kids up to Dallas to visit Shelly. She hooked me up with a gift certificate and her family photographer and these were some of the best pictures we have ever taken. Brad and Shelly's husband Matt went on a total guy spree. The played golf 3 times, poker, and went on a guided fishing trip in Rockport. It will be hard to beat that birthday, so I probably wont even try, hee hee.

Shelly and I spent the weekend running around after our 5 kids. It was exhausting!! We ate most of our meals at chick-fil-a, anything to keep the kids happy and occupied. Grace had a blast with the boys and they were tuckered out every night from all the play. Let me tell you, it will be a while before we do that again!!!

Preschool just got out on Friday, and the thermomiter is topping out around 92 degrees. It sure feels like summer around here. We have about 6 weeks to fill before we head out to California for our anual camping trip at Eagle Lake. I just can't wait to get there!!! The idea of taking three kids alone on a plane is a little frightening. Brad will join us for the last week and a half we are there and fly back with us. We used frequent flyer miles to book his ticket, and that stinker is in first class. I have informed him that we will be switching seats on the way home!!! Or ELSE!!

I hope you all have a great summer!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Happy birthday Gwynn
Our baby girl turned one on Easter Sunday!!! It was a crazy weekend and all of us but Ethan were sick. The poor birthday girl even threw up her birthday cake, and don't worry, we got that on film. It was pitiful!!! Hopefully birthday #2 will be better.
We all seem to be settling in to the new family. We were really concerned that Alex and Ethan would have some adjusting to do, but that just hasn't been the case. This couldn't have been more perfect for our family. Brad and I have decided this is it, we are DONE!!!! The Jamails are a family of five, can you believe that?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

finale... More Pictures

I know that it has been a while since my last post. It hasn't been from a lack of trying. But this three kid thing is throwing me for a loop. I know, I know, you all are saying that I did this to myself, and I should have seen it coming. And I totally did, but it is different when you are living it. I wouldn't change it for the world. We are having a great time.

Gwynn is really coming around. She has a ready smile and a sweet laugh. Although she is all seriousness when you get out the camera. (You can tell from the top picture that she is in attack mode whenever the camera is in range) She is has really loosened up. My friend Virginia came over this week to take some pictures of Gwynn for her announcements and I had to laugh at what a workout Virginia got just trying to keep Gwynn in the camera lens. Ethan can really make her laugh and she is tolerating Alex at this point. We have made some breakthroughs. The other day I came out of the bathroom to find Gwynn on her back and Alex sitting on her belly bouncing up and down. I just about had a heart attach until I heard the deep belly laugh coming out of Gwynn. I did make Alex get off her, but at least they are finding common ground.

Gwynn is a great napper and has found her love of food. It just amazes Brad and I that the girl who couldn't tolerate a cheerio 6 weeks ago now will eat just about anything. Peas, pasta, pretzels, Olives and just about any table food we are eating. And the sheer amount of food she can stuff in her little belly is astounding. Now I know how her booty got so big, hee hee.

I am really enjoying picking out her clothes every morning. And as crazy as it may sound, when she messes up her outfit I get giddy just thinking I get to change her into something else. Of course we have bows to coordinate with everything and that always changes with the outfit. I bought a ton of squeaky shoes while in China. I really thought I had covered all the basis until I realized I need a size 18 in black (Chinese size) so if any of my friends currently in China are listening, could you pick me up a pair?

We took the whole family fishing tonight and had a blast. Gwynn loved just sitting in her stroller watching the action. Ethan has learned how to bait his own hook, cast, and even take the fish off the hook when he catches one. Alex has a little less patience, but loves to run around and torture the ducks. We have definitely become more into whole family activities since we brought Gwynn home. We are even considering getting a tent trailer, with an AC unit. I do have some standards. If I can't camp somewhere that is cold at night, at least I can make it cold.

That is about it for now. I have a few kids to put to bed and laundry to do, dishes, the list just goes on and on!!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Believe it or not we made it home in one piece. Thank God those customs guys didn't stop us, I think we may have been just a little bit over our allowed amount to bring back into the country.
It has been just over a week since we got Gwynnie home and we are finale back to normal. Well, normal for the Jamails. Ethan is at Nana's house and Alex has the flu. Doesn't that sound just about right? I should have known something was up when my Pediatrician kept saying our daughter from China HAD to be healthier than my home grown kids. hee hee.
The flight home was half great. Gwynn was a total trooper, she didn't cry for more than a few minutes when she was really hungry or trying to fall asleep. Brad was the perfect attentive daddy. It was me who had the problems. About 10 hours into our 20 hour trek home I started feeling nauseous, and spent the next 10 hours staring into a barf bag or shoving flight attendants and passenger's out of line for the lav's. Its was terrible. We had such a wonderful trip, but I just fell apart the last two days. When I did shove a flight attendant on my mad dash to the bathroom, she waited outside the lavatory. She just had to ask me if I was pregnant, knowing we had just adopted a baby girl. Well, I thought to myself, if this is going to get me any special favors or more sympathy I would go along with it. It worked, I had the flight attendants running interference for me and helping me find empty bathrooms when the "need " arose.
Brad kept telling me he thought we should stay over in New Jersey until I felt better. I just wanted to get home. We had a wonderful airport employee meet us in Customs and immigration with a wheel chair. She was great. I held Gwynn on my lap while Brad lugged around all of our carry on luggage and stroller. This wonder woman pushed me and the cart with our checked baggage. She took us to the front of every line and got us to our connecting flight with a ton of time to spare. I told Brad it was kind of surreal, being wheeled around with Gwynn like they wheeled me out of the hospital with the boys. Funny thing was I had felt much better after giving birth than I did after a 14 1/2 hour flight.
We finale got home at 9 pm. When we pulled into the driveway we could see the boys pressing there faces to the front window waiting for us. They were soooo excited. Alex couldn't stop kissing things, my leg, Gwynn, the wall, even his brother. Ethan was all smiles and questions, they have really fallen in love with there sister. She just fits right into the family.
Gwynn is adjusting to us very well. She is still a very serious little girl, but she knows how to loosen up. She will be sitting in the middle of the floor being totally quiet and all of a sudden out of no where she just burst out laughing, good belly laughs. Grandma was a big help the week she stayed. She took most of the night time duty and played with the boys during the day. We sure hated to see her go, and I am sure she hated to leave. My dad threatened her with divorce if she didn't come home, yea right dad, you couldn't live without her, hee hee. So now it is just the 5 of us. Anyone want to come visit???????
I am going to try to keep the blog updated with pictures and funny stories about the family. Keep checking, you never know what I might get us all into, ha!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hong Kong here we come!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, do you recongnize that beautiful castle in the background? Not one day out of Main Land China and we are really trying to Americanize our daughter. Honk Kong Disney, watch out.
Actually there is a deeper story to it, so let's get you up to speed. We left Guangzhou in a flurry on Friday morning. We ran out the night before and bought a second extra suitcase to pack all the gifts and crap we bought (hey, your folks going in March, be thankful the shops will have enough time to restock before you get there) Of course this was officially just for weight distribution so we don't get charged again, yea right. But we had to have all of our checked luggage ready to go and sitting outside our door by 9 pm the night before. I think we did a pretty good job and expect everything to make it back in one piece. We head to the airport at 5:45 a.m. and check in for Gwynnies first flight. Everything is great and we make it to Hong Kong in no time.
Here we check into the Regal Airport Hotel. Only having one day in Hong Kong we decided to make it easier on ourselves and stay at the airport, where transportation to the city is easy to find. So the bellman brings up all bazillion of our bags to our room and when I dig in my bag to find my money belt, it isn't where I thought it would be. I take his name and promise to bring a tip down later. Well.... About an hour later and after we have throughly searched every bag in the room about 10 times we conclude that the money belt is gone. Brad and I take inventory and come up with 25 American dollars and a few hundred Yuan. Uh oh..... I call the hotel back in Guangzhou and believe it or not, the money belt was found in our room and turned in. Let me tell you, I felt like a total jerk. In my usual fashion, I am ok with it until I have to call our friends the Kesters and ask for there help in getting it back. Kevin answers his hotel phone and, poor guy, has to listen to me blubber to him. Sorry man. I was just having a moment. But that still leaves us with next to no money and a whole day in Hong Kong, not the cheapest city to hang out in.
After carefully deliberation and in an attempt to raise my spirits we decide what the heck, lets go to Disney. It had just opened two weeks before and we knew they would take credit cards. We had enough money to get us to and from the park and a few snacks while we were there. We went downstairs in the hotel and caught the scariest cab ride in our lives. Poor Gwynn was just holding on to us for dear life as this crazy cab driver went about 70 miles an hour down the freeway. No car seat, not seatbelts and Brad noticed that you couldn't even open the doors from the inside. SCARY!!!!!!!!!!! But we made it and it was great!!!
Gwynn loved the parade and Brad convinced me to take her on the tea cups. Don't' worry, I spent the whole time not making it spin. She got so much attention by everybody in the park. Even some to the performers in the parade came up to her as they went by. She is just too darn cute. The park was small with very few attractions but it was beautiful and very clean. The castle seemed smaller because of the mountains behind it but they put on a spectacular fire works show over and around the castle right before the park closed.
What a great day!!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This is our last full day in Guangzhou....

Our trip is definitely winding down and all of us are ready to go home. Hotel living is great, but I am ready for my soft bed that actually has more than just a fitted sheet and a down comforter. The good thing is we have been so tired here that the bed never stopped me from sleeping, but others were not so lucky.

The above pictures were from a few days ago. We went to what is know as the 6 Banyan Temple. It is a beautiful Budist temple just tucked into a crowded and busy street. You wouldn't know the beauty inside from the curb. The carvings and budist statues were amazing, and many locals came with incense and offerings while we were there. The last photo is when we got a blessing for Gwynn by a budist monk. Brad said that he stood as far back as possible just incase the lightning struck, hee hee. I thought it was a wonderful experience and wouldn't have missed it.

Brad got the opportunity to climb the pagoda and take pictures from the top. There was no way to carry a baby up, so I was left to watch Gwynn and the stuff. When Brad came down he was hunched over and totally red in the face. I guess it was really hot and very difficult to climb down. He said I was an easy climb up but that he had to almost squat down to get through the door ways on the way down.

Gwynn has been an amazing gal. She is still very reserved when we are out in public but is all smiles and coo's when we get her back to the hotel. Yesterday I had to take a special trip to the American Consulate with our guide Michelle. I had spelled Gwynn's Chinese name wrong on one of the papers (really, I can't spell in English so what do they expect) so I had to stand in front of the consular and sign something saying I am not totally incompetent, hee hee. On the trip I got to talk to our guide a lot about China and her life. She told me that Gwynn was her favorite out of our group, I am sure she says that to everybody but, she said that she has a very classically Chinese disposition and is the standard for beauty in China. Of course I am just gushing over this and I think that Michelle just doubled her tip, but I do totally agree with her. Not only does Gwynn look Chinese but I think she will always carry more that that with her, no matter how American she gets. She is an absolutely stunning baby. I just can't wait for you all to meet her.

Ok, I keep hearing that her stats never came through so here we go again. She is 17.3 pounds, maybe more since we got her. She totally has a buda belly and her butt just keeps on going, adorable. She fits perfectly into GYMBOREE 6-12 month clothes, hint hint. She is already bow trained, and loves shoes. Good thing because I bought just about every color and size of squeaky shoes while I was here (don't worry, you can remove the squeak) She is 69 1/2 cm long and her head is 16 1/5 inches around. Otherwise know as totally perfect. Her runny nose and cough has almost gone away completely, and the rash she developed on her face is just a few little bumps now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ok, I wont keep you in suspense any more..........

Caroly Kester, Jennifer Taylor and I went to a "sauna" and got massages yesterday. We left the men at the hotel with the girls and went to check out this place Jennifer had heard of from someone. I was a little leary but the prices were great, 208 rmb for a one hour massage, that is the equivalent of about $35 US dollars. Nobody there spoke English, except one of the guys that gave us a 30 minute foot massage for $5. So, it was an interesting game of charades. We were escorted to a locker room and instructed to shower and put on these lovely blue outfits along with some disposable underwear, high fashion I must say. The attendant stayed in the room with us the whole time we were undressing and of course we were laughing our butts off. We then were taken to a big room with about 100 soft chairs and given a foot massage that we didn't ask for. After they were done the one who spoke English asked if we wanted a girl or a boy to do the Body Massage. We promptly said a very ugly girl, hee hee. We were again escorted to a group massage room and three VERY PRETTY GIRLS were waiting for us. They had hot pink terry cloth dressed on that didn't cover there butts, and they were very attractive. They didn't speak a lick of English and I am sure they were talking about us just as much as we were talking about them. At this point our suspicions were confirmed that any of us could have a "happy ending" if we had the money. Boy did those girls know how to give a good massage, worth every yuen!!! We all decided that they boys were not allowed to come back here, but that we might try to squeeze a few more foot massages into our schedule before we leave.

Sorry boys, I didn't get any pictures of the ladies, but they weren't too happy about the camera in there, hee hee.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Quing Ping Market

Yesterday we ventured out and took a walk "off island". We had to walk past the Quing Ping Spice market to get back to the shopping mall are we had been one of the first days her in Guangzhou. It was incredible. They sold bags and bags of totally unidentifiable spices and dried almost everything. We saw dried sea horses, tons of mushrooms and even a few ladies who didn't want there picture taken selling what looked like tiger paws. I was just soaking it all up. The farther down the street you got the market changes into an area where they sold fish out of clear plastic boxes with aerators and every plant and fish food there was. Then we saw birds, bunnies, guinepigs and cats. Finally we got to the puppy dogs. There was the cutest Sharpei puppy with about a million wrinkles.

Life here in China is so different it would be hard for me to try to describe it. Every building that isn't brand new is desperately in need of paint and there is laundry hanging from every window. Our guide Michel told us that the newest house hold appliance is a washing machine that you hook up to your kitchen sink. I am appreciating the easy life more and more.

Sorry for the quick post and we were having some technical difficulties yesterday and couldn't get on the blog. I will try to get some more pictures from the 6 banyan temple that we went to today. But alas, my Chinese massage is calling, so I must go.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Orphanage visit today

Today was a very emotional day for me. We loaded up in a van and drove the three hours south west to get to Yang Jiang city. We pulled to the side of the road where we met up with the high heal wearing, scooter driving director of our orphanage. We had seen her at both the gotcha day and also the day after when we finalized our adoption at the civil affairs office. It was totally different seeing her in the city. When I say city, I mean it. It was a big town. Everybody was on scooters and there were a ton of tall buildings. Not at all what I expected. You could see where there were very wealthy neighborhoods and where it was downtrodden in the neighborhood where the orphanage was.

We followed the director to the Social Welfare Institute, called this because it is also a home for the elderly, not just children. We were told before we left that we wouldn’t be let into the building. We were able to walk past the building into the back. There was a set of stairs that was over hung with bougainvillea. We ended up in a big stone patio area. It had a basketball court and a cement gazebo type structure. When we walked up the stairs we could hear babies crying and see some of the older residence sitting just inside the gate. When we got to the patio, we could see a few nannies and babies from the bared windows on the forth floor. A woman I met on the yahoo group for our orphanage had asked me to get pictures for her of her daughter she is waiting to pick up. I asked the director if we could see her and a nanny brought her out. The nanny held Gywnn while we held her baby and took pictures. I ended up taking Gwynn back from the nanny and she left, only to find out that she was Gwynn’s care taker. I didn’t even get to say thank you to her, but I did get some photos of her when she was holding the other baby.

After about 15 minutes it was time to see the finding spots for all of the girls. Most of the babies were found just steps from the door of the orphanage and one was even found at the steps of the orphanage just two doors down the street. Gwynn’s finding spot was a little further away. We walked down the side road that the orphanage was on and had to cross the very busy main road that ran through town. My life flashed befor my eyes as we played the ultimate game of Frogger!!!! Horns were blasting, scooters were racing by. At one point I was stuck in the middle of the street squeezing my eyes closed praying just to see myself on the other side of the road.. They pointed out a white pole in the middle of the street right outside a beauty shop. I totally lost it. I couldn’t help myself and the director had to look away so she wouldn’t cry. I have tears welling up in my eyes just writing about it.

Some people say that they throw there babies away her in China, but it is so much more complicated than that. Gwynn’s mom wrapped her in a towel, in the early hours of the morning put her three day old baby where she knew that she would be found. I can only imagine the tears I shed today were nothing like the ones she has cried for her baby!!!

We went to the last finding place of my friend Carolyn’s baby. They had told her that her daughter was found in the Martyr’s cemetery. She was quite relieved to see that it was more of a shrine, not actually were they burry people. And they have a market in the cemetery.

We made huge scene while we were walking around. In a gate of a house two little girls came running out to see us and seemed almost scared out of there wits. Most people looked at us with confusion, and some didn’t look all that happy to see us Americans with there babies. Most they just looked at us, slacked jawed and curious. One man on a scooter actually stopped while driving by to hold Gwynn’s hand and smile at her. I don’t think many westerners come to there town.

We were treated to lunch by the Orphanage director and had a wonderful real Chinese meal. I got to sit next to the director and ask her questions through our guide. She told me Gwynn was a HUGE baby when she was brought in, almost 9 pounds at 3 days old. Also that she was very sweet and always a good baby. She knew the little things about every girl and it was obvious that she loved them all, and they were very well taken care of. She said that there were 40 babies at the orphanage and 30 nannies. Most girls had there own caretaker. It is no wonder that all these girls are so healthy and right on track developmentally. I can’t explain to you how lucky we are.

We wrapped up the day with the three hour bus ride home, along with a stop at a local store so the bus driver could buy a knife. The area is known for producing quality knives. Given the opportunity to shop, we all jumped off the bus and ran in. I grabbed what I hope to be good sewing scissors; we will see when I get home. (Don’t worry mom, I got a pair for you)

We left at 9 am this morning and returned at 6:30 pm. We are starving and I am emotionally drained. Our take out just arrived and I am ready for this day to be over. It was an amazing experience. Not at all what I thought it would be. I wouldn’t change a minute of this day, and I hope to remember them all.