25 March 2008

And OH MY GOSH PEOPLE WE'VE GOT FULL ON HEAD SHOTS!! Is she not SO precious??? And LOOK at Piper's HUGE smile?! That says happy sister to me! Enjoy the photos (and scroll down for the red couch pics!)

And now, without further ado, I give you Paisley in Purple on The Red Couch!! ~ Kris (who is saying: FINALLY, pics at last)!!

24 March 2008

three small tones...

and voila...

poop & pee on the toilet!

I wouldnt have believed it unless I saw it but we were
told Paisley was potty trained...and today we tried
it...ba ba mmmm...

she pooped and peed on the potty...amazing!

not just amazing but Paisley was infinitely happy
about it! Apparently certain Chinese people start
potty training at 15 days old...looks like Paisley
will be following suit with Piper and will be pooping
and peeing on the potty before too long! Mike is
joyously happy about the prospect of less diapers,
particularly of the poopy persuasion!

funny huh!

Mummy & Me Day

Well, today is going better than expected. Piper
seemed okay with the idea that we would be spending
Mummy & me time together while Daddy & Paisley went on
the tour to the Buddhist temple for a blessing.

We started off the morning with a coffee and a pastry
at Starbucks and ran into a nice family from Chicago
with a three year old girl, they were in Guangzhou
after adopting their son earlier this week from
another province. Piper and their daughter had a
blast running and playing in the Starbucks courtyard,
while I chatted with the couple..turns out the Dad is
from the UK so we had a quite a bit in common!

After coffee, we strolled the avenues on Shaiman
Island and bought a silver bracelet for Paisley, the
same one Piper has from the 'Charity Shop' here! I
love these little bracelets, they have little silver
jingle bells on them. Paisley's says Happy & Healthy
in Chinese. We have done very little shopping, a few
pairs of squeaky shoes and a chinese outfit each for
the red couch photo and thats it.

After a few photos we headed to the playground where
Piper played alongside a bunch of children, the
language barrier clearly didn't interfere with the
international language of 'play'...thoroughly dirty
and exhausted we headed to 'Lucy's' for a grilled
cheese and something to drink...we scored a table with
a good view of the park where we watched a special
dance performance. After lunch we headed back to the
hotel for a nap....HOORAY! Piper finally took a
decent nap, her first in over a week! When Mike
arrived back with Paisley we did the old
switcho-chango and I took Paisley so she could have a
nap and Mike took Piper back to Lucy's so he could
have some lunch and she could have an ice cream!

Later this afternoon we have Paisley's medical
exam...it's a bit bogus actually, but I guess it's
part of the process so we gladly oblige. Tomorrow our
paperwork goes to the US Embassy/Consulate for
Paisleys VISA....then on Wednesday we go to the Oath
Ceremony. Thursday...we start our journey home.

Pictures to follow!

(Just received this update - as soon as those pics come, I will upload them! Kris)

23 March 2008

Good Morning Guangzhou!

Well, it's Sunday night and we arrived in Guangzhou
yesterday afternoon after a hellish flight from
Nanchang! To be honest with you we were relieved to
be back on Shaiman Island, I know it's not the
international adventure we had hoped for, but the
comfort and security of the familiar was indeed a

CCAI's Guangzhou guides met us at the airport, and I
have to say, seeing Jason's smiling face was the best
welcome we could have hoped for! Jason(our guide in
2005) and Kathy(his co-guide)are just wonderful!! We
adore them!

Paisley has finally started to drop her guard, she is
eating and drinking at about 65-70% right now, a vast
improvement from just a few days ago. She sneaks a
smile out here and there, and is slowly becoming
adjusted to being in such a stimulating environment.
We think the first week was like going from mono AM
radio to Dolby 7.1 THX surround sound!! So much

Our biggest struggle however is not Paisley, the shift
has been quite dramatic in the last few days as Piper
battles with her demons...she is rebelling against her
parents and the world with a passion! Both her
withered parents are at our wits end...so tomorrow,
instead of going on the city tour to the Chen family
museum and the Buddhist temple for a blessing Mummy &
Piper will stay on the Island and let Daddy take
Paisley for the day. I think it's time for an
extended nap and a run around on the playground for
Piper. We hope this transition will become easier as
time passes, but in the meantime...pray for us and
send holy water!!!(just enough energy left to crack a

We are so tired we can barely function, but we have
had wonderful support from our guides and a few of our
fellow travelers. We are really enjoying spending
time with several of the couples in our travel group.

Today we took the famous photo on the RED COUCH,
thirteen of the most beautiful babies you have ever
laid eyes on!! They did surprisingly well, and the
photos turned out great!

But..do you want to know the very very best thing of
all about being on Shaiman Island?...STARBUCKS! They
built a freaking Starbucks on the Island and we are
not just happy but ECSTATIC about it! Forget squeaky
shoes and souvenirs, I'm talking caramel macchiatos
baby!! Hallelujah!!

By the way...I did pick up just a couple of pairs of
squeaky shoes...Paisley is nowhere near walking but
they are just too darn cute to pass up! Piper even
scored a pair!

We don't have too much more to get, just a couple of
peasant paintings for Paisley's bedroom..this time we
are just too exhausted to do much more than survive!

Tomorrow we have Paisleys medical exam...that'll be a
hoot I'm sure. It's not really what I'd describe as
a 'real' physical, it's more of a...how do you say
'for show' medical...a legal thing. They'll weigh
Paisley, measure her, do a hearing test(shake rattle
in front of her to see if she flinches)...etc.
fun times...good times.

We leave Guangzhou on Thursday afternoon, fly to Hong
Kong and leave for San Fransisco late in the
evening...we'll be home on the 28th...to be honest, I
cannot wait.

Pictures are coming, promise!

21 March 2008

I completely fubbed and forgot to post these for Hayley earlier in the week- before Paisley was "official"... these were taken in Hong Kong. Again, sorry for the size but they were sent to me small. You get the picture though.

And in Hayley's words:

just a cute pic of Piper...she learnt how to wink!
She thinks she looks like a Pirate!

She also wrote her full name for the first time by
herself this week.

Such accomplishments for someone who is getting over a
bad case of the germies!



Paisley finally took a bottle and some food yesterday,
and the 7.1 Dolby surround sound THX screaming
subsided...we managed to get a few smiles and a couple
of small laughs(thanks to big sister Piper)...Paisley
is quite timid and very sensitive, so it's taken
almost five days to get to this point.

Paisley is an amazing little girl, so resilient!

We would like to post more, but time is so so
precious. Here are a few pictures of the past few days.

Piper has a new friend, another family has a 4.5 year
old 'JJ', she and Piper are equally cute, and
doubly as naughty together! It has been a lot of fun
to watching them! Not only have we gained a
beautiful daughter on this trip, but Piper has firmly
ensconced herself as a surrogate grand-daughter to
JJ's Grandparents, who are absolutely amazing!!

We visited the park a couple of days ago and had a
lovely time!

(Sorry guys about the size of Paisley's photo,
this time it was sent to me very small so
upsizing only made it very blurry)-

19 March 2008

Finally! I got the pic to normal size!!
(to see it in groovy b&w scroll down).

Enjoy Paisley's cute mug, in the
arms of her new family :O)

*and yes, double click on the photo to see it big*
(thanks Patricia!)

18 March 2008

Monday was the offical 'adoption day' for Paisley! We
were up bright and early, but not quite early enough
to grab breakfast! It clearly takes us a lot longer
to get ready in the morning!! Go figure!

We hopped on the bus, and headed off through crazy
Nanchang traffic to three different places...the
registry office, the passport office and the notary
office! At the Registry office Paisley officially
became ours, a Hoppe at last! We also got to meet the
Orphanage Director at that time, and delivered to her
the $600 worth of Robeez shoes that Robeez donated to
the Orphanage at our request! The Director was very
pleased to have some soft safe shoes for the children.

In the afternoon we hopped back on the bus for a trip
to Walmart! Mike broke his boycott for this one...a
true experience! We were able to pick up diapers,
formula and snacks for the next few days. It was hot
as all get out and we were all happy to be back on the
bus and back to the hotel!

Paisley is still very sad, and spends a good part of
the day alternating between screaming and crying! We
managed a small smile and some babbling last night,
but it has yet to happen again since then! We know
how traumatic this is for her so we are giving her
space and time to get to know us.

Mike is the perfect doting Daddy, Paisley completely
freaks out when he leaves the room, I think we have
another Daddy's girl on our hands!

More to follow...

and then there were four

It's been a whirlwind...we arrived in Nanchang, had our CCAI meeting and 15 minutes to get prepared before it was time to meet Paisley! We arrived downstairs five minutes before we were supposed to meet and guess who we saw in the hallway!! Paisley was with the Orphanage Director waiting for her new family to arrive! We were ushered in the meeting room and 10 seconds later we became a family of FOUR! It all happened so suddenly we barely had time to get any photos! Piper was so excited to meet Paisley, Paisley...um not so much excited to meet us! We also found out at the CCAI pre-gotcha meeting that Paisley had been in foster care within the SWI since December, I wish we'd known earlier, but this is a good thing, it means she had plenty of attention and love from her foster Mother. It has been a crazy two days, last night we were able to get a small smile and some babbling from our sweet-pea, no small feat I assure you, we have had a lot of tears, a lot of grief...but we hope, as the next few days pass, we will see our little bud start to bloom.

She's HERE!!!!! Hayley sent an email with her post but I am running so late for work- just didn't want to leave any of you hanging any longer- I will attach more photos and HER text as soon as I get home tonight!!

They received her on the 16th :O)

Congratulations Hayley, Mike, and NEW BIG SIS PIPER!! Isn't Paisely adorable?? Sorry about the picture size, I don't know why they are coming to me so small!!


16 March 2008

I'm making the assumption that Hayley and family made it to Paisley today (or now yesterday for them) since I didn't receive any word from Hong Kong- she's been emailing everyday until today, so hopefully this is really good news! I've no idea what kind of internet they'll have access to in Nanchang so be patient as we wait to hear from them, and keep sending your prayers and good wishes their way! Piper was feeling better but still fighting this bad flu, and I'm guessing they're holding daughter number 2 and are pretty exhausted :O)


14 March 2008

boo hoo flu

Piper is feeling a little better, her temp is in the normal range. We have to keep it there for 24 hours to assure us she is no longer contagious. The doctor here is amazing, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as Canada's, Britain's and Hong Kong's, his credentials are from Yale,Cambridge and NYU! The medications seem to be helping signifigantly...thanks for all your prayers and well wishes. Hoping for travel tomorrow, staying in the hotel for the rest of the day.

Piper has the flu...yep, the real thing, and it's a doosey! Hong Kong has a huge epidemic of flu right now, so serious in fact that they have closed all elementary schools as of today and have a 100,000,000HKD plan for innoculations against the very flu that Piper has. Five children have died from this particular strain. Today she spiked a 104.2 fever and we took her to a doctor who then sent us to the Hospital for special medications..we hope she is well enough to travel on Sunday...Paisley day, if not...we will have to postpone and travel a few days later.

Please keep Piper in your thoughts, she is completely miserable.

read more here

13 March 2008

We love food!

It's a fact! The Hoppes are foodies of the highest
order! Mike is ALWAYS on the scent of a good place to
eat, from corner dives to fancy shmancey Italian
eateries with killer views and food to match. We
stumbled upon 'Spasso' in Harbor City, and before you
knew it we were seated on the terrace overlooking the
harbor and inhaling carpaccio and artichoke &
proscuitto pizza like movie stars...Mike downed a
mojito while Piper & I saved our calories for the
decadent desert, a scoop of Italy's finest strawberry
gelato for Piper and the best cappacino creme brulee
for moi! prego! It definitely was a splurge, but we
had a fabulous time...Piper had the right shades for
the occasion! Just the atmosphere was worth the
experience! The walk home was lovely, we took in the
sights and walked off some of that wonderful Italian
food! Piper also decided 'tapenade' is her new
favorite snack...I told her it was made of 'Olives'
and her face fell...I had to quickly explain that our
dog Olive was in good hands, and that tapenade is made
from 'Olives' that grow on trees...not of the canine
variety! Kids!

Despite poor Piper getting ill with fever, they've managed to pull off having a blast in Hong Kong- read below, from Hayley herself:

On Tuesday Mike headed to Shenzen Special Economic Zone (yes, thats what it's called!) for work. Piper & I headed over to the Hong Kong side of the Island for a day at Ocean Park, Hong Kong's answer to Sea World/crazy carnival-land!

Piper had a blast, it was fun...until we took a ride on what I call the 'gondolas of death' !!...I'm not awesome with heights, and the map was a wee bit deceptive...lets just say I faked it 'til we made it!

We missed the dolphin show but got to see the Pandas up close and personal...they were awesome, HUGE! They spent the entire time munching on bamboo shoots...as they do. My only complaint is that there was no natural light in the enclosure, I don't know why?? Seems sad.
You know what Piper liked the most...her Nemo balloon!...at a cost of a whopping $10 USD she'd better like it!!

The most fun part about the park for me was the Ferry trip across the harbor...at a mere 40c for a ticket it was the best value all day! Piper has dubbed the Star Ferry "Ferry Godmother Boat".

Later that day the bus dropped us off at a completely
different location than where we'd been picked up...hmmm, so that led to our first 'taxi ride'..again a thrilling experience to Piper! We met up with Mike for a late dinner...and headed to the hotel for some much needed rest... more to come :O)

Okay, I just received 3 emails from Hayley with updates, after a brief illness (suffered by Piper) they are having a BLAST!! I will update tonight when I get home with her text and all the photos!! As you can see she posted some on her own, but she sais it's tough to do from China...
Stay tuned :O)

Cheap thrills
We'd just arrived in HK and hopped on the airport bus to our hotel. Piper thought the bus ride was awesome..including the fact there were no seatbelts! She 'drove' the bus all the way to the hotel, convinced that there wasn't a 'Driver'(cars are right hand drive here!)

Three things you do when you arrive in Hong Kong...

1.take a picture of a billboard because it sounds funny...

2. Feed the monster a croissant and a 'fluffy'...

3. Let the kid carry her own crap...uh, I mean belongings!

midnight flight out of San Fransisco...if you can fly singapore air I highly recommend it, even in Coach they treat you like rockstars!

photo rewind....Day 1

leaving Minneapolis...lots of luggage!

12 March 2008

Bippety Boppitty Boo!

I promise pictures will be coming! We just havent had time to download them! I'll be sending them to Kris the Blogmaster and she will post them for us!

Let's just say...Disneyland Hong Kong is great for a three year old! We arrived to our hotel in the late afternoon last night and let me tell you, this is a great spot for a few days! Piper is just over the moon...we took a bus to the park at 6pm and walked Main Street and visited Fantasyland, Sleeping Beauty's castle, rode the teacups, and the Cinderella carousel! Mike got Piper a pair of Minnie Mouse ears and we stayed until the fireworks show...which was brilliant! Piper is so excited, we cant wait to get back there today for more fun!

This morning Miss P woke with a 102.5 temp...not good, we are treating her with triaminic and tylenol and hoping for the best! Luckily we are so close to the park that we can do it in shorter increments...taking rests throughout the day.

11 March 2008

Greetings from Hong Kong!

good morning everyone! It's early here...and our third day in this wonderful city. Our flights went really well, the NWA from MSP-SFO was a nightmare, leaving two and a half hours late and getting us to SFO with just an hour to spare before our big flight! What a difference an airline makes...if you are ever doing this trip...TRY to fly Singapore Air, they are just amazing! The attendants knew Piper's name, and treated her like a rockstar the entire flight, they were so wonderful to everyone, and made the 14 hours very pleasant despite the fact that it was FOURTEEN HOURS!

We arrived in HK early, stopped for a coffee at the airport and took the hotel shuttle to our hotel in Kowloon (Tsim Tsa Tsui)...we just love this area, we spent two days here on our last trip. Day one we just hung out, walked around and visited the Mega Shopping plaza that could quite honestly put Beverly Hills and Fifth Avenue to shame! Piper was a bundle of energy and seems to attract attention wherever she goes.

Day two, Tuesday...Mike headed off early for a day in Shenzen for work...Piper & I took the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong proper and caught a bus to 'Ocean Park'...let me tell you...it was quite an adventure, a cross between Seaworld and a crazy carnival! We took the 'cable car' gondola up to the top tier of the park...it was quite 'deceptive' on the map...it looked like a cakewalk...but once we reached the top we realized that the 'route' was far more treacherous and elevated than even I thought! Not being a lover of heights and hanging 800 feet above a ragged cliff and the South China Sea isn't exactly what I'd plan for a fun day out...but I braved it and Piper loved every minute! We managed to visit the Pandas at the park, and Piper got up close and personal(well as close as 5" of glass will let you get!) with one of the Pandas as he munched on bamboo sprouts! She was stoked!

After the park, and the purchase of a $10US Nemo balloon we headed back to the ferry...(or as Piper has dubbed it, the Ferry godmother boat)...but as fate had it, our bus dropped us in a completely different location than where we got the bus earlier in the day...awesome! so we took our first taxi ride back to the Ferry! for a massive $4US Piper & I got a great Ferry ride across the water and back to the hotel!

Mike rolled in around 8pm and we headed to one of the waterfront restaurants for dinner, Guinness & a generous helping of some of the best fish & chips we've had since New Zealand and followed up by Starbucks...honestly you couldn't ask for a better day!

Today we pack up and move to the Disney Hotel..woohoo!

09 March 2008

Just wanted to update everyone to let you know that Hayley, Mike, and Piper are currently in flight to Hong Kong! They will arrive at 0650 AM on March 10 (which for us means this evening). Keep them in your thoughts as I'm sure the long flight, with rambunctious toddler in tow, is trying enough.

I'm betting they opted not to eat the airplane food- but that main dish doesn't look half bad, eh?
At any rate, I am as anxious as all of you to hear from them and will post as soon as I do!


*photos courtesy of google images*

07 March 2008

Not quite but nearly...


I'm so sad that we didnt have time to really finish the nursery before Paisley comes home...it was the same for poor old Piper...we'd barely moved into this house when we had to travel to China to get her! I'm not very good with my new lens either, I'm thinking I need image stabilization, oh...bummer. I need to slow down and not rush around so much, maybe I'll take the users manual on the plane and fiddle with the camera while we fly?? I just havent had an opportunity to take any photos lately, and I'd better get the hang of this fast or all Paisley's photos will be blurry! (click on the top photo and you'll see the clouds)

Here's Paisley's crib...complete with 'woolly' her NZ sheepskin! Piper loved heres and slept like a charm on it. It's safe...in fact most kiwis babies have these past 6 months!

I also have NO photoshop set up on this computer(because of the recent switch to a new computer thanks to Dell and our last one spewing carbon dust throughout our office!), so I cant play with my blurry pictures at all. I feel like a photgraphic failure right now...I hang my head in shame!

I took Piper's name down from the wall and will either put up Paisleys name or some China pictures in frames...we also have a nice mirror from our neighbor Kristine, which I will paint when we get back and hang it above the dresser/changing area. It's coming together...albeit slow! At least we have diapers!

I can't believe we leave tomorrow!

~Shabby Chic'd~

very Fancy Nancy!

Finally, after months and months and months Piper is in her extremely very 'Fancy Nancy" big girl bedroom! It was no easy task to get her room ready...we had to paint the room pale pink, and as it was our office prior to the transformation and 'burlap' colored this required quite a bit of prep work...but it's done, the curtains are finally hung and the bed is put together. We still have to hang some pictures, and get a lampshade and a few other bits and pieces, but here is the 'almost' final product! Piper just LOVES her new big girl bed and does extremely well in it at night, we haven't had any falling out, or bouncing injuries as yet, and she is so proud of all her 'pillows'....Piper can now sleep with all her toys and have room to spare! Of course, bedtime isn't really complete without a Hippopotomus to share the covers with!

Hi Hayley, Mike, Piper and Paisley- the best to you on your journey to China to bring Paisley home! My love and prayers follow you there and back again... and to all of you who have followed along, Hayley has asked me to post for her so that you too can follow them to China, and I must say I feel incredibly honored to have been asked! I think I speak for everyone when I say we can't wait to see Paisley with her mum, dad, and new big sis! XOXOXOXO

Kris, The Boob, and Gambit too

04 March 2008

new computer issues
downloaded a bunch of pics from my CF card, deleted them off the card...and now I cannot find them in my files. bummer.

Ta Da!

02 March 2008

I feel a change a comin'...
new look, new name, new url address...keep watching...I will leave this site up with a link to our new blog, hopefully it will be ready before we leave...
I decided on a different name...not the most popular, but it seemed perfect for our family, and our girls...