It’s Lisa today. I have been on Charlie for the past two weeks to “wind up” our blog trip but it’s been quite the whirlwind since we have been home. It’s hard to believe that we were just in Shanghai two weeks ago – climbing the Oriental Pearl Tower, finding Asian fish at the Ocean Aquarium and eating our last western meal in Shanghai at TGI Fridays!!
In just the past two short weeks: the kids finished up their last week of school and Ryan visited Ashley’s Kindergarten class and had a blast; Dylan managed to contract poison oak or ivy in his eye area; we had a Goddard School friends party rendezvous, our laundry has increased immensely, I went back to work , we had a social worker follow-up visit, Charlie got Ryan enrolled in Kindergarten for the Fall, and Ryan saw the pediatrician, dentist, and opthamologist who confirmed that he needs oral surgery on his teeth, that he has some kind of parasite infection from China now being treated with high dose antibiotics, and that he will be having two cataract surgeries in July!!
One a positive note, Ryan is healthy as a horse and a whopping 45 lbs and 43 inches tall. His eye surgeries will be done 1 eye at a time at CHOP to make sure that there are no issues in one eye before doing another eye. We have one of the best pediatric cataract surgeons so we are very excited to find out what Ryan will ultimately be able to see; no one will know for sure until both of the surgeries are done and his eyes are healed. Then he will wear bifocals for life. They will actually be implanting plastic discs in his eyes to take the place of the cataracts that are being removed. Then, we will probably wait until the Fall to have the additional (2?) surgeries performed to fix the strabismus in both of his eyes.
Unfortunately, during the weeks of surgeries, he will not be able to swim at all. Ashley said that I could just put him at the poolside with an ipad and he would be all set for the day watching 20 repeats of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Dora TV shows (which he LOVES). As Ryan is a swimming fiend, I doubt that he’ll go for that.
As all four kids are now home for the summer, they have been doing a lot of water play in the yard; hit many playgrounds, helped with yard work and vegetable planting, and I have pulled a bunch of information for them to do several tours in our area this summer (Herrs, Utz, Harley Davidson and the Pretzel Factory all allow you to go on tours of their plants). In two weeks, Ashley, Kyle and Dylan will all go to afternoon camps at the Souderton High School for a week to give Dad a small break. Ashley will be doing clay and kiln work and the boys are taking a Spy Camp. This afternoon, Dad is taking Ryan on his first bike ride with us (he has to ride in a pull trailer until his eyes are fixed). Ryan has already tried to ride a bike and a scooter on his own, but that didn’t go too well with limited eye sight — the knees took a bloody beating!
Ryan has adjusted well to our actual home (vs. hotels and apartments of during our world-wide fling). He was initially very scared of the “indoor” cats, dog, frogs and fish but quickly realized that they already loved him and just wanted to play with him. Surprisingly, our family eats very little Chinese food, so Ryan has had a very western diet with Dad’s cooking — all kinds of meat, chicken, vegetables, eggs, rice, and fruit. He loves watermelon and also is an ice cream hound! He is never one to pass on an ice cream treat. We are spending alot of time trying to tone up his tummy and leg muscles as those were very weak, probably from limited outdoor activity. He does have a Superman style hand grip so he can already hang off the monkey bars by himself.
Our biggest hurdle is his sleeping issues right now. He has an intense fear about going to sleep at night, so he has spent most nights on a sleeping bag in our room. However, even before sleep, there is a tremendous amount of anxiety and crying (last night, he cried for 1 1/2 hrs straight!). Once asleep, he will sleep soundly for 8-10 hrs. Being an older child, most likely he has fears of all of the changes and challenges that he has endured over the last several weeks, the new home, the new sounds etc. Hopefully, this will be short lived and he’ll move into Dylan’s room again with him during the summer.
He is mastering English quite quickly. He did have English tutors at the Sunshine Academy in China and he knows many letters, small words and phrases. He is parroting everything that he hears (including the ENTIRE Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song) so he is able to communicate more easily than any of our other children did when they were adopted. We still have moments when he will grow completely silent and not respond, but those are relatively few, and often happens as a child is caught in the middle between languages. He does have a funny little sense of humor and likes to make up little jokes.
Ashley is doing pretty well with being displaced as the youngest in our family. At times, she has a hard time not being 100% of the center of attention and she will decide that she must urgently have a toy that she hasn’t played with in two years or she will decide that she must be the ultimate baby in the family, but she is very kind and sharing at other times. All of the children watch out for Ryan very closely and are always trying to help him learn new things. He already has shown his stubborn and independent streak to us — must be a Lockhead Family trait (we seem to have 4 children with those streaks!!)
So that’s a small summary of our lives in the past two weeks. We’ll post a final collage of pictures from all along our trip (in no specific order) and from being home for the last two weeks, and then we’ll attempt to keep up the blog as the summer goes along. We may try and introduce Ryan to the Lockhead S’mores Party tonight!
Thanks for reading and following along – here’s to an exciting and fun summer!
One of the other cats in front of the Marriott Hotel in Shanghai
The boys sitting and lying on the glass floor of the Oriental Pearl Tower
Playground picture from last weekend
The Goddard Posse Crew, wishing the Faders well on their next fabulous home destination!
A “wedding sedan” from the Shanghai Cultural Museum. It took 10 men to carry this and it is made of gold.
Drumming a beat with the cat in front of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai
Who is SMALLER than a penguin (at the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium)
Who is TALLER than a penguin at the Aquarium (Kyle was the only one of the 4 kids that was taller)
Finding Nemo at the Aquarium (Ryan had absolutely no idea who Nemo was!)
This was the “toilet” at a “rest area” on the way back from Hangzhou to Shanghai. I did not go in, but other informants told me that the inside was about 50 times worse than the outside!
A man in Hangzhou taking his “treasures” somewhere in the morning – many of the bikes that people rode were electric bikes.
In front of the M&M Store in Shanghai on Nanjing Road
A woman in Guangzhou selling her vegetables on the street in the afternoon – we saw many carts with vegetables and fruits.
Part of the Great Wall – Mutianyu area
The power plant outside of the Marriott Hotel in Beijing. Note the happy worker figures on the side of the building painting clouds “of pollution.”
The Temple of Heaven up close
The side of the wall in the hutong. This must be common as we saw another wall just like it in the Shanghai Cultural Museum.
The red bag next to Ashley is rice. This is in one of the rooms at the hutong. That’s alot of rice!
Everywhere that we went, when we saw a group of Chinese tourists, they would all wear the exact same hats and then their guide would have a matching “stick” of something. This group all had ocean theme hats with a starfish on a stick. We said that we should have made our own Lockhead Troop hats and stick theme articles.
In this picture, you will note the steep stairs and long and winding paths of the Great Wall.
Getting ready for our 4 miles hike along the Great Wall – pre toboggan run.
These buddas were in the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou. There had to have been at least 100 of them in all different poses. Each one was very different and unique but the descriptions were all in Chinese, so Rita and I were guessing at what they meant. This one appeared to be looking at you and he had a head on each side of his shoulders.
This one reminded of us of Dylan when he doesn’t want to hear something!
This one is holding a little man up — no idea what that means!
West Lake Park in Hangzhou — the massive lotus plants are behind us.
Sprinkler Fun at home this past week — using a super hero shield to direct the water.
Water Rats with the Sprinker Ball — they are the waterees while Dylan always does the watering. He does not like the cold water from outside.
Ashley and her girlfriend, Elsa, outside of the Disney Store in Shanghai.
Ryan couldn’t contain his smile when he saw his hero, Mickey, outside of the Disney Store in Shanghai.
The famous Pearl Tower at night and Aunt Rita trying to jam us and the tower all into the picture. The tower looks amazing all lighted up at night.
The Shanghai city skyline in the back behind us – on our way to TGI Fridays
Note the earlier and soon to be seen pictures of Kyle and Dylan lying on the glass at the OPT – this is only as far as I got. It was FREAKY to be out on a platform 221 plus stories above the city – my only thoughts were it would take just one jiggled bolt to cause us all to crash down into the city (can you tell that I don’t like heights!)
I couldn’t even look at Kyle while he was doing this
A beautiful flower wall along The Bund in Shanghai
The wall went on and on for thousands of feet – all flowers
This guy was out on Nanjing Road both nights dancing to get people into the store, so I dared Kyle to go an take a picture of him for us.
The outdoor “snack shack” in People’s Park in Shanghai. We didn’t see any “tarts” being made, but Aunt Rita was able to buy a diet soda there.
When we entered People’s Park, we saw rows and rows and rows of umbrellas all covered in flyers with Chinese writing, some with pictures and some without. We originally thought that these were flyers for “missing” Chinese people who had been taken away as dissidents, but we couldn’t find anyone to ask more about it. Then when I got home and googled it, we discovered that we were amidst the “Shanghai Marriage Market.” On Saturdays and Sundays, parents and grandparents come to the park with their children’s flyers with the hope of making a match for their children!!! It’s pretty crazy — the flyers supposedly give stats about wealth, education, jobs and health stats.
This was the gate into the People’s Park area.
Another man in Shanghai carrying a heavy morning load!
This was a “typical” shot of a motorbike rider — some wore oven mitts on their hands, some covered themselves in full sleeping bags and/or blankets!! They are supposedly protecting themselves and their skin from the hot sun. Nothing like wearing a sleeping bag on an 80 degree plus day!