Our daughter goes to college in Vermont.  Sunday was move-in day but the college is just re-opening today.  We still don't know when she can get there because the roads in and out and around the city where her school is are closed.  So today we'll call the state police and see if there is an alternate route.  We may be able to drive another hour to hour and a half north and then come back down, but we're not sure.  Here are images of the road we normally take-one of the most traveled roads in the state.
Did I only just get my itinerary this morning?  It has been the craziest day!

Between a flurry of email messages and two hours (yes, two hours!) at the bank waiting, then trying to arrange a debit card increase which the local office said I could do (oh, no, the main office says just call when you want it done so that we only increase it for a short period of time-but they forgot to tell me there will be a fee to do it over the phone, so I switch to the automated system that doesn't charge, then call back, then book the flights), and after all of that I still have the wire transfer to the Chinese coordinator to take care of.  Are you following me yet?  Does this sound remotely like doing business in China to those of you who have been there? Did I mention that the bank's fraud detection center, after all of this, froze my debit card when the travel agent tried to book all of the tickets in one day, even though I supposely increased the lim Yeah, I'm reminiscing just a bit here about Beijing.

Anyway, I do digress.  We have flights.  We will be in Guiyang a day earlier than planned on our travel agent's advice-just in case there are any flight issues, and so that we can have a day of rest before meeting Eva.  I didn't tell her that it takes me about a week to recover from a flight like that :)  On the way home we will leave Guangzhou a day earlier than planned in order to make the flight out that we got, so we will stay the night there.  That's actually good-we can take the tram up Victoria Peak which is something that the girls and I really wanted to do.  It runs every 15 minutes right up until midnight, so it will be cool to see the sights and lights there.

Farran cannot go back to college yet.  The roads leading into the city where her school is are still flooded and closed and there is still no electricity in much of the area.  So maybe tomorrow night.

Aidan and I will return to school tomorrow.  He's excited to eat lunch with RB every day now that RB is in kindergarten.  Big day for all three of us!
We are all at home.  Irene flooded our daughter's college town so we cannot get her there, and the campus is closed anyway.  School was canceled for Aidan and me in anticipation of power outages, which some of our town has.  RB should have started kindergarten today, but instead he is here too.

By the way, Eva's name is EEva.  Just had to let everyone know in case you were reading it and saying AAva in your head.  Lots of people do that.  She is named after my grandmother, so her name is pronounced like hers was.

We got our itinerary in the middle of the night and got everything we asked for except the first hotel choice in Guiyang (which was the Sheraton) and a tai-chi lesson (guess we'll have to stand in the park and emulate the thousands exercising in the morning :)

Anyway, here's the skinny on it:

Guiyang Sept. 18-Sept. 23
We meet Eva on Sept. 19
We will stay at the Trade Point Hotel and visit TianHe Scenic Pool Area (gorgeous!), Qian Ling Park (hiking trails, temples, waterfalls)

Guangzhou Sept. 23-Sept. 29
Stay at the Victory Hotel and visit Safari Park (think Canada's driving zoo), Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, and take a Pearl River Night Cruise.

Sept. 29
Fly out of Hong Kong; if we are delayed there due to flight availability, we will go up Victoria Mountain.

Now, I am a mess!  School starts tomorrow-delayed a day by Irene-and tomorrow I will not be able to concentrate on all of this.  Off to wire money and do a million other things!
My friend (who was first my junior high and then high school English teacher, then a colleague) will be lending me her blackberry for Wi-Fi access so that I don't have to lug a computer around.  Have I mentioned that I travel light?  I would actually carry a knapsack if I could get away with it, but since I can't...... and today I rented a Panda Phone.  We did this last time and it was great.  Phone is mailed to us from Texas with our number and access codes.  We called home every day from China, left the phone at the hotel lobby on our way out of the country to be mailed back to Shanghai.  Very reasonable rates, too.
We got September 20 but had to reschedule because the previous week is the Moon Festival and we would not be able to take care of the provincial stuff.  So September 27 will be our consulate date!
We needed just three things for the kids' bedroom to make it as much Eva's room as it was Aidan's room.  I'm still looking for a girlie lamp that isn't overpriced, but the other two items have arrived.  First, a girlie hamper:
Then a school years picture frame...
with her six year old photo (August 2010) placed in the Kindergarten spot because, even though that would be first grade, she will be entering first grade here.

Now, of course, Aidan is dissatisfied with his own frame....
...and wants one like his sister.  Can't really blame him, but we'll see.

Some things they will just share.  These are a gift to Aidan during Chinese New Year but they hang over Eva's bed:
And some things will be just for my girl:
This post is about being a sister.  It is dedicated to Wu Yi and  Eva Yu Qiang.

When I was a little girl I had a sister one year younger than myself named Audrey.  She was very different from me but we were together all the time.  I was smaller than her but I was the big sister so it was my job to love and protect her and I took that job seriously.  We slept together, played together, and did most things together.  Audrey and I have six brothers and three other sisters but our relationship was special because there was only one year between us in age.

As we grew up, we started to have different ideas, interests, and friends.  We got married and had children of our own.  Those people are now our family, too, and we love them very much.  We do everything together with them and it is our job to love and protect them.

Sometimes Audrey and I talk on the phone or visit with one another and it is always wonderful because inside we are still those two girls who slept in the same bed and shared our early years with one another.

Wu Yi was the big sister to Yu Qiang at their home in China.  Wu Yi now has brothers and a mother and father.  They do everything together and her family loves and protects Wu Yi and they take that job seriously.  Soon Yu Qiang will come to live at our home and she will have new brothers and sisters.  We will do everything together and we will love and protect her and we will take that job seriously.

Wu Yi and Yu Qiang will grow up in different places with different families but sometimes they will be able to talk on the phone or send letters to one another and it will be wonderful because inside they will still be those little girls who slept in the same bed and walked to school together and shared their early years in China. 

Sisters are Special.
In China we had to send a form back to DC to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy and the State Department.  We waited a week for the DHL truck.  Is this to be a theme for me when it comes to adoption?  Does DHL make a habit of carrying really good news?  Because they did this week!
Our agency has our Travel Authorization and we could have left a week from now, but since that's just way too fast for my one-thing-at-a-time brain, we will be leaving a little later.  Waiting now for some dates to be confirmed.  Sigh.
I went to visit the potter at the Craftsmen's Fair and replaced our sugar bowl.  The old one had a crescent in the lid for the spoon and it had broken, plus the other side had broken as well.  So we'll keep the bowl but here are the old (on the right) and the new (on the left):
We also needed a table lamp for the living room and last year I saw a metal worker giving a demonstration and really liked his stuff so here is the lamp-still looking for the right shade:
I have a week left of summer.  This week was spent almost exclusively on planning my classes for the next three months for a sub.  I won't be out for three months, but since I don' know exactly when I will be out, I have to plan accordingly.

Then I took just a little time for my neglected son.  We went to the movies, saw Captain America and then the "free" Wednesday movie MegaMind, and this week is going to be all about him and the rest of the things I've been neglecting.  That includes cleaning.  To kick it off, I cleaned his room and drawers and decided that while I was at it I would pack Eva's things for China.
I haven't figured out yet whether or not I'll take the floatie device.  With Aidan we took water wings so they packed flat and then we could blow them up-this thing is a space hog.  The backpack is filled with toys; the suitcase is filled with clothes and toiletry items.

I'm still pretty clueless about shoes for her.  I can take a few sizes, but have no idea whether or not they'll stay on her feet where she doesn't walk on her soles.

Now I'll leave you with a picture of my two cowboys.