Monday, March 08, 2010

We're home!

Ed was lucky enough to have a 36-hour birthday this year--but he spent 20 of those hours on an airplane or in airports. We had a few bumps (figuratively) with our flight to Shanghai (thought we were in the wrong terminal; walked to another; turned around walked back to the first one; missing baby seat ticket, etc.). But Sophie was good for the 2.5 hour flight. She's a decent little traveler.
We had to collect our luggage and recheck in as an international flight in Shanghai, but that was OK, as we had 5 hours there. We met some Americans--one, ahem, older gentleman who was marrying a younger Chinese woman he had met in UAE and a guy from Oklahoma who had been visiting his Chinese fiancee, whom he met online. Interesting. We also met a nice businessman from China who was going to Evansville, Indiana, of all places. We had noodles with him in the airport restaurant as our last Chinese meal.

Big mistake. Ed and Sophie both got sick from them--Sophie in the diaper within an hour of takeoff (other passengers laugh when you carry a baby into the bathroom with wipes and a diaper and walk out with a naked, except for the new diaper, baby). Ed was sick and pasty white the first few hours of the flight, but felt marginally better later.

To be honest, the 13 hours from Shanghai to Chicago weren't as bad as I had expected. We had bulkhead seats, with a bassinette on the floor, an empty seat next to us (armrests don't go up though--argh) and a very nice Chinese couple on the other end of the empty seat who made goo-goo eyes at Sophie a lot. She slept about 11 of the 13 hours, though mostly in my lap and arms. Unfortunately she didnt' like that baby cot. Ed held her so I could go to the bathroom and take a few catnaps.
We arrived to O'Hare and speeded through immigration, customs and the procedure with the "brown envelope," then walked out through the double doors--to nothing! The Manions, my parents, Sam, balloons and signs were at the other exit! My eyes teared up when I saw the first sign: "My mama always comes back. --Sam." That is what we all have been telling him for months.

I couldn't believe how different he looks--he's taller, heavier and his face looks different. I think he might have more teeth, or bigger teeth, or something. I know part of it is that I'm used to looking at Sophie now, so he seems "unfamiliar." Ed and I had prepared ourselves for any reaction (including him clinging to Amy and not wanting to see us) but he ran into my arms right away. Man, we missed him so much. That was, hands down, the hardest part of this trip.

My sister, her husband, kids and my parents videotaped, took pictures, carried our bags, escorted us home, carried everything inside (where we were greeted with a warm house and a welcome sign from our neighbors), and brought three days' worth of meals--one of which they immediately cooked, served and cleaned up after. It even included birthday cake for Ed, who checked in with his side of the family by phone as soon as we got home. We are very blessed to have such supportive family.
Sophie clung to me most of the time, but smiled at everyone, especially my nephew Kevin. Sam gave lots of hugs. In the car on the way home, he talked about sharing toys, and once home he tried to give Sophie a bottle and a kiss. Both made her cry. I think he is going to be a wonderful big brother.
We are jet-lagging, of course. The downside to Sophie sleeping the whole flight is that she now thinks night is day. She took a 2-hour "nap" last night but was up at 3:30. Ed and Sam are still sleeping and she is having breakfast while I catch you all up.
We are already having offers from friends for help and meals. Today we may make an appearance at the neighborhood WiggleWorms. But for the most part, we'll be settling in, unpacking and sleeping--and enjoying being a family of four.
Thanks to everyone--friends, family and strangers--who followed us on this journey. It's so good to be done! Now, as my mom says, we just have to raise 'em!


Kristi said...

I agree with your very wise mom, Heidi. Yep, now comes the really hard part! Thanks for keeping us in the loop through all of the journey. It is such a joy to know that you all are finally together. Much, much love! xo

kassie said...

The Misiewicz sisters are up early with you this morning AND thinking of you! The Arkansas bunch are so happy for the 4 of you. Thank you for taking the time to take us along on your amazing journey. We are thrilled beyond words knowing that everyone is home. Kisses to the kiddos. Can't wait to meet them soon. xo

Sheryl Jannke Mullins said...

Thank you so much for allowing us into this very personal time in your lives. Every day, the first thing I did before even having my coffee, was to bring up your blog and read about your experience and see the new pictures. It has been a joy following your journey. Welcome Home Sophie!

James Warden said...

Welcome back. What an adventure!!

Kate Gj. said...

WELCOME HOME. and again, congrats!

kevin said...

I have tears as I read your blog today. We are so grateful you all made it home safely. Ed, your Birthday will be the you'll remember forever ! Now the real fun begins (: We are so happy & excited for you ! Look forward to seeing you all again, hopefully soon (: !!!
Love & Continued Prayers,K&K

Anonymous said...

Dear Heidi, Ed, Sam and Sophie, It is now 2:30 p.m. and we are back in the condo in Phoenix. It is not much warmer here than in Chicago. I'm so glad we got to see Sophie and Sam kept us entertained on Saturday and Sunday. Hope you get back on Chicago time soon.

Love, Mom

Di said...

And you'll do a mighty fine job of raising them!!

I am so glad that you are home safely and that you are back together with Sam!

Have a great few days!

Kristin said...

Welcome home! I couldn't wait to get your update. Sounds like the flight home wasn't too bad. Hope Ed and Sophie are feeling better.

Hope to see a picture of Sam and Sophie soon! Hope you get some sleep.

Sara Elliott said...

Welcome home! So glad the trip went well (with the exception of the stomach upsets) and you are all back together again. Have fun settling in, and I'll look forward to meeting Sophie in person. (Saw Sam on campus briefly last week, and everyone was making a fuss over how cute he is.)

LaLa said...

So happy you are home safely! Enjoy your time watching your sweet kids get to know each other. I love watching mine (most of the time LOL)

Get some rest then lots of pics of course!! I hope the time adjusts quickly...ours was bad but at least all of us were on the same time. I know it must be hard with Sam being on US time and the rest of you not. Hang in there!!

Sean and Mic said...

Welcome home! While the fun part is just beginning, you are going to be so thankful you documented all that you did on your blog, and you will want to re-live it over and over again. What a beautiful family you have- all 4 of you!
Good luck on getting her adjusted to the time. We did it pretty quickly- but I am not going to lie, we resorted to Benedryl a few nights, just to get her to sleep! -michelle eagan

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all four of you and your extended family! Thanks for the blogging Heidi. What a trip you've had! And the journey is just beginning. Blessings and peace to you all.
Bob and Jo Anne Olson