Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Hey Everyone!

Tonight is our last night! We are back in the States tomorrow and are we excited! Today has been a very long and tiring day. We started off bright and early to catch a train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Then we caught a flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo. That was a little rough as Quinn was a little fussy, but she finally fell asleep and was really good for the rest of the flight! The Tokyo airport was crazy. With the swine flu, everyone is really nervous about bringing it into the country so the amount of people who were in line to go through the disease and quarantine line was insane! Everyone one was trampling each other and the lady at the line was yelling at us in japanese and we didn't understand what they were saying. It was just not good. We are now at the hotel and can't wait to get home tomorrow.

Again, Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

The Helliges

Monday, April 27, 2009

Barn Day

When you take a horse out on a trail ride, they can smell the barn about 1/2 mile away, and they want to make a break for it. The rider has to do all they can to keep the horse on the path. That is what this day is like for us. We have made the turn and we can smell the barn and want to make a break for home. Its taking everything we have to stay the course and finish -- but the finish line is close!

It has been another beautiful, but overcast day here in Guangzhou. (actually it has been rainy or cloudy every day in Guangzhou -- need some full sun!) Once again, we head down to the breakfast buffet at the Swan-Dad loves their full breakfast! Kara and myself stick to chocolate cake, french toast, fruit & OJ! After breakfast, we went back out shopping, our favorite past time, and then returned to the hotel so that we could take Quinn swimming for the first time. She loves splashing in the water! Was a bit cold in the water to really take her in, but she seems to be a little water bug! (yes Mom, Dad is making us where our sunscreen)

After Swimming, we came up and had some lunch, and put Quinn down for her nap. Dad went out to do some power shopping while Kara "tried" to do homework. When Dad got back, Kara and Suntan Dan headed down to the pool for some layout time while Katie stayed up in the room to get some homework done. After Quinn's nap, we headed to our favorite spot for dinner, Lucy's. A round of sweet and sour chicken for all -- except lil Quinn -- another delicious bowl of congee for her! 

While shopping and laying by the pool sounds lux, it is starting to get old. We can't wait to get home in a few short days to see everyone!

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers,

The Helliges in China

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Glorious Sunday

Today has been another wonderful day here in Guangzhou. We woke up early this morning and went to church at 9:30 thinking that it would be the chinese/english service. Turns out that service is at 11. So we went went for a stroll before church. It was really interesting to see a chinese church service. To see them worshipping the Lord is such an amazing site! Katie was a little distracted as the lady next to her kept touching her "beautiful" hair! Quinn made it through the first twenty minutes and then was a squirm worm so Dad took her outside -- they had speakers outside so he could hear, and Quinn just walked all over the place holding dad's hand. After church we came back to the hotel for a quick lunch, and then our wonderful guide Shinko came and took us to the jade and pearl markets -- where we did some damage!

The markets here are unlike anything I have ever seen! The pearl market was inside this 7 floor mall that was rundown. It was shop after shop of strands of beads -- nothing to special. The jade market was an outdoor/indoor market that had lines of stalls selling all kinds of beautiful green jewelry. After walking around a bit, we decided it was time to head back. On our walk back we walked through the ping marketplace. They definitely have some interesting things for sale. We walked by cages of puppies, kittens, rabbits, turtles, and tanks of fish and other sea creatures. They also sell a lot of natural medicines -- dried roots, mushrooms, fish and snake skins, etc.

We then got back to hotel where Quinn took a short nap. The sisters went out to shop -- we are getting better at it! Tonight we headed to Lucy's for dinner (again) and then did a little shopping. Mom, you would be so proud! The girls have made friends with one of the local shop owners, Grace (pictured). She loves to give us deals! But worse yet, we are starting to deal with Susan. She remembers Mom from the last trip -- "the tall crazy lady who laughs a lot and bought twenty pairs of squeaky shoes"! She now wants to deal with us and is going to give us good deals on the rest of THE LIST.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!


The Helliges in China

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Swan ....Awwwwwww!

We made it to Guangzhou! Quinn did great on the plane other than she wanted to grab everything around her including the reading material of the lady in the window seat. Fortunately she was very kind and played along. While waiting to leave Nanning everyone around us wanted to come over and hold her. Made Katie a bit nervous, but it was all in good fun. Lots of laughter with everyone. Babe I am so sorry -- the girls fell down on their job and didn't get any pics of Quinn on her first plane trip - I wonder why I brought them along - can't even do a simple job?!

We arrived late into the hotel, about 11:30PM and Quinn was in no mood for going to sleep. She wanted to hang out and play with everything in the room. We finally let her cry herself to sleep around midnight when we all crashed. The girls slept in while Shinko and I took Quinn for her routine medical exam. As you can see by the pics she wasn't ant too happy. 17.3 lbs and 75CM -- just a peanut. 

Came back to find the girls all ready to go. They enjoyed  a great breakfast with fresh squeezed OJ -- something they have been missing all week. Off to the shops. we showed KT the ropes and went back to all of Janet's favorite haunts. Most of them are still around. I showed them how to bargain on a few things to a point where I think I embarrassed them. We were stopped by many people wanting to talk to us and these two ladies wanted their picture take with the girls. Back to the room for a break while I got my haircut. I look a bit Chinese, but not bad for $12. 

Then the first solo (duet) shopping trip for the girls. I gave them the math and the percentages to pay off of asking price, and off they went while I put Quinn down for her nap. They came back arms loaded -- not bad on negotiations, but I see that I will need to go with them to hone their skills.

Tonight we are heading to Lucy's for dinner, and probably more shopping -- Mom gave the girls a big list. I can already tell I am going to have to purchase another piece of luggage! 

We are looking forward to tomorrow as we'll go to this neat little church right next door. They do the service in both Mandarin and English. We are going to meet our friends from PN there. Will let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Well enough for now, the big American Grilled Cheese sandwich is calling the girls.


The Helliges in China

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last Day in Nanning (but who is counting?!)

Hi Everyone!

Today is our last day here in Nanning, China! We can't wait to get to Guangzhou and the White Swan Hotel. This morning when we woke up, it was kind of rainy outside and very humid!  We headed down to breakfast, (our last day of canned peaches and toast!) and then went out to the People's Parks which is a 5 minute walk behind our hotel. It is a very beautiful and large park. When we first entered we walked by a group of people who were singing together. Dad got some good video of it, as it sounded to us like Mom & Kara doing their opera thing!


The Helliges in China

Yet Another Day in Nanning.....

Well today was a rainy day here in Nanning without much to do. We had breakfast next to a family from Sydney. They were here taking their 6 year old daughter back to her roots - it was good to to have another Westerner to talk to. Afterwards we want shopping down at the Wanda Plaza -- Walmart, a Department store and several small stores -- primarily electronic stores and Addidas. Mark --here is a picture for you --lots of Cat Footwear in the department store. We tried to take a picture for Uncle Ned of the Snoopy shop in the Department Store but they quickly came after me to put my camera away. We settled on buying him Snoopy potato chips instead at the Wal Mart.

Really didn't do anything all afternoon. I got some work done and the girls did their homework -- notice how Kara does her homework! I also got everything packed down -- really I am not that anxious to get out of here. We had met a family from Pennsylvania on gotcha day (think I mentioned earlier) and gave them our hotel card. They called today so we had dinner with them tonight. Again, good to sit with another Western family and we enjoyed getting to know them. Already set up plans to go to church with them this Sunday at Shamian Christ Church next to the Swan. 

Well just put Quinn to bed and getting ready ourselves. We'll write about our exciting day tomorrow -- more rain so we'll probably be just chillin waiting for the flight.


The Helliges in China 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Day in Nanning

Hi everyone!

It has been another eventful day in Nanning -- at least half of the day! It was so good to talk to everybody this morning as we talked to Mom, Wren, Grandma & Grandpa Wade, aunt Deed. I talked to Beth and her family, and Pidge talked to a houseboat full at the Shouse House. Quinn got to meet several people this AM for the first time. Skype is such a beautiful thing! 

After a quick breakfast we went to a "mountain" outside of Nanning called Qingxiu Mountain. They take you to the top in a modified golf cart for less than a buck a person. We saw some of the beautiful pagodas and gardens. Quinn loved being pushed in the stroller, especially when daddy would let the stroller go down the hill kind of fast! There was a lot of laughter from that little angel this morning! We met a very funny chinese man who told us that we were from America and that he was China.He told us we were all so tall, but that chinese men were short! After that we went back to Walmart to pick up some more of Quinn's favorite juice (it is called sour milk, Yuck!) and to get her a little sun hat, which she is not to fond of! We then headed to McDonalds to get some lunch. We found out that Quinn is not a big fan of french fries, or corn for that matter. Which is so crazy since those are some of Wren's favorite foods! Over in China, at McDonalds, they serve corn as part of their menu, something that you don't see in the states! Quinn is still napping, but will be waking up soon. Kara did one whole chapter of homework and then moaned how bored she is. The afternoon has been very "relaxing". Who knows what tonight will hold. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!


The Helliges

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Official Adoption Day!!

Hey Everyone,

Today is the official adoption day! Quinn is now officially a Hellige! This morning we (we being Dad) signed the papers and got all of the papers notarized! After that, our day was fairly uneventful. We came back to the room and Dad attempted to make us lunch. It is kind of hard to make easy mac and chicken noodle soup without a microwave. Never the less, The Mac and Cheese mush was made. The soup didn't fair so well on the other hand....more peanut butter and granola! 

After  lunch, we headed out to explore. We tried to find the park, but that didn't happen. We ended up walking around the local stores and taking in the local culture. We then came back to the hotel to lay Quinn down for a nap, which Kara and I managed as well. We promise Mom -- we will get our homework done -- it won't all be about napping and playing with Quinn. Suntan Dan was down at the pool for a while trying to take a nap while the girls hung out (code word for sleeping) in room for a little while. 

Quinn just woke up after a three hour nap and now we are just hanging out in the room listening to Quinn belch -- which she does quite well -- just like big brother! We are trying to make the heavy decision of dinner tonight at the Garden restaurant here at the hotel, or   venturing out to walmart and the shopping district, with the grand finale ending at pizza hut later tonight. Wow! Its exciting here.

We did meet a nice family from Pennsylvania today, and Dad invited them to dinner some night if they are interested. The have two boys, 10 & 13, and adopted a little 3 year old girl. It would be nice to meet up with another American family and share our stories.

Thanks for your continued prayers.


The Helliges

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gotcha Day - April 20th!

Today is the day when we are going to get our little Quinn! We leave in about an hour to go meet her for the first time. This morning has been fairly uneventful. We walked over to a little restaurant, but we are not brave enough to try any of their dishes. They looked a little iffy. So now, we are just waiting in anticipation for the time to go by.

We will blog later tonight with pictures!


The Helliges

Here is our sweet angel!! Quinn is such a blessing, and an answer to our prayers! She is such a sweet little punkin head, always laughing and squealing!

This afternoon we went to the welfare agency to get her. They ushered us into a room with the little girls and then realized that we were supposed to be in another room. Katie and Kara recognized her right away. We were led into the other room and another spanish speaking family joined us. Then they brought her in. She was all giggles and smiles. Quinn trusted Katie right away and let her hold her and then kara got to hold her and then daddy. We were only at the welfare agency for a short time.

We only had a small meltdown when we were in the lobby. The director and another lady from the welfare agency from Guilin were leaving and it hit Quinn. So she cried for a little bit but it didn't last for long.

We then got her back to the hotel room and then off to Walmart to get her some food and diapers. There isn't much to see here, but we will enjoy our new girl!!

Thank you for your prayers!

The Helliges

Hong Kong to Nanning

Hey Everyone!

Sorry that there was no post yesterday. It was a little hectic at the end! We started of just relaxing as we were struggling with jet lag. We woke up between 5:30 - 6:30 and got ready like we were going to go somewhere .... only to crash again until around 10:30. We forced ourselves to get out and strolled along the waterfront and took in the HK skyline. Monday night is their version of the Oscars and they were setting up an elaborate stage setting next to the cultural center. Checked out at 1:00 and sat in the restaurant for a long lunch and the girls did homework while I did some work. 

We got out to the airport 90 minutes before we were to meet Shinko our guide, so we sat and did more work at the coffee shop. Shinko is very nice and very organized -- I know she will do a great job guiding us through the process. Our flight was supposed to be at 6:50 PM but was delayed until 11:50PM. Fortunately they gave us a room at the airport hotel and the girls crashed from 6:30-10:30. We finally took off around 12:30 AM. While sitting on the cramped plane it hit me -- the odor of the plane took me back to my childhood. It smelled like my Grandpa's old 1960 something Rambler -- a mixture of slightly greasy workwear (Dickies), mixed with chewing tobacco, unfiltered Camels and of course the car didn't have AC, so a little bit of sweat! For a fleeting moment it was a pleasant rush back, but in the end, I was glad it was only an hour flight! By the time we got to through documentation, luggage retrieval, 35 min cab ride, we finally arrived at the hotel and crashed.

Monday is the big day and we will have pics and a more details.

Love the Helliges 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hong Kong!!

Well, we spent our first day in HK, and it was a great one! (Although the night was a short one -- about 5 hours of sleep and we were wide awake!) After getting ready, and skyping Janet, Jake and Wren, we started off walking through downtown to get Quinn's return ticket. When we got to the travel agent they had to make some changes to the ticket and told us it would be 30 mins. We spotted a nice park on the way, (think small Central Park), so went for a stroll while we waited. Here are the girls with the flamingos in the park. We then headed back to get Quinn's ticket. The offices for the airline are in the huge 6 story shopping mall, so of course we meandered through a few of the small shops before going to get the ticket. After retrieving Quinn's ticket we wandered back to the hotel for a break and lunch. For lunch, we opted for the oh so foreign McDonalds. Nothing like a good cheese burger and french fries! Of course Kara had to get on Skype with all her friends back home, which took awhile.

We decided that we would head over to Victoria Peak and take the tram up to the top. We are staying in Kowloon, so we took the subway across to HK island. After an uphill hike we found the tram station -- and believe it or not we found Jackie Chan there! I just couldn't get him to look at the camera though. Unfortunately it was a very cloudy misty day up top so the view wasn't much. We wandered around before making the trip back down to the hotel -- where we crashed. The girls slept for a good two+ hours and I had  a hard time getting Pidge up -- KT wasn't too pleased with me bouncing on her bed either as I tried to wake her.

We decided to get some dinner but once outside it was raining and none of us had much energy - back to the room for glorious room service! It was great to see Janet and Wren on Skype as they were getting up this AM. I can tell Skype will be a great tool for us on this trip as we will be able to stay in touch with our other half.

Well its time to get ready to climb back in bed soon -- hopefully for a full night sleepzzzzzzzz


The Helliges.