Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seeking advice if you can get past the golf first...

So golf went fine yesterday. Actually, it went fine for me & G did his personal worst. Chalk it up to nerves or the fact that the winds were in high gear with absolutely no wind cover from trees or homes. It was reported to me that his team won & he tied 3rd within his teammates. (?)
Not really positive because well....., I'm just not.
They had another golf tournament today & Dad came home to report that they would be spending time at the driving range this weekend.
However, we saw 2 or 3 huge bald eagles on the course yesterday, as well as a few gators & buzzards, which I find to be highly disturbing.

So I'm way to tired to put together a 'packing list' because I find the whole task very daunting. I figure if I need a list, then I'm over packing. So I'm going to take the easy way out and ask all of you BTDT folks a few questions....if I may borrow a bit of your time....?

1. Besides electronics, what was the thing that you are most glad you took to China?
2. What was the thing that you wished you would have dragged to the other side of the world?
3. What do you wish you would have brought with you & didn't?

I'm open to all unsolicited advice, pour it on me baby!


Sweet Caroline's Mommy said...

Before I offer my suggestion, your daughter is beautiful and she is also from the same orphanage as our daughter. We have been home almost 2 years and I still tell everyone who asks that the one thing I am so glad I brought was the baby carrier/hip hammock. Caroline would not ride in a stroller and had to be held 24/7 (which I didn't mind one bit!). The great thing about the carrier was she got to be very close to me which really helped for bonding.

Congratulations again on your daughter!


Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Sorry to hear about G...
He will do better next time .. he was probably WAY nervous..
I'm sorry but have no advise.. haven't been over there to get my little girly yet..
but one day you will be able to help me out..
I am sooo excited..
Happy Packing..

Kim said...

Take a deep hair conditioner with you. My hair was like straw from spending so much time flying, the water and the air pollution. I am so glad that I took this. Also, take cough drops with you on top of any other medication you are taking for a sinus infection, etc. I was sick as a dog starting on day 4 and the cough drops helped my throat immensely.

Do not take a hair dryer with's pointless and all the hotels have them. Also, do not take a lot of diapers. They are readily available so don't waste the space.

I'll let you know if I think of anything else.

Dawn said...

My Lucy was older than your Emerson....BUT I am so glad I DIDN'T lug a stroller all the way to China...I know some people like to have their own, but they are so readily available to borrow (and ours was clean!) or are very cheap to just use while you are there and donate....I can't wait to see what everyone else has to say!...BTW...I am with you on the jammies...ugh! the winter Targ*et had cute Nick & Nora ones, but nothing so far,,,good luck with that!!

Anonymous said...

Hi..I have followed your blog for a long time and first want to say CONGRATULATIONS!! on your BEAUTIFUL daughter! The adoption world is like a family and I was so excited for you the day you finally got to see your daughter's face! My daughter was 13 1/2 months old when I first held her in my arms in China. (she is a Jiangxi girl also!!!) The one thing I brought that I would recommend is lots of "cup of noodles" and the raaamen (spelling???) noodles. They came in handy for the many times we were in our hotel room in between travels or outings and weren't hungry but needed to feed my daughter. She LOVED them. I just boiled the bottled water that our guide provided for us in our room and then mixed it up ( I also brought plastic spoons) It also made a great snack at night when we were hungry. Enjoy every second when you are in will miss it when you get is a truly amazing journey..congrats again...Mindy :)

Dawn said...

P,S,,,,just my opinion on the hair dryers...I have thick hair and I straighten it...I am SOO glad I took mine...the ones in China were not powerfull enough for me...just FYI :)

Allison said...

I so wished I had taken a changing pad! I have no clue why I didn't but we had to change Maggie on the FLOOR of a Hong Kong mall because there was no where to else to do it! We were super classy.

I was glad I took Burt's Bees lip balm.

Stacy said...

Glad I took- computer (used it ALL the time- blogged, watched movies), meds- used antibiotics for myself and daughter, swedish fish (love my candy!), two good books (lots of down time if baby naps).

I took 4 outfits and a pair of croc flip flops. I love clothes and shoes but over there it was just simple to be simple.

Wish I wold have taken pepto bismol tabs. Rumor has it that if you take a few everyday it helps to prevent the runs. We were at the White Swan the entire time and I was very careful but still ended up with the runs a few times (sorry if that's TMI!)

Oh- I did take more clothes for our daughter. I like my kids to look cute and I don't regret the extra space to take her sweet clothes. Plus it was so fun to dress her. Also, I didn't find many cute clothes for her while we were there. Actually the only clothing I bought her was traditional Chinese clothing and PJs.

Have fun packing!

Sandra said...

The one thing that always comes to mind is that I was so glad that I brought our thermos. It was great to have on the road (which was a lot) to make a bottle for the girls. Also, packets of oat meal and cup-a-soup were a life saver.

I think taking a hair dryer was a waste, since the hotels have them. Besides, I was not there to look pretty ;-)

On our first trip to China our luggage was lost for 3 days. Luckily we had all our paperwork in carry-on, but wearing the same clothes (in particular underwear) is no fun. Things didn't dry well in the humidity and luckily our travel group rallied around us and brought us clothes, including underwear. I never thought I would wear a stranger's underwear, but I was happy to do so :-) The moral of the story is, put some extra underwear in your carry on!

Don't waste space on diapers. You can buy them in China, but they are not as good as the American ones. I brought some good diapers for the long trip home and used Chinese diapers while there. I do think the wipes were horrible, so I took our own wipes the second time around.

Other things I was glad I brought on both our trips and would definitely bring again: hip hammock, sun screen, anti bacterial wipes, zip lock bags in all kinds of sizes.

Stacy said...

Oh, one more thing! TAKE a hair dryer!!! They had one at the White Swan but it would have taken FOREVER - NO POWER!!!

A Beautiful Mess said...

wear a hat:)
flip flops for the hotel...but not the city.
buy a cheap stroller for the way home at least. Waiting at immigration sucked and tired babies are often squirmy babies. We were all hot and tired and no one wanted to be held.
you get pretty much buy what you need as far as clothes and toiletries there. Bring meds from home. Bring some babylax it will do the trick if needed. Leave the books at home. Really you will want to rest too!

Bring a scrap book page or something to press her little "red" thumb, hand or foot on to a page. They did sophie's entire hand... and I also asked the director and nanny to write something to sophie and then had the guide translate it for us.

Daisy Dreams said...

Things I was glad I took: antibacterial hand gel (waterless stuff)...went through several small bottles, but being a nurse, I'm grossed out by filth and you will find that things are...well, unclean; pepto tablets....we would chew up a couple before each meal as a "preventative" and I'll say that two trips over there, eating at places that probably weren't the most hygienic, well we never had any tummy issues at all. beware, though, that the pepto can turn your tongue black so don't be alarmed!! Disposable bibs...saved on the dirty clothes and things were easily worn more than once because of the protection from the bigger disp. bibs. And lastly, a small stainless steel thermos. Loved having it; could boil water in the rooms in the AM and take it with us and make a bottle while out all day.

I wish I had had more of the really hard teether type "cookies/biscuits" as they were a lifesaver during appts and kept Vivi preoccupied.

I took a small pharmacy with me both trips and didn't regret anything I took with me! Also, "girlie supplies" are a must if it's that time of the month for you. Don't rely on getting what you want or are used to while there!

OziMum said...

1. BACKPACK! (don't take a "diaper bag" / shoulder bag - it'll be a pain in the butt!)
2. leave formula at home - orphanage/guide will tell you what brand your daughter has been drinking. I left my normal purse/wallet at home. I just took cash, id, and one credit card (hubs had one credit card as well) - I used a little "across the body" bag - it was much more secure than pulling a purse in and out of a backpack (a couple in our batch had their wallet stolen out of their backpack), it was light & little, and I could flick through notes inside bag, without pulling out a wad!
3. teeshirts! we thought it'd be cold (it was in Shanghai) - but GZ was really warm! I LOVED GZ.

Its funny reading the other comments, we took a stroller & sling. Daughter loved stroller, hated sling!!!

OziMum said...

:) I'm laughing at the contradicting advice!!! I personally wouldn't take a hairdryer - the hotel's had them - only little, so expect to take longer. I took my straightener. Was glad I did.

As for the noodles - you can buy them EVERYWHERE! Even the corner store, so I wouldn't bother taking them. Most stores also have Pringles, Ritz, Oreo's & all coke varieties - we didn't bother taking any snacks.

Sugar Momma said...

1. Our hip hammock...took it both times (11mos and 20 mos) loved it! Also some type of changing pad...disposable preferably. You will be in need in some pretty unclean places.

2. probably the stinkin' thermos...the one we bought in China leaked like crazy (the babies in ShangRao are fed and used to very warm bottles)

3.Ummm...wasn't due for Aunt Flo...but she came early...had not prepared for her visit...would you believe I had to use mint maxi pads? It is very odd to have to wear a minty fresh pad. There are just some places one doesn't particularly feel like having a mouthwash tingle sensation. TMI??? Sorry :)

Colleen said...

I am having so much fun reading everyone's advice on what to take!:) We traveled 5 years ago at this time and we packed really light. (and that was with our 2 boys) Try to pack as light as possible!! That is my tip! Most of what I would recommend has already been posted. (hand sanitizer, thermos, baby carrier, medications (our daughter was running a high fever when we received her) We brought way too many gifts for the nannies, etc..I would have not over did that so much.
You will do great!! We did end up buying a suitcase there to bring all of our "loot" home.

Chani's Mama said...

Okay, here's my two cents and the items I'd take with me.

Hair conditioner. They have the shampoo but my hair was so dry and our guides couldn't understand what I wanted to buy.

Cheerios. These are great/easy to take with you for the visits like the medical or the immigration. They really occupied the kids and kept them quiet while we waited. Neither the WS nor our hotel in Nanchang had them. We couldn't find them in any stores either.

Less Nanny gifts but more gifts for the kids in provience like small trinkets, packs of gum or pencils even. We had left ours and I ended up taking the ladybug clips out of Chani's hair and gave those to them. I so wish I had more to give.

Enjoy your trip!

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

it's all here.. I don't think I could add a thing. I will agree with Mare and say.. buy in inexpensive stroller in China to come home with. It does suck trying to get through customs. You are so tired after the trip and the stroller was NICE! We actually still have ours. It's held up well. Of course, we didn't have to use it much since Maddy was a little older.
I thought the hairdryers in China sucked! I'm thinking it will be summer for you though and it will be HOT.. Ponytail and a Hat will be the way to go.. Good thing you look great in a hat. (me.. not so much so I was thankful for short hair)
I love Mare's idea of the scrapbook page to get the red fingerprint on . I wish I had thought of that!!
We took to many cameras too. We had our big SLR and our little one for my purse. I think most our pictures came from the small camera. They turned out great!

skm said...

When we traveled and met our group in Beijing, we all went to the Great Wall for a day of sightseeing. There was a professional photographer there to take group shots at one of the entrances. We bought the photo/book folder and had all of our travel mates sign the book. Great momento to have. If you have a special book (I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, Kids Like Me In China), bring that and ask the nannies to sign it for you on Forever Day. It will be in Mandarin but it is a priceless piece to treasure.
Just my .02!

The Carmodys said...

Ok, some of these will be repeats but still worth posting.

- baby carrier (we did without a stroller the entire time and will do the same thing in Ethiopia - one less thing to take and great for bonding)
- toy stacking cups (don't take up a lot of room and Samara played with them for hours)
- a book or something special for the orphanage director or Emerson's favourite nanny to sign. We brought the book "When you were born in China" and the orphanage director signed it and our guide translated. It's a great addition for the lifebook and just one more connection to the first few months of her life.

Those are the main ones I can think of. Hope you're finding this all helpful. Good luck packing!


Briana's Mom said...

Because Doug and I were sick going to China - bring cold medicine! It was much needed by us and we used it heavily the first few days!!! I was so glad I brought my hip hammock too. And I had a very hard time finding Cherrios. I found the Honey Nut kind, but not regular. You may want to bring some of those as well or some type of fruit puff. And I'll chime with everyone on bringing a thermos!

I brought two tiny umbrellas to China which I never used. Wouldn't do that again. Also, I brought American formula and never used it either because we just kept her on China formula.

Good luck with the packing. I think I packed and unpacked like twelve times before I left.

~ Alison n' Mali~ said...

Apparently they're still fighting that score, the kids said they won b/c in their minds they did. There were some 'happenings' with the opponents that should NOT have been considered fair game. Coach B still fighting that.

1. Cheerios & other small baby munchables, power bars, duct tape.

2. Mineral oil.

3. Mineral oil.

~ Alison n' Mali~ said...

Oh God - just read Sugar Momma's comment & fell into hysterics. I thought I was the only one who had a run-in with minty feminine hygiene products. Minty tingles just aren't my style.

Your body may play tricks on you, def bring your own personal hygenics - even if u don't plan on using them. The products you find in China are far from what we are used to here . . . .

Hair product & medications, too. Sinus pills for plane ride. Pressure starts to hurt after 15+ housr in the air.

M & I did the book signing thing - it's nice to have something like that.

Juliette said...

1- Small thermos was a must: our girl loved very hot bottle.
2- lots of plastic bags and ziplocs
Also small plastic containers to prepare formula or mix food together.
3- Don't bring the formula from here: you'll do the transition when back home.
4- bring clothes in different sizes for your girl: the info from orphanage were really wrong, M was wearing mostly 6 months clothes and I didn't bring enough so we had to go shopping for that there. ok wasn't so bad! Same for diapers: bring a little of different sizes and buy the rest there you can't know exactly what fits her best before trying on her.
5- little pin tags, stickers, crayons with your flag on it. kids loved that we gave them Canadian pins.
6 - change for you and your girl in the carry on for the trips. It's bad to smell vomit for more than 10 hours...

Have fun packing and repacking...

Magi said...

I'll back up the thermos, ziploc bags, gerber puffs/cheerios, feminine products recommendations. We brought two slings, and used them both. I liked one better; Jim preferred the other. We also bought a stroller right away.

A local friend lost her very expensive straightener when it blew up. Make sure you have a converter/adapter.

The main thing I regretted not bringing because we couldn't find it there, I was sure we would, and ended up borrowing from travelmates was dishwashing liquid.

I brought a plastic container with lid to store bottles, nipples, etc...and used it to sterilize them with the boiled water, but didn't have dishwashing soap to clean them.

We also did the Pepto tablets, and they worked for us.

Meg said...

I wish I hadn't brought as many toys- our E wasn't interested in most of them- bubbles were a hit as were stacking cups- but otherwise that was it. glad I brought the gerber puffs- she loved those and glad I didn't bring diapers- they were readily available where we were. the only think I regret is not bringing home more from China- I traveled alone so I had to be careful of what I could carry- but 2 years later I wish I had planned for more outfits/shoes......good luck!

Debra said...

Those blue diaper disposal bags!
Wooden Chopsticks for boiling nipples and rings and bottles.
2 pepto tablets before every meal.
lightweight backpack - no purses or diaperbags
several footy pajamas - couldn't find there.
lightweight blanket for baby. If she is small enough, receiving blankets work well.
Hair bands/clips to put your hair up.
keep bandanas with you for sweating. Seriously, summer in Jiangxi and Guangzhou is extremely humid.
safety pins
duct tape
small plastic bottle of listerine to rinse your mouth in case you accidently swallow some local water.

Being a single mommy who hasn't been out in a LONG time...I think the minty things sound fun.

simply t said...

I've seen duct tape several times....& for the life of me, I can't fathom what I would need duct tape for in China. I don't use it in America...someone enlighten me please.

Tawni said...

K - since I have no experience packing for China I will give no advice there *except* you can always leave your underwear behind...*snort*

As for the Pajamas dilema you're facing. I have had the best luck for at 0ld N@vy...they seem to have the simplest and not so fru-fru selection. I have no idea who designs some of these girl clothes. And I have a bone to pick with them. They need to know that a) I doNOT want to dress my girl like D0lly P@rton - she doesn't need ruffles on her bum or gobs of cutsie crap all over the place and b) I doNOT want to dress my girl like Brittn*y Spe@rs - 'nuff said there.

Any way, enough with my soapbox...good luck packing and the duct tape thing has me baffled????

Debra said...

Broken suitcase, backback, etc handles. Also good to secure your suitcases on the way home. My brother went to Rome a few years ago and the airport lost his luggage. He split the only shorts he had, the ones he was wearing and duct tape saved him a lot of embarassment.

Anonymous said...

laundry bag for dirty undies!

Luna said...

I was wondering the same thing about duct tape....Granted, I was gonna bring it because it's on everyone's list....Just didn't know why!!

Sarah's proud Mama said...

Well, I can tell you one thing about duct tape! We used it to tape up the holes that we got in our luggage!! In China they were REALLY rough on our luggage and with all the flights, they were rough on it A LOT! (It WAS nice luggage, too!) So, you never know when you'll need it but I'm so glad we had it!

For your 3 ?s,
1. I was the most glad I had brought our small aluminum thermos, it was AWESOME to fill with hot water in the room with the hot pot and take with us to make bottles with throughout the day!
Equally as beneficial were the little baggies of cheerios that I had food saved with the vacuseal thing to have available at a moment's notice when Sarah got hungry on the go.

2. I wish I would have dragged more diapers from the US! I HATED the Chinese diapers, they leaked EVERY day all over her clothes! It would have definitely been worth it to have packed more as far as I'm concerned!

3. I wish I'd have brought a bottle! I was under the impression that I would have the opportunity to shop for one in China before we met Sarah, but I didn't have one and needed to borrow one from another travel mate until we got to the store!
Congrats on your referral, BTW!

Shannon said...

Pepto tablets didn't work for me, even taken daily. Yuck. I should have brought air freshener for the bathroom!! My poor brother...TMI! =) I have very thick hair and cut it short for the trip but it was so hot and humid, even in December that I would dry it a little with the hotel dryer and then forget about it. Yes to pony tails and hats. Disposable diaper bags, rubber gloves for that hot water washing (ow!). I used U.S. formula as it was during that scare. Switched over with no problem. Assortment of cheerios/puffs as she was picky but they were so helpful! And as I know you will, bring your sense of humor!

Princess Diaries said...

1. I'm so glad I brought my lap top. kept me connected to home.

2. I wish I'd dragged Alexis with me. I was pretty homesick for my girl which put a damper on things.

3.OTher then that I think I packed pretty well! Good luck :)

Anonymous said...

Glad I brought:
1. a global cell phone. Yeah, it cost a lot, but it was worth it when we ran into paperwork problems, etc.
2. stacking cups
3. stickers
4. Pepto for every day
5. snacks & extra diapers

PIPO said...

1) The lovely Rice Crackers (baby crack) that the Buckeye Mama hooked me up with. And, in all seriousness, antibiotics for my girl. An absolute MUST in our case.

2) What? I took a flippin' vaporizer.

3) Mike Rowe...or Shemar Moore.

Stacy said...

Ok, I've been thinking about this more and I wish that my orphanage gifts would have been things for the kids and not the nannies. I took bath and body stuff and really wish I would have taken Motrin and Tylenol for the kids instead. The nannies don't even look at the gifts. They just throw them all together and walk out. They never know who gives them what (if you have a group) and it bums me out to think of little ones sick without any comfort.

2china4S said...

I know I’m late but…

We are glad that we took drop in liners for our Pl@ytex bottles. Although we were assured that we could find everything in China, there were no Pl@ytex products available at the Kunming W@lmart. Same thing for baby wipes. I brought about 250 and do not regret it.

Our daughter was not impressed with Cheeri0s and we gave hers to a travel mate. Funny, she absolutely loves them now. Kids. She loved the Gerber puffs, so glad we packed those.

The Ergo, I can’t say it enough, we loved our Ergo. We did not buy or borrowed a stroller and did just fine.

T@mpons, even though I was not aware about the possibility of a minty fresh, tingly encounter.

Wicking clothing, 99% of our clothing was the stay dry type, even our underwear (we traveled in July). Kunming was not too bad, but Guangzhou was brutal. We do not have a single picture with sweat stains, and kept our daughter from getting all sweaty and stinky while in the Ergo.

Pediatric Medical Travel Kit ( We did not need it, but you can’t put a price on piece of mind. I’m sure that if we had more than a week to plan our travel, we would have been able to get one together ourselves.

Wipeable bibs, our daughter was a whiz at ripping the disposable ones off.

Stacking cups.

Wish we brought more toys with lights and sound. But that was easily solved with a trip to W@lmart.