Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I like fall...its the best time of year for St. George. The temperatures are pleasant...colors are beautiful...the early sunrise and sunsets are cozy. Its a great time of year. Here are a few pictures from some fun fall events.

Ice Cream after a visit to the Temple Visitor's Center for Family Home Evening

Picking apples at an orchard up the canyon...

A gorgeous afternoon at Zion's National Park

Playing in leaves after church

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween preview

The kids went to a little Halloween party last week, so here is a preview of the "look" for my little trick-or-treaters this year... (although Emma insists that she is not going to be a kitty again, that she must have a different costume for each event...we'll see...)



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Little Blessings

Of course my greatest blessings are my children. They are growing so fast! We had a busy, fun and special weekend. In addition to the Campbells coming to visit and paint Grandpa and Grandma's house we were also lucky to finally do RJ's "baby" blessing. Although he is 2 and 3/4...I was hoping we would still get to have this special event. My bishop approved, so we conducted just a small private blessing in the bishop's office. My wonderful father gave RJ such a beautiful and powerful blessing. I am so grateful. I was grateful to have most of my family there...missing some neices and a nephew...but otherwise, everyone was there to share in this lovely event.

Because RJ is too big to bless in the traditional "bouncing the baby" way, I sat in the middle of the circle with him on my lap while the bishopric, my father and RJ's uncle Matt and cousin Eric stood around and placed their hands on his head. I had fruit snacks at the ready, just in case RJ freaked out about all those men's hands on his head, but he seemed to understand the importance of the moment, as he sat perfectly still through most of the blessing, barely moving a single muscle. Grandma and Aunt Jan said they could see his face and other than rolling his eyes around a bit to try to catch a glimpse of what was going on, he otherwise was very still and calm. What a sweet expression of family love I felt...from my parents, sisters, brother in law, nieces and nephews and even my little daughter...all towards this beautiful soul who has already dug his way deep into our hearts. What a special bond we all already have with him.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September in review

September has been a good month, and now it has passed, and I'm just now updating my blog...so here's a little recap:









Wednesday, September 2, 2009

6 weeks...or forever...?

I think we are at about 6 weeks since RJ joined our family. 6 weeks sounds like such a short time, especially when it feels like RJ has been a part of our family forever. It is so absoultely joyous to have him in our family. It is hard to imagine life without RJ in it! The transition has been so natural and so 'easy'. Not that having two kids is necessarily 'easy' - it is definitely more crazy, more busy, more chaos, more exhausting and more fun! Emma and RJ fight just like any brother and sister would...but on the other hand, the first thing Emma sayss every day when I pick her up from preschool is "Where is RJ?" and "when are we going to see him?" They really are very cute together. Emma is now in all-day preschool, four days a week. It makes for an awfully long day and for her, especially with dancing classes and tumbling too...but she likes to be busy and I think it will be a little better for RJ to have some personal time with Grandma and Grandpa. So far, it seems to be working...but we are only a week into it...so we'll see! Here's a few pics of my beauties:

RJ and Grandma

Helping mom make a cake!

First day of preschool - 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Home...jetlagged...back to work...and life

We've been home almost a week now. I am on a regular schedule, but the kids are still adjusting. I have to remind myself it is getting better. Last night it was 11:30 before they finally went to sleep...that's way better than 3:00 or 4:00 a.m....but still after trying for 2 hours, it is a little frustrating...

Already I am back to work...no maternity leave for you when you are self employed. Three weeks in China is more than I could spend not working. I've been blessed that business has survived and that my kids are so happy to be at grandma and grandpa's house...of course, knowing grandma and grandpa, who wouldn't love it! Its a constant party there.

RJ has adjusted beautifully (so far). He gets along with all the family and other than being a little shy around new people, seems to enjoy the attention and all the fun that each new experience brings. We have lots of things to take care of ... doctors, dentists, etc. etc. But all that will come with time. For now I am counting each moment and experience (except the ones at 2 a.m.) as a blessing to treasure!

Here's a few pictures of life at home:

With grandma in my garden, picking tomatoes (even though the garden is at my house, my mom has done it all...and I get to enjoy the fruits - or more accurately, veggies - of her labors)

RJ loves the swings and slide in the backyard!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

And the pictures of my almost American boy!


At about 4:00 this afternoon I was handed an immigrant visa for my son Robert Joseph Ping Broberg, so that he can enter the United States and become a citizen!  After all the worry, panic, tears, frustrations, headaches and heartaches, all the paperwork has been finalized and all that there is left to do is travel home.  I am so very grateful.
So one final stretch...we will begin our journey home tomorrow, August 6, at about 11:00 in China.  One bus ride, three planes, two shuttles, 16 hours and 45 minutes of flying, 7 hours of layovers, 7760 miles and approximately 27 hours later we will arrive home. I can't wait.  OK, that might have been a tad bit sarcastic, but actually I truly can't wait.  I am so ready to go home.  Three weeks is really too long to travel.  Emma has been an amazing little traveler...willing to eat whatever, sleep wherever, and so on.  I am very impressed by her.  And of course, Mr. Smiles...he is just willing to go with the flow...except if you try to hold him to any seat (high chair, seat belt, on your lap)...he doesn't do confinement...so, that will make for a very interesting flight. 
No matter what, exhausted, brusied, a little broken, injured and incoherent....we will be home!  I will start counting my blessings now...to help me survive the journey ahead.
Well, off to do a final rearrangement of stuff in the bags...then try to get some rest since I know it is going to be a very long road ahead of me.
Thanks to all of those who have followed along, prayed for us and shared this wonderful journey with us.  Your love and support has been felt many times and appreciated constantly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Aug 4

We are truly on the countdown now!
Today was the consulate appointment for the adoption agency rep to take our documents to the consulate and get everything ready for our 'oath swearing ceremony' and visa issuance, scheduled for tomorrow.  A par for the course there was a potential problem issue with my paperwork...one of the adoption papers from Lanzhou had my old California address on it and the consulate would generally not allow any mistake.  But on Monday the adoption agency rep said that she had worked it out, but ended that assurance with: "lets hope they don't change their mind tomorrow."  What???!!  Anyway, I haven't heard anything for sure still, but it is 4:30, the appointment was this morning, and I think if there was a problem, she would have contacted me by now...at least I would hope so!
Today we went to a Buddhist Temple...the Six Banyan Tree temple.  It is the only tourist type outing planned for Guangzhou so I decided we would go.  It was pretty nice to do...just the weather as our only enemy.  There is a little 'ceremony' performed by a monk where they bless the babies.  I think culturally it is a nice event to do.
After we got back we went to lunch with Monica, Eric, Spencer and Sabrina (our friends from New York that we met earlier in Beijing).  We decided to try the Cantonese restaurant.  Overall since being here on Shamian Island we've just eaten American food, room service or ramen noodles in the room.  I thought it might be nice to have a Cantonese meal..however most of the menu was not particularly appetizing.  We ended up with one good dish, one acceptable dish, one edible dish and one slimy inedible choice.  Not too bad, I guess.  The most daring thing we tried...swan.  It was o.k.  Not something I'd choose again, but sounds impressive to have tried.
Since lunch we've just been at the room...trying to rest.  And, I learned that tomorrow I have to switch rooms...for just my last night.  What a pain.  There is some kind of maintenance thing they are going to do and there will be no air conditioning in this part of the building.  It will be worth moving for that!  Actually, it might be good, because I can basically get packed up tonight and tomorrow and then have the morning on Thursday to do any last minute shopping.  And then we will be heading home!!! Even though I dread the plane rides....I am sooooooo ready and so is Emma.  RJ is just going with the flow...but only because he doesn't know how much fun it is going to be to be home with grandma and grandpa and aunt Jan, Austen, the girls, the Campbells and everyone else who is going to just adore him like we do!

Swimming: Round 2

Red Couch pictures

My cute kids!

August 3

What a busy day we had today.  First on the docket was our only adoption/visa related thing:  the medical check for the visa papers.  They first checked RJ's tb test to make sure he hadn't had a reaction...nope, all clear.  The medical check really doesn't consist of much:  An eyes, ears and nose check.  How do they check his hearing?  By pounding on a little toy instrument while he is looking somewhere else to see if he turns his head.  Check.  Then he was weighed and measured...25 lbs and 34 inches, according to their scales and so on.  Then I had to answer some questions about his general health and his cleft palate.  They measured his head (can't remember that one) and checked out his heart, lets, arms, private parts, etc.....and that was that!
As we walked back, I thought that maybe since we were already out and about, we would try crossing the bridge and going off our little island for a walk down the pedestrian shopping street, which was supposedly about a 10 minute walk.  Maybe if you are an adult, without two kids and a stroller and it isn't a thousand degrees with 95% humidity, its a ten minute walk...but for us it took like 30 minutes, felt like an eternity and I was dripping with sweat by .  But of course by that time, I wasn't going to just turn around. So, we walked down the street and found the McDonalds (which I though would be a nice cool rest from the blasted heat)...so up the stairs to the 2nd floor (it seems like all the restaurants are always up a flight of stairs).  It was terribly crowded, and I didn't notice at first because of the general state of heat stroke I was feeling...but the air conditioning wasn't working.  After getting the food, finding a table and sitting down...it dawned on me that I was still dripping with sweat.  Of course about that time RJ woke up (he had fallen asleep, probably due to the temperature) and immediately made the sign to go potty...and before I could even stand up to go find a bathroom (which there wasn't one in the McDonalds anyway)...while standing on a chair at the table, he squatted and TADA!  There is was again. Hmmmm....now we are in a dilemna...aren't we.  So, back into the stroller...with soaking wet pants.  I go to find someone to tell them that our 'drink' had spilled and we try to 'enjoy' the experience of McDonalds.  Emma of course, who really wanted to go there, didn't have a single bit of her hamburger and my chicken sandwhich was disgusting.  Hows that for a positive attitude?  But we did enjoy the sprite, WITH ICE!  That was the highlight.  Then we started back down the street for the return trip.  We did stop and shop a little.  I bought the kids some Chinese looking outfits and each a pair of sandals.  Then it was back up over the thousand stairs...across the bridge over the highway...to the bridge over the water and back to the hotel.  How happy I will be to have a car again!
The kids immediately got into the tub, but because it took us so long, we had to hurry and get ready for the famous 'red couch' photo.  There is a couch in one of the other hotels nearby where most adoptive families will go to take pictures of the babies of the group and so on.  It is always quite an experience, and usually unsuccessful, to get 10 or 12 babies to sit together for a picture without crying, moving, etc.  We had no real luck either.  RJ sat pretty still, but was distracted by the baby who was screaming sitting next to him.  It was really quite funny.
One of the other families who I met in Beijing (and whom I had met via the internet before coming) had a five year old boy.  He and Emma had become fast friends in Beijing and were happy to see each other again.  His family invited us to come back to the hotel to swim with them.  Even though we were tired, Emma really wanted to and it did sound like a nice relief from the heat.  We ended up swimming for like three hours.  I wasn't sure that RJ would like it, after our first swimming experience.  But, he loved it.  It was a big outdoor pool, beautiful with a waterfall, warm and a little kiddie pool, that RJ could stand up
in.  Once he got his arm floaties on...he was unstoppable.  We even went to the deep part and he wasn't afraid to swim out with me holding him.  It was a success.  Emma of course loves the water and she had a great time.  There were a bunch of different adoptive families there with their little ones, and it was nice to get to know some of them and swap some stories.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 2

The kids are in the bathtub for the second time today.  RJ loves the water and Emma thinks it is fun too.  They played for over an hour today and RJ just stripped and took of his clothes a moment ago and went and got in by himself.  He loves to turn the water on full blast and just let it run. I have to take the plug out, so it can drain quick enough to allow for him running it full blast.  I'm sure we are going to make the hotel go broke for all the water we are using...not very environmentally friendly of us...but, it keeps them entertained for a few hours.  And that is pretty great.
We've mostly just stayed in today.  It is just too hot...and all there is to do outside is shop or go eat.  We did play at the little playground again today, but it was soooo hot, we were all dripping in sweat after about 2 minutes.  But Emma has made a little friend and that is nice.  So, other than all that, we are just hanging out at the hotel...playing, bathing and trying to survive.  Since the pool is much warmer here, I think we will try it again with RJ.  I think we will love it under the right conditions.
We had to go out today to get RJ's visa picture taken, but other than that, no adoption work today....just waiting mostly to various paperwork to run its course.  The adoption people continue to tell me that there will be no problem with my paperwork from Lanzhou...but it is the weekend and they won't really be able to check with the consulate until tomorrow.  Yikes.
 .,j n lklklkl lk  (that was typed by RJ...brilliant, huh?)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another bathtub shot

Here's a shot of my kids...loving the bath...and bubbles!

An ankle comparison

I know...just what you wanted to see...but don't you feel sorry for me now?  This is a side by side of my ankles....Can you guess which one is the one I sprained (or whatever I did to it...just bruised it maybe).  Go ahead, feel sympathy for me.  Just kidding!