Sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day here the island.

You get up, and eat the same breakfast. Visit the same shops. Come back to the same room. Go to bed and do it all over again the next day.

Boring, sometimes yes. But comforting as well.

It’s really been a wonderful time here with Vivi. Honestly, every day we see more and more of the little bug she is and is going to be. And Asher and I are both totally and completely smitten.

Chris isn’t going to know what hit him.

Today we went back to the mall for shoes (Isabelle’s choice), Thomas the Train (Jude’s choice), Hello Kitty stuff (Sophie’s choice) and Cars stuff (Shepherd’s choice). And some DVDs for Dalton. And a traditional Chinese outfit for Vivi.

$60 later, and I am going to have some ridiculously excited kids when I get home.

Then we hustled over to Carrefour for some diapers and snacks, and back to the hotel for noodles and naptime. Asher and I played some Bookworm and Quiddler and, since I can, I had a quick nap myself.

As soon as Vivi woke up we went out to enjoy the gorgeous weather before the rain comes tomorrow. We headed to the little playground and Vivi joined right in the fun, even though she’d never been there and knew no one there. She is still quite unsteady on her feet, but that doesn’t stop her from going anywhere and everywhere with abandon.

Next, we returned to an antique shop in the White Swan to purchase a cricket cage we had seen there yesterday. The sweet shopkeeper explained to Asher when we were there yesterday how to use it… she told him how much to feed his ‘pet’ cricket and gave him some tips on how to keep it alive for several months. Yeah. Right. But the cage was too adorable to resist, so we made our way back there today to buy it, pet cricket or not.

For dinner we met our group at one of my favorite restaurant on the planet: Cow and Bridge. I think it ranks way up there for Asher as well. He managed to polish off both the sweet and sour chicken and the iron skillet beef without a problem.

Now, we’re back in our room at the Victory, getting ready for Vivi’s bathtime and bedtime. And then maybe a movie. And a Snickers. For sure.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Your daughter is so precious – can't wait to see your whole family together.

  2. Gasp! It's 8:23 AM here and your mere mention of Cow & Bridge has me wanting to ditch the eggs-for-breakfast idea and try to duplicate a marvelous dish from that wonderfully delicious dining place.
    Sigh…no, it just won't work. :(
    So enjoy some marvelous cuisine for me!!

    And those tights on Vivi…there are no words!! But 'cupcake' comes to mind.

  3. So I guess y'all have read The Cricket in Times Square?

  4. The Gang's Momma! says:

    We never made it to Cow and Bridge. But man, that Italian place rated a second visit from us. If we'd had more time, I'd have gone there three times :) But next time? C&B is on the list!

    Loving those tights. She's absolutely gorgeous. I love that her sassy self is coming to the surface – Sassy is so fun :)

  5. Smitten. Oh my … aren't we all!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

  6. Your story from the first time you and Chris chose to love Vivi forever to now is so amazing. God has so clearly touched Vivi and protected her until her Mama could come. Her little personality just jumps off the pages. She looks like she is sooooo much fun! She just makes me smile over here in MN. How can you not be smitten with her…? So happy for you!!

    P.S: TA in the air! :)

  7. Sophie Neri says:

    I love how happy she looks in your arms, what a little love bug!!

  8. Stefanie….It has been so fun to read your posts and watch Vivi blossom even more each day! I told you before Steph….but you really need to write a book….you are such a gifted writer….and photographer too!

    Last month we also puchased a couple of vintage cricket cages at the White Swan antique shop. I think they were one of my favorite purchases from the entire trip! Just love them!! Enjoy the rest of your time on Shamian! Wish we were there to join you on the patio at Starbucks!!

  9. Mom to my China Posse says:

    Wow! This girl is simply gorgoues and I can see why you are smitten. She just oozes cuteness. I bet your kids at home cant wait to get their hands on her.

  10. Patricia/NYC says:

    The Cow & Bridge!!! And Asher is in my seat!! lol!! That's exactly where I sat!!

    Sweet Vivi is soooooo beautiful!!! Read your post yesterday & am so happy to hear how well things are going!!

    It won't be long now until Vivi meets her daddy & all of her brothers & sisters!! Can't wait to see your new family photo!! πŸ˜‰

  11. Oh we are so happy for you guys – really really wish we were there with you….but all things in there time….give us about 10 more days!

    Great joy here in Cincy –

    aus and co.

  12. Valerie and Jeff says:

    She is SO smoochie! She has the most beautiful lips and that expression that she holds in many of the photos … ya … Chris and the entire family will be play dough in her hands! :-)
    So sweet!
    And the cricket cage sounds super neat too!

  13. Ah, groundhog day…. perfectly describes how China can feel. I miss that groundhog day feeling.
    We ate at Cow and Bridge as many times as we could while in GZ both times. I can't think of anything that sounds more yummy at the moment! I am SO living vicariously through you.
    Vivi is such a dreamy darling of a girl. You are so blessed. Enjoy the rest of you time in GZ, before you blink, you will be home.

  14. Heather Thompson says:

    I believe anyone reading along is smitten with Vivi too! She is just adorable and transforming in your posts. It's as if she's always been right there with you!
    Ah the Cow and Bridge, how could I have forgotten it! That was the best meal we enjoyed on our trip last year. Glad that everyone is well and enjoying the final days;) Looking forward to seeing everyone together!

  15. Goodness gracious, no wonder you're smitten! She is a DOLL!

  16. Lovely pics and really cool about the cricket cage! I'd like to see that.

  17. Football & Fried Rice says:

    Vivienne looks like she is getting the hang of Island Life – wait until she gets HOME and meets reality – It will be bliss! And you don't even have to get out of
    your pajamas – yes, indeed – I think she will like it!

    Though if I looked that good in striped tights, I would wear them every day!

  18. Jesse, James and Lindsey's mom says:

    I am so glad your trip is going so well! Vivi is precious! We almost traveled together….SOOO CLOSE!!

  19. Have mercy but that is one beautiful child! Wow….never would've thought she was a spoon smoker. πŸ˜‰

    Isabelle and Sophie are going to be thrilled with their mei mei and her playful ways. I just can't wait to see pictures of all 4 of your girls together!

  20. Kristi W. says:

    Vivi has got to be one of the most beautiful little things I've ever seen. And that's sayin something cause I have some pretty darn cute kiddos myself. πŸ˜‰ I love reading your blog and have been reading for quite a while but don't think I've ever de-lurked. You have a beautiful family! Congrats on the new addition.

    Kristi W.

  21. Mei Mei s and Mayhem says:

    You hit the nail on the head with "Ground Hog Day"! I remember saying the same thing to my hubby on our 15th day of breakfast buffet! But that is okay because I enjoyed not having to clean house and do laundry. Plus having someone cook for me three times a day. Yummy, Cow & Bridge, our favorite place on the island!!

    Vivi is such a doll, cant wait to see her with your whole crew!!!

  22. I'm lovin' this trip!!!!

  23. She may not be my little girl BUT I am smitten too! She has the most adorable expressions on her face and I know she will be your future subject for Sunday snapshot- for many years to come!!

    Love the groundhog analogy! It is so true and isn't it funny how we long for that special time again and again!

    I am not sure if I have been ti cow and bridge? We be sure to get there this time!!

  24. Chinamama says:

    Vivi seems soooo self-assured with life. She just has this look to almost say, "Watch out world because here I come." She is soooo cute!!!!

    I can't wait to watch her grow and start talking.

  25. Deanna, (aka Dj, and Deej.) says:

    I was going to say that I think we're all smitten with little miss Vivi, but I see I've already been beaten to it! (I suppose that only proves it, right?)
    That face is just too sweet! She's the perfect addition to your beautiful bunch :)

  26. 3 Peanuts says:

    Oh there is a GREAT book called the Cricket in Time Square that you MUST get for Asher. Harry and I have read it and he will like it considering the purchase of the cricket cage.

    I too am smitten with Vivi…she is just prefect!

  27. More great photos as usual—love them! I am cracking up at the Ground Hog Day comment. So true!! So happy for you all.

  28. Can see why you're smitten! Your girl is just precious! We've got about 7 more days until we are experiencing the joy you are experiencing right now. Can't wait!

  29. BE STILL MY HEART! Seriously Stef~ She's not even my daughter and I am completely and totally smitten by her, too! You've done an amazing job of journaling and capturing her sweetness in photos and video. Sounds like you had some fruitful shopping for gifts to bring home to the kiddos. They are ALL going to be so smitten by your little hunny, too! I just LOVE her chubby little legs in all those tights…WAY too cute!! :)

    Enjoy your final days there. You'll be HOME soon!

    God bless! <><
    ~ Tanya

  30. Team Houston says:

    I am so enjoying your journey.

    What a blessing!!! Love the new video!!

    xoxo Michele

  31. Morning, Stef….I am just loving that miss Vivi…those Guangxi girls…yum. She is just beautiful and looks like she's got a pistol of a personality too! She will fit in great back home, huh? What a sweet little firecracker. Yes, by your description, I think Chris is gonna be in for it. :)

    Give Asher our love. Tell him Hannah is jealous to bits of his international experience….enjoy that cow and bridge! We love you.

  32. a Tonggu Momma says:

    I think we are all a bit smitten. And I hope y'all got Cars stuff and not Kars stuff. Reading every day and commenting when my computer allows it.

  33. Ah yes, smitten. And it's easy to see why!

    Lovin' those cute stripey tights, by the way. Adorable pics!

    Our blog: Double Happiness!

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