Day 13: Guangzhou Zoo & River Cruise

Yesterday was SUCH a good day for Ryan, Tucker, and me in China! By the end of the night, I was just way too tired to blog about it. Ryan was the photographer yesterday, so you will see plenty of pictures of Tucker and me together.

Ryan and I had decided the previous evening that once morning came, Ryan would leave the room so that Tucker and I would be forced to be together. :) Our hope was that this time together would help us start off on a good note, and then we would hopefully have a good day the rest of the day. 

You know what? It actually worked! I mean, I didn't get a shower that morning (thankfully did the night before), and my hair was thrown up hastily, but I wasn't trying to win a beauty contest. I was trying to win my son's affection. :) So, Ryan left as planned and went down to the lobby to listen to the Colt's game since he wasn't able to find a way to stream it. It was quite a sacrifice to have to stay away and be FORCED to listen to the Colt's game. I felt terrible for him (is the sarcasm coming in through from China?). :) 

Tucker and I played for a bit on the floor and watched the videos of us playing, too Again, the hope is that if he can see himself having fun with us, it will help him learn to trust me and have fun with me in future opportunities. I quickly got ready, and we went down to the lobby to meet up with Ryan and have breakfast together. Because sitting in a high chair is so difficult for Tucker, I used the a visual (a picture of a highchair) and would sign "eat" and point to the highchair. He did allow us to put him in the high chair without the intense meltdown we had seen other times. There were definitely tears, but they didn't last as long as the day before either. 

Tucker is really liking the congee (especially when it has pork or beef in it), bananas, yogurt, bacon, and steamed buns. We have noticed how much he likes to just hold food in his hands, so we will often let him hold the bacon or steamed bun during breakast while feeding him bites of other food. Then, between meal time, he almost always is carrying around a snack trap (thanks, KB, for sending those!). I I know it is comforting for him to have food always near him, and it is something he can control right now when so many things have been out of his poor baby control.

We hopped on the van again with the three other families and drove to the Chongqing zoo. We watched the guys on dirtbikes driving inside one of those spheres again, but they only showed two guys this time in comparison to the eight guys inside at the Acrobatic show. Tuck loved it nonetheless! I joked that for as much as he loves cars, bikes, and vans, he will probably return to China someday to drive inside one of those balls. Here are the moms and the babies! SO SWEET!

See the two vehicles behind us? They were like vans without walls, just bench seating, and we got to ride around the entire zoo on those vans in order to get a good idea what animals we could see. I must admit, it was my favorite way to see a zoo! No walking just riding around and stopped every now and then to see an animal. 

This white lion was one of my favorite. SO beautiful!!

Look how much fun my sweet boy and I were having!! Gotta love those dimples. He is so an Abell. I am the only one in the family without dimples. My precious boys all do!

Sometimes we just had to hold hands we were having so much fun. :)

Other times I had to make crazy noises and nibble on his neck to make him squeal. I am sharing these pictures so that you can see the result of your prayers. God is so good to us, and Tucker and I were so blessed to share some beautiful moments together yesterday. Your prayers mean everything!!

After walking around the zoo for about an hour or so, we met back up with everyone else and went back to the hotel. We were hungry for lunch and decided that Mexican food was just what we needed! Although Tekila's food is pricey, we have been very conservative with our spending here and decided that our souls just needed Mexican. I mean, it was Day 13 peeps.

Like how Tuck is tolerating his high chair? :) Good boy!!!

Chips and fresh pico de gallo...so good for the soul! It was 65 RMB (just over $10) for this small plate of chips, but oh so worth it!

The soft tacos were AMAZING, and to be honest, I ordered them just because I was craving guacamole. Like my Coca Cola in the background, bendy straw included? Ryan ordered the chicken enchiladas, though I know he wished he had ordered my tacos. I was happy to give him one - I mean it's the least I could do for someone who has been 100% in this entire trip! Our total price for the meal was like $40 to $50!! That was a huge splurge for us, but oh so very worth it! 

Our laundry arrived just as we were arriving back at the hotel. We were so glad to have clean clothes, as we really only brought enough clothes for maybe 8 days. Ryan put Tucker down for a nap, and I cued up a movie from Amazon Prime. The time had come for us to sit in our hotel room until at least 4 p.m. praying that the phone did NOT ring. Remember that TB blood test Tucker had done on Saturday? Well, if the phone rang, that meant that Tuck's test came back positive, and we would have to stay longer in China while they did more tests. I found a movie to watch to keep us occupied, and it pretty much did the trick. We found ourselves breathing a sigh of relief after 30 minutes...then 60 minutes...then 90 minutes...and then the full 2 hours had passed! The clock read 4:00 p.m., and we celebrated knowing we could leave as planned. Ryan and I both dealt with some anxiety during that wait and really had to pray through it. Neither of us are very anxious people, but there have been times during this trip where our stomachs are just butterflies. God is so good and gives us relief every time (Phil 4:6-7). 

Ryan grabbed some Subway sandwiches for all of us and came back to the hotel. I got Tucker and myself dressed, and out the door we went. It was time to take the Pearl River Cruise. We hopped on the bus with the other three families and made our way to the dock. This cruise is something I have watched adoptive family after adoptive family do during their time in Guangzhou. I couldn't believe it was our turn! Here we are just waiting for the boat to arrive.

Tucker was snacking on some little crackers and getting them EVERYWHERE! I was feeding him a Subway sandwich, which at one point he put inside my shirt. I had crumbs everywhere (really). Our boat arrived, and we were excited to get on and find our table. Tucker had ridden in cars, buses, vans, planes, and now boats. This kid has experienced so much in such a short time!

The cruise includes a buffet dinner, but we had heard the food was not very tasty, hence the sandwiches. I asked Ryan to grab just a few things for Tucker to munch on because the cruise was like 2+ hours or something. An announcement was made, and people just RUSHED the buffet! Like I've said before. There is no such thing as a line or orderly fashion. No "let's start at this end and work our way to the other end." There were people everywhere!! We were cracking up, and Ryan had to take pictures. If you look up "Free for All" in the dictionary, there is a picture of this buffet experience. :) Chicken feet are something many people eat here, and the buffet did offer them. I asked Ryan to get Tucker a couple, knowing I would not prepare them in the US. It would probably be his last opportunity! Ryan refused. So sad. 

After some time had passed, we went to the top of the boat to enjoy the view. It was beautiful!

We stayed on top of the boat until we eventually turned around to go back the opposite direction. I remember thinking to myself how special this trip had been. I started feeling really nostalgic about everything and wished that it was our last night. It has that really sweet "Last Night" kind of feel...like a perfect way to end the trip. 

We went back to our table and sat with a couple of the other families. Soon after, the night's entertainment began! This woman below did this dance all around the boat and changed her faces so quickly you could hardly see it happen. She peeled off multiple different masks of various colors and faces. I had Tuck in the carrier still, and he was pretty scared of the show. It was the perfect opportunity to show him that I can keep him safe (#silverliningofscaredbaby). Soon after the show ended, Tucker just looked really deep in my eyes and was as still as a mouse. He leaned forward and planted two of the sweetest kisses on my lips. What a perfect ending to such a special evening in China.

This is Miko, our guide in Guangzhou. She is super sweet and has a 2 year old little boy, too. :)

Finally, our boat docked, and it was time to return to the hotel. It had been a very long day, and we were excited to be "home." Tucker was so excited and happy that night. He was all wound up and dancing around our room. 

We call him Mr. Tiny Pants. We had to roll his 12-18 month jeans because Little Man is such a teeny thing!

I got Tuck into his pajamas, made his bottle, and looked deep in his eyes while he drank every last drop. "Hearts beat fast...colors and promises...how to be brave...how can I love when I'm afraid to fall...but watching you stand alone...all of my doubts...suddenly go away somehow. I have died everyday waiting for you. Darling don't be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more."

And with that, I kissed his sweet face, told him that his Mama loved him, and put him in his crib, his "Go-Go" in one arm, and his blanket under the other arm. I laid beside him on our bed, and held his hand. I fell asleep praying and thanking God for giving us this amazing day together. Love is not easy...but so so worth it. 

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