Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fun times

This month has been busy!  The kids went to their first hometown 4th of July Parade, we went to Lyman Lake for a picnic and swimming, Sawyer turned 3!! and then some fishing at Willow Springs to get out of the heat. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

long overdue update!!

Well .......
What a whirl wind our life has been! It has been fun, crazy, new, and so much more! The kids have adjusted so fast they are full of life and questions, the progress they have made is mind blowing.  We are on our toes all the time!  They love the dog Dixie and the horses, they are always looking for the cat Max's hiding places. Saywer has finally mastered the potty training idea, that has been a fun road.  Kenzie has really opened up to new foods the last couple of months and that has been a relief they both still love bananas.  They also enjoy the water, Sawyer just goes all out for it, Kenzie has to work in to it but once she is in look out!   Also, to our great surprise they travel very well in thier car seats. The first time in car seats from the airport they freaked out, but they adjusted very fast and now do great.  They have found that they have lots of cousins and neighbors to play with and that Grandparents are the greatest!  They love going to their grandparents and want to help with everything and to know what, why and how when they help.  It is almost comical sometimes, we have to keep an eye on them when they are outside, they have decided that they like to throw their toys over the fence into the neighbors' yard!  They have pretty good arms!  They still surprise us all the time and we are learning and growing together as a family.  Here are a few pics of our new life......

planting the garden with daddy
say what??

girl  LOVES her hats and boots

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Sorry for being a bad blogger, we've just been busy! 

The train ride was a lot different than I anticipated.  I expected Sawyer to have a fit and keep the entire passenger car awake and Kenzie to be a little upset but kind of in a shocked state.  What I got was the complete opposite!  They both did fine for the first couple of hours, we had some snacks and they played with all the little train gadgets they could find.  I could tell they were getting tired and it was past their normal bedtime so I got them into PJ's and started to talk about going to sleep and that's when she flipped!  Screaming, tears, the works.  I held her and tried to comfort her but she wasn't interested, and then Sawyer started to whimper and point to the door and mumble something.  I'm not sure what he was saying, but it's the same thing he would say at the baby house when he didn't want to come with with me.  So I held them both for about an hour and then Kenzie wanted down and Sawyer followed soon after.  At this point she wanted nothing to do with me, Sawyer, or her toys, so I played with Sawyer for a while and then decided to lay down and maybe they would see that it was ok.  Kenzie sat straight up on the opposit bench for over an hour fighting to stay awake until she finally passed out, Sawyer was content to play until almost midnight and then fell asleep standing up with his head laying on the bench.  It was a restless night for all 3 of us but we did manage to get a little rest and made it to Kiev safely.  Nico picked us up and got us settled into an apartment to wait for the arrival of my parents.

The kids were shy at first, Kenzie especially, but they are coming around.  Sawyer is fine with both my parents now, but he still comes to me for most of his needs which I am happy about.  Kenzie won't really have much to do with either of them, but she will at least let them look at her now without turning her head.  She is still adjusting and has moments throughout the day and night when she just starts crying and wants to be held.  I am encouraged that she usually calms down quickly and she wants to be comforted.  Now if we could just get her to eat!  She is existing on bananas, juice and baby food.  She would never take food from me at the baby house so I asked the nannies how she ate.  Apparently not very well!  I finally asked what she WOULD  eat!  I know I am not fixing things the way she is used to it, but we have tried everything that she likes and she refuses.  The only reason we tried baby food is because the nannies put a jar of it in their things, and I'm glad they did!  Hopefully once we get settled at home she will do a little better.  Sawyer on the other hand is a human garbage disposal!  I think we will have to lock the pantry......seriously.  
We have been busy with Embassy appointments, Medical appointments and an afternoon of sightseeing.  The kids have done really well at all of them.  We have one more Embassy appointment on Monday to get their visas and then we head home on Tuesday.  We are all more than ready!
Today we mostly stayed at the apartment, Mom and Dad went to the store to get a few groceries and got to experience some Ukrainian customer service!  The kids opened their gifts and enjoyed playing with their new toys.  The weather isn't too bad, it is raining now and has been foggy, we weren't able to get pictures the other day because of the fog.  Well, I hope everyone on the other side of the world has a wonderful day  and a very Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

gotcha ! !

Well yesterday was our "gotcha" day, and boy was it LONG!!  We left Nikolaev at 6am and went to the towns where Kenzie and Sawyer were born, that took most of the day as they were in opposite directions from each other and it was very foggy.  Sometimes you could barely see the car in front of you!  When we got back to Nikolaev we went to the notary,then to the baby house to get permission to withdraw money from bank.  The government gives each orphan money and we donate it back to the orphanage in the children's name.  Let me tell ya' there were some ticked off Ukrainians at the bank!  We were short on time, so Sasha called ahead and made an "appointment", which really means we just got permission from the bank to cut to the front of the line........ it must have been payday or something because the bank was full!  So in we go, right to the front, we're both the smallest people in there and I'm obviously foreign with not even a coat on.  They take FOREVER, people are getting angry, and they give us the biggest stack of money I've ever seen!  Sasha says "go! go very fast! "  the car is literally right outside the door on the sidewalk and off we go!  Back to the baby house to the accountant for a receipt ( 40,000 gr), sign some more papers ( i have NO idea what ), and of to the passport office which closes at 5 and its 4:30.  Sasha called ahead and explained to them that we were coming and the director agreed to wait,  when we got there he told Sasha that he could only give one child a passport and the other one would be here next week!  What?? "Ha Ha !  I'm just kidding " he says, she wanted to kick him!  Really though,  Sasha thinks we got the VERY last one day passports!  Thank goodness!  By the time we left the passport office it was after 5:30, the train leaves at 7.  We went to my apartment and literally threw everything in the suitcase and garbage bags and headed for the baby house.  Once we got there, we gave the nannies the children's clothes so that I could go meet with the Dr. to get their medications and instructions.  Well you know darn good and well that those kids weren't getting out of there without eating!  The nannies promised to feed them quickly and dress them while I was with the Dr. , that was an interesting meeting from nursing standpoint!  They are very particular how the meds should be given, and how to mix them.  It took me a while to understand what they were trying to tell me because it just goes against everything I've ever been taught as a nurse!  Eventually I got it and it's all written down for me.... in Russian!   Then it was time!  The moment I've  been dreading and looking forward to for SO long.  The nannies had the kids dressed and ready to go, all of their groupa was there, the nannies, and some of the staff.  We said our goodbyes,  I told the nannies thank you from me and all of my family,  yes the nannies and I cried and we walked out of the baby house for the LAST time.  I will finish the story and post pictures later, we made it and we all survived!  My parents should be here in about an hour and I am going to get the kids fed. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

sentimental journey . . . ......

This morning as I was walking to the baby house I realized that it might be the LAST time I make that walk!  So I slowed down, and took some pictures and tried to soak it all in.  The sounds and smells, what I was seeing.   I want to be able to describe to the kids what it is like here in their birth country.   

By the time I got to the baby house, I was sad.  Oh I know, I should be overjoyed...... and in some ways I am.  Believe me, I am ready to bring our children home!  But what will be a happy and special day for us will be a tortuous day for them.  This is all they have ever known.  The nannies have been their mothers and teachers.  A group of 6 - 10 children have been their playmates and essentially brothers and sisters.  This large building has been the only home they've ever known.  They have a routine, a place in this little society.  And in a day or two I am going to take them away from here to start a whole new life.  They've known me less than a month!  You can imagine how their little hearts will be breaking, how scared they will feel!  I know in a few months they will be fine, adjusting to knew sounds and foods, a whole new language, new friends and best of all ..........a family. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

getting closer to the finish line!

Sorry for not posting in a few days, the computer and camera were not cooperating and I finally gave up trying. Today things seem to be on track.  OK, we are on day 10 of the appeal period, YAY!! Only 4 days left until my parents get here, bigger YAY!  And this is day 26 of my Ukrainian adventure!

Friday I got a special treat ..... it was Christmas program day at the baby house and I was invited to watch !!  I could tell something was different, when I knocked on the groupa door to get the kids, the nannies kept motioning to the floor above us and said "Albina!", and then motioned that they needed to get Sawyer dressed.  I said ok and thought that Kenzie (Albina) must be upstairs for something, no problem...I'll wait.  And wait I did!  For about 30 minutes with nannies coming and going with urgency in their steps, looking in the closet through all the clothing, Sawyer crying in the background ( shocking, I know ), people out in the hallways going back and forth and up and down the stairs all in a hurry.  I was starting to get a little worried, I could hear Kenzie talking so I knew she wasn't upstairs.  And then the groupa door opened and this is what I saw........

they were so excited, it was hard to get a decent picture

 Aren't they pretty ?!  And then they were joined by a very handsome Sawyer,

he wasn't nearly as excited as the girls!

 I managed to get a few more pictures, and then we went upstairs to the music room.

This is the music room all decorated for the program.  We were the first ones to arrive, so I was able to get good seats.

He wasn't too thrilled that he had to sit with me, but after a while he relaxed.  During the program he was more interested in the big video camera in front of us than the performance.  This is the first time I have been able to hold him with only one layer of clothing on!  He's got a belly!
All the kids being led in, Kenzie is in pink by the tree.

It was a cute little performance about St. Nikolai, that much I understood!  I was able to get most of it on video but with Sawyer on my lap "helping" me the camera was moving around a lot!  But it will still be neat for the kids to have when they are older.  All the kids got a gift at the end and Sawyer was trying to open his with his teeth, Christmas morning should be fun!
Not much else going on here, it stopped snowing and was real cold for a day or two and now it is warming up which has made a very slushy mess outside.  We spent our visits in the hallway this weekend.  I wish the acoustics were better in there, I would love to record some stuff but it just echoes.  Right now there are 3 families here to adopt.  Us, the Spanish family, and an Israeli family who adopted their daughter from here also about 5 years ago.  So we are all in the hallway together with our kids and then there are a few "big sisters" that come every week to play with their chosen child.  Kind of like the Big Brother/Big Sister program we have at home.  Anyway, it's comical to hear all the different languages mixed together!
The next two days I will be busy getting the final paperwork done here in region so that hopefully we can be on the train to Kiev Tuesday night.  I am excited that this wait is over with no complications, not everyone has that blessing.  Actually we have been very fortunate so far, everything has gone quickly and on schedule.  Let's hope that continues!  I want to thank everyone for sending comments and love this way, it REALLY does help !

Thursday, December 16, 2010

pictures as promised

The sun was out almost all day today!  I saw the kids this morning, came home and had some lunch then I headed to the market.  Oh how I wish I had taken the camera!  Today was poultry day at the market, chickens, turkies, pheasant.  You name it, they had it!  All displayed on the sidewalks, cardboard boxes and tables of the vendors.....some had guts, some had feet still attached, some were stuffed for your convenience with carrots and guts!  Very interesting indeed....
I found shoes for the kids, I hope they fit.  The drawings we made of the kids feet were not that helpful, so I just guessed.  The nice lady I bought them from tried to help me, I was able to tell her I needed them for a 2 year old boy and 3 year old girl.  I think Sawyer's may be a little big, but we can stuff the toes or something and then maybe he will get a little more use out of them.  Kenzie is going to be stylin', she got some tall lace up black ones! (don't worry Jon, they have a zipper on the side!)  I also got him one pair of tights and her two, they are alot cheaper here than at home and they are nice and thick.  I wasn't going to get him any because he won't be wearing them at home, but they are so used to being bundled up I'm afraid he will freeze!  Which leads me to my next purchase..... some insulated pants for each of them.  It ended up being about $50 dollars for everything, so not too bad.   
Thought I should take a picture of the's rare!

This is the courtyard where we play, the groupa is on the left
Sawyer playing in the snow

He was afraid to touch it with his hands

looking out from the courtyard at the orphanage grounds

Sleigh Ride !!!!
Doesn't he look excited?
Hello family !!!

walking through the park

She insisted on pulling him by herself, didn't work out so well!
She was less than pleased, and then let me help her

Sawyer helped me build a snowman !

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

waiting in a winter wonderland

Well we're on day 6 of the mandatory 10 day appeal period and only 8 days left until my parents get here!  It has been snowing for 3 days now, not much, just constant little flakes.  As long as the wind doesn't blow, it isn't all that cold though.  There is about 2 or 3 inches on the ground.  The kids and I have been able to play in it the last few days and today I was able to get some pictures.  Our visits continue to go well, a little fussing but no major meltdowns yet. I still have not made it to the market for shoes, maybe tomorrow.  I may end up going back to the mall, I'm pretty sure the nannies aren't going to let the kids leave without shoes on, and everything they currently wear has to stay at the orphanage.  Well, I have some really cute pictures, but the computer is not cooperating!!  I'll keep trying : )

Monday, December 13, 2010

well rested......FINALLY : )

Last night I slept, ALL night, without drugs!  Tonight I am hoping for the same, but we'll see, it feels like midnight to me but it's only 5:30.  Today's visit went better, Sawyer only fussed a little and didn't want me to dress him, but he went with me willingly.  I see at home it is supposed to be 82 and sunny today!  It is COLD here, it didn't get above freezing all day and we got a light dusting of snow, but they still let the kids outside and we had fun.  At first we played in the courtyard with one of the nannies (one of their favorites) and Kenzie was being very clingy to her.  She kept directing Kenzie to come to me and play with me and Sawyer but she wasn't having any of that!  She gave me a tongue lashing when I kicked the soccer ball she had intended for the nanny and then the nanny gave her a tongue lashing for talking to me that way!  I don't want to start any bad habits but it was hard not to laugh at her.  After a little while I asked if I could take the kids to the playground for some alone time, with all the little ones begging for attention it is hard to bond!  We played on the teeter-totter, slide, and Sawyer gave his stick a ride on the merry go round.  Kenzie got brave and let me help her climb up the little monkey bars and then she decided that she should be the one to catch Sawyer at the bottom of the slide!  Not the best idea since he outweighs her, but I let her think she was doing it.  I told her that Sawyer is her brother forever now and then she started calling him brother in Russian!  Too cute!  I think we should have named him in Sherman Tank!  He is SO strong and he just goes!  Fall down, get up, hit my head? whatever- didn't feel it, I see a lot of casts in our future!  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

ukraine .......... day 19

Yesterday I was able to get the kids outside again, we played at the playground and we all had a good time.  I had to cut the visit a little short because it started to snow and was very windy and cold, but for my first solo visit I think things went well!  Sawyer is definitely "over" the excitement of our visits!  The last 3 times he has thrown a fit when we arrive, today I just let the nannies take him back to the groupa and Kenzie and I hung out in the hallway.  I will try again tomorrow.  I am not sure how he's going to react when we leave here ..... but I'm pretty sure it's not going to be pleasant for anyone! 
I had planned on going to Sovietska and the open air market today to look for shoes and tights for the kids, but it was really cold and I'm not feeling well so I came back to the apartment and took a nap.  I haven't really had a full nights sleep since we've been gone and It's starting to wear on me!  My body just will NOT regulate to the time change.  I'm struggling to stay awake at 2pm and then when it's bedtime I'm wired, so today I just gave in and slept for about three hours and hopefully tonight  I can get some more.....I see more benadryl in my future!  The market is closed on Mondays so I will head down there on Tuesday if the weather cooperates.
Jon made it to Kiev without any problems, he ended up having a first class cabin on the train all to himself and was able to get some rest.  Sasha told me he was nervous about leaving me here alone, so she's been checking on me : ) I really am fine!  Just lonely at times.  Nico met him at the train station, gave him a phone and got him settled into an apartment for the day.  We were able to talk throughout the day while Jon went exploring.  He found some stores that we'll have to visit when we get back to Kiev and bought a few children's books in English/Russian.  I just checked on his flight and he is about 2 hours outside of Chicago, so far his flights have been on time.  I'm worried that he might get stuck in Chicago though, the weather there is bad and his flight doesn't leave until 5pm.  Well, that's all for now, I don't have any new pics...maybe tomorrow!

Friday, December 10, 2010

all by myself. . . .

Jon left for Kiev tonight, he will fly out early Sunday morning :'(   yep, I'm lonely!  I am counting the days until my parents come, it's 12.   We saw the kids this morning and had a pretty good visit.  Sasha, I mean SAWYER, was not too thrilled to see us, he was in the middle of play time or something and threw a royal hissyfit when we got him dressed for playing.  Jon took him for a walk until he calmed down and then he was fine.  Kenzie was content to "read" to herself most of the visit, by the pictures I think it was Snow White and she was so cute reading out loud and pointing to the pictures!  I tried to get a video of it but the hallway was too noisy today with other kids playing.  There is a couple here from Spain adopting a little boy named Sasha, Jon has talked with them some but his Spanish is not quite the same as theirs.  From what he gathers, they had court yesterday too and everything was successful.  I think they have had some complications along the way with their paperwork.  Becky, I think this is the Sasha you mentioned, with the shortened leg, he is really cute, dark hair and blue eyes.  Anyway, we were able to get our first family picture today thanks to the Spanish couple.  We tried to ask the nannies to take it but they thought we wanted to take a picture of them with the kids!  So we did and I'm glad! We'll have a great keepsake for the kids, the nannies really do care about the children.  They are happy that they have a family, but they have all been giving Sawyer and Kenzie a little extra attention the last couple of days as they know we will be leaving soon.  Thanks for all of the happy thoughts and support,  I'm not sure it has sunk in yet that we are actually parents!
one last visit with Daddy

hopefully the next family photo will be better!

post nothing ever happened

a few of the nannies