Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Christmas Miracle!


Nick helped Chris and Granddad feed the cows in his pajamas and new boots! He is crazy about his boots.

He has some chomppers!

The homecoming!

Me and Nick outside the apartment we stayed in in Moscow.

Nick at the mall in Moscow. Notice the plate. He had to carry that plate everywhere that day. The first few days we had him Nick had some object that he had to carry around for the entire day. This habit has now stopped.
More tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I lived in an orphanage last week?

Nick's been with our family a week now. His transformation has been amazing! We have been so blessed. He is one big bag of smiles and laughs. He has thrown a few good temper tantrums but they were short lived and quickly forgotten. I told him he would have to do better than that to compete with his older sister, Lauren.

He still hates to be bathed and screams the entire time. We told him he needs to get used to being bathed because that is the American way. He knows as soon as we walk into the bathroom that it is about to be bathing time. He will immediately start throwing a fit. He survives it though and as soon as he is out of the water he quits crying.

He also loves to eat. I think he would eat all day long if we would let him. I'm sure some of that is the fact that he never has eaten on demand, just schedules. There are foods he won't eat but usually it seems to be because of the texture of the food not the taste.

He is just doing so great it is hard to believe he has only been with us a week.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're back in the States

We made it back. We aren't home yet but are going to spend Christmas with my in-laws. Nick did awesome travelling! He slept about 6 hours of the flight overseas which helped that long flight. We were so happy to get to the Chicago airport. Nick's immigration went smoothly. We were the only ones there to do that so it took all of about 3 minutes. The time between our flights once we were in Chicago was only 2 hours. It was going to be cutting things very close with going through customs and immigration and getting to our connecting flight. We hadn't brought a stroller to cut back on things to travel with so my arm was about to break from carrying Nick and luggage and walking at the speed of light to get our connecting flight. We made it to our gate only to find out it had been delayed!

Nana and Poopaw (Chris's parents) were at the airport to pick us up and take us home. When we arrived at their house all the family was there waiting for us. It was a crazy and happy homecoming. It was like the paparazzi!! Everyone talking, taking pictures and doing lots of kissing on the little boy. Nick was smiling ear-to-ear! He hasn't stopped smiling since he got here. He is having a ball! It is so fun to see him laughing and having fun with all of his cousins.

Today I went out and did some Christmas shopping with my family. Nick stayed home with Chris. Nick cried when I left! We were gone a long time today and I kind of thought he would either be mad at me when I returned home or would want nothing to do with me. He made my heart stop when we walked in the door and he saw me. He got a huge smile on his face and ran to me with open arms wanting me to pick him up. It made my heart melt!

Alex forgot to bring my camera cord from home. I'll have to post pictures when we return home on Saturday since I don't have anyway to upload the pictures. Sorry for the wait.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Saturday in Moscow

Jumping ahead a bit....while we were in Kemerovo it was looking like we were going to leave there early and thus be able to complete our adoption business in Moscow earlier. We would be able to leave Russia early IF we could find a flight out of Moscow at a reasonable cost. While in Kemerovo we called American Airlines to check out availability and prices. WOW! We could find a flight but it would cost us around $5,000 to make the change. No, not rubles, dollars. That was just too much money and we didn't change our flights. Since being back in Moscow our paperwork has gone smoothly. We just kept wondering why it cost soooo much to change our flights to get back to the states. We want to go home! We decided to call American Airlines again. This probably would be fruitless but hey...it was worth a try. GOD IS GOOD! I don't know how or why but we found flights out for today via Chicago that weren't too outrageously priced to change. We are leaving in a few hours. I've heard there is bad weather in Chicago so we may get stuck there but we are ok with that. We are heading home :)

Nick has amazed us. We picked him up 4 days ago from an orphanage. Since then his attachment process has gone amazingly well. It is actually hard to believe. When we got him he would let anybody hold him and would not look us in the eye. He would smile but very tentatively. Since then....he recognizes us, won't let others hold him, smiles big huge smiles, looks us in the eyes for longer periods of times each day, searches us out if we are in another room, wants to get up in our laps (self-initiated), he will even sit facing us in our laps with direct eye contact, and teases with us. We have a long way to go but it is a great start to things.

Chris wants me to say that Nick loves his Daddy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friday in Moscow

Nick is better! He woke up yesterday all smiles! We are thinking he was car sick. Today we are going to the U.S. Embassy to do some more paperwork. I think I will take some towels with us....just in case! :)

To back track in our journey a little....Following court on Monday we had a bunch of running around to do and didn't quite have the time to get the kiddos from the orphanage. (The other couple with us adopted a little girl who is just precious.) So, Tuesday morning we got up and off to the orphanage we go. When they brought Nick to us he recognized us from Sunday. At least he didn't cry when he saw us like he did on Sunday. Instead, he gave us his crooked smile. :) We played with the kids for awhile and then they took them off to eat lunch. While they were gone to eat the doctor came and gave us Nick's 3 medications and instructed us on how to give them to him. We thought he was only on 2 medications so were taken aback with three. But, we were able to get medicine to take home with us which was one of our concerns. Also, we were able to get the English names of the medications. Two of the medications we (Chris) was able to tell what they were, but the third was not distinguishable. Most of the letters where in Cryllic.

When the kiddos came back from lunch they were dressed in the clothing we had brought for them to leave the orphanage in and they were ready to go. We left all of the gifts we had brought for the doctors, social workers, orphanage directors.....etc. We said our goodbyes and loaded up in the van. We were anticipating a lot of crying on the 1 1/2 hour drive back to Kemerovo. (The orphanage was in a village named Zelenogorsk) We were pleasantly surprised by a brief cry and then both the kids fell asleep. A great start to our new life.

I will post pictures when we get home! I don't have my camera cord with me since this isn't our computer we are using.

More later.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Very early morning in Moscow

Jumping ahead a bit....Nick has been sick. Poor little guy has had the vomits since yesterday afternoon. He had his physical yesterday (23.6 pounds!) and on the car ride back to the apartment he started vomiting. He got throw up everywhere in the car. I feel for the translator/driver and his car. We made it back to the apartment with vomit all over Nick and everything else. I am glad this apartment has a washing machine! We got Nick stripped down and comfortable. This whole time he is still his pleasant natured self! He threw up a few more times and then he fell asleep on my chest. We slept that way for a few hours and then we went and got in bed. Nick is still asleep. He's been asleep for 10 or 12 hours now. Hopefully he will wake up feeling better.

Nick's personality has been a blessing. He is so good natured. He is smiling more and more. He definately recognizes us and yesterday at his physical when I had to sign something the translator took Nick out of my arms and he had a cow! Maybe he is starting to know who his mommy is! Of course, this made me happy! We have had so much fun with him. Chris and I were talking about how Nick isn't just a random little boy plucked out of an orphanage and given to us to raise. We feel like God definately orchestrated this adoption and Nick is our special little boy. He is the little boy that is suppose to be with our family. We already are so in love with him.

More later....

We're back in Moscow!

A big thanks to my oldest daughter, Alex for posting the slide show of Nick! She did awesome. The internet wasn't working at the hotel we were staying in so I didn't have any access while in Kemerovo. If there were any internet cafes around I wasn't going to spend ANY time outside looking for them. It was so incredibly cold. I have never experienced cold like Siberia has. I don't even think it was as cold as it can get there. We would walk 2 blocks from the hotel to a restaurant called the Traveler's Cafe and we would nearly freeze to death.

We arrived in Kemerovo on Sunday morning. That afternoon we got to go and visit Nick at the orphanage. We didn't know we were doing this so it was a great surprise. Nick cried at first but then he warmed up and he actually interacted with us better this visit than our previous 2. It made us really excited to get court over with and have him be ours!

Anyways...court. We weren't really nervous for court until we were in the room. I was really worried about Chris being able to hear during court with the judge and translator talking at the exact same time. Chris doesn't hear well when there is a lot of background noise and he was the one that had to answer most of the questions. So I was stressing wanting to answer the questions for him. But, of course, that isn't allowed. Another thing that was bothersome was during Chris's questioning the prosecutor kept staring at me. It made me extremely uncomfortable and nervous. It was kind of a piercing stare. I'm not really sure what all that was about but it was extremely nerve wracking to say the least. Questions at court were the usual ones that they prepared us for. But, then they grilled me about our finances and Nick's surgery. They wanted to know about our insurance and whether or not the surgery would be paid for. Also, they were curious about the economic crisis and if we were affected by it. The other couple weren't asked these questions. We think it is because we already had 3 children to provide for and the other couple didn't.Also, their child doesn't need surgery and ours does. But, we made it through court ok and the 10 day wait was waived.

There is still so much to tell but will post more tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nick



Here are some more pictures of Nick! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is a SlideShow of Nick

Click to play NICK!
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He is Just adorable! :)

HE'S OURS !!!


I am Alex my mom and dad are in Russia and they told me to post some pictures, and ( i will try ) slide show of now NICKOLAS! He's ours i won't tell you the whole thing i will let me mom do that!:)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

DAY 2- MOSCOW

Well, we survived the physicals. What a joke those were. They were just a money grab. There were 5 couples at the facility to receive their physicals. It took about 3 hours to complete them but only because we did a lot of waiting around for our turn. One of the couples we met there are also going to Kemerovo with us. The wife of this couple is from Brazil. Chris was excited to speak Portuguese while in Russia.

Last night we went to the circus. The apartment we are staying in is very close to the circus so we decided to go. I am surprised more people don't talk more about the circus here. It was excellent!! I think it could be the best circus I've ever seen.

Today has been a great day. A couple that lives here in Moscow but are American picked us up this morning and spent the day with us. We are so greatful for them. We took the metro to a flea market called Izmalava (spelling?) and spent some time there. We had gone to this market on our last trip here and enjoyed it so much we asked them to take us back there. After we finished at the market we took the metro over to Arbat street. (The metro is impressive here.) We walked around Arbat street, drank hot chocolate at Starbucks and later ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. We enjoyed a little bit of America while in Russia.

We are back at the apartment now getting ready to go to Kemerovo. Our plane leaves at 11:00 p.m. The other American couple will also be on this same flight. It is comforting to have other Americans with us. I don't think I will have internet while we are in Kemerovo. I will post as soon as we return to Moscow! Wish us luck!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 1-MOSCOW

We arrived here in Moscow last night. Our plane was late arriving so I was nervous that our driver wouldn't be there to pick us up. Fortunately, he was! He said that December is very busy with adoptions. Usually they have 4 families here in Russia during any given month of the year. December they have 12 families. We are meeting another American family that is here and will also be in Kemerovo with us today at our physicals. Our physicals are scheduled for noon today.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

IT'S HERE!

Tomorrow we are off! Taking the kiddos to school at 7:30 a.m. and away we go. The girls were very tearful tonight. We have never left them for this long! It breaks my heart.

Please pray for good weather, safe flights, great flight connections, an accomodating judge, safe roads to the orphanage, good transition for Nick etc,etc....I don't think there can be too many prayers! :)

I don't know if I will have a computer in Russia. If I do I will try to post. Alex is going to try and post a slide show I made of Nick of our first visit in October. She will do this after court. Hopefully, that will work out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Is this good luck?

A storm blew in this evening. Once it passed we saw this double rainbow. We could actually see the complete rainbow. It was beautiful. Too bad there wasn't a pot of gold at the end. I could really use a huge pot of gold after this adoption process :) Is a double rainbow good luck! I sure hope so. Surely it is a sign that everything will work out great on this upcoming trip.
I've been running around like a mad woman the past week trying to get Christmas done as well as prepare for our upcoming trip. I also have had to complete a month's worth of work at my jobs in 10 days. It can easily be said that I've been stressed. Things are starting to come together though. One more day!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I've Been Tagged by My Friend Patty!

A: Attached or Single: Definitely attached!

B: Best friend: Chris (husband), Dana comes a close 2nd :)

C: Cake or Pie: Pie! Coconut cream or Chocolate cream

D: Day: Monday-all the kids go back to school :)

E: Essential item: chapstick! I always have one with me. Chris used to make fun of me for this but now I've noticed he is also into chapstick. See, very essential!

F: Favorite color: Black and green

G: Gummy bears or worms: NEITHER--definitely not worth the calories.

H: Hometown: Seattle, WA

I: Indulgences: No doubt, chocolate

J: January or July: JULY (but I like winter clothes better than summer)

K: Kids: 3 precious girls and soon 1 boy :))

L: Life isn't complete without: Family

M: Marriage: 15 long, trying, laborious,tedious, tiresome, painful and miserable years! OK, I'M JUST KIDDING! :)

N: Number of siblings: 6 brothers and 5 sisters. Yes, that is correct I have eleven siblings. My mother is a saint!

O: Oranges or apples: Oranges

P: Phobias and fears: Heights and confined spaces. Chris likes to tackle me and make me feel confined. What a dog! :)

Q: Quote: I don't really have a favorite quote. But, I love it when Chris sings "It's Hard to Be Humble When You're Perfect In Every Way" in the shower.I'm not even sure if it is a real song but he sings it often. The girls and I just roll our eyes at him. He wants to know why he has to be his biggest fan! :)

R: Reasons to smile: Days when your kids don't fight and...when your husband buys you jewelry.

S: Season: Fall!

T: Tag three: Dana (I'm trying to get her to make a blog!), Kumi and Jen in Flower Mound :)

U: Unknown fact: I don't cry. My husband said if I were an Indian my name would be 'Stone Heart'. He's so rude :) I really don't cry much, but it isn't because I don't have feelings I'm just not a crier.

V: Vegeterian or Oppressor of animals: I definitely eat meat!

W: Worst habit: Eating too much chocolate.

X: X-ray or ultrasounds: since they are both painless...either one.

Y: Your favorite food: refer back to worst habit!

Z: Zodiac: Scorpio

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I-600A

Russia has finally received our clearance for us to adopt. It only took 11 months to arrive. But hey, it is there! We also received our Russian visas the other day. Thing are coming together for our departure. I am even close to finishing the Christmas shopping. All the shopping has to be done, wrapped, shipped etc. since we won't be back in the states until the 24th. Phew!

This is a picture of the girls' recent pedicures. They each earned a pedicure for different reasons. Alex earned her pedicure by winning the BARS at the North State Gymnastic meet in November. Taylor earned her pedicure by finally getting over the VAULT with straight legs. (She no longer looks like a frog when she vaults.) Lauren earned her pedicure because she is such a trooper and has attended gymnastic meet after gymnastic meet after gymnastic meet. For those of you not involved in gymnastics, meets are loooong. They usually last about 4 hours and we had to sit through 2 session each meet. Lauren's days were at least 8 hours long for each meet during the season. She only complained a little. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Polar Express

Last night we took the girls on "The Polar Express" train ride with some of our good friends. It was about an hour long train ride. It is a very cute idea. We boarded a train and listened to the story of "The Polar Express" and Christmas music while we rode to the "North Pole". When we arrived at the "North Pole" we picked up Santa and his elves. Santa went around and visited all the kids and asked them what they wanted for Christmas. We sang Christmas carols, drank hot chocolate and ate cookies. The kids even got to wear their pajamas on the train ride. Here's a picture of the girls right as they boarded the train.
Me and the girls in our seats on the train.
Picture of me and Chris before he got too hot and bored. He thought the ride was a bit long and way too hot.
This train ride was a very cute idea but after participating in it we decided they need to work out quite a few kinks for us to do it again. It was also a bit pricey for what it was. At least we were able to do something Christmasy with the girls though before we leave for Russia. Our trip is less than 2 weeks away now. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Taylor's State Meet

We drove to Taylor's state gymnastic meet this weekend. We thought she needed a painted car too!


Taylor didn't have her best gymnastic meet but she was ok with how she performed. We are so proud of how far she has come since severely breaking her arm last year. Taylor qualified to compete in the highest gymnast division at the state meet..... GOLD. It is hard to believe what all she has accomplished since her surgery. She is an amazing little girl whose work ethic is fantastic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New cell phone!

Alex was promised a cell phone if she took first place on an event at the state gymnastic championships. We obviously had to fulfill that promise. Here she is with her new cell phone. Talk about an excited girl!

This is a picture of Alex teaching her dad how to text. We added the unlimited text package since we know all the kids want to do is text one another.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

WE HAVE A STATE CHAMPION!!!!

Alex took the title of the State Beam Champion this morning! She took first place with a 9.775! We are so proud of her. Alex also placed 3rd in the floor event and 3rd place overall. Way to go! Here she is with her Daddy, her uncles and her beam and floor coach. Everyone is proud of her! :)

Alex and Amanda (beam and floor coach)

We are so sad that Amanda is moving and will no longer be able to coach Alex. We love her!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heading to the State Competition!

Alex's teammates decorated our car to show Alex their support! They are the greatest.

The wind was blowing like crazy when I took these pictures so they aren't the best. You can get the idea though.


Best of luck to our gymnast. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Airline tickets

I've been working on our flight arrangements the past couple of days. What a pain. I predicted this pain since we are travelling around the holidays. Chris and I decided to drive to the closest big airport to save $500. This isn't convenient but $500 is $500. The day we leave we will drive the girls to school and then head out.

I am so excited my mom can come down and watch the girls the first part of our trip to Russia. Then when the girls' school is let out for the holidays my mother-in-law will come and pick them up and take them to her house to spend the holidays there. I am so grateful for their williness to help out. That is one less thing to worry about.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

December 23rd or December 26th

Based on a lot of "ifs", we will either be home from Russia December 23rd or December 26th depending on if our little man can get his passport ready "early". If it is ready "early" we will fly home on the 23rd of December. If not....we miss Christmas with the girls and can't leave Moscow until the 26th. We are talking with the girls about the possibility of not spending Christmas with them. It is sad to think about but, we are bringing home an awfully good Christmas present! :)) We were told to buy tickets that can be changed without too much penalty. We all know those are more expensive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

WOOO HOOO!!!!!!

OUR COURT DATE HAS BEEN SET!!! DECEMBER 15TH!!! WE ARE SOO EXCITED! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO US!

USCIS has received our FEDEX letter. Apparently it wasn't indicated on our application which country we were adopting from so our adoption clearance wasn't sent anywhere. Things are starting to move now. We need to focus now on getting our state to get our state police clearances passed through and also getting our homestudy updated. Unfortunately, our homestudy expires the day we have court. Of course, it is more money to update it. Nothing is for free in this adoption game.

Black or brown hats? I'm sure we will be wishing we had some of these fur balls as we travel to Siberia in December. BRRRRR!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

USCIS

Fellow adopters...does anyone know phone numbers to the USCIS offices in Dallas and Oklahoma City? What about specific names of Orphan officers? I want to call both of these offices tomorrow so that they can be looking for our FEDEX letter we sent both of these offices on Friday. I also need to plead our case to get them to move quickly in this immigration matter. Our little man needs his heart evaluated for surgery so we need to get him to the United States quickly! This paper delay is just nuts! I looked back on our records and I think our immigration stuff was done last January.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More problems!

You read the title correct! More problems. It seems that immigration has not let the Moscow embassy know that we have been cleared for adoption! Our adoption agency wrote letters today to immigration and overnighted them to their offices. We all know it is Friday! They won't even receive the letters until Monday. I wonder how long it will take them to put our clearances through to Moscow? It is always something. At this point things are not looking good to get back over to Russia in November. This is frustrating!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

State clearances

Yesterday our adoption agency told they still hadn't received our state clearances. :( Our agency had us go and do a local clearance in hopes that this information would be enough to get a court date scheduled. You'll be glad to know that neither Chris nor myself have been arrested in the past year! Phew. :) I just knew everyone would be wondering!

This is a picture of the playground at the orphanage.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Adoption is an interesting thing...

Our adoption has been a very interesting process for us. First off, it has been extremely humbling that our Heavenly Father asked us to adopt in the first place. I know I'm not a perfect parent and have made many mistakes. I feel humbled but honored that God would entrust another child of His to raise. Practice makes perfect? Also, along with the pain, heartache and frustration that goes along with the adoption process there have been many opportunities for personal growth. Chris and I have been blown away by the support we have received from people during this process. Our families have been on board from the beginning but people we would have never thought would be supportive or even interested have been overwhelmingly supportive. On-the-other-hand, people we thought would be supportive have been disinterested and apathetic. This caught me by surprise. I have to say it even hurt my feelings. I do not mention this to get sympathy or to be critical but to be grateful for the opportunity it posed for introspection of myself. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I can change and be better. How can I be more Christlike? I don't want to be an apathetic or disinterested person. I want to be a kinder person with more interest in other people's lives. I never would have thought that an adoption could or would present so many opportunities for personal reflection and growth.

On a lighter more random note....gas is below $2/gallon :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Busy, busy weekend!

Alex was interviewed for the local paper! She feels like a celebrity!

Alex took First place Saturday at an Invitational Meet.Saturday was Taylor's District Championship meet! She qualified to compete in the State competition in the GOLD division. We are so proud of her and how far she has come in the last yeat. We just were talking about how a year ago she had just had surgery on her left arm that she broke at gymanstics. Now look at her. She will compete in the highest division at the state competition in a few weeks! Way to go TayTay!
Here is a picture of Taylor and Lauren on Halloween night. Alex went to a "Big" kids party and it just wasn't "cool" to take her pictur there. I couldn't take her picture before we got to the party because she had changed in the bathroom at gymnastics and they were trying to close the gym up. Silly me thought I could take a picture at the party. Anyways...she did look cute for the party though.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Tires....Again!

I went to get my tire repaired this afternoon. Chris kept reminding me to get the tire fixed and not drive around on the doughnut. He thought I might forget to get this done. I don't know....the huge tire in the back of my car was a bit of a constant reminder :)). I could see it everytime I looked in my rear view mirror. I don't think I could forget that I needed to get this fixed. Anyhow...the tire wasn't repairable. Not only was that tire not able to be fixed the other 3 were worn out! That is the 4rth set of tires in 4 years!! Crazy. I didn't think I had had this set a year yet but when I got my paperwork out I bought them on November 7,2007. So, according to my past tire history it was definately time for new tires. Fortunately, the tires we bought last year were suppose to get 50K miles. I only had 26K miles on them and they were worn down. So, this set we were able to get 1/2 price. That helped but it was an expense we just didn't need right now! Those darn country roads.

Here is a picture of the orphanage in Russia where our little man is living. I wish we were there picking him up to come home!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tire Issues

Living in the country I constantly have tire issues. It is really annoying! I drive around with an air compressor in my car. Granted it is a small one but it is an air compressor non-the-less. Today when I was picking the girls up from school I thought my back right tire sounded funny. When I got to the school I got out of the car and checked it. It looked fine. About an hour later I am driving down the road and that same tire sounds flat. I know it is flat! I pull into a parking lot and get out to check the tire. Sure enough...I'm flat, flat, flat. I drove on the rim about 1/2 block to get to the parking lot. So, I pull out my handy air compressor out and start to air it up. About this time I am thinking Chris is the bomb for getting me the air compressor! I've had to use it before but only in my garage when I didn't want to go out back behind the barn and use the big air compressor. So, at this point I am very grateful for the air compressor that is physically in my car. Well, 20 minutes into airing up my tire it is still flat, flat, flat. Great, I need to change my tire. I knew Chris had gone to get hay and I have got to change a flat. Yuck! I pull out all of my equipment, get the spare tire out and then I couldn't get the lug nuts off. So...what did I do? I called Chris :)) I'm sure he was loving me. He was my hero though and stopped what he was doing and drove to the other side of town to change my tire. So, not only do I have an air compressor in my car I also have a hero who I can call to change my tire anyways!

Here's another sneak peak at our little boy! I can't wait to hold him again!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rumor has it....

Rumor has it that a court date is trying to be set for sometime in the next 2-3 weeks! We had to sign another paper on Monday and send it off ASAP. I guess Irina, our translator, is trying to set up our court appointment. WOW! We'll see if this happens. Wouldn't that be exciting?!

This is a random picture of Taylor. I don't know what the girls were doing or who took the picture. I just found it today. Crazy girls!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

WOW!!!!

What a gymnastic meet Alex had yesterday!!! Alex took 2nd place overall in the North State Gymnastics Meet and has qualified to compete in the GOLD division at the State Gymnastic Championships in a couple of weeks. She will compete with the top 15 gymnasts in the state. CRAZY! We are so proud of her.

Alex won FIRST place on the BARS, SECOND place on the BALANCE BEAM. You read that correctly! The uneven bars is what she took first place in!! This is not even her best event. The balance beam is her best event. She had one small balance check in her beam routine that pushed her out of first place on that event. It was crazy to see her as the 2nd best overall at the meet. We just can't get over it! It was a fun day for Alex.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin painting!

Last night we had our annual pumpkin painting party in the barn.Of course the weather didn't cooperate and it was windy and cold. The cold weather didn't stop the kids from having fun. Chris built a fire in the stove we have in the barn and it was nice and warm inside. The girls love to do this activity. Just think next year we will have a little boy wanting to paint a pumpking too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Their off!

Our updated paperwork has been sent off to Russia! I have been stressed out trying to get all of our papers gathered and updated since we got home last week! It has also been stressful getting caught up on my work too! I haven't even unpacked from our trip to Russia!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rooms

I had to take pictures today of our little boy's room to update our homestudy. We put this room together last January! We were ready to get our little man we were matched with in Samara, Russia. That match didn't work out so the room has been sitting empty for almost a year now.

I also had to take a picture of the room Taylor and Lauren now share. They are being great sisters and sharing a room so that their little brother can have his own room! They had an adjustment period but do fine now. They've been in the same room for about 10 months now. I'm glad Taylor is so good natured or this arrangement wouldn't have worked out! :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another meet!

We had an out-of-town gymnastic meet today. Taylor just keeps on improving. We are so proud of how hard she works. Today she placed 6th overall in her entire level. Not just her age division but the entire level. This is the best she has done all year. She even received an 8.7 on her vault! This is her highest vault score all season. She was really excited. :)))

Alex took first place in her entire level. She had another great meet. Next week we head to the North State Competition. The competition is fierce! We'll see how she does. She is fired up!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Paper Chase!

We're printing out papers, signing them, calling doctors offices, having blood drawn and scheduling fingerprints. We are back to the paperwork! This time it is so much more exciting though! The quicker the paperwork is done, the quicker it will go to Russia, the sooner our court date will be!

As we are redoing our fingerprints a thought came to my mind....do fingerprints change? I think not! Why are we having to do them again!?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We're home!

We are home, we are tired but we are in love with our little boy! We had a trip that was NOT fraught with problems like our trip to Samara! I cannot not wait to make this little boy officially ours! He is absolutely precious. As many of you know, I cannot post a picture of him until he is offically adopted. But, here is a picture of Chris and I at the open market in Moscow. We got a lot of pressure to buy these hats but we didn't. They were fun to try on though.


We were fortunate that our trip fell at a good time in terms of document delivery to Moscow. I guess documents are only sent to Moscow once every 10 days. Well, this past Wednesday was document delivery day so our official acceptance of our referral is already in Moscow! That saved us 10 days. We now have to update a lot of our paperwork and get it to Russia before the end of the month. Our translator wants to try to get us back to the region in 6 weeks. Wouldn't that be the greatest?! Now, I know how Russia operates so it most likely won't be 6 weeks but a woman can dream can't she?

The orphanage that our little boy is in is a good one. It is about an hour and 40 minutes outside of Kemerovo. The place is new, clean and the staff seems to really care about all the kids. In fact, when we were in our meeting with the orphanage director, orphanage doctor and social worker they received 2 post-placements reports that our translator had brought with her to the orphanage. They were genuinely excited to see the kid's pictures and wanted to know how they were doing. Chris and I really liked seeing that!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tomorrow is D-day!

Chris should have a good time walking airports with this injury! Is that nasty or what?!

We are leaving tomorrow morning! Pray everything goes well! I can't believe we are finally returning to Russia! I don't have a laptop so I will blog as soon as I get home next week. :))

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chris is mad.

Well, it seems Chris is mad about my random 6 things list. He thought the #1 item should be that I married my best friend---him. This is very true. I have been extremely blessed to be married to my very best friend in the whole entire world. Chris is my rock. I didn't put this as my #1 item on my random list because I know many people already know this fact and so it didn't seem random to me. But, for those of you who didn't already know that I married the greatest guy on the earth you know now. I hope with all my heart my girls find a husband as great as the one I have. I hope they can be best friends with their husbands too. God truly blessed me the day we were set up on a blind date in October 1992.

It is almost Saturday! :)))

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

6 random things about me!

I am finally getting a chance to respond to my tag. So, here are 6 random things about me:

1) I used to have straight hair! Now it is curly/wavy and I hate it. When it isn't too humid I will straighten it.

2) I do not like to read books to my children. I know, I know....I'm horrible. I always feel guilty about this dislike too. But, it is what it is!

3) Many years ago when I was younger and much thinner I trained to be a professional ballet dancer. I danced with a pre-professional ballet company and loved every minute of it. It was disappointing that my girls had no interest in ballet. NONE! They are gymnasts!

4) I cycled 3,219 miles during the year 2006. Sadly, I didn't lose one pound :( . I spent a lot of time riding with Chris so they definately weren't wasted miles! He is hard to keep up with though. He is a cycling machine!

5) I hardly ever cry. Chris tells me if I were an Indian my name would be "Stone Heart" :)). Although I don't cry much I am quite tender hearted and get my feelings hurt easily. I just don't outwardly show my emotions.

6) And finally, when I am cycling I will ride 5 miles out of the way to not be chased by a dog! It scares me to death to have a dog charging at me. I didn't know that I could pedal a bike so fast!

Now I am suppose to tag people to do the same thing:

I choose: (but I don't know how to link you to them! :{ )
1) Jenn
2) Amy
3) Kumari
4) Patty
5) Kelly
6) Kellie

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We have a DISTRICT CHAMPION!

Congratulations to Alex. She won district championships yesterday!!! We are so proud of her. She had an awesome meet. She qualifies to compete in the North State competition in 3 weeks.

Taylor had an awesome meet yesterday too. She finally received a decent vault score. She was thrilled. We are so proud of her too.

Here is a random picture of Lauren. We took this last weekend in the car as we travelled to an out-of-town gymnastic meet. She loves her "Lauren" teddy bear. You can't really see it in this picture but she had to put eye glitter on too; just like her sisters do for their gymnastics meets.

It has been a busy weekend. I am the president of the Parent Association for the girl's gym. It is my responsibilty to organize, plan and execute the home meets. My in-laws also came into town to see the girls. Of course, I had to put them to work at the meet! :-). I've had to wear multiple hats this weekend; gymnastic mom, daughter-in-law, nurse (to my baby, Chris :}, and his hurt foot) and wife. Chris is convinced he sits back seat to all of the above. He assures me that with this upcoming trip to Russia he WILL NOT come home empty handed. He is looking into Russianbride.com. :))) Poor Chris.

I've been tagged here in blogland to write 6 random things about myself. When I am finished I am suppose to tag 6 more people to do the same thing. I'm going to have to think about this. I'll do this project tomorrow.

6 days to departure!!!! We're nervously excited.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

RUSSIA, here we come!!!

We received our travel dates! We will visit the orphanage in Kemerovo October 13 & 14th. We are soooooo excited!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chris is wound up!


Here is a picture of Alex. I think it depicts how we are feeling about no travel dates yet!!! Chris is so uptight about this. I'm uptight about getting "the call" but he is uptight AND on edge. When will we get our dates???? We are ready. We received our travel visas today. The travel visas were one bright spot in our day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cell phone

We decided to buy an international cell phone for our upcoming trip to Russia. When we went to Samara in March our driver and translator did not pick us up. It was cold, dark and scary and no one could speak English (of course, we were in Russia). The last thing our agency told us when we left the United States was to under no circumstances take a cab. So, there we were in the Samara airport and no way to get ahold of anyone! We waited and waited and waited. Finally, there was hardly anyone left at the airport. It looked like it was about to close down. We had no choice but to take a cab and pray like crazy that we weren't killed and dumped on the side of the road. We DO NOT want to be in that situation again! I want to be able to call someone from the airport if we need to. Surely that same thing won't happen again but you never know. After researching the options out there we opted for the prepaid international cell phone.

As a side note....Chris injured his foot today. He thought it was broken. The new mule went a bit crazy with him! Anyways, he got the foot x-rayed and fortunately it isn't broken. He can hardly walk on it though. That should be a lot of fun to travel with. Well, that is if we ever get our travel dates. Supposedly, we are waiting for some signature before we can get the dates. I am hoping tomorrow we hear something.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Halo additions!



Pyzam Family Sticker Toy
Alex didn't like the original family picture I made a post or so back. She was mad that she didn't have a halo above her head. She also let Lauren know that she didn't have a halo either! When she pointed that out to Lauren she was honked off too. I hope Alex and Lauren can live up to the addition of the halos! :) Added pressure!

No travel dates still! I really am paranoid now!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meet and Mule!

This weekend we had an out-of-town gymnastics meet. The girls rocked! Alex took 1st place all-around in her entire level. As well as 1st on beam and floor. We also learned that there is a lot of "buzz" about Alex in our gymnastic dristrict. Where did she come from and how is she winning everything?!

Taylor's vault is starting to look better. She didn't place as well this week but she met one of her personal goals and got a better vault score. Taylor struggles with vaulting because she is such a little girl. She only weighs 45 pounds at 9 years old so it is hard for her to get enough power to go over the vault. Once she can get this skill down she will place higher at meets on a regular basis. She is strong in the other events. It is just her vaulting that holds her back. This frustrates her immensely.

Our other adventure this weekend was buying a mule! Chris wants another mule so that his little boy will have a mule to ride. He is so excited about the mule he bought. I told him it wasn't the best looking mule we saw but whatever he wanted! What do I know about mules? All's I know is that horses look better :)

Here is a picture of the new mule's (Jaxon) brothers welcoming him to his new home. (Don't you love the pile of poop on my driveway? I love it when the animals do this---not! I'm sure you wish you had large animals that pooped on your driveway!)


Here is a picture of Chris with Sunday (donkey), Blaze (1st champion mule :) ) and Jaxon (newest champion mule!)

The proud father, Chris, with Jaxon!