Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trying to take a photo of 3

I wanted to take a photo of all three kids together today so that I could send in a copy to my placing agency along with the packet of final paperwork and my huge thank you letter. Shameless plug here... but if anyone is looking to adopt from Russia and needs info on a great placing agency I would be happy to share my agency with you. I'm a bit mushy having just finished my thank you letter to them...but we have so much to be thankful for. They found us our Emily and our entire journey has been nothing short of an amazing dream. If we could adopt again, I would sign up with them in a heartbeat! But in the meantime, I would love to pay that forward to someone else just as another wonderful family did for us who amazingly also had two bio. boys at home. Anne, I hope your ears are turning red!!! You of course, know this already as I have said this a million times...but thank you, thank you, thank you again, for sharing your journey, your agency and your beautiful little girl Chloe with me!!! That information has changed my life. And our little girl just rocks my world!!

On to the photos...trying to get a great shot of three kids is pure luck. I didn't get that...but the shots I got are pure comedy instead...

Monday, May 26, 2008

4 weeks home!

Emily at 2 weeks home................................. Emily at 4 weeks home

Wow!! It's hard to believe we have been home a month! Emily is doing very well, continuing to grow and fill out. You can see this from week 2 and week 4 at home. She is now in 12 - 18 month clothing exclusively and slowly moving towards 18 months. She is bigger at 14 months than her brothers were. This is a good thing as she is a great eater. I'm hoping her eating habits would help to motivate the boys to eat too, but alas it has not worked out that way. There are days where it feels the entire adoption process seems like a dream and it feels like she has been here forever with us. She has started to hug her brothers this week. It's so cute. She will just walk up to Boy Wonder or Bubba and throw her arms around their waist. And she loves to dance with you too!

She has also started to hold her lovey "bunny" and will snuggle up with it during nap and even carry it with her outside the crib. This is such a relief for me as she was not interested in touching anything soft. She seemed to prefer only hard plastic or wooden objects. She also will hold her baby the feet but it's a little start. She loves to talk on the phone. She holds her hand or a remote control or the real phone up to her ear and starts babbling to herself. This is something she has done since she was in the babyhome. I remember when we arrived the first day on trip 2 her caregiver said, "talk to mama on the phone," and she would put her hand to her ear. It was very sweet. Emily is also understanding more and more in english and if you give her a simple direction she can follow it. Her newest word is "buh bye" and she waves. It's very cute. She also can say baby, and bird. The five signs she knows are; "all done," "milk," "more," "eat" and "herself". We are also working on the sign for potty. :-) Emily loves music and loves to swing and loves to laugh. She is just a joy to be around.

Her development seems to be progressing normally and her attachment also seems to be going very well. But attachment is still the area I worry about the most. She has less anxious attachment and doesn't panic if she can't see me in the room. And when we are out and she is walking she will look back to see if I'm near or will reach for my finger and take it and walk together. She has very good eye contact when she is communicating or playing with you. She loves to pat your face and if you say "no, no, Emily." She will look up at you and then shake her head no, and move on to something else. But yesterday she did reach out to a stranger at the park I was talking to. And I'm not sure if she thought it was someone I knew and it was okay since I was talking to her awhile but needless to say, we will continue to work on that.

Here is Emily with her brothers. She is really taken with both brothers but it's very hard to get Bubba's photo. He is going through a no photo taking phase.

Emily, Mama, and Bubba

Emily and Boy Wonder the last day of his preschool.

silly kids!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Almost 2 weeks home

Emily is doing great. She is settling right in to our family. She has quite the fun personality. She is happy, attaching well, funny and loves to play and eat. During the almost two weeks home both my boys turned a year older and we had small family parties for both of the boys.

She did very well during both parties and the grandparents and great grandparents all got the chance to meet her. She also has attended both of my children's classes at school (outside in the mountains) to watch them blow out their candles. She has hardly been outside before and she seemed very excited to be there. She also got to play in the sand for the first time and she just laughed touching the sand.

She is sleeping through the night and taking a 3 hour afternoon nap everday. We haven't been to see our pediatrician yet but from what I could tell and based on my two little boys she seems to be totally on target developmentally for her age. She just turned 14 months old, has been walking since she was 11 months. Her first 2 russian words were "mama" and "give me". Which I think totally describes her. She always has her hand up for something, anything to put in it. She actually communicates very well. I already seem to know what it is she wants. And she will look us in the eyes when she talks with us. She has already learned the sign for "all done", "eat", and "more". I have heard her say "up, up" and put her hands up to be picked up and she has also said "Bubba" twice, which is our 2nd son's nickname. Other than that she coos and babbles to herself and makes all sorts of clicking and popping noises with her mouth. She has 4 teeth on top and four on the bottom. She is also getting in four of her 1 year molars. She is able to drink out of a cup but I've regressed her back to a bottle for attachment. She can feed herself finger foods as well as eating with a spoon. I like to feed her with the spoon to promote attachment but she will often take the spoon from me and feed herself and then hand the spoon back to me for more food to be put on it. Finger foods she has eaten, cheerios, bananas, pears, strawberries, blue berries, melon (she doesn't like), peas, carrots, corn, brocolli, strips of buttered bread, avocado, grilled cheese sandwich, quesadilla, buttered pasta, meatball, and spaghetti. She is quite the cute eater. My boys at this age what have smashed the food into their mouths. But she very daintly will pick up one piece and bite it in half with her front teeth, chew it up and then eat the 2nd half. Even with her strips of buttered bread she will just take a bite off the strip and chew it up and then take another bite. Really impressed by this as like I said with both my boys I had to really watch them when eating so they wouldn't choke.

She has already mastered climbing and will try it out on everything so we really watch her with that new ability. She is such a delight. We are just so thrilled to be her parents.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The boys first meeting

Here is Emily with her brothers. She is 13 months old.

The boys finally woke up...first my oldest, Boy Wonder. He heard us in Emily's room. He came in and he looked so big!! It had only been 8 days since I saw him last but wow, did he look so different to me all of a sudden. He was so excited to meet Emily. Emily was just as interested and she seemed a little surprised like where did you come from? He sat down and she came right over and touched his face. He followed her around and gave her toys. I love the photo of them looking out the window and Boy Wonder reaching down and touching her head. Such a protective big brother he is!! 20 mins later Bubba joined us. He brought with him energy. He was full of stories and flying around the room. He is normally my clingy baby and everyone worried how he would react with Emily home. He took to her immediately and I only got a brief "hi mommy." He typical Bubba style was very excited about the baby toys and sat down after meeting Emily and picked up a toy to play with. When Emily came around to peer into his face he looked up and said, "Now Emily, I'm having a turn with this toy. This is my favorite baby toy."

Emily loves to play games. The boys taught her to play peek a boo in the curtains. She caught on right away and was hiding in the curtains and we would say."Where's Emily?" and she would pop out, laugh and then do it again. It was very cute.

Here we are at the table for our first meal together as a family...lunch.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I'm still here!!

I know everyone's been waiting for some here they are....a look back at our 2nd trip. We are doing well. Everyone is adjusting beautifully including Emily. She has finally slept through the night the past 2 nights so I finally have enough energy to sit down and blog.. :-)

Here we are outside of court and our first meal service in our hotel in St Pete before we caught the midnight train to Moscow.

Here we are on the overnight train to Moscow. Emily did very well and slept the whole night right next to me on the cot. Ignore how horrible I look the next morning but it's the best one I have of the interior of the train. There's also a view of the countryside outside of Moscow.

Here we are at Starbucks having breakfast. We wanted to go to a Russian pancake house but we messed up the times and it wasn't open so we went across to Starbucks instead. It was nice to have a latte..I really missed them!! Emily was so cute toddling all over the place. She befriended an italian couple who kept trying to get her to say "chow".

Here we are...our first dinner out in Moscow at the Hard Rock Cafe on Arbat Street. Emily did beautifully. We forgot how loud HRC can be with the music but she did great. Hubby and I love HRC and try to hit every Hard Rock we can.

The three of us in front of the infamous St Basil's Cathedral in Red square. Here we are right outside the Kremlin.

Emily did pretty well during our stay in Moscow. She attached herself firmly to me that first day in Moscow and would not let me out of her sight. I think that was primarily because I took over the caregiving role and probably also out of fear as she was no longer in her familiar environment. For bedtime and naptime I would have to rock her to sleep and lay her in her pack n play as we only had a studio and she would not go to sleep if she could see us in the room. She also was afraid of the bathroom esp the tub and did not like taking a bath. She has since got over that fear here at home and loves her baths now. But it was a problem for the first couple of days everytime I wanted to take a shower or use the bathroom. She also would get upset if she saw you wash your hands and we figured out this was probably because she associated washing your hands to eating next. The pictures above are of cutie pie Emily toddling around our apt in Moscow on the day we were leaving for the airport. Check out her has little matryroshka dolls on it.

Emily did amazing on the long trek home. We flew out of Moscow in the afternoon and took a 3 hour plane ride to Munich, Germany. She sat on our laps and played the whole flight. We had a 2.5 hour layover in Munich and she walked all over the lounge we were hanging out in befriending two french ladies on a girls' trip to CA and another CA family on their way home from India. On our last flight...11.5 hours she fell asleep on the take off in my sling and I was able to later take her out and lay her across me. She slept the first 4.5 hours and then was up 4 hours eating and playing in my chair with me or on the floor in front of us and then slept next to me the last 3 hours. We were so impressed with how she handled that very long day. On our last leg 6.5 hours in...I was so ready to fall asleep and was having such a hard time staying awake. Hubby kept dozing off and I was so worried I would fall asleep while she was awake and playing so I asked her to climb up with me and I reclined the chair out and she played happily next to me while I had my arm around her waist while I tried so hard to keep my eyes open. What an easy baby she was!! We flew business class with her and really appreciated the extra room and reclining seats. Customs and immigration was a breeze. My dad picked us up from the airport. She sat in her carseat and I sat next to her. She fell asleep in the hour car ride and woke up to a small home gathering. The boys had made her a sign but they were was 10:30pm. My sister had come over to help put the boys to bed while my dad came to pick us up. They had a few gifts for Emily and she had was quite a happy girl checking out her new home and opening gifts.
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