Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good news all around

We were able to, for the first time, let Nick run around outside of the house this weekend. For a few weeks after getting home we concentrated on getting him healthy and getting rid of the bronchitis. Then the weather turned from freezing rain, to snow, to ice on and off.

With relatively good weather (40 and sunny), and a toddler with a major case of cabin fever, we ventured out for a little bit. Nick loved exploring the outdoors and playing with the dried tall grass remanents and the plain regular grass. Here are some pictures.

He looks so grown up on this picture? Or maybe just cold and ready to come inside.

This is the sweet face I get to kiss goodnight every night.

Outdoor Fun
So what good news???? We heard from Cincinatti Children's today, and the second round of tests (post treatment) revealed that the little parasite is now a thing of the past and Nick is giardia-free! I suspected as much, Nick has become more "selective" of what he eats. An indication that he is no longer sharing his food.

And more good news! Over the past two weeks, four of the families that I have met through the adoption process received court dates for April! All four of these children live in the same Baby Home that Nick lived in. What makes their stories even more special is that due to a clerical error in Russia last year, these families had to wait up t0 11 months between trips. As you may know, children is Russia have to be entered into a database and stay there for 9 months. During this period they are only available for adoption to Russian families. After these four families traveled on their first trip, it was discovered that the children were never entered in the database, so in they went and the countdown for them to come out began. We often referred to this as "the database snafu".

So without further due... congratulations to:

Cindy and Jay - April 8
Audrey and David - April 22
Katie and Ryan - April 22

Good luck and God speed! Will be thinking of you!

p.s. Audrey - we have talked for this long and I don't know your hubby's name! **blushing** --- Katie saved the day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Do I need to say more?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Alive and Kicking

Nick and Bill more than me actually.

This past week we discovered the mistery behind my flu-like symptoms.... it's Mono. I have been taking it as easy as possible. I had to back off from playing tennis for a while (yes that's how sick I am!!!), but still managed to take an introductory course on the features of my Nikon D40. Can't wait to put the new learning to good use this summer.

I go back to work tomorrow and Nick will be off to Grandma Lucy's. I don't think we will have an issue there, especially after this week when mom has spent some time up here helping out as I veg out.

There are recent pictures, actually a really cute one of Nick feeding cheerios to our dog. I will post that one later. On that note, he is really good at sharing. When he is out to eat, he wants to feed you some of his food and even offers food to the people at the table next to us.

That's all folks!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Children's Museum and the aftermath of sugar!

The aftermath of sugar has nothing to do with the museum, I am simply combining posts.

So yesterday, we took Nick to the Children's Museum for fun filled morning. We had noticed how excited he gets when he sees other kids at the pediatrician's office and just when we are out and about. We figured he missed his little friends from the Baby Home; so what better place than a 4 story building filled with toys, children, and areas to explore.

Speaking of his little friends... I have been able to connect with the moms of two of the children that were in Nick's group at the Baby Home. As many of you know, we left a camera at the Baby Home during our first visit. The staff at the Baby Home took quite a few pictures and there are other children in these pics. So now I have chatted/emailed with the moms of two of these kids, and one of them knows the mom of a third child. Of course the best part of all this is that all of these kids will be leaving the Baby Home in a few months.

So back to the museum talk. For those PAP and AP that are not local to Indy, if you are ever here with your kids, I highly recommend at least a half day at the museum.

Nick really enjoyed the water table, the sand pit, and about every other area that we took him to. We wrapped the morning with a ride on the carousel, which he really enjoyed. We now have a family membership that will be used very frequently; we are going back the first Saturday of April. On the first Saturday of the month the museum opens an hour early for members, so we will be able to enjoy that one hour with a smaller crowd.

So what about the sugar? Well, not offering our child sugar within a few hours of bedtime ranks right up there with not missing naps. We went out for a quick bite today and Nick had quite a few spoonfuls of mommy's vanilla milkshake. He came back home and had that silly giggling and high that is also the aftermath of a missed nap. It was kinda fun to watch him run in circles and let out the cute belly laughs. To my surprise, he went to bed without hesitation and was out before the first song in his lullaby CD was over. Shannon, I know you are LOL at this post... yeah, I know, I know.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Nick Made the Charts!

The growth charts that is.

He had his 20 month check up today and made the 25th percentile on height. He was below the 3rd percentile when we picked him up in Russia.

He has gained a little over three pounds and gained one inch in a little over a month. While this is all good news I am most excited about height. His 18 month sized clothes are fitting great around the waist but a wee bit long.... before I know it I won't need to cuff his pants... yay!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Traveling to Russia - what worked for us

I was hesistant to label this “tips for traveling parents”, because just like every other aspect of Russian adoption, what works for a family in one region may not work in another. Being in an “adoption friendly” region I am sure made things easier on us since we were pretty certain we would be back in the US in 10 days. That said, these are the things that Bill and I could think of.

Packing and Traveling
- We arrived in the region a day ahead than required by our agency. Between the potential for bad weather in the US and in Russia in the winter months it was a way to mitigate risk. It also allows you to rest up, the next 10 days were very very long.
- Pack light! Seriously… we paid for overweight luggage in country because we were taking orphanage donations, but probably wouldn’t have otherwise. If you layer you will be able to wear the “top layer” more than once. We noticed Russians wear their clothes several days in a row, so “when in Russia, do as Russians do”.
- Pack light for your child too. A friend of mine gave me a great tip about using Johnson’s Baby Shampoo as laundry detergent for hand washing, worked great and clothes were dry by morning. I went from packing 10 sleeping gowns to just 4.
- Try to find out if the hotel in the region has a laundry service and how much they charge. We had a ton of clothes washed and pressed at the Novokuznetskaya for $40. That is a fraction of what you will pay for excess weight, at least in Siberian Airlines.

For Your Child
- Invest in one of these…most Russian hotels don’t have a microwave in the room and the kids are used to drinking their milk warm.


- Children’s meds to take: infant Tylenol, Motrin, Gas X and saline mist. This is in addition to any antibiotics your IA doctor has given you.
- We chose to take a snuggly over a stroller and that worked really well for us. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground in Moscow and as you all know, pushing a stroller through the streets of Moscow, until you can get to a pedestrian area like Arabat Street, is not the safest proposition.
- Take some baby food and diapers from the US, no matter what your agency tells you. Your schedule may change and you may not have time to go to the store when you want to go. Safe bets on baby food choices are: turkey, chicken, apple sauce. Gerber snacks are great too.
- More than likely you will be able to go to the grocery store in Moscow. The attached picture shows our main staples. The little can with the cow on it is a brand of food that is organic and we were told the meats had no additives. Besides these, the apple juice in the cartons (green apples on the label) is something the kids are familiar with, our son loved it!
- There is a fantastic grocery store on Arabat Street, right next to the McDonald’s, you can’t miss it! The milk is on the lower level and the baby food just past the counter with the fancy cakes and across the huge olive oil selection.
- Your child may or may not want a bottle. Take sippy cups just in case, and be prepared to not use the sippy part. Our son drinks from a regular cup, and we were surprised at how good he was at it.
- Toys….ah, why did we bother? Nick was more interested in empty bottles of Coke Light (oh how I miss those!), empty bottles of water, city maps and lids from fast food cups than he was in his toys. At 18 months he was not very interested in the soft plush toys that Lamaze makes. We took two and he didn’t play with them very much. His favorite toys while in Russia, and still at home, are stacking cups and this Fischer Price shape sorter


Last but not least, pack a snowsuit AND a hat. Even if said snowsuit has a hat. We got many looks from the babushkas and I am sure it was due to our “Michelin Man” still not being dress warmly enough. Perhaps I should have shown the soaked with sweat hair under his hat.

For You
- Pack some snacks for you and your spouse. Granola bars became old after a while and we were thankful for the Chef Boyardee meals we took.
- Adult’s meds: general antibiotic like Zpac, pepto, Tylenol or Aleve, Neosporin, anthiseptic wipes, band aids.
- A portable DVD player and a good selection of movies. It is key to stick to the child’s routine (especially naps), so you will find yourself in the hotel, just watching the little one sleep. As sweet of a proposition as that is, it is also nice to have some entertainment in between glances at your sleeping baby.
- Comfortable shoes to hang around the hotel. We each took three pairs of shoes: boots, dress shoes for court, Pumas. The Pumas were good to have at the hotel and also traveling back to the US.
- T-shirts. You will probably cook inside anything with long sleeves. Both the Baby Home and the hotel were extremely warm. We cracked our window open in Novokuznetsk (despite the –26C outside), and ran the AC in Moscow.

Misc Musings
- Leave the car seat at home. They are not required by law in Russia, and even if you bring it, more than likely she/he will not want to sit in it since they have never been in one. Just hold your child on your lap during takeoff and landing. We did purchase a ticket for our son for the in country portion of our air travel and it was the best investment.
- Place copies of all your important documents in a USB memory stick, fits nicely in your neck pouch.
- Take large size ziplock bags; they will be a godsend when the explosive diaper scenario happens 40,000 ft above the ground… TRUST ME on this one. I took them, forgot to put them in the carry on, and well, I just feel bad for whomever has the job of cleaning that chute in the lavatory where one disposes of trash.

Baby Stuff
- One Step Ahead makes these onesie-extenders, and I think we will be using them soon on the 12 months sized onesies.

These same folks also sell these, which I got as a gift from a dear friend, and I just love!

- If you happen to be reading this blog during your early stages of your adoption process, I highly recommend this book – “The Big Book of Baby Bargains”. I find the title misleading, as it will not tell you who sells what for the least amount of cash, but it does have great reviews on baby products, and gives you the scoop on items that are sold under private labels.

I am sure I will think of more in the future, I will note on the blog when I add items to this list.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Leche? Da!

Leche? ...... Da!
Leche? ...... Da!
Leche? ...... Da!

You get the point? Da?

Nick and I have this conversation every day, about 4 times a day, as I am making his formula. The boy looooooves milk, actually “love” is an understatement. His eyes just light up when he sees me pull the red carton from the fridge and the can of Enfamil Next Step from the cabinet.

What I find funniest about this is that this conversation takes place in spanish and russian. We have decided that I will talk to him in spanish only, and Bill will speak to him in english. Every doctor we have seen has given us the thumbs up, as this is the best age to introduce languages. So that’s explains the “leche” part. Now, the other day I realized that Nick was saying “Da!”. This is the only Russian word I have recognized in his babble-vocabulary.

I have been told that “nee-nee” is bable for “give me”. He does that to, so any other adoptive parents out there, feel free to weigh in on this one and tell me if you have heard the same.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

One Month Since Gotcha Day

Happy One Month with Mommy and Daddy Nicholas!

Where has time gone? It was exactly 10:00 AM, on February 1st, when our car pulled inside the gates of Baby Home #1. I remember thinking how bittersweet this was. We were taking Nick from everything he knew, yet, opening a window of opportunity to so much more.

The woman holding Nick in this picture, is the doctor in staff at Baby Home #1. She took good care of Nick during his stay there, and was patient with us and sooooo cooperative as we asked so many questions during our first trip. We took this picture right before we changed him into the clothes we brought, and whisked him away.

I remember people telling me that the agony of waiting would be a distant memory once we had him with us. I didn't believe it, now I do.

And on that note, off I go. I hear someone babbling through the baby monitor. Time for a snack and a bath.