Sunday, May 31, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday EasternStar!
Hopefully you will be home to celebrate with us next year! TinyDancer is planning to make you a giant cake!
Love and Kisses,
Mom, Stranger, and TinyDancer
(and SleepingAngel from Heaven)

Friday, May 29, 2009

A message from TinyDancer......

I found this in TinyDancer's backpack as I was going through her artwork last night. It is a book with words on the front cover and the first page and then pictures of circles on the remaining pages:

So cute!

A new day has dawned .......

I feel much better after my sarcasm laced post from last night! 8 ) As much as this is a way to keep our family and friends updated on our progress with the adoption and what is going on with us, it is also a journal of sorts to jot down our thoughts and feelings.

An upbeat post for today:

We've been watching our garden for weeks waiting for our first Lily to bloom. The time has finally come: SleepingAngel - are the Lily's in Heaven as beautiful as the ones down here?
Love and Kisses!
Mom and TinyDancer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A flurry of activity and then a day of rest!

Whew! It's been a busy couple of days!

Tuesday was spent partially working and partially with doctors for me. Right before we left, we found out that we were pregnant. I can't even begin to put a voice to all of the emotions that we've gone through - so I'll just stick to facts. We had one perfect ultrasound with a perfectly round sac and a perfect yolk sac the Friday before we left. Four days later, the miscarriage started at 6.5 weeks. So, on Tuesday I got an "emergency" ultrasound to check that my body had passed everything naturally (it did) and then I got the pleasure of going to Labor and Delivery to get my Rhogam shot. It's almost as if the powers that be at that hospital sat down and thought -
"How can we make a miscarriage even worse?"
"Oh oh! I know! Lets make them go to L & D to get their shot."
"Oh yeah! And lets make sure that ALL of the nurses ask them how many weeks they are and if this is the hospital where they are going to deliver."
"These are great ideas guys! Strong work!!"

Even more exciting, the week before we left I found out that a few of my liver enzymes were high so my GI told me to stop all of the meds for my colon. Great idea! Let's start a week of foreign travel - with a week's worth of eating out - and stop all of our maintenance meds! There is NO WAY anything bad can happen! None! And lets not make a plan of what to do if a flare starts. Nope. That would be ridiculous! Lets think - what causes The Mom to flare - not taking her meds...... and eating out a lot...... hmmmmm.......
So after three frantic calls with the GI while we were still in country which weren't returned, we made our own plan! I finally got ahold of the GI on Tuesday night and was able to get some more prednisone. My favorite!

Wednesday was also spent partially working and partially at the doctor. My medical exam was out of date so I got mine redone and we needed to complete our HIV and syphillis testing and get a chest x-ray both for our domestic medical exams and for our exciting and extremely thorough 8 doctor medical exam that we'll do once we return to Moscow. My medical exam and getting our HIV and syphillis test results are the last things that we need to finish our second dossier. We should get our results on Monday and then next Thursday TinyDancer and I will get everything certified and apostilled and then mailed to our agency. Yay!

So, after all of the excitement and running around on Tuesday and Wednesday, TinyDancer and I got to spend today relaxing at home (for the most part) and playing all day. With all of the last minute errands to get ready for our trip, it had been a while since I got to spend an entire day focused just on TinyDancer and having fun! And have fun we did! We left the house for her tumbling lessons and for her violin lessons - but other than that, we stayed home and made a big mess and played in the sprinkler. Her favorite things!

Tomorrow we are off to the Children's museum in the morning and then we are going to plant some flowers in the afternoon. Good stuff!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We made it home late Friday night. It was soooo nice to sleep in our nice comfy bed on Friday night and last night. As soon as we got home, I tiptoed up into TinyDancer's room and I was giving her so many kisses that I woke her up. Whoops!

My mother in law bought me some fresh cantalope and had it waiting for me when we got home. How many daughters can say that??? It was soooo good! We are very lucky to have such great families.

So far, I've eaten a big salad, all of my cantalope, almost an entire bag of grapes and a hanful of oranges. Ahhhh...... 8 )

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chilling in Atlanta

We're back on American soil! It was so nice to land in Atlanta a few hours ago and to see the "Welcome to the United States" sign. We made it through customs and then had to go through security again. That makes our fourth time today! hee hee hee

There was a 5:40 flight home, but it was full and we couldn't get on it. 8 ( So, we found a Chili's and had a nice BIG salad! OMG - it was SOOO good.

Now we are chilling - waiting for 9:30 to get here. We've been up for 21 hours so far. *yawn* Only a few more hours until we are tucked into our nice comfy bed. 8 )

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Made it to Moscow!

We made it to Moscow!

Very tired. Very hungry. But 2 hours closer to home!

Tomorrow we start 14 hours of in plane flying!

Will try to post some photos of Tyumen later tonight our tomorrow morning.

Love from Russia!

Our last day in Tyumen

edited - sorry about all of the spelling errors today! I was tired! 8 )

Today is our last day with EasternStar. 8 (

Our breakfast this morning was great again. On the menu today - omelettes (not what you think - they were bricks of eggs - how do they get them to stay in cubes like that??), french fries, sausages, pancakes, and fish balls. hee hee It's as fun to type as it is to say! They were just like meatballs, only made of fish. Stranger says that they were "fishy". hee hee

After breakfast, we walked to the supermarket for our water for today and then came back to the hotel and rested. Our bodies are all messed up - we both woke up today at 3 am Tyumen time and couldn't go back to sleep.

At 9:40 we left for the regional MOE appointment and answered some questions about our visits with EasternStar and our decision to continue. We said YES of course!

Then, it was off to see EasternStar. She was happy to see us this morning but she wasn't feeling very well. They think that she has two teeth coming it at the same time. Ouch! She was warm and had a runny nose. Most of our visit was spent holding her and cuddling with her. At one point, her music teacher came in and took her from my arms and she immediately started crying and stopped once I took her back. She also cried when we returned to her Gruppa and she didn't stop before we left. 8 ( Our poor baby who doesn't feel good today. We got lots of cuddles today - those were new. She hadn't put her head down on our shoulders before today. She also isn't much for having her hands held. Until after her teacher took her and then she grabbed my thumbs and held on for dear life!

We visited our usual spot for lunch today. Today we had tortollini in a cream sauce with ham pieces. Yum!

We get to see EasternStar one more time and then we are immediately off to the airport to start our journey home.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fun with food!

I wanted to take a few minutes to jot down some of the fun that we are having with food here in Russia.

On our first night in Moscow we had dinner at the restaurant at the Marriott. We split a bowl of Meat Solyanka - a traditional Russian soup. The base was reddish brown and it had green and black olives, pickles, onions, and a sausage that looked like our hot dogs. It was touted at "sour and spicy". Stranger LOVED it. I liked it and am glad I tried it - but I wouldn't order it again. We also chicken fajitas (you come all the way to Russia and have Mexican food???) and an order of salmon. Guess who picked which entree? hee hee

The next morning we had the breakfast buffet - also at the hotel. I'd seen reviews that the buffet was expensive and not that great. Yeah, that's true. There were three levels to the buffet - a cereal and pastry bar for $15, add in the fruit bar for another $10, add in hot foods for another $20 or something like that. The full buffet was called the "American" - the irony of that wasn't lost on us! I got the cereal bar, Stranger got the American bar.

In Tyumen, our hotel touts that it has the "Best breakfast buffet in Western Siberia" - and it truly does! For breakfast there is a cold cut bar (with sliced cheeses and salami and tomato and a few other things that I don't recognize) and a cereal bar (Stranger is getting his granola fix - although today they had run out of spoons (?) by the time we got there so he didn't get any today and he is pretty cranky now), yogurt, fresh fruit (it looks SOOO good but we aren't supposed to eat it b/c we aren't used to the local water) and hot foods. Today we had things that looked like egg rolls but with just sauteed vegetables inside - no cabbage, boiled potatoes, baked fish, eggs, and sausages with cheese in the middle. Yesterday it was eggs, the sausages, french fries (!!) and fish sticks (!!!) and pancakes. The pancakes are huge - about the size of a dinner plate and folded into fourths. They sit in syrup so you don't put any butter or syrup on them once they are on your plate. Can't wait to see what we have tomorrow. And the buffet is included in the room. Yay!

For lunch, we have been going to a place down the street called Pizza Express. The pizzas only come in one size - big - and have eight pieces. The prices are good - 140 rubles (about 3 dollars) to 210 rubles (about 7 dollars) and they have menus in English. Yesterday we had a pizza with ground beef and onions. Today we opted for a calzone - they come with cheese, ham, and mushrooms. We ordered two (mine with no mushrooms) and the waitress gave us a funny look but said ok (she didn't speak English). It wasn't until she left that we realized that they were going to be huge. And, they were! They took a pizza - remember - big - and folded it in half! hee hee hee Needless to say, one of us had leftovers!

The most fun that we've had has been with dinner.
Last night we went to a restaurant that our guidebook suggested and was supposed to have menus in English. Well, there were no English menus and no one that worked there spoke English. Awesome! We had our dictionary and we were trying the ask the waitress what she recommended - we were all laughing but not getting very far - when she found a customer that spoke German and a little English. We told him that we'd have "some Chicken" and "some Fish". He and the waitress spoke in Russian and decided what we would have and then he asked what we wanted to drink. We said "Pepsi" and he said "Oh, you are American?" And we all laughed again.

It was by far - the most fun that Stranger and I have had in a long time. Everytime our waitress came to our table, she would speak Russian, laugh at our confused looks, and pantomine what she was saying.

We ended up with fried chicken wings (with no breading) that came with a brown sauce with herbs in it and a bowl of water to wash your hands. It was hilarious pantomining "What is the bowl for?" heee hee hee Our second dish was the best fish I have ever had! It was a white fish with a very thin red sauce (though not marinara) and sauteed zucchini (juileened) and red peppers (also juileened). It was so good!

Tonight we were going to try another local restaurant that is decorated and serves food like traditional communist Russia. It was recommended by our translator and is supposed to be very good. Unfortunately, we were walking through the city park on our way to the restaurant and we caught the eye of some weird guy. I think he heard us speaking English and must have thought we looked like easy targets. He kept riding past us and then waiting for us to pass him and then riding past us again and eyeing my purse. So we ducked into here:

And had this for dinner:

And walked straight back to the hotel. It was getting late (dark) and we didn't know how long it would take to eat in the restaurant - with our awesome Russian skills and all! And we didn't want to risk walking home at twilight - since our Russian skills are so awesome and we couldn't easily call for help if we needed it.

I have to say that this was the first time in all of the walking around that we have done that we felt uncomfortable. Maybe he was just a weird guy and meant us no harm. But, our heebie jeebies won and we are in the hotel for the rest of the night.
The food has been good, but I can't wait for a salad and some fresh fruit when we get home. And a nice big glass of cold water!

Tomorrow morning we meet with the regional MOE to sign some papers to begin the finalization process (is that an oxy-moron - papers to begin the end? hee hee) and then we get to see EasternStar one more time. And then we start the long journey home tomorrow night.
Hopefully we'll get to post more tomorrow.
Poka (pah-kah) {aka Good bye} from Russia!

Visit # 1 for today

We had a great visit this morning! Yesterday, her caregiver asked if we would like to come and feed her the mid-morning meal today. Of course, we said "Yes!!" When we walked it, she recognized us (!!) and gave us a big grin!!! It was heart-melting. We weren't too sure what to expect.

Her caregiver (different ones today and she seems bonded to this set as well - more good news!) picked her up and handed her to me. She came right away and today she looked around and looked at us - yesterday she looked down a lot. It was awesome! We looked out of the window some and she played with my necklace some. And she LOVED looking at herself in the mirror. She saw herself and gave a huge smile and laugh.

Once her lunch was ready, we sat her down in a highchair. She was very excited to eat! Lunch today was soup - it looked and smelled like chicken noodle minus the noodles, bread, mashed potatoes, baked meat (it looked like meat loaf) and a cup of apple juice. (As a pediatrician, I'm sure it was killing Stranger to feed her "real" food before the 1 year mark! hee hee Especially since she is so underweight!)

She has a good appetite! We fed her much slower than the caregivers usually do and she was grabbing my hand and guiding it to her mouth. They have to feed the babies quickly - they have 15 to feed after all! And I think they usually put them in their laps and lean them back some - like giving them a bottle only they are feeding them real food. It must be easier to get it in that way) (Another note - there are two children in her group that can feed themselves - they have their own little table and chairs to sit at while they eat.) She was very impatient and I tried to give her big bites quickly. So different than if we were at home! We were very messy and her hands ended up in the soup a few times. hee hee And I have no idea how they get them to drink out of cups (as big a coffee mugs!) so young - when I brought the cup to her mouth, she bent her head down and it mostly just went all over her shirt! hee hee Great fun and a big mess!! After 25 minutes, they told us it was time to leave and go to the playroom. Poor girl - we were only done with half of her food! 8 ( She'll be hungry this afternoon! 8 (

We went to the playroom and on the way, our translator told us that there was someone from the local (city) MOE that was going to observe our time to see how the attachment was going. Nothing like being nervous right before playtime! But, it went great. She met us in the playroom just as we arrived and we took off her coat and "outside pants" and "outside socks" (I don't know what else to call them) and her hat. She then had on an undershirt, a regular shirt, long underwear, a pair of pants, and a pair of socks. Thats a lot of clothes! 8 ) The local official asked EasternStar if she would come to her, but she grabbed onto Papa and wouldn't let go. "She belongs to you!" she said. Yup! She does! She asked us if we had made a decision on whether to persue the adoption and what our decision was. A big HUGE YES!!!!

She looked at our album (a HUGE thank you to my best friend Nicole for translating the labels for me - they LOVE the labels with the English and Russian on them!!) and she seemed to like it. Then our coordinator told her our reasons for adopting, about SleepingAngel, and our reasons for choosing Russia. It seems to us that it would be socially unacceptable to say that we wanted a child that would look like us - but here that is a fantastic answer! And she very much looks like us!

Finally, we got to play! Today we brought the same toys from yesterday AND some stacking cups and a toy with several shapes on it with different textures all hooked together. She LOVED the stacking cups! Developmentally, I think the toys from yesterday may have been too advanced. But, the stackng cups were a huge hit! We played with those for most of the visit and with the alligator from yesterday for a little bit.

We got lots of laughs and lots of smiles today. I think that she is very ticklish but still a bit too shy to let loose. We did get some good tickles in and some good laughs though. Her laugh cracks me up!

And a note to TinyDancer - they have been combing her hair and putting it up in a little ponytail so that it doesn't look crazy! hee hee hee

Not sure if we'll be inside our outside this afternoon.

Love to everyone at home!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meetcha Day!

Today was awesome!

We met with the local MOE at 10:00 this morning. OMG we were so nervous! I actually left a puddle on the table from my hands sweating so much. I'm not sure how much we are allowed to share about the questions that they asked us - so I'll error on the side of caution and not mention any. We met with them for about 30 minutes (it seemed like hours!) and then we went into another office and saw a short video of EasternStar. She is SO cute!

Then, we drove back to our hotel to pick up a cake. There is a bakery in the lobby of our hotel that makes the best cakes in the city. Our translator and coordinator usually ask their couples to purchase a cake to bring to the director and the workers at the orphange. This is a treat as the cakes are on the pricey side and not usually purchased by the locals for everyday dining. We picked a beautiful cake (based on the recommendation of the person working there - the baker?). Unfortunately, she wrapped it before I could photograph it and it would have been awkward to take a photo of it after we gave it to the director! hee hee

We made it to the orphanage around 11:30 - at the end of meal time. EasternStar was just finishing up when we entered her group room. We took her to a playroom and played with her for about an hour.

Meeting her was indescribable! When her caregiver handed her to me, she cried. That is great news - she LOVES her caregiver (so we know that she can attach!!) but she stopped very quickly. Her caregiver took her back and bundled her up to walk to the building with the playroom. In the playroom, she was very overwhelmed! She sat in my lap for a little bit and she sat on the floor for a little bit. I know that it was very overwhelming for her. There are 14 other children in her group, so having 2 people focused just on her - and strangers at that - was probably pretty scary!

Right as she was starting to warm up to us a bit, it was time to meet with the Director who is also the head medical doctor at our orphanage - and we got to bring EasternStar to the meeting with us. She felt very comfortable in her office - probably because of all of the Russian being spoken! Finally, something familiar! 8 )

During our time with her, she was very serious and very quiet. But in the directors office, she started babbling and giggling. So, we know it is possible. We were told that in her group, she is very sweet and vocal. So, it will just take some time.

Then we went back to the playroom for about 30 more minutes or so.
Towards the end of our time, she giggled some for Stranger when she was tickled. And, we got her to crawl after a toy. I think that we got 2 hours with her this morning.

Then, she had a nap and we had a break for lunch. I'll skip the details on that part - although we had some awesome pizza at a restaurant called Pizza Express. 8 ) We went back around 4:30 and got another hour - this one spent outside.

Again, her caregiver bundled her and they got a stroller out for us. There is a big playground outside of her building and we walked over to that. The playground had a lot of things to play on - slides, swings, and things to climb on - I took pictures, but again, I'm not sure how much we are allowed to share - so I'm erroring on the side of caution.

We walked her in the stroller for a bit but then picked her up and took turns holding her and walking along the path that went around the playground. She was very interested in the sounds of the passing cars and we saw a few butterflies. She was very interested in the butterflies! She would track them with her head and twist her body to follow them. We think that she understood some of what we were saying - When we said "butterfly" she would look up and look around.

She is abosolutely beautiful! I wish I could post a picture - but hopefully she will be home soon and I can then.

We go back tomorrow and we are going to get to help her with her 11:00 meal!

One thing to note - I always thought that it was cliche that PAPs would say how nice the orphanages are and how much the caregivers care about the babies. It is so true! All of the buildings were very well maintained and the parts that we saw were extremely clean!

And - oh my - you can tell that these kids are loved and that they do the best that they can. I don't know how many times EasternStars caregiver kissed her and loved on her. And she was so responsive to her. They *really* do love these kids!

I'll end with something that all parents can understand - proof that the "you don't have to spend any money on toys" rule is universal - We brought this:

An alligator - you push down the birds and the alligotro moves forward - it's to encourage crawling. And this:

And this book:

And what was her favorite - I'm not letting go of this - toy? This:

The FREE tape measure that our Dr. gave us to measure her head with! hee hee hee

Monday, May 18, 2009

We made it to Tyumen

We made it to Tyumen! We actually gained 2 more hours so we are 10 hours ahead of home.

The plane ride here was ...... interesting! The plane was four seats across and not very modern. The entire flight, Stranger kept looking at me and saying "We're on a mission from God, right?" The emergency exit on our plane - an escape hatch and a rope! hee hee hee

And apparently foreigners don't come this far West very often and our lack of understanding Russian has gotten us some eye rolls. hee hee hee Not that we can blame them - we'd probably do the same thing at home! But I'm not sure that I could understand them even if I did speak Russian! People here speak very quickly and very softly. So different from home! Most of the time when someone says something, I'm saying "What?" because I can't hear them! They could be speaking English and I still wouldn't understand! hee hee

Tommorow morning we meet with the Ministry and then we go straight to meet EasternStar. We weren't too nervous about our meeting, but after getting prepped by our coordinator and translator, now we are! We have notes from our doctor stating that we don't have Swine Flu and we bought some masks when we got here - just in case we need them to get into the orphanage. And we have our questions for our doc - so I guess we are ready.

Pray for a good meeting tomorrow!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Our afternoon / evening in Moscow

Yesterday afternoon after our catnap, we ventured out on our own and made our way to the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil's Cathedral. Here are some photos of what we saw:

Our first stop was the supermarket around the corner from our hotel to get some bottles of water. One liter bottles of water were 33 Rubles (around $1). Sweet!

Next, we started walking towards our destination. We found a street vendor selling fruit:

And cars parked on the sidewalk:

As we were figuring out how to cross the street (you go under the street by the Kremlin), we found the Dannon store:

We are pretty bummed that we didn't have enough time to go in and check it out. Is it an entire store of yogurt? I love yogurt!! Maybe next trip.....
We finally made it to our destination. It was only a 10 minute walk - not bad! Here is me in front of (from left to right): The State Historical Museum, St. Basils (it is way in the back), and the Kremlin.

To get to St. Basils, we walked through the Red Square. There we saw Lenin's Tomb:

And this fountain:
We haven't determined what it is yet, but lots of people were walking up to it and throwing money at it. Always willing to part with our cash, we walked up and threw a few coins at it as well. We took a picture of the sign next to it and we'll try to figure out what the significance of this is. We'll get back to ya!
Next, St. Basil's:
As we left Red Square, we walked by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We didn't take any pictures - but we are going back next trip to see the changing of the guard. It is supposed to be pretty impressive. I can't wait to see how it compares to our changing of the guard!
There is a park off of red square and we saw these pretty flowers:'
And this statue - which we know is famous but we can't remember why. Another thing for us to
look up!
And this one:

We don't know what this one is either, but who doesn't want to take a picture of a bear attacking a wolf? We are fondly calling this one "Statue off of Red Square right next to the McDonalds and Sbarro". Nice, huh?

We ended our evening back at the hotel for a nice dinner. We met three other American families there that just picked up their babies and are waiting to do their Embassy paperwork so they can head home. The kids are so cute! And young!

We leave for Tyumen (which we found out is pronounced TIE - MEN) in a few hours. It is a four hour flight and we are gaining another hour. We'll update again tonight if we can!

We made it!

Whew! We finally made it! In our typical fashion - our trip was an adventure! We got to our airport waaaay early - 9:00 for a 12:45 flight to Atlanta. Because of the weather in Atlanta, our flight was delayed 2 hours.

Did I mention that we only had a 2 hour layover! We landed at 3:45 and finally got off of the plane at 3:55. Our flight to Moscow took of at 4:15. We sprinted out of terminal B, up two escalators, and 3000 m to terminal T, then a little bit more to get to our gate. If you were in the Atlanta airport yesterday and got smacked by our luggage from all of our bobbing and weaving.... ummm.... sorry! But we have a baby to meet! 8 ) Thankfully, we got to our gate just in the last few seconds before they ended boarding.

Thankfully, our flight over was uneventful.... though neither of us could get comfortable enough to sleep on the plane. It was a nice 11.5 hour flight. That's a long time to sit!

Our awesome driver picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel. We took a short nap and Skyped with TinyDancer. Now we are off to explore and find a grocery store to pick up some water.

Maybe more later .....

Friday, May 15, 2009

We're packed!

We're packed and ready to go! We have two carry on suitcases that we plan to check at the gate, two backpacks, and my purse. Tomorrow morning we need to pack my makeup, my straightening iron (I know, I know.....the necessities in life!) and Stranger's razor.

And then we are off early tomorrow morning!

I couldn't sleep last night I was so excited!

I took one last nap with TinyDancer this afternoon. I'm going to miss my afternoon nap buddy!

We are supposed to have internet access for the entire trip and we'll keep the blog as updated as we can.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The things that we come home to.....

The things that we come home to..... that make us sad:

A broken window screen:

Doggie doo on your favorite pillow:
And I'm left to wonder - What the hell were the puppies doing while I was at work? TinyDancer and I came home to find Doggie # 1 hanging out of the window above our bed and poop inbetween two of our pillows. {Stop laughing!} {Seriously, I can hear you} {Fine, I'll wait}
And Doggie # 2 seemed to be serving as some sort of lookout as she was running back and forth inbetween the bedroom and the living room.
Did they have to go and they tried to make a break for it and jump out of the window but didn't make it?
Were they super scared because of yesterday's thunder and lightening storm and they tried to escape? I'm wondering if Doggie # 1 got halfway out of the window and then either A: realized how high above the ground he was or B: There was a big bolt of lightening and both things scared the cr@p out of him!
Life's little mysteries.......
And that was my favoite pillow!

The things that we come home to ...... that make us happy!
Our Visas:
A big stack of cash for our trip:

I thought that 4K would be a bigger stack of cash. Oddly, its not.
We also started packing last night:
EasternStar's blankie:

And some of her new toys:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We're leaving in 4 days!

Holy crap!

I can't believe that we're leaving in 4 days! We have so much to do. I should so not be at work. I should *so* not be at work and updating my blog! hee heee

We were doing awesome on our "To Do" list until Saturday when we hit this item: "Pack away SleepingAngels things to make room for EasternStar". And we haven't really moved on anything since. We still have all of SleepingAngel's stuff in her room - the molds of her hand, the cards from her birth and from her funeral, even her oxygen tubing and extra tubes for her gavage feeding. They are all sitting in her crib. Or stored haphazardly in a cardboard box. We have pretty boxes to store them in..... we just..... haven't. I think that both of us have managed to not think about having to change that room from "SleepingAngel's Room" to "EasternStar's Room". Even TinyDancer still calls it "SleepingAngel's Room". We may have to skip this item and face these emotions when we get home.

Proof that Stranger and I make a great team: I'm panicked about everything that we need to get done before we leave. He's panicked about everything that we have to do once we get there. And the whole being in another culture and not being able to speak the language thing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

News from our doc

Good news from our doc! We received some updated medical info last week and it looks great! Yay! She was very pleased with the measurements. Yay!

We have trip details!

We've made all of the arrangements for our trip! We head out on 5/16 and we return home on 5/22. In country, we fly to our region on 5/18 and we meet EasternStar on 5/19. That is only 13 days from today!! Yippee! We head back to Moscow on 5/21 and then home on 5/22.

And we have our hotel arrangements in Moscow. Yay!

Our Visas are being processed and we should have them on 5/12.

Our agency handles all of our in-country flight arrangements and hotel reservations so we don't have to worry about that. Except for the whole paying for them thing...... 8 )

Ummm.... now all we have to do is pack! Welll..... there is that giant "To Do" list that we have - you know - download Skype and figure out how to use it, print out directions so that the Grandmas can take TinyDancer to all of her activities, etc. She asked me to include some of her favorite recipes in the binder that I am putting together for our moms so that they can make her favorite foods. In the binder so far - Lemon Meatballs, Chicken Fingers, Meatloaf, and .... the recipe for her favorite Mac and Cheese & Hot Dogs. 8 )

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Once a Month Cooking - April

We did our once a month cooking over the weekend and it was hilarious. We had a couple of whoopsie! incidents - actually - I think it was just me that had the incidents! I won't go into details as I'm too flustered with getting ready for our upcoming trip to really focus on a good post - but luckily we were able to laugh about our (my) mistakes.

48 pork chops is a lot of pork chops and we ended up packaging them in bags of three. To me, that equals more meals = less cooking during the month! Yay! We also had a lot of pasta salad! It was hilarious to see Heather sitting on my yucky floor (I'm so embarrassed about the state of our house that day!) and portioning out the giant stockpot full of pasta salad. We also had a little bit of the ham mixture from the ham and potato pockets left over. Luckly, we had an extra tube of crescent rolls so we made some plan ham pockets. Two got a little too brown (that was my whoops! again) so our hubbies got them.

Heather and I are so lucky to have such great hubbies! We cooked at our house and Stranger was in the kitchen most of the day washing the dishes ..... and helped package and label a few of the dishes. Meanwhile Heather's hubby took their three kids to church and to a soccer game. Oh, and TinyDancer tagged along to the soccer game too! 8 ) I have huge respect for all of the ladies that do the washing themselves. What does it mean that Heather and I need a third adult to help with the cleanup? Are we too messy? hee hee hee

We've already tried the Cheddar Butter Burgers - which almost became Swiss Butter Burgers (me again!) - and they were delicious! We've also tried the Egg Muffins, the Fruit Cups, and I'm having the Pasta Salad for lunch today. I can't wait for lunch!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Visa Apps

We received more detailed travel information from our agency today! I just submitted the applications for our Visas. Tonight we have to overnight our passports and passport photos to them. I have a travel agent working on flights for us. I can't believe it!

The Promise

I heard this song on a the blog of a fellow Russian adoptioner and it just speaks to me. What a pretty song - hope you enjoy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Time to start packing!

We've received our travel date! Our appt. with the MOE is May 18 and we need to arrive in country on May 17. Yippee! The rest of the details are TBD - but that is enough to get started on our visa applications.

We can't wait to meet you EasterStar!