Tuesday, September 22, 2009
EasternStar has been a real champ. Her sleep has been awesome - once she is asleep for the night she is out for 12 hours. We are still getting used to that! Her naps have ranged from 2 a day (am and pm) and one afternoon nap a day. We've basically been following her cues and she is moving towards just needing the afternooon nap. Her eating has been great too. She *loves* meat. She and Grandpa are going to get along great! She ate her first vegetable (broccoli) last night - so that is a big victory for us. I'm going to make some vegetable soup this week and see if that will tempt her. If not, we'll have to look into the sneaky chef recipes. 8 )
TinyDancer has been taking it all in pretty well. She is so excited to finally have a little sister to play with that she can be a bit much for EasternStar at times. A lot of times. 8 ) She is ready for someone to jump on the bed with and to jump and dance and act crazy with. I'm sure EasternStar will get there - she just has to figure out how to walk first!
I have some really cute pictures of the two of them. My mother-in-law sent them matching pjs and a matching outfit. And one of our neighbors gave them matching dresses. They look really cute! I just need to find our camera cable and have the time to transfer the pictures to the computer.
Stranger's paternity leave is up and he is back to work this week. We've only called him in tears once (ha ha). He is studying hard for the board exams coming up in October.
Monday, September 14, 2009
We are all very tired and very overwhelmed. The girls are doing well, considering.
EasternStar was a champ on the plane. She actually cried harder in the car on the way to the airport in Moscow than she did on the plane. She had her own seat - which was a God-send! - and she was great for 9 out of the 10.5 hours on the first plane. She slept for about 1.5 hours (total!!) on the first leg of the journey and she cried for about 1.5 hours. We learned that a diet of mostly bread and crackers gives her a lot of gas. And poop. She pooped four times on the plane. A record for us! 8 )
We were all very happy to land in Dulles (about 30 minutes early!) and to make it through passport control and customs. She was a bit too tired and hungry to fully appreciate getting the stamp on her passport, but I know that she is happy to be stamped a citizen. We picked up our luggage with no problems and made it back through security in record time. We had about 1.5 hours to wait for our flight home. We enjoyed some nuggest (from Wendy's this time) and some pizza while we waited. We felt very lucky that our plane home took off early. There were four or five flights going out of our gate at around the same time and the other flights were delayed for either mechanical issues or because the planes had not arrived yet. We actually took off a little early for home. Yay!
Stranger and EasternStar slept most of the hour flight home, and EasternStar stayed sleeping through landing, being put in the stroller, meeting her big sister, being put in the carseat, and driving home. She woke up long enough to put on her jammies and then went right back to sleep. Until 3:45 am. For some reason all of us woke up around 3:45 am on Sunday so we had some breakfast and then went back to bed for a few hours.
EasternStar is slowly getting used to our house and to TinyDancer. She likes our black dog but she is terrified of our red dog.
TinyDancer is slowly getting used to having to share Daddy. There is never enough Daddy to go around it seems. It doesn't help that she was sick all day yesterday. She seems to feel better today though.
Hopefully there will be some sleeping today and I'll be able to locate our camera cord. We've got some cute shots of the girls together.
Friday, September 11, 2009
First - the Embassy interview - we went to the US Embassy on Wednesday afternoon to get EasternStar's Visa. The way it works is you drop off all of your paperwork the day before and you make an appointment to come back the next day at 2:00 to pick up your paperwork and Visa. So, at 2:00 we entered the Embassy and followed the signs - and the other people with babies - to the adoption room. The room was hot and small and not very kid friendly. There were plastic chairs lining the walls and in rows in the center of the room. A great place to hang out with 15 other young kids for 90 minutes, right? First we went to the cashier to pay for the Visa and then we went to another window to put our name on the list.
The room was packed! It was awesome to see so many new families! You always here how hard Russian adoptions are getting and sometimes it feels like no one is getting anywhere. It was awesome to see so many families getting their dreams to come true. Most of the children were girls (!) and there were several that were right around EasternStars age (15 months). There was another group of children around the 20 - 24 month range and the cutest 3 year old! There were probaby 12 - 15 families there. I can't speak for the health of the other children, but everyone was very happy. For the first 20 minutes or so. And then the room got hot, and all of the children were missing their naps.....and everyone got (more than) a little cranky!
It is amazing how tied these kids are to their schedules. You can almost set your watch to it. 8:00 - breakfast. 10:00 - morning nap. The Embassy interview was right in the middle of EasternStar's afternoon nap and she *still* hasn't recovered. Hence, the L O N G days that we've been having. She is *so* tired but she will not sleep! 8 (
On Thursday and today we hung around the hotel and did some souviner shopping. There has been a music festival on Red Square everyday this week and today was the first day that we could get semi-close to St. Basil's to take the "required" picture of the child in front of it. I've already packed the camera and the cable, so I won't be able to post the picture until we get home.
Speaking of home, we are so ready to be there! We are tired of washing our clothes in the bathroom sink and our tummies are sick of eating restaurant food. We miss our own beds and our washing machine and our fridge with nice cold water. Of course, we also miss TinyDancer and our two puppies - that goes without saying. I wish that I could go to sleep and wake up on Sunday morning in my own bed! I hope that our flights tomorrow go quickly and smoothly. We only have 2 hours from touchdown to take off to make it through customs, etc in Dulles. Wish us luck!!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
We just met, but I love you already!
We headed to McDonald's for breakfast today. Of course, by the time we got there, it was 10:05 and they were serving lunch. 8 ) EasternStar was introduced to the glory of the chicken nugget and the frency fry.
We're off to the US Embassy in a few minutes so that EasternStar can get her Visa. She will enter the US on a Russian passport and as soon as she touches US soil she will be a citizen. Yay!!
On a side note - we are totally out of apples and cinnamon oatmeal. A word of warning - if you hear screams of bloody murder from the east around 1:30 am ET tonight - don't worry - It is just EasternStar discovering that all we have left is regular oatmeal. We've been though so much as parents that there is little that I fear. I fear tomorrow morning! 8 ) We may need to send up some flares for backup support. Or skip the country early and be met at the airport with a bowl of hot and steamy apples and cinnamon oatmeal! 8 )
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We met another family that also adopted a little girl from Tymen. We actually met them in Tyumen, but we weren't able to meet up until today. Their daughter is 4 days older than EasternStar and their daughter looks exactly like her dad! It is amazing that the MOE there took such care to match up the girls with families that looked like them - and even match their personalities to their families!
The six of us walked down to Red Square today. We were all hungry when we arrived so we had lunch at the S'barro off of Alexander's Garden. EasternStar ate her weight in meatballs from the buffet. It was nice to see her eat something that wasn't carbs or yogurt! 8 )
After lunch, the girls decided that they had had enough, so we had to head back to the hotel for naps. We are probably the only people that walk to Red Square and don't actually *get* to see the square! 8 )
As we were leaving, we spotted an underground grocery store. We stopped in to get some more juice and we spotted these treasures:
We excitedly went back to the hotel and after a nice long nap, we feasted on our salami and cheese sandwiches and chips and queso for dinner. Here is our makeshift double boiler to heat up our queso - coffee mugs filled with boiling water and the juice glasses from our hotel room:
And what did EasternStar think of all of these shenanigans? She just laughed and laughed!
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
We woke up to another beautiful day here in Moscow! It is supposed to be sunny and 73 F today with only a slight chance of rain.
EasternStar is doing great! We are learning her cues for tired and hungry and "I like you guys, but I need some alone time". She had only cried a few times - the first night she got stuck in her crib and as soon as I picked her up she fell right back asleep and then she cried when she woke up this morning. After being picked up she was all smiles again!
We are also learning what she likes and what she doesn't like to eat. On the like list: strawberry yogurt, apple yogurt, mashed potatoes, ground beef, apples & cinnamon oatmeal, fish fingers (which appear to be like our fish sticks only made with salmon), brown bread.
We spoke to TinyDancer via Skype for about an hour yesterday. She loves to hear her voice. I can't wait for them to meet! If the schedule holds - and it should - we will be home on Saturday! Yay!!!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The girls are upstairs taking a nap, it has been a busy morning. We woke up at 5 am our time to get to the airport on time. EasternStar woke up with a big smile on her face and an attitude that she was ready for adventure. She did great on her first plane ride. She was so tired, but refused to sleep. She cried a little about an hour in, but after having a little snack and a drink, she was happy to sit and read the safety pamphlet. No seriously, she sat there and looked at it as if she was reading it for at least 15-20 minutes. Then she decided it was more fun to use it to play peek-a-boo with me.
It is a beautiful day here in Moscow. Sunny and about 70 degrees. Our Moscow coordinator has also told us that this is "Moscow City Day" weekend. It's an annual holiday where they shut down streets all over downtown, and set up stages with performances all over town. We may go check it out later, and if so, will have more stories, I'm sure.
We get a little down time for the first time since we got to Russia. We have the rest of today and all day Sunday, and then on Monday morning it is off for EasternStar's medical exam.
Will keep you all posted with what we get up to! :)
Friday, September 4, 2009
Born in Tyumen, Russia on May 30, 2008
Joined our family on September 3, 2009
Welcome to the family sweet baby!!!
Court Day - Holding her favorite blocks
Court Day - Love those yellow pants!
- We found a bookstore and managed to pantomime "Do you have a Russian - English dictionary?" We got one - but it is meant for a Russian speaking person, so all of the pronuciations use the phonetic sound of the letters in the Cryllic alphabet, and pronounce the English words, not the Russian words. Which helps me none, but at least I can point.
- We found a nice coffee shop in Moscow that has good (and cheap!) paninis. Except the second time we went there, the panini machine was broken and our waiter didn't speak enough English to tell us that. I offered him my dictionary, but there was no phrase for "Our panini machine is broken but we can heat your sandwich up in the oven in you like", so he had to get another customer to explain to us.
I have to say how impressed I am with the people here. If they are trying to ask us something and we clearly don't understand - they try hard to get their point across or they find someone to help them. I don't think that as a culture, most people would do that in the US. I think they would just shrug and go on about their business.
- We had lunch at a different coffee house and I was excited to see hot chocolate on the menu. I happily ordered it but was confused by the result. I was given a coffee cup of liquid chocolate and a cup of milk. Huh? Do you add the chocolate to the milk? The milk to the chocolate cup? The chocolate looked and tasted like a big cup of melted chocolate chips. It was sweet!! I had to laugh and ask the waiter what to do. You are supposed to sip the cup of chocolate and then drink the milk (or you can get water) to unsweeten your mouth. I couldn't even finish it!
- As if we hadn't had enough trouble getting our medicals done and getting out of Moscow, on our way to the airport to catch our Tyumen to Moscow flight, our driver's car broke down. Luckily we were very close to the train station and we were able to catch an express train that dropped us off right next to the ticket counter.
- I won't even mention the codine-laced tylenol that I took and caused so much trouble! 8 ) (It is almost funny now.)
Oh, our estimated travel dates are - Leave Tyumen on Tuesday (9/8) and leave for home next Saturday (9/12). We have the adoption certificate and new birth certificates and we are just waiting on her passport. The passport has to be issued in the Region where the adoption takes place so we're here until we get it. In Moscow we have to do her Embassy medical exam, an interview at the Embassy, and then register her at the Russian consulate. I think that all of that takes 3 days or so. Luckily, the hard and stressful stuff is over, the rest is just paperwork - and our coordinators do it for us. We just have to show up and sign stuff. Yay!
Yesterday afternoon we spent about 2.5 hours with EasternStar. When we got there, she was in the groups playpen. As soon as she spotted us, she started crying, turned around, and started crawling away. At least she remembered us! 8 )
We picked her up and after a few minutes she was fine. We even got some smiles, giggles, AND I got some kisses!! So sweet!
We played inside for a while and then we went outside for a walk around the grounds. It was starting to get cool so we went back inside and we (I) fed her dinner and then it was time to go.
It will be fun to get her home today. I think we have another naked-loving dare devil on our hands. We changed her out of her shirt and into the clothes that we brought to try them on. As soon as her top was off she broke into a huge grin and giggled. And she has a very ticklish tummy! And she loves to sit in your lap and be tipped back. And she LOVED when the stroller hit big bumps on the grounds and she was jostled. I can't wait to see the trouble that she and our neighbor's daughter N are going to get into!
Pics coming as soon as we get back to the hotel this afternoon (the middle of the night at home)!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Then it was time to get up and start getting ready for court. We once again ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant - nothing too exciting today (sorry Heather - no fish balls yet! 8 ) ).
We walked to the courthouse from our hotel and were there in plenty of time for our 10 am appointment. We got started a few minutes late. Stranger was the lucky one that got to do most of the talking. He started right off with an awesome speach giving the reasons why the court should waive the 10 day waiting period so that we can get EasternStar home asap to see her doctor.
We were asked questions for about 40 minutes or so and then the doctor from the orphanage spoke, then the representative from the ministry of education, and then the city prosocutor. After an hour we were finally done.
The judge weighed her decision for 10 or 15 minutes and then returned with her verdict. And she announced that .........
Our petition was granted! We're parents again!!!!
Her decision is immediate!
Meaning, that the 10 day waiting peroid is waived so we can start our journey home as soon as we have EasternStar's new birth certificate, adoption certificate, and passport. Our coordinator is running around getting the appropriate paperwork this afternoon while we go to visit EasternStar.
We were given the choice as to when to pick her up. We are going to visit her this afternoon and hopefully she will feel better about us when we leave. Then we will return tomorrow morning to pick her up!
Yay! To celebrate, we had celebration peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in our room. And a selection of Russian potato chips. Guess who was in charge of what when we went to the supermarket? 8 )
Once we have her in our custody we can post pictures!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
We were able to see EasternStar for a little while. She was not too happy to see us. 8 ( She cried much longer when I picked her up this time. Just a few minutes after we met her, we took her out to get her passport photo taken. Nothing like having some strangers take you out into the busy city! 8 )
She cried a lot - but it was also pretty close to her meal time. By the time we got the photo and left, she was starving! We didn't get back to the orphanage until 15 minutes after her meal time. Fifteen minutes is forever when your tiny tummy is growling! 8 ( She ate her meal and then was happy. 8 )
I'm sure that tomorrow will go better!
We're prepping our speeches for court tomorrow. We'll let you know how it goes!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
We were cruising through our 8 doctor medical exams when everything came to a screeching halt when we got the results of my drug screen. Yup. Me. I failed it. Me. The girl who drinks maybe three or four drinks a YEAR tested positive for opiates. Seriously? You've got to be kidding!
We managed to trace the source - I forgot to pack our Tylenol and I woke up with a headache yesterday morning. I knew that I couldn't take the shenenigans that is the 8 doctor medical exam with a pounding head so we went to the pharmacy to get some Tylenol. We talked to the pharmacist and he gave me a box. We didn't even think to check the ingredients for any other drugs since back home you need a prescription for anything other than Tylenol. However here, you can buy Tylenol with codine in it right off of the shelf! I took 2 pills 1 hour before we left for our exam. Crap!
Of course, this has NEVER happened to anyone before. So, we were sent home last night with instructions to return today to repeat my test. They didn't know what would happen if it was still positive, since this has never happened before.
Luckily, I drank about 4 L of water and managed to flush them out of my system. My test today was negative and I passed the doctor's (a narcologist) exam (kind of like a sobriety test). Of course now we are being monitored by the FBI for all of our frantic research yesterday from a Russian IP address - googling "how to get codine out of your system" "what is the fastest way to get codiene out of your system" "how to pass a drug screen". LOL
All is well now and our papers are signed and ready to go!
Tomorrow morning we head to Tyumen and we should get to see EasternStar for a little bit. Yay!
We will have internet access in our hotel room in Tyumen so it will be easier to keep the blog updated once we get there.