Thursday, November 5, 2009

THE ROAD TO SOPHIE AND BEN has pretty much ended

now that we are not on a journey to get them, they are just ours, just one of the family. I started a new blog for our journey as a family together. SO I will probably not post here anymore. My new family blog is enbergadventures.blogspot.com
so please follow us there. I loved getting to know all of your along this journey to our children. I am thankful to all of you for the support you have given me along the way. I look forward to continuing to hear from all of you over at enbergadventures.
hahahahahahaha

Ben knows what 1 2 3 means. and sophie is annoying him so he told her one! TWO! SIX!!!!!!! grrrr! lol he loves 6. he always counts 5 6. or 1 2 3 6. I guess thats his favorite number.

They are lost today without Ethan and Maia. even though they do nothing but scream at each other when they are all here. E and M went with daddy for the day to run errands and I kept these two. We have to take C and C to their dad later this afternoon and there arent enough seats in the van for all of us. so off they went with Daddy. I am sure they will love it. They love getting the oil changed and spending time with dad. and in Dads car they sit next to each other and play and fight and play and fight all the way to wherever they go.

Yesterday we went for a long ride. Sophie likes the car. she slept on the way home. Maybe I will get lucky and she will sleep when we take the kids to their dad today too. She so needs a nap but rarely gets it because of all the racket that goes on around here all day. Next week Ethan goes to school so that will quiet things a bit.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ok we really MUST start speaking English

most often between each other Sophie and Bean speak Russian/Ukrainian whatever it is they speak. They speak it to us as well. Even for things they have the english word for. but then they get mad when we dont understand them all the time. I have learned a lot of meanings to what they say but some I just dont know. So the time has come that they must learn English. So from here on out my plan is to have them say it in English before they get what they want. I will gladly provide the word, they only need repeat it. hopefully this will lead to them using the word independently without prompting.

Ben said tonight "come here!" thats a pretty cool thing! and we think its histerical when they say "yeah baby!" which prompts them to say it again when they hear our fits of giggles. so English, HERE WE COME!

Naluchki

Every day all day its Naluchki mama! naluchki mama! MAMA! NALUCHKI! I adore holding her but sometimes my hands and or lap are busy elsewhere! She has taken to crawling into my lap when I am on the floor and rubbing her face on me. She LOOOOOVEs to sit and rock in my lap when she wakes up from naptime. Of course I cant have her rock facing me because of her legs. We dont have a lot of face to face physical contacts because of her legs. She cant get enough of having dad swing her around. I have been getting her to open her hands big and wide as far as she can to get a little ROM going there. She does use her hands to do a lot but only in the all jumbled position. She is coming along.

Ben doesnt like to share. Just plain doesnt like it. and often wont do it. Time out is my friend and usually persuades him to share. He also likes to count. one two FIVE!! and when I say to one of the other kids being naughty ONE! TWO! he responds with FIVE SIX!! we have to count cheerios so he will eat them. Papa gave him some tough love last night at dinner. he shoved his milk glass across the table so daddy wouldnt give it back. then he wouldnt use his fork and was just using his fingers. Daddy said no and he didnt listen. so he got down for a couple minutes. WAILING the entire time. histerically. but he did act nicely afterwards and papa told him he loved him and he didnt seem to hold a grudge against daddy. he loves to be outside and thankfully the weather is cooperating with that for awhile. But Ethan is going to go to school soon so the long entire days outside are going to slow down since I cant be everywhere!

Monday, November 2, 2009

natasha and illiana

when we were in Ukraine visiting Ben and Sophie there were some SUPER kids in Ben's group. We spent a lot of time playing with them. we watched two little girls blossom from shy and unsure to outgoing and funny. We asked if they were available for adoption and it was alluded to that these girls had a disease that was incurable. This leads us to believe that they have either HIV or HepB. Either way I know that the H1N1 virus is becoming a global pandemic and Ukraine is beginning to see the effects of it. I worry about these two girls. They are smart and really great kids. I would LOVE to go back and bring them home. I dont know if that is possible BUT I do want to keep them in my thoughts and hope for their health. I hope you will think of them along with me. If they get H1N1 it could kill them. If you are praying folk, pray for them. If you arent, then send good vibes into the world for them, or just think good thoughts for them. the power of positive thinking.

Friday, October 30, 2009

slam!

one step forward and two steps back. took sophie to the store with me. I take turns with each child making a milk run with me. it was sophie's turn. and appropriate since she cries when she thinks I am leaving her. all was well. smiles galore. and then we got to check out and someone said hi cutie and she said "last name, old first name" and then we got in the car and she asked if we were going back to groupa now? ugh. she just thinks we are another groupa. I told her no groupa, groupa all done, FAMILY. chrysta cody mama papa ben sophie ethan maia FAMILY. she tried to say the word. but I dont know how much she got out of the conversation. so am I just another caretaker then? or am I MAMA?

it is fun to watch them embrace each new experience though. both loved the store. ben kept smiling and asking Amelika? she just smiled and laughed about riding in the cart. ben just spotted the lighted pumpkin(fake) and was very interested. laughing and hugging it. funny kid. he is playing fetch with the dog. he is the only one the dog has ever returned a toy to besides myself. he will fetch what others throw but always bring it back to me no matter who throws it. except Ben. he will bring it back to Ben, but he is afraid to take it away from him.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

full circle





last spring I took the kids to the state park nearby. we love to go there. We played and the wind blew. and an eagle flew overhead. it was all very neat. we loved being close to nature. and of course since the weather wasnt PERFECt no one else was there. we had the entire park to ourselves. I had a certain someone on my mind that day. in the previous days I had been trying my hardest to find someone to bring home a little girl who needed a family. A little blonde. And as I watched my own little blonde running up and down the beach and swinging and sliding and playing in the sand, I knew I couldnt leave that other little blonde to the fate that awaited her. I just coudln't stand the thought that she would never run and play and enjoy such a place as the state park. The bonus blonde came later when we couldnt leave him behind knowing the two were much like sibs and had similar challenges.

Today we went to the same park. Beautiful fall weather. Again no one around. Ben shooshed the leaves with his feet and walked along holding my hand. Sophie rode in the stroller and loved for us to toss leaves up and they would blow past her. they did the slide, the swings, the sand. and I put them in a pile of leaves and I dont think Ben stopped smiling the entire time. Scooter decided to scoot off down the hill leaving a trail behind her as the leaves parted around her and getting a wet behind in the process. but hey you are only young once and her pants were dark colored so I let them play. so from the first time I "knew" to now the first visit to the same park with the dreamed of kids.

more convinced than ever that Ben's hearing is not great

Sophie repeats words very clearly. and easily. she will say tank you if you prompt her to say it instead of spaseeba. Ben will say it too but it doesnt sound like tank you. it sounds more like fok oo. which sounds a lot like ohter words I dont generally use. I had to laugh thinking he is going to think he is being so smart and saying thank you to someone and they are going to hear fok oo. and think he said something completely different. Might have to get that thank you on tape for posterity.

another note to self: get scooter on tape. she wont always be scooter.I hope.

Monday, October 26, 2009

pizza anyone?

it is amazing how much you can learn from a language you dont speak. we are learning lots of words. Ben's pants are a little big and keep falling down. yesterday he was standing at the window and his pants AND unders fell to the floor. He and Sophie thought it histerical. We pulled them back up and went about our business. but not before I learned the word Piska. a few minutes later there is Ben with just his Piska sticking out. we didnt make a fuss, just told him to keep the mouse in the house. they moved on to other things. Last night he was petting the dog and discovered !!! the dog has a Piska! no Ben do not pet the dogs piska.

fast forward to tonight. What is for dinner. PIZZA. piska? NO! NOT PISKA! pizzzzzzaaaaaa. piska. no peeeeeeeettzzzzaaaaaaaaaaa. think about that next time you order pizza. make sure you eeeenunciate or you might end up with something much different than you planned!!

wow! incredible!

last time we tried the sling was in Ukraine. it didnt go well if you recall. she screamed bloody murder and the babushkas gave me what for since she was obviously hungry if she was crying! anyways part of why the trip home was so hard is I couldnt sling her and she would not let me put her down. TIRED ARMS! today we walked Maia to school. I put ben in the single stroller and Sophie in the sling on my back. she screamed. she cried. she carried on. and then I showed her us in the mirror and that was it. she was happy the rest of the time in the sling. we walked maia to school and walked back again all with her on my back and no complaints. not one. I am very proud of her for giving it a try. This morning everyone was cranky because they all wanted the SAME toy. but they love going for a walk so that cheered them. and then Sophie went to nap when we got home. Ben and Ethan have been playing outside every since we got back. ben cant get enough of outside.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

sophie is really improving

she IS becoming a funny little doll, just like I knew she could be. oh yes she has her moments. and she still isnt thrilled with maia. but I think she is coming along nicely. MAMA is the only one allowed to feed her. MAMA is the only one allowed to put on the AFOs. MAMA is the only one she wants to take her to the bathroom but will occasionally allow someone else but wont like it. MAMA is the only one allowed to get her out of bed. now if she could just learn a little English! she CAN say lots of things, but chooses to say them in russian instead. and I dont always know what she wants and she gets mad at me. there is an old nursery rhyme I have been meaning to post. There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. and when she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid. yep thats my sophie! nastya sopha she calls herself. this is an improvement. She used to call herself "old last name" nastya. and always in that order. last name first first name last. I bet she doesnt even realize what her last name is. oh well she is only 3. and she doesnt care what you call her as long as you dont call her late to dinner!

Ben on the other hand goes by BEN! and if you call him Artem he says BEN! and little BEN sure does like when I sing songs to him. he loves wheels on the bus and tonight couldnt get enough of the itsy bitsy spider(which of course crawled up him and tickled all the way up as well as all the way down. he can be so sweet. but boy is he having a hard time sharing those birthday toys. I am torn between wanting to let him have them all to himself as he probably never had anything his own and wanting him to learn to share and be generous. and to be fair if its lying on the floor unattended it really isnt a crime for someone else to play with it.

Speaking of never had something of their own. Sophie absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVES the shoes I bought her. she wants to wear them all the time. she cries when I take them off. the first day she wore them I had to let her sleep with them. in all the time we were in Ptown she never had shoes. these are little clogs and they are SO CUTE. she can get them mostly on by herself. she adores them. funny that of all the things we have around here its the SHOES that mean so much to her.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

birthday cake

Ben's face lit up when he saw the cake and candles. he knew just what to do when we finished the song. and I gave him cake with ice cream and he kept asking, "ben? ben?" as in is this for me? we kept saying YES YES! for BEN! he looooved his present. it was a flashlight and also a cell phone. he loved them both and couldnt keep his hands off of them. he kept turning out the lights so he could try the flashlight. Unfortunately Papa took it away after bedtime because he kept shining it in Ethan's eyes. he put it on the nightstand so he can play with it tomorrow. but boy howdy you should have heard him howl when papa took it from him!

Sophie cried when the birthday cake was all gone. Not sure what that was about. she had milk but didnt want that. she just put her head down and cried. Something is not right with her. She fell asleep on the floor this afternoon. she woke again crying this afternoon. I hope she isnt getting a flu bug. Daddy sees plenty of sick people at work every day. I hope he isnt bringing home germs! Waking up with a cry is not usual for her at all. she usually just calls MAMA! MAMA! MMAAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAAA! until I come and tell her to shhhhh or get her up. She seemed a little on the warm side when I put her to bed but she generally IS warmer than most of us. its hard work to scoot around all day like she does. I call her scooter. SO I guess we will wait and see what tomorrow brings. Any ideas on how to help her accept Maia? she wants me to dump Maia out of my lap because SHE wants my lap. she screams at her when Maia comes near her or tries to touch her. she just wants to hug and kiss her but she gets rebuffed again and again. Ben is fine with it. I keep telling her Sophie doesnt know what its like to get love she is still learning. and every time Sophie rejects Maia I hug and kiss Maia. sometimes it leads Sophie to kiss her. sometimes not.

phone call

I called Eric from the orthodontist office. he was home with the kids. Ben wanted to talk. it was the cutest funniest neatest conversation ever. simple but to me just super neat.
ben Privyet Mama!
mama Privyet Ben!
Kak dila?
ben xorosho
mama Abyet?
ben da. Sophie Spaht.
mama ohhhh Sophie spaht! xorosho!
Das vidanya. Papa.
Ben Das vidanya. byee byee.
mama Paka

then he gave the phone to papa. I am sure everyone in the office thought I was bonkers. but it was awesome.

Happy Happy Birthday BEN!

Today is my Ben's birthday. he is SIX! although he doesnt act like your average 6 year old I love him to bits. He is the sweetest most wonderful boy. I took him to the grocery store just the two of us yesterday. He smiled the entire time and just looked and looked. and once asked Amelica? I said yes and he just smiled and sighed "amelica." he is very empathetic to others who are hurt. He often kisses Sophie on the head when she is screaming and sometimes when she isnt. He loves to play outside and cant get enough climbing and trampoline and sliding and riding bikes(and I almost got rid of the bikes thinking he probably would never ride them! thank goodness my husband stopped me there!) He loves cars and he loves his Mama. He found a picture in a magazine of a woman with long dark hair and said mama! and hugged my arm. he is such a sweet boy. Very laid back overall. He loves to take a toy to bed with him just to hold while he sleeps. He never yells at me when I put his AFOs on the wrong feet. In fact he rarely yells at me at all for anything. He likes to be fed but can feed himself. He is always calm with me when I dont understand him. But he understands me a lot of the time. He is a dream. An absolute dream boy. I know he isnt perfect. and sometimes he doesn't share. Sometimes he cries. and he doesnt like time out. But today, today on his sixth birthday, and right now this very minute, he is my wonderful dream boy. He is a good boy. and I am glad to know him. and Proud to be his Mama.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ben is under the table with the dog. the dog is in doggie heaven rolled on his back having Ben giving him a nice gentle belly rub. This kid could restore the dogs faith in humanity. he does not like people who come into our home but BEN he has loved from the start. and Ben loves him back. Ethan came home at 2 and at 7 is STARTING to learn how to be gentle to the dog and cat. and he has had them all along. but Ben just looooves this dog and the killy killy killy too and has always been very kind and gentle to him. when Ethan comes Fabio(dog) hides. When Ben comes, he rolls on his back to show his belly. In the past Fabio was Mama's boy. I suspect he is quickly becoming Ben's boy! One day I will look to my feet expecting to see him there and he will instead be curled up at Ben's feet.

strange afternoon

Sophie didnt go down to nap until 1230 or so because she wanted to see Papa. Papa went back to work at 1245ish. she was crying then. then she was quiet. until 115. and then she was WAILING. inconsolable wailing. not her I am ticked off and you better darn well get me out of here cry. I stood at the crib trying to comfort her she wouldnt look at me just off into space. If she was crying because she was mad about going to bed she would have shooed my hands away from her. Finally I just picked her up and rocked her and sang to her while the cat ate my lunch(which really made me mad because I NEVER get to eat around here!). She would be quiet in my arms but when she thought she would go back in the crib she wailed and nothing I said would quiet her. She usually has plenty of words to express what she wants when she is crying. she said nothing. this is very unusual. Finally I just laid on the bed with her and then gave up when Ben started clanking blocks together in his room. (he doesnt nap I just put him in there and tell him to shhhhhhh. and he plays quietly for awhile) When I pulled her to the edge of the bed she started to whimper thinking she was going back to bed. I said I give up. you win. and when I walked out the door of the bedroom she GRABBED my head with her little arms(yes the ones that dont move much) and kissed me so hard. I had to laugh. I put her down in the living room with the toys and I give up on naptime today. Maybe she was realizing what she has lost and maybe a little what she has gained. Maybe she will turn a corner now. maybe not. but it was nice to rock her and sing to her. thats the kind of things I wanted to do when I committed to bring her home. I am that kind of mom. I am a touchy feely lovey singing silly/stupid songs rub your back to sleep kind of mom.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

highlight

AFOs at bedtime. No one else is allowed to put them on. Only Mama. I guess you have to start somewhere. of course she screamed when I wouldnt take an hour to let her thread them herself. Some times bedtime is NOW NOW NOW. other times we can take a little time to let her try. but last night was not one of those nights I wanted to sit there while she yells YESEMA! if I even attempt to help in any way(like move the ring up so she is actually threading instead of having her try to thread into the AFO body)

If there is one thing I wont miss its YESEMA! If she could just talk quietly and politely and say I can do it, or no thanks she would be a lot nicer to be around. instead its YESEMA! and take your arm off with the snarl.

She learned time out yesterday. WHy didnt it occur to me sooner that she could learn 123. She is not quite as quick as ben though. I said one! and she said DVA TREE! all proud of herself and then did what I told her not to anyways. so I said TWO! and she did it again and three was off to the chair. maybe a couple of those and she will start to see the light.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ugh!

everyone is so crabby today. and what I wouldnt give to sleep through the night! if I can only make it through another half hour(we have been up about 4 hours already) then I can feed them lunch and put them to bed. Sophie is in rare form today. Ben is grumpy too. Ethan is his normal bossy self and yelling at everyone trying to be the boss of everything.

We had a dog once who had aggression and resource guarding. This is who Sophie reminds me of. If anyone even approaches her while she eats she starts barking at them. Even me some times. Even when someone is trying to help her or offer her something she immediately goes on the defensive. GRRRR. and toys are the same. not to mention any affection from any of them. seems she has spent the entire morning screaming at us. I put her in her bed and told her AHHHHHHHH = bed. well thats where she is now. Screeching at me. Poor Maia wants so much to love her and she will not let Maia anywhere near her for any reason. Maia asked Daddy why we had to change the family, she liked it the way it was. I can understand her thinking at this point.

Ben, while crabby, is starting to make good decisions. At least when prompted. He learned that 1 2 3 = time out. I never have to get past 1 after only having ONE time out. he is a fast learner and smart! now if he could sleep through the night. I dont think anyone around here is getting enough sleep. Except maybe Maia because she sleeps downstairs away from them. Ethan wakes Ben, Ben wakes Ethan, Ethan and/or Ben wakes Sophie, Sophie Wakes Ben and/or Ethan. of course none of them ever wake Papa. in my next lifetime I am going to be a dog. a MALE dog. I will sleep all day. I will make the babies but not have to wake for them. My husband is always good to help if I wake him, but he doesnt wake when they call like a mom does. he just doesnt have Mom hearing. dang mom ears.

Yesterday was pretty good until dinner time. and that was mostly exhausting for me but nothing wrong on their parts. today is a completely different story to yesterday. Its also raining so we cant go for our walk or play outside.

I was thinking of taking Ben to an ECFE class on Monday afternoons while Maia is at school and Sophie naps. He likes wheels on the bus. I bet he would like ram sam sam. Now if we could just get little miss chip on her shoulder to soften up a bit life would be pretty good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the good the bad the ugly

ok now that I got your attention I just want to tell you all that I lost my cell phone and if anyone finds it let me know! lol. Actually most of you wouldnt find it but Uncle Bob and Aunt Jeanne might find it at their house. I was sure I left it in the basket in my van when we went to Bobs but I cant find it now. I dont think it was stolen out of my van because there are literally NO calls on it not even ones to familiar numbers. so where is it? I had it when we left target and headed for Bob and Jeannes. thats when I slipped it into the basket. but maybe I thought again and wanted to call the kids and put it in my jacket? and did I lose it in the basement? did I lose it in Ukraine? on a plane? I have numbers on there I cant replace. as well as photos. oh please please little cell phone turn up!

Monday, October 19, 2009




Sunday, October 18, 2009

feeling better about my job. feelling more like a Mom than a servant.

After making another 35 quarts of applesauce today dinner was simple, but the kids were an absolute riot tonight. Ben wants me to feed him now and I do because he wont eat much otherwise. so he was making these faces all through dinner. then showing us his muscles. and showing us his round full belly. Sophie wouldnt be outdone. She had to show us her muscles, which means SHE CAN LIFT THOSE ARMS WHEN SHE WANTS TO. not all the way up but definite movement to higher than she usually holds them. She was signing baby to me too. and she was making faces. the more we oohed and ahhed at her muscles the more she would scrunch up her face and make her "muscles" which would get ben going to show his again.

They sure love going for a walk every day. they ask "Amelica?" and then get all excited. Chrysta took Ben on the trampoline today and he loooved it. the smile on his face said it all while he was showing Papa what he did.Ben also loves when I sing wheels on the bus. he rolls his arms around. Ben and Sophie and I were playing Piano and Sophie didnt want to share. Ben kept pushing her hands away from mine and telling her sternly something(I presume something like share with mama) and then he would put my fingers back on the keys. he is such a love.


Speaking of loves, Sophie is getting affectionate with me. and more accepting of Eric. She cant get enough of roughhousing. We play making faces and giving kisses when I have her on the toilet. captive audience! lol. She willingly went to nap today. no tears. she wants me to hold her more often. lets me kiss on her more. More and more she is letting me feed her things she could feed herself and starting to look around before going too bonkers about things like taking her cup(I was refilling it)she also doesnt like to be left alone out of sight. All good signs I think.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

great strides with Sophie

She is becoming more attached to me and Eric. She wants only Mama to do for her if mama is within sight. and Of course Mama is happy to help. She has taken to letting me hold her cup some of the time she is drinking even though she CAN hold it herself very well. I hold it anyways as long as she wants me to. She doesnt want Chrysta to get her down from the high chair. She doesnt want Chrysta to do anything for her. I make sure its Mama or Daddy that serves food, or feeds food and also puts to bed and most often get up from bed. Occasionally Chrysta helps with food prep or a trip to the bathroom. but I try to do it all. Seems to be helping. She is calmer and fewer screaming rages. although last night she got time out because its just a rule, if you kick mama you get time out. but I watched her today trying to take something from Ben and I said nooooooo. and she didnt take it and didnt need a time out. She is learning. the funny thing is when either Sophie or Ben wants something they say to the child in posession "SHARE!" but when someone else wants what they have its WAAAAHHHH! typical kids. I definitely think things are looking up. We all got a decent nights sleep for a change, except Ben had to go to the bathroom at 1045 just after I got to sleep. and the cat woke me to open the basement door. If only the cat would learn to open the basement door herself I could sleep every night.

Friday, October 16, 2009

language funny

space

I try to get the kids to say new words. If we eat something I try to get them to say what it is(repeat it) and tonight was spaghetti. I never met a kid yet who could say spaghetti, they were no different. Ben said ghetti. but Sophie called it sgabelli which sounds almost italian lol.

figuring each other out

are they playing me or what? I put them each on the toilet before sleep times. even if they do all of their business they will cry after I put them to bed that they have to go. If I take them they quiet down afterwards, even if they didnt go. I was beginning to think they must have some crazy bad UTI but I just told Sophie now, no peesit, nigh nigh. and she smiled up at me and said some words I didnt understand and I closed the door with a smile and no more crying for peesit. go figure.


They are trying to learn new words all the time. I love to hear them say bye bye. its so obvious when they say it that its a foreign word to their tongue. Ben's funny pronunciation for the day is "killy killy killy!" he was calling the cat "killy killy killy!" I know there will be plenty of funny words to come.

Sophie wanted into my lap several times today. thats a good thing. She let me read her all sorts of stories. IT didnt last long but she kept coming back. thats a great start for her. She is in her crib now and no longer in my bed. She likes that ok. I like it a lot! She can still pitch a fit like you wouldnt believe but I would like to think perhaps there are fewer of them now? or maybe I am just better able to ignore them. She likes to have her hair done and looks so cute with a pony or bow in her hair. Ben is so darling too and I cant help but kiss his adorable cheeks when I brush his hair.

Today when we walked to the post office in the stroller both kids chattered away. and they kept asking Amelika? I would say yes America and they would ooh and ahh.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I spoke too soon.

she gave me a fat lip.

things I have come to appreciate in the US

hot water on tap every day all day

heat every day all day

I can go to the store and buy anything I want in any quantity I want. I never go there only to find that oops they are out of what I want.

Restraunts generally have available whats on the menu. I never go to a restraunt and have them tell me that 3/4 of the menu is unavailable and only one of these and two of those are left.

Crossing the street...SAFE! Taking your life in your hands sometimes in Kiev.

Internet. available at home. all day every day. whenever I want it. No having to run down the street to McDonalds or up the street to coffee shop.

No nosy ladies who hang around the front door watching who is coming and going and when(and offering unwanted advice on child rearing)

Not having to lock your house up like a bank vault. No armored padded door necessary. (at least where I live)

another new day

new firsts. Yesterday I tucked both kids into the double stroller and took them all for a walk up the road. Ben LOOOVES this. he laughed and laughed. Maia wanted to run ahead as she always does and they ran around the culdesac that has no houses on it and ben just laughed at her and kept saying MAIA! and then laughing. Sophie didnt say much but once in awhile Ben would say something to her and she would reply. She did NOT like putting on mittens. But I wonder if someone forced her thumb(which is tucked in her palm) into mittens, because she started to fuss but when she realised I was just sticking her whole hand in the open part of the mitten she stopped immediately. and she had no problem at all with my putting on the other mitten.

All those leggings I sewed that I tried to sell(and didnt)are now working out PERFECTLY for us. Sophie wears them under her dress so we can have easy access to use the toilet. but she still gets to stay warm. they go right up to her underpants because her legs are so small.

We had beans and rice a couple days ago and they liked that ok. Last night was weds night Pizza(tradition. Eric's call night= mom doesnt cook) Sophie didnt like it at first and just drank her milk. but when Maia finished hers and moved on to something else Sophie decided she would eat the pizza so she could have what Maia had. Ben ate it pretty well. as well as he eats anything. he will eat about anything but just doesnt eat much. Sophie has more discerning tastes lol.

There was some screaming yesterday from Sophie and Ben when they didnt get their way on something. I actually had to put Ben in time out for the first time(he is very much gentle Ben) When I wouldnt let him take something from Sophie and he started throwing everything across the room and screaming. he was much quicker to say sorry than she is. and then I let him down and held him in my lap and played with him. Ethan doesnt like all the screaming. I remind him he does plenty and when he first came home he cried all day every day. He doesnt like to hear that he just wants them to shut up lol.

We read bedtime stories together and ben loved it but Sophie was not into it. I put her to bed after one story because she wouldnt listen or be still with us. Ben listened to about 5 and willingly went to bed. ( of course they didnt STAY there last night all night)

Thanks meredith for the phone call. no worries. life is hard at this point yes, but I now have serious doubts life will be THIS hard FOREVER. It has to end. It will end. Its just a matter of when.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

it's a new day

today we started our day a bit after 6. The boys heard Daddy get up for work and then they were LOUD playing around in their room. Sophie currently sleeps with us, as in in the middle of the bed. So she woke around the same time and Daddy said goodbye and left. we stayed in bed a little longer while the boys played in their room. Then it was potty time and time to get mama dressed and go get the boys. Ben wants his drink the very moment he wakes up. no good morning. just give me my drink. I made him wait a little. Held him in my lap talking to him and trying to get him to say goodmorning. I think he has a hearing problem, fluid in his ears or soemthing. he repeats words in a garbled fashion. Sophie speaks loud and clear(emphasis on LOUD) but bens words come out kind of mixed up.

The piano and the guitar are apparently top toys as those send Sophie into fits every time. She cant stand for anyone else to play the piano. and wait her turn? are you crazy? really? you mean WAIT? She throws herself back and screams at me in russian or whatever she speaks but refuses to talk nice to me for help. I am supposed to just sit her right up after she throws herself back in a tantrum. That just doesnt work for me. She is a stubborn one. She will miss out on a treat rather than give in and say one little word. please. even Spaseeba would suffice but she wont give in. Its only 10 and I think she needs a nap already. getting up at 6 is just too early but alas if Papa no workie Sophie no eat. so I guess she will just have to learn to deal with getting up at 6 or learn to sleep through Daddys getting up at 6.

Last night was beans and rice for dinner and they actually ate it. no one said Kaka. Ben doesnt eat much in general but he ate the whole bowl I made for him. and this morning they both ate all their cereal. except Ben fed some of his to the dog. The dog thinks they are a great addition to the family. they smell like food. they taste like food! he follows them around trying to lick them. Ben wanted to lick back. ugh. no thank you on that! I was worried that the dog wouldnt take to them and was preparing myself for finding him a new home. but he seems to think they are amusing and is acting like a puppy again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

home at last!

we are home. after a particularly arduous 27 hour journey with a couple of screamers. we did initiate every airport we entered with Sophie's wailing. The highlights of the trip include being chastised for using the handicapped bathroom in Frankfurt, yknow for my HANDICAPPED daughter. a little ticked there. The kids refused to eat much of what was served on the plane. Kaka they said. which must mean yukky. Sophie ate the raw veggies where she could, and desert and some bread. Ben ate a little chicken and a veggie pocket much later. and apparently on short flights they dont offer families with small children a chance to board early. very annoying as we DO need more time and boarding us at the same time as 30 other rows means everyone stands in the aisle waiting while we try to situate ourselves and kids and stow stuff.

The kids we brought home are not the same children we initially blogged about. While they are beautiful, and CAN be loving, more of their issues have come out. and we are seeing a lot of things with new eyes. Things are kind of tough right now. Sophie the spoiled brat is the biggest problem. she has not taken well to being dethroned. Where she came from she was the princess. the royal highness. she was given anything and everything she wanted whenever she wanted it. Just keep her quiet. she played on a mat so she just falls over closes her eyes and sleeps when she wants to. thats not so convenient in the real world. she is supposed to wear AFOs when she sleeps, but after listening to her scream an ENTIRE NIGHT we are convinced she was never actually forced to wear them. she screamed at the very sight of them. funny that ben has had his for only a month and they are nearly worn out but she has had hers long term and they are like new? uhh something doesnt match up there. She tolerates them now after that miserable night. She has a temper that flares quickly. She can scream for hours. she doesnt give up. even when she isnt winning or wont win. Last night I wouldnt let her sleep with a sippy cup of apple juice in her mouth. she screamed a good twenty miles. She was sound asleep but wasnt giving up that cup. I pried it out of her teeth. she is that stubborn.

Ben is Sophie's enabler. If she wants something he gives it to her even if he wants it. he tries to feed her his food rather than eat it himself. Seperating them at meals helps with that. but when I say no she has to share, ben can keep the toy, he neednt give it up just because she screams, he gives it to her rather than listen to her carry on. I have taken to putting the toy up then. which isnt popular as you can imagine. She can not just snatch things from others, and he needs to be able to play too, he shouldnt have to hand over everything he touches because SHE wants it.

None of us is very happy. It is tough times here. If you have something nice to say feel free to say it, I could use the support. if you dont have anything nice to say, then please dont bother posting, I dont need your attitude.
Right now the kids are napping, they really need it. they are so sleepy. even after sleeping a lot of the day and most of the night. They played the morning away, played the piano, had some tough love and time outs, and a freak out moment when the cat jumped on the bed. they need a nap and I need them to nap.

My other kids will arrive home this afternoon. Missed them tons. Cant wait to see them.

on a side note, the kids, both of them are completely toilet trained. unable to take themselves to the toilet without help, but very reliably trained. one diahreea accident at the embassy for Ben(we had all been dealing with that bug) and thats it. several days in Kiev, and the long journey home, first night at home, first day at home, and no accidents. I think if they can travel that long without accidents they are pretty well trained. so today is back to cotton underpants instead of paper pullups. cotton sure is easier with Sophie.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Amelica!

SOOOOOOOO ready to be home. Couldnt get home today because everyone in germany wants out this weekend apparently. we couldnt get a seat at all until monday which is our scheduled date anyways. We tried to go for a walk today but Sophie brought new meaning to the name Nastya as she had a screaming fit and I had to return to the apartment with her screaming the entire way. The boys went and explored St Michael's monastery. Ben was great Eric said. Sophie napped the entire time they were gone. The babushkas at the door gave me what for because Sophie was screaming. telling me to feed her. when I tried to say I already did they threw their hands up in ahh to heck with you manner. After a much needed nap she was happy again. She and Ben play so well together. and she tattles on him and he tries to tell her what to do. ahh siblings already! No one is sleeping much at night because Sophie is supposed to wear AFOS they told us and she screams bloody murder at the very sight of them. We are beginning to think perhaaps she is supposed to wear them every night but HASNT been before our arrival. Even the SOCKS bring on tears and hysterics. When she is well rested she is very sweet and cute. she was holding my hand in the night and stroking my cheek and telling me she loves me and kissing my face. every time I take her potty or feed her she tells me she loves me. its very cute. Ben is just a little go getter and funny as all get out. He too is a love. he likes snuggling way more than she does. He doesnt want to go to bed at night either. so when one sleeps the other one screams and wakes us all. very fun times = )Ben loves to tickle and roughhouse with daddy and Sophie is still just a LITTLE standoffish but will allow Eric to help her or occasionally carry her and she just coudlnt resist riding an "airplane" as Eric held her up in the air.

One cute story before I run, On the way home to Sunny K from Ptown Ben kept talking about Amelica and when we came into Kiev he drew a big breath and sighed "AMELICA!" we laughed and told him it was Kiev and so then every big building they saw they would laugh and say AMELICA! AMELICA! Ben keeps asking when we go to Amelica. I told him Utro Utro Utro,(3 mornings) he seems to understand that. ok we are at Mcdonalds for net access and kids are with cody so better run. dont want to leave them too long and they will be looking for dinner soon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

here and gone again

here in ptown. spent the ENTIRE day in the car today, just sitting at McDs for a few so we can email paatrick about tickets. Went to the city of bens birth as well as sophies(two different places) met Sophie's grandmother(wonderful wonderful beautiful woman) we plan to keep in touch with her and she gave us photo of birth parents, as well as sophie's baptism necklace and outfit and blanket. VERY sweet. they also left a lot of things for us at the orphanage. video of sophie through the years. She was very happy for us to take her home. we were very happy to meet her and provide an opportunity to watch sophie grow in pictures.
So tomorrow we will get the kids and the passports if all goes according to plan we will fly home friday. so pray it all goes to plan!

and BOB! your adapters got us our own bomb search in frankfurt! thank goodness we know you only used them for good and not evil or we would have been sweating bullets as they swiped them for residue! I expect we will see the same on the way back through frankfurt. Bob will let you know as soon as we know when we will get in. Cody says we should call you guys uncle bob and aunt jeanne. = )

ok gotta go talk to yall soon enough!

Friday, October 2, 2009

guilty

nothing makes a mama feel worse than a sick baby...except when you are far away from your sick baby and can't do anything to make them better even just holding them. Poor baby Maia is sick. She spent the night "releasing" her dinner. She is at grandma and grandpa's house with sissy so at least she has sissy to baby her. Gramma is at work but I am sure she will be happy to baby her when she gets home. Last I talked to them Ethan was sleeping after hearing Maia up all night. anyone who knows Ethan knows he DOESNT NAP. EVER! which can only mean one thing. He is next with the sick. My poor Chrysta is dealing with it all.

Cody and Eric and I will head out this afternoon to some friends in the twin cities to have dinner with them and stay over at their house before heading to the airport tomorrow morning. Thanks friends, you know who you are.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I am bringin home my babies!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the scoop

Got an email from Yulia. I sent her my itinerary. She wrote earlier to verify that someone would pick us up from the airport. So I was surprised to see a letter from her. My first thought was panic. but it wasnt anything bad. Just a note letting us know that Monday the office of vital statistics was closed(not sure if its just THIS monday or every monday) so we would start our business on Tuesday and we needed to be to a city near C-city (where one of the kids was born) at 830am! thats gonna be an early day! When we went to Ptown we left at 640. but then we waited a half hour for Yulia to come out of her apartment building. Wonder what time we will be leaving THAT day? And I also wonder if there is a road to C-city directly from Sunny K or will we have to go all the way to Ptown and up from there. Not that anyone of you will know, I am just wondering aloud. So we are one step closer to having OUR kids full time. I got a mei tai sling for Sophie. I hope she will tolerate it, I slung up Ethan(7) and it worked great. Wish I had one for Maia when she was a baby! I also have a Maia wrap (ring sling)(2 of them) so I will hope that one of those will work for her. She likes to be carried so hopefully she can adjust. if not we will have to break down and buy a stroller while we are there. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I am goin to get my babies!! and hopefully have a moment to see the other babies we WANT to bring home!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

scenes from Ptown, toto I dont think we are in Kansas anymore





Scenes from Sunny K, the big city


finally got my laptop going again

since this is where all my photos are I couldnt upload any. I will now though







First meeting Benjamin and Sophie.

a special photo for my chat friends


yes that is what you think it is.

Monday, September 28, 2009

this weekend, Saturday is off to Sunny K

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which may or may not actually be sunny. but off we will go into the wild blue yonder to bring home our babies! who are definitely NOT babies. I cant wait to see them again!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

apace
spac

I look at the pictures on the side of this blog in wonder and its hard to believe they are not just pictures any more. they are real children and I have held them and can hardley wait to bring them home. They look so different from those photos now. but still so beautiful. I never intended to have a house full of blondes, and all girls blue/green eyed and all boys brown eyed. I didnt plan it. It just happened. I am so lucky. I miss them and Ben's mischievious laughter when he is naughty. I know miss Sophie is going to be a tough nut to crack but I see hope. I really do. (feel free to remind me of this when I am in the middle of her adjustment and want to pull my hair out!) I didnt post the pictures from our first meeting, but if/when I do you would see a smile on her face so big it brightened the entire room. and she just looks so proud and happy to be someones special one. I dont know what changed but they put her in Eric's lap first and she absolutely BEAMED. later she decided she didnt like him, like after a day or two. who knows what they tell them. SO I have hope that she will again revert to that little girl who was so overjoyed to have a Papa all her own.

Benji(my husband hates when I refer to him as that so I try to only do it in writing and never in person with Ben)is such a sweet heart. he offers hugs and kisses to us, accepts all of ours no problem. and when the nanny told him mama and papa had to go home for some days and then we would come back and take him to America he was visibly excited and jumping around. you wouldnt think a kid in afo's, and has only been walking a month could jump that high. He is strong willed too. but very loving. he holds my hand willingly and I adore when he does. He lets me grab him up and smooch on him. he doesnt like to share his Mama with Vika, which is sweet, but I played with Vika anyways, he wont be the only child at home so he might as well get used to it. His adjustment I worry less about. he seems to be ok with us and LIKES spending time with us. he is also older and maybe understands better.

I am waiting to hear from Golden Rule on flights. They had some for me but then Eric decided he wants to wait for the weekend and not leave his coworkers hanging. always the conscience that one. I am sure Maggie appreciates that. She has had to work a lot more with him gone. My dell cord has died and now I have no way to charge my laptop and my call to dell was fruitless after half an hours wait time I was disconnected because I didnt speak fast enough after the last person answered. I paused for only a breath and I immediately got a recording. so I dont know how much blogging will be going on in the next days until I get a new cord, from dell or elsewhere.

Monday, September 21, 2009

sophie plays ball

video

this one is my favorite. chrysta took it.

is this kid cute or WhAT?

more pics

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Have you ever gone to the zoo and wondered just what to wear? now you know! silk pants and high heels are perfect for ANY occasion! even the zoo!
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I would like you to meet a sweet little girl I met. Her name is Vika. she would reach out to me and touch my face as if in wonder that I was real. she likes to put her fingers in her mouth and offered several times to put them in MY mouth. She often gets left out of games. she doesnt really seem to get the games the kids are playing. but she does love to sit in a lap. I pulled her into my lap as I sat next to my Ben in the sandbox. Benjamin didnt like that and filled her shoes with sand! little stinker!! lol. she is very sweet. I would always caress her little face and say hello Vika and she would smile. I didnt think she could talk but by the end of our week there she DID talk! She is very cute. I think she is 6. She looks like a 4 yeaar old. but I had to give her some love she was so cute.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

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I wish I had more photos of the two together. it was very sweet, after we were able to have both one day they wouldnt let us do that any more and each kept asking after the other. sophie would call when she saw kids outside and call to him. he would want to walk towards her place and would say her name over and over. so I dont have pics of them together. and since I have been sitting here asleep drooling down my front while attempting to surf, you will have to settle for two pics for now.
court was 18th, came home 19th. We were granted the adoption of Sophie Anastasia( aka her royal highness) and Benjamin Artem. Yulia was great, Meredith said if you have Yulia, things will be handled. and they were. we had some problems(some minor, some not!) and she got it all taken care of and court went as planned and our time table as planned and Yulia made it all happen. So we are home enjoying our left at home kids again. They missed us a lot so its good we came home. Approximately the 29th we will return to SunnyK and on to Ptown. On our way home we met baby Laurel and her daddy. While in SunnyK we met Jenny and her 3 new babies(and one older baby she brought from home lol)

all through court the judge kept holding his head, rubbing it with his hand as if to try and understand a complicated problem. They just couldnt understand why we would take on two kids with medical problems when we already have 4 at home. but we met all the conditions, and the people who are in charge of the childrens services (one for each of the kids since they are in different places) as well as the attorney for the one orphanage were all there to say they believed it was in the best interest of the children to be adopted, the attorney for the city supported it also. after all the talking and questioning, etc. he took a recess. and after he pronounced that he would grant the adoption his entire demeanor changed. he was smiling and shook our hands and congratulated us. and we gave him a quarter for his coin collection. (is that a bribe? lol)

So while being homeless all of Friday(due to a paperwork snafu in SunnyK and us having to check out of our hotel at noon)Vanya came and took us back to sunnyK just as the sun was going down. we got to an apartment and fell into bed for a very short time before getting up. Nickolai met us at 415(AM!) and took us and another family to the airport. The flights were fine as far as Munich, then we had about an 8 hour layover. so we went to Octoberfest! came back and caught our plane on outta there to Chicago. then on to minneapolis. got in at about 9 something. waited for hotel to pick up and then jumped in the car and drove until about 1am and fell into bed at grandma's house. the kids were happy to see us, even at 1am. today we drove home. 3 of the 4 are home now. Cody will be here in a day or two. We will return to SunnyK around the 29th. Meanwhile I am coming up with ways to be more organised. photos to come!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ahhhhh life in Ptown

Vasley was the name of the child I kept forgetting. Ben did not want to share his Mama and Papa and sistrechka today with the other kids so he took me by the hand and led me away from them, calling PAPA! And telling him to follow. I had told Chrysta she could play with Natasha and Illiana but he would have no part of that, he was calling CHRYSTA!!! Until she came along. didn’t really want to play with her but just wanted to claim rights to her haha. So he walked along holding my hand and then gave me the machina to carry. He is walking very well. Better every day! He loves to walk through the grass, especially long tall brambly grass. He walked us to an empty playground and then we played in the sand box with the machina. When he is naughty he laughs. He knows exactly what he is doing. I will say no to him and then he will laugh this crazy laugh and do it again. But he does listen after a time or two. Sometimes he laughs like that and then chooses to do the right thing and I try to not miss that chance to praise him. He is funny now, he says GOOD BOY! When daddy says ben, can you say ___________(insert some word here) and he will say Da. As in yes I can say it but no I am not going to. This morning we were playing in the sandbox and there was a big delivery truck and he scooted over next to me and put his hands in my lap and watched the truck. I don’t know if he was claiming me as his own or looking to me to protect him from the delivery guys and the truck. Twice he did that and it was very sweet. He is always full of kisses. He did let us go back and play with his friends for a few minutes before we had to leave. They are such sweet kids. Natasha follows Chrysta around. And Illiana has such blue blue eyes. Allina is very kind to my Ben. She gives him the ball rather than take it away from him. Vasly, Andre, and Vitalia are very interactive and want to do whatever the girls are doing. Vasly has this little round face with freckles, he reminds me of leave it to beaver. And of course Vika who craves human affection and attention. My Ben is the most wonderful little boy and I think he got that way from hanging out with these great kids in his groupa. (and partly cus he is just so darn cute!)

Sophie accepted Daddys hello kisses today. She let him sit near us and even interacted and spoke to him a little bit. He played a little bit of silliness with her and she tolerated it. wasn’t sure about it but tolerated it. She saw Mama Nina again today and she called the grandmother on the cell phone. So Sophie got to talk to her grandmother again. She got to play clean out the purse with chrysta’s bag this time. She was funny pretending to put purell on like lotion and rubbing it in. she would take the bottle and put it to her hand and say shh shh and then put the bottle back and rub her hands together. Then she would give some to all of us, saying shh shh as she pretended to dab it into our palms. She let daddy kiss her goodbye and waved Paka today. It was a much better day but obviously its going to be all on me to carry her home. I had wanted to sling her but I don’t know about that. Might need a stroller after all. Still deciding on that now that Ben is walking so well. I am writing this offline on Weds eve. I can not get anything online in the eves. Only mornings. So I have to type it all up and copy and paste in the morning. Tomorrow is our last whole day here in Ptown (for awhile anyways) I tried to get a picture of vanya but they meet us at the gate with Sophie when they see us coming. I asked which was vanya and they showed me a little boy who was NOT the vanya I was looking for. There is a little boy in a stroller though, maybe he is vanya? Kim maybe if you hurry to get your stuff in we will be here together when we return after the ten day. Court is on Friday and then we go back to Sunny K(although this could be called Sunny P because the sun seems to shine ALL the time!) changed the tickets to fly out Sat instead of having to wait until mon or tues. Maia and Ethan are missing us and we miss them too. I wonder how they have grown. I heard Ethan was helping in the garden at grandma’s. he loves that kind of stuff. He also told his big brother how much he misses him. And big brother returned the sentiment. Very sweet since they are often at odds. Maia wants to come home because she has been there lots of days. Too many to count probably in her mind. I miss my squishy little Maia and my not so squishy Ethan(although I left instructions to eat a lot at grandma’s and GET squishy) I will post this in the morning

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

another day in sunny Ptown. I guess thats the only kind of weather they get here

thanks for all the support that came from my beloved rr family. I so appreciate it. We are definitely Feeling better about things. Yulia was able to shed some light on things for us and talk to the nannies. We were very worried about her attitude! she has never had a daddy and just doesnt know about daddies and what they do. Also when asked she just calls him the man. doesnt realise who he is or why he is there. Unfortunately I didn’t get to ask about Vanya. We saw her for only a matter of minutes and ZOOM! She was gone again. Kim I will take pictures today of the kids I promise! Court is on for Friday. The judge is apparently flexible if papers are not finished by then he could push it back until later in the day. That’s a good thing. Emailed golden rule for travel changes, but cant access the mail to see if they responded. Will try again in the morning. Sophie apparently is not really getting the message that this is her papa and she has never had a papa so she really cant relate to what papa’s do. Eric gave her his hat and yulia asked where she got the hat and she said the man gave it to me. AHA! The man! Just any old man! She doesn’t realise he is hers, all hers(and ours) not just a man off the street stopping in to play. Mama she can relate to. And yes she is a spoiled princess because they do not have the time to deal with her(just as I suspected) but it was really Eric’s fears that needed allaying. He seems to feel better about things now. And when she sees how the other kids react to Daddy I bet it wont be long before she catches on too! Ben already seems to get it. He thinks Daddy is a riot, tons of fun!

Tonight we played with Ben and his entire groupa outside. The nanny on duty gave up trying to herd them and let us all play. We danced, skipped, galloped, hopped, played London bridge, red light green light. I took lots of photos and heard paka zie! Paka zie!!! A hundred times until I showed them the photo. I got the funniest photo of the nanny. She said she did NOT love that photo. She was making a face and her eyes are scrunched shut. I didn’t tell her I didn’t delete it. Shhh. The kids were really all wonderful. Two little girls in particular have caught our eye and ERIC(totally him) is now talking about wanting to come back for them. They are lovely little girls, seemingly normal. But well beyond toddler and baby stage. They are about 7 or 8 I think. Eric got to hear everyones age before I got there. I was returning Sophie to her groupa. The kids were a riot and we had lots of fun with them. Little Vika, poor little Vika gets left out of a lot of the games. She often doesn’t get the game, or the other kids just exclude her. I tried my best to include her in everything and she would smile and smile. She looks to be about 4 but I think Eric said she is 6. She is very much delayed and has some facial features that make you wonder. But she wants to be loved. And that is universal. So if anyone is looking for a little girl all their own who would love nothing more than to be your precious, Vika is your girl! While we were there Ben was just adorable and very loving. He kept throwing his arms around us and hugging and even kissing. He would toddle around the circular shelter where they play and one of us would wait for him(and the other half dozen kids as well) and we would jump out and say BOO! Or Gotya! Or ROAR! And he would scream and laugh and jump in your arms. Then if I was distracted playing with the others when he came around that corner he would seek me out and I would grab him and he would hug me tight and just laugh and laugh. Every single time he came around there was a hug for someone, myself or daddy or chrysta.

Weather here in Ptown is just one beautiful day after another. It rained a bit this morning but warmed up plenty to be a nice warm day. It was a warm walk home! It just rained a bit now, but I am sure tomorrow the sun will wake me at 7 as it has every day this week.

We went out for ice cream this evening. It was a fun little excursion. A yummy treat. I cant say I have found much of anything here that I havent liked.

We are trying to remember all the kids in Bens groupa, there was Vika, Natasha and Ilianna, Alanna, Vitalia,
this morning did not go well. Eric picked up Sophie out of her wheelchair and she started wailing and throwing herself at me. He sat down with her on the step and held her and talked to her and she threw herself backwards and continued to carry on. I talked to her in english. I talked to her in russian(what I could find in my book) I gave her a pen. I gave her a marker. she would not be swayed. She has quite the temper. I wiped her little nose again and again and she carried on for 20 minutes! We finally had her distracted playing with the cell phone in Eric's lap and THEN! the "doctor" came and took her away from us saying its time for lunch even though it was half hour early. so she won. she wailed for 20 minutes and she got her way. can you imagine how long she will carry on next time? Eric has all but given up. He is hurt and upset and feeling rejected and wondering if something underlying is going on but how to find out what? we cant understand her, she cant understand us. so todays visits were short, so glad we rushed out there to be there right on time. Ben is never ready when we get there. snack time has slowly creeped forward so that we have to wait longer and longer to see him because he is eating when we get there. so snack is now at 10 and 4. thats when we get there. why make visiting hours at 10 and 4 if you are going to be feeding them then? so we only got about half hour with him and half hour with her this morning. She wouldnt even wave goodbye to us when we left. Yulia is supposed to be in town today for committee meeting of various people for Ben's orphanage to see if they approve us going to court for him.We have not yet heard from her though. Dont know if she is even still in town.

We are just confused, upset, and not sure where to go from here. What happend that she no longer wants Eric around? She was so precious in his lap when they brought her to us the first time, smiling shyly up at him.(by contrast Ethan wailed bloody murder when they left him with us) she was good with him the first couple days. then something changed. is this a sign of things to come? is she just spoiled rotton because no one can stand to hear her cry? or is it something else? is she going to be a manipulative little radlet? I wish I had someone to turn to. This is our life we are talking about! I dont even know who to ask. She seems to like when I hold her. she is VERY demanding though. she wants what she wants when she wants AND HOW! Court is Friday, today is Tuesday. help?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sophie seems to have it in for dada. she likes him there, but there is no way he is allowed to hold her and she will not offer him affection. she did before. in fact she was SO enchanted with him when they first met. Not sure what happened but now she just plays with him from my lap and will not sit in his lap. Some of the things she says are baloochka (no idea) posta lukie (again no idea) and na! na! which I think is Here! as in give it here! she doesnt ask, she commands. she wanted Daddy to open the lip gloss for her but would not say please so he wouldnt open it. then she did say please and he opened it but I took it away after a minute because when I tried to help her she had a fit about it, it was tipping in her hands, thats the only way she can hold things and I didnt want it all over my leg. THEN the tears came. and the screams. I just held her and rocked her and talked to her, even if she couldnt understand me. I said I understand you are angry, but you cant always have your way. and the very words I am famous for, I am sorry to hear you feel that way. she was nearly asleep in my arms when she heard a machina and popped up and all was forgotten(except her grudge against daddy) and we looked at a book of photos. She was still stand offish with Eric when we returned her to her groupa. Poor Eric is feeling rejected.

Ben is very quick to say please or mama or whatever it is you ask when he wants something. they did let us take him out this afternoon and we walked and walked with him hauling a machina behind him. he was happy to hold hands with us while he walked. When we went to get him he was playing in the water. they had a big bowl of water on the table and the kids were just playing in it. he was soaking wet and having a great time. he was less than pleased with us for removing him but since we were unable to break the language barrier to tell the nanny we would come back after awhile he was removed and redressed and off we went. we played in the sand box for awhile and then it was time to take him back. The other children all come running when they see us. One little boy we saw today has downs syndrome and is older, about 8 I would say. very cute. and was asking if we were mama and papa and I told him we were Bens mama and papa and he nodded and smiled.

We just got back from dinner out. there is a place on the main road that is the only restraunt we have really been able to find. The place was deserted. we were the only people there. the foood was good but it was a more upscale restraunt and a bit more expensive than any place else we have found. we went to the place in the market yesterday and ate cheap. But overall we are just not having a lot of luck in finding places to dine. we dine at home more often than not. So tonight it was fun to eat out. I had chicken with mushrooms and rice. very good. Eric had salmon which he loved. Chrysta had the chicken too. It was strange to us being from the land of plenty that the plate was not "full". yet when we were finished WE were full. In fact I was unable to even finish it all, I dont think Chrysta ate all hers either. We are so used to large oversized portions we just dont even know what a normal sized portion is! the waiter was very kind to us and tried his best to communicate with us. brought us an English menu, he had only one cold water so he split it into glasses with the warm so no one had warm water, he told us how he speaks italian but not so good english. when we left I said Ciao! Anyways it was a good meal.

oh have I mentioned that Chrysta shaved her eyebrow off? yeah I asked myself the same thing, how does THAT happen? she was using the electric razor under her arm and somehow just shaved off her eyebrow! she tried putting some makeup on it and that looked worse, it looks better the way it is, half there and half gone lol. She will be mad that I told.

We hear some strange music here. one song was about it used to be a fun house, but now its filled with Evil clowns! now Im gonna burn it down!
very strange song.

I cant seem to access my yahoo from my room at hotel Ptown. of course thats where my mail is. Lydia I have the starcard will that work at the post? will I have better luck there?

todays tales

There is a little girl named Natasha in Ben's group who sort of looks after him. She is very cute. Eric wants to know if she is available for adoption. we feel bad that we cant take them all. She is probably about 7 or 8. but alas we are approved for TWO not three. but it would be nice if there was no more orphanage, they were just cleaned out and all the kids went to homes. We visited once already today. will go back in about an hour. Ben has inflamed tonsils today so they wouldnt let us take him out side, we played in his room with him. I think he probably just has to lay in bed otherwise. He has this mischievious laugh when he thinks he is getting away with something. and when he drops something or needs help he calls MAMA! and I help him. and he keeps saying "good boy!" when he does something or we do something. thats what we say to him when he is doing something well Good boy!

Today's taxi tale is about the very helpful taxi driver. This guy couldnt be more than 18, very young looking. and he kept popping second gear so I dont know that he has been driving very long. He tried to drop us at the wrong gate and we couldnt get in there. we thought we would just walk to the other gate, no big deal. of course he couldnt understand us and we couldnt understand him. and he made us get back in the car and take us to the correct gate(which was still the wrong gate) and waited for us to go in. so we went in, knowing full well that we would not reach our destination via this route. he turned around and left and we went back out and went the way we needed to go. I had asked him to return for us at 12 and we were there at 1150 and he was right there waiting for us and surprised when we came out the gate we came out of since he was expecting us to come out of the one he dropped us at and watched us go into. and he drove us back to the hotel no problemo. so now we laugh about the "very helpful taxi driver" . It costs about a buck and a quarter USD one way. cant hardly beat that!

Sophie, her royal highness, colored wwith the markers we bought for her and loved it. she likes to have her picture taken and says PAKA ZIE! so we will show it to her. She sure can have a temper when things arent going her way. I can tell she has been spoiled rotton! She loooves chrystas lip gloss. Chrysta puts some on her and then she has to show daddy and mama and of course then kiss everyone. its funny. she is such a glamour girl already! She very much likes to sit in Mama's lap. and she likes mama to carry her. but she very happily goes back into her chair when its time. its so cute the way she just BEAMS and wiggles all over and waves her entire body when she sees us coming. The adults usually see us coming from Ben's orphanage next dooor and meet us at the hedge with her. of course all the other little ones gather around. we laugh and smile and say hello to them and they all wave Paka! when we take sophie out of that area to go and play by ourselves.

Today is much cooler. the weather has been so incredible! very warm. even hot! today is cloudy and cooler. We went to a restraunt in the market yesterday and thought we would go back today but oops they are only open on the weekends apparently or at least not on mondays. the market was all closed up too. We bought a back pack there for Chrysta yesterday since the zipper on her bag broke before we left Sunny K. You can buy anything there. underwear, purses, nuts and bolts, air compresser, clothes, motorcycle helmet, ANYTHING! and its all outdooors. wonder if they do that in teh winter tooo? anyways its almost time to go back to see the kids for a visit. Ben has to play inside today because he has sore throat or inflamed tonsils or something

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday

I keep trying to post photos but it goes soooooo slow and then quits so I may not be able to post any photos until we are either home or back in Sunny K.

Life here is becoming routine. Today our taxi didnt come back for us so we walked home. We have walked a few times just because we wanted to but today we walked for miles already so we wanted to ride home after our visit with the kids. I asked the taxi driver to meet us back there for virnoot(return) at 18:00 and he pointed to the spot as if to say here? and we agreed. I was so proud of myself that we were getting so good at communicating. so at 6 we were ready to go, didnt want to keep the cab waiting. but he didnt come. 6:05 no taxi. Finally at 6:15 we started walking home. We saw a taxi go by as we were walking and slow to stop so we thought hey thats our cab! and we walked toward it and he DROVE OFF! so we kept hiking towards Hotel P town. We saw another cab go by at about 630 and sure enough we watched and he turned down the road that the orphanage is on. there is nothing else on that road. but too bad for him, or too bad for us we kept on walking. We stopped at the store for yogurt. got home exhausted.

Today (sunday) the doors were locked and no one answered when we went to see Ben this morning. so we didnt get to see him this morning. But this afternoon he was subdued and quiet, not at all the wild man he has been. we played in the sandbox together squishing sand clumps. daddy would hand them to Ben and Ben would give to Mama and instruct me to squish them and then he would brush it off my hands with his little hand. if that didnt work he would put it back in the sand box and STOMP on it with his AFO! he doesnt wear shoes over his AFO, but it has a tread on the bottom so he still has traction. but it was funny to see him just stomp on the clumps. he is clever, if that didnt work he rubbed it against the side of the sandbox, grating it. He is very much getting into climbing up any kind of monkey bars. We have to hold him the entire time because he is not very coordinated and his feet are slippery. He has only been walking about a month. His detsky dom is very small. there are only a couple groupas. maybe 3? It is right next door to Sophie's, seperated by only a small grove of trees. in fact you can look from one and see the other. We had played with both kids together one day but the next day they said no no no. you have to play over THERE with little boy, and play HERE with little girl. not little boy and little girl together. Which is rather sad because every day each asks for the other.

Sophie is such a little doll. she is very tiny. Ben is pretty solid. and heavy! He wears about a 4T and she today she had on a little sweater sized 86 that fit perfectly. Not sure what that translates too but will look it up later. I know Hannah Andersson sizes are in cm. Sophie has quite the little temper when she doesnt get her way. Ben cried and cried yest when he didnt get his way, and today it was sophie. but at least she let me redirect her. he was too stubborn for that. She was playing with my cell phone(from home) and figured out how to turn it on. So I turned it off and gave it back and sure enough she turned it on again. So I turned it off and put it away. boy was she mad. but she loves to write so we gave her the pen and she was happy again. She drew lots of pictures. She sure loves to clear out my purse to see whats in there. usually she finds the pen and thats the end of it and she writes/draws. She was holding a grudge against Daddy today because he brought her back to her groupa yesterday and she didnt want him to. But by this evening when we saw her she allowed his kisses and hugs but no holding. She doesnt complain when Mommy holds her though. She likes "kristina" a lot. Chrysta let her listen to my ipod and she loved that. musica. she says musica. She talks all the time. sometimes this little quiet singsongy voice. sometimes loud and clear. She was mad at Daddy but she didnt want him going off into the woods, she yelled at him DAAA DAAA! She is always dressed so cute. Yesterday we met Mama Nina. She was with Sophie when she has been in the hospital. She likes Mama Nina very much. While we were there yesterday she phoned Sophies grandmother and let her talk to her. She gave us her address so we could send pictures.

The orphanage grounds are at the edge of town in the country. its very peaceful and quiet. The neighboring properties have chickens and you often hear a rooster crow. It has been so warm out that the children play out every day. Every time we go there Sophie's groupa and the others from her building are outside. The older ones not as much. That doesnt make a lot of sense but thats the way it is. The children all LOOK and seem well cared for. The nannies speak softly to them(most of them anyways) and seem to really care about them as children rather than just a job. It is a stark contrast to where we went for Ethan. The children here wear nice clothing, even brand name. the children where Ethan was wore rags if they had anything at all. The children eat about 5 times a day here it seems. They are mostly on the smaller side but definitely NOT undernourished like ethan was. We saw Sophie eating an apple today. I dont think Ethan ever saw an apple before he came home. And the whole feeling around the orphanage and with the nannies is very different. Everyone knows who we are and why are there. they are all kind and friendly or offer guidance. we never met any of the workers where Ethan was. We didnt get to go to his room but once or twice to return him. We have been all over this orphanage. They are very welcoming when we arrive to take a child for a visit or to return them afterwards.

Still it isnt home. And we miss the kids. and we miss our bed! we sleep on two twins pushed together. guess who sleeps in the crack? I miss our quiet little neighborhood at night. it is very noisy here at Hotel Ptown. Well I guess thats about it for now. more to come, no doubt.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

tons of updates

Wednesday

Today we went for a loooong walk to the zoo. While we were on our way there we sidetracked ending up on a beautiful university campus. University of Finance it was called. Very old buildings, very treed grounds, park like with trails. Many people there walking among the trails. We asked a young couple where the zoo was and it was literally across the street from where we were standing but we couldn’t see it for the trees all around. The zoo was great. We had a fun time there. I made friends with the gorilla. We looked into each others eyes and when he would scratch I would scratch and he would just look at me like what in the world is going on here? A chimp was looking at me too and I made kissy noises at him and he perked up but then turned away. Awwww. Goodness we walked for MILES today. So after our zooo adventure we walked home and up our personal stairmaster to our apartment on the 4th floor. We got a call from Yulia that our papers would be ready and we would go with Nicholai in 5 minutes! Yikes! So we threw our clothes back on(it is HOT here today and our apartment is VERY warm) and there was Nicholai waiting for us at the street when we got there. We got to see Jenny and Claudia and their three little ones again. They were coming from their embassy appt. Chrysta and Claudia got on very well and plan to keep in touch when we get home. They are both 12. We dropped jenny and her crew off at her apartment and headed for the office of adoption. Nicholai marched us right in there and told the lady who we were. And she said Nyet. And he tried again and she said Nyet. One more attempt and another Nyet and we have a problem. So out of the office we went and waited in a hallway. He called Yulia who in turn I suppose called the office and found that our papers were awaiting a signature. It was after 5 and these papers can only be picked up between 5 and 6. So we waited some more for them to finally at about 6 bring them down and let us sign for them and take them and go. While we were waiting we were talking with a couple from Italy adopting a boy. They said they had no choice where to adopt, their agency said this is where you go. There were several other couples there ahead of us when we got there. Which means hopefully several other kids are getting adopted!

So after we got back to our theighmaster(apartment) we dropped off our papers in our apartment and headed back out for some dinner. We walked back to the great pizza place we went last night. Good food, cheap! Two pizzas three waters and one draft beer for about ten bucks. that’s better than the coffee shop we go to for breakfast!

Tomorrow(Thursday) we will have fruit and clean out the refrig for breakfast as we have to meet yulia and a driver at 640AM and head to P town. Hoping to get everything accomplished so we can see the kids tomorrow. Benjamin and Sophie , Mama is coming!! (and cestra and Dada) so I have to go and repack everything we have spread all over the apartment and we will not have internet again until….I don’t know when…. Depends on how things go in P town. I guess I will post this then because I am not getting up and running across the street(which really means you have to cross one street go under one street and cross another street) to go to cafĂ© for net at 4 or 5am!! It took me a little while but now I think Sunny K is fab. But I am looking forward to seeing P town!!

Eric’s note: K is a grand old city with lots of 19th century buildings. The capital buildings are very impressive. Well, off to P town tomorrow!

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Thursday

I am writing this as we sit in the car and wait for Yulia who is in the office of circumlocution(little dorritt) Eric and Chrysta are sleeping beside me as we sit in the warm car waiting. Vanya, our driver, is here waiting with us. We have seen the children today and they are very darling and very clever. Mr Benjamin is now wearing an AFO, and SURPRISE! He is walking!!! More like toddling but he is on the move and there is no stopping him. Although after many surgeries his one leg still turns inward. He is an extremely clever boy, he figured out immediately what to do with my watch., and worries of mental delay beyond orphanage delays are no longer on our minds. He is a little shy. His legs are not frozen, if they ever were. He is a little blonde darling and apparently a business man in Sunny K has taken to him and sponsored him and though he could not adopt him he helped to pay for some of his medical care. His daughter has the same diagnosis and they were on the same ward together for a long time. We are hoping to meet him and thank him. We were told that is a possibilitiy and he would be willing to meet us.



Miss Sophie is an absolute Joy and I defy anyone to spend 5 minutes with her and not be enchanted. When we arrived for our afternoon visit there was a group there from Cargill MINNEAPOLIS! They were enchanted with her too. This child, while a stunning beauty, is also smart as a whip. In the first hour we were there she was calling Chrysta “Kristina” and was sweet as pie giving us shy looks out the side of her eye and later giving kisses. I am utterly SHOCKED at her fine motor skills. Her hands may be twisted but she can hold a little beetle the size of a lady bug between her fingers. Amazing. (funny aside, at the zoo in Sunny K we were looking at this beetle we found and a mother and child walked by and the child said something and the mother looked at us and very clearly said dumb Kopf. She wasn’t talking TO us just about us I am sure haha) She relished the attention and tried to teach us her language and quickly picked up the words we offered her in English. She likes to go for rides in her chair but moreso likes to be carried and held. They say she gets frustrated when she can not do what the others do. I saw a hint of that on our second visit. She wanted to crawl off and I wouldn’t let her. She does apparently crawl on her knees but I didn’t think they would like me to let her do that in her pretty white dress OUTSIDE!

The orphanage has been very kind to us and they are very happy to see us taking the kids home. They offered us a flat to stay in, we did look at it but it was very far into the suburbs (of an already TINY town) and the cost was similar to the hotel, but we just didn’t feel it was a safe place to stay. Our helper agreed.

Apparently our Sophie has a grandmother who visits her and she is supportive of adoption and wants her little precious to be adopted. She has also requested a visit with us and to keep in touch after we go home. I would love to send her photos as Sophie grows and gains mobility. I would also love to send photos back to the man who is partially responsible for Benji’s walking!

Benji is much bigger than Ethan was but still on the small side for almost 6. Sophie is a peanut and not very big at all. We are definitely going to need a stroller for Benji when we go home. He is way too heavy to haul around on our backs for long. Sophie, though, I think we could easily sling, she is only about 30 pounds.


OH! I forgot to mention something that happened. Apparently Benji has been in the new place longer than we thought, he has been there about 8 months. But they are both next door to each other and they let us take Benji to Sophie’s place to play with them both. And the very second Sophie saw him she started talking a mile a minute to him saying his cultural nickname. She remembered him! She was mothering him immediately and giving him toys and talking to him. That didn’t last long though because he wanted to GO GO GO!! So Daddy walked him all over.



We only got to spend about ten minutes with the kids before they said well what do you think? Have you decided? As if there was any doubt. We had decided long ago and this was just a formality, but for others who have not met a child before I would think they might need more time than that. We heard that there was an Italian couple coming into the hotel last night but don’t know if they were to adopt or what. We also met an Italian couple waiting at the referral office for our papers.

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Friday

Today is our first day on our own in Ptown. Dinner last night was from the convenience store around the corner because the food next door was the same food we saw sitting there at lunch. It was already dark and too late to go far from the hotel when we finally got checked in. So this morning we are starving.

Cody, My special boy, Happy Birthday. I wish I could have spent it with you. I love you and miss you. I cant believe you are already 15!

Hoping to pick up an internet card this afternoon. Will post all of this then.


Friday evening.
We had a busy eventful day. We never did get to the internet. Time got away from us. We got home after morning visitation and had a little lunch, settled in for a little rest with intentions to go find some internet after that. But as we dozed we got a call from Yulia. It seemed the orphanage was sending a car for us. The man who was helping the orphanage and sponsoring our little Benjamin was at the orphanage at wanted to see us.. His name is Sasha and he was much younger than we expected. We had a little visit in the directors office, very little, we don’t speak the language and he doesn’t speak ours except for a few words. Mostly we all just played with Benjamin and laughed at him and wowed at him. Then we all had an impromptu tea party. Sasha gave him a chocolate and he loooved it. No one said anything about it. Then we had cake. I gave a bite to Ben and he liked it. The second bite, I got caught. And all three women at the table gasped and said NO NO NO!!! through their gestures we figured out they were worried about ruining his dinner. I just smiled sheepishly and wiped his face. He was fine with it. I have no idea what he thinks of this man but he said goodbye to him with a hug and a kiss. We will try to get his address from the orphanage director and send him photos as Benji grows. Then the director was kind enough to let us stay and play with Benjamin even though it wasn’t visiting hours and it was almost his snack time. So we played and had a great time and then he had his snack, COOKIES! So he couldn’t have cake because he was going to have cookies? THAT makes a lot of sense. Ahh well we just go with the flow and do whatever they ask us. They are very welcoming of us there.

While he was having snack I was on the floor near him and the little girl at his table kept reaching out to me as if she weren’t sure I was really there. I would touch her hand and say Privyet! Or hello! And then encourage Ben to eat his snack. I didn’t want to be disruptive but I couldn’t just ignore this little girl touching my face, looking for an interaction. Then she did it one too many times and Ben got mad and the ladies gasped and said his name! and he pushed her little hand away as if to say NO! that’s MY Mama!! You don’t touch! They let us take him outside for awhile after that. So we walked around with him pushing a little stroller and he walked and walked. He loved to push the stroller over the rough patches best and would stop and maneuver to be sure that a wheel would hit a hole or bump, quite the opposite of the people around here who drive cars. They seem to try and avoid the bumps and holes in the road. We left him with his groupa to go visit Sophie for awhile since they would not let us play together with them today. Not sure why it was ok yesterday but not today.

When we left Sophie this morning she cried big crocodile tears and it nearly broke my heart but I tried to be light and upbeat so as not to upset her more. So when we saw her this afternoon she was outside with her groupa and I swear she was waving her entire body at us saying hello! They were happy to hand her off to us. We wheeled her a little ways and then sat in the grass to hold her in our laps and play. She is so very sweet and loving. Ben flashes me this little grin as if he knows I am his Mama when I kiss on him and sometimes returns a kiss. And Sophie just lights up like a lighthouse beam when we kiss and love her. When I carry her I have to put her arms up on my shoulders for her. But this afternoon she started doing it herself. And she is relaxing more into us when we play. Ben just wants to go go go and move move move so there isn’t a whole lot of snuggling going on there! Sophie’s Daddy told her he loved her in her language and you should have seen her face. She just beamed up at him as proud as could be. It was very precious. She offers us kisses and has the softest cheeks. Eric got her playing ball this morning. I brought a beach ball and we blew it up and I sat her on my knees and Eric would toss the ball and I would lift her arms to bat it away or catch between her arms and let her toss it back. She progressed to me just steadying her and she was throwing her arms in the air and batting that ball and laughing the whole time. She played that game until she wore Daddy out. She was still ready to play some more! This afternoon Sophie figured out how to unzip my bag, which is no small accomplishment when your hands are twisted and turned. So I let her take everything out. She was happy as a lark doing that until she found the pen. She wanted to write! And she did. She is amazing in the things she can do. She is miles ahead of where I thought she would be. And social butterfly for sure!! Benjamin is amazing tooo in the things he can do and how quickly he learns from us.

Since the orphanage had sent a car for us this afternoon we had no way to get back to the hotel so we did what they do in the old country. We walked. It wasn’t so far. And we enjoyed the walk, along with a stop at the grocery store for some meat and cheese. The bologna around here is outstanding. Nothing like the kind we have at home. So we never did get the chance to find internet because the whole days schedule got thrown off. Hoping to post this tomorrow(Saturday!)