Praying for Ansley

Friday, April 25, 2008

that'll teach me...

well, maia was eating her lunch. although she has a tray that can be cleaned, i'm trying to get her used to plates, etc... so i had given her a regular salad plate since i don't have any plastic plates yet. (actually, that's a lie, i got one yesterday from my shower, but it's in the dishwasher to be cleaned...) so, i gave her a regular plate. every now and then while she eats, she'll gently lift the edge of the plate a little and i say, "No, leave your plate on your tray" and she'll put the edge back down and continue eating. this happens once, maybe twice per meal, but not more than that and she doesn't throw a fit or anything, just puts it down and is on her merry way.

today, she was eating and eating and eating and eating... so in between feeding her the different courses of her meal, i would go do something. start a load of laundry, etc. this last time, i went to read blogs. i was on the beginning of checking the first blog, and CRASH! shattered plate, i presumed. so i went running out to the dining room (just one room over, i really hadn't been gone that long!!) and apparently she was done. she was hiding her face in shame and KNEW she had done something wrong. let me tell you, that plate SHATTERED. so, i took her out and had to clean that mess up. that'll teach me to go read blogs and leave her with a glass plate! LOL. silly mommy.

i guess she wasn't ok when i told her to put it down all those times....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three weeks, 21 days, 504 hours

That's how long we've been home!! I can't believe it actually... it seems like we've always been here and never left. It seems like Maia has been part of our family forever! How is it possible she's only lived here for 3 weeks?!!?!?! They say that's how long it takes to make something a 'habit'. Well, I guess that clinches it, she's now a 'habit' and we're used to her. :)

She had her check-up at the doctor a week ago today. She did well, until the shots... Then she had to get a TB test and 5 shots... Good grief! I would have cried too. I had to hold her down while they stuck her in her leg. 3 in one leg, 2 in the other. Now, I got Hep. A to travel to Kazakhstan and let me tell you, it hurts! (Or at least, that one really stung me...) So, that was one she got too, so no wonder she was crying, besides being physically held down. They told me she's be cranky for a few days, but I didn't believe them, because Matthew never got cranky after his shots... Well, next time I'll listen. Maia is not Matthew and I should not compare them. :) She DID get cranky and was not totally herself for about 48 hours. Luckily, she went back to her normal, cheerful self, so that was good. I'm glad the temperament change was short lived. Anyhow, besides that, we also had to 'collect some samples' (if you know what I mean) so this meant, in addition to her appt., dropping off samples, reading her TB test, and Matthew's physical today, we have been in that doctors office 5 times in the last 7 days. They know us by name, that's for sure, and I hope we aren't there for a very long time. Or at least until 2 months from now when they want to see her again to check-up one more time. I have one last trauma for her, I have to go get her blood drawn, but I wasn't up for that, so I'm thinking maybe Friday this week, if nothing else comes up I'll finally do that appointment. We'll see.

She is still doing so well in every area. She is the most inquisitive child I think I've ever seen. Looks at, studies, touches, eats if possible, EVERYTHING. If you say don't touch, she'll quick point out her finger and touch it fast as if I can't see it. (I think they told me wrong and she might actually already be two years old...) She drinks a LOT more these days and eats more than Matthew or I do I think. She has learned how to sign "More", and she uses it, let me tell you!! She wants more of everything. (In fact, I have to limit fruit, etc., or we may have some problems!!) She chatters ALL THE TIME. She's really trying to tell me something - poor thing, I don't have a clue what it is though. She still sleeps through the night which is really one of the best parts of all this. I was willing to deal with less sleep, but it's so nice not to have to!! Some mornings I even have to wake her up so we can take Matthew to school.

She understands a lot now too. Maia points to her eyes, nose and mouth. She knows her feet. She can go get her shoes if I ask her to. If I ask if she's hungry, she runs to her highchair. If I ask if she's ready to take Matthew to school, she waves bye-bye. If I ask her if she wants to go outside, she goes to the front door. If I ask her if she wants to take a bath, she pulls at her shirt as if to try to take it off. If I tell her no, she pretends she doesn't hear me and does it anyway. Yup, she's 100% normal, I reckon!!

She likes to ride on ride-on toys... and since we don't have one, she'll ride on anything low enough to the ground. She's tipped over boxes, tool boxes, stools, piles of laundry, anything she can climb on and 'ride' like a ride on car, or something. It cracks me up.

She loves so many different things to eat... she'll eat lunch meat, nuggets, bbq chicken, cheese, couscous, yogurt, milk, juice, Special K, Life, Cheerios, Oatmeal, grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges (those were new yesterday!), graham crackers, pizza and spaghetti weren't her favorites, but we'll keep working on her, applesauce she loves, and I'm sure there are more, but those are the things that readily come to mind.

I am not posting any pictures right now, which is actually why I've not posted sooner than today. I was waiting for pictures. (I'd post more often if it weren't for pictures!) But, my computers are all old as the hills and two of them died this week. All the pictures I took in Petro and since I've been home (Until last weekend) are downloaded on my mom's computer and she took that with her when she went home, of course! (Only after Maia managed to pull three keys off the keyboard and sheer the plastic underneath them so fast, that it can not be fixed and the laptop keyboard needs to be replaced!! All this in LESS than a minute!! So, I am using Matthew's really REALLY old laptop. I will be buying a new computer soon, but wasn't prepared to choose one! As soon as I get one, I'm sure I'll be playing a lot with the NEW features and I might even do picture overload. That remains to be seen however. For now, it's just a post and you'll have to take my work that Maia and Matthew are the cutest kids ever.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pictures say it all

We knew it was time to leave (Petro) when Maia climbed in to my suitcase and said, "Let's go Momma!"

So, we left....

After about an hour of climbing all over me and anywhere she could get... she'd had enough. It was time for a nap!

We rather wish to forget most of our time in Almaty... and didn't take many pictures. (There were two highlights in Almaty... meeting up with some lovely families and their new children and getting to hear their stories.... Also, the gorgeous weather while we were there...) But, as I said, we forgot to take many pictures in Almaty... SO, fast forward to HOME!!

Having fun time with Aunt Regan, Caleb and Kate:

Now, she's having fun with Marie and Larry Boy:

Mommy took Maia in to wake up her big brother, Matthew. He took it well, THIS TIME. :) It actually looks like Maia needs a little more sleep in this picture!

I got a beautiful PINK hydrangea from my good friend Judy to welcome us home, as well as congratulate us on our newest blessing, Maia. (Pink for a GIRL, of course!) It is still a gorgeous plant - and it came with the cutest stuffed Bunny. (Although I forgot to take a picture of that.) Very nice - and pretty! Thanks Judy!

Grandpa with all his grandsons: Matthew, Caleb and Ezra. They have fun together and can't wait until Ezra is old enough to go fishing with them!

The only other thing to add today, since I wrote yesterday, is that I fed Maia oatmeal this morning (one of her favorites). About half way through, I put a good sized spoonful in her mouth, and almost immediately, she sneezed... twice!! (She always sneezes twice in a row). So, needless to say oatmeal went everywhere!! I thought it was hysterical. I did not take time to get the camera out though, I simply starting cleaning it up. That's the 'funny ha ha' for today! Have a great Monday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First week home

We have been home a total of 11 days and a few hours. After the last 11 days seemingly taking forever in Kazakhstan, it is amazing how quickly these 11 days have gone!

We have been busy and having a great time. Maia has adjusted better than I could ever have even imagined! The first day we were home, she went to sleep at bed time (her normal time) and slept through the night. She hasn't missed a nights sleep, or even a nap since! I mean, I think that is pretty unheard of. She did miss one nap actually after playing in her crib for an hour - she started to cry and I realized (about 45 minutes later) that she was in pain from teething. So, she had a much shorter nap after the Motrin kicked in, but she still got the nap eventually.

She likes all sorts of foods. The one thing she doesn't seem to love (at least not every time it is served) is meat. Now, maybe she likes some kinds, but yesterday I gave her a bite of a hamburger and she spit it out, and tonight, we had Pork Tenderloin and she spit that out too... and then threw some on the floor.... I put an end to THAT - I hate food going on the floor! So, I had to take deparate measures - I put a piece of meat on a spoon with some applesauce and she ate it right up. I got away with it, this time, I wonder how much longer that will happen?? Maybe she just wants some horse meat....

She knows how to roam the house now. She goes from her room, to Matthew's room, down the hall to my sitting room and the living room, dining room and kitchen. She still picks up specs of dust, but less often than before as there is more to keep her entertained. Our laptops do intrigue her. She likes to close them... so you better have saved anything you were working on! She still enjoys her bathtime but does not like water pouring on her head... but at least she doesn't cry anymore. I do close the bathroom doors now because even though I was only like 5 steps behind her today, when I got in the bathroom, she was trying to climb in to the tub, WITH all of her clothes on... Now, since she slips in the tub a lot (finally got a mat in there today!) - I wasn't too keen on having her climb over the side of the tub all by herself.

She is very adventerous and daring - and falls a good bit, but almost never cries. She can fall and clunk her head, and she really doesn't cry... although she is starting to. She looks around to see if I'm there, and if I am, she rubs her head and makes a sad face... so I pick her up and shower her with kisses and give her lots of hugs. She has mastered the stairs in my step down living room (one stair). She figured it out without me even showing her the stair was there. She can climb up (in a walking position) and going down she can if she holds on to something. Sometimes, she still 'crawls' down the stair. That really amazed me!

This past week we had lots of fun running errands. Now, the first one, was taking Matthew to an appointment. First real ride in the car seat... she didn't like it one bit! In fact, as soon as we hit the highway, she was trying to climb out of the straps (and since I had them set too large, she probably could have!) She cried for a good portion of that trip, until she fell asleep in the car seat coming home. Each day I've taken her somewhere and she's gotten a little more used to it. Only occassionally does she cry when I put her in it at this point. (But when she does, WOW, that IS a struggle to get her in... she's strong!) We also went to have her feet measured and be sure to buy her shoes that FIT! I couldn't resist, so I bought two pairs. One white pair of Mary Jane's and a pair of Nike sneakers with Fushia Nike swishes (or whatever they are called). We went to the second hand store and bought a few age appropriate toys. Then we went to Babies R Us because I couldn't live without a new Pack and Play. I got out the one that was Matthew's, but it has seen better days - and I didn't feel like it would keep her if she tried to get out. (The sides really wouldn't stay locked until the slightest force.) So, I bought a great new Pack and Play and it helps immensely when I am home alone. I don't like to leave her long, but sometimes it is just a necessity for a few minutes for various reasons! Then, on the way home - I stopped and got her her first Happy Meal. She fell asleep in the car though - so wasn't overly interested. I learned though, that what she didn't like was the breading on the chicken nuggets. So, I took that off and she ate the nuggets and all the fries... uh-oh. Maybe I should have waited a little longer! :) Then, she took a nap to sleep off the carbs.

On Wednesday, we went to Matthew's school for an appointment then we went to the Post Office. It was a very pretty day (finally!) and we went for a walk in the woods (trail next to our house) in her stroller. She loved it.

On Thursday, we visited my office and the people there and then went to lunch with my great friend, Judy. She bought Maia a cute little toy truck for her to play with. It was great to have lunch with her again!! It had been too long! The weather was nice again on Thursday, so while Maia napped, I was able to sit on the deck on my swing and enjoy the GORGEOUS afternoon. As soon as she woke up, we went for a walk in the woods again, this time with Matthew. We all had a wonderful time!

On Friday, Maia and I went to the grocery store. She doesn't like her car seat, but she LOVES riding in the cart at the grocery store!! We bought all sorts of things - it was fun! My parents got back in town that afternoon and Mom watched Maia while I had an appointment in the afternoon. Then, Friday night, Matthew, Maia and I went to a new Small Group with some old friends. It was great to see everyone and be involved in a new group and have everyone meet Maia. We really enjoyed it!

Saturday, Matthew, Maia and I went to Target to get a present for Matthew's cousin. Then, we all headed to that party (about an hour away). It was with all my 'ex'- family, but we are all still very close and Matthew loves to see them too (which he also does with his dad). We had a wonderful time - and Maia got to meet 'the other half' of the family' - LOL. We've got their last name, afterall!! Matthew's dad, and his wife and son were there as well. Their son, Evan, is only 4 days younger than Maia, so it was neat to see them together. I got some pictures of Matthew with his sister, Maia and his brother, Evan. I'm going to frame it and put it in his room. It's awesome! It's funny to see them side by side. Evan is a much larger child than Maia. He is also happier to sit and relax while Maia is ON THE GO. He's a less picky eater, although Maia seems to eat a lot, there are things she won't eat either. He likes it all. I think some of that is because he's 'been here' longer and had more time to be introduced to more things. I can't introduce her to everything the first week we are home - so I'm taking the food introductions slowly. Evan did share a Fig Newton with her - I don't know if she ate it though! I was so busy talking to everyone I forgot to watch the whole process.

So, it's getting late on Sunday night and I've probably forotten something - but I did learn fairly early in the week that I need/want to get out at least SOMEWHERE each day. One small, short errand at least. It breaks up the day and gives me a reason not to bum around in my sweats all day! I hate doing that and yet I do it all the time if I'm not going anywhere. But - I think I have downloaded all my pictures now - so I'm going to try to post something at least!
Mom (me!) wanted french toast for my first breakfast home - so I made it for the whole crowd! Everyone had some (not sure how much bread I went through, and we ran out of eggs, but we all got some...) So, here is Maia's first french toast breakfast. The first of many, to be sure. (In fact, we had it again today, but no picture today!) She loves it as much as both Matthew and I do - yeah! (And she's better than us, because she's eating it without syrup at this point.)

The picture above is my brother, Bobby with Maia. Maia was so taken with him - and he carried her around all day. I wonder if his arm has recovered yet??

I promise to post more pictures soon, but for now, my contacts are literally falling out of my eyes, and I need to go to bed. I will be back - sooner rather than later. :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Return to Me

Hi everyone! We made it home and returned to all of our loved ones. Oh, how sweet it is!!
I won't lie, the trip home was L O N G. But I also won't sit here and whine about it. Even by myself, it would have been a long, terrible trip... add a 17 month old... and what did I expect? She did WONDERFULLY, but she is 17 months old... and I was tired. (Why are the only flights leaving Almaty at 3:20 a.m??) The worst was the second flight - completely filled and over 8 hours long. Add a medical emergency on board the flight (none of us!!) and added time waiting on the plane after landing to await the paremedics, and then clearing customs and immigration... it was LONG and TIRING. The thought of family and HOME kept us going though. Nothing was going to stop us now!
The awesome part came (and is what kept us going all day) when we cleared immigration and walked out and saw Matthew waiting for us! He pointed across the walkway (as if to let others know we were there (I did wonder where dad was!)) and I turned to see Regan, Marie, Caleb, Kate and Ezra all there as well to welcome us home and to meet Maia! They had a wonderful sign and balloons, and it was just so so wonderful!! We were so thrilled to see Dad and Matthew and so excited to have the extra bonus of having Regan and the kids meet us there too. What fun!! Regan and her family could stay until Sunday (today!) so we had a nice long time to get to catch up and for them to get to really meet Maia. My brother Bobby was also able to come on Saturday for the day and WOW! Did Maia take to HIM!! It was amazing! She wouldn't let him put her down almost all day.
Regan cooked delicious meals and desserts and really made us all feel special. She even stopped and got us our first Starbucks yesterday. Yummy! We are very sad to see them head home, but also ready to try to settle in to a 'normal' routine and figure out what that even means!
I let Matthew stay home on Thursday with us all. He did go to school on Friday. He gets Monday off for a teacher work day, so our 'normal' should start on Tuesday. He has adjusted very well to Maia. Maia, on the other hand, took a few days to adjust to Matthew for some reason. No huge deal, we're pretty good now, but she was more excited with younger cousins or woman (like Regan) than Matthew or my Dad. As I said, each day has gotten better and she seems fine with Matthew now. I am really pushing some time together so that she gets used to him too. I'll need him to be able to help sometimes, so I need her to know who he is and accept his help.
It has been rainy pretty much since we got home. I promised I wouldn't complain about the weather, but I am ready for some nice sunshine to brighten the days. As excited as I am to be home, a nice sunny day would be great and would really be nice to be able to walk outside. I may try an outing with Maia tomorrow - we'll see!
We've had calls from family which has been really nice. It's always nice talking to family - and even nicer to celebrate special occassions together, if only long distance. Family is great!
I haven't downloaded pictures yet. I am still trying to baby proof a room or two that Maia can play in without getting in trouble or without getting hurt! :) Then, maybe I can focus on pictures again. There is so much 'to do' being back home, I must admit, I'm not much in the computer mood... I will try to continue with updates at least weekly though to chronicle our adjustments and changes as Maia grows!
She seems very excited and happy. I am so glad. She has been such a trooper and is just so good. She even slept through the night the very first night home and hasn't looked back since. WoW! How did that happen? I won't question it, I'll just accept that! :) Yeah!
Thanks for all the well wishes and emails too. All is well and I will email you all back as soon as I can. So much to do!! :)

Stay tuned - more to come.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Coming to America

Finally, I have GOOD NEWS to post!! I decided NOT post on Monday as I had nothing good to say, at all!! Suffice it to say, the Embassy did NOT have what it needed come Monday and basically sent me packing saying, "Well, go fix it". They were useless and of no help to me - aren't Embassy's supposed to be HELPFUL and not the ones causing the stress?? Believe me, if I had ANY control of it, or any knowledge of how to fix it, it would have already been done. It took some doing on the parts of many back in the US on my behalf. My sister, Regan even had to call the Congressman to get their assistance with this ludacris problem. In the end, it has all paid off!! The Embassy had what they needed today, and I now have what I NEED to bring Maia to America!
The next best news of the day is that there were (are) seats on TONIGHT'S flight out of Almaty. Therefore, we are leaving in about 10 hours or so!! WOW!! If this all goes as it is now planned, it will be an incredible day for our history books! It's just such a blessing to have Maia's paperwork to now enter the US. The 'funny' thing that happened with the flights, however was that they booked us to DAlles, not DUlles. Luckily, I noticed this and got them to re-book us to Virginia and not Texas... Texas is closer than Kazakhstan, but not close enough! I was stuck in DAlles last year, and frankly, don't want to be there again either. Thank goodness I caught this problem before we got to Frankfurt.
We are doing well - substantially better now, I must admit. We had a bad day yesterday and just couldn't believe how dumb the 'problem' was that was keeping us here. I expected issues with the Eastern European style government of Kazakhstan (and didn't have a single problem), but when your own government is the one with the problem and they blame you and your agency, who have NOTHING to do with it, and don't try to help at all, that's when things seem totally out of whack. That's when I got mad. (Which doesn't help anything but there wasn't much else to do.) Anyway, a very dissappointing end to a process that had been smooth, and it's only the US Agencies that I have to 'blame'. It's really quite sad.
Anyway - we are thrilled to be coming home. Maia is doing so well and she gets to meet her big brother and her grandpa tomorrow!! We can't wait! I'm not sure how long she'll be 'good' on the flights. She is SO active these days that keeping her in a seat will be quite a joke, but I guess it's only one more 'long' day and we'll be HOME. We'll make it... we can taste it!
We can also taste all those things we've missed... Top on my list right now... Starbucks. Probably hit the first one in the airport.