"Adventures, I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull...But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually...I expect they had a lot of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten."

-Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spectacular spectacles!

Its official, I now have two kids in glasses. Something I was not looking forward to because I know how hard Al is on his glasses.... and he got his at age 5. Alina is only 3.... and she's certainly not a dainty gentle girl. :)

She has kept them on really well all evening and she keeps pointing to them and saying 'Alina's glasses' which sounds like 'Nina's gashish'. Then points to Al and says 'Nanner's gashish' and then mine saying 'mamas gashish'. :)

Hopefully they help keep her one eye straight. The eye doctor didn't even classify her eye as lazy or as strabismus! She thinks the correction for the farsightedness and astigmatism from glasses will help. We have another appointment in 6wks for a recheck to make sure the prescrip is correct and she's not crossing.





Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

We have so much to be thankful for. A nice house, comfy beds, plenty of food, friends, and our family. As I type this, baby girl is asleep. Little boy and dad are snuggling on the couch with a video, and big boy is hanging out watching too. I'm looking outside and the very cold blustery day, but the sun is shining and the snow is beautiful. We have nowhere to go today. We spent the day together, I made a big meal and we invited our neighbor lady over so she didn't spend the day alone. Food was good, it was fun to watch Alina eat and eat. And eat. And then enjoy her little pumpkin bite. :) And now everyone is resting, and I'm thankful.


Thankful for quiet moments between brothers. Even if electronics are involved sometimes. :)



Thankful for my husband. <3


Thankful for big boys




Thankful for silly little girls



Thankful for friends that help silly little girls learn how to play



Thankful for JoAnn fabrics flyers. Even if read upside down. :)


We also spent last Saturday night with friends and a little friendly rivalry. the pics above are from that night, when the Nebraska Cornhuskers battled the Texas Aggies in college football. Good friends, good food, and a good game. The Aggies won. Much to the delight of all my boys, and the grumblings of all the other boys. Hehe.

So much to be thankful for. I hope everyone of you is just as thankful!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Family pictures

I finally wrangled my family past a washcloth, into decent clothes and into the basement studio for some pictures! I wasn't sure what Alina would think of the timer or my remote but she was very amused by the flashing light and beep. :)


Yes, thank you. I KNOW they are super cute! :)


My big kid!


My little big kid!


My baby!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

She must think we are crazy

I mean, she went from never going anywhere but around and around the baby house in a stroller, to jet setting halfway across the world, and then going somewhere almost daily! We got home just two days before Halloween, and then we went to Church, and to the grocery store, Target, the OUTLET MALL! We attended a Veteran's Day parade, visited friends, rode bike. She must be thinking we are totally crazy!

But she is taking it all in stride. I'm amazed daily that she is adjusting so well to her new life. She's even getting used to her car seat, even though I bribe her with a snack trap of Cheerio's almost every car ride. :) Whatever works, eh?

I've started shopping for Christmas. If anyone has any idea's of what a 3yr old girl would like, I will take 'em! I thought maybe a water/sensory table would be great for her. I know the boys always liked playing with dried beans, rice, etc, and I think with her not walking that a sturdy water/sensory table would be great. I also ordered a cool good quality metal kid sized shopping cart. The kids all love them.

In other news, Alina stood by herself today! In the middle of the floor, with nothing to hold onto! We start our first round of appointments on Monday, can't wait to get this girl going. She's so motivated to get going. I'm sure soon she will be running circles around me. Instead of crawling circles around me! :)


Have you ever been this tired?


Maybe this tired?


It turns out Alina likes to wander at bedtime. If we lay with her she wants to play, so we snuggle and then let her be. She gets out of bed sometimes, and then she can't climb back in, so she gets in the rocker. Doesn't she looks so comfy? i'm convinced this girl would be happy sleeping in a shoebox the way she rolls her little body into a ball while sleeping!

Her first ride in the bike trailer. She thought it was so funny, and kept pointing out my butt on the seat in front of her. Always a confidence booster to hear 'mamas butt! Mamas butt!' the entire bike ride.


First snow! It was beautiful on the trees!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busy busy!

Okay okay! I will post! I know I always hated it when people returned home from their trips and the dropped off the face of the blogging planet! I ALWAYS wanted to see new pictures, hear updates, etc. I told myself I wouldnt' do that, but here I am, a week between posts and getting pestered to post an update and MORE PICTURES! :)

Thing are busy here, but we are all good. Alina is, in the last two days, picking up English super fast. Unless she is in trouble I only speak English to her, and unless she has an attitude or is tired, she will say things in English. Yes and no is still 'da and nyet', but thats fine. :)

She somehow picked up the nickname 'Nina'. When you ask her name, she says 'Alina' but it sounds like 'Nina', and it just stuck.

Tonight dad brought home a box of clothes from a friend he works with, and she promptly picked out a jean jacket with fluffy puffy wrists and collar, and a little swimsuit skirt. She was FANCY. :) And quite proud of her getup.

When we go shopping, she grabs random things and says 'oh cute!' and throws it in the cart. I think we shop too much. :)

The boys are doing great. Alexander had no problem adjusting. He's done the big brother thing for 5yrs and he's good at it. I'm so proud of how mature he is. Anthony, however, had a rough week. He felt his dethroning from baby status and made sure we all knew he was feeling dethroned. The last few days have been better, we are just really reassuring him, lots of snuggles and lots of play time. Thankfully Alina takes a 2hr nap in the afternoons so Anth and I can spend that time together.

Next week we start on appointments for Alina. Pediatrician and eye doctor all in one day, then we will branch out into PT, ortho, dentist, and early intervention for speech therapy, and some oral issues she has (she's a thumb sucker and her mouth is shaped because of it.)

Onto some pictures! :)

So pretty!


She can climb this one on her own! The big wooden one is too big still.


This outfit was a gift from a sweet friend. <3 Dad was very pleased!


Pre-meal tantrum. She doesn't understand that here food doesn't just appear before her like at the baby house.


What a life!


Alina's new BFF, Anara! The two cutest EE girls ever!


All three of our babies! <3 <3

Friday, November 5, 2010

What seems like forever..

Has really only been a week since we got off the last airplane?! Alina seems to be settling in very well. She's sleeping and eating well. She's still unsure about what to do with the toys, but has finally stopped asking permission to go into other rooms or play with something.

She's enjoying her closet full of clothes and shoes. :) She likes jewelry too, and hair clips. She's starting to get used to her car seat (or she realized that she didn't have a choice!), and overall she's doing pretty good considering all thats happened to her in the last month, especially the last two weeks.

A few tantrums here and there, but they usually involve her pouting, then laying her head down and then crying. I'm GLAD she is showing emotion though, and she is starting to seek me out for comfort if she's upset or hurt. She's letting Dad hang out with her more too, and of course those crazy brothers are always a good source of entertainment (or ideas...) for her!

We are all getting used to our new lives together. :)





Monday, November 1, 2010

Saving Vika

Meet Vika


Vika is 4yrs old and was in the same baby house as Alina. She has CP, just like Alina. She can walk, talk, and is a sweet little girl. A family who was at the baby house this summer had this to say about her...

Vika has Cerebral Palsy which appeared to affect her lower limbs. I have thought of Vika daily since we returned home. I thought about all the times we visited the orphanage and she would run up to us so we could dance with her. Noah gave her the nickname "twinkle toes" because she loved to dance on her tip toes. I can still see the the tears streaming down her cheeks when the nannies would pull her away from us telling her that we were not her mama and papa. I can still see the look in her eyes every time the door opened in hopes that it would be a mama and papa coming for her. I can still see the disappointment on her face when we left the orphanage for the last time and she knew she would have to stay. I have thought a lot about Vika and wondered how she was doing, but my heart was shattered into a million pieces when I heard that she was transferred to an institution.

An institution you ask? Yes, you read that right. Vika was recently transferred from her life at the baby house to an institution. Why? Because she was 'too big' for the baby house, and her special need was 'too big' for an older child orphanage. So she went to an institution.

Reading the above about this sweet girl, do you think she should be in an institution? What about Alina.... do you think she should have been sent to an institution if we hadn't come for her in time? Because Vika and Alina have the same kind of Cerebral palsy. Our sweet girl is already growing by leaps and bounds in the short month that we've known her. Now look at this sweet face...

and imagine how she would blossom in a loving family.

Would you like to help? Please go to http://afamilyforvika.blogspot.com/ and donate to her grant fund today. Her family is out there, help them bring her home to a loving family and away from the institution as soon as possible. Her 'ransom' is $20,000. Can you spare $5? $10? Can you give up a cup of coffee today to help her find her family? How about Friday night pizza? You can win an incredible gift card and also know that Vika will find her family.

No child deserves to be in an institution, and Vika has so much life! Lets get her home!

H.O.M.E!

So happy to be home! Alina is doing well, sleeping well and she likes to eat. She was horrified when I put her on the big potty, but happily plopped her butt down and used the little potty, so we are using that. :) She's a hoarder (as you will see below) but she's so excited to have stuff she can play with anytime! She kept asking if she could go into rooms but finally today is exploring more on her own, but still keeps a keen eye on where I am at all times. She and Anthony are already fast friends and making a path of destruction through the house. :)

Overall she is doing very well considering all she's been through in the last week. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be one week since we've sprung her from the baby house.... and in that week she has been in many cars, on a train, three airplanes, a tram, and in a car seat. Plus now she has her own room, a big bed, her own toys, two big brothers, and a mom and dad forever. Alina Rebecca, and orphan no more.


Our last night in Ukraine


So excited to be an American citizen! (waiting for our final flight in Chicago!)


My pretty girl after almost 18hrs of travel.


We are HOME! First family photo!


Waiting for our bags. It looks like she's pointing at Anthony's shirt like 'look! Ukraine!"


First morning home! <3


Bailey cat has always loved Alina's bed, so it was cute to see him snuggling with her now that she's home too. Much to daddy's dismay. :)


Of course my speedlight doesn't fire for the GOOD smile! LOL!


But does for the cheeseball smile!



Alina, bag lady. Or future star of Hoarders. She LOVES purses and bags! And her 'beep beep' to carry them all. Poor Bitty Baby, sitting on a weight (so the stroller doesn't tip over when Alina pushes it for support) and now covered in bags. :)



Captain Anthony with Alexander (who went along on the hayride with his flashlight to 'help guide the other kids in the dark' (his words), and Alina, Halloween 2010!




The camera face