"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

Monday, December 27, 2010

So what did she think of Christmas?

That seems to be the question on everyone's mind! :) Well, to answer... if she didn't think we were crazy before, she sure does now! When the tree went up she loved it! She would heartily exclaim 'WOOO!' every night when we turned the lights on. Then we had a little issue with opening the presents under the tree while mom was in the shower. :)

We opened our gifts here at home on Christmas eve morning because Eugene was on call and had the day off, and had to work on Christmas day. Then the kids and I went up to my moms house (my sister was home!) and had dinner there Christmas Eve and got to play with cute cousin Brooklin!

She came out in the living room on Christmas eve morning and Daddy had put together her dollhouse. She roamed around the living room for at least 10mins before she noticed it (she's super observant!) and then she seen her new shopping cart (to which tonight she exclaimed she was taking her baby to Target). I tried to get a decent pic of the three kids in front of the tree.... yeah that wasn't happening with all those gifts waiting to be opened!


It was fun to watch them open their gifts! We sucked it up and got them a Wii, and they've had a good time playing it so far. E and I have even played the boxing and bowling! Alina got a big dollhouse and a new metal (no tip!) shopping cart, and a few other smaller things. Anthony got a big Lego set, bb gun (from dad), Nerf gun, and some smaller things. Al got a big Lego set, compound bow and arrow set, and a few smaller things.

Overall she enjoyed Christmas. We had a couple really big meals which she enjoyed, and she got to meet many family members for the first time. Got to enjoy lots of cookies, appetizers, and pie! What a blessing to witness the wonder of her first Christmas! To be able to enjoy seeing everything brand new through her eyes. To laugh as she shouts with joy at each new experience.

She had just gotten up and was so excited to see this shopping cart! And the little doll I made her for her first Christmas.


Didn't take her long to figure out how to open gifts!




Al was super excited to get this model PT boat! Complete with glue, paints, etc!


Anth has been coveting a Nerf gun!


Cute cousin Brooklin!


More presents!




Oh a pillow pet!




our three love's at Grandma's Christmas Day


Alina gets her new AFO's on the 29th! She already crawls circles around us... soon she will be running circles around us!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snow!

Oh did we get snow! 9" fell and made for a fantastic playland for the kids! The boys were so excited to get out and shovel (wonder how many more years I can get out of that?) and Alina was so excited to just be out crawling around in it. She loves the snow! And throws a big fit when its time to come in. :)


A couple more kids and I won't have to do any shoveling! :)






Having a blast in the snow!



Whats that? You've never seen her without a smile on her face? She must always be happy?
Uh huh.


This is the 'My mom just made me come in after 2hrs playing in the snow isn't she a big meanie' tissy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two months ago.... one month ago...

Two months ago....

... we were led through an orphanage, hearts pounding, heads spinning, up stairs and down long hallways, past many many rooms, feeling lost and found all at the same time. When we finally walked into the room and seen our girl... I can't even describe the overwhelming rush of feelings that took over. I wanted to laugh, cry, scream, rush over and scoop her up, stand back and let my fears take over. But we just stood and stared, hesitant to go to her but resisting the urge while everyone spoke very fast in Russian around us, while they explained to Alina who we were. I will never forget that moment, when they told her that we were going to be her Mama and Papa. She opened her mouth and gasped a little, turned to look at us and gave us this huge smile.


And so it began. We played, we smiled, we talked quietly to her. Our interactions with her were being watched and observed. This next picture was taken as we had to go. It was a chance to finally hold her, if only for a few seconds. A chance to let her feel us, and to capture us on this very important day.


One month ago....

....we were finally united as a family! After a very long day of travel, we arrived back in our home state to our waiting friends and family. Again, emotions came rushing that I can't describe. 5wks in a foreign country is taxing, especially when your other half had to go home earlier, and you've been away from your kids that long. My boys looked like they had grown inches! I'd been seeing them on the computer screen via skype for 5 long weeks, and to finally wrap my arms around them.... it was wonderful! And to reunite with my husband, for Alina to be seeing Papa again!
(next two pictures taken by the amazing Melissa Fryckman of Melissa Fryckman photography. My BFF who made the trek to the airport to capture these moments for us! <3)





Today...

.... our girl is growing and thriving! When we got home she was 26lbs and 36" tall. Today she is 28lbs! Her faced has filled out some, she is using the potty full time, and is picking up English faster than we could have ever imagined. She's been given a clean bill of health from our pediatrician, has had her eyes examined and now sports a cute tiny pair of glasses, and has her intake appointment at Gillette childrens hospital cerebral palsy center in January!


Two months ago Alina couldn't bear much weight on her legs, much less take deliberate steps. Today she walks very well holding only one hand, or pushing her doll stroller. She prefers to walk instead of riding or being held, and will walk up and down the hallway holding the wall. Her legs are strong, her steps intentional. I can't wait to see how quickly she gets going once she gets the PT and bracing/shoes/inserts she needs! She has motivation on her side, she WANTS to walk, she WANTS to do things herself.

In only two short months many lives have changed. All for the better. We are so blessed to have Alina as our daughter. Watching her grow and thrive, learn new things, see everything with such a fresh outlook! Everything is fascinating to her! Watching her outside all bundled up rolling around in the snow (and I was certain that somewhere in UA a nanny fainted because she was rolling around in the snow) and seeing her delight at being pulled in the sled and sliding down the hill on her belly. :) Its amazing what two short months can do.