Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday, June 12th

Well, today was the day.....and yes, it has been harder than I imagined.

I can't explain the feeling. It's not a pain of missing someone when they are on a long trip, I don't imagine it's the pain of losing a child (even tho I can't fatham the feeling) b/c it's not THAT bad plus you KNOW where they are (heaven.) It's this weird feeling of uneasiness and the unknown. Do I think Sasha is ok where he lives now? Yes, of course. It seems like a safe environment and he obviously enjoys it or he wouldn't have talked  positively about Latvia and going back. Do I think he will be OK forever, I don't know. The statistics say he won't and that's what hurts. I can only pray for him consistently and that he is still young and has time to get adopted. The other part of this that I was so "prepared" for the goodbye to Sasha--talking it up to him, him being excited about flying, saying a million I love you's, hugs, be a good boy, showing him his photo album and telling him to pray everyday....that I totally "forgot" about the other kids I would see flying out of DFW on his plane and watching those families. It was so sweet, and so sad, hopeful and depressing all at the same time for these kids (which I believe about half are going to try to pursue adoption, so that is awesome.)

So, we left for the airport at about 5:30 am. In the car, Sasha was not acting himself at all (prob b/c he was drowsy) but usually I say,
"Do you want a waffle?" and he replies, "Yes mama-thank you!!!" (everything is very animated and loud and words are very loud with him.) His reply today was NO (short and almost mean).
Do you want to hold your Thomas the Train (which he is kind of attached to) ----NO!!!
"I love you, Sasha." (A dramatic I LOVE YOU!!!!  usually falls off his lips afterwards) But in the car this morning he said "Yeah, OK."
Jeff and I were like -Wow he's turned off his switch and already written us off!

But......then he was himself again....

When he saw his chaperone in the airport and the other kids he recognized from the flight here, he became himself (clingy to us) and jumping in our arms/kissing/love you's and showing off for the other families while we all waited there together for them to check their bags and go through security. He proudly went through Jeff's phone showing his chaperone, Iveta, who is the sweetest lady (she doesn't know him personally other than flying on the plane here with him) all the pictures and telling her people's names, G-Love, Pops, Papaw, Aba Mama, Aba, Sissy, William etc. They were all just eating it up and kept saying to us in amazment how "different" he was than a month ago (not only in speaking, but that he has come alive in personality.) But yes, she also said he was very "alive" on the plane ride here a month ago (We really hadn't ever gotten a chance to talk to her much, her english is broken so it made phone conversations tricky on our weekly check up calls so we just kept them brief.) But she said all the stewardess knew his name and that he didn't sleep ONE WINK he was so excited from Riga to New York (9 hours!) Also, I wanted to brag on whoever "finds" these chaperones. Not sure if they are paid volunteered, or interviewed, or assigned this job, but she is a great lady and it was so neat to visit with her. She said, how we miss Mexican food when we travel someplace else, she is dying for some Latvian cottage cheese! I also heard at the gate, she broke down and cried to one of the parents saying it was such a pleasure and she loved it here in America and that she had no idea until today and seeing this experience being wrapped up that we all cared and were invested into these kids' lives. I have mentioned before, like so many foster families here love their children and treat them as their own (which is why America has tried to do away with orphanages and leans towards foster parenting now,) MOST (not all of course) Latvian and Russian and UKR foster homes are more like a "workplace" for these children and they do not receive parental affection and love in these situations.

So-when they got in the security line, everyone started their goodbye's and Jeff had to take Sasha over to look out the window 1) b/c he couldn't handle watching the other families 2) he didn't want anyone else to see the tears running down his own cheeks (I think Jeff had a few tears in his eyes during the prayer at our wedding but other than that I've never seen him cry.) The 8 other kids flying with Sasha and Iveta were all 12 and over, and were the sweetest kids. They tried not to cry, b/c I'm sure it's not cool to cry at that age (I can't remember!) but some just couldn't help it and that's the part that made me cry!

Sasha happily went to Iveta in the line and was being silly waving bye to us and blowing us kisses....then I noticed when we were almost out of sight that he had stepped back and was watching us walk away. :(

When we got home, William and Skylar were awake and not much was said about Sasha until I pulled up the zoo pictures from yesterday. William buried his head in my chest and just started wailing about missing him and saying can he come back sometime, please??? (We would love for him to of course, but we would love even more for him to be hosted and then adopted by a great family permanently.) Which leads me to asking, does anyone want to co-adopt Sasha and share joint custody?! Haha. Joking, of course, but it would be ideal!!!! Can't live with them (24/7/365 days a year with two other young kids) but living without him already feels empty! :(

Friday, January 11th

No tears....yet.

Friday was finally the first day of sunny and warmish weather in forever! So I was excited that all three of the kids plus Whitney, Ava, and myself were able to meet Jeff's parents and brother (Bill, Charlotte, Justin) at the Gainesville zoo. Sasha, I assumed, had never been to the zoo. Not sure he has been really many places at all for that matter. And I knew he was scared of animals, as I had mentioned he is pretty scared of household pets, was frightened by the catfish he caught (haha), scared to death of cows, and even the fake longhorn at the Gaylord. So at the zoo, he would say repeat some words, zebra, monkey, but stayed VERY far away from the viewing area and would jump back and start running/grab onto me several times if the animal go up or close to where we were standing. It's almost funny. But I do think he had a great time, and loved pushing the stroller more than anything (yelling Sissy! Sissy! to get into the stroller.) We also had lunch, and played on playground.

He knew it was one more day till the airplane and has continued to be excited about that, but also kissing and hugging me constantly saying I love you and everyonce in a while making a sad face to see how I react (I say, mama gonna miss you, but Sasha be a good boy.) And he repeats it.......

Friday night at Whitney's some of our family came over for pizza (his favorite) and cake. He had fun saying bye to everyone and giving lots of hugs and being the center of attention. He loved his Mickey Mouse cake (we let him have sugar for the first time-and it wasn't bad-the oj episode was lots worse!) Mickey Mouse also happened to be on an airplane (on his cake) so he would say "sasha's airplane!" When we got home, he started saying NO AIRPLANE!!! (not madly or refusing, but almost just like a subtle change of mind) He went to bed just fine though, and we said a lot of extra prayers last night, gave triple the kisses, and lots of hugs. William especially was sad.....he said "I want Sasha to stay 46...200...3155 more days."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Three more full days :(

First of all-if you have been around me....you can see that Yes of course--- one month with three little ones has been exhausting, and I know it can't last forever with such little patience...... so it may seem my patience is gone and I'm ready for "normal." While some of that may be very true, I am going to miss him SO BAD..........b/c he really is such a good kid.....especially today when it is just Sasha and I (he has no other kids around to fight with, overstimulate him, etc.) He is so so sweet!!  Has been wanting me to hold him all day/rock him and hug him while he says "Sasha a baby...love mama." However, on the other hand, I would love to have all three kids by themselves all the time! Wouldn't we all?! They are so sweet when it's just mom and one kid....but that's not real life.

Today, I took Sasha to Walmart (a first at any store for that matter) for the first time. He has been great in every public place he has ever been, including that day at school, WITH EXCEPTION of places where there is not kids running around/playing games etc (aka awanas, free time in the gym at church!). That is when he becomes out of control--overstimulated...and the ADHD kicks in/begins to rough house even when it's not the appropriate time to.  So I knew he would be pretty good in WALMART, just wasn't sure how he would react to having to sit in the cart and all the things around. But this is how it went:

*He pretended the cart was a car and made driving sounds the whole time (so sweet and innocent!)

*Every item I put an item in the cart he kissed it and said "Thank you Mama!!!" Excitedly. Every single time :)

*Then, he pretended to lay down and sleep in the cart and he thought he was hilarous.

*It was great! He didn't beg for every single thing off the shelves like my kids do! (Although William is weird and wants like tape, glue, chapstick, toothpaste not toys...haha) I'm sure Sasha would be the same way with time (we all are great at spoiling our kids and making them greedy, right?!)

Another few funny/sweet things from today:

*As we were all loading up in the car for Mother's Day out this morning-William said "Come on Brother!" (Then he blushed and was embarrassed when he knew I heard him.)

*I might have said this before, but he calls Whitney "ava's mama." His English has gotten so "good" that I can understand full sentences now. For example, he s"ays "Daddy at work?" So today Whitney dropped Ava off and he said "Ava mama go to work?" I said Yes--and then he asked something else...and kept repeating it. I thought maybe he was asking where she worked. So I translated..."She is a doctor." When he heard that his eyes got wide and he said "Nuh UH!!!!" (Kind of like-no way.) Well I mean, even though she's a nurse practictioner (I didn't think that would translate well-haha) I guess he isn't used to seeing "mamas" aka caretakers as doctors. He just thought that was the craziest thing I've ever told him.

(I'm sorry it's not letting me add pictures right now-I'll try again later!)

Thanks everyone for reading and for your prayers...we have advocated him on the New Horizons for children website, along with other host kids that were here in America this winter, for him to find his forever family. There's a ton of great kids on the site, and with a month's full of biography from parents willing to tell every detail about these sweet kids. So how awesome is that for some parents that are looking for the perfect child for their family???


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday, January 4th

Good morning--it's Saturday morning and I'm sitting in a quiet house b/c Jeff took all the kids to hang out at his parents house/farm today. Yeah!!! I was sick with the stomach bug yesterday (with all three kids!) and they about pushed me to my limit-not going to lie!! They were "good" for the most part and Sasha knew something was wrong with me b/c he kept hugging and kissing on me (yeah he will prob get the bug soon) more than usual and said "I love you Mama." But he doesn't do well "unentertained" and wants to be on the go all the time (yep sounds like me!) So I made the boys go outside and run some laps (basically circles around the front yard-in their pajamas -haha--which they thought was hilarious and then they just played in the playroom (although Sasha cannot really play unsupervised up there for more than 5 minutes otherwise the cozy coop car will end up flying down the staircase with him driving it and Skylar on the back of it!)

Someone donated to the program these stuffed animals that have a solar panel inside of them that tell bible stories in Russia. I thought since Sasha can't even sit still to watch or listen to anything other than a puzzle for five minutes that he wouldn't think much of it--but I was wrong! He loves it! He asks for his "jesus" all the time-and walks around the house or plays with it up to his ear. It really seems he understands everything it is saying. Then he tells me 24/7-Jesus loves Sasha. I say does Sasha love Jesus too? He says "Dah Dah Dah !!!" (yes yes yes!)

Sasha has been asking to go to school (like I said-he wants to be DOING something.) I read that children with cerebral palsy (although his is very mild) have a high risk for ADHD, so that was is what I've self=diagnosed him with :) Which is very sad, b/c like I've said before with the right medication, even for just a short period of time, he would be a "perfect" child.  He is so loving, sweet (when he's not whining b/c I won't go to pizza hut for the second or third day in a row--he LOVES pepperoni Pizza Hut pizza.) Sasha always wants to be obedient and disciplined 80 percent of the time, is eager to learn (he can already count to ten in english after us practicing two times,) and I would love to see with time how he would do in a school setting, and doing everyday things a six year old does (ride his bike, how he would handle going to birthday parties, chuck e cheese, the grocery store, etc.) Things that in four weeks and with two younger kids in the middle of christmas we just didn't think would be smart to test out! Plus he's still learning how to live in a home/a house. He KNOWS the stove is hot, will tell me "hot or fuego" ten times, but then will still reach over and touch it before I can stop him. Also, he just gets so curious he can't help himself. He decided to fill up the bathroom sink with water the other day while brushing his teeth and luckily I caught it seconds before it started overflowing everywhere. He is just CURIOUS.  Things that I also wonder/think will change over time if he lived with a family in a home and also had a mild medication.

We are still having trouble with him wanting to settle down at bedtime, he still will whine and cry like a 2 year old when it's time to lay down....although it is with William and with a movie/disney show playing (so I know the being scared part isn't a factor.) He just doesn't like to "give it up" for the day.....but these are mild issues compared to many other hosting stories I hear...although it seems my hosting "peers" have gotten a TON of good kids brought to their homes this year. I'm so thankful for this time we've had with Sasha, pray that he gets chosen to be hosted by someone for the summer hosting program (the names/list come out in March if you are interested in hosting a child this summer! newhorizonsforchildren.org)

This time next Saturday, we will be driving home from just having dropped him off at DFW. His plane leaves at 8 am next Sat morning, then him and a small group stay the night in New York (lordy lordy for that chaperone :) until the rest of the flights all get there and they head back to Riga on Sunday morning as a group of 200 plus. Sasha is VERY excited about going back on a plane, so won't be surprised if he "forgets" the fact he won't be seeing us and coming back to our house the next week and just says goodbye excitedly. OR he might cling to us and not want to leave (like he did the first week whenever one parent would leave the house for a bit.) But praying for him when he gets back that he will be a good boy, not fall into the peer pressure they do as such a young age there to drink and smoke (some by age 10) and hopefully have a wonderful life ahead of him!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2nd-Happy New Year

Happy 2013 everyone!

We are doing about what everyone else is up to these days--Jeff back at work, and the kids and I in resting/holiday recovery mode. They have all been wiped out, although we did nothing really the past week! Kids have been going to bed at 9 (including Sasha-and even sleeping till 8!) So not really sure if everyone has been trying to get sick (we all feel a little yuck) so I'm not complaining that it's been calm around here!! Sasha is not necessarily getting homesick I don't believe, but not sure what's going on. He's been very clingy, whiney, and although more independent now than a week ago, he is acting somewhat younger than his age than he was even at first.

Jeff and I have been talking about how hard now it's going to be in 11 days when he gets on that plane (and as a side note-yes we have to send him back. it's not an option! if he was to be adopted the process is not immediate and he still must reside in the orphanage until it's complete.) We even both said to ourselves, although we hadn't yet spoken it outloud at this point,  it would not be feasible for us to go through the up to year long process for this to be a permanent situation. We would love to rehost him and see how he has grown in a year, but with us having two young kids at home it wouldn't be fair for Sasha (he needs to be in a family like I've said before with none,  or one, or older children) or it wouldn't be fair to our kids. As it's nice situation in a "vacation mode" none of the kids would get the attention they need in regular "school" mode. believe Sasha would need to start American kindergarten if he was to be adopted by someone here.  It would hinder his learning as well with William also starting kindergarten and me having a one year old.  I really pray everyday there's a family out there that will someday fit perfectly with.  And as with a lot of families that adopt, the children have trouble bonding, loving, and opening up to their "new" parents, Sasha is not the case of that at all!!! He loves on and gets attached to whoever gives him attention. He is so grateful, polite, and hugable. Very, very, sweet!!! That's the hardest part! He has so much love to give!!!! He would a perfect child for someone who has that empty spot in their home for him!!!

So, we are enjoying our time we have. We also know some of the older children in the orphanage stay connected to their host families via internet, etc. when they go back, but since Sasha cannot read or write, and HATES talking on the phone (gets shy and thinks it's funny when we call to check in at the orphanage or to his chaperone) I doubt we will be hearing from him or even be able to get updates on him, which also saddens us.  We will write our contact info in his children's bible and photo album we are sending back with him, and hope we get a surprise call or email from someone one day updating us on him!

Anyway, I wanted to post some pictures of an awesome favor we received. A great photographer, Sara Easter with Saralizphoto.com came to our house and took some great family pictures of us and of Sasha. We are so excited to send those back with him and frame them in our home. I'm so glad she "convinced" me to do this, as I had not thought of the idea and was hesitant to put forth the effort of getting three kids plus us ready for a photography session! I will treasure them forever. Check out her website! She is great and really affordable and flexible on locations!

Hope everyone is enjoying their first week of this wonderful year!












a random picture of sissy i had to add :)


Sasha and I joined William and his friends in their sunday school class


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bounce house!

After a few days of playing with Christmas toys 24/7 and lots of energy, we thought we needed something fun this weekend to wear out the kids without having to tire ourselves by dragging them all somewhere! My future brother in law's family :) has a bounce house business, so we rented a Mickey Mouse (of course) jumphouse and surprised the kids Friday night. We've had friends' kids over too, and it has served it's purpose (the kids jump themselves out, go to bed by 9, up at 8, repeat.) We plan to use it this evening too!

Sasha has been doing pretty good. Getting better every day. He's so easy to get ready to go somewhere, he is always anxious to brush his teeth, bathe, eat, get his clothes on, and load up in the car (unlike the other kids who do not always cooperate!) He has even started buckling himself (and keeping it on!) We've accomplished a lot in a short time! I'm already getting sad thinking about him leaving in less than two weeks. I try to explain to him on google translate (I write long paragraphs) and he listens intensely and nods his head yes or no..gets excited when I tell him he's going back on the plane soon....but then when it says you have to say bye to us, but maybe someday you can come back..... he starts to whine and fuss...but like a "toddler" I say I love you, and he's quickly ok and back to playing. His English is getting better too, and he has learned to say "Jesus loves Sasha."

He is getting attached to the family too, though...he loves all the grandparents, and my cousins and Jeff's brother, Skippy.  He also loves Danny, Claire, Dean and Whitney. He calls my sister "Ava mama" pronounced "Ay--ba's Mamma" :)

He was so perfect sitting through church this morning too. Sure, he can be a typical little boy (a stinker) and "fight us" a bit when we tell him no or correct him, but for the most part he is very polite and loving and always kissing and hugging on us still.  It is hard to explain b/c in some ways he is as mature as a six year old and knows more than William (he can do "tasks" better, colors/cuts/draws/plays with play doh, is more mature in knowing how to play with toys etc) but in simple ways he is not (for example, William and his friends walked from the shop to the house to get a drink of water last night whereas Sasha could not be trusted to do that--he is still Curious George and can literally can himself in a pickle fast!)







I hope the next two weeks go smoothly and he enjoys his time here. B/c we are definitely enjoying it!
'

Friday, December 28, 2012

Post Christmas!

It was a great Christmas! Wild but fun! On Saturday night, we had Christmas at my parents house in Decatur. The kids got a kinds of fun things of course, and they were all hyper and wild and moody (surprise surprise.) The boys favorite toys were the lightening mcqueen cars and the guys (Jeff, Dean and Danny) got remote helicopters that they are all obsessed with! Mom and Dad always make Christmas so magical still after 31 years! I feel like a kid on christmas day at their house for Christmas still.

Sunday we went to church, then Subway with the family. Sasha is great when we are "out" but as I said before, he does better when busy. When a lot of people are around and there is free time to play in the house, he gets wild and forgets the things he has "learned/discipline."

Christmas Eve we went to Jeff's dads, then to his mom and Bill's house for lunch and relaxing all afternoon there. That evening was the Stoffels family christmas in Muenster, and Sasha loved watching the older boys play video games and loved playing in the kids rooms. Jeff is the oldest cousin on that side of his family. His youngest cousin, Shawn, is 14 and is part Ukranian. When I first saw Sasha's picture I thought that he looks just like Shawn! Well turns out they do in person too (I got a picture-which is below) and Sasha was fascinated with Shawn and literally sat two inches from his face watching him play video games at the family Christmas. Haha.

Christmas Day was cozy and cold and snowy. William had a hard time saying goodbye to his elf, Lucky, who he loves so much. They were excited Santa brought them remote control cars (the boys) and Skylar really could care less about all her presents.  My cousins and Kristen helped with kids (who were hyper of course) at Juju's house on Christmas all day...and we had so much fun just hanging out with everyone!

It's been a great Christmas season so far and I'm sad it's over!!! I was excited that my family from San Antonio came the day after christmas, and so that has helped with the after Christmas blues a ton!! They probably think it's a zoo around here, but I'm so glad they came and we've had fun with them too!















In closing, a few things about Sasha over the past week 1) His behavior is about the same, daily discipline/controling his hyperness/he is the same as far as being affectionate and William and him definitely "play" like brothers now. The initial "niceness" from both of them has worn off. Ha. Lots of cat fights. Haha 2) I've noticed he has started holding food in his mouth. Like he is getting full, obviously, b/c he's eaten more than ever before so that last bite instead of not taking it, he will just hold in his mouth and sometimes I don't notice for up to an hour!!! It's crazy he just started doing this, but I imagine if there is any food that goes to "waste" it will be snatched up off their plates by someone else so I guess that's why he does it??? Just my guess....he doesn't want to feel hungry 3) I haven't weighed him but know he has gained at least 5 lbs!!!! 4) His english is getting better. He picks up on the most random words. For example, my one year old says wazzles instead of waffles. So that's what Sasha asks for breakfast "wazzles." 5) He went to church with us on Sunday and did great, sitting still in Jeff's lap most of the time. He still does great when he's "busy" or somewhere. Doesn't do well with lots of other kids around in "free" time. Gets very hyper!!! And I know it's just showing off. Anyway, so they got these necklaces on Christmas from my mom. They are leather crosses and we keep pointing to that and the pictures in the children's bible and saying Jesus. Well, he "gets" it, but now he also thinks the word for necklace is "Jesus" and a picture of any man he doesn't know is "Jesus." :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday, December 22nd!

"It's one day closer to Christmas!" (William reminds me to say this to him every morning!)

I hope everyone is in the Christmas spirit b/c the "holiday" season is about to be over :( I can't hardly stand that thought-but then also the best is yet to come. What an exciting week ahead we will have to celebrate!

Tonight we are going to my parent's house (G-Love and pops house here in Decatur) to have Christmas with just our immediate family-which used to be us three sisters and mom and dad but has obviously grown! Sasha loves my parents and just the few times he is around them, is now acting how a "grandchild" acts when they are around (I know he will do the same to Jeff's,) which is getting all hyper and excited and showing off!  We have noticed the busier he stays, which is true for any "toddler/young kid" but truly is for him, the more "on track" with discipline and behavior he is. For example, we went the other night (Thursday night) just me, Jeff, William and Sasha to Grapevine so we could show the boys the lights on main street and then walk through the Gaylord Texan, as we do every year, to see all the decorations/trees/lights.It was so much fun taking him to his first restaurant, and Jeff could not pass up Pappadeux since we were close to one, and it was loud and noisy so all was good! Actually, Sasha sat at the table so quietly and amused at the waiter, probably wondering why he kept bringing us stuff while we just sat there spouting orders. He also colors so good and intensley (his art/ letters/drawing/puzzle skills/and toy playing skills are right on for a first grader, he knows what so much is in the playroom and he even picked up the pretend bbq tongs and pretended they were tweezers to pluck his eyebrows!) Another thing that amuses me is he can say any "Disney" character like Scooby Doo, Mickey Mouse, Lightening McQueen --all in English. Perfectly! And knows only probably 5 other English words--although that number is tripling daily. I don't think he has ever seen those Disney movies, but guess they have toys or backpacks/socks/clothes with those characters on them is what I'm guessing.

Anyway-back to the restaurant, we had already fed the boys b/c it was kinda late and they had both napped that day in the car briefly so we knew they would be ok staying up later than normal, but he still ate the whole bowl of macaroni and cheese we ordered for him. That boy can eat!! You should have seen how many pieces of pizza he scarfed down at the park yesterday (which was after a huge breakfast) AND how many "Mickey Mouse" pancakes he ate that him, Jeff, and William made.  So-----the boys enjoyed the lights, he did excitedly stumble out of the car/pop back up and started talking hundred miles per hour loudly and the valet guy said--wow that kid is like a wild monkey! Jeff and I were laughing since we still think of him as our little "curious George."

So Sasha is pretty much scared of animals (haven't been around dogs yet) but that's funny cause we are not an animal family anyway! At the restaurant he was so scared of the swordfish mounted on the wall, kept shouding a word and I translated it to mean "murder." Then today, Jeff took the boys fishing and he caught a huge catfish....but was scared to death of it. They were on Jeff's family's farm and Sasha did not like the cows either (was scared of them.) Which is funny b/c he is not scared of hardly anything else other than the dark and being alone!!! He could beat up a big kid I'm pretty sure (although he is so gentle and sweet with William and Skylar.)

I'm starting to get emotional wondering how much he knows. I know he gets treated well at the orphanage, I can tell he is not an unhappy child or doesn't know how to do daily tasks. I'm not worried about that. But not sure, since we can't communicate well, if he knows he has to go back in a few weeks....and wonders if we had the option to let him stay forever. I'm going to have someone who speaks Russian talk to him soon so we can feel better about the situation (although he shuts down on the phone and won't speak/acts shy so not sure how soon we can communicate this to him.) The point of the program, as we mentioned, has so many positive perks and the older kids that come (he is one of the very youngest and not that many are under 8 or so) understand the purpose, etc...but since he seems emotionally more like a toddler (crying when we leave the room or one of us parents has to go somewhere for a bit) I'm not sure how much he is "grasping" and it is breaking my heart already. He continues to place his picture beside all of our pictures of us in the house and says all of our names when pointing to the picture (I love how he says "sissy" its almost perfect but with a Russian accent.) He has even changed Jeff's name from "papa" to daddy, I guess cause that's what he hears William and Skylar say.


The catfish he caught with Jeff and papaw Sicking in Lindsay (and was scared of the fish!)


He tried to eat the "candy looking" balls off Skylar's tree-notice Skylar is like "what are you doing?!"


He likes to sit in the baby carseat sometimes???


amazed at the fountain in front of restaurant


this is how all of our pics look (he doesn't know/like to look at camera or sit still long enough to!)


scared of pretend longhorn at Gaylord (but laughing still)





I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!! More later!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday, December 20th

Hello! We are still alive!! Doing better each day actually! The past few days have been really good. Just learning more of the rights/wrongs/basic discipline.  We have really realized after drinking orange juice the first day that SUGAR is no option for him. It makes a world of difference. So after a rough Monday and calmer Tuesday morning-literally after my Tuesday post, Sasha took off upstairs as I was pushing the "publish" button and went into his coat pocket he knew was hidden in there and began sucking down a juice box that was all written in Russian and it was gone by the time I got to him 20 seconds later. (He is really only drinking bottled water and loves that-is "scared" of the water that comes out of the sink or fridge and doesn't like milk.) So within 15 minutes, he was curious george--yep acting like a crazy monkey-jumping off couches and counters, hollering, kicking, hitting, falling all over the place, knocking things over and doing some other "bad" gestures I didn't know six year olds knew!!!  It was a madhouse. (You know how curious george can take a simple task and turn it into craziness-well that's what happened.) A few hours later, we went to look at Christmas lights at the motor speedway and the car ride calmed him down. He really enjoyed the lights and I think he will always remember them! He would point to something and we would say what it was (angel, train, truck, star, flag) and he would repeat in English. Only setback was I literally had to hold his belt loops to keep him from crawling to the roof of the suburban (which is what he askekd by using motions to do)! So that night at 8:30 he went to bed crying and crying Mama Mama to me in my shoulder, still hyped up on sugar and very overstimulated!

Yesterday (Wednesday):

On Wednesday morning, he slept a bit later than the one before (till 6:20 yay!) and I try to keep him calm and only having a snack/using restroom/reading or watching cartoons till it's light outside then he can start to play (aka wake up the 4 and 1 year old.)  So yesterday morning we headed to the dentist (I was VERY nervous) but it went awesome and he did great. Didn't mind much at all and was very cooperative. And no cavities (because obviously he never eats sugar!) He also stayed buckled the whole entire way there and running errands afterwards!!! (We've had to teach him a stop sign doesn't mean we are getting out of the car!)  Yesterday afternoon he was great too and napped in the car a bit, and played very calmly at home. I think the only incident we had yesterday was he can now open and unlock the front of the house so he wants to run out (only if he thinks we will chase him) otherwise it's no fun to him to walk out of the house alone!!! (yes, we learned that the hard way too but we live on a few acres so it's not "that" dangerous!) In the playroom yesterday, him and Skylar rode around on the cozy coop again with her on the back (haha) and he learned so many English words and is using them now (thank you, please, truck, car, shoes, calls Skylar "Sissy" etc.) He also pigged out yesterday!!! He ate peas, salami, cheese, pickled okra and a TON of boiled eggs. Also loves spaghetti, macaroni and cheese and french fries, of course. (And is no longer having potty issues--thank goodness.) So yes--it finally feels like I have a big boy instead of a toddler! And the key is NO SUGAR (of course in addition to the initial excitement of a new place wore off!) We are getting to  do daily things now without struggle and pretty easily (knows how to work a sink to brush his teeth, isn't shutting car and house doors behind and on us nowwill wait till they are ready to be closed, can walk into the kids' school without getting too excited, isn't pulling things out of drawers and putting my lipstick all over his face:)


A few other sweet/memorable moments from the past two days 1) he hugs William whenever he wakes up first thing & they go to bed holding hands on their matching Thomas the Train pillowpets 2) he cried a bit when I left for Walmart last night and always asks for "papa" and sheds a few tears in the morning when he is already left for work 3) is always loving on me, wanting me to hold and kiss him (they have to catch up on this stage of life they missed receiving as a baby no matter what their age is) 4) he cleaned the whole entire playroom in like 3 minutes with my help (my kids won't even attempt)! 5) he got the kiddie play broom and ran out and started sweeping the front porch (he also loves doing laundry and unloading dishwasher--ok so pretty much he is used to doing chores and is not a spoiled brat like my kids!!!) 6) any "bad" thing he does, he NEVER repeats it again--he learns the first time (so far) after having to stand in the corner with me--aka-he is so easy to be trained it breaks my heart and makes me very proud at the same time.

All day/every day this is how they roll!


Sasha at dentist and William giving "support" ha


William and Sasha rolling around in the yard yesterday afternoon


Was very excited when "papa" got home from work last night!!!
 Today (Thursday)

He slept till 7 this morning --yay!!! Took other kids into Mother's Day out successfully, then made a trip to the elementary school where my aunt Lisa is a teacher and I know several others that work there including a good friend, Lana, who is vice principal. Of course I was nervous how this would go, but wanted him to see a school in America b/c he does say the word "school" in Russian a lot. We went to a kindergarten classroom and did a reindeer craft and he was perfect. A little shy, which disappointed the kids cause they wanted to hear him speak Russian, and a bit clingy but that was very expected and I was very proud of him! Thanks to everyone who invited us there!

Then we went over to my Nana and Papas house for a bit, and he sat at the table and ate some french fries while we visited with them and Kelsey and he was very calm and kept giving my papa thumbs up. Then we even went into Swanky Shack (a boutique on the square) to buy a gift and he showed off a bit in there, but was very good as well. We've been playing at home since then and he's having a good time....learning new words and being very low mainentance (in other words I'm not having to worry about him knocking something over on himself 24/7 anymore) So these have been a great two days and we are very blessed that we are hopefully impacting his life in a positive manner and brining him joy/memories that will last forever! (Some other people doing the program are having pouting issues, issues with kids and their clothing (not liking the looks/textures/keeping them on, and having food issues. We are having NONE of those and so no complaints here!)