Monday, December 28, 2009

A December to Remember

Happy Holidays Everyeone... here's a quick peek at Tatiana's first magical Christmas in the US.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Trip to Sunny Florida!

Being coy with the giant dog that Grampa & Gramma bought me. I am not spoiled am I?
Playing Jingle Bells at the mall after meeting Santa

I also got a bike from Grampa & Gramma... here's Grampa trying to help me ride...

And they had a wagon for me... I liked pulling as much as riding...
Swinging at the park with Aunt Kay -- my favorite!

As you can tell -- I LOVE swinging!

Swimming is a close follow up to swinging!

Swimmin'! I was so glad I got to go swimmin'!
Last week, Tati and I got a quick respite from the freezing cold temperatures of Michigan during a trip to see Grampa and Gramma in Florida! This was the first plane ride for T since being home from Russia - and guess what - NO FEARS! T was a champ! Our flight on the way down was delayed, and other than being bored in the airport, she handled the delay well. We even got lucky enough to have our own row and she managed to fall asleep on the plane for an hour or so. For a kid that typically needs no distractions to fall asleep - this was a big deal!
We had a great time and great weather in Florida! As expected, Tati was spoiled by Grampa & Gramma! They had a bike, a wagon and a stroller ready for her use. And oh yeah! A pool! We saw an alligator, visited Great Gramma Helen, visited Aunt Kay, Uncle Dick & Kara and -- saw SANTA CLAUS! Silly mama left the Santa picture at the mall after lunch, but thankfully some kind soul had found it and turned it into the concierge desk! WHEW!
T was highly impressed with the warm weather and the fact that she was able to wear capris, shorts and go swimming again. While mama wouldn't trade a white Christmas for anything, I think Tati would give away any toy for the ability to swing and swim everyday. The girl is a fish. Grampa & Gramma (and their friends The Steve's) were amazed by T's lack of fear of the water.
Mama had a great time taking a break from work (my first real vacation days since Russia!) and just hanging out with T and Dad and Sharon. It's wonderful to see the holidays through a new set of eyes!
I have noticed as I get older, I have huge expectations for what I think Christmas SHOULD be, and most years, I am disappointed. All build up, and then it goes by so quick, I forget to enjoy it. It's hard to not enjoy it with Tatiana around. Years back I was living in the Detroit metro area. I'll guess it was 1994-95ish. My gramma was still alive and I was wrapping up some last minute errands before heading home for the holidays. The song "Sleigh Bells" came on the radio, it was lightly snowing and I was done with work for the year. I had a sense of joy and happiness wash over me with excitement and contentment that I'll never forget.
I felt that feeling with Tati this past weekend, and it's the first time since then that I can remember it! Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Happy December all! I don't think I have gone this long without blogging since I started the blog last year. It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, with lots of seasonal preparations! Plus, I don't know why, but when the daylight gets shorter and shorter so does my ability to stay awake these days!
Here's some pictures from the past couple week's events...

Watching "Grinch" with Gramma Darlin' (and Roo!)
Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day meal...
Hanging out with Mary at Thanksgiving celebration
Checking out the Santa Christmas tree

At Elmo's Green Thumb with Gramma Darlin
Big Bird!
The trees are up, the house is decorated inside and out. Presents are pretty much purchased and wrapped. WHEW! Now it's time to enjoy!
We're celebrating a couple traditions this year -- an advent calendar (with chocolates!) and Elf on the Shelf. I always loved advent calendars when I was younger. I looked forward to opening each window every morning. This years version sits on the counter near Tatiana's high chair and she's very quick to point out each morning that we have to open the day's window! And believe it or not -- the child that doesn't have much interest in candy? LOVING the chocolate piece everyday! Double bonus!
The Elf on the Shelf is another new addition that I had been meaning to do. Then I heard rave reviews from my friend Joanne (thanks, J!) so I decided to do it! Our elf did not receive a very creative name - he's Red Elfie. But she loves looking for him each day. I am not sure that she understands yet that he's supposed to be reporting to Santa on her behavior... but all in good time! She recognizes Santa in pictures - but I am not sure she understands what he stands for and brings.
I am realizing it's difficult to explain the true meaning of Christmas to a 3 year old - and not stress the commercial aspect of it! I did hear on the radio the other day someone say "Christmas is Jesus birthday and to help celebrate it, we exchange gifts and love with those we care about". Not too bad!
Tatiana continues to amaze me each day. She's changing more and more every time I turn around. Yesterday in the car on the way home from the store she took her shoes off after I had asked her to leave them on. (She's fascinated by taking her shoes and socks off in the car, which I did too when I was little!) I handed her the shoe to put back on and reminded her that I asked her not to take her shoes off and she replied: "mama, I sorry I take off shoes". What? She loves saying sorry - but doesn't usually have a "reason" to. But it was used correctly AND almost a full sentence! Leaps and bounds.
I promise I'll post sooner next time (and I'll try to mean it!). Enjoy your December!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble Gobble!

It seems like when we were all a bit younger, that the feeling in the air this time of year was electric. I think that feeling was probably tied to the number of days left before a "break" at school - but I distinctly remember "that feeling" each year. The older I get, the more and more holidays creep up on me vs. that huge buzz of excitement leading up to each holiday.
I know I have always been one of those people who builds events up to be more in my imagination than what they traditionally turn out to be, but I am really looking forward to sharing the holidays with Tatiana.

This week is our big Thanksgiving celebration. My grandfather was one of seven brothers and essentially all seven families still get together. It's a great tradition that I love. I can't wait to see the little T bopping around the hall with her cousins like I did when I was little.

I have been trying to explain Thanksgiving to T a little bit everyday. It's difficult to explain the concept of "thankfulness" to a three year old! We talked about being thankful for family, friends, being healthy, etc. And then we also talked about the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I think the two thoughts got crossed because when I asked her later what we'd eat for Thanksgiving she said "turkey, and stuffing and family!" Baby steps .... baby steps!

Here's some pre-holiday pictures of T...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deal of the Century

I am going to say it -- this whole economy thing stinks. I am incredibly thankful that I have a job and benefits right now as I watch those around me struggle with a "recession". We may not be at "depression" levels, but it certainly is depressing! This past weekend I watched as the house next door to me sold (at auction) for essentially 1/2 of what I bought my house for just shy of 5 years ago. I guess we'll be staying put for a while!

So in these troubling times, or even if it's not troubling times, I love a great deal! I stumbled across a blog the other day of a lady who is really dedicated to saving money and bargains. This one is so good... I have to share!

Interested in 50 FREE (yes, I repeat FREE) photo cards? Any theme - including Christmas... etc. It's so free you don't even have to pay for shipping AND there are no tricks - they don't even ask for your credit card info.

Here's what you need to do...

1) Go to
2) Create an account - harmless, no personal info other than the basic address, email etc.
3) Create a photo card - choose your theme, picture and text
4) Order 50 and add to your cart
5) Enter promo code "freebies4mom-1109" (no quotes) and watch as the total goes to $0!

That's it! Seriously! I always buy my Christmas cards on December 26th the year before... but these may get added to the card as an insert. I mean -- they are free!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Finally! Pictures from Halloween!

I am giving animoto one more chance. And I am still not thrilled... it cut out 1 picture, but still, you can get a good idea of Halloween in our house last weekend!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A New Venture...

I am working on (or at least planning on working on) a recap of October events. October flew by and there were so many fun events in Miss T's life!

However... in the meantime, I started brainstorming on my ride across my great state tonight. I know - a scary premise! In the past few months, I have enjoyed reading other mom's blogs. I have learned A LOT. I also like talking with other mom's and getting different perspectives. So I am considering starting another blog - for busy mom's. Like you, like me.

First topic. What Christmas presents are you planning on for your little ones this year? (If that's the sort of thing you celebrate) Or -- what was one of your favorite presents you gave in the past? Leave a note here, drop me an email or however you prefer. If you have specific brand/item names and gender/age appropriateness, I'd appreciate it, because I'd like to have a list of ideas for those moms (and dads!) looking for great suggestions.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Big Bad 3 Year Old

Hello Everybody! It's me again -- Tatiana! Mama says since I am 3 now, I have to start earning my keep - and that means I get to help out with the blog.

Me and my new "slower" - from Grampa & Gramma

I have had a super busy week. After my birthday party, my Aunt Carrie and cousin Mary spent the night. It was really fun and Mary and I got to hang out, dance, watch my favorite TV shows and play. Mama was really proud of me and smiled a lot because she said it was one of the first times that I didn't just watch everyone and I actually got in the mix and played. Mary and I really enjoyed each other and mama kept say how nice it was to see me so happy and laughing all the time. Not that I am grump other times -- but, you know mamas.

Hangin with Mary

Mama also keeps telling me that Halloween is this weekend. I am not sure yet what all that entails, but I do like pointing out all the pumpkins I see when we are in the car. I have this cool thing she keeps calling a costume, but I think it's just a pretty dress. She's made me try it on a couple times and gramma did something to "fix my hat". That crazy mama keeps making me say "trick or treat" now and then for practice. Reminds me of when we practiced blowing out candles for my birthday.

Speaking of pumpkins, we cut up two of our pumpkins this week. Mama thought I'd help a little more, but I really thought the insides were kinda gross. Plus Uncle Mark showed up with a birthday present - and well, birthday present vs. pumpkin guts? No contest.

Helping mama with pumpkins, "New-New" (Casey), the kitty helped too
Finally, I want to say hi to 3 of my favorite people: An-sheen, Anna M., and Krista - each who had a rough week this week in their own way. Big hugs from me and my mama to each of you. Please know we are thinking about you all. More pictures tomorrow after I wear that crazy costume thing. Hey! Can you believe I have been home for 7 months now??

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Pictures From Birthday #3

Here are some more pictures from Little T's 3rd birthday! My good slideshow making website is closed now -- so I had to find another source. Not sure I love it yet. Any suggestions fellow blogites?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yipeeee, Tati's 3!!!

Here she is... the beautiful birthday girl! Tatiana Elizabeth turned 3 today. WHAT a difference a year makes. Before I get to that, here is a quick snapshot of today.

Little T woke in new jammies sent Gramma and Grampa. Very fitting for the upcoming Halloween week!

... opened presents from mama! And had a party! More pictures later... but this is a big week for anniversaries and events!
A year ago today I filed my intent to adopt a little girl in Artem, Russia. It was the end of a whirlwind week and I was exhausted, excited and ready to start my life with this gorgeous child. It also happened to be her birthday. She was turning two. While I was overjoyed at our future together as mama and child, I was saddened that yet again she wouldn't have a special day. But it was so much more than that. As much as her caretakers loved her and cared for her - it isn't the same as parental love. You can easily start to think of all the things she was missing above and beyond a cake and ice cream.
I visited her with a balloon, some treats for her groupa, a teddy bear, and some clothes. One outfit she has on in her picture below. It was so hard to leave her but I knew I'd be back - and this time we'd be together for good.
A year later she has changed my life as much as hers has changed. She's an amazing, happy, sweet girl and I am so thankful that we were matched - even by crazy twist of fate - together. She's come so far this year, I love watching her personality emerge.
Thank you to all our friends and family who have supported and cheered us on this year. Your love and support means the world to us!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Metcha Day

One year ago today I met my daughter. The day ended drastically different than it started. In the morning, I was scared, frustrated, excited - everything. I was told when I landed in Russia that my referral was "not good". I had flown a long way and was wondering how I'd ever be able to do the crazy trip #1 again if I had to decline a referral and there was no other child to see.

It's amazing how fate works. My friend Joy said the other day that Tatiana and I were like a pair of mittens - we just fit together. My mother told Tatiana a few months ago that she was the best idea I ever had.

I can't agree more...

I have a hard time remembering life before Tatiana. I used to be a TV junkie. I love pop culture - and TV fits into that so well. These days, I am lucky to get caught up on Glee and Grey's Anatomy. I have 5 full episodes (the max my DVR keeps of a show) of Project Runway, Saturday Night Live and Monk waiting for me - that I may never get to. I haven't watched my Netflix movie that's been waiting here for me for a month when I used to schedule it so I could get two movies in a week. Watch Saturday or Sunday - in the mail Monday, new movie received and watched Wednesday - in the mail Thursday - new movie for the weekend. Repeat.

I still find the occasional moment to blog and check in with facebook but it's typically at night after the little one is asleep. I used to stay awake almost nightly until midnight, now I am lucky to see 10:30 - 11pm. I used to never miss a party/shower/happening if I could avoid it -- and now, I RSVP'd no to my cousin's baby shower because it's adults only and I can't imagine choosing to spend another 6 hours away from her on a weekend, when I am already away from her enough!

Looking back 1 year ago, after declining my first referral and waiting to see if I could meet the 2nd one that day, I spied a little girl with a red hat on and brown curls tumbling out the back. I said "I wish I could have a little girl JUST like her - she's perfect".

I was right!

Ok maybe perfect is too ideal of a word, but she's perfect for me and yes, mom. She IS the best idea I ever had! My life changed a year ago today, and I wouldn't change it back for all the money in the world.

October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Time Keeps On Slippin, Slippin, Slippin

One year ago today, I embarked on a journey that would change my life. Last October 18th, I left for Russia on trip #1 to meet my child. I didn't know when the day started what a different direction my trip would take versus what I had planned, but looking back, it was the trip of a lifetime and I will NEVER forget it.

When we reached the airport that night, I said to Rhonda "oh my gosh - I am going to meet my son". I left planning for a boy and returned over the moon with giddiness for my daughter. Lots of crazy, wild things happened on that trip, much of I have spoken about. Two quick memories that I'd like to relive with you ...

When Rhonda and I landed in Seoul, we were STRUNG OUT. I don't know if it was the heat on Korean Air, the lack of sleep or just being slap happy from a 5 hour flight and then a 13 hour flight. Because we were so out of it - we didn't put two and two together and figure out the whole "transit" passenger instructions. On top of this, a majority of the passengers on the plane were ending their trip in Seoul, we we just followed the herd, desperate for some food. Because we weren't in the transit area, most of the workers did NOT speak English - just Korean. They didn't understand that we were between flights and just wanted to get a snack. We couldn't see ANY restaurants on the level we were at. The employees told us that at that hour (it was like 5:30am) we'd have to exit security, go through customs and there would be food outside. We begrudgingly did this - after 30 minutes of trying to figure out where we were going, thinking the whole time "Incheon is the 5th largest airport in the world there HAS to be food somewhere". We found it and then headed back through security and UP a level to the mecca that is the real airport. Sheesh. At least our passports say that we were in Korea!!

Monday night we were tucked safely in our room at the Vlad Motor Inn. I had just been through an emotional roller coaster after the in country coordinator told me that "the boy is not good" (speaking about my referral). I was stressed and over tired. I went to sleep while Rhonda caught up on some email and got ready for bed. Apparently the bathroom door in our room made a weird noise when you closed it. In my super over tired state, I swore someone was trying to break in to our room - or something along those lines. Then I realized it was just in the room and I was yelling at Rhonda "do you hear that?" and then something like "stop that!". The tables were turned about 3 hours later when the phone rang at mid-night and she was talking in-coherently to me while I was trying to talk to my agency back in the US. I was asking her to be quiet (shhhhhh) and telling her it was Lorien and she was thinking I was yelling at her again.
Both stories are HYSTERICAL to me now -- and I am sure most of it was "you had to be there" type funny, but I can look back at that stressful week and laugh, smile and thank god for the way that everything worked out.

A year later I spent a wonderful day with my daughter. Here she is below in the required fall leaves pictures! I've said it before... and I'll say it again, it's amazing how things work out!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apples and Pumpkins

Mary & Tatiana gossiping - can you imagine this in 20 years??
I won't look at the camera but I sure am cute...

I got shades...

Two Harvest Beauties!

Another couple firsts for Little Miss T. This weekend her Great Aunt Kay was in town - visiting from Florida. Aunt Kay is T's Gramma's baby sister. In fact, if T hadn't had such a great Russian name, she likely would have been Elizabeth Kay.
Poor Aunt Kay, they are experiencing unseasonably warm Florida weather this year and up here, well... let's just say we may have skipped the fall days and jumped right to winter. My computer is telling me it's 29.7 degrees outside as I type this! And no, that's NOT Celsius!
To celebrate Aunt Kay's visit, we all went to Blake's Apple Orchard in Armada, MI. Great Orchard -cruddy weather. Combine that with too many people, a pushed back nap, and we had some ups and downs at the Orchard. The shades you see in the pictures are actually Mary's but since literally everyone else had glasses on, T HAD to have glasses. And silly mama, forgot T's glasses. Bad mama!
Happy Fall!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hopefully Not $1 Short!

I really meant to post this yesterday, but I was so tired last night when I got home, it was all I could do to attempt to stay awake for the whole episode of Grey's Anatomy. So... I am a day late! It seems that I am celebrating a lot of "anniversaries" lately. I have another one to add to the list!

One year ago yesterday, on 10/1, I was on a business trip in Holland and Grand Rapids, MI. I had a meeting early in the morning, so I spent the night before (9/30) in a hotel. That day 3 families who were waiting for referrals for the Moscow City program at my agency received the big phone call. While I was so over the moon excited for my "friends", I was bummed that I hadn't heard anything. At this stage, I had only been officially waiting for 4 weeks - in hindsight, that's NOTHING! So many families wait for much, much longer. Alas, it was my birthday week so I can chock my emotions up to that craziness. I sent an email off to Lorien at my agency asking for an update on how things were going in Vladivostok.

After my Holland meeting, I left for Grand Rapids where I was planning to have lunch and kill some time talking to customers before my 2nd appointment that day with a wholesaler. I was walking out of a store getting ready to go to lunch when my phone rang. It was Lorien at my agency. I immediately thought that maybe my emotions had gotten the best of me and that my questions must have sounded snippy so she was trying to answer them on the phone. She asked if I was in my office and had my computer handy. Because I had stayed in a hotel, I did have my laptop with me - but told her it wasn't turned on at this time. And then it hit me -- WHY WAS SHE ASKING ABOUT MY COMPUTER? At the same time she said -- "oh well then you haven't seen what I sent you - A REFERRAL!". I think I literally screamed.

I quickly went across the road to Boston Market for lunch where I opened the email, called my mom, my dad and of course, Rhonda. Mom and dad were both excited... Rhonda cried. Which started my crying as well. I even told the staff at Boston Market what was going on and showed them the pictures of the little guy.

Wait. What? Little guy? Yup - if you remember my referral was for a little guy who was 16 months old. An adorably cute little blond haired, blue eyed little guy. Two days later, the IA Specialist Doctor ranked him as "above average risk" and I agreed to travel to meet him. Due to his health situation and the answers to the questions that the doctors had about him, I ended up declining this little guy during my trip #1.

So why am I celebrating this referral that didn't end up working out? I firmly believe that everything on my crazy, emotional journey lead me directly to my little Russian sprite, Tatiana. While I didn't end up being the best mom for little Vladimir (which may or may not be his name!), he was a CRUCIAL step along the way to meeting T. So, every October 1st, I will celebrate him and a big step in the road to meeting Tatiana. I still pray that he finds the perfect mama and leads a happy life. I saw him briefly at the baby home during trip #2 and he made me smile. And yes, I have been known to check the database to see if he's still there.

Finally, there was another celebration yesterday. My beautiful friend Sara, who not only shared such a parallel path on her route to Vladivostok for trip #1 but also shared travel days with me, FINALLY got her court date! You could probably hear my celebratory scream in Vladivostok! So many great people are in/will be in Vladivostok this month - I wish I could be there with you!
And of course, I'll leave you with another shot of T the beautiful!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy BooYou to Mama

Happy Birthday to me! 1 year ago today on my birthday I was super bummed that I didn't receive "the ultimate birthday present".... a referral! I remember getting a note from my Agency Director that said "just remember that next year on your birthday you'll be with your little one". It seemed soooo far away!

This morning I was woken up by a sweet little Russian voice on the baby monitor singing "Happy BooYou to You". Her own little version of the birthday song. We had been talking that today was mama's birthday - and being the little smarty that she is, she remembered first thing when she woke up today. What a great birthday present!!

Not only is today my 39th birthday, (yes, that's right -- it's REALLY the 39th birthday, next year is the big 4-0!) but today is our official 6 MONTHS HOME! I can't believe she's been home that long - and strangely at the same time, it feels like she's been here forever! What a difference a year... and 6 months makes!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sneak Peek

Little Miss You Know Who had her very first "photo shoot". I wasn't sure how she'd do as she hasn't really grasped the whole smile on command thing without a super cheesy grin with eyes closed... but as you'll see: She did fabulous! Her patience wained at the end, but she did really, really well. So well, in fact, that I think I may partially own the place where we had them done as I paid them so much money! But with pics like this... how could I not? Do you blame me?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where Are We Now?

6 Months ago today on a sunny-ish, breezy day in Vladivostok, I took custody of a little sprite named Tatiana Elizabeth. I always think of our big anniversary as the day we got home, March 29th - so imagine my surprise when I realize the "anniversary" of my court date (3/10) had passed AND today is the "anniversary" of the day Tatiana made her big escape from the Artem baby home.

It's almost hard to remember that pasty white, scared girl, who was excited and nervous all at the same time. She was sweet and smiley, and yet cried almost every time she left the "Duck" groupa in Artem. She was pretty much Queen Bee in her room -- one of the oldest. This was probably one of the things that also held her back a bit.

At almost 2 and a half, T barely said 10 words in Russian. She understood everything you said - she just wasn't speaking much. She would say mama, dya dya (uncle), cuck-co (peek-a-boo), dock dock (knock knock), and her favorite, nah (here). Beyond that there were a couple words here and there, but that about sums it up. She didn't understand sippy cups and straws and essentially every night to go to sleep she had to cry and rock herself to sleep. If I tried to soothe her, hold her, she just cried harder - almost as if she thought she was in trouble. She HATED riding in the car. Instant tears - in fact she'd cry upon the sight of our driver.

So where are we now? Just 6 months later?

Remember that old theory of Nature vs. Nurture? Tatiana is a PRIME example of that! I don't intend to criticize the baby home she came from. I truly believe that a majority of the baby homes in Russia mean well and do the best with the limited means they have. However, there's nothing like having so good old fashioned mama (or daddy! or both!) bonding time. Tati has flourished in the last 6 months.
As SHE told you in her last post she's working on going potty on the potty. She usually won't tell you she has to go, but if she's put on the potty - she'll go. She can almost go a whole day in a dry pull up.

She LOVES to talk and sing. This girl has a HUGE vocabulary. She knows almost all animals and what sounds they make. Her favorite is the dog - much to her kitties dismay! She knows all her body parts and will tell you all of them. She's got her ABCs down through about K - and then she'll transition into "Twinkle, Twinkle".
She'll "read" books for hours and loves to be read to. In fact, in all 3 of her favorite bedtime books ("Goodnight Moon", "The Going to Bed Book" and "Two to Cuddle" she literally can end EVERY sentence in the book. So I read the sentence until the end -- and she finishes it. It's hysterical. She's also really into coloring these days and because of this can identify most colors. This is just a recent skill, and sometimes she still gets confused but it's huge progress!
She still rocks sometimes at night. And she'll do it sometimes when she's singing but for the most it's minimal. No crying when she goes to bed, in fact she'll tell YOU when it's naptime. At night time sometimes she'll fall asleep within 5 minutes and sometimes I'll hear her in her room singing and talking about her day for 30 minutes! She's very happy and content. Car riding is also now a non-issue. Like any two (almost 3) year old, she gets bored and antsy, but she likes going for rides now.

In so many ways she's becoming a typical toddler. She has her temper tantrums sometimes and her favorite saying right now is "I WANT...". I still need to practice my patience with her sometimes in these stages! But overall she is an adorable, SMART, little sprite who walked into my life permanently 6 months ago today. What a ride it's been!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Guess Who...

Guess who's back. Back again. Tati's back. Back again.
(Hey, I live in Michigan. It's the law to embrace our singers. Even Eminem. )
So, I've been super busy lately doing this "growing up thing". Mom says she can't believe how much I am talking and doing these days. Here's a snippet of what I have been up to:
Modeling the clothes my Gramma & Grampa send me
Coloring: This my newest passion. I think I want to be the next VanGogh.
Minus the whole ear removal thing. Mom thinks that's not necessary.

Laughing. A lot. I am silly. Really silly. I mean REALLY silly!

Loving my BFF "dawg" (check out my Beatles shirt, even though dawg is blocking most of it!)
Reading. Reading and more reading.

So a last week after what mom kept saying was "Labor Day" all the big kids at daycare went back to school. Mom kept saying that the summer was over. That stinks! I still point the pool out to mom everyday and want to go "swimmin".
I have noticed that it's getting cooler here in Michigan. I can wear shorts some days, but it seems like I am wearing more pants and long-sleeve t-shirts now. One bonus, when it's time for me to sleep, it's not really light out anymore. Mom thinks that will help me go to sleep quicker, but I still like to lay in my bed and tell dawg about my day and sing silly songs for a while.
I'm super into music, coloring, and books these days. Oh, and Elmo. He's the bomb. I just love that red guy. I am secretly hoping mama buys me some Elmo big girl panties for my upcoming birthday. Why would I want those you ask? Because... I forgot to tell you... I have been practicing going pee-pee on this thing everyone calls the potty! Most days I am really good about it and my pull-ups stay dry even through nap time. I even went poo poo on the potty once, but it was kinda an accident. I really don't like that yet. So maybe big girl Elmo panties would be super sweet.
Now you know what I've been up to. What have YOU been up to?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Delayed Registration of Foreign Birth

In the Courtroom with Judge Maltby
Waiting For Our Turn
Someday I WILL graduate to 2T clothing!

September... wow, this year sure is flying by! Another milestone in Little T's life this morning. A couple weeks ago I applied for a "Delayed Registration of Foreign Birth" at the Probate Court in my county. Once again, a hats off to Lorien at Lighthouse for steering me in the right direction. Today we had our hearing and the Judge signed an approval to recognize Tatiana's birth in Vladivostok, Russia and give us the paperwork needed to submit for a US Birth Certificate. In some states you complete a "re-adoption", in Michigan - this is the equivalents.
Why do I want a US Birth Certificate? Good question!
When I applied for T's Social Security card I was told that they needed to "send her Russian Birth Certificate and Adoption Certificate away to have them independently translated". My translated copies weren't good enough! I talked them into sending away COPIES of these documents. As you can imagine... with only ONE copy of the official paperwork... I rarely let these stinkers out of my possession. It's not exactly easy to run over to the Vladivostok "ZAGS" office to pick up a replacement. After 6 weeks of waiting, I still hadn't heard about her SS#, so we went back to the office WITH her US Citizenship papers. Surely that'd be enough, right? After much convincing, yes!
Same story with her bank account. You'd think I had 5 heads or was asking to take a mortgage out in her name... nope! I simply wanted to start a bank account for her. In other words - give them money! "Can we take this Russian Birth Certificate??"
The next big step is sending away for her US Passport. Living so close to Canada, I'd like to be able to take my daughter across the border, but wouldn't dream of doing it with her current passport - even WITH the immigrant VISA. And what if we wanted to vacation in some exotic locale? Not planned... but a girl can dream! Sending away the only copies of these papers... I get weak just thinking about it.
So now she'll have her very own US Birth Certificate. And to clarify, it will list her place of birth as Vladivostok, Russia. Although, technically she was born in Arseniev, Russia - but that's ANOTHER story! (It was changed in Russia during the adoption process... I can explain off line if you want to know!)
I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Labor Day weekend - or as we call it here in Michigan, "the end of the summer". T has really loved this summer -- spending so much time outside. Which leads me to the final answer of the day... NO! I didn't highlight her hair! But it does look like it, doesn't it? She's got the BEST natural color streaks in her hair from spending so much time outside this summer. It's truly enviable. I mean people pay good money for that! The sun did her a world of good all around. If you compare the pictures of her from now to back when we came home.... MAN - what a change in her coloring. She's finally "got her orphanage" off!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

I can't believe it's August 30th already. Where did the summer go? (Especially up here in Michigan - when we haven't really even started the summer weather!!!)

The end of August has a couple other special meanings to me now as well. Two years ago yesterday one of my favorite Aunt's passed away. Coming from a big family, I have a LOT of favorite Aunts. And to each of them I have a special connection. My Aunt Barb G (I have two Aunt Barbs as it happens!) was no exception. When I was almost two my parents bought, gutted and remodeled their first house, I stayed with Aunt Barb for a couple weeks. This tradition was started young and repeated on future Spring Breaks and summers. Aunt Barb had no daughters and was very active in my (and Jenni's!) life.
1 year ago yesterday on Aunt Barb's 1st anniversary - two very important things happened. First I was registered in Vladivostok and was open to receive a referral. 2nd was I received my BCIS approval (also known as the i-171h). Both on the SAME day. The 1 year anniversary of my Aunt's death. Do I think it was coincidence? Nope. Do I think fate played a hand in all this - that's for sure! For those of you who believe -- I like to think of it as her way of thinking about me on a day I was thinking about her.
Yesterday was also our 5 month home marker. Seriously, where does time go? I feel like she's been a part of my life forever and yet there are still SO many things for her to experience. Some in our near future include: a football game (rite of fall passage!), her 3rd Birthday and 1st party, Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course, Christmas. She has no idea what fun lies ahead!
I am so thankful for what the past year has brought to me. It is indescribable to view a world you have started to take for granted through the eyes of a young child. She makes me laugh everyday - and even when I am not laughing, I realize what a treasure and a gift this little girl is and what she has brought to my humdrum boring life before!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh That's Right! She's TWO!

Tatiana must really be settling in - as more and more signs of a typical two year old's behavior keep creeping in!! The latest (and latest least favorite) is my good friend "defiance" aka "ignore mama". She'll be doing something not allowed such as standing on the couch preparing to jump off - and I'll ask her to sit down. Instead of listening, like she USED to, she just looks at me and laughs. Yes, it's a test. Please let me pass this one. I didn't study!!!

Tonight at dinner she made me laugh so hard. Which I know is not necessarily recommended when you are trying to be stern. Gramma was here -- which means "show off because now I have an audience of two". She kept asking for a drink from gramma's cup and was told she had to finish her milk first. I believe the words were "make it all gone". Bad words. T decided to make it all gone by dumping it out on her high chair tray. She was caught mid-stream by gramma and while some milk was spilled... it was not the WHOLE cup. Just a second later while gramma and I were discussing this - she attempted to dump it again. I quickly verbally said "uh uh" as in no. T, being the sensitive soul that she is, looked like a wounded bird and the tears (crocodile) starting flowing. She pointed to herself MANY times and said "baby". As in - mama don't you EVER scold the baby. Man did she give me the business for this offense! I literally had to bite into my corn and put my head down because I was laughing so hard. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT SCOLD THE BABY!! Hysterical.

In other news... I returned home last Wednesday eve from a quick trip up north for work. To my dismay, I was greeted in the front hallway with another feline present. This time a DEAD BAT. Yes, you read that correctly. A DEAD BAT. I disposed of the nasty rat with wings and quickly made appointments for the next morning at the vet for Rabies boosters (follow up shots to the original!). Casey (aka Patient X for her LONG list of maladies after her spay surgery) ended up getting a distemper booster that she needed as well and in true Casey fashion - had an allergic reaction that ended us BACK up at the vet on Friday am as well. Sheesh. The weekend passed by uneventfully and with crud weather. On Monday morning around 10am, Batman's brother (or sister) returned for it's revenge. Oh great, now a LIVE bat in the house. Seriously? That makes the count (for those of you keeping track) 5 mice and 2 bats. I played baseball in my living room with the bat, as the ball and a broom as the bat - how's that for irony? I am happy to report that I WON. I had the rodent patrol man here today - a great guy who doesn't live too far from me - and thankfully he couldn't find any sign of them in the house. Aside from ONE tiny little piece of bat droppings... probably from Batman or Robin... there was no sign. He thinks they may have come in through the furnace pipe/chimney so he put a screen cover over the top of that. Please say a couple extra prayers for no more bats in the house...

We also went to a rally to greet the cities Girl's Little League team home from the World Series. How seriously cool is that? 10 and 11 year olds from a tiny town of 5000 went to the World Series and -- oh yeah -- took 3rd place! Not too shabby!! Go Girls! Yea!
Waiting in the gym for the Girls to get home!!