Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting Ready for Halloween!

The fun thing about this time of the year is that you’re never TOO far away from a holiday or celebration in our family.  We start with Labor Day at the beginning of September.  From there, it’s a short slide to my birthday on 9/29.  (September is actually a mess of birthday’s in our family – but most of them old fogeys like me.)   Then it’s just less than 1 month until T’s birthday on 10/24, followed VERY quickly by Halloween!  (Do you need me to remind you of that specific date?  I didn’t think so!) 

November is jammed packed with Riley’s birthday (T’s cousin, 1 year and 1.5 weeks older!), CoCo’s birthday (another cousin – queen of the herd @ almost 17), Katy’s birthday (another cousin, same age as Riley) and of course Thanksgiving Day! 

From there, like most people our December is loaded up.  We make a run to Florida to see Grampa/Gramma, fill up on our share of holiday parties (and this year school events!) and then it’s onto Christmas/New Years.  Whew!  I am already tired just thinking about it. 

So let’s start the last of the October holidays.  Tati and I carved pumpkins this week, with a little help from baby Macy.  Friday was Tatiana’s preschool Halloween party.  In true Tatiana fashion, she has two costumes this year – she was Abby Cadabby (Sesame Street) at school and will be yet a different costume this weekend.  But… that’s a surprise!  (thankfully, I bought BOTH costumes last year on clearance!  My favorite thing… clearance shopping!)

Ok – enough chatter, let’s get on with the picture parade!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Someone is 4 (and it’s not me!)

I apparently need to play the lottery this fall and play the number 4 as one of my choices!  After I turned 4-0 a month ago, it’s now Tatiana’s turn!  Yesterday my little Russian princess turned 4! 

It seems like literally just yesterday “Aunt Rhonda” and I were visiting her at the Artem baby home on the last day of trip #1.  What an incredible moment in our future mama/daughter relationship.  Even though I missed her 1st birthday, I was able to share at least a small part of her 2nd birthday.   WOW – how time flies!

4 means that somebody is now old enough to ride the bus to school!  (Again, not me!)  And as you can imagine, she’s SUPER excited.  On Friday we took candy corn cookies to her Pioneer Preschool class and today we took Pumpkin muffins to her Great Start preschool class. 

I was planning on not doing a full, huge birthday party this year, just a casual, small gathering with family – however, my Aunt Kay was in town from Florida for the weekend, and her free day  for a family get together happened to fall on Tatiana’s actual birthday.   So we ended up having a combination birthday party/family gathering for Aunt Kay.  Excuses, excuses… we love a party!  

So now I’ll be quiet and let you see what you came for.  PICTURES!  She loves the video files – and in her birthday honor, I put it to her favorite song of late “Baby love” because that’s what I call her lately.   Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Years Ago, in a City Far Far Away...

As I sit here tonight, it is currently tomorrow, October 20th, in Vladivostok, Russia. October 20th, 2008 is a day I will NEVER forget. It's a day that changed my life - it's the day I met my little girl!
The day started out rough. I was super stressed as I had been told that my original referral, a little boy, "was not good". I knew a little girl existed as a back up referral, but for whatever reason, I thought she was going to be a mess. I was so nervous and upset that while waiting for the MOE (Marilyn Monroe for those of you Vlad graduates - sooo scary!) to finish up, I had to dash across the hall to the bathroom. And I dashed in such a rush that I left my bag in the hall with my driver and translator. The bag that contained the toilet paper. About now those of you who HAVEN'T toured Russia are wondering: "what the heck??? She carries her own TP? How OCD is she?" The answer is no... I don't. Just in Russia. It's a luxury there. So are toilet seats. And in some places - toilets. Seriously. I'll leave the rest to your very vivid imaginations.
Most of you know from this post here how the day turned out. He became she. Was it the way I always imagined? NO! Incredibly hard and stressful - but I will tell you in the end, I would have it no other way. I still peak at the Vladivostok database from time to time to see if my original referral is still there. And he is. It breaks my heart. I will always see him as the little boy who linked me to my daughter. If I wouldn't have traveled to meet him, I would have never met her. Not the way I intended it, but it was the BEST possible ending.
I do feel like even with all that stress up front, I have a fairy tale story of meeting my beautiful T. After declining the little guy, my BFF Rhonda and I were waiting outside to see if we could meet the aforementioned little girl. I didn't know it was her at the time, but the second I spied this little sprite on the playground with big brown curls, it was LOVE at first sight. And while I didn't know she was the one I was waiting for - I wished she was, as I thought she was PERFECT. I think Rhonda cried harder than I did when we found out this perfect little thing was my 2nd referral.
Two years later she's still perfect in my eyes. Don't get me wrong -- she's about to be 4 and certainly has her moments -- but she's perfect for me. That day, two years ago, changed my idea of fate and what is truly meant to be.
Today she's a shadow of her former self. While I thought she was fabulous then, she amazes me everyday now. Everyday it's something new. I think back about that scared, sweet but yet sad girl who barely was even speaking her Russian language. Today she's a funny, loud, talkative, insanely curious, happy girl. I watched yesterday as 4 of her preschool classmates gave her hugs as we left the classroom and it made me wonder if she would have ever felt that back at the baby home. I hope so... but now, we'll never have to wonder.
Happy Metcha Day my beautiful, perfect (for me!) girl!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Catch Up

Where did September go?  I swear just yesterday was Labor Day weekend and now it’s not only October, but it’s already October 9th!  WHOA!  Slow down world! 

I am not sure if time seems to be moving faster because we are now fully engrossed in school and schedules or if it can be attributed to the shorter days.  The sun is now setting around 7:15 – boo!  This is rough on us Michiganders as we are used to 10pm sunsets in the summer! 

In our typical fashion, we’ve had another busy few weeks.  Some of the highlights include a monumental birthday for mama – the BIG 4-0; a trip to Tennessee to see Grampa and Gramma and a night out on the town to see Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE.  I’ll highly recommend YGG Live, and the beauty of Tennessee; however, you know how you hear people saying their body starting falling apart after 40?  I am stating to think it’s true! 

Tatiana is LOVING school.  She continues to amaze me in how quickly she learns and picks things up.  I love watching each time she seems to hit a new milestone.  It seems like Gramma Darlin (my mom) and I are remarking about once a month that she’s reached a new level in conversation or abilities.  It’s very cool to watch! 

She did awesome on the drive to Tennessee!  On the way down we stopped in Columbus, OH to see my friend Kim, her husband Tim, and their daughter Katie.  It was great to see them all again, for them to meet Tatiana and to break up the trip.  We drove ALL the way back on Sunday (11 hours!) and Tati didn’t complain once!  She was a total trooper! 

Grampa and Gramma gave Tati a Tennessee cheerleader costume while we were in town.  The timing was perfect, as we had recently gone to a home football game in town.  Tatiana’s cousin Courtney is a varsity cheerleader, and Court’s sister Ashley was also cheering that night, as she cheers for the area football league for kids (think little league for football).  Tati was psyched to see her two cousin’s cheering and now has a new passion.  On a side note, she was very concerned that Ashley was “going to get dirty” when she saw Ashley doing the splits.  That’s my girl! 

Picture to follow… hope you are enjoying your fall!  Next up: Tatiana’s 4th birthday and a family gathering!