Friday, June 22, 2012

I wish I MAY

In my continued effort to get caught my life and blog synced back up - here is a quick recap of May's events.  When we left off in April, my mom had just entered the hospital and I was up to my elbows in alligators.  

To kick off May, I hosted 5 of my work counter parts in Detroit to assist with my largest distributor.  Translation:  I had to travel for 2 nights while my mom was in the hospital rehabbing from surgery #1 - a partial hip replacement for her broken hip.  My kids have only ever stayed with myself OR Gramma.  Needless to say, I was a BALL of stress.  Too add to the craziness, my kids are BOTH structure kids.  Coming out of institutions in Russia with a very specific schedule, they do best with a structure.  My cousin has volunteered many times to have my kids stay with her while I travel, and it's such a gracious offer.  Her family is at the other end of the structure spectrum, however, which poses challenges.  I am totally not criticizing a more loose life - in fact I wish sometimes we were a little more laid back, but alas it's not meant for us.  

How far we've come in 1 year...
the boy LOVES the bath now!
May was a whirlwind of activities:  Alex's 1 year Gotcha Day, Mother's Day including a visit from Grampa & Gramma, Spring Sing at school, the return of nice weather, a trip to Ohio for Memorial Day AND many, many visits to various hospitals to visit Gramma Darlin.  

Gotcha Day celebration - Pooh Matroyska!

Alex's 1 year Gotcha Day was May 7th.  It's so hard to believe that 1 year has already passed by.  Alex's adjustment was very smooth.  He is such a sweet, cuddly, loving boy.  He does still like to use his tears and whining to manipulate people - and given his background, it doesn't surprise me.  With everything going on:  just home from vacation, hectic crazy weeks, etc. we celebrated with a low key dinner out and then special breakfast the next morning.  

Hanging with Grampa
Grampa's got a lapfull
Love that my kids get to know my Gramma - who looks horribly frightened here,
but honestly, she had a great time at brunch

Mother's Day with Gramma Darlin at the hospital - this was after 2 surgeries!  
She'll probably kill me for posting it... but it's how we spent our day!
A rare picture of all 3 of us

 Mother's Day weekend was another crazy weekend.  Gramma Darlin had just had surgery #2 on her right arm, which broke sometime between when she entered hospital #1 and day two of hospital #2.  Grampa and Gramma came up from the south to spend some time up here and also to see Great Gramma.  We had brunch out at the golf course and spent some time with Gramma Darlin as well down at the hospital.  Both hospitals were about 45 minutes south of us, so our weekends were usually pretty busy.

The next step for May was "Spring Sing" at Tatiana's school. It was adorable and everyone had a blast.  As you can tell from the photo's below (blogger will absolutely NOT let me leave captions on them without moving them into the Mother's Day pool... grrrr), she was horribly shy that night.  HA! 

 Spring Sing!

Our last stop in May was a whirlwind Memorial Day weekend.  Tatiana's school district decided to take the Friday prior to Memorial Day as a teacher in-service day, which gave us a 4 day weekend.  Normally, I prefer to laze around town on summer holiday weekends, enjoy the pool and take advantage of an extra day off.  However, a couple weeks prior to the holiday one of my oldest friends from high school days posted a reunion concert tour for one of our favorite bands from back in the day.  Ironically, that now free day Friday had a concert stop in the Ohio town where my friend was now living.  The other opportunity we had was to visit an adoption reunion for one of the agencies I used during Alex's adoption.  The reunion was at a zoo about 2 hours from where my friend lived, so suddenly it made sense to travel south to Ohio for a couple nights.  For an added bonus, we were able to finally meet my adoption consultant for Alex's adoption and my friend Stephanie who adopted a little guy who could be Alex's biological cousin.  Stephanie and I had just missed each other in Moscow last May, so it was great to finally meet up!

 Memorial Day reunion!

We finished off a HOT Memorial Day weekend breaking in our town's new Splash Pad.  It's AWESOME!  The town did a great job planning this new hot spot out.  It was a big hit on a hot day. We've been repeat customers ever since!  

Hopefully June's recap will be just around the corner.  And hopefully, blogger will be a little more willing to work with me.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Is This Thing On?

Holy crud!  I still have a blog??  WOW...

I swear I didn't forget about blogging life.  I don't think I could ever completely stop blogging.  It is basically what got me sanely (well, relatively sanely) through my adoptions.  Life has just been, well, busy lately.

So in order to get caught up, I think I'll attempt to recap life as it was - a month at a time.  Since we left off on Tatiana's Gotcha Day at the end of March, here's my attempt at April's events.

With Easter and all it's celebrations at the start of the month, we kicked off the month with lots of fun.  We made special Easter treats for school and welcomed in Spring Break.
Treats for school - inspired by Pintrest

Getting ready for Easter!

The Easter bunny arrived with much excitement this year.  Alex missed Easter last year, so technically this was his last "first".  I am not 100% sure he still understands it all, but under the tutelage of his big sister, he figures it out pretty quick.

The weather was super crazy and unseasonably warm which got us in the perfect mood to take off and fly south the day after Easter. Much to mama's dismay, we had planned our vacation time frame before this year's school schedule was published so we based it off LAST year's schedule - which, as you can guess wasn't the same this year.

Last summer, my good friend Yvonne (another single mom) and I were bemoaning vacations where you return almost as exhausted as you were when you left.  We had the idea to cruise on a cruise line featuring a kids club so we could balance fun times with the kids and adult time to relax.  For budgetary reasons, we choose the Carnival line - and then we found a ship leaving out of the Port of Tampa - which would be close to my dad and a LOT less congestion than Port Canaveral.

We timed the vacation to leave after Easter, spend 3 days in Bradenton with Gramps and then off to cruise world.  In addition to Yvonne and her kids, we were also going to be joined on the boat by more friends:  the famous Rhonda and her daughter Megan; my dear friend Angie and her neighbor Lorraine;  Jeanette, the woman across the hall from me in the Vlad Inn during Tatiana's adoption and her daughter Sophie; and finally another Vlad family:  The Bendlin's - Alex, her husband Jason and their son Victor.

Time with Grampa was as it always is:  TOO SHORT!  We had a BLAST!  Both Tatiana and Alex had their very first ocean experience:  the Gulf of Mexico.  We went to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo and spent some great time with Grampa & Gramma.

Feeding the giraffe's at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Alex and Grampa playing on the beach
Little Miss Water :  Tatiana

After we left Grampa, we were off to the boat.  Minus one rough, rocky day at sea, we had a BLAST on our cruise.  The kids LOVED the kids club, but we also had a blast exploring the ship and staying out late dancing til midnight!  We stopped in Cozumel, Mexico and had a great day swimming with the dolphins and hanging at the port.  It was great to catch up with good friends and relax!  I left feeling like I would cruise again in a heartbeat - which is a good thing, because we're planning on attending a very large Russian adoption reunion cruise next summer!

Swimming with the dolphins

My computer is playing games on me and I seem to have misplaced some of my cruise pictures.... so I will attempt to edit later (if I remember) with more pictures.

We returned home mid-April ready to get back into the swing of life and prepare for the last months of school before summer.  My mother however, had other plans for us!  We got home on a Monday and the following Friday she entered the hospital with a variety of different ailments including a broken hip and eventually a broken arm, both that required surgery.  It ended up being a 6 week journey of two hospitals and one rehab facility, and pretty much a good chunk of why life has been so hectic!

Next up.... May.  And hopefully it won't be May 2013 before I get back to post again!