Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Getting Back to a Routine

Since we've been home for almost a month now we've been trying to get back into our regular routine - plus one new routine for Madeleine. Here are some pictures of what we've been up to.

Isabelle is still enjoying preschool... ...and begs to wear a dress everyday...
...for maximum twirl potential.
She got to be snack girl again right when her class was studying caterpillars and butterflies so this is what she took:
Butterfly Pretzels (with cream cheese and mini m & m's)
Caterpillar Cocoons (miniature lemon poppyseed muffins with a powdered sugar glaze, rolled in coconut)
Madeleine has a very different sort of schedule as you'll see here. It consists of:
Sleep

Bathe

Play

Eat

Chill


Poor Madeleine has also had a terrible time getting her little tummy on a routine. I won't go into embarrassing details (she'll read this someday and hate me) but she required the help of some prunes the other day. She is not on solid foods yet but we were given the go-ahead to let her have a bit of the regularizing powers of purple mush. Here she is getting a taste of yummy goodness for the first time.
She was a little unsure at first but then she practically sucked my finger off! If you turn up the volume you can even hear the sucking. :)
video

Peek-A-Boo is a favorite game at our house.

video

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Conversation:

Aubrey: Hey Isabelle, why don't you go help Daddy pull the weeds in the front yard.


Isabelle (with excitement and glee): Daddy! Mommy said I could do weed with you in the yard!


**Okay, I know we're from Eugene, but I promise we're not growing pot in our front yard!**

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Adoption Day Isabelle!

It's hard to believe that three years ago today (April 23rd - blogger's wrong on the publishing date) I stepped off the plane in Seattle with a 10 1/2-month-old wide awake baby named Isabelle Zamira and our little family was born. There are so many milestones and important dates in an adoption from Kazakhstan that we could really be celebrating for months. Should we celebrate the day we first met Isabelle, the day we officially became her parents after appearing before the judge in Ust-Kamenogorsk, the day I was finally able to take her out of the baby house or the day we re-adopted her here in the States? We decided that the first day we were all together as a family, home after spending six weeks in Kazakhstan would be Isabelle's Adoption Day.

I don't want to brag (okay, I do a little) but she is the most amazing, wonderful child ever and we are so lucky to have her! She is silly and funny, smart and beautiful, kind and helpful. Isabelle is also showing us what a fantastic big sister she is by being so patient and gentle with Madeleine.


We reserve Isabelle's adoption day just for our little family and usually just take the day to do something fun together like go to the zoo or the Children's Museum. This year was a little different though since we're still trying to keep things low-key for Madeleine. So, I resorted to presents and cake. Never a bad combination! I also got out some little items I'd been saving for Isabelle that I bought while I was in Kazakhstan. Some of these she'd seen before but the children's books were new to her. They're written in Cyrillic but Isabelle doesn't mind if I just make up a story to go with the pictures. While we were in Kazakhstan we tried to buy things that we could give Isabelle as she grows up. I know we're going to run out of items at some point but I think we've got at least a few adoption days left before this happens.



The Matryoshka doll was a big hit.


Nothing says "so glad you're in our family" like Barbie.
Her first Barbie doll - a moment of excitement, a lifetime of esteem issues. :)


On Isabelle's first adoption day I put together this video of our first year together. If I was really on top of things she'd have one for every year but sadly, I haven't gotten around to this. In my defense, I'm a blogger now so I'm pretty sure I've chronicled most everything. Watching this video again really makes me miss Kazakhstan. For all you Ethiopia families out there - it's sooo different! In Kazakhstan you spend two weeks bonding with your child, visiting two times a day. After that you wait for a court hearing and have to appear before the judge and read a letter about why you're adopting and what you will teach your child about their country of birth. After you're granted custody you wait and visit some more while your paperwork is being processed. Finally, you get to take your child out of the orphanage - but it's still not time to go home. You then fly to Almaty (the former capital) and spend another couple weeks waiting for medical appointments and processing through the U.S. embassy. The process is extensive and daunting but so worth it in the end.

I'm not one to quote from the Bible but I think Isaiah 43:6 applies to us. "Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-" We really have traveled to the ends of the earth to make our family and it's been the best experience of our lives. Enjoy Isabelle when she was just a wee one!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baby Shower

So Madeleine told you all about her first doctor's appointment. Let me tell you, it was just as bad for me! Our appointment began at 10:30 in the morning and we weren't done until after 2:00 in the afternoon because of all the different people we had to see and places we had to go. Madeleine really was a very good trooper through the whole thing. What she didn't know was that as soon as we got home we needed to go right back out again to our joint baby shower with my friend Marie and her new little boy Aiden. The timing may not have been perfect, and poor Madeleine was exhausted by the end of the day, but we were so grateful for our good friends and their generosity. I'm still trying to find places to put all the new clothes and swag Madeleine got!

Madeleine (5 months) and Aiden (7 weeks) with their Mommy's. I sense a love match...
The other great thing about stopping by school was that I got to chat with my guest teacher Christine and find out how all my students are doing. I really miss them! A couple of my kiddos had written me notes that she'd saved. Here are a couple examples of why I love kindergarten!

This one says "I mes you b. kuz you r mie farret." I'm really hoping Julianna meant to say I was her favorite but if not, I'll take ferret.
This one is from Rylynn and Ethan. I don't mind at all that my name is now Mrs. Borck. At least they got all the letters correct! I think Rylynn might be reading my blog so thank you sweetie! You made my day!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Betrayal

Posted by Madeleine:

Things have been going pretty well for me here in America. Sure, I miss basking in the morning sun in Ethiopia, but rain has its advantages. This Mommy and Daddy are pretty nice too. They feed me, change me, play with me and hold me constantly and I rarely have to cry to get their attention. My big sister lets me play with her toys and gives me lots of hugs. All in all, I'm pretty happy - at least I was until they told me I was going to the doctor. What is this doctor, you ask? All you babies out there - listen up! Don't let them take you! They act like it's going to be a lot of fun. A new adventure, they say. Hah!
It started out fine. They weighed me and measured me and said I looked very healthy. I should - I've never met a bottle I didn't like. I'm at the 75%ile for weight (15 lbs. 14 oz.) and the 50%ile for height (25 inches). Dr. Davies was pretty fun too - a real connoisseur of silly faces. He examined me all over and said I looked beautiful - yay for me! Then he started talking about running some tests. That's cool, I thought. I was down for some Rorschach. But that's when things started to go bad. The nurse came in and poked me in the legs three times. Then she stuck another needle in my arm! I then had to go to a place they called "the lab" to get my blood drawn. It took them forever to find a good place to stick me and they eventually used my hand to suck the life force out of me, filling vile after vile with my precious blood. It was terrible! I looked at my Mommy with betrayal in my eyes and couldn't help but see the irony that I was wearing a "Mommy loves me" onesie. The nurses commented on how expressive I was but really, who wouldn't be expressive about their displeasure in a situation like this! I then had to further suffer the indignity of having my stool samples sent to the lab. All this and what did they determine? - that I'm a perfectly healthy baby! I could have told them that!

But, I will forgive.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Weekend

We had a great (and busy) Easter weekend! It started early Saturday morning when we all headed over to Isabelle’s preschool for a big Easter egg hunt and craft activities. It was really Madeleine’s first time out of the house since coming home as we’ve been trying to stay close to home to help with bonding. It was also the first time I had to get two little girls ready for an outing and be out the door on time. We were doing fantastic until I picked Madeleine up to walk out the door and realized she had a hugely dirty diaper and needed an entire outfit change. Uggh! We recovered quickly though and were on our way.

There was coloring, necklace making, face painting, pancake decorating, chicks to pet and more!
We also went into the Sanctuary for a kid-friendly movie on the meaning of Easter.
The hunt is on!



Madeleine was a great trooper throughout the event - she even fell asleep during the movie!


After the morning festivities I dropped off the fam and quickly headed over to Target to buy Easter treats for our own egg hunt on Sunday. Nothing like being a last minute shopper! But, what are you gonna do?
I then had to rush home and grab Isabelle to take her to her friend Alyssa's birthday party at (gasp!) Chuck E. Cheese (cue du-du-dum music). This was the second time I had ever visited this loathsome place filled with out-of-control children, sirens, bells, whistles and nausea-inducing lights. Isabelle had never been before and after adjusting to the sensory overload she had a great time, which made me happy. Okay, it wasn't that bad but it's definitely not on my list of must-do things and it was a very good choice to have Madeleine stay home with Daddy.

Having fun
Does anyone else find it ironic that the children sit and watch people on TV dancing on treadmills while they're guzzling soda and eating pizza? I'm just saying... For the record, Isabelle thinks soda is poison and drank water. :)
Isabelle and her friend Laney. Aren't they the cutest together?
We had a nice quiet Easter at home. The girls came downstairs in the morning to find the Easter Bunny had left lots of treats and surprises.

How happy is Isabelle that there is someone new to put funny hats on? Poor Madeleine doesn't even realize how ridiculous this is. She is happy the Easter Bunny left her a new Bumbo seat though!
Isabelle finding one of her baskets.
Fancy Nancy is Isabelle's new favorite literary character. I think she's pretty darling too.

The loot


Happy Easter