Category Archives: Everyday Life

Celebrating a Birthday

We did not do much today. Our beautiful 70 degree yesterday dropped down to an icy morning. Giving us one of those intense Kansas thunderstorms first. Fortunately, it did not wake the kids up. I am not sure how they’ll do with our crazy storms.

We decided to celebrate Lena’s birthday today. Of course, it was 24 days ago, but we did nothing for it then. My family has always done the tradition of a special dinner. I was making potato soup, which she loves, so it was perfect. She ate two bowls of potato soup. And then had her first cupcake.





So, do you think they liked them?

I am going to do a little Q&A post on Sunday, so if you have questions, please ask.


Beautiful day

Last night, I got a text message from my friend Caryl. Have I told you about her before? She is awesome. She organized an effort to clean, organize and decorate our house while we were away. She stocked our fridge. She planned a bake sale for us. And much, much more. She is a wonderful, solid friend. Anyways, last night, she texted me to see if I wanted to meet up with her today with kids and dogs at the park. Caryl doesn’t even have a dog, but she figured everyone in our household needed to get out… she’s thoughtful like that. Of course, I was eager to hang out with her, to get out of the house with the kids, especially since it was supposed to be 60 here today.

So, that’s what we did this morning. Two kids, 5 kids and 2 moms at the levee, out for a walk. Her kids are almost 2, 3 and 11. Her almost 2 yo was scared of the crazy dogs running around, but the other 4 had a blast together. Her 11yo is great with little kids. Ilya just adores her. It turned out to be such a beautiful day to be out, windy but beautiful. It was OVER 60. At one point, I think it hit 70!

This is Lena out at the levee, taken by her 11yo friend. I won’t show you any of our other photos, since I don’t know how Caryl feels about photos of her kids on the internet.

We came home and had lunch, eating leftovers. I really love how they don’t question what I give them and if I tell them they need to eat what’s on their plate before they can have an apple, they will. That is one thing I totally appreciate, knowing how picky kids can be. We had a little refusal with the broccoli last night, but both kids ate it once we showed them that they could have a clementine when they finished it.

Naptime was hard. It was not so fun. Ha, until they were asleep. That was nice. I love my quiet time and have no guilt about sitting on the couch during it. I just sit and read blogs and catch up on emails. And, when Aaron got home from work, he took the kids to the playground. Seriously awesome.

But now, I think they’re home and I should figure out what in the world is happening with dinner. Aaron asked me if we could have leftovers and if pasta and mashed potatoes “went together.” Maybe at a buffet…


A Boy and His Dog

Well, I was “ready” for this day, but not expecting it so soon. Someone has fallen in love with the dogs. Head over heels, new best friends.

I would like to say that I had NOTHING to do with this. He just decided that they are totally okay and actually a lot of fun. He has been trying to pull them around by their collars. Cache does not like being bossed around, so he had to go in his crate. But Ilya played with Nina for quite awhile. I am trying to teach Ilya not to hold onto her collar on the steps, because she likes to go quite a bit faster than him!

We had a hard morning, because Aaron went back to work for the day. I was so ready for their naptime after lunch. I needed that time to myself. I had made a dozen trips to the bathroom this morning. They always come in 3s. And not because there are 3 people here. Nope, someone has to always go twice, before and after the other person. Ilya just had a really hard morning without Aaron here in general, too. I think he realized it would all be okay when I set down his lunch in front of him. A turkey sandwich, leftover cheesy potatoes, cherry tomatoes and carrots. For dessert, we had apples. No, please don’t tell my children a plain old apple is not dessert. They think it is a wonderful very special treat. Seriously. I am trying to introduce them to lots of healthy food while they are still open to it. Right now they’ll both try anything.

Edited: Ilya totally regressed with the dogs once Aaron got home from work. It was hard to watch, but the second Aaron walked in the door, Ilya was screaming at Nina again. I think he may be doing it for attention, because I noticed him hanging on to Aaron’s legs and petting Nina behind Aaron. Hmmm…

Just a Little Update

We have always taken our dogs out to the park daily, or almost daily. Hot, cold, rain, snow, whatever, we’re there. I am not kidding. You weimaraner owners know what I mean. Weather is no obstacle; your dogs need exercise. So, yesterday, all four of us humans and all two of the four paws went out to the park. At first the kids were scared, but the dogs stay pretty far from us at the park so that they can just run and run. The kids discovered how fun it is to call the dogs back to them. “Niiiiiiiiiina! Caaaaash! Niiiiiina! Niiiiina!” Ilya can tell them apart already, which I need to tell the next person who asks me “how do you tell them apart?” Quite easily, thanks.

Ilya is still scared of them, but he doesn’t want them to go too far either. He would yell in Russian, “Nina, come over here!” Of course, Nina’s Russian is not that good, so she just ignored him. He would also try to follow them. When we got in the car, Aaron turned to Ilya and said “was that fun?” And Ilya said, “Fun! Fun! Dogs fun! Dogs fun!” He is still totally freaked out by them and started crying today when Nina walked into view from the next room. So totally loving them one minute and terrified the next. He really likes them if the baby gate is between himself and the dogs, but for the most part, the dogs ignore him then and won’t come over to him. They really ignore both kids 95% of the time with or without the baby gate, but Ilya feels more secure with it there.

Life is good. Life is hard. We can only expect so much of them and we can also only expect so much of ourselves. It is a tremendous adjustment for them, but it is also an adjustment for us. While it does not compare to theirs, it is still huge. Trying to keep that in mind right now.

I’m tired, so that’s all for now.

Target Trip and Visitors

We constantly say it is good that she is so cute (because she can be very naughty)! Actually, she was a very good girl today, apart from naptime.

Aaron’s family came to visit today. Well, actually, they didn’t come until about noon, so let me tell you about our morning.

We got up, went through the usual morning routine and then went to Target. The kids did well. Someone came over and told Lena how pretty she is. We got in the car and were driving down this road which has a 45mph speed limit and no places to turn off– 31st street, for you local friends. Well, Aaron looks down and notices the open door light is on. He pulled off the the shoulder and I hopped out, guessing maybe I had not shut the back all the way after putting the bags in. Nope, Ilya’s door was open just a tiny bit. Weird, Aaron had shut it, but I guess he must not have been paying attention. So, we get home and back into the garage and then I heard Ilya open up his door. My response was “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Obviously we realized what happened back at Target and just need to figure out our child safety locks. I didn’t think either kid could reach the door handle from their car seat, but apparently he can. Scary. This is one example of how his “helping” can be dangerous. He also loves to “help” with the stove and oven, obviously things we’re trying to work on. It is not things I think about, because the kids I’ve been around have already been taught that the oven is a no-no or step away when they feel the heat, but yesterday, he reached for it. It is hard to be aware of these sorts of things sometimes, because not only are they unfamiliar with so many things, but they’re also always right at our sides. If we tell them to step away, they get upset and seem to think it is a punishment. In fact, Aaron got slapped today for that reason. Very surprising because it was the child who is not normally violent. I am glad that they want to be with us and consider that a positive step. Yet sometimes we just need a little distance to get something done safely. And of course, violence is a HUGE no-no.

So, anyways, Aaron’s family came to visit today. We had lunch with them, the kids took a nap which took 2 hours start-to-finish and only 20 minutes of sleeping. And then the kids opened up Christmas gifts. A lego train set, a lego firetruck, hungry hungry hippos, don’t break the ice, lincoln logs, two cute snow globes with their photos, and two small stuffed animals from Aaron’s grandma. The kids thought this was just great. They really had a lot of fun playing with everyone and their new toys. Both kids seemed very fond of their Uncle Micah helping them build things. I can see why they would like Micah easily. He is very easy-going and passive with the kids. He just handed Lena Lincoln Logs and when she’d turn her back, fix it so they would not fall over. If he didn’t have one ready for her, she’d throw up her hands like “what are you doing?!” The kids did very well with everyone today… Ilya obviously likes men better. Lena doesn’t seem to care much either way, but like I said, she really liked Micah a lot!

That’s Micah in the green sweatshirt.

When she was playing Lincoln Logs. I think this is cute… she just looks so tiny here. My in-laws were joking with me that finally I finally have another short person in the family. Someone shorter than me! I am not sure I was this tiny when I was 3, though. Mom, want to go check the chart?

After we got the kids done with the evening routine, we put on the movie “Babies”. I was a bit surprised by some of the content (ie. watch it yourself before showing it to your kids), but they loved it. Both of them sat nicely for it until they fell asleep. We’ve tried cartoon children’s movies and they don’t care, but they seem fascinated by documentaries. We are planning to try March of the Penguins and Planet Earth next. Anyone else have kid-friendly suggestions?

I’d like to say that I write this blog to share our experiences with us– first with adoption, now with parenting adopted children. I am being honest with you all about some of the stuff we are dealing with– struggles with the kids and struggles as we try to figure things out– things like child safety locks on the car and that they don’t know that the oven is hot. While this is embarrassing, I think it’s good food-for-thought for other people. I really, really love all of your helpful tips and encouragement. We love sharing this experience with you and it is nice to hear your more objective point-of-view. But, please keep it respectful.

BTW, sign language was not my idea. We first heard about it from our social worker and read about in adoption books and blogs. My friend Amy reminded me a few weeks ago and then when we hung out with Meredith Cornish and her new daughter, Aleksa, she was signing with her. It is very popular and I can see why! If you are adopting, I would recommend learning just a few basic signs, even just “more”, “eat” and “potty”. To help your kids communicate with you. It is way easier than I expected.

Oh, and I also took these photos today. We are hoping to do this weekly. But, next time, I’ll have to do it earlier in the day, when we have natural light and hopefully someone is in a better mood.