Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1 year ago, today...

...Vera was in our arms forever.

December 23, 2008 we took Vera into our care. December 12, 2008 we were officially her parents, but had to wait out the 10 day waiting period to take her into our care.

We love you, Vera! You have blossomed into such an outgowing, sweet, passionate girl. We can't imagine life without you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November happenings...

Kiara had a friend birthday party at a local tea room. They have a room that is painted in a castle theme and is adorable. The girls all got to dress up in princess dresses and crowns. Then, they all got their makeup and nails done and then we cut into the castle cake. Kiara had a little Thanksgiving program at school. It was so adorable! They were each dressed up like pilgrims and Indians. They sang 5 songs and guess who you could hear above all the others?! Kiara did such a great job. After that, we played Turkey Bingo and then they got to eat the turkeys they had "stuffed". Vera was very happy that there was an empty seat at Kiara's table. My sister's entire family was able to come home for Thanksgiving. It was fun to have everyone together. We celebrated Vera, Kiara and Kyndall's birthdays and we exchanged Christmas presents. Check out my sister's new knitting skills!

The month ended with a couple of Thanksgiving gatherings. One on Thanksgiving at my grandma's church. It is a huge family reunion with aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts, 2nd and 3rd cousins. A lot of people were able to make it this year and it was great catching up with everyone. Vera did great at her first Thanksgiving. She loved all the people and the attention. She would just tool around from one person to the next. Then, on Sunday we got together with my dad's side of the family. Fun times and way too much food, of course!Vera is now 25 months old and has been home for 11 months. She is talking more and trying to say more words. What a difference a month makes. We will be starting speech therapy in a couple of weeks, so that should be interesting. The nice part is that the speech therapist will be coming to our house! She is still in love with LaLa, or Elmo. She imitates everything including how Cookie Monster eats!! I can tell she is just soaking it all in and learning everyday. She has the best giggle! I love to hear it. She is very picky now about who is doing things for her like putting on her bib. When Kiara is around, she usually insists on Kiara doing most things for her. Luckily, Kiara enjoys that and I hope that continues.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Home 10 months...

First, I must apologize for my lack of updates! Our life has been so busy. But, we are having fun, so that is what matters. So much has been going on, so I am going to put it all into this post. So, buckle up, it is going to be a long ride.

Ryan and I took a short trip to Key West at the very end of September. We were able to do this thanks to both grandmas and some great friends. It was wonderful to get away and spend some one on one time with my man.
At the beginning of October, my sis came home for a visit. We had a great time! She spent a lot of time with me and the girls and it was so fun. The other night Kiara told me she was wishing on a star and that she wished that Aunt Dani was here. So sweet!Next came Vera's second birthday, but her first birthday with us! I don't think she completely gets the concept of a birthday yet, but the rest of us were excited. We gave her some gifts on her birthday and then had a big party for Vera and Kiara a week later. Kiara's birthday is at the beginning of November.
Since Vera didn't have a 1st birthday party, we let her dig into her cake. She didn't go as crazy as I thought she would!

Along with all of that I was able to fit a trip to the Ozarks with some girlfriends for some shopping and fun girl time! Sadly, I don't have one picture of us from the trip. We also got our pictures taken by a good friend and wonderful photographer. If you want go HERE and you can see a few pictures from the photo shoot. It is going to be very hard to pick!

Vera had another first this month. She had her first haircut. She did really well, as long as she had a lolly pop!Vera had an evaluation done by a speech therapist. She is delayed enough to qualify for services, so hopefully we will be starting some speech therapy soon. But, they said she is doing great for only being here for 10 months. She really has started trying more words lately, so I am not sure how long she will need to be in therapy.

Of course, this is October, so we visited the pumpkin farm to pick our our pumpkins. Then, we decorated them and went for the less messy route.

Last in the month came Halloween. Kiara was a cheerleader for her school party and the party at church. On the day of Halloween, she decided to be a bunny and Vera was a duck. Trick or treating was a lot of fun. We were out for about 2 hours and have way too much candy in this house now. It didn't take Vera long to figure what we were doing. Even better than the candy were the dogs that would also come to the door. At one house, Vera got into the house and was trying to kiss the dog! The man called for his wife to come and bring the camera. Around the corner came 3 people and a couple of cameras.
Vera is doing so well and I can't believe another month has passed already! She is such a sweetheart. Every time I am talking on the phone she needs to kiss the phone when I am saying goodbye. She has become a hugger. She can still be a bit aggressive, especially when she is tired. Vera has a new love in her life, ELMO! Poor Jack has been replaced. Vera is more obsessed with Elmo, or LaLa as Vera says, than she was with Jack!
Vera doesn't slow down. Lately, I have had so many people remark about how busy she is. It is nice to hear because sometime I feel like I should be able to keep up with her better. Thank goodness for LaLa or Vera would probably never sit still!

We went for Vera's 2 year check up and she is almost at the 70% mark for both weight and height. I am glad she is growing, but I kind of miss my little girl!
I will leave you with a picture of my supermodels!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our one year Referralversary!

October 14, 2008 was one of the most exciting days of my life! On this day, I got a call from Victoria telling us that we would be traveling to Russia and meeting our daughter on November 11th. That date is special to us because that is also the day that Kiara was born. My life on October 14th became a whirlwind that hasn't slowed down much since. But, I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't imagine life with only one child anymore. We didn't yet know anything about Vera except that she was 2 or under and in Moscow waiting for us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

9 months home (better late than never!)

Wow, we have now been home over 9 months with Vera! Life has been very busy for us this past month, but it has been a lot of fun. Vera continues to grow and I can't wait to see where she is on the charts when we go to the doctor in a few days for her 2 year checkup. Vera turns 2 in a few days. I don't know if I will be able to think of her as a 2 year old.

We had Vera evaluated by an early intervention person and she is behind in speech. So, now at the end of the month, she will have a more in depth evaluation done by a speech pathologist and a few others, I think. I am sure she will be fine, but we want to be able to help her in any way that we can. A big thanks to Tamara for letting me know this was something we could do!
Vera is a very sweet girl. When we leave someplace, she has to hug and kiss every person, multiple times. Kiara has taught her that she needs to go to the window and wave to anyone leaving the house.

She is becoming a daddy's girl. I am use to this because this is how Kiara was at this age. It does have benefits, though; when they are sick or wake up in the middle of the night, guess who they want? Yes, their daddy! I feel like Vera has even forgotten how to say Momma. I get called Dadda numerous times a day. Ryan and I took a trip to Key West at the end of September. Before that, I couldn't tell you how many times Vera would say Momma over and over and over. Now, I get called Dadda.

Jack's Big Music Show is still her absolute favorite. She will squeal for joy and run for the living room chair when you tell her she can watch her show. She loves to play with dolls and stuffed animals. Her favorite is to push her doll stroller around. She also loves books.

Kiara and Vera can get on each other's nerves, but they are also so sweet together. I love to see them sitting together sideways in the living room chair watching TV.
I feel like there should be more for me to update, but I think that is a good thing. It is just normal to have Vera a part of our family.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kiddie Parade & other Pumpkin Fest happenings...

Yesterday was another fun day full of Pumpkin Festival happenings! We kicked off the festivities with the Kiddie Parade. Kiara got to ride in the pumpkin carriage and loved every minute of it. After the parade, guess who else wanted to ride in the carriage? Next, it was off to find the big pumpkins. It is Vera's first PFest, so of course we have to get her picture in front of the big pumpkin!
Here is a picture of Kiara from PFest 2004, she was almost 1. She wore the same shirt as Vera did this year, when Vera is almost 2. It was a little big on Kiara and obviously too small on Vera. Plus, her pants are too big, but that is what happens when daddy is in charge of dressing her!
Next, we were off to ride a few rides. Here are the girls riding the train.Then, off to the food tent to eat some pumpkin food. Well, I guess I was the only one eating pumpkin food. I had pumpkin chili and I think I will be eating it again tonight. We are also going to hit the dessert tent tonight to get our fix on pumpkin ice cream and I am eyeing the pumpkin ice cream sandwich!
Tonight, we are off to PFest with some friends to ride rides and eat. Tomorrow is the big parade. This is the first year we have ever gone to PFest every single day! It is exhausting!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pumpkin Princess

Kiara participated in the Pumpkin Princess Pageant last night. She wasn't the winner, but she had a fantastic time. She gets to ride on a pumpkin carriage tonight in the Kiddie Parade and on Saturday in the big parade. I think that might be the highlight for her.
The theme for our festival was Christmas in the Pumpkin Patch. So, Kiara dressed as Father Frost's granddaughter. Father Frost in the Santa Claus in Russia. The granddaughter helps him deliver all the presents to the boys and girls. Her costume was completed with a pumpkin scepter made by Kiara's great grandfather. She did a great job of explaining her costume during the interview portion.
Here are a few pictures from last night. After the pageant, she also performed with Singsations.
Kiara and her friend Keliah before the pageant.
Singing, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" for her talent.
The trophy, crown and flowers were definitely a highlight for her.

I can't imagine how excited she would have been if she won!

Kiara and Pa while she was waiting to perform. Notice the princess crown!

There was also a big color picture of Kiara on the front page of section B of the big paper in our area. In another local paper, there are quotes from Kiara talking about how her costume is special because we got it when we went to adopt her baby sister. We are so proud of her! She did such a great job!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Home 8 months...

Wow, time has flown. Vera has now been home with us for 8 months. It is so weird to think back to this time last year. We still had no idea when we would get the call that they had a child in mind for us. What a difference a year makes!

Vera is still doing well. She is as active as ever. She still isn't speaking a whole lot. She maybe says 15 words. I am going to have her evaluated in September. I am sure she will be fine, I just want to make sure there isn't anything we should be doing to help her.
Vera is almost 34 inches tall at 22.5 months old. That is the same height that Kiara was at 2 years old. When we brought Vera home, she was 30 inches tall. Vera is 27 pounds now and was 19 pounds when we brought her home. It seems she gains 1 pound for every month we have her home.

We verified this month that Vera is allergic to dogs. After being around and playing with two dogs for 20 minutes, the picture below shows what she looked like. Poor thing, she LOVES dogs, I feel bad for her. But, I am happy to have an excuse to not get a pet.
When we were in Russia, I bought traditional Russian dress for both of the girls. We got the dresses out and tried them on girls. I think they look pretty cute!
Also, this month, we got to meet one of the many wonderful people I have met along our adoption journey. Tamara and Nathan have 2 children they adopted from Russian. Their second was adopted from the same baby home as Vera. They were probably in the same group for 6 months or so. Tamara and Nathan were such a help to us, especially while we were in Russia deciding whether to accept Vera's referral. It was nice to discuss it with someone who had been through it two times already.
Vera is just like her sister and loves to dance. Kiara has been practicing her song for the Pumpkin Princess Pageant and Vera loves to practice with her. She will do the moves before you are suppose to. It is adorable.
Vera also loves to swim. She has no fear, which is scary and kind of stressful when you are in the pool with her. She has mastered being able to use her water wings and she doesn't want you to touch her. She has to do it all by herself!