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!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to school...

Kiara started Kindergarten on Wednesday. Our town is still 1/2 day. I can't believe she is in Kindergarten. She is growing up way too fast! Kiara had been so excited all summer about starting Kindergarten. On the first day, I could tell she was a little nervous. She was a little more clingy than I thought she would be. Her first day was only an hour and I was there for 30 minutes in her classroom. It was a nice way to ease into it. Here are some pictures from the first day:

Here she is at her table at school.
So, today was her first full day, or half day for her. Ryan will be the one to take her to school on most days. Ryan took her and walked her into the gym where they coral all the Kindergartners in the center. He said it all went well, so that was great to hear. When I picked Kiara up, she said her day was good. One of the students even had a birthday, so they had cupcakes. So, how could your first day go bad if there are cupcakes?
While Kiara was at school, I worked out with a friend and got my shower in. I then finished a pencil brownie for Kiara. I made one last year, too, so I think it will be a tradition on the first full day of school. It is easy and cute.
While I am sad to see summer go, it will be nice to be back into a routine. I had been wishing that Kiara had full day Kindergarten, but now I am happy that it is half day. I would miss her way too much. I think she might be ready for full day, but I am not!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Road trip (Part 4) - Busch Gardens

While we were in Virginia, we went to Busch Gardens on 2 days. We had a fantastic time! On the first day we were there, we also had reservations to eat lunch with Elmo and friends. I was doing it more for Vera, but Kiara LOVED it!! There was a little bit of a show and then while you ate, all the characters would come around and meet everyone. And, everyone got to go on stage and have their picture taken with Elmo and Big Bird. Vera didn't like to get too close to any of the characters. The only one she would touch was Elmo, or LaLa as she calls him. Kiara couldn't get enough of the characters. At the end of the lunch, all the characters except for Big Bird formed a congo line and invited the kids to join. Kiara ran off. I was watching and couldn't find Kiara in the line. Then, we looked up on the stage and there she was dancing with Big Bird. We should have known. Kiara cried when we had to leave.

The rest of Busch Gardens was great, too. So much to do and see. We could have easily spent another day there.
On the teacups...pure joy!

The only ride that Vera rode by herself.

Vera's favorite ride, but possibly the slowest moving ride on the planet!

Kiara went on some pretty big rides. They got soaked on this one.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Road Trip (Part 3) - Natural Bridge, VA

So, on Monday morning, we woke up and headed east. This was our longest day of driving. We were going to take a detour and go through the Smokey Mountains, but after being up late partying with the F family and just being ready to make it to our final destination, we decided to save that for another time. We ended up taking an exit that we thought an outlet mall was at and it turned out to be where the Cubs AA team plays. There was a visitor center connected to the ballpark. We got out and got to go in the stadium and let the kids run around some. The picture above was taken at a McDonald's we stopped at to let the girls play.

On Tuesday, we left Roanoke and headed to Natural Bridge, VA. We were going to see, what else but the Natural Bridge. There is a bridge that was carved out by a river. It is amazing to see, the pictures don't do it justice. Also, down by the bridge they have a Native American camp set up. It was interesting to see. It was nice to spend a day outdoors after being in the car so much.

The picture above gives you an idea of how HUGE the bridge is. You can barely see Ryan and the girls, but you can see Ryan's red shirt.

There was also a wax museum that we toured before we got back in the car again. This time we ended up at our final destination, Suffolk, VA. When we pulled in, Jessica, my sister-in-law, was sitting by the front door waiting for us.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Road Trip (Part 2) - Chattanooga, TN

Next, we got up in the morning and drove to Chattanooga. The plan was to go to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, but we were most excited to see the F family that we were in Russia with for both of our trips. J and I actually met on the plan ride to Moscow in the galley. We quickly realized that we had corresponded with each other over our blogs! What a SMALL world! Then, it turns out we were staying in the same apartment building just a few floors apart. On our second trip, they had the same timeline as us. This time we each had our children with us and we were each picking up a child to bring home.

We met the F family at the aquarium. The aquarium was great! The highlights were probably petting the sting rays and the butterfly room.
C & little J
Ryan and Vera by information about a river in Russia.

The men and all the children. I realized the only pic I have of J is the group picture we bought from the aquarium. J, we should have taken a picture together!

After the aquarium, the F family invited us to their home for dinner. We enjoyed a home cooked meal after eating on the road. Since we were together, we had to play Wii. The first time Ryan and Kiara played a Wii was in Russia in the F family's apartment.
I think these 2 think they were the winners!
Meanwhile, Vera was playing with her Russian boyfriend. I think little J was sweet on Vera.
We had to finally say goodbye and we were off to our hotel. Thanks F family for opening your home to us, we had a great time. We hope you are able to make it to our state someday!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Road trip (Part 1) - July 2009 - Holiday World

We took a road trip in July and we were gone for 2 weeks. I have never been gone on a vacation that long, except for our trip to Russia, but that wasn't exactly a vacation. :) We stopped at a great Amish buffet on our way to our first stop. Here is Vera enjoying the yummy desserts!

Our first stop was Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN. Holiday World was A LOT of fun, we will definitely be going back. The best part for this Diet Pepsi addicted gal was that all Pepsi fountain drinks were free in the entire park!! I probably drank the amount of my admission fee in soda!! Just kidding! I tried, though. After lunch, I went to change Vera's diaper and found that she had a complete blowout! Unfortunately, the line for the bathroom went right around the baby changing station. Luckily, there were many sympathetic moms. I had to take Vera out of the bathroom just in her diaper and shoes. I don't know why I didn't bring in an extra outfit for her since this isn't the first time she has done this, but then I wheeled her out to the parking lot and got her clean clothes and got another outfit, just in case. Which, I believe, we did use, but because she was wet from playing in the water and not from a bodily function!
Our first activity was to watch the Holidazzels!
Next was lunch. I am sure the huge grin is because she knows what awaits me in the bathroom!
Outfit #2 getting wet!
One of the highlights of HW for Kiara was being able to get wet in her clothes!
No trip to HW is complete without visiting Santa.
Getting ready to get back on the road again! To Nashville to spend the night and then on to Chattanooga.