Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas and school update

I totally forgot to post about Christmas!
It was great!

The kids received lots of toys from Santa and had a blast ripping the paper off the packages. We took video but not any pictures.

Cooper's favorite gift was a ride-on trike that he's still a little too small for.

Kara's favorite, BY FAR, was her baby and stroller.

At school they call her Little Mama.

She doesn't want to nap because she goes around to every child and pats them on the head and at lunchtime she feeds all the other kids! Too funny.

They love her because she helps them push all the chairs in, etc. She's a great little girl.

Cooper still has to be peeled off of me in the mornings while he's screaming but stops as soon as I leave (they have video cameras) and plays great all day. The teacher says he has sweet blood. All of the teachers and kids like him. We're very happy with the school so far.


I am looking forward to the new year and getting back to work and a regular routine.
I thrive on routine and doing "whatever" all day is getting old, if that makes sense. I feel a little lost.


Well I'll leave you with a pic I just took.

It was a little too quiet so I looked over to see them actually lying together on the little sofa watching the Wiggles. Is this not tooooo sweet?




Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Old Pictures

I've been looking at some old pics and thought I'd post some for the fun of it.

Jane and kids outside Pur Navalok Hotel in Arkhangel'sk



This was our suite at the Pur Nav!



Kids eating dinner in our suite


Kara eating something

Jane and kids at a playground in Moscow

The door to our rented apartment in Moscow - padded!

Our rented apartment in Moscow behind the Honda ad

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Keeping hydrated

It's been sort of crazy around here lately - health-wise.
In the last 10 days:
Kara started throwing up for no apparent reason. She would throw up then act totally normal for a few hours - throw up again, normal again. She did have a fever also so I checked with the Doc who said she thought it was just a virus and to keep her hydrated and if her fever spiked, to bring her in. It never did and she didn't eat for 2 days but it's over now.
I (Jane) got (I think) tonsilitis - BAD. My throat hurt so bad and my tonsils were extremely red and inflamed - it looked like part of my tonsil had grown into the side of my throat. Also it was very painful if I pressed on my neck in that area. I had a fever as well - only 100F, but had aches and pains and didn't feel like getting out of bed. This lasted a week and is now over thank goodness. The advice of webmd.com was to rest and keep hydrated.

The day after the tonsilitis seemed to be getting better, I had a surprise pain. I was reading Cooper a book at 8pm and started getting a terrible tummy/side/back pain. By midnight I was doubled over in the bathroom trying not to wake hubby but he did wake up and I'm glad he did. He talked me into going to the ER. I drove myself to the hospital (Jim had to stay home with the kiddos - It was midnight remember). It turns out that I had kidney stones. I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy! The morphene cocktail was wonderful and they let me sleep in a room until 6:30am. Then I got up, went home and Jim went to work... life is normal again, right? I just have to drink more water - keep hydrated.

Kara again. She has the green gunk and LOVES to wipe it all over her face, neck and hair leaving a "There's Something About Mary" look.
Jane again. I have the green gunk and a cough that sounds like I'm a goose with Emphysema.
Cooper now has the green gunk, no cough yet.
Kara had to be brought to the Doc to check out the ulcers on her tongue. It seemed so painful. Doc said it's part of the virus she has/had. Nothing to do except rub Maalox on them a few times a day and keep her hydrated.
Jim has a sore throat now - surprise surprise.
Cooper woke up at 1:30 this morning to throw up all over his bed.
He's fine right now - no fever. Who knows what that was?
The Parent Advice Line for TX Children's says to guess what...Keep him hydrated!
Fritz in the meantime got an eye infection last week and today I had to bring him in because he was shaking and moaning and is prone to pancreatitis.
They did a full blood work up and he's normal and seems to have a back ache. I was surprised to learn that he didn't need to keep hydrated.
This nastiness has made me miss 2 Christmas parties that I really wanted to go to.

2 other exciting things happened around here - It snowed in Houston and the kids started school.

I was telling the kids, look it's snowing! and was very animated and excited. Cooper said, Mom, cold, close door. Kara ignored me. Hmm.

They went to school for a week from 10 - 3. Kara L O V E S it. She waves bye bye to us and goes on about her merry way wanting to join all the other kids. She is excited to see us when we pick her up too.

Cooper has to be peeled off me most of the time while he's screaming - which is very hard for me. They say he's fine after a few minutes.
The other part of the day that's hard for him is when the other parents start picking up their kids and we're not there yet. He gets weepy then too.
Not too much else to report. All is going well in the learning dept.
Cooper can count to 10 now and knows many shapes. Kara is trying to say more words each day.
We're looking forward to a very merry Christmas with our little ones.
Of course I will leave you with some pics. My Santa cookies are ready, Yippee!

C&K playing at the mall playground

Snowing in Houston - a rare event!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Long Time - No Blog

Wow, I can't believe how fast time flies when you're this busy!

The children are doing great. They're getting cuter and smarter every day.

Cooper knows all of the alphabet and colors and we're working on numbers now. His English is improving every day. The Russian is slowly going away (which is a little sad too).

He had some teeth issues that we had to deal with: 4 decayed teeth pulled, 2 root canals and several cavities filled. His baby bridge will be in next week so he'll be good to go until his permanent teeth come in. He was under IV sedation the whole time so he doesn't even remember it.

He's truly a very happy little boy who wants to do nothing but please us.



Kara's attachment is so much better. She kisses and hugs us regularly now and sits on my lap whenever I'm on the floor. She lets us console her when she gets a booboo and lets us love on her without her pushing us away. We've come a long way in a short time!

Her speech still needs work but it's coming along too. Now, instead of saying "bah" for banana, she says "nana" and she points to different things and tries to say them.

Kara's eating has slowed down tremendously. She routinely pushes her food away, saying "kaka" when she doesn't like something - which we're glad for because it's a normal toddler behaviour. And she doesn't HAVE to finish every bite any longer. She is 1 pound heavier than her brother however (who is 16 months older!).



Both kids' blood work came back absolutely normal and they're up-to-date on all of their shots, etc. We were happy to find out that the immunizations that the orphanage in Russia said they had given her were accurate. Our doctor did titers to confirm.

Their Giardia is now all gone as well.



Now they're ready to start school and I'm ready to go back to work.

It's been fun but exhausting and I feel like preschool can teach them a lot more than I can. Since they're at different developmental stages, it's hard to give each child what they really need. For instance, if Cooper and I are practicing writing his ABC's, of course Kara wants to write too but ends up eating the crayons or wanting to write on Coopers page and upsetting him, etc. At least at school, there will be structure and the kids will be in classes with other kids their ages.



Thanksgiving was quiet and nice, just us 4. We had a peaceful traditional turkey dinner that Jim and I prepared.

Santa (or Moroz in Russian) made his presence known at our house after Thanksgiving dinner. Jim went upstairs and put on the Santa outfit, came downstairs yelling ho ho ho - it was not a pretty site to see my son scream at the top of his lungs. Kara just gave him a bizarre look like, Who in the world are you? We calmed him down by showing him that it was actually Papa, and he thought it was hilarious after that. He tried on Papa's Santa wig. When it was all said and done, he said "All done Moroz" - translation: I will not be seeing you again this season!



They also went to their first Christmas Party.

Here are some pics: