Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Just a short post today...It's already almost 9:30 pm and I just got home!!!
It was an ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS fall day in Kostanai. Leeza and I spent over an hour outside walking and walking around and around the baby house, and Leeza can hold 4 tiny pinecones at one time..2 in each hand! It was really a wonderful day.
We had so much fun and her nose is still red, but she is a happy happy girl.I just love her SO much and she is so fun to play with and watch and laugh with. She is a cool kid, I have to say! :)
Tatiana was sick today, with a cold and a slight fever, so we did not do Leeza's passport pictures today. Ivan is going to come take us tomorrow though! The caregivers are counting down the days too, it's cute.
Today Almagoul said to Leeza something about Momma, Papa, and Sean. I can't believe this is the same woman I was afraid of...she is so sweet and loving to Leeza and me!! They were also really excited when I handed them the bag of 15 soska's. :)
After my wonderful visit with the pinecone princess, I went shoppping and walking all over Kostanai with Kelly and Doug. I did my share, once again, to help the Kostanai economy. I got Sean a Kaz track suit, and I got myself a cool Kazakhstan shirt, with Kazakhstan written in Russian,and a cool pair of Kazakhstan track pants that go well with my jacket. Leeza got a hat, because the ones I had Joe bring from home don't cover her lil ears all the way, and I don't want to get yelled at by the babushka's. I also got her 2 pairs of cute tights! I LOVE THE MARKET!
I told Kelly and Doug that I am the type of person who gets excited really easily, and when I pledged my sorority in college I had to have ZTA shoe strings, hair scrunchy, picture frames, shirts, shorts, sweats, etc. When I ran my first marathon, I had to have 26.2 shirt, 26.2 socks, and 26.2 license plate for my car. So, similiarly when I go to Kaz, I need lots of cool stuff that screams Kaz for EVERYONE to see!
We walked all over and worked up an appetite and went to the new USSR cafe that I went to last night for dinner since they have an english menu and we had no translator present. :) It was yummy, then we went to the store, and I got Leeza some cookies that I think she'll like. :)
I have tons to do, I have to get my pictures ready to give the caregivers, and go thru all my gifts, etc, so no time to chat on the ole blog.
I am doing very well, and I am loving the weather, and really loving my daughter, and I am READY TO BE HER MOMMY 24/7...so...BRING IT ON!!
Monday, September 29, 2008
It was a great Monday in Kostanai today. The sun was shining brightly, and my new Kazakhstan jacket keeps me cozy and warm, along with a sweet lil girl in a snowsuit strapped in my ergo!
Leeza ate a great lunch today-no messin around, and then we had to gear up in the snowsuit for our walk. She doesn't like that part (the gearing up) but I gave her my watch to play with so that made her happy. We walked for over an hour...she took a power nap for about 25 minutes. We were on our way in, when all the kiddo's in her group were bundled up to come outside. The caregivers asked me to go back out, so I helped them carry out the snowsuited up kids to put them in the strollers. I pretended I had triplets, pushed 2 in the stroller while carrying Leeza in the ergo. LOL It was fun though and they all look so cute bundled up.
However, by the time we went in, we'd been outside over an hour and a half and Leeza was ready to get out and play!
We headed up to the playroom but it was only about 5-10 minutes before a horrific smell emated from my sweet rose of a daughter-so we had to go downstairs to get her diaper changed. She had to sit on the potty because she wasn't "done" so we spent another 45 minutes playing while Leeza finished her "business". By the time she was done, we only had 10 minutes left before milk and cookies and time for "spot" (sleep!). I wished we could have played more, but oh well.......SOON!
After lunch, I went out shopping ALL BY MYSELF! I felt pretty independent! It sounds silly, I guess, but I'm always accompanied by my "dream team", so I haven't really ventured into stores "solo" with my lame Russian skills. However, I did today, and I got some cool shoppin done! I got myself a new purse, and Leeza a sweet lil Kazakh purse (for when she's older), and a cool lil book of Kostanai from the Kazakh souvenir store. I also got her a potty, a sippy cup, some soska's, some nice warm socks, some jammies, and some new toys for the apartment that I thougth she'd like. I also bought 15 soska's (pacifier's) for her group because it seems like they are always short. They give them to the kids when it's time for nap time.
I looked at walkers, but I didn't like the selection so I will check out this other baby store near my house tomorrow.
I got home and was very pleased with my purchases, and Ivan called and asked me what my plans for dinner were. I had eaten some triscuits and cheese, and said I was fine, didn't need dinner. However, he said they were going to pick me up in 5 minutes because they wanted my company. :) They are really nice to me.
We went to this new USSR restaurant below the new Gros that was very good, and also had an english menu. I had a greek salad and a peva. :) I met a sweet Kazakh girl named Aliya who was an immigration police officer. She liked practing her english, so it was fun to talk to her. I loved her because she did not believe I was 42 years old. :)
Tomorrow, we are planning on getting Leeza's passport picture! Tatiana's transmission is going out in her car, it won't go into drive, SO, I hope we can still go. However, she is always resourceful so I imagine she'll get us a ride. Ivan is still picking me up tomorrow with a business asociate of his, in his car, I was all prepared to walk to the baby house (it's only about 4 miles) but I guess that won't be neccessary!
It was a great day-and hopefully all is on track for GOTCHA DAY ON FRIDAY!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
It's a gorgeous Monday morning in Kostanai. The sun is out, it's cold, yet briskly refreshing, and I am drinking my starbucks Breakfast Blend logging into email.
I am happy!
Then, I open an email from my husband, who went to Frenchy's last night with Sean and 2 of our best friends and their boys. Frenchy's is a wonderful restaurant on Clearwater beach, and the place of my very first date with Joe, 14 years ago. They are holding up my favorite beer...Landshark.
My eyes filled with tears and I felt a longing to go home very intense, and a pang of real homesickness hit me.
It's the first time I've felt that since I've been here. Granted, I have certainly not had any reason to be homesick. I have met my daughter the princess, my apt is Mac Daddy, the food is wonderful, the weather has been nothing short of spectacular, and I feel like I am here with my best friends because I am so well taken care of by Tatiana, Ivan,and Eugene. I have been so busy "living in the moment" and thanking God so much for this blessing he has bestowed upon us, I have not really thought about home.
I have been telling Leeza on our walks around the baby house all about Florida, but it does seem like a world away. It doesn't cause tears then, just excitement as I explain to her about how she will love wearing no socks, and no hats, and just one layer.
But, this morning, when I saw the picture of the sunset off Frenchy's, and John Hockin holding my favorite beer, it made my heart hurt.
My worlds are colliding-and I'm ready to introduce Leeza to my world now too!
I'm crying again!! Not sad tears though, happy tears to be here where I am, knowing I will miss it and cherish it forever, but remembering what is waiting for us at home is incredible too!!!
This process, to quote Jennifer Robinson, Aila's mommy, IS SO COMPLEX!
Yes, you did read that right! There were huge pretty snowflakes falling down from the sky today after my visit at the baby house. It didn't last for long, but it was really pretty!! When Eugene picked me up this morning at 11, he had frost in his windows that had accumulated overnight. It didn't feel THAT cold, but when I prepared to take Leeza for her usual walk after lunch, I got the sense the caregivers weren't too keen on that idea, but they said as long as it was just for a lil while. I mean, I think that is what they said between my English and their Russian. We walked outside from about 5 after 12 until about 12:30, and it was defintely chilly, but Leeza was bundled up tight and helped keep us both warm!
Leeza felt way better today...no crying except when we had to put the dreaded hat and snowsuit on. :) I can't say I blame her, I'd probably cry too! It's rather RESTRICTING. I changed her clothes today and put on her diaper. I love to play with her cute lil feet! I am getting more and more excited to have her home with me!!! We played in the visitation room today and we had a blast. She was VERY busy today, she was stacking her cups and putting stuff away in the toy bag. She cracks me up.
She finds it hilarious when I put a cup on my head. She crawls over and climbs up me to get it off and cracks up all the while. It's really cute! We had a "tender moment" today when she crawled up to get the cup, and I was holding her and she was facing me and kinda leaned in for a second and put her face on my chest like she was hugging me. It was SO SWEET! I wanted to hold her there like that forever, but it only lasted about a minute, before she was off to explore something else. Her nose was still red, but not as much, and it wasn't running today either. I noticed when I put her down for her nap after milk and cookies that they had the vicks out, so that's good. I am still amazed at how fast our visits fly by!
I had a fun night last night. I walked to the coffee shop to meet Tatiana for coffee and dessert, and then we went to the "Central Mall".
Below is the coffee shop, and a picture of my "Dream team" Tatiana and Eugene. Eugene stopped in to say Hi!
However, Ivan is missing and since I spend so much time with him, he is part of my dream team too.
I have been wanting to find some jewerly as a memento of Kostanai, and perhaps something to pass on to Leeza when she's older. I found the perfect thing!! In fact, I found a few things, but I am wearing 2 of my new things today so I took a self portrait for your viewing pleasure.
I loved this when I saw it because it reminded me of Leeza. It's a butterfly, and inside the butterfly is a lil girl, with lil pink stones. Since Leeza reminds me of a butterfly that is just breaking out of her coocoon, I thought it was the perfect momento.
Excuse the obviously bad photo of my hand for the ring...my hands look very old and wrinkly...yikes. I will blame it on the water here...
I also FINALLY found the crest of Kostanai that I've been looking for. It's all over the billboards in town but we couldn't find anywhere that sold it!
I've learned to keep checking back into the souvenir stores (there are really only two of them)because they do get new arrivals.
There was a very sweet lady helping us in one of the stores where I ended up finding a beautiful bracelet, and ring and matching earrings (not pictured, sorry). The bracelet is butteflies made of 3 different kinds of stones, and the ring is a cross, made with a green stone, with matching earrings. It's very simple and very "me" and I found them both to be so perfect to commerate my incredible Kostanai experience! The butterflies represent my Leeza, my beautiful little butterfly, and of course, the cross represents God and his incredible Grace that led us to our daughter. The lady asked Tatiana if I was from America and if I was here to adopt a child. She said that it was a very good thing we were doing and God will bless us. I certainly concur that we have indeed been blessed very much! She was also a nurse at the maternity hospital and said she knew many babies who had been adopted and what a good thing it was. When we leaving, she told Tatiana to wish me well, to have a good life in America, and to always remember Kazakhstan. Of course, I cried. The people here are so incredibly nice.
After our very successful shopping excursion, we met Ivan and a friend of his at the Bier Haus. I met another American guy, as this friend of Ivan's is recruiting teachers to teach English in Kazakhstan. Dennis had just arrived from Portland,Oregon and is a great guy! I gave him the "down lo" on Kostanai and how much he will LOVE IT HERE! He taught for a year in Karaganda before. He is a very neat guy and I really enjoyed talking to him. Ivan and I showed off our mad skillz at our rhyming game, but they were orally dictated this time, so I don't have them share but they were good!!
Tonight, we are all going to the infamous '444' that my previous comarades in Kostanai have all raved about. It's out of town, and has fabulous "shashleek" (shiskabob) and dancers, and music and dancing. Doug, Kelly and Natasha went last week and had a really good time. They had great photo's of these hot babes with great abs belly dancing and also some break dancers! WOO HOOO!
I am looking forward to it! In fact, I have to finish this blog UP because they will be here in an half an hour to pick me up. :)
I guess I didn't need to worry about being lonely when Sean left-I am home a lot less now then when he and Joe were both here! Don't worry Stace-I am keeping my hands to myself in other people's cars!
I am busy making lists of stuff I need to get for Leeza's impending arrival, and starting to get my gifts together for the caregivers, and everyone. I have already given small gifts to Tatiana and Eugene, just because they're so fabulous, but I still have things to give them too. I really like the gifts I got, and I hope those on the receiving end like them too!
I will close with "an original Leeza" creation.....a tower of sorts. After she built it, I had to snap a quick photo because it made me smile. :)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Man oh man, these kids DON'T share a prayer of ever getting rid of their colds. Leeza was getting so much better, but since everyone else has snot, she now has snot AGAIN! Her nose was running like a SIEVE and she was super snotty, and Susan was SLEEPY today too after her "big night out". Ivan told me at lunch I had "tired eyes". LOL
Leeza was pretty happy today and active as usual. She loves her toys, but she also was obsessed with the peanuts I was eating, and the travel toilet paper container, and a package of kleenex. She has also gotten to be the "expert crawler" and man, she is FAST! It's wild to think that 2 weeks ago she couldn't crawl on her knees, and now she's a crawling sprinter. :)
The only time she got UNHAPPY was when her MEAN mommy wiped her nose. Then, the vicious cycle of snot,wiping,crying produces more snot. Poor Leeza...her lil nose is just red and raw and it just keeps running. I guess it's good she's not congested, and can breathe though. I'm sure she'll cherish these pictures so much when she is older. :)
We just hung out in the room outside her playroom today. Almagoul brought back A and A (boy and girl) to play with us. It was fun-and Leeza was really sweet and shared her toys without a fuss. She also had fun cleaning up. Almagoul was getting a kick out of watching Leeza put everything away. I wonder if she'll be a neat freak?
I just love the caregivers. I am so in awe of them and how hard they work. I know Leeza is going to miss them a lot.
It's cold out today--it was 7 degrees celcius, which I think it about 40 degrees. I know that is not COLD at all for Kazakhstan, and not cold for others either, but that is WINTER IN FLORIDA PEOPLE!! However, I am LOVING my new Kazakhstan jacket-it's comfy cozy! Ivan and I went to the Russian Bar and I had my favorite soup, Solyanka plus some new salad that was really good. We split a big pot of tea...VERY YUMMY! I am really going to miss the food here. It's so good!! I am going to walk to the coffee shop and meet Tatiana for coffee and dessert at 7 pm tonight (in about an hour!)
Eugene is getting me a crib for Leeza, so that takes care of ONE of my many anxieties about her coming "home" with me on Friday. I am going to shopping for a walker this week because I think she'll love that. I have my Baby Einstein DVD's and also my baby sign language dvd's too, so maybe that will keep her attention for a lil while so I can blog. HA HA
My apt is all nice and clean with clean sheets and towels since the "scrub woman" came today. I really love "my crib" and I will like it even more when Leeza's crib arrives and SHE'S in it! Yet, as excited as I am, I am also SCARED! I still remember the feeling bringing Sean home from the hospital. You have this tiny lil baby and you feel this overwhelming since of responsibility. Leeza is not a lil 4.7 lb baby like Sean was, but an active, mobile, princess whose world has been confined to the baby house grounds....which is almost SCARIER. I'm worried about what she'll think, and worried about keeping her safe and worried about never sleeping again.
Both of our worlds are about to be ROCKED, but Leeza has no idea that it's about to happen!
There was a new caregiver helping out today while Almagoul had a much deserved day off. I walked into the babies room and Leeza Grace is crawling ALL over the place. I see her and give her a big smile, she waves,and continues to crawl away, stopping occasionally to give me her "Model pose".
The new caregiver looked at me and said..Leeza Princessa....and DON'T I KNOW IT! There are some other adorable lil girls in her group, but Leeza is DEFINTELY THE PRINCESS! How fitting that she is my daughter. :)
We had a great day playing on Friday, and she continues to get stronger and more independent. It was time to clean up the toys to get ready for milk and cookies and I started putting the toys away, and Leeza sees me and starts "helping". Her favorite "Peek a Boo" book was a few feet away. I said, Leeza, go get your peek a boo book and put it in the bag. She looked at me and I said it again, and pointed to the book. Being the mensa genius that she is, she crawled over to it, and crawled back and put it in her bag. I was pretty impressed!
This is how princess' read their books...
However, as I started to gather up the camera, the speakers, etc, she started crying and having a cow and I had to hold her for her to stop. I had to sit her down because I couldn't carry it all and her too, which made her cry again. Her nose is snotty mess, and when she cries, it of course makes it worse. I have to wipe it, which she hates, which makes her cry harder, which produces more snot. It's a SNOTTY cycle I tell ya! I finally got her in the ergo, and got my stuff together, and downstairs we went. I am already envisioning what it will be like when Leeza moves in with Mom full time. It will surely be interesting and I am glad that I have amassed so much patience, as I am sure it will be tested again, and again, and again.
So sorry for no post yesterday, I went out after the baby house with Kelly and Doug, and Natasha. We went to lunch, then to the market, where I got a super fun jacket that says KAZAKSTAN on it with the flag,and got Joe a "tracksuit" that has Kazakhstan in Russian and the flag. I was happy with my purchases and the jacket is perfect for the weather we're having. We went to the store and got differnet kinds of beer and cheese and salami, and we all rated the differnet beers and hung at their apartment. We laughed and laughed, it was great. It was a lot of fun-they are such nice people. They walked me home at midnight where I promptly passed out, after checking email briefly and assuring my friend Jill that I was fine, and one day of not blogging does not a crisis make. :)
I am going to look for a walker today for Leeza, as Gena Lloyd told me it was a lifesaver for Berik when they brought him back to their apartment. We have all hard wood floors so she can go town, and it will be something that can "contain" her. I don't have anything here to do that, and the reality is starting to sink in. I am very excited, but also trying to prepare myself for this next new experience! Once again, I have to thank my blogger friends SO VERY MUCH for all the wonderful advice and helpful hints. The honesty of other adoptive parents is such an incredibly valueable resource, and I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends (the majority of whom I've never even met in "real life" but yet take the time to share their experiences to help the next person along. It's a wonderful wonderful gift that we all have each other! THANK YOU!
I have been very happy here, and I am having a wonderful time. It's been so nice getting to know the other families that are here, they are so cool and we all get along really well, which makes it nice. :)
I love my lil princessa more and more everyday! I wonder if she has ANY IDEA that less than a week I am TOTALLY going to ROCK HER WORLD.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The girls had a great day today....Leeza, Tatiana, and Mom. :)
Leeza likes Tatiana and Tatiana said Leeza is "cunning, like a fox" because she sees how smart she is and how she "plays" her mommy. :)
Isool (the head teacher) told Tatiana that she expects Leeza will learn english very quickly because she understands EVERYTHING that people are saying around her. I told her, she is one smart cookie-because, of course, she is my daughter!
We did our our walk around the baby house and Leeza fell asleep again. :) We missed the kids going to the suana, but they go in two groups so Leeza and I can go tomorrow...oh yay! I know she'd hate to miss out on that kind of fun! I don't think it's that much hotter than wearing the snowsuit and hat when it's only 50 or so degrees outside. The weather has been wonderful...it's been sunny and about 50 or so degrees (or whatever 12 degrees celcius is). However, THE HEAT IS ON. My apartment, the restaurants, and the baby house are toasty. I am glad I am not cold, but I do NOT need those mountain goat slippers anymore. I miss being able to adjust my own temperature. There isn't a thermostat to adjust around here!
Oh, here is a picture of Leeza on the potty. Now that I've seen how expensive diapers are again, I may have to invest in one these plastic potties..she even was successful there on both ends today....(sorry, that is probably TMI, huh..)
Doesn't every parent have some embarrasing picture of their child on the potty? I have a GREAT one of Sean sitting on our potty reading a Cosmo...it's so funny.
We headed up the playroom to play today because it's so comfy up there and the blue walls and matts really make Leeza's eyes 'pop'. She is really comfortable up there now and just "owns the room" now. The scared crying girl clinging to mommy is GONE! I am sure she will make her entrance again, as we are set for "Gotcha day" a week from tomorrow! I have started buying some supplies to get ready...so far, just some pampers, wipes, and a couple different jars of baby food. I want to see what she'll eat. Since I am not a cook, I am trying to avoid having to cook much for her while we are here in Kaz. I am going to attempt to cook more at home though. I also think she will like scrambled eggs, yogurt, bananas, stuff like that, so we'll see! If anyone has suggestions of what their kid ate when you brought them back to your apt, I'm sure open for suggestions!
Today, Leeza's "new trick" (she sounds like a puppy, LOL) was putting her stacking cups away in the cow purse they came in. I was really impressed watching her do it. She seems to have really good coordination and dexterity. It appears to be much better than mine, I only recently figured out how to get all the nesting cups nestled in each other to put them away! She cracks me up on how she has "kinda" helped to "clean up" at the end of our visit.
I did bring a lot of toys with us here, and I am glad I did, because Leeza has really enjoyed playing with them. However, if you don't bring toys, all you need to have fun with a little one are simple things.
Perhaps...Mommy's running shoes (is it me, or do they look HUGE in comparison to Leeza?)
She also took advantage of Tatiana and I chatting to grab Tatiana's cell phone. It was great entertainment. I guess all girls love to chat, right?
It's getting harder and harder to leave her every day. But, I am trying to do new things that I haven't done before before I get her full time. Today, I tried a new salad and a new entree at Nick Nack's for lunch. My salad had BEETS-Aunt Jane-you'd be so proud. I got a pedicure today-and it was awesome. My toes look stunning. Tomorrow, I am meeting Doug, Kelly, and Natasha for lunch and we are going shopping and walking around. :)
I walked Tatiana home and didn't get lost ,and realized how close I am to where Kelly and Doug live and how close I am to the center of town where I plan to walk Leeza. I am also trying a new beer...some dark Karaganda beer. I think my sweetie will like it since he is a Guiness fan. What is the normal alcohol content of beer? This one says 6.5% and I am dizzy after only 1/4 of the bottle. Don't worry..I will only drink Valda biz Gaza and Coke light once I get custody of Leeza (or at least until Joe gets here...)