Thursday, November 27, 2008
Ahhh..the day where we all take a moment to pause and give thanks for our many blessings. Honestly, since meeting Leeza, I have certainly been counting my blessings every day since our first "blind date" on August 1st, in Kostanai, Kazakhstan.
As has been our "family tradition" since Sean was about 4, we head out for the "Turkey Trot", a very popular 5k and 10k run held every Thanksgiving morning. It's an incredibly festive atmosphere, and VERY CROWDED! I typically would run the 5k with Sean and Joe, then run the 10k and try my hardest to get the "coveted" Turkey trot mug for the top 100 finishers. Sadly, I have never been fast enough to win the coveted mug, and this year, I didn't even run the 10k. Instead, we signed up for the 5k "non competitive stroller and walker race" that starts behind the regular 5k. For the first time in the 6 years I've run the Turkey Trot, it was a chilly morning! Leeza musta brought the cold from Kostanai. :) It was so nice out-and even though I had to wake a sound asleep Leeza up at 6:15 am this morning (about 3 hours earlier than her typical 9:30 am wake up), she woke up happy as we bundled her up for her first Turkey Trot!
Sean and I wanted to run, so we took off and let Daddy walk with Leeza. He loved it as it he said Leeza is MOST DEFINTELY a "chick magnet" as he had many "ooh's and ah's" over her, to which she responded by blowing kisses to her many fans.
In my zest to get her in the stroller with her hat, gloves, and blanket, I didn't "buckle her in" apparently. Joe said he started to jog a lil bit and Leeza started sliding out........but thank goodness Joe was quick enough to catch her before she hit the ground..(and they say 50 is "too old" to adopt a baby..WHATEVER!!!).
It was a gorgeous, chilly morning and we all went to Village Inn for breakast vittles after the run with our friends the Hockin's, and the Fady's. Leeza scarfed down 2 scrambled eggs-eating "double fisted". She is NOT only a "chick magnet" for Joe, but a "kid magnet" as the 2 Hockin boys, and the Fady boy and the Serra boy were all enamoured with the lil superstar Leeza. :) She is CERTAINLY not a child who wants for any attention, that is for sure. :)
Last night, we went to Carraba's after we all signed up for the Turkey Trot. You would not even know we had a baby in our midst, except for the "drunken" Frankstein walk she had to show off after dinner. She sat next to mommy and ate my salad, and my salmon and garlic mashed potatoes, and my friend Virginia's broccoli and cauliflower. No need to order off the kids menu for her...she eats half my entree which helps me try to keep the Kaz weight off. :)
Leeza is now sound asleep-preparing for the next feast where we head over to Karen's-Joe's cousin's-for Thanksgiving dinner. I am thinking she is going to really love "Thanksgiving viddles", but then again, there is not a food that Leeza has met that she doesn't like, except for baby food and grapes. :)
Having Leeza home with us has made me more thankful in general, and more aware of the many blessings in our lives. She is our "Thanksgiving princess", forever here to remind us of how blessed we are to have her in our family. Leeza is a lucky lil girl too, because she has a big brother who clearly adores her. I knew Sean would be a good big brother, just based on his interaction with her in Kazakhstan. However, I thought that once we got home and her "newness" wore off, and he was home, surrounded by his friends and his daily distractions, that Leeza would maybe lose a lil bit of "novelty", after all, he is a 10 year old boy. I cannot tell you how wonderful he is, even more so than in Kaz. I don't have to ask him for help, he gladly gives it, without being asked, or told. He is really amazing with her, and she just adores him. He is, however, prone to some language I am not happy with and twists the nursery ryhmes around and tells her how "innapropriate" they are (Rub a dub, dub, 3 men in a tub, as an example), and has the penguin he bought her "beat up" the doll baby I am teaching her to rock, so those are things we have to work on. :)
Happy blessed Thanksgiving everyone-and ENJOY THE VIDDLES! Leeza sure will....
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I have never really been a "garage saler", I really don't like having them and I rarely go to them, but SOMETIMES someone else's "junque" is really another's "treasure". My neighborhood had several garage sales this weekend and I scored a chair for Leeza for $3, some of those foam pastel things for the floor (we have tile-hard on the butt!) for $2, and my very favorite find...a practically brand new high chair for $15.
Sean used to have a lil Winnie the Pooh couch that folded out that he just LOVED so I was looking for something like that. I had looked at a few things but they were all so EXPENSIVE, and as everyone knows-after spending so much time in Kaz-the "Money tree" out back is bare. :) I love this lil chair and I loved the $3 price tag even better. :)
Think she likes her chair?
Now I am looking for a sand table. Leeza LOVED playing with the one at her friend MacCaiden's house and it would be great on our screened in porch out back, but I am cheap, so I would rather find one at a yard sale for a few bucks. :)
I was so used to NOT having a high chair that I wasn't in a real hurry to get one. Leeza ate on my lap, and then we got a booster seat as a gift that worked great. I knew I needed to get her one though since it's so much easier to feed herself that way. I had looked at a few consigment stores, but they were all "ugly" and still around $50. Now I am so glad I waited, since the one we got for $15 is PERFECT and Leeza seems to love it! It belonged to some grandparents whose grandchildren used it when they came to visit-so needless to say it looked brand new!
Leeza LOVES to eat and eats more than I've seen any kiddo eat. She suprises everyone as to where she puts it all-but she is defintely filling out and getting stronger cuz girls that like to walk, and prefer to run, need lots of energy. :)
Here is today's lunch...chicken, green beans, and an apple. YUM!
She is a neat lil eater, for a baby, at least I think so. She doesn't like her face or her hands dirty, and always wants the wash cloth close by to "wash her face." This cracks me up because I am "messy Melvin" to this day, and was always the kid who had food all over their shirt. Fortunatly, she DOES not seem to take after her very messy mommy. :)
Now....you saw that was a pretty big lunch. Let's see how much she ate...
Almost all gone!!
Who has a full belly??
Friday, November 21, 2008
I got teary eyed today when Leeza's Certificate of Citizenship arrived today. I still get weepy when I see "Leeza Grace Serra" in print.
It's so cool to see and comes in this manilla envelope that says "From the White House" and A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES with a letter from George Bush!! YAY! Now I can apply for her passport, social security card, and readopt her here at home.
Here is Leeza on a chilly Florida friday night in her princess sweat pants, eating a cheesy bread stick from Pizza Planet, on her new chair I scored at a garage sale for just $3!!!!
We were home one month on Tuesday of this week, November 18th. I can't believe we've been home that long already,but then again, it seems like she has ALWAYS been here! She is doing amazingly well. She is so happy, and she has a really great disposition! She has been met with such open arms by everyone here. I drive carpool on Friday's, and there is always big discussions about "who gets to sit by Leeza". If I get out of the car, Leeza and I are "mauled" by fifth graders.
Sean has been just amazing. He is doing GREAT in school--I feel like he has matured a great deal. He is just precious with his sister. He is so great at playing with her and it's so cute to see that way she lights up when she sees him.
This was taken this morning at the donut shop. Leeza eats her own egg sandwich (scrambled egg, white american cheese on an english muffin) and half a punkin spice donut. She continues to have a great appetite, and a great lil system and sits on the potty like a champ. She is a great sleeper, and a late sleeper-often until 9 am or after. I love it now-but I am thinking that she will not be much fun to get up for school someday...but we have a few years on that. :)
Her walking skills continue to improve day by day-she wants to RUN and if she'd slow down she'd fall A LOT LESS-good thing the diaper provides some padding. :)
She also talks up a storm-not sure what she is saying-but she is VERY talkative and VERY feminine. She has 3 tea sets and she loves to play with them-it amazes me she knows what to do when I never showed her. :)
My wonderful and incredible talented friend Karen did some great photo's of Leeza the first weekend we were home. I think she looks so much bigger already..
I chose the song "Pocketful of Sunshine" because the define Leeza's radiant personality..she is a true beauty. :)
Here is the link-they're pretty cute!
(you have to copy and paste it into your internet browser cuz I don't know how to do links in blogger)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Leeza took her most steps ever this morning! She even walked, TURNED AROUND at Sean (no hands, no help) and walked back to me. I am bummed I did not have the camera ready....
I was at a baby shower today (missed Leeza like mad when I was gone) and I got home and she RAN to me-it was the sweetest thing-and gave me a big huge baby kiss. Best gift in the ENTIRE WORLD! I'm sure that she will prefer crawling for awhile, until she gets more confident-but I am amazed at how fast she "got it" and when we push her too much, she looks at you, and shakes her head NO NO NO and crawls. :)
Since Rylie lives in Arizona and is too far to have more tea parties with, Leeza had a tea party with Miles. Miles is never far away from Leeza-which tends to hamper how far she can walk because a big white massive furball is often right in the way. He is not happy unless he is in the middle of all the action.
Sean is a pretty good big brother, I have to admit. Here he is, feeding Leeza her oatmeal with bananas this morning. :) Of course, Miles is right there too!
Leeza was fussing because I was twisting her lil earrings in her ear so they don't stick to her ear. Sean told her "Leeza, your life is soooooooo rough. There are starving children all over the world, and your are crying because Mommy doesn't want your ears to get infected...GET OVER IT!" AND, because big brother rocks, she stopped fussing immediately. It's so funny.
Yesterday, he was entertaining her while she was on the potty by playing his dombra. I hear him in there saying "NO, Leeza, you don't BANG the strings, you STRUM, LET ME SHOW YOU, STRUM!!" I was cracking up.
Leeza will be home a month on Tuesday. It's so weird-we've only known her for 4 1/2 months and she's only been here for almost 4 weeks, but it seems like she's always been here too. She is such a perfect fit and I've loved her for so long-I guess that is why it's so seamless. Kazakhstan has changed all of us so much-and I am still seeing the ways that it's changed me and I am forever humbled and just feel continually blessed.
Enjoy the video-I finally got one!!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Leeza Serra and Rylie Tennen having a princess tea party with organic cereal bars and puffs at Tampa airport
Leeza and I had the distinct privilege of meeting Rylie and Sara Tennen on their layover in Tampa today on their way back to Tampa from visiting Rylie's grandma in Ft. Lauderdale. It was so fun and Rylie is absolutely adorable, as is her mommy, Sara. :)
Leeza and Mommy waiting patiently for them to get off the tram from their plane..
This picture CRACKS ME UP!!
Rylie is SO sweet and had a book for Leeza to congratulate her on her baptism. She wasn't so sure she wanted to give it to Leeza, until her mom reminded her she had her OWN book to read. Rylie is not even 2 but look what SHE reads.....
The girls were really super cute together and I'm so glad I brought Leeza's new tea set. She loves having tea parties-and it cracks me up that she just knows what to do!
Our visit went by so fast....and they had to go catch their flight home.
See ya'll in June at Kazapoolza girlfriends!!!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Leeza with her family-including both sets of Grandparents after the baptism!
Leeza was baptisized on Sunday, November 9th and she did so well! At our church, the minister baptisizes her after the family makes the oath that we will raise her as a Christian child, then walks her up the aisle while the congregation sings "Jesus loves me". She was a champ and went to Jack with a tiny wimper of like "whoa, who has me" then that was it, and was loving walking the aisle with everyone singing to her, while her mother stood there and had huge tears that she could not hold back. It was truly such an emotional time-as I thanked God for our lil blessing Leeza Grace.
Big thank you to Virginia (also the incredible "scrapper" who scrapped my blog into 2 huge books for us-she also took the pictures for us.
Before the baptism, being introduced by the minister as a new baby to be baptisized!!
Leeza and the "fam", but Joey is missing because he lives in California, but he will meet Leeza at Christmas time!
Leeza and her grandparents...
We went to a REALLY NICE brunch at Island Way Grille on Clearwater beach to celebrate after church. I think this is one of my very favorite pictures of Leeza.
Someone told us she was beautiful, and she blew them a kiss-like she knew EXACTLY what they were saying. :)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
At my parents hotel on Clearwater beach in her bathing suit, eating animal crackers form her Mimi
Remember that song "Party all the Time" that the chorus went like this...
My girl wants to party all the time
Party all the time
party all the time.
My girl wants to party all the time
party all the time.
She parties all the time - party all the time
She likes to party all the time - party all the time
party all the time - she likes to party all the time
party all the time.
Well, that song is defintely OUR daughter lil Leeza Grace "Party on" Florida style Serra! She had a big weekend this weekend and she was loving every minute of it!
My parents arrived here from Dallas on Friday night-where they met Leeza the "enchantress" for the first time. Of course, they had followed our blog and had seen a bajillion pictures of her, but had yet to meet her. She of course, turned on the charm and they loved meeting their newest grandaughter.
Here we are on the balcony of their hotel on Saturday...
We had to leave the pool and the beach before we really wanted to because Leeza needed an afternoon nap before her "Sip and See" open house that started at 5, and Sean's busy social life needed him home by 2:15 for a sleepover party at his buddies house.
Isn't her bathing suit the cutest? Thank you so much Matthew and Suzanne, Alyona and Andrey!!! It fit her so wonderfully!
Leeza LOVED the pool-and even went underwater! I really want to get her in swimming lessons-but due to the time of year, the rate I got at the nearby pool was $27 for ONE 30 MINUTE LESSON because it's a private lesson. I think that is crazy, so I am going to keep looking around. Sean always did group lessons and it was never that much-but maybe my mind is stuck back in 1999 prices instead of 2008 prices.
We are going to heat our pool (it's heated, but we gotta fill the gas tank) cuz Leeza sure loves the water. I knew she would cuz she "swims" in the bathtub and even puts her face in the water.
We even took her down to the beach-and the water was kinda cold. She LOVED it and was so happy to watch the waves roll in. She also ate some sand-yum!!!She walked all the way back to the hotel (it was a loooong walk, holding my hand, but on loose sand!!!) and I was so proud of her. I think she is going to be walking, or running-all on her own, very very soon!!
Swimming, going under water, and going on marathon walks up the beach wear a girl out--good thing Mimi hooked me up with some nutrition!!
My first "Sip and See" was hosted by my wonderful friends Maria and Patti Saturday from 5-8. Patti is "the hostess with the mostess" and brought all the yummy food and drinks all the way to our house, and hosted the "open house" at our house. I am really bummed because I didn't get ONE SINGLE PICTURE! I was too busy hauling Leeza around and socializing to even think about my camera. I am so bummed because Patti looked stunning-and Leeza was truly "the belle of the ball!" I am not sure how many people came-but it was a good turn out and we had so many kids there! Patti's fiancee has 2 sets of twin girls-Ashley and Brianna who are 6, and Caitlyn and Danielle, who are 3. I had 3 boys, 2 who were 2 and one who was 18 months, a 3 year old girl, a 4 year old girl, and 2 6 year old girls, an 8 year old girl, and a 10 year old girl! Leeza was "fawned" over not only by adults-but the lil girls just made sure she had everything she needed. The lil twin 3 year olds kept bringing her bread into her room. She loved the brown bread, but she couldn't eat the 20 pieces they brought her. It was really cute! We also had a wonderful visit from 2 other Kaz cuties-Alyona and Andrey-who live close by in Palm Harbor. I had met them once before, when they came home from Kaz-and it was wonderful to see them. I didn't get a chance to chat much with Suzanne and Matt-their incredible parents-but it was great to see the kids runnign around and having fun.
The open house was from 5-8 and everyone was gone by 8:30 , but it felt like midnight. However, the party girl, Ms. Leeza (who did take 2 steps on her own)at the party did not want to sleep. I finally got her in bed at 10:30 and collapsed myself! She usually goes to bed at 9 but she was way too wound up for sleeping! PARTY ON MOM!!
She was baptised today at church too-but that was a momenteous occasion so it deserves it own post! She looked like an angel and didn't even cry when Jack walked her down the aisle and the congregation sang "Jesus Loves Me" to her. I was up front with my parents, Joe's parents, and Sean and Jillian, bawling like a baby! God is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good~!!!
I am so grateful for all my wonderful friends who hosted the party for Leeza-and for the ones who made the effort to come by and meet her. Leeza is just the perfect lil Serra-she fits in so well to our family and her adjustment has been just incredible. She just seems like she has been here her entire life-and I feel like she has too. :) I am so proud of her and so grateful for our lil Kazakh blessing.