Thursday, November 4, 2010

18 months

I meant to get this posted sooner (since now Norah is closer to 19 months!) but time just keeps getting away from me! Things are still going really well. Norah is doing new things everyday. Her vocabulary has exploded in the last month. Now I hear "Mommy, mommy, mommy" over and over again:) It's cute but sometimes I wish she'd move on to another word! For a while every other word was owie so I guess Mommy is an improvement! I was trying to make a list of all the words she can say and there are quite a lot. She will also try to repeat any words I ask her to - they don't sound the same but she's trying! I know this will be boring, but I want to write it down so I remember.

She's now saying: mommy, grandma, grandpa, amber, matt, heather (howie), shoe, sock, hat, bye bye, hi, no, ball, puppy, pretty, apple, banana, snack, cookie, cracker, cheese, drink, owie, cold, hot, please, thank you, up, night night, sticker, all done

She also knows almost all of her animal sounds - her favorites are definitely a duck and a monkey (complete with arm motions!)

We went trick or treating and I really didn't think she would get into it since she really doesn't like sweets and really has no concept of candy yet, but oh was I wrong! She loved to walk right up to the doors and hold her bag up and say something that sounded like cookie (trying to say trick or treat). Then she would say thank you, bye-bye and then blow everyone kisses. She was quite the ham! Norah's cousin was dressed up as tigger and when Norah saw him, she looked at his ears and grabbed his tail and just started roaring at him - it was very cute. She helped me hand out candy too and would stand by the front door waiting for kids to come and then she would run over and grab my hand to take me to the door. When I would give out the candy, she would grab a piece out the bucket and say thank you and run to put it somewhere.

Lately her favorite thing is her socks - taking them off, putting them back on, pointing to them, showing me her socks.
Norah has also used the potty quite a few times! I don't push it but I leave it out in case she ever wants to use it and every once in a while she'll go in there and sit down. I know she's not ready for potty training yet since she will still run around in a dirty diaper but everytime she uses the potty means another diaper I don't have to change!

Here are some pics of what we'vebeen up to:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We've Been Busy!

I can't believe it's been a month since I posted last! Time goes by fast and we've been really busy. Plus, I just don't have time to post anything anymore! Norah is still doing great. In the last few weeks she's really started showing affection and now will give me kisses and hugs. She can also blow kisses, but she has a little trouble with the blowing part. She understands everything I say and has started saying a few words. Right now she can say:

Mama, hi, ouch, shoes, icky, teeth, uh oh

She knows what puppies, pigs, lions, ducks, and kitties say too. The sound for pigs and lions is pretty much the same but oh well! She also knows what a bunny does too - she can't quite crinkle her nose so she uses her mouth. She knows how to blow bubbles and is starting to help me pick up her toys and put them back. One of her favorite games right now is take everything out of the toybox and then walk away and not play with any of it! I think that's pretty typical right now and at least I'm happy she'll help me pick it up! She is also really starting to like books. At first she would have nothing to do with them, but now she'll grab a book and back up to sit on my lap to read it. We usually don't get through the whole book, but we'll get there.

Eating has gotten so much better! She will still eat anything and everything, but we've slowed down a little. She will let me prepare food now and doesn't scream everytime she sees food and she's not eating. She will even let me finish eating my lunch when she's done with hers - progress! She is actually chewing food now too. I have been cutting her food into very tiny pieces because she would just swallow everything whole. But now she can actually take bites of things! It's very funny when I tell her to use her teeth- she just grins up at me and starts chomping. It's very cute.

We went to my parents lake house over the 4th and had a great time. Norah loves the water! She wasn't too wild about the life jacket though. We went swimming off the dock and she just kicked and splashed around. I also got engaged over the 4th - talk about being busy! Apparently I felt the need to have all the major events in my life happen at the same time! Here are some pictures from the 4th:

Not so sure about the sand:

I started back to work a couple weeks ago. The first week my family helped out and she started at the sitter this last week. Things are going pretty well - she loves the sitter which makes me happy. Our only issue is that she won't sleep very well there so I get a very tired little girl when I pick her up at night. But I think once she gets in a routine she will do better. She doesn't get upset when I leave - she just goes to the door and waves bye bye to me as I drive out and she's very excited when I pick her up. I was a little nervous about it because she has cried very hard both times I tried to leave her in the church nursery so I wasn't sure how she would do but so far so good! She also got her first black eye! It happened about 2 minutes before I walked out the door to go to work for my first day back (of course)! She fell on the dog and got an instant black eye. It's all better now though. Here are some pictures:

Going for a wagon ride:
Playing shopping - she'll go through the house and put things in her bag:

Looking pretty cool at the zoo. She loves her glasses!

Helping Mama clean. She loves to swiffer the walls :)

Having our first chocolate chip cookie!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What we've been up to

Things have been going so well! Norah has adjusted wonderfully so far. She's been sleeping through the night every night and takes naps very well too. She is a great eater! She will eat anything and everything. She loves to eat and it's really our only struggle right now. She is still learning that food takes time to prepare and she just has no patience for it. So I've been learning to plan ahead and get things ready during nap time so I'm not having to cook a bunch while she's awake. She is getting better though - at least now she lets me take a bite between me feeding her! She's also been learning to feed herself. The first time I put something on her high chair tray, she tried to lick it off but now she's double fisting it! I've also learned if I give her a spoon, she will hold onto it with one hand and then it will take her a little longer to eat and gives me a chance to eat as well! We've been out to eat at a couple of restaurants and that has gone okay - not very relaxing because she has to have food in front of her the entire time if there is any food on the table. She's also learning that not all the food is for her! It wouldn't be so bad if she didn't eat so fast!

But so far that is our only issue so I can't complain too much! She is very attached to me which is great! She won't go to anyone else, well unless they have food :) Norah loves to play outside and is always bringing me her shoes to go out. At first she was very hesitant to touch anything outside, but now she loves to jump in puddles and play in the dirt. She is great with the dogs too. It was so funny at first, because she was so excited to be around them but she was nervous too. She would go up to one of them and she had this nervous laugh and would try to touch them but wouldn't use her hands - she always used her arm or elbow. It was very funny! She's over that and now we're learning to pet and not poke the dogs in the eyes :)

Here are some pictures of what we've been up to since we got home.
Having fun at the swimming pool:

Getting ready for our nap - she loves anything soft!

Swimming in the back yard:

Eating dinner:

Learning to brush our teeth:

Going for a walk. This girl loves her stroller!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

We're Home!

We are home! Norah did great on the planes. We had 3 flights and she only really fussed/screamed for about the last 30 minutes of the 8 hour plane ride from Frankfurt to Chicago. I think her ears were hurting her. I tried to give her a sippy cup while we were taking off and landing for each flight but at the start of that flight from Frankfurt, she was completely out as soon as we sat down in the seats. She slept on and off and was awake and playing during our layovers. She was sooooo tired by our last flight though. I gave her a bottle while we were taking off and she was completely gone. Most people on the plane didn't even know there was a baby on board!

We got home at 6ish and I tried to keep her awake as long as possible. We made it to 7:30 which I didn't think was too bad! She woke up a few times in the middle of the night. Once was pretty bad - I picked her up and she was just soaked from sweat and she was crying like she was in pain. I gave her some baby ibuprofen and rocked her and got her back to sleep. She's getting a cold too. I got sick on gotcha day (perfect timing!) and my mom was coming down with it this last week, so I figured Norah would get it sooner or later. I'm just glad she got it now and not a couple of days ago.

Sorry these are not in order - for some reason blogger won't let me move them. Sleeping baby in our new bed!

Taking a little nap:

Enjoying the music on the plane:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Some More

Being very good while we were eating at a restaurant:

Throwing a fit:

Hanging out in the apartment:

Not happy after our dinner was gone:

Things are still going good here. We go to the Embassy tomorrow to pick up her visa and then we leave on Friday! Yay!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Here's a couple pictures of what we've been up to the last few days. For some reason Blogger won't let me upload any more - I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Everything's Good!

I know I haven't posted since Tuesday, but I've been busy! Norah is doing very well - she will eat anything I put in front of her and everything's coming out well on the other end too :) She has been sleeping great too! The first night she slept from 8pm to 8am - not waking up once. Last night was the first time she woke up in the middle of the night but she went right back to sleep once I rocked her a little. For naps and bedtime, she'll let me rock her until she falls asleep and then I can lay her down and she doesn't wake up - awesome! Usually it only takes about 10-15 minutes for her to be completely out. There's only been a couple of nap times where it took longer because she was playing - poking my eyes and my nose, so I had to lay her down and lay on the bed next to her and she fell asleep on her own.

Wednesday we just hung out at the hotel and walked around Kaluga a little bit - it was cold and rainy so we didn't do much. Thursday, we had to go to the passport office to pick up Norah's passport. There was a chance we could have waited about 3 hours there but luckily it was only 1 1/2 hours. Norah didn't really care for the passport office, so my mom and sister took her on a walk in the stoller while I waited. Then we took the 3 hour car ride back to Moscow. I was a little worried about it because she's never been in a car seat before and 3 hours is a long time! But she did awesome - only wanted to get out a couple of times but I was able to distract her. Then she fell asleep for a little over an hour. Thursday night wasn't so great because she was off her schedule and it was just too much new stuff in one day! There were a few meltdowns over putting her shoes back on. Yesterday was pretty low key too - I've been trying to get her back to at least being close to her old schedule, and I'm hoping we're back on track today.

So far, she's been pretty happy most of the time except when her shoes fall off and we have to put them back on - oh the tears! I would have to say the hardest thing so far has been eating - and it's not her, it's us! She's never been around food that wasn't for her so it's been hard for my mom, Amber, and I to eat. Usually I feed her first, but she still needs something while we eat and we can't walk in the kitchen because if she sees food, she wants it now!! So we've been trying to go out for lunch after I feed her and then we just give her gerber puffs while we eat. We've been trying to eat in the apartment for dinner to save some money and that makes it a little easier - we can either wait until she goes to bed or take turns eating in the kitchen. We've made a little fortress in the living room of our apartment with the extra cots so she is contained, otherwise she would be everywhere! She loves to walk around but she's still not very steady on her feet and there are a lot of sharp corners in this apartment plus a lot of things she just can't have. So that has made it a lot easier on all of us.

She loves her stroller too! I was a little worried about it because we have been using it as a high chair too when we feed her so I was worried that she would always think she needs to eat when she gets in, but she is fine when we go on walks. When we get her coat out and her hat, she gets very excited!

I will post pictures soon. My mom and Amber went to the market while Norah naps and then we're all going to Red Square later today to take the mandatory St. Basils pic :) Today is supposed to be the nicest day this week so I wanted to get it done while it was sunny. Then Monday we start all of our embassy appointments and then we leave on Friday morning!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gotcha Day!

So today was the big day! I had to run and do a few paperwork things at the registry and the passport office and then it was off to the babyhome for the last time! It took a little bit because we had to talk to the director and the social worker but then we headed down to Norah's room and she was all smiles when she saw us. All the caretakers were so nice and told me to come back in a couple of years for a boy. Not sure about that! It was too cute because all the other kids who were in their walkers came to the door to watch us leave - very cute but sad too. We changed her clothes, took a few pictures and then we left. I'm now at the hotel room while Norah is napping and my mom and Amber are out grabbing lunch. Here are a couple of pictures from today plus some from our other visits.
A litte worried about the car ride: From some of our visits last week:

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Big Day is Tomorrow!

We are back in Kaluga tonight just winding down and getting ready for the big day tomorrow! We will go pick up Norah tomorrow around 10-11. I promise to put some pictures of her on the blog tomorrow sometime. Until then - paka!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Having Fun in Moscow

We've been exploring Moscow for the past few days. We got here on Monday and I don't think I've ever walked this much in my life! We've walked to Red Square, New Arbat and Old Arbat multiple times, Christ the Savior Cathedral and to a bunch of parks. We also got to see the Novodichy monestary - we went there on Monday before our apartment was ready and also went on a boat tour. We also went inside the Kremlin to see all the churches inside - it was very cool. And I think I've seen enough Matroyshka dolls to last me the rest of my life!
Somewhere online I found the top 10 things to see in Moscow and we've seen almost all of them! The one thing we have left to do is go to the market. We've decided to brave the metro by ourselves and go tomorrow. Luckily we have a friend who lives here and she's met up with us a couple times to go on the metro and see some things we probably wouldn't have been able to find. So we've been saving the hard stuff for when she's with us and we need a person who speaks Russian! She can't come with us tomorrow so we're going to try it by ourselves. Hopefully it won't be too difficult.
Tonight we're off to Red Square again to see it all lit up at night and get our daily ice cream cone. Here are some pics of what we've been up to:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another Day Down

Well we are getting a little stir crazy in the hotel but we're off to Moscow tomorrow morning and it will be nice to have a change of scenery for a week. Kaluga is a great town but I definitely think we've seen most of it. We've been going to the same restaurants and the people working are actually not scowling at us when we walk in anymore - yay! Our days are going pretty quickly which is good but I'll be honest that I'm definitely ready for a cold diet pepsi with ice - and refills! There are a few other things but overall it's been a good trip so far. We've been able to go the baby home twice a day everday which has been very good and Norah is always very happy to see us. The caretakers say she keeps looking at the door waiting for us to come. I just hope she remembers me when we pick her up in a week.

Here are a couple of pictures of what we've been up to:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Big Thank You

I just want to thank everyone who was praying for me during my court hearing. I really believe those prayers were the only way I walked out of there with a positive outcome. I really felt calm while we were waiting for the decision and I know it was only because of all the people who were praying for me. Thank you all so much! There have been so many ups and downs throughout this entire process but I know God called me to this and He deserves all the credit.

We visted Norah after the court hearing and 2 times today. As soon as she sees me, she starts waving goodbye to the caretakers - it's very cute. Yesterday, they handed her to me and then decided they should probably feed her before we went to play. Oh the tears! The big bottom lip came out and big tears. But then she saw her dinner and was okay :) She has also decided that she only wants me to hold her which is great as far as attachement goes.
We are staying here for a few more days and then we're off to spend a week in Moscow before we pick her up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Judge Said Yes!

After 3 hours of major questioning, the judge said yes! I thought it was pretty tough but didn't really know if that was the way it usually went or not. It wasn't! The judge really went over everything with a fine tooth comb. I'm just glad I didn't realize it was going very badly until it was all over! Anyway, we're off to the baby home - I'll write more later!

My Bad

My mom, sister, and I are keeping a list of all the stupid things we do while we're here. So far, I only have one. I won't tell you who has the most, but it's a pretty easy guess :)

Here is my one stupid thing. I accidently bought caviar flavored chips. I just saw the Lays label and grabbed them - i didn't look at the picture. The best part was that my sister ate some of them before we figured it out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Court Tomorrow

My court hearing is at 2:30 tomorrow which would be 5:30 am central time. I know some of you wanted to know. Today was another good day. I'll post more tomorrow morning but I'm off to bed now.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I couldn't sleep last night at all - the time change did a number on me! I woke about about 4:30 and then fell back asleep around 6 and slept until 9. Someone (i won't mention names) woke up and was showered at ready to go at 5 am! She was in a separate room and didn't have a watch or clock and heard people getting around but it was people getting in at 2 - not getting up for the day! It was another warm day here - quite the contrast from last time I was here in February. We got ready and went out for breakfast and walked around Kaluga for quite a while. We headed to the orphanage around 1 and guess what? Someone is walking!
She was pretty hesitant to come to me but then she warmed up pretty quickly. We got to play for about an hour and a half. I definitely found out today that someone is VERY stubborn! The only place we didn't want her to go was out the door and guess where she tried to go the entire time? Nevermind the ball pit or the many, many other toys to play with - we wanted to go right for the door everytime!
We got to go back for a second visit later this evening. It was still very warm and she was getting a little fussy because she was getting sweaty from the layers of clothes and because we were doing a lot of playing!
She has quite a bit more hair now and my family will be happy to know that the faux-hawk is gone! She has got some curls in the back too. She's also got a few more teeth than last time.

Tomorrow we're off for another visit and to do some sightseeing around Kaluga. Paka!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Back in Kaluga!

Well we made it! 18 hours of travel and now we're sitting in the hotel room trying to stay awake so we won't be up at 3 in the morning! My mom and my sister came with me this time which is very nice. It was about 40 degrees when we left Iowa and it's about 80 degrees in Russia! Not much to post about right now. Tomorrow we're off to the baby home to visit Norah and Wednesday is my court date. I'll keep everyone updated!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pain in the Neck

Literally. I have been out of commission the last 5 days with severe neck pain. Not so good when I'm supposed to get on a plane to Russia this Saturday! I didn't do anything to it or sleep on it wrong - it just decided last Tuesday evening to lock up and not move. I've been on pain meds and muscle relaxers which make me super groggy and loopy but don't really help anything. Luckily, I found a great chiropractor that has been working on me everyday. I feel soooo much better than I did this weekend but I still don't even have half the range of motion in my neck. I have 4 more days to get it better before I leave and I just hope it doesn't lock up again when I'm in Russia. The bones in my neck aren't curving like they're supposed to and it is causing my spinal cord to be pulled. It's probably been building for about 5 years and this week was the breaking point probably induced by stress. Perfect timing!

On a happier note - I leave for Russia on Saturday! I'm not even close to being ready since I haven't been able to do anything for the last 5 days. My mom came and stayed with me a couple of days and did a ton of stuff for me though - she mowed my lawn, did the dishes, scrubbed my kitchen floor, planted flowers, mulched the flower beds, cleaned my bathroom. She's awesome! So now I just really have the packing to do and get my work stuff finished up. I'm still not sure how I'm going to fit everything in one bag but I'm gonna try!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

Well, this last week has really not been any fun at all. One minute my heart is sinking and the next I'm thinking everything is going to be fine and I will be in Russia next month.
I did get a court date for May 12th and was actually going to buy my plane tickets and send passports in to get my visas on the day this whole scandal broke. I'm glad I didn't send them in!

So this last week I've just been watching the news (bad choice obviously!) and checking Frua and emailing my agency. For those of you that don't know, the news agencies misreported that Russia had stopped all adoptions but they have not. They could at any time though which really makes it hard to plan. I have to buy my plane tickets and send for my visas by this coming Friday to keep the rate that I've been quoted. I'm definitely making the tickets changeable and refundable! I was hoping to have some more news on Tuesday when the delegation from the US was supposed to be in Moscow to discuss everything, but now I've heard that they will be delayed because of the volcanic ash - we just can't catch a break!

I have decided that if I do get to go, that I will stay in Russia for the 10 day waiting period. It's getting to be closer to high season so ticket prices are going up and it will just make me feel better knowing that I'm in the country. I know this isn't true but in my head I feel like if I stay, they'll have to let me bring her home! Completely unreasonable but it will keep me sane so that's what I'm doing!

There are so many things I need to do to prepare for Norah but half the time my heart just isn't in it - I think it's just self-preservation in case things do fall apart. But I have decided to be positive (trying my best!) and move forward and get things done. So this week my goal is to finish the nursery. I changed some things around and I'll post pictures once I get everything the way I want it. I know I'm being a little ridiculous about it since I know she won't care at all, but it's one of the few things I can control and the interior designer just comes out in me and I want it to look awesome.

My church threw me a great shower a couple of weeks ago and I got a lot of great things. Here are a few pictures from the shower. My friends make these great clocks and I was planning on buying one for the nursery but then they surprised me with it at the shower! Here's my shameless plug for them:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nursery Pictures

Here are the nursery pictures. Luckily I haven't had to buy any furniture for the nursery. My aunt was nice enough to let me borrow her crib and I had all the other furniture already. I'm still looking for a changing table but those are pretty easy to find so I'm not too worried about that.
I'm not quite done yet - I still need to get some baskets for the shelving unit, curtains, and some things on the wall but it's getting close!

Here's a close-up of the quilt I made: