Wednesday, February 17, 2010


My computer officially died in Russia so I had to go buy another laptop this week - not an expense I really wanted but what are you going to do. I think trying to pull up my chest x-rays at the 8 doctor medical just put it over the edge. Luckily there was a computer in the room so I was able to pull up my x-rays on their computer.
The trip home went really well - only a 20 minute delay on one flight. I thought that was pretty good! The only snafu was that I was locked out of my house when I got home and had to call a locksmith to get in. My friend who was dog sitting for me accidently locked my keys and the spare key in the house - not a huge problem and out of all the things that could have happened on the trip, that was pretty minor! But now I have about 5 spare keys around town so hopefully that won't happen again!
So the last few days I have just been trying to get back in the swing of things. I didn't really have any jet lag which is really nice but work has just been crazy this week! I think everyone decided to call and need something while I was gone so I've just been trying to dig out of the huge pile of stuff on my desk. And to top it off, we haven't had any heat in the office all week which is totally rediculous!
I have a few paperwork things to take care of this week and then it's on to working on the nursery!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 4 & 5

Thursday was a driving day. We were picked up at 9:00 in Kaluga and made the trip back to Moscow. It took a little over 3 hours and then we went to the CSS office and met Svetlana and Irina - very nice ladies! We went over some paperwork and then headed to my friend's house.

It was so nice to see her and hang out with her last night. Her apartment is super comfortable and it just feels more like home. She took us to Red Square to see it lit up at night and Christ the Savior Cathedral. Then we went to the underground mall by Red Square at ate at a Pizza place that was awesome. We just got to chat about stuff in Russia and stuff at home. It was a great day!

Friday we got to sleep in which was really nice. My parents and my friend left to go see the city. I waited for my driver and translator to come pick me up to go to the 8 doctor medical exam. That was an experience! I wasn't really nervous about it but I just didn't know what to expect. It was a piece of cake and they basically just asked me questions but it just took a long time - about 5 hours. We went into a large room with a conference table and just waited for the doctors to come in when they had a break from their regular patients. There was a screen and a exam bed in the corner that I had to take my shirt and shoes off for the dermatologist and the general practitioner. The dermatologist told me I had dry skin - really? Of course I do! I'm in Russia in the dead of winter!

I met another CSS family while I was there and it was great to be able to chat with them while we were waiting. There were also 2 families from Ireland there too. Since there were 4 families that had to be seen, it just took longer I think.

I was starving by the time I met up with my parents on Arbat street so I had to stop at McDonalds and grab a hamburger. We shopped a little bit on Arbat street and then headed back to my friend's apartment. We stopped by a mall on the way to eat and I had Blinis - yum! We packed up our stuff to be ready to go to the airport at 3 am - fun!

Here are a couple of pictures from our last 2 days in Moscow:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Norah Victoria

Don't you just love the headless pictures? Sorry I had to cut my face off too - I'm just not patient enough to edit it any better :)

Well this day didn't go quite as expected although it was still a good day. We woke up and went to the Blini restaurant where the girl working was really annoyed when we asked for the English menu. It was pretty easy to order though, we just pointed at what we wanted and it was really good! I'm definitely going back there on my next trip.

Then we came back to the hotel to wait for Nadya and Vladimir to pick us up. We were headed to the baby home to pick up Norah for our photo session - passport pictures. Well, when Nadya came she said that Norah had a fever and we couldn't go to the baby home today or get the pictures taken. Soooo... we headed to the notary to get all of our paperwork signed and then we decided to stop by the baby home just in case they might let us in for a few minutes. They let us stay for 20 minutes which is better than nothing! We just stayed in the little hallway by her groupa's room and played on the couch. She was in a really good mood despite her fever. Then we had to say goodbye and I left a few things for her.
So then we had the rest of the day to find something to do so we decided to go to a monestary about 15 miles out of the city. It was very interesting and I'm glad we went. There is a natural spring there that is considered holy water and it never freezes and people bring empty jugs to take the water home. There are also these little houses that sit on the springs that you can go into and take a dip in the water. No thank you! It was about 10 degrees today and I wouldn't want to take my coat off let alone swim around in freezing water!
Then we headed back into town and went to a sourvenir shop and then to an Italian restaurant that was very good. I had a mushroom risotto that was awesome. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and said goodbye to Nadya and now we are just hanging out in the room. I'm pretty tired today - walking around the monestary outside in the cold really wore me out. Tomorrow we're off to Moscow in the morning to meet up with a friend from home that lives there. She was sweet enough to let us stay with her to save money on a hotel or apartment.
So this is my last post from Kaluga! See you tomorrow in Moscow!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Great Day

So last night we went to the baby home at 6 and were there for about an hour. It went really well and we just played and I held her for a lot of the time.

This morning we woke up (after someone in the room decided to get up at 2:00 and read and eat beef jerky - don't ask) and walked to the church that is about 2 blocks away and went in for a minute. They were in the middle of a service so we didn't stay long. Then we just walked around the block. It snowed all day today and the streets are definitely harder to drive through. I'm so glad I'm not driving - there is no way I'd be able to do it. I haven't been really seen the horrible driving that everyone talks about - Vladimir is actually a very good driver. Maybe it's because I knew what to expect since I've been to Russia before.
Nadya and Vladimir picked us up a little earlier today and we went to the open air market to look at hats. Don't worry - I have some great pictures to come :) Then we went to the Aeronautics museum which was interesting. Then we headed to the most important place in Kaluga - the baby home!

Our first visit today didn't go as well as yesterday. We were in the music room again but I think she is teething and she's breathing pretty heavy so I think she might be getting a cold. She didn't want much to do with any of the toys so I held her most of the time. It was still a good visit but my arms were getting sore by the end of our visit!
Then we headed to the Pub restaurant and then walked back to the hotel to take a little nap. We went back to the baby home tonight at 6 and she was in a much better mood. She was laughing and playing and I heard her really cry for the first time. She was sitting up and playing and started falling backwards and my mom caught her but it startled her and she just started crying. Only one tear though! Then there were some great fake crys that we couldn't help but laugh at - it was pretty funny.
Then we headed back to the hotel. My dad has been trying to figure out the satelite on the tv to find an english station. What was the one thing I forgot? DVD's of course! So we came across a music video station that had an American rap song on it so we watched it for a minute and then my dad asked, "Is this in english?" My mom and I were rolling - it was hilarious! You have to know my dad and his huge hatred of rap music. We finally found CNN so we're good now and it only took us 2 days :)

Tomorrow we head to the notary to sign all the paperwork and get passport pictures taken of a certain someone :) So tomorrow I'll let everyone know her name and I'll post a glimpse of what she looks like.
Here are a few pictures to tide you over.

This is the hat market: My dad and his purchase at the museum:

My dad and I in front of the baby home

Me posing with the shawl the Nadya made me take to wear under my coat because she said my wool coat wasn't warm enough :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Today Was A Great Day

We had a late start today. Good thing because we slept in until 9 this morning after going to bed at 7:30ish last night. It's about 5:00 pm here and I'm still good - not tired at all so hopefully I'll miss out on all the jet lag fun. I'm sure I'll pay for it on the way back. We got ready and took a quick walk around the block before we had to go. The sidewalks are extremely icy and it was pretty cold today - about 0 degrees I think.
We met Nadya (my translator) a little after noon and went to the MOE. It was pretty uneventful. Basically it was a formality that they were allowing me to go the orphanage and visit.

Then we headed for the baby home. It was very clean and hot - I was sweating the entire time but that could've been due to nerves too. We waited for our coordinator and then went into the head doctors office to go over her medical file and ask any questions that I had. Then we got to go downstairs to see her in her groupa. She was hanging out in the large crib and the caretaker picked her up and brought her over to me. I didn't get to hold her yet - they wanted to get her dressed and kept apologizing that she wasn't wearing socks. It was about 95 degrees in there and I would've been running around in bare feet too if I could! There were about 6-8 babies in there but we were only there for a minute because the nurses didn't want us in there without masks. So we headed up to the music room and they brought her in a few minutes later.
She is super cute and still has a mohawk although her hair is lighter than it looked in the pictures. They put her in a walker and she just started running around. The doctor and a caretaker were in there for a minute but then they left so we were alone which was nice. Then I finally got to hold her and there were no tears! My dad even held her with no tears - she was pretty interested in him and his deep voice that she doesn't hear very often. We played with some of the toys I brought but of course my purse and the camera were way more interesting. She looks very healthy and seems to be on target or ahead on almost all of her development milestones. We got her to laugh and smile and she has a great toothy grin. It was really nice to have both of my parents there - one was in charge of the camera and the other had the video camera. I didn't have to worry about any of it!

We were there for about 2 hours and then we had to leave. We went to eat and then headed back to the hotel and now we're just hanging out until we go back to the baby home at 6:00. We get to visit her twice a day tomorrow and Wednesday and then we head back to Moscow.
So things are going awesome - I will post more tomorrow!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

We are here

We are in Kaluga and I'm exhausted. All the plane transfers and flights went great. No delays or anything - just a lot of flying and being in a cramped space. It's 7:45 here and I'm off to bed. I can't keep my eyes open any longer. Tomorrow we go to the MOE around 1 and then we're off to the orphanage!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Not Enough Time In The Day...

This week has been absolutely crazy! For some reason all of my clients at work seem to magically know when I'm going to be out of the office and they all need me to get things done right away. I was sooooo busy at work this week not to mention all the other things that needed to be done so I could leave tomorrow morning!! But I got most of my customers taken care of and the rest will just have to wait until I get back. I keep telling people that kitchens are not life and death, but that never seems to go over very well...
The visas came this morning at 10:00 am. Once those came I could breathe a little easier. Both of my parents are going with me which will be really nice - one can have the camera and the other can man the video camera :)

I'm pretty much ready - and I guess I should be since I have to leave for the airport at 6 am and it's midnight! Oh well, I can sleep on the plane I guess. I just had to make a last minute run to get batteries so now I think I'm set.
My house is clean and there's just a few more things to get in the suitcase and I'm off to bed. Next time I post I will be in Russia!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm Going to Russia!!

So this has been a whirlwind weekend! I got the call on Thursday and I have to be in Russia this coming Sunday!! I was going out of town this last weekend so I tried to get all the major stuff done on Thursday and Friday before I left and now I'm back and trying to get everything else taken care of.

And what's even crazier - It's A Girl!!
She is very cute - 9 months old with dark hair and kinda chunky. I was not expecting a girl at all since I didn't specify gender and it's thrown me for a loop a little bit. For those of you not in the adoption world, when you don't specify gender you are more than likely going to be referred a boy because there tends to be more boys in the orphanages than girls.

I had room colors and decorations all picked out - luckily I hadn't bought anything or painted anything yet- and now I have to rethink all of it. Even the quilt I was working on has more "boyish" colors but I can make it work. I'm definitely going to use it since I spent all the time on it! I had bought a few clothes at garage sales, luckily not much, but at least I know a little boy in the family who can use them :) It just might take him a while to grow into them.

I got my flights booked on Friday, visas sent out, hotel is already taken care of. Now I just need to move on to details like getting crisp money and packing. Oh, and to make my life so much easier I hit something on the interstate late last night (I think it was a dog) and totally wrecked my car. At least it is driveable but my whole front bumper and my right headlight is gone.

I will be posting from Russia (hopefully) on what's going on everyday. I know I love reading people's blogs when they are in Russia. It's just so exciting and it really helps to know what to expect when it's your turn. So thanks to all of you who have already been there done that - it really does help and hopefully I'll be able to help someone out too!