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!
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:
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!
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:
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:
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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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!