Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our home to yours! We enjoyed a very busy Christmas together as a family for the first time. Tatiana of course, was spoiled by Santa Claus and her Mom, Lisa, Grandma, Aunts and Uncles, cousins, friends, et. al. As you can see from the above Christmas photo, Tatiana is thriving. She just turned 3 1/2 on December 24th. My how time flies. I just measured her the other day when I noticed that all of her new fall and winter pants were looking a bit short, and found that she has grown an inch over the past 3 months. After all, she does tell me after and each meal that "she is getting taller." She is hysterical. She talks a mile a minute, amazing our friends, family and her teacher on a daily basis. Since our last post, Tatiana has been enrolled in preschool 2 days a week for 3 year olds. She loves it! She also has been going to gymnastics 1 day a week for a little out of the house exercise. She has a blast in this class too!
Have to run again for now but will try to update again soon with more photos and the happenings. For now, I wanted to make sure that we said Hello to all of our blogging friends, old and new. Again...Happy New Year! We sincerely hope all of you are doing well, and have a fantastic 2010.
Love, Shannon and Tatiana

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Someone Just Turned 3!!!!

I can hardly believe it, but my little girl is growing up so fast already and has turned 3 this past week. We have been very busy and have unfortunately neglected the blog for awhile, although we do check in on everyone elses from time to time.

Tatiana is still a very busy girl, who rarely slows down until she is just totally exhausted at days end. Although believe it or not, from time to time now she will ask me to rock her to sleep after lunch for a little rest. Whoo Hooo!

Here are a few highlights from birthday girl's party:

And a few others from weeks past to catch up with the photos again:

We have our first post-placement coming up next week. oh my goodness has it really been that long already? Though most days it feels like Tatiana and I have been together forever.

She is doing very well adjusting. Most people would never know that she just learned English four months ago as she probably speaks more than many 3 year olds who were born in this country. Tia continues to amaze me and the rest of her new family on a daily basis. She is very smart and also very stubborn. She is still throwing temper tantrums, but much smaller versions from when we first became a family. At least now we both completely understand each other, so they are not for lack of communication skills. Just plain old 2-3 year old "I want something and can't have it" type temper tantrums.

For activities Tia loved Gymnastics. She is on summer break from them now, but we had fun in a Mom and Tot group in the spring. This summer she is having fun on the boat, playing in the pool, being outside. loves going to the park to swing and slide, and playing with the neighborhood kids. We are going to try some camping in a couple of weeks. I'm already sure that she will love it as she thoroughly enjoys being outside all the time.

I'll be taking Tia to the doctor again for her three year old check up very soon, so don't have exact stats as to how much she's grown. Am looking forward to seeing if she has caught up at all. Her aunt Robin likes to weigh her and says she weighs 26.5 lbs now, instead of 25.5lbs, but we will soon find out for sure. She has definitely grown taller as she is now into 2T's instead of just into the 18 month outfits, although her Grandma has to keep taking in the waists for her as she still has no butt. I'm sure she will appreciate that trait as she gets older, but for now, we could use a little extra cush on the tush to keep the pants up. hahaha

Hope all of you are doing well? I see some great news about traveling for second trips coming up for a couple people! Congrats!

Hope you all have a very wonderful and safe fourth of July as well! Will post again as soon as humanly possible after the fourth.

Shannon and Tatiana

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Pics

Tia's first piggy tails and Tia with her and Aunt Robin

Tia and her cousin Alivia sharing in the Easter festivities.

More Easter Fun!

Coloring Eggs with Mama and Aunt Robin

Coffee or Tea anyone!

Showing off my new earings.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Yes we are still alive!

Here are some recent pictures of Tatiana, hanging out at the house.
There is also one taken with one of her favorite cousins, Katie who lives just down the street.

We have been very busy over the past few weeks getting adjusted to a new routine and trying very hard to get a little someone to take naps and go to sleep at night. I have to say, the nap thing is still not going well. This is the main reason for the delay in posts. Sleep at night also comes with a fight which doesn't leave much alone time for Mama. Tatiana just hates going to bed. She fights and fights until she is just exhausted. I usually get her down by about 8 or 830pm, but that is usually with no nap. She gets up at about 730 or 8am. She was sleeping through the night until about 10 days ago, now she frequently awakens in the night and has a really hard time going back to sleep if she even thinks I might sneak out of the room. I have had to camp out in her room a few nights just so I can get some sleep too! I have been trying everything I can think of to get her to relax and not be afraid of the dark and her room. She now has a Hello Kitty CD player that we rock to sleep by playing lullabies , a night light and a new toy that's like a glow worm only its a sea horse that also plays lullabies and its belly lites up when you push it. (This does help sometimes when she wakes up in the middle of the night to calm herself down and fall asleep).

Aside from the sleep issues, most every thing else that is going on is pretty typical 2-3 year old behavior. Screaming temper tantrums when we don't get our way. Saying No! Not listening to Mommy when she says No don't touch. Having to touch 5 more times and get into trouble. Everything is Mine, mine, mine.. (you know what I'm talking about don't you! Especially those of you with 2 year olds.)

For the most part Tatiana is a really good kid. She is very funny (as you can see in some of the pictures)! She loves to laugh and clown around. She is very talkative! She is picking up English right and left. She Mimics everything we say to her and everything we do. The teenage girls at church just taught her thumbs up. She also loves to do High 5! And when she's coughing from drinking too fast, my sister tells her "hands up harry". So now every time she coughs, her arms go up in the air and we laugh.

We went and got all her lab draws done last week and are now awaiting the results. Poor baby! I really dreaded doing this and getting all the recommended tests done, but knew it was a good idea. Tatiana was a real trooper. Had to get poked three times to get all the blood that they needed. She cried the first poke and so did I, though I was trying to hide my face from her. The last two pokes she didn't make a peep and held real still. She was so good. I even got her to pee in the cup.

Speaking of potty...yes she is potty trained. We did have a few accidents this last week, Three at night and one during the day, but for the most part she has done extremely well. I couldn't ask for better with that. I am still amazed.

Food....we did have major eating issues to begin with. I thought she was going to only eat yogurt and bananas and cheerios for a long time. I was getting really worried, cause she is still petite for her age and needs to eat better. I am happy to report that miss picky has finally given in and is trying new things. Hurray!!! She now eats chicken, hamburger out of the bun, hot dogs, french fries of course, soups (loves beef barley), cheese sticks, grapes, apples. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were a hit today for the first time. Oh, also some pastas and spaghetti. Thank goodness, because pasta is my favorite meal! So, I think we are definitely getting there with the food. When she likes something, she also eats quite a bit for a little girl.

Here she is eating her favorite breakfast. Bananas in her cheerios and milk.

This week I had to go back to work. Yesterday was my first day back. I had such horrible mixed feelings. It was nice to be back around adults, but I really hated leaving Tia at home as well. Half way through the day I was ready to go home, but my job does not afford the luxury of just leaving as I am a nurse in the hospital. Can't abandon my patients! I made it through my 12 hour shift, and my daughter did fine at home too. My very good friend Lisa , has graciously agreed to stay with Tia at the house when I work, and now she works opposite days of me, so Tia can get good care at home without having to do daycare. She (Tia) is not ready to be away from Mama or someone that she really knows yet.

That just about catches us up to date. Just need to figure out how to get my pictures into a slide show so I can put more on blogger without downloading one at at time.

Thank you again to everyone for all of your support while I was in Russia, and continued support while we are home. I will continue to blog. Hopefully will find more time to keep up regularly and not have so long in between posts.

Bye for tonight!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Home at Last

We made it safely home late night on March 3rd, and as you can imagine, have been busy ever since trying to adjust to life at home and a new routine. Thank you to all of you for your support and prayers as we traveled back to Michigan from Russia.

The plane ride home was very, very long..... I do not want to have to do that again for quite some time. The flight from Moscow to Atlanta was 10 hours instead of 11 hours. Thank you Mr. Pilot for getting us there faster! The beginning of the flight was okay for the first few hours. Once we were about 3 hours in, the fussing crying and little temper tantrums started. Tia was just so exhausted and would not rest. Finally at about the 7 1/2 hour mark she was so exhausted that she fell asleep on the floor. My poor little girl! I then wrapped her in her blankets and she slept the rest of the flight. The people on the plane were all very nice and didn't complain at all. Luckily for me and the rest of the people on the plane,Tia has quit having complete screaming at the top of her lungs type temper tantrums.

Once in Atlanta we had to go through passport control, then immigration, and finally customs where we had to get our luggage and recheck it in for our final flight to Detroit. All went smoothly. Thank Heavens! Just long waits. But again, thank you Mr Pilot for getting us there earlier so we didn't miss our connecting flight home. We were also thankful to be around English speaking people once again. Not that the Russians were mean at the Moscow airport, but it was frustrating at passport control when the control agent was asking for Tia's Visa paperwork, and I had no idea what she wanted as the Visa was in the passport. Thankfully another agent finally came over and translated. (They wanted to see the court documents, not Visa to prove that Tia was legally mine). We also had to go through about 4 security checks. Mom and I were pretty exhausted by the time we were finally able to head for the gate.

The flight from Atlanta to Detroit was uneventful. Tia slept the whole way! Yippee! Poor little girl. What a very long day for her. (And Mama and Grandma too)!We finally arrived at Detroit Metro and were greeted by family and friends. We were so happy to see familiar faces and to be on our way home.

Once in the door at home I had one more obstacle to overcome before I could get the Little Princess to bed. The dog! She was so afraid of Jake the first couple of days, but I am happy to report that she now is petting Jake and wanting to know where he is at all times. She still does not want to walk around unassisted by Mom with the dog in the room, but we are definitely making progress. She even giggled last night when Jake licked her face instead of turning to me and telling me that she had an ouchie.

We have been home now almost a week and are making big steps in our adjustment to home. I'm not sure that she knows yet that this is home and not just another pit stop but I think it is starting to sink in. Today she is actually taking her first nap since I took custody of her on February 21st. I am so excited, I finally get to update the blog and work on paperwork to get her added to my insurance, and get everything ready to get her a social security card and register her with the Russian consulate. It's amazing what you can accomplish in an hour or so by yourself.

Aside from getting accustomed to the house and dog, Tia and I have gone to the park to swing and slide. We've been to the mall and played on the children's play scape, shopped at the grocery store, been to church, and met all of her aunts, uncles, and most of her cousins. It has been a very busy and fun week. Lots of new things to do and see.

Will post pictures soon. Tia is waking up! Just wanted to let everyone know we are doing well!

Bye for now!
Love Shannon and Tia

Monday, March 2, 2009

Last Day in Moscow

It's my last post from Moscow. Tomorrow we head home! Hurray! We just got back to the hotel from our Embassy Appointment. We now have passport and Visa for Tia in tow and and are ready to be on our way. We met three other American families at the embassy this afternoon all very nice, two others with little girls and one little boy. Our appointment went very smoothly, and not a long wait. The four little ones entertained each other for a few minutes too. Very sweet.

Yesterday we did get a chance to go to the festival in the park for a couple of hours. It was wonderful. Lots of music, food, ice skating, sleigh rides. dancing, etc. The Russians sure know how to have fun and celebrate the end of winter. I loved it. Only wish I had remembered my camera. Tatiana loved it too. Her feet were tapping on the stroller and she was clapping to the music. After all the fresh air yesterday she even slept almost 13 hours last night. I almost thought I'd have to wake her this morning so we didn't miss breakfast, as it's her favorite meal of the day, and only meal that she really eats.

Well, suit cases are almost packed and it is now 930pm. Need to finish up last little bit of organizing now that Tia is asleep. Wish us luck tomorrow on,our long flight. 10 hours to Atlanta Georgia and then another 2 to Detroit. Our driver will be here at 9am to pick us up for our 110pm flight home. Pray for us for a safe flight and little girl who stays happy and also sleeps at least a few hours on the way home.

Next post....home.

Paka Paka Russia

Shannon, Tia and Mom

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Back In Moscow

We made it safely back to Moscow thursday night. It's been a tough couple of days, so haven't been able to post until now, Tia is finally taking a little nap. I'll back up in time to Wednesday night to explain the last few days Wednesday night Tia started to break out in a rash all over her little body and was up scratching all night. Thursday morning I called Sveta to see if Oleg could please get us some baby Benadryl as Tia was having an allergic reaction to something. Who knows what to exacatly, but probably food related. He stopped by the apartment a couple hours later with some Claritin and checked her out. He also agreed allergy. Tia got her first dose of Claritin before lunch and started to feel a little better, but by the time we were ready to board the plane she was cranky and scratching again. Unfortunately the claritin wasn't working well for very long.

The plane ride from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow was a long 5 hour flight. Tatiana was very tired, itchy and having trouble falling asleep. She had a couple small temper tantrums on the plane, but nothing that lasted real long thank heavens. We also met 2 women (sisters)from Isreal who were bringing home a little boy under one year. They spoke English thank heavens and were very kind. They gave Tia some puffs like cheetos, but peanut butter flavor and that stopped her crying right away. I was a little worried about the peanut butter with the allergy thing going on, but it didn't seem to make it any worse than already happening, and it quieted her down.

Once in the Moscow airport we met our Moscow translator Alisha. She was very helpful when I told her that Tia was not feeling well and the medicine for the allergic reaction she was having wasn't working. We first went to the pharmacy in the airport to look for something like Benadryl. There was a lady doctor in the shop who didn't want us to buy anything without a doctor checking out Tia just incase it was a virus or something. ( I was pretty positive it was an allergic reaction, but heeded her words anyway). There is a doctor in the airport for emergency situations and they are free (yes), so Alisha, I and Tia went off in search of the doctor while Mom was stuck guarding our pile of luggage. She said it was worth it though if they could help Tatiana feel better. Yeah Mom! Anyway, we found the doctor about 15 minutes later after one policeman told us to go to the opposite end of the airport from where they actually were. He sent us to the Veterinarian. (Geez, did he think we had a puppy dog in the stroller. ) When we finally readches the medical office we met 2 lady doctors who were both very nice. After checking the baby out, they finally agreed that she had an allergy and asked if they could give her a shot of something kind of like Benadryl. I immediately said yes, please do. Poor baby with the shot, but we needed some medical attention soon before baby and Mama went crazy with the scratching and almost now raw skin.

After our stop at the medical station we finally were on our way to our Hotel. We made it back at about midnight Moscow time, 4am Krasnoyarsk time. Alisha and I worked on the Embassy paperwork and papers for Tia's official medical appointment in the morning, while Mom had the task of trying to quiet Tatiana and get her back to sleep. Of course she had finally fallen asleep in the car on the ride to the Hotel, and had to be awoken to check in. So cranky baby girl again. Alisha and I finished the paperwork at about 1230. (430am Kras time). I had no idea what I had just signed, but it was done. My eyeballs were so tired I could barely see straight. When I got back to the room, thankfully Tia was fast asleep. She finally slept for a few hours until 6am.

At 830am on Friday our driver picked us up for Tatiana's medical appointment which we had to have to submit with the rest of her papers to the US embassy to aquire her visa and immigration papers into the United States. Mom and I both loved the doctor that saw Tia. He was very good with her, and got her to quiet down pretty quickly when she started to cry after I had to take her clothes off and leave her on the table with him while Mama sat down. She probably thought she was getting another shot, plus not used to Men doctors. He was very kind and very thorough. He gave us some very good news. Said she was very healthy, and beautiful. Said to look out when she gets older. He also said that she was probably one of the favorites at the orphanage and was used to getting her way from what he observed as he was speaking to her and her to him in her little voice along with her actions. He said she is a drama queen and wants her way and most likely got it alot. We told him that we had already experienced that and had a good laugh. He said to be firm and stand my ground, otherwise she will rule like a queen and not Mama. I had already figured that out, but it was good to hear confirmation that what I thought was going on and how I was handling the situation was correct. The other great thing about the appointment was that he told our CHI rep Natasha, who was also with us, what to get for her allergic reaction. Some drops like Benadryl and an ointment for the rash. Thank you doctor Boris.!

Friday afternoon and today saturday, have been spent at the hotel. It is not great weather to take Tia out as it is snowy and wet. We did venture over to the McDonalds next door for lunch yesterday.that was an experience! Oh man! I ordered 2 combo meals for Mom and I and a Happy Meal for Tia. Well, she didn't get it. All we got the first time on the tray was three hamburgers (2 big ones and one little one). I had to get the menu again and show her the drinks and fries. We got drinks and fries, but I had pop. I gave up at that point and we just stuck with what we had. Tia ate a couple bites of just hamburger meat with the cheese. She really liked the bun until she got to the catchup side. I scrapped it off, but she still wouldn't have anything to do with it cause it felt wet and funny. She finally tried french fries. She would take a bite of one and then put it down and push it away. She did that a few times, still curious as to what Mom and Grandma were eating. She finally decided she kind of liked them when they were stone cold. Silly kid. The pop was a no way. She took one sip and you should have seen the face. Oh my goodness...she hates the fizzies. The stewardess on the plane also gave us a glass of water with gas and we didn't realize it. Tia, hated that too! No fizzys for this girl. We dumped the pop and put water in the cup, but she still must have thought there was pop in it, cause she would have nothing to do with that cup what so ever.

Today we will probably just go explore a couple of stores nearby. I was really hoping for a sunny day as there is a great park about 4 blocks away that would have been great to go walking in with Tia and her stroller. Maybe we will get a break in the weather tomorrow? Olga the lady that gave us the city tour on our stay here before going to the region, called last night as well to see if we wanted to go anywhere. I asked about Arabat street but she said it is not full of flea markets and small shops anymore, but more regular department type stores and has changed from what it used to be. I was really bummed as that is what I was looking forward to. Her only other suggestion for things to see where art museums and the history museum. Mom said forget it with the baby. I agreed. She likes the stroller but only if we are moving. The celebration of spring is also happening in red Square this wekend. They are expecting record crowds, so we decided not to try to go back there with Tia in tow. As always. we will make the most of our situation and find things to do close by. We spent an hour or so touring the hotel this morning. Even got a nice little tour of the fitness center and pool which are in the basement.

Well that's about all the excitement for now. We will keep you updated on the weekend happenings tomorrow.

Paka Paka from Moscow,
Shannon, Mom and Tia

p.S. Tia's rash is getting better finally, less itching and redness going away. She also slept last night and 30 minute nap just now. Still cranky but a little better.