Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa Part II

Lo, and behold, the Emily Fan Club is getting restless and ready for another update. Guess what!?! I brought my memory stick in to work today so I could post an update at lunch time!

Not much exciting has happened since my last post. Emily continues to be her normal cheerful self... most of the time. She has learned how to flop on the floor and throw a fit when needed (or when Mom isn't buying her pouting and letting her do what she wants to do).

On Saturday, Grandma, Papa, Mom and Emily went to Papa's Lodge Christmas party. We trucked through the blinding snow and icy roads to hang out with Santa and the kids. When we got there, everyone was upstairs working on Christmas crafts and playing. Emily was anxious to play on the steps with the other kids and particularly like the Christmas toy at the top of the steps that played music and moved around.

In anticipation of Santa's arrival, all the kidlets gathered around the front of the room and sang Christmas carols. Em thought this was great fun and clapped along (with the beat!). Here she is in action!

After several songs, Santa made his way in from the roof and joined us. He had a bag full of presents and called out the kids' names one by one. Emily was one of the last ones if not the last one to be called so she got to see how all the big kids did with sitting on his lap. When her name was called, Grandma walked her up to Santa. He was kind enough to come down from his "throne" and sit on the steps at her level. She was comfortable giving Santa a high-five and blowing him a kiss...

...but still wasn't comfortable with sitting on his lap for a picture. But, hey, look at that form! Throw the hands up high (she's holding a flashlight she got in her goodie bag), arch the back, stretch out the legs and squirm to your best ability... There's no way that hairy guy could hold on for long!

Yet, we're still not quite as terrified as we were with our first Santa encounter.

All's well that ends well. Emily made out pretty good from the whole ordeal. She got a new Winnie the Pooh cuddly friend. It took a little coaxing before she figured out how to tear into a present, but once she rescued Pooh from the gift bag she latched on and hugged the dickens out of Pooh.

Santa made his departure at the end of the gift giving and Emily continued to wave and blow kisses. That's my girl! She's not going to hold a grudge so we might still be in good shape with Santa for Christmas morning.

Emily with 3 of her favorite people. That's Papa in the background and Grandma and Pooh.

Merry Christmas from the Hypes family!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snow Day!

It's our first snow day of the season and I couldn't be happier. I wasn't really even expecting snow this morning other than a few comments made by friends that they were hoping for some last night. It's Ohio... we rarely get the weather that is actually predicted around here.

I woke up at 5:40 this morning to a phone call from my superintendent saying our school was on a 2-hour delay. As soon as I hung up the phone I rushed to the window as if I were expecting Santa to go flying by. Sure enough... there's white stuff on the ground and a lot of it! Yeehaw!

I didn't want to get my hopes up that school might actually be canceled so I kept getting myself ready for the day. I rode my exercise bike, read my book, threw in some laundry, did the whole bathroom morning ritual, had breakfast and then sat down to watch a little TV. I had essentially given up on possibility of school being called off so I ventured upstairs to get dressed before heading out to warm up the car and scrape off the ice. Lo and behold, as soon as I made it back downstairs to find my coat THE phone call came. SNOW DAY! School is called off.

Now, I just have to say I LOVE snow. I love the way it changes the entire landscape. I love the way the trees and bushes looks when they're covered in the white powdery stuff. I love the way it seems to add another degree of prettiness to buildings. I love playing in it and sadly, I even love shoveling my walks when I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere.

So I'm sitting here at my computer responding to emails and working on work stuff from the house and can't help but keep glancing out the window to make sure it's still snowing. Then, as I do so, I reflect back on a time not quite a year ago when we were in another magical land covered in snow (well, it was actually slush). I think snow will always bring back those Kazakh memories for me.

When our plane landed in Uralsk we were ushered down the steps and across the tarmack to the small airport of our daughter's hometown. It was almost time for the sun to come up and we were walking across the ice covered ground where our plane had landed. We were met inside the airport by a smiling face that belonged to a sweet lady named Olga. After traveling so far and being exhausted by the trip it was so nice to be greeted with such kindness and in English(!) nonetheless. The adoption agency had sent 2 cars because all Americans pack way too much stuff and even though the kind drivers could barely understand a word we said their genuine smiles reassured us that they were there to help us in any way they could.

We were driven from the airport to the Chagala Hotel where we were to spend the first night and were given a brief description of the things we were seeing by Olga, who was very proud of her city. There at the Chagala we met Mary and Gene and the daughter they had just adopted. They, along with our new translator, Aliya, were our welcoming committee into what would be our home for roughly the next 3 1/2 weeks.

The kids with the sleds above were toddlers from Babyhouse #2 that were playing outside while we were visiting Emily. I'm so glad we had a window from our improvised visitation room out onto the playground.

The picture above is of a young woman hauling a jug of water on a sled from the local pump back to her house. Many of the homes have no running water and they get it daily from the local tap.

Emaliya Nadezhda Hypes on 1/29/07. Her first day out of the babyhouse!

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We landed in Uralsk in the snow and we left Uralsk in the snow. (Well, slush really. Heheh.) I celebrate this snow day and many more to come in memory of those incredible days we spent in Kazakhstan!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Em, Meet Santa!

Well, we'll just let you draw your own conclusions on how well this one went.

Actually, Santa is a close friend of my parents but regardless of that, Emily was perfectly content to look at Santa from a distance in the comfort of Grandma's arms. This face of pure bliss didn't last more than a few seconds!

Throwin' Curveballs!

It seems our family has been throwing the doctors all kinds of curveballs lately. Ryan was sick with a head cold at Thanksgiving but seems to be getting better. Tom went to see a dermatologist this week about some pigmentation problems with his hands and face. I've been trying to figure out what's been going on with my rice krispy knees for about 2 1/2 months and had to have MRI's done on both knees. I'm supposed to get results from the MRI's this week.

Last week, Emily got out of bed on Tuesday with her right ear being swollen and bright red and it was seeping. I would wipe it dry and within seconds it would be damp again. It wasn't coming from in her ear like and ear infection would. Later in the morning, we noticed she had a large spot on the back of her head that was doing the same thing. I took her to the doctor after work and the pediatrician said she had a mild ear infection but he had no clue what would have caused the spot on the back of her head. He also said the seeping and scabbing on the outside of her ear wasn't typical either unless it bothered her enough to scratch it raw. He put Em on antibiotics and we've been watching it dry up and get better.

Hopefully we'll all be normal soon! But, then again, what's normal?

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's a Mutiny!

OK, Aunt Shell... I don't know what talks you had with Emily yesterday but this kid loves black olives (and still doesn't care much for macaroni and cheese)!

Emily's First Thanksgiving in Review

Thanks to Tom for pointing out that yesterday was Emily's first official Thanksgiving. She was in Kazakhstan at this time last year and while they celebrate a bazillion other holidays that shut down the country they haven't yet added the American Thanksgiving Day to their list.
With that being said, here's a pictorial run down of the day...

We started with the Isler family for lunch. Here is Emily with her new bestest friend (and cousin), Brooke.

Below is Emily's cousin, Isaac, who is only a few months younger.

We packed our bags in mid-afternoon and headed to the Hypes' family celebration. Here's Emily's other Papa and her personal "Guitar Hero", Uncle Bill. I apologize, the videos are a bit dark.

Pictured below is Emily with the president of her fan club, Cousin Rachel!

Here's how Madame President spent most of the evening. Absolutely adorable!

Here is Ryan The Miserable. He's been fighting a cold for 2 days and was doing everything in his power to stay awake and breathing. ;-)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Below are a few of the pictures that have been over the past week or so. I finally pulled them off my camera for your viewing pleasure.

Here's Emily The Accident Prone the day after she wiped out on Grandma and Papa's plant stand. She was just getting over the black eye too! Don't worry, it looks a lot worse than it really was. It was more of a rug burn than a cut. And, a little over a week later it's barely even noticeable.

In the last couple of posts, I mentioned some of Em's favorites. Here's "bear". He lives in her crib and comes out on special occasions and when we aren't feeling well.

Here's Aunt Shell and Em celebrating the OSU/Michigan game by reading together.

While the Buckeye fans were watching the big game, I kept myself out of trouble and in the kitchen. I tried a new recipe that sounded good during the 2nd half and while Em gave it a big "MMMMM", I dumped it in the trash a few days later. It was called Harvest Casserole or something like that and was made with pumpkin pie and apple pie filling and some stuff that was like apple crisp topping. Maybe it was just me, but it had the consistency of baby food and lacked any real flavor. Michelle actually tasted a bit and shared her portion with Em (who couldn't wait for the next bite to be handed out).

That's all folks! Happy day after Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

That's My Girl!

Several thoughts today...

Last night, it dawned on me that exactly a year ago (11/20/06) was the first time we learned of our soon to be daughter. It was a few days before Thanksgiving but we still didn't know anything official. My heart, stomach and everything else within me was beginning to do flip-flops. I went through the motions of family get-togethers but was totally distracted by the thoughts constantly going through my mind. We asked everyone around us to beef up the prayer support and things began to kick into high gear.

Fast forward a year and we have a beautiful family with a beautiful new member.

There was no school today so I had the opportunity to stay home with Emily all day. I have been enlightened yet again.

How cool is it that our daughter will applaud for me when I fit a shape into her Playskool Shape Sorter? I'm 35 years old and my daughter is excited for me and amazed at my skills. I'm taking it all in and savoring these moments because I know these moments won't last much longer.

How cool is it that our daughter still loves to play peek-a-boo and giggles with delight when I jump out from behind a chair to scare her?

I'm going to have to watch out... our daughter is pretty adventurous. I'm pretty sure Emily ate cat food today while "we" were making yummy food for tomorrow's festivities. Even better, I'm pretty sure she really liked it because immediately after I heard crunching, I heard, "Mmmmm!". Not only that, but after I removed the remaining cat food from her clenched fist and brushed her hands off, I started to nudge her away from the cat food and she made a dive for the cat bowl again and very determinedly grabbed another fistful. That's my girl! The kid won't eat mac n' cheese but she'll sit down to a cat food buffet!

Emily has learned a few more things since my last post. When I picked her up from my parents' house yesterday, she can now demonstrate the actions for jump, hop, swing and rock. When we ask her what daddy says she laughs and usually does the same when you ask what mommy says. She will also make her mouth open and close like a fish if you ask her what a fish says and she likes to "tell secrets" with Daddy.

Today while we were in the kitchen eating she did the sign for "more" on her own without me asking her. We also took a break from getting food ready and went outside to swing. She LOVES to swing and gives a pretty hardy giggle when you push her hard and fast.

This kid constantly amazes me. Tonight she reminded me how far she has come. We were getting ready for bed and she grabbed her feet again on the changing table and pulled them up to her mouth. She hasn't done that for a long time and it was a really long time before she was even able to do that. We have no way of knowing for certain, but our best guess is that Emily was about 9 mos. old before she could roll over on her own. She was 10 1/2 mos. old before she could sit up on her own and she was about 17 mos. before she began walking. She's catching up and catching up fast.

This year, the holidays are less stressful and more cheerful. I'm no longer living in the cocoon of never-ending adoption paperwork and the end that felt like it was never in sight has come and gone. It's like being in love all over again. Colors are more bright, the air is more crisp and I feel more alive.

This year, as always, I'm so thankful for my loving and supportive husband. I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to be Ryan's stepmom. And, I'm so very thankful for the opportunity to be Emily's mom. I'm even thankful for the speed bumps and problems that we ran across during our adoption. We grew through each and every one and though they were difficult they allowed us to be in Kazakhstan for God's perfect timing. We have so much to be thankful for and I continue to keep other families and couples in prayer that are going through infertility or adoption issues. (The holidays are especially tough for these folks. My public service announcement for today is to please be sensitive to their emotions, thoughts and feelings as everyone celebrates with families and are surrounded by children especially during the next
several weeks.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Officially One and a Half

Last week, Emily officially turned 1 1/2. All along when people have asked how old our daughter is, we've felt the need to give her age in months. "She's 10 mos. old." "She's 13 mos. old." "She's 17 mos. old." Now, I believe she's officially "a year and a half old" until she reaches that magic age of "almost tw0". When does that happen?

Now that Emily is a year and a half, I'll fill you in on some of her great accomplishments...

Emily can identify:
• her hair
• her eyes
• her ears
• her nose (and she likes to point to the inside of her nose with her primary digit!)
• her mouth
• her tummy (but she can't just pat it, she has to lift up her shirt to prove to you that it's really there)

Emily can also tell you what various animals, people and random objects do. Here they are in order of appearance...
• What does a sheep say? -- "Baa"
• What does Papa's mower say? -- "bpbpbpb" (Sounds like you're playing a tuba - How do you spell that??)
• What do Papa's tires do? -- "tssssss" (Papa was filling his tires with air while Em was in the garage.)
• What does a goat say? -- "Ahahaha" (This sounds like she's clearing her throat.)
• What does RyRy say? -- (She responds with lip smacking kisses.)
• What does Daddy say? -- (She responds with kisses or "tells secrets".)
• What does a rooster say? -- (This one's a hoot... apparently roosters have very serious conversations in higher pitched voices... but they say the same thing each time we ask! It sounds something like "Ahroowawoo")
• She is also still fascinated with overhead lights, ceiling fans and now light switches (...thanks to Papa who lets her turn them off and on frequently but never would have let me do that as a kid!).
• She also recognizes sign language for eat, drink and milk and will sign the word "more" if you ask her if she wants more of something.

Some of her favorite foods:
Milk, Juice, Ice Water, Oatmeal, Cheerios, Lima Beans, Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Potatoes, Applesauce, Yogurt, Peaches, Mandarin Oranges, Beef, Turkey, Fish Sticks, Chicken, Ham, Bread, Animal Crackers... and so much more.

Her favorite toys:
Books, Shape Sorters, Balls, most anything with music and lights

Her comforts:
Bear and Blankie in her crib, and Mommy, Daddy and Ryan when we are out and about.

Emily's walking has taken off and she getting really good at learning to steady herself so she doesn't fall. She still takes a spill here and there but overall we're so excited to see how far she come in the past 10 mos. Our little girl, who couldn't sit up on her own until she was about 10 1/2 mos. old, can now walk around on her own and gets very excited about it.

She was just starting to get over her shiner and then took a spill at Grandma and Papa's earlier this past week and scuffed up her upper lip a bit and got a bloody nose. We were scheduled to have some family pictures taken this weekend and opted to postpone them a couple of weeks so she has time to recoop. It's getting better and I can't resist teasing my mom about delivering Emily in the mornings -- wrapped in bubble wrap. Bumps and scrapes are all a part of learning to walk but I have a feeling that Mom would have her house covered in rubber bumpers if she could.

Emily is becoming more and more toddler-like. Now that she's able to walk around like a big girl she's getting more independent each week. She likes to walk around at church on her own and explore the open spaces but she still likes to have me close by if she falls or if too many kids want to be all around her at the same time. She loves her big brother and takes comfort in him when he picks her up, holds her or plays with her. She even cried this afternoon when he got out of the car to go back to his house when we dropped him off. She LOVES her RyRy.

I apologize for this entry being so long but it will eventually make it into her memory book. Thanks for the memories!

Take care and be blessed! More photos coming soon... I promise!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Macaroni and a Shiner

Could this really be my daughter? Emily has decided she no longer has an interest in eating macaroni and cheese. As a baby/toddler I would eat mac & cheese and nothing else. A few weeks ago Emily discovered that even though she didn't like to eat mac and cheese she could still find a use for it.

Hair gel!

The finished product!

It's a good thing we had time for a bath after lunch!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Emily's new thing this week is her brand new shiner! Now that she's been walking a couple of weeks, she's picking up speed. Remember that horrible imagine you had as a kid of slamming the brakes on too hard and flipping over the handlebars? Emily sort of did that with a baby walker this week. She started picking up speed, ran into a toy and catapaulted over the walker and landed with her cheekbone on the edge of a wooden rocking chair. Mom and Dad felt horrible and Emily is sporting a pretty new black eye. (We just hope it fades away before family pictures are taken this coming weekend!)

Monday, November 05, 2007


This is nothing new... I've been suffering from this for years! But, because I love you all I feel you need to be warned!

Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder. Somehow I feel better, even though I have it!! Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D . - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water. I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed,
the bills aren't paid,
there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter,
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all flippn' day, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail....

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Eavesdropping on the baby monitor...

I have to say, Emily's baby monitor has provided quite a bit of entertainment since we got it shortly after we brought Emily home.

There was the time when she was about 10 mos. old and I woke up in the middle of the night to hear Emily singing Jingle Bells. Well, okay, actually it was a little girl whose music I had downloaded to my iPod and left the thing playing all night long.

I've been laying down for a nap and had the pleasure of overhearing Tom reading to Emily and playing with her in her room.

I've heard Emily having "Italian conversations" with the baby in the mirror that's on the side of her crib. These have been fun to witness as well because Emily talks with her hands and drops her voice and her head down really low as she chatters.

Most mornings, Emily wakes up and plays for at least a half hour in her crib before I go in to get her. She loves the mirror on her crib and practices all kinds of words and sounds. She still doesn't say a lot of words yet... basically just Hi, Mmmmm (for food), and Baa. Which brings me to what I overheard on the monitor this morning.

I was lying in bed at 6:00am and through the baby monitor I could hear our cat, Spencer, meowing outside Emily's bedroom door. Spencer's "meow" was promptly followed by Emily's "baa". Spencer would meow again and Emily would baa in response. This went back and forth at least 5 or 6 times until Spencer surely got bored and found something else to entertain himself. Emily certainly could have carried on for a few more rounds!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Trick-or-Treat and SHOTS?!?

Here are some early pictures for Lynne, who gave Emily her Christmas antlers. Thanks, Lynne! Here's Emily putting them on all by herself!

Emily celebrated her first Beggar's Night this year. We didn't take her out trick-or-treating this year... we'll save that for when she's a bit older and can actually eat the candy she's been given. She "helped" us pass out candy to all the kids that came to visit. She wasn't even phased by all the oddly dressed people that kept coming up to our house. She kept busy playing with Grandma and Papa G. and emptying all the suckers out of the pumpkin container and putting them back in.

What did she dress up as? Well, the weather was so nice that for much of the night she had on a fun pumpkin shirt and then it eventually got covered up by her coat when the sun went down. Here's a picture of Em shortly before we ventured outside to pass out candy.

You can tell by Emily's nose that she's still fighting her cold. We ran out of the Tylenol that her pediatrician had recommended the last time she had a cold and since nearly all children's cold medicines have been taken off the shelves we left with being able to give her baby Tylenol that's simply for fever or we can give her children's Benedryl which is an allergy medicine. We have resorted to Benedryl to try to get her nose to dry up and we've been running a humidifier at night. She's been handling her cold very well and the only time she fusses is when we try to clean up her nose. Then, she's a real wiggle worm!

Today, Emily had her 18 mos. check-up (a couple weeks early). She got 3 more shots, including a flu shot. She did not enjoy having her heart listened to by the nurse or pediatrician and she really didn't appreciate us holding her down when she being a human pin cushion. We actually had to recruit another nurse to come in and help us hold her down... because as the doctor said, "She a strong one!" Not only is she strong, but she's a heavy one! Emily now weighs 21 lbs. and is 31 3/4" tall. Our baby's growing up!

Emily was pretty sleepy this afternoon and evening. She ended up sleeping for an hour and a half this morning and then took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon... which is 3 times longer than normal right now! They said she might be more tired because of the flu shot and might have minor flu symptoms for the next day or 2. Great. She was pretty warm tonight. I hope she's feeling better tomorrow!

Well, enough for now... I'm off to bed! Take care and be blessed!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mutiny of the Toys

They're all out to get me! Nearly every single toy that takes batteries in this house is possessed!

I don't know how they did it or what kind of meetings have been going on in this house when I'm asleep but all of Em's toys are making sour music and talking to me without being moved or touched. It's really weird that they would all die at the same time.

I bought the huemungo pack of AA batteries at the store yesterday and when I changed the batteries in Em's toy sax (from Amy K!), Ernie started yelling, "Hooray, Terrific, Way To Go". Now, tell me that's not creepy!

Along with battling possessed toys all week we've been battling boogies. Emily has a cold and is sounding really congested right now. She doesn't like to have us come near her nose and is coughing off and on but other than that she's doing great. With all the media attention on children's cold medicines being pulled off the shelves, I called her pediatrician to find out what I should be giving. I also spoke with the pharmacist about what was going on. We were recommended to use just regular baby Tylenol if she just has a fever but we can use baby Benadryl and a humifier if she's having other problems. The pharmacist said we would be okay using the Tylenol we had left over from her previous cold as long as we had a dosage from her pediatrician. She said that the meds were basically being pulled from the shelves because parents were guessing at dosages without consulting a doctor. So... that's what we're doing. We have a regular 18 mos. check up with Em's pediatrician (with shots) on Friday so he can make sure she's doing okay.

Tomorrow is Halloween and Em is going to "help" us pass out candy at our house this year. She's not eating candy yet and I refuse to be one of those parents that push their itty-bitty kid up to someone's house in a stroller and make the kid beg for the munchies. You know darn well that kid isn't going to reap an ounce of the benefits when they get home! She'll be wearing a festive jack-o-lantern shirt over her warm duds or if it gets really cold I might just dress her up in her snowsuit from Kaz and she can go as a blue Kazakh Snow Bunny. I can already tell she'll just be thrilled. Uh-huh. ;-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Look who's walking!

Just a quick post today, but we wanted to share in the fun. Yesterday was a beautiful fall day and we spent a little time after work out on the deck. Em's been working on walking for over a month but she's just now starting to venture out on her own without prompting.

Yeah, yeah. Someday I'll actually remember that I can't record videos with the camera tipped sideways. Sorry. It's even more fun watching that if you turn your monitor on it's side!

Here's another video of Emily's side hobby -- turbo crawling. Note the head tucked down for better aerodynamics and higher speed!

Did I mention she loves playing in the leaves?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Scorched Nips! Oh, My!

So, did the title of today's entry catch your attention?

It's lunch time again and I'm filtering through some old pictures on my laptop and just had to share this one with you! I don't think many have seen this picture yet.

I took this while we were in Almaty, Kazakhstan, just about a week or so after we had custody of Emily. We were staying in a really cool apartment in a quiet part of town and were really enjoying the scenery outside out apartment windows. We didn't get many TV stations in English from this apartment so I spent a lot of my time looking out the windows, watching groups of young people walk up and down the street. The temperatures were pretty mild... similar to our early springtime here in Ohio. And, because of that we had our windows open and I was drawn to the sights and sounds outside even more.

Anyway! (...shaking my head to jog my thoughts back to reality -- the real reason I'm jotting all this down...) While I'm daydreaming out that living room window and wondering what it would be like to live in this unique town in Kazakhstan, my sweet, lovable hubby looks up from the TV and asks what I'm cooking in the kitchen. Oh, shoot! Now I'm back to reality! I just remembered I had put some of Emily's bottle rings and nipples in a pan of water on the gas stove to be sterilized.... I made a mad dash to the kitchen to discover that I had REAAALLY sterilized those puppies.... beyond recognition even!

That brownish, formerly rubbery thing at the top used to be part of Emily's bottle - the nipple, and the white rock solid puddle at the bottom is the bottle ring and what I like to call permanently stuck to the bottom of the pan!

There wasn't a single drop of water left in that pan by the time I got to it and there was no way I was gonna be able to get that stuff out of the pan... let alone attempt to cook in it again. Unfortunately, this pan didn't live to see the next day and we were a nipple and ring short for the remainder of the trip because these were brought from home.

Fine Print: no animals, children or nuclear plants were harmed in the making of this photo...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Camping and Spiky Hair!

Shoes... they provide hours and hours of entertainment!

Emily went camping for the first time this weekend. It was a little chilly in the evenings but we were prepared. We took lots of walks and even spent some time on the beloved swings!

Push me really high!

Ryan's been dying to spike Emily's hair for a long time now. She finally has enough to do something with... especially when it's wet!

Friday, October 12, 2007


I'm sitting here at lunch today and find myself thinking about Emily's birth mom (biological mom). Actually, I've caught myself thinking about her quite a lot this week and I'm not real sure why. I find myself wondering what she looks like, what her personality is like, what her circumstances are/were, what her family is like, what makes her laugh and what makes her cry. I find myself feeling so grateful to her and at the same time feeling that I wish I could share these moments with her. I wish that she could see the end result of her decision to leave Emily in the care of the maternity hospital.

Without knowing the true circumstances, I imagine I will always romanticize in my mind what led her to leave Emily in the hospital's care. These are the things that Cinderella and princess stories are made of. I imagine we will never know the details of the things I ponder because what we do know is just so vague and so much of the information we had was not accurate. We will probably never know if Emily has biological siblings out there and we will never know who her birth mom really was but we can be eternally grateful for the opportunity that she gave us to pour our love out on such a special little girl.

I feel sad that her birthmom will never understand how much joy Emily brings to us on a daily basis or how special I feel just watching her play with toys and chattering to herself. I imagine that on May 14th of each year, her birthmom might remember a special or scary time when she gave birth to our daughter. I wish I could thank her for all that she's given us even though at the time she had no idea who would ultimately become her daughter's new parents. As far as we know, she didn't get a chance to name her baby and had no idea if her daughter would survive such a premature birth.

There will always be a mystery around this part of Emily's life and we will embrace it with her if and when she is ready to learn more. We will keep this young woman in our prayers as I'm sure I'm not the only woman that finds myself daydreaming about my daughter.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Steps, Hisses & Kisses

This week Emily has been playing with a lot of new skills.

She began trying her hand at climbing the stairs in our house over the last week or two and now she can climb a whole flight of stairs without hardly thinking about it. This is where our lives start getting scary because she can climb them really fast. We've been trying to keep the door to the upstairs closed so they aren't even a temptation for her. We have to keep working on coming down the stairs. She enjoys going up so much that she gets really cranky when it's time to come down. She either wants to go down face first or not at all and that's the safest thing for her to do. We're trying to teach her to get down off the furniture and to go down steps on her tummy.

Emily has also started making a new sound that sounds like a combination of a cat hiss and a big sigh. It's pretty funny. She opens her mouth really wide and then exhales. We'll have to catch this one on tape for you.

When I stopped in to pick Emily up at Grandma and Papa's after work she began kissing goodbye. Usually this involves smacking her lips together without really pickering them or she attempts to throw kisses without moving her hand away from her mouth. Today she tried a new trick and actually leaned in to Grandpa's cheek and pressed her open lips up against it. I tried it with her again tonight to see if it was a coincidence and she turned European on me. She "kissed" one cheek, leaned over to my other cheek and did the same thing and then went back to the first cheek and "kissed" it again. We'll keep working on this one!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Do you see the trend?

This was Emily's first trip outside the babyhouse (orphanage) as far as we know. The day was January 29, 2007 and this was her first hat in a long line of "hats" that we've gotten to witness. (I imagine she wore hats quite frequently in the babyhouse because they were terrified of drafts!)

The Happy 1st Birthday Hat

Mom's Day-Old Sock Makes a Great Hat!

Fisherman/Trip-to-the-Zoo Hat

Daddy's hat fits pretty well too!

Bottom's Up! There's nothing like wearing your pants on your head for the afternoon!

My sunglass make a great hat too!

This is my Missy Muffet hat... just like Aunt Shell's!

Yup, that's a teething ring from the 70's... turns me into a great flower child don't ya think?

Note from Mom: There have been many other things that Emily has tried to wear on her head... shoes, books, blocks, cups, blankies, foam letters and supper just to name a few. Where was my camera?!? Some day I really need to buy this kid a sombrero!
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