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?
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