Joshua's Homecoming Video

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting Caught Up

I am behind blog posting for sure!  We have had some very busy days.  Joshua had his first doctor appointment on Wednesday.  Whew!!  Appointment, bloodwork, urine and stool samples.  I am grateful that the doctor is being thorough in checking out his health.  In the future, he will get to see some specialists for his heart, tonsils, vision, etc.  I am very interested to see how it all turns out.  Overall, he is pretty healthy so I am thankful.  
Last weekend was good.  We took some trial runs at grocery stores, Walmart and a picnic (we'll try church next week:)).  On Monday, I took all six to the swimming pool late in the afternoon.  It was so much fun watching Joshua.  He had the time of his life (we stayed in the fenced in baby pool area the entire time)!!!  I had to sit him in time out a couple of times when he would get too excited and push someone.  But overall it was a great success.  It's a great joy to watch him have his firsts. 

We have a few moments now and again where we have to work over, through and around the communication barrier.  And again, going to public places continues to be a challenge but I think it all looks like a big playground to him!!  But I am finding that when he understands what is going on, he usually is cooperative.  Life is busy for sure and my laundry is multiplying exponentially.  We go through food amazingly fast.  But I don't mind.  Not one bit:)  I am enjoying my sunshine boy very much!!  I feel so very blessed to be home safe and sound surrounded by my children and Todd at my side again.    

I haven't taken very many pictures lately but here are a few:

Brothers wearing their new hats.

Reading books

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Andy and Erin's Homecoming

Here's some pictures from Andy and Erin's (my younger brother and sis-in-law) homecoming with their newly adopted daughter, Lily.  They were in China while me, Mom and Dad were in Russia.  This was our first family outing as a family of 8. 

Our minivan is PACKED!!!
(heading to the airport)

Waiting for the airplane to arrive! 

So I have other kids who Stop and Drop........hmm 

Look at all the balloons and posters!

He was just trying to figure out who we were waiting for anyways.
Didn't we just do this??  But mommy is here now.........

The plane arrives!!!! 

Here they come!! 

I introduce you to sweet Lily!!  No longer an orphan!! 

Family Reunited! 

We love you all!!  Welcome home Lily!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The First Days Home

Here are some pictures (below) from Joshua's first days at home.  He is an equal mix of pure joy and pure orneriness.  I don't know how I got so lucky but he LOVES to clean.  God must of known that I was going to need a little extra help with the household chores. ha ha.

We have stayed around home pretty much - trying to figure out and learn our new normal.  It's been going better than I thought.....maybe a honeymoon period.  I don't know.  Anyways I'll take it.  He is very loving and often spontaneously will give a kiss or a hug.  Melts my heart.  When Todd came home for lunch he went right to him, hugged 3 times and kept pointing and saying "Papa!".  Some moments I just can hardly believe that he is really home! 

The support from our family, church family and friends has been incredible.  I am so thankful.  To everyone who has brought meals and helped Todd and the kids - I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It has taken out a lot of the stress of bringing a new child into the family.  It helps soooooo much and I am truly grateful. 

Taking him out in the public is something I am trying to figure out.  In his whole 5 1/2 years I am sure it was a rare occasion to go out into public.  So he just doesn't know what to himself and gets a little wild.  He does great in the stroller but I can't nor do I want to do that forever.  When he doesn't want to go somewhere or do something he just plops himself right down and won't budge.  The Stop and Drop. That name just makes me smile.  I can pick him up now but as he grows that will be more and more difficult.  While I am not surprised at this behaviour (it is pretty typical) it IS something I really would like to curb.  If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.  As I keep telling my bio kids, he has never been in a family before, and he has so much to learn that we really to be patient with him. 

Tonight we took everyone to the airport to welcome my new niece home from China.  One less orphan.  So Beautiful!!  I will have to post pictures later.  We are so thankful to God that he brought our family back from all over the world safe and sound.  Thank you Jesus!!   

His first night, I thought I would have him sleep on a inflatable toddler bed in our bedroom.  I showed it to him and he wanted nothing to do with it.  So we took him to his new room and showed him his toddler bed and that is where he has slept since.  And he is a very very good sleeper which is helpful to me - it helps this momma when she can get a good night's sleep. 

Joshua's Arrival Home

Loving the Balloons 

Washing Play Dishes
(though he does a mighty fine job on my real non-breakable dishes too)

Wiping Off the Table
 (hoping that my other kids are watching this....hint hint)

Sweeping Up the Crumbs

Tori painting a nesting doll from Russia

I was pretty impressed.......

Joshua wanted to paint too
 (although he just painted pictures and the funny pages)

Our First Meal Together!
Full House!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Homecoming Pictures

Click on the link below to see some of our pictures from the airport.  Thanks Taryn and Kristi!!!  You captured perfectly an unforgettable moment for my family............priceless!!

Click Here!

Home Sweet Home

We are home!!  We are so thankful to God for safe travels and a sweet homecoming at the airport!!  I will post pictures soon!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Coming Home Early!!

We were able to get Joshua's visa today!  Praise God!!! We are coming home 2 days early!!  I am sooo excited!!!  We will be arriving home, Lord willing, Wednesday evening at 10:20pm at Peoria airport.   I would love to introduce you to Joshua if you want to come to the airport.  Please continue to check times because the flight from Chicago to Peoria is often delayed or cancelled.  Please pray for us as this will be an extremely long trip with Joshua.  Looking forward to seeing Todd and the kids (and the rest of my family and friends too!!)!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Moscow Adventures

We arrived in Moscow yesterday!!  I am having technical difficulties with my camera and it won't load yesterday's pictures of the train ride. 

Before we left St. Petersburg yesterday, we were able to meet with another couple, Adriana and Todd who are adopting through Reece's Rainbow (can't load this pic either!).  Another wonderful family - such a highlight to meet these families that are going through many of the same experiences. 

 Yesterday, was quite a day.  Joshua was a little ornery monkey on the 4 hour train ride.  I am wishing I brought a dvd player instead of my ipad because he continually pushes the main button on the ipad and turns off the current program.  Then, he wants me to turn it back on.  Seriously - if anybody wants to invent a cover for the ipad that is kid proof, I will buy it in a heartbeat!!!!!!

We arrived in Moscow in the pouring rain.  At our apartment, with a very quick introduction, schedule and strict orders not to open the door for anyone (because Moscow is a dangerous city), our coordinator and apt. manager left.  My mom, dad and I kind of just looked at each in shock.  Then I tried to get on the internet and found out that it was not working.  We were out of water and were hungry so we decided to venture out and find a cafe that had wifi.  This was about the time that I lost it.  The internet connection was such a blow because that was my main connection with Todd and the kids.  Not being able to skype with them was just too much.  I called Todd in tears from the cafe.  Todd was able to then email the apartment manager and let him know that our internet wasn't working.  No blogging for me last night.  I needed a good night's sleep.

This morning at 6:30am. a medical doctor came and checked out Joshua.  Very interesting.  He didn't tell me anything new except that it looked like he has ricketts (bowed legs and flat feet) which is a vitamin D defiency.  It's nothing contagious but it means he needs to get out in the sunshine.  Sunshine here we come!!  This boy loves the water.  I am hoping we can go to the pool.  I think once he gets over the shock and overstimulation of the kiddie pool, he will probably think he is in heaven. 

The apartment manager stopped by and was able to get the wifi up and running!!  Yay!!!  So happy about this!!! 

Joshua has really been warming up to us.  Lots more interaction, hugs and kisses.  We had a really great day with him today.  I've noticed that when we keep him in directed activities he does not get into near as much mischief.  

He ate bread and oatmeal for breakfast.  I can't even really explain to you how cute he is when he is eating.  He's so happy when he is eating.  He gives such big smiles and then is extremely quiet and intent.  He is an absolute angel when he eats.  It really cracks us up.  Here are some pictures eating a snack of plain yogurt.  My mom and I were sure it was sour cream and not yogurt but he ate it anyways. 


This afternoon we went on a tour of Moscow.  Personally, it is not nearly as pretty as St. Petersburg but historically is very interesting. 

This is St. Basil's Cathedral. Absolutely Amazing!


Red Square

Lenin's Tomb

Of course we had to try out one of the largest McDonald's in the world.  I think in the Morton McDonald's we have 4-6 cash registers to order from.  This one has over 26 and there were people at every single one!!  Joshua enjoyed every last bite of his McNuggets and french fries.  He was excellent for the whole tour.  

Here's my dad and Vlad.  Vlad was an awesome tour guide. 
We really enjoyed talking to him.

Grandma and Joshua.  We don't have a tub here but Grandma let him play in the bottom of the shower.  He loved every minute of it!!

Love this picture of him!

This was so cute!  He was taking the car playmat and turning it into a cape.  Then he would bow like he was a king.  Just darling.  

So tomorrow we are going to try and get his visa.  We are hoping to expedite the process.  If it works out we will get to come home 2 DAYS EARLY!!!   This would be so wonderful!!  Please continue to pray for our safety and travels. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Real Deal.......

 Well remember I said last night Joshua did not fall asleep until midnight.  Here's the cute boy trying to make sense out of these beds that you can get out of.  Hmmm.....  no wonder they kept him in a crib til he was 5 1/2 years old. 
(Should be interesting transitioning him to a toddler bed :) 

So today kind of had some good parts and some, well, I will just be real here, harder parts to it.  So after staying up terribly late, he slept in until 11am.  So much for keeping him on the orphanage schedule......we are not even close!   
So we went down and ate breakfast.  Again, he eats like a champ!!!   He's very good using his utensils and wipes his little mouth after he's done.  He's been very well-trained.  But alas, I am sure that his orphanage meals have all been very very bland up until now.  And his little stomach is just trying to figure it all out.  That and his mommy doesn't know what all his facial expressions and sounds mean just yet.  He tried to tell me and I just wasn't quick enough.  The squirts.  Yep.  But Mommy is a quick learner though, in just a couple of hours, had it figured out. 
Since he LOVED his bath last night, each time we would go into the bathroom he would try to climb into the tub.  Fully dressed.  Nope. Sorry.  Remember last night you were a wild child in the bathtub?!  One bath a day is good enough for this momma!
It was rainy today so we were pretty much stuck in the hotel room.  This was where the hardest part of the day was.  I tried to lay him down for a nap and of course that was a failure.  So we tried to entertain him for much of the day.  He's pretty smart and he kept going after my computer, ipad, camera and cords (the few items on the trips that I would CROAK over getting broken).   He just got kind of wild (throwing toys down, etc).  He was certainly pushing boundaries. We decided to go for a walk - rain or shine.  We needed to get out of this hotel room!
Now, as a side note, I am not sharing this because I am regretful or scared or that I want you to feel sorry for me.  no. no. no.  I am trying to be real here.  I have never for one second expected this adoption to be always be a cake walk.  But I want you to understand that these are the moments when Joshua needs me most to be his mommy.  To give show him those boundaries and to show him what is good and acceptable.  To show him love and to give hugs and kisses meant just for him.  Because I love him just the way he is.  He needs me.  From the day we committed to him, God has given me such a peace that I have never looked back once wondering if this was the right thing to do. I firmly believe that while his orphanage was a really nice one, there is no substitute for a family.
Whew! that was quite a back to our day.  Well, once we headed out for supper, things started going better.  We went to a Chinese restaurant.  Delicious and Beautiful!  Joshua was very well behaved.  Then we went for a long walk and even stopped at a playground. 

He gave me my first unsolicited kiss which made most of the hard part
of the day seem paltry and no big deal at all.  Love this little boy!!

Walking along the Bay of Finland
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Grandma was brave enough to try to give him his bath tonight.  When it was all said and done, she seemed a little wet and Joshua was clean and happy.

Here's Joshua watching Baby Signing Times... love this video! 

Bedtime Snack - Bread and Water - He loved it!

"Hi, Grandma!"

 Tonight he went to sleep by 10:00pm and never got out of bed,
so I will call that a great success!! 

Tomorrow we head Moscow by train.  It's sure to be an adventure!!  Love you all and have enjoyed every single comment here on the blog and on facebook.
 Keep praying for safe travels!!!!

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