Sunday, November 23, 2008


It has been one month now since we brought her home. We are doing very well. We are still seeing a few temper tantrums, but now it's more like "getting close to the terrible two's" type of tantrums.

The picture is from her second trip to the park. Her first visit to the park we forgot the camera, and on the second trip she just absolutely loved the swing.

She is eating well, and all issues with milk/juice have been worked out. She will now not only drink milk, but soy milk, goat's milk, and even rice milk. This is handy because some soy doesn't have to be kept refrigerated (for when we are on the road...) She eats just about anything, and if she won't eat something the first time, I try it again another day and she loves it. She has started eating on her own...if I can make it "finger food". I still need to hand feed her things like yogurt and oatmeal, but I let her hold a spoon and I guide it to the food and she puts it in her own mouth. She's getting used to it. A couple more months and she'll be eating only on her own. She is now completely off the bottle and drinks from sippy cups.

Her sleeping is going well. She sleeps 11-12 hours at night and 1-2 hours in the afternoon.
She still screams when we put her to bed, whether it's nap time or night time. She cries loudly for about five minutes or so, then quiets down and goes to sleep. As the weeks go by, we find that she's crying for less and less time. Also, she's getting used to our "nightly" routine. When we sit on the twin bed to read the night time story, she starts to whimper, because she knows that the next step is me laying her down in the crib.

She has met the majority of the family....grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles. She has one aunt to meet, but she's met almost all of her cousins. She'll be meeting the rest at Thanksgiving or at the baby shower on Dec. 6th.

She will be evaluated on Nov. 25 by Early Intervention to see if she qualifies for any services. While I personally don't think there are any issues, and in fact she catches on very quickly to things, I also don't think it would hurt to have a professional opinion or to get some tips on how to help her catch up.

She started walking soon after we got home, but it wasn't until mid-November that she found her balance and started walking around the house. Now she loves to walk everywhere. We went to the indoor play room in our are and she just spent the whole time walking around the room. She had no interest in playing...she just wanted to walk....

As far as the adoption goes, we are officially "done". We received her Certificate of Citizenship in the mail this week, along with a letter from President Bush, congratulating her on becoming a citizen. We can now apply for her Social Security card and her Passport.

I am amazed at how quickly my house becomes messy now. It seems like I am constantly doing dishes. The laundry didn't surprise me, and I'm not really having problems keeping up with that. I am having trouble keeping up with the vacuuming and dusting. I think I just have to do it once a month or once every two weeks and not worry about it so much. Since she's taking such long naps, it will be easy for me to grab some cloths and dust the furniture and such. Vacuuming is harder, and I find that I have to do it on weekends when my husband is home rather than try to do it during the week. Other than that, my biggest adjustment has been shopping. I can't just pick up my purse any time and head out the door. I have to think about whether it's close to meal or snack time or even too close to nap time. The weather, too. She gets hot easily, and she throws a fit in the car if her hood or hat is on because she gets sweaty so easily, so if it's raining or snowing I have to make sure she's covered for the trip to the car, but then uncover her head in the car. I also have to think about where we're going and if I'll need a stroller or can use a cart. If we are going somewhere like the post office, it's so much easier to take her in a stroller because then she doesn't wiggle as much.

Well, my daughter has been sleeping for over two hours, and if she sleeps any longer, she won't go to bed at a decent time tonight, so I think I'd better go make some noises so she'll wake up. I hate to do that, but I'd like to go to bed at a decent time tonight, too!!!!

We are all doing very well, and I can't wait to see what the next month brings....

Friday, November 7, 2008

How We're Doing

Where has the time gone? It seems like we got home yesterday, but it's been two weeks! Grace is doing very well. She was throwing some massive temper tantrums and we seem to have worked out the issues. Most of them centered around meal times. We finally figured out that she doesn't like the American baby food. It's too bland. So, we just make soups, stews, and whatever else we're having for dinner and blend some up for her, too. So far there is nothing I've made that she doesn't like....that's a great feeling... She's a great eater. She has a huge breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, and then a couple hours later she'll have a snack. At lunch she eats a huge bowl of food (usually a soup) and then have a snack in the afternoon after her nap. Sometimes she'll have a second snack in the afternoon if I just don't want to give her dinner so early. At dinner she'll eat a huge bowl of food, and sometimes before bed we'll give her another snack. We're still working on meals and snacks as far as what she eats. I know we have to get a little more creative with her snacks...they need to be a little more varied and such. However, for now it's working....she's not getting any junk food for her snacks or meals, so we're safe there...

Her sleeping is awesome. She goes to bed anywhere between 7 and 8 pm. She wakes up anywhere between 7 and 8 am. She takes a nap in the afternoon-anywhere between 1-2.5 hours. This gives me an advantage because I know that when I get up at 6am, I have time to take a shower, dress, catch up on e-mail, do some dishes, and eat breakfast. During her naps I can clean the bathrooms, Swiffer the floors, and do some dishes.

We have a somewhat daily routine, which has not only helped her get the sleep she needs, but helps me stay sane. After she wakes, she has breakfast, then we play for a while. On MWF around 9 am or so, we go to the Community Center in a nearby village and go to the indoor play area. It's great. For $2 she can go in and play with all this outdoor play stuff and have fun. We usually stay for an hour or depends on if there are other children there. She gets hungry around 10 or 10:30, so we go home and I give her a snack. If she gets up early (closer to 7) then I can give her a snack before we go and then I have time to run a small errand before we have to go home for lunch. Lunch is close to noon if I can manage it. Really it's about 11:30. Between noon and 1 she's ready for a nap. She sleeps until 2 or 3. (Usually closer to 2) We then have a snack and then if it's a "nice" day outside we try to go out and go to the park...or just go for a walk. Around 4 or 5 she's starting to get hungry again so I'll give her a small snack or just make dinner for her. When I make meals for us, I take the leftovers and process them for her. Then I make meal sized portions and put them in the freezer. That way, if she's hungry before I can get our dinner done, she can eat one of the leftovers. We have more playtime after dinner and when my husband is home, he plays with her, too. Depending on how tired she is, we usually take her upstairs around 7:30. Every-other day she gets a bath, and we then put her to bed. She has a sleep-routine where she cries for about ten minutes, but then settles down and falls asleep to her lullaby music.

She is gaining weight quickly. She is about 17 to 18 pounds now. When we took her to the doctor in Moscow, she was 14.7 pounds. She's really trying to walk, too. She loves to stand herself up, and will usually walk along the furniture with ease. She will take about five steps before she falls. She loves to try to walk to me. She is also coming along in her speech. She is saying "Mama, Dada, UP, Nana (our word for Grandma). She is mimicking sneezing, and she likes to scrunch her nose and mouth up and blow...we don't know who taught her that one. She can blow raspberries.

She is overall a very happy baby. We had the film developed from the pictures the orphanage ladies took. Most of them are dark, but you can make some things out. She appears very confused to be in the play rooms. She looks very serious in each picture. She's also very alone. We wish that the pictures had turned out better, but we're grateful for what we have.

She's doing very well and is adjusting to her new life quickly. I'd better go now so I can have my breakfast before she gets up....