December 12, 2003
First things first - Due to technological difficulties, we apparently cannot send email to anyone unless they are on optimum online. So if we don't reply to an email you sent us, we're not ignoring you, we just can't reply. Bill's working on it. Keep the emails coming or sign the guest book. We love all of it.
Related to that - Brad and Janet Ball, Thanks for the emails. If you could send 1 or 2 pictures of Anthony now, we'd love it. That way we won't download too many here. Janet, I passed on your notes and pictures. I did not personally see the caregivers or Gulbanu, but will follow up to see they got them.
If Laura Babbit is out there, I sent you pictures to the correct room as well.
For everyone asking about sizes.
Anthony is 7 kilograms, 800 grams (about 17 pounds)
Katherine is 11 kilograms, 900 grams (about 26 pounds)
We figure her for maybe a 3T (we're trying to factor in her growth spurt when she leaves the baby house)
We figure Anthony for a 12 month size. I had one outfit here that was 18-24 months and it would never have fit him. He would swim in it.
That's the best I can do.
We started our day with a phone call home. Ryan and Gran said they tried to call us but the phone system from the US to Kaz was down. The calls are relayed from NJ to MA to Kaz, the problem was in MA. The other problem I am having is sending email to comcast, aol and verizon, so far. I get a system admin undeliverable message stating "550 5.7.1 Relaying not allowed:" followed by the email address. Not sure why. Keep the email coming, we can read them and all of them are appreciated.
Sleep was very good last night, we were both exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically drained. I believe that making our decision for Anthony relieved a lot of stress for us both.
They had a music show put on by the children in the babyhouse this morning. Neither of our two were in the show, but it was great. We videotaped a good portion of it. I'm sure that it will be comforting for Katherine to see the video after she leaves the baby house.
Have we mentioned the little baby photo books? The ones the kids can actually chew on as well as look at? That girl just loves those books. Bill brought a printer for the digital camera and we put a picture of Katherine and me (Ann) in one and a picture of Katherine, Anthony and me in another. She just oogles over those pictures. Points to the picture of herself then to me then to Anthony. She looked at his picture for the first time today then she looked up and he was sitting right there. She looked at him like 'how can you be sitting there when you are in this picture?'.
Speaking of pictures, both of them got their visa photos taken today. Neither of them hammed it up. It was funny. They keep poor Anthony so bundled in clothes. He had four layers of clothes on. That's four outfits at one time. That's just how they do it here. For the picture the photographer wanted us to put a blue shirt on Anthony because he's fair skinned. Poor Bill had to start peeling clothes off Anthony just so the shirt would go on. Dressed for a regular day, Anthony is like the kid in the snowsuit with his arms sticking straight out and unable to walk. It was the typical trouble trying to get a baby to look in the right direction for a picture. Four adults trying to gain the attention of one one year old. Katherine's picture was a trip. She is the most outgoing, spirited little girl I know. When it came time for that picture she shrunk about 2 inches and it was all because her neck disappeared. She was so nervous she looked exactly like a turtle retreating into his shell. Picture time over, she's like OK Let's Color!!!!
This afternoon we took the two of them outside. Remember what I said about Anthony's four layers of clothes? Well increase that to seven layers. They stuck a binky in his mouth and wrapped a scarf around it so it was tied in there. The point? I guess so cold air doesn't go down the lungs. That boy WAS the kid so bundled up his arms stuck straight out. He could not move. If I was a one year old in Kazakhstan, I would hate going outside. You just can't move. Katherine was bundled, and she had a little of the stiff arm problem, but not nearly as bad as Anthony. It was really hard to tell if she liked going outside. We pulled her around the babyhouse on a sled. After the first round we asked if she wanted to keep going or go inside. Of course, she doesn't speak English (in case you were all thinking How could she respond) but she knows how to point the direction she wants to go in. (She gives me directions all over the babyhouse, it's really very cute). Anyway - no dice. Maybe her arms were too stiff to point? We went around one more time and then went in. Going outside is an ordeal. We will pick our days and use the outside time wisely.
We had stopped at a market at lunch time and bought some fruit. I got some tangerines and brought one as a snack for Katherine. I don't think she'd ever had one before. I peeled it and she didn't seem to know if she should eat the peel or not. Then I gave her the first piece and she tentatively put it in her mouth. She thought about it a minute and then decided 'I'm eating this whole thing before someone else gets it.' She had juice running down her chin and arm. She enjoyed it very much.
As I wrote that I feel guilty because I did not give Anthony his cookie today. He is hell on knees when he sees that cookie bag come out. Cookie or no, we got some great giggles and smiles out of him. He sits so serious and quiet, you don't expect him to be so free with his laughter, but nibble his belly and he's a giggle a minute.
We found out today that Katherine doesn't really speak Russian. She does know some, but the room she's in is an all Kazak room with Kazak speaking caregivers and children. It was just an interesting piece of information for us.
At the market today, we also bought a new coloring book (she loves to color) and some of those books that you paint with water. Just put water on the brush and touch it to the page and color comes out. We'll bring those tomorrow. I think she's really going to dig those.
I'm not sure if Bill has anything to say. I will give him a chance to ramble and ask him to put up a picture or two.
What a truly great Day!!!!
Now that Ann is done, here is my take on the day. Spectacular! These two are a great addition to our family. Katherine is just the most curious little girl. She shows no fear in the play room and seems to warm up to us when we come.
When went to the musical they had, she was already in the room. When she noticed us sitting 2 rows behind her she kept staring and pointed at us a couple times. I think she is starting to get it, we are going to show up every day and give her some good lovin'. She loves the pictures of herself. You can see her pointing to herself on one of the pictures I am posting today.
At the end of our day today, Olga asked a very odd question. Odd to me anyway. She asked if we were going to change our minds about Katherine. Some of the caregivers that really love Katherine, do not want us to hurt her feelings by just walking away. I guess a couple of other families had played with her for a day or so and then sent her back to her room. They said "she is too active for us to handle". My comment to Olga was something like, there is NO WAY WE ARE LEAVING KAZAKHSTAN WITHOUT HER! I stressed that several times. I asked her to try and assure the concerned caregivers not to worry, Katherine has found a Mommy and Daddy and a Family in the US waiting on pins and needles waiting to love her up. Here I go, tearing up again. Every time I think of her being rejected I am grateful to God for saving her for us. She is a God send and blessing in our hearts.
Anthony was just the best today. He crawled around a whole bunch more. Ann brought him the toy in the picture, posted today. It sings little rhymes every time you turn it. He would lay on it and rock back and forth making the tune constantly change. It was the funniest thing ever. Today he also responded very well to some good loving, hugs and kisses. I would kiss him all over his checks and he would coo and get a big toothy grin on his face. It was the best.
After our little outing in the snow this afternoon, I took Anthony to his room to peel some of the layers off. It was snack time for him and the caregiver let me feed him. I saw the other Andre and felt sad for those little eyes. I am sure it is in my head but, He seemed to be saying what about me. I told him that his Mommy and Daddy would be coming soon for him, not to worry.
We did a little grocery shopping today. The veggies were huge. The cabbage was the size of a basket ball, the kiwi were like the size of a big red apple and mushrooms x-large. The bottled water is 75 cents for a 4 ltr bottle. You can figure out most of the stuff by the picture on the box however, Natasha and Olga came in with us and helped. Enough for today, I could keep going and going. There are only 4 pics for today, enjoy!