December 16 2003

We will start off with, "we only had one visit to the orphanage today". It is the Kazakhstan Independence day!  Happy Independence Day Kazakhstan!

We went to get Katherine this morning and she is in the potty room.  All the kids were in there.  She looked like she had been crying and like she'd just gotten up.  Not sure what was going on.  She lit up when she saw us.  The caregiver brushed Katherine's hair.   Katherine ran right up and jumped into Mommy's arms.  She hung on tight for a while.  I think she missed Ann a lot.  I think that she is starting to trust us a bit.  Only a guess.

We went to get Anthony and he was all smiles when he saw us.  He has the cutest smile. Ann fed Anthony while Katherine and I went to the play room.  She had a morning snack of yogurt, cookies, pretzels and some juice.  She started shoveling in the yogurt, I took over.  I fed her smaller bites and slowed the pace down a bit.  About half way through the feeding, she reached in the bag for the cookies.  I told her no, she looked at me with those big eyes. An idea struck me, break up some of the cookies in the yogurt.  She loved it.  She would suck the yogurt off the cookie then crunch away.  I motioned for more cookie in the yogurt and got a big smile with a head nod.  We then tried to read a book, she really did not want to sit still.  That's ok.

Ann came down with Anthony after feeding him his breakfast.  We pretty much switched off at that point, I took Anthony and she took Katherine.  They went outside for some fresh air while Anthony and I played upstairs.

All he wanted to do was walk around the room.  I did manage to read a "Thomas the Train" book to him while he sat on my lap. It is pretty distracting in the room, but we did get through the book.  After that, "hold my hand while I walk" is all that was on his mind.  As I have mentioned before there is another couple we share this play room with. They have a Bio 5 year old and are adopting a 4 year old, both are boys.  Anthony is intrigued by these 2.  He loves watching what they are doing and seems to want to follow them around.  We just walk around looking at what those 2 are up to. 

There is a foldable tent with a tunnel attachment in the room.  Eric, the other father, put it together for the boys to play in.  Anthony giggled and giggled every time they went through the tunnel. He wanted to go through so bad, you could just tell. When the older boys got tired of playing with it, we ventured into the tunnel.  Anthony was all smiles in that thing.  He would look around and just smile.  It took him about 15 minutes to get to the other side.  He just took his time and seemed to enjoy every minute of his trip through that tunnel.  There is a really good picture of him in the tube in the photo gallery today.

When Ann and Katherine came back in from their adventure, we switched up again.  Katherine looked sooooo happy that she got to go outside with Mommy. 

Katherine and I played in the ball pit for about 40 minutes or so.  She would fall backwards and I would pick her up and love her but good.  Telling her the whole time how much I loved her.  She would giggle and fall back in to the pit.  Just to spice it up a bit, I started picking her up by her feet.  The smile was as wide as the Atlantic.  Grinning ear to ear, she would motion to "do it again". We had a blast in just 2 square feet.  The trip outside did her a world of good.  She is going to just Blossom when she meets up with Ryan and goes on adventures outside with him. She really likes the daring stuff, I see rollercoaster's in her future.  She will just blindly fall in the ball pit, making my heart skip a beat, then just laugh. Ann will fill you on the details of the outside adventure.

We spent about 5 hours with Jim and Suzanne today. It was cool. We saw some video of the Kaz potty training.  OH MY GOSH!  The kids are about 6-9 months old, all in a big playpen.  The caregiver would put a chamber pot under the child then lash the child to the railing so he would sit up straight.  The kids looked pretty clueless.  It was a little odd compared to all you know about potty training.

Lunch was outstanding. We had roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, cucumber/tomato salad, cheese, bread and soup.  After lunch we went for a pretty long walk in downtown Karaganda.  We got a bunch of stares, we stand out as Americans.  It was a little chilly, I did not have my hat on.  I am not sure of the picture taking and videoing protocol.  I will find out tomorrow.  I am a Nervous Nelly and was a little uneasy about walking around for the first time. It will get better with time. We had ice-cream when we got back.  It was good, the banana tasted like banana taffy.  I like banana's a lot.

The first 3 pictures are compliments of Janet and Brad Ball.  They were here in Karaganda 6 months ago and happened to take a few snapshots of our kids. How cool is that?  Anthony is about 6 months old and Katherine is a little over 2.  The green stuff on Anthony is some type of medicine, he had Chicken pox.  The green stuff is supposed to help with the itching.

Ann is up next.  Thank you all for following our journey and sending all your love half way around the world!

The adventure with Katherine outdoors all starts with getting dressed. Out comes the hat, coat, tights, mittens, sweater and boots. They all have to go on in a certain order and you must put the scarf on last so that it wraps around the outside of the coat and preferably covers the mouth and nose.  It was not so cold out today so we did not have to cover up her face. I know this because as we were walking outside a group of children from a different room were just coming in. They did not have their faces covered, so I felt safe not covering Katherine's.  The coat is so bulky that her arms cannot fall to her sides.  Unfortunately I did not bring a camera outside with me and did not get any pictures.  We will do that tomorrow for sure.

Last time I took Katherine on the sled, I could not see her face (due to the scarf) and so could not tell if she was enjoying it. Well, when we started this time I turned to look at her and gave her the "Ready?", she gave me the nod.  I gave a short hard tug just for fun and her face burst into a smile. After that it was off we go. We raced down one side of the building.  The sun was shining in her face, so we turned around and went the other way. The worst of being on the sled is the snow coming back at you, but she enjoyed her ride.

The windows in the baby house are very large rectangles.  All the ceilings in all the buildings are higher than they are back home. The windows in the baby house are big.  At the top of the windows is generally a smaller window that folds into the room.  Kind of like those old triangle windows in the front seats of a car.  I don't know if you can get the picture in your head, but anyway, for the past couple of days, Katherine and I have been observing the little birds that fly to these open windows in the baby house. The birds sit there because it is warm.  (it is very warm in the baby house and they open the windows to cool it off. heat is government controlled, you can't turn down the thermostat).  Anyway - when we were on our outdoor adventure, we went around the back of the baby house and saw some of these birds in the bushes.  Katherine noticed them first and pointed them out.  I lifted her bulky little body off the sled and we tried creeping up on the birds.  We didn't actually have to creep too much, the birds are obviously used to people and they let us get very close. We had fun watching and stalking the birds until they all flew away. Tomorrow I will bring some bread crumbs and we will try feeding them.  I've already got my crumbs ready in a container in my coat pocket.   We also saw a dog on our trip.  We've seen lots of dogs together in books and I'm always saying "Dog!  The dog goes Ruff Ruff".  I think seeing one live and in person today she was better able to figure out what I was Ruff Ruffing about.

That was it for the outdoor adventure.  My little princess of neatness helped me put all her outdoor things away. She knows exactly where each item goes and will not let you make any mistakes.

Anthony and I hung out for the rest of the visit. He looked wonderful in a new outfit today. However, he did a lot of spitting up on it.  I do hope they change him to something else tomorrow.

I know Bill already said it, but we had a GREAT time with the Ferets!!! I can tell you that their apartment is swank compared to ours.  Their toilet bowl actually has a lid.  They even have a shower curtain. We are moving to a different apartment on Friday and seeing where they are and what their digs are like gives me great hope for our short term future. Our apartment here is fine. We did not ask to move.  We were told the first night we got here that we would be moving, but the Ferets apartment is in the city proper where walking about is more acceptable and the apartment is simply cheerier. Jim Feret says we're going to be like the Jefferson's, 'Movin' on Up!'.

Dinner was fabulous, the company just wonderful.  We got lots of stares on our walk. I'd have to say we probably did lots of staring too. I think one middle aged Russian man tried to pick up Suzanne and me. Suzanne really stands out because she has a red coat.  Everyone here wears black coats in the winter.  Today she had on a red coat and no hat.  So clearly American, we all are. However, I felt perfectly safe.  I was glad I knew enough Russian to tell the middle aged man I did not understand what he was saying. 

That's about it for the day.  I can't wait to feed the birds tomorrow. Sharing food is a big step for Katherine.  Feeding the birds will be a very foreign concept. I am certainly looking forward to it.

God Bless

© Bill Delmedico 2013