December 21 2003

Katherine was thrilled to see us.  She ran up and jumped right in to Mommy's arms.  It so cool to watch this every morning.  I am not sure if it will be the same way once we are out of there. I am sure it will be fine. 

Anthony is a late sleeper. He was snoozing when we went to his room.  The caregiver brought him down after he woke up.  He had eaten his breakfast and lost a bunch of it on the floor. 

I went down to his room and asked if I could borrow a walker.  I put him in that thing in the play room and he went to town.  Everywhere!  He was cruising like nobody's business.  The down side, he soon discovered, is that when you throw something to the floor it is not so easy to retrieve. He spent a good half hour in the walker.  I think there are only 2 walkers in his room. I am not sure how much time they, 10 of them, get to spend in the walker. He was really digging it. He would try to go through the door, find it shut and just sit there. He really likes roaming the halls, just like his sister.  Hmmm, wonder why.

He loves the stacking toys. We sat and played with them forever.  He likes you to stack them, then he takes pride in knocking them all down again.  Laughing and grinning the whole time.  I stacked about 50 times.  Lots of laughs from him.

He really lights up when he sees his Mommy.  Ann and Katherine spent some time outside today, when they came back in, he was full of grins.

Katherine was a piece of work today.  She started her day out having a snack. She was going along pretty good.  After she and Ann came back in from their adventure outside, she seemed possessed. She likes to BUST through the door, HARD. This is, of course, not a good habit to have. We have been trying to teach her how to open the door "Gentle".  She did not have it going on today. I think she had burst though the door one too many times today and wound up with a little "Sittin' on Mommy's lap".  Katherine was not thrilled about this. At first she thought it was a game; shortly, she came to the conclusion "This may not be a good idea".  I am not sure how the discipline, if any, is handled at the baby house. Being restrained seemed to be a new concept to her.

After all that was squared away, it was wonderful. She has got the best little giggle going. You tickle her belly and she just bursts in to laughter.  It is the best. 

We had lunch with Jim and Suzanne. Pizza, go figure. It is not the same as home but does just fine in a pinch. We all went shopping. It is very stressful shopping here. It is the language barrier and just the hoards of people that were out today. I do not recall so many people from the other outings we have had.  We picked up a couple of toys for the apartment, 2 Kazak stories and clothes for the kids while we are here.

Ann read one of the Kazak stories. It is written in Kazak, Russian and English. It was interesting to say the least. I would not consider it appropriate for children.  The story line was bit too much and a couple of the translations were, in my opinion, not age appropriate.  We will probably have to edit it as we read it to the kids. 

We picked up a couple of keepsakes for Katherine and Anthony.  I think it will be good to have these for them when they are older.  A little something from their birthplace.

I think Ann has mentioned this before. The sizes are way different. Depending on where the outfit was made determines the size on the tag.  Sometimes it will have 2 or 10-12 or 74, which are essentially all the same size.  I get a little confused. All the sales clerks ask "How old and how much does s/he weigh". They then pull down the correct size, for the most part. Way different then Kids R US.

My outing with Katherine this morning was great.  We bundled ourselves up and headed outside. It was pretty gray out today. Looked like it would start snowing, but, except for a few drizzles, it never did precipitate.  We ventured outside the babyhouse gates again. We saw a boxer (a dog, not a prize fighter).  He was wearing a red sweater.  Katherine found him very interesting.  His owner had him on a leash so we were pretty close and I felt pretty safe.  We walked over toward  the school and there was another dog accompanied by two adults and one child. This was a big black dog, a little smaller than my sister LuAnn's dog Charlie.  (Charlie is slightly smaller than a midget pony). This dog was not on a leash and so, although Katherine was very interested in him, I was not feeling safe and we didn't get too close.  You can't ask the owner if the dog is friendly and if you can pet him when you don't speak the language.  Anyway, we headed back toward the babyhouse. Went to the playground there and swung on the swing and spun on the merry go round. I accidentally dumped my daughter on her side. I tried pulling the sled on some snow that wasn't packed down and she simply toppled over.  Considering all the clothes she is a bit top heavy on the sled. She's a really tough cookie.  I've seen her take a bunch of spills and they just don't seem to phase her.  When we got back inside my little girl turned into a she devil. It all started in the little foyer outside her room.  This is where we put on and take off our outside clothes. She started throwing her socks and just basically futzing around. Maybe we came in too soon?  Maybe they gave her sugar in the morning? Maybe it was just her mood.  She was ready to tear up the place. When you tell her No or Niet she just laughs at you.  This is normal Katherine. You've really got to take some time and get her to focus on not doing whatever she's not supposed to be doing.  She's cuter than pie, but a handful too.  So, like Bill said by the time we got back upstairs she was all piss and vinegar. She tried to throw a toy at her little brother.  That did not go over big with me. Then she did the BURST through the door act.  The door to the playroom opens out. Just outside the door is a desk and a nurse will sometimes sit there and divvy out vitamins or medicine. Katherine LOVES the vitamins. So she'll get a running start and just push that glass door open at a full run. She got a time out. It happened to be in my lap where she was unable to get up. It won't be the last time, for sure.  Certainly she does not know what it means to have a Mommy and Daddy. For all this time we've pretty much been her play pal. The caregivers here are wonderful, but they are not parents. The children have a pecking order in the room and Katherine is the dominant girl. It sounds really weird but that is the truth. There are so many hurdles to jump with this little girl.  Anthony will be much easier because he is so much younger. Both of them are totally worth it. 

Also, as Bill said, shopping is an adventure. We went to the Tsum which to us is a big indoor flea market. There are two doors to get in on each side of the building.  On the side we were on, one set of door was broken so everyone was coming out and going in one way. We are not big crowd people. We were with the Ferets and their interpreter Max.  Let me tell you I was not losing Max.  If I'm going to get separated from anyone in my party it's not going to be the one guy that can get me home.  It was a fine shopping trip. We got almost everything we needed. We'll need diapers and some booties for Anthony.  We got the CUTEST shoes for Katherine.  Oh MY GOD!! They are tan with little Kitty faces on them. My description doesn't do them justice.  I'm sure we'll take pictures of her in them soon. We had to buy coats for outdoors.  Anthony's is not hot pink.  This is important. Katherine's jacket would not have been my first choice if we were home, but it's fine for here. It's red and has Dalmatians from 101 Dalmatians all over the coat.  Again, I'm sure you'll see pictures soon.

We were so excited about our toilet and birthday party adventures yesterday, we forgot to tell this incredible story.  A small miracle actually.  Of course you all know the Ferets by now. When we first met them, Jim told us that a person he worked with knew a guy that ran a Methodist ministry here in Karaganda. What are the chances?  Jim got the number for the ministry and made contact with the man and made plans to spend Christmas and New Years with them.  I just thought that was the neatest thing.  Yesterday Bill and I were out shopping in one of these indoor flea market type places. There was a middle aged woman and a young girl looking at items in a display case. As we walked past them, I distinctly heard the woman say 'Colored Pencil'.  We just kept walking as it took a minute to sink in that they were speaking clear, unaccented English. Bill and I stopped and looked at each other and said pretty much at the same time, She was speaking English.  The woman looked over at us. And I said, 'That was really weird'.  She says 'That IS really weird'.  So she came over and introduced herself as a doctor from the Methodist Ministry that the Ferets had already made contact with.  AMAZING!  If you could imagine how big these stores are and how many people are milling about you would just be astounded at the odds that we would walk past these two particular people just at a moment when they were talking. And, that we'd already heard of the ministry was pretty cool too. Anyway, I do believe that if God were going to hit me over the head, he wouldn't do it any harder than that. We'll be celebrating Christmas Eve Mass at the Methodist Ministry. That also happens to be the day we have court.  I cannot think of a more fitting end to a day that becomes filled with even more meaning for us.

Today it is official that we left home two weeks ago. We have managed to get over the jet lag, survive the blind referral process, connect with two truly beautiful children, not catch cold and not get food poisoning. I think that all in all we've had a very successful two weeks. Another 4 days and we're at the halfway point.  How's that Ryan???? Each day we're getting closer to being home.  We're almost halfway there!

Good Night! God Bless!

© Bill Delmedico 2013