Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter wonderland

We were so excited to get some SNOW!!  There was a little bit of snow in Russia... not much though!  (Our tour guide was saying it was the mildest winter she had ever seen!)  Plus, we wanted to play in the snow with our kids!! 
Ella was loving it too!!
When it snows, we break out the go-cart, motorcycle, sleds... pretty much everything we can find!!

The boys made their first snowman all by themselves!!  Jacob said, "Come on Gavin, let's use teamwork!"  It was super sweet.

Meanwhile, Casey was throwing snowballs at me from our play fort.

The finished product with golden coins, a sucker, and Jacob's snow hat!

Daddy taking the boys out for a ride!
Ella even joined them for a bit (and daddy went really slow ;)

It kept snowing...
and snowing...
...and snowing!
Casey's favorite thing was for us to throw him snowballs and he would chop them in half, saying, "Hi-YAH!"
This is our neighbor's quad... but Adam is sure trying to convince me that our family needs one!  :)
 Gavin's hair was cracking me up!
Sweet girl... feeling right at home.

My little Case!

Ella is teething like crazy... she wants to knaw on everything!
Watching all the boys play!
 Daddy definitely helped with this snowman.  I think it's the tallest one we've ever built!!

 Later that night, we came out for more fun!  All of the "toppings" had fallen off the snowman's face, so Adam created his own masterpiece.  ;)
 And Casey built his first lil' snowman all by himself!

 The icicles were shooting out everywhere from our tree... so beautiful!
  Love this icicle with my family playing in the background.

 A winter wonderland for sure.  The power went out over the next few days and that wasn't as fun.  ;)  By the time it came back on, our snow was all gone.  :( :(

Monday, January 16, 2012

3 weeks

A few days ago, Jacob was telling me nonchalantly that Ella had been home for nineteen days.  Just out of pure curiosity, I counted the days on my calendar only to discover that he was right... nineteen to the day.  Amazing!

We are learning more and more about Ella each day.  She absolutely loves the bath.  Which surprises me because I'm pretty sure she never had a bath in the orphanage, so I thought she would be really scared.  Nope.  She squeals in delight and splashes around with the biggest smile on her face.  It has become a routine that I really look forward to.  Ella also loves going outside (which is perfect because it has been snowing)!!!   Every time I grab her jacket and shoes, she runs to the door and squeals in delight.  The wind, rain, and snow all make her gasp and smile simultaneously.  I think all the snow reminds her of Russia... and she feels right at home.  ;) 

Ella is learning a lot too.  She is learning what the love of a family means.  She is learning to trust us to take care of her.  She is learning daddy's looks when she is doing something she isn't supposed to do.   She is learning that dog food tastes yucky.   She is learning sign language and saying, "Mama, dada, and El-la."  When I was tucking her into bed the other night, she even mimicked me and said, "Tuck, tuck, tuck!"  My mom taught Ella how to blow kisses a few weeks ago and she blows them for me each night as I tuck her into bed.  Nothing could show me love more than staring down at her as she sweetly blows each kiss.  (Plus, she giggles when I blow them back.  ;)

I was talking to the bonding/attachment specialist from our adoption agency, and she was thrilled to hear how Ella is doing... especially how well she is sleeping and eating.  She advised to keep Ella home and her world as "small as possible" for the first few weeks.  Growing accustomed to her new home and family (especially Adam and I), is of utmost importance.  We are blessed that Adam's vacation happened to fall in January this year so he has been home the entire time.   So we are mostly home bound for now... another reason we are thankful for the snow!!

We also got Ella's blood and kidney ultrasound results back and everything looks normal and healthy!  This was a huge praise since her medical referral stated that there may be a concern with her kidneys.  Also her blood tithers showed that she does in fact have immunity to diphtheria, polio, and hepatitis A, just as was recorded in her Russian shot records... so we don't have to do those shots again.  Yay!

We were visiting with one of my friends who just had a baby and it was the sweetest moment.  Ella walked right over to him and was carefully patting his head and kissing his tummy over and over.  She couldn't get enough of him!!  I couldn't help but think about all those sweet babies in the orphanage that she must have helped take care of... she was probably just so excited to see a baby again.  :)  I got to experience first-hand how loving and sweet the caretakers in her orphanage were.  They must have been great models of how to take care of a baby because Ella knew just what to do!!

 All dolled up and ready to go!

 Watching her brothers paint their wooden cars!
 Building legos for Ella... their favorite thing to do!
 This duo is the sweetest ever
 Most of my pictures seem to be of Ella and Gavin... he just can't get enough of her!!

 The aftermath of chocolate chip cookies
 Ella loves climbing the stairs and just learned how to come back down!
 She also loves throwing Sy food when we aren't looking...
 ...and as a result, Ella is Sy's new best friend!

Oh, and did I tell you I have another friend who decided to adopt from Russia with our same adoption agency!  God is so GOOD!!  I am beyond excited that two more sweet babies in Russia will have loving families!!   I love the concept of one less... and I love even more that they are adding up.  :)