Sunday, December 4, 2011

Double trouble

Well we were worried that Oscar didn't love his little sister right? They are two peas in a pod these days. Olivia is Oscar's ticket to doing things he knows he shouldn't. She splashes in the tub and he goes nuts with that. She dumps out toy bins and he runs with that. Any chance he can get to do something wrong and say "Livi did it first" he is all about. They drive us nuts, but seeing them giggle together is definitely priceless.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My little flamenco dancer and my policeman

Yes, I know I haven't posted in months and months. Yes, I am a teacher and life is crazy once school starts. I need to work on making time for myself to update our blog and just enjoy reading or something. The problem is there are papers to be graded sitting in my bag as I write. It never ends.
The good news is Olivia is doing great! She is really getting very vocal. I'm sure it helps that her brother never stops taking and is just so loud. She has to keep up with him so she is really babbling and yelling a lot.
We have been slightly bummed out that she isn't walking yet. She wants to walk so bad but her core muscles were just so under-developed that she has had so much catching up to do. She is really close though so hopefully within the next month.
As you can see they dressed up for Halloween at school today. I bought Olivia's costume in Spain this past summer on a trip I took with my students. I absolutely love it! Oscar was planning to be Buzz but when we took out the costume it was dirty so we switched it up to a policeman. Last Halloween I went to a Halloween store the day after Halloween and got a whole bunch of costumes for Christmas gifts. Oz loved them. Since the guy is so tiny I know several of the costumes will still fit him next year.
As far as brotherly love goes Oscar finally said he loved Olivia about 2 weeks ago. We have checked since then and he still loves her. For the first 5 months when we asked him if he loved her he would say, "No, not yet. I'll love her when she is a big girl." The love all started when Olivia shared a cookie with Oz in the car. I have to agree that people who share cookies should be loved.
Hopefully I won't wait another 5 months before I post again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Things have been crazy busy since we got home. It was tough coming home because our dog ran away while we were gone. It is a very long and sad story and I am trying to focus on Olivia being home now. I spent hours and hours searching and organizing searches for our Lulu and she is still not home. Although it was very difficult, I decided this week to stop organizing searches and focus on our family. I am still updating local vets and lost dog websites, but for my family's sake and mine I needed to move on. I still hope every day that she will be found somewhere and come home!
Olivia is doing great. She is VERY active! I feel bad for her because she wants to walk really bad but isn't strong enough in her trunk. She wants me to walk with her by holding her hands up all day long and my back just can't take it. We take lots of walks with the stroller to keep her moving.
Oscar is getting better but he definitely has had a tough time sharing mom. About a week after she got home he asked if she was going back to Russia. The good news is he has asked that again since and then said he doesn't want her to go back. Little by little he is getting there.
Well that is it for now!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just one pic... Here she is!

We have a very slow internet connection in Vologda. Here is one picture just for our Oscar. She had to be introduced to Woody! Hopefully I can post more from St. Petersburg. We are headed there tonight and staying until Sunday night. We pick up Olivia on Monday and head back to Moscow on Tuesday. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Picture!

So here are the little feet that will be soon taking over our house!
We just bought our tickets last night for trip 3. We are heading back next Saturday, a week from today already! We will have her home on Friday, May 6th. We have to spend two weeks there because it takes 7 days to process her passport. We are going to take a little side trip for 4 days to St. Petersburg while we wait for her passport. If anyone has suggestions for what to see or do please pass them on. We are feeling a little selfish because we aren't very excited to see St. Petersburg even though we know it will be beautiful. We just want to get her home!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We have a daughter!

Yippee, court is done and it was a success! The hearing was just under 2 hours and not too difficult at all. It helped a lot that we adopted Oscar from Russia too. The judge and the prosecutor kept referencing our son and our experience. With that being said though, it was still very stressful. It feels great to have it over with!
We did visit Olivia this morning but only for an hour. Plus, the whole time we were with her our translator was reviewing everything with us for court. On top of that, poor Olivia has a bad cold. She had this bright red nose and chapped cheeks. She wasn't the same happy little baby from our first visit. Seeing her sick just makes this next wait even more difficult. We don't know the exact date that we can come back yet. We are going to go back to the orphanage this evening before we have to get back on the train. It will be nice to have time with her with no other distractions. So excited to just get her home!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Court tomorrow

Well we made it to Moscow and survived the 8 doctor medical. We got in yesterday and completed the medical today. We are going to see Olivia tomorrow at 8 and then head to court at 10. We can't wait to see her! We are a little nervous about when we will be able to pick her up for trip 3 because of the Russian May holidays. We won't know until tomorrow. Our coordinator has to speak with people tomorrow to find out when they will be closed. Say a prayer for us that we are not waiting until May 9th to come back. They said that is our worst case scenario.
I would like to give one little bit of advice for families thinking about adopting or are starting the process. Get a Marriott credit card!!!!! We will have all of our hotel nights paid for in Moscow (4 total nights) and a possible side trip (while waiting for her passport) in St. Petersburg (3 nights)because of this card. Hotels in Moscow are insanely expensive (500+ a night) so this has been a major cost savings for us. There is no Marriott in Vologda, but at least everything else is free. The Marriott company has been great about scheduling our trips and working with us when we needed early check ins and late check outs too.
Well wish us luck on court tomorrow!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Our Little Man is 4!

Happy 4th Birthday to our Ozzie!!!!
We had a pretty low key birthday with visits from Grandpa, Uncle Slug, and Aunt Jeanne. Oscar loved his new trampoline and the policeman toys from Uncle Slug and Aunt Jeanne.
In two weeks it is birthday time with the cousins and next month will be birthday time with Grammie. That is the joy of not living close to family, birthday's last for much longer. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thank god for kids

This past week has been crazy!!! Our furnace broke, portions of our house lost electricity, Joe's truck needed brakes, our insurance company is fighting with us over our flooded basement from a month ago, and I had to run around to get paperwork done. In the end, I just keep thinking thank god for kids! I am not a really religious person, definitely more spiritual than religious, but thank god for kids. In all of the craziness of this week I just kept thinking thank god we are going to Russia next Sunday and thank god Oscar makes us laugh every day. The thing is that as a teacher, I have always been thankful for kids. I know many people can't fathom the thought of teaching high school students. I however, have very few days where I don't laugh at work. Now of course, the kids can make me crazy angry or disappoint me, but in the end I really do laugh and smile a lot. Now, as a mother, I am just more thankful for children. They always put things into perspective. We are now down to 11 more days before our court date! I can't wait to see baby o again! :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Now Arizona?

So when our court date got moved back two weeks it was because the judge wanted a little more information on our employment letters. Mine was no issue. I emailed the school district's HR secretary and she had it done in a day. Joe's on the other hand was a whole different story. Joe's company has a form letter for employment letters so adding additional info is not allowed. Joe typed up the form letter and added the one line of additional information and his boss could not sign it because it did not come from HR. So thankfully his boss got involved and called the corporate HR department to request this new letter. The really entertaining part is that the letter is now coming from Arizona. We live in IL. So naturally we had a day of panicking trying to figure out how we are going to get an apostille from Arizona and get the document to our agency in Indiana by this Thursday. So here is the crazy luck that we have- one of my good friend's in-laws live in Phoenix. Her sister-in-law is going to get the apostille for us and fedex the letter to our agency. So in the end we are getting the letter today, overnighting it to AZ, and it should be in IN by Tuesday or Wednesday. Please pray that this all works out! Two weeks from today we will be heading back to Russia. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Well our court date is April 12th. We were tentatively scheduled for March 31st but the judge wanted two more documents. Thankfully, they shouldn't be anything too difficult to get together. We will be leaving on the 9th, so we have 3 more weeks of waiting. Looks like baby sister will be coming home around Mother's Day. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hoping for Confirmation Soon!!!

We got a message on Monday that our agency is trying to confirm our court date. I was hoping I would hear today, but no luck. Maybe tomorrow, but I'm just hoping we hear this week. Tomorrow I will be shopping for gifts and trying not to buy too much cute little girl stuff when I hit the outlet malls!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Court Date...Maybe

So yesterday we got the call that our "tentative" court date is March 31st!!! Not sure what the "tentative" is all about, but at this point I will take it! This is just great news all around because it is in March, as they said it would be, and it is the week of my spring break at school. I won't lose time with my students and I won't lose any of my days for my maternity leave. The couple that we traveled with have a "tentative" date for the week after us, so we are hoping we can all make the final trip together. We shall see!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In the end it is a miracle

I just wanted to post the insanity of this past week regarding our paperwork. A friend of mine who also adopted her children from Russia perfectly stated what this process is like: "Just remember this is your equivalent to labor. Only you don't get the benefit of an epidural." Now I have never given birth and we may be talking about different kinds of labor, but this week was quite the painful experience.

Monday: Our agency wrote an email apologizing that they just realized we needed to update 39 documents that had expired in our dossier. They needed them notarized, apostilled, and in their office by Thursday so they could send them to NY to a family that would hand carry our docs this weekend. For some this isn't a huge deal, however we are a 1.5 hour train ride from Chicago so I had to take a day off of work. Luckily I had Monday off and their was an open bank that notarized for us that night.

Wednesday: I took the 9am train to Chicago with all the documents. I stopped at Starbucks to get a hot chocolate for the train ride and I should have seen the signs then. They gave me a caramel machiato (sp?) and it was terrible. So got downtown at 10:30 and walked the 6 or so blocks to the apostille office. Handed everything in and then all hell broke loose. The women at the counter informed me that our notary did not stamp one of the docs. I wanted to scream I was so mad at myself. I checked every document, or so I thought, as the guy signed them. Then she tells me they can't apostille copies of our marriage certificates and that I will have to call MN (that is where we got married). I now am really sweating and freaking out. Original marriage certificates from MN can take up to 4 weeks to get plus I would have to send them back for the apostilles. Then she goes on to say that she can't apostille copies of the deed to our home because they are signed by a state official. We will have to go to our county court house and get a certified copy. So now I am beyond freaking out. I walk away and call my adoption agency. The main problem is that they are in IN and we are in IL therefore different apostille rules. IL is so much more difficult and strict about everything when it comes to adoption. Of course my agency is also freaking out and they ask me to beg them one more time and if they say no to get them to write down that they would not do it. I guess they thought that the judge would maybe be more considerate if she saw we were working on things? Well of course they said no and wouldn't write anything for me, they just gave me a flier about their office. So at this point I luckily went into thinking mode. I called my mom in MN and in under 3 hours she had 6 marriage certificates picked up, apostilled, and fedexed to our agency. I took the train back home and went back to the bank. Of course the notary that we used had called in sick that day and they would not stamp the doc with his stamp. So I went home and printed a new one and headed to the county court house. I picked up the certified copies of our deed and went to fedex. I sent everything other than the deed and the one unnotarized document to our agency. I then met my husband at the bank where we got the document notarized. At this point it was 5:45 and we headed home. The next morning Joe got up at 4:45 and got on a train to head downtown to apostille the deed and the other doc. He then fedexed the docs to the family in NY that is hand carrying our documents tomorrow to Russia.

So in the end it is an absolute miracle that all 39 of these documents are heading to Russia tomorrow!!!! Our coordinator is taking them to the judge on Tuesday so hopeful we will hear something soon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

More paperwork

Well here we go...more paperwork. Nothing really terrible, but still...more paperwork. Our agency and translator realized that some of our original dossier documents needed to be updated, of course a week after we got everything else done. So frustrating, but what can we do other than just get them done. Plus the letter we need from DCFS was in our social worker's hands last Wednesday and she noticed they got the license number wrong! How does that happen??? Don't you think you would check the agency license number!!! All they have to get right is the name and license number of the agency. Our social worker is hopeful they will get a new one tomorrow and she will fedex it overnight to me for Wednesday morning delivery. The moral of the story is I'm working on things as soon as I finish my complaining here, taking a day off on Wednesday to go get the apostilles (hopefully with the DCFS letter), and everything will be on a plane to Russia with another family on Saturday. So in the end we will be one week behind our original plan. The other nerve wracking news is that our documents the agency sent to Russia on Friday are now sitting in Moscow but "cannot be delivered due to uncontrolable circumstances" according to UPS. Now based on my excperience shipping to Russia this is pretty normal so I'm not freaking out too much yet. Our agency said the coordinator had planned to deliver our documents to the region on Thursday, but now she may just wait for everything to come and go next week. I know it could be worse, but I just had to complain! Here is to hoping I get everything done on Wednesday, things are on their way to Russia on Saturday, and our other documents get delivered!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Trying to believe in the optimism

So all of our documents went to Russia today and our agency and coordinator are saying they are planning for a court date in mid-March. Now I would love to believe that this is true, but really? Less than two months? It is just so hard for me to believe that it could happen that fast. Every time I am in a store I hear voices - one tells me to shop for Olivia since she may be home in 6 weeks and the other voice says what the *&#$%% are you thinking- don't you dare get your hopes up. After waiting for over 6 months to bring Oscar home and a few months of therapy to help me through that I just hate that I am getting my hopes up. I am desperately trying to just let it go since I have NO control of this what so ever.
Now just to clarify-I don't actually hear voices- at least not yet. However, if this adoption takes 6 more months you never know.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Big Boy Bed!

We moved our guest bed into Oscar's room this weekend to get started on Olivia's room. We got Oscar's room all set up and the crib is up in the baby room. We still have lots of organizing to do in the baby room, but it feels good to be getting things done!
This week we should get all of our paperwork done so we can head downtown for the apostilles. We just have one more form to sign on Monday and then we are waiting for our DCFS letter regarding our homestudy agency. We are hoping everything will be in Russia sometime next week. Then we sit and wait for the court date!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Name

So we have settled on a name and I have to say I really like it. I guess that is a good thing! :) So here it is: Olivia Viktoria.
Here Russian name is Viktoria and we wanted to keep that. We kept Oscar's Russian name for his middle name, Kirril, and we just like the idea of keeping a part of Russia with them.


Well we made it home yesterday with no major issues. I cannot believe the snow!!! It didn't seem like much at O'Hare, but at our house it is crazy. It is almost like driving through a tunnel when you enter our neighborhood. So we missed the biggest blizzard ever!
Well, now we begin the fun (yes, there is sarcasm there) wait for our court date. Our coordinator said she planned to have us back in March, so I can hope, right? Considering our wait for Oscar was 6 months long, I am just really hoping we can at least cut that wait in half this time! We shall see!
On the plane yesterday I think that Joe and I settled on a name. We are going to think about it for a day or two, but I will let you know when we have it. We watched videos of her and Oscar on the plane home and I just can't get over how incredibly luck we are!
Our two days in Moscow were nice. Although we really just wanted to get home, I am glad we stayed. We toured the Kremlin and after shopping on Arbat street we attempted the subway. I am still amazed at the subway. I have been on lots of subways in major cities and never seen anything like this! We only went to 2 stops, but the amount of people and the beauty of the stations was incredible. It was also incredible that with every sign in Russian and no English anywhere we were able to get where we wanted to go. We also went to a grocery store on Tverskaya Street that was amazing. Huge chandeleirs and gold everywhere. By the way the strawberries in this store were about $14 for a small container.
Well I hear Oscar getting up so I better get going. Thanks for all the kind comments. We can't wait until we can post a picture.

Monday, January 31, 2011

She is beautiful!

So we met "baby sister" today and she is just beautiful. Of course she had the exact opposite reaction to us as Oscar. Oscar cried for over an hour and was very unsure of us. She is the happiest and most giggly baby ever. Super chubby cheeks too. She loved to sit with Joe and get tickled. Our coordinator was even crying when Joe was holding her and tickling her. The video is the cutest thing ever. I can't wait until we can share it with everyone.
We went to the ministry of education this morning at 8:15 and then stayed at the orphanage until 1:15. We just finished lunch and we are headed back to the orphanage tonight at 5. We will also have the day tomorrow to play with her.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We have arrived!

So turns out last night after I posted we were able to shower and get to know our coordinator and translator for a few hours. We did not have to head to the train until 9. Not really sure how that happened, but we just don't ask questions. :) You really have to be ready to just go with the flow. (of course, easier said than done for me)
We are now in our hotel in Vologda and getting ready to go eat breakfast. After breakfast we will be going to the ministry of education to officially receive our referral and then head to the orphanage to meet baby sister.
We are traveling with another couple who will be meeting their son. They are really nice and it is great to share this experience with another couple.
After the plane for one night of sleep and the train for the next night of sleep it is an understatement to say we are tired! Hopefully we will get a better night of sleep tonight.
We should be able to post about our first visit tonight!

Almost there!

Just a quick note to say we landed in Moscow. We had 30 minutes or so in a hotel to freshen up and now we are off to the train station for the over night train.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Russia Here We Come!

We are all packed and ready to go. One last check of the luggage and we will be packing up the car. Flight leaves this evening and we will be in Moscow tomorrow evening. We will be on an over night train tomorrow night and meeting baby sister on Monday morning. We won't be able to post anything until at least Monday night.
Thanks for all the well wishes!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Got the call!

Looks like we are headed to Russia this coming Saturday! Please wish us luck and safe travels!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Still hoping and waiting

Well we are still hoping and waiting. Our referral comes off the registry on Friday and I wish I had a flight there on Friday! I talked to our agency today and they are hoping we will travel within 2 weeks but there is no official word yet. I just really hope this one works out and that we get a call this week to plan our travel. I will admit that I am definitely a planner and I hate not knowing things. However, as a teacher I have a ton of planning to do once I know when I will be gone. I want to go right away, but a little notice would really help my sanity. At least I still have the packing list all ready, paperwork is done, and baby stuff is bought. I really would just have a ton to do at school. Well now that I typed this out I do feel a little better. Thanks to those that listened! :) Here is to hoping we get a call soon and are on a plane soon!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Funny Story

So we were shopping at Target on Sunday. I decided to look at baby toys for baby sister with Oscar. I told him we were shopping for babysitter and here is the conversation we had:

Me: We're shopping for your baby sister Oscar.
Oscar: Mom, can I cook her?
Oscar: Can I cook baby sister, with noodles?
Me: No, Oscar! You can't cook her with noodles!

He then smiled and giggled.

So what is that about? Cook her with noodles? Where did he come up with that and what does that me? Any thoughts?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Woody Buzz and Jesse

Does it get any better than this for a 3 year old? Even though the lines were insane, seeing Oscar when he met Woody, Buzz, and Jesse was completely worth it! The kid was in heaven!