Monday, December 27, 2004

We had another great day. It was more low-key. We've started to follow our new routine pretty well - even the baby house staff doesn't look at us funny when we pass by.

We went to our upstairs hot closet room again today (NOTE: we've started wearing t-shirts under our layers so we can strip down during our visits). Kai was cruising around the playroom in his pink walker. He saw Carla and smiled and then proceeded to ram his walker to the edge of the door way - trying to get over it. The caregivers stopped him and brought him to us.

Masha brought Sierra up from downstairs. She was feeling much better (no fever today) and was in her usual good mood. By the time she got up stairs, the Doctor came up and asked if we wanted to feed Kai (he hadn't had breakfast yet) - of course we said "yes". Carla plowed ahead of everyone to be the first, but Jim got to help in the process as well (while Grandpa held Sierra). The feeding is interesting. You have to really keep the food coming at a relatively fast pace or they fuss in between bites. The caregivers normally hold the bowl close to their heads and literally shovel it in their mouths. Carla needs to work on her speed because we had a few fussy lulls in the process. The caregivers came out to help a few times (e.g., giving him some tea from his mug). After he was done eating, they brought him some water (in a mug to drink) and he gulped the entire cup down and then wanted more. Who needs sippy cups when you can drink out of a ceramic mug at 9 months old?

Sierra had a big "laughing day." Between Jim and Les, they kept her in stitches - she has the cutest giggle. Kai just stares at her when she gets on a roll (but he also stares at everyone - he studies everything he sees).

We worked with both of them today on crawling/scooting. They are usually in the big play pens (see Kai's pic below) or in a walker on the floor so there isn't much opportunity to crawl and strengthen those muscles. Sierra can get up on all fours but doesn't go anywhere. She'll scoot a little bit if you put your hand behind her feet so she can push off. Kai, on the other hand, can do the army crawl pretty well when he's motivated by a toy he wants.

Kai actually reached for Carla today when Les was holding him. It was a proud moment. He hasn't actively reached out for any of us but never fusses when we have him. We hoping this is a good bonding sign.

We've been lucky on all our visits not to get stuck with the stinking diaper - Keely has had to change 2 of Jude's. Kai and Sierra are always dry and clean when we get them. We change their clothes and take the dirty ones home to wash.

During our break, we went to the "Kamelot" restaurant for lunch. It was a pretty good meal. The server spoke only a little bit of English but we managed to get by and I think everyone got what they ordered. The only funny thing was regarding Carla's meal. We were bringing Masha back lunch (her father was in the hospital so she was visiting him in between our visits). Carla tried to ask, in some Russian, if we could get a separate meal to go. The server thought she was asking for her meal to go. So when all the food came out, everyone had a plate and Carla had a to-go box. We ended up having so much food that we shared and just gave Masha the spare meal.

Our afternoon visit was fun. We actually got to go to the "sports" room which is where we first met the children. It is bigger, has cushy pads all over the floor and is much cooler - which was great. The four babies (Jason, Keely, Jude and Anna were there as well) played with their moms and dads (and grandpa) and we got a ton of pictures and video. We think Jude and Sierra have a thing for each other - they were really checking each other out. Keely and Carla have decided to allow the long distance relationship - ha, ha.

Our 2nd visit of the day runs into Kai's nap time so he really winds down about 30 min into the visit and just wants to be held (which Jim and Carla trade off on since he's so heavy). Kai actually fell asleep in Carla's arms today... what a great feeling! - she carried him up and gave him to the caregiver at the end of the visit so it wouldn't wake him up.

One last note of the day - we were able to buy a jack that connects two phone lines. We plugged Jason/Keely's phone line into it, feed the line through the door, around a nail, over the junction box in the hall, over the light in the hall, over another nail, through our door to get Internet. Yeah!! Jason was having problems with his computer (not connecting to the Internet) so he hasn't been able to dial out and we haven't had Internet in our apartment, so they're letting us use the connection and we're posting to their website and letting them check email on ours ... pretty good arrangement! We're very lucky to have such great new friends to work with us (we were going stir crazy without regular access to the Internet).

Hmm.. which of the 178 pictures should we post from today?


Les - the chef. This morning we had coffee, meat, cheese, bread and butter (a fine German breakfast)



Our clothes dryer

We have a thumb sucker! He found his thumb today and seemed to like it.



Look at all my teeth

I'm almost ready to crawl (Sierra will push off if she has some leverage)



Are we having fun yet? This is our tiny little sauna where we've been visiting every day. Not much room but we manage.

The Higgins'


Please let me eat your face --- Sierra likes to lick on Kai's cheek - He doesn't much care for it.


Kai in full army scoot


Kai and his caregiver


Keely, Jason, Carla and Jim at our apartment entrance



Kai in his playpen (he's the one in the front - to the right). When Carla went to pick him up, his little friend behind him blew her a raspberry.. too cute.

Carla got to feed Kai today. They change the baby's clothes (prior to eating) into these little yellow and gray outfits so they don't mess up their clothes. When the caregiver came to Carla with the smock, she thought it was for Kai and not her.. the caregiver threw it over her head though and we were in business. Kai ate a whole bowl of mush (what appeared to be cream of wheat) and a mug of tea with a cookie in the bottom. You couldn't pause for that long in between bites or he'd fuss.



Kai having his morning caffeine and sugar (never thought I'd say that about my 9 month old).

Grandpa Les blowing raspberries on Sierra's cheek


Daddy helping with the feeding (you can get it in faster from the front instead of feeding him backwards like they do).

Tag team on the morning clothing change


Jim pushing Kai in the swing (we were able to use the "sports" room today which was much cooler than our little closet. It was a nice change of scenery.

Kai in the ball pen (in the sports room)


"Hey, I know you"

Proud grandpa


"Kai, I think I'd like the one toy you're playing with.."

Kai has had a long day - he fell asleep on Carla at the end of the afternoon visit


Our rigged up phone line from the Richardson's apartment to ours. You can faintly see it running across the white part of the ceiling. This allows Censeo's Kazakhstan office to stay open for business!

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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004