Sunday, January 2, 2005

We're 10 days away from court!

We started dating 10 years ago this week, and here we are 10 days away from adding our beautiful son and daughter to the family. Who would have thought back then that we'd be 1/2 way around the world eating horse meat and speaking Russian to get our little babies. Life is truly full of surprises.

Today it warmed up to 20 degrees F - a real heat wave. Living in Florida, we didn't think we'd be able to discern between 20 and 0, but there is definitely a difference.

Jim and Carla woke up to the smell of bacon at 7AM. Les (our resident chef) was cooking up a breakfast of bacon and eggs. It was a great meal and a nice change from the meat, cheese, and bread we've been eating most mornings. Bacon here seems to be more of a luxury item (not near as common as other meats stocked at the Atrium).

Up until now, we've had a bit of a "honeymoon" period with the children. They behave so well and don't fuss much at all , even when they're tired. This morning we got to our little room and looked into Kai's playroom like usual. He wasn't there, but we heard a baby screaming in the back room - guess what? It was our little guy. He was a bit upset this morning and it took a few minutes to calm him down (with the help of a pacifier). He's really funny because he holds the pacifier and sucks his thumb with the same hand. After a while, he did put the pacifier in his mouth, but it's still about 1/2 thumb and 1/2 pacifier.

Sierra was excited to see us this morning (and had a good visit in the morning) but by the afternoon, she was cranky [there must be something in the water today - or they kept them up partying for New Years]. We broke out the pacifier this afternoon for her. You've never heard a baby make so many noises sucking. She's very vocal and gets more so every day - having a pacifier in her mouth is no exception. It took her awhile to get the hang of it, but towards the end of our visit, she settled down and was putting it in her mouth and ripping it out, then putting it back in and ripping it out etc. Ripping means exactly that - she likes to get something in her mouth, clamp her teeth around it and roughly yank it out. This is usually accomplished with a grunt. She doesn't seem to be harming her teeth so whatever makes her feel good, right? One bad habit she's started is gritting her teeth. It's like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. We quickly give her something to chew on when she starts doing that.

In between our visits, we went to a Russian restaurant close to the apartment. Igor talked to someone inside to make sure they were open for lunch (most places have been closed for the holiday weekend). We've been spoiled since we've been here to have at least one person in the restaurant who speaks broken English - or at least they offer an English menu - not here. Jason, Jim and Les ordered beer with no problem but the food was quite the challenge. The entire menu was in Russian (not the phonetic pronunciation that we can figure out, but the cyrillic alphabet). We decided the best approach was to look up words for particular types of meat and then ask for the best dish. Carla with her soon-to-be-warn-out-Russian-dictionary looked up the words "best beef" - the server was able to quickly choose one, then we told him "dva" (two). We did the same thing for a chicken dish and a pork dish. We had a table full of meals to split. It's amazing how speaking "cave man Russian" can lead to such a great meal. It was one of the best meals we've had since we arrived. Not too shabby for a bunch of Americans.

We picked up our film pictures on the way home, so now we're all set for pre-court materials. They suggested having 7-10 pictures of the children close up, our family (looking happy), us playing with the children etc. Les (our resident photographer) got some good ones so we're set.

Here are the pictures from today:


Kai was upset this morning - he was in the back room crying so it took a bit to settle him down.



Sierra talkative as usual this morning.


Does anyone have anything else for me to chew on?



Carla calming Kai down this morning.


Kai loves straps - pulling on Les' camera is his favorite. We finally broke down and let him play with the old Cannon camera (we brought it to take pictures for our pre-court - they want to see pictures of us playing with the children, close-ups of the children, family shots etc.)



After 30 minutes of fussing on/off, we finally broke down and gave Kai a pacifier. It was a big hit. He would either put it in his mouth, or most often, hold it in his hand while he sucked his thumb.


"I think I'll chew on this lion's nose"



Carla, Grandfather Frost (ded maros), and Jim


Keely, Grandfather Frost and Carla (he seemed to have a thing for hugging the American ladies)



Les with Grandfather Frost in front of the big Mr. and Mrs. Frost


Jim and Jason posing next to a scantily clad dancer on the wall of the Bek - a Russian restaurant near our apartment. Most places we've been there is at least an English menu or someone that speaks some broken English - we had neither here.



Keely and Carla looking over the menu. Carla with her trusty dictionary trying to figure out something to eat. The poor server was looking at us like we were nuts.


We ordered:"best beef" (samy luchshiy gavyadina) and the server picked this for us - it was really good.



We ordered:"best pig " <-- couldn't find the word for pork (samy luchshiy svin'ya) and the server picked this for us - another great dish, but slightly undercooked in parts. It had kiwi on top of it.


We ordered:"best chicken " (samy luchshiy kuritsa) and the server picked this for us - another great choice. We also ordered Vada (water) and piva (beer).



Jason, Keely, Jim and Carla coming up from the Bek Bar where we ate our Russian lunch.


Carla, Jim, Les, Jason, and Keely on the lobby of the Bek. The nice gentleman that checked our coats (by the way, they check your coat in every restaurant here) volunteered to snimak (photo) us.



People hang their clothes to dry outside even in 20 degree temperatures.


Sierra grabbing Mama's face.



Kai was feeling much better this afternoon.


Masha translating the journal for the caregivers (questions to ask about the babies routines, eating habits, diets etc.)



Sierra was not 100% this afternoon but still still in good spirits.


Kai moves faster to get his Passy than he did to get the Cheerio.



Ahhh.... I got it.


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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004