Sunday, July 1, 2007


Over the past couple of months, we were able to visit with friends who had also adopted from Kazakhstan. In May, we went to New Jersey/New York to visit our friends/travel partners for the weekend. In June, our friends the McEntires came for a visit from S. Florida. Here are some pictures and stories below from our visits.

Other notable Kai/Sierra anecdotes from the last few months :

  • BOTH: Kai and Sierra moved, to the 3 year old class so their schedule changed slightly and their curriculum will get a little more stringent starting in August. We were pleased with how well they adjusted to the move and new teacher/friends. It was really a non-event (probably made a little easier because they had each other).
  • BOTH: Kai and Sierra will sporadically say, "I love you Daddy" or "I love you Mommy." So far, it's not being used for manipulation purposes (i.e., to get out of trouble) so it's really heartwarming.
  • BOTH: They both are very keen to our emotions, often asking questions like, "you happy?" (this usually follows their return from timeout). Another favorite is, "Mommy, you grumpy?" (this usually is asked of the one not in trouble).
  • BOTH: Kai and Sierra are both very "gender conscious." They like to point out who is a boy and who is a girl.... differences in "boys stand up to potty, girls sit down." They like to identify boy clothes and girl clothes (it drives Kai nuts that Sierra still periodically wears his "boy underpants.").
  • BOTH: They both see the letter K and state "It's a Kai" and S is "It's a Sierra."
  • KAI: Kai recognizes almost all the letters in the alphabet and is always wanting to identify letters he sees in books (then will ask what the word is that they make up)... we may have an early reader on our hands.
  • KAI: He has an excellent memory. Sierra got Kai's hand-me-down water shoes for the beach (Thomas the Train)... while Mom was packing them, Kai asked, "Thomas lost in water?" [Last summer on our Nags Head vacation, Kai lost one of his Thomas water shoes in the ocean. The next day, while walking down the beach, we found the lost shoe washed up about a mile down the beach.... Kai remembered a year later].
  • KAI: Kai is very competitive (especially with Sierra). Every meal is a race. He gets upset if Sierra "beats him." He usually asks, "I beat Yayaw? " when he finishes his meal.
  • SIERRA: She "reads" to us every day. She'll hold up a book backwards so it's facing her "audience" and read the pages. It goes something like this "And it was sunny out, he shouted... NEXT PAGE... And then he was... NEXT PAGE... Meanwhile... NEXT PAGE..." She always has to "read" the book first, then lets mom or dad take a stab at it. She loves the transition "meanwhile." If we're reading her a book and read that word, we hear "No... I say it." The moment gets ugly if she doesn't get to "rewind" and say it before we continue with the story. She knows many letters but mostly likes to identify S's, K's, and H's when reading stories.
  • SIERRA: Sierra is very independent. She likes to do most things herself (rarely wants help). She can put on her own shoes and socks... likes to put on her own underwear and pants (we still help with shirts). A normal statement we hear from her is. "I do it... you go away." We're working on her tone/choice of words.
  • SIERRA: Following the independent theme, Sierra has always "taken care of herself" with others if she doesn't like what they're doing (where Kai comes to us if Sierra or anyone does something to him). We've had to work with her to use words instead of any kicking/hitting etc. Her latest defense mechanism is to growl/nash her teeth at her brother. It's effective, but usually leads to Kai telling us, "Yayaw bothering me."



We finally made it up North to visit our friends (and travel partners), the Richardsons'. After Keely picked us up from the airport, we headed back to their house. On the way, Kai spotted the Statue of Liberty and said, "Wonda Pets statue". It took us a minute to figure out what he was referring to. One of the shows they like to watch on Nick Jr is Wonder Pets. On one of the episodes (that we saw a long time ago), the Wonder Pets saved a pigeon that was hanging from the nose of the Statue of Liberty. Mom thought it was hanging off of her crown, but Kai promptly corrected her (and he was right). Who says you can't learn anything on TV ....ha ha?

Kai, Sierra, Anna and Jude played great together. Kai and Sierra were in heaven with all the "new toys" to play with. Anna and Jude were great about sharing (even with Kai hoarding all Jude's dinosaurs). It was funny, because they're all in to the same things... Dora, Diego, Dinosaurs, Thomas. They're like our northern counterparts.


We had a great time being tourists for a few days. We went into the city, saw St. Pauls Cathedral and the World Trade Center site. We ate at a Vietnamese restaurant (Jason ordered all our food), and walked through China Town. The kids were all getting grumpy (especially ours), so we loaded up in the car and everyone crashed. The next day, we went to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Jason even took us out for a night to see Joan Osbourne and the Bacon Brothers (Keely babysat). We had a great weekend. Below are some pictures from our escapades:

Kai loved Jude's camera (it saved mom from having to share hers.. he loves taking pictures).


"Hi Anna. I like your park."


"Thanks for the bubbles, Keely"


Grandma Glory brought everyone a Dunkin Donuts Munchkin treat... it was a big hit.


"You haven't changed much Anna... I love your hair."



Even though there was a slide at the park, Kai and Sierra preferred scooting down this big concrete pyramid (made for a good load of laundry... especially when they went face first).


4 cool Kazakhs on the way to the city.


The two Dads strolling along...


We went to St. Paul's Cathedral and the World Trade Center site.


Kai and Mommy... it was a little cold and damp for our visit, but Anna and Jude loaned us some of their extra coats and hats. The rain held off for the most part, so we made out pretty well.


"Stop tickling me, Daddy."


Thanks to Keely, mom made it in a few pictures.


Keely and Anna on the ferry to Ellis Island.



"I love this Spiderman jacket."


Sierra and Daddy.


Higgins' on the ferry ride to Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty.


Jason and Jude.




The Richardsons'


Success... getting 4 three year olds to sit still and look in the same direction is a joke... but we did it! (and we thought we had it rough getting two of them to look in the same direction).


Smile pretty.



One of those rare moments where Kai and Sierra give each other a hug (Keely captured at Ellis Island).


We didn't get to take in Ellis Island to the fullest (with 2 three-year olds in tow), but we did get to see a lot... it's an amazing place.


"Wow... that's a big city!"

"Who's bigger - us, or her?"


An attempt to get the 4 friends to look and smile... moderate success.


The Higgins' and Lady Liberty.


Daddy cheering Sierra up (after she'd tripped and wiped out).



Kai loved Jude's dinosaurs. He hoarded them all weekend (and kudos to Jude for letting him). Luckily, he didn't swipe any when we left.


Sierra is in heaven if you give her a marker or something to write with. She really concentrates on her "writing" and drawing.


We had such an awesome weekend in the Big City, everyone passed out on the plane ride home.



Sierra/Kai packed their books and crayons in their own bag for this trip (thanks to Kendall for the hand-me-down). Sierra loved toting it around (didn't even ask Mom and Dad for help). At home, she pulls it around saying, "I'm going to work." (Mom's briefcase is a wheely bag).



After about 18 months of "virtual" contact, we finally got to meet the McEntire's in person. We "met" when they were in their adoption process (and we were already home with Kai and Sierra). We've stayed in contact during their trip and since.. and we were excited to finally see them face to face. They drove up for the weekend (unfortunately ended up being a rainy weekend), and we went to SeaWorld. The kids all did great together and had fun at the park. We're looking forward to them coming back to do Disney soon. Here are some pictures from our weekend.


Elmo and Abbie Cadabby with Kai, Sierra, Daniel and Haley.



Best shot we got for the 4 cuties... as you can see, Kai was hamming it up (hiding behind a map).



Chasing the polar bear.


The walrus' treated us with a "drive by" from the window where Sierra and Haley were watching.


The girls waiting for the Elmo show.


Ernie came by and waved at Sierra (she still refers to it..."member, yestaday, at SeaWorld").


Tully came by and gave her 5.


50% looking and smiling, 50% sort of looking :)


We had a great weekend with the McEntire's.


Haley gave Jim a big goodbye kiss.



Sierra decided to keep her tongue hanging out while hugging everyone goodbye. Fortunately, she didn't lick anyone.


The girls saying goodbye (sweet except for the tongue protrusion).


"Oooohhhh, you made me hug a girl! "




Sierra and our friend Grace.


Two Kazakh beauties hanging out.


At our church picnic, Kai got a red balloon hat and sword (unfortunately it was so hot, it popped).


Sierra chose a pink set.



We still spend a lot of time in the pool.


Playing games on family day at the Art Museum.


Sierra likes to pull Mommy's oven mitts out and wear them as boots around the house.


Sierra decided to decorate herself instead of the paper she was working on. She was very proud of her creation.


Kai and Sierra's school had a Mothers' Day breakfast. They thought it was pretty cool that mom came and had snack with them.


More Disney character pics to add to our collection. We lucked out and saw Sully and Mike W. at MGM.


Daddy having too much fun with Woody.


Posing with Woody.. Sierra showed him her Woody juice bottle.


Everybody wave..


Yeah... we finally got to see the other two Little Einstein's, June and Quincy.


We stopped by to see our friend JoJo.


We got to meet Daisy Duck (who Kai and Sierra called Donald Duck).


First trip to the dentist with Dr. Ingalls... pretty cool place. It's a pediatric dentist with all sorts of games, movies etc., going on while they got their teeth cleaned (wish our dentist did that). By the way, it was "sports day" at Kai and Sierra's school, hence the outfits.


It's beach season again and the water is nice and warm.



Practicing for our upcoming beach vacation.




"Wait for me Yayaw" (Kai refuses to call Sierra anything by Yayaw... he'll even correct Mom and Dad if we call her Sierra... guess she's got a nickname that will stick).



Riding the waves.


"Daddy, I push you down."


Kerrigan and Sierra sloshing around the pool.



Sierra painting pottery (This was girls day, while the boys went to see Shrek III -- Sierra prefers "hands on activities" to sitting for any period of time... doesn't last more than 20 - 25 minutes in a movie).


Kerrigan and Sierra with their masterpieces.


The final product... not a Mickey Mouse that anyone would recognize, but a pretty good effort for her first time (and for being 3).


Cinderella's castle at our last night at Disney (before our blackout dates).


The boys beat the girls on Buzz Lightyear.


Waiting for the parade.




Sierra decided she had to go potty right as the night parade was starting, so mom battled the 30 person deep crowd to get her to a bathroom (while she screamed "I have to pee/I can't see" interchangeably). We decided to go see Minnie instead of pushing our way back... as you can see, this was fine with Sierra.


We had our picture taken with Minnie.


Daddy and Kai riding Mr. Scott's jetski.


"Come on... let me take it for a spin myself."



Boys are #1 (a favorite phrase Kai/Daddy like to say... Sierra/Mommy set them straight).



Whereas Kai liked moving fast on the jetski, Sierra preferred to putter along slowly.





Kai and Sierra were interviewed at school for their Father's Day card for Daddy. They were asked his favorite food, favorite color and why they loved their Daddy. Kai nailed it... Sierra, true to form, was a little more creative:

Favorite color: Kai - blue; Sierra - pink
Favorite food: Kai - pizza; Sierra - beans
Love Daddy because: Kai - we play together after school;
- I can hug him

Depending on how wound up they are, we sometimes split Kai and Sierra until they fall asleep at night. This was Sierra's night to sleep in another room. When Mom went in to move her back to her room, she saw this... After deducing it was chocolate (versus blood or poop), Sierra woke up from a dead sleep, looking disoriented. Daddy asked her if she had chocolate and she grinned from ear to ear and nodded her head. She had smuggled a piece in her slipper (which she sleeps in). It was nice and melted when she had her nighttime snack... never a dull moment.

Kai riding his boogie board at the beach.


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