Sunday, March 16, 2008


In the last 2 1/2 months, we have had a lot of fun. We celebrated our 3rd Gotcha Day, and had visits from several friends that have also adopted from Kazakhstan: the Richardsons, the Hoelschers, and the McEntires. As usual, we have plenty of pictures to document our adventures.

Before getting to those, here are some updates on Kai and Sierra:



  • Kai started catalog shopping for his birthday as soon as Christmas was over (his Birthday is in March). He also "shops" on "his new channel" (this is what he calls Cartoon Network, where he watches Scooby Doo. NOGGIN and Disney don't have commercials, so for the brief stint he's allowed to watch Cartoon Network, he loves "shopping." We hear, "I want that for my birfday" on EVERY commercial.
  • Kai's friends from Sierra's class (his previous "best friends") always remind us to get Kai from his class... they're worried we'll forget him.
  • Kai has finally had several consecutive nights dry (Sierra has been potty trained at night since October). We really have to pay attention to his liquid intake after school (and wake him to up to go the bathroom before we go to bed), but so far, he's done pretty good. We've had a few accidents, and have reverted to pull-ups on some nights, but we're making progress.
  • We recently went to an exhibit at Epcot (Lion King theme) which talked about pollution and emphasized how everyone could do their part by recycling etc. When we got out of it, Kai told Jim, "The world is a disaster" (of course, the way he pronounced it was cuter). He still occasionally brings up references to leaving trash on the ground.. our little "green guy."
  • Kai talks all the time about how big he's getting and what he'll be able to do when he gets bigger (i.e., watch the Spiderman movie, ride big rollercoasters). He likes to be measured next to his growth chart.
  • Kai informed us today that we all have super powers in our elbow, but most people don't know how to use it..To bad we didn't know that all these years.
  • Sierra has become quite the little social butterfly. Her best friend Mia is in Kai's class. When we pick Kai up (Kai drops Sierra off and she picks him up), she always finds Mia and gives her a hug. On several occasions, the other kids will wave to her and ask for a hug, so she goes up and down the aisles hugging everyone.. fortunately, the teachers are very patient).
  • Sierra walks around pretending to be a Disney character signing autographs. She likes to have us play "the kid" and she plays the character (Mickey or Goofy etc). She comes up to whoever is playing "the kid" and we hand her a notebook to "pretend sign" on. Just like the real characters, she has exaggerated gestures but doesn't speak. She's been wanting a real autograph book to take to the parks (unbeknownst to her, Daddy got one for her birthday).
  • Sierra loves hats and shoes. She tries on other people's shoes all the time and still loves wearing her hot pink boots that Santa brought her (sometimes with nothing else on but her underwear). When Haley McEntire was here, Sierra tried to sneak her crocs (by putting her tennis shoes in place of Haley's crocs by the front door). Unfortunately for her, Haley recognized right away that Sierra had her shoes on.. but then she agreed to share for a while. Sierra will be happy to find out she's getting her own pair for her birthday.
  • We practice rhyming all the time (Kai and Sierra are practicing this in preschool). Kai enjoys coming up with rhyming words, Sierra on the other hand gets exasperated very quickly.. making statements like, "No more rhyming words... stop." It's funny. She learns a lot at school, but wants to turn it off at home.
  • Sierra makes sure we say the blessing before everything we eat (even snack). Everyone needs to say it out loud (if Mom was not seated yet, and Sierra starts the blessing, then mom has to say it by herself). If we accidently forget to say it, Sierra will have a meltdown when she realizes it, and make us all say it then.
  • Kai and Sierra are both like parrots, repeating words we use. A few favorites are: "Ridicoolus" (Ridiculous) and "Disgusing" (Disgusting). They always use them in the correct context, but it's funny hearing them out of a 3 yr old.
  • In January, Kai and Sierra were split up into different classes. Mom had the hardest time with it, next to Kai. Kai still talks about missing Sierra (he even befriended a little tomboy girl in his new class ... we think as his "Sierra-replacement"). Sierra didn't skip a beat. She's very resilient. They've both done very well.
  • They can both write their first and last names now (so others can read it .. there is a picture in the miscellaneous section).
  • Both Kai and Sierra still proactively come up to us and tell us, "I love you." It is always "out of the blue" and with a very meaningful emphasis... it's always a nice reality check for us on what's most important in life. Sierra still loves talking about how we are a family (Daddy, Mommy , Kai, Sierra and Forrest), or we are a "good fam-i-ly" (she emphasizes every syllable).


Here are some pictures from all our adventures over the last few months:


3rd Annual Gotcha Day (Our "Family Birthday")

Our third annual "Gotcha Day" was January 11th, which fell on a Friday this year. Jim ran the Disney marathon the following Sunday so we decided to make it a weekend event. We stayed at the Disney All Star Music hotel. It is not that far from our house, but felt like a world away for the weekend. We had a great time playing tourist. We parked our car when we got there and didn't get back in it until we left to come home on Sunday.

Here are some pictures from our weekend...


When we were making reservations, Sierra saw "the Boot hotel" on Mommy's computer. We didn't actually stay in this one, but had to go by it so she could get her picture (too bad we forgot to bring her boots to wear for the pose).


We finally made it to see the Power Rangers at Hollywood Studios. Kai was beside himself. He loves any superhero (especially Spiderman and the Power Rangers). He has assured us he will grow up to be a Superhero one day.


Sierra can pose with the best of them. She was a pro with the Power Ranger poses, whereas Kai was a little "star struck." We were cracking up to see Sierra do a little jump and get into her crouching position for every Power Ranger.


Kai and the Yellow Power Ranger (if he knew the "shorter ones" were likely girls, he'd flip out.. because SuperHeros are boys... except the pink one).



"Who looks tougher?"




Kai is not as enamored with the characters anymore, but Sierra will stand in a long line to see any of them. Here she is with the Incredibles. It was funny, after posing with both of them (even though she was in front Ms. Icredible), we thought we were done, but she said, "No, him too" and moved over in front of Mr. Incredible (so we have the same picture except for Sierra's position).


It was slightly chilly (70s).. felt too cold for Mom and Dad, but Kai and Sierra had no problem playing in the Piano pool


"Wrap me up like a burrito, Mommy."


We played so hard for two days (with no naps), that our little cherubs fell asleep right before dinner every night. Kai is using Daddy as a bed in the Mexico restaurant (don't worry, he woke up as soon as his plate of rice came... one of his favorite foods).


"Daddy, do your magic and make the door close."






Daddy scheduled a few character meals for us. They were a lot of fun. This is our breakfast at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and Friends. Kai was more concerned with the all-you-can-eat buffet, but Sierra was worried she'd miss a character if she went up for food.


"I love you, Pooh."


"My food, Pooh"


Kai wasn't cooperating with Mommy's picture taking... Sierra doesn't miss a chance to be photographed with a character.


Daddy talked Kai into smiling one time for Mommy.



"All-you-can-eat breakfast is awesome."


"Can you tell which ones are my real eyes?"


Here is the Higgins' 3-D family.


"Yes, Mommy was with us for the weekend... here is the self portrait for documentation."


"Hurry, Daddy and Sierra are chasing us on Dumbo!"


"And here they come again on a rocket."


Daddy and Sierra (you can barely see her) are getting the aliens on Buzz Lighyear.


Sierra insisted on posing on the big S in front of our hotel.


Kai and Sierra finally talked Mommy into swimming in the big guitar pool (wasn't too bad until you got out... brr).


This is what we looked like wheeling into the park each night for dinner. Kai and Sierra are getting a little big for the stroller.



What a special treat.. Dale sat down at our dinner table and colored with Sierra. She had a "perma-grin" on her face all night.


"He's so soft."



Mickey came by and signed Sierra's menu.. she was thrilled (Kai was still asleep at this point.. eventually he woke up and saw the characters when they made their rounds again).


"We love Chip."


"Dale came back"


"Pluto is a crazy dog."


Mickey's nose wiggled.. it surprised (and tickled) Kai.



Kai and Sierra got their own room keys. They felt very important unlocking the door themselves. Often, Kai would use his, go inside (with Mom or Dad), then close the door so Sierra could use hers.


Here is our family shot on Gotcha Day (we picked a bad time of day for our family photo).


Mom and Dad pose for a picture while the babies are sleeping.


Kai and Sierra wanted to run the race with Daddy. We met him in Animal Kingdom.


Kai ran with him up the hill as he neared mile 18.



"Yeah, here Daddy comes again.. mile 25... almost there." Kai and Sierra were slapping hands of everyone at this point. It was neat to see these poor people kick it up a notch after getting a little boost from Kai and Sierra. They were both a little grossed out by the wet/sweaty hands though (and in the beginning, Kai was "faking them out" by pulling his hand at the last minute.. we had to have a talk about that not being funny when these people had been running for 25 miles).



Daddy shared his medal with Kai (Sierra was asleep by this point).





Richardson Visit (Superbowl Weekend)

We had an awesome weekend with the Richardsons, our travel partners from Kaz. They flew down for a long weekend. It is always fun to see all the kids together (4 little Kazakh beauties ... all almost 4 years old).

Here are some pictures from our weekend...


Jim, Anna, Keely, Grandma Gloria, Jason, Jude, Sierra (having a meltdown) and Carla (taking the pic) at the pancake house.

"Smile, Mommy"


Sierra has a nice "food-in-the-mouth" smile.


"I'm covered in chocolate chips."


"Look at my pretty blueberry smile."


The 4 Kazakh Power Rangers.


"We are Power Rangers - Take 2."


Jude found a nice nature hat.


Jude posing in the big tree.


Anna would not part with her purse to climb the tree.


We played in the Richardson's hotel pool (we were relieved that Kai and Sierra still remembered how to swim.. last year after several months out of the water, it took a few weeks to get them swimming again).





"Come on Daddy, go faster."


"Swimming is fun."


"We're going to get you."


Stitch and the girls.


Daddy and Sierra have crazy faces.


Jason's afternoon snack.




Kai looking Holy in the mist.


We caught the girls giving each other a hug.


Anna loves Minnie so the long line was worth this moment.


"Give me a kiss."


"Who's ready to go home?"


Here are Keely and Sierra smiling pretty.


The boys relaxing and reading on Sunday morning.


We took a little excursion to StudioFun to paint (Sierra still talks about the big candy cane Jude painted).


Kai is doing great on his scooter.


"Come on, start the movie." Mom and Dad's room was temporarily turned into "kid central" during the Superbowl "party."


"Enough already.. how long does it take to put a movie on?"


Anna and Sierra "working" hard.


Hoelscher Visit

We met the Hoelscher's when Assiya came to visit last year (she stayed with us and then went to Texas to visit the Hoelschers). They came to Orlando for a vacation. We met up with them at Disney's Animal Kingdom during their visit. It was great to finally meet them in person (and swap stories about the kids). Here are a few pictures from our visit...


As we roamed around looking for the Hoelschers, we ran into Pluto and Goofy. It wasn't an option to NOT stop.


Jordan, Kai and Sierra playing the drums in Africa (Jordan lived in the same baby house as Kai and Sierra).



Jordan shared her cool mask with Sierra.


Paul, Amanda, Reed, Jordan, Jim and Kai decided to brave the rapids ride a 2nd time (Carla stayed back with Sierra. Carla and Kai got soaked on the first round so she was still drying out and Sierra didn't want to risk getting wet).


Sierra and Pocahantas.


The Hoelschers - Paul, Amanda, Reed, and Jordan


McEntire Visit (Jim/Tim Birthday Weekend)

Our friends, the McEntires visited in March. Tim and Jim have the same birthday, so in addition to Disney, we had a parent's night out to celebrate. We had a great weekend (perfect weather). We will miss them when they move to Texas.

Here are some pictures from our weekend...


"Where should we go first?"

The girls on the Nemo ride.


"Mommy, take my picture in front of this one."


Two "soon-to-be" Kazakh Texans.


"Wow.. Mickey Mouse" (Daniel and Haley were very excited).


Kai and Sierra with Minnie Mouse.


Daniel and Haley really enjoyed seeing all the characters (the long line was worth it).


Sierra tackles Chip (don't worry, he ended up playing along after she laid him out).


"Yeah.. everyone is looking in the same direction."


We get hugs from Goofy.


Here is Goofy and the ladies.


"Mom, this is hard pushing up hill."


Here we are at DelFriscos for parent's night out.


Tim and Cindy celebrate with some wine.


"Cheers to the birthday boys."


Goofy Jim is enjoying his dessert.


Cindy and Carla.


Haley, Cindy, Tim and Daniel liked riding It's a Small World.


"How is this pose, Mom?" (Sierra calls her wrist band, her "hair band".. she also refers to the CocoCola bottle on it as a beer bottle... don't know where she got that from).


"Hang on Mommy, this is a tight turn."


"Hold on Daddy, I'll protect you."


"I love this roller coaster."


"I got squirted."


"I'm dodging all the spraying water."


"I'm soaking wet... and loving it."


"Hey Daniel, put your foot here and it will stop the water."


The guys on "Daddy duty" riding the People Mover.


Sierra posing as Stitch.


Sierra trying on the Goofy hat.


Carla and Haley waiting on the Goofy roller coaster.


Kai and Sierra playing, while we wait for Daddy to get off of Space Mountain.



Here are some miscellaneous pictures from the last several months ...


Sierra is dressed up as the dancing Princess. To Daddy's dismay, Kai will occasionally dress up as well.


"We're silly kids."


Teamwork isn't our forte yet. Kai's joystick made the plane go up and Sierra's made it go down... so they stayed flat during the their flight.. but it made them laugh the entire ride, so it doesn't really matter.


Kai chose Power Rangers for his Valentines this year and Sierra chose Dora (for the 2nd year in a row). They both signed all 30 of their Valentines (we did a few each night).


Kai at his Valentines' party.


Kai's class.


Sierra's class at their Valentines party.


Sierra decorating her cupcake at the party.


"Mom took us to Monkey Joes for Valentines Day."


Kai decided to slide face first.


Our romantic Valentines day family dinner.


We decided to stay up and watch the fireworks at Epcot.


Sierra and baby Kyle (Kai and Sierra won't say his name without putting "baby" before it).




It's become a tradition to let Kai and Sierra pick Daddy's cards out themselves. Of course, they gravitate towards the kid themes. Kai chose a 5 yr old boy's Batman card and Sierra chose a "your first birthday" Baby Einstein's card. It took them forever to make their choices.



The cake decorating team.


"Check out the sprinkles ... courtesy of Kai and Sierra."


Here Sierra is on school picture day. She is a tomboy (gets filthy at school) so she doesn't wear dresses much. When the boys in her class saw her, they said "Sierra is a princess."



The boys washing the car.



Kai is a big helper.


Here is Sierra's idea of washing the car.


"What's up with you?"


Here is Kai's drawing of our family. We're not sure who is who, but he got all four of us and we were impressed by the detail (versus a big scribble blob).


Kai's name paper.

Sierra's name paper.

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  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004