Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kai is officially 2 today (3/19). Sierra will turn 2 in a month (4/20). They are both obsessed with Nemo so we've decided to do a joint Nemo party in between their birthdays. We'll post some pics in a special birthday post next month.

Our last couple of months have been fun. We celebrated "Gotcha Day," the Richardson's (our travel partners) came for a visit, and we've had significant developments in the communication department.

"Gotcha Day"

On January 11th, we celebrated our “Gotcha Day” – the one year anniversary of our adoption.  We took off work to celebrate with Kai and Sierra at Sea World.  Here are some highlights:

  • They both wanted to be down running around (luckily it wasn't too busy).
  • Kai had two different “woman” hit on him (little girls – his age and one younger – they came up to him trying to give him a hug) – he ran from them and came to Mom and Dad for protection.  
  • Kai grabbed some woman's rear-end in the Shark exhibit.  She must have felt it was a little hand because she didn't freak out too bad.
  • Sierra wanted to go swimming in the StingRay tank (a family next to us thought it was funny that Sierra was practically climbing in, while Kai wanted to look without touching the water).
  • With a little popcorn, they both lasted through a 30 min dolphin show and applauded throughout.
  • Kai and Sierra thought any snacks they saw were theirs (Sierra tried to take some kid's Cheetos and Kai was staring down a man for his popcorn).  
  • Sierra REALLY wanted to go on the bungee jumping trampoline – she was holding onto the fence outside it and jumping up and down (it's a 30 lbs weight limit and she's only 24 lbs so we're a little ways off).
  • Kai loved running in the fan misters and on occasion would just sit down on the wet ground, getting his pants wet.
  • We got a pass so we can go back the rest of 2006.  We stayed about 3 ½ hours which was a good amount of time for them.  They crashed when we got home.

Visit with the Richardson's

We had a great surprise in January when Jason and Keely Richardson came to visit with Anna and Jude. They visited exactly a year from the time we parted ways in Germany (on our flights to bring our babies home). It was an awesome way to spend the day. They brought "the Grandmas," Dee and Gloria - it was great to finally meet them in person. They all feel like part of our extended family. The kids got along great and it is hard to put into words how cute it was to see the 4 of them cruising around together.

We took the opportunity for a mini-vacation and stayed at the same hotel for the weekend (down by SeaWorld). The kids loved hotel living - lots of new things to get into. We went to SeaWorld for the day and after Kai and Sierra got over the "crankies" from missing their morning nap, the day went well. We were sad when Sunday came around and we had to say goodbye. It's our turn to go to NJ for the next visit.

Miscellaneous Updates


  • Kai LOVES to help Mama and Daddy around the house. He won't leave his room in the morning without picking up everything on the floor and putting it back in the cribs (even though he really wants to go get his milk); If he sees us sweeping/mopping, he wants to take the broom/mop and do it himself; He insists on hauling the full diaper genie bags out to the garage; He rides in the back of the grocery cart and organizes the groceries around him in the cart, then puts them on the belt when we're checking out; If we're cooking, he brings his stool in to help... the list goes on. We're hoping he retains this attribute as he gets older.
  • He likes his routines (i.e., every morning after milk, he and Daddy make toast for everyone, then Little Einsteins come on and he squeals "Dance, Dance" - we have family dance time to the music every morning.)
  • He loves the water - the bath, pool, ocean. He likes to swim like Nemo.
  • MeMaw bought Kai and Sierra the NEMO movie and it has become synonymous with the television. Every time they pass the TV (regardless of whether it's on, they request "Momo" as they call it). They will even state words from a part of the movie seconds before it actually appears..great little memories.
  • Kai attempts to repeat most words you ask him to. Up until the last few days, most of them sound similar, but he's started to speak a few that sound really good (e.g., cheese, shoes). He uses his sign language while he talks.
  • He has become much more social. When we go out to dinner, he usually scopes the place out and finds one person (male or female) that he can flirt with during the meal. This usually involves a game of peek-a-boo which he is often playing by himself.


  • Sierra went from trying to repeats words we'd ask her to, to proactively stating names of items. She will pass something and without appearing to look at it, she'll say the name (i.e., she passes the phone and says "phone" and keeps on going). She repeats words we say (when we don't think she's listening), and things she hears on the radio or television. She can recite her entire alphabet and count to 10 (she repeats each letter and number as we say it). She also continues to use her sign language and talk at the same time.
  • When she is really tired, she will walk around and loudly say "bye bye" to everything... the TV, the couch, the door, the dog etc. These nights, we know she's going to crash without playing too much. One night, when she was like this, were going through our nightly ritual before laying them down in their cribs (kiss Daddy goodnight, kiss Mama, kiss Kai). She quickly laid her head on Daddy and then "gave him the hand." She held up her hand in his face and shouted "Bye bye." We were cracking up.
  • We started going to story time at the library. Kai and Sierra both really enjoy it (when asked if they want to go to the library, they start signing or saying "dance, book" etc. They sing, dance and read during a 20 minute session every week. One week, when Jim was out of town (and we hadn't seen him for 2 - 3 days), we were at story time and Sierra decides to go sit in the lap of the one Dad in the room. The man could see that Carla was uncomfortable with this and tried to stand her back up but she insisted on laying on him. Sierra hasn't done this since, so we're assuming she was missing her Daddy.
  • Sierra continues to be the comedian of the family. She'll make all sorts of noises and faces to make the rest of us laugh.
  • In addition to talking, she tests the range of her voice on a regular basis. She can whisper really well and screech so loud it hurts our ears and makes Kai cry (the little veins pop out of her neck because she's exerting herself so much). We're making slow progress trying to teach her the concept of "inside voice."
  • She loves our craft box (actually both Kai and Sierra like craft time). We have a box full of crayons, markers, paints, playdoh etc. Aside from Sierra's need to still taste/chew everything, they both have fun.

Below are some pics from the month:


Despite the look on her face, Sierra loves going down the slide fast. She got up right after this and looped back around to do it again.


Kai and Sierra riding the bounce car at the park (one of those on springs).


Kai liked the car.


Our first "Gotcha Day" - Sierra is petting the Sting Rays (and splashing water).


Kai preferred to sit on the edge and look in.


"So, how do you like SeaWorld?"


Sierra trying to pet a dolphin... so close.


"You missed it... the dolphin just swam by."


"Maybe they'll come back by in a minute."


A little popcorn and dolphins make for a fun day (Kai and Sierra would applaud every time they heard anyone in the audience cheering).


Kai helping "Swiffer" the kitchen floor.


Kai also hauls out the full diaper genie bags to the garage.


The 4 Kazakh travel partners on our year anniversary (of coming home).


Jude and Kai wishing everyone would stop taking their pictures.


Kai and Sierra liked hotel living. They liked how their reflections would spit back at them in the mirror doors.


SeaWorld with the Richardsons - in the first 5 minutes, Jude kicked his shoe into the water (FYI - they have people with pool nets that can fish out what gets dropped in).


"Aren't they too cute?"


Ring around the Rosie...


Sierra's first boyfriend. We'll have to make sure we stay in touch so we can see where this one goes.

"Lady, who are you and why are you taking our picture?"




"I'll miss you Anna."


Kai was a little temperamental this morning so we have 3 Kazakh cuties instead of 4.


How time flies! The Higgins' and Richardson's - one year after returning home from Uralsk, Kaz.


Kai and Sierra moved to booster seats in February.

Sierra has started biting her fingernails (and as you can see from the picture, her toenails too... she is very limber).


Happy to be back at SeaWorld (we get a lot of use out of our passes).



Sierra and her friend Avery - trying to decide who is pulling who.


Kai decorating Daddy's birthday cake.



Sierra applying the finishing sprinkles (the cake had more forms of sugar than necessary, but we wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to apply decorations).


Daddy was surprised by his pretty Elmo cake.


Kai is still the cautious one. This is still his favorite "slide" at the park. He can get down it nice and slow (it's actually a rock climbing ramp).


Sierra prefers to "fly" down the spiral slide.


Kai and Sierra are both climbing as well (with a little "spotting" from paranoid Mama).


The tire swing is another favorite. It's really funny to watch Kai and Sierra on this one. They will roll their eyes sideways in the direction they are spinning - it's funny looking.


The beach is awesome!
We took our first trip to the beach for Daddy's birthday. It will be the first of many this summer.



"This is like an enormous mud puddle... Wow!"


"I'm not really sure about this, but it's fun." Kai was a little more apprehensive but loved the ocean (he'd actually start crying when we took a break to play in the sand).


Sierra continues to be the daredevil - she'd run all the way in, if we'd let her.


Kai can't stand when the flash is up on the camera. He's heading over to push it down for Mom.


"Here comes another wave - watch out!"


"This sand stuff takes nasty... blahhhhh."


Kai and Sierra help at the "after beach car wash."


More water... we love the water (bath, hose, ocean... it never gets old).


Ok - time to cut off the "help" before someone gets soap in their eyes.

Kai's job was tire-scrubber.


Daddy and Kai's morning ritual - making toast.

Sierra practicing the tuba (she plays the watering can like a tuba).


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