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Monday, October 31, 2011

Picture Post!

I'm cleaning out some 800 pictures off my memory stick, so here's a little show and tell about our comings and goings for the last few months.  Enjoy!

Andrei lovin' his first corn on the cob!

Andrei thinking he's big stuff getting a ride in the jeep!
  Scenes from the Tri State Fair:

Daisy the milk cow

Watching Daisy the milk cow get milked.

Kennedi helping out the lady from the Farm Bureau kids' show.

Annsley realizing that her daddy is about to beat her.  (Please note her father's gleeful sad, so sad)
 Scenes from the Corn Fun Farm:
Navigating the ropes through the corn maze

Annsely on the zip line.

Doug re-living his ice slide in Krasnoyarsk...

Loving the slide through the "mountain"

Is it ever going to end???
Kennedi on the zip line.

Doug sporting some fine looking attire:
Free ride in the wheelbarrow with the guy in the wife beater t-shirt.  (Doug knows I HATE those shirts...What girl wants to look at arm pit hairs?? He hadn't worn one in about 18 years...cut this shirt up that day  I guess in a fit of has since made its way into my cleaning cabinet.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Case You Were Wondering...

It snowed! Actually, it is currently snowing.  We've gotten at least 4 glorious inches so far---wet, beautiful, thirst quenching snow! It was 86 two days ago and snow today!  Love the Panhandle! :) And as if I needed icing on the cake, we're supposed to have a hard freeze tomorrow morning which means death to the flies!!! Whoo Hoo!

Kennedi gets up this morning, and the first thing she says to me is, "Mom, you're a genius!!!"  Of course, I realize that I am and have been for quite some time now, but I probe her for more information. It is always important to validate your said beliefs.  "Why do you say that Honey?" With her 5 year old eyes wild with excitement she says, "Because you said it was going to snow and it did!!!" 

Yes, I'm at the top of the pinnacle today.  At least by 5 year old standards...just in case you were wondering where I stood... 

We had to take a break from schooling this morning...the snow was calling out their names, and we weren't getting alot accomplished...

Sporting their Russian knit caps we bought for them when we were in Krasnoyarsk.

Aren't they just the cutest things??!! (After the fashion show, they promptly ditched them in favor of "softer" head gear--whatever that means...)

Watching the excitement forlornly from the door.  I wish  I may, I wish I might...Come on Mom...have a heart! That's my kind of country out there!! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Copy Cat!

Andrei is such a copy cat.  More so than even Kennedi was to Annsley, and I didn't think that could happen.  Unfortunately, he copies some negative behaviors which can often be a detriment to him. (There are certain things, Little Boy, that should not be copied!)  He'll learn.  Other times he's just pretty darn cute! 

I've always thought it was important that my children can play by themselves.  I firmly believe that it is a life skill that will help them.  So, when Annsley turned two, I put her in her room with the baby gate up and she had "toddler time" by herself in her room.  We started out with just 5 minutes, and slowly increased that time to 30 minutes that she was in there by herself.  To keep her from thinking it was punishment, I'd always give her a Goldfish cracker snack in her room and brought down "special toys" only available during toddler time.  Kennedi began the same thing when she turned two, and she still has "toddler time" although I really should change it to a different name now that she is 5.  She gets her snack (she chooses to use a play kitchen cup or bowl to hold her crackers) and  she heads off to spend some quiet time in her bedroom.  Andrei has been watching all this for a few months now, and a few weeks ago after Kennedi started her toddler time, he went to the kitchen bucket on his own, dug out a little plastic cup, and brought it to me with "aaaa" coming out of his mouth.  Too cute! And super smart I might add!!! So, I obliged, and now he daily comes to me when Kennedi gets her snack,  holding out a plastic cup he's scavenged from the play kitchen, and reaps his reward of Goldfish crackers. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Freakish Attachment

I've made mention, at least on our adoption blog, about how attached Andrei has become to his taggy blanket.  It's become such an issue with him that I feel like it needs to be glued to his diaper. It would keep all of us a bit happier.  Both my girls had attachment objects (Annsley had her Snoopy--Budda and Kennedi had a white baby blanket--White White (although White White is a nasty dingy creamy gray now--don't even get me started on why they make white things for children...) but I don't remember them being as fiercely attached as Andrei is to his.  He calls it "Tag" or more like "Taaa", and if anyone other than Mom or Dad touch it, a primal scream comes from his little body.  Heaven help us all if it gets left in a bedroom with the door closed.  He's OK as long as he doesn't want it.  When he does and remembers that he left in his room on the floor, he starts hitting the door--he's even been known to kick the door--and starts this high pitched pig squeal.  You can always tell when Andrei is just plain mad.  His crying hits an entire new octave.  He literally sounds like a stuck baby pig.  He knows that I won't give in to his screaming fits.  I just look at him and ask, "What do you want? Say your words."  After about 5 minutes--no kidding--he takes a deep breath, shuts off the water works in one swoop, looks at me, points to his room, and says, "Taaaa."

When I'm rocking him after reading him a book at naptime or bed time, he sucks his thumb and just constantly moves this taggy blanket all over his face.  He puts a finger through one of the ribbons and crams the rest of the taggy over his shoulder like it's a knapsack or something.  I often wonder if his frantic attachment is due to the fact that he's never had anything to call his own.  I'm hoping that is what it is and NOT his personality coming through.  This is a hand-me-down taggy blanket that I made for Kennedi who didn't like it, so getting a duplicate is not in the cards should this one become incompacitated.  Pray that it alone has a guardian angel watching over its whereabouts at all times!!! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

He said "Bye!"

Andrei said "bye" to me the other night when I put him down for the night.  It has been the first show of any kind of emotion when we put him in his crib since we have brought him home.  That little word was so good to hear.  I remember when Annsley started telling us "night night" when we would put her down.  Kennedi? Not so much...Talking wasn't her "thang" back then. We'd get a squeal, but that was about it from her. I closed Andrei's door, and said "night night" to him and then did a little victory dance in the bathroom.  I absolutely LOVED Annsley talking to us through the door, and I so much have anticipated having a conversation with Andrei.  Finally it happened--only once, but I know more will come!

His emotional state has really started to evolve lately.  He has started to smile and come running to the door when I pick him up at the nursery at church.  For such a long time he was so stoic.  No emotion.  He showed none when I dropped him off or picked him up.  You couldn't ever tell that he was glad to see me until a few weeks ago. 

One thing that I have had to get used to is his lack of emotions when getting him from his crib. With both Kennedi and Annsley they were so excited to see me.  They would laugh or smile as if to say, "I'm rescued!"  Andrei does NONE of that.  It is a rare day that he looks at you in the eye--certainly no smiling or holding out his arms for you to pick him up.  I'm sure that is all a product of his orphanage environment and will eventually change--slowly.  A small victory in that direction is the fact that he will now at least stand up waiting for you to pick him up. He will even jabber on occasion.  For months and months he would just stay sitting, sucking his thumb with his head hanging down.  I'm just holding out right now to see that beautiful smile of his when I open the bedroom door...

We were fortunate and blessed to pick Andrei up when he just turned 12 months old.  It makes my heart ache to know that he was already learning self-preservation techniques due to the lack of physical, mental, and emotional stimulation he was receiving.  It must be magnified for those children who spend years in an orphanage institution. 

November 6 is Orphan Sunday.  Please keep them in your prayers.  So many children need a home desperately. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I love my new ride! 

It comes with a bonus:  Lightening McQueen talks.  I love the "Go! Go! Go! button bestest!

We have spent literally HOURS doing "hair".

Yes, this is "Jessie" the beautician. 
Thank you Momma Carol and Grandpa!  These items were a big hit!!

On a side note, I was fixing Kennedi's hair this morning and brushing out the tangles.  She let me know that I was causing her little head pain.  I apologized and said I wasn't paying attention (and I wasn't as Andrei at that moment was thinking about going fishing in the toilet).  She asked me if Gram hurt my head when I was little.  I said yes, but I was tough (my attempt to let her know to "buck up" and ease up on the theatrics.)  She then asks me, "Were you just Jessie, the ruffest, tuffest cowgirl???" (If you're unfamiliar with Jessie, click on the link.) 

"No, I didn't know anything about Jessie," I told her.

She then asks all wide-eyed, "You were just the ruffest, tuffest?"

"Yes--the ruffest AND tuffest!"

Ah, to be put above the ranks of Jessie.  It is a good day! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I remembered yesterday why there are no school field trips to the pig farm.

My husband raised hogs when we were dating.  It had been my first time to be around them--and I mean around them. My nose started to hitch hike off my face.  Nostril hairs were thumbing for a ride.  I promise.  I had never smelled anything that horrible in all my life--a smell that makes you want to smack your momma smell. Skunks have NOTHING over pig poop.  Dung.  Whatever it's called.  So, I knew I had to be in true love when he took me for a ride to meet his prized pig breeder.  Oh joy.  It was in the middle of the summer.  About 100 degrees.  No wind.  He drove Mabel (the name for his pickup) into the middle of his breeder's hog farm, parked it, and turned off the engine. 

"Do you want to come in to his office?"  Doug asked pointing to a sad looking 1950s style trailer with rusty tin on the outside. 

"I don't think I can suck in enough air to breathe in order to walk that far," I gulped. 

"You think it stinks?" he asked.  I couldn't tell if he was serious or just making fun of me.  "OK, well, if you get hot, start Mabel."

He leaves, and I soon learn a very important lesson about my future husband (although this experience put that manifestation in serious jeopardy).  If there is another living human close to the vicinity, gab will over take Doug and we will be there a long, long time.  Live animals will also take his attention to new heights as well.  I'm new to this phenomena.

I sit in the pick up.  It is sweltering.  The smell is insane. It seeps in through the glass.  I am in absolute shock that Mabel's paint isn't peeling. Beads of sweat are starting to pour down my head.  I can feel sweat down my back.  I have to get some air.  I start up Mabel and turn on the air conditioner.  I am met with a blast of pig poop a la perfume.  The air conditioner is cooling me off but it's blowing nasty pig particles through my hair.  The horrendous smell is now magnified.  I turn off the engine.  I smell pig in my hair now.   15 minutes goes by.  Surely my new love knows I'm still sitting out here.  Surely he will come and rescue me.  Time ticks away.  No Doug.

I am miserable.  I am sweating.  I am breathing very shallow.  I can't take a deep oxygenated breath. I can't physically will my body to do it.  I have to get some air.  I roll down the window about  2 inches.  I then roll down the driver's window about two inches.  I'm hoping that it will create a draft above my head.  It doesn't.  Of all days in the Texas Panhandle, there is no wind today.  The pig stench is permeates my skin.  Every so often I pull the collar of my shirt above my nose and take in a huge amount of air.  I'd keep my nose covered, but it is too hot.  As the afternoon melted into evening, I sought relief in the setting sun....Just kidding, but my 30 minutes in the truck might as well have been 4 hours. 

Doug FINALLY shows back up.  "I couldn't find Leroy." 

What???? What in the world have you been doing all this time????? Can you not fathom how miserable I've been?? My love tank was on empty.  He's been walking around looking at sows and boars and what not.   I've been gasping for my last breath. 

He notices my severe state of distress.  "You didn't turn on the air conditioner?"  He takes me home.  I need a shower.  Pig smell is much like cigarette smell.  It is in your ears, your shoes, your hair, plastered to your skin.  I burned my jeans that evening. 

So yesterday, my husband takes Annsley and Kennedi to a nearby pig farm to see the baby pigs.  God is amazing as He wipes from our memory really really horrific things.  I had totally forgotten in nearly 20 years about the polluted odor.  It came rushing back to me about 7:30PM last night.  It was in Annsley's hair, Kennedi's shirt.  I told Annsley and Kennedi to leave their shoes on the porch.  Clothes went immediately into the washer.  I personally washed both girls from head to toe myself.  Doug was just laughing.  He actually questioned my sincerity of having him take a shower before he read the girls a good night story!  And his dress pants spent the night on the porch rail in an attempt to water down the smell before putting them in my car for a trip to the cleaners. 

Now I like bacon like any other Southern girl.  I'll fry up the entire package and eat it all by my lonesome.  I put bacon grease in my green beans.  Anything is better with bacon on it or in it I say. But I like my pig already butchered.  I like my pig on the pages of a children's book.  That's where it stops.  I honestly do not know how hired hand/owners of farrowing barns survive without an oxygen tank.  I've been in one and only one in my lifetime.  Doug was so excited to show me all the baby pigs.  He tried to explain to me how clean it was.  I walked in and turned around and walked right out.

If you're running low on ideas to do, I I double dare any of you to load up the family and head to a pig farm/farrowing house. My advice: ask for a tour but don't wear flip flops.  Take a plastic garbage bag to toss your clothes in for the ride home.  Tie the bag to your back bumper.  Maybe the clothing will air out a bit before you get home.  Load up on body wash BEFORE you take your field trip. Have your olfactory nerves/system removed before attending. Or, be like me and support your local pig farmers from a distance--literally.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Conversations with Kennedi

(1) "Mom, look at my balls."  (My back is turned towards Kennedi, and quite frankly, I'm riding a speeding bullet back to high school at the reference to some of the most highly prized possessions of some 16 year old male...)

"What???" I'm thinking.  There is NO WAY she knows anything about that stuff.  And, let's go ahead and address what some of you are thinking. I have NO IDEA why my mind went right to the gutter--did not even pass Go--just slammed right into it--but it did.  I hide my head in shame.  I turn around to see exactly what Kennedi was referencing.

She has her biceps flexed, and with a very serious 5 year old face she is tensing her muscles as she asks, "Are my balls getting bigger??" 

(2) The other afternoon Kennedi is skipping around the kitchen singing a song from the Christmas play the children's church has been practicing.  She does a lot of humming and says Bethlehem every so often.  I look at her, give her a hug, and ask, "Kennedi, what am I going to do with you?"

Kennedi smiles and says, "Just keep lovin' me Mom."

I then say, "Kennedi you are so cute.  I'll just keep you around a little bit longer."  Later that evening, she is telling all of us at the dinner table that she can jump out of the swing while it's swinging.

"And I go really, really farrrrrrr and I'm not scaaaaed!"

I say to her, "Kennedi, you are so cute.  I'll just keep you around a bit longer."

She looks at me and says fervently, "Mommmmm, you ALREADY told me that today! Why do you keep saying that????"

I then say, "I love you."

She says with a hint of disdain and her hands on her hips , "I know that!"

Definitely she is a one shot wonder.  Don't go repeating yourself to her.  She doesn't want to hear it! :)
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