Friday, January 30, 2009

Snuggling fun and snow

     Hello everyone!  As we get ready for a visit from the social worker we think about the fun that we have had with the boys the past few days.  The snow makes for great snuggling weather and a lot of fun outside.  It has been really great to watch the boys enjoy the snow.  Sledding, snowball fights, and building a snowman are just a few of the wonderful memories we will keep from the past few days.  

     Things have been going extremely well and we continue to be blessed as a family.  Slav and Sergei are such eager, sweet, loving boys who are always up for some fun.  It is such an adventure being their parents.  

    Slav has really taken to school well.  He knows his teacher's name and is getting to meet new friends.  Sergei usually gets to practice helping mom at the store or some other such activity while Slav is in school.  He needs the practice of behaving well in a public place.  Slav has healed from his oral surgery wonderfully.  His mouth looks and feels so much better.  Both boys have grown some and gained weight since their last doctor's visit so we are grateful for health.   

     Other than the fact that all is going well we don't really have much to report.  Joel has a very busy few weeks coming up with travel and preaching. Clarion is looking forward to their trip to California to visit her sister and family.  The boys are looking forward to finally meeting the last of their cousins.  Let's hope they are ready for us!  

     God's blessings to all!  We pray everyone is well as we delve deeper into 2009! 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tattoos, Bunkbeds & New Friends

Hey Everyone! What a weekend it was! We met our goals for the weekend of taking down Christmas decorations (finally!), setting up big boys beds and getting a number of things organized. As I (Joel) was going through some of my stuff, I found some "Pirates of the Caribbean" tattoos that I had stashed away. The boys saw them and of course had to try them out. Thankfully the boys didn't have any kind of skin reactions or irritations (something we thought of after the fact...what newbies we still are at parenting!).

Since Sergei did so well sleeping in a big boy bed at Joel's parents' house during the Christmas holidays, we decided to set up the bunkbeds that we've had down in our basement for the last year or so. The boys were very excited. We did not have the beds stacked downstairs, so when I showed them a picture of what they would look like stacked, the couldn't wait to have the bunkbeds in their room. It took a couple of hours. We had to disassemble the crib and toddler bed and store them away. Then we had to take apart the beds downstairs and reassemble and stack them in their room. We were pooped afterwards, but it was really worth it. The boys love their new beds!

This was also a big weekend for us because we made plans to get together with our friends the Pitmans, who have been home for a couple of weeks now with their three little ones from Vladivostok. We have been looking forward to meeting the children for quite some time. The Pitmans were just a few months behind us as we waited to be bring our children home. We have so enjoyed their friendship throughout the last year or so of our adoption journey. Now that both of our families are complete, our children can enjoy that friendship as well.

Eric and Becky and family are doing great! They are experiencing many of the same things that we (and many of you who have your children home) experienced in the first few weeks of being home. We have no doubt that things will progress as well as they did with us. Their children are beautiful. We were disappointed (but not surprised) that neither of our boys made attempts to speak Russian to Max, Olivia or AJ. We would love for Slav and Sergei to maintain the knowledge and use of their native language, but that is probably a challenge that we won't be able to meet. We still do our best to keep them connected to Russian culture as we look at souvenirs and pictures from our trip as well as Russian books and videos. Someday when the boys are older we hope to make it back to Vlad for a visit. We enjoyed watching The Pitmans' videos and reliving much of our own experience from just a few months ago. The Pitmans only live less than an hour away from us, so we hope for many more get-togethers to come!

God's blessings to all of you who are still waiting for referrals and/or court dates. It may seem like a long time now, but as everyone told us, once you bring your children home time really starts to fly. I can't believe that we're already preparing for our first post-placement report which is due next month. Wow! It's yet another opportunity for us to reflect on the Lord's tremendous grace and goodness to us these past few months especially!


Joel, Clarion, Slav & Sergei

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Slav's First Day of School

Slav started pre-school today. He goes two mornings a week. He was very excited this morning as we prepared for the day. Slav ate breakfast on "the special plate" this morning in honor of his first day of school. The special plate was a gift from Joel's parents years ago to use whenever a family member has a special occasion, like birthday's etc. Now that we have children it will get a lot more use.

Slav has his own backpack and it was stuffed full of school supplies. His bear had to come along for the ride in the car. Here is a picture and video from this morning as we prepared to head out the door.

Mama, Papa and Sergei dropped Slav off together this morning. All went very well, except Sergei cried and cried because he wanted to go to school as well. He kept saying, "Go school." After a few minutes in the car, Sergei settled down and all was well. Mama picked up Slav a few hours later. The teacher had a good report. Slav was excited that he spoke English to the teacher. He sang, played and heard stories, among other things. On Thursday he'll have "show & tell" with his favorite Christmas gift. Good thing we have a couple of days to determine what exactly his favorite gift is.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy 2009!

Hello everyone!  We returned yesterday from a wonderful Christmas vacation in Texas.  The boys experienced many firsts over the last two weeks.  They had their first road trip, their first Christmas with us, their first meeting with many new family members and friends, their first fireworks, their first jacuzzi experience, and many more.  

We all had a great time!  We stayed with Joel's parents in Houston and drove out to visit Clarion's parents.  It was a lot of time in the car but the boys handled it very well.  They were overwhelmed with presents from loved ones but are becoming familiar with the real meaning of Christmas.  They can point out Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus in any nativity scene!

The boys continue to do wonderfully.  Family and friends were amazed at their English and communication skills.  Slav has his first day of preschool (two half-days a week) coming up next week and Sergei is looking forward to the extra time with mom.  

Congratulations to the Pitmans who are beginning 2009 at home with their three beautiful children.  We look forward to getting the children together.  We continue to pray for all the couples and children involved in the adoption process.   

Enjoy the pictures from the trip and have a blessed New Year!