Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trips and Treats. . .

Well, I'm back. By all accounts, I was missed and everyone is glad I am back. But, first, let me tell you about my trip:

Last Sunday, we decided to have dinner at Del Rio's, one of our many many Mexican restaurants. It is especially popular becaue Aidan loves to sit on the donkey outside. . .









On Monday, we were up early and I was off to the airport and headed for Chicago. I had to go for three days and two nights for a Seminar that was actually pretty informative. In addition, I was able to have dinner with my sister, neice and nephew on Tuesday and lunch again with my sister on Wednesday. On Tuesday we had drinks on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building. . .at which time I forgot to take pictures with my cell phone. But, I remembered on Wednesday at lunch!





The view was really beautiful. We were fortunate to have such a nice sunny day.






When I returned home, I called Pat on my cell from the plane and heard Aidan shriek with pleasure when he found out it was time to come pick me up! : ) I was really glad to hear that! I was missed!!!




And here is my dudely that I came home to:



His hair is soooo short!! Mama wasn't there to temper the desire to go really really short. . .

And, of course, as any parent knows, when you go away for any length of time treats are the key to your return. . .Aidan got a small stuffed dolphin and appears to like it, although he told me he really wanted an excavator. . .and a small Hummer from the Hershey store from Aunty Amy along with some Chocolate kisses from the Hershey store. I think he looks happy with it all!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

About 5 minutes ago. . .

Aidan: Mama!!!
Mommy: Yes?
Aidan: WE live in the Nited States!
Mommy: That's right! We do!

: )

Miscellaneous Stuff. . .

Well, it's certainly been crazy around here.

Pat was supposed to be on the day shift until June. However, Virginia Power oferred early retirement to a lot of folks and, if they took it, they had to be gone by April 1st. So, because a lot of the guys he works with retired, back to shift work he had to go. For almost two weeks he's been on the 3-11 shift. Kind of makes life hectic. I always really feel a lot of empathy and sympathy for single parents when that shift ends! I do love it in a way, though, because Aidan and I will usually do things and eat things that we wouldn't normally when Daddy is home. . . : )

The Capitals still lead Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the Quarterfinals for the Stanley Cup. They haven't seemed like themselves, though. Almost sluggish. I don't blame them for being tired. Except for the Olympic beak, they have played several times a week for 7 months. That's a lot.

Speaking of sports, sorry folks! I'm going to be back talking about the Redskins next fall! It's so exciting! We have a new coach-Mike Shanahan and a new Quarterback-Donovan McNabb. And we got what the team wanted during the draft. It really seems like it will be a much more exciting year this year! Can't wait!

Last Saturday, our Order of Reference came from the County. Our Social Worker is now filing her report with the County and then I will file our Final Petition along with the form to request Aidan's Virginia Certificate of Foreign Birth. I'm hoping that this will all be completed by summer. How cool! And the best part, this only cost us $51.--$39. for the Initial filing and $12. for the birth certificate! This re-adoption process has been super easy so far!

Aidan is doing really well. I will try to take some pictures of him today with my cell phone. We're hoping to get a new camera in the next week or two. I'm sure the pictures from my old camera are all over Russia by now! Aidan continues to grow and amaze me. His group got changed--AGAIN!!--at school. I was pretty ticked since I had just talked to his teacher about that. I did let her know I was not happy about not being told beforehand. The reason he got changed was a good one, though, so I have to let it go: he and several other kids were moved into two groups that will be moving up to Pre-K in September. There is one group who will stay in the 3 year old class. They also had to separate some of the boys for behavior issues. . .she didn't say it was Aidan who had a behavior issue so I should be happy about that! You can see more pictures of Aidan at the Embassy by going here http://www.becomingamommy.blogspot.com/ The kids were so adorable together!

I have Aidan's birthday party all planned. He has chosen to go back to the Ice House. Awesome. They will have us in a room for all the kids, provide balloons and a Tshirt for Aidan. There will be pizza and sodas, cake and then a 1/2 hour skating lesson for everyone following by a little over an hour of free skate time. We've invited 8 kids from our neighborhood, two little girlfriends from around here, 6 friends from school, and "our new friend we met last weekend"--Anna! That will be 18 children, including Aidan. Glad I won't have to entertain and clean up after that!!! It really is reasonable and they do a fantastic job.

I'm sure everyone has a favorite radio station they listen to most of the time. Pat listens to a Classic Rock station; I like a few--when I'm cleaning house it's Classic Alternative, when I'm work it's Classical--as in Paganini, Mozart, Chopin. . .and when I'm driving, I like this local Christian Rock station-WGTS 91.9. Aidan likes all of these, but he has been humming and singing along with the Christian Rock music lately. In fact, the other day I heard him sing along with the station when they announced the call letters. . .WGTS 91.9!! It was really cute. I love that he likes this so much. . .but I will say he still likes Lynard Skynard--Turn it Up! and he got very excited the other evening when he heard We Will Rock You by Queen. . .funny little guy! At least he will be well rounded in his musical tastes (shhhh! I am hoping to keep the Country out, though!) : )

One last thing, and then I'll close: I'm going on a business trip this coming week. I leave Monday morning and will return on Wednesday evening. I'm very sad and nervous about it! It will be the first time I have been away from Aidan overnight ever. I tried to talk to him about it the other day and he just started crying and hugged my arm and said he didn't want me to go. Oh man. . .this isn't going to be easy! I keep telling myself this is a normal healthy thing. . .but why does it have to feel so bad???

Well, that's about it. My little man woke up early today, climbed in bed and hugged me around the neck and said "I love you Mama!" I need to get in there and fix him breakfast!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Easter Party at the Russian Embassy

So, yesterday we met up with some folks, some of you know them. . .Joy, Gerard, and Anna!!! Pat had to work, so Aidan and I drove down to Sterling and had dinner at an Irish Restaurant with them. Aidan was partly on his best behavior. He was super sweet to little teeny tiny Anna...

But, let me start earlier. . .

I picked Aidan up as usual. But, my normal quick get away was thwarted due to an Ice Cream Social. The room was packed with kids and parents. I went to Aidan and crouched down. Aidan immediately hopped up and said, "let me get you a chair, Mama!" And he did, negotiating the crowded room nicely. After feeding me a couple of spoonfuls of his ice cream, we were off to meet the friends from New Jersey!

At the restuarant, Aidan held the door for me (who is this boy and what did he do with my son???) Later, Anna dropped her spoon so Aidan went after the Waitress to get her another one. . .really. Taking care of all of us! Aidan didn't eat much, but Anna scarfed her Mac and Cheese! Awesome!

Today, Anna, Joy and Gerard came out to Leesburg and we walked into town for a couple of hours of the Flower and Garden Festival. I got the cutest pictures of Aidan and Anna sitting in Aidan's stroller. . .

Then, Aidan and I headed down to D. C. with Gerard, Joy and Anna following, for the Easter party at the Russian Embassy. It was cute. It was sweet. It was sooooo Russian!

Driving up Wisconsin Avenue, I saw a big block building ahead of me and knew it was the Embassy. Then the wind picked up and the flag unfurled. . .yep, the Russian Federation Flag. Knew it. . .

We went inside and it was very Russian. I knew the security folks just looking at them! The progam was really sweet. The children of the Embassy workers did several songs and dances for us. I took several wonderful pictures of them and several of Aidan showing he was totally uninterested in any of it. Much more interested in taking his name tag and plastering it on the arm of his seat and in playing with his Cowboy boots. . .

We then went downstairs and had a little snack of fruit and veggies, juice and little desserts. It was all really nice.. .

And then we went to get our picture taken with the Easter Bunny--who whispered to me her daughter had come from Krasnoyarsk in 2007. . .and lo and behold, my camera was missing. Somehow I lost it somewhere in the Auditorium. Know idea where. We did look but never found it.

So, Joy talked to the guy in charge--not the Ambassador, but the next guy, and even got his card for me!--about my lost camera. . .Love Joy!! But, I'm sure my camera is gone forever. . .thank goodness they are all pictures of Aidan having fun with ice skating/soccer/Anna/etc. . .

But, I did get this picture of Aidan in front of the Embassy with my cell phone:



Can you tell it was after a huge struggle??? Joy promised to send some pictures that she took. . .I guess Pat is going to get the camera he really wants now!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hmmmm. . . Interesting. . .

From MSNBC news:

U.S.: No suspension of Russian adoptions
Statement contradicts claim from Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman

I can't believe the news today. . .

Because of one woman who didn't do her homework, and yes I put the lion share of this mess on her sholders, Russia has suspended the adoption system with America. I can't even begin to imagine what the families in process are feeling. And then there are the hundreds of thousands of children who may end up in the orphanage system until they grow up. . .and all because this woman didn't do the things before or during her adoption that, from what I know, every agency tells their clients to do!

Our son is beautiful, smart, intelligent, wonderful, loving, caring, the light of our lives and has been a huge blessing as an addition to our family. I can't imagine our home without him in it. . .in fact, now that he has been here for two years, it would not be a home without him!

I won't pretend that there aren't problems, but what family doesn't have issues??? Aidan does have some attachment issues--not with us--with the change of teachers in his classroom at school. It causes confusion for him and he tends to act out. In fact, I met with his teacher just yesterday to talk about that and how he is doing in general. he is doing great, but does act out a bit when things aren't stable so she will watch and keep me informed. He just needs a little extra comforting and talking to when this occurs.

He talks back and likes to be his own person--the talking back thing is annoying, but totally normal for any kid. And as for liking to be his own person--yeah!!! He is independent!

Aidan loves talking about space things: rocket ships, the moon, the planets--I think we'll have to get him a telescope for Christmas! And he loves all things cars and trucks, riding his bike and playing outside. . .totally normal boy/kid things. . .

Aidan has continued to grow and develop: he has well developed muscles all over and is continuing to add to his height and weight. . .yes, he is gaining on me fast! he still holds food in his cheeks and we have to remind him, sometimes, to swallow, but other than that he eats pretty good most of the time.

And so, I pray that the Russians somehow, someway realize just how many successful adoptions have taken place by Americans and what we can, do and are providing for our children! This one woman did not do her research ahead of time by having an International Adoption doctor evaluate pictures and records of this boy and she didn't even bother to try to find a way to help him here.

Oh, and by the way. . .All of you who have children from Russia, aren't they US citizens???? And haven't they, like my son, been one since you got off the plane with them when you returned home??? Why isn't the State Department more involved in this?

My Irish blood is up. . .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Citizenship Day!!!!

Today is Aidan's Second Anniversary of Citizenship Day! Two years ago, we flew straight from Moscow to Atlanta. Once in Atlanta, we handed over our sealed and untampered with packet of documents that we had received at the US Embassey--at the same time Aidan's Immigrant Visa was issued--and we were processed back into the United States. . .and Aidan became a US Citizen! I'd have to go back and double check, but I think it was about 2 to 4 weeks later that we received, in the mail, Aidan's Certificate of Citizenship signed by the President of the United States declaring Aidan to be a Naturalized US Citizen. . .


This was taken just after our paperwork was processed in Customs and Immigration--against the rules to do this for some reason!

And now, he has enjoyed so many of the rights and priviledges of that Citizenship.

Including partying with the big rat at Chuck E. Cheese. . .

He is truly an American boy now. . .



Daddy has to work the 3-11 shift, so Aidan and I are going to play outside when we get home and ride his bike. Then, I plan to do another American thing. . .order Chinese take out! : )

Happy Citizenship Day Aidan!

PS. By the way, the State Department has sample Citizenship Tests online that you can take. They vary the about 100-200 questions. . .I took it during our wait. . .I got a 100%! But, the questions aren't easy for those of us who have forgotten so much that we learned. . .try it out!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

At long last, some Easter pictures!

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And tomorrow, another slideshow for some levity. . .very funny pictures taken by my photographer son!

Resigned. . .

and very sad. . .

It just seems that, every few months or so, there is extremely negative publicity about Russian children being adopted by Americans. sigh. . .

This latest situation just has me shaking my head. I mean, this women in Tennesee. . .wasn't there something the agency could have done to help her? Aren't there local authorities that can help? Didn't she have a pediatrician, priest/minister, or other person she trusted that she could have talked to? Surely there were signs to the people around her?!?!?

And, what about those people at the airport? Didn't they question a child travelling alone, to Russia, on an expired Visa??? Surely that should have raised at least a small flag to someone there???

Now, in addition to all of the families waiting having their process jeopardized, there are hundreds of thousands of children sitting in the orphanages without families and Russia could pull the plug on the whole program!

People, listen!!! There are places and people that can help if you feel the need to interrupt your adoption!! Take the proper steps and measures to help the child, and yourself! Don't jeopardize the process to help all of those other children!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ciao!!!

We were watching Backyardigans this evening when one of the characters said "Ciao!" Aidan asked what that was.

So, I told him, it's like Good bye. Oh.

Adios. Uh huh.

Paka! Oh yeah!

Aidan, do you know what "Paka" is? Yeah. It's with Ellie. . .(Ellie was the little girl who came out of the same orphanage).

Wow.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Два Года как Навсегда Семья!!!

Hopefully I translated that correctly. . .It means, I think, Two Year Anniversary as a Forever Family!!!

Happy Easter Everyone!! Today is our 2nd Anniversary of getting Aidan out of the orphanage. Hard to believe it's been two years. And so, with that in mind, I thought I would share some pictures from two years ago; last year; and today. What a difference a little focused love, diet and different exposures make!

Sosnovoborsk Baby Home #5, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia:






Gotcha Day Celebration at Lightfoot Restauarnt, Leesburg, Virginia, USA 4/4/2009:





Easter and Forever Family Day, St. Gabriel's Church, Leesburg, Virginia 4/4/2010:



Friday, April 2, 2010

How Far is the East from the West?



After an 11 hour flight to Moscow and an additional 5 1/2 hour flight to Krasnoyarsk (located just north of Mongolia), I like to think I know about how far it is from the East to the West. . .but that sounds presumptuous when put in context with the following:

Today is Good Friday. I had planned for the past year to attend the 3 Holy Hours at our church (the one we don't technically go to, but still technically belong to) with my very good friend who is suffering from Cancer. . .she is home now and resting but unable to attend. So, I went alone. . .they do this service exceptionally well.

The service is set up with a reading of the Passion (this year from the Gospel of John--my favorite) and then three meditations (one from each of the priests) and then a Veneration of the Cross and finally the Stations of the Cross. It is all interspersed with beautiful music-"Calvary", "Ah, Holy Jesus", etc.

The Passion always leaves me feeling desolate, especially because, near the end, we all say "Crucify him, Crucify him!" And then we do. . .sigh. . .

The First Meditation, the main point was, Crowds lie. . .The more people there are, the less truth. Hmmmm. . . .I think I've experienced that.

The Second Meditation, the main point was who is the eternal water of giving life? The priest quoted from C. S. Lewis (one of my favorite authors) "It is a divine priviledge to be less the loved than the lover." Hmmmm. . .I like that. . .a priviledge to be less the loved than the lover. . .

There were three main points to the Third Meditation: first, Repent--Turn around! Change your mind! We used to have a saying in our EFM group: YOU"RE GOING THE WRONG WAY! DISNEYLAND IS THE OTHER DIRECTION!" : ) second, Our sins are as far away from God as the East is from the West. So, how far exactly IS the East from the West? This would seem important since the Son comes from the East. . .and finally, the last point was that only a monster doesn't forgive. . .Lord, Let me NOT BE A MONSTER!

And, so, another Holy Week is concluding. Holy Saturday will be quiet and we'll attend services on Sunday. I feel uninvolved, but blessed and loved. This is a special time for us and a very special weekend: Sunday is our Two Year Anniversary of being a Forever Family. God is Good.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quick Update. . .

First, some good news: Aidan does not have mono!!!!!! Yeah!!! His Epsteins Barr test came back negative, for which i am grateful. I still feel bad that I missed the whole Strep thing, but the nurses at the doctors office keep telling me that I would never have known since Aidan wasn't complaining of a sore throat or running a fever. I did do the right thing by bringing him in when I saw the swollen glands. . .some comfort, at least! His glands are going down. The one on the left is gone-i can't feel it at all. The one on the right is still there, but considerably smaller than it was. . .and, guess what?!?!? He isn't snoring anymore!!! Who knew. . .

My friend who has cancer isn't doing too well. She was admitted to the hospital on Monday due to shortness of breath and it was found that she has embollisms in both lungs. She will be there through tomorrow, I think. I am very worried for her and her husband and just keep praying something more can be done. . .

Another friend is also in the hospital with gall stones and pancreatitis. She went in on Sunday but, at last word, has not been able to have the surgery to remove her gall bladder because her enzymes were not getting to the right level. She is on morphine, but is in so much pain that she has been breathing shallowly, which is causing fluid to build up in her lungs, so now there is a concern for pneumonia.

Aidan has been drawing pictures for both of Mommy's friends. Hopefully they will b ring a little smile to their faces.

And so, we pray this Holy week for some friends of mine who seem to be suffering beyond my meager imagining. . .

In other news, Aidan can now spell his first name. We work with him all the time, especially in the car, on learning his full name, address, phone number, etc. But, what a happy surprise the other day when he started actually spelling, out loud, his first name!

We took him to the Ringling Borther Circus last Sunday and he had a blast. I took tons of pictures, which I will post this weekend along with some other pictures I took. In fact, I'll probably do an all picture post. . .just to catch up!