Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ramblings on a Cold Wednesday Evening

Here we are a week into astronomical Spring and it is cold.  I mean there is rain coming down outside that is mixing with snow and sleet cold.  At least it isn't the 6-12 inches of snow they are expecting up north!  So we had a warm casserole for dinner and started a fire in the big fireplace upstairs.  Nothing like the crackle and spit of a nice wood burning fire to warm the fingers and toes!  I guess this means that March is going OUT like a Lion. . .

We've been so busy lately.  The wedding of Aidan's teacher was last Saturday.  It was very very nice.  The ceremony was at Furnace Mountain Presbyterian Church.  It was very stark and very beautiful in its starkness.  There was no ornamentation save for a simple wooden cross.  Everything was wood and the glass was clear and not stained. . .it really pointed out to me, yet again, how very close to the Catholic church the Episcopal church is!  We don't have statues, but we do have a lot of gold and stained glass!  But I digress. . .

The ceremony was followed by a wonderful reception at a beautiful Club House just north of Leesburg.  When the dancing commenced, Pat and I were surprised, and very amused, to see our young son doing the steps and moves in the foyer area to the line dance that was happening on the dance floor.  In fact, the teachers who saw him kept beckoning him to come out and dance with them!  He would have none of that.  He was happy where he was, thank you very much!  : )

Sunday was a busy day with Altar Guild and Hockey lessons after which I finished taking the last of the wallpaper border down. . .finally.  I will put up the new stuff tomorrow night and hopefully finish it all off this weekend.  Hopefully!  Aidan's new bed should be coming in the next week or so, so I really need to get this finished!  

Before the Hockey lesson, and because he has really been working hard, on his own, on the reading, I bought Aidan his new Hockey gloves:
Funny little man wants to wear them everywhere!  I had to put my foot down and say no to wearing them to school. . .no mulch on the hockey gloves!!

This week has been no less busy:  yesterday we had dinner with friends who will be moving in about a week to North Carolina.  Can't believe they're leaving!  Friday friends are coming over for pizza and Wii and Saturday another set of friends are coming for pizza and Wii.  Sunday we will be heading to another birthday party at Pump it Up and then off to dinner to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa's 62nd Anniversary!!!  Whew!!

It's also book fair week at Aidan's school.  I don't feel books are a frivolous expense, so I usually let Aidan pick out whatever he would like.  This is what he chose this time:
My boy loves Science!  ; 0

I scheduled Aidan's birthday party at Ashburn Ice House again.  It will be Saturday afternoon on May 14th.  I also ordered the most adorable invitations!  Can't wait to show you all how cute they turned out. . .when the arrive.

Meanwhile, in my spare time (lunch break during the week, that is!) I have been reading this fantastic book my In-laws got me:  Travels in Siberia.  It is about the travels of Ian Frazier, the author, in Siberia and his consuming obsesssion with Russia.  I can identify.  I had to chuckle within the first few pages when he mentioned that Russia has a particular smell.  The Russia smell.  Oh yeah!  I know that smell!  I'm almost 100 pages into this and am really enjoying it.  Anyone who has been to Russia, particularly Siberia, I do recommend this book:

I haven't heard him mention it yet, but there is a definite difference in the dust and dirt too in Russia.  It still coats the sneakers I wore most of the time while there.

And so I leave you this fine evening with a couple of cute shots of Aidan having his evening snack by the fire. . . while fending off the dogs, of course!

Until next time!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Da day. . .

I probably won't note these days publicly in the future, but will continue to do so for myself.  But, this being a Three Year, I think I will round it all out with finishing notation of these momenteous dates:

Today marks the third anniversary of the judge in Krasnoyarsk saying "Da.  You may be the mama and papa of this baby boy currently known as Stepan Vladislavovich Nosov and whom will now be known as Aidan Josef Harrison."  She said this after we had a nerve wracking, headache producing thirty hour delay. . .

We had gotten through the entire questioning portion on the 25th of March (albeit with a bit of a stumble on the discipline portion--could not for the life of me remember what we had been told to say and the questioning was pretty intense on this!)  But, the big hurdle seems to have been that the Ministry of Education had not made one final look see to find out if the birth mother, or family, wanted Aidan back.  I was sick to my stomach with worry over this.  I just wanted my son.  Suffice it to say, the Ministry of Education went in to major scramble mode and went to the last known address of Aidan's birth mother and could not find her or anyone related to her.  So they refiled the forms indicating they approved of us being his parents. . .which turned out to be the wrong forms!  But, the judge gave us her "Da" anyway.

About the discipline thing, I have thought about that a lot since that day and realize now why that question was so important to the judge.  I totally goofed up my response, which I can only attribute to nerves and never having been a parent before--another reason why the judge was questioning us!  And although Aidan is growing up a bit spoiled (okay, maybe a little more than a bit) he is a good boy and manners are being instilled in him for the most part!  He is free spirited and allowed to make his own decisions on a lot of things.  But, he does need frequent reminders that he can't talk back and that he needs to be nice.  None of his behaviors are troubling and, to me, seem very normal 4 almost 5 year old boy behaviors. 

About the only behavior still remaining that I attribute to  his having been in a baby home is his level of discomfort with change or inconsistency.  This does come up at his school--particularly lately--in the form of his teacher being out extensively (his teacher is getting married and training for an Assistant Director postion).  I can usually talk to him and get him to be okay again, but only if I know.  If I don't know, then he will act out agressively and will be a little hard to control.  We're working with his school to try and get this to be more consistent. 

Otherwise, our kiddo is a very healthy, loving, totally smart, athletic little boy who is growing up in a normal (okay, my version of normal) house with two loving and totally in love with him parents!  What more could a boy want??? 

And here he was three years ago. . .

He has grown up so much since then!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thanks. . .

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments and suggestions on my last post.  I guess I opened something up for some of you and made it look like I needed help on this from others!  : )

I should clarify that we do talk about where Aidan is from quite frequently.  We have pictures of Russia, Aidan at the baby home, maps, etc. . . all over the house.  Aidan knows where he was from. . . he even brings up most nights at dinner that we are eating dinner and everyone in Russia is eating breakfast!  (Kras is a 12 hour time difference!). 

Aidan's baby home was called a baby home:  home for children ages new born to 4 years old.  It was Baby Home #5 and that is what I have called it for 3 1/2 years.  I think so many people put a very negative connotation on orphanage which is why I choose not to use it, not to mention he actually was in a Baby Home!

AS for my reaction, it just points out to me that I need to talk to Aidan further about things people may blurt out at times without realizing the possible effects it may have.  I was upset by this situation because the child blurted out something I was in the process of explaining and saying we don't use that word. 

Anyway, thanks again.  Love the book suggestions.  Might look into those to go along with the stacks we already have!! 

God Bless.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Open and Honest. . . As the Age Suits

‎3 Years ago this morning we watched our Easter sunrise as we were driven through the frozen Siberian tundra from the Cheremshanka Airport to the city of Krasnoyarsk.

We have been open and honest with Aidan so far that he was born in Russia and that Mommy and Daddy had to go alllllll the way there to get him.  We will be completely open and honest with him as he grows up with all of the details.  However, we are doing it as his age suits.  Meaning he will be told information as he matures and is ready and able to handle more of his story.  If he asks a question, I will always be honest with him, though.
That being said, yesterday I had a situation come up with one of the neighbor children.  Out of the blue the statement/question came out, "Aidan came from an orphanage, right???"  Yes, he did come from a baby home, and he knows he is from Russia and that his Mama and Daddy had to go there to get him, but he doesn't really know what an orphan........"Hey Aidan you came from an orphanage!!!"  Mama, what's an orphanage?. . .sigh. 
I did quietly, but sternly tell that child that I think that was completely inappropriate, but I have to be honest and say I was very upset by this incident!  I don't want things like this coming at me out the blue and I certainly don't want Aidan having things like this coming at him out of the blue.  How to explain an orphanage to a four year old??? 
I really want to use the term "Baby Home" when discussing this with Aidan. . .

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Goodnight Moon

In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of--
A cow jumping over the moon. . .

I love this book.  A friend gave it to us at our baby shower.  We took it with us on Trip 2 and began reading it to Aidan every night during that very trip.  I think we read that book every night for about two years.  Yes, I know it by heart.

We were not allowed to skip the book, either.  Regardless of what other books we read, Goodnight Moon was always the last book to be read before lights out, rocking and patting the back.  If by some surprasing lack of good judgement on our part we happened to skip the book, Aidan would go through all of the other routines and then, just when we thought he was asleep and we tiptoed out of his room, he would jump up in his crib, little hands grabbing the crib side and begin crying his major crockadile tears in his little two year old way and begin yelling, with tears mixed in, "Aubernoon!  Aubernoon!"  That's toddler style Aidan-speak for Goodnight Moon.  As soon as we realized our laspe in good judgement, we would return to his room, read the book to him and then process back through the rocking and then patting of the back. . .

It did take us a while the first time it happened to figure out what in the world our little man was saying!  But, figure it out we did.  Oh yes indeed!  And now I know this wonderful book by heart!

Last night, for the first time in a long time, we read the book in honor of the moon being so large right now.  Aidan is fascinated by all things space, especially the moon. . .perhaps because of this book!  In any case, I think Aidan and I both really enjoyed reading this classic last night. 

Goodnight nobody
Goodnight mush
And goodnight to the old lady whispering "hush"
Goodnight stars
Goodnight air
Goodnight noises everywhere

Saturday, March 19, 2011

That's going on your permanent record!

Have you ever wondered about that statement?  What is on your permanent record?  Where exactly is it?  And, when, and by whom, did it get started???

Well, I had a thought about that very thing yesterday. . . .

On Thursday, Aidan's Kindergarten registration packet arrived from our local elementary school.  I looked through the packet, had a bit of a chuckle over the fact that I have been given from March 17th until April 12th--Registration Day--to pull together Aidan's birth certificate, a copy of our most recent Real Property tax bill (proof of where we live), a copy of my ID, and to fill out the form--3 pages.  No notarizing. . . .No apostilles. . .just mine and Pat's signatures.  I mean really people.  These are not hoops to jump through!  This is nothin'!  Once you have been through a Russian adoption, something like this is a snap!!  But I have nearly a month!!  (Aidan's medical form will be filled out during his 5 year old check up in May).

So, I set to work right away, determined to tackle this "paperwork" immediately.  I filled out the form.  Made a copy of my ID (mine because I will be the one to register Aidan).  Made a copy of our Real Property tax bill.  No sweat.  On to the birth certificate. . .

They want an original or authenticated copy.  Hmmmm. .  .I only have one original of his Virginia Certificate of Foreign Birth.  So, I get online to and check in to see about getting more copies while beating myself up for not ordering more when we did our re-adoption. . .they are only $12.00 a piece in Virginia.  But, then, do I fill out the same form for a regular birth certificate as I do for a Certificate of Foreign Birth???  Call to Virginia Department of Vital Statistics. . .left a message.  Hmmmm. . . .what to do??? 

By now, I'm wondering if the school really wants the birth certificate forever. . .really, what are they going to do with this??  Call the school and explain my question and get the response that I immediately know is right:  they just want to see it and will then make a copy for Aidan's record. . .Cool!!! 

Vital Statistics calls back and confirm the form I fill out is the same for all Birth Certificates registered in Virginia. . .Aidan's qualifies and I decided to go ahead and order two more copies. . .just in case.  Never hurts to have a few stashed in the Safety Deposit box and they are only $12.00 each!

And, so, I am now ready to register Aidan. . .Only 3 weeks from now, my baby boy will be all set to start big time public school on August 29th. 

Truly, I felt a little silly about this at this stage. . .I was making that hoop much higher and more difficult to jump through and I had lit it on fire, to boot! That's what happens when you try something simple after having done a Russian adoption!

And so, while jumping through this paperwork hoop, I realized, and had to laugh about, that I am setting up Aidan's Permanent Record!!!  I am in control of his future!!!  :  )  Mom Power. . . .

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! 

I always cook corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, etc.  on this day.  Every year.  Every year, that is, except for in 2008.  In 2008 Pat and I were frantically running around the house packing our last minute items, dropping off dogs, and then headed out for Mexican food--yes, Mexican food!!--with some friends of ours.  Why?  Because we left the US on March 18th for a month long trip to Russia to get our boy, that's why!!

I cannot believe we're at this three year mark.  Three years ago, that month in Russia loomed before us and seemed so daunting.  Away from home for a month; living day to day in a hotel room in the middle of Siberia; in March.  It was dark and cold. . .but there was a light, our boy.  And he came to us long before the end of the tunnel--9 days before! 

I think about how slowly the time passed from March 18th until April 4th--Gotcha Day--and it seems a bit surreal.  The time since that April 4th has speeded up exponentially and, just lately, seems much more like a blur.  Aidan has grown and changed so much!  He is the most awesome little boy.

And so, I am off to get my corned beef, etc. into the crock pot to simmer on low all day so that dinner is ready when we get home tonight.  I still have a bunch of hockey videos to show you all, but until I have time to get them loaded up here, I will leave you with these:

My little hockey puck. . .

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Want My Hour Back!!!

disclaimer:  This is an annual whine I have about Daylight Saving Time.  It is a whine and is not intended to take attention away from the poor people of Japan for whom I am praying. . .

I seriously do not understand why we put ourselves through the torture of Daylight Saving Time!!  I understand what the original intended purpose was, but it has been proven that it actually does not save anything on electricity nor does it increase productivity at all.  In fact, the only true outcome is that people lose an hour of sleep.  Okay, we'll get it back in the Fall, but why do this to ourselves???

I know a lot of people love that we have a little more daylight in the evening. . .something that will occur naturally anyway, but I was really liking that we had so much nice sun in the morning on the way to school and work!  Now it will be dark again. . .

We get up and go to bed at the same time everyday so it really isn't going to change our schedule any.  It will just be darker in the morning and lighter in the evening.  Of course, because I lost that hour of sleep, I won't be able to enjoy that extra daylight in the evening because I'll be looking at the backs of my eyelids!!!

Soon I'll be going upstairs to wake my young son up, who didn't go to sleep until after 10:00 last night because he wasn't ready to sleep yet.  It will not be pretty.  I almost feel sorry for his teachers today. . .and they will have 24 4 and 5 year olds who lost an hour of sleep. . .yikes!!!

sigh. . . . .

In other news, Aidan started his Hockey 2 lessons yesterday.  I took a lot of video of it and will upload some later in the week.  He's really improved!!  I was very impressed.  And he was playing on our pipestem over the weekend with his little hockey stick, puck and goal and I was very impressed listening to him explain how to handle the stick and then to see him move the puck across the driveway!  Wow!  I think the kid is truly a natural.  I'll have to get some video of that too.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Last Russian Adoption Fee!!!!

We've had our visit.  We shared the growth of our son--physically, educationally, theologically.  We have taken some final pictures of Aidan and Kristin. We provided more pictures than necessary.  It's been signed. We paid our final $10.00 for a Virginia apostille.  It's on it's way to be apostilled.  What have we done??????


We are officially finished with Russia!  I can't believe it.  It seems so weird!  Kind of surreal, ya know?  Okay, I know we're not finished with Russia. . .Aidan is a Russian citizen.  But, we no longer have to submit reports about how things are going!  4 1/2 years after we started and 3 years (almost) after we came home with our son, we are finally done. . .

Here are some pictures of Aidan and Kristin, a few of which will wind up on our wall where all special pictures end up:

And this is how we celebrated the end of an era:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Miscellaneous Blatherings and Confessions. . .

The Mardi Gras party was a lot of fun last night.  I pretty much cleaned almost all of it up before we went to bed, but I will still need to clean the kitchen floor. . .later today.  Aidan had a lot of fun playing with his friends Owen, Catherine, Isaac, and Alex.  Alex was adopted from the Moscow region about 10 years ago. . .

Ash Wednesday is this week and we will buckle down a little on our diets and begin to really focus our attention on filling up with messages of Good News.  I actually always look forward to this time of year.  As hard as  it can be at times (I give up caffeine every year) I find that I always get something good out of it.  I'm not sure Aidan is really ready for an Ash Wednesday service so I'll likely go to church during my lunch break again.  Perhaps we'll take him next year.

Aidan is really loving reading Bible stories every night.  Lately he has asked for about 5 a night.  His favorite is the one about David and Goliath.  Sooooo cute!!  "Mama, please read the one about the giant man, okay??"  You bet sweetie!

After Wednesday, we will be focusing on completing our Three Year Post Placement, which is next Saturday, March 12th.  I have to say I am excited to be finished with this stage and yet nostalgic as well.  And, I will absolutely miss having a regular excuse to talk to our Social Worker!!  She's been a part of our lives since the fall of 2006.  Hard to imagine that we won't actually be talking with her regularly anymore. . .

I have to confess something. . .remember all the things we are planning to do in Aidan's room to update it?  Well, I have the bed on order and it will be delivered in 3 or 4 weeks.  I have ordered his new curtains--very boyish and very cool.  I know what I  will be doing for the comforter.  I took part of the Noah's Ark wallpaper border down. . .and that is as far as I have gotten!  I have been so busy lately, I have not been able to finish taking the wallpaper border down and putting the new one up!  I live in daily fear of getting a phone call from the furniture store saying they have the bed and would like to set up the delivery. . .I better get on that this week, dontcha think??  Alright. . .in view of the beginnng of Lent, I promise to spend at least one hour each day working on Aidan's room until it is finished. . .sigh. . .

Last fall I bought this wonderful chair that sits in the office/study/library corner flanked by windows.  It is very comfy and the absolute perfect spot for some quiet reading time. . .
Some day I would actually like to use that chair. . .So far, as you can see, Cleo is the only one with time to use it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Russian Embassy news

Once again, the Russian Embassy is sponsoring an Easter party and has invited all families who have adopted a child/children from Russia to attend.  We went last year and it was very nice.  I am planning to take Aidan again this year and I think Pat may join us as well.  The event is coordinated by Cradle of Hope Adoption but anyone may go ( we used Bethany for our adoption).  It is on April 16th from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Embassy in Washington, D. C.  Here is a link for the flyer:
[PDF] Easter RSVP flyer 2011.qxdFile Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
I had to laugh last year when we were driving to the Embassy.  I knew where I was going, but had I not, I would have guessed immediately when I saw the Embassy off in the distance.  And sure enough, as soon as I had eyed the particular building (noted for its look, shaped, construction material--you know, a typically Russian building!) and sure enough, a puff of wind unfurled the Russian flag atop the building.  Too funny! 
It is also nice because you can meet some of your blog friends.  Joy, Gerard and Anna  went with Aidan and I last year and I think they are coming again.  Plus you can get some good pictures of your kiddo hanging out at the Russian Embassy and use them in your Post Placement Report--I'm using some from last year, even though Aidan was being pretty goofy by picture time. 
In any case, it's nice to think we can expose our children to a little of their birth heritage in this manner.
In other Russian Embassy news, I aslo found that they have a link on their website to help us American parents with updating and renewing our children's Russian passports.  Pretty cool!  We have two years until Aidan's expires, but I'll probably start working on that in about a year and a half.  As usual, there is some paperwork, that needs to be translated, and a few attachments.  However, I don't think we have to have any of it apostilled--probably notarized, though.  ; )
We're getting ready for our Mardi Gras party, which is tomorrow night.  Folks will be coming to enjoy our good company, Chicken Jambolya, Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo and they will be bringing whatever it is that they are giving up for Lent.  The idea is to leave the party ready for Lent and prepared to receive new gifts and insights from God.  It's going to be a blast!
I'll leave you with a couple of cute pictures.  The first is of Aidan helping Grandpa blow out his birthday cake candles and the second he is heading off for his last swimming lesson: