Friday, February 25, 2011

Am I Having Fun......

OK, so I get a lot of this question,

Am I having fun dressing Ava Grace, ummmmmm, no brainer!

I always say, well after 4 boys, wouldn't you too?

When I was a little girl, I remember not wanting to dress up, I was very much the Tom boy.  I loved to run, ride bikes, skateboards, roller skate the neighborhood and play baseball in the streets.  I remember beating all the boys at running and realized that I liked sports and I liked to keep active.

Now, Ava Grace, on the other hand....dosen't seem to very sports minded.  As much as Trevor and Andrew play soccer with her, or throw the ball to her, she well ummmmm just dosen't have it in her!  So I guess this Tom Boy mama, is having a Pretty Pretty Princess and all things girl.  I tell ya, she can shop like crazy and love it, she loves to hold her purse on her arm and fill the shopping cart. 

Well we went ahead and cut off Ava Graces long string of hair in the back...I don't know if that really helped, but it does look more even now.

Ava Grace has started to really, really love books.  She never minded me reading to her, but now, she walks around all day with multiple books in her hands or sets them down around us.  I found her doing this with Cooper, and Cooper was almost asleep from her story.

Trevor had his last official basketball game for his school.  Trevor tries not to get upset with losing, but he is so into sports, it just kills him.  He did however get chosen to play in the All Star Game, so that will be good for him to play with like minded kids.

Three of the boys had off of school today for Teacher Institute day, so they asked if we could go to Chuck E Cheese.  I agreed, and I'm not sure if Ava Grace was ready for it.  She loved walking around with Trevor and Andrew, but she had mini melt downs when they wouldn't follow her.  I ended up keeping her with me at the table and she had fun counting the coins, who knew?

So to answer the question, YES, I am having fun.  Loving having a girl, loving doing girl things, and love watching my boys love their sister!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Tom took me to Mexico to celebrate
Valentines Day
Our 20th Anniversary

 This is looking out the airplane window
at Puerto Vallarta
never knew there were mountains here!

 The beach was wonderful!  Kelly and I relaxing

Tom did some of this...nap

the sunsets were gorgeous

We went to dinner everynight...I gained about 10 pounds

We took the kyaks from the beach and went out just a little from shore....(that is our hotel in the background, RIU Palace)

and we ended up seeing these....there were so many and so playful.  They would come up right next to us.  It was a highlight...

our best friends David and Kelly were there and they did some boogie boarding...

we had our pictures taken at the beach, at sunset = beautiful

This is my favorite picture of David and Kelly

This is David and Kellys 20th Anniversary also...we are so blessed to have them in our lives.  God gave us great friends to enjoy our life with.

one day we took a tour into the city of Puerto Vallarta and saw the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe...

the inside reminded me of some of the beautiful churches in St. Petersburg

this lady was outside the church selling handmade dolls, she had her baby on her back and she was so cute...

our dinners were awesome, most nights we had something with it is Mexican Coffee

while watching the sun set, it got cooler with the wind, here we are all bundeled up

our romantic pose...

I like this one...

Tom says I need to wear this outfit in Russia...

Here we are again with the fire...this was a desert

a view from the main lobby...gorgeous

On our last full day,
we took an adventure!

Speed Boat Ride

Followed up by an
Open Truck Uphill ride
really bumpy, but fun

then we got to ride Mules up to the top of the mountains
in the forest..
then we did zip line
and bridge walking...
here is Kelly repelling down a cool
(no literally it was freezing)
 then it was Davids turn
 Tom and I went side by side...


then splash down into the water

our wobblely bridge walk

our race, Tom won, he weighs more 
great pictures of our best friends 

 this is the view from the top, it was so neat

This was an awesome trip.  We spent just 4 nights away from Ava and the boys, but it was so worth it.  We couldn't have done it without Toms Mom.  She watched Ava Grace so that we could get away.  Heres to looking at another 20 years baby!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

From my love from Russia!

she is holding her card from her Daddy!  She carried that card all day long!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Andrew has followed in his brothers footsteps and started band this year at school.  Oh my aching ears.... what was I thinking?  We went to his first concert the other night, and Andrew did a nice job.  He plays the drums and percussion instruments.  They start band in 5th grade...there was a lot of kids on the wrong note, or holding it to long, but hey I am instrument intollerant so who am I to talk!

Heres to you Andrew, congratulations for learning something new!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Year Ago....

I remember being in St. Petersburg, it was beautiful.  We went first to the Ministry of Education building.  It was a very non descript building...we walked in and we took off our coats and handed them to the coat check lady.  The building was very old, we walked down a very narrow hallway and had a seat in some chairs outside of an office.  We sat there for just a few minutes, and then a lady in a suit called our translator and we walked in the office.  The office seemed very cramped, a desk, her chair, lots and lots of paperwork and boxes all around, and then 3 chairs.  We sat in the chairs and the MOE lady started to talk to Russian....we had no clue what she was saying, and then our translator Svetlana started to talk in English.  It was a little confusing for us (who have never gone outside of the US before, well Mexico dosen't really count).  We looked at Svetlana while she was talking so that we could understand what was going on, the MOE lady opened up a large binder and turned to a picture of our referral...her database picture.  She then went over all of the medicals of our surprises...and then she asked us if we wanted to go meet this referral...DA/YES we said...we would be most honored to go and meet this little girl.  We left the office and then we drove straigt away to the orphanage, Number 16, which wasn't to far from the office.  About an half hour drive with traffic.

It has been a year, but I can still remember in detail everything about the way the Orphanage sounded, smelled, and felt.  We walked in, gave our coats to the attendant and then we were told to put on those blue shoe protectors.  They are very cautious about outside germs, they want to protect the orpanage and the orpans from diseases we can pick up.  We were told to sit in the waiting area on a couch...there was a fish tank close by that looked like it needed a cleaning.  The smell was something of a bleach and lysol mix, the sounds were earilly quiet.  There really wasn't sounds of children that we could hear at all.  We were called to enter the Directors office and she was also a Doctor.  Svetlana told us this time, to look directly at the Director when she was speaking to us and not to Svetlana.  She went over the medicals again with us and then there was another lady in the office a very babuska looking lady and she then started to tell us about how our daughter happened to be in the orphanage.  I really wasn't expecting all of this information, and was really overwhelmed, but I tried to take as many notes as possible so that I could look at it again and ask more questions when I was more prepared.  Svetlana then told us to go into another room and we waited...we unpacked the blanket and toys that we had brought...and then a lady was walking our daughter into the room, she was being carried, and she looked really scared...

This is the very first moment I held my daughter.  I noticed her rigidness, her tightly clenched fists and her not wanting to look directly at me.  She had a rash on her cheek that "they" say came from some yogart, but we noticed that it is because she sucks her thumb and rubs it with her finger.  We noticed that within minutes of her with us, and it makes me sad that no one noticed why she had a rash.  She was beautiful and she was scared but I held her and loved her and read to her and I finally got her to look at me!

Ava Grace loved my necklace...I wore it EVERY time we saw her, she remembered that necklace and would instantly grab for it....guess what she still loves that necklace today!

After I got to hold her and love onher, Tom finally had the opportunity to hold her.  He waited a good half hour before holding her...we have heard that the orphans do not see a lot of men, so Tom would just talk to her from the chair and she would look at him (see picture above).  Finally after 30 minutes he held his daughter for the first time...

He looked at her like I have never seen him look at the boys before...His first comment was...ok lets go home with her NOW!  It was so exciting to see him fall in love with her. 

We are so blessed to be the parents of this wonderful, amazing, sweet, beautiful, fun loving girl.  The boys are over the moon in love with her and even Samson is learning to love her!

One Year ago we met
now look how you have grown
how happy you are
scared no more!

Thank you Russia for giving us a wonderful gift.  We are forever grateful!