"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

We Love Water

We’ve spent a ton of time in the water this summer.  Lakes, waterparks, and mostly our community pool.  Each one has it’s own draw. 

The lake provides boating fun.  Tubing , knee boarding, and swimming.  It keeps everyone together and promotes more interaction between mom, dad, sisters and friends:)

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The waterpark gives a little something for everyone.  Slides for the big kids, waterspouts for the little, and pools for everyone. 



One of the waterparks we visited actually has a little slide for the little people.  Natalie literally could have stayed on it indefinitely! 






The best addition to our water repertoire has been the community pool in our new sub.  Often we’re the only ones there, or one of just a few families.  It’s a great way to meet some of the kids in our new sub, and Sof loves it!  It tires her out and makes her eat like a horse!





Lexi can do all sorts of tricks with the tube.  Adrienne thought she’d give it a try and got stuck.  Not one of us moved a muscle to help her.  We were too busy laughing!


We’ve had some really cool days, days where I was wearing pants and a sweatshirt, but Sof doesn’t care!  She’ll swim no matter the weather!





As the summer comes to an end, Natty is just getting comfortable and starting to use her floaty to swim a little on her own.  Sof is actually swimming without her floaty!  She’s quite the little fish and will no doubt be a strong swimmer next summer!


I’m going to really miss our trips to the pool!  Afternoon trips bring good naptime, and evening trips bring good bedtimes!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Touchdown! Wait…Homerun.


So we went to a sporting event.  So not us.  It was a beautiful night though, and we spent it in a beautiful stadium with beautiful friends.  Actually, the kids have been asking us for awhile to go to a game.  So, when our friends who are family came up with the idea, we jumped on it!  We all loaded up in Mark’s work van and headed downtown.  First stop…Mexican Town!


Yum.  That’s all I got to say about that!

We parked offsite and took the people mover to the stadium.  Sof called it the “train”, and asked first thing the next morning if she could go ride it again.



We did the obligatory picture in front of the Tiger.  Basically if you don’t take one these you weren’t really there.



Our seats were literally the last row.  Little known secret…that’s a great place to be!  It’s covered from the sun, there’s a nice breeze, and you don’t have people constantly walking by you.  Although, you should prepare for less oxygen at that elevation, and a nice workout getting there.




It was a long, fun day.  The kids were troopers, and still giggling on the way home!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Her Baby Friend

When we were first adopting Sof we were given references of people who had recently traveled to our same region.  We were able to contact them to get information on travel, stay, and generally what to expect.  One of those names was Sally.  Sally lives in the Chicago area, and is Momma to 4 boys by birth and one Russian princess.  When I first spoke with her she said a good place to start was her blog where she fully documented their experience.  When I went to check it out I found I had already been following it!  We’ve corresponded through email, our blogs, and Instagram since then.  Once I traveled, we found out our princesses are from the same orphanage! 

It’s customary on your second trip to Russia to leave a disposable camera with the orphanage.  They will then take pictures of your child and return the camera to you on your third trip.  Unfortunately, when we had our second trip our translator was in the hospital with pneumonia.  We didn’t have a translator on any of our visits, and no one at the orphanage spoke English.  Consequently, they would not take our camera because we couldn’t explain what we wanted. 

Sof and Ava are just two months apart in age, but Ava came home a year before Sof.  When Sally saw Sof’s picture, she looked back at the ones she had from the orphanage and found several with Sof in them!


I have 12 pictures of Sof before age 2 1/2.  Six of them came from Sally.  What a priceless gift!

Amazingly, while we were on vacation, Sally happened to be driving right through our area on the way to a sporting event for one of her boys.  We made a plan for lunch, ironically on my 40th bday, and it became my best gift!

When prepping Sof for the meeting I showed her the pictures above.  I explained to her that she lived with Ava in Russia in her baby home.  Some good discussion about that followed, and I was able to see her wheels turning trying to understand her story.  She now calls Ava her “baby friend”.

72As we waited for them to arrive, Sof asked, “Does she know how to walk?”.  She thought Ava was still going to be a baby! 


The girls are really two peas in a pod.  If we lived next door they would best buddies!  We exchanged some gifts, took some pictures, and headed to lunch.




  At lunch the girls played happily with our iPhones, while Sally and I chatted like old friends.  Later I found the results of their quiet time on my phone.  Two little divas!

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They know how to pose, and how to use a camera!

They spent the whole day holding hands and hugging.  It was the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  New friends, yet something so familiar about them.



They were each other’s first siblings.  As they get older, what a blessing to have that one person in the world who’s story is like yours.  They are two lucky girls.  They’ve been given a life of love, opportunity to rise to their potential, and let’s be honest-indulgence!  We are two lucky families given the privilege to raise these beautiful girls.  What a miracle to find each other in this big, yet so small, world!  I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Sally as a friend, and I can’t wait to watch these two grow!