Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!


We wish you all the very best in the new year! This year was full of ups and downs with the adoption, but it was all so, so worth it to finally make it to this point. Changing to Lighthouse Adoptions was key! We'd still be waiting with our old agency and I don't think I could have taken another 6-8 months of waiting and wondering.

Cassiana has been home a month now and is doing great! She is growing and thriving like crazy. She is very healthy and happy. Kai has adapted amazingly well to having a baby sister. He is very helpful and showers her with love and attention. They are blowing each other kisses to each other as I type this! :) It's already like she's always been a part of the family.

I remember talking to people over the past year and a half, telling them we were adopting a baby girl from Russia. Many were thrilled, but others looked at me like I was saying I was planning to be in the Olympics or had been abducted by aliens. She is finally in our arms and I'm just amazed every time I look at her and hold her tight. There were so many times that things could have gone wrong and didn't or that I wondered if this would really happen during the agonizing wait.

Now on the more current events! Cassiana's First Christmas (with us)!!! Here are some pictures from our many present opening sessions. Excuse our tree this year. It was thrown up in a jet lagged haze and nothing was put low enough to entice Cassi to discover more. She did find the garland few times, so it's all askew.

I tip my hat to ya!

Kai does have teeth--this makes him look like he's chopperless! :)

Cassi eyes some of Kai's loot. Moon Sand, by the way, is a huge mess. Don't believe the packaging. Kai has wanted this stuff a year and I finally caved.

Had to search high and low to find these fantabulous Blendy Pens, but by golly, I did it!
The day after Christmas, it was an unseasonably warm 75 degrees! So, we headed out to the backyard to do some swinging. Cassi loved it! She wanted to go higher and higher! Kai says he's so glad that he will have someone to play with out there all the time, instead of just when a friend is over.

Brother and sister, together at last!

Friday, December 19, 2008


ARGH! I took Cassi to get her blood work this morning and it was awful! They tried both arms and hands and only got enough blood for only one of the tests! The main thing we wanted to test for are titers for the vaccines she had while in Russia to be sure they took. She was soooo upset, to put it mildly. I had a full blown migraine by the time we left. I'm not sure what we are supposed to do now, but I'm not putting her thru that again. We did take the wrist x-ray before that to see if she still has rickets, so at least that was accomplished. She doesn't seem any worse for wear, but I'm still trying to recover...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Dr. Visit

Yay! It felt so great to finally get Cassi in to see our pediatrician! We had to wait a while for an appointment because they are booked up for the holidays as far as "well child" visits are concerned. I had to beg and pull the orphan card to get this appointment as it was. I explained that she is well as far as the Russians have told us, but that we need her seen as soon as possible to be sure. The dr. was thrilled to meet Cassi! He has a lot of experience seeing kiddos who were adopted internationally and you can tell he really does love kids.
While in the waiting room, I was thanking my lucky stars that Cassiana is so healthy. There was an adorable little girl who was about 5 with cerebral palsy. They had to work her in in front of us for some sort of emergency, which we gladly said was fine. Then, another girl about 10 was in because she had passed out and possibly had a seizure this morning. And, another infant in who was very tiny, probably a preemie.

Cassi has grown an inch since we met her in Oct. (mid-Oct. to end of Nov.) and another 1/2 inch was since she arrived home 2 1/2 wks. ago. She is still 10% for height and 10% for head circumference, but her head has grown since we saw her in Oct., so that's great news as well. Also, she has gained 2 pounds since arriving home and now weighs 22 lbs. (50%tile). Developmentally she's on target as well. She is not walking yet, but moves closer to that every day. The dr. is running blood tests to check for titers for the vaccines she had in Russia, to be sure she did and that they were strong enough. Also, running blood work to double check for other diseases. We will also take her for an x-ray of her wrist to be sure her rickets are gone, as they said they were in the orphanage.

Well, I put her to work doing paperwork when we got home. No, actually I sat down to check e-mail for a minute and forgot that the baby gate was not in front of the printer as it normally is. She decided to do some work on the printer.

Also, we are trying to get Cassi used to her ducky bath tub that goes in the real bathtub. Right now she takes a bath in the kitchen sink and loves it. She screams her head off when we try to put her in the ducky bath, though. I guess she knows that ducks are not supposed to be that big and if I saw a duck that large, unexpectedly, in the bath tub, I suppose I might scream, too! LOL! If nothing else, it's some else for her to play in. She loves Kai's old Hokey Pokey Elmo and the glowworm that plays music and lights up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We wish you a merry Christmas, dance fever style

Here's an adorable video of Cassiana dancing to the Christmas globe music. She has figured out how to make it play and goes thru the songs to get to the ones she likes! Normally, she swings her head and hips back and forth in some sort of 50's manifestation. Yes, I turned the camera to get a better shot, so you'll have to crane your neck to see it! :)

We have finally figured out that this baby needs two naps a day, even if she is perfectly happy (as in not cranky) with one a day if she sleeps in past 8:30 and misses her morning nap. She will think that she we put her down at bed time that it's really a nap and get up 2 hours later, ready to play. So, we wake her up between 7 and 7:30 am, as hard as it is to waking a sleeping baby, because it makes for a much smoother night!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Loves to ride in the car!

Just have a moment, but wanted to post a picture of Cassiana riding in her car seat (I was not driving while taking this picture--lol!). She loves it! I think it's because she was completely swathed in pink and purple.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Okay, I just got back from the bank. I had to cancel my debit card because of weird charges that have shown up from Moscow and Singapore (I did not even go there!). The bank is disputing the charges for us, so hopefully that will be cleared up. Get this, Cassi's original ticket shows it was not used AND the second ticket that Singapore Air said we needed didn't show up as one of these weird charges. Something is fishy in shenaniganville!!!

Cassi is starting to move out of the living room after a week of surveying the coffee table area. She has yet to notice the Christmas tree or the presents, so that's good. She was terrified of Peppy our Bichon and Candy Lou Lou our Yorkie mix and now wants to pet Peppy (well if you call pulling hunks of hair out petting) and let's Candy get pretty close before she decides Candy needs to vacate the area. So that's progress!!! We are teaching her to use "nice hands" with Peppy, so don't worry, he's not in harms way. He's a very gentle dog and just gets up and moves if she's within striking distance.

Peppy is looking more like the Shaggy DA dog--we have put him low on the totem pole as of late and promise to get him groomed this week!!!

Kai and I were reading a book about God's blessings and we were reading a part about Jesus. Kai interrupted to tell me that Jesus goes to his school and is in Mrs. Smather's class. LOLOLOL! I explained that the boy was named after Jesus but probably pronounces his name differently and is not, to my knowledge, the same Jesus from the book. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well, it's finally turned cool here as of yesterday, so I made chili and pumpkin spice bread. Yeah, I know you folks had your fill of that stuff last week, but we folks who were in Russia last week did not. I've been wanting to make them since the beginning of October which is where my mind things I am! Later today, we are putting up the Christmas tree, something we usually do the day after Thanksgiving, so maybe this will get me at least thinking it's November! Have I started Christmas shopping???--nope!
Kai is adapting to having a baby sister wonderfully! I guess talking about it for the last year and half had something to do with that, plus he's a good boy anyway and loves babies. He plays with Cassi, waiting on her hand and foot, bringing her the toys she likes best. He kisses and hugs on her and she tries to do the same back. Very sweet! He brought a picture of Cassi while were we still in Russia to school for show and tell.
Here are some shots I took of Cassi this morning:

Little Tykes should just manufacture remotes because that's what babies like best to play with! Cassi is learning her name and will turn her head most times we call it. She said her name and pointed to her self this morning---so cute in her little voice! She says "Mamama" for me and "Mmmammmamma" for more food (more m's for more)--LOL!

Well, she just went down for a nap and I'm going to do the same thing. Sleep when the baby sleeps

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The paperwork continues???

For those of you who are still waiting to start your adoption journey or are mid-way through, I have some disturbing news. The paperwork does NOT stop once you are home! I know, shocking, huh? LOL! I spent 2 hours in the wee hours of the morning working on just the stuff to send Lighthouse for the Consulate paperwork! Now, I have 30 days to register Cassiana with the consulate, but I'd rather get it out of the way.
This part will really touch a nerve, so brace yourselves. We had to get some documents notarized!!!! Then we had to lug babysita to Kinko's to get more passport photos for this paperwork. She was a little angel and just sat for her picture. We will have to apply for her social security card, get her a US passport and check into getting her a state birth certificate.
Cassiana decided that 4:30 a.m. would be a great time to start the day, so start it we did. It actually worked out because she went back to sleep at 6:30, so I got the paperwork out of the way. When she woke up, she was ready to go run errands after a few bites to eat. She loves riding in the car! I think she's just so happy to be out and about without a couple hundred layers of fabric encasing her tiny body!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Update on lap ticket ordeal

I spoke to the travel agent who booked Cassiana's lap ticket and she is checking w/ Singapore Airlines to see what happened and to try to get us a refund for the second ticket we had to buy in Moscow. The whole thing was just so fishy leaving we'll see.

Cassi is doing so well! We just took a trip to Target, the first time she and I have left the house since we got in on Saturday. She loved the car seat and sitting in the cart at the store. She kicked her feet the whole time and looked around. I think this was the first time she's been out in the sunshine and the wind (especially without the protection of a humongous snowsuit!). She really enjoyed it! She still doesn't know what to think of people who try to talk to her in the store. She freaked when they did this in the airport. Today she just looked at them stoically, so that's an improvement. Everything is a new experience! :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Home Sweet Home and First Birthday!!!!

We are finally, finally, finally HOME!!!!!!!!!! For those who are new to the blog, we switched to Lighthouse, Ann Arbor, MI from another agency and our dossier went over this past July. We got our referral in Sept. and met the baby in Oct., had court Nov. 10th and here we are!!! It was a quick, pain free process with Lighthouse! (Our dossier with the first agency went over exactly a year ago today.)

We made it safely and soundly, with a few hiccups getting home, but the main thing is we are here. Cassiana was amazing on the plane. She only took a few short cat naps on the 12 hour flight Singapore Air portion and was happy to sit and play during the rest. She did watch some Barney (over the course of the flight, I played the only episode they had on the flight over 7 time for her, though I think after #6 she was starting to see it was the same one--lol!)

We almost missed this flight, despite getting to the check-in stand 2 hrs. and 15 minutes early. The dimwits at the stand swore up and down that Cassi didn't have a reservation. It was a long, awful ordeal, resulting in us waiting 1 hr. 45 mins. (mean time, Cassi is getting hungry and tired, crying on and off) for them to finally reissue Cassi another LAP ticket that I had to PAY for again. We had to RUN to the gate, having to go thru passport control first, where they gave me a hard time about her having a Russian passport. They wanted to see her birth certificate and something was really funny as they kept laughing and taking their sweet time. I said, "She has an immigrant visa for the US and our flight leaves in 15 minutes!!!" On cue, Cassi started to cry and they finally agreed she was legit. Whatever!!!

We went thru security, which was another ordeal and then ran to the gate where they were saying the same dimwits that checked us in were telling us to hurry. I was like, well, if you all hadn't taken almost 2 hours we wouldn't be in this situation. One of them asked if she could take any of my bags and I said it was a little late for help now. It was infuriating to put it lightly. I'm going to call the travel agent later to see if we can be refunded for one of the the TWO lap tickets we had to purchase for the SAME flight.

Then, on to Houston, where we had to explain the whole thing and Continental said they had a record of her and that she didn't need a boarding pass because this portion was domestic. It sounds like the Singapore folks didn't know what to look for or something because Continental had a record of her ticket. So, at this point (we had to go thru passport control and then immigration, then customs, so it was quite a while later---oh yeah, and when we had to get our luggage to go thru customs and then re-check it, we had to find another passport photo of Cassi for immigration because there weren't enough in the packet. While doing this, Bo-Bo the customs sniffing dog, honed in on Cassi's apple flavored baby cereal in the diaper bag, so we had to deal with that. He was looking for fruit brought in from another country--- I was like Pa-lease!!!), Cassi is screaming because she has on a wet diaper and is hungry. I changed her and fed her and then we went thru security AGAIN (I don't understand this part since there's no access from the outside portion of the airport) and then on to the gate. We had a sandwich and celebrated making it to the US!!! Here's a photo of the first time Cassi's feet touched US "soil."

Now, on to less stressful times. Cassi's first birthday was Saturday, so we celebrated yesterday, her first day in the US! Dan got her a cake while we were gone (one for us and one for Cassi to devour, which she did!). They did spell Cassi's name wrong but we didn't care as it was such a happy event! Her Nina and Grand Dad got her the sparkly ballerina Mary Jane socks, which matched perfectly with her dress. Also the bib and the first birthday napkins. We girls do like to co-ordinate!!! Yes, I do have on my pj's!!!! I could only "get it together" that much.

I took some video that I may upload later. Here is the "before picture."

And, the after!