Wednesday, November 2, 2011

August to October

Has it really been that long since I have updated this blog!  I will try to get you guys and comprehensive update but it is almost hard to remember everything we have done in the last few months. I have had trouble with losing my post mid-post so I am going to send this LONG post through bits at a time. If you catch me mid-blog please check back for the rest in a bit.
The summer stayed pretty busy. It was so hot that we didn't get to spend as much time outdoors as I would have liked, but did do lots of new indoor activities. We did get to visit my best friend, Mandee, and her family at Port Aransas for a weekend and got lots of outdoor time there. She has a precious new baby and it was my first time to meet him.  The twins were very gentle with him and seem to like babies a lot.    We recently spent sometime with another little baby and they were cute as could be with her as well.
I was hoping to get to post some pictures of all four kids in the "shark mouth" but those photos ended up with Mandee and these two busy new moms have yet to exchange them. I had to post this one, though, because they are just too darn cute! The weekend definitely tired them out!
Before preschool started, we decided it was about time to get our first official haircut. This was an exciting day for me because I had been trying to get the girls hair to grow since the first day we picked them up. It was finally long enough to trim up a little bit (although not too long yet). It is a LOT longer now. I am sure that they had haircuts in Russia, but we treated it like a first and I got the first lock of hair for the baby book. They were excellent! Aren't they precious?
It was finally time to start our first week of school. Luckily, Kaylee and Kyla started a few days ahead of the twins so I didn't have to get all 4 of them ready the first day. The first picture is from the older girls first day and the ones following that from the twins first day of pre-school / Mother's Day out. You can see from the first photo that these kids get along well!  They are in a two half day a week program.  They beg to go on their off days.  My mom takes them and picks them up so they wake up every morning saying "Go in Nana's car?!".  Usually I get tears when I explain that today is not a school day.

To top off our already hectic week, the twins started a "creative dance" class. Basically it is a ballet/tumbling class for 2 year olds. The girls are actually old enough to start baby ballet, but the physical therapist and Kyle thought tumbling would be better for their motor skills. I was lucky to find a class that did both (since Mommy likes ballet). Since this class is still very young, they don't participate in recital and it is all about making sure they have a fantastic time. They LOVE their class. They do things like put crowns on the girls and teach them to skip around the room, etc. Of course, I need to post some first day of dance photos! These two are the best of friends. We have more adorable photos with their friends - Cambry and Alexa (also in their class) but I don't feel comfortable posting other kids photos on my blog.
Of course, in Texas, you can't have the beginning of school without also mentioning the beginning of football season and all the precious outfits that go along with it.  We are proud PNG Indians (see purple and white outfits below) and Texas A&M Fans.  The twins are giving their best "Gig'em" in the maroon pictures.  Kyle recently bought us all homecoming corsages but I don't have in pictures of them YET.  I promise to get some before next post.

The twins have learned so much since they got home.  They passed their PT, OT, initial medical evaluation, and Audiology tests with flying colors.  Their motor skills have changed by leaps and bounds.  We are still working on some of our less active skills (like colors, numbers, etc) but recently they are even starting to get those.  By September we only had two appointments left - speech and vision.  As the ever-knowing mother, I was sure that we would be recommended speech therapy and would have no problems with the vision screening.   They say that kids never do what we expect and that definitely held true for us.  We went to the speech appointment and surprisingly, they were slightly below average but not even low enough (when compared to english speeching kid) on the charts to recommend therapy.  The therapist said that they don't even normally grade them against english speaking kids because it is such an unfair comparison for kids that have been home such a short time.  I knew that they talked a lot and I don't think that they say any Russian words anymore (except "da") but never dreamed that they would qualify out of speach.  It is truly amazing to me how quickly young minds can learn a language!  On the downside, the vision screening did not go as well.  Addie is very farsighted and probably hasn't been able to see a whole lot before now.  Poor baby!  She got glasses and actually keeps them on.  I guess she can see so much better that she likes using them.  It was recommended that we get non-prescription glasses for Mariya so that we could get Addie to keep hers on.  So, now they both have glasses.  I wasn't happy but honestly do think that they are pretty cute! 

October has probably been our busiest month yet.  It was the month of the twins' 3rd birthday, Kaylee's 10th birthday and the twin's baptism.  Addie and Mariya had a party at Bounce Zone and we had the baptism the next morning.  They had so much fun at the birthday party and were excellently behaved for the baptism.  I was pretty nervous because these have to be the two most active 3 year olds ever.  I was sure that the baptism would be a disaster but it wasn't - LUCKILY!!  Kaylee had a party at Painting With A Twist.  She and her friends seemed to have a wonderful time. 

Also in October, the twins each had surgery, we had Halloween and we visited pumpkin patches and fall festivals.  The twins each had two hernias that needed to be repaired and Mariya had a cyst by her eye I had taken off.  We had them done on the same day at Texas Children's.  Luckily, both recovered well from the surgery.  It did take me two days to figure out that they were having a reaction to the pain medication, though.  They were beyond hyper the first two days home.  The doctor told me they would lay around and be pretty sore.  Yeah right!  They were trying to climb on everything, jumping off couches and acting like total maniacs.  My sister and mom finally came over and told me that they acted like they were high on medications.  It occured to us that maybe it was the pain meds.  Sure enough, once I stopped them, they were back to their only regularly hyper selves.  LOL!   Here are a few pictures of the last month.

Halloween was the twins first holiday in the USA.  It did not take them long to get into it.  Unfortunately, they thought that the idea was to get the candy, eat the candy, then move onto the next house.  I never let them have candy so this was quite a splurge for them and I am not sure how they didn't end up sick.  They had a blast and so did I!  We trick or treated in the neighborhood and headed out to visit Grandparents and run by a church carnival.  Here are some of my personal favorite from the night.  I am including a couple of my adorable niece (who was also one of the "bugs") because she is just so darn cute!

 Well, this is a pretty condensed version of the last few months.  I think everyone gets the general idea though.  We stay very busy and the girls are changing so quickly.  They are the lights of my life and I can't imagine life without them anymore.  They extremely cuddly, loving and have become "American girls" so quickly.  Here are a few closing photos from our first attempt at painting on an easel.  As you can see, they did some beautiful pictures.  :-)  I also included a picture of the twins and Kaylee waiting for the homecoming parade last week.

Hope to talk to everyone soon.  Maybe this time I will do a better job of updating this blog (but don't keep your fingers crossed).  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finally An Update!

The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity. I always mean to get on here and post an update for everyone but just never follow through.

The girls are doing so wonderfully! They are developing unique personalities and are just both such joys. I was looking at photos of them from our first month home. They were both short with little potbellies when I picked them up. They are getting so tall and thin now! Everyone comments on their height and all their pants fall off of them. I need to measure them and see how much they have grown. They both shot up 0.8 inch in the first month home. They are huge eaters and I still haven't found a food they don't like. I feed them very healthy so I feel like they are getting ample opportunity to catch up with their peers. Addie is my "go with the flow" kid now (weird since she was the difficult one during the first few weeks). Mariya is a definite Momma's girl and doesn't seem to like change too much. They are both very silly and I joke that Mariya is going to be the class clown when she gets to kindergarten. They are very happy little girls and I smile when I watch them play and think about their lives now versus in the orphanage. They talk constantly but a lot of what they say is still hard for most people to understand. I seem to understand them better than anyone. At first they spoke only in single words but are saying 3-4 word phrases now. They still haven't had their speech therapy appointment since it takes so long to get them in but that will happen beginning of next month. They are little both little fish. They took swim lessons in June and loved it. They swim under water, will jump off the side or diving board and think water is fantastic. They still don't swim well enough to swim without supervision so the scariest thing for me is that they have no fear. Honestly, they aren't afraid of ANYTHING. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.

Some of our bigger news from the last few months is that the twins are getting two step-sisters and a daddy. Kyle and I have been dating for a long while now and he proposed to me last month. We still haven't settled on a wedding date, but plan on it being in the next year. His two little girls, 7 and 9 years old, are very excited and the twins love them so much. Of course having 3 more people in our house will be a change for me and the girls, but Kyle, Kaylee and Kyla have been a part of their life since day one so I am hoping that the adjustment won't be too hard. Kyle is fantastic with them and they will be blessed to have him in their life.

As for other family changes, we are very excited to tell everyone that the twins will also be getting a new cousin. My sister is pregnant with her second child and is due at the beginning of next year. All the men in the family are hoping for a boy since there are now 5 girl cousins (including Kyle's daughters) but we shall see. My uncle has a 1 year old boy so I know they are hoping for a male playmate for him as well! Kynslie doesn't know what is about to hit her, but I think learning to share with the twins and having to share some family attention may make it easier for her. She is still a family star so a sibling will be a definite adjustment. I was the oldest and Kacie was the second child so I joke with her that the new kid will ruin poor Kynslie's life like she did mine. LOL Don't tell her, but I actually think they will be the best of playmates and Kyns will love having a sibling. I know that Kacie and I had lots of fun as kids and she is still one of my favorite people to spend time with.

I started back to work in June. I hate leaving the twins everyday and would love to be able to stay at home with them. Unfortunately, the option just isn't there right now. Everyone tells me that it will get easier but I think they are lying. I think I will hate it everyday, but I am at least thankful that I don't have to worry about if they are safe or being adequately taken care of. They are staying at our house will a nanny, Miss Lori. The adjustment to me going back to work was very difficult but they like Lori and have settled into a routine. They no longer have meltdowns when I leave and are always excited to see her. They still prefer their momma (hope that never changes) but seem happy with their nanny as well. She says that they are such a joy and blessing in her life and that makes me feel good. They will start a mother's day out program next month that is two days a week. I am anxious for them to start that as I feel that it will good for them to get some other toddler friends. Currently, their favorite friends are their cousin Kynslie, Depot the cat, and our two dogs. I am afraid that they are going to start thinking that they are cats or dogs if I don't get them around more kids. LOL

The girls will be having surgery in the near future. They both have small umbilical hernias and Mariya has a cyst near her eye. The doctors said that we can do both Mariya's surgeries at the same time and I figured we might as well put Addie on the list as well. This will be good for 3 reasons - 1) I won't have to take off work twice, 2) both girls will have to take it easy which will be easier than having one trying to get the other one up to play, 3) I won't have to find childcare for the other twin as they will both be in the same boat. We meet with the pediatric surgeon at the beginning of August and will schedule the surgeries at that time. I am told that the cyst surgery does not require inpatient stay but that the abdominal surgery will.

We have our audiology appointment on Monday. I don't expect to get anything but a good report from that visit, but still needs to be done. I am hoping to take the kids to the aquarium afterwards since I will be off already and we are already in Houston. We love our Houston doctor appointments because we always make a fun day out of it. I am trying to make the doctors fun rather than scary. So far we have been to the zoo, the children's museum, and cheesecake factory.

On a last note, I want to do a birthparent search for the twins. I am told that the chance of getting information is much better if you do it immediately. If any of my friends from the adoption community have recommendations for good searchers feel free to email me. I am a little overwhelmed in choosing who to have do it.