Thursday, September 24, 2015

pictures from September 19-23, 2015

This is the brand new zoo far outside of Kyiv... I think this place was her most favorite of everything we did on the weekend!  She LOVES animals!

The white kangaroo was her absolute favorite!

The world war II memoraial.  She was not impressed :)

a beautiful flower display in Kyiv.  Each region made their own display with the theme of flower amulets.  These are all live flowers!  So pretty!

So wonderful to to be with other adoptive families here in Kyiv!  What a sweet sweet blessing this was!

we got a new buddy at the toy store!  His name is Mika!  He needed his seat belt too!

a really fun toy store!

Vitaliy took us to a fun aquarium!  She loved the bit turtle!

she does not like snakes :)

These stink rays swept the side of their pool so that they would splash you as they passed by!  We watched them for a long time!  I think this was her favorite part!

This was really funny!  She had never had melted cheese that strung out when she took a bite!  She thought it was crazy!  Actually, she didn't like it at all!  She thought the cheese was bad or something! so so funny!

a beautiful view at the top of Saint Andrews decent.  In landscape alley

landscape alley

landscape alley

Katie and her little buddy at the doctors office with us. 

This country....even the menus have a notary! 

friday morning at the fancy hotel breakfast

September 18, 2015

Today was kind of my first day on the other side of the rainbow…I’m exhausted and I definitely had a nervous breakdown after I put her to bed this night.  This is so hard… It hit me so hard today.  She is so so sweet and has let me love her so easily.  Her gentle trust makes me feel so inadequate, so not worthy to care for her heart! 

Today we woke up at 430 as the night train protested against the turning of the tracks on our way to Kyiv. We would arrive in about an hour but the train attendant was already knocking on our door.  There was not enough light to pack up in an organized way so our things were chaotically thrown back into bags as we shuffled around our car like an awkward game of Tetris.   It would have been impossible to exit the train if Vitaliy had not come aboard to help us!  Slowly slowly we walked down the corridor and she let him carry her off the platform to the waiting chair.  Something I quickly learned today… Ukraine is bumpy…. Ok, I already knew that!  And I already knew that my new daughter has mobility issues but that is NOT the same as experiencing it! Oh my!  I was so exhausted and we had not even started the day! My wrists are wrecked from holding her hands up and down stairs and through the halls.  My legs are bruised form her bony elbows leaning on me as we sit next to each other.  My back is just done.  Done.  Done by the end of the day.  So here was our day:

Because we had arrived so early there was actually no place to go yet.  We had breakfast at the fanciest Ukrainian hotel I had ever seen, accidentally, but it was really yummy.  And it’s a good thing we were there because Annie threw up two more times in the very fanciest of Ukrainian bathrooms.   
After a fancy pants breakfast we went straight to the medical examiners office and slowly slowly we bumped to the door and slowly slowly we walked up the stairs, tripped down another narrow hall, waited for a while, threw up again in another bathroom, waited some more and then had a short exam with a very nice doctor.  It felt like we should be done with the day but it was only 10:45 in the morning!  We were then able to check in early to a nice little apartment down town and, while Annie took a nap, Katie and I finally got cleaned up.  Annie calls it “foo foo foo”  to be dirty so I explained to her that she can nap while I get rid of “momma’s foo foo foo.”  It was hard to fall asleep when she was laughing so hard… This kid!  We are going to have lots of laughs this year!

This area is called landscape alley and it is right down from saint Andrews.  We ate lunch here and had a nice walk through all the interesting sculptures. 

This bench is like a see saw... we saw a bunch of students piled on after us... they were having a blast! Also, notice katie is the "heavy" one here :)

a nice lunch at a "secret" nice spot. 

Before we went back to the medical center for the TB test in the afternoon, Annie informed us that she did not like shots but that she would not cry because she was no stranger to that kind of stuff!  And she was telling the truth!  It was no big deal to her! She barely flinched!  After that we basically walked around trying to stay awake until a reasonable bed time.  At the apartment we worked for several hours trying to figure out how to set up skype and use “VK” (another version on FB) to contact Annie’s brother.  It was very slow and complicated with Annie trying to communicate with me using my google translate app (this is a painfully slow process).  I am quickly learning that not much in my future will be… um……quick again!  Oh boy!  Lord help me to be so patient, help me to be worthy of the sweet trust and love of my darling new daughter! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 17, 2015 Dnipropetrovsk

This teacher is wonderful her name is Sveta... She loved our Annie dearly! 
This was an interesting day!  We said goodbyes at her school and spent the morning packing her up and handing out presents.  We realized we still needed shoes for her.  I didn't bring shoes because I didn't know what size so we had to go out and buy shoes and then return her other shoes to the school.  Also, some of the nicer clothes and toys that I had given her were mysteriously missing I actually poked around the school in all the places I thought they could be but I could not find her little pink sweater anywhere :(
Artem was there to spend time with her again in the morning and he helped her pack up.  It was really nice to get that time with him and get to know him a bit.  He is very sweet and gentle and he LOVES his sister so very much!  She thinks the world of him and it is so sweet to see them together! 

At some point we left for the long drive to Dnipropetrovsk for the second passport office.  It was a looooong and bumpy trip that included some rather uncomfortable bathrooms and other relatively icky things.  We have a funny joke now that started at a (one of my favorite) restaurant in Dnip.

The "Poozata Hata" incident.... will herein be forever lodged in our brains as the definition of disgusting or as Annie says it best "foo foo foo!"    We got stuck waiting at a rather dirty section of town and saw  a Poozata Hata restaurant so we decided to sit down for an eat...... I really like this place because it usually has a large display of really tasty things and it is all out there for you to know what you are ordering.  For a non Ukrainian speaker this is very convenient.  Remember this is the first time I've had Annie out of the school for the day and I'm still learning how to help her around to the bathroom etc...  We ate what I thought was a nice meal and then she had to use the was upstairs..... no access to the rail.... time for momma to do her job!  Ok lets go to the bathroom.... she giggled the whole way up the stairs... not easy to exert physical energy while laughing that hard... we had to sit down and laugh a few times... but when we got to the top of the stairs, well, the bathroom was "foo foo foo"  to the tenth degree.  One of those truly terrible Ukrainian bathrooms that we have all seen or heard about... wish I took a pix.  She tried anyway and needed my help because it was just so so bad in there and she didn't want to touch anything... so we tried but it was just too too icky and she could not do the business... We drove home... all the while laughing about how "foo foo foo" the "Poozata Hata"  was.  Then about half way into the 2 hour drive she yelled stop!  And yes, we actually did stop just in the nick of time... she threw up quite a bit and afterward she giggled out..... "Poozata Hata foo foo foo"  and that's it.... so for her it had nothing to do with a full stomach and a trying to read in a bumpy car.... but a disgusting bathroom and "foo foo foo food" at "foo foo foo Poozata Hata"... it continues to make us all laugh days later.  And um... she continued to have motion sickness for the next few days in all of our adventurous travels.  It was my first few days experience with my new daughter.... Lord give me grace...this is only ever by the grace of God!

Here are some pictures of us from this day...

Annie's dining Hall.. Her last meal before we left to Dnep.

Luda, another sweet teacher

Annie holds Artem as she stands up to leave the school.

Beautiful Polia waving goodbye from the library window as we walked out the front garden.  It was such a sweet sight to see all these teachers that she has loved and been loved by so dearly! 

In the car on the way to Dnep. for second passport office

after the first "foo foo foo" moment the driver, Igor, gave her this toothpick to hold in her mouth...maybe its an old Ukrainian remedy for motion sickness?

We took out her braids and washed her hair before we got on the night train... This was the first time I'd seen her without her braids!  So so cute!

This was really hard to do!  But two sisters can tackle almost anything with teamwork! 

And washed her face... her skin is looking so much better even after just a few days of good care! 

clean hair, clean face, waiting for the train. 

long long car trip :(

momm and Annie fell asleep together!

my cutie wearing Aunt katie's sun glasses

outside of the train station as we dropped off Iryina in Dnep.  (just before Poozata Hata

some Pooozata Hata stairs

saying goodbye to sweet big brother
brushing our teeth on the train!

we were very cozy!

Braiding her curly locks in the dark on the train... I did pretty well considering!