Saturday, October 31, 2009

Home! Home! Home!

Just wanted to say real quick that we are HOME!!! The 22 hours of travel was AWESOME! Tess was incredible. She only slept one hour. She just played, watched a DVD and ate lots of snacks. She's very easy to please. We had one melt-down. A new trick I highly recommend - I could since the fit coming on, so I got an emergency Tootsie-roll Pop and as soon as she opened her mouth and threw her head back, I popped the sucker right in. Sugar must be a universal language! ;)

We've been playing, playing, playing today! Having so much fun! Blake, Will and Audrey are so sweet with her. Praise God.

The low point was bedtime last night. She screamed her head off. I slept with her in her bed for a while then on the floor in her room. Pleasant. Hoping things are better tonight. We're NOT giving her a nap. The plan is that she'll just be dog tired and go right to sleep. Will she follow the plan? We'll see. I'll post pics when I get a chance.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Picture You've Been Waiting For

Here she is...Tess Katerina Knight!

What a cutie pie, hu? She's small for her age. But, she's a big girl at heart. Very independent and happy - most of the time. :)

Rob, Tess and I walked to Red Square this morning and had a "photo shoot". So cute! This picture is when we were leaving. We took almost 200 pictures! So they are going to take me a little while to go through! This was one of the last ones we took. Easy to find. I'll post more when we get home.

So, I've had lots of blog friends aking questions about bedtime. To be honest - it has been a mess. The first night she cried for an hour. I sat on the floor and held her and rocked her. It was good that she wanted to have me hold her during all of it. When she finally stopped crying and somewhat fell asleep I just laid down on a mattress on the floor with her. She slept all night. Bedtime #1.

Today was our first time to put her down for a nap. She always naps at the orphanage from 1:00 -3:00. It was about 2:00 and she was very tired. So, I tried laying down with her in our bed. She still cried - more like screamed - for about 45minutes. It probably sounds mean to let her cry like that. But, she was so tired, and it was kind of a ridiculas cry. No tears, not scared - just plain not wanting to go to bed. I kept my arm around her and kept saying real quietly, "It's alright, Mommy's here." At one point she had a little pathetic sob and said, "It's alright, it's alright." Maybe she thought that's what we Americans say at bedtime. ;) Bedtime #2

Well, before I tell about bedtime #3 let me explain something...

Tess and Rob have made a very sweet connection. It was seriously of God what happened yesterday in Vladimir. Rob and I are always on the edge of being confused here. The interperters will tell us something, we think we understand, and then next thing we know we're getting out of the car somewhere and doing something totally different. They're saying, "Hurry get out and come with me!" We rush out the car with our coats half on. Then we go into a room and they tell us to sit and wait while they dissapear for half an hour. Then they come out and say, "Let's go." Anyway, that's just a little explaination backdrop.

We asked seveal times what the plan was yesterday. The order of things. Just trying to understand. Paperwork, different paperwork, more paperwork, then the orphange to get Tess. They have told us over and over that we should have an outfit for her to go home in. So, Audrey and I thoughtfully picked out this darling, funky dress - purple with big daisys on it, cute tights, matching purple shoes, little purple bow. And I mean little - no more mega psycho bows they like the girls to wear in Russia. I'd say they're more like a bow you'd put on a large Christmas package!

Anway, all of a sudden we find ourselves at the orphange. The interperter says, "Rob, get the girl's outfit and give Angela your passport. We need to hurry. She will finish the paperwork and you will change and get the girl." So, we're totally frantic! What about the cute pictures I was going to take to make memories for her?! Plus, Rob just said, "Oh, man. Moms are better at this stuff." I tossed him our little Canon Sure-Shot camera, the outfit and a handful of balloons and he was whisked away. I told our interperter, "Wow, we didn't expect that." She said, "We must hurry. You will be there when we pick her up." Well I hope so for goodness sake!

Okay, they had told Rob we'd be back in an hour. And 2 1/2 hours later we got back to the orphange. I was worried he was out of things to do. BUT, to my most pleasant surprise, as I was walking in I could her Tess laughing. Rob and her were playing like old friend! What a sweet moment. He came over and said, "We had a lot of fun together." God is so good. If I would have been there I would have dominated the playing. I know I'm like that. I try not to be, but I'm a first born, what can I say?

Another thing that happened as I walked in, Tess looked at me and said, "Peesit, Mama" (pee-pee). Then she wet the biggest truck-load all over the place! Fortunately Rob had not changed her clothes into her trendy little dress. He knew it was going to be sad for her, so he was holding off as long as possible. The cook or maid - some lady with an apron on - took us to a big bathroom with two tubs and a shower. She handed us a towel and walked out the door. Welcome to our family Tess!

We stripped her down, put her in a tub, turned on the cozy warm water and Rob sprayed her off - in fun Daddy style. I collected the wet clothes and got her new clothes all ready. I took her out of the tub, dryed her off and started getting her dressed. The whole time I was smiling at her and talking really sweet, but she was screaming her head off. The maid lady came back in told her something that made her stop crying and finished getting her dressed. Oh so cute, topped of with the bow.

So, since that time, Tess has had the two bedtime episodes, wet herself again (with a pull-up on), hit me in the face three times, (by the way, I got my point across the third time that was not acceptable and she hasn't done it again - if you know what I mean). So, what is Mommy? The disiplainarion. What is Daddy? The super fun person that's like an amusment park! Of course that's what Daddy's are for. ;)

Okay, the ending to my very long story - bedtime #3. Rob and I decided that he would put her to bed tonight. He said he couldn't handle the crying for an hour so if it got out of control he'd call me in. We braced ourselves, Rob said, "Tess, spawt" (sleep) She stood up, walked across the room to him smiling, and passed me with a defiant look and went to bed. Not one bit of fussing. She just went in and laid down - that was it. Rob came out 2 minutes later and we started laughing like crazy (quietly). Maybe because we're tired half out of our minds.

Needless to say, we're going to have some Mommy issues to resolve when we get home. But, I'm up for the challenge. Bring it on, Girlfriend. ;)

Well, I'm heading off to bed now. Sooo tired. Sorry this post tured into a novel. If you got sleepy and had to read it in two installments, you haven't offended me! Ha!

I'll post more pictures as time allows. P.S. my spell check is not working - sorry for any crazy mis-spellings!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Today, Tuesday, October 27, 2009 our little Tess Katerina was placed in our arms forever! And, what a moment! Do you think she was filled with joy? Did she wrap her arms around us? Nope - she cried the saddest, mornful cry. Poor baby. We knew it would happen, it was just so sad to see. She was crying in Russia "I don't want to leave!" Man, that was tough. But, I brought lots of distractions and it didn't take too long before she was playing in the car seat as the van left Vladimir.

Right now Miss Busy-buns is opening every drawer and door in our apartment. She's also playing with Daddy. Balloons seem to still be her favorite. So, a little exploring, a little balloons and so on.

I could write so much more about our day and the things we been through on this trip. Things like Tess wetting her pants two times w/in a hour, flight delays, wrong hotel, etc. But, I'll save that for another time. Or maybe I'll just skip it altogether. No use re-visiting. ;) I'll see if I have time to write again when she goes to bed. Now, that is an interesting thing we'll be tackeling for the first time in about 1 hour.

But, really, things are great. She's a doll baby! So silly and funny. Can't wait to get her home!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Trip To Bring Tess Home

The fun never stops with my sweet kids. The other day we made a volcano out of baking soda and vinegar. It doesn't matter how many times we do that, it's always amazing!

It's finally here!
We leave tomorrow for our last trip to Russia (Sunday, October 25th). The schedule is: Sunday leave 1:30pm, Monday arrive Moscow, Tuesday 6am drive to Vladimir & pick up Tess from the orphanage, Wednesday US Embassy am, Thursday US Embassy pm, Friday fly home.

The past week has flown by. As anxious as I am to get Tess here, I feel sad that it will not be just my three kids. It's a strange mix of emotions. Rob reminded me that I felt that way before the births of each of my kids. I specifically remember being big and pregnant with Audrey and rocking Will in his room when he was 16 months old. I remember telling him, "I'm so sorry." But, then little Audrey Jewell came. Oh man - our love GREW, not divided! I know that will happen again.

Anxious is the best description of how I feel. All of the unknowns and what-if's. I think more than anything else, right now I have that horrible flight from Russia to the US in my mind. Honestly, I hate that flight. What in the world will Tess think of it? I have packed so many toys and books and DVDs. It's hard because I don't know what will entertain her. I'm just planning on the worst case scenario - she throws up on me, cries the whole time, runs up and down the isles, throws food on the people sitting around us, bites the little girl across the isle... Now if I plan on that, surely I will be pleasantly surprised with a "peaceful" trip home! Don't you think?

Anyway, we're all packed and ready to leave. This is the beginning of the next chapter of this story. Please pray for God's protection and wisdom to surround us. I'll blog again from Russia...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pre-Halloween Show

The kids were off school today, so we had a little pre-Halloween show. Rob and I bring Tess home October 30th, so I know Halloween will be a little odd this year. What to do about that one? So, I decided we should dress up and just have a bunch of fun today and eat candy. Why not?

Our cute little kitty, crazy clown and scary Vader

Funny boy Will. That boy makes me laugh so hard all the time. Once I had his face painted he stopped talking. You know, clowns don't talk. Audrey told him, "Will, you're totally freaking me out!"

Doesn't Blake do an incredible impression of Darth Vader?

Audrey is a PINK furry animal for the 4th time in her 7 Halloweens.

Just a few more pictures I had to share

If you squint real hard, you can make out the amazing tackle made by DeSoto Wildcats #2. Hey, wait a minute - that's Blake's number!

Will's all bundled up for one of Blake's freezing cold football games. There's that awesome player #2 behind his back.

So, Audrey came upstairs dressed like this, and then...

...she handed me this note!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Environmental Day

Audrey had a field trip to the Shawnee Mission Environmental Center. She had a great time exploring outside and learning about the various animals they keep inside. I love field trips like this.

Bird watching - with plastic binoculars that don't really magnify anything. It's the thought that counts.

A girl after Mommy's own heart. I've got a thing for reptiles. I know, not very feminine

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge

We took a mini-vacation and stayed one night at the Great Wolf Lodge which is 20 minutes from our house. But, if you stay in a hotel, eat at a restaurant and swim in an indoor pool - it's a vacation to our kids! We had lots of fun! I was in the water most of the time so I didn't get a chance to take very many pictures. There are sometimes more important things to do than take pictures! But, here are a couple that I snapped.

Our hotel room had this cute "wolf den" for the kids to sleep.

The big bizillion gallon bucket of water dumping on my kids!

We spent most of our time playing tag in the Lazy River.

Little Miss-muscles climbs across the logs

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's Good To Be Home

I made it back to KC safe and sound. Oh, I love my family. My kids first words...Audrey, "I missed you Mommy! Did you ever stop crying?" Blake, "I'm so glad you're home Mom. I love you." Will, "Did you bring us any presents?" ;)

It was an uneventful trip home. I didn't sleep at all on the plane. It's hard when you're sitting by strangers. Particularly when it's a big guy and you're on the aisle. Oh well. Next time I'll have my hubby to lean on and then our little Tess girl on the ride back HOME. Most likely I'll be doing my best to console her. Poor little thing. What in the world will be going through her head on that plane ride home? At four years old she will likely be mourning the loss of her "family" at the orphanage. 9 brothers and sisters and 4 care-givers. You should see her with them. She is a snuggle bug with them. I pray God will give her peace and assurance that it will all be okay.

Anyway, we leave again in two weeks. I have so much anxiety about it. Good and bad. Lots to do between now and then. And, then our life will never be the same. I'm trying to eat up the time with Blake, Will and Audrey. Squeezing every bit of fun out of the time. Soon, Mommy's going to have a lot more on her plate! I'm so anxious to see what God has planned for our family of SIX. And, I know He's my constant companion. I love that!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Going Home... again

I'm in Moscow. I had a great visit with Tess yesterday. She was thrilled to see me! She ran up and hugged me and kept saying, "Mama...mama!" Oh, I needed that so much! She DOES care!

I brought out the balloons again and she remembered from the day before and said, "Balloon!". Genious! You can tell she's a Knight! ;) She can say balloon, kick, up, spider (from I book I brought), circle (we were drawing together), ready...set...go! I don't think language will be too much of an issue with this girl! But, I am still thinking the obeying me might be our biggest challenge. I just read a book about abandoned kids. Their only control allie is anger. I can see that. We'll be playing and she'll just switch real quick to, "Neight" (no) and have a very grumpy face. But, I discovered if I just keep playing like I didn't hear her, she snaps out of it in just seconds. She especially does that when I touch her skin. I've heard a lot about that. If I rub her arm or whatever. So, I have made a point to touch her during our playing. If she's tossing the ball I made sure to touch her hand when I give it back. I was helping her ride the little bike in the play room again. I put my hands over her hands on the handle bars. And when I helped her peddle, I held on to her legs instead of her shoes. She forgets about the "touch" when it's in play. Just lots of learning on my part. There is light at the end of this tunnel. I can see it far far away - if I squint! ;)

My driver will be here to pick me up in 30 minutes to take me to the airport. I"m going HOME HOME HOME! Praise the Lord for Skype. I got to talk w/ the kids for an hour this morning for FREE. Not too many things in life are free!

I'll blog again at home soon. I'm ready for this stinkin' 15 hours of travel today. Did I mention I'm heading home?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vladimir's Idea of WiFi

Finally! I have been trying to get computer access for an hour! I asked to stay at a hotel in Vladimir that had WiFi. I guess their idea of WiFi is "dial-up". Maybe the meaning gets lost somewhere in the translation!

Well, I had good flights. A little delay in Wash DC. But, not a biggie. I sat by a nice man. I helped him with his Russian flash cards. He was impressed with my ability to speak Russian. Just shows you how bad the poor guy knows Russian himself.

I was supposed to stay two nights in Moscow. The plan as emailed to me was
Sun - fly
Mon - arrive 11am, go to Moscow hotel
(4pm meet with my missionary friends in Moscow)
Tues - 6am go to Vladimir
visit orphange and do passport paperwork
back to Moscow pm
Wed - fly home

BUT, that changed. I found out as we were driving down the road on our way to Vlad! Anyway, all's well now. I got ahold of my friends, we're meeting up tomorrow night instead. I am staying the night in Vlad which means I get to see Tess two times. So, that is very very nice!

I have AWESOME news about our little Tess! She was so happy to see me! We played for two hours! Oh, she was so fun and cute! It makes me crazy that I'm "not allowed" to sit on the floor and play with her - cultural thing. So, this time and sat on my knees. Made things much for fun for both of us! Plus, I figure she's mine now!!! Oh, I know that God had to make this special meeting today. I am sad to be by myself, hungry, thirsty, tired, etc. But, the past two hours made it all seem brighter! We played with balloons. Of course we bounced one around. But, the funnest part was when we both had a balloon and were trying to blow them up at the same time and knock them out of each other's mouths. Imagine two people with a purple and a yellow half blown up balloon sticking our of our mouths. Kind of "jousting" with them. I love four-year-olds!

I might be able to post again tomorrow - Tuesday. We'll see how it goes. Today I traveled 17 hours by airplane then drove 3 hours directly from the airport then went to the orphanage for 2 hours. I am dog tired!

Please continue to pray for me and my family. We miss each other and we're so ready to have all 6 of us together at home.

Oh, by the way, Tess was not at all sad to see me leave. But one out of two is not that bad! ;)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Offically Ours!

Today, Thursday, October 1, 2009 we are officially the parents of a new little sister! A beautiful, sweet little girl born November 7, 2005.

Tess Katerina Knight!!!

We will bring her home October 30th. One week before her 4th birthday. We had totally planned on posting a picture today, but our agency said it was a good idea to wait until she was actually with us. She is still in the orphanage in Vladimir. We wouldn't want to do anything that might make the people there unhappy. For all I know they have our blog and check it! So, I'm so sorry. But, I'm not posting any pics on our blog or Facbook. Nothing public until she is home. It won't be long!!!

She has big brown eyes and light brown hair (which is straight - I'm going to have to learn how to fix straight hair!!) I'll keep posting updates. Again, so sorry to disappoint all my blog friends!

I'm indescribably excited and a little freaked out - I have FOUR kids!!! But, I'm ready to take it on! To God be all the GLORY!