Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Over the Christmas weekend we ended up with about 12 inches of snow. AND it's still snowing today. What a perfect Christmas break for the kids. We've played outside in the snow every day. So fun!

Snow ice cream! Tess could not stop eating it long enough for me to get a picture of all four kids looking at the camera. ;) She just kept says, "Ummm, yummy!"

That snow-drift was three feet high!
Sisters! Doesn't Audrey look big?

We made a snow ramp in our yard to sled down with a bump in the middle to make you pop into the air. Lots of work, but totally worth it. We worked on it for an hour. It goes between our fence and a cluster of trees. So, I had to make edges on the path to make sure the kids flew in the right direction. But, I love that kind of stuff. I didn't get any good pictures of it because I was the one doing all the work and when it was totally done, the kids were ready to go inside for hot chocolate. You know how that goes! I'll try to get some pics tomorrow.

When I asked Blake what he wanted for Christmas he said a black-face hat. It looks a little freaky, but he says it's warm.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sugar Cookies

Oh my goodness! We had the best Christmas! I just got a chance to download some pictures. We have around 500 from the past week. Making cookies, opening presents, playing in the snow, etc. How to choose? I'll post more as time allows! In the mean-time, I'm enjoying the kids being home from school!

Tess has a thing for glasses. She says, "Oh no! Tess's glasses!" And she runs to find them. Apparently she can't see very well with out them - just like Audrey. Go figure!

Lots of sugar cookies to share with our neighbors!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sweet Tess

We are having FUN this Christmas! Oh, I just love having Tess here. She is so much fun. She can tell the whole Christmas story. Maybe I'll post a video...humm I'll see if I can figure that out. She says, "Angel told Mary, ganna baby. Mary happy! Go Beth... (lots of mumbling). Mary rode donkey, Joseph walk. No place to stay! Barn, cow, donkey. Baby Jesus born! (then she sings Away in a Manger). Angels, shepherds, camel...1,2,3! Presents! (then she sings Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus)."

I am totally serious that she says all of that!!!! She is amazing. Of course, obviously, I talk about the whole story constantly. We read LOTS of books, LOTS of times, over and over. She's a book girl. But, really. To remember all of that with only 8 weeks of English? We are so so so so blessed with this perfect genius baby girl! Praise the Lord forever and ever!!

I just love it when she gives her sideways glances! She uses those big eyes, that's for sure. Tired, angry, happy, sweet - she's got all the eye expressions down!

Look at Tess's black eye! We made a fort in the basement. We turned out the lights and had flashlights. Tess was laughing, running and looking the wrong's all fun and games until someone looses an eye! ;) She's painting a piggy bank Blake won for her in a game at school. What a good big brother!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Forgotten "Gotcha Day" Pictures

These are some pictures I never got to post. Time went by very quickly...

Our "gotcha day" pictures are almost non-existent. When we left the orphanage Tess was screaming (in Russian) "I don't want to go!" She cried and cried. I had to carry her to the car kicking. It was very traumatic for her. The only pictures we got were when she finally settled down and was in the car seat drawing on the magnadoodle. It was fascinating to her. She fell asleep pretty quickly after that. She was seriously exhausted from sadness.

Some people have asked us if it was exciting, sweet, fun to finally get to take her out of the orphanage. For us, it was really different. We knew it was going to be very hard for her. I would say our emotions on that day were more anxious to get it over with.

Daddy's girl on the airplane. How do you like that cute shirt Tess is wearing? I found it at Baby Gap. It was her "going home" shirt. Tess calls those dolls "ma-to-ths-ka" because she has a lisp. I can't even remember how to say it correctly! We bought one for her while we were on our first trip to Russia. She still takes it apart and puts it back together every night - 7 weeks later!

And finally, a US Citizen!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tess & May

Just a quick story. Our dog May has had some, ummm "gas problems" lately. So, from listening to our conversations about our little pooch, this is what Tess did...

May was in Tess's room while we were reading books. Suddenly a smell drifted our way and Tess stood up and said, "May toot. Yucky, stinky." Then she went to her bedroom door and pointed out into the hall and said, "Open the door. Get back, May. Yucky! No Tess's room." I had tears rolling down my cheeks I was laughing so hard. Then, Tess came over to me and cradled my head in her arms and said, "Awww, Mommy cryin."

May the tooter

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Star Wars Symphany

Rob and I took our boys to the see Star Wars in Symphony at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. It was so so good. I can guarantee there have never been more males at a symphony performance ever! It was so sweet to watch my boys' faces. They loved it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

So Many Words In Six Weeks!

Today Tess has been home six weeks!

Because I use this blog as a journal - somewhat - I decided to think of all the words Tess knows in English. Six weeks ago today she knew NOTHING. Also, as of today the only Russian word she uses is "etta" (that). Isn't that amazing?! Well, I think I'll keep coming back to this list throughout the day and add as Tess and I play together. She'll probably say something new today anyway! ;) Don't feel like you need to read the list, it's really more for me anyway! So, these are the words she says on her own with no prompting after living in the US for six weeks.

Here we go...

Tess, Mommy, Daddy, Blake, Will, Audrey, May (our dog), Grammy, Aunt B, Grandpa, Papa, Grandma, Baby Nate, Uncle Joel (Rob's twin brother - we've drilled on this one. Even when they are sitting side-by-side she calls them both Daddy ;),eye, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, ear, arm, hand, fingers, fingernails, paint nails, leg, tummy, belly-button, feet, toes, knee, hair, bow, socks, shoes, jammies, undies, pants, jeans, shirt, jacket, coat, boots, "Mommy help" (used often), zip, tie, button, snap, on, off, ouch, hurt, fall, down, up, out, good girl, sorry, yes, no, wow!, up-stairs, down-stairs, tv, outside, inside, cold, burrr, hot, no touch, open, shut, laundry, chair, table, cook, water, drink, eat, carrot, grapes, banana, juice, yogurt, orange, strawberry, pineapple, apple, pizza, tomato, broccoli, snack, plate, napkin, fork, spoon, knife - ouch, scissors, glue, cut, paper, makers, pencil, fan, lamp, bed, pretty, sweet, mean, happy, sad, crying, laugh, dirty, clean, wet, dry, truck, car, bus, potty, boy, girl, (Tess no boy! Tess girl!)bath, soap, mermaid, polly pocket, baby, sleeping, shhhh, bottle, open the door, shut the door, stay back May, toot, stinky, yuck, snow, hat, mittens, book, kitchen, flower, bumble bee ouch, dinosaur, bug, stop, go, wait, come-on, music, toothbrush, brush teeth, (she count 1 thru 10), pink, purple, yellow, green, blue, black, orange, red, all-gone, full, empty, big, tiny, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, angels, shepherd, wisemen, blanket, happy birthday!, wreath, Christmas tree, snowman, presents, uh-oh, wow!, swing, slide, bike, walk, chalk, circle, cut, paint, line, ball, kick, throw, flip, bless you, I love you, thank you, amen, pray, sunshine, tree, and her favorite - bandaid!

animals - makes all the sounds to go with them... frog, turtle, dog, cat, rabbit, rooster, lion, bear, cow, owl, chicken, chick, whale, dolphin, zebra, sheep, camel, penguin, snake, seal, mouse, worm, donkey, hippo (then she shruggs her shoulders because hippos don't make a noise), giraffe-long neck, monkey,

Okay, it's about time to go get the "big kids" from school. Oh, I forgot, she says "kids school". See, I'm going to keep remembering things! But, I have to make myself stop! Isn't she amazing???? She's stringing these major sentences together. For example, she threw a ball inside and it knocked own a picture frame with her picture in it. She said, "Oh no, Mom! Ball, picture, Tess, fall down, ouch. Sorry!" Oh, I love her so so so much!