Friday, March 27, 2015

America "Labi"

I can't explain how happy it is to have these kids. We have waited a very long time and now they are here. These kids are better then what I imagined. The hugs are real. The kiss are real. The random smiles are real.  I sometimes wonder what makes me so special that these three are so happy to be taken away from all they know and are now here with me. It is not all sunshine and roses but it is in the small moments that makes everything worth it. I hold onto those moments and get me through everything else.

We are still adjusting to our schedules. There has been some changing around but we will start to get into a different schedule soon. Jeff and I are now back to work full time. Our jobs have left us plenty of work to come back to. HA. Work is a different kind of stress then watching children.  So currently I don't think one side is draining me from the other. Well maybe the lack of sleep is hurting my work, I am not thinking as quickly as I normally do. I should be getting more sleep soon.  I'm looking forwards to that.

We did take the kids to the dentist.  Hunter is by far the worst. Elliana and Spencer were fine. Those two had no damage and nothing currently needs to be done until adult teeth start to come in. They have weak teeth and spots due to lack of nourishment and high iron in Latvia's water system. Otherwise they are perfect. Then there is Hunter my cuddly little guy. He has 12 teeth in his top half of his mouth. Of these 12, 4 need to be pulled to stop infections. They are dead and nothing but trouble will happen with them. So that leave us with his remaining 8 teeth, 3 need either root canals or have to be pulled. Another one needs to be drilled and filled.  If we pull those 3 baby teeth he will have 5 teeth in his mouth.  That means he can't eat his food. He will have to be on a soft food diet until his adult teeth come in.  We are thinking we should do the root canals.  We are trying to get dental insurance first. We also have to ask Latvia if it is ok to do this type of procedure.  So we are currently on hold. We are brushing his teeth a lot more.

The kids really like to be home. Elliana the other day said America Labi, Latvia neigh. That means American is good and Latvia is not. It made me feel like we were doing something right. We also got the kids to dance! We have been trying for a while and normally Jeff and I look like silly people while our kid stare at us like we are crazy. Ha. But not this last time. They all were jumping around and looking just as silly. They also have a crazy addition to the Disney movie "Mulan."  We have watched that movie over 12 times.  The kids are all speaking more English even our quiet one Elliana who informed us that "It is cold outside" after coming in from the snow.

We still go on walks occasionally but now we bring along a wagon to help save our shoulders and backs if one of the kids get tired.  Spencer is our official wagon puller most of the time.  That is until he tries to run us over with it.  Elliana holds on very tightly if she is riding in the wagon while Spencer is pulling.  


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Adjusting all over again

We have been told that we might have to relive some of our earlier adjustment stage. I never wanted to believe it but it is true. If you are adopting be prepared to go almost back to square one when you get home. The only bonus is the kids know you and know what to expect from you.  The stages are shorter but they do mentally go back. The house is new and the people are new. Spencer went back to rocking as his self soothing however, I did not see him do it today. Today he also started giving me smiles again when he would walk in a room. Or just look over at me to make sure I am there. It was good to see those smiles again.  The kids are all sleeping a ton, 12 to 13 hours! Over half the day they are asleep. That was how it started in Latvia as well. What makes it all worth it are all the small things. For example, Spencer wanted me to keep singing him lullaby's tonight. I am not a good signer but he smiles and it calms him.  Elliana when I was sitting on the couch got up from the chair came over and gave me a huge hug with a ear to ear smile.  Hunter just melts your heart when he cuddles with you in the morning. Not sure if we will get that until the weekends but it is my favorite time with him. I stay in bed now waiting to hear for signs that he is awake. Then I wait for him to come into the room and jump in bed with me. He will kiss me and wrap his arms around me half awake. I love it!

I also think that the adjustment was harder because we did not plan as well as we did in Latvia. We are home yes but our normal daily functions are not in place. The schedule will not even be set for another two weeks. We are going to do an educational day care for two days a week. So M-F Jeff and I work. Wednesday and Thursday they will go to day care staring in two weeks. Sunday we have church. We do want to start bible study but think we should wait until they know more English. I did find one really good summer school program but if anyone knows of others please let me know. I am looking for a place to build onto what they know of the ABC and numbers.

Tomorrow will be a traumatic day for them. Jeff and I both go back to work. I am doing a 1/2 day at work and then work when the kids go to bed at night. No sleep for me but the kids might not handle a full day away from us. They only have been away from us both for 2 hours.  Tuesday will be 3/4 of a full work day because we have dentist appointments. We don't have insurance but I am worried about Hunters teeth. If we need to pull some of the teeth or get some surgeries, I want to start before any adult teeth start to fall into place. Not sure how much I have previously written about his teeth but in the front there are some spots where you can see a tooth ring that is gray. There is no tooth just like a nub of one. There is one hole that really bothers me because I think it is a root showing this is the case for the front top four. None of the kids can handle cold or hot food but I really wonder if any of it hurts him.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Life at Home

The kids are doing better then I thought they would be doing. They are back to sleeping over 10 hours a night but I believe that is due to the extra stress of a new place. In Latvia for the first few weeks the kids slept a lot but the last week they were down to 9 hours. So hopefully in a few weeks that will be the case here too.  Also hope in a few weeks the new boundary testing comes to an end. It is like our week one all over again. The only improvement is we just have to count to 1 and they know what happens when we reach 3, "time in."

For three kids who have never been around dogs, they do very well.  They love the dogs. Not sure if the dogs love them, they (the dogs) keep giving us this "what are things things doing here" look HA!

We took them to the local fire department playground, Cleveland's Aquarium, and our backyard. There is a lot of new sights to see and things to learn.  Hunter already did a nice face plant at the park and his face is full of cuts. He also somehow has a nasty looking welt on his butt. It appeared Tuesday. We have no idea where he got it. Looks like he jumped butt first on a match box car.

We had one major language failure this week.  We had the kids outside and we were telling them not to set in the dog's poop.  We were explaining that the dogs go to the bathroom outside.  Well a few moments later Hunter pulls his pants down and poops in the yard.  AAHHHH! He thought he was to go to the bathroom outside.  Bathrooms have been a big change for these kids. When they left the foster we had to teach them to flush after going to the bathroom.  In Latvia toilet paper was not always allowed in the toilet. So now we are home we flush, toilet paper in toilet, and the toilet itself is different. So I can see how he was confused but still I hope my neighbors did not see this.

Today we had our first American Doctor visit.  The kids ended up with 3 shots each. Hunter screamed and cried. Spencer and Elliana did not even move a muscle. We were very proud of them. The doctor wants all three to have their hearts tested. Two of them he feels may have a minor issue.  So they all get a echo gram done in a week. Spencer needs blood work to see if there was any lasting affects from his hard childhood. He would just need medication if there is a lasting deficiency. Elliana is signed up for physical Therapy. That makes me very happy!! We need someone to keep working on her legs. I have been doing some but we need muscle building and I am not sure how to do it. If we put her legs in the correct position she cannot walk because she can't carry her weight on her right leg at all. But if she walks with her feet turned in she can. She just need to build up the correct muscles. I have started working with her and she has no issues doing it until she falls.

They have not had any major issues with the food change. They loved their grandma's chicken noodle soup.  They really like my favorite comfort meal, cream of chicken on rice. Today we gave them green beans and carrots with a dip for lunch. They also had a PBJ sandwich.  The did not eat the sandwich but had thirds and fourths on the veggies. Jeff and I almost made them eat the sandwich by holding back the green beans but thought better of it. Our kids love certain veggies and just about all fruit.

Breaking News:  Elliana this morning kept saying a word to me but I had no idea what it was. Finally at our veggie lunch she pointed to her teeth. I went over and we have our first loose tooth!! She was saying it hurt her. We made a huge deal about it and then she got excited about it. I am tonight working on turning my ring-bearer pillow into a tooth fairy pillow. I got some charms to spell out her name. Tomorrow we will go pick out some fabric to make the pocket. None of our kids have lost a tooth before.  It is not uncommon for orphans to hang onto their baby teeth longer. Since we have been giving her calcium and healthy food her body will start to grow and thrive again.




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Travelling Home Part 2

So we fly over to Germany and got onto our next plane with no issues. This was our longest plane ride. The kids did way better then I thought they would.  Don't get me wrong there were times that they had it but overall they did well.  Hunter had the hardest issue being 4 years old.  He screamed for about 30 minuets and cried for another solid hour.  The flight agent gave me a entire stock of gummy bear bags. I think he ate about 8 small bags worth. It kept his quiet and everyone could relax without him crying.  We did do walks about the plane until an flight crew member told me to stop. So we did the stairs up and down to the lower level of the plane.  There was nothing down there besides toilets. At first he thought I would bring him down there to use it so we went about 3 times before he got the idea.

We land in JFK airport and had to go out to grab a taxi or shuttle to LaGuardia airport.  United told us that they have their own shuttle and it will be at no cost. Well that was a lie. They also said our luggage would transfer, another lie.  We ended up taking a shuttle because the taxi lady said 5 people was too many.  We waited for the shuttle for about 30 minutes in low 40ish degree weather. The kids were getting tired at this point and in Latvian time it was there bed time. We get on the shuttle and head to the next airport.  Once at LaGuardia and the guy behind the counter said our flight to Cleveland has been cancelled due to bad weather.  It was low 40s and sunshine in NY.  We called another United agent and our adoption agency.  The only way to get us home that night was for us to go to Newark in NJ.  The kids were laying on the ground around us trying to sleep and a United person came up and said kids can't lay down they have to stand.  Well Momma bear came out.  Our kids should not even be here we should be home or on a plane by now.  I did not say a lot but the guy left me alone and looked back one time and disappeared behind  closed door.

We got a taxi to Newark. We were not following the car safety rules but we did to have a lot of time to catch the 9:25pm plane home.  After a $152 cab ride we get the airport. At this point our kids were done. They could not move. When we got to boarding our plane they started to cling to the chairs. I got Elliana off and she started walking away from us. Now she did look like she was sleep walking.  A person on our same plane offered to carry our bags. I had to take that offer. The kids would not let go of the seat. Jeff carried the boys on and I carried Elliana. We get on the plane and wait.  We waited about 30 minuets for some people to board that had a late connection flight.  We finally start to push away and then we stopped again. apparently the tow bar they use for pushing aircraft away from the gate broke in half and now they have to bring a mechanic out to make sure nothing on the plane broke during the accident.  I was getting upset along with several other people on the plane. Well they did their job and cleared us to take off this set back our flight by 1 hour and 30 minuets. Jeff was going to rip someone apart. This was just too much for the kids.  They needed beds.

Finally we land in Cleveland. I have never been so happy. I used my belt to tie all their backpacks together so we were ready for 3 melt downs.  My father was there to pick us up.  What a beautiful feeling being home after such a terrible trip back home.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lighting Strikes Twice

So Jeff and I slept about 2 hours Friday night packing and getting everything ready to come home.  We get the kids up at 3am and head to the airport. The kids got up really well. Elliana was really happy to go to America. We get the airport and the lady said the kids are all set but someone has cancelled Jeff and my flight to Germany. We were all set after Germany we just had to get there.  They said the kids could go on but we said we travel together.  So that started calls to United, Adoption Airfare, and home at $2.50 a minute.  I was getting very upset. So the plane left and we were not on it.  If you remember our initial flight to Riga was canceled due to weather and when United rebooked our flights they did not book the return flight properly. The flight out was completely full and they were not taking any more stand-by.  To make a 3 hour frustrating story short, we spoke with the first poorly trained United Air representative, and we were conveniently disconnected after they tried to blame Lufthansa for the problem.  Our next rep who was appeared to be a bit better trained attempted to get us on the flight before it took off well again we were conveniently disconnected.  The third poorly trained rep told us that the whole thing is our fault and that we missed the flight so we have to pay for all new flights.  The reason why we were told this is that the previous rep got us on that flight some how 10 minutes before it took off.  Keeping in mind we still have not even been given tickets or checked baggage and we still had to go through security.  Lufthansa basically told United to go fly a kite because that was too little too late and they were not holding a international flight for two people.  Keep in mind that United Airlines does not allow their reps to give out direct numbers for any particular representative so every disconnect we got we had to re-explain our entire story to a new person    

So knowing we were not flying out that day and there was nothing more we could do at the airport we called and got a hotel so the kids could go to bed.  That freaked out Elliana. She kept saying something over and over again. She started screaming and kicking and everything she could do to say she was mad. Well our Latvian phone was in our suitcase and we could not get to it. So we could not call our translator until we got to the hotel. 

Jeff and I were also extremely frustrated. We called the translator once we get into the hotel room. Found out that Elliana thought we were not taking her home with us and that we were returning her.  That put me over the edge. She was so upset. So we hugged her and told her we loved her. She did clam down but she was so upset for hours before we could get someone to explain the problem to her.  This made Jeff and I feel horrible on top of mad and upset. I put the kids and Jeff to bed. I go out into the hallway and talk with United for a few more hours. I finished got us all on the plane and called my Dad so he would not be waiting for us at the airport. My emotions were so high then when I talked to him I cried. I have not cried in years. I just wanted to get my family home. Also, to think Elliana thought we were taking her back! I have not cried in years but I could not take any more.
So we tried to waste time in Latvia. We did go back to our favorite restaurant just to cheer us up. I did have a great meal at the Flying Frog.  We found a better park that the kids played at. I was about to crash at the play area. I only had 2 hours of sleep an emotional rollercoaster and I could not stand up. Jeff said he would watch the kids while I go back and sleep.  I have a great husband. I got 2 more hours of sleep.

That night we packed and woke everyone up at 3am Sunday morning again and loaded up in a taxi to the airport.  The kids were doing great. We get in line and the same Lufthansa lady from yesterday came up and said Jeff and I are good but the kids flights are not there.  They were considered a “no show”, due to yesterday.  I freaked. I wanted to cry all over again. Jeff wanted to punch someone and the kids started to cry again.  So I took two long breaths told myself “you better pull it together.” I called United again. We also called our agency we booked with. United made another mistake.  So with our booking agency on one phone and a United Rep (5th person from United in two days) on our second cell phone we put both phones on speaker so that those two could finally get this mess straight.   With less than an hour to spare and me getting my extremely forceful business side out, we got three more tickets for the kids and all boarded the same flight home. I did however say to my husband  “If this happened in American I could handle it better than I could being in another country.”  Well later that day I ate my words due to yet another United Airlines fowl up.


To be continued.. (I am tired and have to sleep, I have a total of 11 hours for 3 nights)

P.S. to answers some people's questions. I will be blogging about how the kids are adjusting while in America. It just may not be every day at least one a week. 


Friday, March 13, 2015

Doctor and last day

Well today Jeff and I really wanted to sleep in. We were up late packing.  When you have kids you really don't have an option. So getting up early it was...thanks Hunter.  

I was going to take the boys to the park. I let them go down the steps on their own. Well the last two flights Hunter just took off running and out the doors and into Riga's busy streets. I flew after him. He went back upstairs and in "Time In".  I think he got the point today. I learned the phrase "no running away" in Latvian from our translator. Well I was just going to take Spencer but plans chance. Elliana wanted to go and Hunter finished his punishment. Jeff however still needed to shower.  I needed to see how I could handle three kids on my own. I needed to build my self confidence. So of course if you know me how else would I do it. Yep the hard way. So three kids, in busy Riga downtown, after one just ran away, language barrier, and 5 blocks.  It was amazing how strategically we performed the walk from placement of the kids holding hands to which side of the street and which side of the walk way we used. Can't walk on that side of the block or Hunter might just jump on a glass window covering a basement window.  Boys can't hold hands or there will be trouble. Elliana has to hold my hand or she will stop walking.  Hunter has to hold my hand in fear he will run away.  We did survive and I now have the self confidence I needed.  Jeff however was worried so he took a record shower and he caught up to us just a few minuets after we arrived at the park.  I had everything going smoothly  :)

We had our appointment with the doctor today.  It went really well. The doctor was amazed at how strong Elliana left hand has gotten in just 4 weeks. We are not up to 100% maybe around 70% but we started around 20%. We showed the doctor that she can put on her coat and zip it up. I told her what we are doing. I make up the exercises every night just to try something. I need to research more on what we need to do. The doctor was so happy with the results. She also talked about the surgery she needed.  We did not learn anything new about Hunter.  We did learn that Spencer's upper lip inside gum may need to be cut back a bit so he can speak more clear. I never noticed that he was not speak well as we don't know proper pronunciation of Latvian.  So really nothing note worthy which i guess is a good thing. The doctor hugged me and said she was very happy the kids were placed with us. It made my confidence get even higher.  I do hope we are doing what is best for the kids.

The kids did the alphabet when they got home.  Elliana did the best ever.  We write words down and make her copy them as well. She is starting to write in a line better. Spencer did well. We had an issue over the letter "U" which he never had before. He also did not act like he was concentrating. Hunter did the worst yet and we never got past D, instead he decided to protest and stabbed his pencil into the couch.  I'm just happy he didn't stick it in his leg.

For dinner we had pasta and ice cream.  When we finished dinner I wiped the boys mouths and they always fight me a bit on it. So I took Spencer to the mirror. His eyes got huge. It was so funny.  He let me wipe his mouth while he watched in the mirror.

The kids keep talking about flying home tomorrow. I can't wait.  I miss my family, friends, dryer, bed, oven, and spices.  Washing clothes and having to hang dry is no fun. The wash cycle is 3-4 hours and the clothes all smell.  I really don't like that musty dirty smell but that is what we all smell like. When we go out I joke we are the smelly family.

The family we ran into yesterday sent us a video of the Latvian President meeting some orphans.  The video has our kids in it! The president at one point is holding Elliana. The tall man in the picture below is the president and he is holding a young Elliana.  Spencer is being held by our foster mom, mother she is the second on the right. We are not sure but that maybe Hunter being held by their foster mom on the far left.  The lady in the long jacket is someone high in the government as well or she maybe the president wife. We are not sure.  How cool is that!!!

Question: Does anyone know how to teach younger child about logic? They do lack in this area. The doctor said that is common but you just have to teach it to them. I don't know how.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

US Embassy

We got the kids passports today. We showed them and they thought they were pretty cool. We also started to pack the stuff we are not going to be using. I wish I had not done that. It had Spencer all freaked out. He wanted to pack everything thinking we would leave stuff behind. He was a mess all day long  He kept acting out just because he was confused.  Elliana asked me if there were noodles in America because she likes spaghetti.  That started a whole line of questions. Are there parks, cars, bananas, and bath tubs.  I learned really quick what the kids value. :) I tried to tell them about America. Elliana understood that we have bigger parks near our house and then told the boys. That made them happy.

We had our US Embassy appointment today. Again it was not very hard at all for us. We were asked about homeschooling, visas, health insurance, and basic questions.  We only talked to the lady for 10 minutes and the kids were approved. We took longer getting through security.  My belt set off the alarms. I need that belt. I would not say losing weight because I know I gained some muscle.

On our way back to the apartment our translator had to drop off some documents to another couple. When we got there Elliana started talking to their adopted girl.  The other girl was not at the same foster place but our foster mom, mother's place. She used to watch our kids a lot. Interesting as she was only 10.  However, the girl could not communicate with Elliana anymore because she no longer knows Latvian. She went to the US only 5 months ago. Kids do learn languages quick and sadly forget them just as quickly.

We went back to the apartment and worked on the alphabet. Hunter did about 50% of the letter all by himself. That was the best ever!!!  The kids really do better one on one with learning. If they are together someone ends up crying.

We had our other appointment today. We did not get all the answers we were looking for. However the kids seem to just be learning how to be kids again. They will catch up quickly but currently they are emotionally set back a few years. So we have to treat them as if they younger until they start to catch up. The lady was impressed with how fast they have matured in just 4 weeks. She did watch Spencer and said he was doing typical stuff that a kid from an orphanage does. With some love and patients our kids will be new kids in 6 month to a year.  No problem we can do that. Honestly the kids are really sweet kids. They just are learning and exploring new things. If you have never seen a object before you don't know what to do with it.  However for them 70% of what they see is new for them. So they don't yet understand how everything works or what you should do with it or if it is dangerous. It just takes time. To help out with them we will look at the bonding center. Tonight I picked Spencer up and we stood in front of the mirror. So he saw his smiling face and mine. That made him laugh and smile more. It helps him understand he is happy when he sees himself happy. She said a lot of things that we have already heard before but it was nice to hear them again. We just have to be patient and it will all come together. The "time in" discipline we currently are implementing we feel is the right method for them same with how we solve throwing things. She really liked that one. She also like the role playing of how to do things and how not to do things. We had Elliana slam a door and say ok that is what you do not do. Now do it correctly.  That honestly got the message across and she has not slammed a door since.

We took this picture today, we felt we had best start breaking them into proper tradition. O - H - I - O




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Last Free Day

Today was our last free day. The rest of our time here is booked with Appointments, doctors, and US Embassy.  We went to Old Riga to pick up a birthday present for our niece. We walked all around and check out a few buildings. The kids were getting bored so we went back to the apartment for lunch.

This afternoon we took the kids back the science center.  I asked a lady who spoke broken English to teach Elliana how to ride a bike. The lady told me, Elliana is very nervous. We got her to at least move forwards. However, she keeps looking at her feet so she can't see where she is going. It was still a huge improvement. I was cheering on the side to keep her courage up. We have to work on courage and self confidence with her. These kids have been in a box for so long that everything is new. Tonight we worked on cutting our food with a fork. Yes that sounds like something they should already know but if you really only ate soup and mush, you would not know how to cut with your fork. We also worked on putting peas on our spoon using a fork to help. Yes mush is actually what was translated to us for what the kids typically ate.  Not sure what mush is but I don't think they will be eating it again.

After the science museum we went to this fast food burger place so the kids could ride the stationary car or "Machine". The rides in Latvia are free! Well we needed water so Jeff got two waters. The one thing here is you always have to ask for "still" water or you get this sparkling water. We got one of each by mistake. The kids tried it and made some funny faces. They have never had carbonation before. We thought everything was good until we got home. Spencer started getting sick. The only thing different we had today was this sparkling water. He was so sick he messed his pants while being chased by Elliana. So we gave him some Pepto. He was in the bathroom a lot tonight. So no soda for this kid.

We had another incident tonight of maybe odd behavior. This time we call our translator so she could talk with the kids and ask why.  She said it could be one thing or they are pushing boundaries in more of an extreme way. She said we should get them evaluated. So late tomorrow night we are having another appointment. We should have better answers tomorrow night.  I am currently all worked up, now that my translator said what some of the possible issues arise from such behavior. We will just have to see.

Below is a picture of some flower street vendors.  I do really enjoy flowers. I look forwards to my garden in the summer. The second is of the church where we took the elevator to the second from the top opening for the awesome view of Riga.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Court "Big Court"

This morning was full of entertainment for Jeff and myself.  Spencer was ok to take off his PJ’s but not ok put on clothes.  He ran around the apartment in his underwear singing “Sexy Lady.”  Then the boys decided their clothes were not enough so they put on Daddy’s sweatpants. I was just laughing.

We went to court today.  We have been talking to lots of people to know what we needed to expect. Ours seemed a lot easier then what most people go through. I am not sure why but I was happy for that.  We showed up and the elevator was broken. I was not shocked and happy to be taking stairs.  Our lawyer was impressed with how well Elliana was maneuvering the stairs. I told her we don’t use the elevators here we always take the stairs. Well we get there and we have to wait.  It is 11am now and the boys are full of energy. It took everything to keep them from running into people’s offices. Our lawyer came out with candy bags.  She said the Orphan court wanted us to have them.  Jeff and I were thinking that is a good sign.

We go into the room and it was the same three ladies we had last time. Elliana wanted to sit on my lap during the hearing so I let her.  They asked us questions. Here are some examples.   What is your health insurance plan? How are you educating the kids while the adoption process goes on? How have the kids changed in the last 4 weeks? Do you want to adopt them?  They asked us a question about how we prepared the kids for our house. We told them we have videos.  Well Elliana right in court said “Asics and Mia”.  I had to explain to the translator those are our dog’s names and she really like the video of them.  The ladies really liked that.  Our lawyer also paid us a very nice complement saying that we are some of the more prepared couples she has worked with. She was impresses at how much the kids have learned and how us not having kids before are doing extremely well under the circumstances.  She said she wishes more couples like us would be willing to adopt three kids.  It made Jeff and I feel better.  Well we had to leave the room and wait. Spencer and Hunter both wanted to walk into other hearings. So Jeff kept throwing them up in the air and pretend he was a Machine they could drive, to keep them from wandering, however, there was quite a bit of laughing so I’m not really sure we were really that quiet. We went back into the room and they approved us to continue adopting the kids. They also had another decision that we were allowed to take the kids back to America.  We were all happy to hear that.

We asked our lawyer to take us back to the park instead of the apartment. We did not want the kids tearing apart the apartment. Well within the first 15 minutes Hunter fell and cut his hand.  He cried and so we left. Spencer was not happy that we were leaving at all. It was the first time he really was upset about doing something.  It only lasted 5 minutes.  Jeff decided that we all needed to celebrate and what better way to resolve a hurt hand then by eating some yummy donuts and fruit smoothies. 

When we got back to the apartment we were making lunch and Daddy kissed me, while I was holding Spencer. Spencer in return wanted a kiss from each of us. Jeff kissed me again and Spencer in turn wanted a kiss from each of us. We did this for about 4 to 5 rounds.  It was nice to see it coming from him.

Jeff took the boys back to the park and Elliana and I got to stay here. We did more alphabet learning.  When the boys returned it was their turn.  Hunter still cried through the entire thing but it was not as bad as yesterday. Hopefully it will keep improving. 


When Jeff was out today he saw a Latvian Chain Gang.  A Latvian Chain Gang is a group of kids ages 4 and younger. They wear safety yellow jackets and are chained together by their wrist. Some have a hoop that goes around their waist too. We think that they are so funny.  We finally got a picture of one of them. They have as many as 20 kids on one chain.  It is far away but we will try to catch one closer if we can. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

The Flying Frog

This morning started with a bang or should I say a crash. We were getting breakfast ready and I hear a crash.  I go running and see my closet door on the floor and Spencer crying. He carried the door from our bedroom to the kitchen. If you don't get the energy out of boys they will find a way. His ankle is nicely bruised and swollen. We put ice on it.  He complained it hurt in all day.  Hopefully he will leave the door alone now.

Getting the boys energy out really worked yesterday so it was straight to the park again.  I stayed home with Elliana. The boys all went to the park. I wanted to work with Elliana more on learning her ABC's.  We have been singing the song and today I think she put it together.  She wrote upper and lower case letters. I also had her write numbers out.  We went over colors as well.  She is starting to get it.

The boys got home and we made a noon reservation at the flying frog.  We picked this place because they advertise a kids playing area. We were cutting it close so we took a cab there. The boys loved the cab ride. It was the best food we have had here in Latvia here.  The kids really liked the beet soup. I got some seafood soup which had octopus, clam, shrimp, and some other sea creatures. We ordered a side of fries and the two boys wanted to eat the lettuce they put on their for decoration. So we let them have it.  They put us at a table right next to the kids room. The kids area was small but it entertained the kids which is all the matter to us.

We walked the 9 blocks back home.  We all needed to walk off that meal. We got to see Gertrudes Church. It is build in the center of a round about. It was a beautiful building. Hunter was being stubborn and did not want his picture taken. So below you would think we only have two kids.  We took some pictures of the building while we walked. Daddy got his work out in. He carried each child for two blocks.

We got home and it was the boys turn to learn their ABC's.  Spencer had no issue. Hunter kept crying and fighting me the whole time. He would throw his paper or pencil. I had to wait for him to pick it up. I think the first time was about 30 minutes before he would pick up his paper.  Spencer was done before we were even on letter B.  Hunter has never written the ABC's so I had him trace mine. He did do the L, T, I, and J on his own.  We will build him up to more letters.

To relax we watched another movie tonight since Elliana was asking for one. Spencer fell asleep again. I think we all just needed a break today. The kids are still learning and pushing boundaries, that is to be expected.






Sunday, March 8, 2015

Women's Day

This morning we all woke up early and got ready very quickly. There was no reason for it.  We decided to split up today. I took the boys to our park and Jeff stayed here with Elliana. The boys did great at the park.  I am trying to teach Hunter how to work a swing. He got the idea about the legs just not exactly when he needs to move them. I also really want to work on upper body strength. I started to flip around and due arm pull ups on the bar. Spencer and Hunter finally left the swings and wanted to join me. I was glad my arms were about to give way. They tried and I had to help them pull up and flip. I did get a nice kick in the face trying. I was just happy they were working their upper body that I pretended it did not happen.  It also helped them to bend their legs more. This is something else the kids are lacking in. We will just have to keep on trying. In the mean time I am getting my work out in.

Sunday in Latvia is very quiet. People either stay at home or they go to church. All shops are closed. The only places open are restaurants and grocery stores. Due to having to buy food all the time, food places could never really close here. The other thing we notice not just today but every day is how many people are carrying flowers. You can get 6 tulips for $0.80 Euro. On my way to the park I felt like everyone around me had a flower. On average about 40% of the people will have flowers however today it was around 80%.  Well this afternoon our door bell rang. I answered it and it was our apartment staff giving me flowers and bags of cookies. Today is Women's day. If you are a women then you get flowers. It was very sweet of them.  It also add some color to our apartment.

I have been wanting to try sushi at a local restaurant. On the way there Spencer was starting to get very agitated about not having lunch. Every place that had a pictures of food he kept saying "I want food.".  We don't have bad food issues but Spencer likes to know food is around.  The place we picked also have other Chinese food so Elliana will not have to freak out about fish. The girl seriously will cry if she sees fish. Well they were not serving sushi today.  So we all go the buffet. The favorite food for our kids was the oranges, tomatoes, and beets. Yes our kids love beets. They did enjoy the soup as well.  Daddy made a mistake and put sweet and sour fish on Elliana plate. She was done and got upset for a long while. We cheer her up with removing the fish and putting oranges on her plate. We had to teach her how to eat it on the peel.  That took about 15 minutes. They brought out some fried apples. The kids really liked that too. Before Elliana put it to her mouth Daddy said it was fish in a joking manor. Well Elliana knows the word fish and freaked out. It took Daddy a bit to calm her down and to show her it was an apple. So no joking about fish.

We have been trying to correct the kids behavior by doing redo.  If they throw something on the ground they have to pick it up and place it nicely on the table or wherever. It really helps. They normally don't throw things again. The boys have done this a few times. Elliana had her first redo today. It took her 20 minuets to calm down and pick up what she threw. She did not want to and she screamed, cried, hit the wall, hit the tub, and was yelling.  Then finally she relaxed calmed down picked up what she threw and put it away.  I just sit there calmly and once in a while remind her of what she needs to do in less then 10 words. The boys only need about 3-5 minuets before they will pick it up. After this issue was over she was not mad at me. According to TCU the kids actually feel like they accomplished something by doing a redo. We also praise them for doing it correctly.  If TCU is correct the length of time it takes will decrease. I just hope so.

We watched our first movie in English Mulan. It is one of my all time favorites. Well Elliana watched it and so did Hunter. Spencer fell asleep.  We did have to bring out popcorn to keep them here. When the movie was over I picked up Spencer. He freaked a bit and wanted to touch the ground. When he finally was fully awake, and understood what I was doing he wanted to be carried again. He does not give me eye contact when we are loving on him. I make him give me eye contact for a brief moment. I will say look at my eyes Spencer. Or I will gently turn his head. He will give me just a flash but it is a start. The other two have no issues with this at all.

After the kids go to bed Jeff and I talked over a bowl of ice cream.  Everyone talks about the cakes in Latvia but their ice cream is really good. It is very smooth and the flavor is amazing. The cakes here are good but Jeff and I are just not huge cake eaters.  We have tried about 7 different cakes but the ice cream here is the best!! They also sell ice cream in a tube as well as your typical cardboard container.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Circus

Today we wanted to try another park.  You know the saying "Don't go on the other side of the tracks"?  Well today the park we wanted to try was on the other side of the railroad tracks. We went and came right back.  We were defiantly in an area we were not comfortable being in, a lot of shady characters during mid morning on a Saturday. Then we get to the park and it is completely tore up undergoing construction....So back to our side and the usual park.

For lunch we had hot dogs.  It is so fun seeing the kids try new foods.  Hot dogs are acceptable to these three.  Additionally they all wanted seconds on the pineapple too, man these kids can eat.

We got circus tickets for today, thinking clowns, animals, and good entertainment.  Circus must have changed a lot since I was a kid.  This was a very "sexy" show.  One of the shows was a girl hardly dressed dancing on a candy cane pole.  There was also lots of lovey couple dances.  Our kids were bored during the show but maybe not Spencer. They did have a clown that was funny in the first half. The kids did like him a lot. The joker in the second half took his shirt off and stuck toilet plungers in certain areas. So we were done with the circus today.  Jeff and I gave each other lots of looks during this show. I kept checking around and yes there were lots of kids here but manly Dads with them. Hummm.....Although i do have to say that the acrobat acts were good.  Over all maybe a two star performance but i'd probably choose another event for kids though pickings are getting slim at this point.  

We also went to the park to get rid of some energy. Having two boys equals lots of energy. If you don't get the energy out then trouble happens. They will start to get into everything.  We also had bath night to help. They love the bath. They ask for it every night.

Sorry no pictures today. The circus does not allow it, I think they are worried someone will make a video. I can see it now the girl version of Magic Mike with a circus twist.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Case Worker Visit

This morning was again family cuddle time in bed. The kids bring their pillows. The boys grab their stuff animals. Elliana grabs Barbie. It is fun we all laugh and enjoy being a family. We ate breakfast and had to wait around for our case worker visit. The kids kept asking to go outside. They were getting mad when we kept saying in a little bit... So what happens when the the natives get restless they start looking to cause trouble... :-)

The visit went well. She wanted to know what we were doing to prepare the kids to travel. Did we have our house ready back home. We showed her the videos of our house. I recommend taking videos of your house before you travel to get your kids. The case worker really liked that and the kids like to watch it a lot too.  She asked how were home schooling the kids. We told her that their Grammy C and Grandpa John were teaching the kids while we worked. We went over the schooling plan with her. She had to talk to each of the kids again. Elliana was just talking away. Both of the boys did not want to talk.  It was funny the case worker said to the boys that she is not leaving until they answer her questions and that they would sit here all day long. So we had to wait until they at least shook their heads one way or another or gave one word answers.  They had to answer if they wanted to be adopted by us.  They also had to answer if they liked us or not. We finally we got them to answer and it was yes for both questions. A lot of pressure for these little ones.

Our translator stayed a bit to help us explain some thing to the kids. We had her to talk to Hunter about not running away out in public. The kid will bolt. I don't know if he will stop or not. He got 1.5 blocks away one time. I really had to run hard to catch him. He thinks it is a game. But here in Latvia cars sometimes drive on the sidewalk too. One time we had a car almost hit us. It was within 6 inches before I could pull Hunter, Elliana and myself out of the way. We also had two Latvian words we wanted translated. Hunter when we correct him sometimes yells this word. Well it means "stop" in Lativian.  He does not use the word correctly all the time either. It is like he is repeating what he thinks we are saying. We have a feeling he was told to stop a lot and maybe not as nicely as we do it. The other word Spencer once in awhile will say to Elliana in a sentence. She gets really upset and cries. I took me awhile to pin point what word. Well tonight we found out it was a bad word, a really bad Latvian word. Our case worker and translator both jumped when I said it. They would not even translate what it means in English to me.  So 5 minutes time-in as soon as we hear that word.

After the visit was over we went to our park. We go to this park all the time. Well today the kids looked like they were getting bored with the park. They just wanted us to chase them around and spin them.  Jeff and I agreed with them that we were bored too. We are really starting to miss home. We have been counting the days down.  We left the park and Jeff wanted coffee so we stopped at a little shop.  Well it did not take long and Hunter spilled Elliana's drink on himself and all down Mommy's pants. So now we have an upset girl and I got to walk 5 blocks home wearing his drink.  Hunter kept pointing to his pants which were wet but I definitely had the majority of the drink on my pants and shoes. So when we got home we stripped and did a sponge bath.  

When we were home everyone wanted a nap besides Elliana. Spencer actually asked to take one. So he jumped in bed and Hunter climbed on top of Daddy and fell asleep. It was so cute. Daddy fell asleep holding Hunter. I wanted to sleep but did not want to since Elliana was still up. She colored and showed me her work.

When the boys all woke up they were on the move and very stir crazy. So we had to go for a walk.  We went grocery shopping, which we do almost every day. Food in Latvia is not cheap. Two packs of strawberries is $8.50 Euro.  Less then 1/2 a gallon of milk is $2.70 Euro.  The only thing that is cheaper here is cake and pastries. A well decorated care with layers is only $8 Euro on average. Also Euro to dollar is about 1 Euro to 1.11 Dollar. Minimum wage here in Latvia is $320 per month!!  That is $80 a week.  Clothes are also very expensive here. Sewing shops and fabric shops are everywhere. People make their own clothes a lot to keep the cost down.  I did find out an interesting thing, they have social doctors and they have private ones. To go to a social doctor here takes months of waiting in line.  They may not have insurance taken out of the paychecks every month but $320 a month can go very quickly here in Latvia. I honestly don't know how they live.  Gardens are popular but you can only have that in the summer.  I don't know what homes cost here, I am curious.

Bellow are pictures of how we keep from being bored.  The stickers are  like coupons the stores give you, we don't really know how to use them other than for kid entertainment.  So much chocolate on their faces. HA!




Thursday, March 5, 2015

Zoo Round Too!

This morning we decided to go to the zoo again, yea we're running out of things to do here.  While waiting to catch the tram there was a girl who need a crutch to walk and both her legs were affected. It made me think what would had happen if Elliana would not have been adopted.  The girl was begging for money. Jeff gave her 2 Euro. The girl went into the store and got a sandwich. She smiled at us and left with her food. She did not beg for anything more, she just wanted a sandwich to fill her belly.  It really got to me.

The kids really enjoyed the zoo this time. The first time they did not look at the animals for very long. This time they acted like normal kids and were talking about the animals.  We spent a lot of time watching these monkeys play around.  They also had a mini petting farm with some sheep, goats, pigs, and a barn cat.  The kids got to pet the sheep, goat, and cat.  They did really well. They were scared at first but then started to enjoy it. The zoo had a rope climbing tower. We had to teach our kids how to climb.  I think our kids just did not have the opportunity like most kids to do a lot of activities. They had a hard time understanding that they needed to lift their feet up to climb.  The boys got it in the end.  Elliana tried but we need to work with her more, she is just not that flexible. Also, we did not carry Elliana at all.  She never asked us too.  I think her legs are starting to adjust to the walking we are doing. I am hoping it will help stretch her legs too.  Overall we had a lot of fun at the zoo.

On the tram ride back Hunter fell asleep. Jeff carried him all the way back and magically as soon as we reached our door he woke up and wanted down. I think he just did not want to walk all the way home and up the flight of stairs. Well... Jeff got another work out.

We had bath night tonight. While the boys were playing or should I say getting the entire bathroom wet including Daddy, Elliana and I worked on her hands. She is weaker in the left hand and favors her right a lot. So we played with the train that you take apart and put back together. You have to use this plastic screw driver to remove the plastic screws holding it together.  That means one hand holds the toy and the other hand turns the screw driver that is balancing in the slots of the screw.  She wanted me to do it at first, but with some encouragement she did it all by herself!  I helped by showing her where to put some parts.  Also, which way to turn the screw driver but she used both hands and all fingers. I thought it was awesome. We need to work more at it but I was thrilled. She knew she did something really good. We also showed Daddy!

When putting the kids to bed Spencer wanted me to kiss his dinosaur.  I thought it was cute.  Hunter then in turn wanted his lion kissed. Another great day gone.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Natural History Museum

This morning we woke up and the kids came in to cuddle. Hunter put his head on Dad's chest and hugged him. Jeff said"He is giving me all this loving and hugging because he knows he will be trouble today."  Well he didn't disappoint...

We had breakfast and I did pack lunch for us today at the Museum.  We told the kids we were going to a Museum. They had no idea what we were saying. The boys were getting ready but Elliana did not want to leave and screamed her lungs out.  So I think I got a sneak peak of what is to come in her teenage years. YIKES! We tried to put her shoes on but she fought us. So we changed plans. I took the boys to the park and Daddy was to say here with her and work.  I left the lunch here and we walked to the park. On the way to the park we ran into the family staying below us here in the apartment. They are adopting a 15 year old girl.  This girl knew Hunter and Spencer. The foster mom of my kids, mother also fosters. The kids saw each other randomly. Hunter talked with her and held her hand.  Spencer smiled but did not talk.  The girl was very sweet and was happy to be with her new family. Also, one of the pictures I have of the kids 2 years ago has this girl in it. I emailed it to them since they have no pictures of her younger years.  It was very awesome to meet her. We hope to meet up again.

When we got to the park, there there was 30 other kids.  I thought these two would just jump right on in. However, they both would not leave my side. If they did they did not go far and kept calling out Momma. While we were playing Elliana and Daddy showed up.  I guess after we left Elliana wanted to be with us.  Daddy also showed up with the packed lunch too.

We all walked to the Natural History Museum which was only an addition block away.  Well this Museum had more to look at but everything is in Latvian.  The had some touch and feel areas which the kids really enjoyed.  Hunter sent off the alarm on floor number 2 because he jump into the exhibit. So he had to hold hands with us for the rest of the time.  On floor number 3 Spencer found the light switch for the entire floor and shut them off.  I was scrambling turning them all back on. I was amazed we were not asked to leave. The lady in charge of the floor did not even say anything. It was like it happens all the time.  Light switches in Latvia are lower to the ground then in the US, perfect for younger kids to reach.  We were on the fourth floor and Elliana had to go to the bathroom. So I carried her down four flights and them back up four flights of stairs.  Then Spencer had to go, I made him walk.  When then I came up and Hunter had to go. But he would only let Mommy go with him.  I also made him walk even when he asked to be carried.  We did not even go to the 5th of 6th floor.

I realized today that my clothes are baggy on me now. However, I believe I am gaining weight due to added muscle.  Jeff thinks my arms are more defined too.  My back feels like it is getting the biggest work out. I should have no problem moving steel forgings around back at work.

We stopped at a little shop to eat our lunch and returned back home.  It was late so we just let the kids play.  Elliana wanted to learn English so she could play on the I-Pad afterwards.  We have not used the I-Pad in a few days so we agreed.  They all did their English. Elliana and Spencer lowercase and upper case.  They are doing so well.  After English we were in melt down city over here.  Elliana even had her first time in for slamming doors.  She was mad at Hunter who took her toy phone. We had dinner and we are noticing the kids are picker eaters now then before. We got stuffed cabbage rolls that were amazing! Jeff wants to go back tomorrow and get more. The kids freaked out with it.  They kept asking for other foods but we told them eat this first then they can have more. This also led to some of our melt downs.  However, everyone wanted bananas.  The Banana trick worked for Spencer and Hunter but still was not good enough for Elliana.

I was also very upset someone sent me a link saying,"I think these are your kids".  I found that another agency has our kids listed up for adoption. Even worse was the fact they are raising money for these kids adoption. So people are giving money when it would never go to these kids adoption. When I get home I am going to call this agency up and say that is a plain lie. I also told my agency and they were very upset and are working on it too.  Jeff and I had 24 hours to decide on these kids before they were going to send them out to other agencies.  We took longer then 24 hours so the kids information was sent. That is how they probably got there information, the agency did change their names but the bio is our kids.  I am checking every day until they take them off this site.  It reminds me of before some agencies are corrupt and in it for the money not the kids.  If you are adopting just research your agency and check referrals.  

I wanted to blog about the Latvian culture a bit. Since we have been here we have received lots of dirty looks.  People in Latvian all dress the same and act the same. If you do something different you are crazy.  You wear only black or a very dark shade of blue. You do not smile at anyone or look in their direction. One old lady stopped us and was talking to the kids. After a while we realized she was telling Elliana to walk straight.  We just picked her up and moved on. The fact that I wear jeans is just weird. I do have heels which helps me fit in but I am not wearing all black so I am weird.  When we were at Lido the girl that worked the play group said it is the older Latvians that are like that. The newer generation is trying to change that way. She said it was like that due to when Russia controlled Latvia.  Very interesting to hear other people's opinions.



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Museum Day



Today we woke up to snow.  Only Spencer was really happy about it.  Elliana said no outside. We ate breakfast and tried to get them to do their alphabet. Only Elliana did any English learning, maybe the candy reward played into it a bit as well. Once a bit of learning was completed we headed out because we will go crazy if we stay in.

We wanted to see the Natural History Museum.We showed up and they said they were closed. The ladies we nice enough and let us see the rock room.  My husband the Geologist was happy about that, none of the kids were. I kept the kids in check while he looked around.  They told us about the Sun Museum that was a few blocks away.  So we went to check it out.  The museum part was only reading and pictures. Well our kids were not into that at all.  So Hunter and Spencer took off running. Most kids would stop when got out of site of their parents. Not our two boys, they just keep on going.  So Jeff and I took off. Jeff went backwards in the Museum and I went forwards.  We finally got them cornered. We decided to head out but in the last room the Museum director told the kids they could paint a sun.   I was thinking great our 4 year old of with a paint brush. We will all be covered.  He did very well painting. Jeff and I redirected him as soon as we saw an issue.  Hunter painted his sun with every color. Elliana used orange, red, and yellow.  Spencer panted his mainly blue but dots of other colors.  The director wanted Jeff and I to paint one as well.  So we spend 5 minutes in the actual museum and 30 minutes painting.  

Since we were so close to Old Riga we went to the Church of St. Peter. This church was build in the 1700's. It also has an observation tower. We got inside the church and went to see the top first.  All I saw was a flight of stairs.  I carried Elliana up to about the 4th floor where they finally had an elevator to take you the rest of the way up. I would never trust an elevator here. The one in our apartment building is broken half the time.  However the thought of carrying three kids all the way up did not sound good and I was already out of breath.  So we piled into the elevator and up we went.  We got to the top and it was freezing. Jeff ran around and took some pictures.  We headed right back down maybe 3 minutes later.  The kids were doing well so we walked around the church to see the graves, status, and read some history markers in English. It was beautiful.

It was getting around lunch tie so we stopped by a coffee house for a snack.  We wanted double coffee but they were closed and we ended up at Golden Coffee.  Coffee shops here in Latvia carry a full menu with some great food.  We have eaten lots of crepes here in Latvia so we pointed to the crepe section and picked three different one to share.  All the crepes we have had so far have been filled with meat or cheese, or vegetables. I ordered one once and got a mushroom stuffed one. Yuck.   Well this place apparently served dessert crepes. When the food showed up I said a bad word. Guess what one English word the kids wanted to say. You guessed it. I learned a very important lesson. Luckily we ignored it and they have not said it since. Our crepes had ice cream, caramel, chocolate, and whipping cream.  So our kids for lunch had dessert and a side of french fries. To top it off when we were leaving Hunter decided to grab the sugar container and drink straight sugar.  I got it away from him.  Jeff starts to laugh over our entire lunch experience. I pretend that I have been a parent longer then 2 weeks and run out of the coffee house with three kids.  So, I guess we are still learning on how to be a parents.

Last night when we were talking with the other American Family, they told us about a painter in Old Riga square.  We had been there before but never found the painter. Well he was there today!  We got the kids a painting for when they get older. The ones we bought before were prints.  These were actual painting of streets all over Riga. The painting are signed and the painter listed the street on the back of the painting. They were so beautiful that Jeff and I got two for ourselves to put in our dining room.  We got a very good price for them.  This was something I felt was very important. I hope the kids will be happy to have something special from their home place.

We came back home and the kids wanted to learn English. We did not even ask, they just wanted to.  Elliana did the alphabet and lower case too! That was her first time.  She did really well.  Spencer did his all in upper case.  Hunter worked on the letter cards.  We all went over colors afterwards. Jeff found a video on U-tube that did letters, numbers, and colors. The kids watched it and seem to like it.

The kids are really starting to settle in. This is the second day in a row that they are listening better and acting like kids.  I also think they understand some of the boundaries we have. Kids will always push and test their boundaries but we at least have a base established now. For every action we always have the exact same reaction. So the kids know what to expect when they do one thing or another. If we are out and they do something wrong, we do a 5 minute time in right there on the spot.  I don't care how many people look at me, it works. So we are very happy and hope things continue this way.






Monday, March 2, 2015

Re-Charge

Today was a great day! We all woke up and had breakfast.  Right after breakfast we did some English classes.  We let the kids played while we cleaned up.  I kept hearing Spencer saying something so I went closer to him he was singing "Sexy Lady".  We have no idea where he picked that one up.  I did not want to laugh so I had to leave the room.  It was so funny.  He can't learn the name of colors but he learned part of the song "Sexy Lady."

We went to Lido. This all famous place to go when you are in Latvia. Well it is only famous in the summer time. In the winter time they do not have anything to do other than an outdoor ice skating rink and indoor kids play area.   We were defiantly not doing ice skating.  The kids played for 3 hours straight.  This was the first time that they did not need Jeff or I to play.  We actually could sit down and relax. They came up to us randomly but we were no part of the entertainment.  What an amazing break it was for us. It was worth the taxi ride fee and the expensive lunch, ten times over. We felt recharged and relaxed. The food was your typical Latvian food.  I had chicken stuffed with cottage cheese and pineapple on top. Elliana had a crepe stuffed with some kind of weird meat. She did not like it either. Spencer had three main courses and ate them all too.  Jeff got some meat on a stick and a hard ale.  Hunter got some pasta. 

We went directly from Lido's to an apartment that was rented to an American family adopting 2 kids.  It was wonderful meeting them. The kids they are adopting are 12 year old girl and a 15 years old boy.  They already had some younger kids so it was a great play date. Again the kids were able to play and Jeff and I got to talk. The kids came up to us randomly but again we were not the main entertainment.  We also got to have a great long conversation in English.  While we were there we did have their adopted daughter ask our kids some questions for us.  We found out that yes the walking does hurt Elliana legs.  We told her to point to her leg and say "Ouch" so we know when she has gone too far. Elliana also said she loves Mommy and Daddy.  We had them ask Elliana and Spencer if they were happy with their name change and they both loved it.  We tried to ask Hunter but he is a 4 year old boy playing with his new friend and new toys so did not want to be bothered with silly questions. So that conversation went no where.  We did however get her to ask him how he is feeling about us as parents. I have been worried since he has been in "Time In" a lot.  He said he really loves us and is happy.  They all wanted to get to American now. I am not sure where that came from. Maybe the foster Mother? While we were at the apartment we also checked in on the kids if they were not in our line of sight. Well Jeff went to check on Spencer and he was using the bathroom.  He was washing his hands using the dubai.  Jeff was laughing.  Thank God we do not have one of those in our bathroom!!!

Overall it was the day we needed.  Jeff and I are recharged and ready to face another day. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Puppet Show

Today is right around the time where the kids feel like this is too long for a vacation and that something is changing.  So that leads to kids being more scared which ends up with lots of crying by lots I mean hours of crying.  It happens around day ten for most kids that are adopted. It is just part of the grieving process. We knew about this before so we were prepared for it, it still does not make it easier.  All the kids were crying today at the drop of a hat.  Sometimes we cuddled them and other times we did "tough love".  It all depended on what little thing set them off. 

We had tickets to a puppet show today.  We got the kids ready to leave but Elliana did not want to go outside. We did not know how to tell her we were not going to the park but to a play.  I said movie and theater in Latvian but she did not understand that either and we even showed her the tickets.  Maybe she has never been before.  So she cried until we arrived at the theater.  The kids were very quiet when we arrived and did not move away from us too much.  We had 5 seats in the back but we could see just fine as the theater is quite small. The kids really enjoyed it. They did a great job with with the puppets.  Jeff and I could understand the base story line.  Their was a mother duck with four ducklings. Someone was kidnapping the ducklings. In the end it was the fox and all the kids were returned.  Jeff and I decided if the kids are happy then we are happy.  I know our pastor back in Stow Ohio would have really enjoyed the show. It made me miss home thinking about it. 

We then returned home for lunch. Elliana and Spencer can pick sleep or English class.  They both picked English class.  We wrote the alphabet and their full names.  The kids get the J's and S's backwards.  Other then that they can write the full alphabet.  We are working on naming things in English around the house.  They are using them as well. Later on Elliana needed a spoon and she asked for it in English.