25 July 2007

Time Flies when you are Super Busy!

Hello to everyone in Blogger Land! Wow, it's been so long since I posted that I don't even know what to say. We are all doing well and enjoying life as a family.
Monchichi is getting so BIG! He has grown three inches and put on 8 pounds in the four months since his arrival home. He's a great eater and started walking last month.
He really is the light of our lives. Our entertainment at night is to watch him play. We are so amazed at every little thing he does. Rob and I are very goofy people and Monchichi has picked up on this goofiness. He makes us laugh so much!
Well, I hope everyone is doing great. I know there have been ups and down for everybody over the past couple of months---no matter what stage of the adoption process we are in. I guess that's life. Still, my prayer is that we enjoy the good times to the max and that we persevere and get strength through the down times.
I've been keeping up with a lot of your blogs and it warms my heart to see all the happenings and photos! I promise I'll try to be better at posting!
Smiles from Michelle

25 May 2007

The Race is not Over!

I can't believe it has been so long since my last post! Time flies and this past month has been a little crazy.
Monchichi is doing great. We are so amazed with the changes in him every day! Today was a really hot day in Massachusetts so I took him outside with a pail of water and his Little People animals. He had so much fun! Just take a look.............

We'll write more soon but we just wanted to post a quick Hello!

02 April 2007

Team Guido does it Again!

First, my commentary on last night's episodes of The Amazing Race! I'm not sure how many of you are seasoned veterans of TAR but let's go back to Season One. If you can recall....do you remember that when the winning team crossed the finish line Team Guido was still in Alaska (not the final state) doing a task. They didn't even come close to finishing the race because they were so far behind the other two teams. Just like last night! I don't think I've ever seen teams so far behind that another team started the next leg of the race before all the teams finished the previous leg. Sorry to see you go, Team Guido!
Ok--I laughed so hard last night. Mirna was too funny with her commentary with Charla. But, Charla gives it right back to her. They are hilarious. Even Dustin and Kandice thought they were a riot while they were trying to finish the sausage challenge. I have a thought about all these funny clips of Mirna and Charla. I said to Rob last night--I think they are going to win. If you can recall the season with Flo and Zack, the episodes were full of scenes with Flo crying or having a fit or getting upset with Zack. BTW, just as an aside, I do need to mention that Flo and Zack are alums of Vassar College, my alma mater as well! And they won! So, we'll see. Any other bets on who might win! I am happy that some of my favorite teams are still in the challenge so it'll be a great finish!

Episode Recap #4 The Court Hearing
I do want to continue with updates about our adoption trip because I hope somewhere down the line it is helpful to someone going through the process. I know I was incredibly encouraged and hopeful as I watched many couples go through the process through their blogs!
On the day of court, I couldn't even think about sitting down to eat breakfast. Plus, I do like to be alone sometimes to meditate, pray, and gather my thoughts and feelings. So, Rob went down to the buffet and gave me some alone time in the room. I did eat one of the Balance bars that we packed with us for the trip. I took my time getting ready and just tried to remain calm.
We met downstairs at 9 30 am with our translator and she walked with us over to court. It was nice because our friends were in the lobby waiting for us to wish us well! We walked over to the courthouse--about 5 minutes away and went to the room. It was a small room but was set up in a traditional "court" style with a bench for the judge, two sides with desks for the attorneys, and benches behind them. Rob and I just sat down and held hands and waited anxiously for the session to begin. The prosecutor arrived early and he asked to see pictures of us with Monchichi from the first trip. I had put together a little album and he flipped through it. The last two pages had pictures of Monchichi's room and the prosecutor added "what a nice room". I was happy because Rob and I really wanted to create a peaceful atmosphere for our son. Rob worked so hard painting and putting furniture together to make it just right! Thank you, honey! See, in our family, I have the ideas but Rob does most of the hard labor!
I do have to mention that I can't say anything specific about the court hearing because it is private and closed. I will add that we were both asked a few questions by the judge and prosecutor. I wasn't too nervous once the whole procedure started but I was just hoping it would be over---and that there would be a good outcome. Well, the "hearing" took 35 minutes and then we had to wait about 20 minutes for the judge to return to read the decision. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life! Everyone else was chatting and happy and I just wanted it all confirmed.
The judge did come in and read the positive decision--and the ten days was waived. I just remember Rob and I hugging each other so tight and breaking down in tears. It was very emotional because this journey to having a family has been a very long one with many heartbreaks and disappointments along the way.
Everyone came over and congratulated us and we were so happy! We were able to speak with the judge and we assured her that we would love and adore and take great care of Monchichi. She told us she knew we had enough love but to make sure we had patience. A very wise statement!
After court, we walked back to the hotel and went to our friends' room where we talked and made lunch plans. We had to have a quick lunch because we were meeting up with the facilitator to run some errands that afternoon. Those included getting the birth certificates, amended birth certificates, and adoption certificates. We did a lot of waiting but we didn't mind as we were all so happy. We just chatted about the children and the next stages and so many things! To end the day, we had dinner at the cafe, of course, and desserts in the hotel lobby bar as a special celebration!
That's about it for that day...More to come!

Here's a fun picture of Rob and Monchichi! Rob loves to experiment with photography so I am always finding new photos on our computer that I didn't know he took. He must have taken this one when I was getting ready to go out last weekend and he was taking care of Monchichi. Now, I know I am biased but aren't they handsome guys? I love you both sooo much!

26 March 2007

You Go Charla and Mirna!

First, my commentary on last night's Amazing Race. Way to go, Charla and Mirna! Two weeks in a row pulling into first place. And all because they chose the right task last week and took a risk this week! Well, that and they didn't stop for fruit like Oswald and Danny. Warning to Oswald and Danny---think Team Guido taking time for massages and almost getting eliminated.
Rob and I were laughing so much last night at Charla and Mirna's accents they were using with the natives in the different countries. At one point, they sounded Italian and we weren't sure why they were doing this accent thing. It was pretty funny! Whatever works for you...
I was sad to see Teri and Ian go. But, I was so encouraged to see their spirit. I can't imagine Rob and I doing this race not once but twice in our 50s. I can't even imagine us doing it now. Two trips to Russia in less than two months was a lot for us!

Episode Recap #3
Speaking of our trip to Russia, I need to continue with my recaps of our second trip. I left off on a Monday night where we had dinner to discuss the court case with our facilitator.
On Tuesday, we went to the baby home with our friends to visit the children. On the first trip, they gave us separate rooms but on this day they put us all together in one room. It was pretty crowded with all the adults and the children. We were so excited when they brought in Monchichi. It was so emotional to see him again. He looked bigger and more grown-up to us. On the first trip, he bonded well with me but was a little unsure about Rob. On this visit, he took to Rob right away and I was so happy and encouraged! He gave us big toothy smiles and laughs this day! We didn't have a long visit but his smile kept me going through the next 24 hours as I anticipated our court hearing.
Here is a picture from that visit...
Don't you love his red bonnet?

After our visit, we went with our friends to our "cafe" for lunch. We found this cafe on the first trip and we basically went there for every meal during our two stays except for breakfast at the hotel and one night at a different restaurant. We loved this cafe because it was inexpensive and had a variety of foods. The waitstaff was so nice to us and would play charades with us to help us decipher the Russian menu. There was no English menu but there were pictures of the meals so that was helpful. I especially enjoyed the potato pancakes and the steak meal at the cafe.
After lunch at the cafe, our friends had to go and get ready for their court hearing that afternoon. I was so nervous for them and for us for the next day. I couldn't decide whether I was happy that we had to wait until the next day or not.
Everything went well for them and we went out to celebrate that night with dinner at the cafe! I was so excited for them but still so nervous about our hearing the next day. Rob and I went back to our room and read through our paperwork and talked through some things to be prepared for the next day! Somehow, I think I slept a couple of hours that night!
That's it for this recap.

And, now for something fun! Here's a picture of Monchichi on his new rider toy! My aunt sent him some money and he went on a shopping spree at Babies R Us! Well, Mommy and Daddy may have made some of the choices!

18 March 2007

Introducing Monchichi!

Here's our little Monchichi! He is just the sweetest little boy! He's fourteen months old and full of fun and joy! Rob and I can not describe how happy he makes us and how full our lives are because of him. We waited a long time for children but we can honestly say that he was worth the wait! We couldn't be happier and we couldn't love him more!
Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!
And to my fellow Amazing Race fans---will Mirna and Charla be able to pull out of last place tonight? We'll see......

15 March 2007

Episode Recap #2

Before I start with a recap of Day 2 of our journey to get Monchichi, I need to comment on the events of The Amazing Race on Sunday night.

Bye,Bye Rob and Amber!
They did have a strong showing in the first three episodes and it must have been so disheartening to come in last. I think the worst part was that we clearly saw what was wrong with their task and they just couldn't see the spelling error in their sign. I wonder how they felt when they realized what went wrong. Anyway, I was especially happy to see that Charla and Mirna managed to hang in there. However, what was up with Mirna yelling at Charla like that--it seemed so unlike her! Till next week!

Day 2 of our journey began with waking up early in the morning to go down and meet our facilitator who would take us to the train station for our trip to our region. On our last trip, we took the overnight train back and forth to Moscow. But, this was a day train. It was actually a lot of fun and we loved the experience. Rob and I both love trains and the two person cabin is very comfortable. Here's a picture of the cabin from our first trip.
One of the things we loved about the train is that they come and offer you tea and coffee at the start of the trip. The tea is so good and very inexpensive. They made it super sweet for us with lots of sugar and lemon. Yum-O!
For anyone who takes the journey on the train, here are some tips.
--The attendants do not speak English so it's helpful to have a cheat sheet of words to help with ordering a meal or asking a question.
--You pay for your tea/coffee at the end of the trip right before you get to your station.
--The blue covers on the couches come off and there are sheets underneath where you can sleep and get comfortable.
--The cabin has a tv mounted on the wall. They play Russian DVDs on it throughout the trip. We saw Air Force One, The Thorn Birds, and A Good Year in Russian.

That's about all the tips I can think of for now but feel free to ask questions or post your own tips in the comments if you have experienced the overnight train.

Back to our journey....
After sleeping for a couple of hours on the train to our region, we woke up and spent the rest of the time enjoying the scenery passing by us. We arrived in our region and were picked up by our facilitator and the driver. They took us to our hotel where we met up with our friends from Trip One. We were told we had 30 minutes to get ready and be back down in the lobby to go to dinner with our friends, the translator, and the facilitator so we could discuss court proceedings in Russia.
We had a lovely dinner at our facilitator's home and we felt very well informed about what to expect in court at the end of the evening.
After we arrived back at the hotel, Rob and I sat in the lobby bar and had a yummy dessert! Our hotel was so nice and we really enjoyed spending time in the lobby relaxing with teas, lattes, and desserts.
We ended up the evening unpacking and watching the Academy Awards in Russian. I didn't really mind because I still enjoyed seeing all the dresses!
And that was Day Two!

11 March 2007

Episode Recap #1

As you now know, we had to miss a few episodes of The Amazing Race because of our time in Russia. But, luckily, there are episode recaps posted on the CBS websites so I am all caught up on the latest happenings.
And, in the spirit of being able to catch up on what went on with our adoption, I will be posting some recaps of our trip to Russia and our process for all of you.
We did have the ten day waiting period waived but, apparently, it still takes ten days for everything to be all legal. So, because I am a very cautious person, it'll be a few more days before I will post some pictures.
But here's how our first day went:

We left Boston on the 24th of March and flew Lufthansa to Frankfurt. We arrived in Frankfurt early on the 25th and proceeded to the gate to wait for our flight to Moscow. Since we had some time, we decided to watch a DVD on the laptop. And, 5 minutes into the DVD, the laptop crashed. We neglected to bring the windows recovery cd so things were not looking good for having a laptop for the trip. This was a bit discouraging because we had lots of DVDs to watch in the event of having to wait out the ten days. I was also hoping to email and post on the blog more often during the trip. Needless to say, a glitch. Not a big one but still a glitch.
About an hour into our flight to Moscow, the pilot made an announcement that there were some problems and they were taking us to Berlin to check out the plane. Well, I don't like flying so this made me nervous. On top of that, we were expected in Moscow soon and were meeting up with our friends from trip 1 to have dinner and take the overnight train to our region. We were still hopeful that we could make the overnight train at this point.
We were wrong! When we arrived in Berlin, they deplaned us and had us pick up our luggage. We placed our phone calls and said we would be late to Moscow. Then, we had to get on a flight from Berlin back to Frankfurt as there were no direct flights available to Moscow. We arrived back in Frankfurt, collected our luggage once again, and proceeded to book a flight to Moscow. Lufthansa wanted us to wait until the next day but, after pleading our case, they booked us on an Aeroflot flight leaving that night--due to arrive in Moscow at midnight. So, no overnight train. We figured we would have to take one the next night.
We did make it to Moscow at midnight and our facilitator drove us to the Sheraton Palace where we checked in for a few short hours as we had to be up by 6 30 am to catch a day train to our region. We thought we had it hard but our poor facilitator slept in his car outside the hotel as there was not enough time for him to return to his home and come back to get us so early in the morning. What a guy!
So, that's a recap of Day One!

As far as how things are going at home with Baby D---well we couldn't be happier. I wrote an email to my brother and described our new life as Chaos and Bliss! We're a lot busier with our new little one getting used to his new life. But, we are just too happy to notice!

BTW, we have decided on a blog name for Baby D---it will be Monchichi. I'm not sure if any of you remember that Monchichi dolls of the 70s/80s---but maybe you remember the song:

Monchichi, Monchichi, oh so soft and cuddly!

That's our little boy!