Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Past 6 Months

I can’t believe it has been almost six month since we returned from Russia, and 3 months since I last posted an update here. Like they say, no news is good news. And when it comes to Alex, it truly is all good. His change these past six months has been truly amazing!!! I don’t even know where to start here. Let’s see…I’ll start with his health, which has been our major concern since we got back. He was circumcised in July and that turned out perfect (literally!); I don’t think he had a clue of what had just happenned other than noticing when the band aid fell off. In August he visited a Geneticist who did intensive testing and found no signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The Othorrinolaringologist found his nose, ear, throat all very healthy, as did the eye doctor.

His blood tests in August did show that he still had minor anemia so he got treated with iron drops for about three months. He just got tested again a week or so ago and there are no signs of anemia. However, his iron storage (whatever that means) continues to reaqd low so more iron for the next three months. In August he was also seen by a Neurologist who also gave her blessing. His head, motor function, problem solving skills and overall behavior are at, if not above, a child his age. She recommended an MRI only to make me feel better I think. He still rocks a bit just before he falls asleep and that has had me concerned, ever since that first night with me at the Perm hotel in Russia. The MRI did show some fluid concentrated in a corner of his brain, however after her assessment, and a second opinion from Chris’s brother-in-law who is a brain surgeon, and Chris’s dad who is also a doctor, we are now confident that he is just fine – the fluid is not abnormal on children of his age and eventually it “dries-out” as someone put it.

In the past few months Alex’s vocabulary has surprised us, the doctors, and pretty much everyone that hears his non-stoppable chatter. These are all the words he can say besides mama, papa and Dudley:
No ( it is usually No No)
Oh Oh and Oh No
Time out (sounds like tamout)
Water (sounds more like wa-wa)
Come (will usually grab my hand and direct me where he wants me to go)
Up above (learned this one from the twinkle-twinkle little star song)
All Done ( says this one every time we are done with dinner)
Airplane, Open, Lyon, Cat , Light, Egg, Bye Bye , Hello, Cup, Moon ,Night Night, Apple , Apple tree,Banana ( sounds like nana), Window, Pear, Ball, Touchdown, Ball game ( learned these last two from daddy), Turtle (says this one perfect), Car, Truck, Elmo, Ernie, Big Bird, Baby ( points at himself when he says this one ), Grandma is called Gaga, Grandpa, Hi, Pipi – caca – pupu, hanger, chu chu is train and too-too is the word for tooth brush and tooth paste.

I am sure am forgetting quite a few. The cutest part is listening to him put three words together now like Night-Night Papa, Bye -Bye Moon, school bus mama, and many more.
He now recognizes the letters Y, O and U from his ABC’s computerized toy; he grabs the toys I ask him to go get, knows the button to turn the tv on and off, and the best part of all is to hear him answer correctly when asked how old he is; Point to all his body parts, how many feet do you have? How many hands and ears do you have? He throws his own diaper in the garbage when I tell him to and when I tell him his clothes are dirty he takes them right to the hamper…Absolutely amazing when only 6 months ago he understood NADA.

At the end of the month we get to go meet grandma and spend a week at her home in Florida. After that is off to Colombia to meet and spent some time with Grandpa, who by the way hasn’t been doing well at all. After Colombia, and depending how my dad is doing, we will go to Aruba so Alex can meet the rest of the aunts, uncles and cousins. I can’t wait to spend this bonding time with Alex!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

20 to 2...Embarrassing!

The mood around the house wasn't too good yesterday. Alex decided to go with the winning team ( just for the day, of course). Different story today since the Cards redeemed themselves by winning the game 3 to 2. My dear friend Jamie...I am sure you were feeling no pain yesterday watching your Phillies. These pics are for you!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Too Adorable...

Scary Monday

Alex had his Cardiologist appointment last Monday and what I thought would be an hour appointment ended up being a whole day scary ordeal. I think it was a lot harder on me than him. The Doc knew about his heart murmur but I guess he heard more than that so they asked me to stay for an echosomething to rule out something more serious. After the echo something I was told he needed two additionals tests. Poor little guy, he looked like the bionic man with wires hooked all over his little chest.

The good news came Monday night and after a bunch of heart tests with names I can't begin to pronounce and much less spell, everything came out NEGATIVE. Meaning he is fine!!! He can continue to run around, play as hard as he wants, dance and start swimming lessons at the end of the year.

He is doing better and better every day and still sleeping all night, taking two naps, eating, hanging out at the pool with daddy and playing non-stop. The best game nowadays is playing peek-a-boo and hiding in the only kitchen cabinet that was intentionally left withouth a lock. I never knew that tupperware could be so much fun!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Time for a change

The blog is getting a lift, a new title and the usual updates on Alex and the rest of the family. The adoption journey is a great memory and we now are moving on to LIFE TODAY. The Cards logo is in honor of the boys ( Chris, Mitch, Alex and Dudley )and with baseball season in full swing, it seemed least for this family of Cards Fans.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Blading around the neighborhood

This was tons of fun for the three of us. Chris rode the bike as I pushed Alex when I was rollerblading. After the one hour work-out Alex runned through the sprinklers and he is now taking his usual mid-day nap.

I think yesterday I spoke too soon. His nose is still runny but no worse than yesterday. Tough little lover boy!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Alex's Report Card

It has been a month since we got home and Alex is doing wonderful. His progress during this past month has been truly amazing. First and most important, he is HEALTHY AND HAPPY. He plays, bounces around, rolls, dances, makes silly faces, tries to repeat everything we say, has learned a lot, and doesn’t stop until bedtime.

Since leaving the orphanage I decided to keep a similar schedule as the orphanage and that was a real blessing. We are very consistent with meals, activities, bath, reading and bed time that he pretty much knows what to expect next and I think that has a lot to do with his happy demeanor.

He is usually up around 7:00; we cuddle for a while then head for the kitchen for breakfast. Once Chris leaves for work, he and I get ready for a stroll down the golf course path and we end up at the neighborhood park where we practice going up and down the slides and the small hills, check out the birds and play in the sandbox. We are following a special diet the nutritionist gave him so he is eating something just about every couple of hours. After the park we play around the house, do a little dancing (the second I turn the stereo on he starts his moves), I fix what I call his second breakfast, play some more, then prepare lunch around noon. He takes a nap from 12:00 to 2:30 then spends the afternoon playing, watching some educational videos or running errands with me. Once in a while he will get in the pool with Chris and dinner is usually close to 6:00, then it is upstairs again for a bath, reading, rocking, and bed time.

Rocking him before bed time is my favorite nighttime event and it appears to be his as well. He was never rocked before and he is sure making up for it now. I put him on his crib just before he falls asleep and in less than a minute he is out for the night. The best part of the schedule? He sleeps between ten to eleven hours a night, and other than a little cry here and there because he can’t find his binky, he sleeps all night.

So far we haven’t found anything he doesn’t like. He eats everything…meat, chicken and fish, fruits and lots of vegetables. We are following the high protein/low carbohydrate diet the Doctor recommended and it has worked. In the past three weeks he gained 1.5 pounds which is about 6% of his current body weight. At this rate, and according to the Doc, he should be on track in just a few months.

We LOVE HIM SOOOO VERY MUCH and are so fortunate, privileged, thankful, blessed and joyful to have him with us and, most of all, thrilled to see him so happy!!!

Oh Oh…just as I finished writing this I heard three sneezes in a row and just noticed a little bit of a runny nose…

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Boyz

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alex is adjusting well...

Nowadays it is nearly impossible to sit down and blog, return emails or do much else unless it has to do with little Alex. I am sure this will change but for now I am dedicating all my time to him and to sleep and rest when we are not spending time with him. Alex is adjusting quite well. Today he was even dancing to the beat of an Eagles song.

I should go back in time for a bit and share the trip experience. Flying from Perm to Moscow was not easy. I had to wait until I had his passport in order to get his tickets and when I did, all they had available was a middle seat in the middle of the plane. No early boarding either like they do here if you are boarding with kids. It took over an hour to get the boarding passes and on top of everything else they gave me a real hard time about my luggage and charged me a lot because I had one too many suitcases. Poor Roma, he had to run to another side of the airport to pay the fee then had to help me with Alex until I was able to get on the bus that takes you to the plane. Fortunately a couple from Spain, who I had met at the Perm hotel, was on the same flight to Moscow. They were God-sent and an amazing help trying to get Alex settled during the flight and at the Moscow airport they helped me with Alex and gathering and hauling my entire luggage.

In Moscow things got better once Chris arrived. The trip to the embassy and getting through security took a lot longer than the actual interview. The consulate talked to us for about five to ten minutes and the main thing we got from him was the warning about Alex not returning to Russia once he is seventeen. He will be considered a Russian citizen until he is eighteen so he could actually be handed a military uniform and drafted for the Russian Army if he were to be in Russia at that age. No way would we ever let that happen but just the thought of it gave me the chills. I will make sure he picks Colombia or Aruba if he ‘must’ go somewhere for spring break that year =-)

The flight from Frankfurt to Chicago was something to forget and never think about again. He was on top of me for about seven of the nine hours the trip took. He spent an hour on Chris and another hour in a bassinette they installed in front of our seats. Let me just say that once we landed in Chicago we felt a huge relief. Spending the night in Chicago was the best thing and gave us the chance to be rested the following morning for our trip to Phoenix. We knew that the second we landed in Chicago Alex would safely be a US citizen. But of course he was finally sleeping at that big moment and with the camera ready to memorialize this historic occasion and a foot off the runway from landing, the plane surged up in the air again, circled and landed 45 minutes later. I guess that day really couldn’t have ended any differently.We got home right on time a week ago last Thursday and ever since our lives have been changed forever.

Alex made a grand-entrance walking on his own through the front door of his new house. I still cry when I watch the video of him with a huge smile and eyes wide open coming through the front door. Who knows what he was thinking! He made himself right at home in no time. He has adjusted quite well, he got another clean bill of health, he sleeps between ten to twelve hours a night, naps during the day, eats well, dances, hugs, kisses, laughs and giggles out loud and is beginning to accept the routine and boundaries we setting for him.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm Loving It!!!

I'm Lovin' It!!! We have never been so happy to see that logo. After three weeks of eating the same food at the breakfast buffet in Perm, and my regular yougurt and granola, we found a McDonals in Moscow and enjoyed it like never before. And so did Alex of course...he had a small taste of fries, chicken nuggets and milk shake.

Monday morning we were picked up bright and early to go get Alex's medical results from the previous Friday. He got a clean bill of health but the nice Russian Doctor Boris decided he would probably never be a football player...he is just a little guy but who knows...his feet are huge so maybe he'll have to settle for soccer.

We did some sightseeing after that and got to visit Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, The Kremlin, Lenin's Toomb and a few other Russian landmarks. Pretty spectacular place!!! The traffic here is really scary...if there are four lanes, people make them into eight; there are cars going in three or four different directions and the traffic jams are nuts. The day I arrived here from Perm, it took four hours to get from the airport to the hotel when it should have been 1.5 hours.

The embassy interview was a piece of cake - as soon as you show the American passport, you bypass the line of about 500 people in a line outside the building. We had an interview that lasted about five minutes and we were done. Alex will become a US Citizen as soon as we arrived in Chicago Wednesday night. He is already looking very patriotic with his red, white and blue outfit and holding a little American Flag upon entering the embassy.

He is doing wonderful, he is happy and bonding a lot with both of us. He is a great eater and the best sleeper. The last couple of nights he slept for twelve hours straight in addition to a one hour nap in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. We have taken a few walks around the area and he is well behave in the stroller and the restaurants. So long as I have a few cheerios, some gold fish and his juice handy he is a very happy boy.

We are very excited to be leaving tomorrow and can't wait to get Alex home and settled in his permanent environment. The doctors have suggested that he stays home with Chris and me only for a while and not to overwhelm him with a lot of visitors or activities. That will be hard to do but we will do what's best for him. Even though he is adapting quite well, overwhelming him could cause issues later on so for now we will be in a cocoon for a little while. Then, it will be party time!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chris is back in Russia

Chris arrived safe and right on time. It is so nice to have him back here!!! I kept telling Alex that Papa was going to be with us soon and I kept showing him his picture. As soon as Chris knocked on the door I said "That's daddy" and he frozed but it only took a couple of minutes for him to be all smiles. The three of us are doing great and glad that Sunday is almost over.

Tomorrow morning we are doing some sight-seing then is off to our US Embassy appointment at 1:00 PM. This will be such special day for us...Alex becoming a legalized citizen of the United States...Woo - Hoo!!!! And he will be dressed for the ocassion too...Red, White and Blue!

The Zoo...

Okay, so maybe he/she was happy, but by the sound of the roaring it didn't appear to me he was having too much fun. I would wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason and could hear him/her and I wished I could cross the street and open the cage. Nonsense, of course! I had planned to visit the Perm zoo after I had Alex with me but changed my mind after hearing that it wasn't really the thing to do...especially for an animal lover like me. Enough said I guess since this is way off the Alex subject :^)