Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Beach

Today Alivia and I made the long drive out to the beach. It was beautiful! The sun was bright, the water was warm and the beach was rather empty--the kids are back in school here, so weekdays at the beach are really nice! Alivia loved the waves and the sand. She actually tried to "dive" head first into a couple waves and ended up swallowing a bit of ocean water, but it only made her sputter a bit. No tears or fussing at all! She also tried to eat a couple fistfuls of sand. Alivia is still very much at the "everything goes in the mouth" stage. We only stayed out for about half an hour as I don't want to risk her delicate skin getting burnt.

Yesterday we spent the day at Gran and Papa's house. When we got home there was a lovely surprise in the mail--a gorgeous hand drawn card from a dear friend of mine in Canada. Don is an actor and jazz singer and now, from what I hear, has his own radio show up there. I've also been catching him doing the voice of a character on a cartoon called My Dad the Rockstar. Anyway--the card is beautiful and I wanted to share it here. A lot of my friends who have met Don in the past at the La Femme Nikita conventions and the celebrity cruises will enjoy the chance to see it. Don also decorated the envelope that he sent it in--another beautiful piece of art!

And--last, but not least--we have a tentative court date for the official Florida recognition of Alivia's foreign adoption: September 20th! Hurray!!!

~ Jeana

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Photos and a Pooh Story...

As promised, here is a picture of the new shelves I put up in Alivia's room. The bottom shelf contains small wooden and clay toys from Russia, including a couple matroshka dolls, a clay whistle and a bobble head duck. The upper shelves have a native costume doll which I purchased at the Olympic overlook in Moscow, a real working nutcracker, and a couple handmade fur dolls which I purchased back in 1991 when I visited Murmansk, Russia, up in the arctic circle. I hope that Alivia will come to appreciate all of these things as she grows up and learns about her heritage.

I also took the opportunity to get a couple more shots of Alivia today. Here she's in her room gazing out the window as she sits in mommy's rocking chair. You can see the picket fence and flower floor border that I did in her room, too. I just love that border!

Alivia was in a playful mood today and enjoyed posing for the camera. I love the impish little look she has in this one! The biggest problem I find now when I try to take pictures is that she wants to play with the camera. We have a few closeups now that are just a bit too close up. I have a feeling she's going to turn into a little ham before too long!

One last one to share... along with a funny story. My parents also have a nursery set up for Alivia--their's is a Winnie the Pooh themed room. Alivia, it seems, doesn't understand the difference between Pooh and poo, though, and decided to add some decorations of her own. Yesterday while we were visiting, Alivia had a major poo of the exploding diaper variety. There was poo down the inside of the legs of her little jeans, poo on her socks, poo squishing out of her diaper... and she, of course, had to spread it around a little more, smearing poo on the sheets of her crib where we were trying to change her, on the crib bumper, on a couple of the stuffed animals. She had a regular poo party! I don't think I've ever used quite so many wipes at one changing! It probably would have been easier at that point just to put her in the tub for a bath! Needless to say, her "Pooh" room has been thoroughly chistened!

~ Jeana

Friday, August 25, 2006

Two for the Price of One...

This has been an interesting week. A friend of mine ran into a situation where he needed a babysitter for his 4 month old daughter while he worked and asked if I could help out. She's a sweet little girl--very good natured--and still pretty much at the sleep, eat, poop, and sleep some more stage, so I agreed to look after her for a few days. For the most part Alivia did very well with it. She did exhibit a little bit of jealousy in the form of patting my leg to get my attention a few times when I was busy with Mia, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I guess she still retains some memories of the orphanage and so is a little more amenable to sharing her mommy than she might otherwise be. The only other thing I noticed was that she woke up crying in the night after the second day of sharing me with Mia--something she hasn't done since her very first night with me after leaving the orphanage. Today we were back on our own again, though, and Alivia seemed quite herself. I was really worried that we might see some regression, but I think we came through it okay.

After this little experiment I have to give props to the mothers who manage to juggle multiple babies on a daily basis. It can really be exhausting. I don't even want to think about trying to go out to the store or anything like that with more than one. It seemed like I'd just get one settled for a few minutes and I'd have to pick up the other one for something. Thank goodness for morning and afternoon naps! You can't imagine how delighted I was that it rained here all morning this morning and the steady pattering of rain on the roof and the darkness from the cloud cover made Alivia sleep in a bit. We both needed the rest after the last three days!

The other thing I managed to do this week was paint and install some cute little shelves in Alivia's room. We now have a place to display some keepsakes from her Russian heritage. I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow and post them here.

~ Jeana

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Photos!

Hi everyone! I managed to get a couple new photos of Alivia. As you can see, she is showing much more personality these days! She's figured out that when mommy gets out this little black box and points it at her it makes nasty bright lights flash in her face. Here she's giving me "the look" to let me know she's ready for it to stop. She's also clutching her favorite treat of the moment--a creamy Nutterbutter cookie. My dad introduced her to those yesterday and she's hooked!

Here she has just finished her cookie and is trying to charm mom into giving her another one. She has the most beautiful smile--you just don't see it too often in photos. I was pleased to get this one with her impish look. I can't wait until she will smile for the camera on purpose so that I can get some nice portraits done!

And finally--here she is at Gran's house sitting in her new rocking chair. It's actually an heirloom of sorts... it was my rocking chair when I was a baby. A friend of my mom's repainted it for us and did a fabulous job! I also like this shot because it shows off her pretty dress. Believe it or not, this is a 0-3 month size dress. She's still SO tiny! She is growing, though! She's up to 26 inches in length and 15 pounds in weight.

Well, that's all for now... hope you all enjoy them!

~ Jeana

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Up and at 'Em!

A couple days ago Alivia decided she didn't want to take a nap and spent two hours whining and crying to get out of the crib. Being the mean mommy that I am, I wouldn't let her out and so she got angrier and angrier until she managed to teach herself to pull up on the crib bars and stand up! I wish I'd had the camera ready--there she was all red nosed, angry and frustrated and she couldn't figure out why mommy was grinning at her! Of course it hasn't all been rosy since then. She loves to pull up on the bars, but frequently loses her grip or her balance. She now has a lovely little purple bruise on her forehead. The knocks don't seem to deter her at all, though. She just gets right back at it. Alivia is starting to cruise a bit, too, and I have a feeling she'll be walking in a matter of days at this rate.

Alivia is also becoming more vocal. She doesn't know what they mean, I'm sure, but her vocabulary now includes dada, daddy, and kitty. With no "daddy" in the picture, the only useful one of those right now is the kitty--although with the way our three cats manage to avoid her reach, it's not that useful either! Can't wait for the first "mama"!

Today Alivia and I are going to Gran and Papa's house for lunch. Alivia loves Gran's house because she gets to play with the dogs. Suni especially loves to play with Alivia and the two of them have a great time together. I'll try to get some photos today and post them later on.

Hope you're all having a great week!

~ Jeana

Monday, August 14, 2006


Today we received Alivia's official Certificate of Citizenship along with a form letter from the President welcoming Alivia to the U.S. I was thinking of framing the certificate, but it's such an important document that I think I'll just put it away in the safe instead. I'm going to add the form letter from Pres. Bush to her life book.

Speaking of which... I really need to start pulling that together. I have a bunch of documents and adoption/Russian memorabilia that I plan to put in it. It's just a matter of getting organized. I'm sure all my colleagues at work can't believe I haven't got the thing started yet--let alone up to date! Alivia and I have just been having so much fun, though! It's hard to find time to do other stuff.

Tomorrow we're spending the day with my parents. I've got a desperately needed hair appointment in the afternoon and Mom wants to take Alivia shopping. Of course all the stylists at the hair salon want to meet Alivia, too, so they'll be dropping me off there on their way to Target. Hmmm... I wonder if I can get Mom to take care of getting Alivia's passport photos done while they are there...

~ Jeana

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Papers are Filed...

I'm including some more photos of Alivia here--these are from my first trip to meet her. I'm amazed that it was only two months ago! It seems like I've had her for much longer than that! I'm also amazed at how the long wait for her referral seems to have just faded away. My life before Alivia seems like the most vague of memories and the reality of "now" with Alivia is so wonderfully real!

Today Alivia and I journeyed downtown to the courthouse to file the papers for official "Recognition of a Foreign Adoption" by the State of Florida. The filing fee was $293. Small change in the overall scheme of things! Now we are just waiting for our day in court! They told us that we should hear something in the next two to four weeks--not quite the quick turn around that I was hoping for, but I'm quite experienced when it comes to waiting now, so it's not a big deal.

Alivia was in a very happy frame of mind today. She laughed and played all day long. She is so solemn a lot of the time that it was really nice to see her chortling away at every thing. She also learned a new trick--how to fake sneeze. She discovered that whenever she "sneezes" Mommy will say bless you and she thinks that's just the most marvelous thing so she does it over and over again.

I think Alivia is also getting her first words. She keeps saying something that sounds like "ditta ditta" and I think it's coming from Dora the Explorer's "We did it!" song. I have been singing it to her when we watch it and also singing a "You did it!" version when she does special things. She spent most of this evening before bed saying "ditta ditta" and then grinning with the tip of her tongue poking out. It was just too precious!

Don't you just love babies!

~ Jeana

Monday, August 07, 2006

Progress... and a Funny Story

Things are moving ahead in the paperwork department. I received Alivia's social security card today. It says she needs to sign it... hmmm... I guess I need to call them and find out if I need to sign it for her or just hold it until she's older or what... but at least we have it!

I've also made progress in the paperwork on the recognition of a foreign adoption court proceedings here in Florida. I have all the forms completed and all the supporting documents gathered. Tomorrow I'm going to try to get over to my office and have one of the ladies there notarize everything for me. Then I'll be ready to head back to the courthouse to file the papers and request a hearing. Hopefully we can get on the judge's calendar fairly quickly!

What else is happening... Alivia has cut a couple more teeth--she's now up to 12! She just got in two lower molars. She still doesn't like chunky food at all, though. She wants everything pureed. Oh--and the cats are getting a little more curious about this new creature in their house. Lots of covert sniffs today when Alivia was looking the other way.

Oh--today was our one month anniversary, too! One month ago on July 7th, Judge O. V. Aksynova pronounced Alivia and I "daughter and mother". We celebrated with some chocolate cherry ice cream for dessert. In our first month together, Alivia has easily gained more than two pounds, grown an inch in length and gained TONS of personality!

She's also gained attitude with a capital A! She and I were out with a friend of mine for dinner the other evening and after dinner I started coughing. I'm still struggling with a lingering cough from the nasty cold I caught in Russia. Well, Alivia loves to mimic my coughing and will do it time and time again, so it's fun to egg her on. My friend Lesley decides to get in on the act and interjects a cough of her own and you wouldn't believe how quickly Alivia whipped her head around to glare at Lesley! It was like she was saying this was HER game and Lesley was NOT invited to play! After glaring at Lesley for several long seconds, Alivia turned again to look at me and very deliberately coughed once, as if for emphasis. Lesley and I both burst out laughing. When she finally recovered enough to speak, Lesley said "Well, I guess she showed me!"

Just for more grins and giggles, here is Alivia's referral picture. As you can imagine, I fell in love the moment I opened the email it came in! Amazingly she just grows more beautiful with each passing day!

~ Jeana

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How Time Flies!

Wow--it's incredible how full my days are now! Some days it's all I can do to keep up with everything. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, though. Alivia is such a sweetie and it's wonderful to see the daily changes in her.

We found a lovely rocking horse for her at BJ's. It has sound effects of galloping and neighing and also has some motion effects--the tail swishes and the nose wiggles while it is neighing. It's so cute! It's a little big for Alivia yet--her feet don't reach the stirrups, but she still loves it!

I also found an activity station for her that I really like. Most of them have the child seated in the middle and they just spin around to access the various games and activities. This one has the baby seated on the outside and the baby has to move around the outside of the station to access everything. The seat also spins in place to allow her to turn around to see me or the tv. Alivia is just tall enough for it--her feet can sit flat on the ground while she stands in it. It's helping her with her balance and, hopefully, will also help her learn to walk. She's getting pretty good at scooting herself around the station to get to whatever activity has captured her interest!

Yesterday I went to the courthouse to find out about having Alivia's foreign adoption officially recognized here. This will enable me to get a Florida birth certificate for her which will be very helpful when it's time to register her for school in a few years. I have to go back tomorrow to meet with a case worker who will help me with all the forms. Sometimes you just wonder if the paperwork will ever end!

~ Jeana