Thursday, December 24, 2009

Catching Up

The week after Thanksgiving my Grandmother passed away, so Nikolai and I got on a plane and headed back to Michigan. It is always hard to lose someone, but it was nice to see all of my mom’s family and to visit my sister again. Nikolai now really knows his aunt, uncle and cousins; he will still occasionally name them all (including Cocoa and Sebring) and then sadly say “bye bye”. The day after the funeral we went to Grandma’s house and the whole family went through her house and chose things we would like. It brought back a lot of great memories about Grandma and Don. Some of my favorite memories include playing spoons, raiding the pantry for home-made pickles, fishing, looking at the polished rocks Don was working with (we always got to keep one!), and just laughing a lot. The smell of bacon in the morning still reminds me of vacation. Chris still talks about the first time he met Grandma and Don and one of the first time he met my family in general. He came up to watch a skating competition my sister was in and we all met at a restaurant, where Grandma and Don proceeded to start a mini food fight!

Nikolai amazes us every day. He is so cute and silly! The other evening he pulled a yogurt out of the fridge and carried it around while I got the rest of his dinner ready. A few minutes later I asked him where the yogurt was, and he said “where go?” I asked again, “where did the yogurt go?” Nikolai suggested “fridge?” (not likely – he cannot open the door). I found the yogurt inside the seat of his ride-on truck. When I pulled it out, Nikolai declared “oh yogurt” in the tone as if he was saying “silly yogurt”.

He calls Santa Clause “binga ball” (jingle bells) and his Frosty the Snowman musical card “happy face card” since the song says Frosty was a “jolly happy soul”. He loves to dance and sing.

Current cute phrases: careful!; where are you?; let’s go!; (I) did it!; come ere (here) let’s play; this way; whoa big truck

He asked to poop on the potty, and actually did! He often asks to pee on the potty, but has never actually gone. I think perhaps he asks when it is already too late. At least he seems to be starting to become aware, not that we have any intentions of potty training in the near future.

SNOW! We got about 2 feet of snow. Shoveling off the sidewalk and around the cars reminded me how many muscles I have lost since I have transitioned from mostly fieldwork to mostly office work. Nikolai has no interest in playing in the snow, but admittedly it is nearly above his head. He loves to eat it though. Although lately he has been asking to go “outside snow” a lot, so I think the snow is starting to grow on him – or perhaps he just likes to wear his hat and gloves.

Now on to Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We are Very Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving

Sharing Nana's Lap

Drumming at Jungle Java

Mom and Jen trying to flip the turkey AFTER it was put in a bag to marinate

Sweedish pancake breakfast

We drove to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my sister and her family. My parents, Ron’s mom, and Ron’s brother and his family all came too. Ron’s brother has a daughter just three days younger than Nikolai. They were really cute together, especially leaning in at dinner to smile at each other down the length of the table. Nikolai sounded a bit like a broken record, though, constantly saying “mine”. He gathered his and a few of Ryan’s footballs and guarded them. While Bella does not say a lot, it was clear she got the “mine” idea as at one time she got a hold of one of the footballs and paraded around waving it above her head. Kids are SO funny. Nikolai was especially disturbed to discover he has to share his Nana and Pop with his cousins. We heard a lot of “My Nana!” “My Pop!” “My football!” “My Dada” “My ice”… you get the picture. By the end of the weekend he was ok if my niece or nephew sat on my parent’s laps, and even shared my lap with Alexis at one point.

Friday we went to Jungle Java – a coffee house with a huge indoor play area for kids. Nikolai had so much fun, especially once he abandoned the under 3 playground and headed to the big kids’ climbing area. Of course I had to go with, which was fun and great exercise. He (and I) was exhausted by the end.

I think everyone had lot of fun. I was so impressed with all of the kids – no one had any real meltdowns and everyone had fun playing together. Nikolai even learned to take turns. And the adults got to play a lot of cards and watch movies.

Adoption News:
We received Nikolai’s Certificate of Citizenship!!! It only took 12 months, three in-person meetings with USCIS officers, and the involvement of our Senator. It made me laugh, though, when we finally got the certificate it had Nik’s original visa photo despite our having to provide new passport photos and a full N-600 application (luckily without fee!). So USCIS had the info just sitting there for 12 months and no one thought to hit print??

No good news from China. While referrals came out today and finally all of March 2006 LIDs have been matched (with adorable babies!), no referrals were sent in September or November. In September there was a big holiday and in November a new director of CCAA was appointed (first time in about 7 years) so there were reasons for the delays and hopefully it will NOT become a pattern to send referrals every other month. Still, since we had been thinking we would get referral at the end of 2010, skipping two months pushes us into 2011.

The atmosphere in the China adoption world is all doom and gloom, with rumors that the NSN program will close and no one beyond April 2006 will even get referral, or that May 2006 will wait an additional 2 years. I am worried about the increased time between referrals, but otherwise do not buy into the horrendous predictions. I really think all of April, May and early June 2006 LIDs will get referral next year. I really feel for those with 2007 LIDs, though, who have already waited 2+ years and probably have 4+ years to go.