Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh What Fun...

Milana has been enjoying Christmas and her time off from school with her family a great deal. She enjoys looking at the pictures of all of the "babies" on Reece's Rainbow. She gets so excited to see them. It is so hard to believe that she was one of those faces on there not too long ago. Now she has a home with a Mama and a Papa and 3 sisters! And let's not forget her 3 dogs who she loves and adores as well. This girl is surely loving life :)
Her sisters all enjoy having her home with us as well. Riley & Peyton love giving her baths and helping get her dressed. I think they like playing with her toys as much as she does! We got a lot of snow for....well for North Carolina on Christmas Night. Milana and all three of her sisters enjoyed sledding down the hill in the front yard.

Weeeeeeee!!!! This is lots of fun!!! Can we do it again?? Please!!!

I'd say this little girl who was once one of those left behind is enjoying NOT being left behind any longer. In fact she makes sure she is never left out. She loves life! This amazing little girl has grown so much in the short time she has been home. And we are all loving that she is now a part of our family.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Milana's First Christmas

We had a really wonderful Christmas this year - minus the fact that I got sick Christmas night and am just starting to feel better. (And now Chris is sick).

Other than the illness that is spreading through our house like wildfire we had a great day. On Christmas Eve we went to our friends house for their annual Christmas Eve Party. Milana enjoyed the party very much. She made sure we stayed in the room with the food :)

She had a blast munching away and of course got upset with me if I tried to eat. Even with a big cookie in her mouth she decided the carrot I was eating would be tastier. Fortunately she likes fruits and veggies as well as the sweet stuff!

We also went to church Christmas Eve and it was jam packed. The evening finished up with some Chinese food at home. I had hoped we would go out and have someone sing to us like on A Christmas Story - no duck thank you very much, but we stayed home and ate. Then we watched some Christmas shows - Santa Claus is Coming To Town and sent the small kiddos off to bed. Milana first followed by Riley and Peyton. Karissa stayed up a bit longer with Chris and I to watch Christmas Vacation. Oh that Cousin Eddie just crack me up :) When Christmas morning arrived Milana was a little unsure of all that was going on. Peyton & Riley were of course THRILLED that Santa had come to visit them during the night. They woke everyone up and as you can see from the pictures Milana really got in to opening presents. She eventually started opening anything in sight - regardless of whether or not the gift was for her. So some things we weren't sure who they were from or if they were for Peyton or Riley. Regardless we were all so thankful for all the wonderful gifts we received this year. (Including our newest addition to the family - Queen Fussy Butt aka Milana).
Milana also seemed to think that as she opened gifts she was supposed to try them on. I hadn't realized she was such a fashion diva. You gotta love the RUN DMC shirt she is rockin'. Wait til you see the sweet Puma sweat suit she got. This girl is going to be stylin' for sure! I love this picture below where she is holding the picture of Theo who we are Chrismas Warriors for. Our goal (which by the way we are falling incredibly short of) is to raise money for him during the holiday season in hopes that he will find a family and they will have some of the burden of the huge cost removed. We do hope that Theo finds a family and is able to celebrate Christmas with them next year.
What a beautiful picture of my 3 youngest little ones. (My oldest is a bit camera shy and my gift to her today is to not post her picture - it won't last I've got some good ones of her in the snow sledding in our front yard).
These 3 angels each picked out a kiddo (Milana with my help) to send some money to Andrea at Reece's Rainbow as a gift to a child in need of a home.
It's not too late for you to donate to Theo to help him find a forever family or to donate to any of the kids in need of a family. Feel free to browse the website and donate to any child or children you feel led to helping out. Or of course donate to Theo and help us raise money for him as well. You can mail your check to Andrea Roberts c/o Reece's Rainbow P.O. Box 4024 Gaithersburg, MD 20885.
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that none of you get this nasty bug that I had.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First Snow - A Week Late

We got our first snow of the year last Saturday. Riley & Peyton were so thrilled and couldn't wait to get outside to play in it. Milana really seemed to enjoy her first snow in the USA! As for me...we've had the first snow, it was pretty, and I hope it is our last! I prefer the warmer weather.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Day After Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving at our house means that it is time to decorate for Christmas. This year was extra special because of our new addition. If you are new to this blog then you may be asking yourself - new addition? What are you talking about? If you aren't new to this blog then of course you know that our new addition is Milana. We made this day a fun and lazy sort of day. We stayed in our pj's all day and just had a blast decorating. Milana got into the festivities as well and hammed it up a bit (as usual).
I'm not sure what she had planned out here. She just decided at one point to climb up onto the stool and kept trying to open the bin. Apparently we weren't moving fast enough for this little busy body!
This was her only attempt at hanging an ornament on the tree. Unfortunately it was unsuccessful. It dropped right to the floor. Of course it didn't phase her. She did have fun sitting on the floor and hanging the ornaments on her wrist.
I am so happy that Milana is here with us. She brings so much joy to our family. The thought of her or any child spending time in an orphanage without a family is just so heartbreaking. Just today Andrea Roberts - executive director of Reece's Rainbow added at least 100 new children with Down Syndrome to the website. All of them in the same region.
I have to believe if there are that many children in one region there must be many, many more that we are unaware of in other regions. These children All need loving families. They need to get out of the places they are currently in. They need a family so they can blossom.
Look at our super cutie who we just brought home a couple short months ago. She has already had her first Thanksgiving, decorated her first Christmas Tree, and started school. All things she has NEVER done and would NEVER get to do. School would be most unheard of for a child with special needs!
I would like to ask any of you out there to consider making a donation to an orphan this holiday season to help bring them home. I would love for it to be my little Theo who I am trying to raise money towards his adoption fund so that he may find a family soon. If it is not Theo please consider donating to an Angel on the Angel Tree The cost of bringing home a child is very expensive. There are so many families out there that want to adopt, but are unable to because of the cost. All donations made to Reece's Rainbow are tax deductible.
You will also be able to say you helped bring a child home. I can tell you from experience how greatful their future families will be for your support. I will never be able to thank all the people who helped us bring Milana home enough. Without the support we got from friends and family and anonymous donors we would not have Milana here with us today. So thank you to all who helped us! And thank you to all those who have helped other families and children!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The First Day Story...

Milana must have known something was up last night as it took her forever to fall asleep. At 9:30 last night she was still fussing in bed. Then this morning we got a 5:45 a.m. wake up call. (Which we ignored until she started to scream). When I went into her room there she was sitting up with her finger stuck to her head. She had been twirling her hair and her finger was literally stuck to her head. What a sight!

For most of the morning my poor sweetie was tired and cranky. As I was trying to get everyone out the door she cried and cried. We did manage to get some cute pics of her w/her backpack on.

Peyton and Riley went with me this morning to bring Milana to school. When it was time for the three of us to leave Milana gave us all kisses and hugs and waived goodbye to us. Fortunately she did not shed a tear!

All day long I waited on pins and needles to find out about her day. When I got to school to pick her up she was outside playing. As soon as she saw me her face lit up and she came waddling over to me with her arms extended and gave me a great big hug.

After I got my hug she headed back towards the playground. She went straight towards the sand box. Oh how I hate the sandbox! When we were in Ukraine she would sit in the sandbox and every now and again she'd eat a handful of sand. YUCK!!!!

I managed to keep her out of the sandbox and told her we had to go. I don't think she was happy about that. The poor thing was torn. She wanted me and she wanted to play on the playground as well. Eventually she decided to come with me. So we headed inside her classroom, packed up, and headed out.

On the way out of the building this adorable little kindergarten kid told me my baby was really cute. I told him that she went to school there too and he couldn't believe it. He asked me if he could touch her. When I told him yes he put his hand on her arm ever so lightly. It was so cute!

The note from Milana's teacher said that she had a good day - that she was calm. Wait til she gets comfortable. This kid is good at pretending she is quiet and calm. She is LOUD and BUSY!!! Apparently she didn't nap, but stayed on her cot. She also didn't eat all of her lunch which is very surprising. She must have been in shock or something.

Chris and I are just so excited she is in school where she can be with other children and learn. This is so good for her! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings :)

First Day of School Pics....

More First Day of Pre-School Pics

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Can You Believe It?

Tomorrow this adorable little girl is starting preschool. She will be going to school 5 days a week for a full day of school! Sounds like a lot, but this little girl has so much to learn and is eager to do so. She is such a little sponge. She has learned so much in the two months she has been home with us. Milana seems to understand most of what we tell her which is amazing. She has at least 7 signs that she uses regularly. It is just amazing to watch her grow and learn. I can't wait to see how much more she learns once she is in school. Not to mention how excited she will be getting to play with kids her age!
I almost forgot last Friday she said her first word - doggie. Fitting as we have 3 dogs. One of whom (Montana) is her best buddy.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow - although I must admit I am nervous and excited all at the same time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What A Day

Today was quite the day. Milana, Riley, Peyton, and I spent some time laying on the livingroom floor coloring. After about 20 minutes of coloring I think I might have taken my eyes off of Milana for like 5 seconds and the next thing I know Riley is telling me that Milana bit off a chunk of crayon. Poor Riley was so upset. I told her not to worry and went in after that large chunk of crayon.

Big mistake on my part. I almost lost my finger in the process. Milana bit my finger so hard I truly thought she was going to break my finger. I gave up on the chunk of crayon and decided to work on getting my finger back in one piece. Which I did, but I got more than the teeth marks to show for it. She broke the skin and drew blood -- OUCH!!! The little stinker. I guess that crayon was too tastey to let go of :) Later on in the day I put Milana down for her nap. Shortly after she started fussing. Now usually I just leave her be, but for whatever reason I thought I'd go take a peek at her and see what she was up to. (If only I had a camera with me).
When I walked in her room I noticed she was sitting up in bed so I told her to lay down and get to sleep. Milana just sat there. As I got closer I had to do a double take. This little stinker was sitting on her bed with her pants unsnapped, her onsie unsnapped and her diaper ripped open. So there she is all exposed if you will just sitting there hanging out.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! I was thankful that she chose to do this then rather than this morning when her diaper was a bit more messy if you will.
She did eventually take her nap. First I decided to put her in her pj's so she wouldn't be tempted to unsnap anything else. (Or take her diaper off again). I guess I should have went w/the pull up for naptime instead. That would have been more difficult for her to get off.
I'm hoping this was a one time only kind of thing. Otherwise I'll have to find a way to keep her from stripping down!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Weekend of Firsts

This weekend Riley, Peyton, Milana, and I headed to NY to visit my parents and grandparents. It was a nice trip - but VERY short.

On Friday my Mom, the girls, and I took my Nana to the hairdresser. So while we were there Miss Milana got a hair cut too. (This was her first haircut in the USA)!!! She was so good and just sat on my Mom's lap. Every now and then she would turn her head to look at Lisa to see what it was she was doing. My Nana was SO THRILLED that Milana got her hair cut. It was so sweet of Lisa (Nana's hairdresser) to fit us in. Especially since we were late getting Nana there. Oops!
Milana also got to meet all four of my grandparents for the first time. She is such a snuggle bug and she enjoyed getting to hug everyone. They of course all adored her. I mean, how could they not?

Milana also got to meet her grandpa (my Dad) and my brother and sister for the first time. She had a blast with everyone - especialy the guys whom she seemed to prefer on this trip.
It seemed like in no time at all it was already time to head home. My Mom, Dad, and sister will be back for Thanksgiving so I'm sure all four girls will enjoy having the extra company. We are hoping my brother will decide at the last minute to join them. That would be a nice surprise for us all.

Oh! I almost forgot. Milana had another first on our short trip to NY. She got to have Scubbers for the first time - YUM!!!! She ate her buffalo tenders right up. They were so good :) I wish I could eat it again right now!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Good News

My first bit of good news is that when I looked at my blog the other day I saw that someone (or more than someone) donated money towards Theo's adoption fund. I can not thank you enough!!! This is so exciting! I hope that this will get the ball rolling and people will feel led to continue to donate. What a great cause!!! I appreciate your support, Theo appreciates your support and his future family appreciates your support!

As for my other bit of good news...we had Milana's eligiblity meeting on Wednesday and...she is going to be going to preschool. Yay Milana! This will be so good for her in so many ways. I can't wait for little Miss Milana to get to be around and play with other children. She is going to have so much fun!!! I'm sure she will be exhausted too after being in school all day :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Hole In My Heart

I am feeling more and more lately like a piece of me is missing. I have been trying to figure out for such a long time why some days I just feel so blah and want to cry. And then it hit me all at once. I am missing those children that we left behind.

I can't help but think of them each day. Many of the other children we spent time with while at the orphanage have families coming for them. I can't tell you how thrilled I am about that! Whether they have families or not these children will always be a part of me. They will always have a very special place in my heart.

Maybe that is one of many reasons I feel so sad. I feel like I left my family behind. I want so badly to go back and see them. If I could take them all home I would, but we can't afford that. I just miss these beautiful children so much that my heart hurts.

I wish we could find homes for all the children who are in need of loving families. Wouldn't it be such a good feeling to know that all children have the kind of home they deserve?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Without All of You

We were so fortunate throughout our adoption journey to have the support of family and friends. Everyone was so amazing in helping us bring our little girl home. Without this support it would not have been possible to bring Milana home to us.

There are so many children out there who don't have a Mommy or Daddy or a brother or a sister. These children are looked at as having no place in their society. They are placed in orphanages in most cases from birth because their society believes they are not able to learn to read or write or one day have jobs. They are not cared for the way a child should be cared for.

With everyone's prayers, love, and support we were able to raise the money needed to bring Milana home to us. There are so many children who still need homes! There are so many families who want to bring these children home, but the biggest thing that stops them is money. That hurts my heart so much knowing that children are dying and we can help them.
This sweet little angel is Theo. He lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe and needs a family. Maybe it is you. Maybe it isn't. But you could help him find a family by donating to his adoption fund. If you donate $35 by Dec. 15 you will get an ornament with his picture on it. You will also have helped him by making it easier for a family to come forward and adopt him.

You don't have to donate $35. You can donate any amount that you are able - less, more. It is up to you. Please consider donating to Theo's adoption fund. All you have to do is click on the chip in on my blog. Your donation is completely tax deductible.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Slacker Mom Of The Year

This year we didn't exactly celebrate Halloween. Our original plan was for me to take the girls to participate in a Halloween Parade as we do every year. They were going to be Hobo twins. (Yes, you read that correctly - Hobo Twins).

Then just a few days before Halloween they changed their minds. No one knew what to be. The day before Halloween still nothing. So...we changed plans. We decided to have a fun Halloween at home and bake. We made a fabulous apple crisp. Riley & Peyton did a great job baking. It was so yummy! Seriously - they did an amazing job. These girls can bake :) I never planned on dressing Milana up. It was one thing for me to just check off my to do list and not worry about as she has no clue what Halloween is and has never celebrated it. She did get to have a piece of Halloween candy. It was her first piece of American candy - a Reese's Peanutbutter Cup :)
We did look through some old dressups of Peyton's and Riley's and put her in this little ballet outfit. It was a bit big, but she still looks cute none the less.

Don't you just love the purse? She kept putting her cell phone in it and then putting the purse up on her shoulder. What a riot!
She really loves this mask. Peyton kept calling her the red storm trooper. Both Riley and Peyton had a blast playing dress up with their little sister!
If only Karissa had been home to join in the fun. Maybe we can get some dress up picks of all four girls when Karissa comes home for Thanksgiving! Fun!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Are You Even A Little Curious???

I recently added a picture of a beautfiul little boy to my blog. I'm sure some of you are probably wondering - who is this gorgeous little man? Well...his name is Theo and he is in desparate need of a family.

Theo lives in Eastern Europe. He has Down Syndrome and is in need of a Mommy & Daddy. (Maybe even a sister & brother or two). Could you be Theo's forever family?? Just look at that beautiful face. That blond hair - those blue eyes. Doesn't he deserve a loving home?

Please considering joining my family and I in helping Theo this holiday season. Our goal is to raise money towards his adoption fund so that when he does find his forever family (or they find him) they won't be afraid of the cost of bringing this little guy home.

There are so many waiting children out there that are in need of a family and the biggest thing that keeps them from getting a family is money! This breaks my heart!

So I am asking, begging, etc that you consider making a donation to Theo's adoption fund. It doesn't have to be much - $5 - $10. Whatever you feel you are able to donate (it can obviously be more too).

All money donated through the chip in on my blog goes directly to Reece's Rainbow and is tax deductible. If you feel more comfortable mailing a check please make your check out to Reece's Rainbow and mail it to Reece's Rainbow P.O. Box 4024 Gaithersburg, MD 20885 and put Theo's name in the memo line. Remember all donations are tax deductible! You could help save a child by contributing to their adoption fund!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Girl's Best Friend

It is so funny to see Milana interact with our 3 dogs. We were worried when we first brought her home that Bailey would bark at her and scare her(because of the barking). Fortunately Bailey didn't bark at her at all. None of our 3 dogs barked at Milana. They eagerly sniffed and licked her as soon as we brought her home.

What we didn't expect was Milana's reaction to the dogs. The minute she laid eyes on them she screamed like crazy. If they looked at her or came near her she would scream! We realized within just a few hours of having her home that she wasn't really afraid of them, but she continued to scream for the next 24 hours or so whenever they came near her.

Now she can't get enough of them. She loves to pet them and kiss them. When they lick her face she laughs so hard. On a few occasions we have seen her stick out her tongue to lick them too :)

As you can see Milana and the dogs have become best buddies. Most days those poor dogs can't escape her. Even if they are trying to sleep she will go over to them and start yelling at them to get them to wake up. She sticks her face right under theirs so that they will pay attention to her (and lick her). If it doesn't work with one dog she moves on to the next.

Milana really likes to boss the dogs around. She will yell and point at the pillow for them to go lay down. Then she follows them over, plops herself down and sticks her face in theirs or starts petting them. You gotta love the friendship between a girl and her dogs :)