well, we are 6 weeks into being a family of four and we have survived - so far. :) i think we are staring to find a rhythm and are really enjoying watching both alexei and anya grow and learn new things daily. sleep is getting better, though we are still wrestling with anya's gastric reflux and just started our third med. hopefully it will work the magic i've heard others say it did for them. thankfully she is gaining weight really well - she was 10lbs 10 oz. a couple of weeks ago. i have fallen in love with my crockpot. i hadn't ever really put in the effort to find vegetarian crockpot recipes before, but man, have i been trying them out lately! it is so nice to fix a meal in the evening after alexei is in bed, let it cook overnight and have it ready to go for lunch or dinner the next day. there are all sorts of little tricks to figure out to make having 2 kiddos in diapers as smooth as possible. i would love hearing ya'lls ideas if you don't mind sharing. i am definantly in the try it out and see what works stage.
Since there was such huge gaps between my last few posts, i wanted to throw in a few pictures of the highlights between September until now as well as some (more than a few) pics of anya during the past six weeks. Six weeks! Can you believe it? Time sure does fly. please do not feel obligated to read or look at all of them- i just wanted to post so some enquiring family would have a chance to see some pics.
when i was typing my post in february i hadn't transfered pics from our time in WV so i am going to throw in some here. for Christmas, Nick, Alexei and I flew to WV to spend time with Nick's american family. We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with all of them. Alexei and Anya have 3 cousins through that family - Benjamin, Elsa and a brand new little girl, Lily, born to Ryan and Dawn just last week. Here is a pic of all of us at the dinner table enjoying our Christmas feast. sorry it is such a small scale.
Here is a picture of Alexei playing with Far-Mor (swedish for father's mother). How many kids get the blessing of having a Far-Mor, a Babushka, and a grandma? :)
Bobby and Sam gave Alexei, Benjamin and Elsa similar hats that were super cute. you will see a better pic of it further down. I don't think Alexei knew quite what to do with the cold. He was not a fan of bundling up before going out- a true texan, though he is half russian.
Nick's coworker and friend, Richard was sweet enough to take us all up in his airplane a few months back. Alexei has been fascinated with planes even more so since then.
my boys- aren't they handsome?
Alexei is so into bugs right now, a true boy. any time he sees or hears a bug he holds up his hand like he is ready to catch it given the chance. it is super cute. you'll have to get him to demonstrate his bug catching stance to you next time you see him. :) here they are chasing a stray roach that chose to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Alexei turned 2 yrs old on June 8th, but since anya was due in late may, we celebrated his birthday in early may so we could be sure and have his party with his buddies from playgroup and with family that was in town. we had a great time hanging out in the backyard (hard to believe since we have been enduring 100 + temperatures after 10:00 am here lately), eating sub sandwhiches together, watching him open gifts - mostly hotwheels which he is enthralled with, and eating lots of chocolate cake. what more could a two year old ask for? :) i can't believe he is already 2. it really has flown by. here is a pic of cousins patrick, daniel and friend abe from playgroup with nick on the porch swing that was converted to hang from our tall oak trees in the backyard. the swing now goes almost from the back fence to the house spanning the entire depth of the yard - another of nick's fun enhancements.
yey for chocolate cake!
ok, thanks for bearing with me on the catch up of our lives. now we are up to the more recent history. here we are leaving the hospital with anya 6 weeks ago.
here is alexei welcoming her to our home. He continues to be such a sweet big brother. every time he goes to rub her head - his favorite thing to do - he says "gentle, gentle" and is just about as gentle as a 2 yr old boy full of energy can be. we are working on not touching her as much when she is asleep and on figuring out where to put the toys he wants to share with her (on her tummy is better than on her head). it is so sweet to see them together. anya has started to light up when he is around and seems not to mind it too much when alexei yells his excited greetings to her about three inches from her nose - "Hi! Hi!"
the first couple of days... boy does she love to be swaddled TIGHTLY. it is amazing how she will work so hard to get out of it and then scream b/c she got loose. so much of a child's behavior reminds me of my behavior with God. He is so patient with us.
meeting great - grandma kathleen for the first time.
after her first sponge bath... she really loves baths - she hasn't cried during any of them. i am thankful for the baby tub now that her umbilical cord stump fell off. it is so much easier to emerse her and do it all quickly before she gets cold.
we have definantly gotten our use out of our pool passes this summer at the neighborhood pool. alexei loves the water and it is so fun to watch him play in the baby pool. he likes the big pool somewhat, but loves running around where he can reach. he has started to go underwater and is doing good about holding his breath. maybe next summer we can do swim classes with him.
this was a couple of days after we got home. anya hung out with a fan blowing in the garage while nick, alexei and i had fun washing our cars and spraying each other. again, this was before it got too hot. i sure miss those days.
alexei liked washing the top of the car especially. never has my CRV been so clean on the roof. we should have just tied a sponge to his diaper.
the airplane has continued to evolve. it is now painted to match the buran russian space shuttle, a propeller that turns, an extended life battery so they can go further in their explorations of the neighborhood and has an MP3 player that plays Abba songs and alexei's all time favorite song, "life is a highway" sung by rascal flatts as heard in the movie "cars" (another alexei favorite). below they are eating peanut butter and jelly while cruising around the brushy creek water park. anytime we are in a public place with the buran, kids come out of the woodwork and alexei is getting really good about sharing his toy most of the time. it's like a really cool and original carnival ride. :)
alexei loves to bring toys for anya. he puts them on her stomach and gets really upset if i try to move them. he was feeling especially generous on this day.
another afternoon at the pool.
how sweet is that?
Father's day - those are 2 amazing dads. i am so thankful for the role models my kids have. not many are so blessed as they are.
congratulations! you just survived a recap of the last 10 1/2 months of our lives! thanks for caring enough to get through all of that. hopefully i can post again before another year flies by. ;) we'll just have to wait and see about that. :) signing off.