Archive for the ‘Life with Alexei’ Category

The Rest of 2015 in Pictures

Thursday, December 31st, 2015 by janice

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Hammin’ it up before his Spring Program

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Gettin’ a bit big for pink pony rides!

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Best Buddies

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You always win with Orange!

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New gymkhana event.

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Ah, modern childhood (waiting for the Ojai 4th of July parade)

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Guarding the all American blanket fort.

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Yes, at our second home again!

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My Padawan facing Darth Wolf.

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County Fair fun!

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Minecraft party for the big 6!

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My cousins Ben and Sandra visited from the Netherlands toward the end of Summer so we took them on a tour around LA and environs. A view from the Griffith Observatory (which of course was closed – sigh!)

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We also went to Universal Studios where Alexei showed off his stylish side.

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He really loved Sandra and Ben (especially Sandra, heh.) He still bugs me to go see them!

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Only in Vegas!

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Hanging out at the hotel pool complex in Vegas. Love that lazy river…

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Mandalay Bay aquarium.

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Hangin’ with Daddy after a final Vegas meal.

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A common sight in our house – Alexei and his girl.

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Just hangin’ upside down, as you do…

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A little equal time for our other cat, Bordeaux.

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Very scary!

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“Hey, there’s a cat here!”

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First day of school!

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My future Cast Member

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Probably our last ride on the train in its current configuration. Sigh!

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A final hug goodbye for the Dutch cousins.

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He’s a little ham!

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All dressed up for picture day.

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Even though we were going to WDW in a couple weeks, we decided to meet some friends during their big trip to Disneyland. We’d just upgraded to our Premier passes so we got photo passes for free! Too bad Alexei generally hates waiting in line for photo ops. Did talk him into this one.

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I love Dumbo but he’s starting to outgrow it. Sigh!

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Playing with one of his little friends from school at the VMS picnic!

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His current best friend at the VMS, during the pumpkin patch trip.

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And here’s his depiction of the hay ride! (And can I tell you how much I love how he colors all his family and friends brown?)

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Catching the ferry over to Magic Kingdom!

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Nah, he’s not excited.

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He indulged me in a few photos ops.

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Riding the big boat in Magic Kingdom (don’t remember the name. Too lazy to Google.)

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We like the carousel at Disneyland better. ūüėČ

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Captain Jake is ready for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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Typhoon Lagoon!

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He really loved this place. Next time, we’ll do a longer day here.

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Photo Op at Animal Kingdom

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I’ve waited for ages to see this tree in person!

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Lunch at Rain Forest Cafe in AK.

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The frog cup was a hit. The fake rain storms, not so much.

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Plane tickets: $500. Premier passe upgrades $900. Watching your kid play on the playground in AK: Priceless

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After a little too much drama finding the car, he was pretty done in!

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Hammin’ it up at Epcot

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I am a statue!

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Alexei is a statue!

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Yup, even in Orlando.

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Morocco

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Italy

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Chinese lunch in China!

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My terracotta warrior.

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Caught up with these miscreants at last!

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These shenanigans brought to you by Bob!

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Night show at Epcot (Mama’s night out!)

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G’night Castle!

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Got to have lunch at Be Our Guest! It was an early lunch but I didn’t care. The place is awesome!

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Defending the fort! (Tom Sawyer’s Island)

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This is such a Southern thing (rocking chairs on the dock of Tom Sawyer’s Island)

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Alexei got to be Chip in the Beauty and the Beast show

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He loved Belle!

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Sooooo excited for Hollywood Studios!

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Yeah, the queues here are pretty cool!

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I wish we had this Toy Story queue!

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Obligatory playground visit.

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Say g’night Hollywood Studios! And bid farewell to Walt Disney World!

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Got his toes done for Halloween.

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Trick or Treating with the A Team (and bonus big brother C) at the local outdoor mall.

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Getting ready for the real Halloween night

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He was such a gentleman with Princess Tiana

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Saying goodbye to the goats. (sniff!)

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Misc. cute stuff

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His school pics came out pretty nice.

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We switched to the Y for swimming lessons and this seems to have been a very good choice.

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We had a really hot fall…

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We were happy to get the cooler weather at last!

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Goofing off with some buds from school. (I love my Montessori family!)

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Decent if impromptu pic of Darren by our boy

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He still loves the sliding hill at the SB Zoo. He’s actually quite skilled. Hee.

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Expressing his opinion of the wait for the Dino show

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Welcome additions to the play area at the zoo

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All dressed up for the Winter Program

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Jo-jo and his latest roommate. Hopefully this one’s not going anywhere any time soon!

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Goofin’ off before Solstice ritual with his buddies.

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More reasons to love Montessori.

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More random cuteness.

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Helping wrap presents on Xmas Eve. He was such a good wrapper! And soooo excited about Christmas.

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The first present of the evening was a big hit! Thanks Auntie Boo!

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This was the Big (and Favorite) Present. Lego train set FTW!

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Building his train on Christmas morning. I helped with the engine and some other fiddly bits but he did the majority of the 6 books of instructions and 8 bags of blocks (plus various larger separate pieces) by himself.

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Best buddies forever!

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Our 2015¬†Holiday card. I apologize to anyone on my normal card list who didn’t get one this year. It wasn’t deliberate, I just seriously underestimate my order this year!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of New Years and many bright blessings and much love in 2016!

Janice, Darren and Alexei

 

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April Showers

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 by janice

So… yeah, I’ve not given up but… well, I blame it on Facebook. Here are some highlights from the last few months.

Leading the Lunar New Year parade at school

Leading the Lunar New Year parade at school

Hungray!

Hungray!

Hanging with his biddies from his old daycare on MLK day.

Hanging with his buddies from his old daycare on MLK day.

Showing off his CNY togs.

Showing off his CNY togs.

Pardon me, do you have an Grey Poupon?

Pardon me, do you have an Grey Poupon?

Building with magnets at after care

Building with magnets at after care

Time to raise the bike seat I guess!

Time to raise the bike seat I guess!

Still one of our faves.

Still one of our faves.

Carsland!

Carsland!

Lost a tooth at Disneyland

Lost a tooth at Disneyland

Iron Man!

Iron Man!

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Trying the Mater ride at DCA

Trying the Mater ride at DCA

Found out there is a place with a carousel in town. Who knew?

Found out there is a place with a carousel in town. Who knew?

Finally talking him into going back into the DCA play fountains

Finally talking him into going back into the DCA play fountains

First team win with the new soccer league.

First team win with the new soccer league.

Cooperative work for VMS Art Auction

Cooperative work for VMS Art Auction

Solo art for VMS Art Auction

Solo art for VMS Art Auction

Donuts for Easter Sunday

Donuts for Easter Sunday

First time bowling

First time bowling

Yes, he is almost tall enough to reach the pedals on my car. Sigh!

Yes, he is almost tall enough to reach the pedals on my car. Sigh!

Conquering the sliding hill at the SB Zoo.

Conquering the sliding hill at the SB Zoo.

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Year End Picture Post

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 by janice

So I’m feeling unmotivated to blog. Clearly. So instead I’ll cover the last couple months of 2014 via pictures.

Enjoy!

Cheesing it up for cschool pictures

Cheesing it up for school pictures

The Jedi Police Officer

The Jedi Police Officer

Brave boy!

Brave boy!

Turkey day brunch at school

Turkey day brunch at school

A favorite pass time, watching people work

A favorite pass time, watching people work

Darren and his sous chef making Thanksgiving dinner

Darren and his sous chef making Thanksgiving dinner

The center piece

The center piece

Me and my buddy

Me and my buddy

Making Mommy have a heart attack at the SB Natural History Museum

Making Mommy have a heart attack at the SB Natural History Museum

Building at after school enrichment time

Building at after school enrichment time

Christmas time in SoCal!

Christmas time in SoCal!

I make this look good!

I make this look good!

This too!

This too!

First time he voluntarily went to Santa!

First time he voluntarily went to Santa!

Welcome to Paradise!

Welcome to Paradise! (Cancun, Mexico)

Christmas decoration for the hotel room in Cancun

Christmas decoration for the hotel room in Cancun

Angry Alexei

Angry Alexei

Anniversary dinner on the beach!

Anniversary dinner on the beach!

Hanging with iguanas and ruins

Hanging with iguanas and ruins

Singing in the rain

Singing in the rain

Dancing in the Caribbean Sea

Dancing in the Caribbean Sea

And building castles in the sand

And building castles in the sand

Merry Xmas Eve

Merry Xmas Eve

Tucking the babies in on Christmas Eve

Tucking the babies in on Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Dessert!

Dessert!

Playing with the Christmas presents

Playing with the Christmas presents

Christmas Croc or Gator?

Christmas Croc or Gator?

Saying goodbye to the resort life!

Saying goodbye to the resort life!

Snuggling the new baby

Snuggling the new baby

Happy 2015!

Happy 2015!

Wishing you all a most wonderful New Year!

Blessings,

Janice, Darren and Alexei

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October so Far…

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by janice

So those of you following on Facebook know my¬†September ended with a literal bang when my pony decided I needed a flying lesson. Boom! broken wrist. Fortunately it was a clean break with no surgery needed though I managed to get both the tip of the Radius and Ulna ’cause I’m talented like that.

As an aside: wtf is up with Aetna not allowing x-rays at urgent care? They want us to go the the ER?! Who did that cost/benefit analysis? Ended up paying cash to get them done to avoid the extra expense and time. Which is probably the actual point of the policy. Sigh!

Anyway a week in a splint to allow the swelling to go down then to the ortho for more x-rays ¬†to make sure there was no need for surgery, then casting. Had more x-rays at 12 days post injury to be sure everything was staying in place. Now it’s just waiting it out, managing swelling and pain and learning how to deal one-handed. All of which is manageable but still sucky. I get the cast off November 7th!

Then of course I got sick again and kicked up the asthma, again, and am still fighting it even after a full round of steroids. Arrrghhh! Thankfully there does now seem to be a new course open to me on that front. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much as it’s apparently an expensive and relatively new-ish treatment regimen that requires pre-approval and necessitates monthly visits. But my rather conservative allergy specialist¬†spoke of this treatment as being life-changing for her other patients with moderate uncontrolled asthma who have tried it. So after our insurance changes at the end of this month, we’ll start pulling the paperwork and see what happens. I would so like to have this work. I’m so tired of rounds of steroids and being surgically attached to my inhaler. Sigh!

Thankfully through all this tribulation Darren’s work has been relatively quiet (well till this week!) so he’s been able to take up a lot of slack. Still I know it’s hard for him to come home after a full day’s work to take care of house and kid and wife. He’s an amazing man and I am so blessed by his love and commitment to us and I know I don’t tell him any of that often enough. So I love you my wonderful husband!

Alexei is doing so well. He is really settling in at school. Seems to love it. Now that that anxiety is over I’m left worrying about what happens after Montessori. Heh. Yes, I’m one of those moms. Sigh.

He’s also been pretty incredible during all this, too. It’s so much easier with him at 5 than even just a few months ago. He is really wanting to be self-sufficient and helpful. Sunday night he even made his own lunch (with a bit of help from Dad on the sandwich)!

I’m also officially a soccer mom. He’d been doing soccer through VCFusion for a while when he was still in daycare, but now of course he’s moved into the after school class. So I sit every Wednesday under a tree and watch with the other moms and dads. LOL. BTW they are an excellent organization and I highly recommend anyone with kids interested in soccer in the VC area to check them out!

He’s also been doing formal swimming lessons since he’s gone as far as I can go with him in our pool. He has been so awesome and loved it so much we are even doing 4 weeks of lessons this November. Then I think we’ll regroup on extra curricular activities. He loves the yoga class at school and really wants to do martial arts – we’re still thinking of holding off on that as his focus needs more focus. He wants to do gymnastics again, too, and with Mandarin I think we are right into the “enough” zone.

This month has seen us at the pumpkin patch with his school,¬†the traditional train ride to the pumpkin patch¬†with Auntie Boo and of course a trip to our second home with Auntie Lynn and a new friend Chelsea. Alexei¬†also got to have a week at his former caregiver’s due to Fall Break at school. (This is really a thing, apparently, in a lot of CA schools. Weird.) And most recently a trip up to Orcutt for a family gathering to celebrate the marriage of our niece Karlee to Michael, who is also the father of our great-niece Emalee. So it’s been an eventful month so far and it’s not over yet. This week is already shaping up to be busy even without Halloween in there.

Alexei has quite suddenly started asking questions about how he came into the family. Notably of course during the 8 minute drive to school on Monday! We spend a long part of the evening looking at pictures from our adoption trip and talking about how we became a family. We’ve always told him little snippets – we celebrate Family Day, talk about his Ayi in China and how we met etc – so¬†it’s not a “surprise” situation. But it’s the first time he’s really asked a lot of questions and wanted to know more about China. But it’s time to get serious about the lifebook and start bringing it up more.

Yeah, it gets harder from here…

Oh, my one political point for this post: VOTE!

OK, picture later, posting now.

Happy Halloween, Samhain etc!

Janice

edit to add da cute!

Swimming Lessons

Swimming Lessons

Soccer

Soccer

swim class

More swimming

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Cheesing it up on the pumpkin liner

Cheesing it up on the pumpkin liner

Bang on the Drum all Day

Bang on the Drum all Day

Disney

Disney

Hanging at our second home

Hanging at our second home

 

Jolly Holiday with Alexei

Jolly Holiday with Alexei

Awesome waiting line entertainment in Downtown Disney

Awesome waiting line entertainment in Downtown Disney

Celebrating with the family

Celebrating with the family

The lovely bride and groom

The lovely bride and groom

Playing with cousin Emalee

Playing with cousin Emalee

Pumpkin carving courtesy of Uncle Richard

Pumpkin carving courtesy of Uncle Richard

Pumpkin painting at Mrs D's

Pumpkin painting at Mrs D’s

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Happy Birthday and First Day of School!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 by janice

So hard to believe the baby they placed in my arms just few short years ago is 5 today and staring his first day of school!

Ready for school!

Ready for school!

I know we have picked the right place for him – it’s a Montessori school and we think will be a good fit for his learning style – yet I am still a bit anxious for him. It’s the biggest change since he came home and of course it worries me a bit. However, he’s been excited about going to “big boy school” for weeks now and since – as Linda C predicted – he practically kicked us out the door, I know he’s ready.

Checking out the class

Checking out the class

I’m also worried about the inevitable storm of illnesses he’s going to be bringing home. Dr thought it best to wait and see how he does before putting him back on maintenance steroids for the asthma. Hopefully we won’t have to. But I dread a repeat of the first fall and winter he was home. Ugh!

He’s also starting his Mandarin class this afternoon. He’s been showing a lot of interest in all things Chinese (although I still have to remind him of the difference between China the country and Chinese New Year the holiday. LOL!) So we’re taking that as a sign he’s really ready to start. The teacher is very passionate about kids learning the language and she has a good reputation (she’s a former teacher at the school) so we hope this will be a good start for him.

Saying goodbye to his caregiver of nearly 4 years was also really tough. We both cried. Alexei seemed pretty unfazed but I don’t think he quite gets that he won’t be going to the place that has been his second home for all this time. We plan to keep in touch – he’ll be there for a few days during his fall break – as she is very special and really is attached to our boy. And of course we have play dates planned with his best buddy Andrew and his other good friend Alyssa (who shares a birthday with him) – we call them the A Team – so we hope to keep these friendships in tact in the future.

Anyway, more updates and pictures later!

Bright Blessings,

Janice

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In Under the Wire

Monday, June 30th, 2014 by janice

Since I totally neglected to put pics on the last post, here’s an all picture post to assuage my guilt.
In before midnight!
Love and bright blessings,
Janice

Rock climbing at near the house in Big Bear

Rock climbing at near the house in Big Bear

That's a mighty BIG cat, Mom

That’s a mighty BIG cat, Mom

My little miner

My little miner

Alexei the Explorer!

Alexei the Explorer!

Officer Alexei to the rescue!

Officer Alexei to the rescue!

Showing the pinata who's boss

Showing the pinata who’s boss

Making rivers in the garden

Making rivers in the garden

Big boy

Big boy

Wrestling luggage as we head to the airport

Wrestling luggage as we head to the airport

Meeting our pilots

Meeting our pilots

More luggage wrangling

More luggage wrangling

Vancouver airport

Vancouver airport

Every. Single. One

Every. Single. One

First glimpse of Vancouver

First glimpse of Vancouver

Waterfront sunset

Waterfront sunset

Ran into them filming something or other

Ran into them filming something or other

At the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens

At the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens

In the tree tops at Capilano Suspencion bridge park

In the tree tops at Capilano Suspension bridge park

The cliff walk - don't look down

The cliff walk – don’t look down

My brave men!

My brave men!

Cheesing it up

Cheesing it up

Water is awesome!

Water is awesome!

Candy!

Candy!

Vancouver aquarium

Vancouver aquarium

Mischievous boy

Mischievous boy

Still loves the jellies

Still loves the jellies

I'm taller than a Gentoo!

I’m taller than a Gentoo!

Can't resist climbing

Can’t resist climbing

Conquering the jungle gym pole

Conquering the jungle gym pole

Cheesing on the ferry to Victoria

Cheesing on the ferry to Victoria

He loved the wind

He loved the wind

Feeding seals (yeah, I know!)

Feeding seals (yeah, I know!)

The 2nd oldest China town in North America

The 2nd oldest China town in North America

Hop!

Hop!

Lovely Gardens!

Lovely Gardens!

Yeah, don't expect a smile every time, Mom

Yeah, don’t expect a smile every time, Mom

This one was worth a smile though

This one was worth a smile though

Love the story poles

Love the story poles

You shall not pass!

You shall not pass!

Water, as always, is awesome

Water, as always, is awesome

Lovely fountain in the Japanese garden

Lovely fountain in the Japanese garden

Secret paths

Secret paths

Obligatory tourist shot

Obligatory tourist shot

Budding photographer

Budding photographer

Cats do not approve of vacations!

Cats do not approve of vacations!

Conquering the rock wall

Conquering the rock wall

Conquering the Monkey bars

Conquering the Monkey bars

Blue scooter, purple helmet

Blue scooter, purple helmet

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Poor Neglected Blog

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 by janice

So I keep posting here partly because I know some of you who follow aren’t on Facebook to catch all the daily shenanigans. And partly because I like having something a little more in our control for maintaining memories. Facebook is so much easier for the quick status update but it is not easy for finding a particular occurrence and of course, well, it’s Facebook so it’s go issues. Heh. Anyway, I guess as long as I get an update in once a month that’s a win.

So Alexei will be starting at the Ventura Montessori in the Fall. Montessori doesn’t have grades per se so the classes are divided into Pre-primary and Primary. He’ll start with the Pre-primary so they can evaluate his skills and he’ll move into the Primary as he masters things. Kids go back and forth sometimes as well depending on what things they are excelling at and those they need to keep working on. I like that fluidity. Makes much more sense then “You are X years old so you will go into X grade and should learn X skills before the end of the year.”

It’s a nice calm and supportive atmosphere so I hope he’ll have an easy time transitioning. I calculated with weekends, holidays and vacations he has about 60 more days with his current caregiver. This makes me a little sad. Trying to think what I can come up with as a really nice gift to give her for all she’s done for him. And hoping he won’t have too hard a time leaving his second home. I’m sure everyone is right and it will be harder on me than him – he’s a resilient boy – but yes, every big change worries me just a little because he’s had so many in his short life.

But I am very excited about him going to school. And he is too. He talks about it a lot. Has all these things he really wants to do – carry a lunch box to school, get a real back pack etc. So school shopping will be fun at least this year! He is definitely ready. I’d put him in for the summer session except: 1) I really want him to have the summer with Bev 2) the summer session starts while we are in Canada for my birthday 3) we’re out for a full week in July (going to Yellowstone!) and 4) the session only goes through July so I’d have to do something with him for the bulk of August. Sigh! Also, really, I like the idea of him starting in the fall, most likely with other kids also starting for the first time.

OK, I am also looking at ideas for dates for Alexei’s b-day party. His b-day is the Tue after Labor Day so sort a toying with the Saturday before. He’s saying he wants to do the museum again – which is cool by me but wondering if others think that’s too repetitive.¬†¬†Anyone want to weigh in?

I’ll post pics late so check back!

Blessings and love,

Janice

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Yet another Late Post

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 by janice

I was going to write another post about family building issues but ¬†I just realized it’s April already and rather than let another 8 weeks go by, I thought I’d better get something up.

As I’ve mentioned, we’re looking for a school for Alexei for the fall. Aside from being a lot of hard work, it’s also really gut wrenching. Facing down the fact he’s going to be 5 (yes, sometimes that missed year just about kills me!) even if it’s still 5 months away. Yeesh! As my friend Linda keeps reminding me: “Don’t blink!” (No, Dr. Who geeks, not like that!)

We think we’ve found the place, BTW. More on that later when we have it secured.

Harder still is facing, once again, the fact that he’s our one and only. My heart is continually in my throat even as I exercise superhuman restrain by NOT stopping him from climbing that tree or jumping off that rock. I’m sure parents of more than one feel the same about the subsequent children, too, of course. My parents certainly weren’t exactly blase by the time I came along but I do know they weren’t as hyper-vigilant about every right and wrong move since they’d had a chance to work out some of that anxiety on the first model. (LOL! Love ya, bro!) I also imagine that as he gets older, being an only may be an enormous amount of pressure for our ¬†Alexei, so we have to find ways of reducing that to only “amazing” proportions rather than “alien super powers” level.

And while I’ve tried hard to be OK with the one and done factor, there is still a big hole in my heart where a second child should be. Events keep conspiring to remind me of that “missing person” – new baby at daycare, a fellow adoptive mom starting her next paper-chase, All The Pregnant Ladies. Sigh!

I try not to feel so sorry for myself. I am blessed. There are certainly any number of folks who would gladly exchange my woe for theirs. But it doesn’t make it hurt less to know that, really. And it makes me feel kinda like an asshole to compare my pain to theirs. Ya know what I mean?

Sorry, end of my whinging.

Alexei continues to grow seemingly overnight. He is definitely maturing in so many ways and I am more and more convinced that extra year at his current caregivers was the right thing for him. He’s really become a leader and big helper at daycare. This week while our caregiver has been recovering from surgery he’s been such a big help to her. He picks things up off the floor for her without even being asked! FYI: she has adult help, too, so it’s not like she’s relying on the kids but I am so proud of how he has stepped up.

4 has been a challenging age all the way around though. He’s very opinionated, a mixed bag of independent and babyish and pressing the boundaries at home more and more. We are still having some minor sleep issues – he still wants me to stay until he falls asleep and I still get called in the middle of the night for reassurance. I think over the summer I may have to start pushing both of these issues. I’d like to see him getting to sleep by himself and sleeping most nights all alone before he starts school in the fall. We shall see. He can count to 20, is starting to recognize and form letter, along with a growing number of awesome things. When he chooses to he can be a big helper around the house. For reasons that I cannot fathom he likes to scoop the litter boxes and does a pretty good job of it actually!

We are also saw an unanticipated effect of his early life: he had several pretty nasty cavities in his molars. The dentist thinks it partially due to lack of fluoride while he was little in China. He was an incredibly brave boy and dealt with the major procedure very very well. He only got upset when I had to step out of the room for the x-rays but I was able to reassure him from the hallway. I was very pleased with the pediatric specialist and the whole office staff aswell. They were very reassuring, they have movies for the kids to watch in the chair, allow parents to stay (obviously) and gave him lots of positive reinforcement including prizes and a Perfect Patient award (a free round of mini golf!) Doc says we need to be on the lookout for more cavities but so far everything looks good enough to wait until the next 6 month appointment to try more x-rays. He also thinks his adult teeth will be better for exposure to fluoride.

Well, guess I better post this before it turns into another few days and then another few days etc.

Blessings all!

Wish he didn't want to give this up!

Wish he didn’t want to give this up!

If you're very good in this life you get to come back as one of my cats.

If you’re very good in this life you get to come back as one of my cats.

Time for some reeds practice!

Time for some reeds practice!

Special medal from gymnastics

Special medal from gymnastics

New Jedi shirt!

New Jedi shirt!

At the Lego shop in Downtown Disney

At the Lego shop in Downtown Disney

Building at the Lego store

Building at the Lego store

Not so sure about this, Mom.

Not so sure about this, Mom.

I'm king of the world!

I’m king of the world!

Alexei cheesing with his best bud

Alexei cheesing with his best bud

Family time at the SB Zoo!

Family time at the SB Zoo!

 

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July? Already?

Sunday, July 7th, 2013 by janice

Well, June completely flew by in a haze of travel and anti-biotics (yes, I did indeed manage to get sick again. Sigh!)

Alexei started off the month by trying to use his M&M dispenser as a cereal bowl, leading to a pic which will apparently soon be an album cover for my very talented friend and trainer, Stacy.

Does not work!

Does not work!

Hadn’t been to the SB Zoo in a while so we made a special family trip to see these little guys before they are not so little anymore!

Baby Giraffes!

Baby Giraffes!

The major highlight of the month was my birthday trip to San Francisco! I haven’t been in I don’t know how long and we figured this was as good a time as any to introduce Alexei to the joys of air travel.

Sazerac making sure we don't forget anything

Sazerac making sure we don’t forget anything

Alexei did great! He LOVED the plane. He loved everything about the trip actually. Well, except getting sick and the wind. ūüôĀ But he enjoyed going through security (taking off his shoes is still fun for him!) He loved watching for the plane and of course climbing the ramp into the plane. He loved fastening the seat belt and making sure Mommy and Daddy buckled up properly. Playing with the window shade and seat tray was of course a blast and I’m just glad we had such a short trip or we would have been playing with the seat adjustment I am sure.

Waiting to board for SFO!

Waiting to board for SFO!

We planned on doing the full on tourist stuff, so we stayed in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. We also did everything by mass transit since cars are expensive to drive and park in that area. BTW: mass transit in San Francisco is relatively easy to navigate and at least during the times we were wanting to go places was regularly available. Seriously, they do pretty well, almost European well, with their system.

We took BART into the City and then the street car over to the Wharf. Bit of a long wait for the street car and of course it was crowded but Alexei enjoyed every little thing about it. ¬†The trip took a bit longer than we’d expected but we still got in with plenty of time to do a little exploring.

Turning the Street Car

Turning the Street Car

View from our hotel room

View from our  hotel room

Carousel at Pier 39

Carousel at Pier 39

 

Bread sealife

Bread sealife

Sea lions!

Sea lions!

Alexei did NOT care for the pretty strong winds that were blowing that evening so it limited our time out. He was a little cranky at dinner but did ok and a warm bath at the hotel helped get him down for the night.

The next morning was my actual birthday and I got to wake up to the sound of my son’s laughter. It was pretty awesome. (A few weeks ago we got him a little alarm clock so he can know when it is alright to wake up Mommy and Daddy – yeah, he’s a morning person. The clock makes some funny animal noises which amuses Alexei to death. This is what caused the morning laughter.)

After I rousted Darren from bed (so much for a Father’s Day lie in!) we went over to the Hyde Street Pier to look at all the ships. It was pretty cool. A bit windy still but not nearly like the evening before and Alexei loved climbing up and down all the stairs and seeing all the different parts of the ships.

Checking out the ship

Checking out the rigging

We even got to see the rangers climbing about in the rigging and singing sea shanties to demonstrate the work sailors did on the big sailing vessels!

Rangers climbing in the rigging

Ranger working in the rigging

We didn’t try to go out to the Golden Gate but we did get to see it wreathed in the fog!

View of the Golden Gate

View of the Golden Gate

We did some awesome empanadas for lunch then decided to take the bus up to Chinatown. Sadly, we didn’t count on Alexei deciding to fall asleep on the bus! Lol! So we pretty much got off the bus and got right back on the other way and returned to the hotel. Where he promptly proceeded to wake up again. After trying unsuccessfully to get him back to sleep, we headed back out to do some more exploring!

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square

Yes, we got chocolate, including getting chocolate shakes! Yum!

Then that evening we took another bus out to Nob Hill to get some fabulous Indonesian food. Yes, I was a very happy birthday girl!

Inspecting the sambal

Inspecting the sambal

My birthday dinner

My birthday dinner

Monday morning we headed over to the little aquarium on Pier 39. It was pretty neat and a good time.

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

Peek a boo

Peek a boo

Ordering food again

Ordering food again

After wandering about the aquarium for a while, decided to head up to Little Italy for some awesome Italian seafood! Then we walked over a ways so we could finally see a bit of Chinatown. ¬†I love the sights and especially the smells of Chinatown. Reminds me of my childhood searching for Indonesian spices in various Chinatowns across the States. It’s also nice being closer to the average height of the crowd. LOL!

Chinatown

Chinatown

So as the last little hurrah in the City, we bought some really good gelato and then went to a little nearby park to let Alexei work off some energy before the long trip home.

Remember when you could swing all day?

Remember when you could swing all day?

Yep, he fell asleep on the way to the airport, just a little bit later than I expected.

Feel asleep two stops before SFO

Feel asleep two stops before SFO

Fortunately it worked out pretty well. He was able to sleep all the way through security. TSA sent us through the expedited lane due to having a sleeping child and as an added bonus I didn’t have to go through the Boondoggle Machine (aka the back scatter scanner.) Little man woke up just in time to eat a little dinner before we had to get back on the plane.

Boarding for home

Boarding for home

Making faces on the plane

Making faces on the plane

It was a very nice trip and even with a small mistake with the parking we got home at a reasonable-ish hour.

Sadly the little cough Alexei had developed over the weekend turned into a full on upper respiratory infection for him. Then of course into bronchitis for me. Which I am still fighting.

Ugh!

But I had to jump head long into getting prepped for the combined Queen’s/Altavia Equestrian Championship. Fortunately there was a manageable amount of work (having secured the site several weeks in advance and gotten most of those ducks in a row helped a lot!) And of course I had a helping hand er sword. ūüôā

Helping test the heads for QEC

Helping test the heads for QEC

The week of the big event of course we got a heat wave and the day turned out to be Really Damn Hot. But it was still a nice event, even if convalescing kept me from being as much physical help as I had planned. We had a wonderful carriage and horse procession, courtesy of Lady Ariadne. Two excellent rounds run by my co-steward led to a Queen’s Champion and then a run off between the next two highest scorers determined our Altavia Champ. I was quite happy to hand the duty off to Lady Courtney!

Carriage at QEC

Carriage at QEC

Altavia's new Champ!

Altavia’s new Champ!

Made it home from clean up just in time to get a quick shower and then have dinner up in Ojai with the chosen family. Where Alexei learned the wonders of uncles with a lot of energy!

Airplane rides courtesy of Uncle Mikey

Airplane rides courtesy of Uncle Mikey

Had a busy week including a very pleasant homebody Fourth of July. Alexei was very excited about putting out our flag and counting all the other flags our neighbors put up! He was only a little interested in fireworks on the TV. Although now we ALL want to go do the Fourth in DC some day! And I guess next year we’ll have to find a live event to go to, maybe even attend one of the parades in the area. Sigh. The sacrifices we make for our kids.

Oh, and our menagerie has grown to include 3 fish now. Went and bought a bigger tank and all the accessories this week as well.

Fishy and her new friends

Fishy and her new friends

Alexei continues to grow like a weed. Given that I am still only employed part time and Alexei is very happy at his current daycare, we’ve opted to keep him there for now. He will be the oldest there and is already being a leader. Starting in the fall his caregiver will start more formal preschool lessons with him. I’m also going to talk to the school district about maybe getting some language support for him and look into the possibility of petitioning for him to enter K at 5 (he misses the new deadline by 1 DAY!) The other option is to let him go into Pre-K the year he turns 5 and petition to go straight into 1st grade at 6. My only concern with that is Pre-K is only at a few schools, neither of which is his “home” school nor the one we hope to send him to. But we shall see what we shall see.

In the meantime, he remains the happiest, most wonderful kid in the world. We are truly, truly blessed.

Donut!

Donut!

Can't lay across the stairs anymore!

Can’t lay across the stairs anymore!

As a side note, not sure we are going to survive the 7 weeks of summer blockout on our Disney passes. He’s been bugging me nearly every day to go! Argh!

Bright blessings all!

Janice

 

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May Wrap-Up

Friday, May 31st, 2013 by janice

June is going to be busy with b-days, travel and SCA stuff so trying to get in a post before the month of May is over.

Alexei is approaching 4 and we’re trying to decide what to do for his birthday party. Don’t really want to have something at the house and Alexei hasn’t been terribly impressed with the play-zone places (plus, they’re seriously expensive!) I am not one of those moms that likes to figure out great games or themes and I pretty much blew my creative ideas with the Moorpark Zoo b-day last year so I am at a bit of a loss. It’s also, of course, falls on the Labor Day weekend so having it at a park is probably not an option. If anyone has any bright ideas, I’d sure love to hear them!

Alexei still amazes us every day. He’s a big talker and continues to be astoundingly well-coordinated. He is still enjoying gymnastics and as you can probably tell from the video in the last post, he’s getting close to being ready for some kind of marshal arts training. He’s still a very happy boy but we’re definitely seeing some 4 year old control issues and contrariness. Heh. At daycare he will soon be the oldest kid ¬†and he is already acting as a good roll model and helper with the little kids. ¬†He’s also above the 75th percentile now for height and weight (yey!)

After a short social media break, I’m back to reading and commenting on blogs and groups again. I’ve been more quiet than before and less prolifically posting on my social media accounts. I still have a lot of big issues on my mind, mostly regarding adoption, race and gender. But at the moment I have come down with a cold and so has the boy so heavy thinking/writing will have to wait.

So here are some pics to round out the post.

Love and light,

Janice

Carrying his pink pony downstairs.

Carrying his pink pony downstairs.

Helping fill Jo-jo's water

Helping fill Jo-jo’s water

Riding the carousel at Chase Palm Park

Riding the carousel at Chase Palm Park

Playing in the fountain at Chase Palm Park

Playing in the fountain at Chase Palm Park

Sleeping in the new big bed

Sleeping in the new big bed

Doing the  Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Doing the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Sleeping with his best buddy

Sleeping with his best buddy

Checking out the new big boy bed in all its glory

Checking out the new big boy bed in all its glory

21st century child

21st century child

it's a small world

it’s a small world

Carousel at Disneyland again

Carousel at Disneyland again

Keeping cool with his other best buddy

Keeping cool with his other best buddy

Hooli hoop!

“Hooli hoop”

Silliness

Silliness

Eating his body weight in noodles again

Eating his body weight in noodles again

The new friend Fishy!

The new friend Fishy!

Cheese!

Cheese!

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