Family Visits and Train Trips

So it’s been another busy month. It is so hard to believe it is nearly September – nearly one year since we got on a plane to bring our wonderful boy home!

We had our last post-placement interview with our social worker early this month and the completed form went to our agency last week and should be winging off to China in a few days! So, yey! Done with social workers for now. And the CCAA probably forever (somewhat sadly.)

A few weeks ago Darren’s sister Mindy and her husband and kids came out from Boston for a visit to SoCal so we headed up north one Saturday morning to visit them at Grandma and Grandpa G’s house. It was a really nice day. Alexei especially adored his cousin Kyle and Uncle Craig was pretty fun, too! He played catch with the whole family, chased feral kitties and ran up and down Grandma Sheri’s gravel pile for hours.  He really seems to like all those crazy people we’re related to. LOL!

The next week we decided to take our boy to the Ventura County Fair. Mind you we have lived here now for nearly eleven years and this was the first time we made it there. Alexei wasn’t terribly thrilled by the bus ride over, maybe because it was a school bus and really noisy and cramped, but he was way excited by the fair. All the lights and people and then the animals!!!!eleventy! Man do I wish we had room for the miniature donkey he fell in love with (did I mention all animals of a certain size with four legs are now Jo-Jo?) And we learned the wonders of corn on the cob. Yummy! He got to go on his first carnival ride – a train of course – although I think he was more excited about looking at the ride than riding on it.

Then a couple weeks ago we decided we needed to take a trip down to San Diego. Now those of you who know us IRL know we don’t drive to San Diego anymore due to some curse on our cars that makes it impossible for us to go past OC. So this time we decided to take the train, figuring if THAT doesn’t get us there we can never go to San Diego again (since there is no way we’re taking a chance with a plane!) Well, thankfully the train got us there with no mishaps and Alexei enjoyed the ride (he even napped some!) Although I am still not quite sure he understood he was ON a train. He sure enjoyed looking out the windows at all of the other trains and making us walk up and down the aisle a million times. Toward the end of the trip he made friends with a little 1 year old boy and they crawled up and down the aisle for quite a while. It was too much cute!

So the original reason to go down to San Diego was to see the celebrations of the new Asian exhibits at the San Diego Zoo. We decided to spend the morning at the farmer’s market in Little Italy (a short hike from our hotel) in hopes that he would get in a normal nap and we could spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at the zoo. We had a pretty good time at the market although it is definitely more of a trendy/touristy thang – a lot more prepared items and crafts than farm fare. Still we got some good eats and wandered around enjoying the music and dancing with our boy. Unfortunately he fell asleep in the stroller on the way to lunch, slept half and hour and promptly decided that was enough nap for the day! Ah, well, we decided to head over to the zoo a little early instead.

Got to ride the bus around the zoo and see some of the exhibits we hadn’t seen before. Also got to watch the Chinese acrobat show which was worth the price of admission all by itself! Alexei enjoyed looking at some of the animals but he was more interested in climbing and swinging on stuff especially the railing at the panda exhibit. And by dinner time he had entered the Meltdown Zone. First meal out with Tantrum Boy was tough but not nearly as mortifying as it could have been since pretty much everyone else there was with small children, too.

Night time zoo is way awesome by the way, even though many of the animals have gone to bed. Alexei passed out on the walk back to the front gate then stayed asleep most of the way back to the hotel. The one downfall of taking the train down is no car. Since taxis require a car seat we ended up taking public transportation to the zoo and back again. It was fine to the zoo but the bus “home” was 45 minutes late! Ugh!

Sunday morning we got to have a much too short brunch with Auntie Vicky at a nice little cafe. Then back to the hotel to pack up and make the train home. Alexei made yet another friend on the train ride home, a little four year old girl on her way home with her grandparents from the zoo, also, which helped make the trip back a little easier – well, other than when she didn’t quite understand that Alexei needed to nap but ah well. All in all it was a nice trip though there are a few things we’ll do differently next time including just heading down to the zoo first thing and going till he is ready to sleep.

The kittens are getting big and are increasingly Alexei’s entertainment of choice. He recently learned that throwing or rolling a ball for them to chase is The Best Game Evah and he will go on doing this until the kittens are too tired to run anymore. They now have the run of the house which both Alexei and the kitties think is great. They deal with him pretty well. Sazerac is much more patient and fearless than her sister so she’s the one who’s really our boy’s buddy.

Our attachment continues to become stronger. He gives and asks for hugs and kisses, makes really good eye contact and lots of other subtle signs that things are going well in that department. He is growing and developing so fast and except for height – and some language milestones – is right where he should be for his age. We are so blessed and happy for how fortunate we have been that he came to us so obviously well-loved and cared for and that he has adjusted and thrived as well as he has.

He’s coming up on 2 this week. And we’ll be celebrating our first Family Day as well. It’s been an amazing year and I am so excited to see where this journey takes us next.

So off to the cute!



Alexei showing off:

Um... ya got a little milk on your face. Let me get that for you!

Alexei and his best pals

Did I mention Alexei likes his bed?

Alexei meets Lexy

Alexei plays catch with cousins Kyle and Kendall and Auntie Mindy

Alexei really loves his cousin Kyle

Ah, modern childhood.

Alexei and Grandma Sheri

Sazerac tried to take over Alexei's bed... Alexei took over the kittens' bed!

Alexei and best pal Sazerac in the stroller

Future Olympic Star!

Walking through the Little Italy farmer's market in San Diego

Running on the Bocce ball court with Dad

He is getting frighteningly good at climbing stuff

Mom and Alexei watching the Chinese acrobats - this is pretty much how he watched the whole show!

So we decided Alexei is allowed to use his gymnastics training to do this someday

But not this!

Mom and Alexei at the gorillas

Jazz hands!

Running to Dad

It was a long day, Mama!


One Response to “Family Visits and Train Trips”

  1. LC says:

    Let me know if you need pictures of mini-donkeys! I have a bazillion of ’em! (There’s a great little farm that raises them in Santa Ynez. Might be worth a little ‘road trip’ in the future!)

    Great pictures. Great kid. Life is good!

Leave a Reply