Halloween, Weather and a Bit of News

We have gone ahead and decorated for Halloween (we are almost done) but we will not be having a Halloween party this year. There is too much to be done and too many upcoming expenses. It has been a challenge to put up the decorations due to the weather but we couldn't disappoint the kids. I am kind of glad there is no party planned this year - our guests might freeze! We will have a great party next year, I am very sure.

We did add a new addition to our display - the only thing that Caeli and Lera are less than happy about. He moves - so they don't like him after it gets dark - they talk to him in the morning while waiting for the bus, but then the power is off and he is not so scary.

We have an update. Our dossier has been sent to Russia. We are looking forward to receiving our appointment date sometime in the near future and we will let you know when we will be traveling.

My father will be watching our kids while we are gone but it is our understanding that the first trip is under a week in length - much easier than the 17 days we spent in Ukraine our first trip. I think Michael, Caelia and Lera will quite enjoy the time we are gone - they adore Grandpa and Ryan is always fun.

We had a visitor...

The kids had the day off yesterday and we had a visitor...Chase. He is my nephew and adorable (no bias here). He is just starting to walk and he is almost 11 months old. Do not adjust your screen, he is a very big boy!

It was very nice to have a little one here for the day. Caelia loves him and is always kissing the top of his head and she is now trying to read to him. Lera is not impressed. She is actually a bit jealous. Doesn't hit but if he manages to pull mama's hair - she immediately starts "NO CHASE!" It's sweet that she is so protective. Mostly, she ignores him - he doesn't play the cool games. Anyone notice the change to the girls' playroom?

Good Morning, Minneapolis!

Okay, this is just not right. I love this kind of snow - just not in October. The girls have no bias as to what month it occurs in though. They were thrilled. Oh- and they don't ask if this means no school!

Three little bags of security

One of my biggest fears is that Caelia or Lera will get lost. We watch them closely, we have locks and alarms but it only takes a moment for them to go wandering and children with Down syndrome are notorious for wandering (although no one told us this when Caeli was born). Most children by age 7 can give you their names, addresses and phone number. Both of our girls are considered non-verbal, although they talk a lot. It is just not always clear for people who are not familiar with them. So I worry that they will be separated from us and have no way to find their way home. The solution arrived in 3 red, satin bags. Can you guess what is inside?

These are their very pretty, and very sturdy, beaded medical alert bracelets. I orderd them from Unique Medical ID and they are wonderful. These have the medical alert symbol on the front with their name and vital information on the back. Emergency personel are trained to look on the back of these for information. These have the pronounciation of their name, Down sydrome and mom and dad's cell phone numbers. We have been working on "if you get lost and want mama or daddy, show someone your bracelet". We considered putting our address on it, but decided that 1) if they were missing we wouldn't be at home and 2) we have our cell phones on us at all times for security reasons anyway. They really like them but Caelia doesn't like to wear bracelets so it has taken a few days to get her to accept wearing it without pulling on it. I am very impressed with the abuse her bracelet has withstood. The bands are interchangeable and they have lots of choices. Both ends of the band have a lobster claw clasp but not even Caelia (who has good dexterity) can take them off. We started out with simple and smooth.

Oh, and I said 3 bags, right? We got an extra one. :)

Sometimes its a rollercoaster...

It has been a very eventful six weeks. This is the first sort of break I have had to blog so here goes...

The Minnesota State Fair was a wonderful (but chilly) adventure this year. Lera has become Mama's shadow. She clings very delightfully. Last year she was excited to try everything - this year she was hesitant and needed reassurance and coaxing...except for the food, of course. Caelia threw herself into everything with gusto and even convinced Lera that it was fun - er- most of the time.

We began to accept that our plans to adopt from Russia would not be obtainable, so we took advantage of the "Cash for Clunkers" program to get rid of Randy's old truck and buy a new Dodge Grand Caravan. Randy really wanted a vehicle to drive that would have heat when the temperature dropped below 20 degrees. He has our old van (with a really good heater) and I get the new one...he should have specified a bit better! The new van is very helpful. The doors open with a push of a button on the key fob and the rear hatch opens and closes automatically. NO MORE JUMPING TO CLOSE IT!!!! Randy was picking up the new van when I received word that there had been progress and our adoption could continue! Unfortuantely, our dossier had expired so we needed to redo it all again. That has taken a large part of my time the last month.

Valeria is 7 years old! This year we didn't get a picture of her cake before she got into it. It was a ladybug made of cupcakes (I think she really liked the red frosting). What a change a year makes! She now understands birthdays and presents as you can see - she has embraced them whole heartedly! Caelia however is not so impressed.
The kids all got school pictures - did I mention that Michael is attending regular school again? He is doing great. All of my kids took wonderful, accurate photos this year. What I am saying is that, yes, Caelia is telling the photographer "uh, no!" when asked to smile.

Randy's cousin got married. The girls were dressed beautifully. Caelia picked out the dresses.
They were pretty but the girls both decided that something more comfortable (preferrably without shoes) was needed to dance!

And lastly, have you ever wanted to take your camera to a flu shot appointment? I may have to consider it. Randy and I took the girls in for flu shots. Michael already had his. Randy took Caelia for a walk, while Lera and I stayed to get our shots. As soon as Lera saw the nurse put on the gloves she started protesting but she hugged me and I hugged her while the nurse gave her her shot. She was not happy. She was incensed when the nurse pushed up my sleeve to give me my shot. She smacked the nurse's hand and said in that gruff way of hers "NOOOOOO" I showed her I was okay and went to get Caelia. Randy was walking back with Caelia - she wasn't happy and was hanging her head. "She heard." was all Randy had to say. We had to hold Caelia down. It takes more than one person, so Lera stood across the room and yelled at us. Caelia got her shot, slid off the table and walked sobbing to Lera with her arms out. Lera hugged her, patted her back and kept saying, "luv you, luv you". Now the really bad part - they need the second shot in 2 weeks...