As promised - Pictures!

To say that Masha was angelic on the flight home would be an understatement. She was terrific. She only slept when I held her in my lap but she did sleep and was a perfect child on the trip. She didn't seem bothered by the changes in pressure or by the long time sitting. She was really happy to get out of her seat although she enjoyed Mama;s mp3 player.

The flight from Moscow was turbulent and we were about 20 minutes late arriving in New York. We then had customs, along with a special customs detour celebrating Masha's new status as an American citizen and then picked up our luggage. Dropped off our luggage, went through security again and then literally ran through the airport to transfer terminals and finally arrive at our gate. We were literally the last ones on the plane and they shut the door behind us. Masha took all of this in stride and she and Mama slept most of the way to Minneapolis.

I cannot begin to describe the joy on Masha's face to see Michael again and to see Caelia and Lera. She had only seen them on skype but they were small and obviously happy to see her so she eagerly greeted them. Caelia was very happy to see "Sasha" and Masha was particularlly fond of Caelia. She really liked Caeli's round tummy. Perhaps she felt they had something in common or perhaps she was reassured that we would feed her well. She also met Grandpa and he was quite charmed by her as well.
So, here in no particular order, are the pictures that have so been anticipated.

A short ride home and then Caeli proceeded to try to pile every toy she owns on to Masha's lap.

And then she fell asleep...


We are home. Safe and happy. Very tired. Masha was perfect on the airplane and was very excited to see to little girls roughly her size. They were thrilled to see her (and us). Will write more soon and post pictures after a rest.

April 6, 2010

Today was Masha's gotcha day! It was a big day for us. I feel so much happier now that she stays with us. I cannot begin to explain the sense of relief that she is in our care at last.

This was also a day of firsts for Masha. Her first car ride. A little bit scary but hey! a cellphone and a ride - what more could a girl want?

Her first restaurant. She didn't eat but she sure enjoyed her throne.

Her first night with Mama and Daddy. She got a bath, got new jammies to wear, and tried on all of the new shoes - including Mama's shoes. EWWW! - No biting!

Until next trip...

This was our last day with Masha. She was friendly as always but look closer and you will see the tiniest neck brace I have ever seen. For some unknown reason, the staff at her babyhouse decided to put this on her. Mind you, this was the first time she had ever worn it. She sure is cute though!

Back to our last trip (part 3)

We toured the Kremlin. Red Square is not the Kremlin. It is the parade ground outside the Kremlin. I always thought it was IN the Kremlin. Turns out the Kremlin is much more massive than Red Square. Oh - and Red Square does not have a meaning related to Communism. They say "red" and mean beautiful. Go figure.

There are some of the most beautiful cathedrals inside the Kremlin along with what would be the equivalent to our White House.

We went into the oldest cathedral. Did you know that there are no pews inside a Russian Orthodox church? You are supposed to look up - hence some beautiful paintings with layers of gold covering the walls and the ceiling. Only royalty was allowed to sit in church. There was a throne of sorts for the queen and also the original throne for Ivan the Terrible. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to photograph the outside.

Moscow prides itself on big things. The city is enormous, the ballet is called Bolshoi (means big), Stahlin's "Seven Sisters" are mammouth buildings that stretch into the sky and on the grounds of the Kremlin is the Czar Cannon and the Czar Bell. These are massive creations that have no useful function but WOW they are something to see!

Both the Czar Bell and the Czar Cannon were constructed on the grounds of the Kremlin but they were so big and heavy that they could not be used or really even moved. The bell was broken during a fire and the citizens poured water on it to keep it from being destroyed -- cold water+hot metal = broken bell.

Back to our last trip (part 2)

The day before court we went to see Masha. She was dressed in that beautiful dress from our first trip. She thought it needed accessorizing though and promptly relieved Michael of his treasured "shopka" that he bought at the market. She didn't take it off until we left.

We had to leave because we had a meeting with the court translator and then we went to the Bolshoi Ballet. We saw Don Quixotote. It was beautiful and the music was wonderful but we were very tired and Michael was in particular. There had been a mixup with our tickets so instead of sitting next to each other we sat in 5 different rows (one in front of another). There was a long wooden rail next to us to we did have a wonderful view with no one in the way. Did I mention that we were very tired? Well, Michael was very very very tired and fell asleep during the ballet. The Russian woman next to him frowned alot and shook her head at him. I think she was appalled that he went to sleep. During the show, I head a loud THUNK behind me and turned around to see that Michael's head had fallen against the rail. He didn't even wake up.

Back to our last trip (part 1)

We visited Masha first thing. She and Michael were really getting on well. She has much more energy in the morning. We even got to go outside!

We then went to the market. This place was awesome. They had really good prices on souveniers and they also had antiques and really really good food. I love the buildings.

This last building was where we ate. We had Russian BBQ (shosh-leek) and Michael got to try his hand at the grill but the smoke was too much for him. They also had the best (and I mean BEST) bread. I am not sure what it was called but it was from Uzebekastan.