Settling in...

This is my favorite plant in my garden. It's called a Bleeding Heart. This is what I think about all through the long cold winters here in Minnesota.

It feels really good to be home. I love the warm weather (er..more of less warm) and the kids playing outside. Michael and Randy are two of the biggest kids. The girls adore Daddy-time and he drinks it up too.

Caelia has been sick for over a week. Her poor tummy has been under attack by a virus - we didn't leave the house much except for the Doctor. She didn't go to school. Lera was sick for part of that time. The first day that Lera went to school without Caelia, her homecoming was worthy of any trip we have ever taken. She was standing (waiting to get off the bus) yelling "CAELIA! CAELIA!". Caelia stood on the porch yelling "NINA! NINA!" and when the met on the porch they hugged and hugged each other as though they hadn't seen each other in a month. Masha was grumpy about this.
Actually, my little Masha is grumpy about lots of things. She hates waiting for things to cook. She tries to stand between me and the counter top so that she will get the first bite. She gets very upset if I give the girls their cups first or if Lera is on my lap. She gets very irritated if you insist on that she put her coat on before going outside. She tries very hard to be the boss. But just as quickly as she scowls and pouts, she smiles and laughs. She is a funny little girl (who really likes to be in charge) and the thing she gets most grumpy about is watching Caelia and Lera leave the house to catch the bus! She loves to do anything that Caelia does. Yes, I only said Caelia.

Masha and Lera play - well sort of. Lera is spending a lot of time kissing and resting on Mama. I think she is making sure that she is not being replaced and Lera is not really that fond of any small children. They just don't play the active games that Lera does. Lera is my little monkey and likes to climb and play with swords - actually, if you imagine a pirate dressed in sparkles, tight pants and boots, you pretty much have Lera. Her favorite game is sword fighting with Michael. Thank heavens for nerf swords! Oh and I should mention that she generally beats every one who dares to cross swords with her very soundly.

Masha has been enamored with Caelia since the moment she saw her in the airport. And Caelia is equally adoring of Masha - or "SASHA" as Caelia calls her. (Caelia has Apraxia, which effects her speech). Caelia and Masha like to play with the pretend kitchen and with the baby dolls. They dress up and go shopping together. And while they are buddies, Caelia is still the big sister and is very protective of Masha. If she hears Mama tell Masha "no, no" then you can bet she will have an arm around Masha telling her "no, no Sasha!" too.

And now a word about baths. As is true frequently with children in orphanages, Masha was terrified of baths. In Moscow, we couldn't put her in the bath without her crying and screaming. It was heartbreaking to watch her stand with her hands against the wall of the bath with her head down sobbing. We tried to make it fun but gave up until we got home. Do you know the phrase, Monkey see, Monkey do? In a very short time, we have gone from sobbing and struggling to having to watch her anytime the water is running because she will attempt to climb into the tub.