Randy pointed out that I have been severely slacking with the blog and he is right. I have however been very busy - actually, we all have been busy. We had rounds of colds and sniffles. Michael escaped the sickness probably because he has been so busy growing that he didn't have time to get sick! He now towers over me and is very smug about it.
Caelia is really happy. She has been doing great in school. She is growing up so much. She has started playing handheld games. She really likes her leapster but it is an old game and it's hard to find parts for so we are researching the new game systems, maybe the Mobigo. If anyone has an opinion let me know, I think something with a touchscreen would be best.
Valeria has been a sick little girl. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and some of the side effects are making her very unhappy and very uncomfortable. It is also making her less than her normal sunny self. Okay, she is downright surly. Her attitude towards Masha is much better though. Her teachers have even commented that she doesn't scowl when they mention Masha anymore. Masha has taken to kissing Lera every chance she gets. Lera at first looked bewildered and then amused and now she cracks up and kisses Masha back. They are both very silly girls. Lera has also followed Caelia in the big sister role and helps Masha get dressed or acquire toys that are out of reach. Both big girls look out for Masha and try to keep her out of harm's way.
And Masha has been busiest of all. She has had lots of doctor appointments and lots of tests. She has a nice straight spine and clean lungs. She will need eye surgery but it will need to be done at Minneapolis Children's Hospital because she does have a small heart condition. She is overall very healthy. She also has been taking lots of tests so that she can start school. She will be starting preschool next Tuesday and will start riding the bus like a big girl on Wednesday. The teacher who evaluated her said that she was very social and played very nicely with the other toddlers that were being evaluated. She also said that it was very obvious that Masha had previously had therapies to improve her strength and skills.
Randy and I are just keeping up with the kids and all the paperwork that goes with the start of school for special needs kids. We completed our first report to Russia and I can't believe it has already been six months since Masha came home. It really feels like she is home now. She is our cute, impish little dancer. Her favorite words are food, cup cookie and more. She can say Mah (mama), Kay (Caelia), stop it, quit and no. She hears those last three a lot, I'm afraid. Everything is so interesting, so much for her to see and touch. We are teaching her "gentle" because she does everything with such enthusiasm and gusto that we frequently get a little bruised by her. She loves to climb all over Randy and I and she wrestles with her siblings but she can be so sweet and angelic. She now pats me on the cheek very gently as she smiles up at me when I rock her at night. She loves to crawl up on Randy's lap and look at pictures of herself and of our trips to Russia.