Long cold winter....

Our poor neglected blog could use an update or two which we will try do this month. There hasn't been much going on besides it being a long cold winter here in Minnesota. I think everyone in the house is ready for some warm sunshine.

The girls have been busy with school and loving every minute of it. We have a pretty good morning ritual set up where Sheila will work on getting their lunches ready while I wake the girls up. To get them up I usually open a shade or two to get some light in the room and start saying their names, usually once I say Lera or Caelia's names I see a foot peak out of the side of their beds which means it's time for dad to go smell their feet and go "Eww, stinky foot" to which I hear giggling. We do this for a few minutes and then we go to phase two which is where I put my face close to theirs and they touch my nose with their finger and I sneeze rather loudly which induces more giggling and foot smelling. After a few minutes of that fun we go onto them all sitting up in bed, taking their PJ shirts off and throwing them at me with a hope to have a shirt land on my head. Which of course when that happens they all laugh hysterically and I have to throw the shirts back at them. We do this for about 5-10 minutes total before I get them out of their beds, pick out some clothes and head to the bathroom. I've learned over the last couple years this routine gets them in a good mood for school and everything is so much easier if they start the day with smiles.

Once we are in the bathroom its onto potty time, we try to get Lera and Masha on the toilet first because Caelia likes to take her sweet time and will usually put us behind schedule otherwise. Once we are off the toilet, which may have another round or two of shirt throwing mixed in its time to get dressed, then teeth brushed and faces washed. Mom is usually done with lunches by then and takes care of the hair combing and ponytails, needless to say it's not pretty if dad tries to do the ponytails, there are usually a lot of "Oww, daddy!" comments and goofy looking hair when I have to do it. After the factory line has left the bathroom it's off to breakfast.

Breakfast is semi chaotic depending on what we have on hand and what they want. Caelia loves yogurt but she will pretty much only eat Yoplait, which has a ton of sugar in it. I switched to greek yogurt for a week and things were not pretty, she hated it and would refuse to eat it. The fallback that week was Fiber One bars which luckily she likes well enough. Some days it's bananas or cereal for Lera and Masha, although Masha takes about a half an hour to eat a bowl of cereal and little miss independence does not like it when you help her eat! She makes it about as difficult as can be if you try to force feed her. Lera on the other hand can scarf down a bowl and drink the milk at a pretty good clip and does a fairly good job of keeping it off her clothes.

The last step is into the living room to get boots, jackets and hats on. We are so lucky the girls love their school and are very eager to get on the bus, I just hope they will stay that way through high school! Once the bus pulls up chaos tends to ensue again, Masha is seriously ADHD and wants to get on the bus immediately while Caelia on the other hand takes her time. I usually have to go to the bottom of the porch steps and hold her hand like a queen as she ascends the stairs and then of course hold her hand onto the bus. The funny thing is other than when we are getting to the bus, Caelia has zero problems going down the stairs and does it fast, but somehow we have the princess entrance for her classmates to see in the mornings. Between the girls, three backpacks and Masha on high speed mode we have quite the little struggle getting to the bus. But the important thing is they are usually happy to get on the bus and we get enthusiastic "bye, byes" from them. Ah the things we do to make them; happy smelling feet, sneezing on demand and getting shirts thrown at my head - wouldn't change it for the world though!

Gotta love the Angry Birds hat my sister Lori got Masha. Lera and Caelia are rather fond of their hat/mittens things we found at Target.

 The funny girls on a non-school day getting crazy. Caelia was up checking out Lera's sheet less bunk while Masha and Lera partied on the spare bed. It really is a shame we don't have a use for the spare!

One thing that is clear in our house is how much of a daddy's girl Caelia is. The other girls do have their jealous moments and I try to give them all equal time, but Caelia is my shadow most days. She really has hit a maturity point the other girls are not at yet. She insists on going with me every time I leave the house which doesn't work so well when I am going to the office or have a meeting somewhere. I guess she is spoiled by the fact that dad works from home 80% of the time. But to be honest I love taking her with me for even mundane things like running to pick up dinner or to the hardware store, she is so enthusiastic about all these outings and she is always mindful that we need to bring something home for Mama, Michael, Lera and Masha. And when we do get home from our adventures it's like she hasn't seen Lera or Masha for weeks and they all hug.

More to come soon, including an update on our adoption plans (if any) and a blog post about a wonderful family who is trying to bring a beautiful little girl home from Ukraine. They live here in Minnesota and we want to help them out as much as we can so they can get this little girl home!

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