Saturday, August 20, 2011

Delayed Picture Sharing


We wanted to share some of our favorite pictures from our first week together as a family (in Bulgaria).   You can double click on the pictures to make them larger. We took soooo many it was hard to choose!  Below is our first family picture on Gotcha Day (in their orphanage) and pictures waiting for (and on the plane) from Sofia to Varna":

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While waiting for Vesta the kids like to walk around all the suitcase (and play with the wheels) and look at photo book we made them from the first trip (with lots of pictures of them with us):

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In between appointments, we spent the week almost exclusively in the apartment playing.  The kids LOVED the singing Elmo microphone (still do, after 3 weeks we are dreaming in Elmo voices and songs).  The tub picture was Myra’s attempt at convincing the kids the tub was fun…didn’t work!:

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The kids were very interested in the washing machine (after they stopped being afraid of it).

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Here are a couple pictures from the Munich airport during our ~3hr layover.  Yup, we were THOSE parents that allowed our kids to climb on airport owned equipment to allow for 10 more minutes for entertaining.:

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

It’s okay to throw up the White Flag


Catching up….Our last day day in Bulgaria was pretty much filled with playtime and trepidation over what the next day had in store for us.  How on earth would were going to get our kids home on the long flight and all stay sane?  Well, one day at a time.

Thankfully we spent a lot of time sight-seeing on our first trip to Bulgaria because there was no time for that this trip.  We chose to really not go out much because the busy streets, cars, stores, etc. were all just too stimulating and we wanted this week to be our first week of cocooning in order to build a secure attachment (which will of course be months to years down the road).  Friday was no exception.

I’m sure there were funny tidbits from the day (they entertain us on pretty much an hourly basis with cute and funny things).  Many/most of the videos we took end abruptly because Jonathon crawled over to grab the camera or we needed to throw the camera down quickly to go stop some impending damage yelling ‘neigh’ along the way (‘no’).

Madison still had a Myra fetish which is actually a good sign, that she is on her way to hopefully attaching with her.  But, she is much more open to play from Joe which is actually great considering it had been less than a week.  We did go buy some more diapers at the pharmacy for the trip home and they ended up being too large, but manageable (since we had no choice anyway!).  Madison went down for a nap, but after much trial, Jonathon refused so we let it go…  Petko came by early evening to drop off the kids Visas, Immigration paperwork and discuss what to expect while passing through Passport control and US Customs & Immigration.  That was it – our case was closed and our kids could finally enter the country!

We had bath time again and tried to coax them by playing with toys outside the tub and throwing them in, but it didn’t help.  We decided to just try and get it over with quickly, poor things!  We tried to order take out from Pizza Roma again, but today the kids didn’t like ANY of it.  Thank goodness we still had lots of bread/pasta/etc for back up, we’ll be sure to have better options for back up once home!  Bedtime was awful, we tried to put them to bed for about 1-1.5 hours and eventually threw up the white flag.  Of course we tried so hard not to laugh, but they were so cute playing and singing to each other.  We just couldn’t calm them and looked at each other said, ‘we surrender’!.  We still needed to pack, it was about 8:45 and we needed to be up at 4 am!  Myra brought the kids into the other bedroom (where all our clothes were) to let the kids play while Joe concentrated on the living room (where all the toys and random things were).  About 9:45pm we could see signs that bedtime would probably work with little fight so we tried again and success!   About 11:30pm we had everything packed and were ready to try for some sleep, in the end the only thing we forgot to pack was a couple DVDs we brought – at least that’s all we’ve discovered so far!

4am was going to come might early…

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Don't cry over spilled Cheerios

Last nights sleep went pretty well.  Jonathon rolled out onto Joes mattress (the twin mattress on the one side of the bed) but was unphased so he left him there.  It's only about a 6 inch drop from mattress to mattress.  Of course 45 minutes later he was uncomfortable so Joe put him back up on the bed and he was asleep in no time (why isnt it this easy all the time!)  Happened one more time during the night, about about 1am but again a quick plop to the middle of the king bed and he was out.  Madison rolled onto Myras mattress about 430am and she was also unphased so Myra let her stay there until she started kicking Myra in the head for a while as she squirmed.  They both stayed asleep until about 7am...not bad!

Again they played for awhile when they woke up and then we went out in the living room.  We went for scrambled eggs again since they were a hit, but this time we made some for us too.  They did pretty well allowing us to have some bites for ourselves.  Again, Madison didnt finish hers but Jonathon cleaned the plate, minus the jarred strawberries that neither of them liked.  And of course no meal is complete without lots of bread.  

Madison played by the bathtub with Myra again, throwing things into the tub, Jonathon however hugs the hallway on the side to avoid the bathroom altogether. We've decided to put off bathing for one night.... 

The kids played for a bit and Jonathon occasionally led Joe back into the kitchen, so  he eventually finished Madison's plate and had some more bread.   Petko called about 10:45am and said he would be by at 1:30pm to take us to the US Embassy for the visa interview.  Of course, right in the middle of naptime, we improvised.  We fed them some macaroni and cheese, peaches, and ....bread around 11:15 to suffice for lunch and then tried for naptime.  After an hour rocking, chasing, and listening to Jonathon scream we gave up and said no nap for him.  Madison was asleep after lots and lots of screaming in about 45 minutes which at least gave Myra a chance to shower and grab some bread and cheese to eat for lunch.   Joe got ready then and dressed Jonathon while Myra woke Madison up at 1:15pm (she wasn't exactly thrilled about that).  Petko came and they both did well on the ride to the Embassy and in the waiting area. Since Madison seemed so scared yesterday Myra had kept her tightly strapped to her in the Ergobaby carrier the whole car ride (no, there are no car seats here) – this seemed to do the trick!  
When we first entered the waiting area, Jonathon happily pointed to a picture of President Obama and shouted “BEBE!” (of course many pictures of a people get labeled as 'Bebe', but we got a laugh out of it). Jonathon loved swinging a velvet rope at one end of the long room (the opposite end of where Myra and Madison were sitting).  Madison knew it looked like fun and after a bit of coaxing came running down to Joe to take a swing.  So great to see her smiling face come to him.  He usually only gets to see if from afar while she is playing with Myra!  Joe has fed her a couple times, but she only gets halfway through and then needs Myra.  So there is still lots of progress to make, we just have to wonder how long that will take, will she attach to him?
The wait was really good as Jonathon walked Joe around the place.  He is really starting to pick up some speed but not confident enough to walk around without support unless its 5 steps or so from Myra to Joe.  MAJOR improvement over where he was just 4 months ago when we visited.   He has come a LONG way in those 4 months and we are so proud of him and thankful to the caretakers.
They got a little fussy but again Cheerios to the rescue.   We got called into the interview room ("The Long FAMILY"... that has a nice ring to it)!  And this is really where the only trouble was.  Myra forgot to close to Madison's bag of cheerios (and Madison has to be independent and carry it herself) and so cheerios went everywhere.  Which meant Myra scuffling to the interview room with Madison with her hands full to say we're sorry but we'll be there in a minute and Joe and Jonathon try to pick up the Cheerios.   Not the scavenger hunt we were looking to have!  A nice man came over to help and get cleaned up so we could go get interviewed for the kids visa's!  They have bulgarian passports and a visa to enter the US, but they will immediately be US citizens when we land in DC on Saturday (yikes, that plane ride is only two days away...).  The "interview" was really just a guy congratulating us.

The ride back was uneventful and we got back to the apartment around 330pm. We gave the kids some  yogurt, bread, and peaches for a snack, this time Madison finishing hers and Jonathon (when distracted, not finishing his.  Definite improvement but a lot of other times as soon as the food is gone (ie cheerios, mac and cheese, etc) he goes into a tantrum.  We're very afraid of the plane ride when we may not be able to distract when the food is gone, and that NEITHER of them is going to sleep. 

The kids were playing and eventually walked/crawled into the bedroom to play around.  Myra and Madison left at one point and while messing around in the kitchen they decided to walk up the road a block to the pharmacy to get some medicine (Myra has come down with a bad head cold).  Before they were back (less than 10 minutes), Jonathon was asleep...tired boy!

Joe went down the street to get some food for dinner and by the time he came back, Madison had dragged Myra into the kitchen to each two more bowls of yogurt and some bread.  Hungry girl!  Then she had a piece of pizza on top of that.  She played for a bit and then the usual screaming bedtime with the girl asleep about 45 minutes later (7:45pm).  We agonized over whether to wake Jonathon up.  he's been sleeping since about 5:00pm....will he make it through the night?  Joe went in to see how sound asleep he was (caressing his head, kissing his forehead, etc) and he didn't flinch at all so we let him sleep.  We may be in for a disaster come  3am but he went to sleep so easily we hardly wanted to pass this up.

They were both in bed so early that we are finally sitting down to drink that anniversary wine.  Just peeked in on them – it's amazing how they can start in the center and so quickly end up on the edge of the bed – certain to fall on us again!

Number 9

On Wednesday our wedded bliss turned nine years old.  We can honestly say that 9 years ago, this isn't where we thought we would be, but God led us on this path and its been a roller coaster that is entering an amazing loop. 

Tuesday night both Jonathon and Madison slept all through the night (without any falling out of bed) until about 6:45 (when Jonathon heard the alarm Myra had set on super low setting because we needed everyone ready by 9am).  Upon waking up the kids just loved playing in bed with each other.  Rolling around, laughing, giggling, etc.  So Myra took that opportunity to hop in the shower and Madison seemed ok with her departure.  After awhile Joe coaxed the kids out of the room (it was clear they were waiting to be removed from the bed like they were their cribs).  We went in the living room and looked through some photo books.  Myra had made two books of all the pictures from our first trip of us with the kids.  The ones we left after our first trip only had pictures of the two of us and we thought this would be great for them to see how they had been with us before.  They loved looking through these books.  So much so that Madison stayed in the living room with Joe the entire time Myra showered and got ready.  Amazing.  The behavior didn't stick, but he'll take any moment he can.  For those of you that know Joe well, he is often a a favorite of kids so Madison's 'fear' of him is rather heartbreaking at times.

Joe made some scrambled eggs, strawberry jam on croissant, and some peaches.  Both the kids LOVED the eggs (and the bread of course).  Sorry for the details...some of you may think its a bit much but grandparents like to picture every moment and Myra and I want a way to remember every moment.  They actually sat in  the kitchen eating their bread while he made the eggs so thats little improvement (but they still needed some food).  Kitchen has now become synonymous with food.

We were all set by 9 and waited for Petko to take us to the medical clinic for their appointments.  They were a little fussy by the end of the ride (Madison especially) but made it through the wait for the doctor thanks to the blessing of Cheerios.  The doctors visit itself was very quick.  He checked their lungs, heartbeat and then reviewed their immunization records and that was it.  10 minutes tops for both of them.  Then Petko waited in the doctors room for him to finish the paperwork and we headed down to the cafe.  joe picked up a couple of juices and was looking for another snack when the lady behind the counter asked what he needed.  He said a kids snack so we went in the back room and grabbed some puffs snacks.  The four us ate this big bag of puffs (breakfast for Myra and Joe) and they had some juice.  The doctor filled out a name incorrectly so Petko had to come down for another form which means the puffs didnt last long enough (thats a recipe for disaster).  So we headed outside to distract them and wait. Madison seemed drawn to talk to boys (about 10), even grabbing one's hand - but did not appreciate any adult males talking to her.  Petko arrived withn 10 minutes and we headed back for the apartment.  When we hit the bumpy cobble streets Madison screamed for the last 10 minutes home.  When Petko reached the apartment, he stopped in the street and said "Just put them to bed".  Ha - didn't need to suggest that twice, that's what we did.  Took about 45 minutes to get them alseep but it was worth it.  We skipped lunch because they had eaten so many snacks already.

During naptime we made something to eat and checked our email.  It was about 2:30 or so when Joe checked his email an say a message from our friend saying Happy Anniversary.  To which he turned to Myra and said "Oh crap, happy anniversary", and after second she said 'Oh, yeah, happy anniversary!"  Needless to say a bottle of wine went on the grocery list for today.

Madison woke up about 330 and had a gerber meal (still so thankful we packed so many small meals and snacks!), and once again we woke Jonathon up after about a 3 hour nap.  He also had a meal and we played together until about 6:30 when we decided to go for a walk.  One thing we played was 'throw things into the tub',  Myra was able to coax Madison into the bathroom by acting all silly and loudly throwing plastic bath toys into the tub - she caught on!  Joe eventually convinced Jonathon it was okay too (he is very timid about the bathroom) and both had fun doing this.  However, we aren't so sure this will really help come actually bathtime - but maybe just a little.  At 6:30 we headed out for our walk.  Jonathon is ok with the ergo baby carrier, Madison is hit or miss, today was a miss and she refused to be in it as soon as we hit the street and  insisted on walking.  We just decided to head to McD's (a 10 minute walk) and grab some food to go and that was about enough stimulation for the kids with all the people, stores, etc - Madison did enjoy pointing at lots of different things and then looking up for confirmation that we saw that AMAZING blue large garbage can (and similar items).  They both loved their chicken nuggets and some french fries.  Again, they actually didnt finish their meals.  Madison is good about stopping and then she often goes to play with Myra.  You can tell when Jonathon is getting full because he gets playful but he will just keep insisting on more.  If you turn him away from the plate so he is looking at something else and then put him down and immediately walk with him away from the table he does well and does not cry which is progress.

We had all the lights dimmed in the apartment and put all the toys away before dinner was over to try a calming atmosphere before bed.  Let them play with each other about a a half hour or so in the living room and then off to bed.  This is where our anniversary present came.  For whatever reason, they love to play with each other bed.  We should have stopped them from playing, but it was the most precious thing we have seen.  All we could do was videotape it for a while, preserving our memory of this anniversary forever.  After our first trip they put their cribs together to try and form a good bond.  We think it worked.  Madisons comfort thing is to pull her shirt up to her chin, hold it there and suck her thumb.  Then sometimes she likes to hit her belly (not hard).  At one point Myra and Joe were between the two of them (to try and get them to sleep). Jonathon heard the belly-slapping noise (and couldnt see her) and he immediately pulled up his shirt and did the same thing.  Before laying down they also like to stand a couple feet away from each other at the end of the bed, hands on the footboard, and just go up and down (like doing squats) - so cute.

Again, getting them actually sleep was a tough experience.  Madison finally fell asleep about an hour or so.  Jonathon finally went down about 1030.  At one point Joe held him and rocked and then Myra came in and hugged him from the other side so it was a Jonathon sandwich.  Seemed to work, but he always wakes up fter 5-10 minutes and screams.  He likes to rock himself and sometimes all you an do is sit there and be with him which is tough.  Putting them to bed was exhausting enough for us.  They start crying as soon as we take them in to the room to lay down.  Any other families with tips out there....let us know!
We went to bed soon thereafter, too exhausted to even drink our anniversary wine.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Little Victories...

So we're catching up during naptime...posts will get shorter and not proofread...we're thankful if they end up even semi-coherent...2 toddlers have us a bit scattered.

Madison slept through the first night until 7:15 when she rolled out of  bed onto myra.  she actually just looked at myra and smiled, i think glad that myra was still there!.   jonathon however woke up at 230 and 330 crying but Joe easily had him back asleep in 10 minutes.  At 4:30 he woke up and just would not go back to sleep.  He tends to rock himself a lot, and sometimes just his head side to side but we think this is typical orphanage behavior, they have always had to rock themselves to sleep.  He was in a weird place, and scared.  Myra took over at about 6am and got him to sleep only shortly before madison fell on them!  All in all they did better than i would have if soeone plucked me from my home and took me to a place i had never seen, with people i didn't know and who couldnt understand me, and I had no idea what the heck they were saying.

they had some oatmeal, 1/2 strawberry bar, and bread will jelly on it for breakfast.  jonathon ate it all, madison maybe half.  we're thankful for the apartment so we can eat in.  joe gets to do all the food prep because madison cannot be left in a room without myra and if the kids see food in the kitchen they need to eat it right away and breakdown if they can't.    Sippy cups were still a no-go.  They are too used to regular cups but we are trying.  Jonathon still has a major breakdown when the food is gone and if he sees food.  So we have been put on an effective diet plan where we don't eat all day until they are asleep at naptime or evening. 

We gave them a snack mid-morning (I think yogurt and bread, peaches, and juice) and then went for about an hour walk to the grassy mall area where they walked around a bit and loved seeing/chasing the birds.  We stopped at Pizza Roma on the way back and ordered a chicken pizza and shopska salad to go.  They did ok on the 10 minute wait and then each ate a piece of pizza and peaches,  (we tried eating a piece while feeding them and it was ok this time as long as it was gone before theirs).  Our lunchtime victory was our ability to get them BOTH tricked into trying their sippy cups (without the one-way valve put in it)!  We're on our way.

Then it was naptime which is always a struggle.  Takes us about an hour or so to get them calmed down, Jonathon especially.  He is just always hyper and Joe needs to actually (gently) restrain him and rub his back for a while.  he screams for awhile but eventually he gives in.  we hate restraining him but otherwise he does a lot of violent rocking and just can't calm down.  Naptime was our shower time and some food, Joe went to get groceries.  It was glorious!  Madison woke up about 3:30 but Jonathon just kept sleeping (he needed it after the night he had) but we finally woke him up (he was getting restless anyway afraid of how bedtime would go).

We were supposed to have our medical appointments at 3:30pm but they called and said they would not be until the next morning.  So we spent the rest of the day playing as a family.

They had an afternoon snack with some pasta and bread (they LOVE bread).  Tried to give them some ham pieces but they both hated the texture.  They had a fit at the end of snacktime but a little playtime soothed them.  Our victory that afternoon was Madison taking Joes hand to walk into the other room with Jonathon.  Shes usually a bit fearful still but hopefully this is a sign she'll one day be a Daddys girl.  Our other victory is Jonathon finally not screaming during diaper changes, he actually  smiles now.

We gave them pasta for dinner (Bulgarians make a GOOD pasta sauce) and peas.  Madison wasn't a huge fan of the peas but loved the pasta.  Jonathon loved it all.  BUT our victory here was that NEITHER of their finished their meal!  Joe knew he put a lot on their plate but didnt expect for them to actually regulate themselves based on hunger.  Wonderful to see.

Unfortunately that victory was marred by bathtime which was  truly awful experience and they screamed so much.  Myra even had her bathing suit on and was in the tub, along with some toys.  That was no help.  We made it quick and then got them out wrapped in towels and went out to watch some Animal Planet.  They were soo amazed by the TV, it was so adorable.  Unfortunately we didn't think about our DVDs not be compatible here.  Staying naked in the towels was a good idea, until Madison pees down her leg and starts to bawl....diaper time!.  Next we think try playtime in the bath time with no water.

We tried for bedtime at 8:45pm (they were playing with each until  then).  Lots and lots of screams and them trying to play.  We gave up about 9:45pm and brought them back out to the living room but kept it with some mood lighting.  They played a bit and then we got some warm milk and went back to the bedroom.  They drank the milk from the sippy cups (still no valve) but then still would not sleep.  Jonathon was doing so much moving/rocking and joe restrained him again (feeling bad).  he finally went to sleep but madison was the difficult one this time.  she just wasn't having any sleep. joe went to leave the room (heck, his job was done and myra is usually the one who gets to leave first!) but madison starting screaming (victory?).  So he came back, laid in the room (but not near her she doesnt like that...he just had to be in the room).  By about 11:15pm she finally went to sleep.  Finally...dinnertime!  Starving, we got ourselves some pasta, exhausted, and just cleaned up the house.  We got things ready for tomorrow morning because we knew it would take time to get everyone ready by 9am.

We'll try to post some pictures soon...

Gotcha Day - A Day of Firsts....

Ok, so this a couple days late but you can guess why!!  A summary of our Gotcha Day:

Sometimes a week long severe lack of sleep can be a blessing... we both slept a solid 7.5 hours last night, very important for this day of 'Firsts'. We headed across the square for the continental breakfast and then to the grocery store to buy some juice to give the kids when we picked them up (and have them practice drinking out of their first sippy cups before getting on the plane). Afterwards, we just sat in mostly silence just waiting for our agency representative to call and have us come down to the street to get picked up. (this was the same taxi driver as yesterday, and last trip, he is very trusted by Rosi, our representative, who came to Varna this morning).

We headed the same winding route to the Orphanage that we took last trip in sheer anticipation. Pulling up the hill caused major flip flops in our stomachs! After signing a ledger/”sign out” sheet, we gave the kids clothes to the social worker so she could go have them changed. The social worker had told us the caregivers have been talking about us constantly and that Madison and Jonathon have just been waiting for us (so thankful for that!) She also said that the caregivers have been spending extra time with them because they will be missed when they go! Waiting on the edge of our seats in the social workers office the door FINALLY opened and here was the FIRST meeting when they were officially our children! As you can imagine, this was such a happy, amazing moment! Madison stood in the door unsure at first, but with some coaxing ran into Myra's arms. Her well-known and often talked about 4 pigtails were gone which came as a surprise. They recently gave her a haircut! Still, of course, cute as ever. Jonathon was very happy to go right to Joe. Jonathon was not in the shorts we brought because they were way, way too big! Turns ourt he wears 9-12 month pants.  we've heard this from other families but thought we remembered our kids being a little chunkier!  guess we were wrong.  We asked for the scrapbooks and their blankets/teddy bears/albums we left last time. To our disappointment, they could not find the scrapbooks so the social worker gave us a baby picture of each of the kids from their file. To which Madison spoke for the First time today, yelling BEBE happily and holding each picture in her hands. After some quick questions (including getting the caretakers names for the kids to have as they grow), we whisked our kids off to the Varna airport. We were really only in the orphanage for about 30 minutes. It seemed go by so fast and with little fanfare. So many people were on vacation (the orphanage director, Jonathons “grandma”, the social worker we worked with last time, etc). A bit disappointing but we left their gifts for them in the office.

They did very well for us in the car and waiting in line, which was an adventure all in itself. The airport was very crowded and we had to try and make our way through any other lines to get to ours. Thankfully, Rosi was amazing (as always) and pushed our luggage cart through (all 100+ pounds of it!). We thought we would have time to rearrange before getting to the counter so we ended up carrying on a little more than we thought we would. Again it was just going by so fast. We were in the airport less than 3 minutes and our bags were checked and we were on the way to security (while the airport was very busy, Sofia wasn't an extremely popular destination.

We fumbled a bit at security trying to rearrange, carry the kids, and dump out the juice they never had a chance to drink. Sippy cups are not in their repertoire.  Rosi was gone at this point, off to meet another family! The would not let us take the kids through security so he made Joe go through while the TSA guy held Jonathon and then Joe went back through and carried Jonathon through. Same for Myra/Madison. Jonathon was ok with the stranger, Madison was none too happy, mainly we think because it was a male.

Once to the gate (really just a large room with multiple doors), Myra put on her Ergobaby carrier for the First time to carry Madison to look for juice. She was SOOOO thankful to have that carrier! Freeing up her hands was great and her arm was falling asleep trying to carry her. Madison did very well in the carrier and didn't seem to mind. Madison helped Myra pick out the juice and after a very unsuccessful attempt to get them to use sippy cups, we finally just unscrewed the tops and let them drink out of the cup like they are use to. Joe was able to finally 'trick' Jonathon into realizing it was okay, but Madison has quite the stubborn streak. Jonathon ate ½ a banana we bought that morning, but Madison was only interested in walking around with Myra and showing her all the very cool things in the airport, especially the grates (that was her favorite). After boarding a shuttle bus (First shuttle bus for them) to get on the plane (First plane) we thought we were settled and decided on staying together on the side with three seats (and no one take the aisle on the other side which was also assigned to us). Then, while they are taxing down the airport they tell us we can't both sit with children in that row. We had a hard time understanding what they wanted us to do, still taxing, but after a quick shuffle later we had no idea what happened except Myra had Madison strapped to her at the widow with a harness, some larger man now sat on the aisle seat of where Myra was (he just popped out of nowhere). And then Joe was on the other aisle with Jonathon harnessed to him. Myra was able to toss over some puffs for Jonathon so he would swallow during takeoff to pop his ears. Jonathon did eat some cracker puffs during takeoff, but Madison refused to eat the yogurt bites she was eating in the car (but she didn't really seem to enjoy them at that time) so Myra was very worried about her ears, BUT she was fine (fussy during takeoff,but we think she was just scared). The refreshment cart provided juice for Madison and a chocolate filled crossient – THIS Madison was all about and ate the whole thing (minus the two pieces her starving mother stole- bad mom!). On the way back down she ate the other banana ½ and we landed safely with no screams. Jonathon also had some juice and a croissant. This was a little past their lunchtime by now so their schedule was all off.

Getting off last (since we knew we'd have to just wait on the shuttle until the last person got off) we then waited to get our luggage (again Madison was strapped in the Ergobaby). We didn't see anyone waiting for us at first so we called our representative (Eti this time) on the cell they gave us and waited a little bit. Jonathon LOVED to walk around the luggage cart and play with the wheels on all the suitcases!

Our First stop after leaving the airport was the police station to apply for passports. This took quite some time, because there was a lot of paperwork to fill out. Of course Eti took care of it all for us while we tried to entertain the kids. Madison did great for the passport photo, but Jonathon wasn't having any of it. He started screaming and crying. Joe tried, then Eti, then Joe...the first three pictures didn't work because one of them was in it by accident or he wasn't looking. The picture we did get was priceless. He looks sooo mad! But they said that it was okay for the passport unless we wanted a nicer one – nope, we're good...its perfect for a guilt trip for hi later in life! After that we went to the apartment (about 3:30) to try and get them to sleep and go grocery shopping (nap time had also come and gone during all this travel). Neither happened though. There was a cabinet FULL of toys inn our apartment), took 2 seconds for them to find it. :-) They played a lot, Madison surprised us by picking up a toy phone, saying 'hallo' and then giving it to Myra! Jonathon has changed quite a bit in that he seems to understand 'how' to play with toys more than our last visit. Jonathon ate a gerber meal, Madison was having none of it. There is always a little 'meltdown' from Jonathon when the food is gone, but usually a distraction away from the table helps it to pass quickly. Then came the FIRST diaper change, what a tragedy that was. Madison was so upset (lets not forget they missed their normal 12:30-3 naps so for this to be her first meltdown is really very good!), but quickly bounced back. Soon after it was Jonathon's turn – poor boy! He had the WORST diaper rash – thankfully some friends had given us this wonderful ointment they swore by (weleda) and by the 2nd diaper change later it was already looking better! Madison helped Joe by making sure he got Jonathon's shoes back on (he left them off as Jonathon went to play but Madison tracked him down and insisted on shoes) and she put away the wipes case. She is a girl who likes/needs structure and order and lots of it. A funny diaper story was Madison soon after clearly needed another change. She watched Myra set it out the wipes and changing pad and even helped to open the wipes case – then she stood up and pointed and walked toward Jonathon saying 'Pepe!' (this is what they called him in the Orphanage). We started laughing so hard...but tried to stop when her little face got all mad knowing it was her in store for the change. They are really starting to open up and although Madison watches when Myra leaves the room she is clearing becoming more comfortable with Joe, but not quite ready for him to cuddle with her or play too much. They both laughed and talked with us a lot this afternoon, although the only thing we know they said was ball (topka).

It was almost 7pm so we fed them some Mac & Cheese we had brought with us for dinner (nope, we are not worried about them being healthy eaters during this week, just that they eat!). That went over great! Then is was time for diaper change/pj's/bed (8pm). They weren't excited about any of those things. We thought they would go right to sleep since they missed their nap, but this was not the case. There was a lot of crying, followed by the cutest interaction between them (and First time we saw them really playing with each other). They laughed and poked at each other on the bed (while Joe and I laid on either side in an attempt to coax them to sleep). Then they discovered the blinds and curtains behind the headboard – they had sooo much fun with this for a long time, it got to the point that we knew they would never stop and we had to try and calm them down.. Here came the meltdown...our poor babies....tired, scared, not sure where they were or why, they fought off sleep the most the could. They had a well-deserved tantrum and we just held them and talked them through it and all of a sudden Madison just stopped yelling laid down next to Myra rubbing her back, and was asleep! Jonathon was much more difficult, but Joe was very patient with him and eventually he gave in to sleep as well.

Next – a little after 9pm, Joe was off to find whatever food he could since we had nothing to eat since our 7:30pm breakfast. McDonalds has NEVER tasted so good! I can't even tell you the last time we had it. Not really a place we frequent in the U.S. We were sitting here recounting the day when Joe said he would check in on them again. He was in the process of looking for the flashlight Myra had in her purse (yup, likes to be prepared for anything), when we heard a noise and some crying. Jonathon had fallen out of bed! Thankfully, they were very low beds, but we had just been talking about moving the mattresses from the other room to go next to them....this sealed the deal. Jonathon was scared, but fine, and they are both happily taking over the queen size bed again in about 10 minutes. Good thing there is a twin mattress on either side of the bed now for us to sleep in because they clearly aren't willing to share the main bed!

We are happily exhausted, wondering what they are thinking, praying for more improvements tomorrow and thanking God for our kids! Tomorrow is our First Full day with the kids- wonder what it will bring!