Thursday, September 23, 2010

A visit from Anna & a boy and his dog

Our Anna from Khabarovsk is here for a visit.  Our Anna who made our trip wonderful, meaningful and most importantly sane is here in Canada.  Having Anna here has been an opportunity for me to give back to someone who really was the high point in my time on trip two.  We've spent time visiting and sight seeing and while that's been fun for Mama, it's brought up some hiccups for my little man.  Thankfully it didn't take long for me to recognize subtle and eventually not so subtle changes in my boy for what they were.  It started out with what I would call "bratty" outbursts or not listening, or just repetitive things (requests, demands, "in my face" behavior) that I just brushed off as a bad day... then it was 2 days... It grated on me something fierce - not because it was awful, but because it was out of character for Corbin.  After a particularly trying series of demands which made me want to invoke the we both need a time out clause, I stopped... and simply asked him if he needed a hug... (because I did) and he burst into tears and said Yes... I need cuddles.  In a moment where I wanted to push him away... it turned out that was exactly NOT what he needed.  As the house of cards began to fall, I learned that my boy was likely overwhelmed, confused, scared and insecure about the arrival of our Anna. There had been much Russian spoken to and around him and compounding that is the fact that we had started to talk about our vacation where we would be flying on an airplane.  1 + 1 = a little boy who possibly wondered if the Russian speaking lady from when Mama came was here to put him on the plane.  Since I recognized this for what it most likely is there has been dedicated cuddle time, reinforcing conversations that I am his forever Mama (he has asked probably 75x "Corbin's Mama?") and random snuggles just to put him at ease.  He's even been more territorial with Lyric and is back to himself.  All in all I think that this is good for us - he has learned that I'm not going anywhere and that he can trust me when he is afraid.  Perhaps stresses like this help to solidify that this is permanent... you're stuck with me kid! So, tomorrow we're off to Banff with Anna - I can't wait to see her face when she sees the mountains close up.  And in other random "we've been busy" news, Corbin attended 2 birthdays in one day - one for a little friend at gymnastics (read: MAMA JUMPING!!!) and one for Uncle Jeremy and all in the same day, Corbin also got to meet some very special men in Mamas life - my old soccer coaches.  I love that they still love me and couldn't wait to meet my boy :) 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

He is amazing

Family pictures... For so long I stood back pretending to be busy while the rest of my friends and family captured moments to keep for a lifetime. I don't have to pretend it doesn't bother me anymore. I have a family. Here are our pictures.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playdates, baking and follow up doctors appointments

The whrilwind never stops around here... wait... even before Corbin there was always some sort of tornado of activity so I guess I just like it that way :)  We visited the "kids hospital" as Corbin calls it earlier this week.  Great news, he's growing (one inch in 2 months), gaining weight (2.5+ lbs in 2 months) and talking at a level that the doctor said she would expect from a home grown kiddo.  He even managed to argue with her about the finer points of "POOH Bear" vs "POLAR Bear"... she said whatever we are doing at home it's all good and she can't wait to see what he comes up with after starting preschool in November.  No concerns, no follow up and no additional appointment until the new year. 
We've spent time with many other friends and Corbin talks about it for days afterwards.  It's one of the things I enjoy now - his reasoning and language skills have developed so that he talks about what he DID and what he WANTS to DO later.  Busy week with playdates for him and for me.  He is getting more restless and harder to entertain at Mommy lunches but loves to eat Sushi which I am thrilled about :)  He could have ridden forever with Uncle Jeremy in his "Small car" and I love to watch him give hugs and kisses when we leave.  Here are some pictures of our day with his special friends who will remain nameless since I didn't ask Mama and Papa if I could post.  Suffice to say, we love 'em and Corbin could have raced in the kitchen for hours and hours - could have been the sugar rush from the cookies but... whatever it was it was so cute to watch! 
The other fun stuff keeps rolling in: We spent this afternoon with Anna from Khabarovsk (my angel who I stayed with!) who is here for a visit for two weeks.  She couldn't believe how happy and settled in Corbin is - he really isn't interested in hearing any Russian anymore and raises his hand and says "NO" or waves it off which was heartbreaking for Anna I think.  We'll see more of her coming up and have some pictures to share I'm sure.  On Sunday my little man will have the chance to meet some very special people to Mama.  My old soccer coaches are coming into town for a visit.  I have respected and admired these men for the better part of my life and I'm thrilled that they still consider me a friend after so many years.  The tears will flow (and not from me... but grown men don't cry right?) as we reminisce about the times, the games, the wins and the lessons learned but mostly the fact that you never lose track of good people who make your world better.  Knuddie and Alvin - can't wait to see you... P.S. Corbin already has a mean shot ... I think he'll be a solid mid fielder too just like his Mama :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The babysitter is coming at 6

Those words felt sooooo good to say and so over due.  It's strange... for so long all I could do was obsess about how badly I wanted to get him here and into his bed and after only 2 1/2 months, the relief I felt at having at having a SILENT car ride followed by a nice dinner, a bottle of wine, some adult conversation and the most incredible dessert I've had in a long long time.  I got to do my hair, put some perfume on and I even wore beautiful shoes that by the time I crossed the parking lot and street, climbed the flight of stairs and arrived at our table had me cursing the practicality of 4" stilettos... I've missed the girl who fearlessly tackled a night of dancing in these beasts and who didn't feel like crashing at 11:10... but I also spent half the night talking about my boy, our adventures, the funny stories, and the things we've done.  My feet hurt in a good way that reminds me that I can have both... I can wear the shoes, do my hair and still proudly tote the spider man back pack full of gold fish crackers and dinky cars.  Yes people, it's official... you can have your cake and eat it too (thanks to the babysitter with amazing parents who offered their girls up from the day I knew I was adopting who live around the corner and will provide much needed sanity breaks and availability to cover soccer and hockey games... did I mention I love you???) 
Serenity now... serenity now... serenity now :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Random Musings from Russia

I find myself telling the stories of my time in Russia and remembering moments that didn't make the blog for one reason or another, but that I don't want to forget.  So, as they come up, I'll share some funny memories. 

"Mama Ka-kat!!!"
It's a beautiful morning for a walk in Khabarovsk and Corbin and I are strolling along the promenade peacefully enjoying the cooler temperatures and sparse Russian crowds in an area that soon becomes packed with festivities and action.  We would get up at about 7:30, eat and then head out for a walk until noon.  Dressed in his new finest threads imported from Canada sans pull up, I hadn't really contemplated where facilities are located along the walk (rookie move).  I had scouted for them in the afternoons and evenings and in the vendors, bathrooms were plentiful.  At this hour however (nothing gets going until after lunch) not a toilet was to be seen.  Bear in mind that communications between the little Russian and Big Mama were full of enthusiasm but lacking in content so when I heard "MAMA...KA-KAT!" loud and clear from my babes mouth I shuddered in horror as I frantically scanned for the nearest facsimile to a toilet... AH HA! porta potty... NYET! guarded by some grumpy looking Baba I needed some amount of money payable in Rubles to use the nasty stench of a potty... I only had some bigger bill and she had no change and quite frankly I wasn't ready to part with what could have turned out to be $20 to have him be afraid of the nasty hole in the lumber... time was seriously of the essence.  Fine then, I'll take that bush... I don't have the language, the charades skills nor the inclination to ask for directions to the nearest approvable location so... we dart dash and do do.  Thankfully Mama had a zip lock full of wipes.  While you are disgusted with my behavior, it's worse: that this was not the only time that a bear pooped in the woods... but what do you do??? Like a good "owner" however, I did bag and tag the next one for proper disposal.  I have however repented since I've been home and am happy to say that there has been no pooping in the woods since we've been back.  Oh yeah, and I'm a better charades player in English :)
Stay tuned... there are way more stories from the trenches.

Today we danced

While the statement of "today we danced" might not seem like much to celebrate, for me, it was an amazing morning.  Corbin has been headstrong, confident and a "doer" since the moment I met him.  In his own self assured way he steps confidently in the directon of what he wants and sees BUT he has pushed me away in wanting to dance with him and even in singing TO him.  For anyone who knows me, I sing all the time in the house and car - he didn't mind this but singing "ABC" or "Ring around the Rosey" or anything else was met with MAMA!!! NO!!!  In the last few days he's been more interested in doing the hockey pokey or doing roll play along with the folks on TV cartoons.  This morning I looked up from my coffee to see him dancing away to the song on the radio.  I smiled and asked if he would dance with Mama?  Answer - big smile and YES!  We danced away to "you and me baby we're stuck like glue".  These are the moments - the ones we dream of - the ones we wait for... today I danced with my boy (followed by horsey rides, squealing like a dolphin, trying to ride the dog (OH NO CORBIN!) and kissing the computer screen as we talked with my friend Steph because he wanted to say a special hello! 
Mornings for us are special so I'll add this to the list of great stuff.  Every day I open the door to see him wriggling from under the blankets to emerge with the BIGGEST smile and "good morning Mama! Cuddle pease!" I crawl in and we cuddle for awhile... until the dog jumps on the bed and Corbin launches to cover her up with his "binkie"  He is just so affectionate.  He will crawl on my chest and say, "hugs mama" or "more kisses" - I don't want to get up and leave the moment... but we do and now there will be dancing :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the road - part II

Corbin and I hit the road again over the long weekend to play a little soccer at provincials.  He charmed the ladies in the van and cheering (read: playing with everyone elses kids) from the side lines.  He was perfectly entertained and having him run onto the field after the final whistle will never ever get old (even though I am er will get old).  I was thankful that there were other kids to play with and a dad with the patience of a saint and the arms of an octopus to play catch, kick soccer balls, feed tim bits, wipe noses and clap for goals scored all at the same time.  I honestly didn't know what to expect for such long games and freedom to run here and there but Corbin never ceases to surprise me and was an angel once again.  Even our trip to the big fat mall was met with patience and hand holding and resulted in the major find I was needing for Tianna's belated birthday gift.  At the end of it all, we came away with the gold for the 5th year running - but this year was harder fought.  Nationals are in BC this year which will mean better weather than last years winter wonderland.  Unfortunately the ankle injury that kept me down for the better part of the summer will have me sit this one out but I'll try not to mind as I sip my rum punch from the beaches of Bermuda and watch Corbin soak up some vitamin D.  Leg three from the road will be with sun screen and umbrella drink in hand.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.... I can feel the vacation start to kick in already.  Can't wait to see the girlz on the rock and enjoy your never ending hospitality!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Meant to be

I came across the song and video by Steven Curtis Chapman from a discussion about a new children's cartoon "Veggie Tales - It's a meaningful life" which is set for release in early October. I'm sure everyone has become accustomed to the wonderful music that comes from Mr. Chapmans heart for adoption and this one is no exception. I haven't looked into the video too much yet but I understand from this music video it has an adoption theme and is very touching.  I (like probably most of you) cried just a little while I listened to this song and watched the video (even if it features hopping cucumbers as main characters?) My little cucumber had a full day of adventure today. We started today with a trip to the ped dentist to get the 411 on what will need to be done to correct the aftermath of being left in a crib with a bottle for way too long - all I can say is thank God for great dental insurance coverage YIKES~!!!!  After that we stopped in at my home study agency office to say hello to the people who helped bring him home.  Everyone was so excited to meet him and they were full of questions about Russia, the process and how he is doing.  It didn't take long for him to speak for himself about how he is doing and they are thrilled for our little family of 2.  They asked me to come back to speak for Adoption Month seminars about IA and adopting as a single - I was happy to accept the invitation and am looking forward to talking about the highs and lows of the adventure.  We closed out the day at the Zoo.  What a difference a month makes.  On his first trip to the Zoo Corbin probably couldn't believe his eyes and didn't have the language to express what he was seeing... today it was a much different story.  He knew the names to most of the animals and certainly had his favorites.  A giraffe came to have lunch about 5 feet away from Corbin and he was mesmerized (so was I - sans camera).  He loved the Hippos and the Gorillas the best and crashed into bed tonight with eyes to heavy for his normal "2 books".  Today was one of our best days... I couldn't help but look at him and just feel really warm and happy.  He's learned so much and gives me so much unsolicited love it's just good for my heart. At dinner tonight as he sat eating, he looked over at me and asked to hold my hand.  Life is good... nah... life is amazing... we were meant to be.  Enjoy the video.

Steven Curtis Chapman - "Meant to Be" Music Video from David Watson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On the road - part 1

Whoops... that's a lot of pictures... but I couldn't stop myself from hitting attach - yes I'm biased but he is a cute cute little boy if I do gush myself :)
This is part 1 because the little Russian and I have a lot of travel coming up for us.  Tonight we returned from a visit to Saskatchewan where we visited and met more family and friends.  Highlights were Mel and Kayins' baby shower and spending time with "Baba G-G".  There are not many joys like watching the face of an 87 year old woman light up when she gets "noses" from her great grandson.  I wish I could bottle that - I'm pretty sure it would be an ingredient in youth serum.  Corbin is a fantastic little traveler.  I didn't even have to break out the emergency DVD loaded with Taw-moose the train! for the 6 hour trip to Saskatoon or the 7+ hour ride home from another GG's today.  The back seat choruses keep me smiling.  Corbin LOVED hanging out with his little buddy Kayin Mamush and would have eaten a million meatballs at Ukrainian day in the park but the line up was too long for Mama!  We had photos done while we were there and I'm hoping they turn out better than I feel like they did.  Corbin left his cuteness at home and turned into wile 3 year old who wouldn't look at the camera and when he did, I think my eyes might have been closed! But, she was good... so the proof will be... well... in the proofs!  We won't get those until we are away on our vacation to the beach but I'm sure we will be too busy to worry about that! 
Today he learned what a pump jack is and happily pointed them out all the way home.  Corbin is officially counting to 10 and knows Black, white, blue, green, red, pink, orange, yellow, grey, silver... but it's funny because most often he spurts out whatever color is on the tip of his tongue and then actually looks at what he is being asked and corrects himself - so second time's a charm (right now everything is PINK! because that is his newest color acquisition).  We've officially been home for 2 months now that the 24th has passed.  No more Russian is heard at all... "I Ya!" is replaced with WANT PEASE MAMA!!! When my aunt Debbie and Uncle Dwayne met him today they were mesmerized - my uncle shook his head and said, "you'd never know he hasn't been with you from the start... I can't believe how much English he knows already and how he doesn't stop TALKING and RUNNING!!! They are pretty sure he was meant to be mine :)  I can't wait to dress him in the perfect little cowboy vest and chaps they gave him - looks like Halloween took care of itself!
Corbin is back for his 2 month check in with the IA doctor here in town on the 11th and he has a peds dentist appointment on Thursday.  He's gained 2 1/2 lbs since he's been home which puts him above 50% for weight with his height just short of that.  I couldn't be more relieved to know he's as healthy as he is happy!  The only other bit of update is that Corbin has a spot in 2 morning a week preschool starting in November.  The doctors both agreed that with his adjustment and attachment going so well that it would be good for him to get some structured language, learning and "head start" catch up to ensure that we can identify and work on any of the things that he is behind in.  I've been so lucky to find a great program that is play based educational focus with a spot available for him when we get back from Bermuda! 
Well, we're off to Edmonton for soccer Provincials this weekend.  I am fortunate to play with a talented bunch of girls who I played with and against over the years in club ball and at university.  They are a bit of a dynasty and I'm glad to be along for the ride - especially this year as I missed so much with travel and then with my ankle injury.  We still play at a level where there are national championships so here's to another solid showing and no snow this year!!! Glad to be home - going to sleep in my own bed (I'll save the story of the motor inn in Assinaboia Saskatchewan and it's resemblance to a hotel in Siberia for another time - although the beds were considerably more comfortable). Spacoina nochey!