Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sorry not much new to update. I'll just share one little story that gives me a chuckle when I think about it.... We've been having some issues with Emma eating lunch at school. She eats her treats and drinks her juice box but frequently leaves behind what she's supposed to eat (sandwich, macaroni, etc.) A little while ago I picked up Emma from school and asked her if she had eaten her sandwich. Usually when I ask her this question and she has eaten her sandwich, she'll quickly reply with a "ya". If she hasn't eaten her sandwich, she'll reply with "ummmmm...." This particular day, her answer was "ummmmm....." I was particularly frustrated with this answer because it was a few days in a row that she hadn't eaten her sandwich.

I decided I would sit Emma down at the table when we got home and make her eat her sandwich. I wanted her to know that even though she didn't eat it at school, she still had to eat it. So I had her sit down and went to get the sandwich out of her lunch bag, but alas, it was not in there. I asked her where her sandwich was. "At school" was the reply. I further questioned her....

Mama: In your locker?
Emma: No
Mama: In your desk?
Emma: No
Mama: In the garbage?
Emma: Ya.

This frustrated me even more. I wanted to give her the whole spiel about how there are kids all over the world who would do anything for that sandwich, but I knew that wouldn't get me anywhere. So, I followed up with more questions....

Mama: Why didn't you eat your sandwich?
No reply
Mama: Why didn't you eat your sandwich?
Again no reply
Mama: OK, you're going to sit there until you tell me why you didn't eat your sandwich.

After a few minutes, I returned....

Mama: Why didn't you eat your sandwich?
There was a long pause...
Emma: BECAUSE!!!

Now I understand this a typical kid answer, but I had never heard that word come out of her mouth before. I had to hold in a chuckle and ask her my next question...

Mama: Was throwing your sandwich in the garbage good or bad?
No reply
Mama: Was throwing your sandwich in the garbage good or bad?
Another long pause, and I could see Emma's frustration building.
Mama: Was throwing your sandwich in the garbage good or bad?
Another pause, then Emma let's out a frustrated sigh and....
Emma: I guess bad!

"I guess" is another phrase I'd never heard out of this child's mouth. It's hard to be mad at the kid when she's just so darned cute! I again had to stifle some giggling as I told her "I GUESS it's time for you to stand in the corner!"

It is so totally amazing to me how kid's can just pick that kind of stuff up!! Anyways, that's all for now. I'll try and do a four month update around December 9.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh Canada!

This is a follow up to my post a little while ago titled "Oh Canasna!" Many have seen this video already on facebook, but I know there a few blog followers who are not on facebook that might like it. Enjoy.....the Ukrainian version of Oh Canada!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First School Picture

I was quite happy to see that Emma's school pictures turned out so well, considering they were taken back in September when she absolutely hated getting her picture taken. Isn't she just beautiful? I have no idea how the picture people got her to pose and smile, but I am impressed. I'm a little bummed she didn't show her full toothed smile, but at the same time I'm glad it's not a picture of the back of her head, which is about all I could get at that time!

Speaking of school, things are going well. Every morning Emma tells me that she will listen to her teacher and that there will be no pushing other kids. I've been following up with the teacher to ensure that Emma is behaving the way she should be and asked her to let me know if Emma requires any follow up discipline at home. This has only been required once. I think Emma now realizes that she can't get away with stuff now that we're checking up on her. Teacher gives her a sticker at the end of the day if she has been good. Emma's sticker collection is getting quite large as this is her reward at home for doing a good job as well. It seems to be a very good motivator.

Report cards will be coming home next week. I'm a little interested to see what Emma's will say...not too sure how they're going to grade her. "Technically" she is failing at everything, but obviously there are special circumstances surrounding this. Sometimes I get a little panicky when letters get sent home with Emma. Teacher sends home a list of current spelling words, or a letter stating that the grade ones will be starting adding and subtracting up to twelve. Pretty scary when Emma doesn't even recognize letters or numbers!!! OK....just breathe..... I have to keep reminding myself of how fars she's come and that she's still young and has time to catch up. Her fine motor skills are improving drastically, but she still has a long way to go!

We've decided to start Emma in some dance lessons. Not too sure what kind or where. I just know that there is some true talent there that is just waiting to come out. She is such a little performer...I can see it being a part of her future. Some of her dance moves surprise us...and she follows music very well for her age. Her timing and rythym are near perfect!

Well, that's the three month update. I can't believe we've been home three months already! It's gone by so fast! The changes we've seen are remarkable. I'm excited to see what the next three months will bring!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

We're not too sure if Halloween is a custom in Ukraine. Even if it was, I don't imagine alot happens for the orphanage kids on that day. The way I picture it, they would be lucky if the orphanage maybe had one costume that the kids could take turns wearing. I'm sure there are much higher priorities than costumes and fun, such as eating and trying to keep warm.

We took Emma costume shopping about a month ago. Halloween here is usually extremely cold, so we tried to persuade her into getting a nice fuzzy costume for trick or treating. She really enjoyed looking at all the fuzzy costumes until she spotted the rack of pretty princess costumes. Once those were in her sight, there was no turning back. Our little diva would have nothing else. I wish we had the camera that day. Once she selected the perfect dress, she insisted that she carry it through the store. It was a little long and it was dragging on the ground, so I told her if she wanted to carry it, she would have to hold her arm up over her head so the dress wouldn't get dirty. Picture this....kid with one arm over her head carrying the dress, her other hand is on her hip as she walks....well STRUTS to the counter with her new purchase. Emma's "proud" strut stems from when we took her from the orphanage in Ukraine. Everytime we would walk her through town, she would STRUT....her butt sticking way out and wiggling from side to side like you wouldn't believe! I think at that time she was trying to show everyone "Hey, look at me! I have a mama and a papa!" Now she does it everytime she wants to show something off.

As soon as we got home, Emma wanted to put the dress on. How do you tell the kid that she can't wear it for the month? So I told her it was for Halloween, even though she had no idea what I was talking about. Everyday when it came time to pick out her clothes, she would pick out the dress and I would have to tell her no, it's for Halloween. Soon enough, when Emma was picking out her clothes, she would point to the dress and tell me "Halloween." Once we got a little closer to Halloween, I began to tell Emma that on Halloween she gets to wear her dress, she would have a party at school and she would get lots of treats. This always got her jumping up and down excited. She was also learning about Halloween at school. She had to memorize a story about five little pumpkins.

This past week, Emma and I did a countdown...five more days till Halloween, four more days, etc. Finally, the night before Halloween, I told her "tomorrow is Halloween!" The next morning when she woke up, she went straight for the dress in her closet and told me "mama, Halloween!"

The school had a costume parade for the kids which parents were welcome to attend. Each class took a turn walking around the gym to show off their costumes. Most kids are shy and trudge around quietly. Not my Emma! She was the star of the show. When it was her classroom's turn, it was time for the Emma STRUT! Once again I was kicking myself for not having the camera. She had the whole crowd of parents in stitches as she strutted, danced and clapped around the gym. I was laughing my head off and trying not to cry at the same time! Talk about emotion overload. It brought me such joy to see how happy she is and how much fun she was having. I think we have a future performer on our hands!

Being the cruel pet owner I am, I decided it would be fun to dress the dogs up for Halloween. They are such troopers! Emma thought it was absolutely hilarious when I dressed Tifa as a ballerina and Anson as a pumkin. She laughed so hard she was holding her gut!

Trick or treating was fun. We had an unusually warm day, so it was nice to get out into the neighborhood. It only took Emma three houses to figure out that she had to say "trick or treat" and open her bag for people to give her candy. We only did our street, and she made out like a bandit! Our cute little girl and our dressed up dogs were quite a hit! By the end of the street, she could barely hold her bag and she kept saying "too heavy!" Although, when I asked her if we should go home, she would say no!

After that, we rented Emma a movie and came home to enjoy her treats. We let her pig out. I was hoping she could eat it all in one sitting, but that just wasn't possible. Now we have lingering treats to get rid of...not so good for little teeth!

As I saw Emma's joy and excitement yesterday, I couldn't help but think about her orphanage. What would she have been doing that day if she didn't come home with us? What are all her other friends doing? It still breaks my heart to think of it. I don't think it's something I'll ever get over.

When we first arrived home from Ukraine, Terry and I agreed our whole process was so terrible, we would never do it again. Now we've gotten to the point that if we had the money to do it, we might consider doing it again. Crazy, huh? Unfortunately, we would have to win the lottery to pay off this adoption and be able to afford to do it again. Who knows what our future will hold.