Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Shepard and a Sheep

Roman's school held their nativity play for Christmas the other night and he played a Shepard (thanks for a great costume Grammy). He did much better in this role than he did the Fall school concert ... he sang his heart out and we were very, very proud of him. Max got to star in the play as well .... he was Roman's understudy in case Roman couldn't remember his line "the wise men ... Maththew 2, 1-12" but at the last minute they called Max to be a sheep!! You've never seen a cuter or more animated sheep!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Spirit 2010

This past weekend we took Roman and Maxim up to the North Pole ... Jefferson, New Hampshire to visit Santa and get ready for Christmas!!! After the 6hour ride from New York it really did feel like we travelled all the way to the North Pole!!! The boys had a great time and we are definitely ready for Santa to come to our house this year!!!
The other highlight for Roman and Max was the indoor swimming pool at the hotel!!! The minute we arrived Roman was constant chatter about going swimming ... we got to see first hand "nature vs nurture", because Stephen said he was the same way when his family did a similar trip when he was a little boy!! Every time Roman asked about going swimming, Stephen just smiled and said "you are definitely my kid"!!! Another moment of "what a year it has been and look at how far we've come as a family"!!!

Pictures from our visit to see Santa at the North Pole!!!

Santa's Reindeer ... they really DO exist!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Journey Home - November 14, 2009

If you are a follower of our blog you probably noticed last year that I never did the "obligatory" post about returning home and the welcome at the airport. Well, there was a good reason for this ... there was no HUGE fanfare welcome by family or friends ... oh not for lack of planning, arranging and trying but because the limo company we hired DROPPED THE BALL!!!!

Let me explain ... the one thing Stephen and I REALLY looked forward to was walking through the doors after going through customs at JFK and seeing the faces of our parents, sisters and the signs and ballons welcoming Roman and Maxim home. We always thought of it as the "going into labor phone call" and well since we never got to do THAT ... we couldn't wait to share this final leg of our journey to become a family with those who had been through the worst with us!!!

I started planning our trip home from JFK in July 2009. I contacted various limo companies in New York and New Jersey for prices and found a company that was willing to work with us on pricing. Now if you are familiar with NYC and JFK airport you would understand that part of what I needed was a way to get our two families (parents and sister) from our house to JFK and then return with all of us back to the house. JFK is crazy to try and negotiate if you are not familiar with the airport so a limo was the best way. By August I had secured a limo company and being the Type A that I am I had every detail in place ... or so I thought! The very last email I sent before boarding the plane on October 24, 2009 was to the limo owner to finalize all details and giving him all contact information for my mother and sister and reminding him that they would all need to be picked up and that they would bring the car seats for the boys! Well as they say ... best laid plans and all that!!!

On November 14th ... we boarded Delta airlines in the Moscow airport to JFK in New York, with Maxim and Roman .. they were amazing on the 11hour flight!! They played, slept and ate and hardly ever made a fuss ... excellent travelers!!!

As soon as we landed in New York I turned on my cell and texted my sister ... EXPECTING she would text back "We're Here" ... instead I got "Call Me" ... this was NOT good!!!! In a nutshell the limo company SUCKED ... they never showed at the agreed time to pick up our parents and my sister and THEN tried to say that was NOT the plan ... well that's is to say until my sister started reading the emails back to him with the agreement! So at this point it was to late for any of that to happen and since they didn't have car seats in the Town Car for the boys the limo service was cancelled and Stephen's sister jumped into our Expedition with her husband and my mother and made the journey to JFK to get us! Again, Type A me had put the boys car seats into our truck before leaving just to get used to driving around with them ... GOOD THING, Huh?!?! The only problem ... we live 1.5hours with traffic from the airport, the plane was early so you guessed it ... we walked through the doors of customs with no signs, no greetings and no balloons .... we had our sons ... we were home and very, very tired and now we had to wait outside of departures for our ride entertaining two children who were probably just as confused as we were!!!!


No welcome home picture outside of customs for us BUT instead a more traditional New York picture ... us outside the departure doors in front of a trash can with all our luggage, strollers and the best gift anyone could ever wait for ... OUR SONS!!!! It wasn't the ending we imagined but at least it ended with us coming home with the two boys we had waited sooooo very long for and I hope someday when the boys read this blog they can find the humor in what on that day was just a real kick in the pants!!!

Now that we have been home for a year I've come to learn it doesn't matter so much as how you get there but just that you GET THERE. It took us longer than we ever could have thought to fulfill our dreams of having a family but WE DID. It was not the road we expected to travel for becoming parents but in the end WE DID ... we are parents and one year later we have experienced some AMAZING highs with our boys and along the way a few lows but HEY, isn't that what parenthood is all about!!! One year has passed ... there were some days I never thought we'd make it or I'd ever know what sleep was again, okay so I'm still not sure what sleep is but isn't that what those teenage years are for ...PAYBACK :-) .... just kidding ... we made it from start to finish and in the end that is what really matters!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

GOTCHA DAY as a family

A year ago ... November 11, 2009 - outside Baby Home #6, Ekaterinburgh, Russia

Today - November 11, 2010 - outside our home, Newburgh, New York

Best Friends

We marked our first anniversary of GOTCHA Day by spending it together ... no school and no work! We went to Bear Mountain and explored the zoo and a few of the trails!! Roman and Maxim had fun and we started a tradition of celebrating our family and remembering the journey that brought us all together!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy GOTCHA Day 2010

Well ... here we are ... one year later and the "first" anniversary of our November 11th GOTCHA Day. We can hardly believe a year has passed since we walked out of Baby Home #6 in Russia with Roman and Maxim! It has been an incredible year with lots of new memories and fun times for us as a family!!! We decided to celebrate our first Gotcha day on Friday, November 12th since Stephen and I get that day as our Veterans Day holiday ... we are planning to spend the day together as a family doing something fun and starting a tradition of GOTCHA Day celebrations for many years to come!

Here are some never before seen photos from GOTCHA Day November 11, 2009....

These woman were some of the caretakers that watched over the boys til they found their forever families ... look at the love on their faces!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Halloween ... October 31, 2010

This was the last "first" holiday together for us and we had a BLAST trick or treating with Maxim and Roman!!! They really got into the knocking on doors and really liked wearing their monkey costumes!!! After early naps and a quick lunch to counter the candy and treats they would be eating we headed out to Marist College for some "safe trick or treating" in one of the residence halls! It was so much fun but a little chilly!!! After dinner at home we headed to Stephen's parents to surprise them with our monkeys ... they didn't know we were coming so it was cute to see the boys knocking on the door and waiting for Grandma to open it!!!

Mama, Papa and the monkeys!!!

Romans' best gal pal Auntie Sara came from Massachusetts to trick or treat with the boys!!!

sooooo did Grammy!

getting to pick their own candy was a HUGE hit!!!

waiting to surprise Grandma Pupek with a Trick or Treat!

The monkeys with Grandma and Grandpa Pupek who were surprised to see these monkeys at their door!

Two tired monkeys at the end of a GREAT day

At the safe trick or treating they do a costume contest .... guess who got the cutest award ... CMON GUESS ....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We've been parents for one year!

A year ago today we went to court in Ekaterinburgh,Russia and after almost 2 hours of telling our story to the judge and both of us answering questions he "officially" announced us PARENTS!!! After a year of trying to get pregnant, a miscarriage, another 6 months of trying and then a year of infertility treatments, our dream of becoming parents finally... FINALLY came true! We were so excited that day - well once court was over and we didn't need to be nervous anymore!!! Here we were outside the court and beaming because we were done!

We wouldn't get to see the boys that day or over the weekend so we had 3 days to keep ourselves busy until we could see them again .. this time knowing we were their parents and now we just needed to wait the 10day period and then we would be taking them home with us!!! We celebrated that night with some Russian vodka and spent the rest of the weekend exploring Ekaterinburgh!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 3 & 4 - October 28 -29,2009

Day 3 ... boys come into the room excited and like to go through our toy bag!!!

Our fourth day with the boys was actually the day before court so the boys social worker came along to watch us with the boys! Here she is with Svetlana!!!

Roman always arrived first for our visits!!!

Day 4 - Look who is coming down the hall!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 2 - October 27, 2009

Our second day visiting the boys at the baby home ... they are beginning to warm up to us!!!