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10/31: First Night

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
First night sleep with kids…well, I should say first night….minus the sleep. I crawled into bed at midnight (yes, I know, I know…should’ve gone to bed much earlier), and Ryan props his head up and just looked at me wide-eyed with wonderment. He was so excited to see me and didn’t seem to be at all disoriented with his new surroundings. The whole night pretty much went like that..we’d both doze off and then I’d realize he was staring at me or vice-versa. At 5am, I could tell by the way Ryan was awake and sucking his thumb that he was thirsty. I brought him out to the kitchen and poured 2-3 oz. of milk in a bottle, heated it for a few seconds and as quick as a can be, it was gone. We finally woke up for real at 8:00am. He ate a porridge/oatmeal thing with raspberries and he drank 2-3 more oz. I feel so much better knowing he will drink when he really needs it.

Ryan tried a few new foods today. He had some strawberry yogurt, hot raspberry cereal (porridge/oatmeal thing), a fig newton with cherry filling, and some carrot juice. Amazingly, he really liked the carrot juice. He actually liked all of those things.
We did lots of laundry today…between the sprayer from the shower getting out of hand and shooting water all the way out in the hall, diapers leaking through bedding, food encrusted on clothing and bibs…we’re keeping Tide in business.

I wanted a little chocolate fix when I went to the grocery store today…I saw Lindt candy there…jeepers creepers, it cost $28 a box….I’ll just wait until I get home see Uncle Steve…please let this honorable mention be noted as a request for 50% Cocoa or the Sea Salt…PLEASE Steve…I’ll be your best friend!

Well, it’s been a long day…heading off to bed in a few minutes…need to catch up on some rest. Ryan kind of kept to a schedule today, but Sara had a tougher time. Imagine the adjustment for these kids….everything they’re doing might be a first; first trip to a store, first ride in a stroller, first time seeing a river, riding in an elevator, seeing traffic. It’s a lot to absorb….I’m sure they’re on overload.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.
Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
We went to the baby house at the normal time this morning and carried on with our visit like usual. After we played, we brought the kids back to their nursery room and let the caregivers feed them their last meal at the baby home. After they finished eating we had a very emotional good-bye with the caregivers. The caregiver that I liked the best and was always very caring with Ryan (the same one that I included a picture of yesterday) was kissing and hugging him good-bye and she just couldn’t get enough of him and I saw tears well up in her eyes and of course that brought tears to mine. She was really very sad and she asked Dina to have me give her copies of the pictures we took yesterday.

We also took some pictures with the doctors…(see the picture with all the ladies lined up in white coats). The doctors on either side of me were both Ryan’s Drs.; the Dr. on the far right with the black hair was Jack’s Dr.

We brought the kids to the apartment around 1:00pm. Ryan, amazingly, did not fall asleep on the way home. Sara did. When we got home, Ryan spent about 15-20 min. roaming the apartment…and then he fell asleep for an hour. After the nap, we decided to take a shopping excursion….his first ever. We put the kids in the baby carriers and went for a walk up Republica St.. We went about 6 blocks to get a battery charger…hopefully, this will help to get me back on the video circuit…the Flip ran out of juice…so we haven’t been able to record. Ryan seemed to love being out and about….he’s so easy going…he was down with the stroll.

I fed him some porridge for dinner…he ate a decent helping of that, but he still won’t drink anything…this guy is one tough customer on the bottled-beverage front. After dinner, I gave him a little bath. Amazing how one tub with some Johnson’s baby wash can clean a little one up. His hair is already softer. I didn’t get all the green stuff out yet (green medicine from the skin irritation), I didn’t want to get him too upset on his first tub with me. After this, he was just totally in snuggle-mode (even more than usual)…he was asleep by 7:30.

It feels like Christmas morning here…not Christmas like when you’re 40….Christmas when you’re 8. You know, you can’t go to sleep the night before and then you wake up really early with excitement…and then you get the most amazing gift that you were really hoping you’d get…and then all day long, you can’t stop looking at it with amazement. Happy Holidays!!!!

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Today, we arrived at the baby home at our normal time donning our new masks (BTW, these don’t work well as coffee filters). We hurried the kids off down the hall to the playroom. We resumed our daily ritual of play with all the usual toys, balls, blocks, and cars. Cameras were flashing, videos were recording. We were having a blast…and then 5 minutes before the visit was supposed to end, a nurse came in and gave Ryan another shot. It was a big shot too…and this time, I was thrown under the bus. I was the one who had to pull aside his diaper and hold him still to receive the offending jab. He wailed for a few minutes, but ultimately, he recovered quickly.

In less than 12 hrs. from now, I will go to the baby home and we’ll have our final visit there. I am very happy to be finished with my time there…but on the other hand; I have a fondness in my heart for this baby home, this city, and of the country of Kazakhstan. At times, it’s frustrating to be there and not know what’s happening or why they have certain rules and often, inconsistencies. But this is where my 2 children started their lives and for the care, kindness, and love that they had from their caregivers, I will always be grateful. I am very anxious to get back home and looking forward to the reunion with the other half of my family.

I will have my final visit with Ryan and then he will have his lunch there and then we will head home. We are staying through lunch because we need to say some good-byes to people and have a little party. It’s likely that this farewell would interfere with their lunch schedule and it’ll be easier to give them lunch there and let them fall asleep on the way home. I like it; we’re starting off parenting with a nap. Nothing wrong with that!!!

I had another massage today…It was totally brutal and yet somehow relaxing. Carolyn & Darrell had the masseuse to their apartment again. It’s pretty cheap for a full hour (or slightly longer) full body massage…only $35.

We’ve cleaned and re-arranged the apartment to make it ready for the kids. We’re ready…well, as ready as we can be without some basics, like cribs and high-chairs…but we’ve got a plan. We’ll get to test it out very soon.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


10/28: So close…

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Getting so close…less than 48 hrs. and he’ll be home with me. Today, we spent some time with one of the caregivers to get the kids schedule and some ideas of what they can eat and when they are use to eating/sleeping. We were also told we need to wear masks in order to enter Ryan’s group room. In addition to now having to wear a mask, I was approached by the caregiver who wanted to wipe some ointment on my nose (as well as Ryan’s). The ointment I guess, prevents me inhaling germs. I kindly took a dab for myself and put it on my own nose…thank you so much!

Ryan had to have a shot today as a measure to keep his fever down. He seemed fine to me before the shot. You cannot argue with these people, or if you do…you simply become frustrated and it’s still going to happen anyway. They would not let me come into the group room where he was getting the shot because I did not have a mask. He was in there for 30 sec. and then they handed him back out to me crying. Not Nice! He had a nap after this….and even with the 30 min. snooze under his belt, he was falling asleep before his lunch.

In between his urges to yawn and suck his thumb (tired from the shot), we played with some blocks. Roscoe shot a terrific video of Ryan thoroughly enjoying knocking the blocks over. Check it out…you can really hear his giggle.

After we finished our visit and our meeting about the schedule, we went shopping for food and masks. When we all shop together, it is complete mayhem and takes about 15 times longer to get anything done. We did not get back to the apartment until 3:30 (we’re normally back here by 1:00). We were starving. We didn’t have time for lunch…we ate our way through the junk at the stores. We had ice creams, cookies, and free samples at the Eurasia mall.

A new take on the protective masks….coffee filters. I’m telling you people, where there’s a strong will, there’s a way. Darrell bought all of the masks at the chemist (pharmacy), just for coffee filters. While I don’t agree that coffee is more important than protecting society from illness, I do think protecting society from crankiness might be noteworthy. ;)

After we got back, I packed up the laptop and managed to swing a ride over to the Radisson. I spent a few hours over there. I decided to walk for my coffee instead of using a mask for a coffee filter. I’m not above it all, their cappuccino is awesome.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
It's like the movie Groundhog Day.....Another day at the baby home. I needed to stir up the drama. I immediately was in trouble this morning for taking photos when I went to pick up Ryan in his room. Niyet, Niyet …no pictures in the nursery room. Oh man…we’ve taken pictures in their before and it wasn’t a problem…2 more days and he’s mine. The plan is to go pick the kids up on Friday, late in the morning. Let them have lunch there before we take them home to our apartment. We’ll be here for a little less than a week and then we’ll head to Almaty to finish the paperwork at house bits that are needed before we can come home.

I had fun watching Ryan play with my camera….I included a video clip for you to check out. He’s so methodical as he explores things…nothing goes in his mouth….but he opens his mouth up and you think that’s where it’s going to go.

We shopped today…I haven’t been shopping in a few days…Roscoe & Eliz. Shop many days…they’ve got me beat. We finally found some Cyrllic blocks that I’ve been looking for. They already have this set and Ryan loves them, but I haven’t been able to find them again until E. found them today. I bought some tights for Ryan. Yup…that’s right tights for boys. It’s gotten very cold here and I don’t have snow pants for him, so I need to have some heavy-duty tights under his pants.

We are getting very excited that the kids will be here on Friday 10/30. I’m just a little nervous because we’ll be missing a few key staples…like a crib and a high-chair. We’re going to find out their specific diets/routines tomorrow and then we’ll go shopping for the foods/supplies we’ll need.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Ryan is doing much better today…although his lunch did not stay put. His fever is gone, but he gained a few green spots for some skin irritations on his head and back. He played normal and was his happy self again. He didn’t eat very much for lunch while I was feeding him….and the caregivers thought he should eat a little more. They managed to get more into him (you can see a few nice snaps of him getting more…he didn’t love that). I suggested to the caregiver that perhaps he was not interested in eating anymore because his throat may be bothering him. This prompted them to give him some medicine….which made him gag and completely lose his lunch. He threw up in the exact spot, wearing the exact same shirt exactly 1 week ago today. Repeat!

I’m just keeping positive thinking that all of this now is way better than having this just as we’re traveling home…good to get it out of his system now.

Roscoe took a great video of Ryan crawling in the hallway today while I was chasing after him. It’s even fun for me to watch even though I was there. There are things you miss even when you’re there. We also practiced the stairs a few times…he is fast at crawling and walking along while you’re holding his hand. He stood for a few seconds without holding on to anything….I think he’ll be walking will happen soon. He’s not interested in toys as much as he’s interested in just walking or cuddling.
It’s pretty wintery here today…a nice warm -4 C temp. with a beautiful snow accompaniment. The roads here do not appear to get treated. On the way home from the baby home, Arman’s car kind of got stuck and the wheels were just spinning. He was asking the other 3 of us in the car with him to start rocking our bodies forward to give the car the momentum of our weight to help move it along. This was pretty funny…by the time this made any impact, the light changed and we couldn’t go anyway.

After our visit…we we all wanted some tomato basil soup from TGI Fridays…made the trek over. The street was jammed with traffic due to the road conditions…sheet of ice. After lunch, Arman and Dina came and picked me up for a trip to the airport to see about changing my flight home to fly directly from Almaty rather than having to return here to Astana and then having to fly home. The final paperwork bits we have to do is in Almaty. It was going to be a pain to have fly back here on 11/11 in order to catch up to the same flight I could board in Almaty (meaning 2 days of travel instead of 1). Dina is my hero…she got them to agree to make this change and I avoided the quoted change fee of $1,832.

They dropped me off at the Radisson for my daily caffeine fix. I’m down to exactly 1 coffee filter…and believe me folks, this is not going to be pretty with a week and half to go (and children) before a hotel room service coffee is available. Wish me luck and thank your stars you won’t have to deal with me. (Sssshhh, don’t tell E&R what they’re in for.)

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

10/25: Weekend Blog

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
The days are running together and keeps getting too late in the day, I forget what happens to write about..so then I have to keep looking at the pictures over and over again to conjure something up for the day...then I just get sad that I'm not home sharing Ryan in person with all of you.

Friday


We went to the baby home as usual. Ryan had a ton of fun crawling up the steps...we did that at least 4 times. He was quite proud of himself, as he should be. E & R started doing this with Sara too, this apparently caused quite a stir for Elizabeth's brother who has a 12 mos. old and they don't have stairs in their house. He then invited himself over to one his friend's house to let his son use their steps. :) (...Keven from here, I can cause trouble).

After our visit, we went to our respective maternity hospitals for some photos. Arman took me to Maternity Hospital #3. Both of the other families took a ride to Maternity Hospital #2...that's where Jack was born. I have photos from that hospital from last time. We did not go in¡Kwe simply took some pics from the outside.

Later on Friday, I made a trek to the Radisson (where I'm typing this from now)....this place is so comfortable...it feels just like I could be home in the US. All of the steps are perfectly symmetrical. None of the granite, marble, or tiling anywhere is chipped or loosened. Everywhere you go here in the city, it seems like something needs to be repaired...even if it was only installed recently.

Friday night, all of us except Elizabeth (she wasn't feeling well), went to the hockey game. After the game, we went out for dinner with a few of the players. There were 3 Canadian players playing for Kazakhstan's team, a 4 player from Prague (who hangs out with these guys because he can speak English)...another player from the opposing team joined us. He is also Canadian; he was the bruiser for the other team, based out of Russia somewhere.

Saturday


We went to the baby home for our last Saturday visit. Saturdays are usually a huge free-for-all...but all of the families from Spain have flown home¡Kso we had our usual 10am regulars only today.

Ryan was not feeling well today and seemed to get worse as the time wore on. He developed a fever. I don't know what initial temp. reading was...they hurried out of the room to get a Dr. ...and they came back with a suppository for me to administer to him. Yes, I had some reluctance and my own questions about what the purpose of that was for...but in the end, I didn't put up much of a battle because they don't speak English and I don't speak Russian and there wasn't going to be another thing I could do for him at this point...so I gave it to him and called Dina later with my questions. (she later advised that is a common way here to give a fever reducer). About 15 min. later, they had me take his temp. again and this time it was 38.3 (normal is 37).

The Dr. looked at his throat and gave him a spoonful of something...then Dina sent Arman on an errand to the chemist (Pharmacy) to pick up some throat spray for me to leave for Ryan. He finally drifted off to sleep¡Kand they had me wake him for lunch. To my surprise, he ate some...I also pointed out the one sore spot on his back...it had been getting better, but today looked worse. I found another in his hair¡Kthey put some green liquid junk on it (even in his hair).

After all this, I then tried to get him back to sleep for his afternoon nap. He wouldn't let himself drift off because I was holding him..while comfortable and snoozy, he started crying the minute I put him down. I had to finally let the caregivers take him and do this because he is perfectly fine if they put him down...he expects it from them.

I ended up kind of breaking down and feeling pretty upset about the whole visit. I just felt so bad leaving him there in this condition and he just wanted to be held¡K On the other hand, I do feel it's better for him to have had this illness this week instead of next when he's out of the baby home and living at the apartment with me. I don't know any Drs. Here and certainly walking into a chemist here isn't like our local CVS or Walgreens.

I won't see him on Sunday (no visits). I have asked Dina to call and get me an update on how he's doing. I haven't heard yet.
The rest of the day was pretty low-key...and thank God. We went to Samovar for lunch and had some nice Siberian Borscht. Once we were back at the apartment, I actually had my first nap since I've been here. I'm not one to usually nap....but since Pete and Jack left, I've only been sleeping about 4-5 hrs. a night....I think I only slept for 20 min. I woke up to a droning noise. When we finally looked out the window...we saw this dented up Soviet 20' boat that looks like it's been around since 1945. This boat was towing a big long pipe contraption up river. You can check out the snap.

While checking out the boat-truck (which is what we call it), we noticed all the people swimming in the River. Umm...yes it is only like 25 deg. F outside...but people seem to do this a ton. After our river spyings, we went to the blue-domed museum across the street. It's the Cultural museum. Lots of cool old stuff inside, including a yurt...a few pics of that for you too.

After the museum closed, we went to our secret underground mall and I found a cobbler of sorts¡Kasked him to put a new hole in my belt. He didn't want any money..but I gave him 50 tenge anyway. I've lost a little weight and this belt was a little big to begin with. While shopping at our little underground mall, we also found a baby bathtub bucket thing (900 tenge ¡V like $5-6). The bathtub in the apt. is a high-sided cast iron tub..it's too deep for him to be in it alone.

Last night, Roscoe made dinner...we had omelets...and we just stayed in watched the Bourne Supremacy on my PS2 player. Hanging out like this was just what I needed...I missed the end of the movie, and I slept 8 hrs.

Sunday


I walked to the Radisson this morning to type up the blog. I tried to score some coffee filters from HouseKeeping...no dice. They tried really hard to figure out what I wanted...they tried to give me paper cups, and individual serving coffee packets....Niyet, Niyet, Spasiba (No thank). I wasn't able to get an internet connection from the Radisson today...but I did get 2 cups of capuccino and a croissant. Sweet!

We went shopping at a 6 story shopping mall today. We immediately went to the 6th floor for lunch. While eating our lunch, the tv was playing a show/movie with topless woman and adults in compromising positions. Different standards on tv for sure.

We managed to finish our gift shopping and we also found some nice umbrella strollers for $28. That's very reasonable and comparable to prices at home. This is the cheapest we've seen strollers here. Darrell is going home to PA on Tuesday and returning here the following week. He offered to bring one back for me...but I was concerned that he might get here after we have left for Almaty.

It's snowing in Astana. It has been all day long...ever since I came back from the Radisson. It was nice to walk in the silence of the falling snow.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Ryan was a ton of laughs today. We went for a ride on the little car in the playroom…he especially loved corners and bumping into stuff. We were walking out in the hallway and as we went by the music room, there was a man in there playing an accordion. Jack would’ve loved to see this. (He always wants to see an accordion). We managed to stand just outside the room and dance/listen. This put Ryan in a mood to dance….and I don’t know why, but I said “Opah” and he giggled so much. We got that on video (not great success posting video)…if you email me a request to see it, I’ll send it to whoever wants it.

I also got him to giggle when I called him Ryan-chick instead of Islam-chick. I’m using Islam-chick and Ryan interchangeably now…and he does answer to both names.

Beginning tomorrow, we get to feed the kids every day. The caregivers are short-handed and need our help, but didn’t formally get permission to allow us to do this until today. Our visit time is from 10-12. Every day when drop them off, it’s lunchtime and sometimes we are forced to put the kids behind the play fence to keep them corralled and then they want us to leave. The kids cry and it just makes your hear t sink when the visit ends this way.

Ryan drank a ton from his Dr. Brown’s bottle. Roscoe & Elizabeth had an extra one I could try and this is the one he seems to like. If their daughter doesn’t like it, then I will be in business…otherwise, it’s unlikely that I’ll find this brand here.
Big excitement today at the baby home…well, it’s exciting to us. The meat truck came and made another delivery. I got a few pictures for you. Two men hopped out and in order to prepare the meat to be delivered, they began hacking at a side of beef with a hatchet. This site was so enthralling, we couldn’t stop taking snaps.

I apologize for the sporadic posting times…I’m having a tough time with internet connectivity this week, and I’m not expecting it to get much better. There are 3 of us sharing 1 line and we definitely cannot be on at the same time. It’s frustrating for trying to work from here. I’ve had to walk to a nearby coffee shop or a Radisson Hotel where wi-fi is available. This had made me feel so much more isolated this week…a week when I really needed to feel distracted and wanted desperately to be busy.


Here are some PICTURES of us today.

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
My visit today with Ryan was pure joy. He drank a lot (2-3 oz.) from yet another new bottle today. That’s the most so far. He also played with Wally. Wally, the Red Sox Mascot, is a stuffed toy that Jack normally sleeps with. Jack left it behind so Ryan could play with and think of him. I took a few good pics of Ryan playing with him.

Roscoe has become Jack/Pete’s replacement for our family photographer. He took a few pictures and video of us today. Eliz and I were lined up like Rockettes while wearing the children in their baby carriers…we attempted a leg kick. It was pretty… pretty funny!!!

We were locked out of the playroom this morning. We were stuck out in the hallway for like 10 minutes this morning. The key was lost. Galea (a caregiver who is a friend of Dina’s and helped her escort Jack to Almaty a few years ago) saved the day…she either found the key or used a master key to let us in. Sorry to bore you with this stuff, but it’s one of the only things that differentiates our days lately.

Today was a day of pure aggravation with regards to trying to get on internet. I went to a nearby coffee shop that has internet…but there’s a problem with their network. I left there and walked a mile to the Radisson. I was able to get on successfully there, but it’s too far away to stay there after it was dark, so I only ended up being there for about 2 hrs. Roscoe & Elizabeth were kind enough to come and meet me on the Riverwalk, as it was getting dark when I left there. After our walk home we went to yet another party…this time for Darrell & Carolyn, Darolyn as they’ve come to be known.

Darolyn had court this morning…all went well so we had to have another party. It was also Darrell’s birthday. We celebrated at a TGI Friday’s…and I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to eat at a TGI Friday’s this bad ever. It was so comfortable and American feeling; we all just needed a little something familiar. Our crowd was all the usual suspects…and a few new ones. We ended up meeting a hockey player who plays for the Astana Pro Hockey team here. His name is Trevor and he’s actually from Thunder Bay, Ontario. He’s over for his 2nd season in Kazakhstan. Prior to this, he’d played at a few minor league teams in the US, most recently a team out of Springfield, MA. We’ve now made plans to go to Friday night’s game and then have dinner/drinks with him after the game.

It’s been a long day…signing off now…some great photos today.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


10/20: Cuddle-Bug!!!

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
The boys are home safe. Jack was playing with Alexander within minutes of returning to our neighborhood. He made sure his swingset and pirate flag were still in order. Pete said poor Jack was sick on the flight home. He ended up throwing up on the flight to Boston. Ummm, I’m thinking maybe his body had been de-toxed from McDonald’s and he wasn’t ready for the shock of fast food. Uncle Steve, who was so gracious to provide ground transportation from the airport for Pete/Jack sent me a photo of Jack holding a pumpkin that Alexander left on the front porch him. So good to see his face again. Thanks Alexander, Val, and Rithy for making dinners for my guys. Also, Roscoe just told me he’s very concerned about his standing as Jack’s best friend – now that Jack is back to playing with Alexander.

I picked Ryan up from his room today…took a photo of him with his caregiver before I grabbed him up. You can see pictures of rocking horses in the background…he is usually on one of those going like a madman when I come in.

Ryan was extra snuggly today….and I soaked up every bit of it. First we played in a virtually empty (as empty as it gets these days) playroom. I had some of his toys out, but he almost never plays with them. He either wants someone else’s toys or he just wants to be cuddled. A true Cuddle-bug!!! He did not vomit at all today and his rash seems much better on his torso… he does still have a few spots on his face. I’m not sure if he was actually looked at by the Dr. or maybe was given some ointment or cream for the rash, but it’s way better.

We practiced walking up/down the hallway…he had already had a nap by this point, but he was tired of the walking. When he’s done with something….he IS DONE. He just drops right to the floor and rolls over and lays there. I’ve been trying to work with him to chase after me, and today it finally worked. He was laying there giggling so much, he decided he better get me. He assumed the crawl position and was cracking himself up. It’s so fulfilling to see him change in the last few weeks. He’s always been so happy, but he wouldn’t even attempt to be active a few weeks ago. He is so low-key…it’s a drastic difference from his older brother. Jack was always very active (still is).

I tried to get him to drink from a bottle that Elizabeth and Roscoe let me try with him. HATED it. He ended up spilling it…right on me…right down between my breasts…I was then scented with apple juice.

I practiced putting on/wearing the baby carrier again…and I’m proud to say I did it all by myself…and Ryan loved being in it. This was a perfect sequel to our first part of the visit where he fell asleep in my arms. He just loved being in this carrier…he resumed sucking his thumb without missing a beat.

My new accommodations are lovely and I’ve included a few snaps of my new view of the river. The bed could be a little softer…It’s much like sleeping on concrete…there’s absolutely no give…the bed honestly does not depress where I lay.


Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Sorry we haven’t posted anything in a few days….been busy trying to get Pete and Jack ready to go home and getting me ready to move over to Elizabeth & Roscoe’s apartment. It’s been a somber couple of days. I feel so homesick already and now that compounded with missing Jack and Peter, it’s been a very emotional day.

Today started with my cell phone alarm chirping at us to wake up at 1:20am. Arman came to pick us up from the airport at 2am, and the flight was scheduled to leave at 4:30am…taking them on to Frankfurt and ultimately home to Boston. I went to the airport with them just to know they were off without any hang-ups. It’s very hard to let them go, knowing it will be so long before I hear from them again. As I am writing this, they have been gone for 17 hrs. and I won’t hear from them for at least 6 more. I do know they made it safely to Frankfurt because I can see the McDonald’s charge already on the credit card. :)

I went to the baby home for my normal visit (a little earlier) and as usual Ryan was excited to see me…he did miss the boys though…and the playroom was a little quieter and a lot less of a mess to cleanup at the end of our visit because our chief entertainer was on a flight home.

Poor Ryan threw-up today…all over. Thank God we were in his nursery room to get a drink for him and he just erupted….all over the floor, all over me, and all over my signature Red Baby Home slippers, which were a hold-over since the days of visiting Jack here. Paka Paka Red Slippers. They were too much to deal with washing off…found the nearest diaper pail and added these to the collection.

I’m not sure why Ryan vomited, but he seemed normal aside from that happening. His rash has become a little worse and I asked the baby home Dr. to take another look at him, especially since he also threw up. He did not have a fever.

Despite Ryan’s unsettled tummy, we had a banner day for a few terrific milestones…
- He drank a drink for more than 1 sec. – and he drank from a bottle (check out the snaps)
- He also crawled up the steps at the baby home

We also have a few last photos from Mr. Jack. He took these yesterday as we strolled down the Riverwalk.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.



Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Saturday, we went to the baby home and then some souvenir shopping. We really pounded the pavement, we walked a few miles and we were in/out of about 10 places. During our visit on Sat. we managed to take a few pictures of Ryan's crib and also included a snapshot of how is name appears in Russian as Islam.
We also took some photos outside the baby home with the plaque that appears by the main entrance. The building under construction is a dormitory that is being built next door to the baby home. It is for biological mothers to come and stay with children who have not been relinguished for adoption, but who cannot financially support the children at home.

Saturday night we went to a birthday party for one of our drivers, Farkhat’s, wife. Farkhat also owns a restaurant, Café Solo. We were treated to a lavish spread of traditional Kazakh dishes, salads, and some wonderful bread that tasted very much like a sesame bagel. The vodka was flowing, but Pete managed to keep any nearby shot glasses filled with water which nicely fended off the steady service from the votka waiter.

Sunday, we spent the day packing and cleaning. I’m packing too, I’ll be moving over to Elizabeth & Roscoe’s apt. when the boys leave. Our last day together was very mellow. We walked along the Riverwalk and fed the birds some stale bread that we had left over. We had a farewell dinner for Pete and Jack with our usual posse.

The restaurant was way too hot. It was a nice meal…but I think I’m really dying for a dinner across the street at TGI Fridays. A cheeseburger, English spoken, and American Baseball…I know where I can watch the World Series now…even if it is a day behind.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
We were all feeling much better this morning after a day of laying low…really low. We arrived at the baby home ready to go….Ryan was up for a good hour of play, but then he faded fast for a quick snooze. We were crawling (well, he was, I was following on foot), and he just decided he was done. His arms gave way and he crashed right into the floor….poor guy got a little fat lip.

Jack, our family photographer, took about 100 pictures of either himself or anything but our family. Elizabeth forwarded us a picture of the great photog at work. We have a bunch of photos of other kids at the baby home on their tricycles. The little boy who waves to us up on the 2nd floor, always smiles and is very friendly to us. I really don’t enjoy going outside these days because these older children are usually out there and it tugs too much at my heart knowing that these little guys will be left behind. There are 2 or 3 that always come over to us and say “Priv-yit” or “hi”.

We went to lunch at the place in a photo with Dina waving. I cannot tell you the name of the restaurant, despite it being in the photo. It was a buffet place…$6/person, kids eat for free. They have cold salads, 2 different soups, plav (rice like dish), and beef ribs (like an Irish boiled dinner….YUMMMM). Luckily for Jack there were pickles, I think this encompassed the majority of his lunch which explains the vast quantity of junk that he ate for the rest of the afternoon.

We went to a new part of Astana today. We had to make a visit to a Notary today for some paperwork. Notaries here are on every corner and advertised as such with signs that read “HOTAPNYC”. We went to a notary that Dina knows well and we actually remembered her from last time. She remembered us as well.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Oh Yes it Does!!! This morning was a very rough morning for everyone but particularly for poor Pete. There’s a snap of him looking like he desperately needs some sunglasses. Funny thing – there are more photos from our celebration party. I forgot the date on the camera advanced because we were out so late, so I neglected to post all the party photos on the previous blog.

Ryan was great fun today. (even more than usual.) I think he somehow knew that today was truly a turning point. I kind of got him all to myself again. Pete was pretty under the weather and Jack was playing a little with everyone, so I just played with him the whole time. We did some walking, lots of jumping, and now dancing. He has learned to dance to the beat of the “Kazakh Party” song as sung by Jack and Roscoe.

The big platter in front of Jack & Roscoe was the Traditional Kazakh Horse dumpling dish. I think it also had lamb in it too. I was under the impression that it was all lamb. I only just learned about the horse this morning…that didn’t help to keep my turbulent stomach in check.

One of the cutest pictures I’ve seen ever, is Pete giving Ryan a kiss on the cheek…check it out.

...and sorry if the pictures of Ryan sleeping bores you…it never gets old for me. :)


Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
We’re the proud new family members of Ryan Islam Ivancic. Needless to say, court went very well. The proceedings lasted about 20 min. Our hearing was after Eliz. & Roscoe and they were successful too. Jack even was asked some questions by the judge. She wanted to know if he knew that we were in a different country than where we lived. She also asked him he knew that he was born here in Kazakhstan and that he is Kazakh. He was shy with his responses but he did confirm the he knew all of these things. She asked him his age and was amazed when he responded 4. He looks so grown-up with his tie on.

It was a great day but extremely busy. We were done with court by 11:30…but then we had shopping errands to do and then we had to stop by the restaurant where we were planning our celebratory dinner, Bukhara (pronounced Bu-ha-ra). We had to go there to reserve a room and put in our order/deposit for some of the larger dishes. We were able to reserve a private room and we ordered two different lamb dishes, a Kazakh traditional dish (which included horse).

Since our court appearance took place during our normal visit time with Ryan, we had to reschedule our visit with him until 4-6pm. He was just as happy as ever, maybe even more so because he had just had his afternoon nap. Pete and Jack both had a nap. Jack actually fell asleep on the way over to the baby home, so we carried him in and let him sleep for about 45 minutes. Pete ended up falling asleep too…I basically had Ryan all to myself… :)


Ain’t No Party like a Kazakh Party….'Cause a Kazakh Party Don’t Stop...
Ain’t No Party like a Kazakh Party….'Cause a Kazakh Party Don’t Stop...
Ain’t No Party like a Kazakh Party….'Cause a Kazakh Party Don’t Stop...

Oh My God!!! We went out for our dinner…a billion bottles of vodka later….let’s just say, it was a very late night and Jack’s nap served him well. I don’t think we arrived home until 12:30. Suffice to say, it was a very, very slow start today for everyone.

Every bottle of vodka ordered came with an uncooked herring. I’ve included a picture for you.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
I managed to get ready a little early and hitched a ride with Eliz & Roscoe to the baby home. Ryan was riding like a madman on his horse. We had a nice long visit today. Ryan loves walking while holding on to our hands now. He’s able to make it the entire hallway back to his room..and if Jack is walking in front of him, we make in double-time while Ryan strives to keep up.

We bought him a few new toys that he seemed to like. We bought him some peek-a-boo blocks for $24 here, that you could buy at home for $7. Oh well, you can only walk around so many miles looking at different stores before you just give in to something because it’s right here, right now.

We went to lunch with the entire gang today at our new find…Carmel, the luxurious coffee shop from yesterday. It was expensive…but reading from a menu priceless. Jack was also delighted that they had tv that had the Cartoon Network. (the volume was too low for us to hear if it was actually in English…but we figured probably not). The place is very smoky though…such a nice thing about home, is the ban on cigarettes in restaurants.

We are set to go to court tomorrow. Wish us luck.


Here are some PICTURES of us today.


10/12: Busy, Busy…

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
This morning was a very busy day for us (and much busier day for Dina). We got to the baby home at our normal time and knew we had to be ready to rush out and take Ryan to get his passport photo taken. We rushed out and took Ryan for his first car ride. This is such an odd feeling to hold a child in the car, rather than strap him into a car seat. It’s a pretty cool cuddly thing…but one eyebrow raised at the safety concern.

While we were waiting for Arman to return to pick us up, he was also bringing over Darrell & Carolyn with Remi for her photo…then we were suppose to get a ride back to the baby home. It got really confusing because then another car with Eliz. & Roscoe (and Sara) showed up with nurses/caregivers because they were on their way to see a dermatologist for their little girl. We then needed a 4th car in the mix to handle all of the comings/goings. Dina had to coordinate all of these cars, drivers, and appointments, and nobody was moving without her say-so.

It’s so odd to me that people here need drivers to drive places. I think it’s due to a lack of parking along with the craziness. Drivers (rather than Pedestrians) definitely have the right of way. The view yesterday from the Pyramid and the Baiterek Tower (golf tee looking-thing) shows just how flat and vast this land is, so why they don’t just make more parking is so baffling. You literally pull up to these lavish buildings and there’s 4 spots to park. Then there are these beautiful sprawling gardens….and then room only for another 3 spots to park.

We found my new favorite place in Astana. It’s a coffee shop that would put Starbuck’s to shame. It has cappuccino and cocoa. Jack was equally delighted with this find. Pete and I both ordered a cappuccino and in addition to a menu in English, they put a cute message on each of our beverages. That’s not all, the bathroom at this place was to die for. It was immaculate and had toilet paper, which were individual sheets that actually said “Kleenex”. You need to understand, toilet paper in restrooms here is an extraordinary thing….and not available everywhere. I travel with an entire roll of toilet paper in my purse. (Yes, that’s why the purse needs to be soooo BIG). Some toilets don’t even have a toilet seat. Ok, Pete says that’s enough about bathrooms.


Here are some PICTURES of us today.




Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Sorry...ran out of time to type up a nice post to go with these pics..

We went sight-seeing in lieu of a visit with Ryan today (no visits allowed on Sundays). Astana has many interesting buildings, most built within the last 5-6 years. Enjoy some of the sights. Sad to say, the most boring building in the lot is the US Embassy.

I included a few pics of Ryan to hold you over...

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


10/10: Saturday Fun

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
I went to the baby home early today…trying to surprise Ryan -- he was the first baby to be picked up today, not the last. I think he liked it, but he looked pretty confused because I was there early and Pete and Jack were not with me. Pete and Jack came later (because there are some many of us, Arman has to make multiple trips to get us all there each day…and we’re usually the last trip. He seemed to enjoy the quieter time before the Saturday crowd showed up. We played in the mirror; we practiced walking, and peek-a-boo. Ryan jammed himself way in behind the ballpit today. It was so funny; we captured that for everyone to see.

Pete and Jack managed to lock themselves out of the family room in our apartment this morning while I was already at the baby home. The family room is the command center of our living space. It has the computer, the tv, and land-line phone. Arman was waiting outside to drive them to the baby home and he must’ve called Dina to say he couldn’t find them. Dina was calling the apartment and Pete and Jack couldn’t answer the phone. Guess those guys do need me to keep them organized in the morning.

After the baby home, we (all but Carolyn and Jack) got haircuts today. That was a fun time, but waiting for 4 people can be tiring, I went last. We all had ice creams afterward….yummm. After this Arman came up to the apartment and got us back into our family room…he figured out which key opened it up.

We went to the hockey game. Kazakhstan vs. ? (yeah, that’s right, we don’t know who). We won, 4-2. Pete recognized the name of one of the players for Kazakhstan…he use to play for the Bruins, Joseph Stupple. This was an interesting experience; a sporting event where alcohol is not available. They serve hot tea instead. They also had popcorn for snacks. Popcorn here is all kettle corn. Yuck! It looked so promising as it glistened and beckoned me from the festive carnival popcorn maker. I bought some and was most definitely disappointed.

The place was LOUD. The people immediately behind us had a drum...that kind of gets your heart pumping and your ears deafened. Many others had air horns. The arena wasn't any bigger than the Tsongas Arena in Lowell or the Cumberland County Civic Center. People were waving huge flags for Kazakhstan...I'm talking HUGE. If one of these flags went down, whole rows of people werre going to be covered. There really weren't any fights among the players in the game. I expected more from the bloody program Arman had shown us a week or so ago.

In between periods, the row behind us was found out. They had smuggled in a beer. They were escorted out by 2 military guards. The place was just crawling with military. There were some policemen, but mostly these guys dressed in blue camouflage uniforms…as you might imagine, these guys didn’t look like a whole lot of fun.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.



Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Ahhh, yes together time…It’s wonderful right up until…it’s not. We’ve had so much together time…but I think we all could use a little alone time. Confined to a little apartment, one little car and one schedule is taking its toll. A little tension combined with some language barriers in just trying to order the simplest things, and then once you get your point across that you want that thing only to find…they don’t have that. Perfect facial expression from Jack that sums up our day.

We went in to Ryan’s room to get him and he was just laying sadly on the floor. The caregiver told me that he had been crying when he saw Sara’s and Remi’s parents and we weren’t there yet. As sad as that is, it makes me happy to know just how much he’s attached to us.

Ryan is much more active these last few days…he really, really…no, I mean really wants to play at the door to the playroom. He always gets into trouble over there…but he still heads for the door. Finally, Pete and I decided to let him go out the door to see where he would go. He started heading back to his room…my heart fell. After a while of letting him either crawl or walk (while holding our hands), he started heading for the stairs (down)…”ahh, you’ve only been walking for 10 min. with our help and you think you can master the stairs?”

Ryan is NOT at all interested in drinking anything from any sippy cup with the “sippy part” on. If you take the lid off and let him drink it as if it was a normal cup, he’s happier but, of course, he nearly drowns.

We had our baby home visit this morning and then immediately following that we all went to the Eurasia mall for some lunch and shopping for souvenirs or whatever. The together time got a little on my nerves by this time. Seven people shopping in one place where absolutely no one knows where anything is, was a bit disconcerting…especially when all you really want to do is eat lunch first. The food options at this mall, looked about as good as the diner that use to be in the K-Mart in 1979.

Happy Birthday to my sister Stacey (today) and also to my niece, Melissa, on the 11th.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

A few of the pictures are:
- Jack really wants to drive….on the righthand-side of the car.
- Russian Orthodox Church being built
- Leftover Birthday party toasts in the hallway from Sunday…hey, how come the birthday girl isn’t having a toast. Uh…that’s ok.


10/08: Soup's On!!!

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Ryan has a cold and I can hear a rattle in his chest. He hates having his nose wiped…just like his older brother. He slept for at least a ½ hr. of our visit…I let him sleep as much as he wanted because I think he needed the rest. Yesterday, we were told to take his temperature with a thermomenter in Celsius...no big deal...except we weren't sure of which temp. is actually considered normal. His first temp was 37, and his 2nd reading (becuase they apparently take 2 readings per day for each child) was 36. Later in the evening, we found out a normal Celsius temp for a child is 36.8 (give or take .7 degrees)...so I think his temp. may have been slightly elevated....but it's hard to tell if it's a real temperature with the 4 layers of clothing and high indoor temperatures.

He was more pleasant when he woke up, but he’s been more fidgety in the last 2 days than in the past 3 weeks combined. He’s been more interested in getting around seeing/playing with other kids in the room. This is a good thing. I took a picture of him standing at the ball pit next to Remi (Darrell & Carolyn’s little girl).

He also enjoyed playing with some blocks that Eliz. & Roscoe found for Sara. They have the Cyrillic alphabet on them. Ryan really likes these, I’d like to find another set if we can…neat souvenir to bring home and, maybe Jack could bring them to show-n-tell when he goes back to Mrs. Gilmore’s class.

We took an inventory of what things we have for Ryan just to get by while we’re here. I think I just need a few long sleeve shirts. Two short-sleeve shirts I bought a few weeks ago were both are too small for his head. I did leave them at the baby home…I bet they’ll be him in the next few days. I didn’t have the heart to jam them over his head, but they will.

We made soup and grilled cheese for lunch. Yummm…sounds easy…but not all that easy. The soup was a package to add water and other ingredients to…but when you cannot read how much to add, what to add, or how long to cook it, at what temp…it gets complicated.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

10/07: Islam-chick

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Every day we drive past a church and this synagogue and every day Pete has been meaning to take a picture – so today is your lucky day. More than 60% of the people here are Muslim though… the mosque is on the other side of the city, and we haven’t been over there yet. Ryan’s given name is Islam. We have decided to keep that name as his middle name. He knows and answers to this name now, so we are using it interchangeably with Ryan. A cute variation of the name that he is often called by his caregivers (and us) is Islam-chick.

Ryan was not so happy today. He really needed a nap, but he wouldn’t settle down, so it didn’t happen. We managed to get the playroom all to ourselves for a part of our visit…everybody else went outside. It was a nice warm day here too…but sometimes, it feels important to just hang out the 4 of us when we get the opportunity.

We have our court date for Oct. 14th. Pete, Jack, and Elizabeth all want to get haircuts before court. We’ll go to Dina’s hair stylist…Pete probably still won’t get a style ;)

After our visit we had lunch at a pizza restaurant nearby. This place gave Jack a few little toys…namely his first toy gun. Ugh! Can’t go too far or into to many toy stores without seeing one. So we have a few pics of the Gangsta. After lunch we took a shopping trip which included our first stop at the ATM since we’ve been here. Just figured we better test out this process before we actually run out of money. It was pretty easy to use (as there was an option to use English), but when it came to a choice for how much money, we weren’t quite sure if it was in tenge or USD. So we selected “200”…and then received a 200 tenge bill…turns out that this is only $1.33 – hope there isn’t a $4 fee to get $1.33 ??? Anyway, we immediately used the ATM again and picked “10,000”….this was like $66. Ok, 1.5 hrs later that was gone.

We have hockey tickets for Saturday night. Arman got us tickets, for 1000 tenge each….that’s less than $7 per ticket…you cannot even get a beer this cheap at the Boston Garden!!!

Here’s a link to a video that E&R took today. Your daily installment of pictures is on the usual link below.
video

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

10/06: Burrr....

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Today it is cold. Cold and we are (well, I am) wondering where the heat is. It was suppose to have been turned on in the city on Oct. 1. When they turn on the steam to heat the city, it may take a bit to reach everyone in the city. It’s only 12 C (53 F) outside…

Ryan was happy, happy, happy (I know…he IS always Happy) to see me today. Today was his first birthday party (that we know of anyway). Eliz. & Roscoe’s little girl, Sara, turned 1 today. They organized a birthday party for her including a cake (which the children were not allowed to eat). They also brought sugar-free juice, bananas, apples, and cookies. Ryan drank the juice (only from a cup – not his sippy cup) and he ate about 3 cookies (which 90% of each cookie ended up on the floor). He wouldn’t try the bits of apple or banana I tried to give him….no wonder he’s a peanut!!! I managed to take a few photos of the party.

We put his shoes back on him today and we also tried him out in the new baby carrier. He seems to like it…but I think I’ll need to practice getting him in/out of this contraption. It actually was pretty comfortable…wondering how it feel at hour 10, at hour 19??? He walked a little bit in his new shoes again, not quite a hit like yesterday, but he still likes them (and they’re still very big).

Ryan couldn’t stay awake before the birthday party at 10:30...and I had to wake him up to go…he was not happy. He tried to resume his nap after the party while we were hanging out outside.

Jack took a few photos today…and you can all see a picture of him taking a picture of himself (because he was standing in front of a mirror).


Here are some PICTURES of us today.

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
We tried on Ryan’s new shoes today. They’re HUGE…but still very adorable. They say “Bobby” on the little Velcro tab. Roscoe dubbed them the Magic Bobby shoes (not to be confused with Ricky Bobby shoes). He called them this because as soon as they were on his feet, he was all about walking. He held my hands and walked across the playroom…he did this about 4-5 times. He’s done this a little bit before but never for this long. These shoes looked like they were as long as his shins. I’m starting him off on his shoe fetish early…he already has 2 pairs. (3 if Robeez count).

We found a baby carrier for Ryan. Only 2600 tenge (like $20). Hopefully, he fits in it. He’s pretty light, so it should do the trick…
I just need it to last for one really long day (on the way home). We were told about this little hidden mall by Carolyn & Darrell (we have now all flubbed up and called them Darrolyn). I have no idea how they found this place. It was down an alley and then in a very non-descript doorway, down a flight of stairs, and then through a door, and then a winding hallway. Each store was no bigger than 8x8 room. Shopping here is so different. Most stores (that are affordable) have the merchandise in piles and you need to sort of ask to be shown stuff…or simply start digging. I’m not really sure if this is ok or not, but it’s frustrating to shop this way when I am so use to merchandise on racks and spread out for me to pour through myself.

Unfortunately, we do not have many photos today. Very disappointing that today would be the day the battery ran out. Roscoe got it on video, so hopefully you’ll be able to watch.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.



Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
It’s a pretty big birthday for me this year….and I cannot think of a more memorable way to have spent my day. Today started with extra rations of coffee…YIPPEEE!!! (it’s a special day). We’re going to most likely run out of coffee before it’s time to come home…we only brought 2 lbs. Unfortunately, because it’s Sunday, we were not able to visit our little guy…but we’ll see him tomorrow.

Pete, Jack, and all of my friends here threw me a fabulous surprise birthday party. Elizabeth & Roscoe hosted it and Dina, Arman, & Madi (mostly Dina) cooked us some traditional Kazakh dishes including Plav (Rice stir fry dish). We had many toasts with vodka (pronounced vot-ka)…so many in fact, that we went through 2 bottles …(Pete isn’t really able to help me write much just now as a direct result). He wasn’t the only one; all the guys are kind of feeling like this right about now.

Before we even got over to the party, Jack fell fast asleep on the couch. He hasn’t had a nap at all since we got here…guess it finally caught up with him.

I also received a few gifts. An adorable Kazakh mother & child doll from Elizabeth & Roscoe, a nice bottle of wine from Carolyn & Darrell, and Pete and Jack gave me a hat I had seen a few days ago…they went back and got it for me (I think Elizabeth had something to do with getting them to remember the right one to buy for me..thank you E). In addition to the cute doll, E&R also gave me a Happy Birthday Uncle card in Russian. (nice!!!) They wanted to find a birthday card for me, and they even tried to ask for help in the store....I guess they didn't specify it wasn't for their Uncle. What a riot!

After a while, after the sun was setting, we decided to go for a walk along the Riverwalk, as we were heading out of the apartment, a man from the apartment across the hall stopped us to talk because he thought Carolyn looked like Nicole Kidman. This guy was every bit as tipsy as all the men (except Jack) in our posse. Next thing we know, this boisterous guy has a bottle of vodka and somebody from inside their apartment was just passing out fine crystal shot glasses…like enough for 6 of us…there goes the 3rd bottle of vodka. We eventually managed to extract ourselves from that situation and get on with our walk along the Riverwalk. We took some pictures with the city lights in the background. You can also get a glimpse of my new hat. ;)

Dina’s son, Madi, really liked playing with Jack, Jack’s toys, and me. He only speaks Kazakh, but we were somehow able to share a common language of laughter.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Saturday Squeeze. All visits before noon…there were a zillion of us there in one room…and since it’s raining here today, staying in was the only option. We tried the sippy cup again…he’s not really interested in it, although, he did drink a little. Check out the photo where Pete is holding the sippy cup and Ryan is looking at it with a worried stare.

We bought a pair of shoes (yes, another pair) for Ryan yesterday. They were cute little high-top shoes. Ryan has chunky feet, and there was no way his little feet were not going in these shoes. So what’s a girl to do… naturally an exchange was in order. When I bought the pair of shoes yesterday at a little store in a mall called Pucha, I negotiated the price down even (from 3000 to 2800 tenge)…all without a translator. We went back to Pucha today, again without a translator, for the exchange. I found a few other pairs I liked, but they were more money (about 2000 tenge more -- $14~)…they were too much. We did a lot of typing of numbers and sizes on a calculator and then I finally found a pair for the 2800 tenge (even exchange, but didn’t negotiate another discount). This store was tiny…shaped like a triangle with about 10 feet a the widest point, and about 2 feet at the most narrow…this includes her inventory and display, leaving a generous 3x2 space to navigate. In addition to all of my commotion, there were 4 other ladies with a girl trying shoes on. I was quite proud of myself…(next time I have to do an exchange, I’ll negotiate for a discount too).

We went to the Circus this evening. It wasn’t what I expected. It was a show with acrobats and juggling, but there weren’t any animals….well, not until the end. After the show, they had horses and a camel for the kids to have a 1 lap ride on. Jack didn’t want any part of that. After the Circus, we went to a nearby mall and had borscht and pizza at a restaurant in the mall. We could’ve also had sushi…but being that the ocean is millions of miles away…we aren’t so confident….we have difficulty enough ordering sushi at home where most everyone speaks English!

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


10/02: What a Day!!!

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
We had our normal visit with Ryan today. It started like any other. He was his typical happy self. We did the usual play in the same playroom as always with all the same playmates…well, except Roscoe(…he’s not feeling well, and was down and out). Ryan had a little nap and then the play resumed. It’s started to get colder out today, so we didn’t go out. We brought him back to his room at the end of our visit…and that’s when the fun happened. We got to feed him. We all got to feed our children.

There was a shortage of caregivers because many of them were putting on a show in the music room. There was only 1 caregiver left in Ryan’s room and I think she really wanted some help. I’m not sure of her name, but she is the nicest one and so very kind to the kids. We, of course, were so excited at the opportunity. Ryan’s lunch was a bowl of chicken noodle potato soup, a plate of ground beef with potato, and then a gelatin drink at the end. The gelatin drink is like warm jello before you would refrigerate it. Ryan ate only a little bit of each thing. (This is the same meal I had fed to Jack a few years ago and he ate every last bite).

We were able to take a few pictures of the show with the caregivers dressed up in traditional Kazakh garb. There’s a group photo…Pete is in the very back..and Jack and I missed the photo opp., although Jack vehemently declined our request to have his picture taken with the ladies.

Shout Outs for Today…

Happy Birthday Papa (Jenn’s Dad)!!! Today is his birthday.

Thanks for calling Michelle. We had a nice surprise early this morning, Michelle Schlafer called us. It was so nice to hear from her, she’s the other half of Jason & Michelle who were here with us a few years ago. She’s been reading along with blog and sharing in our memories of then and now.

Mike I. – the sports scene is hockey or futbol (soccer… to you and me)…we may go to a professional hockey game sometime in the next few weeks. I think they like to fight at these…a program from a game we saw a few weeks ago, had a fight right on the cover and a nice bloody guy.


Here are some PICTURES of us today.



Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Well, Ryan was back to being his very happy self today. He was excited to see all 3 of us pick him up from his room. We played in the playroom for a while and we let him get a little snooze in. We did a little manicure while he slept (his fingernails, not mine). He had a few scratchers. He knows he can get my glasses now…he was all about taking those off and seeing what they’re about. Still he didn’t eat them…thought for sure he’d explore them with his mouth. Nope, just little tiny fingerprints everywhere.
We tried on a little red winter coat that I brought from home…that fits him good and will be perfect for taking him home. Now, I just have to get him a hat and something to carry him in. The little blue Shrek hat he had been wearing is now on some other little boy. We have the “No. One” hat now. Funny, it should be #1 and wherever it was made, they put “No.” instead of #...read it too fast when I first saw it and thought it said “no one”. I’ll have to see about a recon mission to locate the Shrek hat tomorrow.

We went to a castle for lunch today. I think the name of the place is LineBrew….very nice and definitely has that whole medieval castle thing going on. Expensive. We started out wanting to go to these beer tents we remember going to last time…but they only have bar tables to stand at. Standing in a bar with Jack was not the lunch we had planned….we went for suggestions to other places. Another couple here with us, Carolyn & Darrell, had been here and said it was fantastic. It definitely was! ...but very expensive…like 10,000 tenge…that’s like eating at Shymkent 4 times. Check out the photos of Jack with the Knight.

On our way home from lunch, we noticed that there were men cleaning the statues and benches all along the Riverwalk. There was one guy way up high cleaning a statue and we noticed that they only had a ladder that only went halfway up. We actually watched the 3 men below hoist a ladder until it reached the top of the statue. The man up there boarded the ladder and the 3 men below gradually lowered the ladder as the man descended.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.