Saturday, February 28, 2009
Things continue to go well here. We should go to court the week of March 9. Until then we're keeping busy with Jean & Marilyne as well as the American family we recently met.
Cute story: Ryan starts looking at the door when it's time for him to meet us in the playroom. He's waiting for Ainur who always brings him over. He's so excited once they start dressing him, he can't keep still. We think we need to give him a watch as he's so smart & can already tell time. We also realize that he doesn't need any toys back home. He's happiest with a cardboard box, a camera bag & a plastic bib.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Hard to believe today was our final bonding day with Ryan. Two weeks certainly flies by. We still get to see him during our regular "slot" which is great. I'm sure all the progress we've made together might slip a bit if we didn't see each other often.
We had lunch with our Canadian friends Jean & Marilyne today. We all had HUGE bowls of borsch (Lyle & I know it as "borscht"). This ain't your Baba's borscht. It isn't the beet variety that I knew from my baba. This one has cabbage, meat & potatoes. It was so big & came with a bread basket. It was also very inexpensive. I think the 4 of us agree it's a hit.
Tomorrow we're taking Ryan to meet the immigration doctor. She rents a conference type room at the airport to examine him right there. This is a requirement for us to go through for the Sponsorship process. Anyways, I'm sure it will be the first car ride he's had in almost 19 months. We can't wait to see his reaction.
Paka for now.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Yesterday we took a cab around town, with our translator Ainur, acting as a tour guide. We were in the car for about an hour and 15 minutes & we'd make stops along the way to take pictures. Everywhere you go, there are billboards & poster showing the athlete who won gold in Beijing last summer. He is a weightlifter & hails from Kyzylorda so he's the pride of the city. We even saw both local hospitals, one of them is where Ryan was born (not sure which one, though). We found the "River Trail" where people were actually running. We'll try that out, once this SNOW melts.
This morning our co-ordinator took us to the notary to sign powers of attorney documents. Then Lyle & I had a lunch date at the home of an American family. She made "Pilau" or Rice Pilaf. It was amazing! They are such nice hosts & have invited us back as soon as this Saturday. They've also lent us some books & DVDs as our own collection is quite thin.
When we went to the baby house today, we fed & played with Ryan until the doctor came in to answer all of our questions. Yippee!!! He is one healthy boy. He eats everything (we could have told you that). Of course, all children who live in baby houses have some developmental delays but our little guy has improved so much already.
Tonight, we are signing documents to apply for court. So, hopefully the court date will be within the next 14 days max. Things are clicking along.
Monday, February 23, 2009
We're getting him to practice walking & hang on to the couch still. He's getting better at holding himself up.
He's also making lots of sounds. Yesterday was all about the "D" sound. Could be for the duck in his book, could be for Dada, but I say it's for Darcy. I'd prefer he call me Mama, but he can do whatever he likes.
Funny story: Lyle & I were walking this morning when our co-ordinator called us on the cell phone (not the toy one). She's filling in some documents and required Ryan's new name. I was leary about giving her the details since the reception wasn't great & I could just imagine how the spelling of his name might look. She suggested I text her. Who's she kidding? I can barely text back home. I've only ever texted 2 people & it took a half hour to compose one sentence. So, I spelled the names for her over the phone. Now that's a story for the scrapbook, naming your child on a busy street corner in Kazakhstan! By the way, he is officially going to be Ryan Eli (then his Kazakh name) Grosney.
If only we could post a photo, but you'll have to take our word for it: There exists a Nestle chocolate bar for men only. What's in that thing? Does it make chest hair grow?
Things are going well with Ryan. Today is Day 12 of the 15 day bonding period. We believe that we can apply for court sometime after Thursday which is that final bonding day. Court is held within 10 days to 2 weeks afterwards. So, that seems to be our next step. The little guy has been holding himself up beside the couch as long as we keep his picture book on the cushion. He sure likes looking at all the colours.
We've been spending time with our new Canadian friends. It's so nice to share the experience with people from home.
Meal-wise, we're doing pretty well. I make pasta some nights or stuffed dumplings. We certainly get our veggies in since we go to the market for them everyday. Lyle isn't missing our hometown favourites too much yet, but we try not to think about things like sushi, Tim Hortons or even McDonald's. Yikes, now Lyle looks sad. I've said too much.
One of the ladies from the Baby House told our translator that Ryan has changed over the last week. When we asked if that meant she thought he was bigger, she said his cheeks are bigger. Great news! We already thought so, but it was nice to hear it from someone who has known him his whole life.
We're off to visit him now and get those cheeks even bigger.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
We are very lucky. Everyone morning we are gently roused from sleep by a lovely melody. It sounds like a dozen barking dogs. In fact, it IS a dozen barking dogs, maybe even a dozen more. There are some meows thrown in too, like the horn section maybe. The not-so-occasional car honk is part of this beautiful symphony.
We finally met the other couple from Canada. Their visits to the Baby House will be at the same time as ours. We met for the first time yesterday and already spent a couple of hours together this morning. They are so nice and I'm sure we'll enjoy spending time together.
We had plans last night, but the fellow we were going to meet had to reschedule. That was just fine by us now that we have our laptop to watch movies. So, that's what we did last night. It was so great to watch something other than The Russian People's Court (which is just like the American version, complete with its own Judge Wapner presiding).
Ryan was showing off yesterday. He was hanging on to the couch and walking from side to side. We were so proud. We think he's gaining a little weight in the cheeks (upper kind-haven't seen the lower ones yet). His hair is also getting a little longer.
We're going to try using our laptop at the apartment, so that means we may post some pictures soon. We'll see how that goes. Today we just kept getting a busy signal on the dial-up but I think that's fairly common.
P.S. Happy birthday J.K.M. I think we're a day late, but we did speak on the phone during your birthday, according to our calendar.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
We can't believe it was one week ago that we landed in Almaty and later that day landed in Kyzylorda and later that day met Ryan. What a day that was!
To celebrate one week in KO, we did laundry. We were potentially going to sign some docs with the notary today, but Vera called at 9:00 this morning to say we'll go tomorrow instead. So, we thought why not tackle the laundry while we had some time on our hands. Basically, you can fit a pair of jeans, a washcloth and about one sock in these machines. We stuffed in what we could and miracle of miracle, no problems. The cycle takes TWO hours. The clothes come out damp & then we hang them on a drying rack.
Our translator, Ainur, put us in contact with her English teacher from the university. He's an American, volunteering with the Peace Corps. We chatted last night over the phone & we'll meet him on Friday evening with some of his American friends also from the Peace Corps. It'll be nice to meet some other young English speakers. We'll get some tips from him as he's been here for the last year & a half.
Ryan is a good boy, goofing around with us & eating like a little machine. He hasn't shown any fussiness towards certain foods yet. He likes when Lyle gives him helicopter rides & when I play tug o' war with him.
Not sure if we'll ever be able to post photos while we're here. We'll look into it. Even if we can, we won't be doing so for quite some time yet. Hope we can, because he's one gorgeous baby!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
So, Lyle & I gave ourselves a challenge. We needed to hunt down an umbrella stroller for our journey home. I know that's still far away from now, but we figured it might take a couple of months. We did see some on our first day in KO, but $90 seemed outrageous. Everyday we'd look around the local shops & the market just to browse. We found toy umbrella strollers that were very tempting. Today was the day & much sooner than we expected. It's super-cute & cost half as much as we'd seen previously. We're kinda choked that you'd pay about $19.99 in Winnipeg, but what can you do?
Ryan was a very active boy today. We witnessed some crawling and he even climbed over Lyle's legs while we were all playing on the floor. Lyle thinks Ryan favours me, but I don't see it yet. Of course I do offer him candy when Lyle's not looking. This little guy sure loves his food. We're always joking that once we're home, we'll ask all our visitors to please stop by Sobey's on their way over. No one's allowed in unless they have a bag of goodies. Just kidding. As long as they have Cheerios, all is good.
Paka paka for now.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Well, we have a little ham on our hands. Ryan's trick is to clamp a plastic link from his teething ring between his teeth & growl like a little puppy. He reminds Lyle of his hound friends from the Humane Society. It's very cute!
We had dinner with our translator last night at Astana. We ate what we're told is the national dish. All I know is it had meat & noodles. It was actually pretty good. We LOVED the Greek salad. It was a nice time out. We've been cooking most other evenings so this was something new. Our translator is very sweet and knowledgeable.
We found the outdoor market yesterday. It's what you'd picture like in a movie, with raw fish hanging out and a little bit of everything amongst the stalls. The indoor portion we'll really liked since there is lots of fresh produce, clothes and souvenirs. Two nice ladies in the children's wear kiosk helped us buy a pair of pants & a top for Ryan. Why do the pants say "Little Momo" and why does the top spell out "Westernland"? Just another mystery around here.
Tomorrow should be much of the same. We know there's another Canadian couple in town & we're hoping to be able to meet up soon.
Happy long weekend, folks back home.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Yes, by the title of our post, you can guess a little man is having some dental issues. Not Lyle (he always reminds me that he's never had a cavity), but poor Ryan. His little fingers kept finding their way into his mouthie. We fed him pumpkin & potato baby food & a bottle of water mixed with apple juice. This brought him some happiness & the great big burp that followed made all three of us laugh & laugh.
We visit the baby house from 3-5 each day, so our mornings so far have consisted of getting up very early (darn time difference). We eat a pre-breakfast & read for awhile. Then we go back to bed, eat real breakfast & head out to the city square. These breakfast are yogurt or maybe a granola bar, so it's not like we're eating a Denny's Grand Slam twice a day. We haven't even eaten in a restaurant yet, but maybe tomorrow with our young translator. She's a university student & very eager to help us out.
The weather has been fairly mild, maybe a couple degrees above zero. The wind, however, is another story. There is no snow at all.
Our favourite place to visit so far, beside the baby house, is what we affectionately call Kazakhstan Tire. It's a grocery store that sells everything from china teasets, to linens, to limited amounts of fresh fruit & veg. This is where we bought tomato & mayonnaise flavoured Pringle chips.
We do have satellite TV (Russian) but with Hollywood movies that are dubbed over. We can still get the storyline. We thought we'd spend some free time running outside. Yeah, that's not going to happen due to crazy drivers & questionable infrastructure. Our translater says there's a gym, but I doubt it's what we have in mind.
Thanks for all the comments. That helps bridge the distance. Keep them up. I'm curious to hear about another new arrival that I understand our friends are still waiting for anyday.
Paka for now. (bye for now)
Friday, February 13, 2009
First off, we're safe & sound & in one piece. Step one of this journey is now behind us. Everything went smoothly and we were able to make it to our final destination a day earlier than we predicted. So now we're in Kyzylorda and this is home for the next 8 weeks or so.
Get ready: IT'S A BOY!!!!
We can't tell ya too much right now. He's healthy and owns some chubby cheeks. We've just finished Day 2 of the 15 day bonding period and already he seems comfortable with us. Day 1, not so much! We've decided to name him Ryan and he is 18 months old. Now, please keep in mind we still have lots of steps ahead of us and it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings. So, we don't want to jump the gun. The main thing is he's a healthy baby and we're going through the full process. It's still weeks away before we'll be granted custody so we're in "unofficial mode" for the time being.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Our Visas didn't even have the chance to be FedEx'd to Ottawa. Instead they'll be issued in the airport upon our arrival in Kaz. I told Lyle we're going to be legends since our agency hasn't seen something quite like this before.
So.......the next time we'll write will likely be in Kaz. We land in Almaty first, but we're uncertain what day we'll fly into Kyzylorda, where our baby house is located.