Well, we are just praising the Lord! The boys are both down for naps at 1 p.m. for the first time!!! It took about 15 minutes to get them both settled and asleep which we think is great! They are so different when falling asleep: Patrick does not want touched but likes you to sit there and sing while Calvin wants to have his back or stomach rubbed. Calvin screams and cries, whereas Patrick just lays there (although he occasionally kicks the wall or tries to get up).
Andrew just ran to the store to pick up some butter so we could make grilled cheese and came back with these wonderful bread and cabbage rolls. They are delicious…he went back for a few more! There is a bakery attached to the store here in our apartment complex. Sounds great but overall we have not been that impressed with their pastries. The bread however is pretty good.
Andrew now: It’s easier to feel and write this on a day when things are going so much better, but even on the worst days there are still moments of joy and delight. Calvin is one of the most expressive little boys I have ever seen: his smile lights up the whole room, and his laugh is so enthusiastic and contagious. Patrick’s unique ‘likes’ are so endearing – his love of opening and closing doors and chewing on his shoelaces, and he’s about the cutest little guy (although I will admit our bias :)
One of the most exciting things about the boys right now is that they recognize us and are so delighted to see us. If either Alaina or I enter the room and we call to them, their faces light up and you can see their joy to see us. What a joy to see this love on their part toward us after such a short time!
One of the interesting aspects of our trip is seeing how people respond to us as it becomes evident that we have adopted. Of course we can’t see inside their minds to know exactly what they’re thinking, but their looks communicate a lot. We get some big smiles from some people; whether they’re happy for us or just appreciate how cute the boys are, we’re not sure. Other people just don’t see happy at all, and seem to be quite rude to us. Of course, some people are just like that, but we do know that some people are not happy that “outsiders” are adopting children from their country. That perspective is just incomprehensible to me: if they really care about these kids, they should be delighted that they are going to good homes. If they’re really concerned about these kids, they should be adopting them themselves. If they saw what life is like for these children, they would be happy for the adopted children. (I’m not saying that they are cared for poorly in the baby-houses; I think some of them are cared for very well. But pretty much everyone in the baby houses agrees that it is hard on the children and that it is much better for them to be living in loving families.)
Later – 7:30 p.m. Almaty time. The boys are playing busily, freshly bathed and almost ready for bed. For some reason about this time of night, Calvin thinks it’s time to climb the entertainment center. At least, this is the second time I’ve seen him try it, and both times it was about this hour. Maybe something about the moon? :)
It’s been a great day. Alaina wrote above about the good morning and the way the boys settled down for their naps – both major answers to prayer. The boys awoke from their naps about 3:30, a little grumpy, but otherwise okay. Our coordinator stopped by briefly; it looks like we’ll be flying home on Sabbath, leaving here at 3:20 a.m. No, that won’t be so fun, but that’s the only time our airline leaves Almaty for Frankfurt. And we’ll be happy to be going home.
We decided to do a little more shopping and eat out tonight – our first such outing since last Sabbath. We met Kyle, Susan, and Sultan – another adoptive family that was with us in Uralsk – at one of the major shopping areas here in town.
Getting there was another adventure. This time we were all on our own hailing a cab or passing vehicle, and not entirely sure how to go about it. Our efforts were handled by rush hour traffic – the three lanes of traffic, which occasionally was more like five, prevented only 1/3 to 1/5 of the cars from being available to pick us up. Finally a guy stopped, and we jumped in. Cars and buses were piled up behind, all horns blaring incessantly. We were rather embarrassed, and our haste only hindered our efforts - we even lost one of Calvin's shoes. But the guy was patient and helped us in. Once again, it was a private individual, not a regular taxi. We communicated where we were going and he was fine with it. When he dropped us off, I almost think he wasn’t going to charge us anything – he just did it out of the goodness and kindness of his heart. But when I offered him tenge, he took the lesser of the two amounts offered – about half what we usually pay.
We enjoyed shopping and found a number of cool Kazakh items for gifts and the boys as they grow older, plus a few things of interest for ourselves for Kazakh mementos. The one I’m the most excited about is a wood stand and bowl. The stand is four interlocking-camels, carved out of one piece of wood, which in turn supports this carved wood bowl. The sales lady told us that it represents the Kazakh family. Since it was four camels (they also have larger stands with up to seven camels), we thought it was perfect for us and had to get it.
Of course, I’m looking for a chess set. I brought several home from Russia when I traveled there and another from Mexico a couple years ago, so think I should find one here, too. But I haven’t been able to select one that fits my criteria and budget yet. Alaina is also looking for a traditional teapot. So we’ll probably be back before we leave.
After shopping we went to the Italian restaurant which Josh and Saige introduced us to. Once again, it was a delicious, but also an adventure. The boys did pretty well except at the beginning, before the food arrived, and at the end, when it was all gone and we were waiting for the check. Patrick stayed in his stroller the whole time and was fine. Calvin sat mostly on my lap and some on Alaina’s and ate almost everything he could reach. The boys devoured the mashed potatoes and picked over the grilled veggies we ordered. Calvin was still going strong, so we pulled out a meat and potatoes baby food jar. When it was gone, out came the creamed spinach and potato baby food we brought. We thought it looked like about the most disgusting thing you could imagine, but Calvin gulped it down, with a little assist by Patrick. Alaina and I enjoyed pizza and lasagna, and there was plenty left over for lunch tomorrow (I actually knew it would be more food than we could eat, but I knew the lasagna would be a delicious lunch!).
The meal complete, we once again hailed a cab – a real one this time. He charged us more than anyone else yet, but it was worth it – he returned us almost to our door. He did seem a bit lost, however, and kept asking us for directions – in Russian of course. We couldn’t help him much anyway, as we’ve not been out much, it was dark, and he took a different route than we were familiar with.
So now it’s bedtime. We’ve been looking through some of the stuff we purchased – and have some adorable pictures of the boys with some of it. But as it’s a surprise, you’ll just have to wait to see those pictures! :)
Bedtime was a HUGE struggle with Calvin. He screamed and cried for over 1 hour, rubbing his eyes and yawning all the way. We feel bad for our neighbors…it sounds like we are awful people. He just gets himself so worked up that he can’t stop. Ugh! So much for the easy naptime! We sat with him and rubbed his back but that didn’t even seem to help. Oh well, we’ll work on it when we get home. We think he isn't feeling very well so we gave him some medicine that will hopefully help!
We go to the Embassy tomorrow afternoon. That is our final "have to" thing before we can leave the country. Yay!
A Happy Birthday to Jon & Jason...sorry we didn't get cards in the mail this year but we didn't forget you! Hope you have a great day!