Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 6- 2nd and 3rd visits

Today was another great day!! We headed over to the orphange at 930 this morning. We went to the same room as before and they brought our boy to us right away.  He seemed to remember us as he came right to us and started looking for his toys. ;) He really warmed up to us this morning we got  many smiles from him and played on the floor most the time.  He showed us how he can roll over and army crawl.  We counted 8 teeth! 4 on top and 4 bottom.  He was starting to make really funny faces at us and we really started to see his personality! It was a great morning visit! After our visit we met with the orphanage head doctor and went over a few things then headed out to lunch.  We went to a nearby mall that was quite odd. It was more of a 'mall' of a L@we'e type store, many kiosk-like stores, and a Walm@rt-like store. But there was a Starbucks that we found snacks and drinks in. Yep tastes the same in Russia!
We headed back to the baby home at 2.  They brought him in shortly after we got there and he really started hamming it up for us!  We got lots of smiles, giggles, babbling, even said 'dada'.   We really had a great visit with him.  It was sooooo hard to leave him.  We just pray that it'll be  a sooner rather than later court date.  We are hoping for 8 weeks, but may be around 12 weeks before we can return for court. 
We are all packed up now and ready to head back to the states tomorrow.  We are so so ready to scoop up Hannah and give her all our lovin.  We miss her so much.  Hopefully our flights will go as planned tomorrow!
paka paka for the last time from Russia...for now ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 5- Metcha Day-March 22, 2011

Ok late post, but we were busy today!! Today was a great day. We woke, got ready, and ate a yummy hot breakfast at the hotel, then we waited, and waited. At noon we met the other adopting mom, who's with our agency and who's child is in the same groupa as our little man, and our translator and walked over to the MOE. We had to wait a little longer as there were two other couples in front of us. Finally it was our turn! We went back into the same room, with the same lady's we met on Monday. The asked us nothing and just slid over a paper with our son's picture on it. Oh my heart melted and jumped for joy all at the same time. Our translator read us some info (most of which we already knew) and then were asked if we wanted to meet him. Da da!! (yes yes!!). We then waited on the other adopting mom for her appointment and we were off to the orphanage!!
We drove maybe 30 minutes or so to the orphanage through Moscow's crazy traffic....although our coordinator stated it wasn't bad today (really?!). We arrived to a very clean, well kept building, surrounded by a wall that was fun and colorful. We walked in and we're quickly ushered up to what appeared to be a physical therapy room. We were told that the Ministry of Health (I think) was there and that apparently aren't fond of foreigners, so we were unable to meet with the head doctor today. Olga instead got baby J's files and went over it with us. We learned some really interesting information about his heritage and a little about his health. We will get to meet with the doctor tomorrow to go over his info again and have the ability to ask questions. Then we waited and waited (shocked right?) as the groupa was napping and then eating. Finally about 230 they brought him in first. Oh my gosh, we are more in love with him now than ever!! He was so sweet!! He came to me looking a little unsure at first, but warmed up very quickly. He was quite solemn and his eyes were watery with a crusty nose as if he may be fighting off a cold. But boy is he a snuggler! And a chunk!! This boy is not missing any meals!! I seriously think he weighs within a few pounds of Hannah! I held him for awhile, tried to sit...nope he wanted me to stand, he let out a sailor-like burp (haha) then Caleb took him. He went right to him! (they warn us that they may be quite fearful of men as they see very little men in the baby home) but he was so sweet with his daddy. You can tell he was just taking it all in. At one point he spit up a bit and I was wiping off his face and he puckered that bottom lip out so far...omgosh it was so sad and cute! Shortly after he arrived his little groupa buddy showed up with a set up lungs on her! He looked very concerned about her. It was sweet. They took her to a different room, but he kept looking that direction when he heard her cries. Our visit was very short but so so sweet. At 3 they came back in to get him. Our visit was shortened do to the officials that were there. So we left, it was hard. Our driver took us to this incredible cathedral near the baby home. It was magnificent!! Inside, the walls and ceiling (tall, tall ceilings!) were painted so eloquently and the gold accents were incredible. We then headed back to the hotel. We FaceTime'd with our family and rested a bit. We then walked down the block to this fabulous pizza place that was soooo good! And the best was it was cheap! Have I mentioned that Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world??
So today was a great day!!! We are so in love with him! It's going to be hard to leave him tomorrow, but it's just part of it. We'll get to visit with him twice. We'll be back in a couple months for court and will get to visit with him then as well. This process is hard, but so is pregnancy!, and IT IS SO WORTH IT!!!!
So no pics today. As most know we can not post pics publicly until trip 3, after the 30 day waiting period post court.
Paka paka!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 4- St. Basil's and Arbat Street

Today we got out and went to eat breakfast at a little coffee house around the corner of hotel called Cafe Mania. I had my first Blini (yum!!) and Caleb had an omelet that was so good as well.  We then headed back down to the Red Square. We finally got to see St. Basil's Cathedral close-up.  It is so amazingly beautiful in person.  Pictures just do not capture its beauty.  We wanted to go in, however we were there too early....apparently we are early risers. So instead we went to see Lenin's Mausoleum. Um can you say creepy?! This man died in 1924 and he is laid up in a huge mausoleum, so tightly guarded that we had to check in my camera and our phones before we could enter.  He is lying in a carriage looking coffin encased in glass. He seriously looks as if he died yesterday.  They have managed to maintain the integrity of his body so well.  So well it's just, well, creepy! I'm glad I went to see it (him) but can't say I'd do it again. After we rested up a bit back at the hotel, we ventured back out to Arbat street.  This is a pedestrian street near our hotel that supposedly has been in existence since the 15th century. Good 'ol wikipedia gives some interesting info about it, but basically it now exists as a street full of souvenirs, restaurants, and a place for artists to sell art, play music, etc.  I'll bet this place is hopping when we return for our 2nd trip in a couple months.  The snow was really coming down again today so we only visited a few shops, but still managed to grab a couple items.  We are now back at the hotel just waiting on our phone call to inform us what time we should be ready in the morning to go back to the MOE and then after that meeting we head straight over to the baby home!!! We are so excited and ready.  We've got some great pics to show our little guy one day, but we would have rather spent all our time in the baby home.  We are just going with the flow, but it is hard.  We miss Hannah and our family so much and can't wait to get home...after we love on our son for a couple days.

 This the MOE building

 A pretty church along the path towards Red Square

A fun playground!

 Another pretty church


Better view of the state museum 

 and the orange building, so unique!

Entrance into the Red Square 

Church within Red Square 

Lenin's Mausoleum 

Spasskaya Tower 

St. Basil's Cathedral 

Closeup of the domes 

Another guy took this pic for us...funny story (see below) 

This is a MALL! It's called The Gum 

So after this man took our pic, Caleb asked if he wanted his taken.  Caleb took about 3 or 4 pics for this guy, but they just weren't right!  LOL the man  was getting frustrated, then another Russian came over and took it for him...correctly I guess ;)

Moscow from St. Basil's  

A bar off of Arbat Street 

Building off Arbat street 

Another pretty building 

Arbat Street 

Starbucks! 

Some native...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 3- Tuesday...Kremlin

Well today we ventured out further to the Kremlin and Red Square. This is the oldest part of Moscow.  The wall and some of the existing structures date back to as early as 1485.  We got there too early, as it opened at 10, but we wondered around (freezing our bums off) until we found McDonald's to warm up...our second one of the morning :). We then walked through the underground mall and then headed over to the Kremlin.  WOW, amazing, incredible, there is just NO words to describe the beauty we saw today.  We first stopped in the Armoury Chamber museum.  We had an interesting experience getting in, got yelled at by a Russian woman, finally got our blue shoes covers on and entered into absolute greatness!  This museum is a must see if you are in Moscow. The jewels, gold, silver, wow I can't even descibe how beautiful the items were. I wish I could have taken pics!! There were the most incredible guns, swords, and weapons on display, as well as a full room of carriages that were just AMAZING! Best money spent hands down! When we left the Armoury, we walked into a blizzard! Ok not really but the snow was really coming down!  We then made our way to the Cathedral Square. Incredibly beautiful architecture! We unfortunately didn't make it to see St. Basil's.  We couldn't find it and we where cold and tired. Plus we have all day tomorrow as well to get out and explore.  So enjoy the pics! There's a lot!!
Not sure what this building is, but it looked important. Looked like a police station or court building of sorts, lots of police or military personnel outside.

Can't find a place to park?  Why not the sidewalk? We see this everywhere!!

McDonald's anyone? :)

Not easy to order!

The Kremlin wall

Pretty horse statues

Fountain

More horses! Well, the same ones really...

Pretty buildings

In front of the Kremlin

Huge, gorgeous building behind me

One of the Kremlin towers

Another incredible building

One of the Kremlin entrances

More of the wall

Need your trees trimmed?  Just cut the tops off them! They are like this throughout the city.

Very cool door in the wall 

 This seriously looked like a jail cell in the middle of the park, had bars on the windows, strange

 Very large tree
Incredibly cool rock wall

 Monument listing the names of 33 “Cities of Military Glory

 Closeup of the rock wall

 Stairs
 Caleb liked this statue in the fountain (currently with out water)

Changing of the guard 

Tomb of the unknown soldier.  This is a memorial to the Soviet soldiers that died in WWII. Tomb contains ashes of an unknown soldier killed in 1941's Battle for Moscow. There is an eternal flame, inside contains a bronze star, and on the granite stone reads "Your name is unknown, your deeds are immortal"

 To the right of the tomb, lining the walkway are dark red porphyry blocks with incapsulated soils from hero cities, Leningrad, Kiev, Stalingrad, Odessa, Sevastopol, Minsk, Kerch, Novorossiysk, Tula and Brest, Murmansk and Smolensk (thanks Wikipedia!) ; )

LOVE this building! I believe its the State History Museum.

 And the funky orange one behind it is pretty as well

And now pics from within the Kremlin...
The Annunciation Cathedral
1484
Home church of the Great Moscow Princes and later the Russian Tsars

The Archangel Cathedral
1505
This the burial place of the Great Princes, local princes, and Tsars 

The Bell Tower of Ivan the Great
16th-17th century

Entrance to the Archangel Cathedral 

The Assumption Cathedral
1475
Place where the Russian Tsars and Emperors were crowned, was also the country's central place of worship.

 The Church of the deposition of the Robe of the Holy Virgin
1484
The church served as the private chapel of the Patriarch of Moscow, but during the mid-17th century it was taken over by the Russian royal family

The front of the Arsenal, it's the former armoury.
You can see the cannon's out front.