Friday, January 30, 2015

Playing Catch-up...

Here I am, two months ago, walking out the orphanage gate with sweet Beast Cub and Princess Kitty.  It's been a crazy two months, but very rewarding and very, very happy. 

We're definitely at a point now where the busy is regular family busy and the adjustment element has faded into the background -- the main thing we're doing is throwing a party a week from tomorrow for our little Beast Cub, who is turning three.  Visions of cupcake toppers haunt my dreams.

I'll be back dating some posts -- so anything between my Moscow layover post and this will be back dated.  I am sorry it's taken so long to get caught up.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Moscow Layover, Take 2

This time around, I was doing the Moscow layover thing without Papa Beast, but I was still able to easily figure out the airport and the express train into the center of the city to meet our friend.

The express train drops you off near this Metro station, across the street from the Bolshoi theater.  There was light snowfall when I got into the city, but it doesn't show very well in the pictures.

My friend met me at the Metro station, and then we went to this lovely café for lunch.  It is owned by a local artist (who is apparently well known, but I'm not the most knowledgeable about the visual arts) and has a very eclectic style.

Case in point -- the boat hanging from the balcony!

Here's a shot of the inside of one of the Metro stations.  They really are beautiful there!

This bridge is full of metal trees that people use for the "love locks" -- a very unique and cute take on the craze.  :)

One of the trees.

A close up.  I love the heart-shaped ones.  :)

Having fun with photo angles.

More fun with my camera phone.

So beautiful!

Another beautiful Orthodox church in Moscow.

Inside Café Pushkin, where we stopped for tea and cake.
The cool elevator.

More elevator pictures.  Hey, it doesn't snow inside (it was hard at times to take pictures in the rain and snow, because I didn't want to damage my phone).

Details.  The metal tag is my coat check tag.  Sure beats a paper stub.

The inside.

Lets take a selfie!

My friend's coffee drink with the restaurant's monogram.

The sunroom, though it wasn't very sunny.

Honey cake.


The pharmacy.

More details.

The mayor's residence.

A statue surrounded by falling snow.

The bar we stopped into for more hot drinks.

Loving the PS3 decorated in a traditional Russian style.

After a lovely day, it was time to leave my friend, and take the sky stairs for the flight to Bishkek.  Feels like something out of the Pan Am show.  :-p

Sunday, November 2, 2014

So much to do, so little time...

The combination of going to court one day and leaving at 6.30 the next morning meant that I haven't had time before now to really sit down to blog.

The good news is that court went very smoothly -- only about a 20 minute hearing!  I was told that it would have been 15 minutes if we were adopting only one child (the extra 5 minutes was for the orphanage director to describe our second child).

Since I've been home, life has been VERY busy with the unpacking and all the last minute things to add a child to our family.  We have beds, and mattresses, and almost fully decorated rooms.  Our little ones have nearly full closets and some fun waiting in their toy boxes.  But, most importantly, they have countless family members and friends who can't wait to welcome them home.  <3


Over the next few days, I hope to get a bit more caught up with the blog.  Of course, we still can't post photos of the kids, but I have photos from Moscow to share, as well as some of the fun things I did in Bishkek.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Court soon...

I'm way too busy/lazy to upload photos from the trip.  Hopefully soon.

Anyway, court is in the morning.  I'm nervous and can't sleep.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Quick update...

I made it to Bishkek, after a great layover in Moscow.

Court will be on Wednesday, October 22.

Papa Beast is home for work reasons, and will be speaking at a fundraiser for our agency soon (Saturday night US time).

Hopefully tonight I will be able to post pictures from Moscow and Bishkek.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Northern California Adoption Shower

Having family and friends in so many places means having two showers so that more people get to enjoy the festivities.

Nesting doll decorations from Cricut's new print then cut feature.


We had different sets of nesting dolls to represent the four generations of our family (my grandma, my mom, me, our little Marie) -- each of us has a set of nesting dolls that was used to decorate the party.  This is our daughter's set, purchased on our recent "day trip" to Moscow.

This is my mother's set, chosen in San Francisco not too long ago.  All of the sets have even smaller dolls, but we didn't want to risk losing them.

This is my grandmother's set, brought back from Russia by a friend of hers a long time ago.
Here's my set, surrounding the coolest cake ever.

Seriously, look at this awesome cake our friend made for me.

The detail is truly awesome.  The cake was patterned off of Marie's set of nesting dolls.

Cake and champagne flutes.

The prize table. 

The yummy spread of food.

Olivye Salad, made with the recipe from the Natasha's Kitchen blog.

A "guess how many candies are in the jar" game.

Another view of the buffet spread.

Party favors -- bags filled with candies from around the world.

Here I am, about to cut the cake.

My pretty piece of cake.

And the head -- all that was left of the tasty cake when the party was over.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Our facilitator really wanted us to see something called "Burana," which she described as a "monument."  She said it was sort of near the orphanage, and that it was something that people would ask us about if they knew what city our kids are from.

So, she arranged for the medical translator and driver to take us there after our big medical translation meeting.  I was kind of expecting some kind of war memorial or something like that -- maybe something like the statue of Manas in downtown Bishkek?
No, this is a tower -- a very old tower, dating back to the 11th century.  Wikipedia says it's a minaret from an old mosque, but no one in Kyrgyzstan called it that.  Instead, they tell the story of a princess locked in a tower to protect her from a prophesy that she would die when she turned 16 (Wiki says 18, our translator said 16, so who knows).  Her father supposedly built the tower to protect her from all harm, but when she got to the prophesied age, her servant -- the only person allowed into the tower -- unknowingly brought a spider in along with the grapes for the princess's meal.  The girl died from the poisoned spider bite.  I guess you can't tempt fate.

Near the tower itself, there is a little museum.  It shows historical images of the tower, along with drawings of what the tower looked like originally compared to what it looks like today.  Apparently it once had a domed top.

The tower before the restoration work that was done in the 1970s.  Dates become very interesting when everything is written in Russian -- it becomes just about the only thing you CAN read.  Okay, fine, that isn't true -- I can also recognize the words for "restaurant" and "café" along with a few menu items.  Survival Russian for the win! (Even though that wouldn't help us here.)

An old gold plate that was apparently found near the tower.  Right about now is when we found out that you can't take pictures in the museum without paying for a photo permit, so we pled ignorance and illiteracy (at least in Russian) and put our cameras away.  Oh well, we got a picture of the gold plate, which is the coolest thing in the little museum anyway.  :P

Oddly enough, they don't care about picture taking in the gift shop, which is in a yurt next to the museum.

Papa Beast finally found a Kyrgyz hat that fits him.  :P

The view from the platform after the open air staircase.

Here's the best picture I could get of the stairs inside the tower.  Papa Beast was quite the gentleman, forging ahead in the dark to light the way for our translator and me.  Wikipedia does have a better lit photo of the stairs.

There were a few windows on the way up.

Basically, the stairs are pretty tall (each step, that is) and I'm pretty short, so I was climbing using my hands a bit, and gripping the edges of the bricks a bit too.  Yes, I did make jokes about climbing like the spider that killed the princess. 


Here I am!

And here's Papa Beast, collapsed on the floor of the top of the tower.

Another one of Kyrgyzstan's many beautiful views.

And some graffiti, which is actually pretty rare there.

Selfie time!

More selfie time!

That little tiny red dot on the bench is our driver.

Here's the yurt gift shop along with the museum, as seen from the tower.

Papa Beast looking serious.

Here you can see the decoration on the side of the tower.

 Another angle of the tower.