Wednesday, February 25, 2015

20 Days Later

Back when there were fifty days left before Adoption Day, I posed the question to my Facebook friends, "What would be on your bucket list to do if you had exactly fifty days until you became the full-time mother to a toddler?" Now there are only twenty days left...holy moly! So I thought I'd share some of the comments that were common, funny, practical, endearing, etc. in the form of a countdown, along with my progress on each:

10. Spa Day. I will take this one to heart and get a manicure and pedicure before going on our final trip to Kyrgyzstan. That way, my nails will look nice in all of the pictures-ha! I also already have a hair cut/highlight scheduled.

9. See non-animated movies in the theater. Done and done. Since receiving responses to my question, I've already done this twice. Go me!

8. Take a trip away just as a couple. Success. We've done a snowboarding weekend away in Steamboat Springs, and we're about to head out on another one to Winter Park.

7. Read. Does it count if I'm reading adoption or parenting-related books? If so, I've got this one in the bag.

6. Get prepared...his room, freezer meals, cleaning, purging, etc. This one is good and practical, and I'm trying my best. Sometimes I've made double when cooking dinner, so I can freeze half, and I went through my closet the other day and filled a garbage bag full of stuff to donate. My parents are coming out for a weekend "Shamrock's Room Preparation" extravaganza at the beginning of March, so that should help a lot.

5. Eat treats without having to hide them or share. Hearing this was a good excuse to go get some ice cream the other night on a whim. I enjoyed every last bite of it all on my own! And I've been helping myself to a piece of Kyrgyz chocolate whenever I feel like it.

4. Aimlessly wander the aisles of Target (or any other store) for as long as you want. I still need to go do this one.

3. Get ready to have adventures with him. Several people had variations of this one, saying that Zack and I have already done so many cool things, and now we can just enjoy the things we love to do with a little one in tow. I like that.

2. Go to the bathroom alone. This cracked me up. It's the little things I guess! I will say, I already have a big brown dog that busts in on my half-open door, demanding to be pet since I'm in a sitting position anyway, so this transition probably won't be too difficult for me.

1. Sleep. I can't believe how many times this was repeated. Apparently, I am completely naive, because I thought we'd get to escape some of the sleeping issues new parents have to face, since we're adopting a toddler. We expect him to regress some and have some sleeping difficulties at the start, but wow, I'm shocked at how often this point was reiterated. I guess I'll go get some sleep now!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Home Sweet Home

I finally got home late Friday night. Zack and Molly were eagerly awaiting my arrival. Zack had even gone grocery shopping, made some chili, and bought me some flowers. What a guy! It felt so good to sleep in my own bed, though my sleeping schedule is still pretty messed up. So, here's the latest...

  • We can take our boy out of the orphanage on March 18, but we're not sure about our travel dates for the third trip yet. We should be able to book our flights by the end of this week, and we're 99% sure that he'll be home with us in Colorado by the end of March. We've got his Baptism scheduled for Easter Sunday, so he'd better be home by then!
  • We're not going to share his first name until he lands in the United States, and we're not going to post pictures of his face online until that time as well. However, if I see you in person and you ask, I'll show you pictures of him on my phone! Also, we can now tell you that his Kyrgyz name is Shukhrat (pronounced Shoe-krot), and that will become his middle name. Can you see why calling him Shamrock is easier?!
  • The third trip involves taking Shamrock out of the orphanage and taking him to the embassy in Bishkek for an "interview," which is really just having the officials there meet us and him. Then we are driven to Almaty, Kazakhstan (about five hours from Bishkek), where he'll have a medical examination and our papers will be submitted for his immigration visa. We'll wait one to three days to get the visa, and then we can fly home directly from Almaty. He'll become a US citizen upon landing at JFK, and his paperwork and passport will be processed at the airport.
  • After he's home, post-placement visits/reports will be done/submitted after six months, one year, two years, and three years. Otherwise, he's all ours forever and ever!
We're so excited to get Shamrock home, but there's a lot to do to get ready in the meanwhile. Last night, we put together his table and chairs and the glider for his room. It's going to be a gray and white chevron room with yellow accents and espresso colored furniture. I'm excited to see how it will turn out! Today I'm busy listing all sorts of items from our former guest room (and other things we've got sitting around) on Craigslist. We've got friends coming in this weekend to join us in Winter Park for one last snowboarding getaway, but otherwise, we're in full Shamrock-preparation mode!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Blessing in Disguise

Guess who I spent the morning with? SHAMROCK!!! Yup, I've never been so happy about a cancelled flight in my entire life. Song and I showed up at the airport early this morning, only to find out that our flight to Moscow had been cancelled because of the fog. After an hour or so spent waiting, rebooking to tomorrow, and waiting some more, we got driven to the lovely Ambassador Hotel, where we get to stay free of charge, and even our meals and rides to and from the airport are covered.

But the best part of all is that we called our coordinator, and she arranged for her husband to drive us for one last visit to the orphanage this morning! I was so happy to be able to see my little boy again and not have to leave things how they ended up yesterday. I'm sorry if yesterday's blog entry left everyone down in the dumps, but I was in a dark place after leaving my boy in tears (his and mine!). Today, everything was a million times better!

When we showed up, his group was in the middle of some sort of program. The accordion-playing lady was in there, and the kids (who were dressed like peasant people, I think?) took turns doing all sorts of physical activities. They were crawling around when I came in, but Shamrock stopped and did his usual run-over-to-me-give-me-tons-of-big-smiles-and-hugs routine (which Song caught on video!). Then they got to take turns pushing big plastic balls, going through an obstacle course, dancing, riding toy cars, etc. He was having a blast, and he was so good about sitting in his little chair and waiting for his turn. I got some adorable pictures and videos of our little boy.

After the program, I helped him change clothes (he got to put his family picture shirt back on!), and he downed a yogurt cup. We then had about an hour in the main room by ourselves to play together. The main thing he was interested in today was trying to get the balloons off the walls. He liked it when I lifted him so he could hit them, but when my arms got tired, he did what any toddler boy would do. He carried a plastic chair and table over to the area below the balloons and tried to climb on top of them in order to reach. We are going to have to keep a close eye on this boy!

Eventually, Shamrock led me into the hallway where his locker is and started taking off his shoes, so that I would put on his coat and boots and he'd get to go outside. We only had about ten minutes, but I couldn't say no! We mostly just walked around hand in hand and went on the swing for a little while before he had to go back inside for lunch.

I showed him our family picture by his bedside one more time, to which he promptly started saying "Papa" over and over again. Mama spends all week with him, but all he says is "Papa" nowadays! Then I hugged him with the blanket my mom made for him and left that on his bed. I brought him over to his lunch table and told him goodbye and that I loved him in Russian (which impressed the caretakers), and then he waved to me with a large smile on his face. Such a better memory than yesterday!

I'm so so so thankful that my flight was cancelled today and I got one last chance to say goodbye without tears. The special program they had was just an added bonus. I'll be working on my half-finished blog posts throughout the afternoon and adding them below this entry, so check them out if you're interested. Goodbye Shamrock. In 26 short days, we'll walk out this door together for the last time!

Mother of the Year

On Tuesday, my visit with Shamrock had a bit of a hiccup in the middle of it. It started off great...he procured a little drum from the music lady and wore it around his neck for the rest of the morning. Zack already has plans to buy him a drum set-watch out!

We soon went to the other building and the upstairs playroom, where we had spent a majority of our time on our first visit with him. This time, he was the quintessential toddler. He was everywhere and into everything. Completely without prompting, over the course of about fifteen minutes, he put on Mickey Mouse ears (backwards), a long beaded necklace, a broken princess crown, and dragged a big stuffed cat around. Keep in mind, he also had the drum around his neck and a swollen, bleeding forehead. He looked absolutely ridiculous, but he was smiling and having a grand old time.

So yeah, time to tell the story of the injury... At one point while we were playing, he was trying to grab some papers off the psychologist's desk (she wasn't there). I attempted to distract him with a toy, but when that didn't work, I picked him up, carried him to a little table, and sat him in a chair to play with the blocks we had been building with earlier. He started to get himself out of the chair to go back over to the desk, but the flimsy chair tipped over, and he hit his forehead on the corner of the very sharp and not really kid-friendly kids' table. He cried, but only for about thirty seconds. There was a little cut right between his eyebrows in the middle of his forehead, and it was bleeding. That's right, the very day after I officially became his mommy, he injures himself on my watch. Mother of the Year right here, folks.

Like I said, he quickly stopped crying, and the cut is really only about the length of my pinky fingernail, but I felt so terrible! I took him down to the nurse's office, where she cleaned it and put some iodine stuff on it. He went on with his day like nothing had happened, but every time a new caretaker saw him, comments were made (they weren't mad or anything, thankfully), and I felt ashamed that I "let" my little boy get hurt. I know it's going to happen a million more times in his lifetime, that it's not really my fault, and there will be worse things than a little scratch on his forehead, but it's not exactly the thing you want to have happen on your first day after becoming a mom!

Yesterday, when we headed off to play, one of the caretakers told me to "be careful." Um, yeah, I was. We stayed very far away from that table for sure. Let's just hope I haven't scarred him for life (literally!).

A Special Time With My Son

On Monday, my visit to the orphanage was more special than usual. Court had been a few hours earlier, so this was my first time visiting my boy when he was officially my son and I was officially his mother.

The translator came with us because she was in Tokmok anyway for court, so she helped me with some things I've been wanting done. First of all, I was able to take a picture of my son's intake photo that's part of his files in the orphanage director's office and get some other background information to give to him in the future.

I've also never visited Shamrock in the late afternoon. When I arrived, it was near the end of nap time, so he was in his bed. When I came in the room, he was so well trained to not leave his bed until he had permission that he just smiled like crazy when he saw me and kind of jumped around in it. I finally had to go over and pick him up out of bed, and he gave me the usual barrage of big hugs.

We headed outside, where we walked around a bit and balanced on the concrete. He was being super quiet and shy, burying his face into me when the translator talked. I was hoping that she would be able to tell me some of the words he was saying that I couldn't understand, but he was silent. Eventually she left, wanting to give us some alone time. 

Shamrock immediately started jabbering away after she left! He was in a cuddly, gentle mood, and I held him as we just sat together outside chatting for awhile. I have no idea what he was saying (and vice versa), but it didn't matter. At one point, he did repeat the words "black" and "yellow," which were colors on his boots that I pointed out. I also told him that I was now his mommy officially and how much his daddy and I loved him. It was a really sweet moment with my little boy.

After our chat, we played in the little wooden platform area of the playground. He found some bowling pins to knock over, a stuffed bear to drag around, etc. My translator came back at one point and stood outside the structure where she could hear him, but he couldn't see her. So he kept talking, and she told me that he said "give it to me," "take it back," "dolly," "it fell," and other words I can't remember. I've realized that his favorite word by far is "day" (pronounced "dye"), which basically means "gimme." Oh boy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Heartbreaking Goodbye

I have several other posts that are half-done, but I'm not in the mood to finish them right now. Therefore, for now, I'll just share this post from today...

It was absolutely heartbreaking to leave Shamrock today. I'll start with the good...

We had another wonderful and fun morning together. I put the shirt (with our family picture on it) on him, so he can hopefully wear it and look at it while we're away. We played with all sorts of toys in the playroom, but his favorites today were the piano, the kitchen, blocks, and looking in the mirror at his reflection with the red punch balloon. And oh yes, he liked wearing the Mickey Mouse ears on his head and the little drum around his neck!

He learned to say "uh oh" today, and at one point, he picked up a toy cell phone, put it up to his ear, and said, "Hello, Papa?" in Russian-so cute!

There was a bright blue spot on his forehead today over his cut from yesterday (will explain in another post). I guess it's antibiotic, but he looked pretty funny because it had smeared down his nose and across his forehead.

I gave Shamrock a juice box today, and he drank it all pretty quickly. At some point, I realized he had peed his pants, probably from all the juice he had. Whoops!

I brought him back to his group for lunch, and we got to sit together at our own table again. I tried to explain that his pants were wet, but his caretakers thought I meant that he needed a pad on his seat, so they gave him one. Today's meal was some sort of potato soup, bread, and noodles with beef. It's amazing how much a two year old can eat. After lunch, his caretakers sent him to the potty seat, and he started crying, probably because he had already gone potty! I was shooed away, and a few minutes later, they brought him out into the main room with dry pants and big smile on his face.

We then only had about five minutes before I had to go. We shared lots of hugs, banged the yellow punch balloon around, and soaked up our last moments together. I brought him back into the room where the kids eat and sleep and said, "Paka paka" (bye bye) as he walked inside. He turned around and ran back toward me for another big hug with a huge smile. Then I set him down, said goodbye again, and a caretaker told him to go to his bed (they take a nap after lunch). He obeyed, and I watched secretly from the door.

He sat in the middle of his bed, and his little bottom lip started trembling. Then he started crying the saddest little cry I've ever heard. I couldn't help myself-I ran over to him and gave him a big hug. I pointed to the picture I had taped above his bed and told him that his Mama and Papa would be back soon. Then I had to go, but I will never be able to erase the image of my little boy sitting on the middle of his mattress, crying crocodile tears, probably feeling like his Mama had just deserted him. It made me cry too. I'm absolutely heartbroken. March 18 cannot come soon enough.    

Shopping and Lagman

Yesterday after visiting the orphanage, Song and I met up with Mary and Zinat, and they came with us to Osh Bazaar to help us shop for souvenirs. I bought a traditional outfit for Shamrock to wear when he's older (since I already had the one that fits him now), and several other items, which I won't show in pictures, because most are gifts! But this is a picture of the felt which is used to make the beautiful and colorful shyrdak rugs.

After shopping, we went out for dinner at Faiza, one of our favorite restaurants from the last trip. I had to get the lagman of course, and I tried to memorize the taste so I can attempt to recreate it correctly. Thanks Mary and Zinat for joining us for some great shopping and great food!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Officially a Mommy

I'm officially a mommy! Here I am outside of the courtroom in Tokmok before my hearing.

And here I am outside of the court building after our case was approved! Little Shamrock is officially part of our family, and we are his mommy and daddy.

I'll update this post when I'm not so tired and talk about what court was like and do another post on my visit to the orphanage. But it's been a long and emotionally exhausting day, especially since I've been awake since 3am, so I'm going to bed!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Evening with Mary

Tonight, Song and I met up with Mary in Bishkek for dinner. We walked from the TsUM down toward the Beta Stores complex and found an Italian restaurant called Prego. I had some delicious fettuccine alfredo to eat. For dessert, we each got creme brûlée, which was a steal at only $2. It was great to catch up with Mary and learn more about Kyrgyzstan and the way things work in this country.

After dinner, we went over to the Beta Stores and did a bit of shopping. I was able to find a few more yurts for Shamrock, as I plan on giving him a different one each year to celebrate his Adoption Day. We then went in the supermarket part of the complex to take care of a necessary part of my visit to Kyrgyzstan...buying candy to bring home! I spent about $20 on candy, and I'm hoping it's not so heavy that my suitcase is overweight!

Now it's time to get ready for bed and hope I can sleep through the night. Last night, I did pretty well by going to bed at 7:30pm. I was awake from 1:30am until 3am, but then I fell back asleep until my alarm went off at 7:30am. I'm hoping to successfully sleep tonight, because tomorrow is a big of the most important days in my life! T-minus 14 hours until court.

P.S. No, we did not eat at Kyrgyz Fried Chicken (KFC), but I had to get a picture of it!

Food and Drink and Fun

I had another great morning with Shamrock. He came running toward me so fast that he fell when I first came through the door. But he got right back up and gave me huge hugs and big smiles! We did a bit more coloring, and then he had fun putting stickers I had brought onto his page. They had animals on them, so I made various animal noises and got him to "roar" at the lion one. 
I brought yogurt to give to his group today (and bananas yesterday), so he got both of those for a morning snack. He inhaled the yogurt. I seriously couldn't eat it as fast as he did. It was all over his face and quite hilarious. I also brought him a juice box, which is something Zack always did on our first visit, so he was pretty excited about inhaling that as well. He also found the water bottle on the side of my backpack. Back in December, Zack had given him a drink from his water bottle, and he loved it, so he wanted to do that again. I'm not sure if more went in his mouth or down the front of his shirt!

The yellow punch balloon was a big hit today. He batted it around and giggled like crazy when he tackled it and rolled over the top of it. He also had a great time riding around on a little truck that made music when you pressed the buttons (he even danced a few times). He also pushed a stuffed bunny around in a stroller for a little while and carried around the lotion bottle I had brought.
I was able to stay for his lunchtime today. His caretakers brought his food out to the main room, so we had a private lunch date while the other kids ate at their normal tables in the adjacent room. Lunch today was bread, a cabbage salad sort of thing, and a rice and potato soup. He didn't eat much, probably because the yogurt and banana had filled him up, but he downed his compote (juice) right away. This kid gets thirsty! It's funny how grown-up he seems when he eats, even though he makes a mess of his face. They have him using a full-size soup spoon, and he knows how to dip his bread in his soup and eat it once it's soaked up the broth (just like his daddy likes to do!). He drinks from a normal plastic cup and plastic or tin plates and bowls.
I can't get over how easygoing this kid seems to be. He never really gets upset or cries, and he's always smiling or laughing. He's so much more talkative this time around, and it's amazing how much Russian he understands. For example, the pants he was wearing today were too big, and a caretaker told him to pull them up. I assume that's what she said, because he did just that in response to her comment and she said "da" (yes). I can't wait until he understands what I'm saying to him too!

This was my last visit before court, which is at 10am tomorrow morning. So tomorrow afternoon I'll visit him again, only then he'll officially be my son! T-minus 19 hours until my court appointment-wish me luck! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hawaii in Kyrgyzstan

After our orphanage visit today, we (our in-country coordinator Saule, her husband, Song, and I) went to a place called Hawaii (yes, Hawaii) for a late lunch. This place is the most random restaurant ever. It's located right off the road on the way back to Bishkek from Tokmok. After miles of worn-down roads where you see shepherds in fields tending their sheep, security guards on lookout towers watching the Kazakhstan border, and impoverished people selling apples at the market, this is the last thing you'd expect to see.

It's kind of a like a gaudy theme park with plastic palm trees and strange sculptures in the manmade lakes. There are swans swimming around, wedding parties getting pictures taken on the grounds, and apparently during warmer weather, you can eat in a hut out on the lake or visit their petting zoo containing camels and eagles. We ate inside today, where it looks like weddings and other events are held, and the food was actually quite cheap and delicious (and not Hawaiian at all). I had some dumpling soup along with the old standbys (tea, lepyoshka, and lagman). Yum!

The views of the mountains from this place are incredible, and I can see how in warmer weather, it'd be a pretty place to eat dinner outside at sunset. While totally weird, I'm glad I had the experience of visiting Hawaii in Kyrgyzstan!

My Little Valentine

I landed in Bishkek early this morning and got to spend a few hours before lunch at the orphanage with Shamrock. He totally remembered me! When I came in, a caretaker was putting his pants back on him after a potty break, but he saw me and had a huge smile on his face. When she was done, he ran over to me and gave me huge hugs around the neck over and over. It was like we hadn't even been separated for seven weeks!

He was super talkative and happy today...smiling, laughing, and saying Russian words that I couldn't understand. However, the caretakers must be showing him the picture book we left, because when I got it out, he pointed to Zack and said "Papa" over and over. So cute! I got a few videos of it to show Zack. 

We started our morning in the group playroom, because the orphanage's heat hasn't been working, and they said that the playroom we usually go to was too cold. I put on the shirt I brought for him that says "Mommy's Little Valentine." I told Zack that he's been replaced by another cute guy this year for Valentine's Day! We mostly colored and flipped through the photo book over and over. Well, actually, Shamrock was more interested in dumping the crayons out of the bag and putting them back into it. I did teach him how to make dots on the paper, and we tried (unsuccessfully) to draw circles. 

After awhile, we went outside, because it was a pretty warm day (about 50 degrees). We played on the swings, I helped him "balance" as he walked atop this concrete square thing, he played with a broom and walked across this wooden bridge thing, and we got tons of mud on our shoes. Time went by way too quickly, so I can't wait to get back there to see him again tomorrow. I'm so happy he remembered me-Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New York, New York

Well, I'm on my way! I'm sitting at JFK Airport, waiting for my flight to Moscow to board. I watched the sun go down and ate a slice of pizza, so I'm ready to go! Shamrock and Kyrgyzstan court, here I come!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Name Game

One of the first questions we get about our boy when people talk to us about the adoption is, "What is his name?" Like those who wait until their baby is born before revealing the name, we too are waiting until he is officially part of our family to share the name we have chosen for him.

But in the meanwhile, we can play a fun game called "Guess Shamrock's Real Name." I will send an awesome prize (probably something cool from Kyrgyzstan along with some Kyrgyz chocolate!) to the person who correctly guesses his name. I'm betting that nobody will be able to figure it out, but it will be amusing to see the guesses, and you never know! 

I will give you some hints based on my rules for naming. Keep in mind, these are my own personal "rules" for choosing names. If your name doesn't follow these or you have a kid and didn't follow these when naming your child, I'm totally not dissing you. I just have a weird thing about names! So, leave a comment with your guess as to his name, given that it follows these rules:

1. It must be easy to pronounce. If you see it on paper, you would have no question as to how to say it.
2. It must be easy to spell. You should be able to say it to someone, and there will be no question as to how it's spelled.
3. It must be clearly only a boy's name. No girls would have this name.
4. It must not be "trendy." It definitely wouldn't be in the Top 100 names in this country. When he goes to school, there will probably be no other boys in his class with this name.
5. It must not be an invented or strange name. People will have heard of it and know that it's a name (versus a fruit or a color or whatever).
6. It wouldn't have an obvious nickname associated with it. I'm a fan of naming the kid what you want him to be called (otherwise my thought is that you should just name him what you're going to call him!). Yes, I am fully aware that my own husband's name doesn't follow this "rule," and I realize that nicknames (like "Shamrock") may be used anyway.
7. Meaning is huge. The name's got to have a "meaningful" meaning.
8. Some sort of Biblical and/or saint connection is cool.
9. Some other sort of personal connection or significance to the name is important.
10. I typically would want to avoid names that belong to students I've taught, so I don't have any preconceived notions of what someone with this name looks or acts like (for better or worse!). Though I've taught hundreds of students over the years, none of them has ever had the name we've chosen for our boy!
11. Similarly, I wouldn't pick a name that belongs to a friend, family member, or someone I already know, because then his name wouldn't seem like his own (at least in my mind). I wouldn't follow this rule if we were naming him after someone, but we didn't do that in this case.
11. It must not rhyme with anything bad or lend itself easily to teasing.
12. His initials must not spell or stand for anything weird/bad.  
13. It wouldn't be a super long or a super short name.
14. It's not Bruce or Dawn. If you don't understand this rule/joke, say those names real fast along with our last name, Keys. :)

I'm not particular or anything, right? Ha. But seriously, names are a huge deal to me. I'm looking forward to sharing Shamrock's real name with everyone soon, along with the reasons why we chose it. In the meanwhile, let's hear your guesses!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Traveling the Silk Road

A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon visiting the Denver Museum of Nature and Science because they currently have an exhibit called "Traveling the Silk Road." The country now known as Kyrgyzstan was part of this expansive route that connected China with the rest of Asia, where silk and other goods were traded. Specifically, one of the roads we rode on from Bishkek to Tokmok (where Shamrock's orphanage is) was part of the Silk Road, and the Burana Tower is a remnant from that time. So I figured it'd be worthwhile to take advantage of visiting the exhibit while it's in town and learn more about my boy's homeland.

Unfortunately, the exhibit only really focused on a few major cities along the route, and none of them were in Kyrgyzstan. But, there were live silkworms on display (which was pretty cool), and it was still interesting to learn more about the Silk Road itself. Look at me getting all edu-ma-cated in my free time!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What I'm Wearing

I ordered myself this necklace off of Etsy before we left for our first trip to Kyrgyzstan. It had arrived by the time we got home. I put it on, and I haven't taken it off since then (well, other than to take this picture!). My plan is to wear it until Adoption Day, when we get to take Shamrock out of the orphanage forever! Obviously, it's in the shape of the country of Kyrgyzstan. The heart is located in Tokmok, where Shamrock's orphanage is, and the chain itself is made of little hearts. With this necklace, my little boy is always in my heart until I can get him in my arms!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snowboarding in Steamboat Springs

Last weekend, Zack and I used some of his hotel points to enjoy a few days snowboarding in the beautiful town of Steamboat Springs, which is about three hours away from Denver. Back on Labor Day weekend, we purchased a 3-day pass to this ski resort, not knowing how perfect the timing would be for one of our last weekends away as just us two. Well, three if you include Molly, because it was a dog-friendly hotel!

We had an awesome time. The hotel was right next to the gondola, so we could walk out the doors and be on the slopes. After snowboarding, we could soak in the rooftop hot tubs while watching other riders tackle the terrain park. We got in some night riding on Friday, enjoyed the freshly fallen snow on Saturday, and the sunshine-filled slopes on Sunday before driving home to watch the Super Bowl.

A couple of things throughout the weekend made us think of Shamrock. First of all, there was a yurt at the top of the mountain! Also, we saw groups of little kids taking ski lessons throughout the day, and it made us excited to get our boy out on the mountain with us, maybe even next winter.

Though it's excruciatingly hard to wait until we get to see Shamrock again, at least we are having fun together in the meanwhile!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kyrgyzstan Cookie Cutter

How amazing is the Internet? Answer: totally amazing! I mean, who would have thought you could find a Kyrgyzstan-shaped cookie cutter online?! It's true, folks. I ordered one a few weeks ago. I attempted to use it on brownies, but that didn't work too well (too mushy). I think I'll stick to cookies from now on. Maybe each year on Adoption Day (the day we take Shamrock out of the orphanage), we'll make Kyrgyzstan cookies to celebrate!

Monday, February 2, 2015

An Online Baby Shower

I love Colorado. And I love living in Denver. But sometimes living in a completely different state from all of your family members has its downfalls. One of those is that I don't get to have the typical "baby shower" experience with all of my fabulous aunts and girl cousins. Not that I like those "guess what candy bar is in the diaper" games anyway, but celebrations with family members are always fun. 
So get mom is still "throwing" me a baby online one! She had these adorable "invitations" made and sent to the lovely ladies who would have been there if I still lived in Michigan. Because of my generous family members, so far our little boy now has a bed and mattress to sleep on, a chair to be rocked in, a car seat to sit in, and a table and chairs to play at. I can't wait to decorate his room!