The Journey of a Lifetime

Ryan and I have decided to pursue our forth adoption and add another beautiful baby to our family. We couldn't be happier and are thrilled! Join us in our journey in adopting baby Schlenner!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday my Sweets

We had a fun weekend!!!!!!!!!!! Not only was it Gabriella' Gotch'a Day...but it was also Magnus' 2nd birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lil Magnus turned 2 on Saturday, March 24th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Gabriella for being such a sweetie and sharing you very special day with your little stinker of a brother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The weather was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We couldn't have asked for a nicer spring day!!!!!!!!!!! We celebrated in style outside and BBQ'd and played!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the only picture I have of the four kids looking nice before they destroyed their clothes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahnya wasn't feeling well at all (poor baby) so she striped down to her undies and put her pj's on. And Magnus is always a walking matter what he's all over his shirt!

It wasn't long until he was into the BIG cake!!!!!!!!

This picture cracks me up!!!!!!!!!!!! The only child we've adopted that was raised in an orphanage for the first 1 1/2 years of his life and he is HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There's nothing small about MAgnus! He is a big boy!!!!!!!!!!!

Momma and the babes!!!!!! We had a giant family birthday for Jocelyn, Gabriella and Magnus because their birthday are so close together!!!!!!!!!!!!! So it was easier to do all three together and it worked out great!!!!!!!!!!!!

Magnus and his special baby cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe he is 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jocelyn designed her tiered baby cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He, of course, wanted it to look like a wedding cake! Go figure!And Gabriella wanted zebra striped cake! All the cakes totally fit their personalities perfectly!!!! Each of the kids got to eat their own cake!! They think this is so neat!

......................Gabriella and Nana! Gabriella turns 9 in April!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

..........................Jocelyn is 7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Birthday babes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We love you to pieces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gabriella and Jocelyn got American Girl chairs for their dolls. They love the gift Grandma Ro!!!! They did doll hair all night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to drag them to bed!
Magnus' favorite gift was the fire engine car. Here he is wearing the hat that goes along with the car! I'll post pics of the fire engine later. Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Gotch'a Day Gabriella

You're come a long way baby!!!!! Look at these amazing pictures.................8 years ago today this was our tiny, itty biddy Gabriella in Orenburg, Russia. Ryan and I flew twice to Russia to complete the necessary paperwork and to finally adopt little Gabriella. Can you believe this baby was a failure to thrive baby, malnourished beyond anyone's imagination, and labled mild to moderate brain damage, with under lying potential of but not limited to; liver and kidney damage, possible cystic fibrosis, and rickets. We fell in love with her instantly by looking at her picture and we say "yes" instantly.

This was the very first time we laid eyes on Gabriella, who was already named Yulia. She definately had orphanage delays at 9 months of ago. Were we scared----YES. Did we ever think what the heck are we doing---NO! We had faith on our side and everything felt---PERECT!! Gabriella spent her first 11 months in the worst orphanage I will ever see in my life! I will never forget the screaming, the secretiveness, the horrible rancid smells that I still don't really know what it was, the limited electricity, the coldness. It was a very lonely place no child should ever see. Orenburg is on the way southern city that actually borders Mongolia. This bridge was a walking bridge to Mongolia. Ryan and I tried walking to Monglia but were stopped by some not -so-nice looking soldiers carrying 2 machine guns. So we can't actually say we've been to Mongolia...but about 22 feet away!

This was the hotel we stayed in the first time we traveled. At night Ryan and I pushed the beds together to keep warm. And also because I was scared of the scratching noises we heard at night. There was no question the old old old hotel had rodents of some kind living in the walls.

On our second trip to Orenburg, we traveled with Ryan's aunt Becky and uncle Dale to accompany us and help us. Partly because we were scared traveling, thought it wise to travel with another couple and partly because we wanted company for the long 3 week journey. This picture is Ryan and I standing outside the Orenburg court and the judge has just approved us to be Gabriella Yulia Hope's parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gabriella was still at the orphanage. We left the court building and rushed to get her!!!

Once we left Orenburg and flew to Moscow we felt better and safer. Here we are having a celebration dinner in Moscow. What a celebration it was.

You can already tell that Gabriella looks healthier in the 2 weeks we had her in Russia. It's amazing what a little nutrition and medicine can do to a baby! She already is looking so much better!!!!!!!! Here's her first smile.

Happy Gotch'a Day my beautiful girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My world is a much better place with you in it!!!!!!!!!!! We love you to pieces and are so proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Highlights from the Week

I thought I would post some pics of the week and happenings that have taken place!!!!!
The week started out with a super-duper BIG surprise!!!!!!! Momma bought (notice I didn't say daddy...he voted against it and was vetoed!!!) a playhouse for the backyard!! It was a total surprise to them!!!! I woke them up early Saturday morning and lined them all up on the couch. Then I raised the blinds and they saw the playhouse sitting outside on the trailer!!! They all screamed and lost it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so fun to see their little faces and the excitement in their eyes!!!!!

The playhouse is beautiful and the kids LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!!!!!! We've already laid cartpet in there and decorated it!!!! I hope it will be something that they will always rememeber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Jocelyn is a reader!!!!!!!! She reads everything she can get her hands on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She has gained a tremendous amount of confidence this year and has learned that she can sound out and spell just about anything. I am so proud of her! She is a very serious student. Unlike her brother sitting next to her!

Ahnya is such a honey! Always a sweetheart and always with her blankie. Wherever she goes-the blankie goes, too!

Gabriella has grown up to such a big sister! She is a wonderful helper and is learning that mom says "yes" more if she helps out without asking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today the kindergarteners went next door to Hill Street to sing to the residents!!! I took Ahnya and Magnus with me to listen to the kids sing their beautiful praises!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here's Jocelyn, Lily and Halle in their HRS shirts!

It was a great week!!! Lots happening!!! Wonderful weather!!!!!! Ryan traveled the whole week and is back now...thank goodness! I am exhausted and feel like I have been run over by a giant truck! But that's what weekends are for, right? To rest up and get ready for another! Wishing you a wonderful weekend and hope you have beautiful spring time weather, too!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Birthday Girl Turns 7!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday Jocelyn Ka In!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We celebrated Jocelyn's 7th birthday today!!!!!!!!Jocelyn started her birthday with breakfast in bed!!!!!!! Actually, momma's bed!!!!!!! Why not...someone is always sleeping in momma's bed!!! She ordered her breakfast the night before so momma could get it ready. Good thing she picked an easy one! Fresh fruit and OJ! Perfect!!!!!! Here's all the kids in bed this morning at 7:00 a.m. I seriously can't tell who's happier...can you?!All smiles...................................................................
We went out for dinner tonight to celebrate the BIG day!! Jocelyn picked pasta night at the Bistro!! Nana and Bumpa joined us, too! They are back from Arizona!!! After dinner we came home and had cake and opened presents!!! All the kids gave Jocelyn gifts. Some favorites are Mermaid Tale 2 Barbie and friends, "Winter" the life size dolphin, barbie DS game, and an ipod nano with ear buds!!!

The favorite gift of the day was the life size dolphin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! creative BIRTHDAY banner I made in my "free" time! Not bad!
Magnus has so many nicknames!!!!!!!!!!! Lately, we've been calling him Potroast, Meatball, Slim, Mr. Shu, Night Mare on Lawrence Street (that's only if he's been really really throwing my contacts away in the garbage, coloring on mommy's wall, setting off my car alarm when I am grocery shopping, sticking my favorite lip gloss in his diaper, fishing in the toilet, etc, etc, etc.) All the kids around the table ready to attack the cake!!!!!!!!! I think Ahnya is addicted to cake!!! Seriously....she LOVES chocolate cake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And will do anything for cake. She didn't eat all day...because she was waiting for CAKE!
These two are inseperable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday Jocelyn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We love you forever and ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Birthday Party FUN!!!!!!

Jocelyn celebrated her upcoming birthday with her kindergarten friends on Saturday at the YMCA!!!!!! She had 14 friends come and play and they all had a blast!!!!!

I can't believe Jocelyn turns 7 on Tuesday, March 6th!!!! She is precious inside and out!!!!!!!!!! I can't help but think how proud her birth mother would be.

The girls played in the Y Hopper, made some crafts, played games, had pizza and birthday cake, and then swam in the pool!!!!

A party is never a party without BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Silly, silly, silly girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you for all the beautiful birthday gifts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's Breanna A. in the pool with the girls! I had three helpers in the pool with the girls!!!!!!!!!! Thank you Breanna, Alyssa and Adrianna for swimming with the girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!