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Thursday, November 29, 2007

A surprise visit

We had a nice surprise visit by Zac today! (What? you may ask...)


To our very pleasant surprise, our agency sent us 4 more photos today. You'll all be relieved to hear that Zac is still the most beautiful child in all of Russia. Certainly no change. His hair is starting to evolve from "too dang long" to "prince-like flowing locks" (kinda like Prince Charming from Shrek)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Friends

I do believe that I have mentioned a few different times that one of the (many) surprises during this adventure that we call international adoption is the friendships that we've developed. The even more surprising thing is that many of these friends are cyber-friends. I'm sure this is a modern-day phenomenon that will only increase as technology allows, but it is still strange to have true friends that I've never actually talked to in person.

So here is a run down of how cool our "new" friends are:

1. D&A (who we traveled with in June and who were also sentenced to 6 months in "Databank prison") mailed us a Siberian Silver Fir Yankee Candle. How appropriate! It's really yummy.... smelling, not tasting.

2. R - just went to Russia to finish her adoption and took a disposal camera with her for Olga to take pictures. We just got confirmation that they took more pics of Zac and we should get them back in a week or so! Yea! More pictures.

3. It seems like every single one of our blogging friends are in Russia right now. It's so awesome to read their adventures. Of course, deep down inside, I'm quite bitter.... just kidding...sort of. No, I really am... kidding, that is.

I'm especially happy for Steve who was my original motivation to start a "dad blog". (We seem to be a minority) He's waited longer that we have, so it's only fair that his adoption journey is coming to a close. (I'm fully aware that a new adventure is just beginning, but at least the paperwork will be a lot less going forward .... until they start doing Estate Planning, or buy a new house)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Possesions

As we go through our daily lives, we don't make it very long without thinking of Zac. His evidence is everywhere throughout the house. Pictures, clothes, pictures, stuffed animals, more pictures.

Here are just a few examples:





Zac may not know it yet, but he has two drawers full of his own clothes.





Additionally, he dominates the top part of the closet in "boys' room"


It's difficult to ignore the 5th stocking hung above the fireplace this year.


And each night, his bed, bear and blankie eagerly wait for his arrival.




Shortly after our return from Russia (in June) we hung up Zac's brand new fluffy bath towel. We can't bring ourselves to take it down, so it quietly sits there. (The striped one on the right).



I never knew it was possible to love a child much from such a great distance. I really wish he would hurry up and get home. We all really wish he would...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Missing memories

Today was a good day. We got a jump on the Christmas season by skipping out of work early to decorate the house. (I know that we're supposed to wait until AFTER Thanksgiving, but the opportunity was there....)

Anyway, it hit me today that this may be a tough Christmas for us. Everybody keeps telling me that "the holidays will go by fast and then it'll almost be time to go get Zac".

Yea, I'm not so sure.

Back in June, I figured that there was NO WAY that Zac wouldn't be home for Christmas. We were really excited to think that this Christmas would be our first with our new child. There is definately something special about a baby's first Christmas.

I've tried to be positive and upbeat during this difficult time, but I do have my moments of sadness. I'm not mad. I'm not bitter. I'm just really really sad. I look at that countdown clock and I think, "98 days isn't that great... we've still got a long road to hoe."

But no matter how my thoughts process the events that have unfolded, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: What else can I possibly do besides remain positive? Nothing good can come from moping. (Not to be confused with mopping, which can be quite productive especially if you have hardwood floors)

So, here we are: Still enjoying all the wonderful blessings and moments that have been given to us.

Here's a clip of Hallie & I placing the angel on our Christmas tree. (Truly, the epitome of a precious Christmas memory.)

NOTE: In true Horner fashion, we added as much drama as we possibly could for the camera





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Saturday, November 17, 2007

100

Spaz



100 DAYS LEFT!!!!



boy on cloud 9


LET'S PARTY!!!

A picture says 1000 words

We received the actual prints of the pictures that were emailed to us last week. It was like getting NEW pictures! The ones that were emailed were fairly blurry because the scanner used must have been..... Russian.

Anyway, I've done nothing but stare at his pictures for the last 15 hours. (except to sleep) I can't study him enough. His eyes (those beautiful eyes) his fingers, his (really long) hair, his lips, his nose, his chubby legs (yea! He's chubby! Their feeding him!) his shoes, his knees, I love it all.

I have no problem closing my eyes and envisioning every detailed part of him. It's nice to be able to "take him with me" everywhere I go. He is permanately burned into my mind.

We were also elated to receive a 6th picture that wasn't included in last week's email. It's an adorable picture of Zac drawing on a chalkboard. After studying that picture thoroughly, here's what I've discovered:

1. Zac appears to be right handed
2. He was holding the piece of chalk very well. It appears that he's not a novice with writting utencils. Once again, it reaffirms our confidence in the Baby Home that he's in. They are really keeping those kids active and learning. I can't begin to explain how happy this makes us. I'm not sure we'd be able to mentally survive otherwise.
3. There was a really good drawing of a truck and a tree on the chalkboard. I'll have to assume that Zac did NOT draw those particular items, but at first glance it gives the appearance that he DID draw them. Pretty funny. Maybe he's the next Picasso. That would be difficult for Katie and I to foster seeing as how both of us have extreme difficulty drawing even a stick man.
4. At the top of the chalk board was the ENGLISH alphabet. Perhaps it was a gift from an adopting family? Nice to know, he has a little exposure to English. The reality is that VERY few people in Novokuznetsk spoke English. We need not get our hopes up that he'll understand much English.
5. He really needs a haircut. The word "mullet" seems to be a recurring comment from others.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NEW AND IMPROVED LOOK

IT'S TIME FOR A NEW TEMPLATE!

I hope you all like it.

A Public Service Announcement

Because many of you are parents, soon to be parents, want to be soon to be parents..... OK, so this could apply to EVERYONE here:

You need to check out this website:

Infant Swimming

This appears to be some sort of "wonder-technique" that EXTREMELY young children... no wait! Infants! can learn in order to save themselves from drowning.

Back in the day, I taught swim lessons for several years and I've NEVER seen anything like this. Clearly we underestimate what infants are capable of.

Apparently, we all have to go to Arizona to teach this to our kids, but perhaps it's worth it. Afterall, winter is coming up. We all need a good excuse to go to Phoenix, right?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Being a kid, waiting for kid

Funny story:

We had some friends over last night who have 3 kids of their own. Their two younger kids are Hallie and Jake's age, so it was easy for them to run off and play, but the older one was about 7 years old - so he was a little too "mature" for most of the toys and things in our house.

To make a long story short, he and I started goofing around and then I found out that we shared a similar interest in music. He told me that he was in a "band" at school with several of his other 1st grader comrades. (They don't actually play anything... yet.... but they're still "in a band")

Then I proceeded to let him play my drums - He did that for about 45 minutes
Then I proceeded to let him play my guitar - He did that for about another 45 minutes
Then I plugged the guitar into my amp, with full distortion - He REALLY liked that.

But here's the punch line:

When he left, he told his parents, QUOTE:

"I know this may sound weird, because he's ALMOST an adult - but I think Ryan is becoming my new best friend"


Two things that make me happy:

1. I have a new best friend
2. I'm not an adult yet

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New York

Last week, Katie and I went on a whirlwind trip to New York. It's a really long story as to how all the pieces came together, but the bottom line is this:

1. In our younger years, Katie and I did a lot of singing and dancing together.
2. We were in a show about a year and a 1/2 ago that was an upbeat review of music from the 50's, 60's and 70's. (Jukebox Journey - currently running on and off throughout the year in the Historic Savannah Theatre) -I'd like to give a big shout out to my peeps!!! Bill, Gretchen, Matt, Michelle, Mike and Mario!
3. The producer called us to see if we could revive the show for 1 night only in New York.

It would be cooler to just show you video clips of the show, but we don't have any. So I'll just post still pic's instead.

We really had a fun time doing what we love - AND we got to meet some wonderful new friends. It's hard to describe, but doing a show like this with others builds lasting friendships faster than anything I've experienced.




Thursday, November 8, 2007

Birthday Pictures

After much waiting (as always) we FINALLY got pictures from Zac's birthday. Of course, I won't post them - but instead I'll tell you all about them.

Picture 1 - Zac sitting at a table with 2 other kids. (Yes, we were surprised too that they would send us photos with other kids in them). But, oh well. It'll be nice to show him someday and see if he remembers any of his friends.

Picture 2 - VERY FUNNY! It's a picture of Zac and 4 other kids all sitting on potty chairs. Although strange at first, we decided that we're happy that we have such a picture of our boy. Afterall, I'm sure that "potty time" is a frequent part of his current routine.

Picture 3 - We may have discovered what the "activity session" on his birthday was all about. Picture 3 is of Zac in front of a mirror with a crazy hat on and holding a doll. Perhaps they were playing dress up? How wonderful that he is keeping active and playing. Naturally, our worst fear is him lying in a bed all day. Clearly this is not the case. I've said a couple of different times that one of our biggest surprises on trip #1 was the quality of care and attention that the kids received at his Baby Home.

Picture 4 - Super Cute! It's a picture of Zac curled up in his bed looking like he just settled down for a nap. It appears that he's still assigned to the same bed that he had when we were there. We printed this one out and have it sitting on our night stand. It's as if he's right here with us....... but not really.

Picture 5 - Appears to be a picture of some other kid. It's alittle blurry, but it's hard to tell. We just laughed. It's much easier to deal with everything that way.

So I guess we really only have 4 pictures.... What a gift today has been.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

World Help

For those of you who are really sharp, you may have noticed that I recently added a new link to this blog.

This past week, our church had several visitors from the organization World Help. World Help is a ministry that (among other things) focuses on helping orphaned children. They specifically target countries where AIDS is prevalent.

During the morning, these orphans shared their life stories, their music and their dancing. It was extremely powerful and naturally, Katie and I spent most of the morning crying. I've noticed that one byproduct of this whole adoption thing is that I seem to cry more easily. Especially when it comes to kids. Oh well, I also cried at the end of "My Dog Skip". (Katie still makes fun of me for that one)

Here are pictures of what we saw.

WARNING: THESE KIDS ARE REALLY REALLY CUTE!!!






Monday, November 5, 2007

News about Zac

We are happy to share a couple of things about Zac. We still have not heard that he will come home before March, but here is what we have heard.

First, I found a friend through a Kemerovo Yahoo group that is traveling to Baby Home #1 for a court date on November 19. She is adopting a little girl that is one of the children in Zac's class. I am forever grateful for the group of friends we have met that are also adopting internationally. Everyone has been so wonderful to sympathize with us in a way that only someone adopting internationally could.

She agreed to take an early Christmas present for Zac and a disposable camera to Olga, our translator from trip #1, so she can take a few pictures of Zac. When I e-mailed Olga to see if she could do this for us this was her reply...

"Hi, my friends! I am sorry for keeping you wait for my answer...I promise to do all my best with the camera and everything. As soon as I learn anything about your adoption affairs, I will connect you. Pavel is doing fine! I will send you his measuments later. Keep in touch! Your friend!"

What a sense of relief to know that we have "a friend" in Novokuznetsk that is checking up on our son.

In addition, we are still waiting on pictures from Zac's birthday, and hoping that our late birthday present will get to him soon. We heard from our agency today. They wrote to us...

Hi Ryan and Katie, The family left this weekend on Saturday with your package, so I would expect that it reached the orphanage today. I will confirm this. I have not received the photos yet or the measurements. I have a hunch that a family that is returning home next weekend will have the pictures. I will let you know as soon as I receive anything! I will stay on top of it, don't worry! Hang in there. I hope you are all doing fine. Best regards.

Our agency is really doing a great job of staying in touch and encouraging us while we wait.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Office Parody (Part 2)

I have a ton of stuff to post. (We've had an amazingly full schedule the last 3 days). Rather than posting everything at once, I'll try to spread them out. Here's the first piece. We did a "Part 2" of The Office Parody. I thought it turned out funnier than the first, so I went ahead and posted it. (If you look hard, you'll find Hallie and Jake - they were casted as "extra's")

*** (Stayed tuned for further posts about our trip to New York, our "orphan Sunday" at church, and UPDATES OF PASHA!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Fun

We had a fun evening with lots and lots and lots of candy. We first headed over to one of our best friend's house for a quick trick or treat. Then, it was off to Grammy and Grandpa's circle to trick or treat. The kids were really getting the hang of it, "Trick or Treat...Thank You...Happy Halloween!" This was the first year I have seen both of them really get it! After grandparents we headed to the Trunk or Treat event at our church. Each car told a quick Bible story to the kids and then they got candy. The trunks and characters were all in costume. It was pretty fun and funny! The kids hit the jackpot of candy at church! Check out the pictures and video!
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