Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Our European adventure, day 1

After over a year of planning, praying, wondering, packing, stressing, and going through every single emotion, it was finally time to get on the plane and get our adventure started!

That's right, we packed for 6 weeks in Europe with only 2 big suitcases and a bunch of carry on bags! I packed more when we went cabin camping last summer!

The plane was leaving in the evening, so we had dinner at the gate, and my plan was to have the kids get settled in, watch a couple of shows, and then sleep through the flight. It started off as planned, they've all flown before so they're familiar with the routine. We got settled in, I said they could watch 2 shows or 1 movie and then we'd go to bed. After the first show they came around with drinks, so I figured they'd have their drinks, then be ready for bed when the 2nd show was over. But just as I was getting them settled in to sleep, they brought out carts of food! The kids got all excited as we waited for the carts to make it back to us, and then we ate and started to settle in when they went around again passing out water. It made the flight fly by for me because I kept counting down the hours we would have to sleep. FINALLY they stopped passing out fun things and the kids went to sleep, for just a few hours before they turned the lights back on and passed out breakfast just before we landed in the Netherlands.
We had a layover for a couple of hours in the Netherlands and then finally got on our flight to Ukraine! It was only about 3 hours so it seemed pretty quick. We landed in Kyiv in the evening, but the wheelchair wasn't waiting at the gate like we expected, they said it would be at baggage claim. We went through immigration pretty quickly, and went to get our bags. We gathered them one by one until only the wheelchair was missing. I went to a woman at a desk who thankfully spoke English, and she looked in a few places before having me fill out a form. We got it back a few days later, it hadn't made it onto the plane in the Netherlands!

Finally we went through the doors to the outside where we met our driver, Max. Eric changed some money and then Max drove us to our apartment and helped us carry everything up. We were on the 3rd floor, but the elevator was only big enough for one person and a suitcase, so I walked the kids up the stairs while Max and Eric raced the quickly closing elevator doors to bring all the bags up.

After we got everything into the apartment, we asked Max to show us a place where we could get dinner, and he walked us to a Ukrainian restaurant that quickly became our favorite, we ate there quite a few times during our trip! The food, everything, in Ukraine is very inexpensive. We were starving and excited to sample our first authentic Ukrainian food (via the pictures on the menu), so we ordered plates and plates of dumplings, blinis (like crepes) and potato pancakes. At that moment, I vowed I would eat piles of dumplings every day and never tire of them. 

Finally we walked back to our apartment and collapsed into bed. Our adventure had officially begun!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Home at last!

We made it home on Tuesday afternoon after spending 5 weeks in Europe!

My computer wasn't working on the wifi for some reason, so we'll be working on posting about our trip as we find some time this month.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Almost there!

This week was one of big news! We got our travel date that tells us when we have to be in country (in February) and we committed to pursuing the adoption of a tiny little guy with down syndrome in addition to 'Ivey'. 

It is going to be a busy couple of weeks as we pack and prepare and head out of town! We're taking the kids with us (6 weeks is a long time to be apart!) and calling it a family adventure. We'll be spending that time both in the capital city for paperwork, and in the region both kids are in for meeting, bonding, and court. We won't get custody until the last couple of weeks, but I'll be meeting them within the first few days of being there, so I'll have time to get to know them. 

Preparations for 'Ivey' are well underway, her bed is set up and made, and bedroom decor is bought, just need to hang it. We have a wheelchair that I periodically drive through the house to help the kids learn to keep the floor clear. We'll have to take the chair with us to pick her up and bring her home. People at the airport when I went to Hong Kong thought I was strange for traveling with an empty stroller, I can only imagine what they'll think when we're pushing an empty wheelchair.

For the little guy, we haven't prepared quite as much, having just decided to pursue his adoption. But as a baby, he'll need less. The kids have been looking forward to having a big sister, and are thrilled to find out that they'll also be getting a little brother, especially Jeb. He's already planning where all of the baby things can go in his room. Baby brother will actually be in our room for quite awhile, but I'm glad he's excited to share :)

One of the big topics around the house today is what to name the brother. Suggestions from the kids include Jaden, Jackapher, Jadaniel, and Jebriel 2. We may need to keep thinking :)