Thursday, August 18, 2005

August 18 2005




Well, the past few days have been very busy. Arsim arrived in one piece on the 14th and Gracie and he get along like peas and carrots. (That's a good combo in case you have any doubt!) He changed his first diaper, and even a poopy one too! Not half bad if you ask me...We've been pretty busy walking around taking in the sights, and we even took the lake Boravoya trip again so Arsim could see it. Tomorrow, we head for Almaty - a much larger city - for the last leg of our trip, where we get a lot of paperwork done and Gracie vsits the Embassy for a health exam. Oh - she crawled a few steps today!!! Arsim put her bottle a couple feet in front of her, and she crawled to get it!!! Ok we will post again from Almaty!
Love, Dana, Gracie, and Arsim

Thursday, August 11, 2005

August 11 2005



Well, here are a couple more cute pictures. Can't remember the famous rocker known for the long tongue - I want to say KISS?? Or was it Alice Cooper? Anyway, Gracie is practicing to be in the next generation of acid rockers...Also don't worry mom, she DOES manage to get most of the cereal inside her! Anne and John paid a visit last evening, and what with three adults all having a conversation at the same time, Gracie was inspired and, as Anne said "I think Gracie has found her voice!" She made a very meaningful contribution of squeals, squawks, groans, UUUUHHHHs, and gargles the entire time. I suppose that she has never really been around three adults at the same time having a conversation, so I guess she wanted to chime in!
I've found a new yummy substance to eat by the spoonful: It's in a jar and has a picture of a squirrell on it. The name looks kind of like "Tukau". It's white cream and chocolate cream swirled together. The white substance is not marshmellow, nor is it white chocolate. It seems to just be white creamy stuff. Anyway it's really good, and I've placed it on my food pyramid somewhere in the middle. Pepsi Light, being a staple, is closer to the bottom.
If anyone who is reading this will be travelling toKokshetau, I would like to highly recommend that you have the pork shishkebobs at the Rainbow Cafe. Also, my favorite salad at the Orange Cafe is called "The Daisy". It's "petals" are tomato slices, and the center is a large blob of egg salad with cheese. The give salads such cute names here. Oleg, the driver's, favorite is something called "The Snowdrift". it's very white (as you might imagine), and full of white fattening stuff like eggs, white cheese, and mayo. In the news...it seems that the president of Kazakhstan will be stopping in Kokshetau sometime next week. I don't know if he'll be making a public appearance or not.
Ok, bye for now, Love, and miss everyone, Dana and Gracie

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

August 9 2005



Hi Everyone! Not a whole lot to report, so haven't posted in a while. Gracie is doing great! She did get bitten up by mosquitoes night before last. They really got her good. She still has spots all over her from them. I started her with oatmeal cereal today and so far so good. There is another family here - Anne and John Lim from Chicago (oak park). They're really nice people. Anne is a family practice doctor and John is a Psychiatrist, so I'm thinking we've got our bases covered in the event of an emergency. Anne can help if Gracie gets sick and John can give me therapy/meds during the three weeks of confinement!!!!!!!!! Just kidding of course! They're adopting two babies at once: a boy and a girl. I went back to the deaf club. There were a lot of people there when I arrived, but this time, in anticipation of my return, someone had brought a documentary video made in another city in Kazakhstan, about the life of deaf people here. By the time it was done, most of the crowd had scattered. Then they pulled out another video of their New Years Eve musical version of "Puss and Boots". Although I appreciated seeing it, I think it was a snoozer for the home crowd, and by the time it was over there were only about 4 people left: 3 old ladies and the guy who had played Puss. He's also the guy who wants to go to Belarus for the international signing to music competition. So, unfortunately, I didn't learn much, except that life for deaf people here could be compared to the US 50 years ago or more. People are desperately underemployed and uneducated. In the schools, they seem to focus on crafts more than anything that could be marketable as a job. And they said most deaf people don't work, those who do are working selling newspapers on the train. And NOBODY here has a sidekick.

Friday, August 05, 2005

August 5 2005



Hi everyone!
Here are a couple cute pictures of Gracie. You can see some of how the apartment looks in the one, and Jennifer, if you're reading this: Gracie loves playing on the quilt you made! She's fascinated by the colors and patterns! This tongue sticking out is a new thing for her. She doesn't make much in the way of sounds, but she seems sometimes like she's trying to imitate my mouth movements. Moms out there in blogville: is that normal? Anyway, she is a happy and smiley baby, and sleeps through the night like a dream!
Hope to hear from you all!
Love, Dana and Gracie

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

August 3 2005



Hello! here I am with my buddy Peter who left today with his mom,Meg, for Almaty. They'll be home with his daddy and big brother in Chicago in no time! I like living with mommy a lot! I ate a giant bowl full of cereal for lunch today, and am learning to eat by chomping on a spoon! Mom saw that they have baby food here in Kazakhstan for children of very refined taste: "Minted peas with lamb." I'm going to stick with rice cereal for now. I had my first bath last night since I came here with mommy. I liked it! the nurses at the hospital just give us a bath any time our bottoms are too messy, so this is old hat to me!
Love, Gracie
Hi everyone! Things are going fine, but it's going to be a lonely 11 more days here until Arsim comes on august 14th. Meg and baby Peter are gone, and we're not really supposed to walk around with the babies without Inna for fear of what exactly I don't know - weird stares I guess. But this apartment is certainly a relief after being in the hotel so long! At long last laundry!!!! The apartment is adorable - not home - but very cute and fresh!
Love and miss everyone!
Dana

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

August 2 2005

Hi eveyone -
Well, we are a family now! the judge had a poker face the entire time, but it worked out in the end. Gracie is settling in fine. She slept well last night. She woke up with a big smile on her face and she was smiling all day! I'll post a picture a little later of her with baby Peter. They look so cute together. too bad he'll be leaving tomorrow. She had a hard time getting used to the nipples I brought, but now she learned and she's doing fine. She ate cereal today from a spoon. In the hospital, they feed them cereal diluted with formula in a bottle. Also she's sitting up for very long stretches of time. No crawling yet, which is actually a good thing from my perspective, as Peter is hitching around and won't leave the electrical cords alone. Gracie just sits up nice and straight and looks like and angel. She got kind of cranky later in the day - I think it could be either indigestion or a little bit of a cold. She's snoring a little right now. I'll have to see how she is in the morning.
Ok, I'll put a picture on tomorrow, and let Gracie give you an update as well.
Love, Dana and Gracie

Sunday, July 31, 2005

July 31 2005


Ok everyone - sorry for the delay in posting but a lot has happened in the past few days and haven't had much time to post.
1) Tomorrow is the big day that Gracie gets busted outta the Big House and I am a bundle of nerves about court tomorrow. I'm sure it will be fine, but can't help but be nervous
2) Last night was a lot of fun - Inna, Meg and I went to the Rainbow cafe for shishkebobs and they were the best thing I've ever eaten!!!! Plus I tried drinking cognac and about 2 sips had me slap happy. I changed to beer after that.
3) If you don't work with me or know deaf people this part probably won't interest you, but I was very excited to go to the Kokshetau Deaf Club. There were at least 20 people there of all different ages and they were so nice. their sign language is completely different!!! The only signs that were the same so far were the signs for "deaf", "coffee", and "same"...There was an interpreter there too. He was interpreting the deaf people's sign to Russian and then Inna translated to English. In a way I wish it was just me there, because I think I might have picked up more sign that way. but it was nice to be able to be asked more complex questions and answer and have it be translated. they were very interested in American sign and also in American life and obviously in what things are like for deaf people in the US. So...Next week I'm invited back and they want to bring a video camera - funny!! I wish I had one. Next week I'll be sure to take some pictures though.
I'm thinking of hatching a fundraising idea because they want to send one of their guys to some kind of singing competition (I guess signing to music) in Belarus, but no one has sponsored them yet. they have no money - that's obvious - no one here does. they said it would cost about 120,000 Tenge which should be about $900.00...The wheels are turning in my brain...
Ok more on all this later
Love Dana and Gracie