Saturday, May 31, 2008

2 weeks later






We have been home for 2 weeks now. It feels so great! Max is doing really well. He is paying more attention to Tia and Tyler and seems to be settling in. He has explored about every inch of the playroom and front room. It is so fun to see him enjoying life in our family! My sister came for a little bit today and hasn't seem him in 2 weeks. She said he looks stronger and healthier already. That was nice to hear.

He has actually done 2 amazing things since he's been here. He is putting weight through his feet now and pulling up on my hands. He wouldn't put any weight on his feet before and he thinks it is the funnest game ever! AND as you can see, today he ate from a spoon!!!! He hasn't been liking the baby food in a bottle much the last few days so I decided to try it on a spoon. I started with sweet potatoes (because no baby can refuse those) and it worked. He was messy but he opened his mouth every time for the spoon. He did bite the spoon A LOT and wouldn't give it back which was funny but he did it!! So, for 2 meals today he ate some baby food. I tried stage 3 but he wasn't ready for the texture so I blended it up and he liked that better. Little by little he is getting it. He definitely still likes the bottle for his milk.

He still HATES the bath and we are trying things with no success but we will get there. He doesn't mind playing in a pan of water, or putting his feet in water but hates to be sitting in it. I even tried to get in with him in just two inches of water but he freaked out. So, next I will put him in the tub with NO water and some toys and see how he does. I am only trying something every few days so it doesn't become too stressful for him. I sure wish I knew how he handled baths in Serbia. I just feel so bad for him. Overall, he is doing great and is an absolute sweetheart!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Huff Family Update


Yes, we are all alive! I know I haven't written an update but life has been busy this week. I haven't made it to the computer much. Max is doing really good and yes, I cut his hair. It took 3 days for him to get off Serbian time which was really hard since Kevin and I were so exhausted. He would be up at 1:30am every night ready for food and playtime. He now sleeps from 7:30pm-5am. My other kids are early risers too so although that is a bit early, we are happy to sleep through the night. I was worried Max would not want to be held very much but it is quite the contrary. He loves to be held and often cries when put down. He does play on the floor by himself but prefers if we play with him there. I think it's great. He is commando crawling everywhere and we have to put all the cords up! He definitely knows me and prefers me. We are in spoil mode right now so he knows we won't leave him. He is SO happy and sweet!!!

The hardest part has been the food. He is not really thrilled with most things we give him. He is still 100% on a bottle so we have to grind up stuff and put it in a bottle for lunch and dinner. I am sure everything has a very different flavor than he is used to. He did not like our milk much either. But, after going to the pediatrician, he is now on Pediasure which he likes, thank goodness. However, it is $10.50 for 6 bottles! Hopefully, he won't be on it for long. He weighs 17-6 and is in 6-9 month clothes but he will be on to 9-12 month clothes soon. He has terrible reflux which we are getting a good handle on but he and I still go through a few outfits a day. I tried rice cereal on a spoon today and lets just say, it's going to be a while! It took 8 tries to get one spoonful in. Pretty funny.

We got referrals for all our doctors and have appointments set for the ENT(ear doctor), the eye doctor, the GI doctor for a swallow test to check to see if he is aspirating his food (as we think he is), a hearing screening, an endocrinologist as his thyroid hormone is elevated, the cardiologist just to be 100% sure everything is OK, and the evaluation for therapy services. Is that it? LOL We have the world's best pediatrician so she is covering all the bases for us. He is on breathing treatments and reflux medicine and is doing amazingly well now. He had a pretty bad cough and rattle sound going on before.

So much for laying low for a while. This week Tia had Kindergarten graduation, Tyler had the end of the year Preschool program, we had family in town for my nephew and niece's graduation, and overall life has been busy this week. Max is overwhelmed for sure and we are trying to keep that to a minimum. He just gets super tired and won't sleep because he doesn't want to miss anything. He LOVES being outside. Tia and Tyler are great with him. Tia loves to hold him. Tyler comes in every morning, gets face to face with Max and says, "Hello brother." It is SO sweet. They are not overly interested to the point of annoyance but like him and kiss him and then go on their way. It has been so fun to see how well he fits in our family. I feel like he has been here forever. I guess because he was in our hearts for so long before we brought him home. We really love him!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We are all together!!!!





WE ARE HOME!!! I am so happy to be home with my kids and be all together. Thank you SO much to my sister for everything you did. Would you believe during the 2 weeks while we were gone, between the 5 children she had to deal with the stomach flu 3 times (her included), strep throat, two kids with double ear infections, croup, Tia falling and cutting her head, and pink eye!!! 4 of the 5 kids are now on antibiotics and the Urgent Care knows my brother-in-law by name. Insane! So, needless to say they are also VERY happy we are home to take over! Sorry, Amber!!! You are awesome!

Max did OK on the plane. He was so overstimulated and wouldn't sleep. Then he would get so over tired he would scream for 5-10 minutes and finally fall asleep. He slept most of the way from NY to Phoenix which of course messed up his night's sleep. He is totally backwards and exhausted when he is awake. Kevin and I took turns taking naps today as we did not sleep on the plane more than 30 minutes in a 28 hour period. I am just glad I have some adrenaline from seeing Tia and Tyler.

They LOVE Max and are SO happy to meet him and be with us again. It was adorable to see them all loving each other. I am sure when the exhaustion wears off, we will have so much fun. Kevin is home this week. Thank goodness!!! We have 100 things this week as it is the last week of school. I hope Max can hang in there a few more days. Then we can all calm down and just enjoy each other. Max already met a few of the cousins, one aunt and uncle, and one grandma. He was a hit! How could he go wrong with that smile?! Anyway, I am off to bed. I am SO happy to be home! Thanks to everyone for your support and friendship!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Doing the Visa Dance!!!!!

It all came together today!!! It was a bit stressful running here and there but we did it!!! Max is ours and has a Visa and will become an American citizen tomorrow evening when we touch down in New York City! It may not be through Ellis Island, but it works for me! We will be home in AZ at 9:45 pm tomorrow night. WOW!!! Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement.

We spent all day running around with Max and he was a trooper. He got so exhausted but wouldn't settle down to rest as there was too much to see. So we brought him back to the Children's home for a nap this afternoon. He has one more breathing treatment tonight to receive and then we will go get him for the final time. I am so happy to be with him. He and I have a very nice connection already. He does NOT like doctors however, and screamed the whole time she examined him. But, afterward he reached for me and calmed very quickly with me. I know there is much bonding to be done but that will come in time. We fed him baby food mixed with milk in a bottle. I had to poke a bigger hole in the tip as that is what he is used to. I will slowly have to wean him off some of the "not so good for oral motor" habits. :-)

So, that is our wonderful news. Next time I write I will be home in AZ! If I can add some pictures tonight I will. Kevin is at the botanical gardens and I need to go pack!!! Yeah!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!!!!!!

We did it!!!!! Max is officially our son today!!!! We got word at 8:30 am that the Minister signed the papers and we would be traveling to Max's birth town to finish the adoption. We drove about 2 1/2 hours south (beautiful drive by the way) and met with the Center for Social Work there. They have been the legal gaurdians for Max up until now. We were pleasantly surprised to see the Director there. We didn't meet her before. She was SO nice and wanted to be sure everything went smoothly. We shared our story and photos with her and exchanged gifts.

Then they read us the paperwork in English. We signed the adoption papers. Then we all stood up and the Director put her stamp of approval on it and officially announced us as the adoptive parents of Andrija Huff. We will change his name in the States to Max Andre Huff. We decided to keep part of his birth name. Oh, and yes, I had tears in my eyes when it was announced out loud. We have waited 10 long months for this day!!! I am SOOO happy he is ours!!!

We took the ladies from the center to lunch while the attorney took our paperwork to get a passport for Max. After lunch we went to the police station and signed for his Serbian passport. His little picture in a passport is so cute! So, all went SO much better than anyone expected. Now tomorrow we will take him to the Embassy approved doctor, get our translated paperwork from the attorney, and head to the Embassy for the Visa. OH PLEASE let them give us a Visa tomorrow!!!

Tonight Jasmina took us to a wonderful theatre to see a Folk Dancing performance. It was amazing and so nice to celebrate our day. It was (aside from adopting Max) my favorite thing we have done in Serbia. I really loved it. The costumes, singing and dancing were so great. The culture here is very strong. On any given night you can find an opera, concert, play, ect. I do wish we could have done even more. Kevin and I love that kind of thing but rarely have the time when we are home.

OK, it is midnight here and tomorrow is another big day. I am off to bed. My very, very small bed. :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

2nd Wednesday in Serbia




Yes, more cute pictures! I'm telling you this boy is CUTE! We still did not get the papers signed by the Minister today. He is now in Belgrade though, which is good. We should know early in the am if we are traveling tomorrow. Everything must go as planned or we will not be home until next week. I HATE that because Tia is counting the days until we are home and it will be sad for her if we don't make it on the day we promised. Labor is hard and painful and adoption is slow and stressful. Either way, you must sacrifice something. I guess that is what makes it that much sweeter in the end. We will let you know how tomorrow goes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

2nd Tuesday in Serbia

I need to start by asking for a prayer request. We are not going to Max's hometown tomorrow. They could not find the Minister today to get his signature. We must have that before we complete the adoption. This means we HAVE to get the signature tomorrow, go to Leskovac on Thursday, have Max's medical exam Friday and get the US embassy to give us his Visa the same day (Friday). (Usually, this takes 24 hours.) If the embassy takes 2 days for the Visa, we are stuck here until Monday. If the signature doesn't happen tomorrow, we are stuck here until next week for sure. Belgrade is a beautiful place but I miss my kids!!! I really want to get home Saturday! The people at the US embassy were SO nice to us today when we went to get all the forms. They said they will try to have the Visa the same day but it is out of their control. Please, pray that everything will fall into place and we will come home as planned. I am sure my sister will pray extra hard. LOL

OK, now to today. We spent time with Max this morning. He was in a really silly and talkative mood. He was laughing and babbling a lot. He doesn't smile all the time and we have even seen him a bit cranky but he is much more good natured than I ever would have thought. His nickname here is "smesko" which means "smiley boy." It is well deserved! In the afternoon we went to Zemun, which I guess would be a suburb of Belgrade. It was nice and more laid back than in the city. There were a lot of children there which we haven't seen so much in the city. AND, we have seen 4 older children/adults with Down syndrome!! I always want to talk to their families with them but the language barrier has prevented me from trying. So, I am very happy to know that some people here do value our children. Very cool.

We have not had a problem finding food here. The food is good and even more importantly, the ice cream and desserts are very good too. We found an amazing dessert place here. The only thing is when we asked for milk, they brought us steamed milk. It was actually good with chocolate cake though! We do eat out a lot even though we have a kitchen. I am not much of a cook and I figure it is good to experience the culture. Right? LOL Tomorrow, I am making apple pie for the church members. They meet on Wednesday night for family night. Don't be too impressed, I'm cheating. I brought pie crust mix and canned apple filling with me from the states. I also brought "apple pie spice" and it got crushed in my luggage. So I have one suitcase full of stuff covered in cinnamon!! It smells good though. LOL Oh, the joys of traveling!

Monday, May 12, 2008

2nd Monday in Serbia



Today we had wonderful weather!  We took Max outside to the play ground in front of the Children's home.  We put him in the swing.  He seemed to like it.  He is not one to complain much about anything yet.  (Oh yeah, except cleaning his nose and face.)  Several of the older children were outside too.  They are cute and some come to talk to us and give us hugs.  After about an hour outside, we took Max back in.  He played for a few minutes and then sacked out in my lap.  I guess he is not used to watching 20 kids run around.  

After we left the Children's home, we went downtown with Jasmina.  She showed us several nice stores and restaurants.   We ate a lot of lunch and then walked it off by going back to the castle to take pictures and see the churches there.  It was really amazing.  You can see the whole city and the Danube River.  Funny story...Kevin was wearing shorts and they did not allow this in the church so he had to wrap a shawl around his legs.  He looked like he had a skirt on.  I don't know which is more disrespectful, shorts or a guy in a skirt?!  Pretty funny.  We took a small tour of the fortress museum and Kevin liked that the best.  He really enjoys learning about the history here.  He read about it a lot before we came.  I read about the city as it is now and things to do here.  Together we have found we are familiar with many of the sites here.  The people here appreciate that we take interest in their culture and history.  

It looks like we will go to Max's hometown on Wednesday.  We will bring the attorney's husband to help us.  He is well known in that area and can use his influence to help us if needed.  Let's hope it all goes well but, we are all a bit nervous.  One of the people there is not happy about international adoption and could make it difficult for us.  Tomorrow we go to get forms at the US Embassy and schedule an appointment for the Visa interview.  We will get Max's physical on Thursday.  He is using breathing treatments right now for a respiratory infection so we will not take him from the children's home until probably Friday.  We want him to get all his medications.  We leave Saturday morning.  I think this week will go quickly but Wednesday may feel VERY long.  We will see.  Lots of arguing in Serbian. :-) But if you have been here, you know that is NO big deal.  Serbians are very passionate people.  It has been fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday in Serbia

As I write this I can hear fireworks of celebration from the elections today. It is almost midnight here. We went downtown tonight and all was calm but there were news crews everywhere and one of the streets was closed for a party.

We went to church this morning. Our church is small here but lots of the members spoke English and everyone was wonderful to us. Of course they made us speak but it was nice to share our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They all told us how grateful they are that we would give a child from Serbia a better life. Really, it is Kevin and I who are grateful to be given the opportunity and means to do so.

After church we went to visit Max. It was there that we realized it was Mother's Day in the U.S. It was so nice to have Max with me today so I wasn't so sad to be away from Tia and Tyler. We did talk to them today via webcam which is really great. It is nice for them to be able to see us and us them. I sure miss them!! My sister got the stomach flu last night so her hubby had to take care of all 5 kids alone today. Thanks to both of you for all your sacrifices this week!!! Pretty much every one of the kids have been sick while we have been here. Not fun for her!

Well, I am exhausted so I am off to bed. Did I mention our bed is about 6 inches bigger than a twin bed? Pretty funny as we are not small people! I will be so happy to have my Cali King back! :-) Here's to hoping we don't fall out of bed!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday in Serbia

Mommy and Max
Kisses are a bit more like licks in his world.  Funny.
He loves to play ball and is good at rolling it back and forth to us.  He likes when I get the ball and say, "Fa la vum" which is "Thank you."  He gives me big smiles.  
Jasmina's choir concert in front of part of the Children's hospital.

Hello again.  We only spent about 45 minutes with Max today.  But, in case you are wondering, he is still cute!!! LOL  Jasmina invited us to go to a concert she was performing in with her choir.  It was for a benefit at a children's hospital.  It was very nice and the weather is perfect today!  It really is a beautiful city!!  The elections are tomorrow so there is much going on in the way of entertainment in the city center.  There is a rule here that you cannot campaign for 3 days before the election to give everyone a time to decide.  I wish we would be so lucky in the States.  LOL  The other night there were about 30-40 policemen outside the US Embassy.  Kevin and I thought it was because it was the last night of campaigning.  Come to find out it was because of a soccer game!!!  Some people riot if their team loses and so they always heighten security on nights of soccer games.  Pretty funny.  It is not even near the soccer stadium.  My brothers will understand the passion soccer brings in other countries!  (We are a BIG soccer family.)  

We went to a concert last night at the castle here.  We didn't get close to the stage but had a good time walking around and people watching.  Young people drink a lot here and everyone smokes.  It is different for us.  Cafe's are everywhere and we have a harder time finding places that serve food and not just drinks.  We asked Jasmina and she gave us some great suggestions.  We did go to a really nice restaurant last night and the menu was in English.  We will most likely go back there.  It is very nice to meet someone who speaks English.  I must be getting homesick!  Yes, I am.  

So, the rest of today we will sightsee.  There will be an orchestra concert in the park with the castle tonight and we will go there for sure.  We are trying to get tickets to the Opera too.  We just want to experience all we can here.  Tomorrow we will go to church in the morning and then to see Max in the afternoon.  Until tomorrow, here are some more pictures.  

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday from Serbia

video

Here is some cute video from yesterday afternoon.  We went to get his pictures for the passport and visa today.  The physical therapist walked there with us.  It was probably Max's first trip out of the children's home.  He was very serious and a bit shell shocked.  No smiling for the camera.  But, we are one step closer to the adoption.  We should go to his hometown next Tuesday or Wednesday to sign the papers.  Hopefully, it will go smoothly.  We are now coming to the center of town for internet use as we can use wireless and be outside to "people watch."  The young girls dress like American's in the 1980's!  It is funny to see.  Maybe that is the trend in the US too.  What would I know??  

We tried to use our washer only to find out it was broken.  It filled with water but would not drain.  The door to the washer is on the front so we had to open it to get the clothes out to dry.  It was quite comical to watch Kevin trying to catch all the water as he opened the door.  Needless to say, it is getting fixed tomorrow!  Funny.  Now I wish I had brought a few more clothes.  Our apartment has been good though.   We are a bit squished as we only have a full size bed (about 6-8 inches bigger than a twin) but at least it is not a twin.  Beggars can't be choosers!  :-)  We are doing well.  Have fun laughing along with the video! 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday am in Serbia

View from our apartment windowView from children's home window
Our cutie cute little monkey, Max
His cute little grin, outside on the playground.

Another great day! Max is just wonderful. He is such a sweetheart and so much fun! His smile and laugh are contagious! Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday in Serbia

Hello! We are just loving our time with Max. We also got to see ALL the kids today!!!! Yes, I have lots of pics for all you waiting moms. I will send them to your email accounts tomorrow. Sorry, we forgot the camera cord again. Today was a bit mentally stressful. It was wonderful to play with all the children but I want to take them all home. The children's home is nice. Very clean, good care but we all know a family makes a world of difference. Jasmina is working so hard to find homes for all available children. I have a few more to add to RR. It just breaks my heart that there are so many children who need homes and we are only one couple and can't do it all. All I can say is if you are not in the process of adopting, please think about it. It is needed in every country!!

We took Max outside today and walked around the playground. He was very interested in every sound he heard. He is so curious. He seemed to be feeling better today but still gets tired easily. We played in his room today with him instead of the playroom. He is so good natured and only cries when his nose is wiped. I don't think I have EVER met a child who likes that!!! He is so ticklish and even laughed when his diaper was changed.

We have called our kids a few times using a webcam. It is so fun to see them as I miss them so much. I think all is going well though and we will hurry home. We visited the castle/fortress here last evening and have seen a few sites. It is very different here but the nature is the same. Green trees, large parks, etc. The buildings are different though. I will post some pics tomorrow of the city. Anyway, we are off to eat dinner and head to bed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pictures from today a.m.-Tuesday

Is that the longest tongue ever??Sorry, it is sideways but this is Kevin giving him tickles
Sleeping in mommy's arms. Aaawwww.......

Day 3 from Serbia

The huge smile when I first picked him up!
Checking me out
patty cake, patty cake
He's not sure about daddy's beard

All of the pictures are from yesterday. We had another great day with Max! He is so sweet and LOVES to be tickled!!! He likes to tease us by crawling toward the door so we will tickle him. He is so cute!!! He even has a game he plays with Kevin. He holds his rattle up in the air towards Kevin and waits for him to shake his arm to make the rattle sound. He does it over and over. He really has a fun personality. Of course, you can tell by the promised pictures that he has a great smile (tongue out and all)!

Julie, I saw David today as I walked past his room. He is in the room next to Max's. He was sitting up in his crib and I waved to him. I will get to meet all the kids next week and take all their pictures. Jasmina and the psychologist wrote our report today to send to the Ministry. They have seen enough to recommend us. We have a very nice psychologist! Max is still pretty sick and a bit low energy but he still plays hard. He loves for me to sing to him and fell asleep in my arms which was so adorable. He is a thumb sucker and although I know that is a hard habit to break, it is so dang cute! I can't wait to get him home and even though it is beautiful here, I can't believe it is only Tuesday. Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, May 5, 2008

WE MET MAX!!!!!

OK, first I will start by apologizing that you will all have to wait until tomorrow to see pictures. Sorry, sorry, sorry. We forgot our cable to download the pictures back at the apartment a few blocks away. We should have DSL in our apt in the next few days and we won't have to walk to the church, although that is not a problem as it is close.

Now to the important stuff. Our meeting with the ministry was very fast as they had many meetings today. We pretty much just introduced ourselves and learned a bit about Max's birth family. Then set a schedule of events for the next 2 weeks. There was a bit of a heated discussion between the attorney of the center and the others but we are not totally sure what it was all about. Probably best we don't know so that we are just ourselves.

Then we went to the orphanage, which by the way, some prefer it to be called a "children's home" or something a bit less institutional sounding. It was not a problem, just a discussion between the others of what they should call it. Anyway, we went there and as we waited for the Center officials to arrive, I got to meet Max!!!! We went in to check if he was still sleeping and he was sitting up in his crib (yes, on his own!). My heart melted when I laid eyes on him. He is the most beautiful little guy!!! I asked if I could hold him and they said yes (even though I think we were officially supposed to wait). So of course I scooped him up and he gave me the best smile!!! Oh, I just love him! We do have great pictures, you will see his sweet smile.

We only had a minute to love on him and then we had to leave and go meet with the Center people. They were nice and just asked about us and how Max's life would be in our family. We told them our story and how we came to find Max and fall in love with him. Jasmina told them we got to see him while they were on their way and they asked what we thought of him. Of course, I gushed that he was so wonderful and I was ready to go back and give him more hugs. They were all very sweet and also surprised that Tia, my 6 year old is reading. We tried to explain all the advantages of early intervention services.

They followed us to the playroom and we got to play with Max for about an hour. He is even cuter than the pictures I have seen! Really, he is SO cute!!! The woman from the Center and the psychologist only stayed about 15 minutes and then we got to have him alone. I even got to feed him a bottle. (Which he gulped down in a few minutes and wanted more.) Jasmina came in a few minutes later and said the ladies were satisfied. I guess we passed the test. So, we go back 2 times a day for about 2 hours each. He is sick right now so he is tired. His breathing sounds like a purring cat and his nose is goopy. Ask me if I care. He is so wonderful!!!! I hope he gets better before we leave so he is comfortable on the plane. Oh, and he is commando crawling!!! He is so dang cute!

Sorry, this is so long. I told Jasmina I will be in big trouble if I don't take lots of pictures of the other kids who have families from Reece's Rainbow waiting. She said, yes I will get to see them all and take pictures. So, hold tight ladies. Also, there is a 5 month old here we will meet (DS) who is now ready for adoption. We asked Jasmina to put her in our backpack! Shelley, I think you met her right? Anyway, this has been such an awesome day!!!! I will for sure post pics tomorrow. Sorry!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Greetings from Serbia!!!

We are here! All of our luggage made it too---hooray!!! You should have seen us trying to shove 4 suitcases and 2 carry-ons into a YUGO. It was a bit tight. Pretty funny. Belgrade is much bigger than I thought it would be. It is a beautiful time to be here. It is very green. There was a downpour for about 10 minutes but then it stopped. Unfortunately, it happened when we were out walking two streets away from the apartment so we got a bit wet. :-) The buildings in our part of town are old and have a lot of history and nice architecture. There are several bombed buildings still standing. The US Embassy now has cement blocks where the windows used to be. (Since it was attacked and set on fire a few months ago during a demonstration.) Guess you just can't be too careful, huh?

Our apartment is nice. Nothing fancy but it is perfect for us. We are not very high maintenance. LOL The man helping us from the church (the Branch President) is wonderful. He has really set everything up for us. Right now we are at the church using the internet until they get ours installed this week. He even stocked our apt with some food so we would have something to eat when we arrived.

The flight was exhausting and I am really looking forward to sleeping tonight laying down! Tomorrow is the big day!!!! We will meet with the Ministry and then meet Max for the first time!!! I cannot wait, as you might have guessed. So, check tomorrow and I will try to post pictures of the big moment. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What??? Only 2 more days???

I just got my plane tickets from the Fed Ex man!!!!!   I now have a plane ticket with my son's name on it.  Granted, it is not the name Max, but his current name with our last name.  I totally got goosebumps reading it!!!   I cannot believe I will be meeting him on Monday!!!  I am SO happy to add him to our family!  I am so in love with him!

So, how's getting ready going???  Actually, I am doing OK with it.  I have WAY more stuff than I thought I would.  I may have gone a bit overboard on the gifts.  I learned from the best---thanks mom!  I have half of my house clean, now for the other half.  Did I mention how much I dislike cleaning?  I just want to play with my kids as much as I can before I leave.  Tia is very excited to get Max home.  We have been talking about him since Christmas time.  She keeps telling me all the things she wants to do with him.  Read him stories, sing him songs, play with toys, feed him milk...  The list goes on and on.  Tyler hasn't talked about him too much.  When someone asked him (for the millionth time), "Who is that picture of?"  Tyler, knowing full well it was Max, replied, "STEVE!"  It was pretty funny.  He likes to answer easy questions with wrong answers for attention.  I'm not sure how well that will go over at testing time at school!  LOL  He is a true comedian.  I am going to miss them so much for two whole weeks!!!!  

Oh, and all of you waiting for your little ones in Serbia, I will have my camera handy at ALL times to take pictures of them and send them home.  I know that is what we thrive on until the day comes!!  OK, back to cleaning.  Sigh!!!