Meant To Be

5/25/2009 11:58:00 PM Edit This 4 Comments »

Okay, I know last year I said I wouldn't do it again but I can't help it. Two years ago Mom & I landed in Aktau to meet the baby that would become my "Lexie." I've been trying to remember what I thought she'd look like or be like or feel like.....and I can't. I didn't really "see" her in that way. I knew whoever GOD had chosen would be the perfect child for me. I also remember being stressed out, anxious, frustrated and disappointed BEFORE getting on the plane, what with all my delays and issues along the way. But what person going through international adoption hasn't felt the same thing at some point during the incredibly long agonizing process? Then once we actually took off it was almost surreal. Surround by people from so many different nations, speaking in languages I couldn't even name let alone understand made even the flight feel like I was already in a foreign country. Then getting off that plane, not being able to read or understand a word being said just added to the experience of being totally out of control of the situation. When one of the bags and the baby stroller didn't make the flight and I was asked by the customer service person where I was staying so they could have it delivered and I didn't know....WOW - talk about having faith that GOD was traveling with us and would make sure we were taken care of. Looking back I really never questioned if someone we could trust would be there to pick us up and take us to a safe place to sleep. I mean, we are talking about COMPLETE strangers half way around the world in a country I can't even speak the language in. And these same strangers are going to guide me to the most important person in my life - my child!! That is the trust and faith and total belief in the power of GOD that International Adoption is based on. Especially in Kazakhstan where you are required to travel BLIND. Most other countries you have pictures and maybe a video or at least information on the child's age and health. And you are assured that that child will be waiting for you when you get there. That certainly seems to give parents a little more feeling of control. In Kaz you are assigned a city where they say there SHOULD be a child that is close to what you where hoping for and then you get on a plane and go....BLIND...blind faith, blind trust and complete belief that GOD is walking beside you every step of the way. You are where he wants you to be and HE will take you to the child HE has chosen for you. Amazing, really. I agonized over what to pack and organized for months who would take care of the dogs, the house and my business and joyously set up a bedroom for this child to come home to. But looking back now I never really questioned if I'd bring the RIGHT child home to that nursery. After all, GOD was with us on that plane and walking down that long hall at the baby house so how could I question who they put in my arms. I mean, I could have chosen any one of the 4 babies brought into that cramped little visitors room two years ago but I knew even as anxious and emotional as I was, that somehow everything would finally turn out as it was meant to be. That the child I had dreamed about since I was not much more than a child myself was in that room on Friday, May 25th in Aktau Kazakhstan because GOD had chosen her for me and me for her. I was her mother and this was just GOD's creative way for us to become a family. Anyone that knows me, knows that I don't do things like other people do so why should I go the normal route for creating a family? The worst moments I had in Kazakhstan were when I went to the apartment that night after our first visit and questioned it - the whole thing. I talked to Mom and said this child didn't feel like my daughter and what was I doing half way around the world agreeing to raise this child. Mom being Mom just said wait. Give it a few more days and then see how it feels. Even on the ride over to the baby house the next morning, I was thinking I'd give her through the weekend but if it still wasn't right then I was calling my agency. Once we got to the baby house we found the entire population of babies outside because they were fumigating the building. And there, through this sea of little faces, I saw this angel smile at me. That was it. She was my Lexie. It must be how a woman who gives birth to a child feels when they lay that child on her chest to hold the baby for the first time....MINE. That's what I thought. She's mine and GOD brought us together in this special way. So I must give thanks to GOD for my baby and say Happy Two Year "Born to Me Day" Lexie!

PS - I did NOT set this shot up. She grabbed her "Kaza" flag as she calls it off her bookshelf in her room and was running around with it. She must have felt the connection to Kazakhstan today just like I did!

Ballerina Princess Dance Birthday!

5/24/2009 11:18:00 AM Edit This 0 Comments »
Better late than never - I guess. (I've had this written up it just never got posted?)

Yes you can have it all when you turn three. Of course you'd think that Lexie would want to wear a fabulous Princess costume or the adorable tutu Mommy wanted to make especially for her birthday. But noooooo! After a lot of talking and trying outfits on, my little Lexie Lou decided she wanted to wear her "new Ballet clothes" because we were going to dance with Ms Tanya. That is why Lexie is probably the ONLY three year old birthday girl to wear BLACK to her party. Don't get me wrong, I love this simple black practice leotard I got for her as a present but I visualized her in a princess outfit or lovely party dress or cute pink tutu at the very least. But once she tried it on, she kept telling me she LAWFT it and HAD to wear it to her party. I then tried to add a cute tutu and then some "jewels" to it but NOOOOOOOO she wasn't having any of it. So I took a deep breath and decided it's her birthday so she should wear what she wants. So here she is my sweet simple three year old princess ballerina!
Enough about her clothes already! Here are a lot of the kids even though we are missing 5 or 6 from this picture. It was hard to get them all together and standing still at once but you can see that Snow White, Cinderella, Bell and several other ballerinas made it to the party.

First I have to thank Julie, Lisa & Jordon for their help with the party. We only had about 45 minutes to get set up and they were all just wonderful. Jordon, Lisa's 15 year old daughter was also our video-aughrapher so they are thanks to her. She did a terrific job with all the kids running everywhere plus parents trying to get shots of the kids. Once most of the kids where there Tanya started a class and the fun was on. All of the kids where such a hoot. Well take a look - the pictures tell it all.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Thank You All
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Here are the Thank You notes I sent out after the party. Each one was personalized for each child with all their pictures in it but you get the idea. They were all so cute and I think everyone had fun. Thanks everyone for sharing this special day with Lexie and I!

My Water Baby

5/23/2009 11:25:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »

I know I promised more about Lexie's birthday party and I will....I promise. But we had such a glorious day in the sun that I just had to share. Living in the Pacific Northwest makes you really appreciate the bright sunny days and boy did we have one today. Here is my bathing beauty impatiently waiting for me to set up her new water slide she got for her birthday. When I looked over at her I just had to grab this shot! I still can't believe my baby is three!

She gave it a good try but it really wasn't working out too well.So out came the wiggly sprinkler Yo-Yo & Ukel Todd gave her. Now this was more like it.

I've gotta say - this thing is wild! Of course Lexie decided Mommy had to have some fun too! So once myself, the towels and the camera got soaked we decided to take a bubble break to dry off.

But that simply wasn't wet enough for my water baby. So I got out this old pool I had for the dogs when they were puppies and filled it up. Finally - she could splash around and get really wet. It's not like the pool at Boo-Boo & Jim-Jim's (can you tell all my siblings & their spouses are called silly double names?) but we hope to visit them this summer. Now THAT is a swimming pool. But this little wading pool will have to keep my little duckling happy in the mean time.

The water was so cold she just couldn't bring herself to sit IN it for the longest time. Here she is chickening out. She cracks herself up!!

Yup - she loved it and has already told me we are swimming tomorrow. How can I say no to this sweet little water baby?

She's 3 - More to Come

5/17/2009 11:12:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »

Yes, Ms Alexis Falen Quast is the big 3 and I'm simply too tired to write about it. This is how we started the day - a silly birthday hat, 3 candles to blow out, lots of little presents to open and a breakfast of champions (that is oatmeal under the whip cream smiley face but of course she ate the donuts first!)

Cut to 5pm - an hour after the last guest left her dance party with their goodie bags, balloons and sugary smiles. As you can see the big girl couldn't take it. Everything in between will simply have to come later. Suffice it to say that fun was had by all!!

Count Down to Number 3!

5/14/2009 12:07:00 AM Edit This 2 Comments »
Yup that's right. I'm counting down to number three - years that is. Lexie will turn three years old this weekend, May 17th. I can't believe it! And of course what was going to be a little something has somehow turned into a Ballerina Dance Birthday Extravaganza. Okay it's not that big but it's certainly going to be bigger than what I had originally planned. I'm not complaining since it's so wonderful to know how many people love Lexie and simply want to share this celebration with us. And of course I'm looking forward to enjoying every minute of it.

I enjoyed making the invitations once I finally found this, so you all have to endure one more SmileBox post. I couldn't find any invitations with just Ballerina's on them because it seems the rage is princesses this year. So I ended up using this scrapbook format for the invitations. Now everyone is invited - just please RSVP!!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Lexie's 3rd B-Day Invite
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I just love how each page "builds itself" as it goes along. Okay, invitations done - check. Dance studio reserved and Tanya, the dance teacher, all set to come keep the kids moving and entertained for 2 hours- check. Cake ordered - (thanks Jules) check. Rest of the refreshments - kinda settled on and a few things bought - not really checked. Decorations and gift bags - more or less know what I want and have most of the gift bag stuff but now we have at least 5 more kids coming so back to the stores - not even close to checked. Lexie's outfit - bought a really cute dress but I've been informed by the birthday girl that she will be a ballerina since it's at Ms Tanya's dance class, sooooooo I guess Mommy will be finding a really cute tutu or I'll be dragging the sewing machine out tomorrow night - thought I had it checked but clearly didn't "check" with the right person, namely the birthday girl. So I'm thinking this will be the last anyone hears from me until 5pm on Sunday after taking the ear plugs out, throwing away whatever cake is left over so it's not sitting around the house begging to be eaten and having a chance to re-think how much cake and ice cream a three year old can handle before they totally melt down. I'll let you know what I find out!?!

Happy Mother's Day

5/10/2009 01:47:00 AM Edit This 1 Comment »
Click to play this Smilebox greeting: Happy Mother's Day
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I put this together for my mom but thought it might be nice to share. I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day. And for those of you waiting to become Moms, I can tell you it's worth the wait. I had too many Mother's Days to count that I was grateful for the wonderful Mom I had but really wanted to be called Mom by my own child. So my prayer for you this day is that it will be your last Mother's Day without a child in your life.

Elephants on Parade

5/07/2009 11:08:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »

Wow...okay. This is my first attempt to post a video on the blog so I'm pretty proud of my non-techie self! Of course, now you may see and hear too much of Lexie! Noooooooooo, you could never see too much of Ms. Lexie Lou!

So this is Lexie in her dance class practicing their recital dance "Elephants on Parade." Can you tell the mirror is to the right of the camera? This is the first time for the girls to practice with their "tails" and as you can see Lexie is much more interested in hers than in doing the dance (she has the red tail if you can't tell which one is her.) It was very smart of Ms Tanya to start with them now so they will not completely fall apart when they have their costumes on. They are not a traditional ballet costume by any means but the girls will look adorable I'm sure as little elephants complete with trunks, big floppy ears and tails. And can you believe how patient the teacher is? I don't know how she does it and she's always so sweet with them. I've posted this on youtube (my first attempt at that as well) at the request of the other moms so that they can learn the dance and help the girls practice at home. I have to say I'm not taking it very seriously but Lexie loves watching herself on the "cumptor" so maybe she's picking up the steps by watching. As long as she has fun I don't care.

Cherry Blossoms

5/03/2009 01:50:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
Can you find MY cherry blossom among all the flowers? She's wearing her favorite pink camo shirt so it might be hard to spot her.

Lexie and I are fortunate enough to have a cherry tree in our back yard and spring is my favorite time of year partly because of how beautiful this tree is when it blooms. And boy is it blooming right now.

As you can see she got brave enough to just hold on with one hand and blow her pinwheel. She's quit the daredevil these days and she has the scabs & bruises to prove it.

Here she is in profile. She rarely sits still long enough for me to actually plan a shot. Usually I'm just glad she isn't a blur. I guess her sitting in a tree she can't climb down has an advantage.

I love this one too where she's trying to figure out how she can pick a flower without letting go of the branch. She's starting to wonder what she's doing up there.

And by this shot she's decided she wants down. I think sitting still for 3 minutes is her max in the last few months.

Now this is more like it. She very proudly is riding her trike! A few spills and false starts and she was off. It is definitely the toy of the week. Of course the fact that is pink is a plus in her mind. Did I mention she likes pink!!!!!!

The SPOON Seattle/Kaz Gathering

5/01/2009 11:16:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »

Last Sunday Lexie and I drove up to north of Seattle to participate in the SPOON Seattle Kaz Family Gathering. It was well worth the trip just to see so many smiling Kazakh faces. I realized when I was standing in the registration line watching all these beautiful Kazakh children running around that I "know" a lot of Kazakh children on line but Lexie and I don't actually interact with any, so it was just an amazing experience in and of itself. As you can see there where all ages represented as well as some adult Kazakh nationals and I met a set of twins that their mom was proud to say where American born Kazakhs!

It was set up so that the 40+ families could get to know each other for the first hour while enjoying goodies and the playground at the community center. It was great to exchange stories with a few parents about our experiences in Kaz and the children's adjustments once they where home. It was nice not being an oddity when someone asks me about my child. Normally it's someone subtly (or not so subtly) trying to figure out what nationality Lexie is, when I'm asked where she's from. But with this group of families they where just wondering what region she was born and if it was where their child was from. And exchanging baby house and agency information was also great. My only complaint was that the social part was way too short. I really didn't get a chance to meet nearly enough families.

But Lexie jumped right in, big surprise, and met "Big Girl Jane" right away. Soon Lexie was following her around everywhere. Here she is during the group picture with her new best friend Jane (who is 4 1/2) in the blue dress to Lexie's left (picture right) and Meeka (I think was her name) the adorable girl with curly hair pulled up in a ponytail to Lexie's right who just turned 4. Aren't they cute!!! Unfortunately my camera hog daughter decided to be shy and nervous and didn't want to do the group photo. Here she is feeling insecure.

And here she is seconds before they took the group photo running OUT of the picture. So she won't be in the picture they have on their site about the gathering. But as you can see we were there. She just found that one shy moment she has been blessed with and decided to express that.

After the pictures they started the presentation about what their organization does for the orphans of the world. It's simply wonderful and rather pennant. For the full explanation (and if anyone would like to donate to this amazing cause) their website address is In a nutshell their mission is "to improve the health of international orphans and adoptees by providing them with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive." They are working with a number of renowned International Adoption physicians including Dr. Julian Davies from the IA Clinic at the University of Washington where I take Lexie. He was the key speaker for the day and a wealth of information on both the need for these children to receive vitamins to help supplement what they receive at the baby houses as well as the need for adoptees to receive proper nutrition once they come home to the states. Plus the Kazakh moms who were so moved by what they saw while adopting their children in Kazakhstan that they started this foundation where there to explain more about their plans for the growth of the organization and their dreams for the improved health of all children who unfortunately have been sentenced to a childhood growing up in an institution no matter how well meaning the caregivers at the baby & children houses are. So take a minute to go to their site and maybe donate a little something to a cause that is as basic as better nutrients for orphan children.

Okay I'm off my soap box (for now) and on to say that after the presentation we had a chance to enjoy a little more fun on the playground before heading home. Lexie LOVED the old fashions merry-go-round.

The older Kazakh kids on the playground that were also enjoying some last minute playtime before their long ride homes, were very sweet with Lexie and didn't go TOO fast. And it was too fast for Mommy but not for Lexie!Of course we couldn't leave the playground without taking a ride on the swings. And she really liked the big yellow swing.