Handy Mommy

5/30/2010 10:39:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »
Today Lexie played with one of her new toys from her birthday. It's one of those sand & water tables. This one has a little toy train that goes around the outside and you can fill up the cars. Lexie said: "Mommy make sure the couplings are locked or the train will come apart." I think I have Agent OSO to thank for that brilliant statement.
Then she decided to add another new toy to the mix....the bubble maker.
She was very serious about this when she started making bubble bridges and boats and in general bubble messes!

Earlier in the day I cut my hand. When Lexie saw it she took my hand and said in a very serious voice "Hello, I'm Dr Lexie. Please sit down patient and let me fix your hand. This shot won't hurt a bit. I'm very good you know. I promise." Clearly she's still re-living her time in the ER but at least she thinks the doctor is nice and that a shot won't hurt.
Here's my Dr. Lexie on her last day of school.....pre-school that is!
Then tonight I finally got to a chore I'd been putting off, replacing the toilet seat. Lexie sees me bring in tools and a toilet seat to replace the old one and says "Hi Handy Mommy. I'm Mrs Portia. I'm so glad you are here to save the day." Never let it be said that Lexie isn't a creative thinker.
Happy Memorial Day from Handy Mommy & Dr Lexie!!

I Met the Love of My Life....

5/25/2010 10:49:00 PM Edit This 6 Comments »
3 years ago today. That's right - today is the third anniversary of the day I met Lexie in that sad baby house half way around the world. I knew it would be life changing but it's often the little moments that I find so profound. The spontaneous hugs or waves across the playground. Or the silly little jokes like every time she calls me her coach driver as I buckle her into her car seat. Or when she's in the shopping cart at the store and she says hi to a busy person and it makes them stop to smile at her. Just those little moments in your child's life that you get to share with them that can help you see the world as a kinder gentler place. She has given me so many gifts these past 3 years that I can honestly say I'm a better person because of her. I want to be the best person I can be to help her keep growing into the wonderful woman I know she will become.
Interestingly enough today was also our last required post-adoption visit with the social worker. Kazakhstan requires reports from a social worker the first 3 years after adoption then from the parents every year after until they turn 18. And no, they can't take her away or in any way affect her adoption. We are a family forever!! But they have stopped allowing other families to move forward in their adoptions until adoptive families have sent in their reports. So if meeting with the social worker or sending in that annual report will mean one more child will find their family then I am more than happy to do my part. Besides, I'm very proud of my little Kazakh daughter and find it no hardship to brag about her. We actually traveled up to the social worker today who is north of Seattle. We met at a great park so Lexie could play while we talked and she observed how we interacted. Lexie got to play for a couple of hours and I got to share with someone how great Lexie is and she actually wrote it down instead of just rolled their eyes like most people. It was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary. And we took the ferry home which Lexie loved.
She's actually ridden the ferry a few times but clearly she was too young to remember.
She had to explore every part of the boat. Sit in every type of seat.
She saw a guy taking a nap so she told me she HAD to take one too.
She was so busy checking out the boat I lost track of time and we almost didn't make it back to the car in time for the docking. I would have been VERY unpopular if we had been late. If you've ever been on a ferry and someone isn't at their car when it's time to go it is NOT pretty. But we made it so no honking or booing spoiled our day.
Like I said, it's the simple pleasures of life that I am enjoying so much now. Before Lexie I would have probably sat in my car and read or gone up to sit by the window but after a momentary glace outside I would have been on my phone calling clients. Thank you Lexie for helping Mommy see the wonders of this world through new eyes. And you are the best wonder of all!
Happy Born To Me Day Lexie!!
 Mommy loves you with all my heart!

Lexie's Second & Third 4th Birthday

5/23/2010 11:23:00 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
Yes I know I had a LARGE party for Lexie last Sunday (more on that later) but I didn't give her any gifts from me or the family that day. In fact we didn't open all the gifts from the party until Monday (May 17th) her real birthday, after her party at school.
At Montessori they ask parents to make a board with pictures of the child & their family and then write their accomplishments for each year. Since Lexie's first year was rather unusual they read about her first year at the baby house and my going to meet and adopt her. Then they sing this sweet song for every year they have been alive and at the end say what their accomplishment for the year was. Here is for Lexie's second year.
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How cute are they? They don't allow sweets at school - even in their lunch boxes - but on a birthday celebration day the parents are allowed to bring sweets for the kids. Lexie picked out mini-cupcakes (they have to be store bought because of the health code - Betty Crocker is considered a criminal at public schools!) That night I did have just a small cupcake with a candle for her to blow out and we opened a few presents from me and the family.
As you know she opened this from her cousins and had to do a show with it on (see earlier post for the dance.)
I gave her this special ballerina doll and she promptly called her Cinderella - don't ask me why. She had a very full day on her really birthday but second birthday celebration.
Saturday she woke up with a cold but we were both determined to open all her presents from Mommy and some of the family. She wanted to be Tinker Bell (one of her gifts from a friend at the party) and away we went.
Something I've been looking for a long time for her was a pink jewelry box with a dancing ballerina and music box like I had as a girl. I found this one on eBay and it was a big hit.
While Grandma was here I also picked her up a heart necklace with her name on it so that was in the "treasure box" as well. She is ALL girl!!
But what I knew would be the biggest hit of the day was the puppets. I found the coolest sets of puppets that aren't available here in the states on - you guessed it - EBay. These are hand puppets with the whole cast of The Little Mermaid and Cinderella even with Gus & Jac!
They are adorable and she couldn't wait to do a show. It came with this blow up "stage" for the Aerial show that was very cute.

Here is her first little show.
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She's a little confused over where the stage part is but it cracks me up. Even with her cold she put on a number of shows and had a ball. The same seller had Sleeping Beauty figures that were very similar to the puppets so I had to get that set for her as well. Her Aunt Yin-Yin, cousin Brooke, Uncle Todd & Aunt Yo-Yo all went in on the puppets and the puppet theatre. Thanks guys!! And yes I had to get her a theatre to go with them. I mean a girl can't put on a real show without the stage!
I gave this to her after her 3 1/2 hour nap - poor sick baby - but you'd never know if from her smile! How adorable is she? It even has a light!
Here I surprised her when she was behind the stage.
I won't bore you with any of her other shows but it really helped her keep busy while she was resting with this cold all weekend.
When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday she had said princess dolls. I clearly know my daughter because I had picked up these two porcelain dolls right after Christmas.
And here is Snow White. They even look alike.
She was being very careful with them and asked me to put them up high so they stay safe. You've got to love a practical girl. Here's one of my favorite shots of the day.
Yes I know I went overboard this year but she is such a sweet little girl that truly appreciates everything I do for her that I couldn't resist. It was more for me than for her. In fact, I think I enjoyed it more and I am so blessed to be her Mom. It's hard for me to believe I didn't know her 3 years ago. Whatever did I do without her?
 And believe it or not, she'll be having a fourth 4th Birthday party down in Texas when we head south again to visit my sister and the kids. Poor Lexie - no one loves her!

Lexie the Dancin' Fool

5/19/2010 04:40:00 PM Edit This 3 Comments »
I haven't had time to get all her pictures uploaded and sorted from the party but I had to share this. Lexie got the singing monkey from my friend Lisa (soon to be ex-friend if Lexie plays with it much more) and the tutu & head band from Cody, Mackenzie, Blake & her Aunt Boo-Boo and Uncle Jim-Jim. This girl cracks me up!!
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What do you think - is she the next big broadway star?

My Baby Turns Four!

5/17/2010 11:31:00 PM Edit This 6 Comments »
That's right - Lexie turned 4 today and yesterday I had her birthday party for 30 of her closest friends.
And yes, I lost my mind by inviting that many but I didn't think they'd all show up!! A friend reminded me of the rule - invite the number of kids to match your child's age. But which sweet children could I have left out? And about 10 of them where already gone, in the bathroom or still in the bouncy house during this picture.
Much more to follow but I just had to wish my amazing little girl a big Happy 4th Birthday from Mommy!
I LOVE YOU LEXIE!!

Embracing Her Inner Princess

5/13/2010 12:22:00 AM Edit This 9 Comments »
As an early birthday present to Lexie and my Mother's Day gift to myself, I decided Lexie should have her first professional photo shoot. Well I guess if you call the WalMart photo studio professional then this was it. I've always meant to have formal pictures taken of her but it never seemed to happen except Santa, Easter & Halloween where you just plop them down in the little set and hope for the best. Because this is my princess obsessed Lexie I had ordered 3 costumes on eBay for her birthday (none of them made by Disney!) and I gave them to her early so we had a princess session. Here's my little Snow White.....
How sweet is she? (and the dress was just $7.60 - boy do I love eBay!)
Then of course she called the pink one her Sleeping Beauty. Whatever works for her.
She was so pleased to wear her favorite pink crown and then when the photographer gave her the parasol she was in seventh heaven.
Now that is my giggle little princess. Then came Cinderella or rather the blue dress.
This even has a hoop in the skirt. You've got to love eBay!
This is actually my favorite I think. Forget the gowns & the props. Just give me my sweet Lexie Lou.
This one is a keeper too.
 We weren't in the studio more than 20 minutes including costume changes. Now that we've played at this with the costumes I may take her to a real photographer....someday. The best part of the day was when we were walking out of the shop and she gave me a big hug and said "Thank you mommy. I feel just like a real princess!" What more could a mommy ask for?

All Kinds of Mothers

5/10/2010 12:11:00 AM Edit This 4 Comments »
Here in the Pacific Northwest we woke up to a Mother's Day surprise - sunshine!! It was an unbelievably beautiful day at 67 degrees with bright beautiful sunshine, clear air and amazingly lush landscapes. I think God was wishing all the mothers around here a Happy Mother's Day. Here's what my little ray of sunshine woke me up to...
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It seems the Quast girls have decided on a new Mother's Day tradition - chocolate cake for breakfast!! Yesterday when we were at the store she told me we NEEDED a cake for my birthday. I reminded her that it was Mother's Day not a birthday but she said we still needed a cake. And you can't have a cake without a candle and a song. And once she had my present waiting for me at the table, there just didn't seem to be any reason to wait until tonight for the cake. So there you have it - Happy Mother's Day to Me!
Life is good!!
After our nutritious breakfast we were off to the Pt. Defiance Zoo to spend Mother's Day with all kinds of mothers - elephants, sharks, monkeys, polar bears,camels you name it. According to Lexie all of the bigger animals were Mommies and the smaller ones where their babies. Who am I to argue?
We had to start at the Kids Zone which is just a great set up and it seems they are improving it all the time. Here is my little spider. Then she was eaten by a hippo...
but I rescued her and she escaped down the otter slide.
Then she was a monkey on these incredible climbing structure.
She would have gladly stayed in the Kid Zone all day if I hadn't reminded her about the camels. We rode one during Zoo Lights at Christmas but that was at night and she insisted that an almost 4 year old needs to ride one by herself. It seems Mojave was waiting for her. She could hardly wait to jump right on.
Look how proud she was of herself!!
And boy was she throwing her little body all over the place.
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She is one fearless little girl.

Next we were off to see the elephants, the tigers, monkeys followed by the birds. One exhibit allowed you to buy a little stick with a small amount of bird seed on it then try to find a bird hungry enough to come perch on your stick. Lexie was determined to find one so of course she did. She told me her name is Sarah. Okay then.
Lexie was so cute. She talked to her the whole time. "Now Sarah, this is really good for you." "Sarah where is your Mommy. You should not walk away from your Mommy." (Do you think maybe I said that one too many times today?) "Okay sweetie bird do you want some more?" Man do I love this girl!

After Sarah flew off to her Mommy (or more accurately to someone else's stick) we went to visit the fish tanks which are always a big hit. But our favorite animals of the day were the giant walruses. They were amazing and way beyond huge!!
This beauty was clearly the king of the pack or is it herd or family? Anyway, he was the head honcho no matter what you called the group. He seemed to have something in his flipper because he keep coming to the side and putting it in his mouth. It was fascinating to watch.
And look at those red beady eyes. This bull weighed in at over a ton! And man where they all frisky today. YOU HAVE TO WATCH THES NEXT 2 VIDEO!! (it's not of Lexie I promise!)
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They seemed to loved swimming right up to the glass and at the last second turn over to rub up against the glass. Watch this one...
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We were just mesmerized by them and could hardly drag ourselves away. Finally the promise of ice cream seemed to do the trick.
Once she was filled up and cleaned up we were off for our final stop of the day....the carousel. But we seemed to have picked up a friend along the way.
At first Lexie didn't even notice him. But when she turned around...
He certainly noticed her. Look at how he bent his neck at such a weird angle.
I think he really must have liked Lexie because he then showed off for her. His back was to her at this point but it was amazing to see his plumage from behind.
He followed us up the stairs.
Unbelievably beautiful and certainly confident in himself too I might add.
I have to say he had something to be proud of. He just keep on following Lexie until we stopped at observation area where Lexie was joined by 2 other little boys. I guess the peacock (Lexie keep calling him a peahawk) was jealous because he let out this horrendously loud squawk which none of the kids appreciated.
We finally lost the bird and made it over to the carousel which is Lexie's favorite part of the zoo...or so it was for the moment.
Naturally she picked the mermaid sea horse....her name is Aerial by the way.
This girl knows how to have a good time. And you'll never believe who was waiting for us when the ride was over....
Seriously, it was a little freaky that he found us there and this time he was going to make sure Lexie saw him strut his stuff full frontal! I knew it was time to go home when we were being stalked by a bird!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the old mothers, new mothers and especially the mothers-to-be. Three years ago I was so disappointed that all the delays had caused me to miss being in Kaz for Mother's Day by just a couple of weeks. Now I'm so very blessed since that was my last Mother's Day without my Lexie. Hang in there Moms-to-be (especially you Lisa.) Your turn will come!