I know, it has been three months since we last updated Tougy's blog. I wish I could say it won't happen again, but it might. Life just gets busy - but mostly in good ways. As we begin a three day holiday weekend, it seems finally time to attempt to keep the loyal among you up to date.
As with all stories, it is difficult to know quite where to begin. Tougy is such a little girl now in our eyes. The things she does continually amaze us. Her latest fascinations revolve around singing, dancing, and taking care of Baby and Bobek, her dolls.
Watching her engage in imaginative play is incredible. Her mind is just so aware of so many intricate things we seldom realize until we see her mimic our actions, words and behaviors.
Surprisingly she is signing now more than ever, and she even manipulates her dolls and stuffed animals to sign for things.
In early April we celebrated her 2nd birthday, and ever since, she sings Happy Birthday at least several times a day. She also loves singing at the top of her voice, mostly as notes rather than words, and pauses every so often to instruct us to 'clap'. Yes she is a performer.
We have an ipod in her room and she goes to sleep most nights listening to Roseanne Cash. On the computer, all she wants to do is watch Joe Jackson videos. She is mesmerized by musicians. She is also quite opinionated when it comes to music, and boisterously calls either 'no this' or 'again'.
She has a wooden dowel that she uses as a microphone to carry around and sing into. I will have to find some video to put up. It is quite funny.
I love kids, but have no interest in most children's music or children's television. It is not that I think it is the right or wrong thing, but I just can't stomach the monotony and inanity of most of it. Must it be so insipid?
I begrudgingly accept the presence of Elmo this and that at Tougy's school and acknowledge that at some point she is likely to express interest in Dora, Thomas, and a host of other themes, though I admit to harboring a visceral disdain for these forms of what I see as toddler crack. Mind you this comes from someone now is his 30th year of Mountain Dew addiction.
Spring is here in Maine. The leaves are mostly out now, the peeper frogs sing nightly, the daffodils are in their death throes, and the black flies are coming into their own. Summer doesn't really begin until the dragonflies come out and begin their robust assault upon the mosquitos and black flies.
Tougy, KJ, and I traveled to Chicago a few weeks back for my cousin Ellen's wedding. We had a great time and Tougy got to see the majority of her extended family in one fell swoop. Apart from the wedding itself, Tougy had the opportunity to watch her cousin Annie go through a riding lesson and then was thrilled to interact with, and feed, the horses throughout the stables.
Having two large dogs at home has prepared her to have little fear of large animals she senses we are comfortable with. She was so at ease around the horses. It was really great to see. She is getting a little too big to ride her dogs much longer, so maybe a horse will be in her future.
As for the next adoption from Kazakhstan, it is still on. We found out recently that our dossier had moved from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Education so that is a step in the right direction. It would seem this summer is out for travel to Kaz, and we are now focusing on the fall as a likely timeframe.
As all Kaz paperwork needs to be less than a year old when you petition the court to adopt, we are about to embark upon the task of redoing all of our paperwork - the forth time in 3 years. Yes it does get easier, though not any cheaper. Here goes another 80-some documents to procure, have notarized, then have apostilled. Hopefully this will be the last time on this merry -go-round.
We talk with Tougy often about the next baby. In Kazakh, bobek is the word for baby, and so we refer to the next child as Bobek. Tougy sings a goodnight song to Bobek every night and, as her favorite doll is named Bobek, feeds him and tucks him in each night.
Tougy is very nurturing in her care for Bobek and while we won't know the sex of our child until we arrive in Kaz to begin the in-country portion of the adoption, Bobek here at home has taken on a decidedly male persona. TIme will tell.
As we stare down the remainder of May, we eagerly await this year's Kazapalooza event in Nashville which is now less than two weeks away. It will be so wonderful to reunite with some of the families and kids we have watched come together through adoption. Some we know solely online, and some we know in person, but all the same, the connections are real, meaningful, and important to us, and we hope someday to Aitugan as well.
That's it in a nutshell. Now for some photos of our loving little girl.
What else can I say, Tougy absolutely loves waffles.
Yes, perhaps like all children, she continually puts on our shoes to walk around the house.
This dollhouse is now the focal point of Tougy's room. It has really been amazing to watch the blossoming of imaginary play.
These are her two favorite dolls. With open eyes is Baby, and with the closed eyes is Bobek.
She really enjoys watching and helping mom in the kitchen, especially when mom is blending up a smoothie.
Just like Tougy, The Boys are acutely interested in all things culinary, and wait patiently in their spots until they get the okay to come in and clean up.
Cleaning up is not merely a matter of licking the floor. Sometimes the best bits are still attached to Tougy.
With her freshly cleaned face( thanks Daouda) it is time to get back to being the cute kid that she is.
Modeling an outfit she received for her birthday from KJ's friend Kelly. Thanks Kelly!
As you might expect, she is well aware of the presence of cameras in her world. Here is one of her canned smiles.
In late March, Tougy's Nonna (Steve's Mom) came up for a few days and so here Tougy and Nonna share a quiet moment.
As KJ's parents now live nearby, we all got together for a post-Steve's/pre-Tougy's birthday dinner. Here Tougy smiles with two of her favorite people, Nonna and Mormor.
For Tougy's Birthday, Mormor made the cake while KJ did the decorating. In the end Tougy was more interested in the colorful fondant than the actual cake - but that just meant more for me.
Given her interest in Legos, I figured trains might be a hit, but so far it seems more of a miss. Thankfully we got a good deal on a large used set on Ebay.
The Cake in all of its glory.
Tougy loves her new bike and enjoys riding it around the driveway, though she still isn't much interested in peddling.
Yes the Easter eggs were a lot of fun
It began rather daintily and serene, and soon transformed into a rapid series of random dunkings and re-dunkings.
In the end all of the eggs were a shattered mess, though the event in total was a resounding success.
Here Tougy displays her well decorated hands prior to a long bath.
As I mentioned earlier, Tougy loves to help mom in the kitchen and so KJ often sets her up with her own small bowls of flour and water to mix and generally play with.
I just love those eyes, especially the tired ones found around milk time.
Yes, Tougy went bowling with a group of KJ's co-workers. She had a great time and did quite well, though 10 frames was well beyond her interest level. Who knew they had rental bowling shoes in a size 8!
She did such a great job of carrying her ball and putting it up in the stand and giving it a push.
Tougy's first strike!
Tougy's cousin Annie on her horse Co-Pilot.
She was expectedly fearless around the horses. Who knows if she will someday have a greater interest in them.
She still talks about kissing Co-Pilot and feeding him carrots and apples.
Tougy and KJ give Oliver a friendly rub on the nose.
Spring of course means flowers and gardens. Any time she can spend watching and helping mommy do things is happy time.
Our colorful Easter egg of a daughter gives her mommy a big kiss during an early spring walk through the botanical gardens.
Tougy and I found these at a local fundraiser/sale and they were an instant hit. I had no idea that Tougy would be able to walk with them already. A snowshoe gait is not a simple one.
We figure that if we practice a few more times before winter comes, she might actually be able to do it in the snow next year.
As mentioned above, she loves her bike. Go big or go home.
A quieter moment on the trails of the botanical gardens.
Here was Tougy's outfit for my cousin Ellen's wedding in Chicago a few weeks back. We showed Tougy the blog update and she saw this dress and got all excited and as a result, she is upstairs playing in the playroom in her white dress and wedding shoes.
Here is my father and my brothers and sisters - Emily, Jamie, Scott, Dad, Steve, Cat.
A close-up of my sisters at the wedding. I don't see enough of them.
Tougy did a great job keeping herself together through the wedding and reception, but the dancing after dinner was more than her engine had power for and so she enjoyed a warm shoulder from Mimi (my stepmom Susan).
Here is a shot of the three of us as we were getting ready to leave the reception. The Ergo carrier is great for moments like these.
So this needs some set-up. As many families do these days, we have a video monitor in Tougy's room that allows us to keep and eye/ear on her as she sleeps. Well this particular evening, I looked at the monitor before KJ and I went to bed and couldn't find her. Then I went to her room and still didn't see her. There was a brief moment of worry and then I see this mop of hair spilling out from under her bed. Somehow she had managed her way completely under her bed and was happily asleep. KJ and I eventually (after getting the video camera and camera) lifted her bed off of her and left her asleep on the floor. Sure enough, by morning she was right back in her bed.
Well that is it for now. Thanks for following along and taking an interest in our journey. We will continue to post randomly throughout the summer and expect to be back to frequent mode by fall as we hopefully gear up towards returning to Kaz for a second child. Take Care.