"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, August 31, 2012

Prep Work for Baby #2

Or lack thereof…

I know that first babies take a lot more prep work than second babies, but I feel kind of bad for little 2 Baby because we have to do almost nothing to prepare for him or her. However in honor of 2 Baby and how much he or she means to us, I will document what little we have to do on the blog.

It does help that we live in a two bedroom apartment and they will be room sharing, regardless of whether or not 2 Baby is a boy or girl!  And also the fact that we didn’t know if Isla would be a boy or girl so almost all of her stuff is green and/or unisex.

If you’ve forgotten what our apartment looks like, I posted pictures of it HERE, and then we updated Isla’s room and the living room HERE.

2 Baby will be sleeping in our room until he or she starts sleeping through the night and we drop the dream feed.  We plan to do the Babywise Method this time (drop the DF early, stay on the 3 hour routine until 6 months) versus the Baby Whisperer Method (which what we did with Isla, DF until 8 month, move to 4 hour routine at 4 months), so I am hoping that by 3 to 4 months, 2 Baby will be room sharing with Isla.  We’ll just have to see.  Isla started sleeping through night (12 hours) at about 3 1/2 month and we dropped her DF at about 4 1/2 to 5 months.  Isla was actually late sleeping through the night for a Babywise baby because we didn’t do cry-it-out with her, and we don’t plan to do CIO with this baby either… but hopefully by 4 months 2 Baby will be STTN!  I’m hopeful at least…

Anyway, we actually moved my glider into our room about 4 or 5 months ago because it just got too much damage being in Isla’s room.  Kids would jump on it, and during Isla’s birthday party more than one child spilled melted ice cream on it! And yes, I do greatly regret spending so much money on a WHITE GLIDER (I had major pregnancy brain when I ordered it and freaked out when it actually came in), but at least it perfectly matches our room…

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The crib will go across from it here.

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I plan on getting a changing table to go on the other side of the TV here.  It will probably be this one from IKEA. Isla has been preparing for a little brother or sister with her baby doll and the Nap Nanny Smile.

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As soon as I found out I was pregnant we bought this bed from where else…? IKEA since we knew we would have to move Isla soon anyway and she was getting to big for her converted crib.  We call it her “Pretty, Princess Bed” since her converted crib was her “Big Girl Bed”.

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We set it up after we got back from the states last month, and just let her pick each night where she wanted to sleep.  After a couple of nights and naps in her “Big Girl Bed”, she chose her “Pretty, Princess Bed” and has slept there happily ever since.  She also sleeps much better since she has more room and room for her entourage. 

I really want to put something on the wall by her bed, but every time I mention it to Nick he gives me a horrified look and reminds me that we live in a “seismic area”… Anyway, we have finally set up the shelf above her dresser, and put up some pictures there.  We also having pictures of both Isla and 2 Baby at 9 weeks 2 days and 9 weeks 3 days gestation respectively.Smile

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Right now the crib is right here until we move it into our room.  I will probably rearrange the room before we move the baby in here.

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Anyway, I know the room is a little girly, but most of the accents are green and I think it will be fine for a baby boy if I add more blue.  I don’t even need to buy a new crib sheet since I have so many green ones since we didn’t know what Isla would be!  I will buy a blue crib sheet though when we move the baby into Isla’s room if it’s a boy. My diaper bag and gear are all unisex too.  I am so thankful at how well everything will come together, even the things that need to go in our room since most of them are green and white and our room is green, brown, and white.  Its funny how it all worked out soooo perfectlyWinking smile

This is my list of things to buy:

  • Blue crib sheet (if boy) for when they share a room, but nothing if it’s a girl!
  • Changing table mentioned above
  • A special blanket like Isla’s “night night”
  • Some clothes
  • I will probably get the baby a crib soother like this one.  I have one for Isla, but she still loves her and loves to turn on “Nemo” for a nightlight before she goes to bed.
  • Probably a new stroller… darn!

That is literally all that I can think of since I don’t need to buy toys or gear or anything!  Its kind of nice to have so little stress and prep work. Smile Especially since I have a very active 2 year old who needs so much of my time and attention!


Thanks to your generous donations, Ryder and Haleigh will soon be orphans no more!!!

Their families now have enough money to be able to travel to go and get them Smile. I confess that I had my doubts as to whether or not they would get to the $12,500 they needed to be able to get on the plane, but of course, there’s always God.  I may never have faith as big as a mustard seed, but HE is faithful, and might to save, and that’s all that really matters!

However, they still need about $7,500 to be fully funded.  If at anytime in the near future, you feel as though God has laid it on your heart to give, please do so!  The money will still be put to very good use.


You can donate for Ryder HERE.


And you can donate for Haleigh HERE.

Thanks again!  Signing off, with tears overflowing…

A Few Things from this Week

From the age of 6 until now, I’ve lived in Louisiana, Texas, Venezuela, Texas, California, Texas, Louisiana… do you notice a pattern??? Not one of those places has any Winter to speak of!  I don’t really like the cold and when I found out we were moving to Russia I had no idea how to dress for it.

When we got the word in Sept of 2010 that we were moving, I immediately turned many things I was worried about, like our apartment, over to God.  One thing I continuously fretted about was how to dress for the cold!!! I felt totally lost. And if you ever get the idea that maybe you can comb Good Will for winter clothes in TX and LA… you can forget it. I went to multiple second hand stores and found like a single sweater.

And call me crazy, but I just don’t trust stores like Old Navy and the Gap to supply winter gear for my baby.  It just doesn’t seem right… those aren’t cold weather brands.

About 2 days after we found out we were moving, out of the blue, a Hanna Andersson catalog came in the mail, complete with their full winter line up… and in the words of my mother, Isla has looked like a little Hanna Andersson model ever since!  It might have just been a coincidence, but I like to think of it as God being extra nice to me, as always Smile, doesn’t he tell us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or what we will wear?

Isla 2010-2011 Winter (I miss my baby…)

baby Isla winter gear

Isla 2011-2012 Winter

Isla in winter gear

Anyway, the time has come to figure out this year’s winter wear.  The last two years, I got the most amazing deals on her winter gear because I was able to wait until the end of season sale.  Her snowsuit when she was little only cost $20 brand new, and her gray jacket was normally $100, and I got it for $30!

I am now KICKING MYSELF for not buying the next size up last year on sale, but I guess I just thought that I would be able to get at least 2 years out of her gray jacket and pants!  However 15th percentile me somehow managed to have a 75th to 90th baby, who never seems to slow down on her growth!

This week we hauled out last season’s winter gear to see if it would last through the end of January (we’'ll be in Texas after that)!  Daddy’s opinion was that it would last, and we didn’t need to buy any more…

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However, my professional mommy opinion is the one that really matters!  There’s no way this kid will be able to use this through winter.  It was skin tight even without any clothes underneath it!  And its only September.  Isla being cold is something that I am a little neurotic about!  Russians and I seem to have that in common.  I cannot stand the thought of her being cold.  There’s just something about knowing that she’s warm and dressed appropriately that makes me feel calm.

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Anyway, because we will be spending a lot of this fall and winter in Moscow (you must respect a winter in Moscow) for my Doctor’s appointments and we will also be here for all of December and January, I had to go ahead and order her clothes now at the pre-season sale and have them shipped to my mom’s house for when we go there at the end of October.  I won’t be in the states for the end of season sale in December. 

Anyway, even with winter gear 30% off right now it is still so expensive!!!  Arg, it is making me crazy to think of spending money on something that I previously snagged at such a deal price.  Anyway, the point of this rant is to say that this year I am making sure that her winter gear lasts at least TWO YEARS, and I am definitely taking advantage of the December 70% off sale to buy her clothes for next year!!!

But at least she’ll be warm!  That’s all that matters.  And Hanna Andersson is a great brand.  I really like it, and any clothes that I have bought from there have held up very well.

A couple of other random things…

We went to dinner with our friends last weekend at Chili’s pizza, a restaurant very close to our house. We stopped to let Isla play at our local “splash pad” right outside the restaurant!  Isn’t it great Smile.  Isla loves it, and the locals think we’re crazy because we actually let her “play” in it, and do more than just get her little feet wet…

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Last week, Nick came home from workin’ hard to find Isla and I like this…

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He thought it was cute enough to take a picture, and then show everyone how lazy we were (my words, not his, he thought we were adorable…)

That’s it, just a couple of random rants and happenings at the Wann house!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meet Miss Haleigh :)

DId you see???

A new beautiful little girl has been referred to the Brook family.  I know that their hearts are broken over sweet Walden, but as I have been following the adoption community, I’ve learned that seldom are these adoptions straightforward.  In almost every single one, the families trust God to give them just enough grace to get through each step.

But we rejoice because Walden is with the Father, and sweet Haleigh will now know what it is like to have a family on this side of heaven!

Isn’t she just the cutest little muffin??? 20825024809-2-300x277

Please don’t let her get left behind!  Please, please consider donating to help with her adoption expenses HERE!

And remember, for the time being, you donation will be DOUBLED!  All the donations up to $6732 will be matched Smile, to the tune of $2000.  If the Brook family can just get to $6732, between the matching grant and other funds that they have, they will be able to travel!!!

And don’t forget about sweet Ryder.


His family needs even more help to be able to travel!  Please donate to help them meet their travel needs HERE!

Their fund must get all the way up to $7800 for them to be able to travel!  They have also received a $4500 matching grant to help them with their adoption expenses, but they have so little time and still so far to go. Sad smile

And I just wanted to leave you with a little something… some news on my favorite sweet Katie-bird!

Here she is before, 9 years old, and under 15 lbs (I think it was 10 or 11 lbs, but I can’t remember), sentenced to a brief life spent almost entirely in her crib simply because she was born with an extra chromosome.  That’s it, there was nothing else “wrong” with her.  This is Katie in NOVEMBER!

katie before

Now look at sweet Katie-bird, less than a year later!

katie bird now

Here she is, safe in her Daddy’s arms!  She is treasured and loved.

katie bird

And guess what??? She is getting a NEW BROTHER!  Meet Tommy, he is 15 years old.  Who would have guessed, he’s so little?


You can follow their story HERE, at the Blessing of Verity.  I am rejoicing that Tommy will be set free, and going to the best family!

Adoption saves lives.  Plain and simple.  Ryder and Haleigh are still so little.  Let’s save them now, and spare them years outside of their parents’ loving care.  Katie’s transformation is pretty incredible, but I truly pray and hope that from this day forward, no child will have a need for a such a remarkable transformation.

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when He could do something about it . . . but I'm afraid He may ask me the same question.”  Anonymous

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

Well, it has been a while since I have done one of these, but its time I got back in the habit for a little while.

****Please consider giving to the Brook and Wetherington familys’ adoption funds.  Please help them bring their children home!!!

You can read more about it HERE.

I will share more about them this week, but this is a multipurpose blog, and so I will be including some things from our personal lives this week too!****

Two Baby’s Tuesday Tidbits

  • Everything is going along very well.  I am so grateful for how little nausea I have had.  Seriously, it has been amazing.  Sometimes my stomach gets a little sour in the evenings, but that is it!
  • We are trying to get my Doctor’s visits in Moscow arranged.  Its kind of stressful.
  • I need to take a picture, but I am just feeling so chubby, and kind of ugly.  I am so much bigger this time.
  • I think part of the reason that I have had such an easy time with nausea is that I have just been eating whatever my stomach demanded – for example, I usually have fruit or a fruit smoothie for breakfast, but one sip or bite of that in the mornings would turn my stomach.  However, pancakes and sugary cereal settled very well, so that’s what I ate Smile.  Basically I have been eating a lot of starchy foods – baked potatoes for lunch, white pasta for dinner, oh my and I have been CRAVING meat.
  • Now I am transitioning back to our (semi) “nutritarian” lifestyle.  We are back to our smoothies or fruit for breakfast, and I am slowly getting our dinners and lunches back to normal.  Starting with cutting out white pasta and moving back to a more vegetable based dinner!  One thing that I am having a hard time introducing back in is salads, Nick and I both got sick on salad in the states, so its been hard.
  • I only gained 25 lbs with Isla’s pregnancy and by 17 weeks, I had only gained 2 lbs.  I had already gained 4 lbs by 9 weeks with Two Baby, so its not looking good for weight gain. However, I am hoping that if I am careful, I can keep my weight gain to a healthy amount (under 35 lbs).  But if I’m hungry – I’m eatin’!

And today, and only today – a special Dowton Abbey Tuesday Tidbits.  Please don’t read this if you haven’t seen the series, there will be ***SPOILERS!***

downton abbey

  • So obviously I like the show since I am taking the time to blog about it, but I have several complaints and rants – I almost gave up on the series after the Season 1 season finale.  I have done that before with a very good series, namely Mad Men because it was just so dang depressing.  DA didn’t give you ANYTHING.  Seriously, the baby dies. Mary and Matthew split up. Gwen leaves (at least she went onto bigger and better shows – YOU KNOW NOTHING, JON SNOW!). Thomas doesn’t even get fired.  Put it down on the top 10 BUMMERs of season finales of all time.
  • I only continued because I had already bought Season 2 on iTunes, and I had Nick’s encouragement. I have the Season 2 season finale (Christmas Special) to watch tonight and it had better be more  hopeful than Season 1s or I’ll…
  • And Season 2 was good, but is it just me, or did it just kind of fall apart in the last few episodes?  Storylines I could have done without – Patrick Gordon, Sybil falling in love with and marrying the Marxist (gross – yeah, I would definitely called the death of 5 innocent children too high a price to pay – but then again I am not a socialist or a communist), the deus ex machina that was Lavinia’s death from the Spanish flu – seriously, she’s the only one that dies in the house of an outbreak that killed at least 3% of the world population!!!, Lord Grantham’s little fling with the housemaid, Edith’s fling with the married farmer…
  • I dislike Isobel very much – seriously… who does she think she is?  When was her running Downton Abbey ever an option?  Who ever gave her the idea that she had the right to turn DA, someone’s private home, into a public house?
  • I just have to say it again, Sybil is such an idiot.
  • Thank goodness Maggie Smith is a Dame, that’s all I have to say. She so cool, and such a great actress, unlike a certain Dame Judy Dench – most overrated actress ever.  She has three faces – steely eyed mean, steely eyed smile, and steely eyed expressionless.  Hardly requires acting.
  • I liked the whole Mary engaged to Sir Richard angle, very interesting, as well as Miss O’Brien’s attempts to redeem herself. I also liked it when Moseley got drunk.
  • Storylines I’m meh on – the redheaded housemaid and her baby, Thomas’ attempts to get back into the house and his whole black market thing – they could have done something interesting with that. And Bates’ murder trial.
  • ****UPDATE**** I have watched the Season Finale… not too bad.  Matthew “coming around” felt a little bit awkward, but I’ll let it pass. Arg, Thomas is such a spider.  FINAL VERDICT: I will continue to watch the show next season.

That’s it for this Tuesday!  There’s more going on, but I don’t have the pictures with me, so maybe I will get that up later.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Click Here! Click Here!

Early last year, God opened my eyes to the orphan crisis – not just the orphan crisis, but the conditions that orphans live in world wide. And especially those of disabled children in Eastern Europe.

If you don’t remember or didn’t get a chance to read some of my posts from last fall, please consider going -

  • HERE to read about Vanya, a boy with above average intelligence with mild cerebal palsy who was sentenced to a life in an Eastern European “laying room”.  He was destined to live his life confined to a crib, his diaper being changed once a day with absolutely no stimulation or affection.  Thankfully his life changed, God freed him so that he could tell his story.
  • HERE to watch a video that will take you inside the asylums where the “disabled” children are left day after day, and what happens to them as they grow.
  • HERE to see some of the before and after photos of children who have survived these orphanages. A family makes all the difference in the world for these children.  Or HERE to read about sweet Carrington, who spent day after day chained to her high chair, weighing only 11 lbs when her mommy came to recue her!  What a treasure she is now!
  • And finally HERE, this post was written only two days ago by Renee, who adopted her daughter “Moxie” from the same country as sweet Ryder earlier this year.  Moxie was in one of the “laying down” rooms early in her life because of her cerebral palsy!  Now sweet Moxie is a smart, sassy, LOVED little American girl.  I cried at what this precious little girl had to go through.

I probably wouldn’t be advocating for these children if they were in a bright sunny orphanage, with staff that loved them. I just wouldn’t.  But these children are living in conditions that no human being should ever be subjected to.  They are treated as less than human - we wouldn’t even treat animals in the United States this way.

And I am here to continue begging for Ryder’s family and the Brook family – who are now pursuing a blind referral.  What happens if they aren’t able to come for their children?  What will that say to a society that already thinks that they are worthless?  We will only enforce what is already known to them, that nobody wants these children.  That they are worthless.

But WE know that that isn’t true!

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Nick and I were praying over how to help these families, and we came across this verse -

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. ~Proverbs 3:27

We had to say “Yes Lord!”  I do not normally advertise when we give because I do not want my left hand to know what my right hand is doing!  But this time I feel that I should share.  I don’t know why, other than I want  you to know, that we are not asking you to give, without sacrificing something ourselves. 

We BELIEVE in what we are doing, and we believe in Reece’s Rainbow! 

And we BELIEVE that there is a family for every single orphan, no matter what is “wrong” with them!

The prisoners will be set free.

That is why we have made the decision to offer a $2000 matching grant to the Brook family. Walden’s former family.


And a $4500 matching grant to the Wetherington family, Ryder’s family.


This is where our heart is.

That means that every dollar you donate will be DOUBLED!  These children have so little time, there families are set to travel this week!  And they don’t even have enough funds to be allowed to get on the plane, even with our donations.  They will need help from anyone who can give it!

I will leave you with these thoughts -

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? '  The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

You can donate to the Brook family HERE.

And the Wetherington family HERE.

Thank you. And please consider resharing on your blog.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Patong Beach

After re-reading my post from yesterday, I realized that I said that the staff was sweet about a million times – really three times, but that was two times too many.  Mea culpa – sometimes I don’t proof read very well.

One thing that Thailand is famous for being able to find things for cheap-cheap.  One thing thrifty Nick is famous for is suddenly getting the urge to shop and buy when things are cheap-cheap.  So needless to say, he was very excited to visit Patong Beach and check out some of their markets.

I however, was less than thrilled when we arrived at Patong Beach to find that it was kind dingy and shady, like Bourbon Street, but with Lady Boys…  I believe my exact words to Nick were “I wanted fake ethnic… not real ethnic.” (Feel free to draw any conclusions you want about me being an uptight, middle class, yuppy – you are probably correct.) 

We were hungry and the Hotel Bus dropped us off near the Hard Rock Café.  I was not feeling adventurous, and since we live in Russia, I admit I love little pieces of Americana where I can get them.  I am glad we ate there, because I had the best nachos.  They were so tasty.

Isla fell asleep on the walk over, so we had to wake her up when the food arrived.  This was one of those days where we felt a little heatstroked (I don’t know if that’s a word, but you know that feeling I’m talking about).


After that, we went and walked through some of the markets.  I didn’t see anything that I really wanted, even if it was cheap.  I just don’t see the point in buying something I don’t need.  Nick was a little bit disappointed at the prices, as in something that costs $50 in the US still cost about $10 or so (feel free to jump to any conclusions you want about Nick being a cheapo… actually don’t! He’s very generous where it counts!) .  He had heard so many stories about how cheap things were, and I think he was expecting things to cost just pennies.

Afterwards we took Isla to get some ice cream.


After the ice cream, we only had about 10 minutes to make it back to our bus to our hotel!

On our way out of town, we realized that hadn’t taken a single picture of the actual beach and/or the boardwalk by the beach, so we quickly snapped a picture just to prove that we had actually been there!


All in all, we had a lot of fun and we were glad that we went to see it, but I think that I speak for all of us when I say that were happy to get back to hanging out by the pool at our amazing resort!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Isla’s Easter

So this post is only about 4 months late, but whatevs…  I was reviewing some of our older trips and I am so thankful that I did take the time to blog about them.  I had such fun reading about them again, and it really is worth the time and effort.  So I am going to make a big effort to finish up Thailand, which should only be about 2 posts, and then get onto Istanbul!

As I have mentioned, the Russian Orthodox celebrated Easter on Isla’s birthday this year, but in the US, we celebrated Easter on April 8th, one week before, while we were at the resort in Thailand.  Because it was a very kid friendly resort, they had all kinds of Easter activities for the kids planned, and Isla was just old enough to participate in them!  The staff was extra sweet to her too, since she was so little and let her get away with quite a bit and kept giving her prizes that she didn’t actually win.

In the morning we signed Isla up for Easter Egg decorating.  I think we were supposed to dress up the egg like a chicken or a mouse or something.  It didn’t really look like anything in particular.

I sent Nick in to supervise Smile.

A supervising DaddyC Supervising Daddy

Uh oh, Daddy!  Get your game face on! Here’s hoping that Thai paint wasn’t toxic…

D Uh oh!

Eventually they got the hang of it!

E now we get itF painting

I think Isla really enjoyed herself.

G I love it

Nick and Isla also made a little friend.  Nick is so great with kids.

H new friend

It helps that he’s not afraid to act like a total dork with them! Smile

I so cute

He’s also not afraid to act like a total dork with me!

J the sad clown

After we decorated the egg, it was time to go and hunt for some eggs!

K it starts

I’m not sure if Isla really got the hang of it and got dominated by the older kids, but there were enough eggs that she still managed to get quite a few.  The staff was so sweet and kept trying to help her get one of the few “golden eggs” that they had planted.  She missed the first one just barely, but with the help of the staff, she managed to get another one nearby!

L egg hunterM Isla and her bountyN wave to Daddy

She did frequently get distracted and wanted to just play on the equipment!

O distractions

After the Easter Egg hunt, Isla turned in her golden egg for a free ice cream, and then it was time for the festival with games to begin.

She was really too little for most of the games, but the staff let her play anyway, and let her cheat shamelessly.  They were really sweet to her!  She is pretty adorable though so I can’t blame them.


There was this weird little mushroom tent that she went and hid in!  It was pretty hot that day so she probably wanted shade.  I had her in her sweater because she was so burned on her arms that I wanted to protect them for as long as possible!  As I’ve said before, my little girl is so fair.


Playing an egg toss game.  They basically let her place the egg in the bowls of water Smile.


A fishing game.


We finally took off her sweater, look at those red little arms!


Afterwards, we took our spoil and headed back to the room!  It was late afternoon at this point, so we had managed to spend an entire day just for Isla.  She is always such a good sport, that we were happy to focus just on her that day!


Pure and Undefiled Religion

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