Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A year ago today.....

We went to Red Square and lost Neil's shoe!

I fell asleep more exhausted then I have ever been!!

Went to the US Embassy and got Neil's passport and VISA.

We were a new family and loving every min of it!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just 5 min ago.....

So I thought I would blog every day this week and put a picture of what we did one year ago on that day. In doing this I wanted to lead up to his Gotcha Day on Saturday.
Well, a year ago we were traveling from Moscow to Novokuznetsk to see Neil one last time before we went to court the next day.

BUT...what just happened 5 min ago is way to funny to pass up.

I put Neil into bed for his Quiet Time and I just went to check on him and this is what I found. Now, keep in mind, every single one of those books was in his blue elephant book shelf when I put him into bed and now, they are all missing..oh no wait...they are in the crib with him! After a little "talking to" aka discipline I have come up with a solution.....

Can everyone say it with me...Toddler Bed!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Today one year ago....

Remember the miracle? The physical? The way that God made "eyes blinded" and His grace and mercy was upon Coby and I? Remember all the prayer for today?

I remember! This was the exact time that we were walking into that clinic and having that physical done on a rainy day in Moscow!

What a day! What a moment! To actually see God's hand do such an amazing thing!!

I just read through all the e-mails that I got on that day and how encouraging they were to read again!

"Thank you Lord for that day a year ago that you showed your face to me so clearly!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Today one year ago.....

We arrived in Moscow.

$30 for 2 Starbucks!!! Oh the memories!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Today one year ago...

We got on a plane and left for Russia to pick up and bring home our son!
How we felt about becoming parents of a 17mo old!!
Today...we woke up our son and brought him in bed with us. We told him that one year ago Mommy and Daddy went to Russia to bring him home to our family and that we loved him very very much!
Neil was laying in bed and then sat up, turned around and looked at Coby and said, "Thank you Daddy."
Thank you God!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This made me smile today!!

This picture is of Neil's 3 blankets. "Yellow", "Green" and "Blue" (that's what he calls them)

These blankets are about $4 and they are yucky and have holes in them. But the greatest thing about these are that they smell like Neil and for a's the sweetest smell in the world!

Anyway....since we have brought him home these are the blankets he loves. Not the fluffy, soft, hand made or expensive ones...but these.

Until today!!
He was upset and crying due to just being disciplined by mommy...yup he's not perfect! He walks in the office and had this blanket:

This is the first thing that I made Neil.

I have made him many things since then...but I made this and brought it to Russia with us hoping he would love it. It sits upstairs on one of his chairs and he really has not shown any interest in it until today. He has not let it go. He has been walking around all day holding it and sucking his fingers and rubbing it on his face and loving it!! It made me so excited.

I's silly, but it made me smile to see him enjoy something so much that I made especially for him with lots of love!
Thought Aunt Dana, Uncle Michael, Oma and Opa might like this picture. He still sleeps with and loves his turtle!!!
Kate....he loves his pillow!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A face lift!!

I felt the need to give our blog a little face lift! Hope you all like it! I also gave my photography blog one too...check it out!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

California Vacation

We are still here in Cali....and so I thought I might blog a little about what we are doing.

We arrived last Wednesday and thought we would be staying until yesterday, but Safta and Neil are having so much fun and the weather has been we are still here. We head home tomorrow night.

Well, my mom left for China this week for a 2 week mission trip. She is working at a church heading up a VBS. I asked her to just grab us a child while she is there so we don't have to go through everything we did with Neil. Just kidding! Not really...OK we are! I miss her so much and wish I could be with her...maybe next time!

Coby celebrated his first fathers day in Grass Valley golfing, boating, BBQing and having a relaxing day! We drove up there to visit our friends who have a home there and had so much fun! Neil even went swimming in the lake and loved to jump off the dock. This child has no fear of the water!

I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday with my mother in law. We had a relaxing day of shopping and then Thai food for dinner. It was relaxing and a lot of fun!

We have been hanging by the pool, shopping, heading into San Francisco, the zoo, a train park, the A's baseball game, hooking up with old friends and eating non stop. It's been great.

But it has been amazing to watch Neil and his Safta. (That's Hebrew for Grandma.) They are having so much fun and she just lights up with him. It's been a nice break for Coby and I.

Well, that's about it for now. Hope your summer is starting off great and you find rest, relaxation and time with the Lord throughout the coming weeks!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Andrey turns 3...

Just wanted to put a little post up about our Andrey. Today he turns 3. We have still not received any info about him, but I continue to ask as much as I can.

Just wanting to say Happy Birthday Andrey..we all love you!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I don't even know what to say.....

This morning as I was up getting ready for my first day at VBS, I hear Neil's door open up, Pebbles (our boxer dog) walk in his room and then his door slam!

I sit for a min and think...OK...last week he somehow got in the crib without us noticing and today he got out??? I heard no noise, nothing!

So I get up walk down the hallway and go to open the door and Neil has his hand on the inside door handle and he is pushing the door closed and I am trying to open the door.

I call his name and he pulls open the door and there is my sweet "too smart for his age" son and my dog standing there.

So I I get upset, do I laugh, do I ask him to show me his circus routine that he can do to get out of his crib without hurting himself...what do I say??

So the dog walks out and I ask him how he got out of his crib and he turns and points to a mound of stuffed animals and blankets that are piled high right next to his crib. He somehow got the stuffed animals that are in his crib and his 3 blankets to stack on top of each other and I can only assume climbed out and probably fell on them.....hence the lack of tears in his eyes or the very loud thump we would have heard.

So after I get a hold of my thoughts that start to race ahead 15 years to the fact that he will know how to escape the house and sneak out or be my dare devil child...I lay him down to change his diaper and tell him that if he wants out of the crib he needs to yell for Mama or Dada before getting out. So then he yells "DADDY" as loud as he can for the next min or so.

Neil....your already out of the crib...hush up!

So...job for today, lower the crib mattress and hide video camera in room so we can get his acrobatics on tape, send it into America's Funniest Video's and win lots of money so we can afford all those Dr. visits due to his lack of fear!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Pool, A Diving Board, A Lid, A Bus and A Monkey

Neil's FIRST time in a pool. We knew that he would love it because he sticks his head under the water and lays down in his bath. He was sooooooo excited and ran right out to the pool and wanted to get in. I had to take this picture quickly because he was running so fast!

Then he got in with Dada and he was a little more reserved. His smile turned into a look of...ok..this is a little colder then the tub and a bit bigger.....but he still thought he could handle it!

Then he realized Mama wasn't in there with him and cried for of course I went in and he stopped the tears and was having a great time!

We would tell him to "kick" his legs and he had no idea what we were saying. He was as stiff as a board! But still enjoying it! But then Mr. Jonny decided to jump off the diving board and Neil saw that and wasted no time. He wanted out of the pool and we all yelled "WALK!!" the diving board and.....

Climbed up on it and walked to the end and was DETERMINED to jump!

After a few seconds he realized how high he was and laid down to get a little closer to the water

Took a good look over the edge...

Dada gave him a kiss for encouragement....

He put his toes to the edge and started bouncing...he sooo wanted to jump!
He was getting sooo excited and Dada was trying to get him to do it. He just kept jumping and laughing and wanting in so bad...but we all know that looking from the bottom up it doesn't look that bad. But once we are on's a lot further down!
So Mr Jonny got out and helped him down to Dada!!!
And then Mr. Michael helped him and we did this all day! He was in the pool for almost 3 hours!!
What do you get when you add a 2 year old + a plastic lid + a lint slot in a dryer = 2 days of trying to get the stupid lid out of the dryer fan with a hanger and pliers. Yup..our 2 year old thought it would be fun (fun for him) to put a lid in the dryer lint slot and see where it would go. I was taking the clothes out and noticed a lid on the floor. I put the clothes in the other room, came back and noticed my 2 year old looking in the dryer lint slot and no lid on the floor. I asked Neil where the lid went and he pushed open the slot and pointed with his oh so cute finger into it. So I took him out of the room and asked him again where the lid went. I guess I was thinking if I took him out of the room, maybe he would point somewhere else, or say he didn't know. But he took my hand, walked me right back into the laundry room, pushed open the dryer vent and pointed. He looked up at me like, I already told you this, but I guess I have to repeat myself. So I turned the dryer on and within 10 min, I heard the evidence! A loud noise and a funny smell.
So Coby and I spent 2 days (4 hours each day) digging this lid out and we got it. Did I also mention that the cat litter box is in that room and it was a very small room and the floor was very put it nicely. But, we got it out and the dryer is all good!
Thought this might amaze you.....can you see the BUS in the picture? I'll help you out a's yellow and it's way way up there. Well, Neil is amazed with yellow school buses. We go outside every day (OK maybe every other day) at 3:15 and watch the school bus drive down our street. He LOVES them!! He can spot them out anywhere. Well, as I was driving Neil started to yell "BUS" and wouldn't stop. So because he has amazing eyes, I grabbed my camera and just snapped this picture and thought when I brought it home, I would see if he really saw the bus. I kid you not, he can find the "needle (bus) in the haystack." So as I was looking at this picture..there is was..the bus. Well, we just saved some money on a visit to the eye Dr. to see if his eyes are OK...I think they're GREAT! (click on the picture to make it big, and you'll see the bus) the Monkey. This might look like an innocent picture of a cute little boy in his crib. But! This baby cage that is leaning on his book shelf was in front of his door and Neil was in our room with us just 2 min. prior. We DID NOT move the cage and we DID NOT put Neil in his bed. So does anyone want to suggest how my 2 year old (monkey) did this?? Let me also add, Coby and I had no idea he had even left our room. Neil had no scratches on him, no tears in his eyes and got in his bed in less then 2 min. Oh yes Grandma (my mother thinks this) he does have "circus blood" in him! He somehow moved the cage, got in his bed and finished with a smile! He is a performer!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Well, I know I haven't written much since Neil has been home. I think sometimes I can express joy and excitement through pictures a little better!

But I thought I might just share with you something great that has been going on with Neil and I. As you all know....attachment sometimes can be an issue with adopted children. Most children enter their forever family and are not sure how to express their emotion of love and joy in reference to attachment. Usually they kind of just go with the flow and are not sure of their mama and Dada's hugs and kisses. They like them..but are not sure what they are and the fact that love is attached to them, can mean very little.

Coby and I have been BLESSED and a I mean blessed that Neil came to our family with inner joy and love. I know it's because God put it in him! It was always my prayer from the very first moment we thought to adopt, my prayer was that God would place JOY in Neil's heart and soul. If you have meet him, you will know that is what flows out of him.

Just last week at BSF, Neil's teacher told me after class that Neil giggles all the time. Whenever they do an activity, he giggles through it. She asked if he is always like this and I told her, "from day ONE!" He is very active, but JOY seams to just bounce out of him. I am grateful to God for installing that in him from a very young age.

Well, as far as attachment, Neil has been fine. He loved Coby from day one and showed it and as for me...I have always been content with his affections that he returns to me.

But last Tuesday (a week ago before all the rain), something happened that I didn't even realize was something I needed. I believe God knows my inner thoughts and my heart without even at times asking or praying for it. Sometime He just gives it. And He did!

I was cutting the lawn in the back yard and Neil was pushing his car alongside the mower pretending to be cutting the grass too. Well, I ended up going all the way to the end of the row, and he got stuck at the start of it. I turned around and saw him standing there crying his eyes out...of course I couldn't hear him due to the lawnmower....but I could see it all over his face. I turned the mower off and went to him and realized he was fine, but his car was stuck in a hole and he couldn't push it and was upset about it. So as EVERY 2 year old does, he expressed it in tears.

I reach down pick him up and he immediately laid his head on my shoulder, put his arms around my neck and wrapped his legs around my waist. He held on so tight and continued to cry and speak in rubbish through his tears telling me what happened. I just said, "I'm sorry" and "I know" and "that was frustrating, right?" and he just kept saying, "ya."

About a min went by and I went to put him down because his tears stopped and I asked him if he was all better? And he said, "NO" and tightened his grip.

OK.....that's never happened. He is usually quick to recover and quick to run away and go back to playing, but this time, he said no.

So I stood in the back yard up against the fence that backs up to the farm and pond behind us and held him for 20 min!

Usually there are cows around and I could point to them and that would distract him, but the cows were not out today. No neighbors were out, just Neil and I, the sunshine, cool breeze and God.

We were silent for the first 5 min or so, and then a song came to mind...Holy Holy Holy. So I started to hum the song and Neil joined in. Every time I took a breath, he started in on his part. He never raised his head, he never loosened his grip around me and I didn't move from my spot for 20 min. It was a God given moment that I have always wanted, but didn't know I was missing! My son wanted me to hold him, love him, sing to him and just let him know that he was the most important thing to me at that moment, nothing else mattered. (not even my aching back!!)

So since then, Neil and I have had a few more of these moments...not as long....I don't think my back could hold up....but moments of holding each other.

Isn't is amazing that God gives us our inner desires even when we think that what we have is enough. God says, "I have BETTER for you." I thought the love Neil has been giving us has been enough and great, but that 20 min holding him and Neil holding me back showed me that I should never think that God can not give me better. He only wants the BEST for us and he gave me that with a hug from my son!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Family Pictures

Since pictures are what I love most!!!! We have more! We had pictures taken a few weeks ago for Neil's second birthday. Also, since Coby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage...we had a few taken of just the two of us. We went back to Uchida Photography and Tom who took our coming home pictures, took these as well.
go to proofing and the password is "neil hollis"

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I thought I would do a separate blog just of the "before" Elmo and "after" Elmo. Neil LOVED LOVED LOVED Elmo!!!

Neil's first sight at Elmo!!

Neil ran to Elmo!

kiss kiss!!

then the other kids joined in!

Elmo dancing!

Neil dancing with Elmo!

Some of the kids!

Elmo and Barb

Elmo and Safta Datya

Elmo and Kevin

Bubble time!!!

My wonderful friends..Barb and her daughter Sarah and Hopie!

and Jenny another wonderful friend!!

Neil loves kisses from the girls!

My sweet friend Meredith who I met on my trip to Moldova and has been with me every step of the way! You are a God sent!

By the time we opened presents, Neil was sucking his fingers and ready for a nap!

Great Uncle Moe sent him a cool 4 wheeler!!!
and Kevin and Hopie and Sam and Clay gave him a great table!!!

a bag of wonderful goodies from Uncle Wes, Silvia, Wesley, Emi, Becca and Hunter!!!

Probably the most special gift of the day came from Neil's 4 cousins from San Diego. They each made him a hand made card and taped a $1 in each one from their own money so Neil could go get an ice cream! That was sooooo sweet of them! Thank you Wesley, Emilia, Rebecca and Hunter!