Chasing Ivancic's

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Hi Everyone...

Just wanted to post a quick note that we made it home safe & sound on Tues. Nov 10th. Ryan was amazing for the entire trip. He didn't cry that much and the only difficult time came about 3 hrs. before we landed in Boston. He really wanted to play and move around and I just didn't have the energy. At that point, I had been up for about 37 hrs. without sleep. If I had had duct tape with me, I would've considered using it to keep him still while I tried grab a few desperately needed winks. He did finally fall asleep for the last hour of the flight. Put him the perfect spirits to meet Daddy & Jack, and Grammy at the airport.

Ryan was in bed by 6pm Tuesday night in his new crib. We gave him the grand tour...and tried to feed him his dinner in a high chair...that didn't go over well. He only woke up for a bottle once at 11:45pm and then went back to sleep until 4:30am. We started out day there, Pete, I, and Ryan... Jack managed to stay sleeping until 7am...lucky him.

We're having a challenging time getting Ryan to eat much. I guess Kazakh baby food has a lot to live up to...US baby food is just not cutting the mustard. We're trying to give him some table food (in small chunks of course) as well, but despite having his 4 teeth, he's not chewing it. I have been puked on about 5 times because he just gags. Wish he would just like applesauce and stick with it... Now, I know why he's so teeny...he's got a stubborn streak in him when he doesn't want to eat, there's no changing his mind. Seems now, Pete is the only one in our house lacking a stubborn streak...

I'll post some pictures later...in another post.

Love from and thank you for...Chasing the Ivancics in our great adventures!
Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
We're leaving for the airport in 5 hrs. from now (midnight local time on 11/10). The flight leaves here at 2:30am and arrives in Frankfurt at 6:30am local time and then we hang out in Frankfurt for forever and a day. The flight for Boston leaves Frankfurt at 12:15pm local time and we land in Boston at 2:40pm on 11/10 (Tuesday).

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed...just me and Ryan for 25-26 hrs. Fortunately, E&R (and Sara too) will be with me through Frankfurt and we'll have some hang time there together. We'll part ways after 4 hrs. in Frankfurt and then Ryan and I will hang out for another 1.5 hrs. before boarding our flight to Boston.

Thanks for all of your support over the last few months...I can't wait to see you all and have you meet Ryan.

We'll be seeing you in all the familiar places very soon...(well, familiar to me anyway) :)



Here are some great PICTURES of us of days gone by.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days…not much opportunity for pictures here, so I figure you probably would be less interested in me blathering on. I have a few days of pictures now.

Almaty is a beautiful city. It’s much different than Astana. The streets are tree-lined with large old trees. All the trees in Astana were planned within the last 5 years. There are also beautiful mountains around here, whereas Astana is truly on the Steppe and very flat for hundreds of miles. Almaty has a look that is reminiscent of New England.

We visited a Russian Orthodox Cathedral yesterday….it was beautiful and we even managed to see a wedding. The wedding was over and done within less than 20 min. This was the second time we have visited a place of worship..and at both places, we witnessed a wedding. We also visited a nearby restaurant that served lagman noodles, which is like homemade pasta…very popular here, in Astana too.

The restaurant was round, in the shape of a yurt. Yurts are very portable housing. The ancestors of Kazakhstan (or Central Asia for that matter) were very nomadic…and they lived in yurts.

Here’s a link http://www.mongolian-yurt.com/index.html

On Friday, we went to a medical appt. required by the embassy, Ryan checked ok. He has no diseases that prevent him from travel and he has also been cleared to not have any criminal tendencies. These are the 2 main reasons for the medical exam. I’ve included a few pictures of Nikolai holding him. Nikolai is our driver here in Almaty.

We took the kids shopping at a mall today…it was pretty nice and just the right speed. It was kind of neat, it had an ice skating rink in the middle of it. You could watch people skate from all 3 levels of the mall.

Ryan’s big accomplishment of today is that he can hold his own bottle….when he feels like it of course…if your Mother would still hold your bottle, wouldn’t you take advantage? :)

We are planning to go to the Embassy on Monday and then hopefully, we’ll be on our way back to the US on Tuesday…we are currently booked for Thursday…hoping I can move it up…also hoping I can convince someone nice to bump me to first class from Frankfurt to Boston. Current plan is to sleep on first flight, then once we are in Frankfurt start consuming tons of Red Bull. The 2nd flight, move to 1st class and take advantage of a glass or two of free wine. Hopefully Ryan doesn’t need Red Bull or the wine, as I don’t think it’s advisable to give him these things.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
…that’s right possibly only 5 nights left….but not more than 7. We left today from Astana…and we’re now in Almaty. What a crazy day!! I woke up and packed….pretty low-key packing for me…waited around to go to the airport (seemed like forever)…and then when we got to the airport, it was a gigantic rush…we almost missed our flight. Ryan screamed for the first 40 minutes. Our mini-test-run for the long trip home is not encouraging…I’m now considering just living here in Almaty and you can all come and visit us.

It seems too surreal to be in a hotel room. The bed is softer than the pavement-firm bed I’ve been sleeping on for the last few weeks. What’s more, there is an actually fitted sheet on the bed…and get this, the sheets fit the bed. Also, I am looking forward to taking a shower tomorrow morning and not having to hold the shower head in my hand the whole time. I might even be able to brush my teeth without bottled/boiled water tomorrow…Pinch me.

I’m sorry, I don’t have any pics for you today…but I’ll try and wrangle something up for tomorrow.
Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Ryan has discovered biting….nice!!! He has suddenly started exploring more things with his mouth…which is great…he was a delayed this. The whole time we were playing in the playroom, I always wondered why he wouldn’t put anything in his mouth…but he always seemed to have the instinct, because as he looked at things intently, he would open his mouth. He bit me twice today… he looks/acts like he is going to give me a kiss, but then…CHOMP! Ummmm…nyet, nyet.

Tonight was also my first difficult bedtime with him…I think he is totally use to (and no longer enamored with) falling asleep in my arms..and it’s lost its magic spell. I think the poor guy is both teething and having some serious gas pains. He wouldn’t go to sleep until 9:30.

It’s truly amazing to see how Ryan has changed since Sept. 18. (our first visit with him). This week alone, it seems like he’s developed an entire month. He’s walking along furniture a ton…I’ll be surprised if he’s not walking before I arrive back in Boston. The playroom use to be so busy with other families visiting that he was kind of just in his shell….but this week, where he’s taken center stage with Sara…he’s starting to really ham it up.

The inch worm….Ryan has a wicked power-slouch going on while eating. He slouchs way down; I have no idea how he can swallow when he gets like this…

I’m going to miss hanging out at the Radisson…Ryan will be disappointed to know that we don’t have an espresso or cappuccino machine in Haverhill. It may also distress him when he finds out we have no indoor pool like at the baby home…I think somehow we’ll make it up to him.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
As you would imagine, we are either in eat or sleep mode…we are constantly in a quest for one of those things or the other. It also seems like we are doing dishes non-stop…oh yeah, we are…there’s like 6 plates with 5 people and no dishwasher…we are constantly washing.

It was a rough night last night…Ryan decided he needed to keep Sara on her toes. He started to howl at 1:30am and didn’t stop until after 3. Never really got to the bottom of what was bothering him. I changed him first…didn’t fix it, I tried feeding him several times…he didn’t want it, I can feel teeth coming in…decided he’s probably teething….gave him a little Motrin and he finished out the night fine. I spent the first 2 hrs. trying to just get him to sleep and trying to avoid standing up the whole time…but he won out…the 3rd hour, I spent awake wondering how we was handling the Motrin…. This dosage was his first.

We had to rush out in the rain to go back to the baby home to bid farewell to Dr. Alma, the Director. She wasn’t around on Saturday, when we said good-bye to everyone else. This was our big outing for the day, it took 2 hrs. of diligence to escape the apartment, and then we were only gone 1 hr. hardly seems worth it.

Got some great photos and videos for you today. Also, there are a few pics of Jack from Halloween back in Haverhill…miss him so much…I was happy to get these…

Here are some PICTURES of us today.



Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Well Ryan and I slept…E&R and Sara, not so much. I feel bad they’re getting a little frustrated with trying to figure out how to console her. She has a bad case of eczema and they’re trying to avoid any dairy and she is whiling the night-time scratching herself; the poor girl. Anyway, it’s not kept me or Ryan awake and Elizabeth and Roscoe are exhausted.

We got up the first time at 4:30 this morning. I managed to convince Ryan to drink a few ounces of milk for the sake of 2 more hours….Yes 6:30…we made it!!! He wanted a nap by 9:00…only slept for an hour…lunch by 11:30 and then we made it out of the apartment…. (My Goal for today :) ) We headed to the Radisson…we needed (well, I needed) a few cappuccinos….E&R and Sara got up with us on the Riverwalk…joined us for a bit at the Radisson. They had a nice brunch going on with some musicians playing piano and saxophone…I love this hotel and will be sad to not hang there anymore when life gets back to normal.

Ryan actually fell asleep at the Radisson…why not…he sleeps everywhere!!! (this was nap #2). We got back from the Radisson…and after an hour of playing, he couldn’t hack it anymore…and he slept from 4:30-6:30. Yeah…I should know better…he didn’t go to bed until 9:30…just hoping this carries us to later than 4:30am tomorrow morning.

This was our last Sunday in Astana…feels nice to say that. I have enjoyed both of our trips to this city….but I am longing for my home…my family, my bed, ok….my clothes dryer.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


10/31: First Night

Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
First night sleep with kids…well, I should say first night….minus the sleep. I crawled into bed at midnight (yes, I know, I know…should’ve gone to bed much earlier), and Ryan props his head up and just looked at me wide-eyed with wonderment. He was so excited to see me and didn’t seem to be at all disoriented with his new surroundings. The whole night pretty much went like that..we’d both doze off and then I’d realize he was staring at me or vice-versa. At 5am, I could tell by the way Ryan was awake and sucking his thumb that he was thirsty. I brought him out to the kitchen and poured 2-3 oz. of milk in a bottle, heated it for a few seconds and as quick as a can be, it was gone. We finally woke up for real at 8:00am. He ate a porridge/oatmeal thing with raspberries and he drank 2-3 more oz. I feel so much better knowing he will drink when he really needs it.

Ryan tried a few new foods today. He had some strawberry yogurt, hot raspberry cereal (porridge/oatmeal thing), a fig newton with cherry filling, and some carrot juice. Amazingly, he really liked the carrot juice. He actually liked all of those things.
We did lots of laundry today…between the sprayer from the shower getting out of hand and shooting water all the way out in the hall, diapers leaking through bedding, food encrusted on clothing and bibs…we’re keeping Tide in business.

I wanted a little chocolate fix when I went to the grocery store today…I saw Lindt candy there…jeepers creepers, it cost $28 a box….I’ll just wait until I get home see Uncle Steve…please let this honorable mention be noted as a request for 50% Cocoa or the Sea Salt…PLEASE Steve…I’ll be your best friend!

Well, it’s been a long day…heading off to bed in a few minutes…need to catch up on some rest. Ryan kind of kept to a schedule today, but Sara had a tougher time. Imagine the adjustment for these kids….everything they’re doing might be a first; first trip to a store, first ride in a stroller, first time seeing a river, riding in an elevator, seeing traffic. It’s a lot to absorb….I’m sure they’re on overload.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.
Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
We went to the baby house at the normal time this morning and carried on with our visit like usual. After we played, we brought the kids back to their nursery room and let the caregivers feed them their last meal at the baby home. After they finished eating we had a very emotional good-bye with the caregivers. The caregiver that I liked the best and was always very caring with Ryan (the same one that I included a picture of yesterday) was kissing and hugging him good-bye and she just couldn’t get enough of him and I saw tears well up in her eyes and of course that brought tears to mine. She was really very sad and she asked Dina to have me give her copies of the pictures we took yesterday.

We also took some pictures with the doctors…(see the picture with all the ladies lined up in white coats). The doctors on either side of me were both Ryan’s Drs.; the Dr. on the far right with the black hair was Jack’s Dr.

We brought the kids to the apartment around 1:00pm. Ryan, amazingly, did not fall asleep on the way home. Sara did. When we got home, Ryan spent about 15-20 min. roaming the apartment…and then he fell asleep for an hour. After the nap, we decided to take a shopping excursion….his first ever. We put the kids in the baby carriers and went for a walk up Republica St.. We went about 6 blocks to get a battery charger…hopefully, this will help to get me back on the video circuit…the Flip ran out of juice…so we haven’t been able to record. Ryan seemed to love being out and about….he’s so easy going…he was down with the stroll.

I fed him some porridge for dinner…he ate a decent helping of that, but he still won’t drink anything…this guy is one tough customer on the bottled-beverage front. After dinner, I gave him a little bath. Amazing how one tub with some Johnson’s baby wash can clean a little one up. His hair is already softer. I didn’t get all the green stuff out yet (green medicine from the skin irritation), I didn’t want to get him too upset on his first tub with me. After this, he was just totally in snuggle-mode (even more than usual)…he was asleep by 7:30.

It feels like Christmas morning here…not Christmas like when you’re 40….Christmas when you’re 8. You know, you can’t go to sleep the night before and then you wake up really early with excitement…and then you get the most amazing gift that you were really hoping you’d get…and then all day long, you can’t stop looking at it with amazement. Happy Holidays!!!!

Here are some PICTURES of us today.


Category: Baby
Posted by: jenn
Today, we arrived at the baby home at our normal time donning our new masks (BTW, these don’t work well as coffee filters). We hurried the kids off down the hall to the playroom. We resumed our daily ritual of play with all the usual toys, balls, blocks, and cars. Cameras were flashing, videos were recording. We were having a blast…and then 5 minutes before the visit was supposed to end, a nurse came in and gave Ryan another shot. It was a big shot too…and this time, I was thrown under the bus. I was the one who had to pull aside his diaper and hold him still to receive the offending jab. He wailed for a few minutes, but ultimately, he recovered quickly.

In less than 12 hrs. from now, I will go to the baby home and we’ll have our final visit there. I am very happy to be finished with my time there…but on the other hand; I have a fondness in my heart for this baby home, this city, and of the country of Kazakhstan. At times, it’s frustrating to be there and not know what’s happening or why they have certain rules and often, inconsistencies. But this is where my 2 children started their lives and for the care, kindness, and love that they had from their caregivers, I will always be grateful. I am very anxious to get back home and looking forward to the reunion with the other half of my family.

I will have my final visit with Ryan and then he will have his lunch there and then we will head home. We are staying through lunch because we need to say some good-byes to people and have a little party. It’s likely that this farewell would interfere with their lunch schedule and it’ll be easier to give them lunch there and let them fall asleep on the way home. I like it; we’re starting off parenting with a nap. Nothing wrong with that!!!

I had another massage today…It was totally brutal and yet somehow relaxing. Carolyn & Darrell had the masseuse to their apartment again. It’s pretty cheap for a full hour (or slightly longer) full body massage…only $35.

We’ve cleaned and re-arranged the apartment to make it ready for the kids. We’re ready…well, as ready as we can be without some basics, like cribs and high-chairs…but we’ve got a plan. We’ll get to test it out very soon.

Here are some PICTURES of us today.