Friday, July 31, 2009

Lazy Day Spent Undercover

Today David took the South Shore train from Chicago into Michigan City to meet Madeline and me. Prior to picking David up from the train stop Madeline and I were able to visit with David's mom without ruining the surprise as David's dad was at work. After picking up David, the 3 of us headed out to the town's old fashioned drive-in hot dog stand for lunch. After another quick visit for David to see his mom we had to get out of sight before David's dad came home from work. We decided to head to the beach. In the 14 years I've been traveling to Michigan City, I have never (until today) had the opportunity to spend the afternoon at the beach. We tend to travel here when it is too cold (late Spring and winter) or when time doesn't permit to go to the beach. At first, Madeline was completely freaked out by the waves but before long she was "swimming" around like a little mermaid.

Later in the evening, we headed out for dinner and decided to try a new restaurant, the Shoreline Brewery. The place totally had potential but it was completely overpriced for what you got. Don't get me wrong....we don't mind spending the dough on a good meal but I was not impressed. There was nothing *wrong* with the food and I probably wouldn't have been disappointed if we spent half of the money. Yet, for what we spent we deserved better. I would, however, go back to try one of their sandwiches, rather than an entree.

Despite Madeline being overtired, we decided to head to the hotel's pool before bedtime. This girl is a kid magnet. Both at the beach and at the pool, we acquired some kids that gabbed our ears off and showed us every water stunt they could do. Tooo funny!

Madeline is now, understandably, fast asleep and Mama-Dirtyfoot won't be far behind.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fun In Two Directions

If you read yesterdays blog post, you know that David and I headed out separately this morning. I guess you can't exactly say in "two directions" because we geographically ended up in the same general area. Yet, any time we are apart it is two separate directions. All three of us were up bright and early this morning as Madeline and I had to drop David at the airport early enough to catch a 7:25am flight. Sooooooo not fair.....David was calling me from Chicago when I was only 1/4 of my way through the trip.

I do have to say that this 500 mile "solo + Madeline" trip had the potential of being disastrous but Madeline was a true trooper....despite having to hear me sing along to my CD collection for the majority of our trip. Anyway, if I had flown, I would not have been able to meet with another family that David and I met while in Russia.

Halfway thru our drive, Madeline stopped by Karen and Huibert's house (It was a shame we missed Huibert). It was so nice to see Karen again as she is just so easy to talk to and the two of us are similar in so many ways. I was able to meet her older son, Linus (also adopted from Russia) and it was great to see Milana again. Actually, Karen, Huibert, David and I spend many days traveling to the Baby's Home together for our twice/day visits to see Madeline and Milana. It was soooo not out of the way at all to visit them while passing through on the way to David's parents. We actually probably would've met up with them before this however Karen & Huibert were living in Germany for two years post-Russia. They are planning a visit to Niagara Falls later this summer, so hopefully we will be able to see them again soon while they are in our neck of the woods. Certainly, the kids would enjoy it as they got along great together.

After our visit, Madeline and I had to continue our drive. Karen made us yummy lunch on our visit but by the time we got to our final destination it was dinner time. After a long day on the road I wasn't feeling up to heading out to a restaurant. Knowing that we would have a fridge and microwave in our room, we headed to the grocery store as soon as we got in town so that I could pick up a few things for our stay. Meijer's had a descent prepared foods section (nothing like Wegmans though!) so I picked us up a Chicken Parmesan/spaghetti entree and green beans. After we headed to the hotel and unpacked the car, I warmed up our food and Madeline and I had dinner in the seating area near our room. After dinner. Madeline and I jumped in the pool. Madeline was doing great in the pool however, sad news.....Madeline is now able to touch the bottom of the pool in the area near the pool's bottom step. Why is this sad???......our baby is growing so fast! After a full day, Madeline had absolutely no problem falling asleep tonight.

As for David, he won't admit it but he is in his glory. He went to the 1pm Cubs game with his best friend Jon (see photos of David as well as a view from their seats). I thing David was also meeting up with some work contacts but I don't know which game (or both) that was for. In the evening, David also headed to a White Sox/Yankee game....again, see photos. One reason they went to this game was that Jon is a huge Yankee fan. I was amazed and couldn't figure out why David chose to purchase and wear a Yankee t-shirt for this game. With the help of Jon's enlightenment, I was informed that David's NY baseball team shirt wasn't so much meant to be a "Go Yankees" statement but rather an....anti-White Sox statement.
The day is catching up to me....must go to sleep.

David ready to see Cubs

A view from their seats at Wrigley

A YANKEE shirt?!??!

Seats for Yankee/White Sox (in Chicago)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shhhhhhh......Surprise Trip

Tomorrow we are heading out for a surprise trip to Indiana. Don't worry, it's safe to post on here as the only person this trip needs to be a surprise for is David's dad but he is not a computer person at all. I am hoping our secret is safe with you.

What is the purpose of the surprise? We are surprising David's dad for a birthday celebration dinner along with David's sister & husband (who live in the same town) and David's brother & wife (who live in Milwaukee). It is our understanding that he has no idea of the plan for this surprise.

Our travel arrangements are actually a bit complicated (we never do anything easy!). Madeline and I are dropping David at the airport early in the morning so that he can get to Chicago. David is meeting his best friend Jon (who traveled to Chicago for a work conference after leaving Buffalo). There, David and Jon are going to a 1pm Cubs game and the evening Sox/Yankees game. (Jon is a huge Yankee fan. What's his problem?!?!) I will be driving to Michigan City with Madeline but will have the opportunity half-way through my ride to meet up with another family that we met in Russia. After an afternoon lunch/playdate, Madeline and I will continue our drive. Then, Friday morning, David will take the train into Michigan City to meet up with us for the birthday festivities and we will all drive home together as a family on Sunday.

Tonight, we are busy getting all of our stuff together and Madeline was having a blast working on a special gift for Grandpa (see photo). We are looking forward to our mini getaway before the moving chaos begins next week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Self-Confidence Killer

So, yesterday was the "Killer Cow", today is the "Self-Confidence Killer". I've *always* had body image issues. I guess you could say I now have reason to but I did have these "issues" even when I was 15-20 years younger and 20-30 pounds lighter. But any temporary boost in self-confidence was pretty much killed today.....

Recently, we've returned from a family vacation (MCOXXI). During the time away, we spent a fair amount of time on the beach. While on the beach and outfitted in my "mom suit", I looked around at other women wearing 2 piece bathing suits and compared my body shape to theirs. (NEWSFLASH to male readers.....ALL WOMEN DO THIS ALL THE TIME!!) I thought to myself, "That woman is fatter than me and *she* is wearing a two piece and doesn't look *that* terrible....maybe I could." or "She is about the same size as me and looks decent....maybe I could do it." Today, Madeline and I headed out for marathon shopping and inevitably we ended up looking at the swimsuits which are now on clearance (of course we *HAD TO* add to our swimsuit wardrobe....our new house will have a pool and hot tub!......the suits were 70% off at JCPenney's!)

So, here we go....the confidence killer.... I tried on a two-piece bathing suit. As far as two piece goes I thought the suit was somewhat passable if worn after sunset in a very shady area when the moon isn't shining. What did Madeline say as she looked at me in the dressing room?? Madeline LOUDLY exclaimed, "MAMA! Pull your shirt down!!!" Oh no, Madeline didn't stop there....she continued to chant this to me until she literally started crying!!! Was I *THAT* scary?!?!?!?!

Long story, but I did end up purchasing the suit as a result of David's encouragement......yet, David's suit opinion does not hold much credibility in the endorsement area as he would tell me that I looked good in a bikini even if I were 300 pounds. I decided to purchase the suit for the dark of the night when no one but David is around (wouldn't have the guts otherwise). Now wish me luck in the weight department....keep in mind I don't believe in exercise! Anyone have a suggestion for a potato chip/cookie weight loss diet??

Killer Cow!

Yesterday was an accident-filled day. First, Madeline fell down the stairs. She is completely FINE. Honestly, I don't know exactly how many stairs she fell down as she had just left the room I was in and I heard the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM....followed by crying. Luckily it was the stairs from the 2nd floor to the main floor that she happened to fall down as they are carpeted. Furthermore, David would say, Madeline is just like Mama and has a hard head. Certainly, I am relieved that Madeline was not hurt but it surely gave me a scare.

Secondly, Madeline has a humidifier in her bedroom that looks like a cow. The lid to the dehumidifier is pretty much what gives the piece its cow features. Yesterday, as Mama-Dirtyfoot was putting away laundry Madeline decided to get silly. So off came the cow lid and onto the top of Madeline's head, like a hat. Madeline thought she was the greatest comedian by dancing around and saying "cow costume". I have to admit, it was pretty cute and therefore, I bent down to give the "mini-cow" a kiss. Just as I did, Madeline turned her head and the "rabid-cow" got me. No....not Madeline, the edge of the humidifier lid scratched my nose. Now I am walking around with a good sized scratch at the very tip of my nose. It looks as though I got crazy and dove face first into some chocolate. But, I'll take that as yesterday's accidents could have been much worse.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

House-Cooling Party??

When you acquire something new, it's reason for a party, right? Thus, a housewarming party??? But what if you are in the midst of giving something up? I will come back to this thought in a bit.....

David's best friend, Jon, is in Buffalo from New Orleans. Actually, Jon is more than a friend, he is family to us. He is like a brother to us and Jon's family, in turn, has accepted us as part of their "extended family". Since David's mom lives 500 miles away, we would joke around that Jon's mom (Shirley) is David's "Buffalo Mom" and consequently, after Madeline came home, while Jon is "Uncle Jon", Shirley became, "Buffalo Grandma". Madeline knows Jon and Shirley....but add to the mix, Jon's brother, Joe, who is also in town from Dallas. This evening we had "Buffalo Grandma", "Uncle Jon" and Joe over for dinner. It was actually pretty funny because Madeline, not as familiar with Joe, started off calling him "Mr. Joe", then "Uncle Joe" then "Uncle Mr. Joe". However as the evening progressed and the temperature outside began to drop Madeline asked Joe, "Do you want a sweatshirt, HONEY?"......oh brother!!

The six of us had a nice evening. David cooked out some yummy chicken on the grill, I made a couple sides (that was fun trying to have a functional kitchen with half of my stuff packed away), Shirley brought a pasta salad and fruit salad (which Madeline devoured half of) and then I served strawberry shortcake for dessert. The "boys" have such a quick sense of humor and we had many good laughs throughout the night. When the evening ended and our company left, David and I reflected about the enjoyable evening while looking forward to the almost immediate future in our new house. We began to realize that tonight is probably the last time we would entertain in our current home. We realized that (due to upcoming travel) this may have been the last Sunday meal in our current house.

So, prior to our new house's "warming", in retrospect I guess we can say that tonight was our "House Cooling Party". How appropriate to create some final memories in our home with friends that we consider family. Thanks for sharing the evening with us!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Do You Have Something To Say?

Comments are always welcome!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mama-Dirtyfoot - The Wedding Planner!!

I've always thought it would be neat to be a wedding planner. For those of you that know me know that I love organizing parties/events. Yet, somehow I think that if I became a wedding planner, ALL weddings would turn out like the one in the video above. Can you only imagine how much fun that reception had to be???

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Administrative Decision

In our new house, we will have a 3 season room. We are looking forward to this addition to living space, easy access to the hot tub and pool we will be acquiring and the ability to enjoy the landscaping and privacy of our new yard while still having shelter from rain, excessive sun, and mosquitoes. But, since we have never had this type of living space before we, of course, do not have furniture to furnish it. Certainly we do not want to have a vacant 3 season room until we decide what to do in there yet, we also don't want to spend an arm and a leg to pick up a piece or two to put in there. David and I thought that we would be able to get a good deal on the end of season clearance sales but even though we were looking at items up to 50% off, the stores we *still* asking over $1,000 for a set!!!!........not happening!!! On top of that, the question would be, if we purchased something - how would we get it home?

While David was out of town and unavailable to contact an opportunity arose and I made an administrative decision. On I came across a 3 piece wicker set (see photo) for only $200! The stuff was in excellent condition, real wicker (not the resin wicker) and all I need is new cushions. And the best part is, I struck an agreement (long story) to have them deliver it to my house. So now, the 3 piece wicker set is sitting in my garage and waiting for the movers to transport it to our new address. Yep, one step closer to its new home......

This is a picture of our future 3 season room....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

She's So Angelic......when she sleeps!

Sooooooo close to breaking into that "Mommy's Time Out"! Madeline's week of activities at last week's MCO is catching up to her! She is pooping out early......but Madeline is a crazed child when she is tired. Seriously, she acts as though she digested an entire case of Pixie Stix, lacking all self control, when tired......making Mama (and Papa) on the brink of insanity. At times like these, even though I count seconds until bedtime, when I peek in on her before I head to bed I just want to give the angelic looking child (whom only hours before was possessed) hugs and kisses. Sleep tight, Angel! XOXOXOXO!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mama's Insurance Policy

I just thought I would share this nifty gift that my sister-in-law, Jamie, gave each of my sisters at the recent campout. Leave it to Jamie.....she found a bottle of Pinot Prigio labeled "Mommy's Time Out". I plan to reserve the opening of this for the end of one those extremely "tough to be a mom" days.....and we women know they exist! I feel like posting a sticky note on the bottle that exclaims, "In case of emergency.....OPEN!" I do know that Madeline's good and bad days go in cycles. It does seem as though her "bad cycles" tend to correspond with some type of major growth spurt (either physical or developmental). Currently, we are in the midst of a good cycle. But the day will come and I will be prepared with a box of Calgon in one hand and "Mommy's Time Out" in the other. Thanks, Jamie!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

MCO XXI - recap...raw & uncut :-)

We've only been home since Friday evening and already the clarity of last week's events have become blurry. I will try to re-cap our vacation as best as possible.....

Hmmmm......for those of you that do not know, I guess I should recap all in attendance (it varied throughout the week).
(1) From Pennsylvania - My brother, Marty. His wife, Vicky and their son, Andy was able to make MCO for a few days (Their daughter Christina is currently in Europe)
(2) From New Hampshire - My brother, Chris. His wife, Jamie and thier daughter Anna. (Chris' son and other daughter Sarah made an appearance later in the week)
(3) From Kentucky - My brother, Paul and his wife Penny. (Their daughthers Rachel and Becky made an appearance later in the week although Ryan was not able to attend this year.)
(4) From Maryland - My sister, Marysia, her husband Mike and their kids - Tommy, Lauren, Andy and Julie.
(5) From Ohio - My sister, MArgaret, her husband Mark and their kids - Chris and Kate.
(6) From New York - My Aunt Sue, Uncle Ron and, of course, David, Madeline and me.

Friday (7/10) - Traveled to the 21st annual MCO at Gifford Pinchot State Park in Eastern PA. Our travel time was approximately 6hrs. We arrived at 11pm. Although Madeline only briefly fell asleep in the car, she had enough of a brief second-wind upon arrival to say hello/good night to all of her aunts and uncles at the campfire.

Saturday (7/11) - Marysia, Margaert and I headed out to the grocery store to get what each of us needed for the week. Margaret's family surprised Madeline with a 3-wheeled scooter. Luckily for David, this surprise helped to occupy Madeline while Mama was shopping. In the evening we had our appetizer night for dinner. This is somewhat a new tradition at MCO. For dinner, each family makes an appetizer to share with everyone. We select a time and all congregate in one cabin to enjoy the feast. In the evening, the brush with wildlife began for the sister-in-law headed back to her (& Chris') cabin only to rush back in a freenzy because their was a snake on the porch of her cabin. My nephew, Andy, (a 22 yr old Eagle Scout) saved the day by catching the snake (Black Rat Snake) and CARRYING IT back to the site that we were at for the appetizer night!! It was pretty cool to be able to touch the snake. Although Madeline wanted to touch it, she backed down when given the opportunity.

Sunday (7/12) - More wildlife in the morning..... a turtle in the grassy area outside our cabin. Again, Madeline wanted to touch the turtle but backed down when given the opportunity. However, observing the turtle was a great learning experience for MAdeline. My niece, Julie was brave enough to pick up the turtle and move it to a grassy area near the lake's shore. In the afternoon, MAdeline and I headed to the beach and met up with some of the family there. MAdeline was having a blast playing with her cousins. Why didn't David head to the beach with us? David was busy with kitchen duty.....another annual tradition. Each year, the men get together to work on concocting an awesome batch of chili. In years past there has been "mystery meat" in the chili...deer, buffalo, or last year I brought along kangaroo meat. Yet, this year there was no mystery meat....although the chili was still excellent! Another MAJOR WILDLIFE ENCOUNTER>>> Later in the evening, my niece, Lauren went back to her cabin just in time to see a black snake climbing into their cabin (my sister Marysia's cabin) through a very small hole in the window's screen. By this point in time, my nephew Andy already left the campout so my brother-in-law, Mike, was left to try to catch the snake and get it out of the cabin. My nephews thought it would be funny to lightly rub my ankle with a stick while I was watching the snake-catching attempt. Needless to say, I left out a good, healthy scream. As far as the snake catching goes (photo here is the frenzy surrounding the snake catching attempt).....the snake crawled into a heating vent. Despite Mike taking apart the heating vent, the snake was not found. So.....who knows, Marysia and her family may have slept with a snake in their cabin for the rest of the week. (Although Andy left, Rachel and Becky arrived very late this evening)

Monday 7/13 - David, Madeline and I had a lazy day. We headed back to the beach and had a picnic lunch there. Not sure what day it was but we had more brushes with wildlife. Saw some deer roaming the field across from our cabin and also saw a huge Barred Owl. Our pictures of the owl didn't turn out but my sister-in-law, Penny, got some beautiful pictures of some during the daytime (see above). We also had our annual MCO photos (serious and silly). You can see them below on my last post (date Friday 7/17).

Tuesday 7/14 - I am thinking that this is the day that we went on a mini-hike with Madeline. Boy......she can be a girly-girl. Yet, we did have fun climbing on some rocks that were on the trail. We also caught (then released) a butterfly. (see video below). Now, I am not sure anymore on these dates but I am thinking this is when my nieces, Becky & Rachel left as well as my Aunt Sue & Uncle Ron. Yet, if I am not mistaken, this is the date that my nephew and niece, Matt & Sarah, arrived.

Wednesday 7/15 - Quite and eventful day! We were able to reconnect with another couple (Greg & Rebekah) that we met while in Astrakhan, Russia. They live only an hour away from where we were camping. It was wonderful to reconnect with them and meet their twin boys, Josiah & Jachin (their Gotcha Day was 5 days after we left Russia). It was so nice catching up with Greg and Rebekah and Madeline had fun playing with the boys. I wonder if love blossomed as Madeline began calling one of the boys "honey boy" and David said he heard one of the boys call Madeline sweetie.....too funny! After Greg & Rebekah left, David, Madeline and I headed down to the beach. Madeline was excited to try out her new orange noodle that we bought at WalMart the day before. Wednesday was also Marysia's birthday. In the evening we all got together at Marysia's cabin (no snake sighting) to celebrate with cake. Included with Marysia's gift was a bonus......yes, you guessed it - the figurines that we have been passing back and forth from my mom's house. I asked that Marysia not sneak back the items to me before the end of the week because I didn't want to loose or break them in my upcoming move. Yet, Marysia vowed to return them to me as a housewarming gift.

Thursday 7/16 - Another day at the beach. The noodle gave Madeline a lot of confidence in the water. Most importantly, we were at the beach with Madeline's cousins again. Simply watching her older cousins and her wanting to keep up with the older kids also gave Madeline a lot of confidence. She improved in her ability tremendously over the course of the week.....but especially on this particular day. Madeline was completely dunking her head under water. You have to check out the video below!!

Friday 7/17 - So sad....another campout under the belt. After heading out to breakfast with a good majority of the family, we said our good-byes and headed home.

Saturday 7/18.....discussions for next year's campout out have already begun!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

We Are Home

After a long drive today, we arrived safely at Home Sweet Home at about 7:30pm We got a bit of a late start departing as 15 of us headed out to breakfast before hitting the road. There was a bunch of congestion on the ride home and then in order to not have to figure out food upon arriving home, David, Madeline and I leisurely enjoyed dinner when we were about an hour away from home. We had a great time on our vacation but it felt great to get home too!

After getting our "overstuffed to the max" car unpacked, emptying suitcases, sorting and starting laundry, it is sort of late to start composing a MCO recap blog. I will try to work on that over the next day or two. I simply wanted to share our MCO family photos - serious and silly- and to also let you know that we arrived home safely.

One note about the was taken after my nephew, Andy, left but before the arrival of my nephew and niece, Matt & Sarah. My older, adult, nieces and nephews made appearances/departures throughout the week. Not all of them could be there the entire time but I am impressed that, even though they are older, they are still interested in coming to the campouts and made efforts to attend, even if they could only be there for a portion of the week.
There were only 2 people that could not attend at all this year - (1) my 24 yr old nephew, Ryan, who is married and had commitments at home and (2) my 20 yr old niece, Christina, who is currently spending the summer traveling Europe. I am so thrilled that this tradition has lived on and my mom and dad would be so proud!! Additionally, my Aunt Sue (dad's sister) and Uncle Ron were also able to join us for a few days. It was great to share in the fun. I will try to share more stories and photos over the next few days.

Friday, July 10, 2009


What is MCO?? Mazur Campout!! I am the youngest of a family of six. Although we grew up in Buffalo, I am the only one who remains here. Each of my siblings have relocated elsewhere. Needless to say, we don't have an opportunity to see each other very often. When my parents were alive, I was lucky enough (due to living in the same city as my parents) to benefit from my siblings' visits to my parents. Yet, it was quite rare for all of us to be together at the same time. Since my parents have passed, my siblings' trips to Buffalo are less frequent.

In an effort to get together, the Mazur campout started (by accident) 21 years ago. We didn't realize then what we were starting. It wasn't until the following year, when we did a second or even third campout, that thoughts of making this an annual event stirred. We started, 21 years ago, in tents, moved up to rustic cabins and now we still "camp" but it is hard to call it that when our cabins come equipped with kitchens and bathrooms. On the big milestone campouts (10th and 15th) our mom treated us to renting huge beach houses that fit all of us. This tradition was so important to my mom that she actually reserved money in her will for us to have another beach house rental on, our 20th MCO (see pictures) was also a treat from mom (and dad too!)

The campouts have seen the growing of families, marriages, divorces, deaths. The campouts offer a time to reconnect to our roots - ponder, reminisce and debate. The campouts allow us to drink, eat and be merry. MCOs have seen the siblings slowly age and watched an entire generation of nieces and nephews grow to adulthood. Despite the many changes that have occurred during the past 21 years, there have been many constants. Much laughter, good times and late nights by the campfire have been a part of this tradition. And most importantly, the bond of family remains strong.

We are leaving today for Eastern Pennsylvania. I am not sure what type of Internet (if any) I will have for the next week....although my techie brother, Paul, is promising to hook us up with WiFi. If I do have access, I will try to post. But now.....I have to finish packing!!

Señorita Madeline

David's (paternal) Uncle Charles lives in Austin, Texas. Yesterday, Madeline got a package in the mail from Uncle Charles containing a beautiful Mexican dress. I absolutely love the color blue and what it does to Madeline's eyes!! Rumor has it though that Uncle Charles thought the dress would be too big on Madeline (it actually fits perfectly). To that "rumor" I say that it is time for us to schedule another visit to Austin. Our dear child is growing at the rate of Jack's beanstalk! Madeline's height is pretty much up to my hip bone.....and she's only 3 1/2!! Yes, she is growing into a true Russian woman (they were all so tall!) Uncle Charles, you would be absolutely amazed!!! Hopefully we can get to Austin soon!! (Thanks for the dress!!)

David's Birthday

Yesterday was David's birthday. Unfortunately David had to work....and had a pretty stressful day on top of it...but, we tried to have a nice family celebration in the evening. Yesterday's weather was gorgeous. After a long string of below temperature days, the weather finally broke yesterday. We decided that we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day by enjoying dinner outside. I attempted to do something other than go to one of our usual places to eat. I wanted outdoor dining and, of course, casual enough to be kid friendly. I decided on a small outdoor casual dining restaurant that overlooks the Niagara River. Come to find out the restaurant was also planning live music that evening. Sounds perfect!!!

Well....I was told when I called the place that they do not take reservations for outdoor dining but that we could put our name in at the door. When we got there they asked if we had a reservation for outdoors. GRRRRrrrrr.....that didn't fly with me! So I bitched and they took my name down to wait for a table. Okay, we decided to go with the flow. The music just started so David went inside to get us some drinks (Madeline wanted to go with Papa) so that we could have a drink while we listened to music and wait for our table. Picture this....the music was a Sinatra-like singer. I thought, "Oooohhhh, how mellow! That music won't attract the bar crowd". Wrong!!! Turns out all the Buffalo "snow birds" are back from Florida and this is their big night out. When David was inside with Madeline, I had 70 year old guys hittin' on me!!! One even wanted to buy me a drink! We did eventually get a table and, although the food was only mediocre, it was nice to be outside enjoying the day.

The plan was to get dessert at the restaurant as David's birthday cake but we decided, instead, to head over to Dairy Queen after dinner for ice cream cones and then over to a small park near the river to open gifts. The video below is of Madeline singing "Happy Birthday" when we were on the way to Dairy Queen. After we got home, our babysitter came over and David and I headed back out. After David's exhausting day at work, he didn't think he would last through a movie so we decided to try a little wine bar in Niagara Falls. Although the birthday celebration wasn't exactly what I envisioned, I do believe that David enjoyed himself.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Final Chapter - Our Adoption Story

You've been following our "This Date In History" Adoption Story. If you know us well, you know that we are still writing the story of this family - aren't we all? But what was the "final chapter" of our adoption journey? Although, I did not send out another email update until July 12, 2007, I thought I would share with you today what that email stated. How did I wrap up to all my friends and family that waited for and read our emails from Russia each day? Below is my "final chapter" email along with a few pictures from our first summer with Madeline.

July 12, 2007

So, yes, we’ve arrived. I thought it would be fitting to give a final chapter in our saga. The flights went well. Considering that from the time we awoke in Moscow to the time we got home, we survived 24 hours of travel time, Madeline was a real trooper. The thing that made the trans-Atlantic flight bearable was that a nice man moved to a different seat on the plane to give us more room. Although Madeline was very good and sleeping at the time he switched seats, it was probably more like an “insurance policy” maneuver for him. There was some crying on the plan but really not enough to annoy the other passengers. She really was very good. THANK GOD!!

At the airport, my friend Kelly, her husband Pat, and daughter picked us up as planned. Also there to greet us were my co-workers Sr. Jeanette and Sr. Mary and my brother, Marty, drove in from State College, PA to welcome us home as well. By the time we got to the airport, Madeline was in pure “zombie” state……as so were David and I after the travel. However, Madeline got a second wind when we got home. It was almost as if she knew she was home. Exploring the house and her toys. Marty stayed at our house the first night and it was nice to have pizza and beer and talk about our travels with him.

My first mom day alone with Madeline was Monday, which was David birthday. I think I tried to bite off more than I could chew. I baked cupcakes before Madeline awoke and then later in the day, Madeline and I delivered cupcakes to David at work for his birthday. We also went birthday present shopping too. Again, Madeline was very good. She is fairly easy-going but my inexperienced planning really pushed the limits with naptime, etc. Although she did great, I need to figure out this schedule thing.

Tuesday, Madeline and I went to my mom’s house to check things out. That was very difficult for me. As Madeline made her self home there by running around (and exploring the infamous Chopin bust) I could only think of how my mom should’ve been there and how much she would’ve enjoyed seeing Madeline running around. Tuesday was also a difficult day for Madeline and another Mom initiation day for me. In one day she almost swallowed a dime, fell off a bed, and got stung in the face by a bee. Madeline’s whole side of her face swelled up from the bee sting. It looked like we punched her! After calling the pediatrician, they gave us the dosage of Benadryl to give her and warned us that the drug could either conk her out or make her hyper…..we got the hyper baby. It was actually pretty funny to watch. She looked like she was on crack or something….finally she went to sleep at 10pm.

Yesterday Madeline had her first pediatrician appointment. Although Madeline supposedly got shots in Russia, there are no dates of record and therefore would not be valid for shot records for when it was time for her to go to school. So Maddie got 4 shots (2 in each arm). I am not sure whom it hurt more! The Dr. said she is developing nicely but she needs to go for a slew of blood work just to check her out further (screening purposes only) The doctor is also setting us up with someone to help with her speech delay (which is normal for kids coming out of orphanages) that has been magnified due to the language change. All in all, things look good with Madeline.
David is back to work already too. This is tough on all three of us. Madeline’s clinginess to her Mama has gotten a little worse since she spends her time with me all day and only sees David in the evenings. WE are working through that and it’ll only be a matter of time.

Thanks again for listening to our story. It was comforting to know that we had all of our friends and family routing us on along the way. We will be very busy making rounds to visit everyone while adjusting to our new life. I would say “THE END”, but instead it is more appropriate to note that this is just the beginning….

Thanks again!

David, Amy and Madeline

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This Date In History 7/7/07 - The Newest Queen of America - Our Adoption Story

After almost 24 hours straight of travel (from the time we left our hotel in Moscow to the time we walked in our door at home) the new "Queen of America" was crowned. After an exhausting journey home, a small group of friends greeted us at the airport and even my brother, Marty, drove 4hrs from Central Pennsylvania to greet us (Thanks Kelly for organizing!) For obvious reasons, I did not send out an email to friends and family this day but I would like to share two items below:

The first is an email sent to me from my brother, Paul.

Hopefully you are in the air and headed west as I type this. I was
finishing my steamy jog when your taxi driver picked you up. This all
according to your itinerary. It was nearly 90 here today and I was
reluctant to head out on a jog. But I did it because I am training for
the Olympics. (Senior Olympics)

Penny and I just finished commenting on the picture gallery you sent. It
looks like you guys are really starting to bond. I'm sure there will be
a tidal wave of mixed emotions when you get home. Wallow in them. Every
emotion is important. In the end all will be well. I look forward to
seeing you and hugging all of you (even David). You're almost home!

Secondly is the contents of a blog post on my brothers' blog titled "The Newest Queen of America". This post was actually written and posted by Marty (7/9) after his return to Pennsylvania but I thought it was appropriate to post today. The photo above is the one Marty also posted on his blog. It was take at the Buffalo Airport. The tiara was given to Madeline by a flight attendant on our flight from Washington DC to Buffalo. You can tell by the photo that Madeline was a bit overwhelmed by the entire experience.

Meet Madeline Olga, the newest citizen of the United States of America, and the newest Mazurlander. She is the adopted daughter of my youngest sister Amy and her husband David. And now she is the newest Queen of America. Like the coming of any royalty, Madeline's arrival on these shores, indeed her entire journey here, was accompanied by auspicious signs.

This blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, obviously a royal descendant of the Vikings who long ago plied the waters of the Volga River near her birthplace in Astrakhan, had been given the Norse name Olga, meaning "Blessed one". She shares a birthday with our late mother, her maternal grandmother. Ma Mazur had a picture of Olga, knew she would be coming soon, and prayed for her daily. Amy and David left for Russia on June 9, Ma and Dad Mazur's wedding anniversary. They had chosen a new name for their girl, Madeline, a name that honors the woman who recognized and served our only True King. She came from a place where royalty was banished: no man is King, but until recently, every man was a slave. After four weeks as "Prisoners of Astrakhan", the whole family, Amy, David, and Madeline Olga, touched down in America on that most auspicious of all days, 07/07/07. And now a whole country full of wonders greater than those in any Harry Potter movie awaits her. She is now a citizen of a country where everyone is a king, or a queen. But Madeline is more than that: she is queen of our hearts!

Monday, July 6, 2009

This Date In History 7/6/07 - Our Adoption Story

Hmmmm......trying to figure this one out.... This email is dated for 7/6 but I know that we were on our way to the airport a 4am on the 6th. Regardless, below is my last update from Russia.

Friday July 6, 2007

It was so nice this morning as Madeline slept in late….so Mama and Papa did too! She does pretty good at sleeping in later if she goes to bed later. This could be nice on weekends. Madeline is also pretty good at restaurants too.

Most of the afternoon today was taken up by us visiting the American Embassy. We got her Visa to fly to the U.S. on her Russian Passport. Madeline will become a U.S. citizen as soon as our plan lands in the U.S. (in Washington D.C) We also got back all the official copies of her court documents, birth certificate, etc. It is official…..all the documents have November 4th, 2005 as Madeline’s birthday – the same day as my Mom. Before my mom died, it was comforting to her to know that she and Madeline shared the same birthday. This is why I was a little upset when there was some confusion in her birth date. For all I know it could have been a translation error during our court hearing. But all is now good.

For dinner this evening we went to T.G.I Fridays. Again, I reiterate how David and I usually tease people who go on vacation and go to chain restaurants that they can go to at home. But after living “Survivor – Russia” we felt that an exception to this rule could be made. The burger was SSSOOOOoooooooooooo GOOD!!!!!

After we got back from dinner we took Madeline to the pool. We are now trying to get ourselves ready to leave. Our flight leaves tomorrow at 7am (11pm eastern time on 7/6) Our driver is picking us up at 4am (8pm eastern time on 7/6) and we will be getting home at 6pm eastern time tomorrow 7/7. Needless to say, it will be a Veryyyyy long day for us.

My friend Kelly is picking us up at the airport. I am putting out our disclaimer now, Kelly, that we will look like CRAP!

Anyway, I should get headed to bed soon. Thanks for “subscribing” to our updates and giving us an outlet to share our experiences and vent about homesickness and any other issues that came up. We are looking forward to getting home.

David and Amy
OOOOhhhh......after several weeks in Astrakhan, you haveNNNoooooo idea how good an "American Burger" tasted at Fridays. Madeline was THRILLED because they gave her a balloon!!!

Madeline carried that balloon all the way back to the hotel! It was her prized possession...

Ummmmm......yeah.....Madeline got a little too rough with the balloon and it popped....

We ended up heading to the hotel's pool. I am certain this was Madeline's first experience.....

Back track to Red Square.....this was our last view/picture (possibly ever- but I hope not) of Red Square.