Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Donation Thank You

First let us apologize for how long it has taken us to get this message out. Thank you to those of you that helped us raise a little over $1500. We worked with the director of Boston’s orphanage to determine what their greatest needs were. They actually needed a new copier desperately. At first we were hesitant because we were clear that our donation was to be specifically for the children. But it didn’t take long for us to be convinced that the copier was in fact for the children. The staff has to prepare sooooo many documents for the children to be adopted, and we know that is a fact from firsthand experience! So to help the adoption process of many children we agreed to take them shopping for a copier that would meet their needs. We encouraged them to get everything they needed. They ended up with a copier/printer/fax machine, extra toner, a digital camera, and a new phone for the office. All of that totalled about $500. So we had $1000 remaining. After much thought and consideration, we donated the money to a program called the Grandma Mentoring Program.
You can use this link to read more about that program.

As a result of learning about the Grandma Mentoring Program and the fact that we will always feel a connection with the orphans in Vladivostok, we are now helping to develop an organization called Orphans at Play. Orphans at Play believes in the art of play and loving interaction with children in order to strengthen the development in each child. There are a lot of fundraising efforts and such going on right now to help us reach our first goal. That goal is to get two ‘grandmas/grandpas’ (mentors) into four orphanages for the next year. If you would like to learn more about what we are trying to do or help out in any way, please check out our website at .

Just to show you what a little love and interaction can do, I have attached a couple of pictures of Boston for you. In less than 6 months he has grown 2 inches, gained 3 pounds, and has managed to wrap this entire family around his little finger!

Thank you again for your support. It means a lot to us!
~Justin and Heather

Before: One of Boston's referral photos.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Exciting News: Orphans at Play Store is Now Open!

Check out the new custom designed necklaces. These are perfect for showing your Russian adoption pride, bringing awareness to children in Russia and supporting Orphans at Play's Grandma Mentoring Program. Proceeds will directly be given to our Grandma program and helping the children of Vladivostok who are waiting for families.

Interact in play. Support Through Love. Increase growth and development.         

Simply put: Play. Love. Grow.          

New products will be released throughout the next few weeks. Need a special birthday gift? Thinking about the perfect present for a family coming home from Russia? Or a baby shower gift? A wonderful teacher? These special designs come with a ribbon tie necklace and a special note to say thank you for helping us give back.

We will be releasing the rest of the designs in the brochure throughout the week!

Orphans At Play Store

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spreading the Word

My hope is that someday in the very near future I can actually get back to blogging.  I really do miss it.  In the meantime here is information I wanted to help get out there to people....

Have an ol' piece of luggage laying around? Donate it to Orphans at Play Winter Jackets n' Hats Drive and give those traveling with donations a good opportunity for an easy delivery to children in need. If you happen to be traveling soon, why not fill an ol' piece of luggage with jackets n hats for a baby home, baby hospital or orphanage. The winter months are ahead and brrr... with cool, often snowy months on average 7f -14c degrees in Vladivostok, a warm hat or cozy jacket becomes a necessity.

Children in Vladivostok have incredibly warm hearts and the sweetest smiles. We want to do everything we can to comfort them while they wait for loving families to take them home. Please help us give back as so many of us have clothes too small for our children laying around in a closet. Or if you have the talent to knit, think of all of the children who will smile as they are given a handmade hat made just for them.

We have reached out across the country and the following people have volunteered their time and efforts for collection. If you are near by one of these areas, contact the person below.

The following contacts are available for area drop off locations:
Jody in Greenville, Ohio

Autumn in Denair, California

Lilian in Gaithersburg, Maryland

Meredith in Cleveland, Ohio

Melissa in Alabama

Christen in Elmhurst, Illinois

Sabrina in Florida

HunterAnn in Seattle, Washington

If you prefer to send the items, please contact Jody .

Family or friends - if this is something you would like to participate in I too can collect items and see that they get to the appropriate people.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Have I given up?

I have been asked if I have given up on this blog?


I have developed a love/hate relationship with the blog. First of all I would love to blog all of the time – put my thoughts down – be helpful to others – etc. The reality of it is that I just can’t find the time or seem to make it a priority. So therefore I hate that it hangs over my head as one more thing that needs (or I want) to get done and it doesn’t happen. I think of posts all of the time that I intend to publish but they all stay in my cluttered mind and never make it to the computer screen. Amy Casey encouraged us to do a ‘we are not the Cleavers” post and it was all planned out in my mind as I was working around the house but now the time has passed and so have many of my thoughts.

If I am being honest with myself, I will probably let this blog ‘go’ or just use it to update very randomly and with very little photos. I will attempt to be more diligent about getting things on our private blog. The intention of that one is to be an electronic scrapbook of sorts for the kids when they get older. I don’t mind if people want to have access to it (just leave a comment or send me an email your email address). But we choose to have it private now that Brady is 10 and going into the 5th grade as it is not necessarily comfortable for children to have their friends seeing things about them. Remember that around that age or shortly after EVERYTHING is so embarrassing!

I love being a support to other adopting families, but for me I will mentor/encourage/support families through personal emails or phone calls rather than through this blog. Honestly it comes down to a time factor. I really did not think it would be that big of an adjustment going from 3 kids to 4 kids. Wow was I wrong! Things are going very well and we really are very happy and are grateful – but - I don’t know if it is that we have one additional person to care for or if it is more that that new addition is still a toddler and not as independent as the other three. Whatever the reason, many days I am in survival mode.

And now this post could go on and on because I would like to share about Boston’s progress and how everyone in the family is adjusting to their sibling and tons of other details but I am being beckoned by the little ones to join them outside….

So who knows when my next post will be? I still want to share about our orphanage donation as well as some exciting news about an organization called Orphans at Play. I also want share about making choices to serve in Christ’s name and what that means to me and on and on and on…..

And the love/hate relationship continues between me and blogging…..

Monday, June 6, 2011


Before we left for Russia we received the cutest frame that has the word 'Brothers' etched on it. I thought on Sunday before church I could just snap the perfect picture of the boys and finally get the frame filled. Here is are a few of my frustrating attempts. Big B had a headache and was a complainer. Little B would make funny faces or squint his eyes. Baby B thought it was funny to purposely not look at the camera.  The second one of just Blake and Boston is kinda cute, but I really would like a decent one with Brady in the picture too! I have no idea how we are going to get a cute family photo taken especially when we add our drama queen plus Justin and me. I was frustrated and gave up after just a few attempts. I think photographers that shoot children's pictures must be blessed with a little extra dose of patience!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baby of the Family

So we haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth as some people have suggested. We are just a little busy with everyone’s schedules and end of the school year activities. I am enjoying my time at home so much. I am very disappointed that on Tuesday I have to return to work for a few weeks to finish out my contract. It seems as though all of the new routines we have established will all be undone in this short period of time. I am trying my best to just focus on the positive and remember how lucky I am to be able stay at home after I finish this last little stretch of work. It is a little surprising to me how well being a stay-at-home mom suits me (although there is very little staying at home).

Boston is changing so fast. He rarely throws fits anymore. He is a quick learner and it didn’t take him long to figure out that throwing a fit was not in his best interest. He is learning so many new words and phrases. He is even showing his sense of humor! Justin and I were commenting just the other day that now we realize how there becomes ‘the baby of the family’. We agree that because we know that this is the last time we be going through the toddler stage we are cherishing it so much. We are ‘those parents’ that find every new thing that Boston does just as cute as can be. Instead of people telling us to enjoy every moment because it goes fast we know from firsthand experience that it goes wayyyy to fast. So we are really enjoying having the baby of the family to help us remember to slow down any chance we can to enjoy each of our four children in the stage that they are currently in – even with the challenges each stage brings.

I still want to do a post about our donation to orphanage and share some information about the Orphans at Play organization that is being started up by another family that has been blessed with a little boy from the Vladivostok region of Russia. After that I will just post on our family blog.

Thanks to everyone who has checked in on us. We really are doing well and giving God the glory for taking us on an amazing journey that challenges us every day!

Here are a few pictures from tonight.  We went to Madison's circus performance!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Photo Update

Things are really going well here now that we have some routines established.  Boston has been dealing with croup and that is no fun though.

On Mother's Day we quickly snapped a few pictures before heading out to Brady and Maddie's piano recital.  Boy it is hard to get a good one of all 4 kiddos at the same time.  Here are my babies!!
Boston got his first tractor ride.  It was good for about 10 minutes and then he was ready to go do something else.

Baby B loves to put on things he finds laying around.  He especially likes glasses!

Shoes and hats are fun too!

Just about anything in the house can become a toy. The laundry basket can become a car on most days!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Adjusting and readjusting continued…

(If this ends up appearing in tiny font - sorry! I can't figure out what is wrong with the copy and paste feature.)

Things are still crazy busy around here and a lot of adjusting is still taking place, but we have also established some new routines and that has helped out TONS!  In fact, as I reflect on the day, Boston did not throw a single temper tantrum all day (and no he did not get his way all day!).  I would love to type about what all has been going on and share pictures of Mother’s Day, piano and dance recitals, soccer game, Blake registering for kindergarten, Boston’s doctor visits, but honestly I can’t find the time.  So instead of stress about what I can’t type about I am going to enjoy the little bit that I do get to get off my chest.  I think after this I will do a post full of photos to update you on how we are doing and then I will probably just blog on our family blog (more about that later though).

So what was the big turning point?  Two weeks ago this Wednesday I was racing home to try to beat the people that would be coming to our house for our small group (book study).  I was at my wits end with all of the running around, things not in order, and adjusting to life with a two year old.  All of the sudden about two miles from home I felt like God just knocked my upside the head.  Kinda like, ‘would you get over yourself already geeze?!?!’ First of all look at the things I was complaining about, my schedule was not established, my calendar was not in order, our house wasn’t all picked up, two-year old tantrums from a little boy that just has his whole world turned upside down.  If that is all I have to complain about then my life is pretty darn good.  I decided to stop basking in my self pity and began to look at all that was right with my world.  We made it through another successful Russian adoption (no easy feat); Justin’s father is doing well; Boston is attaching to our family in very healthy ways; he loves to cuddle with me and shows affection; Brady, Madison, and Blake love having their little brother around – most of the time.  So really I was sweating the small stuff.  And even more importantly I thought about how I needed to open my eyes to what God is trying to do in our lives as our journey continued.  Justin and I both felt called down this path and if we can just stop trying to control every step of the way we know, from experience, some real amazing things can happen.

So my new approach to each day (some days more successful than others) is to extend a little grace to myself.  Not everything has to be in order every single day.  I don’t have to have the entire week planned out and know exactly what is happening every minute of every day.  It is ok to stop in the middle of the day and cuddle with Boston and help him fall asleep for his nap.  It is ok to not get as many of the closets and shelves cleaned because we played patty cake and went outside to play with the dog.  However the two areas of my life where I cannot be so forgiving are in my personal and spiritual health.  I hate that these are the first two areas to suffer when chaos settles in.  I am trying to force myself back to healthy eating and exercise both of which take time and time is what I am short of.  But I know that other things will fall into place if I can get that area back under control.  And of course I must make time for my spiritual journey.  I know when I take time out for bible reading, small group, and such all of the other areas of my life seems to go much smoother.  So this is all still a work in progress, but I am realizing this is the recipe for success for my day to day living.  Sometimes the recipe flops but other times it turns out perfect.

Thank you to those that have left comments and emailed words of support and encouragement.  I love how most of you put ‘don’t feel obligated to reply’ like you didn’t want to add any more stress to my plate.  I really wish I could keep in touch with the people that have been so supportive in the blogging world.  It is an amazing network of support!

As I mentioned, the next post should come much sooner and have some pictures of what Boston is up to! I am a little biased, but he is so darn cute!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Adjusting and Readjusting

I am starting this post at 9:45 p.m. All four kiddos are asleep and Justin is still in his tractor planting (praise God!) As I look around my kitchen, I see a million other things that I would like to accomplish, but I am quickly learning that they will be there waiting for me tomorrow. I have so many thoughts I would like to share and I would like to organize them all and write a nice post. That is just not going to happen. So I am just going to ramble – sort of blogging therapy. Sorry if you get lost along the way as you read this, but I have a feeling when I am done I am going to feel accomplished. :o)

As of this morning Boston and I have been home for 2 weeks. The changes in him are amazing. I would almost say the changes are scary because I realize how quickly this time with him at home is going to go. I am dreading going back to work at all. I of course dare not complain. I only have to go back the day after Memorial Day and for the following three weeks. I will then be staying at home with Boston; running Brady, Blake and Madison around; and helping Justin with farming and rental paperwork (sounds like a full time job to me!). I am hearing great things about the person that will replace me as the Technology Director for our school district and that helps a lot. I just adore the members of our tech department so it makes leaving a lot easier knowing they are going to be in good hands.

So adjusting… first let me start with Boston. He has settled in quite nicely. He is getting into a routine and that has been helpful for both of us. He LOVES to be outside with our dog and to take baths/showers. If he doesn’t get to do both of those things each day he will express his feelings of frustration. He lights up when his big sister Madison walks into the room. He and Blake play together fine, but they quickly lose interest in what the other is doing and are on to something new. Brady loves Boston and is very patient with him. Boston will play close to Brady but not so much WITH Brady. He seems hesitant of males if they seem like they are going to hang around long. So far sleeping and eating have not been an issue for us at all. We are grateful for that. I don’t think sleep deprivation would help the family dynamics at all.

The person who really had to make some adjustments is me. The first week home was very difficult for me. In Russia Boston would cry periodically but he didn’t really throw temper tantrums. Everything was so slowly paced there and life was all about Boston. So when we got home and I tried to catch up from being gone and jump back in to the normal rat race we run each day, I met some resistance. For the first time I saw a true 2 year old tantrum complete with feet kicking, attempting to bite, screaming, etc… Brady and Madison were never really fit throwers – well of course they threw fits – but not full blown tantrums. Blake was a year and a half older when he got home and from day one his main goal has been to please Justin and me. He has gotten a little ornerier which is kind of good to see, but again no tantrums. So Boston’s fit throwing really heightened my anxiety. I especially had a hard time if he did it in public. I felt like everyone was watching me and the new child that we CHOSE to go get and bring into our family and how I was going to handle the situation. This went on for almost a week and a half, several times a day. I then realized that I was the prime trigger for most of the fits. I refuse to give Boston everything he wants and give in to whining but really that was not when the fits would flair up. It was when he would be playing and I would quickly scoop him up because we needed to run to get the kids from school or run some errand. He had no warning and this new fast paced life was overwhelming him. Also he would feed off my anxiety. The more anxious I got them more agitated he was getting. So I started to make a conscious effort to start getting ready to leave the house earlier and slowing down when putting on his jacket and shoes and talking about going paka paka or bye bye. Of course slowing down and starting earlier in turn eased my anxiety because we were not running late. And wouldn’t you know, the fit throwing decreased dramatically. Now we have about one real fit a day and usually it is because someone has gone out the door and he didn’t get to go out and see the dog, and these fits are not lasting as long as they were. I also am learning how to not react to the fit and that if it happens in public most people who look at me are taking pity on me and not being critical (at least that is what I choose to believe). Adjusting and readjusting….

Wow, I have so much more I want to type by my eyes are burning from being so tired. I guess I’ll have to continue this post later. Since I don’t know when later will be, I am going to go ahead and post this part of the entry.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hodgepodge Update

I am very quickly learning that we will be establishing a new ‘normal’ in our lives. There are lots of changes that have taken place and still others that need to happen. I plan to work on a post that explains all of those changes. I have a feeling that this blog will be brought to an end very quickly. The most interesting part for most of the readers is over anyway. I really do enjoy blogging, but it actually has been a point of stress for me. The fact that I haven’t been able to find the time to write is bothersome. In fact I am feeling guilty for taking the time right now to do this post. Boston is down for a nap and I can think of a million and one things I would like to accomplish right now…

Yesterday was our first doctor’s appointment. Fully clothed, with shoes and diaper on, Boston weighed 22 pounds. That put him in like the 3rd percentile for 2 year olds I believe. We were pleased he made the chart. :o) He had 2 vaccines, a TB test, and lots and lots of blood drawn to test for everything under the sun. And to top off the day, I had to collect stool and urine samples. I won’t go into details, but let me just tell you this is no fun!! Each person that has done an early evaluation of Boston seems to think that he is right on target developmentally despite spending the entire first 2 years of his life in an orphanage. So far so good but it is early to tell.

I have not done a great job yet getting pictures of all of the kids together. That is on the list of things to get done. I thought I would go through some of the pictures and let them tell the story of what we have been up to…

When we arrived home there were flowers, balloons, and cards waiting for us!

The balloons got tied to the back of Boston’s new toy! 

Madison has been a big help.  She loves her baby brother.  We have actually had to explain to her why she cannot give him things if we have told him no.  The first night we were home I let Madison take Boston into her room while I read Blake a bedtime story.  About 10 minutes later I came out of Blake’s room and heard Madison giggling.  When I went into her room she was smiling from ear to ear and could barely contain her laughter.  She was so proud that in those 10 minutes she had gotten Boston to sleep.  Then a couple of nights after that, they were in the basement watching a little TV and cuddling and she put him to sleep again.  Very sweet!

On Thursday the 21st we went to Blades to get his first haircut before our big Easter weekend.

Blake really likes to play with Boston but he thought he would be much smaller.  He also asked if Boston is going to cry EVERY single day!  He made Easter bags at school and was proud of the one for his little brother.

Who’s the big brother and who’s the little brother?

On Saturday before going to my parents for Easter – before his big debut – before pictures with his cousins… Boston gave himself a black eye. He was not happy that Madison had shut the gate that kept him from going up the stairs. In pure two year old fashion, he threw a fit, stomped into my bedroom and yanked on a free standing jewelry box. It came crashing down on him, cut, and bruised his eye lid. I felt so bad for him, but I must say he has not even come close to the jewelry box since then. So in some of the pictures below you may notice the rough look on his face.

Here is his first Easter egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

After church on Sunday, there was an Easter egg hunt and Nana’s house.

There is always so much going on.  Like all parents, I wish I could capture each moment.  All four of our children are changing so fast.  We are truly blessed to be the Overstreet family of 6!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Favorite Photo

Ok I have lots to say and still haven't found time to type it all out.  So for now I will leave you with one of my favorite photos from Easter Sunday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maybe tomorrow?

Things are going well but lots of adjusting to do too.  I keep thinking I will get a blog post done and then the day is over and I can not keep my eyes open.  Maybe tomorrow I can post some pictures at least....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Home Sweet Home

The flight from Moscow to Atlanta was virtually empty.  The attendants said that had not seen it that empty in years.  Boston had plenty of room to roam and the flight went very well.  Answered Prayer!

6 hour layover in Atlanta.  No fun.  But immigration went very quick.

Loaded 1 hour 35 minute flight to Moline at 9:30 p.m.  Storms were blocking our path.  We waited an hour or so on the plane before take off to get an alternative route and more fuel to make the flight.  Our flight then took over 2 hours and 45 minutes.  When it was all said and done we landed 2.5 hours after we were scheduled to land. No fun.

Finally by 3:30 a.m. we were home sweet home!  Answered Prayer!

Brady, Madison, and Blake were so excited this morning.  It did my heart good to see them and to have hugs from Justin!  Boston used his charm to win them over in the 10 minutes they had to play.  At some point we MUST get some sleep.  It isn't taking him long to show me how non-toddler proof our house really is!!

I hope to update when I am settled.  Lots to do to get ready for the Easter weekend.  What a great way to celebrate Boston's homecoming!  Thank you all for your prayers and support.  They made a huge difference!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Last Random Ramblings from Russia

• Today Boston was issued his US Visa. The moment we get to the Atlanta airport he will be a US citizen!

• He and Blake will maintain dual citizenship for the rest of their lives unless they go through a formal procedure to renounce their Russian citizenship. Men age 19-32 are required to serve in the Russian military. If either of them visited Russia during that time they would risk being called to serve. The US Embassy personnel was sure to let us know that there is nothing they can do about that if it actually happened. Very interesting.

• Boston’s favorite spot in our room is on the trash can in the bathroom!

• The bananas we had for breakfast were about as big as Boston’s entire arm! Oh and do you see that big screen TV in the background? I could go without TV but I can’t go without intelligent noise of some kind. I am so tired of the BBC which is the ONLY English speaking channel here.

Important: For family and friends at home. One thing that is very hard for Justin and I is to set boundaries for people who would like to hold and cuddle with Boston. Other adoptive parents know all about the attachment process, but for those that have never been on this journey you just don’t even think about it. Right now Boston will go to anyone who holds out their hands to him. If you are man he will typically have a stiff back and maybe even have tears rolling down his cheeks, but still he will go to anyone. If you are a woman, he will be more relaxed. If you are sweet and kind he will even snuggle in close and give you an adorable kiss on the cheek. It is counterintuitive to Justin and I to teach that we don’t love everyone like we love our immediate family. We are the type of people who try to love others no matter what the circumstance. We TRY to teach Brady and Madison to be kind and care for others all the time. With Blake and now with Boston, we will of course still teach those very same principles, but first we have to make up for the years that we lost setting the foundation of family. In order to do that, we have to be the primary caregivers. Justin, Brady, Madison, Blake, and I have to be the ones that Boston sees as his most immediate loved ones. Of course we want him to get to know and love his extended family members and our dear friends, and brief hugs will be most welcomed! :o) But we know we have to make this short term sacrifice for a long term gain. Thank you in advance for your ongoing support and understanding!

• And now we say goodbye to Russia. It was sad to say goodbye in Vladivostok. There really is nothing sad about saying goodbye in Moscow! We are ready to be home!

Paka Paka!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Torturous Trip to Red Square

Yesterday was Sunday here and if I was going to make the walk to Red Square for the ‘must-have’ photos it had to happen that day. Today we will do to the US Embassy interview and receive Boston’s visa. We will then pack everything up tonight and head home tomorrow!!! I am beyond excited about being home. I am DREADING the 12+ hour flight to Atlanta and the 6 hour layover for a 2 hour flight to Moline however. Ok back to our Red square fiasco…

As I have mentioned before, it is virtually impossible to take a stroller anywhere. The only way I was going to make it all the way down Arabat Street, the couple of blocks to Red Square, around Red Square and back was to figure out a way to use the stroller. Here is a picture at the feeble attempt to be handicapped/stroller accessible. Perhaps their fancy carriages with the monster tires fit in those tracks, but not my stroller! I had to manage 5 of these underground passages. That makes 10 sets of stairs on the way to the Square and 10 on the way back. This was the first one that I cross every day to get to the market and Arabat Street.

On the way down Arabat is was pretty quite. It was just about noon and there wasn’t a whole lot going on. I even had a time to snap a couple of pictures on the way down.

After Arabat there were the remaining four underground passages to contend with. I tried carrying Boston in one arm and dragging the stroller up and down with the other. That didn’t work too well as the stroller was too heavy for me to lift very high and I was banging it on every stair. At that rate the stroller would not hold up for the remainder of the walk. So that technique was out. A couple of times a man graciously volunteered to lift the front for me without me even asking or anything. This act of kindness about brought me to tears (of course that is easy to do these days!). But seriously, my anxiety is already running high and to have someone help out was such a relief. I made a note to myself at that point that Justin and I would make certain to teach our children to always take a second and help a person out when needed. We already try to do this, but I am going to be very intentional about it. Something that took those couple of gentleman less than one minute to do made a HUGE difference for me at that moment. The other times when no one volunteered, I waited for some man to come along that didn’t look too scary and would say please in both English and Russian and point to the front of the stroller. They would then help me out. It is hard for me to not be independent! If you see the picture below, at one point I was right across the street from Red Square. Again across the street means ANOTHER underground passage. I was so mentally exhausted by the time I got to this point. I was beginning to think I was going to forget how to get back to the hotel if I went underground one more time. I was close enough to see the Square but STILLLL couldn’t get to it. Of course I knew I would be furious at myself all day if I made it that far and didn’t make the last bit of effort to cross the street so on we went.

I took a picture of the point where we came up from the underground passage so I wouldn’t forget how to get back. 4 crazy horses - surely I could find them again.

I took pictures of different structures but didn’t go into any buildings. Here is a neat church that Justin and I went in last time we were here. This time a picture from a distance is all we got!

So when we got close to St. Basil Cathedral I got brave enough to let Boston out of the stroller. I was able to snap just a couple of pictures when in true two year old style Boston was getting tempted to go running! I could not risk trying to chase him and leave the stroller with our belonging unattended. There are lots of warnings about theft – after all it is a tourist area. Back in the stroller he went.

The rest of our photos were taken with him in the stroller. The quality of the pictures were so poor I wonder if it was truly worth trip!

Boston began to get fussy and then fell asleep. I found a bench and sat down for about 15 minutes to let him rest. Actually, I think it was so I had time to give myself a pep talk about making it back to the hotel. I was so done with this trip!!! I stood up and with newly found determination I headed back to the hotel. This time I did not even wait for the right person to ask for help with the stroller. I ask whoever was next to me, and you know what??? Not a single person told me no. I had a lady in her fancy boots and silk dress help, a punkish 20something guy with many piercings, a teen-aged boy with headphones on, two teenage girls, a business man, etc… I was beyond the point of caring what they thought. Each person helped and most even gave me a smile when I said thank you in both English and Russian.

It was a relief when I saw the entrance to Arabat Street because then I knew I hadn’t lost my way and I only had ONE underground passage left to manage. When we entered Arabat, I was overwhelmed. There were thousands of teenagers holding signs that said ‘Free Hugs’. Many were in various costumes and running around hugging everyone. They were blowing bubbles, singing, and dancing. After I was able to get my bearings, I tried to capture a few photos and video but neither do justice to the chaos that was going on. At least people were smiling!

I was excited when I got back to the hotel! There was no way I was leaving for the rest of the evening. I knew the restaurant in the hotel was closed but there was supposed to be 24 hour rooms service. Boston and I would have dinner delivered to our door! No more stairs or stares! So I call 2222 to place my order. The person on the other end answered saying something in Russian and I understood the word restaurant. I stated I wanted to place an order for my room and I hear a sound like the phone was set down. I could hear clanging in the background, so I figured when the person heard English they were going to find someone else to speak with me. I waited and waited and then heard a click like the phone was hung up. I called back. No answer. I called again. No answer. I remained calm. Let 5 minutes pass and called yet again. No answer. I could feel the tears of frustration coming again. The thought of leaving our room and trying to get a meal seemed like such a production. I REALLY did not want to have to do it. I was trying to come to the reality that I was going to have to leave when my ‘Momma Bear’ instinct set in. I knew the restaurant was on the 3rd floor. I decided to just take the room service menu down, point to what I wanted, write the room number on a piece of paper, and give them the money – maybe even with a little tip if needed! This is really out of character for me. I don’t like to cause any waves, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! So down we went. There was a kind young man that was happy to help us out. Boston and I had a hot meal in the comfort of our hotel room!

One random picture I wanted to include on the blog is the one of my favorite monument in Moscow. There are amazing churches, cathedrals, buildings, statues, etc… But my favorite is the “Make Way for Ducklings” monument that was given to the children of the Soviet Union by Barbara Bush. We have Blake’s pictures with these bronze ducks also.

I am excited that we are at the end of our time here in Moscow. I am guessing I will do one last update before heading out!