Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2008!!

This will be the last entry of this blog. Sofia has been home for a year and a half, and this time with her has been extraordinary and priceless. It's been an amazing journey, and she has filled our lives with tremendous joy. We look forward to spending our lives with her, sharing with her the wonderful things life has to offer. We hope to take her to Kazakhstan someday, if she so desires, to show her the country in which she was born, her ancestry and culture. We can't imagine what our lives were like before she was a part of it and we are so very grateful for her.

We feel very blessed to have precious friends and family members who surround us with love, and are grateful for our Lord, for he has laid His hand over our lives and has blessed us countlessly.

May this season bring you and your families joy and health. And may 2008 be filled with happiness and peace. God bless you.
Mike, Diva, Alex, Dominique & Sofia
December 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another Birthday, A Fabulous and Memorable Year!

A week after the 4th of July, we happily celebrated Sofia's 2nd birthday. Wonderful friends Fernanda and Daniel and their children Augusto and Agueda were staying with us, and visiting from Argentina, so we made it a combined celebration given that Augusto's 4th birthday was on the same week. Many friends and family showed up, and Sofia had a fun time with a giant bouncer and lots of pint-sized friends.

The rest of our summer was spent at the beach, or at the club's pool, or visiting the zoo or mini-farm, or just at the park kicking some ball around. The children became very serious entrepreneurs, and put together a lucrative lemonade stand. We also spent quality time with our Argentinean friends showing them Laguna Beach, San Diego and other areas in Southern California, including the historic San Juan Capistrano Mission, which was found by Jesuit Father Junipero Serra around 1776.

Sofia had her first visit to Disneyland with her daddy (besides just the shop at Disneyland which she visited last year), and was intrigued by everything she saw. She seemed to especially enjoy Small World.

School started in September, and the children have been busy with it, sports and musical instruments. Halloween was as fun for all of us this year as last year, but this year Sofia actually went up to the doors, knocked and asked for candy. Very cute! Her vocabulary is enormous, and can say many sentences in a row.In addition to all that, Mike took Alex fishing and then to the USC football game at Washington State, followed by a trip to Nebraska to watch another game with his dad and friends. Go Trojans!!

Dominique was baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in October, and that was a big and exciting day for her and my family.

Many more activities have kept us busy such as 2 concerts: STYX (from the 70s - remember 'Come Sail Away'?? -- great song which I have now mastered in my piano!), and Ali & AJ for Alex and Dominique and friends.
November and December have brought the spirit of Christmas early into our home, and our tree went up along with decorations and lights right before Thanksgiving. Dominique went to the Annual Indian Princesses Ball at Disneyland with her Daddy and her tribe of girls, and had a wonderful time. We have been busy spending time with friends, and look forward to our trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado, for a "white" Christmas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer Vacation

At the beginning of June we went on a 10-day vacation to Yellowstone, followed by a couple of days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We were stunned by the beauty of the area, the Yellowstone Park and the majestic Grand Teton mountains of Jackson Hole. Even with the cold temperatures of June, we were able to enjoy some hiking, fishing and exploring, and horseback riding. The children were fascinated by the hot geysers everywhere, and were amazed by how smelly they are. We were lucky to see dozens of buffalo right next to the SUV, a bear and her two cubs just 5 feet away from the car, and fox, coyote and wolves, elk and deer.

We stayed at The Lodge at The Lake, a Victorian beauty built in the early 1900s and it was not fancy, but comfortable enough in a semi-rustic way. There was no TV, radio or electronics -- and it is always a relief to be away from all that. We are definitely coming back.

It's great to be an American!! . . .

. . . and we are grateful for our freedom!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Just because they are so VERY precious!! . . .

Bath is a favorite time of the day!

She seems to think brushing teeth is a blast -- we are not changing that perception!!
LOOOOVE to strum the guitar, just like big brother Alex!

I see you!!

My favorite pet horsey

Yo-Yo is one of her favorite foods -- must be all the yogurt she ate in K'stan!

What's wrong with this picture?? Nothing like some double-fisted action!
Playdate with Kazakh buddy KatieRiding the not-so-favorite horsey -- lots of tears followed!What else is one to do after a looong day of fun???

. . .and at the end of the day, a good cuddle and squeeze from mommy is a must for the both of us!!

We also enjoy writing ALL the time (to mom and dad's chagrin!) -- on papers, walls, tables, doorways, floors, mom's bills, important documents, sinks, etc. etc. etc. . .

That's all for now, folks!!

Dominique's Birthday and Cancun, Mexico

Dominique celebrated her birthday after Easter, during April, and turned 8 with a bang. She was lucky to have 3 celebrations: one which was an American Girl Doll party thrown by two of her school friends, the other at home with grandparents Lawrence, and the third one a special day at American Girl Place in Los Angeles with her friend Kyra and her mom, as well as Auntie Diane.

In May, Mike, Alex and Dominique went to Mexico for a 5-day Company trip. Unfortunately Diva and Sofia had to stay due to visa issues. But Mexico, for the 3, turned out to be a wonderful experience with visits to Xcaret and other Cancun sites. This time they did not get a chance to visit Tulum or another Mayan ruin, but next year we are going back to do just that. This time Diva and Sofia will be there!! . . .

Monday, June 04, 2007



Sofia's Easter experience was great. She was fascinated by the Easter bunny -- albeit somewhat frightened by the big white giant with the sad face!! -- and LOVED the egg hunt. And this is before she even knew what was inside the colorful eggs she found. . . once Sofia found out there were delicious treats of chocolate and other goodies, she smiled and laughed while she go gobbled it all up with Alex and Dominique.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Spring Break. . .

Spring Break this year took us to the Big Sur forest for a few days and to San Francisco for another few. It provided us with much needed quality family time. We hiked in the woods, played in the mud when it rained, splashed in the ocean, visited the Aquarium in Monterey, visited the Mission of Junipero Serra in Carmel from the 1700s, and spent lovely days in San Francisco at the Exploratorium hands-on museum, the Zeum interactive music and videotaping museum for kids . . . and simply just exploring the beautiful sights of that gorgeous city which is San Francisco!

Monterey Aquarium - lots of fun!!...

Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco -- Sofia just wants to be in on the fun no matter what, even with short little legs!. . .

Beautiful Carmel Mission from 1700s -- Jesuit Father Junipero Serra is buried here.

Big Sur, Northern California, for some great fun hiking and playing in the streams forest.
Also, some basic fun in a park. . .