We are home, after a lengthy journey through Kiev passport police to Munich and then on to Charlotte NC, where our first purchase was indeed a 6 pack of mini cinnabons:) The kids were unbelievably good on the flights and Marina has really rolled with the madcap ideas we have to drag her halfway around the world without complaining. Every time we disembarked from a plane she would hop into her stroller and sing her little heart out as we rolled through the airport. I know it is a song she learned in her previous location as she is perfect in her rendition every time and it includes a lot of hand gestures and waving and smiling. We had no trouble coming through the customs agency in Charlotte but that left us with about 2 1/2 hours to kill and we were already close to falling over. So we moseyed southern style, aimless and slow, and at that point Marina fell over in her stroller and stayed asleep through the next flight and getting met at the airport by my mom and dad and sister and brother in law and their two little ones. I have to say we are so humbled by the support of all of our friends and family members. The well wishes and sweet comments and just the love that has been poured out over us is breath taking and awesome. My sister rode in the van as her family went back home, and when we arrived at our house I knew why. Evidently she and her whole family (and extended family girlfriend Ms Holli) and my mom and dad cooked up this surreal idea that redefines what a "baby shower" is all about! They spent the last 17 days doing the ultimate home makeover of our place. Rye grass is planted, pansies in the pots outside, and the inside!! Holy SMOKES! Every drawer is organized. Pictures hung and new furniture in place, guitar office set up for Tully that looks like the Hard Rock cafe with guitars on the walls. This is nothing short of a miracle combined with 1000 man hours of sweat and labor. Our closets are cleaned out, Marina's room looks like a magazine ad. Heck the whole house looks like a magazine ad! When Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray wonder where the real talent is, they can look for my sister Tonja and my mother who likely has no checks left in the check book. I bet my dad worked overtime for this one too! Utter gratitude will never be enough to describe what it was like to walk into this house last night. Or to open the refrigerator this morning.
Marina did wake up once we got through the door and she found her room and then discovered that we live in cat central, with 8 now full grown kittens who have been waiting to be introduced to her. (yes, they are all "fixed"). We will have to work on the dog introduction thing, as Marina wants to pet them but sheer terror and common sense keep interjecting and colliding with her desire. She finally fussed them out in Russian and shut the door. Marina has been playing baby dolls since she woke up last night and discovered that there were several things ready to play with in her room. This must be heaven on earth for her. Evan and Marina slept in her room last night, and are already up playing in his room this morning. She has dragged many baby dolls into his room so she can play near him as he watches new found old movies that have been placed with great care back in their cases. Things he thought were lost forever. Did we say thank you to our family? Evan will be hugging your necks for years to come just over the movie organization. And me? Well, it is hard to know where to start being grateful that instead of coming home and digging out of a life in shambles that it felt like we flew away from, instead it feels like what Marina feels like...a true fresh start in a life that sort of looks like our own but we wonder what we did to deserve all of this?? Heaven claps and cheers over a family that loves each other the way ours does. And I mean all of our family, Tully's and mine!
So we are ready to start the day, after a nights sleep in beds that never ever felt so comfortable. I will post photos as we locate cords to the computer and camera and slowly unpack and find a way to get back on the treadmill of life here at home. Something tells me that it will be action packed with great things as we realize how much we have to share with one small power house of a child who sasses dogs and baby dolls in Russian. My heart is so tender this morning as I realize we arrive home just in time for Thanksgiving, and we have so much to be thankful for it is hard to know where to start. I am struggling with the words this morning and jet lag will be to blame for now. But to our friends and family who made this possible, Marina's life will forever be a dream come true for her. And also for us. Yes Caylyn, we are happy to live the life example you left us with. It feels radically right, and would be perfect if you were here to play babies as well. But we know you know, that all is well today as we throw kisses through the thin veil that separates us being face to face. Thanks for what you left us with.