It's been a great few days in Moscow. Andrei continues to make progress. Every day he comes a bit further out of his shell. He is definitely a two year old little boy. He no longer just sits calm and still and quiet. He's all over the place. When he gets into some mischief and I say, "Nyet," he just smiles that sweet little smile, like an innocent little cutie who couldn't possibly do anything wrong. What a stinker! Actually, it's been a lot of fun to see his personality come to the forefront. Things that described him in his medical report and in his profile on the Russian orphan database are starting to make a bit more sense. At first, it seemed like they characterized him all wrong. Nope. Not at all. He's definitely active, struggles a bit getting to sleep, and is a happy child. We saw none of that during our first and second trip visits. But now the real Andrei is showing himself. Very cool.
Moscow has been a nice change of pace from Vladivostok. We love Vlad and cherish our time there, but it is definitely cool to have a change of scenery. Our dear exchange student from last year, Nadya, took a 12-hour train ride from her hometown to come visit us for a few days. It's been so awesome to see her again and for her to get to meet Andrei. We haven't been too adventurous in taking Andrei out and about. Sightseeing with a two year old who has not even been with us a week certainly presents its challenges. Mom has been kind to watch Andrei during naps and down time so that I could do some sightseeing with Nadya as my guide. Nadya took me on the Metro a couple of times and we visited Red Square and some other places. It's a plus if you can have a native Russian speaker with you when seeing Moscow! Thanks, Nadya!
Today we finally all ventured down to Red Square together. We just spent a couple hours there. Mom has some challenges with walking, and of course, Andrei is just a little guy, so we took it easy today. It was nice. This weekend was a huge celebration for the birthday of Moscow. There is a lot of stuff set up in Red Square, so you have to walk around it all when seeing the sights there. We did the obligatory picture in front of St. Basil's today, although we may return in a couple of days to try that again. Andrei's face isn't even clearly visible in the picture. Might have to have a redo. All in all, it was a nice day today. We'll be venturing over there again Wednesday and or Thursday.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is our appointment at the American Embassy for Andrei's IR-3 visa. Sasha will pick Andrei and me (and another family) up tomorrow morning for that. Hopefully, if it goes like it did for our last adoption, it will be short and sweet. We'll spend a little more time with Nadya tomorrow afternoon before she boards her train home. It'll be tough to say goodbye to her once again not really knowing when we'll see her again. She's such a part of our family! She spent a bit of time reading nursery rhymes to Andrei in Russian. Very cool.
Some of our highlights from the last couple of days...
-Andrei charming all the ladies on the hotel staff.
-Nadya taking me to the wrong Metro stop.
-Cramming into a Metro train like a sardine.
-Red Square with Andrei, Mom & Nadya.
-Teasing Nadya in person.
-Watching Andrei blossom.
-Andrei on Skype with his Mama, Grandpa, and older brothers.
That's pretty much where we're at for now. I definitely miss Clarion, Slav and Sergei more than I can even put into words. Can't wait to have our whole family together soon. Nevertheless, we're here in Moscow until Friday, so I'm sure we'll have more adventures to report in the days ahead. Paka paka from Moscow!
Joel, Andrei & Babushka