|Elena on a slide|
|Julianna going in for a kiss|
|We get this look from Elena a lot. In this case, Daddy told her not to throw rocks.|
|Elena had a rainbow-themed birthday party.|
|And CAKE!!!! She understands cake and ice cream very, very well.|
|So does Julianna.|
|Elena got (among other presents) a doll and a stroller, which she likes a lot.|
A year ago, we were there. We have had them less than a year. Last end-of-March was a blur as we had frantically packed and gotten on the plane (March 28th) (we had our appointment date a lot earlier than we had expected). Has it only been a year? Our lives have certainly changed a lot. We have certainly enjoyed our first year with our daughters (heart surgeries, cleft palate surgeries, tubes, late nights, dirty diapers, and so forth notwithstanding. The girls grow bigger and more alive and more beautiful with each passing day. No longer are they undernourished. No longer are they starved for attention. No longer are they unwanted.
When she turned three, Elena got to go to big-girl-school. She is in a per-kindergarten classroom at a nearby school. She enjoys going to school and is making strides towards toilet-training. She knows over 70 signs and is very communicative (either through signing or through her nearly constant babbling).
Juliana is starting to take her first steps. She will take a couple steps and fall over (usually because she starts excitedly clapping her hands when she stands up, and this destabilizes her). She is starting to pick up some signs, but she has the attitude of "signing is peasant work, my staff should attend my whims better". She understands when we talk to her. She has a verbal vocabulary, but often does not repeat herself. She will say a word, then realize that she spoke and not do it again (and certainly not when asked). We do catch her saying "Da-da" for daddy, "nanana" for banana and "up" on a semi-regular basis.