Saturday, December 06, 2014

Day 5

The light of the world:

Friday, December 05, 2014

Days 3 and 4


And fish:

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Day 2

Advent then and now....

Instead of buying candy, Jaan made grape juice jello. Bogdan was the first to find one of the hidden jellos, and then he just wanted to sit down with a spoon and dig in. Forget about searching for the note and the rest of the cups! But he did listen well to the story. And then, when I asked what songs about Jesus they wanted to sing, he insisted on "'sus voom" (i.e. "Jesus airplane). We figured out what he meant, and he was thrilled to sing and do the hand motions with us. I think that's the first time I've seen him actually have an opinion about singing and get involved.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Advent 2014

It's one of my favorite times of the year! Advent!

Last night we set up our Advent wreath, lit the first candle, sang "our" Advent song, and talked a little about hope and what is ahead for this season.

This year, these two...

Wait, she's almost as tall as he is?!?!
As I was saying, these two are planning and implementing everything for their younger two siblings. They're doing what we first started Advent in our family with, in 2006 (and then again in 2008 and 2010). They've been working on translating the little notes into Russian, formatting them, and collecting all the supplies. So, this evening they hid lots of 25 kopeck coins and the first note for Bogdan and Asya to find. It was great fun!

Then they read the note and Bible passage aloud.

And we sang "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."

I think we have a very sweet Advent ahead of us this year, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate and remember Christ's coming in the world.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving and fall concert

Happy Thanksgiving! We're so thankful for all of our family and friends who are out there, reading this.

Yesterday we read in one of our children's books that the original Thanksgiving feast lasted three days. This year ours is, too. We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with one set of friends already. Each child in our family helped with something: Jaan made a big pumpkin pie all by himself, Raia and I made some incredible pumpkin cake truffles (and some chocolate, too), Asya made a cranberry and jello fruit salad, and Bogdan helped me make cornbread. Then we took that over to our friends' home; they provided turkey and all the other trimmings, and we had a lovely evening together.

Today we're resting and cooking a bit more. Tomorrow we'll celebrate Thanksgiving again with our community of American and Canadian friends.

By the way, on Wednesday the choir that Jaan sings in had an informal concert. Since I was the only one from our family in the audience, I recorded all the songs from that. Grandparents and anyone else who is really interested might enjoy watching, too.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another Saturday at home

I don't like this idea of staying home on Saturdays! I should be out at the orphanage. I'm finally feeling pretty much well again, but Will reminded me that they would not want me in with those fragile little ones, when I'm still coughing. Plus, these visits by myself--while my friend is away--take a lot out of me even when I'm healthy. So, I'm home again today. I should be back next week.

But, last time I wrote about my visits there, I was still trying to get into a routine of spending time with the bed-bound little ones, after my lesson with the bigger ones. And I have been able to slide into that and should be able to keep it up now, too.

I really, really love this part of my Saturdays there. There are groups of children who spend all their time lying down in cribs. The sizes of their bodies and their abilities make them seem like babies, although they're much older than they look. After I finish doing a Sunday school-ish lesson with the bigger ones, I head over to the little ones and offer to help however I can. Usually that means the workers hand me a bowl of food, and I spoon it into little mouths. Of course, I talk and interact with them as much as I can in the process.

And then I get one or two for some individual play time in the sensory room. Most of them have no idea of how to play, so a lot of it is just holding toys in their hands and getting them used to that idea. Or, for some who already know that much, I work on interacting, encouraging them to imitate play, or very, very simple games (i.e. clapping hands; very simple). I have no training in any kind of therapy, and I really feel the lack there, but I hope and pray that just time spent together is helpful.

A few links to share:
I've mentioned Oksana before. She grew up in "our" orphanage and aged out last year. At this moment she is in the USA for medical treatment, but she'll be headed back over here soon, since the first stage of her treatment is over. Here is a site with updates about that. She has a long process ahead of her. Please keep praying for her. Culture shock in America has been hard for her, and I can imagine that coming back to her nursing home isn't going to be an easy transition either.

Also, the friend that I help has started a blog. It will have information about the houses she is building for the orphans who age out of this orphanage. Will and I have been able to help her a little so far, with the paperwork part of that, and we're very excited to see it get going! First will be a home for boys, and then another for girls, including Oksana. There's tons of info on her plans here, if you want to download and read the detailed document. Or, ask specific questions, and I can summarize or find out the answers for you. Please be praying for the paperwork, planning, and actual building.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A few recent photos and more

This is the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Maidan. They're calling it the Day of Dignity and Freedom. It's hard to believe that it's only been a year: a long, roller coaster year for sure! Please keep praying for Ukraine.

I've been sick (or sick-ish) for almost two weeks now. That really cuts back on what I do, but the rest of the family has been busy as usual. Random bits of that:
Jaan and Raia got to go to a summer camp reunion. I shared a few of the photos that they were given there, but I might have to post more soon. Camp was such a highlight of their summer!

Raia and Asya went to the second annual (?) MK girls sleepover, and had a wonderful time, of course. Those of us who weren't included in that watched a "scary movie" (Star Wars).

Bogdan had to cling to his big brother,
because he was so convinced that he would be scared.
Fall colors are mostly gone, but this was our cherry tree about a week ago.

Only a handful of these leaves are left now.
Raia got a pet rat. She had been wanting one for quite a while, and when she found 100 griven on the ground, she knew right away what she wanted to spend it on.

His name is Martin.
This big boy is still cute when he naps.
I had to get a pic of Asya in here, too.
And I can use that last photo as an advertisement for my friend's new book. I highly recommend it for all educators!