Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Wonderland

This winter has been mostly warmish and snow-less, but we're greatly enjoying the snow we have now!




















Monday, January 25, 2016

General update

So, after I last wrote, I got sick. I spent New Year and "Second Christmas" in bed. My family celebrated without me, and I can post some photos of that, but I didn't experience much of it.





But then I did finally get well. On my first day up, we went shopping. A sweet family had sent money for our children to buy Christmas presents for the children at the orphanage. So, we did that and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then Jaan and Raia went with me to deliver the presents. They also got to go to an Agape Christmas program there on a different day, so they got to see their friends several times during the school break, and that made everyone happy all around.




After I got well, the rest of Ukraine got sick. Please pray. There's a terrible flu epidemic going on. The schools are closed, the hospitals are full, public workers are wearing masks, and still people are dying. When we started reading about it, we realised why I had been so sick; no wonder I couldn't move for over a week. But I got over it. Also, the kids at the orphanage are feeling better. Praise God! There were several in the hospital, and I was very worried about them, but they're back to normal now.

At one point, a local pastor and I made a special visit to the orphanage, to check on health and see what we could do to help. We ended up buying lemons, garlic, and fruit for them, since that was what the director asked for specifically.


Then, last week I went to Kyiv for the third session of Agape school. I hope I'll have time to write more about that. It was really good. This session was my favourite so far. Getting there was an adventure, because winter has finally arrived. Our train froze over, and because of the ice everywhere, what should have taken 12 hours ended up being a 20-hour trip. For now, I just have photos of some of the winter beauty we're enjoying here. Agape school photos can come later. (Maybe.)




And that brings us up to now. The school quarantine has been extended for another week, which means Jaan and Raia are free from all group classes at music school, but their own teachers are calling them in for extra lessons. Will says that the teachers must be bored. They're drilling the two of them on duets, and I can't wait to hear the results. The (private) art school is still in session, although Bogdan only had one fellow student in his preschool class there today. And homeschool always goes on, doesn't it?

Oh, Jaan got a new baby rat. Sadly, Bella died, after she recovered from her illness. We miss her, but this new one sure is cute!


There. I think that catches us up with all the news around here.

Monday, January 04, 2016

"First Christmas" 2015

(If you're not familiar with how our family talks about and celebrates Christmas, here is a quick explanation of First and Second Christmas. Oh, and this, too.)

This year's December 25th was the warmest Christmas we remember in this part of the world. I would usually be sad not to have snow, but it didn't even bother me this year. Beautiful sunshine and spring-like weather seemed perfect. Now it's cold here, though!

Everything was very traditional, according to our family traditions. Will read to Asya and Bogdan--and Jaan and Raia read to themselves--while I got breakfast ready. After we ate our special breakfast, we went for a nice long, warm walk. (Coats unzipped and even thrown off, on Christmas Day?!?!) We came home to eat again, sing happy birthday to Jesus, and then see Raia off to get ready for her concert. Soon the rest of us also went to the concert, and then left early from there to go straight to church for the girls to get ready with the choir there. While they practiced, we played chess and just enjoyed the quiet and pretty decorations. Then it was time for the special, beautiful Christmas service. And chai afterwards!




Before she went to her concert.
"Bogdan, today is a holiday. No nap!"
"Oh, I forgot."
At the concert
Church, during choir practice


(These two are from Uncle-Kolya-Masha's-Papa.)

Trying for a semi-normal photo of all four
I've been sick, but I think I'll be back on my feet for "Second Christmas." Everyone else is healthy and loving the tiny bit of snow that we have now.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Yolka

In America people are probably already taking their Christmas trees down. (Mom, did you leave yours up for us again this year?) We've had ours for over a week now, but it's not done yet. Here they're for New Year, not Christmas, and in our family it's for all the holidays!

We haven't had a big tree before, mainly because we've never had room for one. This year I noticed how our little yard is almost like an extra room on our house. Will's grass is still bright green there, so it's really pretty. I thought of having a tree out there, where we could enjoy it through the window.

While most of our family was busy, Will and Bogdan went and got the tree. Or, from the way the story is going now, Bogdan bought us a tree. It started with him helping Papa, but now he's forgetting that Papa even went with him.


They set it up and put the lights on it.





The ducks are intrigued.
It has blown over--or been knocked over by a hug from Bogdan--a few times, but it's well anchored now. Decorating is an ongoing process....


We have also made some pretty Christmas tree cookies to give out to teachers, friends, and neighbors.


He was explaining something.