Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Eve and electricity

Yes, they are related. Somewhat.

Thursday evening the church here had a really nice Christmas Eve tea (even though that Christmas isn't celebrated much here. Our pastor in Moscow used to joke that the Bible says "rejoice, and again I say rejoice," which of course means that we're supposed to celebrate both Christmases! The church here seems to take that view, too.) I mentioned it, but didn't have room to put photos up last time I wrote. Here are two:

Holding baby Yasha

It was a really nice evening: fellowship, tea, singing, poems, pretty decorations. There were candles on the tables, and they got put to good use. That day the electricity went out at church. There have been problems before, because of new houses going up next to the church, but now the electricity is completely gone.

So, since then Will and the other men from church have been out digging every day, trying to find the old electric cable and getting ready to put down a new one in a different place. On Monday they dug in the rain, but today was a beautiful day, so we went out to see. A few photos:

Jaan really wanted to help!

He was thrilled that there was an extra shovel.

They dug 26 meters today!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our family Christmas

In our family, we usually set aside December 25th as our family Christmas. It's not much of a holiday here (although it's recognized more in Ukraine than in Russia. They call it "Catholic Christmas" here.) For us it's Jesus' Birthday! Then we celebrate again on January 7th; that's church Christmas for us.

After the big evening at church the night before (more about that later), everyone actually slept in a little. Then, when they got up. . .

Raia discovered Baby Jesus in the manger!

I loved how she arranged everything: Jesus is the center of it all!

Then, they ate pistachios with Papa, to keep the Hunsucker family tradition alive. And I made breakfast.

Quail eggs! (I think they outshone the cinnamon rolls.)

Asya celebrating

Showing off her tummy afterward
Она говорит "пузик арбузик."

Then we counted up the money that we had collected for Jesus' birthday present, and set off for the market to choose something. This year it was raining, so our shopping trip took the place of our usual Christmas sledding. While we were out, Will got a good photo of us on the square, in front of the New Year tree.

Just in case anyone is dreaming of a slushy-mushy-drippy-muddy Christmas
That's the pile of snow out on the edge of the square. Jaan and Raia wanted to stay there and play. Yucky!

Later Slavik and family dropped in for a fun visit.

Christmas dinner
We had turkey! I found it hilarious that we "had to" have turkey, because there just wasn't any chicken available. Turkey is usually one of those hard-to-find specialty items. However, the road from Zaporozhye has been closed to heavy traffic, so many of the trucks weren't getting through. And with people buying supplies for their New Year's celebrations, all Will could find was turkey breast. (Mom, don't worry. It wasn't like anyone would have starved; just less variety than usual, and people were getting worried about what they would have for their holiday meal. I think traffic is moving again already.)

Happy birthday to Jesus!

Papa got to open the last Advent envelope.

Then we listened to Luke 2.

Mixed in with that, we had several fun talks with family and friends over Skype. A movie had been promised, so even though it was late, we watched a quickie, and then off to bed.

Our family Christmas was wonderful, and it's just the start of the holidays here!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas!

We're in the midst of a wonderful day of celebrating Jesus' birthday, and I hope you all are having just the same kind of day. Merry CHRISTmas from the Hunsucker family in Ukraine!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Third week of Advent

Sunday: Isaiah 9:2-7

Monday: 1 Kings 18:17-39

Tuesday: Isaiah 11:6-9

Wednesday: Jonah

Thursday: Micah 5:2-5

Friday: Esther 4:10-17 (We read a children's book.)

Saturday: Habakkuk 2:1, 3:16-19

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Please excuse the mistakes and just enjoy the cuteness! To me, this is just as cute as a baby taking those first few toddling steps.

Jaan is reading! We've been working on it for a while, but just this week, it really seems to be coming together for him. For the first time, he picked up a book on his own and just started reading, and now there's no stopping him! Of course, it's still slow and bumpy, but he can understand what he's reading. In the video above he's reading a Winnie the Pooh poem in Russian. He's also taking off with English reading, but he's not quite so confident there, so no videos of that (yet).

Oh, he's also reading everything in sight, or at least trying to. We have to keep reminding him to walk outside, when a sign has stopped him, or to eat, even though he hasn't quite read every word on the tea box yet. Interestingly, I guess learning to read Russian and English at the same time will help with Ukrainian. A few days ago, he read "Юлiя" on a tent for Yulia Timoshenko's presidential campaign, and didn't even ask why there was an i in there. (He likes the Yanukovich tent much better, since it starts with his name.)

In other news, we had a great snowfall, and we're thoroughly enjoying it! We even went for a long walk/slide this morning in a strange mix of snow, rain and ice. We came back soaked and happy and not even very cold.

Will's been working at the church almost every day, trying to get repair projects finished before the holidays.

And that's pretty much what our week has been: reading, snow, Papa gone, and Advent, of course, but that's another post. . . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Second week of Advent

If you didn't see it already, I also wrote about the first week. This week continued on, in the same way.

Raia's turn to open the envelope

That night, the picture didn't fit in the envelope. Raia found a picture of one of our children's books (written by a friend ), instead. Then, when she found the book and opened it, the ornament was waiting inside.

Reading about Jacob

They wanted to get dressed up and dance one night.

Jaan's turn

We decorated a cup to collect money for Jesus' birthday present.

Oksana read to us about Rahab.

Samuel anointed David with oil that probably smelled good, so we sprayed cologne on our oil horns, after coloring them.

Letting Papa smell

Last night, as they were working on decorating crowns to remind us of King David, Jaan and Raia agreed that "This was such a good day! We played all day, a friend came over, chicken nuggets for dinner, and then we got to glue beads onto a crown!" It's the simple things in life that count.

Look at all that glue!
(And those cute little fingers!)