Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lent and Holy Week recap

Years ago we made little people and acted out the events of Holy Week with them. Bogdan refound them and asked what they were from, so we kind of repeated what we had done before. Palm Sunday they actually went out to walk, so there wasn't a reenactment at home, but the next night we read that story, and Bogdan and Asya played it out for us.

Then we also did the cleansing of the temple:

Raia took pictures
Wednesday evening, since the Bible is silent about what Jesus did, we didn't read. Instead, we made a little Easter garden.

Thursday, I made matzo while everyone was at various classes. Then, when they came home, we read about the Last Supper and ate and drank together.

Friday I read about the darkest day in the world from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which fits really well with the Lenten Lights reading for that day. Once we blew out the candles, we also turned out the lights in our home, "sealed" them off with tape until Sunday, and tried to go to bed in dark and quiet.

And then we waited for the light of the resurrection.

(I actually got to read the Good Friday story from the Jesus Storybook Bible twice that day, because I read it to the girls at the orphanage that morning, too. They really listened well and seemed to connect more than usual. Often when I read to them, it's hard for them to concentrate, and they talk. For this story, they were quiet. At the end, several said that it was so sad. We sat with those feelings for a little while, talked about them more, and then I read the resurrection story, too. They also listened well to that and responded with joy. I don't know that I've ever had their attention for two stories in one day!)

I just realised that Jaan was really good at staying out of these photos:
He was right there with us, though.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Day

We had a very beautiful Easter yesterday. Unfortunately, Raia was sick, so we didn't take family photos, and the only picture I have of her is from our preparations the night before:

Easter morning:

An empty tomb
Christ is Risen!
He is risen, indeed!
One of our babushka neighbours brought us fresh baked Easter breads, too. She made so many that she couldn't carry them all to church the night before, so we got the unblessed ones. They still taste wonderful.

At church, instead of Sunday school, the children went on a walk around the property where they saw scenes from Holy Week.

After church we came home for a quick lunch, all except for Asya. She had to stay to get ready for the art school celebration that was the next event on the schedule. As soon as we finished eating--again, leaving poor Raia at home--we hurried back for the celebration. (Raia was supposed to take photos for the school to post online. She had been so excited about being asked to do that. I tried to get some for her, but I just don't have her eye and energy.)

The preschool group that Bogdan is in was hilarious. Only a few of them showed up, and they were the very first ones to perform.

Bogdan did sing the song loudly all the way home, and he's still singing it now. Also, as part of the program Asya's group sang; there were games, a short message from the Bible (most of these families do not attend church), the preschoolers did a craft, clowns came....

So that you can see Asya, too, here she is with a present that she got:

Today was a recovery day for all of us, and tomorrow we start back into school. We continue to sing and say and remember that CHRIST IS RISEN!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Nikolaev photos

Remember that trip to a contest in Nikolaev last week? Here are a few photos from it. Our group got second place.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring concert

March 23 was the big spring concert for our music school. It was really good. All the choirs and ensembles and dance groups performed.

There might be some professional video later, and if it goes up online, I'll add links to that. For now, here are two clips that I took when our children were playing. The first is Raia and two other students with her teacher. The second is the whole folk ensemble. (There was trouble with the sound system, and Jaan was playing even though we couldn't hear him at first. Raia said the song was "boring" without him.) This is one of the pieces they played at the contest in Nikolaev a few days later.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March birthdays

While the rest of our family was at that flute concert, Bogdan and I went to the art school birthday party for March. Here is our six-year-old with his drawing teacher, setting out the candy he brought to share:

Then the festivities started:

All the preschoolers were so cute! And I really enjoyed one-on-one time with Bogdan.

I just took this photo outside the classroom, because I realised that about a quarter of the pictures hanging up there have our last name on them:

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Flute concert

March 18 Asya was in a recorder and flute concert. Jaan accompanied her. Will got this video of them:

Monday, March 27, 2017

Aunt Anna!

Will's sister, Anna, arrived yesterday for a visit. Since I don't have any photos with her yet, I'll give you these (without her) that I took from the library's Facebook page. Raia and Asya are with Anna at the library right now for a presentation by a guest from an art museum.

These are from a costume party there last week:

That's "Aunt Asya" (the librarian) right by our Asya.
There are more in these two posts on the library's page.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


I could almost say the same about this week that I did about last week, except that the good things were different and the sickness is different. We recovered from the stomach sickness, had a few days of relative health and activity, and then we were hit by a terrible respiratory thing. At this point, our children are mostly okay, but Will and I are still in bad shape.

So, good things:
Last Saturday was a flute concert where Asya and Jaan performed together for the first time. I have video of that for later. Also, at the same time as the concert, Bogdan and I were at the March birthday party for art school; there are a few photos of that for later, too. Sunday evening Jaan went to the theatre--a real professional play--with his church theatrical group. Monday Will and I both went to Kakhovka (both, that's a first!) for some time with Oksana and others. Asya has been spending more time at the library and having fun there; quiet time is quieter at home, if she goes to the library to read and work on projects. Thursday night was a great spring concert by the whole music school, where Jaan and Raia played in the folk ensemble. Today they're in Nikolaev at a contest with that ensemble.

And, really good:
Our kids have been amazing, keeping up with school, helping with everything, taking care of each other, and trying to get well or stay well.


The photo at the top is the folk ensemble, minus Raia. She was too sick on the day they did photos. That's her teacher in the front row, though, and Jaan at the piano.

Friday, March 17, 2017

What a week!

It's been very a very full week, with lots of good and lots of bad.

Good: I got to go to a seminar in Dnipro on Wednesday. It was for adoptive parents, social workers, and anyone who works with orphans and children from hard places. They call this subject "Pedagogy of Trauma." I believe that it's so important that when Alys has asked me about what training her workers need, I've told her that this is it, and when I heard that it was being offered in Dnipro, we all signed up. So... good: the beautiful drive there on Tuesday, the seminar itself, making new friends, and seeing old friends that I had no idea would be there.

Bad: our whole family was hit by a stomach plague, in just about the worst way possible. One parent was away from home and sick. The other was home alone, sick and taking care of sick kids. Enough said? I've never been so glad to come home before! When I was writing back and forth with kids at the orphanage this morning about why I couldn't visit them, I got this from one of the girls:

That describes exactly how I feel about missing them and this whole business of being sick.

We're slowly recovering already, though. Everyone is still a bit thin and wobbly, but Jaan just asked for food, and that was wonderful to hear. Tomorrow is supposed to be a very busy day. I think we'll all be back on our feet and ready for it.

Oh, the picture above was when we first saw the Kakhovskoe Reservoir on our way to Dnipro. I had forgotten how much I miss that "sea." I just showed the picture to our older kids and they asked if it's our sea. Yes, it is. (Hmm. I really laid it out badly. I might need to do some cropping to get better proportions there.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bogdan's birthday

Yesterday Bogdan turned SIX! He (and a certain mama) had wanted to celebrate with "shashlik in the woods," but when we saw the forecast for three days of cooler and drippy weather, we suggested the big indoor play place instead, and he enthusiastically agreed. So, after church we headed over there for pizza and lots of PLAY.

(Will was behind the camera the whole time. He did a great job with the photos, but didn't end up in any of them.)

And then, today, according to our family tradition, the new six-year-old had his first reading lesson. Actually, it was just his first lesson with me. He's already learned some at preschool classes. He's very ready, noticing letters everywhere, trying to write on his own, and desperate to be doing school with everyone else.