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.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Raia in Kyiv

Kamitra, who accompanied Oksana back from America, sent me these photos of the free day they had in Kyiv.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Bits of news

(Edited later to add a few links.)

This is just a bunch of random bits thrown together.

First, a few pictures of Bogdan:

He learned to make blini!

Second, I didn't finish the marshrutka stories, and that's because the saga continues. Everything is pretty much business as usual. We even have a new route that goes through our neighbourhood. However, the dialogue goes on. There have been several city meetings scheduled to discuss it, but not enough council members show up for the meetings to happen. So, people go to the scheduled meetings, yell at each other, shove each other around, and go home. And we continue to ride for 3 hryvni, for now at least.

Thursday evening we said goodbye to Raia, and she left for Kyiv. Oksana was coming back from America, and Alys invited Raia to go along to meet her, keep her company in Kyiv and on the long trip back. They got back Sunday night. Bogdan was convinced that he was going to die without her, and I felt almost the same way, but we survived.

Everyone except me has been coughing and sniffling to various degrees, and we're all sick of it! At least Raia was the first to get it and the first to get well, so she was fine for her trip.

Saturday Will spent all day in Agape meetings, because the director was here to visit.

Last Monday I got to go visit some of the boys who have been transferred on from Tsyurupinsk to Dnepryani. The place where they live is not a nice place, and it can be emotionally quite hard to see them there and then leave, but we really had a great visit. We planned it so that we would be there during nap time and just wake a few of the boys up for some one on one time, instead of the whole crowd at once, and that worked really well. We pray that at least some of these boys will get to live in a home with a family soon.

Sasha, who is on the right above, was very excited to see the photos I had of our children. He has a hard time getting words out, especially when he's excited, so he just kept exclaiming and pointing to Jaan. It took a few minutes before I figured out that he actually recognised him and remembered him from the picnic in 2013! This was in 2013:

See how much Jaan has changed since then?
Oh, Jaan was in a little concert today. I posted a video of him and his teacher already. This is from just before the concert:

Okay. That's all for now.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Just cuteness

I love this picture of the culinary class that Asya goes to! That's Asya on the far left, in case you couldn't tell.

Taken from here