Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First day of school

I was planning to start school tomorrow, with the rest of the Slavic world, but I think a good part of our September 1 will be taken up with music school. Plus, I had everything ready, and my students were excited. So, we started yesterday.

Ready to start

The night before I put out new drawing notebooks and stickers with our first bouquet of fall. I wanted to do a special breakfast, too, but that just didn't come together. And they were happy enough as it was! I didn't think the little presents and lessons would be quite as exciting as they turned out to be. At breakfast we read a short Bible passage, some poetry (I loved the first one!), and started to work on memorizing Psalm 1. Then they did some serious drawing and stickering. That wasn't assigned, but it couldn't be put off until later. And that was all for morning school. Outside time is still one of the most important parts of our education, so that's what we did next.


А - Арбуз

Then, after lunch, we settled down for the main part of our school time. This is where I still need to work out some logistics (or just wait for Will to get home), but it went really well overall. My plan was for Jaan to lie down with Asya and help her get to sleep, while I did Raia's one lesson with her. Raia is begging for more, but I keep telling her that she's not in school yet. She's just preparing for school. Anyway, Asya wasn't quite asleep when it came to Jaan's turn for school, and she didn't stay in bed for long. Sigh.

Raia's reading lesson


Jaan got to do a lesson of his beloved math, work on handwriting (we don't have the book yet, so we're using the online samples), read a Russian history story to me, listen to some music, hear me read the first of the Ambleside Online selections to him, then--his favorite--watch ten minutes of a cartoon in Ukrainian for foreign language.

Poor Asya bounced back and forth between bed and the room where we were. Finally, I got her to sleep after everything was done, but that didn't work well at all, because her nap was too late. Today was about the same, but we just made a place for her with us, and she finally fell asleep listening to Jaan's history reading. Again late, though.

Too much history? (today)

Also, I've had my favorite teenager coming over for English lessons every afternoon, so there's a little more schooling to fit in after our own school time. We've been reading picture books together, working on verb tenses and vocab. We did Simple Present tense with my childhood favorite book, I Am A Mouse, and Simple Past with a W family favorite: Who Said Red. Today I think we'll move on to Simple Future and conditional sentences with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One last time

Yesterday evening we went down to the beach for "one last time" before school and fall. Saturday and even Sunday morning it was hot again here. However, by Sunday evening, a storm and cool weather were blowing in. As it often seems to happen here, I had said that we would go, so we did. Jaan was the only one brave enough to go in the cold water. There were waves! We have only seen that once before.

Jaan the Ice Cube

Asya enjoyed the sand

This was as far as Raia went

Last (only!) children at the beach

First fall leaves!

Today actually feels like the beginning of fall! The leaves aren't changing yet, although we found one pear tree that had dropped a few pretty leaves on our way home last night. And this morning we started school. Everyone woke up to new notebooks and stickers on the table at their places....

But I'll have to write about the First Day of School later.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Papa

(For anyone who doesn't know, Will left yesterday for his sister's wedding. So far, he's made it to Vienna, and he'll go the rest of the way tomorrow.)

We really miss you and wish that we were with you. We didn't sleep very well last night (pray that Raia won't have any more nightmares!), but we had a good day today.

In the morning we went to the playground in the center. The male peacock is gone, and we are worried about him. His wife is still there, though. Jaan and the pheasant had an interesting conversation. After the playground we went and bought candles to put in the jars we decorated at Sunday school.

When lunch was over, Jaan went and bought a watermelon by himself. He chose the biggest one and almost couldn't drag it home. That was our dessert.

Mama started trying to get things ready for school, but we've been a little too wild for her to make much progress yet.

Dinner was really yummy. We ate a lot. Thank you for the black beans!

Now we're going to watch Neznaika. Thank you for that, too!
Jaan, Raia and Asya

P.S. We also played with the puppies today.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What's this?

There's a strange substance moving through our home this morning. I had almost forgotten what it was like. It's...
COOL AIR! And I have never been more thankful for it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm old

Conversation with Raia this morning....

Raia: "Mama, how old are you now?"
Me: "Really, really old."
Raia: "How many?"
Raia: "Well, you still look little to me."

Edited to add a photo:

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Camp was wonderful! The team that came was absolutely incredible, and the local youth worked together and with the visiting team beautifully. The heat didn't break--except for during a lovely downpour on Thursday--but we still had around 90 children come every day! (That's a whole lot for camps at this church. More than ever before, as far as I know.) I worked with Alina and Ira and Ruth (from CA) to lead the youngest group. We had twenty or more every day, and they were all age 7 and under. Will had the oldest group, which was smaller, but much harder to work with. Every day we had meeting times, Bible verses to learn, small groups, crafts, songs, games, meals and all kinds of fun. Thank you so much for all your prayers!

Here are just a very few photo highlights, mostly of our own children enjoying camp. I hope to post a full album soon. If you're on Facebook, you should look for the photos already posted by one of the team members; she had a bunch of great pictures!

On the first day

My favorite teenager*

Ready for Capture the Flag

Morning meeting

Afternoon meeting

Raia and Anya watch in suspense while...

Jaan gets to set off a volcano!

The daily after-camp tea/leaders' meeting*
(*These two photos are shamelessly stolen from Ira.)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Camp starts tomorrow!

We're headed into the longest, busiest, funnest () week of the year! The team from California arrived yesterday, and we've already gotten to know them a little. Tomorrow morning we'll start working together. Please be praying for all of us! I think the biggest thing on many of our minds--just because it's hard to think about anything else--is the heat. The temperature has been and continues to be around 40/104. Pray for endurance and that no one will feel any bad effects from the heat...and keep praying that it will miraculously get cooler. Of course, we also need prayer for team unity, for the children and for every other detail that you can think of.


A random Asya quote: on the way home from church she told me, "Mama, stop stepping on my Asya!"
"On your what?"
"On my Asya," and she pointed to her shadow.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Kiev, camp, etc

It really has been too hot to sit at the computer (and to think!). I'll just continue with that excuse as to why I haven't been writing. I remember being hot the past few summers, but was it really like this? Our highs all week are supposed to be higher than where my parents live in Florida!

I did get to go to Kiev, as you saw from the photo I had posted. It was wonderful to see Timothy and Matt S., meet their team, and have some time away. I'm posting the rest of my few photos here....

Next week will be the day camp here! There's a team coming in, and we're all working hard to get ready. We're home from our dacha all this week so that we can print and hang posters, prepare lessons, and work on all kinds of details.

We've been spending a lot of time down at the water. I'm so thankful for the little beach here and that we're so close to it now. Last night I just sat in the water and watched our children play. So nice!