Monday, March 28, 2011

Look and listen archive

I'm archiving here what we looked at and listened to during Term 2. The current selections will be up on the Look and listen with us page. -->

Term 2
Artist: Caravaggio
Composer: Vivaldi
Folk songs: Tall Men Riding, Калинка (Russian), and Ой, на горі жито (Ukrainian)

The folk songs are the same throughout the term:

English video and info, Russian words, Ukrainian words (and sheet music!)
Ukrainian music (I can't get it onto the playlist above for some reason.)

Hymns change monthly. Here are December's:

Russian video with words

O God, Our Help In Ages Past
О имя Иисуса

I'll Fly Away
Красота Иисуса Светись во Мне (words)

And we'll spend two weeks on each piece of art and classical music.

Weeks 13-14

Weeks 15-16

Weeks 17-18

Weeks 19-20
Vivaldi CDs

Weeks 21-22
Vivaldi CDs

Weeks 23-24
Vivaldi CDs

*I've obviously chosen the Russian and Ukrainian songs on my own. A note on how I choose the hymns: if the Russian version of the English hymn is something that we actually sing, I use it. Otherwise, I try to pick something classically Russian or just something that we like. Folk songs are just from two disks of folk songs for children--specifically for children!--that we have.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lots of photos

Bogdan is two weeks old! I posted a bunch of photos of our first two weeks with him. Right now he's sleeping in my arms, so I don't want to type much. I'll just say again that we're really enjoying him. He's a sweet, relatively easy baby, who loves to stare deep into our eyes. I think he smiled at Will on purpose for the first time yesterday. I've gotten a few milky smiles today.

P.S. We found the first flowers of the year yesterday: celandine and "under-snow"! Spring is here!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3 bits from yesterday

1) Dr. Murphy, someone Will knew from his early Moscow days, came to visit yesterday. We really, really enjoyed our day with him! It was so nice just to sit around and talk, and I was glad to get to know him some.

2) Bogdan got to try out his new stroller. Thank you to Circle Community Church for your generous gift!

3) Will turned in documents in Vasilevka to begin the process needed for us to receive Bogdan's birth certificate. Now we just have to wait, and it looks like we might be waiting for a while.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Baby Bogdan's birth

(Nice alliteration, eh?)

This is probably really tacky, but here's a print-it-yourself birth announcement. I won't be sending them out by mail, so if you want one, click on it to get the larger version, and then have it printed at your favorite photo place.

Here are some photos from Bogdan's birth day and the days following:

Saying goodbye

"He has a nose!"

Bouncing to Vasilevka

When they first brought him back to me
For those of you who praying that I'd be able to keep him with me: he was only away from me for the first two (long!) hours. When we got there, the ambulance lady handed him off to the baby nurse, and I didn't see him again for two hours. The nurse was really nice, and kept coming to tell me exactly what she was doing with him and to ask my permission for each step, but I still wasn't too happy. After that, though, they wouldn't have taken him, even if I had begged for a rest!

In his hospital bed

One on each wrist
(made from gauze and a piece of mattress cover)

Skipping a few days here....

Ready to go home!

Surrounded, as soon as we stepped out

Together again!

Walking away

First family photo

In the taxi on the way home

Still, anytime Bogdan cries, Asya tells him, "Don't cry; you're not in the hospital anymore!"

Does that satisfy the desire for pictures?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birth certificate

As much as I'd like to tell you all about our sweet, wide-eyed Bogdan and post tons of photos, I think I should keep this post down to business. Today is my first day flying solo with FOUR.

At the birth hospital we learned that there's a new law in Ukraine, requiring that all babies born outside of hospitals have to get their birth certificates through some court process. No one knows exactly what that means, but the hospital decided that they couldn't officially give me the papers that we would need to get a birth certificate. The doctor who examined me did write an unofficial letter, which could help.

Yesterday Will went to our local ZAGS (registration office), and they told him that this will need to be decided on a regional level. He was going to go to Vasilevka for that today, but they don't have a translation department. So, today he's going to Zaporozhya to get official translations of our marriage license and passports. Then, the next day that they're open (Tuesday?) he'll take everything to Vasilevka and find out what the next step is.

Thank you for praying!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I know that Will told you that yesterday, but I just had to repeat it: I'm home!

I don't know where to start with writing, so I'll just write a little and see what comes out. Right now, Will is out with the older two children and the younger TWO are napping.

As you know, Bogdan was born Saturday morning. I'm so thankful for that sweet home birth! After we got the other children sent off to friends.... (Oh, wait, I have to mention that all along I've thought that we wouldn't have any help with babysitting, unless the baby came on a weekend. Everyone works or is in school. How could we have any better timing than a Saturday morning?) So, after we got the others sent off, Will ran out for his appointment at the police about my registration, and I enjoyed Bogdan for a while. Then Will came back and started making phone calls. Right away, even before all that, he had called the nice birth hospital in Energodar that I had been planning on. They just said something along the lines of "too late, don't bother us." The very long story made short is that, hoping to be able to get a birth certificate easily, we ended up calling an ambulance that bounced us all the way to the regular birth hospital in Vasilevka. Bounced is hardly the word for it! Will was allowed to come along, and he actually held me onto the stretcher, while I held on to Bogdan.

I won't go into details of our time at the birth hospital. My overall impression was that the people were very nice and very knowledgable. Their knowledge and practices were quite up-to-date; nothing at all like what I've seen and heard about in some places! However, the conditions were almost unbelievable. The best way that I can describe it is that I felt like I was on a camping trip. Now, I am not squeamish, and I love camping, but not right after having had a baby. Just a few examples: running water, yes, but no shower or bath tub anywhere, and only one toilet for the whole building. Bright, overhead lights required to be on all night long; it was actually darker in our room during the day than at night. Visiting hours lasted all day long, but visitors aren't allowed to cross the threshold. When Will came (which was wonderful!), I had to leave Bogdan, and go out to the entryway, where I could talk to Will through a little window. That photo he posted? I took his phone, brought it in, snapped the photo, then carried the phone back to the visiting window.

Bye! They're waking up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Phyllis and baby Bogdan are finally home!!

...and oh, is the taste of freedom ever so sweet!

Since getting home this afternoon, Phyllis has been working on top priority business: recovering from the birth hospital! First thing, a nice long hot bath, followed by resting and visiting with baby and his three proud (and EX-cited!) siblings. Second in order of priorities: a REAL meal. The triumphant welcome home supper was lasagna and a greek salad!

The curiosity, excitement and questions are at an all time high, but Phyllis just keeps smiling and saying how good it is to be home. Even Raia twirling, dancing, tripping, bouncing and falling around Phyllis so much that she (Phyllis!) actually got dizzy was not enough to sour the sweetness of just being home. =)

Thank you all for for your concern, your notes and your prayers. Maybe tomorrow Phyllis will be back online. For now, she's just enjoying her baby boy...

oh, and being home again, finally. Have I mentioned that? ;o)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

'Baby X' now has a name!

After visiting Phyllis and the baby today, as well as conducting the most serious of diplomatic talks with the remaining three members of the Russo-Ukrainian Hunsucker Clan, we have settled on a name.

Bogdan - Богдан. (Pronounced 'Bahgdahn,' that is 'A' as in 'father.')
Literally translating as "Given of God" or "God-given", we feel this is appropriate, and we've always liked this name. However, we are aware that our poor children may very well have identity crises when they hit 12-13 or so, depending upon where we'll be living at that time. =)

Also, for those who are interested, Bogdan Xmelnitsky was a historical figure/folk hero in this part of the world.

Mother and baby are doing as well as is possible for not being at home. Pray with us that they will be released with all due haste from the birth hospital, and again, that we would be able to get a birth certificate relatively painlessly. =)

Thank you so much for your notes and prayers!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Surprise, Surprise...!

After a morning of calling around trying to find out for sure what we should do, (other than try to let Phyllis and baby get some rest), we were given a solution. Dictated one, rather. =)

We were advised that the only way we could now legally register the baby's birth would be to call the 'ambulance,' have them witness that we had a home birth, and take us to the nearest 'birth hospital.'

Which we proceeded to do, albeit, not particularly rushing. We had a very nice nurse help us out, a very bumpy ride to the birth hospital 30 minutes away, and were met by some more rather bemused nurses. (This sort of thing isn't done here. People usually panic at the idea of a home birth.)

Phyllis and baby are doing fine, and very happy to be together. They are recovering nicely from unwanted examinations which proved that they are healthy and happy, although we already knew that much. ;)

Baby is roughly 7lbs and 20 inches, allowing for conversion from metric.

Please be praying for understanding and mercy on the part of whatever doctor makes the decision regarding the birth certificate. We were told we might have to jump through some extra bureaucratic hoops, since we took so long to bring the baby in.

Thank you so much for your prayers and notes! We're all doing as well as could be expected, a little tired, but thrilled that 'Baby X' is finally with us. ;)


Phyllis had written last night and set the blog to post automatically early this morning because our internet was going to be turned off temporarily...

between last night and this morning, plans have changed.

Our baby boy evidently didn't want to be born in an hospital. Maybe he'd heard how fun it was to be born in a bathtub?

Around 8:20 this morning Baby Boy (as yet unnamed) joined us! Phyllis and the baby are both healthy, the labor went as well as possible, and we are all resting now.

Jaan, Raia and Asya are with their favorite baby-sitters a few buildings away, and generally things couldn't be better. The irony of it all is that we'd spent all day yesterday shopping, doing laundry and generally getting everything ready to go to the hospital tomorrow morning.

Thank you for your prayers, and now be praying with us that we can get this baby properly documented.


I have gone around and around with birth plans for this baby. After three wonderful home births, I didn't exactly want a hospital birth. Plus, there's no birth hospital here in Dneprorudnoe anymore. However, we don't have anyone here to help us with childcare and such. That part was a real challenge after Asya was born, even with a few people who could help. With no one available...?

So, tomorrow I will be going to nearby Energodar, to check into the birth hospital there and wait for the birth of this baby. No signs of labor yet; this is just the day they chose for me to come in. This is not for any medical reasons whatsoever. In fact, if I'd had any health problems this pregnancy I probably wouldn't/couldn't have jumped through all the prenatal "care" hoops that I have. (The "care" that I've had has mostly consisted of being tested for STDs and hearing that I'm really fat. Oh, that and having the baby's heartbeat listened to with a little wooden trumpet. I like that last part. ) I still think home is the safest and best place for a healthy birth. However, I've had my good births, and I'm willing to try something else, if it will be easier for the whole family. Also, we'll be able to get a birth certificate without any questions. (Although, it looks like that would be pretty easy after a home birth here, too.)

Please be praying that all will go well! Hopefully Will can post an update here when I call to tell him that the baby is born, and then I should be back three days after that. Pray specifically that I would have the baby and come home soon, that I'll be surrounded by nice doctors and nurses--maybe even the kind who would respect my opinions?--and that I'll be able to keep the baby with me all the time.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Once again

...nothing written. Sorry, again! I think I've just gotten out of the habit. Also, our camera has been loaned out for over a week, so we don't have any photos to share.

Good night!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Quick note

We're still alive and well. Will's just been gone a lot, so I haven't made it to the computer to write. He's back now, though. We're catching up on rest and school and regular life. I can back to writing here after that....

Oh, we are changing over to a new email address. If you write to us at our old one, we'll still get it, but please do start using the new one after that. Thanks!