Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bogdan's nature study

We spent a wonderful, beautiful day at our dacha on Friday. It was especially fun to see Bogdan enjoying it all. He was very busy, taking it all in.

Tasting a grape

Touching an apple

Listening to the birds (and singing with them)

(Thumb break)

Watching his siblings

...and a spider

Smelling the roses

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


On Sunday we went with some of the youth to visit a church in a small town called Kushugum. Will preached and led the singing. Sasha also preached, and Lyuda and Yana read poems. After church, we enjoyed lunch together, and then they brought out a trampoline! That's what our children will remember. I laugh at how they refer to the churches in this region: one is "the church with a goat and turkeys," another is just "the big church," and there's "the church where we ate raspberries." Kushugum will go down in the records as "the church with the trampoline."

On the way there

The group



I was loving the sky.

Bogdan liked the trampoline, too.

Stopping for a drink

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mittens, Transfiguration and kitten

A new cultural note: when we stepped outside this morning, our elderly neighbor, who loves Bogdan, took one look at him and said, "Where are his mittens?" I thought I was doing well to have socks, long sleeves and a hat on him, when the weather had just turned mildly breezy. (Mild, in my opinion. To others, it's probably a dangerously cold wind!) So, I just said, "Mittens?" He replied, "Yes, mittens. Today is Spas!" Well, I knew that today we celebrate the Transfiguration, but the only folk traditions I knew about that have to do with apples and grapes. Dedushka didn't explain any further, so we went on to visit our friend.

When we got to her apartment, I asked her how mittens and Spas are tied together. She didn't know. Her mother, however, told us a little saying right off: "Пришёл Спас — держи рукавички про запас!" (Spas is here, get your gloves ready!) And she explained that this is traditionally the time to get the mittens out and actually to get the whole winter wardrobe ready. So, I learned something new. Also, as I've noticed before, people here really do celebrate the holidays. In Russia, our neighbors often asked me to find out what the holiday was. Here they don't; everyone knows! I even saw one babushka coming back from the Orthodox church with her basket full of fruit.

I just threw "kitten" in up there so that I could write about Bogdan. (Or so that I could ask which of these it not like the others?) Bogdan has recently noticed that we have a cat, and he is utterly fascinated. The cat is actually finally starting to reconcile himself to the fact that we have a baby, too. Every time Bogdan sees Budya-Zhenya, his whole body goes stiff, starts quivering, and then he begins flapping and kicking. The night before last, I put Bogdan down where he could watch Zhenya. A minute later, Jaan said, "Mama, you know Zhenya could scratch him." I was going to explain that I had put him far away specifically to avoid that, when I looked up and saw that Bogdan had both hands full of kitty! He had scooted and rolled all the way down to him.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Will says this photo is iconic... of something.

I haven't written for over a week.

We've been swimming (and sweating) a lot.

Raia got her cast off.

Our children really enjoyed a little day camp put on by another church.

Bogdan is five months old.

Will moved a (literal) ton of scrap metal at church.

Today is cooler, and it's finally raining.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

School planning

I would like to write more about homeschooling on this blog, including a kind of general intro to our homeschool, but right now, I need to get down to the more practical part. Hopefully more homeschooling posts will come soon. (This post and a few others were stuck in Drafts. I'm letting them out now. )

I've been wanting to start on plans for the next school year, but I just haven't had a chance. Judging from what I see around the internet, lots of homeschool families have already started back to school. We have almost a month to go. Still, I need to get busy! Alina took everyone except for Bogdan out to play, so I have a few hours free....

This year Jaan will be doing Ambleside Online Year 2, and Raia will be in Year 0. (Year 0 really includes all the preschool years, but I'm doing an "official" Year 0 with her, one last year of prep before she heads into Year 1.) I guess they're in grades 3 and 1? Or 2 and K? Who knows or cares about that part? (Ah, I like this post: related to my thoughts about what grade and Raia... and Asya.)

Year 2 will be pretty much exactly as it's written out on the web site. Beyond AO, I add in MEP math, Ukrainian as a foreign language, and Russian history, literature, poetry, hymns and folk songs.

With Raia I'm planning to take time each day to read books from the AO book list to her and work on the "List of Attainments." She'll continue to listen to audio books for Russian literature. At least at first, I'm going to set reading lessons aside; she hasn't seemed ready for them, so far. I'll reevaluate that after the first term.

Both Jaan and Raia--plus Asya and Bogdan--will be a part of Bible, poetry, memory work and songs around the breakfast table every day. This year I want to try adding art and composer study (appreciation) at supper. Note to self: it would be nice to make a song book, memory books for both Jaan and Raia (three binders total for all that), find poetry, print out art, and get music onto my Kindle.

Now I just need to get that planned out on paper and find my resources....

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Raia update

Thank you for all your prayers and emails for Raia. I think she's doing really well! It's been two weeks now, so she should be getting her cast off soon. Having a broken arm really hasn't seemed to bother her much. Even though she's left-handed, she's becoming quite proficient with her right hand.

If you can't tell, her sling is full of pears and flowers in the picture above. I just stopped her from climbing the pear tree, but she still clambered all over the steep hill that it's on and collected what she could.

Please keep praying for good healing!