Sunday, September 29, 2013

Zhatva and later

Today we went to a different church than the one we've been attending. We actually know more people at this one, and we had been invited to their Zhatva (Harvest/Thanksgiving) today, since they had a guest speaker and singer from Israel that our friends wanted us to hear.

So cute!
None of those little ones are ours, but they were just so adorable that I had to get photos.

But then, this cutie is ours:

As usual after a Zhatva service, the children get the fruits and vegetables that were on display. For some reason, Bogdan took two peppers, and he is SO proud of them! He came marching out to me, and said, "Бобо ням п'ТОМ" ["Bobo (how he refers to himself) yum l'ter."] I was thrilled, because in recent days we have had so many tears over the concept of "later"! Maybe he finally understands it now? That was the first time I had heard him say it himself. He brought them home to eat later.

Home again

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Home tour

We filmed a little walk-through of our home today. Remember the pictures I posted before? Now you can see it with us living here. We're still not all the way unpacked, and we have some bigger purchases left to make (bunk beds!), but those have to be spread out over a few months.

I know I've been quiet here. There hasn't been much to write about: lots of school, lots of settling in. Asya did have a wonderful birthday. Will's been fighting with the electricity. Other than that, it's just been all little things.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A few funnies

Just like last month, I am copying my sister. I can't blame anything on my phone, though. My phone is proudly dumb. I'll just blame my lateness on not having access to computer and internet and then being busy.

From before we moved: when we approached the playground bird cage and saw that the peacock was showing off his tail, Bogdan said "WOW" and grabbed handfuls of his own hair on the top of his head, trying to pull it up, spread it out, and imitate the peacock. Just a very cute moment.

At some point, a friend of ours linked to a series of YouTube videos where adults reenacted a 2-year-old's conversations. I happened to watch them with my own 2-year-old and 5-year-old. Aforementioned 5-year-old absolutely latched on to a certain phrase. The original is approximately, "I'm naked, so I'm the boss," but she heard something a little different. Now, every time she hears the word "bus" in English--which is often, because we're doing a lot of trying to figure out how to get around here--she yells, "I'm naked in da bus!" Full volume.

Our neighbors seem to have a regularly scheduled screaming hour that corresponds with our bedtime. On one of our first few nights here, Asya asked me, "Mama, do we have any valerian?"
No, why?
"I wanted to take three pills over to Aunt Larisa. One for her and one for each baby."

I was serving out watermelon recently, and Asya said, "Please, ma'am, кавун." That's two English words and one Ukrainian, all in one sentence... from a child who usually speaks Russian. (At least she got it right this time! She used to say колдун. )

This is technically from September, not August, but it matches with Leetra's theme of things I can't believe I said. A certain child was whining along the lines of "why do I have to get dressed before school?" and I answered, "Because I don't want to do school with your underwear!" What?!? Where did that come from, and what does it mean? It worked, though. She skipped off to get dressed.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Social events

Even though we haven't been here long, our "social calendar" has been nice and full. Soon after we first got here, we met up with a new friend for lunch. She has been serving here as a missionary for five years. Last weekend she invited us to a picnic that she had planned for the children she works with in a nearby orphanage. We went and had a truly wonderful day. I can't post too many photos, because their faces shouldn't be out on the internet, but maybe you can imagine some. We played games, did a craft, listened to a lesson, ate, and did lots of chasing and racing around with wheelchairs. Our children are still talking about how fun it was to get to know that great group and spend a whole day with them. Raia especially really wants to visit them in their orphanage now.

Jaan on top of a sign near where the picnic was 
Asya and Bogdan with one of their new friends
Then, the very next evening after the picnic we went to another event: a Bible study and worship time for English speakers. There were three families there, including us--13 children!--and our other new friend, the one from the lunch and picnic. So much fun! (We just missed Papa.)

This weekend we visited another family that we had met when we were here in the spring. They wanted to teach our girls how to make borsch, but sadly, playing won out over that. Still, we had a great time of fellowship and a wonderful pot of borsch made by the adults. The TV was on, and we heard that it was even "Borsch Holiday" that day, so I guess we chose an appropriate day to get together for that.

And yesterday we went to "the big church" for their first day of Sunday school. There were balloons and presents and even a puppet show. Asya got to go up on the stage with the other little ones just starting school; so cute! It was the first time that all of our children have gone off to separate Sunday school classes on their own. Even Bogdan went to the toddler class, but he was very careful to be sure that I went with him and stayed close. That sweet-talking preschool teacher was scary!

Today we had our first just regular school day of the year, and tomorrow is Jaan's TENTH birthday.

Friday, September 06, 2013

First Day

I already posted two photos from today, here and here. Now for a few more!

First day of school, 2013-2014
Jaan, age almost 10 (and Dina)
Raia, age 8
Asya, age almost 6
Just starting school!
Bogdan, age 2
Serious students?
In our new school room

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Starting school

I have had a whole day of quiet here. Even though I'm surrounded by boxes, I've been ignoring them and trying to plan for starting school. It's a challenge! I've never had to do it all in one day, and I've never had to do it so soon after moving, and I've never had three students. But, by God's grace and Will's babysitting help, I think I'm at least ready for tomorrow.

On the September 1st Jaan and Raia started getting a little upset. They saw everyone else going to First Day celebrations, and they begged me to start school with them, too. At that point Will still wasn't even here, and all our books were with him. I reassured them that we would start soon. Yesterday, in frustration, I said something like "maybe we just won't do school this year" out loud. Right away, Jaan grabbed Bogdan and offered to take him outside so that I could work.  But I still didn't really get anything done until Will took everyone out today.

So, my plans for tomorrow are:
  • pancake breakfast and discuss our schedule
  • first morning school session
  • first nature study (paint!)
  • bake for afternoon tea
  • new quiet time schedule (more about that later)
  • dress up and go out to take pictures
  • special tea with poems and wishes for the year
  • watch Masha and Medved?
Beyond that, I do have an idea of what we'll do daily. Plus, I got most of our school books unpacked. Will set up our school area for me first thing (and it looks great. Pictures coming tomorrow.) It's probably a good thing that we're having our First Day celebration on a Friday, because I can work a little more over the weekend, and then we'll jump right in.

Please pray with us as we start off this new year of school!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

All in Kherson!

Will got here on Monday, and we're slowly settling in now. Our internet connection is still very iffy, but it worked for a little while last night, and I hope it will come on today for me to post this.

We have been enjoying this little house so much! After dreaming of something like this for years, and then pretty much deciding that it wouldn’t ever happen (and learning to love apartment life), now my old dream has come true. Even after I decided that I loved having neighbors under, over, and all around us, I still had moments where I wished that I could just step outside for a little while, without it being a social occasion. Here I’ll be able to do that sometimes.

Although, we certainly haven’t gotten away from communal living. This is a whole new level of collective. Our closest neighbors are the young family that rents the other half of the house. Then there are also the “Aunt” and “Uncle” who live two houses down and look after this place. Also, for the first week, our landlady was staying here. Apparently, she comes (all the way from Italy!) for a few weeks every year. And all the other random, less closely “related” neighbors are in and out, too, of course. So, while the introvert part of me has been cringing a little, the people-loving part has been thriving.

The other family has two little boys, both younger than Bogdan. They’re 1 and 2 years old. (Really! The Russian wait-at-least-five-years-after-first-baby mandate isn’t nearly as strong in Ukraine.) Our children have already fallen in love with them. Bogdan wakes up in the mornings, asking for the “babies” and then wants to spend all day with them. Both of them are quite comfortable toddling in and out of our home, as if it was theirs, too. We’re enjoying their company and getting to know each other. I love having a few more little ones around!

Unfortunately, the yard has been a bit of a disappointment. Our neighbor sees it all as hers, and doesn’t think children should do anything other than sit still in her yard. So, we’re going to have to work things out with her and learn to try to please her. It really is too small for running, but I would think a little noise and dirt and climbing would be okay. Not so, at least at this point.

But, the house is wonderful! And we’re enjoying being here. We've had a lot of quiet days, exploring our new surroundings, and also two big, fun highlights: an orphanage picnic and an English-speaking family gathering. Hopefully I can tell you about those soon, but for now we really need to get unpacked and started on school. And, like I said, internet is a still a work in progress. We'll see how much I can write in the next week or so....