Saturday, June 28, 2014

(Under construction)

Yes, you're at the right place. The old pink blog template stopped working. (I never did like that pink. It was the butterflies that drew me to it.) So, now we're under construction. Maybe for a while. Time and a working internet connection are rare commodities for me right now.

Plus, I still haven't finished sharing about our vacation (horse riding, castle, and more!) and the wonderful picnic we had last week.


As part of my changing things, I'm archiving this sidebar photo:

From 2012!?!?

Here's the new one:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First day in Pavlovo

So many photos! Even if I really cull them, there are a lot. Skip this, if you don't like photos, or if your computer can't handle them.

We were exhausted, in a very good way. That meant we started off the day slowly: lots of coffee for the adults, sleeping in (!!!) and frog/toad catching for the children.

So tired!
The view from our door

Yellow-bellied toad (or fire-bellied?)
An Agape comercial?
You know it's a good place for children, when it's perfectly okay to take down the restaurant decorations and play with them:

A little before lunch time we packed a picnic and started out to explore. First we found ice cream, then the river.

I could post a whole pile of pictures here, but I'll spare you.

We ate lunch in an unfinished house that the local kids told us a man "from Moscow" (Russian?) had bought and left.

Then we started looking for a mountain to climb.

We quickly found a good path and started, almost straight up.

Old well/spring
Massive slug 
First "peak"

Our route (and balcony view)
I could only make straight lines with arrows, but you can probably kind of see it. From the stream, we went right up the hill. We all made it to the top of the first bump, started over it, and up the next. Only I made it to the top of the second bump, while the others rested. Then we came partway back down and turned out into that sunny field, crossed back over the river lower down, and "home" again. It was really a heroic effort for Bogdan, whose short little legs were missing their nap. He actually walked most of the way, with Will dragging him on steep climbs and carrying him just a little at the very end.

For dinner we had Carpathian bograch. (Here's an interesting link about a bograch competition. Also, interesting, no one online seems to mention the beans and barley that people in "our" village add.) It's a thick stew, with beans, grain and several kinds of meat, that cooks in an iron pot over a fire all day long. Yum! And perfect after a day outside. Just for my friend Jeanne, Will took pictures of the next batch being made:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I love my children

I found this really sweet and wanted to write it down so that I don't forget.

After the part of the Agape graduation and anniversary celebration that was in church, everyone headed back to the hotel on foot, with vans running back and forth picking people up along the way. About halfway back, Will and I got into one of the vans with Asya and Bogdan. Jaan and Raia had run ahead, and--after all the sitting at church--they really wanted to run. So, we let them go. But, when the van caught up to them, they were talking to a ragged, limping stranger. The people we were with were very worried, and the driver stopped to see what was going on. Parked on the other side of the road, we watched as Jaan and Raia chatted with the man, shook his hand, and then they ran on.

Once we got to the hotel, I told them that people had been very worried that "the drunk" had been bothering them. Jaan said, "He wasn't drunk! He was like the kids at the orphanage [i.e. special needs of some sort], and he just needed a hug. So I hugged him, and then we went on."

Obviously, I don't know if the man was drunk or not, and we do watch our children's contact with strangers, but I thought the child's viewpoint was so nice: "He just needed a hug."

(More photos coming soon!)

Monday, June 16, 2014

More vacation photos

We have been busy celebrating our NINE-year-old daughter, going without electricity, still recovering from travel, and getting back to regular life. Today I pick up where I left off writing about our trip.

The morning after the Agape celebration and graduation, we started off with breakfast and a seminar at the hotel. Then people started to leave. The Odessa group's train wasn't until the evening, so we hung out with them for some siteseeing and a picnic. Photos:

Still at the hotel
Local transport
Famous mineral water; it is naturally bubbly!

Finally in the forest!
"Бабочка на бабушке"
Jaan decided that green onions keep mosquitos away.
Hunting for mushrooms

Back to the mineral water
Worn out!
Uncle Sasha, after he carried sleeping Bogdan back
More fancy hairstyles
Village dinner
Then, after all the Agape people left, we got someone to drive us out to "our village." We found the place we had reserved, settled in, and enjoyed the beautiful evening a bit, before we crashed.