Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FL to AL to NC

Again, I'm just sharing photo highlights. This is less day by day than my last post; it's just a few of the photos that I have, with a tiny bit of commentary.

We wanted to visit Deleon Springs, and we got to do that last Friday. We had a lovely day there, making pancakes, swimming, and going for a walk in the woods.

Deleon Springs tourist shot

I'm afraid that one thing that will really stick in our kids' minds and in our family stories is that we saw a cottonmouth! I kept telling Bogdan that there was nothing scary in those swamps, and then we came across a cottonmouth curled up on the edge of the path. After that he and Asya were marching along saying, "I'm scared. I'm scared. I'm scared."

We are really enjoying our rental car. It is a Kia, which is what my parents have, too. When we drive, our kids now how many count "Kils" they see. (Look at that logo with Ukrainian eyes, if you know the Cyrillic alphabet.) This photo was when Raia almost got lost looking for ours:

Car twins
On Sunday after church we headed over to the beach. I had forgotten how beautiful it is!

Below is a recent photo that I took from a friend, so you can see what impressed us so much in Florida. It's a very typical day at the beach in Ukraine:
Compare and contrast: Black Sea
Florida beach
More than just the beauty of the beach, we loved the time with my aunt and uncle there.

Necklace making
We came back to less fun stuff. Remember this? It returned.
No comment
Wednesday we got to have dinner with our very oldest family friends, my other set of parents:

Then on Thursday we started out for the family reunion. We went as far as Tallahassee and met up with a very old friend (son of aforementioned friends and therefore my "brother") and his very new wife for dinner.
With Timothy and Kristen
The next morning my parents took us out for a wonderful tour of Florida Caverns.
In the caverns

From there we drove on the family reunion in Alabama. That was a weekend FULL of family, food, and lots of fun.

From Alabama we drove on to South Carolina for dinner with friends along the way to Charlotte.
With the Becketts
And now we're in North Carolina for two weeks.

(It is traditional to greet us with the tandem bicycle.)

Friday, July 14, 2017

First week in Florida

It's been a week since we left home, and already we've been so busy! Our trip over went quite smoothly, except that our last flight was delayed.

Waiting in Istanbul
The only one who slept on the plane
New York
Finally in Orlando (3 am?)
Once we got here, we slept for a few hours, then had breakfast with friends who were headed out of town. I think Mom got some photos then, but I didn't. We took lunch to a park later on in the day, and then Great Grandma (my grandmother) came over for dinner.

With Great Grandma
So, that was Friday. I already don't remember what happened on Saturday. There was lots of lizard and tadpole catching going on, for sure. We also had a Skype call with a dear friend who we won't be able to see while we're in the USA.

Sunday we spoke or played music at church, all of us. Well, Bogdan didn't speak or do music; he just looked pretty and worked hard to stay awake. Then there was a potluck afterwards for more fellowship and a question and answer time. In the evening my parents set up a movie night just like we always do at home, and our kids got to share that with their aunt and cousins. Before the movie, though, they had watermelon to eat and a seed spitting contest in the back yard. I think Isla and Raia turned out to be the champions, but I'd better check that with one of the kids before I say for sure. (See how cute my nieces are?)


Monday Will got his driver's license: no complications with that, praise God! The rest of us went on walks, little trips to stores, and just generally had a quiet day.

Tuesday was Will's birthday. We started off with a few little presents that the kids had made for him, then they "celebrated his birthday" with free Slurpees (7-11 Day, a new thing for us), Will and Dad picked up our rental car, then Great Grandma took all of us out to eat to really celebrate. We forgot candles, so Leetra made one for him on the spot. After that, we had a meeting with the church missions committee and the kids had a date with a swimming pool at the home where we were meeting. Leetra supervised all six of them, and Bogdan says that he only almost drowned three times. They had a wonderful time! (I guess I need to get some pool pics from Leetra or my parents.) After swimming, all the cousins came back here to my parents' house go to bed. They were too tired for any real sleepover shenanigans, but they had fun knowing that they were all under one roof.

Birthday presents for Papa
7-11 Day
Wednesday morning it was already time for sad goodbyes, because our nieces are going on a trip. We fit in as much time together as we could while there were here, though, and we have lots of photos and memories to hold on to. When they left, we headed to a park to meet up with my childhood best friend and her children. All the kids got along as if they've always known each other. They drew a hopscotch game that went up to 200. Then that evening we had dinner planned with one family, but they were sick, so another family invited us over instead. Again, it was a wonderful time of fellowship, and our kids were fascinated by all the interesting artefacts and stories these friends had to show and tell.

Huge hopscotch
Visiting family friends
Now we're up to today. My parents had set up a boys field trip and a girls field trip. The boys went to visit an inventor friend of Dad's, and we girls went to the Morse Museum, where there is a wonderful Tiffany collection. Raia recently learned about Tiffany in art history, so we knew we had to see this together this time. Both she and Asya were so excited about it, and they loved every minute there. We walked around by ourselves, went on a guided tour, left for lunch, and then came back to see more. I know the boys had a great time, too, but I wasn't with them, so I can't tell about that firsthand. Oh, besides launching rockets and I don't know what else, they ate alligator tail at a restaurant with Grandda and his friend.

And that, my friends, is a very, very abbreviated summary of our week.