Saturday, December 23, 2017

Concert Week

This past week was full of music school concerts. Tuesday was folk instruments, Thursday was Jaan's teacher's concert, and Friday the whole winds and strings departments had a big concert at our church. That was Asya's first time playing her flute at a concert.


Their duet
Getting an award
A game
Saint Nikolai
Some of the performers
(better photo here)
Saying poems
Duet with his teacher
Another duet
Svetlana Mikhailovna and her students (and Raia)

Asya her special guest
Now we're done with music school events. They still have a few more lessons before holiday break, though. Then there's the art school celebration tomorrow, lots of church children's choir, and the theater performance that Jaan will be in. It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Advent 2017

Since we're about halfway through Advent, I guess it's time for me to write about it. I like to have these posts to record what we've learned and thought about during Advent every year.

This year we're doing a very simple Jesse tree with the Jesus Storybook Bible. The Old Testament stories all end with a note of looking forward to Jesus. Having everything ready to go in Russian makes it very easy. Bogdan colors the little pictures from here and we stick them to our mirror. We sing the songs that have become tradition in our family--Адвент наступает and O, come, o, come Emmanuel in several languages--and we're learning Lo, how a rose ere blooming, which fits well with Jesse tree readings. Then we're also listening to The Christmas Mystery again, like we did our first year in this house.

Our Advent wreath is different again this year. The pyromaniacs in the family just couldn't leave candles alone, and Bogdan and Asya needed a craft to do, so they came up with this:

The stump is a spontaneous creation of Bogdan's from the first day of December, when we were reading about how a "shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse." I added a quote from Ann Voskamp, whose books I checked out for myself, but have also been sharing with our older kids.

And that's that: Advent 2017. 

Saturday, December 02, 2017


Last Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving with our extended family of Americans and Canadians. It was a really fun, beautiful, delicious, and musical day.

I ordered sweet potatoes to share, which was a Thanksgiving first for us. Bogdan helped me to prepare one set of them like my grandmother used to with toasted marshmallows on top. We made another batch like candied yams. Yum!

Another fun first was a family concert after the meal. Lots of the kids and some of the adults shared music, and one family did a funny skit. That really added to the fun of the day.

Comparing their flutes
Trying piano and balalaika together
Dinner conversation
The concert

Trying a ukulele afterwards

Also, the past few years we have celebrated Thanksgiving late, which means that it falls on Holodomor remembrance day. I now put a memorial candle on the table with every Thanksgiving meal. At first it seemed strange to remember famine victims in the midst of such abundance, but then I realised that it actually fits with the theme very well. The first Pilgrims were thanking God for a good harvest after a hard start when half of them died. We can definitely remember tragedies while being thankful at the same time.