Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Recent happenings

It had been a while since I got the photos off my phone. Here are some of them: 

They're coming out in very random order. I probably uploaded too many like this one anyway, but I just can't get enough of the beautiful sky, the hills, and the kids up on top in the evenings when we go for longer walks.

Saturday evening we had new friends and old over for dinner. Masha is new to our church, and she was the camp doctor this summer. Asya loved getting to spend time with her. Masha and Prawin just got married. And Dasha is Raia's best friend. Asya wanted to make taco salad for everyone, and I think everyone liked that idea.

Jaan has been planning to fix up a bike for Bogdan for a long time. All the other kids have bikes, but Bogdan has been without. While Jaan was gone, our neighbour used the parts that Jaan had been gathering and pretty much made one working bike out of three broken ones. Bogdan is loving it! 

When our Russian-American friends moved away, they left us lots of new-to-us toys, books, and art supplies. Playtime has been like after Christmas around here almost every day.

Next are more photos from evening walks....

Our kids have been enjoying various slumber parties with their friends. Here's Asya "reading" after she came home from one of those fun nights:

Art school has had speical "art parties" off and on all summer, but our kids hadn't gone to any of them, until the last two. Asya and her friend attended and had a wonderful time!

And here are all the kids (except the littlest one) from our house on their bikes:

That's all for now.

Monday, August 24, 2020


Today is Ukraine's birthday, and last week was mine. (Tomorrow is my father's. Happy birthday, Dad!) This birthday was a big one for me. I'm 40! But I also have felt like I'm celebrating being alive and well. It is so good, and I am so thankful!

Since Jaan and Raia were gone all of last week, we actually celebrated early, before they left. (They were at South Point youth festival. There are lots of photos here, especially if you click through on where it says linktree.) Will ordered a bunch of lavender plants for me. He thought they were small pots and was surprised by the huge box. I was just surprised and happy in general. They smell wonderful. 

We went out to lunch at the Georgian restaurant we like.

Then we sat by the fountain while Bogdan played. Raia and Asya soon joined him.

Then we had a nice walk and got gelato for desert.

We came home to even more presents.

And all that was before my actual birthday. On the big day, a package arrived, just in time. My parents had gathered cards, photos, letters, and more from many, many people. We've had a great time going through them, reading and looking at everything. Thank you all!

A few more photos from today:

(Hmm. I don't know how to add captions in this new Blogger. The flowers are what I was enjoying this morning; Bogdan climbed up in a tree to take that picture for me. And the last photo is a preview of something Asya and her friend are working on.)

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Golden Easel art contest

Remember the international art contest I mentioned here? Way back then it seemed like they had such a good plan for covid19 eventualities. The Lviv trip would be at the end of July... or during fall break, if covid19 became an issue. Both options ended up being cancelled. They added to the second stage of the contest, though, and Bogdan and Raia have just finished their work for that. I asked one of their art teachers for help, and she very kindly hosted them for a day at art school to work on the new assignments and get everything ready to send. They had to draw or paint one work titled "The World at My Window" and one other work of their choice, with specific photos of themselves at the easel, and write a short resume.

We have several windows, but they both choose to draw the view from the same one:

First their teacher had them make sketches at home:

Then they worked with her at class:

Bogdan was so excited to work with pastels. When he called me to tell me that he was done, I could hear how pleased he was.

They chose one of his earlier works to send for the other picture, so I went back and found photos of when he was working on it:

Raia made an amazing watercolour in her trademark style:

And she also chose another picture that she had finished earlier:

Ready to send:

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

The sea!

Pretty much everyone goes to the sea every summer here. We had never been, at least not all together. Now we have! The Promise team went on a beach trip last week and invited our whole family to go with them. We hardly took any photos, because it was bakingly hot and bright, but it was a good day.

My hiding place from the sun.*
See the camel and the llama?

(*After immunotherapy I have patches of skin without pigment, and I burn instantly. It's weird.)

Monday, August 03, 2020

Goodbye and Bairam

Yesterday we had one last time getting together with our American-Russian friends before they move away. During cold times we have met at their house, but in the summers we meet at the Christian institute for picnics and swimming.  That's what we did yesterday, of course. It was very bittersweet. We're definitely going to miss them!

After that, we went on to the Muslim community's celebration of Kurban Bairam that our neighbours had invited us to. This year they weren't even sure they could have a big event right up until the last minute, and they did it out on the edge of town to avoid health regulation problems. So, we were there near them already, and just had to walk to get to their location. We arrived toward the end, though. It was dark already, with a beautiful, big moon low over the river. The program had ended, but the kids were still running around playing and were very happy to have ours join them. And they had tons of food left, so they fed us very well. I had recently seen a video recipe for what they made; the photo here is a screenshot from that. We'll be eating leftovers of it for dinner today, too.

Then Will called a van driver we know, and he happened to be parked right there, so both families rode home together with him. Their father had to stay behind, because he was still waiting for their own family's sheep to be delivered from a village later in the night.

A funny moment was when I was talking to someone I don't even know, and I said that we were there because our neighbours are the A family. She said, "Oh, you have Asya?" Our toddler neighbour tells everyone she meets everywhere she goes, "At home we have Asya." Poor tired little one howled in the van on the way home because we had to sit how the driver arranged us, and he didn't let her sit with Asya.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Prayer letter/health update

I have usually posted my health news here, but this time I put it in our July prayer letter. If you don't get those, please follow the link. The update is nice and boring, just as it should be.