Sunday, January 25, 2009

Go Cougars!

I liked the contrast of the "Student Section" and the rest of the arena.

The kids have wanted to go to a real basket ball game, usually meaning a Jazz game. We thought they might enjoy a BYU basket ball game, so last night we headed south to watch BYU play San Diego. We headed down early so we could stop and have dinner. We saw an Argentine bakery and stopped to see what they offered. The kids like empanadas, but they were out. So we ordered some, sandwiches de miga, ham and cheese sandwiches for Morgan and Ethan, and some fried steak sandwiches called milanesas, for Troy, Grant and I. They were quit tasty. Then of course Troy picked up a new bag of Mate and we bought some alfajores for desert, along with a bag of pasteries for Sunday breakfast. Mmmm., we got a good dose of dulce de leche this weekend. (Troy's going to have to correct all my misspelled Spanish words). Then off to the game. Go Cougars! They kept their lead of 5-10 points the entire game and pulled off a great win last night. The kids were great, even kind to each other. Morgan was by far the most energetic of the family, singing and dancing and screaming at the top of her lungs when ever the screen said to MAKE NOISE. Grant was the mellow one with a bit of a cold and Ethan half way through was more interested in ice cream and playing on the iphone. We had a good time, hopefully Marina, Ivan and Anya will enjoy going to a few basket ball games.

The morning after the game we finished off the Argentine pasteries for breakfast along with some fresh squeezed oj.  A couple weeks ago Ethan realized that orange juice was the juice of oranges!  Ta da. So I bought a 2$ juicer and 3 bags of oranges and the kids have made fresh orange juice a few times now.  Oh, and it is tasty!  No sugar needed!  The rest of the pictures are a relaxing Sunday afternoon.  Reading, napping and playing clay.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Exciting News

First off I got to hang out with my cool nephew Ruger today. We played trains, trains, some more trains and marbles. If I ever get a program on here to upload pics I'll put some cute pics of Ruger with the trains. My boys never were interested in playing trains, Grant action figures (knights) and Ethan was balls/sports.

Then I helped at the church, had activity days, Morgan had acting and Grant has a couple basket ball games. In the mist of everything going on my friend called to say they got a date to submit their dossier to the Ukraine Government, so I've been anxiously waiting that moment I could sit down and check my email. I just hadn't had time until now and YEAH! we have a submission date of February 4th! I'm a little giddy again, it's so exciting to think it's getting closer and in 3 or 4 months we could be over in the Ukraine picking up Marina, Ivan and Anya. So the submission date is the day we can submit our dossier to the Ukraine government (SDA) with our request to adopt. If we are approved (apx. a month from submission date) then we will receive travel dates to go to the Ukraine and adopt (apx. 8 weeks from approval date, some have been shorter some longer). So we could be in the Ukraine in May. Very exciting, but we will be gone a month to pick them up and it will be so strange to be away from our kids and home for a month.

I'm sure my mind will be racing the rest of the evening with all the things I want to do to the rooms to get ready to bring them home. Ethan's room here I come : )
I thought I'd add since I now have pictures.  Percy was sick all last week, we even took him to the doctor.  They couldn't find anything wrong with him so they gave him some anti-nausia meds and sent him home.  I had been worried because he hadn't eaten or drank anything for 4 days!  The 17th he ate few hot dogs Troy fed him and then over the next couple days he started eating and drinking again.  But it was sad, he just curled up on his pillow as tight as he could, he wouldn't play or run around and he just listlessly tottered out side only when we made him go out.  It's nice to have out crazy, hyper dog back.

Also on Martin Luther King, Jr. day the kids were out of school and so I took them into the doctor to have their feet looked at.  Grant and Ethan both have a wart on the bottom of a foot and Morgan's foot with the pencil injuries was starting to look infected!  Our great pediatrician froze the warts off and froze both of Morgan's injuries because warts had begun to form in the wounds!  To say the least they looked pretty bedraggled when we left the doctors office.  They watched a movie when we got home and perked up just enough to still go to dinner at the Tufts.  They don't seem to be able to turn down food : )

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Great Saturday

I started to blog about what a great Saturday we had, just hanging out with our little family and everyone being nice to each other and my computer crashed. So I'm updating on the kids computer and we'll have to see if any pictures make it through to be posted.

We did have a great Saturday. We did a little clothes shopping for Marina, Ivan and Anya. So if they do come before May they will have uniform pants and skirts to wear to school. They saw Grant, Morgan and Ethan go to school everyday in their uniforms so hopefully it won't be an issue when they get here.

While shopping at Old Navy's 50% off sale we also bought a coat for Percy, our dog. The kids got him to pose for some cute pictures....

Then we spent the after noon with my grandmother. Since she moved into a rest home last year the kids see her on Sundays at Grandma and Grandpas, but they always want to go to her new place. It's just small and the kids start bouncing off the walls after 15 minutes so they've only been over there a couple other times. It was a nice visit. Grandma still knows Troy and myself, but doesn't always remember the kids. The kids didn't notice and for them it was fine because they were able to perform all their songs that they performed at Christmas again. Then Morgan did lovely imitations of all of our family members, needless to say she hit a few things spot on. Grant in return did a funny Morgan using a cane at 21 because she used up all of her energy. Quiet the party and Morgan definitly was leaning a little on the silly side of things yesterday. It was nice to visit and hang out together.

We then ate dinner at the Golden Corral, which Morgan thought was heaven. Her dinner consisted of a salad, mashed potatoes, fudge, a cup cake and a bowl of ice cream with hot fudge. Ethan had mac and cheese, watermelon, shrimp, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookie and ice cream with hot fudge. Grant had every type of meat and potato they offered and ice cream with hot fudge. Can you tell what our favorite thing to eat is?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ukraine Parent Lunch

Here is our wonderful "Parents soon to be adopting from the Ukraine" lunch group.  It's sure nice to just visit and know that we are all in the same situation, waiting to get our children from the Ukraine.  Although some have been waiting A LOT longer than me and I'm feeling like these past two months have been long.

 It's also fun to chat about our children with others who are just as excited as we are!  My neighbor teases me that I just light up when I start talking about our kids.  Well, it's a huge part of my life right now, to get them over here so we can be a family.  We also get the latest email news from our adoption agency (through each other) and hear about the latest letters people have/haven't received.  So far no packages sent in December have made it to the kids...  maybe it's not a good month to send a package.

So we have from left to right: Carrie and Andreas (who have been waiting over 18 months to get their little girl!), Doug and Amy (who are also adopting three from Kremenchuk), me, Wendy (who has been our leader through out the document collecting and is adopting Alexy), Dave (who is amazing and adopting 7! and has also been waiting over a year!), Lori and her daughter (adopting a boy from Kremenchuk who is friends with our Anya) and Leslie (who needs someone to watch her 3 year old son for a month while she's gone to pick up her daughter : ).  Also, Jen (adopting two sisters) who left before I remembered to take a picture, sorry Jen.  We were also missing Leslie (who is adopting two) and Ann (also adopting two), but we hope Ann had a smooth delivery and is home with a baby!  I think there are a couple other families adopting, but I'm not sure so I won't list them.  I also didn't list the kids names because I wasn't sure if everyone would be happy with that.  (I guess our blogs get read by people in the Ukraine and it has caused some problems for some families when they have been in the Ukraine adopting)...  hmmm should I write that?

We talked a lot about the SDA (Ukraine adoption offices) not opening today.  We were told that (hopefully) the offices will open in February.  We can't submit our dossiers or get travel dates until they open.  So we were all worrying about when we would be able to adopt these kids and what to  tell the kids now about if and when we will be over to pick them up.?.?  

Yet on my drive home to get kids from school I felt so much better than I have all week.  It might just be talking about it.  Maybe it's that we all are still going over and bringing them home, even if it is in August, and that gave me peace.  Who knows, but I'll keep praying, hoping and wishing for them to be here for the summer!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas and New Year in Ukraine

Anya wrote and sent this email about Christmas and the New Year in the Ukraine so I wanted to post it so my family could read about some of the Ukraine traditions.  Maybe we'll have to implement some of these next year....

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

The first winter holiday that Ukrainians (and most countries of former USSR) have is New Year, not Christmas! As well as in other countries, New Year is celebrated on the 31st of Dec- 1st of Jan. J Though celebration here goes on at least for couple of days. After New Year we celebrate Christmas. Ukrainian Christmas is on the 7th of January. The 6th of January is considered to be the Holy Day (night). Then, you will probably be surprised to find out that there is also such a holiday as Old New Year. J (only people with great love to celebrations could have that many holidays, right?) JJJ Old New Year is just a New Year under the old calendar. The difference is two weeks, and pretty much, that’s the difference we have between your Christmas and ours. We call 25th of Dec Western Christmas, as people in Europe celebrate their Christmas also on the 25th.

Winter holidays here are very traditional and they are fun for children! The equivalent of Santa Claus here is Ded Moroz (means Father Frost)! Unlike your Santa Ded Moroz has one very special helper- his granddaughter Snegurochka! (means Snowgirl) and lots of forest creatures that help to pack all the toys and do Christmas ornaments and such. Forest creatures include not only bunnies and hedgehogs, bears and squirrels, but also different kinds of birds. As a rule in old cartoons wolves and cunning foxes are always the animals that try to steal some toys and candy from Ded Moroz, so “such evil animals” will not be helpers in the house of Ded Moroz at all. Ded Moroz lives in the forest, he often walks there and sees that the trees are always covered with snow. He and his granddaughter use sledge with deer or three white horses or sometimes skies to come to the city to visit all the children. How our Ded Moroz gets inside the house is unknown!!! But he is always there when children are asleep and all the presents are left under the New Year (Christmas) tree. (not in the Christmas stockings or shoes, etc). Ded Moroz and Snegurochka often come together to put presents, but as a rule it’s considered that Ded Moroz does it himself, Snegurochka only helps in the house to pack all presents.

Ded Moroz is dressed usually into a long red or blue coat and has a big stick (crystal or wooden, white or silver in color) in his hands that helps him do the magic (such as start snow, or put lights on the New Year tree, etc (see on the picture). Snegurochka can be either a very little girl or a teen-ager. She can have either blue, white or red dress (long or middle length) or a nicely done winter coat. Also on her head she has either a winter hat, or a nice crown. (see pictures). They both have winter boots to match the outfit, boots should have also very nice design done with gold and silver or simply with hand-made designs. (plus their outfits are also hand-made with a lot of wonderful things like snowflakes or glass beads, etc). Ded Moroz carries a big sack, there one can find all the presents. He takes out a present and can always guess who wants what! J

All children celebrate New Year at schools, (orphanages, too, of course!) also in palaces of culture (they come to see a big New Year tree and a fairy-tale about Ded Moroz and Snegurochka! They always dress in different costumes (like you do for Halloween!) Children have fun dancing around the New Year tree, reciting by heart the poems about Ded Moroz and his granddaughter or winter holidays or winter. Children get presents from Ded Moroz for telling a good poem and also for having very nice costumes!

Ded Moroz comes both for New Year and Christmas (in some families only for New Year). But Christmas is more traditional and more of a family holiday. For Christmas everyone gets to visit their relatives and friends with a special dinner that is called “vecherya”! It’s an old tradition. People bake a lot of pies and cakes for Christmas, and also cook a special sweet kind of soup -“kutya”! Kutya is made of well-boiled wheat, poppy seeds, honey and walnuts. It’s a very old recipe and very tasty (even though it’s unusual as we don’t use wheat in every day’s cooking and poppy seeds we only use to put on bread or into some pies). Kutya and pies are always nicely packed and taken to parents, grandparents and all friends and relatives. So for the 6th and 7th people end up going from one house to another all the time J It’s a lot of fun! Beside that, children come for the 6th and 7th and do what you would consider “trick-or-treat” for Halloween. Children or teen-agers go from one house to another, they recite poems or sing a song that wishes a host and a hostess of the house and the whole family only good things: well-being, good harvest, always good health, long years of life, etc! For this they get candy and small money (about one or two hryvnas, which is around 20-40cents)! J Each day we have about 5-10 children coming! It’s a good sign, so all people let the kids in! Such going from one house to another is called “kolyadovat”.

As for the Old New Year, it also has a lot of traditions involved. For the 13th (late in the evening), children again go from one house to another and ask to be admitted to “posevat” (sing songs or recite poems again, throw wheat). Children always bring some grain with them, it should be wheat or wheat and rice together! While they recite poems or sing a song they throw wheat on children and parents in the house! They wish them health and well-being, and also they throw seeds on the floor. One shouldn’t sweep the seeds away at least for 1 or 2 days! J They will bring luck for the upcoming year. Such goes on to the morning of the 14th. BUT! Starting 12 midnight from the 13th and all the day of the 14th, women are not allowed into the houses! They would bring bad luck! Man should be the first to step into the house early morning of the 14th! Man is supposed to bring luck. So, only boys go reciting poems early in the morning, and again they throw wheat, too. Of course, it’s a very old tradition, some people still believe in it, some don’t, but mostly all people do it, just to keep the custom of the holiday!!!

In any case, our winter holidays are very interesting and traditional. I wish you Happy New Year and Merry Christmas! Maybe Ded Moroz and Snegurochka will come to your house this year, too??? JJJ

 С Новым Годом и Рождеством!

 (Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Music Memories

The kids wanted to hear music from the Grease album yesterday, and Morgan has been singing tunes to it all day. Her drama class had sung one of the songs in their show the other day.

This brought back an interesting memory I hadn't thought of in a long time. When Kim, Brett and I were young, Kim convinced us somehow to all chip in to buy the Grease soundtrack. This would have been around 1980, and so I would have been 10, Brett 13 and Kim 15. My contribution was maybe a dollar or two, while Kim and Brett threw in the bulk. I remember it clearly because it was one of the only double-record albums I had seen before. It was handsome and glossy, with large pictures of Travolta and Olivia Newton John on the cover. It opened up like a book with a record pouched in each side. We listened to it for many hours on the big stereo music cabinet in the living room. Kim even took it to the stake dances--the DJ apparently didn't have a copy. This sounds a little girly now, but, believe me, at the time Travolta and Grease were very cool.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2 months down...

Marina and Ivan November 2008 
Marina, Ivan and Anya left two months ago today.  Yesterday I got an email from Anya (who helps kids at orphanages write to pen pals), saying she saw the kids and these were pictures she took of the kids on her last visits.  Anya isn't in any because she was with her class.  But she said the kids still want to come and that Ivan got his package for his birthday (last month).  They haven't received their Christmas package, but they are getting some of the letters that we have mailed to them (every week).  It will be interesting to see what letters have made it.  I try to send a picture in my letters and the kids have drawn pictures or once Ethan sent them each a paper airplane...   Anya said that they were going to stay with their grandmother for the holidays and would be back on the 13th of January.  I've written Marina a couple times and told her to ask her grandma about her life and to write down all of her grandmothers stories.  I hope she will be able to.  I think that is something the kids will like to have later in their life.  Especially since we don't know when, if or how often they will be able to go back to the Ukraine.
Marina's hair keeps getting longer -- December 2008

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Yesterday Troy went fishing and I left the kids to clean up while I collected last minute documents for the apostille.  They did a pretty good job and so we decided to celebrate by going bowling.  Grant invited a couple of friends and then Morgan, Ethan and I bowled.  The pictures are off my iphone (no flash) and the lights were dimmed with the florescences and disco ball going (not the greatest quality of photography), but we had a good time!