Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rip Sticks

Trying out more new things. With grant home from school they are starting to get the wiggling motions to keep your momentum going. They were just riding them like skate boards and would just coast until they came to a stop.

Ok, so I'm going to jinx myself, but the kids have been really great. For all the stuff Tatiana put Troy through in Kiev, I can't believe how happy and smiley she has been here. Much more so than even when we were with them at the orphanage. Things may change when we put them in school next week... but we have talked about it and they have met a lot of the neighborhood kids now and are actually playing with them today. Tatiana and I read together this morning and she knows almost all of the sounds of the letters and could do a pretty good job sounding words out. She knows about 7 sight words, more than she ever showed at the orphanage. Everyone she met today she would say hi to and repeat their name and say goodbye to them. Yesterday she was happy but didn't want to talk to anyone else. So for all our fears so far so good. But they do have to be doing something all of the time and they haven't wanted to watch any tv or movies. I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. I may even get into shape with all this exercise.

More Bike Riding

The kids worked on some letter sounds and Tatiana read with me for a little bit this morning and then we were out riding bikes again... I decided to do some weeding and ready the garden for some more planting while they were out. But as soon as I started working they were all there with tools helping me weed and then they wanted to plant the plants. I know it's a bit early and those are all the milk jugs I have at the moment.... so I'm sure some things will freeze before the end of May if I don't get them covered. But it was fun to watch them help and work.

Silly side of Anastasia, such an easy going personality. Still crashes on her bike non stop and Victor isn't any help always running into people on his bike. He just like to go fast and race everyone. I'm not ready to let them in the street yet so he just plows everyone over on the sidewalks.

So once again we rode our bikes today. We also tried out roller blades, rip boards and Tatiana and I played bad mitten for a good hour. I'm am totally warn out, but they just keep on going and going. Poor Anastasia was so tired by 3 pm yesterday and by 12 noon today, but she won't go in and rest or watch tv or anything because she doesn't want to be left out. She would ride her bike and then just fall onto the grass and lay there for a bit and then get up and do it again and again.

Grant and Ethan are home from school now and so they are all going 90 miles an hour again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

They Made It

Our little welcoming committee. Sorry we didn't invite anyone, we just didn't know how Tatiana would react. So I think it was good it was just the family.

Everyone made it safe and sound. Tatiana was a bit warn out by the end of the trip and kind of just watched everyone. Victor and Anastasia ran around and had to check everything out. We let everyone stay up till 10 and then made all the kids go to bed at the same time.

They got up early and it was good our kids had another chance to play with them before we sent them off to school. Since 7:30 (2 hours) the kids have been riding bikes non-stop. The older two must have ridden a couple times, but they were are pretty wobbly at first and couldn't figure out the breaks and fell down a lot! But they are all looking pretty good now. Not too happy about the helmets, but they are wearing them. In fact we are off to go buy Tatiana her very own helmet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Almost Home!

I didn't mean to vent in that last blog, but I guess I still have a few issues I haven't dealt with yet. We are really excited to have the kids come and I have had a couple great weeks here at home getting ready for them. Just Troy had some hard times, but they are working those out.

So they are on the last leg of their flight! Yeah! They were detained in Chicago because of some of Tatiana's medical issues and it really scared the kids. But they made it through and ran all the way to their next flight and made it! Troy said that they have been really great on the flights. He said they refused to wear their seat belts until the stewardess kept bugging them about it. Now only Anastasia puts up a fight. Troy also said that they would tell people that they were going to America. Tatiana would try to talk to the people at the counters and they would look at her and speak in English and Troy said she has tried to use some English again (wouldn't once they left the orphanage). So that is a great sign!

Hopefully we'll have pictures soon!

Home Tonight!

I haven't blogged because of the saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all." It was a really rough couple weeks for Troy and we have found out a lot more of Tatiana's issues. I was woken early one morning being chewed out by Elliana, somehow it's all my fault and I didn't even know what was going on! At this point I wouldn't recommend a blind adoption or at least not right after trying to adopt kids you had become attached too. We over looked too many things and were pushed really hard to find three kids (even the SDA wouldn't show us one picture, they kept saying you can help three) by the facilitators and adoption agency. I was a bit dead by that last week and so frustrated I didn't care any more. Troy was great and so excited to go back and pick up the kids, but it kind of fell apart, nothing close to what he expected.

So, we are so happy that the families over there now are able to adopt the kids they hosted and even though things are slow or hard or frustrating, they have kids that really want to go with them and be with them! Good Luck and God Bless all of you.

As for Troy... Yeah! They are on a plane heading home. We've decided it's going to be harder than we thought, but at least they will be here in our home and even with the language barrier it's got to be better than it has been. No more lies about things and hopefully we can gain the kids trust. We have a therapist (served her mission in Russia) who said she'd start meeting with Tatiana until she knows enough English for some real counseling (could be years). Natasha ended up taking Tatiana with her for a couple days and Troy said the other two were wonderful when she wasn't around. Even practicing their English. So that is exciting, we really feel that they will be excited to meet new kids and fit well with our family. We also found a doctor who speaks Russian in SLC, family practice, so maybe she'll be able to help with Tatiana also.

I did get them registered for school and so I'm hoping it will help with the transition. They seem to get a little wild and crazy if they aren't around other kids for a while or cooped up too long. I'm sure I'll be down there every day with them at the school, but it will be good to get onto a schedule.

So... They made their second flight! One more stop in Chicago and then Salt Lake City. Hip, hip horray! Our kids are so excited and can't wait to meet them. We spent family home evening finishing the rooms for everyone and bunk beds come today. Perfect timing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


No passports today so Troy and the kids won't be coming home this weekend. Hopefully by Wednesday. Troy leaves for Texas on Thursday....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Still alive and cooking in the Ukraine

Sounds like they are all doing well. I'm going today to register them for school today, hopefully they can start the first of May and finish the school year. Does anyone know of any summer English programs or tudors?

emails from Troy:

As between going out to eat and making their own meal in the kitchen, there is no doubt which they get more excited about. We went to McDonalds today for lunch and even with happy meal toys and balloons, they were far from impressed. But for dinner, they made a kind of ramen noodles and ate vegetables with salt and were the happiest things you've ever seen. They love to go into the kitchen and forage. It's funny, Victor tends to be the cook, and of course Tatiana cleans everything up. Oh, I was pleased though to see her get after Nastia earlier today to pick up her jammies. She really had to lay down the law to get her to do it. So I'm glad she doesn't always just do for others. They have gone through $50 of groceries in two days ($50 buys a lot here). What else. They like cold cereal but not with milk. They like tomoatoes! They like cold hot dogs--or at least didn't have the patience to let me heat them. They detested my green olives. I'm sure there's a kid out there somewhere who likes them.

They liked the easter egg coloring though it went quicker than I'd hoped. They also can write their names better than I thought they'd be able.

Today's been light years better than the last couple. Nastia is much more settled down, normal even, and relatively obedient. I think she's trusting me more as an authority figure even if she's not in love with me. It was a little funny though, she was really getting on Victor's nerves. He was pretty ticked at her to the point he kept coming to me and saying "Papa--Nastia!" I wasn't sure what she was doing because she'd wait till I was out of sight.

But at least no sign of her hyperactivity of the other day. I think a lot of that can be attributed to the excitement and a day cooped up in a van.

I tried to take them to a movie earlier today to get them out of the house a while. The only cartoon they were playing was sold out but the kids didn't seem to care that much. We looped in Natasja on her cell a little later and she talked to the kids and told me they said they had seen it already. I couldn't figure out how because it seemed like a nice, first run theater. No way the orphanage takes them down to Odessa to watch movies??

The mystery was explained later today when the landlady came by with a dvd player we had asked about. The kids popped in one of the dvds we had purchased at a booth on the street yesterday--one that purports to have about 10 different cartoon movies on it. I hadn't looked at it all that closely but the kids are now watching Tales of Desperoux and Monsters v. Aliens is up next. Apparently bootleg dvds are the rage down here, and I suppose they must get them at the orphanage. They are quite cheap to buy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

update from the Ukraine

Troy's just hanging in Kiev with the kids for the weekend. Another apartment with no internet, so sorry no pictures for any of us.

email from Troy Friday night:

They each just fibbed to me about having brushed their teeth. I had to show
them the dry toothbrushes to show I wasn't born yesterday.

As we walked into the kitchen I noticed the still quite strong smell of
butter-fried eggs. Just then, Victor sniffed the air and let out a long
ahhhhhhh. Quite proud of himself for his earlier cooking.

So the story behind this email is they had bought food Friday, but Troy kept telling them not to snack on it and in a little bit they would go get Pizza. (They had never had Pizza before and they really liked it when we had it in Odessa). When they went to dinner he was ordering pizza and Tatiana said something to the person taking the order. Troy said she looked at him kind of funny, so he said yes to what ever Tatiana had said. They sat down and a little bit later a man came out and talked to them in Russian, so Tatiana talked to him. Troy said he seemed confused and left. Then returned with three bowls of ice cream and the pizzas. So needless to say Troy was the only one who ate pizza and they took left overs home. When they got back to the apartment the kids went right into the kitchen and pulled out the eggs, wanting to cook eggs. Troy gave in and they put a cube of butter in the pan with three eggs. Troy's comment was that it was a good thing there were no smoke alarms in the apartment. But the kids downed the eggs and were very happy.

When we hosted, Marina loved to cook eggs too, but with about a 1/2 cup of oil. She gave me funny looks when I would try to show her just a little to coat the bottom of the pan. We'll have to figure out how to tell Victor about non-stick frying pans...

Today, in the Ukraine, they are celebrating Easter. After reading Wendy's blog, I wish I had thought to send plastic eggs with Troy. (I don't know where he would have packed them, but it would have been fun for their Easter today). Troy said they were going to boil eggs and color them and practice writing their names in English. Sounds like a pretty exciting day... They aren't going to church because they are pretty far away now and I don't think he really knows where they are, let alone if they are going the right way to the church or how to get back to the apartment. But he said they are in a really nice 3 bed room apartment. They are on the other side of the river now, for those who have been to Kiev.

We are still hoping they will come home Saturday. Troy said they were told they should get the kids passports Friday. So they are hoping to go to the Embassy and beg to start the visa process on Thursday even if they don't have the passports, so they can get the visas Friday also. We'll see what happens I guess.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kids in the Rec Room

Troy playing volleyball with some boys

Video clip of Orphanage

Update from Troy in Ukraine

Just updates from Troy in Ukraine today. These were his emails of the morning events while I was sleeping in out big, soft clean bed.

I didn't get your email until today because blackberry service was awol while at the orphanage. We did sleep there last night. It was as cold as ever partly because no radiator this time--now that it's spring of course why would we need it? I also enjoyed another cold shower.

We are at the birth cert place. Their computer is down due to insufficient electricity so we are crossing our fingers.

Clothes were a big hit. Pants a little big on Nastia and Victor but we'll sort through.

We have their birth certificates. They are Kellers!

But off to a slow start. Just a few hours left to get SS number and file
for passports. Cross your fingers.

Been driving around in Odessa for an hour trying to find the SS place. Keep
asking the people and they make up stuff. Had to pay a cab to guide us.

Tatiana and victor got into some sort of squabble I couldn't quite follow.
Victor cried for a bit and she is avoiding everyone. She went to the back
of the van to read her bible. They're actually doing pretty well
considering they've been cooped up in a van since 5:30 am.

Then we texted back and forth this morning. The orphanage said they wouldn't ask for a donation and when he got back they asked him for $1500. We were going to donate anyway, but he didn't return with much more cash than that... so we'll see how that plays out. Our other texts.

I asked how things ended up:
Actually, we got everything done in Odessa today and don't need to come back.

I asked about passports:
No passports actually in hand but we filed for them. And we won't come back to pick them up--they'll be brought down to us in Kiev. (I really don't think Natasha wants to stay at the orphanage again).

They will stop at the Orphanage to say good bye and to pick up their bags and then drive back to Kiev tonight.

Save A Child Lunch

I forgot my camera yesterday, but met up with everyone at Olive Garden for lunch. It was so great to see everyone again. Some things are moving forward and some are still on hold. An attorney who knows people in the government is going over next month, maybe he can make some headway. We haven't heard any thing from the Embassy.

It was just so nice to sit and visit with everyone has an idea of all that is going on with the adoptions. I didn't thank everyone for all of their kind words, prayers and support while we were over there. It really is what kept us going and moving forward while we were there. That goes to our family, neighbors and ward members also. There were times we had peace and we know it is due to your prayers and love and we really appreciate you, more than you can know!

One last plug. Save a Child Foundation is going to do a carnival for the fundraiser this summer. June 27! So mark your calendars and if you want to help, donate or know someone who would perform let me know. Thanks.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Last night Grant was in the Jr. High Musical of Sussical! They did an awesome job! They perform again tonight at Davis High School at 7 pm if anyone wants to attend. $5/person, $15/family.

Before picture in the cool Sussical shirt.
Here is grant as a Who person. They wear their shirts the other way in the beginning and they have a big ? on them.
This was Gertrude, Morgan's favorite character in the show. She did a great job too. All of the kids were amazing. They really did Terrific!

I did record some little clips, but was really sitting on the wrong side of the theater to get good shots of Grant. Here you get a little glimpse of him in the front middle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tatiana, Victor and Anastasia and Marina, Ivan and Anya

I just found these on my iphone, a little blurry, but cute. I think Anastasia took these : )

Today was the big day. Our 10 day wait is over and Troy got on a plane this morning to go pick up Tatiana, Victor and Anastasia. We are hoping they will return Saturday, April 25. We'll see.

So our cute pen pal friend Anya sent these pictures of the kids this week. I still just love and adore these children. Troy and I both have felt at different times that they will be ok and Marina is such a great mother to them and will hopefully be able to keep them together as a little family. It's amazing how attached we got in such a short time to these sweet kids. But that does make us excited to bring home Tatiana, Victor and Anastasia and be able to share our love with them too.

Marina, Ivan and Anya when they got our package of English notebooks and stuff to help with their tutoring.
These were pictures she had of the kids from last year. A very similar to the picture of Ivan with his arm around Anya is what made us pick them out to host them last October. And that is what we ended up loving about the two of them was their smiles and hugs. Marina is very loving too, but always watching and worrying. She has definitely been their mother for the last 7 years.

Hopefully we'll be able to write to them again after things have calmed down. I hope one day they will know that we really loved them and would never have hurt them or their grandmother.

Morgan's hair

Morgan wanted to try some different types of curly hair. So Monday night we did little braids. I think she liked it because it was pretty quick to do Tuesday morning!


Saturday, Morgan and Grant colored Easter Eggs. I think it's the 4th time we have ever done it! Maybe we can learn how to make the Ukrainian Eggs next year.
Then we met at Grandma's on Sunday for Easter dinner and Easter Egg hunt. It was very difficult for her to give in and hold such rambunctious events on a Sunday. We always did Easter the Saturday before growing up. But she survived and threw a wonderful party.
Percy's favorite babysitter
Morgan's hair cut
Alisa's hair cut -- I guess she had taken the scissors too it a couple weeks ago, but it's super cute short!
Morgan and Great Grandma
We waited and waited and finally Tricia arrived and we were able to start the festivities!
Grant with his hair cut and cousin Grayce
Ethan and Aunt Kathryn enjoying dinner
Troy's ready to go find his eggs...
Ethan couldn't seem to find any so we helped him out a bit. He was to find all the green eggs, they blend in really well with the grass and bushes.

Grant said he was looking for eggs, I think it was showing off. Grandpa let him trim the peach tree the first weekend we were gone.
Everyone's looking for eggs.
This was a popular bush.
They found their last eggs at the same time!

Da Keller boys. I have to say, Brady, your the only brother Troy doesn't look at all like. It's good you get along so well. Sorry you guys didn't get a boys flick in before Troy took off again.

Kathryn, I just realized you didn't play one song for us this weekend. How did that happen?

Happy Easter! Mom your going to have to find three more colors of eggs to hide for next year! Better start looking while they are on sale : )

The Jeeps

Troy had to say good-bye to his Jeep. Brady is going to help us sell it while Troy is off in the Ukraine (so we can buy a Suburban)! And he only got to spend one week with his new Jeep before leaving it again. So don't worry Troy, we'll drive it for you and keep it working... I'll try not to let the kids eat in it or spill stuff in it or color in it : )

Troy and Ethan did take it up to do a little fly fishing on Saturday. They went to the Provo River, but only caught a couple little ones.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tiff's Fundraiser for Shriners

I just wanted to support my cute sister-in-law. She is so talented and creative. She sews darling bags and quiet books. She was born with a type of Achondroplasia (Dwarfism) and her second child was also born with Achondroplasia. She had some surgeries at Shriners Hospital in SLC and now her son, Sawyer, has his medical appointments there. She is doing a fundraiser to donate to Shriners by selling some of her bags and dontated bags. Petuna Pickle Bottom dontate this bag that she is auctioning off. You can check out her sewing blog to donate or buy a bag or link to the auction.