Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winter Wonderland

We went to bed last night with no snow on the ground and awoke to a winter wonderland.  It was absolutely beautiful and I could not resist trudging through the snow for a few pictures.
 The first, good snow fall always makes me think of this verse.  The snow is able to make even piles of trash beautiful.

 Inside my girlies were playing so sweetly that I couldn't help but bring out the camera again.

Then Papa taught them a new game.  Can you guess what it is?
Anna got quite into it.
Then there are always "workouts" with Grampy when he gets home from work...
It has been such a blessing to be able to spend time with our family for Christmas.  This is the first Christmas we've had with them in 5 years and our children's first time every spending it with family.  They are getting a little spoiled.

Whether you are home in the states or on the mission field somewhere, have a very 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Still Waiting

And on an emotional roller coast with pre labor contractions (pre labor sounds so much better than false labor, don't you think?) coming and going.  Words are a little bit scrambled lately and I am starting to slow down.  I think I become a little more reclusive the closer I get.  SO, he could come any day...then again, he may decide to wait a little longer to brave meeting his noisy brother and sisters. ;)

Between contractions, we have been keeping very busy.  I forgot how busy things are in the states around Christmas!  The kids are LOVING all of the Christmas decorations and frequently yell out "Christmas on my side!" when driving.  Anna is constantly saying, "Beautiful!"  Last weekend (at least I think it was last weekend...not doing so well at keeping up with time), we all went with Grampy and Grammy to pick out their tree.  The girls were giddy the entire time.

Then we all decorated the tree (well, everyone except for Eric and Uncle Travis)...

...and grampy.

Pretty girls. :)
Anna kept saying she wanted to bring the tree back to Ukraine with us to our house.  Christmas in America has been fun for the girls, but I'm also thankful for our simple, Christmases in Ukraine - without all of the flashing lights, Santa Clauses and abundant presents.  A time when we can simply remember the birth of Christ.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unfocused...but Ready?

If you haven't noticed, computer time has been cut WAY down.  Since Eric got back, we have been rushing around trying to get things ready for the baby.  Not only did I not have a single outfit for our little guy but there were other things we had to get since we are having a home birth.  Finally I think everything is in order.  

The girls and I have also been visiting the nursing home with Eric's Aunt Trisha on Wednesdays as well.  First we stop by some individual rooms to visit, sing and recite some verses.  Afterwards we meet in a little room to do a Bible lesson and more singing.  I have loved being able to help and getting a chance to play the piano.  I only managed one picture of the girls with a sweet, Christian lady named Madeline.

Walmart has become less intimidating, though I still prefer the smaller Walmart to the Super Walmart.  I also found a really nice children's thrift store which I am in love with.  Anna was especially excited because they had a long, pretty "princess" dress (Christmas plaid on bottom, black velvet on top) which she had specifically prayed for.

Any spare time I have has been spent devouring books.  I think my book wish list is about a mile long.  Even though I feel SO blessed to have the internet and be able to read almost anything I want there, there is nothing quite like holding a book in my hands.  Not that I need my wish list any longer, but I'd LOVE to know of any good books you are reading now.  Also, we are planning on buying some homeschool books while in the states and I would love your opinions.  My husband is leaning towards just sticking with one curriculum and he is leaning towards Abeka, but he also supports any other suggestions I make.  It feels like such a big responsibility and sometimes I feel so overwhelmed.  I'm leaning towards mixing different things, but when I am overwhelmed, just consider going with Abeka.  Would love any advice, tips and suggestions you have.

Well, think I'm going to close for now as Eric just came in and my mind is unfocused now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Early Surprise!!!

After I typed that title I was thinking you might be thinking that the baby came early, but thankfully he's waiting for Papa.  BUT the surprise is, Eric is coming EARLY!!!  He will be flying in Friday night at 10:30 PM.  I am SOOOOOOOOO excited!  Can you tell? :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fun at Lowes

Who would have ever thought that a day with Grampy at Lowes could be SO much fun?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Oh that Men would Praise the Lord!

"Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"
Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31

As the kids and I were recently reading this chapter in Psalms, I noticed this same verse 4 times!  The girls and I talked about how God longs and desires for us to praise Him.  He has been so good to us, yet how often do we thank Him for His goodness?  May He create in me a more grateful heart!  It has been an area I have struggled in the past few weeks even amidst all of His wonderful works.  One day in particular I allowed myself to wallow in my self-pity.  Here I was, a missionary wife.  Surrendered to God's will.  I already gave Him my life and separated myself from everything I knew and loved to serve Him.  Because of all that I had "done for Him", it was not fair of Him to separate me from my love and our children from the papa they needed.  After the last time we were separated for 3 weeks, we vowed to never do that again, but here we were.  Knowing my frame, He in His lovingkindness did not leave me alone, even though it was what I deserved.  Instead, He again showed me His goodness.  While I was still sulking, I received emails and phone calls from people telling me that they were praying for us and cared.  He truly has been good to me and I know His heart aches when I neglect to praise Him and thank Him for His goodness.

Time is passing and it won't be too much longer now until I am in the arms of my love.  As you can see by the little counter on the sidebar, the tentative countdown has begun...only 10 more days!  This first picture is especially for you, my love, as you requested to see me as well as the kids.  Not my best photo, but here I am in my ever-growing state.  This photo makes me wonder how the midwife could say that I am very small and need to eat more. ;)   

That is another Christian midwife.  I met with her and absolutely love her.  Not only is she completely workable to whatever I feel comfortable with, but she also prayed with me.  I praise the Lord for how He worked things out.  Not too much longer now!

Today was the first holiday in 5 years that we have been in the states for and we enjoyed a relaxing day with Eric's parents, brother, grandmother, and Uncle and Aunt...and also a BIG piece of blueberry pie.  I don't think I've ever tasted ANYTHING so good!  I hope we are around for blueberry season next year!

Just before lunch, Sammy stole Grampy's hat.  I love his big smiles which reach even his eyes!  Makes me want to kiss him!  {Though I will resist the urge because I want him to stay asleep.}

Before we sat down to enjoy dessert, this little guy caught my attention.  There he was hanging only by his back feet, upside down enjoying his stolen bird food!  It was so funny!

After lunch, the guys sat down for football while the ladies sat around the table and fellowshipped.  This caused me to jump from the table and snatch my camera...isn't it absolutely adorable?

We miss you, Papa!  Anna is praying for you to come back to us safely and soon {we all are}.  I need to make a calendar for the girls so they can count down the days until you are here.  LOVE YOU!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Stranger of Strangers

All those months of dreaming about walking down the Walmart aisles FINALLY coming true, the funny thing was, it didn't feel quite like in my dreams.  There I was surrounded by more options and choices than I could have imagined, when I was struck with the realization...I actually enjoyed walking through the open air market more.  But I could have just been overwhelmed with all of the "cheerful" holiday shoppers, or trying to decide between the Harvest Cheddar Sunchips and the Sour Cream and Onion Baked Lays and all of my other favorite foods, or it could have been exasperation at not finding buckwheat, one of our favorite hot breakfast cereals.  I did find kefir, though. :)  Think I'll try Walmart AFTER the holidays when I can leisurely walk the aisles. 
Visiting with Eric's Uncle Gary and Aunt Penny

Here are some of my observations since coming back to America:

~ Some may remember my fascination with how big American ovens are.  Well, I am no longer fascinated by I'm scared.  Every time I open the oven to pull something out I find myself panicing and making the kids go into a different room - those things put out a LOT of heat! 
Aunt Penny was loads of fun and even played ring around the rosie

~ When I first arrived I thought, "Ah, dryers.  Who needs them?"  I don't know what I was thinking.  I definitely don't know how I will go back to normal life after this!
Sammy enjoying his time with Uncle Gary.

~ I realized I needed to be careful about speaking in Russian.  In conversation with my pastor's wife and a friend, I found myself replying with the Russian word for yes... "Duh."  I was so embarrassed and quickly tried to explain myself.  Also, it is very normal for us to give commands to our children in Russian and Sammy, since he is more use to it, responds better.  You say, "What's wrong with that?"  Well, the problem came one Sunday morning when I told Sammy to give me the pen he was holding.... "Die, Sammy."  hmmm. Yeah.  Gotta watch that one.  Don't want to try explaining that to child protective services.
Obviously Uncle Micah knows the secret to capturing the attention of children...

~ If someone says "What did you just say?"  Then most likely I said "it" in Russian.

I know there are a ton more, but since it has taken so long to write this post (days).  This time of re-adjusting to the American culture has taught me one thing...I am a stranger of strangers because not only am I a stranger in a foreign land but now also in my "homeland" as it seems to have changed so much in the time we were gone...or maybe I was the one who changed?  Oh, well.  Either way, we are enjoying and cherishing our time with family.
Phone Games!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where are We???

If you are a little confused as to where exactly we are right now, I'm sorry...I'm still trying to figure that out myself.  (Okay.  Not really, but it is taking some time to get myself together.)  The week after we arrived in the states, Eric's parents called and said that they had room for us, knew a christian midwife and wanted to come get us.  SO...after a looong car ride, we are safely in Maine.  The Lord has just been blessing again and again and we are looking forward to spending the holidays with family.  And, if you notice my little ticker on the side, it's not too much longer now until we will be welcoming our little guy.  I will be meeting with the midwife tomorrow and I can't wait.  I found out that she and her husband were not only good friends of Eric's parents (they were in his parents' wedding), but that they had also been missionaries until the Lord brought them back to the states because of health problems.  I'm just amazed at how the Lord has brought everything together.  Now, just waiting for Papa to come home in 3 more least, praying our little guy will wait. ;)

When we arrived in Maine, there was still a little bit of snow on the ground.  The kids had a blast playing in it while it lasted.  I cannot believe how warm it has been in Maine! 

The view behind the house is absolutely breathtaking and I don't begin to do it justice...the rock wall, the rolling moutains, the sunsets...beautiful!

The kids have loved having time with Grammy and she is loving every minute with them as well.

Sam is enjoying having a buddy to hang with...Him and Uncle Trav "playing  basketball".

They love cuddling with great gram as well and love helping her search for words.

Whenever Uncle Travis heads out to work, they think they need to help.

The Lord has answered so many prayers and one of the ones He recently answered was for a van.  It has been such a blessing!  Anna was SHOCKED when I got behind the wheel and asked "Mom, are you ACTUALLY going to drive???"  And she is also offering driving advice.  When we were in Virginia, I started pointed out stop signs to her and talking about them.  She makes sure that I stop at every single one now.  The first time I stopped at one, then continued driving.  In a concerned voice she said, "Mom, it's a stop sign.  You're supposed to stop."  After I told her that I stopped, now I can go she replied, "The sign says stop, Mama.  Not go."  hmmmm.  Think we need to explain that one more.

Well, this post has taken me about 2 weeks to write and I know Papa's dying to see some pictures so I guess it's time to just post.  Computer time is rare lately so guess I need to just push the perfectionist aside and get you caught up a little. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lydia!

While at Grace, my Lydia turned 3 years old!  When we found out that I was going to be in the states during her birthday, Eric and I gave her her birthday gift early....a big stuffed puppy (yes, I managed to fit that in our one suitcase).  Since all of the kids were very sick the day before her birthday and I had lost my license, I didn't think I would be able to do anything special for her.  The day came and we had nuggets, fries and sang Happy Birthday to her with a Little Debbie cake.  To her, she just enjoyed knowing it was her birthday but for me, I felt bad that I couldn't make her a special cake or at least buy one.  Our sweet pastor's family didn't let the day go unnoticed and threw a little party for her.  Isn't God so good?  He truly cares even about the little, "unimportant" things in our lives.

Playing bean toss with Pastor while waiting for the pizza.

After seeing that cake, she ate her pizza FAST!

"For baby!" (A blanket for her least, that's what it was to her.)

She LOVES that puppy!

Thank you Pastor and Miss Becky for making it such a special day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Going to America!

That is what Anna excitedly told every person she came in contact with...she was going to America to see Pastor Rhew (our Pastor).  They were pretty good travelers and loved watching all of the airplanes.

When we got to America, this is what was waiting for us...

Our church family was super sweet and showered us with all kinds of blessings.

The night we arrived, they had a harvest party.  Anna had been waiting the entire trip to be able to play with all of the kids and couldn't understand how they could be sleeping when we pulled up at the church 3 AM that morning.  She absolutely LOVED it and participated in every game she could.
Popping a balloon.

Lydia and Sammy were a little overwhelmed by all of the people,
but we did get Lydia to participate in one game... involved candy. ;)

And I will try to keep the pictures coming!


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