Friday, July 20, 2012

The Activities Begin!

This morning came too early.  I woke up after only 3 ½ hours of sleep and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I dozed a little on and off for the next little while and then got up to make breakfast.  Alina and Albina were anxious to help with breakfast.  They flipped pancakes, cracked eggs, measured ingredients, helped set the table and so forth.  I thought I heard Alina call me “mom”, but I wasn’t sure.  It was an enjoyable breakfast time filled with lots of laughter and fun.

After breakfast we all got ready to go meet the rest of the orphans and hosting families for swimming.  On the way we needed to go get swimming suits for the girls.  There was constant laughing and singing and funny noises.  Communication was a bit difficult at times, but not overly frustrating (at least for me).  Once we got suits taken care of, we headed to the pool.  I jumped right in and spent the next few hours watching and playing with kids.  It was tons of exhausting fun.  Here are some of the swimming highlights:

1.     Every time Alina would get on the diving board or get ready to go down the slide she would call out, “Mom! Mom!”  Once I would look she would say, “1-2-3…” and then jump or slide.  As soon as she came up out of the water she would immediately look for me and give me a huge grin. 
2.  Albina was very helpful and wanted to make sure everyone was okay and taken care of.  She kept offering help to everyone (do you want a drink, pizza, to jump, to slide, etc.)  She was very aware of people and tried to be sensitive to their needs.
3.     Alina does not know how to swim, but she is fearless and she DOES NOT like wearing a life jacket.  We bought her a noodle at the store this morning and she used that to help her remain afloat.  However, she was constantly letting go of it when she would fall into the pool.  This made for a little drama each time she jumped in.  We tried to have Tori or Emma on either side of the pool so they could rush in and prevent her from drowning.  However, in spite of our system, I still had to jump in to “save” her a few times.  It was crazy how fearless she was and how much fun she had even though she was constantly flailing and needing help.
4.     Before we left the pool, Alina went to the cooler and snatched another soda and sneaked it into her backpack.  She looked up to see that I saw her take it.  Immediately she put her finger to her lips and said, “Shhhhhhh”.  Then she smiled and laughed.
5.     While at the pool there were moments that I would think, “How would I be able to handle all these kids if I had one more?” (meaning Maks).  It was a lot of work to keep track of six kids AND it was quite exhausting!  However, on the flip side, I was constantly counting kids and making sure I was keeping track of everyone.  Whenever I would count kids I would have the feeling that someone was missing.  I kept thinking that it was weird that I had two additional children with me and still felt like someone was missing… Maks?
6.     Alina is a total spitfire!  She is crazy and fun and full of energy.  She has the most adorable smile that could light up any room and a laugh that makes everyone join right in.  Albina is older and more mature and tries to say and do everything right.  She is absolutely stunning.  Just a gorgeous girl.  And so sweet.

Tonight after we got home from swimming we took everyone to In-n-Out.  I was so nervous about ordering for these girls.  Obviously I’m trying to understand what they like and don’t like.  But the communication is a little difficult, and I’m never really sure that I completely understand.  They all ate without complaint, but I just wish I knew that I was getting them exactly what they wanted so they felt completely happy and satisfied.

After we arrived home from dinner Albina went right to bed (@ 6:30pm).  She was exhausted and asked if she could go right to sleep.  It didn’t take long for her to fall asleep.  Alina, on the other hand, was still wired.  She forced herself to stay awake as long as possible.  (Side note: she doesn’t like hot tamales, and Micah gave her a dog treat to give the dog and she didn’t realize it was for the dog and popped it in her mouth.  She doesn’t like dog treats either and she ended up in her room crying from embarrassment… so sad, but fortunately it didn’t take long for her to be ok!)  We worked on some Russian phrases and she tried to help us pronounce things correctly.  I don’t know how much Russian I remember, but it made for a fun evening.  At one point someone mentioned Michael Jackson.  Immediately, Alina said, “Michael Jackson?” and jumped up and started doing the moonwalk.  It was hysterical!

Finally, after lots of activity, Alina fell asleep on the couch.  I took her to her room and got her tucked in and kissed her forehead.  She smiled her beautiful grin and rolled over and fell right back to sleep.

left to right: Albina, Alina, Emma, Micah, Isabel & Toria

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