Friday, February 8, 2013

The Beach, The Devil and Sweating

It's been a long time since I last updated.  We continue to visit the orphanage daily.  We spend a lot of time playing "Go Fish", "UNO" and "Spoons".  Sometimes we watch a video.  Sometimes we draw.  Sometimes the kids play games on our phones.  Sometimes we play with cars or blocks (for Maks).  All in all, it's not much different day after day.  And although we love spending time with our kids, our activities are limited which means that there simply isn't much to report.

Alina recently got a hold of James' phone and took a number of pictures and videos.  I'm posting them below (primarily for the benefit of my kids back in America).  Hope you enjoy as well:

One day after our visit to the orphanage, we went to the beach:
Shelly standing on the seashore.
James standing on the seashore.
The sea waves push the top of the frozen sea up onto the shore creating a number of frozen blocks of ice.  It's pretty interesting to look at!
The factories that line the shore.
More pictures of the factories.
This beach resort had an outdoor patio for dances.
They even added a palm tree in case you forgot that you were at the beach.

 One day we were able to meet some of Alina's friends (some of them we met this summer, so it was wonderful to see them again!)
Some of Alina's dear friends.
One of Alina's friends hugging Maks.

More of the Sports Room where we meet with the kids.
Alina and some of her friends.

Alina likes to bring treasures to us so we can get them packed and ready to take to America:

Alina was really excited about this headband (now packed and ready to go to America) and wanted us to make scary faces while wearing it.
This is James' idea of a scary face.  I WIN!

Here are some of the other things she has asked me to pack for America.

Alina LOVES giving gifts to everyone.  She brought presents for James and myself as well as our other kids to us the other day.  She wanted to take pictures to show them what they should be looking forward to receiving when she arrives home:

Present for Isabel and Emma (front)
Present for Isabel and Emma (back)
Present for Toria and Micah (front)
Present for Toria and Micah (back)

Handmade Valentine by Alina (along with some bookmark treasures she wants to take to America).

 Usually we are stuck in one specific room with the kids.  Occasionally they send us to the Sports Room where they have balls and exercise equipment etc.  Maks loves to play and run and get really sweaty.  However, when he gets really sweaty, Alina gets in trouble for bringing him back all yucky (Unfortunately we aren't really sure what we're supposed to do with that?  They dress him in about 10 layers [okay, maybe only 3] and send us to an already hot room with a very active 5 year old that sweats easily.  We don't really think we can be expected to ask him to sit still and stop sweating, can we?)  A few days ago they sent us to have our visit in one of the group rooms.  We were able to watch Russian TV along with our standard games and such.

The Sports Room where we frequently visit with the kids (some of Alina's friends are in the background).
More of the Sports Room where we meet with the kids.
The children's group living area.
More of the children's group living area.
The kitchenette area (with bathroom through the door) located in the children's group main room.
The bathroom entrance.
 Aside from the orphanage and our kids, we have been able to meet and spend time with some of the people in Ukraine.  We met a number of people from the local church and were able to go and attend an English class this last week.  We have loved getting to know these people!  They are incredibly kind and generous and have made us feel very welcome.  In addition, we've been able to spend some time with the missionaries that are serving in this area.  Some of them are from Utah, so we will be able to see them when they return from their missions.  (More Russian speaking friends, YAY!)

English class.
Practicing English after class.
After English class people stayed to converse in and practice more English.
One of the Elders plays the violin!  It was fun to hear him play.
This beautiful girl gave me a big hug the first time we met and has treated me like we're best friends.  Such an amazing and sweet girl!  She speaks English very well and was able to chat with me after English class.

The End!

PS  I have been working on this post for 2 days and keep losing either internet connection or power (there have been issues with our specific apartment... ugh).  Still having issues with the power tonight, but hopefully I'll be able to not only get this post up, but a post announcing the events of TODAY!


  1. Thank you for posting all these great pictures. I am so happy that everything is moving forward. I am sure you miss your four kids back here in the States. Before you know it, you will all be together. Then the fun really starts! ;-) Love you!!

    1. No kidding! There will certainly be lots of fun and lots of HARD WORK. But we are anxious to get our family reunited so we can enjoy ALL of it together!

  2. I am so glad that things are going so well for you guys. Your family is constantly in my thoughts. Congrats on the court decision and you new family members!