Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One week

It's hard to believe that one week from today we will be boarding a plane to go get our girls. It still feels a little surreal. Right now I'm trying to focus on doing one thing at a time. As soon as I start to look at the big picture I start to panic, because it seems like there's so much to be done. ;)

Last night I finished cleaning the little house, and it is officially all emptied and cleaned. We're hoping to have a walk-through with our landlord this week so we can get our security deposit back. It's not much, but it will help! One of the things that threw me last time we adopted, and is getting to me again, is the need to pay bills that will come due while we are gone. It is one added financial stress to have to plan ahead a month or two for what will be coming due when we are gone. It's especially hard since we aren't exactly sure when we'll be coming back. However, I am so thankful for the internet and the ability to pay bills online--even better is the option to schedule our bill payments after our next paychecks get deposited! :) :)

Mark is picking up lumber today to start the girls' beds. They will be identical to the boys' beds and are modeled after our bed. Last time it took us a long time to make the beds--we had to borrow a garage for workshop space and borrow several tools. This time we have a very spacious basement and Mark has all of the tools he needs. He thinks he can get the beds done before we leave. I hope he's right. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I know there are many questions out there, so I'm going to do my best to answer as many of them as I can. I'm paraphrasing some of the questions to hopefully make this as concise as possible. :)

Are you taking the boys with you?
Yes. This was a huge decision for us, and one I've been going back and forth on for a few months. I finally gave up and just asked the boys what they wanted to do. We had a good discussion about it (as much as you can discuss with a 5 and 6 yo) and they decided they wanted to go. In fact, Dima spent the next two days reminding me not to forget to go get the two girls. We've had a hard time convincing them that they still have several days of school left before we leave.

Who will take care of the boys while you are busy in Ukraine (SDA appt, court, etc.)?
My mom has offered to go with us, and we have gladly taken her up on that. She has been to Ukraine before and is familiar with a lot of the cultural differences, and the boys also know her well. She may regret her decision to go, but I don't think we will!

How long will you be there?
That is an excellent question. Originally, we were told to plan on 2.5 weeks for our first trip. We would then come home for a couple of weeks (during our 10-day wait after court but before we have custody of the girls) and then go back for a second trip. Mark's mom is planning on coming out to stay with the boys for the second trip. However, we recently learned that our timeline may be a little different. I can't share much more than that right now as we don't know much more than that, so you'll have to follow the blog to know exactly where we're going to be when. ;)

What is happening with your flights?
We fly out April 7 and are scheduled to return on April 27. We were able to get flights on Delta that are only one-stop (at JFK in New York) from St Louis to Kyiv. I was very happy about that! We are planning to only use carry-on luggage. Wish us luck with that. ;)

What do you still need?
--A ride to the airport that can accommodate 3 adults and 2 children, and that can get us there at about 7am on a Tuesday morning.

--We are still looking for a house/dogsitter--someone who can stay at our house and watch the dogs while we are gone. We have a couple of people that we think are going to be able to do it, but we're still trying to solidify that. It doesn't help that our house will not have internet, phone, or cable while we're gone...it's like asking people to live in the Dark Ages. ;)

--Our money situation has worked out, although not in the way we expected! The insurance company is holding the check so they can add on an additional dividend. Not a bad thing, except we need the money! LOL Someone has graciously stepped up to cover those funds for us and will be repaid when the check arrives. Thank you so much for your prayers over this!

--Our local bank is working on ordering "new" money for us. They are not sure it will arrive in time. Please pray that it will arrive on time, or if not, that they will have enough good quality bills for our very large withdrawal.

--Prayers. We are taking a 5 and 6 yo on a very long trip to a country that they may or may not remember. Regardless, it will be a lot of new experiences for them. The boys and I had a discussion about what happens after we fly to Ukraine and get the girls, and Zhenya said "We get on a big plane and come back home." I want to make sure they understand that we will be coming back home, so we will probably we emphasizing that a lot in our conversations about the trip over the next week (and after we're there). Please also pray for our relationship with the girls. We don't have a lot of information, but I anticipate having more bonding and attachment issues with the girls based on what we know of them.

How was the move? How is the new house?
Hmmm...I'm not sure I want to talk about this. :)

Everything is out of the old house. I need to go over tonight and finish up a bit of cleaning. The new house...is a disaster area. About the only room in the house that is in normal working order is the boys' room. We tried to make this move as easy on them as possible, so we got them set up first with their beds and toys and everything else. Zhenya's had a hard time sleeping the past few nights, but that seems to be getting better. They love their new room and love how close we are to the big playground across from their school (3 blocks). We walked there several times last week while they were on spring break. I am absolutely loving having a bigger kitchen. The smaller one didn't bother me, but I feel like I've been given a luxury kitchen with all of the space we have now--even with boxes everywhere and stuff piled on the counters! And we got our washer and dryer hooked up this weekend and I tried them out yesterday. They are super fancy and oh-so-fun to use! I think Mark thinks I'm a little weird for being so excited about a washer and dryer. :) :) We're still in the process of painting a few rooms; namely our bedroom and the girls' room.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SDA appt April 9!

I am so beyond overwhelmed right now.

I don't have much time to post, so here's the brief recap (hopefully with more to follow--no promises):

Sat night we got the moving truck and made a couple of trips to the new house with boxes and little stuff. Sunday several friends sacrificed their time and their bodies to help move the big stuff. We really didn't have the house packed up (that was the frustrating part to Mark and me) but we needed to get all of the big stuff moved, knowing that I would be able to move more of the little stuff this week.

Sunday night, the sewer at the new house backed up.

On Monday morning, we spent $200 to have Rotorooter come out and clean out the drain--which we had just had scoped in January and knew it was clean. But when the new plumbing was put in, they knocked a bunch of debris in the pipe and we ended up with sewage in our basement. Grrr...

Tuesday I hardly remember as I spent most of the day with a migraine due to too much sugar + too much stress + too little sleep. I did get some good video of the boys at the playground, though. :)

This morning Mark woke me up with "Our appointment is April 9. Are you ready to get up?" At which point all I really wanted to do was go back to sleep and not have to deal with things for a few days. :) :) But instead I'm being pretty productive today (as evidenced by a blog post!). The boys and I are on our second trip to the "little house" and I've been cleaning and dragging out the odds and ends we have left here.

Please pray for our finances. We are way short on the money we need to take to Ukraine. The shortfall will be covered by a life insurance policy we are cashing in--we just need the money to arrive! Thank you again to everyone who has donated to our Reece's Rainbow fund. Your trust in us and in God's plan for our family is so strengthening. Please also pray that I will remember to trust God with our flights and everything else as we try to get all of the details worked out. I will share said details just as soon as I can.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Wednesday. :) :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

The week to end all weeks

I just received an email.

Our dossier was submitted to the SDA this past Monday (March 16).

I'm in some sort of weird limbo where I'm scared and excited and wanting to scream and cry and who knows what.

I think I'll go paint a room or two. ;)

T-1 day for the big move

Yeah, late notice I know. We finally decided earlier this week that this weekend would be the best time for us to move. There were a number of factors going into that, but we aren't ready to move so we've been delaying the decision (in case you couldn't tell). I booked a moving truck yesterday which we will be picking up Saturday evening. We'll do as many trips as we can Saturday night with boxes and whatnot, and then the big furniture move will be on Sunday right after church (starting around 1-ish). If you're in the area and feel like picking up heavy stuff, feel free to stop by. ;)

I got all of the utilities switched back to our landlord's name yesterday. However, for some odd reason that even the customer service woman couldn't figure out, AT&T will not be able to turn our home phone on until April 30, so we will be without a home phone (and INTERNET!) until then. There is a Panera right down the road so I may be stopping for some IC Mochas (or whatever they call them now) and free wireless. I'm more excited about the excuse for an IC Mocha than the free wireless.

This is definitely the most disorganized we have ever felt for a move. Part of the reason is that we've spent so much time getting the big house ready that we haven't had time to pack. We spent a while last night doing that, but with both of us working full-time and spending every spare minute on the big house there is not much packed. The plan this weekend is to get the furniture and all other basics to the big house. I will finish moving the extras this next week while the boys and I are on spring break (and Mark is working lots and lots). We both hate moves where things are not packed--it is miserable on the movers (not the movees--not to be confused with movies...LOL...I haven't slept much lately in case you couldn't tell). So we apologize in advance for the chaos if you are coming to help us. We do have a game plan for the actual move that will hopefully keep it going smoothly.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A week of so many ups

This week just keeps getting better. :)

Last night, we figured out how to get the video on our camera to work.

I almost started crying...tears of joy that we can take video again, and tears of sadness at all of the things I wanted to video this year and didn't.

I don't know if you remember our camera saga, but we bought one shortly after we returned home with the boys. We really liked it, it was great, it took video and good pictures. But for some inexplicable reason, it couldn't hold a charge in the batteries. Literally, we could take 6 pictures and then need to recharge the batteries. We finally took it back and got a newer model (same brand). Also great pictures, really great optical zoom (10x, which is great for when Mark is playing outfield with his vintage base ball team), and it was supposed to take video. Which it did. Except the audio and video didn't match up, and the whole video was choppy. We talked about taking it back, but couldn't decide on another camera we wanted and we were really happy with the camera other than not having video. Yeah, I know, we could have just gone and gotten a camcorder, but we aren't big spenders and it seemed like an unnecessary expense given how much we would be likely to (not) use it.

Then, yesterday, I was looking at our blog archives for someone else. And I came across this:


I almost started crying watching it. Can this really be the same little boy in my house, one year later, who doesn't know a word of Russian and can talk for HOURS about everything under the sun? Who knows all of his colors, letters, shapes (he told me yesterday a stop sign is an octagon!), and is at the beginning stages of reading sight words?

We don't have pictures or video of their first steps, their first words, their first birthdays. And we never will. But we have such a precious gift in video of them before they learned English, to watch that transition--such an important part of their history.

And so yesterday I vowed that if I could not get our camera to take video that we would get something that would take video before we brought the girls home.

Last night Mark and I were looking online at camera options, and I noticed that one of them mentioned something about a video setting that I'd never heard of. Thinking that maybe something was just set wrong on our camera, I got it out and looked at the video settings. It was set for the largest, highest resolution video. I switched it down to the next lowest one and videotaped Mark talking to me. It worked. We have video again. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


And yes, I'm practically screaming (inside, of course) with joy over this!!!

I just got a call from one of the speech therapists (SLPs) at Children's Hospital and insurance has APPROVED Dima's speech therapy!! This is such a blessing, especially because the pediatrician had told me on Friday that there was no way insurance would cover it (even though he supposedly wrote a letter of medical necessity in support of it!).

But we're COVERED for 90 visits per year! The plan is to stop OT while he's doing speech therapy. He's made great progress in OT but the speech therapy will be covering some of the same areas. The tentative, best-guess diagnosis is speech apraxia, and a lot of that involves the motor planning and sequencing that he's been working on in OT so there will be some overlap in the areas they are working on.

We're still working out scheduling, but I am jumping for joy over here. This has completely made my day! :) :) :)

Notes from Friday

I wanted to tack on a few things from a couple of the big events on Friday, more so I'll have them written down later on than anything else. :)

The boys' physicals:

They have both grown, but are at about the same percentiles on the growth charts as they were a year ago. I'm encouraged that they're growing, and I know they are healthy. They have so much more muscle than they did a year ago. However, the visit was not all fun.

We will be going to a new pediatrician after this visit. I'm not going to go into all of the details, but I was livid by the time we left and none of my children will ever be going back to that pediatrician. He actually suggested giving Dima stimulants to see what would happen. Not because he's been diagnosed with anything that could be treated with stimulants, but just to see if it changed any of his behavior or speech patterns. Sorry, my child is not a guinea pig. There were a number of other things that went on in the visit that were completely against what I want for the boys, and what I believe they deserve. He knew nothing about the boys' medical history--that Dima is in OT right now, that we're trying to get him speech therapy--even though he has signed off on all of the referrals (or someone in his office has signed for him!).

Thankfully, I think we've already found a new pediatrician and I'm really excited about her. I talked to her on the phone for quite a while yesterday (yeah, she actually called me back!) and I think she's going to be great.

Parent-teacher conferences:

Both of the boys' teachers feel they will be ready to move up into the next grade next year. However, Dima's teacher did express some concern that she thinks it might be good to hold him back because she's worried about him being bullied. We think the bullying might stop if she stopped treating him as a teacher's pet, but that's neither here nor there. We're not worried about the bullying, and we're not going to hold him back academically just because of that. We know which kids are involved and we'll keep an eye on it next year. She did mention that he does know how to fight back. ;) So I'm not it's so much that he's getting bullied as he's getting picked on, and he's learning how to respond to that. Last week he read (yes, read!) for the teacher he had last year (Zhenya's teacher this year). He only had Mrs. H for a few months, but she saw him at the very beginning. He'd only been home a few months when he started in her class, so she knows exactly how far behind he was coming in.

Dima read to her from the highest level reading book in his kindergarten class. She almost started crying. :)

Dima's teacher was also amazed, as he is not in the highest level reading group but has been begging her to let him read from that book for the past several weeks. She finally just gave it to him to get him to stop pestering her. :) His reading is still slow, and he lacks comprehension (because he's working so hard on the reading part he doesn't pay attention to what the sentences actually say) but he's getting there very quickly.

Zhenya knows all of his letters now and can write his name independently. His biggest problem right now is memorizing his Bible verses. And it's not that he doesn't memorize them; it's that he doesn't want to say them at school. But everyone in his class gets a reward whether they say them or not. I suggested to his teacher that once or twice of him not getting the reward when he doesn't say it would probably be quite enough incentive for him to say them. As expected, he has a hard time sitting still when he doesn't want to be sitting still. He can play with his blocks sitting at the table at home for an hour, but he's not so inclined to sit and do seatwork at school.

Overall, very good conferences. We're very pleased with and proud of the boys' progress, especially since they've only been speaking English a little over a year!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Long days

After work and picking up the boys from school, I headed to the big house where I caulked a sink and backsplash, patched some cracks, and started removing wallpaper in the boys' room. Then after Mark was done (with his 10+ hour day) he went straight to the house and installed the pedestal sink and got all of the smoke detectors in the right places. I paid for the occupancy inspection yesterday, so Mark will be calling our inspector today to schedule a time for him to come out.

Today Mark will be at the big house all day. He's got to finish hooking up the pedestal sink (he was missing a necessary piece to connect the sink to the plumbing), put two more smoke detectors in (he needed batteries), patch the cracks in the boys' room and finish removing their wallpaper. Then he'll pick the boys up from school and when I'm done with work I'll go to the big house and paint the boys' room and the living room. Is it too early to go back to bed??

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We have a TOILET!

Even better, it actually works!! :) :)

Yesterday after church, we went home and changed clothes then headed over to the big house. Some very generous friends came over and Ryan helped Mark move the two (cast iron, 300 lb+) clawfoot tubs into the bathrooms. I had helped Mark move the first one a few months ago--yeah, that means I lifted well over my own body weight--and I absolutely refused to move them again. I'd like to still be able to pick the girls up when we go to Ukraine. ;) So Ryan and Thuy came over and Ryan helped Mark move the tubs. I don't think he knew what he was getting into.

I am grateful way beyond what Ryan knows that I didn't have to move those tubs, and I think Ryan will be grateful beyond what we can know if he never has to move them again.

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting the rest of the bathroom plumbing hooked up (all of the shutoff valves) and getting the toilet installed. Not only is it installed, it WORKS! Can you tell how excited I am?? Hopefully Mark will be able to get the pedestal sink installed tonight (the bathtub is lower on the priority list) and we will be able to have our occupancy inspection this week. I am so thankful that the toilet, tub and sink were left in the house--that is three less things we have had to buy.

We are tentatively hoping to be able to move in this weekend. There's still a LOT of things that need to be done, so one of us will be at the house every evening this week. It will all be worth it if we can get moved in. Next week is the boys' spring break, and Mark is covering both of the clinics he works for so he will be working 10+ hours every day next week and I will be off of work with the boys. Hopefully that will give me some time to finish a LOT of cleaning at the house we're currently in (so the new tenants can move in) and at the big house (which is horribly filthy with all of the drywall mudding and sanding that's been going on). Sometimes it seems so overwhelming, but I just make myself pick one thing to do and get that done. Then at least there's one less overwhelming thing. ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My "day off"

Yesterday I took a day off since the boys didn't have school. It wasn't much of a day off:

Boys up and dressed
Made muffins for breakfast
Did laundry and dishes
Went to the big house and cleaned a bedroom floor, primed the living room
Lunch for the boys
Annual physical for the boys
Two parent/teacher conferences
Dinner and bed

Today was similar, except I conned Mark into taking the boys with him to his first base ball game of the season. I had the whole afternoon to myself, during which time I caulked the upstairs bathroom and painted all of it. Don't get the wrong idea. I'm doing the easy work over there. Mark's been hanging drywall (even on the ceiling!) and taping, mudding, and sanding (and mudding and sanding some more). The hope is to get the toilet in tomorrow so we'll have an actual, working bathroom!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My little sickies

Apparently the AE (pre-K) and kindergarten classes have been passing around a cold/cough virus. It's literally going from one child to the next and for the past few weeks they've averaged about 3 kids out of school per day (according to the reports I'm getting from Dima and Zhenya as to who's out sick). Zhenya came down with it a little over a week ago. The cold went away within a few days but the cough has lingered. He's finally to the point where he doesn't cough at all during the day, only when he lays down at night. Last night, I didn't hear him cough at all.

Instead, I heard Dima coughing all night.

Two days ago he started coming down with the cold, and the cough hit full force yesterday. Based on Zhenya's experience, it will be a bad cough (lots of fluid in the lungs) for about the next week. Surprisingly, it hasn't seemed to bother either of the boys. They don't like the coughing, but it hasn't dampened their energy at all. I usually try not to medicate them during the day so their bodies can fight the cold off naturally, but I do give them cough medicine at night to help them sleep.

I think we'll be having homemade chicken noodle soup tonight. :) Here's to another week of coughing!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We have word that our dossier has been received by our facilitator and is in the process of being translated and notarized! For those who may not know, notarization in Ukraine is not like notarization here. It is a very long, involved process and at the end they hand-sew the pages together. It takes quite a while to notarize as many documents as there are in a dossier.

I don't know if this means that our facilitator has had a chance to look at all of our documents and they are okay, or if they are still in the process of checking them. Right now, all submissions for the age range of the girls is on Mondays. So at the earliest we would be submitted next Monday. If not, and all of our documents are okay, then we will most likely be submitted the Monday after that (Mar 23). Our best guess at this point (if our documents are all okay) is that we will travel sometime in mid/late April. The reason I keep mentioning the "documents are okay" thing is that there have been several changes to dossier documents over the last couple of months, and there are a few areas that aren't very clear yet, even to the facilitators. We're not sure if the documents we put together are exactly what the SDA wants, but we may not know until our facilitator tries to submit them.

The boys' school has a preschool as well, and yesterday when I picked the boys up the 3 and 4 year-olds were going inside from the playground. It made me want to fly to Ukraine right now to get the girls! But we're not quite ready to bring them home yet in a number of areas, so I know it's good that we still have a little while longer before we go. Soon, very soon...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Why we don't watch TV

Okay, so maybe some people can turn the TV on and have their kids veg out, but not me.

Our neighborhood sponsors several (free!) movies throughout the summer, and the first one was last night. It started at 4pm, so we headed to the rec center about 3:30. I was a little panicked because I really anticipated a good turnout.

We were the only ones there. But we got good seats! LOL

More people did show up after the movie started, and the total crowd was maybe 35 people, including children. They showed Wall-E and it was pretty cute. However, the boys had absolutely NO INTEREST in watching it. They watched the first few minutes and then Zhenya went to sleep and Dima played with the blanket (we did wake Zhenya up). We stayed through the end but I'm convinced my boys need to spend more time playing, not more time watching movies and TV. As soon as the movie was over the boys ran laps in the gym (they had been jealously watching two younger kids whose parents had let them run in the gym during the movie).

I suppose if we watched more TV, I could probably train the boys to sit and watch it, but that seems a little counter-productive to me. I'd rather train them to use their energy wisely (like in weeding the garden or mopping the kitchen--see story later) than in suppressing it or draining it by sitting in front of a screen.

We spent quite a bit of time at the "big house" this weekend. Mark built gates for the front and back fences and I started painting. Ugh. I only moderately like painting. As in, I like it for about 10 minutes, then I'm ready for it to be done so I can move on to something else. Sound like two little boys you know? :) However, I had to prime the dining room and the living room (and several other rooms that I haven't gotten to yet) before I can paint so that was what I tackled on Saturday. The boys played outside, vacillating between helping Mark and coming to see what I was doing (which I was told was "really cool, Mama").

The dining room is now ready to paint (I think) but I still have more to do in the living room. I really want the living room and our bedrooms painted before we move in. It's just easier not to have to move living room furniture and I don't like breathing the fumes in the rooms we sleep in, so my goal is to get at least the living room and bedrooms finished (shhh, I know I started with the dining room, but the cracks were already spackled and sanded in there). We also installed a new faucet in the kitchen yesterday. There was one there, but for a reason that continues to confound us, it doesn't work. Mark took it apart and put it back together again a couple of times to no avail, so we finally had to go buy one. It's the only faucet in the house and we really wanted to be able to have water in the house (we've been going to the backyard spigot to clean brushes and wash hands). There was much rejoicing once it was installed and turned on! Even the boys were dancing around with joy.

The boys have decided their new entertainment is using the mop to clean the kitchen floor. They haven't figured out that they're supposed to use water with it (no comment on how often they must have seen me do this) so they just push it around the floor. I figure it's good practice. Their future wives can thank me later. :)

A side story--it has warmed up in the past week, and last week as the boys and Mark were leaving for school, Zhenya was very excited to go outside and have it be warm. He looked up into the sky and shouted as loud as he could, "THANK YOU GOD FOR SPRING!!" I think there are many of us that echo that sentiment...I know I do!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

No word

We haven't yet heard of our facilitator has received our dossier, although it was delivered last week. She has at least one other family in-country right now, so I know she is busy! Wouldn't it be great to get confirmation that it was not only delivered but also submitted? LOL A girl can dream. :)

In other news, Dima has been making progress like nothing I've ever seen. His reading is making tremendous leaps and he can read short sentences now. I'm not sure he always understands the full sentence--he bases most of his comprehension on words he considers to be key words. In other words, I think for him the sentences "Sam is a cat" and "Sam has a cat" have the same meaning. All he's really getting from the sentences are "Sam" and "cat", although if there are other verbs that he knows those do factor in (i.e., for "Sam sat on the cat" and "Sam jumped on the cat" he would know the difference). I can't be sure of his comprehension, since his expressive language isn't good enough to explain to me what he understands, but that's my hunch right now.

Last Thursday his OT decided to try some therapeutic listening with him during his OT session. Basically therapeutic listening involves having a child listen to specially programmed CDs twice a day for 30 minutes each time. I can't go into all of the details of TL here, but it sounds interesting and if there are additional therapies that will help Dima we're all for it. We haven't started the program at home yet; the OT wants to try it a couple of times in therapy and see if she thinks it will really help him first.

Both of the boys are loving gymnastics, but especially Dima, who last week told me "Mama, I love gymnastics lots lots lots!" They are always asking when they can go again. :) It is amazing to see Dima's coordination improve, and I'm always surprised when he can do things better than Zhenya. Even though Dima's older, his coordination and strength are less than Zhenya's so it's easy to forget that he's older when they're running around. But he is much better at backwards somersaults than Zhenya! Last week they worked some on a floor balance beam and both boys did really well. It's amazing to see how much Dima's balance has improved since he came home.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Arrived Abroad"

That's right, our dossier is in Ukraine! Even better, it has cleared customs. I'm hoping that means it will be delivered today; if not, hopefully tomorrow.

Of course, last night I got word that we may need to redo our employment letter...no joke. But hey, what is an international adoption if not the opportunity to drive other people crazy with our bizarre requests and kill lots of trees in the process?? :) :)

Mark has been steadily working on the new house. He has almost completed all of the drywall and has taped and mudded a good portion of it. We're getting really close to being able to move--except we still don't have a toilet. Actually, that's not true. We do have a toilet. It's just sitting in one of the bedrooms. It is a requirement of mine that we have a toilet installed before we move in (I think the city might require that too). ;) As soon as the drywall behind the toilets is up, taped, mudded, and painted, we can reinstall the toilet and hopefully be ready to move in.

Oh, and some updates from our "problem" list a few weeks ago:
--we have our bolt back and Mark fixed the pocket doors
--the plumbing is almost complete, we think**
--all of the radiators (minus the 4 that need to be replaced) are working; the 4 that need replacement won't be replaced until later this year (so HVAC is complete right now)
--the electricity is back on and nearly complete; there's some finish work to be done but the drywall needs to be finished first
--the fences are finished except for the gates that Mark will be building tomorrow
--our first gas bill was not nearly as astronomical as I thought it might be :) :)

**The reason we think the plumbing is almost complete is because we don't have anything hooked up to be able to check it. The water lines in the kitchen do have water coming to them, and they seem to have good water pressure. We also water to an outside spigot. Other than that, there are a couple of things that need to be fixed before the plumbing is complete, but we're getting close.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Schoolwork and ice cream

Dima had a very bad, horrible, not-good day on Friday. He lost all three of his apples AND got sent to the principal's office. Thankfully, none of it was for anything very horrible, just consistent not listening or obeying. Part of the issue on Friday was that he had a substitute teacher. Dima does not do well with change in routine, but this was also another teacher at the school whom he knows and likes (according to her, she completely butchered the routine on Friday ;)). He is doing better with changes in routine than he used to--he doesn't freak out or get upset anymore, he just gets overly excited. So at least there's progress. ;)

Saturday started off with schoolwork. This past week was not a particularly good one for Dima, and he chose to not do a lot of his work at school which means he gets to do it at home. House rule: Homework must be completed before you get to play. However, if he's had a bad day at school, he tends to be pretty tired after school and homework doesn't go so well. As a result, he had several pages to do when he got up Saturday morning (which was really fine--he does much better with his schoolwork in the morning than the afternoon). He spent two hours doing 6 or 7 pages of work, all tracing/writing and phonics. It actually went very well. He worked hard and stayed on task for the most part, and was able to do his work with minimal assistance from me. There are still some things that he needs quite a bit of help with, particularly anything involving vocabulary. He simply doesn't know what some of the pictures are...a rug, a plate of food ( the word was "meal"), a mule (which he said was a donkey, so he's close). He's now at the point where he will tell you he doesn't know what the picture is, so it's good that he's accepting that he doesn't know it and can get help by asking.

After Mark got home, we headed out to pick up some necessary items, and decided to eat lunch at Culver's since we had a free kid's meal there. For anyone not familiar with Culver's, their kid's meals come with two tickets, one for a free scoop of custard, or you can save up all of the tickets towards a free meal. We had enough tickets for a free kid's meal plus enough for all 4 of us to get custard...but we didn't tell the boys that. :) :) After Dima had finished eating, Mark asked him if he'd like to go get some ice cream. Dima stared at him like he'd grown another head, then said "yes!" They went and got custard, and apparently it is not just a free cup of custard, it includes one free topping. You should have seen the excitement on Dima's face when he came back to the table with his vanilla custard with Kitkats! He was so excited and it was so much fun to watch. The boys normally only get ice cream when they finish their sticker charts, so this was a completely unexpected treat for them. Zhenya was also excited but was feeling a bit under the weather so he only ate about half of his vanilla custard with M&Ms. No worries--Mark was happy to finish it off for him.