Spring Sprung

Spring has sprung!

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We’ve had some sun, along with some spring showers.  Overall, I have to say it rains so much less here than in Salem.  Before we moved we heard Zhytomyr was super rainy city.  Ummmm no.  No, it’s not.  I can’t remember where we heard that, but the source needs to spend a winter in Salem to truly understand “super rainy”.  I love you Salem, but I don’t love your rain.

The spring showers are much more “interesting” when you live without a car!  Addy and I got D-R-E-N-C-H-E-D yesterday afternoon on the way home from gymnastics.  Hilariously wet.  I do have to say, that was a magical moment that I won’t forget.  Addy and I, laughing our heads off as we ran down the street in the pouring rain…

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Today was the first day the Littles and I walked to get the Big Kids from school without any jackets on at all.  Woohoo!  Had we been in Oregon we would have done without jackets several times before this, but, believe it or not we do our very best to try not stick out like sore thumbs around here.  In order to blend in (at least a bit…and that only works if we aren’t speaking) it’s in our best interest to wear a jacket at all times.  But, today I just couldn’t do it!  I needed to feel the sunshine on my skin.  The Littles begged to go without jackets and I caved.  Of course the first words out of Addy and Ezra’s teacher were “You’re not cold?”  Ha!  If she only knew my hot-blooded genetics she would never ask again.  🙂

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I usually feel like my blog posts have to have a “theme”.  I think that’s due to the fact that I’m a bit of a control freak and I like things wrapped up nicely into little packages of order.  Well, I’m learning that often times my need for having a “theme” or certain topic to write about keeps me from just talking about normal life.  Annnd people tell me they want to hear more about normal life, so I’m going to try my best to break the habit of needing a theme.  (See, like this post!  It’s so random…not theme-like at all…look at me!)

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We went to Kyiv for Easter so we could be with our Vineyard friends.  It was a great weekend with people we love, but hard too.  We really missed our family and church family.  It was a fun time, it just didn’t feel at all like Easter.  I think next year, when I have my head on a little straighter, I’ll try to incorporate more of our US Easter traditions in to our Easter here.  I think we would all really benefit from it- not just the kids.  I think Jed and I are both still kind of processing all our feelings from this weekend.  I’m trying to learn to grieve properly, and not just push feelings aside.  I’m learning that grief isn’t a bad thing- or a “lack of faith” thing.  Grief is a real thing that needs to be worked through properly.  Sigh…more on that at a later date.

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Tomorrow Jed gets to go to Kyiv with a bunch of other volunteers and MTU staff.  They’re taking some of the older boys from Romaniv to see dolphins!  FIELD TRIP!!!  I can’t even imagine how much fun that will be.  I don’t know if it’s like an aquarium type deal or a dolphin show…we just know it’s “dolphins”.  These are not boys from our Isolation Room, but some of the higher functioning boys.  Each boy gets a volunteer buddy while they are out and about.  Seriously?  I can’t stand it.  That is going to be amazing.  I’m kinda, sorta, a lot jealous.  😉

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Welp, I guess that just about does it.  I had a super deep, share-my -heart-post planned for today, but I decided not to go there.  I’m a little tired and I was afraid that would cause some emotional “spewage”.  Hehe.  I still want to share, but I think I’ll wait for another day.

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I hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend!

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A Weekend in Pictures

We spent the weekend in Kiev getting our love tanks filled up by good friends, good food, good worship, and fun fun fun. Our kids get spoiled so bad in the big city, it’s no wonder it’s their favorite place to be. Whenever we visit Kiev we leave feeling so loved and encouraged it’s like balm for the soul.

Here’s some pics of our time:


Of course there must be plenty of food!


Men cooking AND doing the dishes AND making us delicious coffee? Woohoo! Thanks Maks, Andrey, and Jed 🙂




Pillow/tickle/wrestle fight = my kids’ heaven



Taking the metro to church



Seth and Olya



Seth and Anya, chillin’ at Sunday School



Hava and Anya, walking to lunch. They are the cutest together, like twins separated at birth. Ha!




Sergei bought the kids donuts!


Please keep praying for Ukraine.  Being in Kiev was bittersweet.  We love that city and we love the Ukrainian people more each day.  Please don’t forget Ukraine.  Thank you!

A Sunday in Kiev

Happy Monday everyone!


We had a great first weekend. Jet lag remained a beast, but I think we have just about defeated it. All the kids slept through the night last night and didn't wake up till 5:00am! Thank you Jesus, because I haven't yet found a good coffee to brew at home and {no sleep + disappointing coffee = the pit of despair}. BUT- we all got sleep last night, and today we bought new coffee that was recommended by a friend and fellow Northwesterner, so things are looking up! PTL!


I think our trip to Kiev yesterday had a thing or two to do with our kids exhausted state, so add that to the list of reasons why I love Kiev. 😉


A trip to Kiev is no small task for a family of 6. Let me lay it out for you.


We started out from our house at 9:00am and walked about 15 minutes to the city center where we caught the bus to Kiev. Buses go back and forth between Kiev and Zhitomir all day, so it's pretty easy to get a seat.

The bus ride is about 2 hours long and it takes us right in to the edge of town. Normally at this point Jed and I would hop on the metro and then walk quite a ways to church, but we figured with all the littles it might be easier to take a taxi. Our friend Olya (THE BEST) ordered us a taxi and we were off!

We arrived at church around 11:45, just in time to visit with friends we love before church started at noon. The kids were big fans of Kiev Vineyard right away as our friends bribed smiles out of them with candy and cookies and tea with milk. Ukrainians are buying the hearts of our children right and left and the kids don't mind it a bit. 😉

Oh man, arriving at the Vineyard in Kiev was like comfort food of the best kind. I think Jed and I both let out all the breath we'd been subconciously holding since we touched down on Wednesday. We are family there. And the crazy thing is, we didn't even feel like guests this time. It was grand. Ezra got to play soccer and wrestle with our friends, Addy made a little friend named Ruslana, Seth got his fill of cookies and juice, and Hava got carried to her hearts content. Kiev Vineyard speaks our love language very well. At Salem Vineyard (our home) the kids have a few guys that they love to harass and wrestle every week at church. It's one of the highlights of their week. Their most favorite wrestle/tickle/tease church friend is Jesse. As we left Kiev Vineyard I heard the kids discussing “Hey, let's make Elvin, Max, and Sasha our Jesse for now, okay?” 🙂 We love you Jesse!!!!!

Learning Russian from a new friend

After church we headed by bus and then by foot to our favorite Sunday lunch spot: Puzata Hata! Woot! While at Puzata we got to meet up with an adoptive family we've been in touch with for several months now. God actually worked it out that they arrived in Kiev the same day as us last week and they'll be there for several weeks adopting a sweet baby. They are dreamers like us and we were SO HAPPY to meet!!! We're hoping to spend more time together in a couple weeks. Thank you friends for coming to meet us! All our mutual stalking paid off! Hehe

We lingered at lunch/dinner for several hours and finally decided we better start our long trek home. We went back to the bus stop by metro and the kids were SOOOOO excited to finally use their escalator skills. Oh yeah, all our practicing paid off and the kids handled the escalators like champs.

Ready to get on the metro!

The bus ride home to Zhitomir was a bit of a doozy. It was pretty warm (I'm a hot person. If you didn't know. It's my cross to bear.), but there was a Ukrainian variety show on which kept Addy and Ez occupied for quite a bit of the drive. Seth and Hava fell asleep almost instantly, but they were on our laps, and at some point Jed had the nerve to shift his position and all hell broke loose. Seth was half awake, half asleep and started screaming for some unknown reason. We couldn't fully wake him up and he continued to scream for a looooong time. It was super painful…I'm sure the rest of the bus really loved us at that point. Oy.

By the time we arrived back in Zhitomir all the kids were asleep and we didn't have the heart to make them walk the 15 minute walk back home, so we hired a taxi and somehow managed to tell him where we live. Success!

All in all it the day was fantastic. We had lots of laughs, lots of hugs, and lots of adventure. Thank you Jesus for family in Ukraine.