About Stuff

So, before we made the big move to Ukraine I searched the Interwebs (as Jed likes to call it) like a mad woman for any and every blog I could find about life for Americans who had moved to Ukraine. I found some that I really enjoyed, mostly because the writers were working with orphans and I dig that. Obviously. But, what I was really looking for was details about the little things that make up life in Ukraine. I wanted to see daily life so I could *try* to be prepared. I didn't find a whole lot of that, probably because when it's your everyday life you have a hard time believing anyone would find it interesting. I mean, do people really care what your washer machine looks like or how small your rolls of toilet paper are? Well, I cared! πŸ™‚ I wanted to see any and everything. So…I hope to give you glimpses to our everyday life…maybe some of you will find it interesting?? If anything I know my mom will be happy to see it all. Hehe

 

For what it's worth, here are the things of note that I've been thinking I should tell you about. I have to take notes right when the thought comes, like this:

Dogs and Motion Detectors:
You all saw the outside of our house, right? Not so perty. You can't always judge a book by it's cover, and our house is proof of that.
Anyway, on that corner there is a motion-detecting light. We didn't realize it was there till the first night we moved in. I kept waking up all night to the light going off and on because it's literally right outside our bedroom window. The light was off and on, off and on, off and on ALL NIGHT. The entrance to our house isn't exactly on a busy street so I started getting all concerned when night after night it was like a strobe light in my room. Welp, not to worry, I figured out the culprit. Stray dogs.
Ukraine has lots of stray dogs. They are running and sleeping all over town- and especially through our yard at night. I woke up one night and bravely looked out the window, afraid of what I'd see, only to see a group of dogs running back and forth under our light. Ha! I feel better now. πŸ™‚
No Top Sheet:
I love Ukraine. I love Ukraine because people don't use top sheets. If you have little kids you understand. It's like you know your kids should use top sheets, but they are forever crumpled at the bottom of little beds. I'll confess, after a while I just gave up and stopped trying. I felt a bit guilty, like my kids were sleeping in filth, until we moved here! In our house there are bottom sheets (only fitted on one side), and then big blankets in a top sheet material duvet cover. Genius! All the cleanliness of a top sheet, minus the crumple. My guilty mother's heart is now at peace.

Also, the sheet sets never match. Just when I thought it couldn't get easier, it did.

Translate to Russian, then Ukrainian:
There are two languages mostly spoken in Ukraine: Russian and Ukrainian. Even though Ukrainian is the official language and most of the signage and stuff is in Ukrainian, we've decided to focus on learning Russian. The reason for that is that the dreams God has given us are bigger than only Ukraine. The dream He's given us extends to the whole former Soviet Union region. So, it seems more wise to focus on learning Russian since it's more widely spoken worldwide.
Anywaysssss when we go to the store it gets a bit tricky. Some of the labels for the food are in Russian and some are in Ukrainian. When I see a label I don't understand (let's be honest, that would be 97% of them) I first google translate into Russian, and if that comes up with nothing or a totally irrelevant word I then translate it into Ukrainian. As you can imagine, grocery shopping takes a million years. I think I need to start trying to translate to Ukrainian first, it might save me some time. πŸ™‚ Google Translate is my new BFF.

I misspelled the first ingredient on the second line...it should translate flakes. πŸ™‚

Bagged Food:
Tons of the refrigerated food comes in bags. Who'd a thunk it? The kids think it's great. It's all fun and games till someone pokes a hole in the milk (ahem, Seth).

Mayonnaise, ketchup, milk, and sour cream

Mr. Clean:
I just thought this was funny.
Cake for Bfast:
This morning we started at MTU and all the staff got to meet the kids! It was super surreal to have our kids there. Sigh…happy. To welcome us they brought out cake. Way to win over my kids! Anyone who serves cake at 8:30am gains guaranteed hero status at our house.
Boxes Arrived:
Our boxes came today!!! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to us! We shipped 6 boxes on September 10th and they arrived today. We were hoping and praying they would all make it and that we would beat them here so we could receive them and MTU wouldn't have to store them for us. God is too, too good to us!!! Would you believe the boxes are almost completely filled with just books? Yep. We figured just about everything else we could need we can find here, but all our books in English? Irreplaceable. We got a super amazing shipping deal, and I'm so happy we did it. Books and some school supplies are really all we shipped. Addy, my little book lover, is going to be so happy to be reunited with her friends. πŸ™‚
Ez Pez Bday:
Our little Ezra turns 8 years old on Saturday! My cousin Hannah has been in Western Ukraine since September doing an internship through her university and will be in Ukraine till the middle of December. We are SO EXCITED that she is taking the train to come and visit us this weekend! Ez is convinced Hannah is coming all this way just for his birthday. We won't correct him. Turning 8 is kind of a big deal.
 
Welp, I think that just about covers it. My brain is officially mush. We started Russian lessons today and I'm surprised our heads didn't explode. Jed went to bed long ago and now I better go too before I turn into a pumpkin. πŸ™‚
Happy Wednesday Everyone!
 

 

Our House!

So, I'm just sitting here in my little Ukrainian house, the kids are asleep, and Jed is off to watch soccer at a friend's house (He doesn't waste time with the man dates! Hehe) Life is good. We are blessed and happy.

 

Wanna see our house? YES! I'm pretty proud of us because we actually accomplished quite a bit today, despite the fact that the kids woke up at 4am. Oh, you say that just gave us more hours to work, so of course we should have gotten a lot done? Well, I say it was evil and instead caused us all to take a three hour nap at noon. We couldn't help ourselves! Jet lag is a beast.

 

So, the house is still a work in progress, but I'll let you have a peek at our new digs. We feel quite comfy here and are so super thankful. Here goes nothin!

This is our street, headed toward our house- the white building on the right.

Here's the front of our building. I think there are like 4 houses (flats) that are all a part of this building...not quite sure though. We enter around the back.

This is the path to walk around to our pad. πŸ™‚

These steps lead to us! That balcony right above is our balcony. Everyone come on over!

Welcome! Here's what you see when you walk on in. (Minus the huge grins on our faces, so happy to have you! Also beware of tiny, leg-grabbing people ready to jump out and grab you...they're vicious I tell ya)

Oh, you like the purple kitchen, do you? Well, we girls like it too. The boys aren't so sure.

Too bad we don't have a microwave manual...not that we could read that either...hmmm

Here's the place where all the goodness happens. When you come over we'll eat loads of deliciousness at this big 'ol table! That's assuming I figure out grocery shopping and can buy the right ingredients for the deliciousness. Seth wants me to tell you he has his eyes closed. FYI πŸ™‚

Here's the view from the dining room table of Jed leaving me to go on a man date. πŸ˜‰

So, to the right of the front door is the kitchen, and this is what's to the left. There's the bathroom, and the living room.

Here's our AWESOME bathroom! This is the biggest bathroom we've ever had. For some reason I find it very cute and bright. Is that weird that I love my bathroom so much?

Our little washing machine is in the bathroom. When Addy saw it she said It's just my size! Yep, that's about right. Ha! We don't have a dryer so this girl's gonna have to learn the art of hanging clothes to dry. Sweeeeet.

Here's another time when a manual would be helpful...

This is the room that we'll use as a living room. I think we'll move out one of the beds to make more space, throw some cushions on the others, and call 'em couches.

The view from the other side of the room, complete with Jed looking creepy. He makes me laugh. I just love him!

Still with me? Now let's head upstairs so you can see the guest room. Hint hint...

This is the biggest room, so it will be for the kids. We can't fit 4 beds in it, so we need to buy some bunk beds. Until then, just the girls will sleep in here.

That white door leads to a shower.

THIS, now THIS is the guest room! Isn't it fantastic? πŸ˜‰ The boys will sleep in here until we get the bunk beds.

Here's our cute little upstairs bathroom. So itty bitty!

Here's our enclosed balcony. Pretty sweet eh? Right now we're storing empty suitcases here. Yeah, when we brought 12 SUITCASES we didn't really think through what we would do with them after we were done traveling here. Anyone need a spare suitcase? Emma- notice my sweet hanging skills???

Our view during the day...

And now for the armpit of the house…

Our bedroom!!! Yep, we still got some work to do...

Isn't the house SO GREAT??? It's a miracle. It's so clean, plenty big, under our budget, a three minute walk to MTU, and furnished. We are so happy!
When we knew we were going to live in this house we were excited, but I had one worry. I was worried for my kids. There are no parks nearby, and I was so concerned about how we would find friends. Do we just walk around until we hear kids and then head that direction? It was a worry for me, but we really felt like this house was God's gift to us, so we knew He had/has our kids covered.
So, yesterday morning we woke up, looked out our balcony window to check out our view, and you'll never guess what we saw.

A PLAYGROUND!!!

Would you believe they installed a playground right behind our house our first morning here?? INCREDIBLE. We were laughing, and I'm pretty sure I cried. Now THAT is God's gift to my kids, but also a gift to this mommy's heart. Where there is a playground, there will be children. It just goes to show us that God has gone before us and taken care of every single detail.
One of our friend's felt like God showed her that this move to Ukraine would be like Christmas Day for our kids. Like they don't know what they are getting, but that God has great gifts here for them. Well, gift #1 was delivered on our first morning and I am in awe.
It just keeps getting better and better. Saying yes to God is so much fun!!!!!