Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tree Decorating

Tonight we had a great time eating homemade turkey noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Then we decorated the Christmas tree.  What a night!  Enjoy the video and pics!


Joel, Clarion, Slav & Sergei

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Getting Colder Outside

Greetings everyone! We're having colder and colder weather here in St. Louis. It was still nice and warm when we got home from Russia in early September. It's so hard to believe that we've been home with our boys for over two months now. As of tomorrow, Slav will have been with us (counting our time in Vlad) three months. Unbelievable! While we were waiting in between trips, everyone always said that once you get home with you child(ren) time really starts to fly. That is so true!

Sergei is still sleeping in a crib, even though he is a tad over three years old. He has started climbing out several times during the night. We were very concerned about him falling while trying to climb out, so we took the side rail of the crib. Well, that was a mistake. Within an hour of going to bed, he rolled out of the bed onto the hardwood floor. Ouch! (This happened a lot while we had him with us at the hotel in Russia.) So we decided to put the rail back on but to put it as low as it would go. That way it still prevents him from rolling out of the bed, but if he climbs out he has much less of a chance of falling and hurting himself. Of course, with easier access in and out of bed, Sergei now climbs out two sometimes even three times a night. Thankfully, he usually goes right back to sleep when we put him back in the bed, except at 5:30AM when he is ready to get up. Gotta work on that one! We hope within the next six months to have both boys in big-boy beds.

The boys are definitely making progress with English. We have noticed that more and more they are speaking English to one another. The other day Slav was laying on the couch watching TV and Sergei stood right in front of him, blocking his view. Slav growled at Sergei saying, "I can't see!" They speak mostly English to us, but use a few Russian words yet. They have not stopped using the Russian words for "pee" and "poop," although they are beginning to say the word "bathroom" when they have to go. Sergei is using more and more two or three word phrases, one of which is "not yet." We're very proud of their progress with language!

Slav is making some progress with eating. Recently he ate some chicken noodle soup and actually liked it. One of the caretakers at his orphanage told us that he didn't like soup. He also ate about half of a small bowl of potato soup a few days ago. The biggest struggle with Slav's eating habits is not necessarily what he eats, but getting him to actually eat. When he is hungry and likes what is on his plate he usually devours his food. This is the case when he has sausage, hot dogs, corn dogs, bologna or chicken nuggets. Much of the time, however, Slav just eats so slow. He will chew on something for five minutes. Sergei, Clarion and I will be all done eating, sometimes even with two helpings, and Slav still has a long way to go to finish his food. Thankfully, at least we can usually get Slav to try a bite of something. Last night I made chili. Slav took a bite and hated it. It wasn't even the hot kind of chili. Sergei, as he does with 99% of the food we put in front of him, devoured his chili. He is a very good eater!

The boys love playing outside. With the colder weather, we've already started bundling them up with hats and gloves. Slav isn't a big fan of jackets, but he is learning that he must have it on to play outside when it's cold. Sometimes he throws a little fit, but once he realizes he's stuck inside, he changes his tune. Slav has gone from throwing big fits, to little whiny fits once in a while. He especially does it when he's tired. The good news is that whether it's a big fit or a little whiny fit, he quickly begins to understand that all the fit does is get him into further trouble. Back to playing outside. Just about everything Slav finds outside (sticks, etc.) gets turned into some sort of weapon. Slav also like to climb trees. Thankfully the tree on the side of our house is fairly small and he won't find himself to high up off of the ground. Sergei loves to play with the soccer ball. I will kick it all the way across the field and he will chase it. He would do this all day if I stayed out and kept kicking it. I think we've found a great way to tire the little guy out!

The boys are getting excited about Christmas. We were in the mall last weekend and they saw the Christmas trees and immediately started talking about Christmas. It seems that they have a pretty good idea of the tradition of Christmas. We're trying to work hard with them about why we really celebrate Christmas. Every evening before bed we sing a hymn and pray the Lord's Prayer. We are amazed that both boys get some of the words in the prayer, words that you wouldn't expect, like "hallowed," "trespass" and the like. Cool stuff! We have some great children's books that tell the story of Jesus' birth. Thankfully the boys love books!

That's all for now. Thank you for your continued prayers for our family! Congratulations to Eric & Becky who have their court date and will soon return to Vlad for their three children. As always, our prayers go out for all those who are waiting for referrals and court dates. God bless you all!

In Christ,

Joel, Clarion, Slav & Sergei

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Halloween & Glasses

The boys enjoyed their first Halloween last Friday!  Slav went as Batman.  Sergei went as Superman. It took a little bit of time for them to figure out the concept of trick or treating.  We practiced at our front door several times before going out for real.  We bought the boys the little plastic pumpkins with handles to hold all of their candy.  When we left the house to go out and trick or treat, Slav said, "Papa, Batman no pumpkin."  He was telling me that Batman doesn't carry a pumpkin.  AFter a few stops at houses on our street he realized that carrying the pumpkin was a necessity.  He had to get all his candy home somehow.  Surprisingly, the boys have not begged and pleaded to eat all the candy.  We give them a little bit each day and they're very happy with that.  Ask if that's the case again next year!

Slav went to the eye doctor last week so that he could be evaluated in light of his strabismus.  The appointment went very well.  The doctor also determined that Slav is a bit far-sighted.  Yesterday he got his glasses.  He looks adorable in them.  However, he doesn't like them at all.  At first he kept trying to take them off, but thankfully he eased up on that.  I think what he dislikes is that the nosepiece is rubbing on his nose and it hurts.  We're hoping that he will get used to them over the next few days.  If we determine that they are rubbing him too hard we will go back and see about getting them adjusted a bit.  Anyway, all is well otherwise.  Both boys will be seeing the dentist next week.  We are pretty sure that Sergei has some cavities and we know for certain that Slav will need some dental work.  His teeth are not in the best of shape.  Here's Slav in his new glasses. 

As for learning, the boys are progressing by leaps and bounds.  Every day we hear new English words that we weren't even sure they knew.  Slav's newest phrase is "Not glasses"  Sergei even said "medicine" at the table last night to remind us that they needed their iron.  They are each counting more and more each day and they are now masters of colors and shapes.  Slav has moved on to letters and recognizing his name.  Sergei is learning to hold a crayon correctly and follow lines.  They make Mama so proud! 

God's blessings to all of you who are waiting for referrals and court dates!  Our prayers go out especially to Eric & Becky who are anxiously awaiting their court date so they can bring home their three beautiful children from Vlad.  Their paperwork is being reviewed by the judge and it should be only a matter of days before they receive their good news.  The Lord be with you all!


Joel, Clarion, Slav & Sergei