Everyone went to bed early (well early for us, anyway) and so I am taking time to sneak in another post. I am actually pretty sad to be going home tomorrow. I have really enjoyed my time here and this country and the wonderful people here will always hold a special place in my heart. Hopefully we will bring the kids back when they are older. We have felt very at home here and we will be forever grateful to so many warm and caring people here who helped us along the way. Our children should be very proud to call themselves Ukrainian-Americans.
A few funny things I don't want to forget so I am typing up here:
Alina has done so well with her language acquisition it is amazing. She pretty much understands anything I say to her. We read each other very well and we are able to get idea across through just charades and words. I don't think we have used pictures since before Kevin came back from America. Here are a few funny things that have happened in the process of her using and interpreting English:
When we were still in Lugansk we had to do laundry by hand. When Julian came home with us he brought some clothes with him. Alina sorted the clothes into a pile of dirty clothes and a pile of clean clothes. She pointed to each pile and told me, "wash your hands" and "nyet wash your hands." I guess she got the wash part right. ;)
The other night at dinner Alina finished up early. She started to get up and walk out of the room and so I called her back and tried to explain that we would all stay around the table until everyone finished eating. I kind of leaned over and motioned to the whole group. Somehow there was a miscommunication and she thought I meant she needed to curtsey and say "thank you" to everyone. (Like, thank you for allowing me the pleasure of your company while I ate.) I was laughing too hard to correct her so that is what she has done every day since and now all the kids do it. I am not sure when I will tell them to stop. It is hilarious.
When we would bring the kids snacks at the orphanage we always had them say, "more please" if they wanted more. Lily says "more please" any time she wants anything. If she is going to hand me something she won't let me have it until I say, "more please." (She says, "more clease" actually.) We also have them say "let me see" if they want to see the picture we took on the digital camera. Sometimes when she feeds you something she makes you say, "let me see" before you can have any.
When we first started teaching the kids their names we called them by a combination of both (we are still in this stage for Julian and Alina). We called Lily, Lily-Ilona. I was teaching her to say... My name is Lily-Ilona. She is always telling me to say, "My name is Lily-Mama."
Julian is still just learning the basics so he hasn't had many funny things to say yet. Tate mostly just repeats what you say or chatters away in Russian as if we understand him. He still makes us laugh all the time though.
Alina's bed. She had the top bunk. Probably because she was the oldest.
This was Julian's bed when he lived at Lugansk Orphanage #1.
This picture is totally random but it makes me laugh because one of Lily's detsky dom mama's posed it. She was all upset about the way Kevin ended up holding the alligator so her hand ended up in this picture. :D
Then we went downstairs for Tate's party. We dressed him in a cute outfit that Jeff and Melissa sent for him but on of his detsky dom mamas tucked his short in too far and pulled his pants up to the high heavens when we weren't looking. This is the way his clothes were always on him at the orphanage too. He loved his party and so did all his little friends.
With some of his buddies.
With his whole groupa and Mama Svieta. Notice how tiny he is compared to the other kids his age?
Mama Svieta was his favorite detsky dom mama. The first night he cried for her. He always asks to see her picture on the computer. He talks to her and waves at the computer. How sweet is that? I am so glad he had a mama to take care of him that he loved so much. I suspect she may be the one who hiked up his shorts though. ;)
His little bed is the one in the corner. It looks like he was lucky to be by the heater in the winter time.
Saying goodbye to Leeza and Leeza. :( Poor Alina-Sophia. She loves those cats so much. The black and white one was her best friend in the world, I am pretty sure.
They are the sweetest, most patient, cuddly cats you will meet. I am more of a dog person but I am so glad these two cats brought my daughter so much happiness, joy, and love. Alina plays that she is a cat all the time. She loves to eat like a cat and walk like a cat. The way she chews her food is so funny. She must really have studied them. I caught her practing cat moves she was copying the other day while watching The Lion King. SO funny. She bawled when Simba's dad died. Poor little thing. I almost forgot to mention that she told me she doesn't want to be called Alina, Alina-Sophia, or Sophia. She wants to be called "Cat-Leeza," Oh my!
Saying goodbye to the detsky dom and so many of the people who we will never forget!
We went home and ate lunch together and then walked to a church in the pouring rain because Julia wanted to have a priest bless the kids. I thought that was a very special and sweet thing for her to do.
We were soaked. Papa took the older two to the acrade and I gave the two little ones their first bath. They loved it. They played until I made them get out because they were cold. At the detsky dom I think bath were quick and maybe not even warm. I have heard horror stories about kids hating baths because of it. Not my four. They call scream with excitement when you tell them it is time for a "coopatsa." They will love our huge tub at home and all the bath toys we have for them. They have played for hours with just water bottles.
And then there were four kids in the bed! Julian ended up moving to the floor of the bedroom before they all fell asleep. He likes his sleep and his brother and sisters were just too giggly for him I guess. They are all good sleepers but he loves his sleep the most. He likes to sleep in, like his mama!
Okay, I will have to finish the rest of the trip (train ride and Kiev) once we are home. I have to put the surprises in the kids backpacks for tomorrow and get a few hours of sleep. Wish us luck with the long journey. The kids are so excited and a little anxious too. I know they will just love being home though. It was so cute because Alina told the guy giving our exit interview at the U.S. Embassy yesterday that she was coming home to a beautiful home with her family and Keaton. :)
By the way, if you are coming to the airport tomorrow afternoon to meet us I would love it if someone could snap a few pictures from that end. I am not sure what shape the kids will be in when we arrive. We are leaving our apartment here at 4 in the morning. We get into Charlotte at 3:30 in the afternoon which is 10:30 at night in Ukraine. They are going to be so tired and I am not sure if anyone will sleep on the plane. Hopefully the excitement will over-ride the exhaustion and they will be in a good mood.