Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Post-Placement Visit 1 already?

Yes, last Friday. Stefko has been home for about four months, and the first report is due back at 6mos. Writing and sending and translating is allowed 2mos, which seems long to the novice and about-right to a bit short to those who know.

Stefan is doing well, and has gained weight, broadened his attention span, and is firming up his relationships with us all. Mostly that's good, but he and Small Porgies have developed a bit of an I-punch-you-punch-me dynamic, entirely at the instigation of S.P. This is disappointing, but I also have to remember that they are brothers, and its bound to happen at some level, and it's never escalted into a fight. They are also generally well-matched - Stefko is tough, strong, and big, S.P. is fast and accurate. It's not my favorite thing when they pick at each other, but I think it will pass as they get older, and I don't see any malice. Stefko and his littlest sister are buds, and get into mischief together, sit in the same cozy places in the same way (though he never sits for long), and bolt for the same opened doors when people are coming and going. Life is not slow, but there is so much to be thankful for.

Also, Stefko has very much figured out that there is food after church, and though he get's pretty antsy towards the end, he does a good job generally, though he's cautious about the Eucharist (man with spoon - possible medicine - evasive maneuvers! - he's only partaken once, but glory to Jesus Christ for that). But there is in Orthodoxy a bowl of bread for anyone to take after the chalice (to wash down the Eucharist), and Stefko is all over that. And many friends slip him extra bits.

Mama is tired, but got to go hang out with the church ladies last night, which I think was a success, judging by a late return and buoyant mood. In the meantime, my friend and I juggled seven kids and assembled a large (4' x 8' x 6') double-deck play-work structure for the kids to use. It has been a hit, and this morning before work I got to sit up top with S.P. and Took and read a chapter from The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader". Lewis is an old friend to me and a new one to the boys, and it's with much joy that I get to share a treasure of my youth.

Ana is plugging along, her school continues to be positive, and her school nurse was overjoyed to meet fellow Christians - there are a lot of LDS in our area, may God bless them to meet Christ the only-begotten co-eternal Son of God.

Thank you for your prayers, we are just living life as God gives it, and if you don't hear from us often, it's because there's not much to say, plugging along here in the finally-cooling desert. But please be in touch if you'd like, we're always happy to hear from friends!

In Christ,

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Scenes from life

Things cook along here. Stefan was baptized about two weeks back, and did remarkably well (and Orthodox baptism is not short, there are a lot of prayers in with the action...) We are well, generally, and life is full. Stefko goes to sleep easier (he even nodded off one evening on the foot of our bed while we read Bible - I think he is beginning to trust). He wakes up later, too, which is a relief - especially since Ana has been sick recently, and sleep is scanty on her account.  

Stefan is also developing preferences, and eating somewhat slower. Except when it's a favorite, like tuna salad, then he still shovels somewhat maniacally. But oatmeal? He goes about as slowly as the other boys now, and doesn't always finish. He seems to be emerging (a little) from the never-had-enough-food frenzy. No doubt it will be a long time before that's gone, but we're thankful for progress.

Chickens in the yard

Stefko helping with an oil change

Machinii need tools

Stefko likes tools.

Yesterday marked the 4th anniversary of my dad's death. In thinking of him, his kindness, and my own failures to love, I wrote the following:


I was maybe ten,
and maybe so was he,
though his waist was far ahead
of his mind, which seemed stuck,
as I said, around ten.
With all the gall of youth
I found him ugly
and repugnant to the nose;
his clothes were often greasy,
for he loved McDonalds
with the sincerity of his blessed simple soul.
And TV. He loved that, too,
though I did not observe,
for I never ventured in to get him
or to drop him off.
That was my father's work,
to help him out with errands,
go to church,
a bite to eat,
and something for his mom.
He had a mother - did you know?
Of course he did.
And he had been a kid,
who just, it seems,
got stuck at maybe ten.

Thank you for your prayers.
In Christ,

Thursday, August 24, 2017


We are thankful for the progress that Stefan is making. He has much longer periods of calm, and is right now sitting on the couch with mama and the brothers, listening to The Borrowers. He has been going to sleep much better, often during bedtime Bible reading with the brothers. He's often up first in the mornings (very early), and toodles around the kitchen or the fenced yard until I get up to start the day. Ana's back in school, so that's good, and we have been thankful to our friends who have entered our life to help give more hands with Stefko.

Mama and Stefko in the mei-tai

Cute and busy little lady

Monday, August 14, 2017

Slow and steady

We are thankful that Stefko did a great job at vespers and liturgy Saturday and Sunday! He's definitely making progress (and church is a good periodic check), though the day-to-day is still a challenge.

He has more smiles, and occasional outright grins (below). He doesn't much like toothbrushes, and is pretty sure that topical essential oils (for a fungal spot) are the worst. His doctor's visit last week was good, but we are still waiting on his citizenship packet (to apply for an SSN) before insurance gets entirely straightened around. So, he might have a swallow study this week, but they charge something like $5/photon for those x-rays, so they're jumpy about people with not-quite-solidified insurance status.  Sigh.

Thank you for your sustained prayers, and God bless.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A month home (tomorrow)

Things are pretty good. Stefi plays for longer, waves goodbye (and blows kisses, which he saw Mama do from the car en route to an Ana appointment), and is slightly more able to contain himself while waiting for food to be prepared and served. Things are moving in a good direction, it seems. He goes to bed more peacefully, and is getting up maybe, slightly, a bit later. We appreciate your prayers, and beg pardon of infrequent updates - there's not much time to spare. Sorry.

These two are cute together. Water balloons are great.

This WAS three boys swinging, but once Papa stopped pushing and started taking a picture, a certain someone hopped out and wandered over to investigate.

I also reiterate our thanks to everyone who has helped us financially, with prayers, with meals, and with clothes. We're grateful. Also to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for their generous vouchers after our difficult time in Amsterdam. Unexpected help, and appreciated.

In Christ,

Monday, July 24, 2017

Three weeks in

It's a real struggle for traction to engage Stefan's attention and sustain it for longer than 2 minutes. But there are small steps forward.

Today is rainy, which is lovely, but things are a bit more stir-crazy than usual.

Also, if you wonder where MamaV went, her iPhone stopped supporting Blogger, and she doesn't really care to (or have time to) spend much screen time on the laptop (which is also kept up and away all the time). For the record, I'm currently listening in on my first work meeting back from 3 weeks of almost-blackout, which is really hard to do in aerospace.

We're trying to figure out how to care well for the family and me still have any time for work. We have a little more runway, my team is very kind and understanding, but there will need to be a resolution pretty soon. On the plus side, school starts for Ana in about two weeks, so that will be some load off during the days. The boys are troopers, but it's wearing on them. Choupinette has both loved the best and been the saddest - Stefi requires very similar attention to what she needs, and there has been a lot of competition over Mama. Ana is a patient sweetheart, and we try to make sure to spend some snuggle time with her. We are thankful for church and friends and family.

Christ is in our midst!
He is and ever shall be!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Assorted things

Somebody loves his machina.

Somebody else loves tricycles so much...

She got her own.

And bentonite clay is used for sealing wellbores, and can also do a number on your pipes. Alternative toothpaste users beware. (This was the flood that preceded the fire - poor old shop vac had a hard time with the water cleanup - that preceded a very rough Sunday morning).

Thank you for your prayers!