What we do

for free doughnuts… On October 31st, Krispy Kreme gives a free doughnut to anyone dressed in costume.  The kids were game and went to work the day before to find things around their house for their costumes.  We have Anna (the mama), Alice in Wonderland, Spiderman and a slew of characters from The Wingfeather Saga book series.

I know these guys are probably not familiar to many people, but to us, well they represent hours of audio books in the van.  Since we tend to accrue audible credits, we splurged on a four book series called The Wingfeather Saga written by one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters, Andrew Peterson.  The kids hung on every word they heard (and Christmas brought the actual books which have been slowly making their rounds among our readers).  The fun part of this picture is that we shared it with Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Facebook page.  He, in turn, shared it with his personal performance page and on the Wingfeather Saga blog.  My kids had their 15 minutes of fame.  Yes, the doughnuts and this bit of fame definitely made their day.

Zoo Trip

We absolutely love taking trips to the zoo.  And that means I love sharing pictures of our adventures at the zoo.

Feeding some super excited lorakeets.
Touch a snake.  I love petting snakes!  At least a couple of the kids were willing to pet too. Sky high kids.
Saying hello to da birds. Trying to catch a glimpse of sea lions.


August Randoms

Ya’ll, I might actually be caught up before 2018 hits…okay, don’t hold your breath.  Here’s the end of August…and our randoms.

Emmie got “Pwincess” pjs from Ge…and we just had to show them off.  A.dor.a.ble

Ice cream at Bruster’s is better if you’re in your swimsuit.  Just saying.  Don’t forget the pink bow. Having a crown is just as good. Mr. H goes to church with us and has notarized untold numbers of adoption documents and been rewarded a couple of times with supper on us.  Then there was that one day he had enough notarizing like a normal person and decided to do it in style.  With a box on his head. Smudge sensed something was up.  Again.  And did everything in his power to keep us from packing for our Ukraine/Grandparent trip.  He was not happy with any of us. Cute contemplative cookie eating. Girls in rollers…it’s a rite of passage in our house.

Just because Zoe is pretty and can do some pretty amazing things with her hair. Princess Emmie surrounded by lots of knights…traipsing through the fields. We enjoyed a subscription to Genius Box for the summer (and then three months after because I forgot to cancel it.).  Okay, we have four boxes sitting in our school area because I forgot to use them up but they will get used when we are at home with nothing to do.  Stop laughing ya’ll. Malachi’s first grown fruit…watermelon.  It was left too long on the ground and split.  But at least it was something. We got home from Josiah’s hospital stay and I walked in to the girls’ room and realized that one of the cats had used the bathroom in it.  Which resulted in me cleaning out the entire room and cleaning all the carpets upstairs.  Which resulted in rearranging the room.  Which resulted in the discovery that Emmie’s crib (bought used) was starting to tear up).  Which resulted in Emmie getting to sleep like a big girl…on the mattress…on the floor.  Which resulted in Zoe, Ceili Rain and I brainstorming how we could re-decorate their room.  Which we did this past December…and are still doing…so you have to wait on pictures of that. The night after we got home from the hospital.  Josiah wanted to crash on the couch.  So, we did. Zoe celebrated Urkainian Independence day in her traditional shirt and with a traditional hairstyle. My kids are awesome. And Emmie has shades…Her right eye (which is effected by Horner Syndrome from her first surgery) is very sensitive to light.  She finally agreed that wearing glasses was a good idea. This is pretty much how she spent her August.  At the water table, in a diaper.   Smudge is eating her toe??? We trapped a Emmie. And a Bryant. And an Emmie and a Bryant together. “Small but Mighty”  Yes, indeed.

The big news in our ‘hood in August was that Kroger opened up a marketplace with a Starbucks.  Um, yes.  Grand opening meant a cow was there to pet (some kind of creamery or something). Anyway, my kids enjoyed getting up close and personal with the bovine species.  It takes very little to entertain my city kids…okay, me too

Just Waiting

After Silas’s court date, we were blessed beyond belief when he was allowed to stay with us during our waiting period.  I stayed in country until that Friday and Mark stayed the rest of the time until Silas could come home.  Hopefully, eventually, Mark can blog about his time in Ukraine.  We were thrilled that they got to be there to celebrate their Independence day and that Papa was able to fly over to spend some time with them and seeing Ukraine!

For now, here are some photos from our adventures while I was there. We found a great park in Bila Tserkva with a fun ropes course. Just because he was standing there all handsome. There was a park near our apartment too.  Plenty of space for soccer and basketball… And climbing!

Cotton candy in Europe is a bit different than the US.  It was straight up just sugar.  No flavors, no artificial dyes etc.  Not our favorite but still edible.

My cooking went up a notch thanks to Google translate making sure I grabbed the right seasoning packets.

The sign in our elevator let’s us know not to use the bathroom in there.  Just an FYI.

Silas insisted we grab these tiger hot dogs.  Mark said they were terrible and only after he cooked them did he realize the stripes needed to be peeled off.

When I made it to the airport for my journey home, these beautiful art pieces were on display.  A photographer had taken classic art and re-shot them with Ukrainian scenes.  So much patriotism and pride for the country could be seen in each photograph.

While Mom and Dad are Away

Papa and Grandmere did a great job watching our other babies while we were away and making sure we got to see all of their fun antics.

Ace, Liam, and Josiah worked hard building a retaining wall.

Papa cuddles were good subs for Mama and Daddy hugs. Ceili Rain did a wonderful job helping with Emmie.  Word has it, she was able to get her to sleep for naps.While visiting, Josiah was able to celebrate his birthday with Papa and Grandmere.


Austria Not Australia

After a very sad good-bye, we headed back to Kyiv and then to Austria.  We planned a 24 hour layover to check out all things Vienna and squeezed in as much of their culture as we could in that time.
Riding the train from the airport to City Centre. Our first glimpse of Vienna.

Riding through the country side is quite beautiful.

We probably spent way too many hours trying to find a hotel in Vienna.  We decided on a art boutique hotel (reasonably priced of course).  Our room’s air wasn’t working and there were dog paintings on the wall that made us giggle.  I know.  I know.  It’s art.  But it was fun art and that made us laugh.

Our main stop was Schonbrunn Palace, the hunting palace of the Hapsburgs.  This wasn’t a fake backdrop.  Nope.  It was the real thing.  A large, beautiful, proud Austrian piece of architectural and interior design.  We toured and were able to walk where Mozart and Napoleon walked.  Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside the palace.

A small metal model of the palace grounds.

The gardens were fair game for picture taking.  And just as gorgeous as the inside!

Roses were in abundance.

On the way back to the subway, we couldn’t pass by a golden Mozart street performer without taking a picture.

Speaking of the subway, we enjoyed the art.  It was fairly clean and easy to navigate.  

A beautiful statue on the way to our hotel.

For supper, we headed to City Centre.  We saw St. Stephen’s and just basked in the beautiful architecture. And the crowds.  It was so busy!

Every side of St. Stephen’s included a beautiful piece of art.

Trip Advisor gave super good reviews for Aida and was right in the city centre.  And ya’ll, the desserts did not disappoint.  Yes, supper was good…but dessert.  Oh my!

Vienna was beautiful and we fit in as much as we could in 24 hours.  I would love go back and see more one day.

At Last

After we had our appointment with the ministry in Kyiv, we headed to visit Silas.  He was at summer camp which gave us a bit more freedom in spending time with him (school days are pretty structured).  We were able to see him for four days in a row and stayed from lunch to late afternoon.
We made sure to bring a few toys that would be fun to share and goof around with.  These silly glasses were a hit. Silas almost always had a friend with him.  We enjoyed getting to know D.  His English was okay and he enjoyed trying to talk to Zoe. There was a river across the street from the camp.   Mark got in the river one day and they had fun.  Zoe and I both forgot our swimsuits and purchasing them there was not really an option. I managed to get some snuggles in between venturing everywhere. One day, the older boys took us to a lumber yard area (Zoe said it said something about animals) and they convinced the owner to let us come look.  We walked over to the gate and saw a forest of boars.  Lots of them.   From giant ones to little babies.  Lots of fun to look at and all the boys were super excited to show us.
Silas writing his letter stating he wanted to be a part of our bunch. We brought our lunch each day but the director of the camp was insistent that we eat with them.  We were able to try some very interesting and authentic food but we all agreed it was very yummy. Before


The Making of a World Traveler

Last year, when we were working on our adoption and Zoe started to show an interest in languages, we got a crazy idea.  I would think it was probably me that first had it, but really, I can’t even remember.  Anyway, we invited Zoe to go with us on one of our trips to Ukraine for Silas’s adoption.  She wholeheartedly agreed and a tradition was born.  She asked grandparents and aunts and uncles for money for her 13th birthday and we agreed to pay for some of it as well.  Now, 13th birthdays are plane ride birthdays to somewhere.  Zoe’s just happened to be halfway around the world.A quick picture with Papa before Zoe gets some stamps in her passport!

She was super nervous about the plane ride.  But not too nervous to give up a window seat.

Her first plane ride food.  Lufthansa has pretty good plane food.  We traveled Austria airlines home and, well, it was ah-mazing. Watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean.

Layover in Frankfurt, Germany. Zoe and I saw a castle (painting).  In the process, we had several German employees giggling.  Goofiness is international.

No.  I didn’t get sick.  We just wanted to be funny.  I don’t get sick on planes, trains, or automobiles.  Our family is blessed with no sort of motion sickness (except the dog).

A German McDonald’s Breakfast

My thrill was on the way back in, we had a layover in Newark.  We saw New York City out of the plane window and we could see the Statue of Liberty too.  That was our first time being that close to New York City.

I’m fairly certain we have created a world traveling addiction in Zoe.  This thrills Mark to no end.  And I can’t wait to see where her dreams and God take her!

Happy 4th!

Usually, we watch the local fireworks on Mark’s birthday, July 3rd.  But this year, they were done on June 30th.  Not a big deal to us.  We packed up, braved the threatening storm clouds and headed out.img_20160630_205445563 This was the year I finally remembered to hit up the dollar store and grab up all sorts of fun glow in the dark things.  The glowing orbs are actually glow balls and were an instant hit!img_20160630_210230104 Just because she is adorable…and doesn’t have a neck brace.img_20160630_210310506