Things have NOT slowed down since we returned from Spring Break. I thought that I could catch my breath at the end of that first week, but not so. I am skipping school tomorrow to chaperon the girls' class field trip. They're going on their wet walk/dry walk. I volunteered for the dry walk. :)
Kristina continues to grow and amaze us. She experiences something new every day, things that we take for granted. She and Hannah went to Rock Springs yesterday to tube the cold clear waters with a group of girls from school. It was her first time swimming in the springs and she loved it. With the fabulous Florida weather, we've been cycling quite a bit lately. We made the twenty mile trek from our house up the Wekiva Trail and back. The magnolias are in bloom and Robert couldn't resist pulling down a giant creamy bloom for Kristina to get a whiff. Kristina is a fount of endless energy, so she enjoyed the workout the bike route provided.
Its hard to believe that I will have four in middle school next year! The girls brought home their schedule options for 6th grade classes. Kristina was flustered and excited over all the choices available to her. She settled on drama class, music, study skills, and PE for electives. The middle school has an amazing music program and she's excited to try out for an instrument. And, well, you know how dramatic she can be. I have a feeling drama class will be a good outlet for her.
She'll still be in ESOL Language Arts class, but she's mainstreamed for everything else. In fact, she's mainstreamed now with the exception of Language Arts. Her language skills confound us and we feel that perhaps God has gifted her in this area. At any given time, she has two novels in process, one in English and one in Russian. She just finished Little Women and Pollyana in Russian. We rented the Little Women movie after she finished the book. After viewing it, she declared the book was much better than the movie. A girl after my own heart!
Spring Break was only last week, but it feels like ages ago already. We spent the week enjoying things close to home. We wandered the primitive walkways of a few state parks in our area, spied on baby alligators darting through marshy edges of lakes, watched raccoons climb the canopies, and visited "The Senator". A box of sidewalk chalk called up kids from all over the neighborhood.
A morning of gun safety led to target practice with the BB gun. We tuned up the bikes and rode everywhere including a 12 mile trek. Everyone completed at least one novel and ended the week with sun kissed faces from several trips to the pool where they learned that diving off Dad's shoulders is much more fun than diving off the side of the pool.
Apparently not because I continue to publish these videos. Okay, these clips are somewhat related. The purpose of this first one is two fold. First, it took us a little while before we figured out that our hotel keys did more than just open our door at Hotel Rus in Kiev. You have to insert the key card in a slot on the wall to turn the lights on. Additionally, the key card also has to be inserted in a slot in the elevator to make it go. The first time we got in the elevator, the doors closed and we just stood there. We pushed the button for our floor, but nothing happened. "Oh, great," I thought, "We just got to Kiev and we're trapped in an elevator. That'll make an interesting blog post." Eventually the doors opened and another couple got in, slid their card into the slot and off we went. "Ohhhhh," Robert and I murmured in unison. You'll see the card slot in the video. But I really want you to take a look at the Kiev city skyline. Notice the gold domed church in the distance. No, really notice how far away it is.
This next clip is the two of us climbing the last of many hills leading to that church dome in the video. Yes, we walked the entire way there and back. It was well worth the hike. We got to see the beautiful architecture of the city and burn off nervous energy as we had just completed our SDA appointment.
This final clip is of us after we had reached the church and were wandering the church grounds admiring the ancient buildings. Well, the rest is self explanatory.
School is back in session this week and Spring Break seems like a lifetime ago. We've started a new term and I'm in teacher mode, so my mind is clouded to writing personal stuff. Hopefully I'll be on top of things and able to refocus by the weekend. There's lots more I'd like to share about Kristina and our daily lessons in love and humility. Soon, soon.
I continue to download video clips from the adoption trip and Robert and I have laughed ourselves silly at our foolishness. This is a clip from the JFK airport. It actually precedes the last video we posted.
Now keep in mind, Robert was not happy about flying to Ukraine. He wanted to know how long it would take by boat; that's how much he hates flying. This stems from a flight we took from New Orleans to Atlanta about ten years ago. Horrible experience. The smell of jet fuel was nauseatingly overwhelming and we thought we would pass out before we landed. He hasn't gotten on a plane since. I've been blessed to have lots of travel opportunities though and have flown to places like New York, DC, London, Rome, Ukraine. I assured him that every experience I've had since has been wonderful. I actually like flying and I was sure he would too, but this was Robert's first flight since the bad experience and he was skeptical.
Our flight from Orlando into JFK was great until the landing. The plane wobbled pretty violently right before we touched down and it freaked Robert out. I had to keep a happy face on though because we had two more flight ahead of us that day and I couldn't afford for him to back out. I remember being tired and thinking we had just begun the journey to Ukraine. The uncertainty of what laid ahead was heavy on my heart, but God had given me peace and a guy to laugh at with. Can't ask for much more than that.
We took a video camera with us to Ukraine to record events along the way. I am downloading the video segments (yes, I know its been almost four months) and thought I would share some of the clips here and there. Don't count on much of it being educational. It will serve to show what misfits we are. So here's video number one. This proves that the number one thing to pack for an international adoption is a sense of humor.
We headed to Cocoa Beach today for some sun and sand. The boys took turns burying each other in the the sand and body surfing. The girls clung to an inner tube giggling and tumbled with the surf. I relaxed with my current novel in a beach chair alternating between answering cries of "Mommy, Mommy, look at me" and laughing at Robert being tossed out of the tube by crashing waves. Near the end of the day, Nathanael was stung by a jellyfish on his chest. Robert teased him about the two options for treatment: vinegar or pee. Mortified, he opted for the vinegar and we went in search of the park ranger. Poor guy, the vinegar hurt almost as much as the sting, but he gritted his teeth and allowed me to spray him down. He wore the welt as a badge of courage as the neighborhood kids all came by to see the battle scar later this afternoon. We were surprised that the kids had the energy to go outside after cleaning up from the beach, but they played for several more hours tossing the football in the front yard. Kristina came in here a few moments ago and leaned against the bed asking about something. She lost her train of thought for a moment and, surprised, I looked into her face to see her eyes heavily lidded. "You're tired!" I exclaimed. "No, I not," she returned. "Oh yes you are. I can see it in your eyes," I confirmed. Not to be outdone, she replied, "That's not tired. That's sea water, Mom"