Friday, November 30, 2007
2. I was once best friends with Emily Kuroda, the woman who plays the older Japanese lady on Gilmore Girls.
3. I skinny dipped with William Hurt (OK - this was a long, long time ago; new standards have been imposed.)
4. I used to be a Magician's assistant.
5. I once worked in the Empire State Building.
6. I love my hot water bottle!
7. My great grandfather was president of the Iowa State Constitutional Convention.
8. My children only have one school uniform each and I wash them every night.
I tag anyone reading this! If you don't have a blog, respond in the comments. :)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
See all that work there on my desk? Confirmation forms, baptisms to record, letters to write, mailings to send, a retreat to plan....and worst of all (for family life) a meeting I have to go to right now.
Ilya and Greg are home with daddy and fast-food. Zhen and Sergei are staying here playing on the computer and Anastasia will go to the meeting with me and (oh, please!) she will be very quiet and good.
Monday, November 26, 2007
However a couple of times his errors have been such that I figured I'd better say something before he created a riot. For example, the other night he was saying that they were planning a really funny "prick" on one of the teachers. [prank] Or, when he injured himself in basketball he said he thought he needed a "crotch". [crutch]
The most shocking was when he subsituted the word for the male sex organ for the word "penance" when talking about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. DO NOT WRITE THAT ON YOUR RELIGION TEST!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The "tears" part involves the fact that while we were in Russia our foster child reverted to being a smoker. That is bad. Worse is that somehow he and Ilya connected via this hideous habit. I addressed this with Maxim the other morning and was pretty firm about his being a bad influence on Ilya. He came in to talk to me later and told me that Ilya had been smoking since he was seven, and, anyway what he was doing prior to smoking with Maxim was far worse! Ilya was going over to the hospital near our house and picking up cigarette butts that he found on the ground and smoking them! And, he concluded very seriously, "Mrs. Kitching, that second-hand smoke is really dangerous!"
I couldn't help it; I burst out laughing. I never thought I'd hear another definition of second-hand smoke, but there you are.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
What are the first three things you bought for you new child? Well I have to think - which one? However, Ilya is most recent, so my memory is better.
- I sent him an MSU sweatshirt via Elisabeth. (Thank, you, again Elisabeth!)
- I "sponsored" him through a mission and made it possible for him to attend art class.
- My friend Alla took him some little gifts on my behalf, God bless her!
Who laid the first big kiss smack dab on the face of your new child? Me. Well, I tried. Ilya is not a cuddler.
What was one of the first phrases you learned in your child's native language? Well, I studied Russian from 7th grade on, so it is hard to remember!
What was your favorite food in country? Salads! Russian salads are amazing! So is the ice cream.
What was your least favorite food? Christine; I agree with you - I can't bring myself to try the gelatin dish with settled meat at the bottom. I did try kvass, but didn't like it much!
What part of the adoption process has been the most sentimental to you apart from meeting your child? We hosted Sergei. I really was drawn to him, but I remember the moment my husband said, "This is not what I expected, but I think God wants us to do this." I felt all of a sudden the very same rush of love/bonding that I felt when I first laid eyes on my biological children. So amazing.
Now I see that the Russian things I love have sort of squished in and elbowed the other things over to the side. I bought my Gzel teapot on trip three (and on every trip I've treated myself to a little mug). I really love Gzel. This past trip at the very last minute I ran over to the grocery store and bought three bright little wooden pots of honey. I thought I hadn't gotten enough gifts. Well, when I saw them lined up on my dishwasher, I fell in love with them. That's one of them to the left of the teapot.
Anyway, suffice to say my "personal style" has been Russianized. And in more ways than one. I have actually considered re-painting the kitchen. No more green and ivory. I thought two shades of pale brownish gold might work with both the Gzel and with the pieces of kolkoma (I think that's the name of the black laquer-ware) I've collected. But, frankly, such effort is pretty unlikely. The money goes to basketball shoes, soccer teams, etc. and the time goes to homework, Russian school, reading aloud, etc.
I do love pretty things, and I always relished the idea of a charming home. I try as much as I can, but just like I won't put the Russian things away to let the other things stand out, I'm going to let the schoolbags and the books, the homework and the soccer shoes jumble together in the other rooms, vying with the rose wallpaper and lace curtains for attention. In my heart however, one thing stands out - and it isn't love for my home - it is love for the beautiful children who live there, and honestly, the only thing I want is for them to find it beautiful.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I couldn't help myself, I leaned over and kissed the back of my warm little Zhen's neck, and the the dog's muzzle (which I love to do) and they were so warm and fragrant.....boy, oh, boy it was hard to wake them and start that morning routine!
But - to heck with how my house looks. Sights like this are worth more than ten gorgeous houses.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
She kindly taught me how to make the photoshow, and as I stumble out and look at a few other blogs here and there, I see how much she is also my inspiration for the blog, itself. And, in other ways.
Christine's blog is: http://smilesandtrials.blogspot.com/
It is a lot of fun to read....providing everything from essays so touching they bring tears to the eyes to laugh-out-loud stories, to neat recipes. Christine - thanks for sharing your life with us!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Lydia is in transition now. This year some serious issues with her feet have thrown her some curve balls. Though it surprised us all, last year she joined the army and was nearly done with her training as a medic. She loved it! But, to our dismay she ended up being given a medical discharge because she could no longer march miles carrying a heavy pack. And she can no longer dance without a great deal of pain, either. But, from my own experience I know that however curious some of our life experiences may seem, God weaves them all together to prepare us for the mission He has for us.
For any number of years I wondered - Why did I ever study Russian? What was that about?
Meanwhile, I am so glad to have her back! I was proud of her when she was in the army - and she can sure write an engaging and amusing letter. But we love her presence, more. She's a great big sister. Having her in the mix at Sunday Mass is a lifesaver! Every one of the kids loves Lydia. They love the special attention she gives them, and the privilege of "staying over" at Lydia's, which she will often give to one child at a time on Friday night.
Giving birth to children is a mystery. Seeing how they develop into the adult person God wants them to be is another, even greater one. You think you are "raising them"; when they are little you believe you are influencing them, forming them. You may also realize, in horror, that in some parenting areas you are a catastrophe; in others you feel some confidence that you may have succeeded. But the older your children get the more you see that much of it is not, maybe never was, in your control.
All I can say is that the only way to be a parent and keep your sanity is with a lot of prayer and trust in God. When you are surprised or disappointed in the choices your kids make, you rely in Him to keep them safe and carry them along. And, then - Joy! When they seem to be turning out "all right" - you can just praise and thank God!
And right now I thank and praise God for my Lydia!
So, when Craig said he was changing the clocks yesterday..... He didn't, apparently, mean ALL the clocks. For example, he obviously didn't mean the BEDROOM clocks.
Well, I did get in and out of the grocery store pretty easily - it was just me and the stock clerks!
Saturday, November 3, 2007
One challenge of motherhood, I am discovering, is discerning when your children are getting "too much", and when they are getting "too little". Though I suppose this applies to belongings, privileges, punishment, sleep, food, homework, chores, and a myriad of other things, I am really just thinking about focus.
Today was supposed to be Anastasia's first Holy Communion. Her godfather is a priest in another city, and we'd planned to go there and have a party afterwards at the rectory. Many of our friends (who like Anastasia and love Father Pung) were planning on joining us there.
A typical part of "First Communion" is "the dress". And, like most moms, I was also pretty much into this aspect of the celebration. I spent hours, I confess, designing in my mind the most glorious all-white sarafan. My good sense, and realization of how much time and money I really have, nixed this idea but I was still quite "into" the veil and the sweater or jacket we'd get for her to wear with her white flower-girl dress from Aidan's wedding. I can't believe I put all this energy into thinking about and discussing what she'd wear, despite the fact that I have often wondered if, for children this age, too many of these details actually detract from the mystery and spirituality of the occasion.
Well, between worrying about "the dress" and who would be coming to the party, what we'd organize to eat, and how we would get to this other parish in plenty of time, etc. I was a little late in realizing that Anastasia had met and surpassed her "limit" of focus. Way, way too much about her. And focus on her creates a lot of stress. Stress results in bad behavior.
I don't quite understand it, but while all children are like this to some extent, I think for children with trauma in their past, the level of focus - and thereby, stress they can take is far more limited.
I noticed yesterday that instead of the sweet, peaceful little girl I love, I was seeing a monster. A mannered, demanding, spoiled-brat type monster. "You can't go home; you have to take me to get a jacket for my dress!" "I don't care about my first communion; I want to spend the night with Sveta and Olyah!" And so on. This really is not Anastasia.
Fortunately, God worked with me in my sleep (He is so good this way!) and I woke up understanding what I should have understood much sooner. Too much! This is just too much for her! Stop now!
So, I have just been calling all the invited guests and uninviting them. (One thing anyone expecting a child, bio or adopted, needs to know is that at some point your beloved child will cause you acute embarrassment. Undoubtedly more than once.)
I think that Anastasia's first communion will take place at the regular 9:30 Mass, that those who wish will congratulate her downstairs at Coffee Bar afterwards, and that hopefully the focus will be on Jesus, not on Anastasia. Where it should be, anyway!