Thursday, February 14, 2013

Golden Birthday

I learned a new term, "golden birthday".  Matthew turned 8 on the 8th.  He had been counting down the days for months.

On the morning of the 8th we awoke to lots of snow and no school.  Matthew was disappointed since he was looking forward to celebrating with his class and I had baked 30 cupcakes the night before.  Matthew's teacher, Mrs. Haan, lets the birthday child walk on the desks and this is such a privilege that Matthew didn't even want to miss this day of school.  The advantage of having the day off school was that I had time to make him waffles and he got to open his present from us - Star Wars Legos, of course!  We went out for lunch and then our friend, Lois, took the kids to see a movie.  Matthew's friend, Jared, spent the night.
Matthew opens his birthday present

On Saturday Matthew and Jared had a soccer game and then we hurried to Craig's Cruisers where we held Matthew's birthday party.  Since we haven't been in the States for Matthew's birthday before and we're not likely to in the near future, we agreed to his wish to have the party at an indoor game place.  Five friends from school joined him as well as two sets of grandparents, Aunt Kristen, and two cousins.  For three hours we ate pizza & cake, played laser tag, and enjoyed a slew of other games and activities.

Celebration at Craig's Cruisers
8 candles!
To top it off, Matthew spun their special birthday wheel and won the grand prize of 4 free buffets and 4 activities!  In the spring we'll go back again to enjoy a fun day all over again!

Matthew with his gifts

Monday, February 4, 2013

Drab Days of Winter

Snow is falling and the temperatures have plummeted.  The kids have been hoping for a snow day.  The week before last the temperature was so cold that the children had indoor recess, but that's not nearly as much fun as a snow day!  Monday of this past week they received the coveted day off school but for ice, not snow.

It's been a while since I've blogged.  That's because there isn't really anything exciting to write about.  But for our friends in Ukraine, and perhaps a few of my faithful readers who are curious, I will write about the mundane.  No matter where you live, life consists of the mundane but even that can prove interesting to someone whose mundane looks different.

Matthew is playing football.  We are getting used to calling it "soccer" but I think it will always be "football" to Matthew.  Every Saturday morning he has a game against another children's league.  The odd thing is that he doesn't have any practices.  When we signed him up, we assumed there would be practices but we found out later that it's so terribly expensive to rent the indoor soccer field that they can't afford practices.  Needless to say, Matthew's team isn't fairing too well.  Nonetheless, he is enjoying himself and we hope to get him into a group in the spring that has practices as well as games.

Matthew, #7, waiting for action
Abigail is participating in a basketball clinic.  Now, this is what we wanted for Matthew!  It's purely drills and practices and it's very well done.  She is learning a lot and enjoying it!

Elizabeth is taking swimming lessons.  She loves the water and is making progress in her swimming abilities.

All three kids had report cards on Friday and are doing very well.  A common theme from their teachers is that they are "growing in confidence".  This has been an excellent school for them and we are just so very grateful!

George continues to study pastoral care for his continuing education program.  He works as an intern chaplain at a Christian psychiatric hospital and enjoys it a lot.  In just a bit over 3 months he'll be returning to Ukraine.  His return flight has been purchased for May 7, arriving in Budapest on the 8th.  After picking up our car in Mukachevo, he'll drive to Kyiv and look for a place for us to live.  I will come with the kids when they are out of school.  The plan is for us to fly directly to Kyiv sometime around the 27th of June. 

I spend my days reading and planning for next year's teaching.  The school asked if I would teach 5th grade instead of 4th and I agreed.  I would like to integrate the social studies and literature so I have been researching and reading books that would be possibilities for an integrated study of American history from post-Civil War to modern times.   What I like about this time in American history is that it's not just American!  There are lots of opportunities to discuss European and world history as well.

So, that is a summary of our mundane.  The biggest object of excitement in the house is Matthew's birthday coming up next week on the 8th.  He has been counting down the days for months and doesn't fail to mention every day what he wants for presents.  :)  Hopefully I can post pictures of his party next week.  Other than that, we are all excited about my sister, Lori, expecting twins in April!  This will bring their family to a total of 8 children!!!  I can only marvel....and feel relieved that it's not me. :)