Sunday, December 30, 2007


Well this week we measured again as it seemed the boys have thinned out a little and maybe grown. And yes, they have each grown almost an inch- 2 cm in the last month! I've heard this happens after adoption, just did not expect it so fast.

And little by little we are seeing some growth in the responsiveness to our pattern of living and a little more calm in the boys demeanor. After getting a positive comment at church today we can be more sure it is not just us hoping things are better.

And it is easier to compare on the Silute trips since we do this once a week. It is getting more managable and they also look forward to it. Many weeks we are eating at a restaurant afterward. That is also a place we have seen them adapt to. (The first weeks were a bit out of control) They don't like leaving to come home but that might be expected.

We are wishing for some consistency in the desire for toilet training which is at a stand still again... but it will come.

It has made a big difference that Gregg is at home for much of the last week. The boys respond well to him and somehow they are calmer. We have another week and a half with all of us here which should help some good behaviors become patterns.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

more pics from family gifts

holiday pictures

pictures from church service in Silute (Thanks to a young person in Gregg's teen group who shared these pictures)

And the gifts the boys got yesterday morning. Even at 10:30 in the morning the flash went off and we know where the reflectors are! It was a rather cold day and it is not the ideal weather for outside, but we don't have snow yet. Today looks to be even colder.

More later with gifts from family members.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

video link

we have a few Videos that we have put on
You can find them by clicking on the below links:
or copy the address in your internet browser.

Seems the blog service is busy uploading other people's pictures, so we'll have to wait till a morning hour for us which will be night time in the states!

Today was like extended Christmas. The boys got bike and tricycle in the morning. Then other gifts from family and some they need to share from us. The favorite umbrella gift from the other evening was replaced by a play dough type gift with a toy that allows them to play hair stylist- cut and shave hair. All of the colors are well mixed by now- but we expected that!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


The Christmas eve meal with meatless and dairyless dishes is important to Lithuanians. This years was a little scaled down from my go all out version last year, but we mostly kept to acceptable tradition with the foods,keeping in mind what the boys may eat.

Neither last night or today proved to be meals they were in the mood to eat. Too much excitement or who knows.

We will be having Christmas gifts over a few days. And we started after the Kucios meal. Thought we would continue with a few in the morning and then other family gifts sent to us after their naps today. Way too ambitious. But that is OK, we are adjusting to where we are at.

We have lots of good video and eventually we may post the you Tube links for some and some of the pictures. The excitement was quite something. I had been trying to explain to them that we are having celebrations of Kucios and Christmas to celebrate Jesus Birthday and because God gave his Son to us as a gift we give gifts. Seemed not to register.

How could it. They never experienced anything like this in a family before. I think Erik heard me but he just did not quite believe it about getting gifts to open until it got close to the time.

Lithuanian tradition requires that Children do something to get their gifts- poem, song, some talent. So we sang the songs they needed to sing in the Church service for today in Silute. And then went to their room to wait for the gifts to appear at the tree. Then Erik believed it. He started bouncing off the walls and his brother copied him.

But they could not have imagined that they would get multiple multiple gifts to open. (Thanks in part to gifts along the way given through some others.- we opted to keep a few of the gifts from the LCC shower for Christmas... and some of the others in the large box of gifts we got lately were wrapped and were conveniently kept till Christmas)

Actually they were to get a few more gifts from us today that they will share, but we held off. David Augenijus was up periodically through the night which interrupted most of our sleep. And they were wound up beyond hope of sleeping till way past their usual time. We slept a little later, had breakfast, they played with their new toys and we headed to Silute for the service.

There were more than 50 people there- as always Christmas brings out more people. But this time it was more new people and some with potential to attend in the future. And the boys sang and did motions nicely with Gregg's help together with the children up front. (It helped that they new they were getting gifts at the end- They'll do most things for candy or something they really want to eat.)

We had a Christmas meal after nap time. Mostly for Gregg and my benefit as it turns out. And they are still having a good time with the things they got last night so we will wait to get them wound up with more gifts till tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2007

go figure!

OK, so now is the time David Augenijus has chosen for potty training! (Another good reason we are glad we are not in the middle of the hubbub of a Christmas time schedule in the US- though in some other ways the family gatherings we will definitely miss)

It all started on Saturday when we went for a visit to the baby house where the boys lived until a month ago- first time we went back. (See pictures)

We noted that David Augenijus went to play right away. Erik on the other hand stood off to the side and watched for the most part for about 30 minutes. (After distributing some cookies in the group.) The workers and kids were very excited to see the boys. Eventually he joined in with his old friend to play the equivalent of cops and robbers. I learned this visit that Erik has talked about being a police man since he was a little boy.

And along comes David Augenijus and says to mama- kaka. Well this means to take a number 2. Which I figure means he has already done it and needs to have a diaper change. When I come back with the needed item, he takes me back to the little toilet - I mean little. He wants to sit on it. OK. (he had always had to sit on a little plastic potty there because he did not ask for the toilet). Wouldn't you know he took his aim and went. (Sorry for this kind of detail on Christmas eve, but this is really the most significant stuff for us)

And when we came home we tried some training pants. Well, he is not aware of the need most of the time. But once in a while. And today after being put down for a nap, he gets up and says kaka- and does the necessary work on the toilet!
A couple of M&Ms and hopefully he understands the motivation/reward system and we will progress over the next weeks!

The caregivers said today that there was never any testing or real evidence that David Augenijus had allergies, they just treated him like his brother. (who had strong reaction to Eggs, therefore they limited all other likely allergins) So, as I suspected, they are not allergic to Chocolate- but it is convenient to tell them they can onlyhave a little bit!

And I learned that David Augenijus was the smallest in the group earlier, having been brought up from a younger group to join his brother. (They arived at the baby house at different times, actually Erik after David)

So he learned to take care of himself around the bigger kids. So that is why he knows how to haul off and hit his brother. And probably the older ones were not allowed hit little ones. That is what our experience shows. And so David is also looking to do everything older kids do. It feels like we have twins much of the time.

Except that Erik does not sleep for naps most days. So he is hoping that I come get him soon to play something on the computer. Or look at pictures or videos we have taken!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

???Agreement in Punishment???

It happened, and I can hardly believe it. David Augenijus willingly went along with a punishment.

Before I go any further, you are probably asking, 'What happened?' Well, the other day Mama was cooking in the kitchen. She had a soup bowl filled half-full with bread crumbs sitting on the counter, and Augenijus wanted to see what was in it. So he reached up when Mama was looking the other way and pulled the bowl off the counter and it fell to the floor, broke into pieces, and made a loud noise.

David Augenijus just looked at the broken bowl, and then looked up at Mama. Mama was looking at the bowl, and then asked Augenijus, 'What did you do?' I walked over and said to Augenijus, 'Oy, this is very bad, very bad. What did you do?' David Augenijus looked at me, then he looked down. I said, 'That was a bad thing to do. Go to your bed'--and he turned and walked immediately to his room WITHOUT protest. He was about half-way to his bed when he realized that he actually needed to get into bed, so he started to wimper and when he turned the corner and saw his bed, he stated to cry. I made him stay in bed for 4 minutes and then we talked about not pulling things off of the counter while Mama is cooking.

I marveled at how he recognized that he shouldn't have done it and how he agreed with the punishment enough to start receiving the punishment before he realized that he needed to endure the punishment! If only it were so easy the other times...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Active day at home

We have waited till today (after naps) for the tree. There is little extra room in our apartment and we are also not sure how many days we want to be looking after it with every movement of the boys in and out of the area.

They definitely had lots of fun. And should for the next week or so.

And today was a bake cookies day using another mix sent to us (thank you) and that makes it a little bit simpler project. Interpret- not as many things to help with, therefore not as many messes to clean up.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The boys watch for their dad leaving through the window each day. The picture was taken with a flash and that illiminated the little light their was outside at 8:45 in the morning. It is not really light for the day till later and then with the typical cloudy days, it is not very bright.

We looked through the folders of art projects the boys brought with them from the orphanage last night for the first time since the early days they were here. They got quite excited seeing their work. It did not link to specific memories of the orphanage really until Sharon asked specific questions about a caregiver who helped them with a lot of the projects. It seemed to bring back good memories. When we suggested we can go to visit, that seemed to be a welcome thing especially for Erik. He even said he would not come back home. But today he made sure when the topic came up to say that he did not want to go to the orphanage and Sharon assured him we would just visit and come back home.

We are enjoying items from the Sunday School box and made a batch of cookies today from a mix included. I think they ruined their appetites for supper a bit from having cookies for snack- and of course they needed to be stopped from continuing one after the other after the other!

Monday, December 17, 2007


I suppose we are no busier than everyone else, but it does make it more rare to get a story in here!

We have felt blessed by a number of friends/family from the US who are sending us toys and various things we don't get often.

Today the boys had new outfits and a box of toys... and the coming days will bring them some more as the Sunday school class we used to be a part of in PA prepared a wonderful box. It has special touches from their children as well.

Friday was a Christmas party at LCC, one for the staff and then one for the children of the staff. It was a culture experience for us as well. We have some good video but that won't upload here. At the end the children had to say their names to get gifts. And so wouldn't you know they both said names- and they never had for anyone else.

Over the weekend we tried to get some good family time in and tried to show the boys they could get our attention and love in more sedate ways than they usually choose. We'll see if they absorb any of our more calm approach to life. Not much showing so far. But they can be quite loads of giggles and energy and exploration.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Decided to try the baby carrier today after having difficulty keeping both boys positively occupied. I had tried it some time ago in our earlier visits more than 2 months ago and he really did not like it. But today proved to be a different story. I need to be rather willing to move about and accomodate a little activity he wants to do. But it reduced the amount of getting into trouble just to get attention. And it seemed to help him just before bed as well. I noted that earlier in the day after being in the sling more than a 1/2 hour he asked if we are going to bed- einom opapa? which is children's LT language. Caregivers had told me that they rock him and sing before he goes to bed, but before I could never get him to relax for me to do that. And we have had incredible struggles getting him to settle for sleeping 99% of the time.

Yesterday I spoke in the chapel about the adoption process. For those who follow the blog it was not much new other than the references to how this adoption process has helped me to understand the scriptures that refer to our adoption into the family of God. We continue to have interest from many people in how things are going and many are encouraged to see something practical like this happening. The stories of what needs to be done and all the children in need are more prevalent.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today's moods are quite good so far. After breakfast I read some fairytales from a book that boys had not seen. Only imagine I am very quickly translating into Lithuanian the familiar Red Riding Hood and the one about the 3 pigs. They sit much better for a story like this than to just look at books for the pictures though we do some of that. And of course if I read in English, we are very soon done! (they close the book)

Then also we looked at the family picture book again to remind them who Aunt Julie is (Sharon's sister) and then gave them the toys she sent. They had much fun and they will be ones that last for a while. Old fisher price models that she found yard saling which she is extremely good at!
And small rubber balls which of course began bouncing all around the apartment. Who knows where I will find them all.

Yesterdays moods were quite something of another color. I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that when Gregg offered that I could stay out for the evening I knew I better would take the chance for my sanity's sake.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Well today was a happy day for more than one reason. Seeing the sun after a few weeks of clouds and rain is certainly a highlight for me.

And the boys also brought much energy and happiness into the day. They were not too able to participate in the Sunday school but after that they really were quite good. We went to a restaurant and they sat until the meal came and they ate pleasantly and then were off to play in the play area. We had been there 2 weeks ago and they were much more settled and able to play themselves. (it would help that they did not have an overdose of cookies and cake this time)

They also enjoyed playing at home, roughhousing with dad and a little with mama. We also viewed some of the short video clips we have taken this week on the computer and they enjoy that. They liked seeing the musical clips that I took of the Christmas program last night- they were out in the lobby with Gregg most of that time.

We are talking about putting up our Christmas tree, but decided this is not the week for it. The space is quite small here and it will be a potential source of difficulty.

But more and more the boys are learning what they are allowed to play with and are fitting into our routines here. They are responding affectionately to both of us and learning that they can have that affection without playing- Catch me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


The boys are in their routine now. Each day we color a page from the Christmas story Advent coloring book (online- printed out)and then open a window of the advent calendar and divide the little chocolate piece.

We had a visit from little friend Ema and her mom, one of Sharon's best friends at our house. The children are at an age not to play too much together but they each had some different toys to explore.

Today we also attempted the LCC Christmas program. We left before it was finished. But the boys had sat through parts of it. We dressed up for the occasion and they were pretty excited about getting dressed up. So we will set up for family picture by remote set up at home after the program. Should have one we can use for a prayer card now!

We are all still figuring out the limits and what works in our family and what does not. That includes the parents. Some times we think we really have strong willed children and then after a while they seem so content and willing to please. We really think that we will see things quite differently in a few months- or certainly by next year at this time!

It is a joy to see the boys enjoy mama's guitar playing and to have them begin to join in the motions for the LT version of "If your happy and you know it".

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Enjoying the local "surelis" favorite snack. They were used to this at the baby house as well. Chocolate covered sweetened smooth cottagecheese bar.

I guess no one could prepare me for the amount of cleaning up one does after 2 boys. These boys must try everything and do it themselves or fight mama off trying. So it is good that at least we found the chair covers/cushions we did for the kitchen table. Otherwise the seats are upholstered and in nice condition for adults.

Not sure if I wrote about their creative exploration causing the tub faucet to fill the bathroom floor with water. (Some faucets here rotate and if you move this one far enough it is a sure path to the bathroom floor.)

They continue to "help" with dishes so that always means extra wet clothes.
And mama relented today and let them wear rubber boots for outside when we walked to the store. Splashing in puddles invariably means wet pants too.

We are not sure how long we will be in this apartment. We originally expected to move in the summer and our landlady is anticipating selling the apartment so that seemed to fit her plans.

We also tentatively have in mind coming to the states to finish the immigration process for the boys. Our pre-approval is good until June. When we cross the border the US citizenship becomes active but we still need to apply for the US passport. And then the next round of complicated questions. For them to be in Lithuania then poses immigration issues in reverse. Need for permission to live here on long term basis. (more than 90 days)

The other option we hear about during the court hearing is to leave their citizenship the same here in Lithuania for a while. After 2 years of living with us they could naturalize to the US, but it would be a whole other process of approvals and we are not sure what that means, nor how easy it would be to get them a visa to visit the US with us.

Yesterday we had a fun visit to a baby- actually a 1 year old who is walking now. Though the boys said they wanted to see the baby really they were interested in the different toys there. And David Augenijus was hard to retract from the new place.

When we got outside he spotted a cat down the street which by now was dark with cars coming and going. The only way to get him in the car was to promise/bribe him that he could talk to daddy on the cell phone when he was in his seat. (This was already after doing all I could physically to restrain and forceably put him in the car to no avail!) He is quite an active kicker and thrasher. Not to mention the screaming. I always feel I am taking a risk taking them away. But thankfully they are good at least half of the time and that makes it worth doing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


You might be able to tell as Gregg did that the ears up on the cat means he's got it by the tail!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


December already and time to reflect on the coming of Christ. This will be a new concept for our boys. And they've gotten an early introduction. We learned this week that the English speaking church was doing a live Christmas pageant involving children that our boys have met.

They sat very well in the front row. We had originally sat back further but were encouraged by the organizers to sit up front and so I said- OK but anything can happen! But really they handled it well, just restless after about 45 minutes- that's not bad.

We also had been to Silute in the morning and were at a family's home for lunch afterward. Good that the boys had some more experience lately at Ieva's house with a cat (picture above) but they got up close experience with a different cat today.

Today was picture day for our family and the pastor's family. Our boys were less in the mood for a picture anytime today so we did not really get a portrait out of this!

Friday, November 30, 2007

New words for Tetis

This morning it was rainy, so my (Tetis) plans changed. I hoped to take the boys on a walk to look for dogs and cats while we waited for the winter tires to be put on the minivan. So instead I dropped Mama and the boys off at Ieva's house for a visit (and to see the cat) while I took the van to the garage and worked on an upcoming class on population growth for math class at LCC.

In the afternoon, Pastor Modestas stopped for a visit while the boys were taking their nap. We had a good visit and a chance to talk about church life in both the Silute and Klaipeda churches. Modestas saw the boys when they awoke. In the evening I went to the regular Friday night Paaugliai (Junior High) meeting. This week Augenijus somehow got into his head that he was coming with me. Mama was able to distract him with something, and then he forgot about it--there are some advantages to him only being 2 years old.

I find I have expanded my Lithuanian vocabulary and use some words much more often that I expected to. Some of these words would be:

Labai gerai - Very Good!
Atsargai - Be careful (I use this very often!)
negalima - No, you can't do that.
Tau patinka? - Do you like (this)?
Po penkios minutes mes (einam/miegam/t.t.)-after 5 minutes we will (leave/sleep/etc).
Tu geras berniukas bet bloga darei - You are a good boy, but you did a bad thing.
Greitai, gretai! - Quickly! Hurry!
Reikia valgyk darzoves - You must eat your vegetables (I hated that when I was a kid)
Ar tu gerai miegoji? - Did you sleep well?
Ar reikia pampersio? - do you need a new diaper/pampers?

And, of course, the most important words:

As myliu tave - I love you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

nap time

The afternoon nap is about the only hour a day I really have free to think and write. But it takes a bit to settle down after they are settled because it is still quite a struggle to get to that point. I really dislike the struggle.

The colds are getting better. Erik seemed to only have the sore throat one day. And the ugly cough Augenijus has is slowly getting better. I seem to be on top of mine now, just Gregg is fighting his.

One bright spot in the week for me and for the boys as it turns out is my participation in intramural volleyball at LCC. It runs two evenings a week. It is quite a motivator if they want to go they have to eat supper and get dressed.

The big hall there at LCC is a good place for them to explore and run. They need more running. We went this morning for a while too. Then they wanted to explore the bathrooms and locker rooms. When they ran into the men's locker room I did not follow. Augenijus came out crying with his head wet. He turned on the shower and was quite suprised by what happened! Mama now knows what the men's locker room looks like. Early morning there were no patrons.

Yesterday I went to a morning prayer breakfast with Klaipeda's pastors and priests, a monthly event. It was good to see the boys eagerly waving goodbye at the windows as I left as they do for their dad. And they squealed with happy greetings when I returned too. Since I have not been the one to leave, I miss out on all of the goodbyes and greetings.

It was very encouraging to be with this group of Klaipeda pastors again and to share with them as well. I got the comment- now we can talk with you about kids. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We are all having our times with colds- runny/stuffy nose and tickling or sore throat. It makes going outside for any length of time unwise- but also challenging being inside.

The boys are testing repeatedly how much they can get away with and still learning what it means to respect mama and mama is being tested to see whether her nerves will hold up. If there could be attention to just one of them it could probably work out OK. Two has greater challenges- have to hope the other does not get into the wrong things while dealing with one. Erik seems to want to protect his younger brother from being corrected as well.

We have a little chair in a hallway corner now. For our version of time out. I overhead Erik talking one day about going to the corner. Before I started using this. So, I took the cue that they understand this from discipline in the group. Neither likes it. But it takes Augenijus many times repeatedly before he realizes he can change behavior to avoid it.

It is great to see them respond well to Gregg. Would probably be ideal if we could have had another week of Gregg being home to establish our living and discipline patterns. But life moves along.

Gregg teaches Tuesdays and Thursdays and this week he also does academic advising as students pick their courses for the next semester. And he has lunch one on one with various students throughout the week. This is becoming quite a regular ministry.

So that fact that we are getting less sleep, not sleeping well is making things pretty tough for all Gregg is involved with. He usually slows down when he gets a cold, but there is no time for that this time.

Now those of you out there praying for us have an idea where to start!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

more new experiences

We went to Silute church- all 4 of us.

The church celebrated our adoption by giving us a flower/plant and sharing some warm wishes. I decided to use the boys early morning energy to help bake cookies to take for after the service.

There was a celebration after the service too recognizing one of the Lithuanian young women of the congregation who has moved to another city to help with church planting. She and the church planters were at the service today.

The others mothers around the food table were surprised when I asked for tea for the boys. It seems that warm tea was the most regular drink at the baby house and they feel quite at home drinking tea and often ask for it.

The Children's Church was larger than usual and the age range from 1 to 10 made it impossible to keep everyone occupied so the younger ones eventually started playing on their own.- Of course that includes our two.

Then we went to a local Silute pizza restaurant that also has a good play area. Well after having cookies and cake- and seeing lots of exciting things to play on, the boys were not interested in eating. (This meant they were ready enough for supper to eat something I thought they would refuse based on an earlier experience)

And we got home with both of them sleeping somewhat restelessly in the car. A 1 hour drive will do that to you. But really it seemed to go well both directions.

Play time this evening was fun too and before time for bed they started pulling out the magazines and coffee table books. And Free association began. I don't think I ever heard Erik talk so much. Making up the story as he went according to what he was seeing in the pictures from one book to the next. Must have chattered away for more than 15 minutes! (Lithuanian of course)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

T day with LCC community

Our "family Thanksgiving" shared with about 100 others gave a chance for the boys to test out the variety of little friends they could have, Lithuanian and English speaking.

Of course it was natural that they connected with Lithuanian ones. The little group discovered a motion sensing light in a back hallway/staircase. And they would "step across the line" and then run because the boogey man (baubas) was coming. We often here the boys talk about baubas coming to get them, mostly in fun. They choose to turn lights off and play that the baubas is coming.

This was also a chance for them to explore a much larger place to play and explore. Yesterday they seemed to get really rammy and testy from being in the apartment- yet they really did not want to go out either. And then did not want to return. It was a long day for mama. (probably for them too since Tetis was away, including the evening)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We joined others from LCC in a somewhat unusual tradition we have around here- since it is a work day, we go out to McDonalds as a group for supper. The Die Hards have Mc Chicken sandwich and apple pie and yearn for home.

We were having our first trip to Mc Donalds with the boys. So we got Happy Meals and tried them out on hamburgers. Mama got nuggets since it was likely they would not go for the burgers. Well they did not go for them either. But Apple juice- now that was a hit. And French fries were ok, but we had them several times this week at home so it was no big deal.

They- well we should say Erik- did not want to sit with the rest of the group. And whatever Erik wants strongly influences Augenijus. But after a while they saw a baby- a baby that has just learned to walk and that drew them into the group.

Good this story had a happy ending. If you would have seen us on the way out of the house you would have questioned our sanity for Erik was screaming that he did not want to go. He was ready to be at home. And usually is, unless we say we are going to the store. We had also been out to LCC and to the store for an hour before this, so in a way we understood. But it also seems he is afraid of a lot of new things and so gradually we will need to help him adjust and experience things that are fun after all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Squeal of the day

Well today it was a pigeon. We went walking toward the Danes river to see a boat that is docked there. We also saw some men fishing, we just weren't close enough, but it will be interesting to see the boys reaction when they see that close up. On the way back we came upon some pigeons on the corner of two major streets. They looked like they owned the place but the boys were about to change that. They squealed about the birds and then ran chasing them. Pigeons don't fly much but stride away, but eventually they had enough and realized they had to fly to escape!

We also came upon a happier solution for nap time. I play guitar and sing to them while they fall asleep. This means they also pay attention- which was a bit of an issue when I've played before. I am hoping they will learn some songs we can sing together.

Their rambunctious natures are exercising every ounce of mama's energy to tussle on the floor and play catch me (pagauk). Got me thinking- I always did like wrestling on the floor a bit more than my sisters did. So I get to make up for it now!

Monday evening we took them to see the last half of a basketball game at LCC. They seemed to enjoy it. And the parents enjoyed the extra attention afterward that the boys attracted more than the boys did I think.

It continues to amaze us how the boys, especially Erik know the routine with prayer before meals. And should be forget or delay, they start pretending. The Lithuanian words are starting to come out nicely.

Some are asking what we are doing about the names. Well, we are still using Augenijus, and sometimes say David Augenijus and hope to transition to using David more by the summer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Who is being disciplined?

Well, it has been a busy couple of days! Now with both boys required to be in bed for at least an hour, there are a few minutes to take advantage of. For cleaning up, for planning a little activity for the afternoon, for writing.

Generally they are quite fun. And even after some discipline and foul moods, they come around just as lovable. It is quite the adjustment for them and for various reasons Erik has an attitude that will need to be adjusted. But I cannot expect too much too soon. If I say what is required and walk out of the room it works better on his ego for him to do it in his own timing when no one watches. If I stay and require something there will be all kinds of antics and rolling on the floor, sucking his thumb and so on. And he holds out quite long.

Today he was defiant at one point and I held him for a time out for 2 minutes. He both resisted and liked that one I think. I really expected he would fight it harder. Now when i say I don't want to but I will punish you if you do not listen, he is more responsive.

It is complicated when there are two. I'll leave that to your imagination.

And it challenges me to be disciplined as well. To plan ahead. To figure what will motivate and use it wisely. And to structure activity. In the new environment- they have fun for a while, but then seem to get bored, not knowing what to do with themselves. Picking up toys for less than a minute and then on to something else.

One video has been good for them- Donut Man about animals at the zoo. It is English so they do understand they are also getting the teaching about obeying mom and dad. Oh well.

One more thing of interest- I got the vacuum cleaner out for the first time to add some excitement. Oh the squeals! I offered for them to help. But since this was new they jumped up on the living room chair and tested to see if they put their feet down the vacuum would "come get them".

And the washing machine has still not lost its appeal- just now we are on to them helping to load and unload. They really seem to like those every day things especially trying to help!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

As Tevelis (I am a Father)

Wow! Words fail me to describe all that has happened since we met the boys at the end of September. We went from being strangers to being adult playmates, and now we are parents, and they treat us as parents. While it was a long time in coming and there was a lot of work involved, even in these 3 days it has been worthwhile.

Today we got up and ate breakfast, and then they wanted a bath. The boys like the toy boat, which makes bath-time much easier (they asked each day so far without being coaxed), but we will have to start using lotion so their skin doesn't dry up. Then we went for a walk and ended up calling a friend to visit their daughter Ieva and see their cat. This time the boys were not so frightened of it, and Augenijus touched the cat. They want to go again.

Just the other day, Erik was combing his hair, and he wanted to comb my hair. So I bent over so he could, and he combed it along my part (which pleasantly surprised me). When he finished, he again combed his hair, but this time combed his hair to the side so he would have a part like mine! He has done this with a couple of things--wants to use my big cup, wants to try something if I do it, of says he thinks something is tasty if I say that I like it. It is fun!

Every time I try to wash the dishes when they are in the room, both boys come running! I tell them to get their blocks (large sturdy blocks that they can stand on to be able to reach the bathroom sink), and they "help" me. Erik does rather well even with washing, and they both know how to rinse soap off of things. It probably takes me twice as long to do the dishes, but 5 or 10 years from now I will wish they would be so helpful!

Second night is a charm

Almost too good to be true, no wake up calls during the night. And sleeping in till 7:30 in the morning. Erik till 8.

Mama's wake up call (though she was actually awake lying in bed) is the sound of Mama, Mama, Mama in a rythmic chant. And usually that means Augenijus is on his hands and knees rocking back and forth. So far his is used to the rules of the home (and probably the crib) so he has to call for someone to let him out of the bed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

First night

The first night went well all considered! But for the "play by play"... We started the bedtime routine around 8 pm and probably did not have them sucessfully settled till after 9- but what is successfully settled when later one has to go to the bathroom, another awakes suddenly after a half hour crying. Because of the comments about ghosts, I decided one of us should stay in the room. That was good in a way, but I could hear how they tossed and turned and groaned. But eventually Augenijus slept- until the episodes of crying. Gregg eventually decided to change the diaper and that seemed to settle it. Erik seemed to want to have attention so after 10:30 I left and he eventually slept.

Gregg was attuned more than I would expect and heard and responded to 2 cries from Augenijus during the night. (May Gregg's tribe increase.- Gregg has been excellent with the boys)

Then Augenijus woke before 6:30 calling mama from his bed. So it was time to start the day! Erik slept till 8- and that was ok. They both woke up in basically good moods :)

After getting dressed we offered porridge for breakfast- I heard that is what they often have, especially because they don't eat eggs. But that was refused. But when they saw tetis eating corn flakes- that was exciting. The next generation of Brubakers is carrying on the tradition Gregg learned from his father.

They really enjoy watching me cook and want to get involved if they can.
We also introduced them to tub baths last night and since there was a toy boat they can only use in the tub, they got Gregg to give baths again before lunch- will have to start using lotion on them!

They have collected their gifts from yesterday in gift bags to carry around. They are establishing what is theirs. They have never had so much all their in their little lives even though right now it can all fit in a gift bag as far as they know.
But the big change during the day today is that they no longer carry the bags around- the toys are strewn all over the floor of multiple rooms- I guess they can trust the toys will be there and don't need to protect them anymore.

We also went to the grocery store the first time as a family this morning. Imagine Gregg out shopping by 9:30 on Saturday morning.

The store has carts with little kiddie cars on the front of them so that was a first experience too. Gregg stopped on the way back for windshield fluid and they really enjoyed watching that go into the car.

Gregg will add some more later.

This is from tonight- an adendum to the post... They were asleep by 9! and no sounds from them since. We even had an hour now before bed for ourselves!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day one

Wow- this is really happening!
Kind of tired at the end of this one- some pictures will need to tell some of the story.

We arrived about 9:40 in time to share a few cookies with children in the group- and then be moved out to the entry way to change the boys clothes into ours. Erik was especially eager and has been really cooperative all day.

Our first stop was at the store to get balloons which provided a lot of good entertainment for the day.

Then they got here and discovered a few more new things here and there, including bathroom things in a bag waiting to be opened. It took the second time going into the bathroom to discover them though. But oh what fun- toothbrushes... and other things, but the toothbrushes got good voluntary use numerous times!

After lunch it was nap time and with all of the excitement we all needed it! :)

After naps we gave them additional toys we had saved for this special day as well as a first installment of the things we were given at the shower on Monday at LCC. Well actually the bathroom supplies were from that shower too. For some things Erik asks who gave them. But there were so many things today and we did not talk about who all gave them.

Then when it was the time of evening we usually would take them back to the baby house Erik asked if we are taking them back. He asked repeatedly throughout the evening and was dissappointed that he was not going back. I guess the leaving is sinking in. It took him a good while to get to sleep tonight too.

We need to be ready for the possibility of a natural wake up call at 6:30 or 7 so- better keep this short and get some sleep! Unfortunately in the middle of the day I mistakenly pushed the wrong button on the camera and deleted all the pictures we took in the morning at the baby house. Hope to have better presence of mind for the next days about such things!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Court hearing success!

Today was our big day- a judge decided after hearing our case and supporting testimony from others to grant us our request to adopt the two boys. Yeah!

We had a fairly flexible no-nonsense judge who was efficient and the whole process was done in less than 2 hours. The decision will still need to wait 40 days to be final. But today's decision allowed for the adoption service to provide needed paperwork to the baby house for the boys to be released to us.

We arranged to pick up the boys tomorrow morning to bring them home- wow it is almost strange to be on this side of the proceedure! But we are quite happy of course.

So now I need to go and focus on having things ready here and when we get a chance... we'll tell more- especially about the first day home!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Busy Weekend

This weekend was a busy weekend. Gregg went to Silute for his usual Friday night with the Junior High Group and Saturday and Sunday we went to Panevezys to spend time with fellow missionary Barry Freed and the Pastor of the Panevezys Free Christian Church (and Gregg preached Sunday morning there too).

But we made time to be with the boys before we left on Saturday. When we arrived, the boys ran to us and hugged us as soon as they saw us. We quickly changed them to go outside, and we brought them back to our apartment.

The boys were in a quieter mood (something we will probably appreciate even more in the future), so we played quieter games and they wanted to color in their coloring books. So Mama got out the new, smaller crayons for Erik, as we have seen he has the manual dexterity to use them. And Mama got out the larger colored pencils for Augenijus. They both enjoyed these new things, and Augenijus appeared to enjoy lining up the colored pencils, moving them to another place on the table, and then moving them back again several times!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

1 week and counting

Next Thursday this time it should be all resolved. The court hearing that is.

And Next Friday our lives change forever. And we are still looking forward to it. Even if the emotional exhaustion is making at least Sharon drag a bit already.

The special event for today's visit was a walk in town to visit a friend who has a cat. Kim and Andrew Stave have been at LCC almost as long as we are and they have a 2 year old girl who they named Ieva- a common Lithuanian name. They also have a Lithuanian babysitter. This made for a nice interaction for the boys. They really looked forward to going, but the reality of a large cat scared them and they would only stop shuddering if the cat was kept at a good distance away. We enjoyed just playing there though once the cat was separated into a different room.

I am noticing a bit of regression in behavior for Erik over the last 2 visits. I've read about this- in fact I had just picked up our book "Our own: adopting and parenting the older child" last night. It talks about how children may revert to younger stages, how they go about grieving, anger and anniversary reactions.

It can be tempting to try to fix it too quickly, but providing the loving safe atmosphere to effectively go through it is key- and that takes some mama energy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Checking in with the baby house director confirmed that no overnight visits are allowed- by law- otherwise she would have let us have them long ago- in her words.

She will not be there on the 16th, but promised that she would prepare records and things so that we can take them home that day.

We had lunch at LCC with dad(Gregg). Introduced them to a few more LCC people up close. And they are definitely getting more comfortable being there. The volume level and energy level were good proof! It took some creative thinking and psychology to get them out to the car afterwards. They realized going home meant nap time. And for all mama's best efforts it was certainly not accomplished without tears and anger on the boys part.

They were very interested in playing catch me and running away and delaying that desire/?need did not make them happy. But after naps they were in better moods.

We made cookies together. They saw an egg cracked- a raw one for the first time. They have seen hard boiled ones, but they were definitely quite surprised at this one!

And they got to take cookies back to their group. That changes the pouting quickly too when they realize they have to go back to the orphanage. Taking cookies makes them feel special in the other kids eyes it seems.

Monday, November 5, 2007


The visit Sunday afternoon was a little overwhelming and I found myself unable to write or do much for processing the emotions. You could say it is good- but just hard. And maybe the experienced parents out there are saying already- well just wait till the real forever family life starts. Oh, well, this is my reality.

When i arrived about 5pm to pick up the boys, the caregiver told me that Augenijus has been asking when I was coming and then was crying because he wanted his "mama" to come. Erik had been outside when I arrived but he soon saw that the van was there and came inside looking for his mama. The caregivers asked if we are going to have them overnight. It is time for them to get used to that. Or so they think. I will have to check in with the director again. Sometimes that is a clue- at least when the transition was allowed for day time visits, it happened after the caregiver suggested it.

They welcomed a ride in the car for going home. I knew this visit would be a little challenging though because in 2 hours we needed to be back again. Augenijus really wanted to go to the sea. But it gets dark early now so it did not seem the best time for that it was definitely not what Erik wanted!

Most of all they wanted to play on the floor and run and be caught, lots of physical contact.

But then when time to go they threw quite a fit, which was only remedied by having a bag of cookies each for them to take back to the group. But other than wanting to prolong the changing time from outside clothes to inside clothes back at the orphanage (to get some hands on help from mom) they did pretty well in saying goodbye there.

I guess the natural time for overnight visits is usually the weekend. We planned to be away over this next Saturday night- our last free one probably, so maybe we'll be able to arrange something for an overnight a different day.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Rainy Day

A rainy day...a quiet day listening to the rain fall...yeah, right--with a 2- and 3-year-old? No way--it's anything but quiet. There are toys that make noise, laughing, running, and the occassional "Mano!" ("Mine!") when brother tries to steal a toy.

It was another rainy day in Klaipeda (one of many), but inside the house there was sun and laughter as we played with toys. Today Erik wanted to watch a video, so the "Donut Man" came out, so they could see animals in a zoo and hear songs being sung. Since Erik wanted to watch, Augenijus decided to watch too, even if it was only for 5 minutes. After a total of 10 minutes Erik also lost interest, but who can blame him when there are other toys to play with?

The morning went quickly, as did lunch--or at least the first serving of lunch. Augenijus decided he was finished so we left him go, but he came back 2 minutes later to get another bite to eat. Then he was willing to eat more if Mama or Tetis (daddy) would feed him. So we did, and when Erik was finished, Augenijus wanted to finish Erik's food. Even though it was the same as his own food, we are sure Augenijus thought it tasted better.

Eventually we started chasing each other around the house, which they seem to enjoy doing after their naps. Tetis put a blanket over the boys to "hide" them from Mama, but they soon started walking around, pretending to be ghosts. Erik ran around with the blanket so much that his hair was wet from perspiration. So Mama thought they should have a bath, or better yet, a shower, which neither of them ever had.

They wanted to see what a shower was, so Tetis took them into the shower. He let them feel the water so they knew that it wasn't too hot or too cold, then he ran the water over himself so they would know what was coming. They liked having the water run over them. Then we used some soap, then shampoo. At one point when Tetis was rinsing Augenijus' hair, some water splashed Erik in the face when he wasn't ready for it. He had to cry a little bit. Augenijus enjoyed the shower thoroughly, playing enough that he slipped twice, catching himself once and the other time he slid down the side of the tub and ending up laying on the bottom, and then he laughed. We dried them off and Mama dried their hair with a blowdryer.

Before they returned to the "grupe", they played with Play Dough. They like making snakes and using the animal cutouts to make rabbits, giraffes, elephants and their favorite--crocodiles. We made many animals and it was a good way to quiet down before returning to the "grupe".

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bragging on Erik

We continue to hear good things about the changes in Erik from the caregivers. They see a much more responsive and cooperative little boy. Also one who takes care of his brother which they say did not used to be the case. He makes sure he is not left out of things that he is doing.

In the beginning it was Erik that we were concerned about- would he bond, how would he accept our love. But we are not too concerned about it anymore. He is usually quite open to affection and is seeking opportunities to be caught and held.

Erik is also starting to catch on to our mode of internet phone calls with family. we are having a little difficulty with getting technology to work on both ends well, but we do have the webcam in this computer so eventually we hope it will be more satisfactory.

We are teaching them to say grandma and grandpa. Earlier we were using the Lithuanian names, but the name for grandpa is quite similar to Santa Claus here and it seemed that was the association.
So it may be more helpful to start the English.

They have learned the word "on" and now when we are waiting for an English word like more or again- they come out with "on"!

We are starting to talk about the future- that some day they will come and live with us all of the time. Their sense of time is not too well developed at this age. For us 2 weeks (till the court date) will go by quickly now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Doing better

I went by the orphanage to check in and see how the boys health was. And they are doing well and the doctor had given the word that if their mother came she could take them out.

So we had a brief ride out to the sea to look at the sun setting.

One caregiver today said that Erik is really claiming his mother to the group. If someone picks on him he says- I'm going to tell my mama! And this is a newer development.

We'll have them for the day tomorrow- which is a holiday here. All Saints day. Most locals are going to grave sites to honor those who have passed on.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Under the weather

Today's visit turned out much different than expected. I met a caregiver outside on the way in who told me about health problems the boys had and that I should go to see the doctor. Dr. Kazlauskiene is a nice gentle spoken woman whom I met for the first time. She confirmed that yes, one had vomitted during the night and the other had pain in his tummy in the morning and both were to stay on grounds today.

I eventually found them later outside after I went inside to look where the doctor seemed to expect they would be. They had been waiting for a while by the car another caregiver told me later. They knew their "mama" was there, even though the caregivers were not sure since I did not come to the car. But eventually she led them on a walk in the woods to collect leaves.

When I came outside to look for them I also met up with the man who takes care of the yard. He definitely looks into retirement years to me. But I wanted to personally thank him for finding the part of the car key I lost a couple of weeks ago. He told me the rather amazing story of how he recovered it from leaves he had already gathered some time before. I brought a plant in today to thank whoever had found it-I really didn't know. I had been called by the director last week when they found it.

So, eventually I got to the car(van) and the boys were returning from their walk to the sound of "mano mama atejo" (my mommy came!), this time most clearly from Augenijus.
The caregiver suggested they could sit in the van for a while. we had only about 20 minutes till lunch time when they needed to go inside. They enjoyed the time but were not happy about needing to go inside. And after some real antics they came in, but only to lay on the floor and suck their thumbs! Oh, well, we all do things differently when we are not feeling well- or when very disappointed!

Another way to look at this "under the weather" title is that we are in that darker season again. Some have noticed on the acuweather prognosis on the blog it sometimes says dreary. Not a very usual word for weather in the US where my family is from. But it can be very real here!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday visit to our house

Usually we bring the boys here Saturdays, but this Saturday we had a meeting in Siauliai for the day with Free Christian church pastors. So, our option remains the 2+ hours we could have after 4:30 today.

We have received a care package of fun things like books and a animal sounds toy from Sharon's mother this week. And we were given a bag of stuffed animals from another family here. So the boys squealed in delight to see the new things out on the sofa and there was great excitement exploring for a while. They were not to happy to need to return back to the "grupe" but with the prospect of taking back a toy with them to the group, they finally cooperated.

They were also out in the dark for the first time. This weekend the time changed and so it was dark outsie while they were here and for the trip back. Erik noticed the street lights and learned to copy Gregg saying- I like the dark, I'm not afraid- and then told his teacher as soon as he got back!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

interesting day

Little boys need a variety of activities and today had a few. For those who read in earlier posts about praying at the table, I'll share this extra. Today when I said it is time to pray, it started a "broken record" of prayers and the boys started saying them. They would start with the thank you God and mumble something after that. I usually thank God for the day, the food and each of the boys by name. And so after a couple of time of that I asked who is going to thank God for Mama. And Erik was quick to say Thank you God for mama. They were interested in trying on our large shoes and walking around the house.

The pictures tell as much. And today I asked our coworker Michelle if we could come to visit and see her little dog. It is trained, but quite energetic. Unfortunately, for as much as the boys love dogs, they are quite scared of them. They have been taught that dogs bite. And so we wanted to introduce them to a friendly dog that likes people. And this one ran up to the door as soon as we entered. The boys screamed and clung to me. But little by little we could show them that the dog does not bite, that the dog likes to get treats and so on. But Augenijus is still quite afraid. Even looking at a picture of a dog that he has seen in our album before he now seemsscared of it. It will take time. They still like seeing the little dog from a distance though.

Today we also used kid's clay- firmer than playdough-for the first time. I started rolling it out and realized we could make snakes. Was not sure what they would think of that. But they decided that was great fun and they can make the snakes "bite" mama. Augenijus especially seemed to like wilder play. Taking naps is still a challenge. They agreed to go to bed if they could go together. But in the end that just does not work and one got moved to another bed. Today I spoke with the director again. She says we should be able to get a written permission to have the boys from the Adoption service in Vilnius right after the court hearing. And then we can have them basically right away. That probably means Friday after the court date, if it is settled in one day. We have heard of some families that had to come back the next day for the answer from the judge. Then we will probably arrange to take them back for a good bye party.