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!