Thursday, February 28, 2008


We are planning to start Erik in preschool next Monday, beginning half days at first.
He is finally starting to show signs of accepting the idea as I get a few things that are for him to take to school.

David Augenijus has a referral for speech therapy evaluation that we will look into the following week- he needs to have turned 3!

Meanwhile, David's vocabulary in LT is growing and he is using more verbs and short phrases. He also uses some ENG phrases, but it seems his verbal LT is growing more noticably.

Yet they both respond to our questions in ENG by answering in LT.

A week from Saturday will be David's birthday. We will have a small party this coming Saturday recognizing both Erik and David. For now their friends are the same. And the date suits. March 8 begins the Spring break at LCC and some have plans for travel- though it looks like we will be home.

The week before Easter is when the local schools have off- not sure what the daycare does.

But they will have off Monday the 10 and 11th in recognition of regaining LT independence. And that means there will be an extra Saturday work day to make up for the 10th off- making it a 4 day holiday. This happens often it seems.

With David's growing vocabulary is an increased assertion of independence (interpret I want to do what I want and will not do what you want) That is making the atmosphere even more challenging at home. And going out seems to invoke more embarrassment for mom too.

They will get past this, I just need to hang on, right?

It might be a little till there are pictures of Erik again. He ran full speed into the corner of a bench in Silute on Sunday. His cheek swelled and turned blue and the drainage is going over to his eye. So getting passport pictures is on hold once again.

Friday, February 22, 2008


We had another box today- thanks to the Reitz family. Here you see what we sometimes call the Lithuanian smile. Most don't show their teeth. (It is one thing that gives mama away most often probably because she cannot seem to smile with mouth closed- I have a rough time getting the pictures taken for the residency permit!)

And we had visits to the cardiologist today. Both boys had ultrasounds with multiple measurements. They do quite well for these "be still" activities. The doctors said nothing to worry about here,just need to keep following yearly. And that is basically what we expected.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

another gift day- 2 birthdays

Sometime soon I will decide for sure about a double birthday party for our local friends to recognize the boys together. Meanwhile, we have little gift days from various people who sent gifts. Most of these snapshots are from gammau and papa's gift box (along with Aunt Gwen and Uncle Rick).
devotional book for preschoolers. They both identified it as Bible story book and were quite excited. Actually it is stories of kids and Erik will find them interesting.
Then there are a couple of quick shots playing today while Valentina was here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


We are always grateful for sunshine- though this time of year that means cold. But we are due for cold since this has been a warm winter.

The days are a bit longer now and naptime is sunny- which means taking naps takes more coaxing. We'll see if I get through this post in one setting :)

This weekend I made lasagna which the boys really seemed to like. They also are taking to toasted chesse sandwiches. And little by little willing to tolerate a few vegetables.

David Augenijus has always been willing to at least try things. He always gives his evaluation as if he was a taste-tester. Last night was the first we offered Green beans by themselves. He was entertained by picking them apart and finding "peas" inside.

The two key motivators these days (for listening to mama) are candy and gifts. We still have one box from the last 2 weeks that they have not had. (and partly we still ration the excitement in manageable chunks). But though they really try to get away with what they want, they generally are good humored and happy.

We are starting to work on the whining and crying that is somewhat a part of this age though. They need to often be reminded or helped to find words. In the last few days David Augenijus has added Lithuanian words- duok and As sakau ne - give me and I said no. now to use them appropriately/respectfully! They are both quite good at "stop it!" in English and just today used them at the playground with other LT kids- needless to say they did not respond.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Choosing the Bible Story

The boys continue to be excited about bible story time from the toddlers bible with pop up flaps. Their pronounciation of "bible story" is quite cute. We've been through all of the stories so they get to pick which one they want now.

So David Augenijus picked God helps David tonight and he usually picks that one. Then Erik wants to know which one is his. Erik Daniel chooses Samson, but is also interested in which story is about Daniel.

Erik also picks the Veggie Tales video that includes Daniel. It is on the theme "when I am afraid" also a common theme in his conversation- wants to know in most stories if someone is afraid.

Today was the last day for Pastor Modestas and Ramune to serve at the Silute church. They will be moving to Klaipeda and working with the Klaipeda Free Christian church. The boys don't yet understand that they will not see their friends in Silute yet. Modestas and Ramune have a son, Danielius, a little older than Erik. But we hope to see them occasionally in Klaipeda.

This change will increase the responsibilities we have in Silute church, and hopefully others will also increase their involvement as there is no pastor to take Modestas' place at this time. With our schedules in Klaipeda and the newness of being family and all those adjustments for the boys and for us, we will not be able to invest a lot of time. A few weeks ago, we began visiting families from the church after the Sunday service. We are very happy that the people are supportive of us in our new role as parents as well.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

another gift day

We opened another set of gifts today. The football is something Erik did not know what to do with. He threw it and it did not roll like a ball. Never saw anything that looked like that much of a dud. So he was more interested in the books with toys attached. Good competition between the brothers on those.

Erik is frequently interested in watching movies these days too. And is constantly asking "what are they saying" but in Lithuanian of course. Even TV shows with Lithuanian he asks us to tell the story. Not sure if that is usual for young kids just learning language?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dr. visit

This Wednesday was a well visit at a local doctor- first time for us all to visit her. She was recommended by some of our friends with children here. And it was time for the yearly visit since each of the boys have birthdays now. (Erik was 4 a few weeks ago and David Augenijus will be 3 on March 8)

And we need medical approval for Erik to go to preschool. First words out of her mouth about Erik were He's hyperactive. No news to us, but we have a Dr. who says so now, and it is not just some new parents who are not used to active youngsters.

The exam included checking heart, lungs, throat, back and posture, feet, height and weight, blood test, urine test- which I took a sample in for today. And another test- I took a clear piece of tape and applied to the rectal area when he got up in the morning- then attached this to a clear slide and took it in to be evaluated. This cost 7 litas, but otherwise their medical care is covered as Lithuanian citizens at this point.

Both boys also need referrals to a pediatric cardiology specialist each year so I need to get that appointment now that we have the referrals.

In other news, my health is better, the boys are still healthy other than a sneeze or running nose once in a while- but Gregg is sick. Blames me. what can I say.

Yesterday I thought the weather might be good for hanging the wash, though a bit cold. (Now by today it has snowed- something new for this month) Erik got very excited about the clip pins and was eager to go out with me. Then he started telling me that Alita had these pins. If the kids were bad and had to sit in the corner she would put one on the upper lip and it hurts. Who knows if it is true. He makes up a lot of stories lately, but he seemed consistent in repeating the story in detail.

And yesterday was the day for Erik to tear apart his little photo album we had given before bringing them home. He was to be on the sofa resting, a student was around helping out and I took a nap. At the time I went in the room he was quietly paging through the album. But when I came out he wanted to show me with all kinds of bragging that he tore the album apart. Needless to say I was not happy.

He has been doing a number of things like this when angry with me for requiring something. And he does something he is not supposed to or comes and interrupts me when previously asked not to if he is left by himself for more than a half hour.

But, he is doing a little better for 2 of the babysitters than he was. I have to choose to focus on the improvements.

Last night we were with Pastor Modestas and Ramune for Valentine's meal and it was good to hear their observations again. They can always see improvements.

Monday, February 11, 2008

caught not taught

I have often heard the expression in sermons or teaching about parenting. This time I think I saw it first hand. One gift Erik got the other day was a play guitar- a rather nice one that should outlast little boys play (with a little help and protection from mom). So yesterday he sits down to strum on it (and again today) and starts singing Hallelu, Hallelu, Praise ye the lord- in Lithuanian.

It was not the most often played song that I did with them. We did it last Sunday at church but before that it had to have been a few weeks. (being overwhelmed and sick I don't play regularly for them anymore). But what he caught and what he associated with playing guitar was that one song.

Oh, that he will show signs of catching quite a bit more that we have been talking about and modeling and correcting in terms of listening to mama, identifying anger, and speaking rather than crying and other less productive impatient signs.

The boys are still healthy- Praise God. And mama is finally on the mend.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

gift day

Thursday, February 7, 2008

time to take care of mom

After a couple of weeks of struggling with a cold (and prior to that fighting initial symptoms) the last few days have included ear and throat pain and today the ENT said- time to take care of mom.

Antibiotics and some other immune system strengtheners, pain control- and rest. Well this morning I had already been in bed for several hours (since there was a student caregiver).

Another student was already scheduled to come for date night so we did have dinner out at a cafe nearby giving us valuable time to discuss our complex lives! And now it is time to relax. Sorry for all those who are addicted to reports on the boys, that may wait a little longer than usual.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

multicultural home

We expected the mix of Lithuanian and American. Now we realize that the boys have more Russian past influence than we knew as well. Our cable TV channels include a number of languages including Russian, and apparently that was the case at the orphanage. They have been very interested in Russian cartoons and sometimes other animated stories. Erik asks for the translation of the news- can't help him there.

It was only recently that they really got to see there were those channels as we usually went directly to channels we watch. But now with having babysitters it works differently. (And the babysitters are often allowing them the remote controls- "so they don't cry")

Our sitters represent Belarus, Ukraine, Albania and Lithuania.

Along with that comes different understandings (and levels of experience) in dealing with kids.

We were supposed to have a dr. appointment today- a well visit, but it was post-poned til next Wednesday as the Dr. has many sick patients to deal with. (Wonder if the unseasonably warm winter for Lithuania is making it worse?)

Today we also had a play date. There is a wonderful American family that lives in 2 rooms of 1 of the LCC dorms. They have a 3 year old boy and a girl that is a big older. It was a huge bundle of activity.

Whenever the boys get into a new situation especially where toys are present they are driven to explore them all and are very difficult to redirect. The determination to do things their way was very strong and there was basically no time for mommy to mommy chat. And it was hopeless to get them to sit to eat anything for lunch.

And though they fought it valiantly, they have both succumbed now to afternoon naps.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Though there still are stressful moments, I find myself more able to focus on the joy in being a new mama now. My intuition says that the boys are really starting to love their mama, not just need their mama. Signs of more attachment are coming.

Though clearly not their favorite thing, they are sometimes willing to go to the time out chair to talk to mama about what just happened and what they will do differently.

And if they are pushing too many buttons, struggling to listen, I have begun to ask- do you love mama? and now Erik will say yes.

They play nicely together almost all of the time. THey wrestle each other safely. They compete to sit together on mama's lap. And they are excited for "bible story" time in the evening with pop up pictures in the book to help. They compete to pray at the table at all meals and again after bible story. Primarily it is thank you for this and that- but it has moved on from just listing our family members and food to thanks for birthday gifts and people who have visited and whatever else they remember and appreciate. (I wonder if I prayed aloud spontaneously at that age)

The thing that still bring out the fierce competetiveness is the special shopping carts with cars they can sit in. If there is only one or there is only one parent, it is a very complicated and delicate situation. After a very loud tantrum this week a store employee came up this week and said- hey if your mama is so bad, why dont you come with me- here come with me. Well then mama was not so bad and he clung to mama for all he was worth.

There are also family moments of going for a walk, all 4 holding hands. Or all 4 sitting to watch a film.

And there are memories they relate from the past experiences with orphanage staff that bring them joy and a sense of accomplishment as well.

And now they relax against my body for comfort. This was one thing that was noticably missing at first. They might want to be held, but it was not a relaxed trusting thing, especially at night. And not to be able to comfort your child is a bit stressful as a parent.

We're getting there!