Monday, July 28, 2008

Hands on House Museum

One other activity of the weekend was at Hands On Museum for kids. My sister Darlene's youngest daughter Twyla had her 1st birthday and it was a celebration for her, and an occasion for the cousins to get together and play! At first the boys ran through everything rather overwhelmed at all the choices of things. Then they got really interested in the factory. Everything was set up kid sized and they could pretend to work for the day. At the end they enjoyed the pretend grocery store as well, especially the cash register. (I remember the many years I was in awe of the cash register when I was growing up too!)


Today we had a dedication prayer in the morning service at Lititz church. Family members from Sharon's side of the family were already together for events on Saturday and wanted to be there for this too.

It has been a full weekend. And the boys are starting to understand that we are saying goodbyes now and getting ready to return to Lithuania. A lot for little minds to comprehend. And more for us to work with as it comes out behaviorly.

The boys gave the people at church the giggles as they did the usual toddler/ preschooler responses to the things the pastor said to them. Rather than being agreeable they said no to everything. We were just glad everyone was taking it in stride.

The grandmothers sang a song after the prayer. And the church gave them each books. They were so eager to unwrap them that they spent the time of the song eagerly getting the wrapping paper off.

We have been travelling to Exton for appointments for the boys each week. This week was the last we go with both boys. The cardiologist surprised us by saying that the boys have normal heart sounds and normal EKGs and we should not be concerned at all for their future. (We were told that they have heart murmurs in Lithuania).

The occupational therapist has assured us that both boys can function at their age level for fine motor and visual motor skills. But there are a number of behavioral things that can get in the way of them actually doing that. So we are learning different ways of exposing them to things that make it more likely for them to respond positively.

This week we also got to visit the Burkholder farm again and this time they had young chicks! That was fun for the boys. And they enjoy playing with 2 other boys their age too.

This week we will have more time with my sister Carol's family including two cousins the boys enjoy. And we have some visits with people. The time is really going fast now and it is hard to believe we must start packing already. We leave August 6 for Lithuania- and the new apartment that we need to finish moving into in Klaipeda.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

mommy and daddy

The transition is almost complete to calling us mommy and daddy and not really at our initiation. It is just what they here around them!

We also hear-
mommy, look at me- when Erik talks, he wants eye contact.
Ka, yat? What is That?- Erik is rather consistent in using the English pronoun.

There is a lot more that is hard to dicepher- firetruck, surprise- understood only in context. But we are happy for their interest in firetrucks and firemen (and finally they understand what it is) to balance out the primary interest before in soldiers and anyone with weapons.

Gregg did the retest of David's touch "test" with the blindfold and it looks like he was playing us the last time, he got it alright this time- go figure.

Bible school week was good but tiring for us all too, so it was good we did not have a lot planned for Friday and Saturday. Tonight we meet up with missionaries most of whom have served in Lithuania with us in the past.

Tomorrow evening we have a drop in at Lititz Mennonite church- Ice cream social from 5-7pm. We expect to see a nice number of people and of course the big attraction is getting to the the boys and hang out with them nearby. We are not sure how they will handle the attention, but certainly it will go better now than it would have the first month we were here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Tomorrow, ka doing?
This is the regular question of the week, what are we going to do tomorrow, or later or anything future. (Still asking about when we will go to Klaipeda too)

I ne can
Also Erik's translation from LT grammar- to I can't. But there are more things he is doing now than before. He just gets to try a lot of things he never did before too.

Come down!
Shouted by David tonight in bible school during the telling of the story of Zacheus who was up in the tree. He also enjoys the theme song- God's big back yard- and can say big back yard loud enough to get everyone's attention.

Bible school is a stretch for David, but just when I think he is getting nothing from it and I am doing a lot of containing his energy, he picks something up. He enjoys the little crafts we do- decorating bags for the meals on wheels program, putting together health kits and school kits for the Mennonite Central Committee, snack mix bags to share with the family.

Erik has Gregg's attention and with that he feels pretty comfortable participating. He follows much of what is going on. Gregg repeats the story in our home bedtime routine to make sure the boys get it.

We discovered something interesting today. Blindfolded the boys one at a time and did a touch test and asked them to show where grandma touched them. Erik had no trouble at all. David got a few of them, but did not seem to notice most of it. He has done well with other testing situations lately so it seems he did not really register that he was touched.

This gives some insight into why he can fall and jump right up as if nothing has happened. Why he can be bleeding but rarely cries.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Corn is one of the sights of Lancaster county. Growing, eating, freezing (for some)- it is part of the pulse of the area. Erik and David have not yet caught the frenzy for eating the stuff. But they got to see how we get it.

Today was an active day- Playing at a new park playground, lunch and nap, going to Landis Homes to see Great-Grandma and Grandma Buckwalter (that visit always includes seeing the minature train set, playing in the play corner, seeing a peacock and chickens and sometimes seeing ducks), and we went to Walmart. They both stayed in the cart and were probably better behaved than any time we took them to a store in Klaipeda. We have mostly stayed out of stores here so far.

Then after supper they played outside, got haircuts, got the spray bottles to water plants and other things of course.

The big topic of the day was going back to Klaipeda and getting into their "groups" at the preschool. I did not bring it up. But both seem interested in that. We drove by the Lancaster airport and Erik asked if we can get on a plane and go back to Klaipeda! Well, I am trying to hold them off- we can't go to preschool in the summer.

Yesterday we had a day of travel to King of Prussia for medical appointments and to Exton for Erik's OT apppointment. This time he was able to complete what the OT asked. The OT also said that the sensory profile I filled out was scored and that there do not seem to be sensory integration problems. There are some emotional and behavioral barriers to using the sensory input well, but there should be strategies for that. Overall it is good news that under the ideal circumstances the boys can perform basically on par for their age.

The evening activity was going in the "big tub" at gammau's house. Wow do they have fun. Makes us think we need to get them in a bigger pool again. David is really trying to teach himself to swim, holds his head under water for about 5 seconds with no suggestion from us. And of course they think of all the other play and splashing in water too. Gammau said today we will need to add water before they can go in again!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


We are hearing a lot of interesting language and language combinations these days.
The more we can have the boys playing with other children or in settings without us, the faster the language comes.

For those who know both languages: kur tu going? Ar tu come back? Car vazuoja.
And English: I dun want to! I want please drink. Nope. Thank you for coming.

They no longer want to hear Lithuanian, even from a native speaker who we interacted with today. And for some days now I know they think it strange if I say something in Lithuanian. But they still use it themselves, and David keeps adding Lithuanian phrases to his speech. It seems that language in general is breaking loose for him finally.

We got to spend a little time at Black Rock camp this week with others from Eastern Mennonite Mission who are preparing to go out- or back out on assignment. They provide childcare as well so the boys had 4 sessions of being with other children in the day and a half we were there. And they got to meet two children Their age we expect to see when we join the European workers on Retreat in a few months in Austria. An extra fun bonus was the new pool at the camp which is very child friendly.

On Sunday the boys had the expected pleasure of sitting on a motorcycle and some other big toys- like 4 wheelers, and climbing in Uncle Rick's truck. Daddy was also pretty happy to have a seat on a Harley.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

happy days

We had good news in Exton at our appointments on Thursday. David had occupational therapy testing of his fine motor and visual motor skills and he is at his age level in all areas. He may not need other sessions. We filled out paper surveys about both boys in how they respond to sensory stimulation of all kinds and there may still be something to learn from that. Erik will continue his evaluation on Thursday by the occupational therapist.

On Thursday we also had hearing "audiology" exams at the Exton center. It is really amazing what they can evaluate in children. Both boys participated well. David has normal hearing. Erik's is just below normal and he might have fliud or something in his ears which will need another medical consult.

We went from there to New Jersey for family time with Sharon's family. We are really noticing the difference now with language. It is still hard for others to understand much of the time, but they are adding so many new words that we are having to really pay attention to figure them out with the ususual pronounciation they sometimes use.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


This week the boys got to experience sleeping in a tent with daddy. Excitement cannot be captured in pictures or a blog! And they slept pretty well too Gregg says.

We also got a first visit in with Occupational therapy and that will continue Thursday for David. The boys also get their hearing checked. We travel to Exton, PA, a little over an hour from here. And we will have weekly appointments until we leave in August.

We learned that Lithuania has now passed a law in parliament that allows EU and NATO country citizens to have dual citizenship in Lithuania. This will be quite a blessing for our boys when the president actually signs it.

So we are on par now for our exit from the US on August 6.

We are also heading to NJ for the holiday after the Exton appointment. It is a holiday time that was always associated with celebrating my dad's birthday(July 4). Now we celebrate brother in law Eric's birthday (july 2) since Dad is no longer with us. But somehow it is always a time of remembering dad too.