Sunday, September 28, 2008

life is busy

Well, perhaps all who were daily followers of this blog will have given up that habit in this 10 day break! I opted to work on stories and pictures for the newsletter which goes out to a fairly large list by email. And the pictures are different than the ones here for the most part.

You will see from pictures above that we are in communication with grandparents via Skype on the computer. The boys grabbed the camera and took a picture while we were talking. I remember in high school some techie predictions that we would have phones with video of the person talking some day and I thought they were nuts! Oh well- we are glad for it now.

The boys attended a birthday party yesterday. And today we went to feed ducks near our place after returning from the day in Silute for church. Things there have been encouraging as more people are showing initiative.

We are in the routines of school and preschool (and me taking a seminary course on line)- although that just may change a bit this next week if the boys are having any signs of a cold. I let them go to preschool over the last week or so with symptoms, but I have been told that the parents have agreed not to send kids to school with colds.

There are a few things we are getting used to and learning about with the entrance into the preschool world. I also had my culture shock experience for the year when attending the parents' meeting for David's class. The teachers berated the parents throughout most of the meeting and everyone basically sat there and took it. And then since noone said much of anything they berated us for not relating warmly and jumping in to volunteer for tasks that they suggested we do. After an hour and a half I realized that I had not told Erik I would be late to pick him up and wondered what was happening with him. The children from David's group were being watched in a nearby room. That part worked out OK. But I left a bit stressed.

Admittedly the preschools function on a less than adequate budget, so it is understandable that some needs for the classroom are brought before the parents. They cannot ask for funds (directly) but the needs are known none the less. And they will keep a notebook of the things parents bring in and any donated moneys and expenses. We will be taking toilet paper, paper towels, soap, air freshener, etc.

For David's group I am a parent rep on the parents' council and I represent the two other English speaking families. I have been the prime communicator to them anyway. We parents donate money for the workbooks that list the skills in 5 areas they will seek to evaluate learn within the year. And we are working on getting that translated as parents are to do their evaluation too.

In Erik's group I had to find out after the meeting the things I needed to know because between Gregg and me sharing getting the boys we missed seeing a sign that there would be a meeting. In his group the parents' council will collect money from parents for workbooks and water filters. And Erik needs to have dance slippers for music class. And he should have separate sneakers, T shirt and sweatpants for exercise class.

The other noticable change in the last 10 days is that the boys are using Lithuanian language at school- English mixed in to be sure. But when i go to pick them up I can see they have to make the effort to switch to English.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Yes, Cold. In the 40s here during the day. Time to find out how to turn the heat on in this apartment. At least we have the choice!
And I've come down with a chest cold. Reminds me of how I felt in December and January- yuck.

But prior to Monday the weekend was notable for a few events. I attended the commissioning of one of the LCC granduates, now a Duke Seminary graduate who will serve in a Methodist church in Siauliai. Grazhina was an active student throughout my time as chaplain at LCC and I am really excited to see her follow God's call on her life in this way. I drove our car full of friends from Klaipeda and so it was a ladies day out so to speak.

Friday evening marked the first in Gregg's weekly teen group meetings in Silute and my time at home with the boys. It went well both in Silute and at home. In the past Friday night was a time that I almost dreaded because the boys tested me in many ways. But times are changing.

And Sunday we were part of a church meeting after the service in Silute. It was a very scattered experience for me as I tried to get pieces of what was happening while taking care of the boys. But the good news was that there are people willing to be active and the church council is now functional again with a group of 5 of us.

Tonight will be test for a babysitter. We both need to go to Silute for the evening for a meeting! (so I better go rest so I am ready!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Community day

The larger LCC community including families of staff are welcome for opening ceremonies and barbeque on the grounds. The 3 children who are in the same class in preschool are seen here together- Ieva, David and David. So far none of them are speaking Lithuanian at preschool and the teachers are having a challenge with communication. They have asked for English classes for teachers and administrators, so I will be going on Mondays. Already I act as translator and go between for communication for the 3 other families to some extent.

Earlier this week I cut the boys hair again, and here is David trying to return the favor.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

day trip

This post is focused more on our ministry work than our family per se. This week we were contacted to help plan for a baptism of a young teen from Gregg's Friday night ministry in Silute. She has a friend in Kaunas (2+ hours drive from Klaipeda)who was to be baptized and since they really wanted outside baptism and weather will turn colder in the coming weeks, plans took shape quickly.

Since we combined with another Free Christian church for the baptism and were traveling there for the morning service, Gregg was asked to preach as well. They also had a room to the back for young children and it has windows that allowed me to see what is going on. And the sounds system also let me hear it.

Right at the end of the service, the pastor asked everyone to travel to the lake to continue the service with the baptism. Again I must give the warning- our camera takes just 30 second videos and this is unedited.

It was neat to see the full families there at the baptism which seems kind of new. So many have been 1st generation church goers in our earlier years.

It ended up that another man requested baptism too, so Gregg assisted in 3 baptisms!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

a warmer day

The last week has been rainy and cool for the most part. And today was warm enough to go without jackets, until closer to evening when we finally got us all out together for a ferry ride from Klaipeda across the relatively short span of water to the strip of land called the spit. It has wonderful paths to the sea but we did not go that way this time. Rather we sent along the water's edge toward some old boats on display. It was the first time for the boys and there will be other things like the Dolphinarium and sea museum to explore in future trips too.

The week at preschool went fairly well. Both boys stayed from 9-4 or a little longer each day. They are in different groups in different parts of the building. So we need to pick up one and take to the other side to get the other one. They get a little wound up seeing each other again and I guess people just think we are a rowdy family! (If they only knew the life Gregg and I lived before :) )

Tomorrow we head to Kaunas- a 2 and a half hour road trip! There should be something to say from that!

Monday, September 1, 2008

1st day of school

Today in Lithuania is like a holiday- the starting of school- for all ages. Children bring flowers and greet teachers with September 1 holiday. Today was the first for both Erik and David to be in preschool.
Since I'm not sure if a video will work I'll add a picture too.

Here is a last minute very informal video at the breakfast table before we went to preschool and work at LCC. I had hoped to get good examples of their English, but this was not captured on the video.

Erik returned to the group he had before although the main teacher now is different and that took a little getting used to. But he did not run to us to leave like last spring when we came to pick him up, so it seems things went pretty well. The teacher commented about the fact that he has forgotten Lithuanian. It will be interesting to see if he makes the choice to pick it up this week. Last week when around another child speaking Lithuanian he said- When I was little I spoke like that, now I speak English. And we was proud of the fact.

David stayed a full day, though that rarely happens for first timers. And he did not appear the least bit stressed about it. He was really looking forward to sleeping in "darzelis" --preschool. They do that after lunch for 2 hours.