Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Missionary retreat -Vienkiemis

Extended fall season

Fall 2011

The blog is hopelessly behind- I will not get to chronicle all of the happenings, even through pictures. We hit the ground running in September and did not slow down until November when I already felt I would not catch up with the blog. I did occasionally post pictures and short status updates to my facebook page which has become easier for many people to use and access.

The fall had some challenges with adjustments to increased demands at school- Erik in first grade and David in a class of 16 for kindergarden. Erik tends to take a bit to attach to a new teacher (and in this case there are several special subject teachers too). So he made sure it was an effort on their part. But in the end he has adjusted well and is increasingly doing well with his work. His grades at the end of term -first trimester reflect good work in Math and Lithuanian- the two subjects that people really measure by in primary grades, and he does a good job in the other areas too. The hardest thing is to hear words dictated and write them down. This is Lithuanian so everything is phonetic.

David started well and he does excellent work in all the academic things. He is challenged in emotional and behavioral areas however. He enjoys art and especially painting so we are hoping to help him find constructive outlets in this area. David has noticeably improved in Lithuanian language, conversing freeing with friends and moving back and forth between English and Lithuanian at home depending on what the boys are playing- if they have played it or watched it in school, it is likely they will switch to Lithuanian to play it at home.

David has also gotten interest in soccer/football as well as basketball. This helps him use some of the extra energy. Erik continues to do well in soccer as well and added basketball this fall- but not quite with the same passion as football.

The boys ask from time to time about having a pet or having a younger sibling. We are not planning for either in the immediate future, but it is good to see their interest in this normal kind of family growth.

Monday, September 26, 2011

summer summary and September here and almost gone

We left for the US on July 15 and returned on August 16, meeting up in Chicago- mom had a conference for a week first before we could head back after our vacation time was up. Family visits, a few friends, a couple of churches that we attend anyway with family, a quick dip in the Atlantic, a tour of Turkey Hill Ice Cream "factory", and a short visit to Black Rock camp with a long afternoon of swimming for the boys were some of the highlights.

September 1 is first day of school. This year with Erik being a 1st grader the celebration was a special welcome to school, and a gift from the director of the school. And there was special entertainment and just one lesson which the parents sit it on. We borrowed our friend Grazina to be with David for his first day in the classroom since Gregg was teaching.

fresh salmon from the market- quite a spectacle for the boys. And what was their request- cut the eye out!

David likes to get the camera and take shots of all kinds of things including himself. We also had various pictures of our small church group that meets in Klaipeda.

a day out in Palanga

Just returned this evening from Ieva's birthday party. We probably had pictures 2 years ago from the same play place where she had her party. Ieva and David are in the same class at school and Ieva is probably closer to our boys than to some of the girls at the party!

Monday, July 18, 2011

LT summer and getting ready for US visit

Our Lithuanian camping trip was near Plateliai lake. Our "guide" for the experience was our dear friend Grazina who has been a part of our lives much more lately. She was able to check out the trails when it was too difficult to sleep. (She had offered to have the boys in a tent with her and that was part of the challenge!) So we got to hike, pick ground strawberries, see wooden statues, cook Shashlik, and more!

The Stave family returned from their visit to the USA in time for a few visits from the kids. The boys especially wanted to invite Isak this time and it was his first real play date.

Friday and Saturday we participated in the Free Christian Church Men's camp. "We" because we were all heading to Alytus after that... see below. And translator Grazina was with us too. Housing was together for our family so, it was not quite a break for mom, but I didn't have to cook! and there were some meeting times I could skip :)

we had a trip to Alytus after the Men's camp to attend the newest of the Free Christian churches there with missionary family Marian Kozak from Germany. The boys had a blast playing at their yard in the afternoon... especially because there was opportunity to do rough housing things and play football (European style of course).

We decided part way through June that we really did want to visit family this year especially since we did not have intense ministry scheduled for July into August and because Gregg's family had been having quite a lot of trips to the doctors and we wanted to be able to see them. Enter frequent flyer miles program... that made it possible to get the rewards for loyalty to a carrier over these years of travel back and forth to Lithuania. Just as we were packing to go David lost his first tooth. And Erik had a fall twisting his wrist very badly and was in a cast. So that was their "surprises" for the grandmas when we got to America.