Friday, July 15, 2011


Lets just say Disney was a fail. Mega summer crowds, intense heat made for one very unhappy (and uncooperative) boy. There were moments of fun, but not at all what I envisioned. Bummer. Oh well

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Week Two

I was really hoping to manage a blog post more than once a week- pitiful ;) Let me see if I can hit the highlights

*Roller Skating- So Artem takes a little time to warm up to a new idea, so when we first got to the rink he was very hesitant. He did take one painful spill but it didn't take him too long to get back on the floor and he was doing great in no time. He has asked to go every day since then. And informed me with great sadness that he doesn't roller skate in Ukraine. We will have to go at least one more time...

*Sea World- His amazement when he saw the whales was AWESOME. Incidentally, there is a little video segment at the beginning of that show that shows a small child in silhouette holding hands with her parents that had me almost in tears... He rode everything they have. We learned he likes roller coasters which makes me very happy as I haven't had an excuse to ride them in several years. The second day we went he got to touch a stingray and a dolphin which was pretty cool. Oh, and his heelys have arrived so he has been zooming everywhere- and he crashed right into another New Horizons Ukrainian host kid! Actually I am not sure he actually crashed, but he did help the little guy pick up his water bottle which somehow dropped, and a little bit later we saw each other again and the boys started talking in Russian to each other so we figured it out. They were in FL from Maryland- so unlikely that we would meet like that!

*Aquatica- Another huge hit. He tells me that they have water slides in Ukraine, but the lazy river was new to him. He was up for anything (although we arrived at the park during an afternoon thunderstorm which had him looking at me like I was crazy and asking to go "Dom")

*New Horizons welcome party- a day of boating fun at our house (have I mentioned lately how thankful I am for this house?) It was wild- swimming- volleyball-tubing-jet skis-sandcastles-food- food- food-kids jabbering in Russian everywhere. Artem got the slightest bit puffed up with pride that it was at 'his' house, which was kind of adorable. As far as I can gather, none of the other Cenral Florida kids are from his orphange, but they made freinds pretty quick.

*Science center- He is so curious, and such a bright kid. He doesn't miss anything and he catches on so fast. The Science Center is all very hands on so this was great. Also neat was watching him interact with the other kids at exhibits. He was polite and generous, quick to pass a turn or offer a hand despite the language barrier. Fantastic.

Tomorow's big plan is Disney, so I had better get some sleep. Pictures later I promise

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week one

I apologize in advance. I am getting pretty tired and this post has no outline in my head at all. I just wanted to document week one and the things we did and impressions we have gotten before I lose them.

Most days this week have been spent at home. If you have ever been to my house you know that does not equal boring. Not only do we have more than enough to keep us entertained, we have a revolving door of visitors. If its not the kids from around the block, its friends or family. And lots of them. I think we are overwhelming poor Artem with introductions. Hopefully overwhelming him with love, too! Days at home have consisted of riding bikes, playing video games, hanging on the beach, and taking out the boat. And eating. The kid eats more than Shaun. Loves meat. And fruit, but mostly meat. We did try to go to a community pool, but just as we got there it shut down because of lightning. So plan B was BK playground and ice cream. I also got him to the eye doctor (getting him reading glasses- need to go pick those up), and we have done some shopping for shoes and a winter coat to take back home and such. Typical 12 year old boy, he has little interest in shopping, so we have to keep it pretty short. Helps that he is decisive. He does enjoy getting nice things, though- he has mastered the pitiful "Please?" with those big brown eyes (used it on me for a second pair of sunglasses and a Transformer toy). He catches onto things really fast- very short learning curve. He has almost mastered my iphone translator and camera. He also asked to use the camera and took at least 100 pictures of everything and everyone, especially the dogs. He loves the dogs. He is really good with them.

The ride to church on Sunday was like an hour long (we are taking him to Kissimmee). No car sickness though, like they had us expecting. He was pretty well behaved at church. He seemed a bit bored and a little antsy, understandable since he couldn't catch much of what was going on. We did get him a Russian/English Bible that has the verses parallel to each other so he could at least follow the readings. And, I'll admit during the sermon I did play ticktacktoe with him and then teach him dots. I was trying to keep him from fidgeting and sighing every two minutes! I might have spoiled it for the next few weeks though he will expect games. I find myself torn quite a bit- between spoiling him like he has never been before because hey- I only have a month to do it- and treating him equal and holding him to the same standard as the other kids. Like so far- today I let him drink way more soda than I ever would the rest of my kids. And if he shows a preference for something- like a seat in the car or a certain life jacket- I tend to ask the others to humor him. It is not taking him long to expect that though, although he does still show gratitude. His "Sank you!" is pretty cute. He is a total clown. His teasing is a bit of a dilemma for me as well, though. I love that he is funny and having a good time, but good natured ribbing can start to appear like it might be sass. But how much should I really expect in less than a week? Part of me thinks I should be glad that he feels comfortable enough to smile and say "uh-uh, uh-uh!" in a little squeak when I tell him its time for bed or a shower or something. The important thing is he does do it, even if he might not want to, when I insist. He is really bonding fast (as are we). He loves the kids, and eagerly shares anything he might have with them. He enjoys time with Shaun quite a bit as well. They told us to expect him to bond to the father of the house first, but oddly I think he is a little closer to me so far. I think I'm his safety net, and I am glad I can be. He is quick to offer help to any one of us if he sees a need.

We found a Russian food store in Kissimmee which thrilled him. Not only was he able to speak to the cashier- he got to pick out groceries as well. In case I have any other hosting parents reading, here is what he chose: Sausage...Kielbasa type, smelled almost like bologna. Pickles (cucumbers in brine actually, but same same), chicken filled dumplings that the girl said they eat with sour cream on top, salted sunflower seeds, this little snack bag that was filled with basically onion flavored croutons that he ate like chips. A relish of some sort that tastes almost like a spicy cocktail sauce. A white chocolate bar. And toy filled chocolate eggs (he wanted enough to give all the other three one). So really, we have close substitutes for all of them.

Ok, well sleep is calling me. Sorry for the rambling post. Its been a long day! Let me throw in a couple of pics...(they always end up at the begining)