We called ourselves "The Blob" and we moved as a blob. The Bennion family and our family had so much fun Thursday night just before midnight waiting for the kids to come. There was a lot of excitement and laughter. When passengers from our kids flight, and we could tell because one of the passengers told us he sat by the girls (lucky!!!), The Blob became very excited.
We are so happy to finally meet the girls. Luba and Snizhana had saved 5 of their snacks from their plane rides, one for each of our children, and handed one to each child when they met us. I can't even put into words how touched Jay and I were by that. They are very thoughtful girls. We gave them Webkinz stuffed animals with hearts on them. Luba pulled out the letter that we had written for them and identified each of us with our pictures. She asked where Ben was and we told her that he was working at a scout camp, but would be home in two days. We don't speak any Russian beyond a few words and their English is about the same. We were fortunate that Josie, mom from the only Utah family that hosted through NHFC last year and who speaks Russian, was on hand to translate. Josie helped the girls let us know what they wanted to call Jay and me. We told them that whatever they wanted to call us was fine. They settled on Mama and Papa. I have found that sometimes I am Mom too.
On the hour car ride home I was happy to see that Luba and Sara were communicating the best they could. I showed Snizhana Angry Birds on my kindle and she enjoyed playing it. All was going well until I hear Luba call for me and start pantomiming something. Not having ever been a good charades player, I just wasn't understanding her. She was gesturing moving her hand away from her mouth. Now it seems pretty obvious, but it wasn't until she got a really sick look on her face when I got it. Car sickness! I jumped into action and handed her a bag. After throwing up she didn't look very happy and quite trying to talk to Sara. We still had 45 minutes to get home so we pulled over and let her walk around a little. That seemed to help a bit and she was okay, but quiet, for the rest of the ride.
I have no pictures of when we first got home at about 1:00 a.m. because things were so crazy. It was like Christmas morning with the girls as they went exploring all around our house. Snizhana's eyes got so big and excited when she saw the piano. Snizhana found a toy stroller which she had to find a doll to push around. Then she found Sam's baby stroller which she upgraded to and it goes almost every she does with her Webkinz puppy and the doll we found for her plus whatever snack she is eating at the time! They both were excited to turn on and use a computer. Leah helped Snizhana print something. I'm pretty sure they don't do computer much at all in Ukraine after watching them play with the computers. They were so cute. We then showed them the back yard and it was very apparent that they have never jumped on a trampoline before. I am so glad we put ours in the ground. It was almost comical how they were on it and I'm pretty sure they learned the word "careful" as I couldn't stop saying it!
It was about 2:00 a.m. when my kids decided that they had to go to bed. Jay and I went to bed to, getting up to see if the girls' light was off yet or not. By 2:30 a.m. it was off and we were happy to go to sleep.
Friday morning the girls get up and start exploring again. Snizhana found this dog costume and immediately had to put it on. It fit her perfectly!
Luba found Leah's dance hat and Sara's big glasses. She was so cute.
Luba asked Leah to sit down so she could do Leah's hair. Leah definitely had bed head so I thought that Luba wanted to brush it out. But then she started whipping out this gorgeous french braid in no time at all. We were all in awe!
Snizhana and the doll stroller wearing roller blades. Both girls were so happy to see the roller blades. Snizhana goes by Zhana. The "zh" sounds like the "s" in "vision" while the "ana" sounds like the "auna" in sauna. I am glad she has a nickname as Snizhana is hard to say. I am finding myself calling her Snizhana half the time though now as it has become easy for me to say. And I think it is such a beautiful name! I have noticed that Luba calls her Snizhana. And speaking of names, at training a couple weeks ago I learned that Luba's name, Lyubov, means "love." Awe!!! I love it!
Sara helped Luba learn to bike. My kids wear helmets when they bike. Luba doesn't have one on in this picture because really things were crazy and I forgot to give her it at the very beginning. But both girls wore helmets, although unwillingly, the rest of the time. I put on my helmet as the girls laughed at me and biked along with them. It became apparent also that they haven't had much biking experience. The word "careful" was pulled out and used again! Luba picked up on it fairly quickly. By the end of next week maybe we'll dare take her to the little dirt ravine area that our kids love to bike up and down in. Snizhana is taking a little longer, but is doing great. She did crash into a ditch as Luba and I looked on horrified! Snizhana was fine and was up and out of the ditch laughing. Thank goodness!
The girls rode every contraption that we have to ride! They both really like this thing that Snizhana is on. I can't remember what it is called.
We set up our pool just before they came and they loved it. The kids spent all day in their swimsuits alternating between swimming, biking, jumping, eating (fruit and lots of it), computer and more.
Luba is talking to the chaperone while jumping on the trampoline. They both had to talk to the chaperone within a day or two of arriving to assure the chaperone that they were okay. It was so fun to watch Luba talk. She became very animated and spoke rapidly pointing all around our yard. Snizhana kept begging Luba for the phone until finally she was able to speak with the chaperone too!
Snizhana on her bike!
Snizhana with the roller blades.
We weren't sure how the girls were going to like our food. While we were cooking some eggs and potatoes, Luba pulled out milk and a bowl. She asked if a box of crackers that was sitting on the counter was cereal. I told her it wasn't and managed to round some wheat flake cereal up. We aren't big cereal eaters here! She and Snizhana started eating the cereal and Luba had kind of a disgusted look on her face. I gave them a bowl of sugar to put on it and they piled several spoonfuls on and were happy eating it up! They also enjoyed the eggs and potatoes. Most of the day they ate lots of fruit. The day we went to pick them up I bought three big bunches of bananas. The checker at the store said, "I hope you can eat all those before they are bad." I kind of want to go back and tell her that they are all gone now and it's only been one day! The girls love the bananas which they call banans. They also open them from the other side. I was about to show Snizhana how you are supposed to open them until I saw how easily she got it open. I haven't had one yet myself, but will try the other side and maybe I'll switch! We just bought a box of apples from Santaquin's local fruit store, The Red Barn. I am so glad we did because both girls love the apples too. Luba found some forgotten strawberries that were molding in the fridge. She really wanted one, but they were too far gone so I threw them away. Later she found another container of strawberries that weren't as far gone and I picked out two for her and Snizhana. Monday we go to Costco for their eye exams and we'll be sure to pick up some strawberries there for them. They have enjoyed grapes. Our apricot tree is full of almost ripe apricots which they have been loving. Besides fruit, for lunch Snizhana took me up on the offer of a sandwhich. She tasted the peanut butter and didn't want it. Then tasted honey and didn't want it. She ended up with a strawberry jam sandwhich! Luba missed dinner because she fell asleep. We made spaghetti and I really was wondering what Snizhana would think of it. She helped cook it which was fun. I gave her just a little to begin with. She ate that right up. I gave her more, and then some more. Then I told her to get her own and she heaped up a huge pile of it. I thought she wouldn't eat it all but she did! John commented that she must have a big appetite! And I am so glad to know one thing that she really likes.
The girls were doing so great that we decided they could handle a short hike to a waterfall in the mountains. We were planning to go with the Bennions and their boy, Renars, from Latvia. Luba had been taking a nap, but woke up when it was time to go. She was acting very miserable and held her throat. I called Josie to help us communicate. We decided she was suffering from jet lag and needed to go back to sleep. We canceled the hike for that night. We'll go sometime next week for sure!
After dinner we all settled down and went to bed. I slept for about three hours and then I woke up and my mind wouldn't stop thinking. So I got up and worked on this post before I forget it all. Now I'm going back to bed at 5:30 in the morning!