Thursday, May 21, 2015

Clay Easter

Kate and her friend Nika made this adorable Easter scene out of clay at school. I love it! My favorite part is the garden.

Preparing for School

I had to smile when I found Bruce's clothes set out like this on his desk chair, along with jacket and backpack, the night before preschool. He sure loves his detski sad!

My Brown-Eyed Boy

William pushed his head between my legs and I trapped him. I love those big brown eyes!

Kazakh New Year

Jon and I had hoped to take Kate and James to one of the Kazakh New Year celebrations on March 24th. They had school off, but Willliam and Bruce still had preschool. Unfortunately, we had apparently just missed the celebrations by a day and they were cleaning up. It was a little sad, but no matter -- we alway have next year, and we still looked around at the remaining statues representing Kazakh culture and games.

And, just so that our trip wouldn't be a complete disappointment (and since the shorties who couldn't participate in this were at preschool anyway), Jon and I took Kate and James on the main ride at Khan Shatyr. 

My mom and I used to ride a similar ride called the Rocket at Lagoon, an amusement park in Utah. It was our favorite ride. It *still* is my favorite. I felt like a kid again -- it was SO fun! An old dedushka seemed to like to watch my enjoyment from the third flood as I went up and down. I'm not a screamer, but the ride made me laugh every time we dropped. 

Kate and James love the ride too. This is their post-ride euphoria!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Super Mario Bros Wii for Dyslexia?

When Jon and I decided to have the children go screen-free three months ago, I packed up the Wii with much delite and relief. I hate wires and clutter, and putting the Wii away made it look a lot cleaner by the TV. I would also get annoyed when the children occasionally fought or when their happiness often got too loud while playing. I didn't think we'd miss it, and we had not been using it all that often anyway.

However, while we were in Utah we found out that James has dyslexia. I started doing a lot of research to know how to help my sweet boy. Surprisingly, I found an article* about how playing action video games can help children with dyslexia read faster. It can be a type of therapy! Go figure! So, we pulled the Wii console out again, set it up, and let the children play! They were very, very happy lambs! They even dressed up to play on that first day back. 

Our favorite game is Super Mario Bros Wii 
(19 March)


Legos Are Great!

My boys just love playing with Legos!

William worked SO hard to earn these pirate Legos. He put the whole thing together by himself, (with his mommy's help, explaining the instructions).

St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt

On St. Patrick's Day, Kate put together a cute scavenger hunt for her brothers and the treasure at the end was a sucker each and these cute felt toys that she handmade! So cute!

First Day of Detski Sad

Ever since we moved to Astana, Jon and I had promised Bruce and William that we would get them into a detski sad (preschool/kindergarten) once things settled down with the move and getting the older two into school. Unfortunately, it seemed things didn't want to settle down, and taking the time off to look into preschools, go on tours, and do all the paperwork, while also making sure to have a translator on-hand each time wasn't fitting into our busy schedule.

Poor Bruce and William were so anxious to start school and they were so bored at home. We just hoped and prayed that something would turn up for them!

When we were in Utah, my friend, Yulia, told us that a child center was opening on the first floor of our building. The child center would have a detski sad available! What a blessing! Once we returned to Astana, it took some time to work things out because we wanted the boys in a Russian-speaking class and, at the time, all they had available was English-speaking. At one point, we thought they finally had a class ready, but after one class we found out that it was a sit-down-at-the-table-and-listen-and-learn-to-speak-the-Russian-language class. William could not sit through that! However, being anxious for our business, the child center soon organized a daily preschool class for the boys!

William and Bruce on their official first day!
So excited!

For a short time they were the only two in the class, and I worried that it would be lonely for them, but thankfully the class quickly filled up. We are so grateful that they have school just downstairs! We don't even have to put on jackets; we just go down the elevator and head to school. ;)

Brucie and William LOVE their detski sad in Kazakhstan!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Good Night Hug

We sure love how these sweet lambies love each other!

Arcade Game for Littles

Sunday, March 8th was Women's Day, and the children had the day off school on Monday, so we took them to Khan Shatyr for some fun. I didn't know if we'd go on a ride or play some arcade games, but the rides ended up looking a little lame, so we did games. 

I found out I'm not so good at skeeball anymore, but James has real potential (he did much better than me). Jon got the high-score on a What-A-Mole type batman game. And, Kate and I had fun playing a couple rounds of air hockey together. 

We didn't get to play tons of games, but we each got to do 3 or 4.

William didn't really get to do his own game, but he'd help some of us throw balls or whatever. Finally, I found a game that was just right for his age. All he had to do was steer a car on a moving road that would curve back and forth. He was excited to do it all on his own. William really didn't do all that well, but look how many tickets that kiddo got! I guess they like to encourage the little ones to keep playing!