Thursday, February 25, 2010

Exciting News!

This last Tuesday afternoon I was blessed to experience one of the greatest feelings. I was able to stand in a doctors office and watch, on a monitor, our child moving around inside Olivia. That's right, Olivia is pregnant once again! We have known that she has been pregnant for almost the last 3 months (she's in her 12th week right now), but we wanted to wait until the end of the first trimester as well as check everything out before we announced the pregnancy.

Because of our miscarriage last year, this pregnancy brought with it a lot more fears and worries as to what was happening with the baby. Morning sickness (really all day sickness) has been a big thing in this pregnancy, something that she didn't experience with our first pregnancy. Still, we didn't know how the baby actually was which was difficult. This last week as we went in for the ultrasound, we were filled with relief and joy. It was so great to see and hear the baby's heart beating as well as watch the baby jump around inside Olivia.

We are very excited! And we are more confident now that this time everything will go well. The doctor was able to check the health and development of the baby, looking for any indications that the baby has any birth defects or serious problems. And we are so thankful that as far as the doctor could see, the baby is in perfect health. Right now the baby is about 5cm long (2 inches) from head to bum. In the pictures you are able to see it's hands and feet (10 fingers, and 10 toes), all is well and we are pleased.

Thank you all for your prayers. As of now we are planning on getting all of our prenatal care here in Kharkov, then going to Kiev to deliver. There is a European clinic there we visited in January that we feel will be able to provide anything we need to deliver the baby without any problems. Keep praying for us, and especially for Olivia. She is the one that is dealing with all the sickness and aches, all I have to do is wash a few extra dishes and cook a few more meals.

Here is a very short video of the baby. I think it has the hiccups, cause it jumped around like this for ages. I know that it is all blurry, but if you notice the extra blurry bit in the middle of the baby's chest, you are looking at the heart beating. The was the most significant part for me, cause when I saw the heart beating, I knew that my baby was alive!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting from here to there... via Russian

I'm sure many of you are wondering why we still keep talking about learning Russian. We've been here for almost 16 months... and we still aren't fluent? That's right... far from it. Our language has been improving and we are pleased with our progress, but the more we learn the more we realize we have a long way to go still. So, here's what we're doing right now in our language studies:

Going how?
We are currently knee-deep in Глаголы движения (verbs of motion) in our language studies. Basically, verbs of motion are how you get around: whether by walking, running, driving, biking, swimming, flying, etc. It's a big switch for us English speakers because we can no longer simply say "I went to the store," we have to be specific and tell how we went, for example, "I ran to the store" or "I drove to the store."
And, it doesn't just stop there. We're also learning 12 prefixes to go with these specific verbs. Here are the prefixes:
в- - in
вы- - out
до- - as far as, reach
за- - drop in, stop by
об- - around
от- - away
пере- - across
под- - approach
при- - arrival
про- - through, pass
с- - down from
у- - from
So far, we've learned 11 out of these 12 prefixes. So if we want to say we went into the store, we know which prefix to use. If we want to say we walked to the post office, but stopped by the store, we know how to say that too. Our talking basically goes like this: "I.... (really long pause as we try to figure out how to say it all)... ran around the park." (Or through the park, or near the park, or away from the park, etc.) Most of the time, we come up with something, even if it's not perfect, but sometimes, it's just too much thinking and we abandon what were going to say and end our "I..." with "... nevermind!" :)
And it doesn't stop there either. For each verb, we still have to learn the six different ways to conjugate each verb in the present tense, plus the three different ways in past tense, plus the six different ways in the perfect tenses.
(I think I wrote that all right?!) Thankfully, our friends are patient people.

On a good day, we understand between 30-60% of conversation. It's a hard place to be... and a dangerous one. We understand quite a bit, but not being able to understand half of what they're saying means we miss a lot as well. We especially feel this when we're in a Bible study or discussion with someone. We think we understand what they're saying, but really, we're just doing our best to guess what their saying. Thankfully, we do our best to work as a team. That means after our conversations, we get together and put together what we understood to make sense of it. So far, it seems to be working... or at least we think it does! Either we are using our teamwork to make sense of it or we're all very creative. :)

Still Getting There...
But, here's the real lesson we're learning and most thankful for: it's not up to us. If it were, we'd all be in trouble and in the wrong line of work. We're learning to do what we can and then leave the rest up to God. I'd love to be able to say we've got that down at least, but... we don't. It's not always easy to leave it up to God. It's frustrating and we're still learning patience. So, like our verbs of motion, we're learning how to get to that point as well... via Russian.