T-Tapp’ing: day 18

How handy that I started this program on Oct 1.

I’m down 21 inches in total so far. I feel changes in my body, but I also have a long way to go still.

Three things:

1. It fascinates me that there is an exercise where you put your abdominal organs “in place.” Not that you feel each organ and put it in its place. It’s more like putting them on the inside of your abdomen instead of letting them stay pooched out.

2. I’ve learned that I have a short torso (measurement between ribs an hip bone), so my innards have less room in there. So I tend to have a big tummy. I am thinking this also accounts for why my “stomach” looks so big when I’m pregnant. It has no where ^up^ to stretch, just out.

3. After doing this 15-25 minute series of basic exercises, I am hot and sweat for quite a while–I mean I sweat for several hours after I’ve exercised and showered. I think this is good. And the more I focus on doing the form correctly, the faster and more I sweat, even though the movements are small.

One “fun” part of village life, and moving into a house that wasn’t lived in for several years, is the wildlife that occupies our rooms.

Our storage-room-turned-bathroom is of particular interest because Vitaliy made the floors warmable, so in winter, guess where the creatures go? Of particular interest was the snake that came in and out through a hole in the floor. He even left his shed skin next to the dryer one day.

Vitaliy covered that hole, so we only know of snakes inhabiting the summer kitchen at this point.

Ukrainian history and architecture note: The summer kitchen is a tiny building outside, not attached to this house, with  a clay stove inside (and sometimes they have gas stoves added) so cooking can be done outside the house in the hot summertime. The clay oven (pechka) in the house was also a major part of the heating system. We removed that oven after a while, though we used it when we had it, just to live romantically. We did leave the gruba which is a fire-heatable wall that warms the house for a long while.

We also have mice living all throughout this house. We had mice sightings :) So weeks ago, Vitaliy put out tons of poison in all these hidden places — so the mice would find it and not Andre. The poison causes the mice to not be able to run quickly, and then it kills them. So we’ve been collecting now-countless numbers of dead and half-dead mice …


Mice, snakes … and Vitaliy and Igor went fishing, so now we have this in our bathtub … a pike maybe?


It’s not Africa, but it’s a jungle out here.

death & drama day

thankfully, few days are like this one.

V’s sister has a tendency to get into abusive relationships. Since we opened our center out here near his family, he’s the one who gets called in a crisis. This evening was a visit to the police station, then to sister’s house of fighting alcoholics (with police), filing police report, learning the laws, driving police and abusive husband back to the jail. …

Then it’s 11:30pm. His phone rings. (My mind runs through a list ofpossible crises–death of church member maybe?) It’s scared sister relating husband’s calls with death threats for when he gets back home (just released from jail apparently). Lock the door and don’t let him in. Call me back….

Then, our former rehab leader turned anti-terrorist operation soldier  has been back visiting or the week, resting, hashing out his issues with Vitaliy. He gets news that 9 from  his group were captured. One day he learns that one was shot, the next day another … and he carries death around with him.

death. drama.


Some people live this way. for almost their entire lives.

And I. It swirls around my heart as I snuggle a newborn, get happy about my girls learning, make vareniki and pelmeni and borshch, listen to God-songs, and watch the yard turn into autumn.

Here are 2 photos of the new area Vitaliy and the guys have been working on all summer.

The new heating room off to the side and the cement floor of the veranda.

IMG_4092 IMG_4093

Thank you, God 👏


I’m not sure what to call this series of posts about losing weight, getting in shape, so I’m just going to call it T-Tapping, because that’s the program I’m using.

T-Tapp focuses on losing inches, and the next time I measured, I’d gained back 3 inches, so I bought the e-book, and I’ve already figured out some good pointers. I like this workout– it’s not bouncy, requires almost no space, no equipment to buy, short time slots to do the exercises … a lot of factors I need right now.

So I read that it’s important to wear shoes while working out, which I wasn’t, so for a few days I wore these dilapidated tennis shoes. (They feel a lot worse than they look!)


I met my first goal of fitting into 2 skirts I couldn’t fit into after this birth. So I bought a new pair of shoes to workout in.


I work out for 15-20 minutes a day. And I add in a move or two as I do stuff in the kitchen throughout the day, like arms or the move that lowers blood sugar.

Not changing diet much at this point, but drinking a lot more water. feeling changes in my body build.


I was showing Skyla the post on this blog about her fourth birthday, and I became so glad I’ve blogged for so long. It’s like a photo album with lots of commentary ;)

Monday, the girls FINISHED their 3rd grade math! They’re using Teaching Textbooks…. We don’t have the natural milestones of schools, so I try to make some. So to celebrate this achievement, yesterday we invited Ruslan and Igor over for borshch and a chocolate cake the girls and I made together. They showed the guys their textbook and computer lessons. They also showed their grammar and handwriting.





I got to thinking about some of the goals I’ve had for learning that they’re achieving. They’re both writing in cursive, and that is something I wanted them to learn for a few reasons. First, I needed just for them to learn handwriting so they could write school assignments (and now they write billions of little notes to tell everyone of significance in their lives that they love them). And I moved quickly into cursive– I want them to be able to write quickly. I think it’s a good skill that I’ve used a lot as I took classes and stuff. So I used BJU’s second and sixth grade handwriting books. In second, they did print and then moved into cursive. Then 6th, they moved through it slowly just to keep practicing and remembering. Well, Vika moves through these things rather quickly and she has beautiful handwriting. Skyla’s is beautiful when she wants/needs it to be ;)

We’re moving on to typing soon, too.

After 3rd math, I need to order 4th, so in the interim, we’re learning Math Facts. I hate reviewing things endlessly which is what needs to be done with these basic skills, so I like “hiring out” that kind of job by using textbooks. So we’re trying an online game for learning math facts. They’re excited to try it. I hope they stay excited … ;)

Yippee. Nice to look back and see us accomplishing things.






Spirit-Led Parenting is a book by Megan Tietz & Laura Oyer.

Yes, it probably should be read by most Christian moms parents today, especially with the wave of parenting materials that have been so popular in recent decades.

But sidestepping that bed of asps for the moment … I want to say a couple things. From the book. And from my own experience of reading this book.

  • I love their thought on pp. 46-47 that people/books/etc. can give us advice and methods (loads and loads), but only God can give us wisdom. And that He gives wisdom about things like breastfeeding even.
  • Love this, about the Trinity: “With the wisdom and gentle leadership of God the Father, the perfect example of servanthood in God the Son, and the incomparable power of God the Spirit available to us as we parent, there is no reason to lack confidence in the direction we are sure to receive as we call on the Lord to guide us.” (49)
  • “Could we begin to view parenting our children as not so much about what we can do or accomplish, but what He can do in us and through us if we will surrender ourselves?” (52)

I love how reading this book turns my heart to God and to my children. <3

So I was thinking about Una being “postpartum” just like I am. And I love thinking about the transition from in to ex utero. How to mimic the womb life in some ways, how to make these changes pleasant and smooth. How some things are just different forever now. I love looking in her eyes, warming her little body with my own, carrying her in this womb-like sling, holding her when she cries, feeding her when hungry or thirsty or needs to swallow– she did or had all those things done for her  effortlessly only six weeks ago.

And I was thinking about my older three children especially Skyla and Vika, as they live in our family. Where the baby cries and is picked up asap by some one of us. And how we all love to hug her (especially Andre), and I’m often told that Una wants mommy milk so I feed her, and she sleeps so peacefully next to me,  and we are all ga-ga about how cute and little she is. And I think on some level they realize that they were also loved in these ways. … And I hope that God graciously uses all this loving-on-baby to partially make up for the daily imperfections of my love for my kids :)

(And speaking of squishy newborns, I wish my mom could be here! So I’m wondering if my parents would consider living half of each year here with us after they retire again. We could set up a cute little pod-house for them right next to our house … )





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