Monday, March 11, 2013

This week we celebrate "Gotcha Day".  Those who have adopted know exactly what that means.  Four years ago our lives changed dramatically.  As we welcomed two little girls into our lives we had no idea what we were getting into or how our lives would look at this stage.  To be honest, we expected some kind of problems.  The risks of adopting from Russia and the likelihood of FAS caused us to wonder if, or what symptoms our daughters might exhibit.  By God's grace, our girls show no signs of any abnormality!  Both girls are doing well in school, and are fun to be around.  Each night I go in and kiss them good night, and say a short prayer over each one, remembering how inadequate we are as parents, and how much we need God to give us wisdom and grace as we raise our girls.

Lately I have been thinking about legacies, and what we will leave for our girls when we are gone.  Certainly there will be some "things", which is kind of neat to think about some of our special things going to these children who we love so much.  Jewelry, knick-knacks, heirlooms, etc. But I have realized how temporary these things really are.  What can we really leave that will have lasting significance to our girls, and the generations who come after them?   We can leave them with a lasting faith in Jesus Christ!  The foundation of faith will last forever, and can pass from generation to generation.  All other things will be spent, lost, break, rust, decay, or be thrown away.  Ah, but faith lasts.  I pray that our girls grow up to be women of faith, which is carried forward for generations to come.  That they would marry God fearing men, and together they would raise there children to love and know The Lord. 

So on this day, as we celebrate what God has entrusted to us, these two beautiful girls, who have turned our lives upside down, we stop and say thank you to The One who has blessed us so much.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

We can't believe it was 4 years ago today that we left to meet our daughters for the first time in Russia.  The last 4 years seem surreal.  The girls are 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 now, and doing very well in school and family life.  Looking at the weather today in Kras, it is -35.  Just remembering when we came home it was -40.  Burrrr.
Saw a web cam in Kras today showing the Christmas tree outside the hotel and remember all the ice carvings and lights that made it so exciting to be in Russia around Christmas.  Remembering all our friends we met while in Russia and wonder how all the children are doing that found new homes along with our girls.  God has richly blessed us with Sasha and Dasha.  Thank you God!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Merry Christmas

Well, we are about to celebrate our second Christmas with the girls, and we can't believe how time has flown. Both girls are so excited about Christmas. Sasha is singing today at a rehab center with her school. She was practicing her songs in the car on the way to school this morning. Next week is her school concert. We are excited to hear her sing. Both girls love to sing (they must have gotten that from their Papa) . We learned last year that lots of presents don't necessarily make the girls happy at Christmas, so we will again try to minimize the gifts and focus on Christ this season. All that said, we did finally get lights on the house yesterday, and are trying to bake some cookies as we establish some family traditions. It seems so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season without giving much thought to why we celebrate. So, will you take a moment today and ponder The Creator coming to live with us in order to die, but coming not as a king, but as a baby, helpless and fragile. Perfect.

Merry Christmas
The Falstads

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vacation '10

We are enjoying a week away in North Carolina. The girls have experienced the ocean for the first time, and it is a mixed bag. Sasha, after the first day jitters, declared that she was no longer afraid and wanted to go in deeper. Dasha never did warm up to the idea of going near the water, but maybe next year. They both loved the pool. The weather has been very hot, mid 90's this week, but we have found comfort near the water. The ocean temp has been in the 60's up until today, when it warmed up nicely in the 70's. The sand lived up to it's advertised size and both girls loved to play in it. Of course, they also had it in every imaginable nook too. Nothing a good shower can't correct.

We have had our fill of sea food, enjoying the shrimp and scallops, along with the other Atlantic fish. Even the girls liked the shrimp, their first attempt at such fare. It is a long way from Illinois, but it is nice to get away and spend time with friends and family. Everyone has been so welcoming of the girls, and it is hard to remember a time when they were not a part of our lives. MaryEllen mentioned, she can't remember having so much fun at the beach. God must have had little kids in mind when he created the sandy shores. Sea shells are just the thing to keep a four year old engaged during a nice walk.

Tomorrow we start the long journey home, saying goodbye to family, friends, and this lovely place along the ocean. Our hearts will long for the next trip, despite the long drive. We decided to make this trip every other year, but now that we are here, it seems like torture to wait two more years to enjoy all this. Besides, our girls are growing up so fast, they would be 4 and 6 the next time they saw the ocean. That seems cruel. Hope you enjoy the pics, and have some to remember your summer adventures.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summertime fun

We are coming out of the Independence Day Holiday and spending some quality time with the girls. The girls are Americans, and hence celebrate with all of us our independence and freedom. We not only have freedom from oppression and religious tyrany, but freedom to worship, pray, meet, speak the truth, and travel to other parts of the world where the Gospel is not known. These are just a few things we celebrate together this Holiday.

Sasha is growing up so fast. This fall she will attend a preschool in our area, and then next year she will be in kindergarten! Can you believe it? We are learning how to swim this summer and doing very well. Sasha is also riding her two wheel bike very well. It still has training wheels on it. Sasha loves to color with markers, and is exceptional in staying in the lines. Her mother is so proud. She can also write her name, and loves to sing. I remember a some my mother sang to me when I was little called, "My Little Teddy Bear". Anyone remember that song? Sasha loves to read the Bible every night, and helps turn the pages.

Dasha is growing up so fast too. Her hair is getting long, and is still blond. She runs around with her sister and they laugh and play. It is so pleasant to hear their laughs. Dasha can sing the ABC song all by her self, and loves to play with dolls. She rides a big wheel, but doesn't put her feet on the peddles. She just shuffles along. Dasha still loves to to on stroller rides, and we try to do that a few times a week for Mom and Dad to get some exercise. Dasha loves to read books, and watch movies, although we don't watch many in the summer. She enjoys being outside as much as possible, and sometimes is sad when its time to go in. She loves going down the slide at the pool, and has a huge grin on her face when she comes down.

Both girls are just amazing kids. Dasha has trouble being two sometimes. And she doesn't always listen to her big sister. But to see them play together reminds us how precious it is to keep sisters together during adoption.

We have a trip planned for vacation to NC in a few weeks to see MaryEllen's brother Joe and some other relatives. This will be Joe's first meeting with his nieces. We are all excited. Too bad it has taken so long. The rest of the summer will be taken up with pool time and playing at the parks near our home.

Hope you all have some time this summer to kick back and have a glass of tea, or somthing, and enjoy all that summer is.

Pete, MaryEllen, Sasha and Dasha

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One year ago.....

One year ago we were in Russia and had be awarded the girls in court, and were waiting for the day they would be handed over into our arms. (March14 is gotcha day) It has been a wonderful year, as we watched our girls learn and grow. Sasha doesn't remember any Russian, and Dasha is beginning to talk in sentences. Both girls have gained weight, but have grown in inches even more! Clothes no longer fit that were big last fall, and they are growing up to be such lovely little ladies. We just had pictures taken at day care, and it is amazing how they have changed in the last six months. Dasha looks to be keeping her blond hair, and Sasha's bangs have started to really grow in . They don't even look like the same little girls we met a year ago. I remember looking at other children's pictures after they had been home for a year or so and thinking, wow have they changed. We can only imagine what the next year will bring, but undoubtedly God's blessing will be evident.

The girls love to sing, and their favorite songs are "Jesus Loves Me" and "The B-I-B-L-E". They also like ABC, itzy bitzy spider, and the bumblebee song. Remember those? Sasha got a big bike from Santa, and finally got to ride it this past week. She is good. It didn't take her long at all to get the hang of it. We have been going back to the park near our house lately with the weather in the 50's and 60's. The girls love to be outside. We love the exercise.

Not a day goes by that we don't remember how blessed we are to have these little angels in our lives. God has been good to us. We will celebrate Dasha's birthday next weekend along with remembering the day we stepped off the plane in Chicago with our new family members. (March 21) Thanks for the prayer and encouragement this past year. We could not have done it without your prayers and God's help.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I can't believe we are coming up on a year with the girls. We have our one year home study this coming week even though we are 2 months away from our year anniversary. Each girl has grown so much, and developed more than we could have imagined. Other than the expected colds and ear infections, we have been doing well. The weather has been cold and wet, so getting outside has been a challenge. Each girl seems to be happy in our home environment, with very distinct personalities. Sasha is talking so fast her brain can't keep up, and Dasha is trying her best to tell us what she wants. Her favorite phrase is, "Where is Papa"? Both girls like to sing, read books, dress up, and go to school.

MaryEllen and I are feeling the result of having little germ carriers in our house. Both of us have been sick more times than we can remember since March. As we review this past year we are filled with awe over the blessings God has given us in these little lives. Not a day goes by that we realize how fortunate we are to have two beautiful little girls to care for. They are both so good.

We look forward to going to North Carolina this summer to introduce the girls to their Uncle Joe, and spending some time on the beach. I'm sure we will have many walks on the beach and time with Uncle Joe learning how to fish. The van will get another workout this summer it looks like. We are also looking forward to a visit from some friends we met in Russia who also adopted a little boy. We became very close in a short period of time as we helped each other through some difficult times. Now we just need to get though the winter. We look forward to planting a vegetable garden this spring and teach the girls where food comes from. We will let you know how that project turns out. For now, blessing to all of you from our happy family of 4.