Helen & Dave's Most Excellent
The Ukrainian Addition !!!!!!


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Helen on September 27, 2010 at 10:41 PM Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone,

 It's crazy how it's already Thanksgiving weekend! It's been a long time and there's been a cry for news on the "Channel Baby". Well, he's still  thriving and growing like a weed. Talking non-stop (most of which I can only interpret) and gaining more speed (on land and in water!). He's a great negotiator like his dad and likes to continually tests us everyday. People tell us this testing and limit pushing will continue throughtout our lives. God, help us!! I've resorted to a few helpful parenting books to try to get through this challenging time. The one I'm clinging to right now is  "The Incredible Years" for 3-6 years olds. I'm a fan of timeouts for both Oscar and I! 


The summer was a blast and the cottage's is his favourite place to be. I'm guessing he'll be driving the boat by the time he's 5 years old. He's fearless of the dark, spiders, speed or cold lake water. He spent time hanging with his extended family from Calgary and Montreal and fellow adopted peeps.


He burns some of his 3 1/2 year old energy by doing gymnastics and swimming. Which is greatly needed because he thinks he can swim (but can't) and I figure in gymnastics he'll learn how to fall properly without breaking a bone (that's my hope). He starts preschool a week. I can tell he's wanting more kiddy interaction and I think he needs more socialization.


Happy Thanksgiving!


I've posted great photos!



Happy Mother's Day & Did I win the lottery or what?!

Posted by Helen on May 9, 2010 at 9:03 PM Comments comments (0)


This is Oscar speaking to all my amazing peeps out there! Life has been a blast!! I can’t believe how many friends and family are out there! I never knew how many people already knew me here in Canada! I’ve got a great crib in the Beach and the place is a revolving door. I’ve got a great family with a babushka, great cousins, aunts, uncles (to give me airplane rides) and plenty of new friends. I even make friends at the playground and I can’t even speak fluent English yet! I guess it’s my amazing charm and smile.


Thanks for all crazy gifts, but I’m afraid that my mamma’s holding out on me with some of the gifts and I’m not that impressed. Something about being over stimulated and spoiled…….What does being spoiled mean anyways?


My English is obviously coming along. I love reading books at night and in the morning to improve my English. My goal is to be fully fluent in 3 months. I particularly like looking about food items as eating is my favorite pass time. I can even out eat my  older cousins. I already grew into a size 9 in 5 weeks (the same size as my 4 year old cousin)! I’m guessing I’ll be about 6’4 when I grow up.


My mom calls me her person trainer because I apparently eat portions of her meals (it’s called “portion control”;) and I make her run off her feet. All I have to say is “What did you expect from a 3year old?”


I’ve been visiting my new four legged friend Shorty on a regular basis. I’m soo intrigued by dogs (they’re amazing creatures!). I wonder when my parents will get it that I want a dog and I want one NOW!


Today, my mamma surprised me by taking me to the zoo with my cousin, aunt, Mitta and my new friends Daniel and Laura. I thought my mom was lying to me when she said I would be seeing monkeys, giraffes, and even lions in one day!! I had a blast and loved sharing the experience with my new peeps. I plan to go back when the weather gets warmer to check out the water park too. If anyone wants to come, just drop me a line and my mom can sort out the details.


So, how am I coping? I’ve got mamma and papa trained pretty well with my daily acitivity and sleep routines and food consumption patterns. This keeps me being a happy camper. I’m pretty affectionate (my mamma calls me the kissing bandit, and I love lavishing them with more kisses when well, I’ve been misbehaving (a word to all the kids out there, it totally defuses ‘time outs’ and ‘the good/bad cop game’;). I’m learning to play with other kids (I’m not the best at sharing at this time…. but , I’m trying really hard!) My new friends and cousins Marco and Philip are helping me out. So, things are great and getting more comfortable every day. I’m amazed with all my new friends and all the new things I can do here in Canada, now that I have my own personal chauffeurs (just kidding mamma and papa). Enjoy my new pic (thanks Laura).

What's going on?

Posted by Helen on April 10, 2010 at 3:57 PM Comments comments (2)

April 10, 2010

My apologies for the delay in updating the blog. My computer got highjacked by a virus and needed some professional maintenance. It’s all good now.


It’s been a busy few weeks and Oscar is adjusting very well to the Beach life. He’s been keeping his mom and dad on their toes and enjoying meeting his extended family and new friends. He especially LOVES his Mita (grandmother in Spanish). Mita and Oscar are tight and whenever he sees her, he screams out “MITA!” Along with screaming Mita’s name, he’s screams “DOGGA whenever he sees one the street. He’s fascinated with all dogs; he even enjoyed a full facial lick by a young pup!


He enjoys eating, eating and more eating. We even have to stop him from eating too much to prevent from him from getting sick!! But, it’s great his has a great appetite.


Last weekend Oscar completely enjoyed the Beach Easter Parade! It seemed like everyone was giving him chocolates and candy. I guess with him smiling & waving to everyone while he sat on his dad’s lap, people couldn’t resist him!! Of course, mom was nervous about the big crowds and amount of sugar entering Oscar’s body. He just gave me a look which I interpreted as “Just relax mom!”


The most recent event for Oscar was his first experience swimming! And, he was a natural. At first, he stood in awe in the huge swimming complex, quietly watching other young children play in the baby pool. After a few minutes, he wanted to swim in the big pool verses the baby pool. He was determined to show me that he already knew how to swim. As a past life guard, this made me very nervous and I was happy he had life jacket on! All the other moms couldn’t believe this was his first time in a swimming pool. He freely put his head under water, held his breath and wiggled in the water like a fish. At the orphanage, he only bathe once a week. I guess it may have been the only time, he felt free? After 2 hrs of pool fun, and meeting new friends, Oscar was exhausted, ready for lunch and had a well deserved nap.


On a personal note, (moms out there, dont' laugh too hard) but being a mom is tough work!!! It’s 24/7 and all consuming! I’ve quickly realized that it takes a village to raise a child. I just can’t do it all and I need to relinquish overprotecting Oscar. I constantly experience mommy guilt which is an overwhelming feeling! Everyone around me says “Give yourself a break; you’ve only been a mom for 2 weeks!” So, yesterday, Dave and I traded off and I actually put away the mommy guilt and took a break by having a relaxing dinner with friends. Before hand, I explained to Oscar  I was going and to my surprise, he simply gave me a kiss, waved good bye and resumed eating his dinner! Maybe, he felt he needed a mommy break too!

How are the new parents doing?

Posted by Helen on March 28, 2010 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (6)

March 26, 2010

So, how’ s goin as new parents?


Well, it all started off when my wonderful sister and brother in law (Marion and Don) greeted us at the Toronto airport and had our own car parked in the terminal. Oscar was greeted with a Canadian Teddy Bear. This was a God sent; as we were feeling completely jet lagged and overwhelmed by being away from home for so long. Oscar was in great spirits when we hit Toronto (this wasn’t the case from Kiev to Frankfurt)! It was like he knew he was home and no matter how life started out for him, he was about to embark in a great life with his new family.


We arrived at our home in the ‘Beach’ and were first greeted with our X-mas or St. Patty’s green lites (hey it was just St.Patty’s day!). As we entered the house, it was beautifully decorated with an Easter theme with flowers, stuffed bunnies, chocolate bunnies, easter eggs and of course, a baby La La and stroller at the front door. We entered Oscar’s bedroom and it again was beautifully decorated with a Winnie the Pooh theme and a huge Teddy Bear in the corner and welcome home gifts. Oscar entered his bedroom, he leaned against his bed, and knew for the first time this would be his own room, toys, clothes and bed. He slept soundly throughout the nite. Dave and I laid next to him, with tears streaming down my face, as I felt the overwhelming feeling of love, family and finally being home.


It’s now Friday nite and we’re not out on the town, but pooling our efforts into putting our new drill sergeant into to bed in a timely fashion. Dave’s giving him a boisterous bath, that will materialize to a lengthened bedtime routine of the 3Bs (books, bath & books-thanks Nance for the advice). We’ve realized Oscar’s an expert kid and has the ability to derail us from structure and routine. Lovingly, we gladly accept this new challenge by looking at time management, flexibility and patience as useful tools. This world of parenthood is a whole new territory of both bliss and frustration (the bliss out weighing the frustrating ofcourse!). We’ve never felt so great with such lack of sleep.


We’re learning from each others routines, habits and expectations. Yes, we’ve made mistakes (and will make many more) along the way, but we’re learning to trust and love and forgive each other more and more. I guess that what having a family all is about!

Oh Canada

Posted by Helen on March 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (2)

March 25, 2010


We made it home safe and sound. It was certainly a challenging travel day and very tough on our little man. It started when we were going through security and there was a boy a little older than Oscar who was a few people in front and he wanted to follow him past the "Stop one person at a time" sign! It then got progressively worse until major meltdown right at window of stone faced "Emmigration" offocer who was pouring through all of the adotion documents and had little interest in what was happening outside his area. Things got better though as we got into the lounge area and he has something to eat and was mesmerized by the big fish tank. Lots going on today so will update this again later but wanted to thank everyone for all of your support these past 2 1/2 months!




Oscar, Helen and Dave

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Posted by Helen on March 23, 2010 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (8)

March 23rd, 2010

Pinch us, we really are where we are!

     Wow, hard to believe we are finally done! I want to say it a thousand times, done, done. done; dance and sing it, done, done, done! Scream it as loud as I can, only that is the last thing I really want to do as we just got our little man to sleep!

9 ½ weeks, today! We spoke with our primary agency contact today, who we had initially met  but have actually had very little contact with for last 4 weeks, and she told us there was another Canadian couple that just landed and had I guess, read our blog, and wanted to know, “are they still here”!

      Yesterday Dave went to the passport office in late afternoon and we were Uber paranoid something would go wrong! Dave said he wanted to kiss the woman when he walked in and saw Oscar’s passport open on the desk! Today we went to the Canadian Embassy and everything went like clockwork. Thank you Olesya and Kevin Swinton and anyone else behind the scenes, you lived up to your word of getting your end done in a day!

Now it is Luftansa airlines from Kyiv to Frankfurt leaving at 2:05 pm then tight connection but same terminal and home in Toronto at just after 8 pm. We have a Bulk head and are on waiting list for upgrade since Air Canada made us buy 3 new round trip tickets in Latitude fare to change flights a week! We’d hire a private jet right now, if that is what it would take to get us home!

     We had a great day today, we wished our best to our new good friends Wendy and Peter who are off to Sumi tomorrow and pray everything works out for them and their new little one. Piero and Svetlana then dropped by and met Oscar and brought him a toy car! I suspect this little man may get a bit spoiled from here on in. I can’t imagine what he must be thinking when it was just a week ago he hadn’t even had his own socks, let alone a toy! That said we also realize how blessed we are with the care the Boyarka Orphanage has given Oscar. We want to make sure he grows up appreciating and helping people less fortunate. Perspective is a powerful tool and Dave and I, truly appreciate what we have! As we were walking to a toy store to get Wendy and Peter a gift for their new child we happen to walk behind a homeless person and let me tell you, this is the last place on earth you would want to be below the line in! The description would not be appropriate given the joyful time we are at, but again we so much appreciate all we have!

  Dave went in to the HP office to turn in his security passes loaned to him and the ESSN team for Eastern Europe was there which was great, as Dave was very grateful of the hospitality everyone showed him!

      So my friends and family we are now truly at another watershed moment in Helcat and Fredrico’s most excellent adventure, although I guess it is now, Hellcat, Fredrico and Oscar’s most excellent adventure.


We will leave you with a quote from one of the people on Dave’s team ( thanks Cheryl!):


“ In this world you are just one person…..but to one person, you might just be the world”!


We pray we are "the world" for our new little “one person”.


See you all we hope very soon!


Love, kisses and as Oscar says while blowing a kiss “Paca”!

And Now The Time Is Near...........

Posted by Helen on March 21, 2010 at 4:53 PM Comments comments (3)

Sunday March 21, 2010: What is sleep anyways?


    Hello all! Yes, we’ve made it being parents for 3 whole days. Dave exclaimed,” I don’t know why I waited soo long to have children, I could just have a mitt full of them”. It has been an exhilarating, sometimes trying, always heartwarming experience so far! It has been particularly trying around sleep time. He’s still pushing the limits and we’re learning from trial and error. And, we now understand the word structure, structure, structure.


     So, how have we’ve been spending our days. Well, we’ve been getting up around 6:30-7am, Dave making breakfast, Oscar eating two healthy adult sized breakfasts, playing and getting out the door to the park by 9am. There is an amazing kids park just a block away and Oscar has enjoyed spending time on the swings, the teeter totter, sliding and climbing on the large structures set up for kids. We can hardly wait to get him home to the beaches where we have benefit of several play parks within easy walking distance. We then try to get back at the house for lunch at noon and an afternoon nap around 1:00 pm, although that has stretched to 2:00 pm.

    Yesterday however, we decided to visit the Ukrainian Children’s Theatre. So we left the apartment around 10 am, having had a morning full of frolic and dance. Of course having already used up lots of energy Oscar was less interested in the walk, even though the weather turned beautiful this weekend and spring was clearly making a decent attempt at fighting the ice and dreary of the long winter the Ukraine felt this year! “Papa, with his arms reached high in the sky cried our little man as he craved both the perspective as well as the warmth of his father’s arms. The walk was beautiful with a warm breeze and few people yet risen to venture the downtown streets, even though the day was likely the best we had seen yet. The walk was just over kilometer and Dave was feeling the new Papa shoulder and back pain, especially navigating the underground street passages with Oscar twitching back and forth in his arms anxious to capture all of these new found wonders. We were not exactly sure where the Puppet Theatre was and were checking our map when a couple of families with kids came walking from where we were and headed with confidence to where we thought we should go! As we reentered the street level near the Friendship Arch (A large concrete arch resembling a rainbow that signifies the friendship between Russia and Ukraine, likely more believable for some more than others?) we started to catch a glimpse of what turned out to be just an amazing journey. The Puppet Theatre was created 83 years ago and relocated in the late nineties to where it is today. Oscar had the amazing experience of enjoying a “Casa Loma" like structure in both size and architecture. The interior was even more impressive with hobbit statues and glass displays with a variety of puppets. I can just imagine what it would have been like to our recently turned 3 year old that was obviously experiencing something very spectacular that kids in the orphanage would get to see. The show started with a elderly man and women who clearly had a way of capturing young children’s attention and was also very engaging starting off by ensuring the audience, made up of a 100 or so kids, greeted the act that was about to come with a loud enough “ Do Bro Ho Ran Ku” ( good morning). It was an amazing Ukrainian puppet show and Oscar was completely mesmerized by the puppetry and other children in the audience. He was occasionally yell out a few Ukrainian words and Dave and I were hoping that they were appropriate, not completely yet grasping the Ukrainian Vocabulary!

     We then made our way back to our first visit to the Golden Arches since we have been to Kiev (even though they are prominently situated at every major intersection!) and Oscar again had a great time. As our friend Peter outlined, McDonalds genetically ensures McNuggets hit every sensory and food element kids crave. Kiev is no exception, he loved it!


     Wendy and Peter invited us to do dinner and at first weren't sure Oscar would be up to it but given he was in a energized mood after a long nap we decidec to make the trek (Ouch again to Dave's back as Oscar wanted to be carried!!) We had a lovely night and Wendy made some delicious Borche and even had gifts of a pair of sun glasses and guitar shirt  for our rockin little guy!


       All in all it really has been an amazing time. Yes we have had a few meltdowns, but we are getting better at understanding either how to handle them or as we learned getting ready for bed the other night, Oscar likes to have clear structure yet some autonomy as to whether he will sleep in bedroom with Papa or fold out coach with mama. This is relative moot given as soon as he is asleep he will be moved to the bedroom at any rate. Only problem is he often starts to do aerobics in his sleep so whoever is in the bed rarely gets much sleep!


      He is a happy, loving little boy who continues to make us laugh and enjoy things we just simply hadn’t bothered focusing on when he was not in our lives! The pigeons eating crumbs tossed out in the early morning, likely on a regular basis by a host of Kievenians, to the buskers belting out their best in varying genres for a few Grievnas!


   So tomorrow we are supposed to recieve his "Red" passport and plan on also calling our contacts at the Canadian Embassy as Tuesday they are going to turn around the rest of the immigration papers, and want to emphasize we really do not need any further surprises!


 We realize we are truly blessed and now very, very, very ready to head home!

Oscar Breaks Free!!!

Posted by Helen on March 18, 2010 at 4:58 PM Comments comments (7)

March 18th, 2010

Oscar Breaks Free!

     Hi everyone and apologize for not writing for a while and we have so much to cover!

Last weekend we were very busy getting everything ready for Oscar’s homecoming. We finally got to break open the 1997 bottle of Caymus Cab we brought to celebrate when it was 100% official and we lucky enough to have our friends Wendy and Peter make us a fantastic rib roast on Sunday evening.


    We visited Oscar on Monday again and it was our last day having our 2 hour “playtime”! We got some photographs of some of the staff that have been caring for our Oscar and we could tell it was bitter sweet situation and it was obvious our little man had built some strong relationships. Monday afternoon the court judgment was picked up by our driver Vadim and were surprised we didn’t even have to go or sign anything! Monday night we were treated to another great dinner at a Chinese restaurant called China White by our friends Piero and Svetlana. We met a friend of Piero’s, Eric who has a very successful artificial intelligence software development company with offices across the globe. Major benefits running a large portion out of Kiev where there is excellent access to highly skilled developers and lower cost than North America.


    Tuesday we started the day early and were going to first go to Ivankiv, Oscar’s birth town but Slava noticed the court papers were missing a term outlining no one had objected to the adoption so we were back again at the pink courthouse. After waiting for about an hour in the car we got the papers updated and off we went to Ivankiv. Pretty uneventful trip although did get an opportunity to stop by Ivankiv hospital where Oscar was born and took some photo’s for his lifebook. We were ravished by the time we finally made it back to Kiev, only having has breakfast at the beginning of the day so we had Vadim and Slava drop us off a few blocks from our apartment and we headed straight for our favorite eatery the Belgium pub. After some good food and a couple of pints we saw a Czech friend from Prague we had me a few weeks earlier and he joined us for a couple more pints. We discussed what it was like to live in Kiev vs other cities and got the low down on the dating scene in Ukraine!


    Wednesday we were back in Vadim’s car early to get Oscar’s Tax certificate (believe it is like our Social Insurance number?) and again very uneventful which was good. We also had Vadim and Slava bring us to a post office to buy some boxes to ship some stuff back so we have less to carry and more free hands to take care of our little man. We managed to get everything done we needed to including picking up food, champagne and chocolates for the orphanage staff and kids to commemorate Oscar’s departure. Wednesday night, being our last night childless and also being St Patrick’s day, made for a great reason to get out one last time and we had an awesome time at Rosie Ogrady’s pub where there was a Ukrainian band with fiddle, accordion and drums that belted out some good keltic tunes. After they exhausted their repertoire of Irish classics they then cut into Ukrainian favorites and their real talent showed through especially on the violin!



   Then came the day we had been really waiting for! With our two back packs stuffed with goodies, two big bags of clothes we had also bought on the weekend (we heard they had a shortage of 3+ year old boys and girls clothes so went little crazy on weekend) to donate, as well as the two boxes of clothes and shoes to ship home, we somehow managed to make our way to meet Vadim at our regular corner. We could hardly contain the excitement knowing today was the day Oscar would finally be coming home with his Mama and Papa! We got to the orphanage and Tetiana the head nurse, who is absolutely wonderful was there to greet us and we headed upstairs to our normal play area. Dave headed downstairs to video tape Oscar coming out of his dorm area and in a short time he could hear our little mans voice and then caught him breaking free. After blowing some kisses back to his attendants and a few “Paka’s” (goodbye’s), Oscar made his way upstairs to change out of his orphanage clothes for good and put on clothes he could now call his own. As usual Oscar was very excited about his new wardrobe and tried on a couple of items landing on the coveralls we had him wear earlier. We then met the director of the orphanage in her large office which was adorned by multiple bouquets of flowers as day before was her birthday and hence why she was not available for us to get Oscar earlier. Oscar immediately bolted for the largest arrangement of flowers thereby cutting out visit down to a very short “I know you will make great parents and will love Oscar (now can you please get your child out of here!)”. Then we made our way out to the car, all the time Oscar blowing kisses and announcing Paka with obvious joy at finally being able to join mama and papa full time! 

    We then went to two passport offices and at second were told we had a problem! We were told that the new passport’s (blue) were not yet being produced but that we were lucky a solution was available. For $200 U.S. we could get the older (red) passport made and that it would be available on Monday as we required. This also negated the need to have Oscar present for a required “scanning” which meant we could have had the passport process started 2 days earlier when we had the birth certificate, which would have had us leaving earlier but after all we have gone through you learn to roll with things and be happy we were still on track!


   We then headed to the post office but it was just after 1 pm so everyone had left for lunch (1-2 pm) so we decided we also would grab some lunch. Big test, how will Oscar be in a restaurant for the first time. Just taking in the scenes from Papa’s arms was enough to make his eyes open as bright as they could be. We went to a pizza place we had been to before and the place was packed but managed to get the last table in non smoking section. They had a childs menu and the waitress broughtout a coloring book and colored pencils. Oscar was awesome, he sat there, colored, took in the new sights like ski jumping on television and people watching. He wolfed down his chicken fingers with potatoes and carrot salad which was good as we had to get back so Slava and Vadim could get on with there day. After mailing the parcels (filling out multiple copies of forms) we said our good byes as Slava informed us we would not see her again and then made our way back to our apartment.


   Oscar was very excited to be at our apartment and was very happy to see some new toys waiting for him as well as another La La (baby). We had also purchased a baby a week before that we had planned on leaving at the orphanage but as we were leaving Oscar exclaimed he wanted it and Tetiana suggested we should take it. As it turned out that would be his transitionary item as we did not get the blanket we had given the first day we met Oscar (totally forgot about it after so many weeks). The doll kept Oscar calm during the relatively long waits in the car. After playing in the apartment and Oscar chowing down another snack we decided to head out and get him some slippers to wear at the apartment as well as tire the little man out with a walk.


   Again he was amazed at all the sights and we introduced Oscar to a very nice doorman from Africa we had met and walked by almost everyday. Oscar was mesmorized by seeing likely his first non Caucasian person, a good ice breaker given the multi cultural surroundings back home in Toronto! After the excursion Dave made dinner, Oscar once again consumed everything on his plate with great gusto and then got ready for his first bath from his papa. Oscar loved the bath and had great fun with the puppy puppet wash glove managing to pretty much wash the entire bathroom! Then it was time for some warm milk and a cookie and Dave’s attempt to read some bedtime stories and have Oscar drift off. Fat chance, wired on food, cookies as well as new digs he wanted nothing of stopping the days festivities! Finally he appears to have fallen asleep, at least I hope so as I write this entry and plan to head there soon also!


    We really can’t describe what an amazing day it was today. Whatever delays or frustrating moments melted away into a long memory with the joy Oscar brought us! You know what the most amazing thing is? We get to wake up tomorrow and have a full day with him and start our real life together!


Sweet dreams everyone!

Our last weekend as DINK's (Double Incomes, No Kids)

Posted by Helen on March 13, 2010 at 10:13 AM Comments comments (6)

March 13, 2010


    Do I dare say it? We’ve passed the 11 day waiting period and there’s been no family objection to the adoption. So, I think it’s safe to say that we’re officially Oscar’s parents. On Monday we will go to court to sign papers, Tues we travel to Ivankiv for Oscar’s birth certificate, tax #, and hopefully break him out of the orphanage by Wed. or Thurs. We then continue with passport and immigration papers. This means many hours waiting in the car outside of government and notary offices. We hope that while we're in Ivankiv we will get a chance to go by the hospital where Oscar was born and spent his first 18 months and take a photo for his lifebook.


    This past week, Oscar had his passport photos done. We went into the area where there is a seat to take the photo and Oscar started to cry. He had no idea what was going on and we assume he thought it was another medical appointment. We swiftly picked him up to console him and Vadim helped translate and shift his focus to a baby picture adverstisement for Kodak on the wall. He sat on Dave’s lap and the photographer was able to get a handsome photo of Oscar. On the way back to the orphanage, I was able to get a great photo of Dave and Oscar (see photo). It was obvious that Oscar was not used to the sun as he squinted constantly and turned away from any direct sunlight. We commented that we will have to get him a cool pair of shades sometime soon!


   On Friday, I had to go to the orphanage alone as Dave was fighting a bad cold and had work he needed to get done. This was an interesting test to see if I could handle Oscar on my own. I had planned to talk to the doctor to gather more medical info on Oscar, such as early medical diagnoses and treatments. Of course, Oscar barged into the meeting and was perplexed as to why I was not playing with him and inquired about Papa’s whereabouts. We explained Papa was ill, but he was still confused. To further his confusion Dave called my cell phone and I handed the phone for Oscar to talk or listen to his papa, probably his first phone call ever! And, he stood still listening to Dave, but not saying a word with a puzzled look. Maybe he is used to SMS instead?


   Afterwards, he showed me a soft ball that when activated would play music and he started dancing. Oddly, he dances similar to Dave. We looked at each other in the mirror and made funny faces at each other, played with his cars and of course his dolls “La, La’s”. He didn’t seem to want to go into the tricycle or run around wildly. I suspect he was missing he’s papa’s hyperactive energy! As many of you know, I’m a calm and even keel individual (Dave says “whatever, Mrs # 17 for Wendy and Peter's inside track and others why her nickname is Hellcat!"). He gobbled up some sliced oranges, and a cookie. As I watched him practically hoard the orange slices, I asked him if he could give me an orange slice; after a few moments, he hesitantly placed it in my hand, rubbed his belly and gave me a sweet smile. All and all, it was a good visit and I got a small glimpse of how our time would be spent together alone back home.


   On Thursday night, we went to Kyiv’s Opera House to watch a ballet “La Bayadere (The Temple Dancer) $30.00 for 2 persons! We went with another Canadian couple (Wendy & Peter) and Wendy (a previous dancer) explained the ballet, history of ballet in Europe and Russia and key figures within the ballet world. I had a whole new appreciation of this art form. I must admit, seeing a ballet was the last thing I’d be doing in Ukraine!


   So we are enjoying the last weekend childless and are anxiously awaiting this week and the last few chapters of this episode of Hellcat & Fredricos’ most excellent adventure!

Happy Birthday to a poet, a guitarist and a friend!

Posted by Helen on March 9, 2010 at 4:31 PM Comments comments (4)

March 9, 2010: Taras Shevchenko B-day!


Taras Shevchenko was a famous artist and poet in Ukraine and today the public commemorated this iconic hero who preserved the Ukrainian language through the written word. People gathered in the park in front of a large statue of Shevchenko facing the University to bring bouquet of  flowers, sing songs and recite poems to the beloved Ukrainian! Two other birthdays today to be celebrated, are our nephew Lucas in Calgary. Happy B Day and keep "wailing" on that Guitar! Tess Alexander also had a Bday today, so guys now you know you share it with a very important icon in Ukrainian history and culture!


And, it was another wonderful day at the orphanage- Our usual 45 mins drive to Byorka has been reduced to 35 min with the better road conditions. We know we’ve here for a long time, but when you enter the orphanage and everyone readily acknowledges you and points you to the same playroom everyday and when finally the head nurse asks “So, when do you have court?” “And, yes this process has been too long!” “Interpol” and shakes her head. We know it’s been way too long!


Today, we decided to wait for Oscar in the main corridor to video record his grand greeting to us. Oscar started by running thru the main corridor yelling out “Mama & papa!” jumping into my arms and waving back to his favourite nurse. We walked up the stairs to the main playroom, he tries to accost the head nurse for some candy (without luck this time) and we start our daily aerobic play routine (as mentioned in the previous blog entry). I finally realized its Dave not Oscar who’s hyperactive. I noticed Oscar trying to seek shelter in a tent to play with his toys alone. I have to say to Dave just give him some alone time.


Oscar’s starting to learn some English words as he’s become more relaxed in our presence. We decided to incorporate some English words with play. For example, when Dave pushes Oscar in his tricycle, he stops at the large mirror and we all point out and state “eye nose and ears! “ Oscar repeats these words out to us. This doesn’t stop him from trying to teach us how to say these words same words in Ukrainian. Hey, he’s a smart little kid! Today he even blurted out mouth!


The building blocks were finally a hit when built into a garage he could rev the engine in his Dinaco “Cars” mobile. But the all time hit again today was Dave bouncing Oscar on the big sponge cylindrical tube. He throws him in the air and guides his way down, only to toss him upagain. Today Oscar got very comfortable almost doing a total flip in the air. The inflatable kids trampolines will be a hit back in Toronto and Dave even talked of getting a trampoline for the cottage! He certainly has no fear whatsoever that we have seen. I am sure he will be a daredevil like his papa with water toys and boarding/skiing!


We then headed home listening to Vadim’s favorite Ramstein, a German rock group that apparently was playing in Kyiv tonight. When we got back we had a brief walk to take in the Tara Shevchenko celebrations and then Dave headed off to work and I went shopping to get some items for the orphanage. I then headed to Jennifer, Martin and Laura’s whom we have mentioned before and thankful that they had a successful visit to SDA today! They will be heading off tomorrow night to what we call Zap City, a highly industrialized centre in the eastern Russian part of Ukraine. Dave was able to join us later as well as another couple Peter and Wendy at Mario’s Pizza just a block away from HP Kyiv.


Before signing off and in case we do not get to blog tomorrow we want to send a very special 10th Birthday wish to another little man that is growing big, our nephew Lance! Have a great one Lance and we will celebrate it soon with your new cousin!

Love you all

Helcat & Fredrico!