Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Holidays

The holidays have been good so far. I thought I'd post a few pictures and give another short update of our family time!

Christmas Eve we opened stockings with my Mom and Dad (Kirt and Nancy) over Skype. They had sent us our stockings filled with fun toys and little things we can't readily get here. In the picture, Canaan is wearing one of his stocking stuffers, the Lightning McQueen hat, while he digs through the rest of the stocking. The other picture is of my parents on the computer (what we see). In the bottom left corner there is a small box of what they are seeing-us. (Click on the picture to make it larger.) Then there is also a picture of Canaan talking to them.

Christmas morning Canaan got us up, not too early. Brandon and Katie Price were visiting and joined us while we opened gifts. (We will write more about their visit on another post.) Dougle and I got each other a few small gifts, so we opened those first, since Canaan was occupied playing. After we opened each others, we tried to direct his attention to the gifts under the tree. We told him to look at the tree (trying to get him to notice what was under it) and he just looked at the ornaments and lights. He loves watching the lights as they change colors and blink! After we got down and pointed out the actual gifts, he got excited because the first thing he saw was a tractor-trailer. He was very excited about this new vehicle and started playing with it immediately. After he played with it a bit, we prompted him to open another gift. This is how it went: he would open a gift and play with it for a while; then we would direct him to open another! I think he had fun. He got some puzzles, books, cars, and all that fun stuff that kids love!

There is also a picture of Canaan walking in the snow, which he loves. He looks outside and says, "There snow on the ground!" When we go out walking, he loves to tromp through the deep snow that hasn't been walked through. He did this a lot yesterday, even falling some, but his boots and snowsuit/coat kept him very warm and dry! He also slid down the slide a lot. He thought it was so much fun because he went down really fast and landed on his back or bottom. This just made him laugh! I guess the snow slickened it- or there was ice, and he loved it!

The last picture is of Canaan in the car. He has been enjoying riding around in it, as have we!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all! We hope that you have had a Merry Christmas this year! We actually had a white Christmas! It started snowing about 4 days before. We have a couple inches on the ground now, which was a great gift to us all! Snow makes the cold so much more bearable!

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. We had our little family Christmas on Christmas morning and spent the day with the Hindman family and Brandon and Katie Price who are here visiting. We had a great time. Christmas Eve, we were able to Skype my parents and open some gifts through Skype! It was neat because they were able to see us and we could talk to them as we opened the gifts! The internet has been such a blessing for us! God is good.

We hope to post more soon. We've been busy, but doing very well. We have pictures and stories to share in the next few days. God bless you and your family during this holiday time!

The McDougle Three and a half

(picture courtesy of Brandon Price)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Silver Car

For more "real" info on the car, you can check out our family blog: and I'll try to post pictures soon. We just keep forgetting to take them during daylight hours (before 3:30pm)!

Guess what? We have a car! It took a while waiting around for Mommy and Daddy to do some paperwork, but we finally got it. When we took our first drive, I was very excited!! I could tell Mommy and Daddy were very excited too. The fun/scary part was that our first drive in our new car was at 4pm, when it is already pitch black! "It dark out here," I said. We went outside and Daddy put me in my car seat. "Get in car seat!" I said. "Buck up!" It is a good thing Mom and Dad brought my car seat to Ukraine! Then I pointed to the seat in front and said, "Daddy sit here." I just know lots of stuff and like to show it off. I was really excited as we all got in the car and bucked (buckled) up. Then we started going. "Daddy driving," I said. I play with cars and trucks enough to know what was going on. Normally I am not this excited to ride in a car (I have ridden several times in taxis), but I felt Mommy and Daddy's excitement and it made me all giddy too!
I think Mommy and Daddy were a bit nervous, since they don't know all the rules here in Ukraine yet, but Daddy did great. At one point we started to go and I encouraged him with a "Go faster!" They just laughed. I think the speed limits are slow here.
We went to two places in one night. When we were finally going home, I said, "Canaan, Mommy, Daddy ride in black car!" over and over. Then they told me it was not black, but silver. That is a new color for me. Plus, it was dark and looked black! But, I finally agreed and now I talk about our silver car. Then I said, "like fun!" (I think it means, I like to have fun.) Later that night, Chi and Silas came over to take baths (they didn't have hot water for 3 days). Then Daddy took them home in my new car. I said, "Canaan go in Canaan's new car!" But Mommy said tomorrow I could.
Our new car is great! It keeps me out of the cold and makes Mommy and Daddy so happy, just like it makes me. And now, sometimes when I am playing with a toy car, I pretend it is our new silver car and that Mommy, Daddy and Canaan are all in it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Our Trip to Kiev

Well, I realized I haven't written yet about our trip to Kiev. It was a few weeks ago, but I'll give you a short update.

Dougle and I left early Sunday morning on the train and arrived in Kiev around 1pm. We were picked up by the apartment rental agency we used. It is the same company we used to procure these temporary apartments here in Kharkov. You can stay in an apartment for 1-2 nights, or for months, and it is cheaper than the hotels. Plus, it has a fridge/kitchen so you can bring food home to make/eat. Anyway, they took us to where we were staying, which was about a 5-7 minute walk from the center, which was nice. We rested for a bit, since the train wasn't very good for sleeping on, and then went out to get a city map and look around the area. We had a nice time walking around that night, even in the foggy mist that hovered over the city.

The next day we went to find the German clinic we'd been recommended. We walked in and it was the most American looking place that we've seen since coming to Eastern Europe. There was a desk and a waiting room, just like you would expect to see! And, one of the receptionists spoke English! Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding somewhere, and this clinic was like all the rest we seem to find: they only do pre-natal and not delivery. They recommend places for delivery, but they are Ukrainian places, just like we have in Kharkov. We then contacted the American clinic in Kieve too, and they had the same deal. So, we decided Kiev was not the place to deliver! It just wasn't much different from what we have in Kharkov, as far as delivery is concerned. If we have other needs they can't fullfill here in Kharkov, I think Kiev has some better options. Just not for baby delivery!

That night Dougle and I were able to find and eat at TGI Fridays! It was a nice treat for us! We had tried a "Tex-Mex" Ukrainian place earlier, but it was nothing like Tex-Mex. The first hint: they put shredded carrots in our burritoes and their guacomole sause had dill in it! So, eating some fajitas with all the "right" trimmings was wonderful! We also had some fried mozzarella sticks...which I love!!

The next morning, bright and early, we hopped back on the train to Kharkov. There we were re-united with our sweet boy! He had stayed with his Uncle David and Aunt Livia, for his first night away from us! But he did great, and they did a great job taking care of him! We were also blessed with being able to talk on the phone to him a couple times while we were gone, as well as Skype. And when we arrived home, Canaan was truly happy to see us, which made our hearts happy too!!

So, we were praying for an answer, and it seemed pretty clear. We will continue with our plans to deliver in Kharkov. I have been very happy with my ob-gyn, and we will be able to register to deliver at the hospital of our choice when I am 36 weeks along. Thank you for all your prayer concerning this adventure of ours. We continue to pray for a continued healthy pregnancy, as well as a healthy birth, with no complications! Thank you for lifting us up before the Father in this! We love you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back Again!

Hello everyone! It has been a long time since my last update, so I have lots to tell. I hope you all have been having a blessed past few weeks!

Last week we moved into Livia and Dave's apartment (our apartment isn't available until January 1st), Rob and Denyce moved into their new place, Dougle and I started back to language learning, and I had another doctor visit (every 2 weeks now that I am 7 months along)! At our doctor visit, we had an ultrasound. It was a great ultrasound; perhaps the most modern machine in the entire clinic! Dougle thought he looked just like Canaan in his ultrasounds, with big cheeks and all, while I thought he looked a bit different, with a longer head compared to Canaan's round head. We will see soon! Overall, Max is head down already and looking very healthy. He's been really active lately too!

Canaan's personality blooms more everyday! He is also learning lots everyday and getting more ornery too! Here are a few things that we've been working on/he's been learning recently:

"All by myself." Canaan has learned this phrase and uses it often. He likes to be independent in many ways, such as walking up and down the stairs to and from our apartment, climbing out of his bed, eating, and everything else. If he tries and can't do it alone, he will say, "Too hard." And sometimes, he will just say, "Heeeelp!" with the BIGGEST Texas accent ever. I am not sure where he picked up the accent on that word!! But it is hilarious!

• We realized about a month ago that we talk in third person with Canaan. I am not sure why! But we say, "Mommy is doing this....Canaan can help Daddy...etc." So, he talks like this too, referring to himself as Canaan. So, we've been trying to start speaking normally, though it is hard after talking that way for a while. I am not sure what made us start talking like that; perhaps we thought it was more clear for him when he first started talking? But now we are trying to use lots of personal pronouns, like: me, my, you, your, I, and mine. He is progressing, but he still gets confused a lot with which one to use! "Daddy, help you." and such are common phrases he uses still!

• New! New! In addition to us moving to David and Liv's, his good friend Chi moved too! So, we've been talking a lot about new homes. Everyone is getting new homes. And when Liv and Dave return from South Africa, they will be moving and then a few days later we will be able to move into our new apartment. So we will be having lots of "new houses" over the next month. Please pray for his quick adjustment. He has been starting to wake up crying in the middle of naps and the night. I am not sure if it is connected to the moves or just a normal part of his growing up. But keep him in your prayers. He has moved quite a bit recently!

• Canaan talks more in sentences, repeating phrases that we say, and making new ones himself. He tells himself to "be careful" a lot when he is doing something more risky, like going off the couch head first, and when he gets hurt, he says, "I sorry!" It is so sweet.

Plurals. Canaan has been using plurals for quite a while now, which is impressive to me. But he doesn't always get them right. Sometime he adds plurals to adjectives as well as the nouns, resulting in something like: reds trucks. At other times, he adds them to words that don't need them, like: mines and peoples. It is fun to see him develop and learn these difficult concepts.

• For about a week, we had some speech issues. Canaan started repeating the last sound of each word/sentence multiple times. He would say: red-d-d truck-k-k. Sometimes it was just once, sometimes he would draw it out for 5 or 6 times: truck-K-K-K-K-K. Of course, we didn't know what to do. At first we laughed, because we didn't know it was going to continue. But it did. For days. Then we tried to correct him, telling him not to do it. Then we worried. What should we do? Discipline him when he does it (because he was doing it on purpose), or ignore it? Of course, being the Mommy, I was just worried he would give himself a speech impediment if he didn't stop! We wrestled with it, but decided to ignore it. After a few days it went away. It pops back up every once in a while, but we just continue to ignore it and he stops after an hour or so. Who knew being a Mommy and Daddy could be so difficult and confusing?!

• For those of you who don't know, we sometimes call Canaan "MONK" after the TV show. He has certain tendencies to like everything in order. He likes all doors closed, he lines up his cars and trucks (since very young- and they all face the same direction too), and many other things. His latest little "Monk fetish" is that if we have a series of books, he likes to read ALL of them if we read one. We can't just read one. If he finds one, and it is part of a series, he goes off to find the others before we start reading. We had 2 series of 3-4 books, but then mom sent us two packs of manners books- which he loves and has already started to memorize! However, each pack contains 6 books, which means we have to read all six if we read one! What a silly little boy we have!!

Well, thanks for bearing with the long post. I'll try to keep up better with it, even being busy! We love you all and miss you, especially during the holidays! Take care and God bless!