Hinkson Family Circle

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Did I Miss Something?

Ok yesterday Tyler had a big bouguet of flowers delivered to him from a cute girl because he happened to mention that he was not feeling well. Today a girl came to the door with flowers for Devin. I am wondering if someone declared it "National Girls Give Flowers Week" and I didn't know about it. Should I be sending some to Dave at the office? I guess that I am just old fashioned or out of the loop. Has anyone else been having cute girls deliver flowers?

The boys are off to Scout camp. Devin, Daniel, and Vitaly are gone with all their man gear. I hope they are careful with their knives and don't poke each other's eyes out with their fishing poles :) I have been nervous in the past to leave the new boys home without an adult and have been keeping a close eye. It is kind of a little relief to have Vitaly in the care of good scout leaders for 3 days. I hope they know what they are in for :) I wonder if anyone will take them flowers at camp.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One month in America

First here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Yes, the boys are learning English very rapidly. Tyler is teaching them formal classes and with all the talking going on in our home they are pretty well saturated with English. They are really able to communicate so much better and seem to understand most of what we say. We are able to do less and less as far as charades and it is fun to witness the miracle of learning English right before our eyes.

Yes, I am still wearing red white and blue (although I try to squeeze in a couple other colors occasionally.) I will probably look funny in a flag sweater at the holiday program at school, but America is Awesome!

No, still no accounting from Oksana for the money she took.

Yes, the family is jiving and although the honeymoon period has worn off and the kids are claiming their turf and treating each other more like siblings than guests now, it appears to be going pretty well. No angelic choirs, but there is a bit of harmony amidst the chaos.

No, Vitaly didn't persist in being called Andrew. He switched to Andy and then went right back to saying we should call him Vitaly. I hope this isn't a multiple personality things popping up.

Yes, we will probably be placing the boys in their age appropriate classes and it may change once they do evaluations after school starts. Vitaly will be in 7th grade and Spencer will be in 3rd grade. Vitaly thought he would be in 6th and so he was delighted to learn he is closer to graduation.

end of aanswers to frequently asked questions

Vitaly had a great 12th birthday. He kept changing his mind on whether he wanted to go to Lagoon or the Aquatic center and finally settled on Swimming. It is less driving and they had a blast. I made the 4 layer blue cake (the wedding cake he had drawn) it was pretty ugly but it tasted good. I took a picture but I am too embarrassed to post it. Birthday cakes are not my specialty. He got an Ipod (he has wanted one forever) and he loves shuffling from song to song and between him and Daniel I have heard the Baby Baby (Justin Bieber song) a few too many times.

Tyler is dating again.
Bryan has his first baptism in Ukraine.
Devin is excited to go to scout camp and do manly things. Today we were working in the yard and I asked him to push the wheelbarrow of rocks and he said he had to protect his sore shoulder for camp so he could do manly things, I wanted to suggest that he start doing manly things like taking the wheelbarrow but I bit my tounge. Somehow sharing that with the world now makes my tounge feel less bitten :)
Daniel is not as excited about scout camp, probably has something to do with the girl population at camp.
Vitaly is going to camp and is looking forward to the swimming and rope swing over the lake that Devin went to great lengths to describe.
Spencer went to a cub scout camp recently and everyone is talking about the miracle that a returned missionary from Ukraine just happened to be there and was his guide and friend the whole day.
Alisa is more outnumbered than ever and we are working on getting in touch with her feminine side again, school shopping should help.
Scotty is surviving. He doesn't understand the pecking order thing that the boys brought from the orphanage and I keep explaining that Scott is the baby and always will be and he just automatically gets what he wants and isn't to be ordered around and picked on. I think they are catching on.

I am very grateful that the EFY office was inspired enough to schedule all my talks in August. It would have been too much for July to get the new talks ready but since things are beginning to settle down it will be perfect.

All is well!

Christy and Crew

Sunday, July 18, 2010


It has been 3 weeks and we are all adjusting to our new patchwork family. Things are going well and I thought it would be fun to note some places where progress has been made with the new boys.

1. Vitaly (who now says he wants to go by his name Andrew) decided he wants an American name. I don't know if everyone can break the habit of calling him Vitaly but we will give it a shot.

2. Andrew (Vitaly) said "love ya" to me as I walked up the stairs this week. I almost tripped and fell but had to smile for quite some time after that.

3. This morning before church they both put on white shirts and Andrew (Vitaly) put on a TIE! He wants to look like Daniel. He watches carefully as Daniel passes that Sacrament at church and today he said "good job" to him as he passed to us both times. It was cute.

4. Speaking of shirts, the boys are leaving them on more often now. They used to take them off at the first hint of being hot but I kept asking, "where is your shirt?" Now they just instinctivley put them back on. Today after church everyone changed and Andrew came upstairs with his shirt unbuttoned and a shark tooth necklace that someone got in Hawaii and looked a lot like Crocodile Dundee. What they won't do to look "cool."

5. They are fuguring out the toilet. Now they flush the paper and usually actually flush and are doing well. I did walk in on Spencer this week in the middle floor bathroom and he was sitting down on the actual toilet (seat and lid behind him). I cringed several times and hopefully Tyler explained that we only have to lift the toilet seat when we go #1.

6. Last night Andrew (I still want to call him Vitaly) prayed at family prayer. He said the whole thing and didn't crack any jokes. It was very very cool!

7. The house distruction has slowed down considerably. In the first 2 weeks we had a number of things break from the curiousity crew that we brought from Ukraine. They had to try everything and aside from the broken window from the baseball and the 4 wheeler crashing into the deck that I already mentioned, my other favorites are the ceiling fan that no longer has a pull chain and the lock on the storage room door that was locked from inside and we couldn't get in for days. I finally had to take a hammer to the doorknob and remove it since it is less expensive to buy a door knob than call a locksmith.

8. Andrew (Vitaly) is beginning to help out with the work willingly, when it is his idea. I was trying to saw down a broken branch from one of our willow trees and he ran up and said "no, I.. I" so I handed him the saw. He tried it for a minute and thought it would take way too long and so he asked for the ax. We tried that for a minute and the visions of danger wouldn't leave me alone and it was too heavy for him anyway and so I started to put that away and he said "one momient" and ran and got a minuature garden hoe. He hacked at the branch for a long time (my sawing would have done the trick much quicker :) and finally after giving up on that and trying a hatchet the tree gave up the branch and he was so proud. He couldn't wait to show the older boys the branch he cut down when they got home.

9. English is coming. Both boys are surprising us with good word combinations. It is probably a little slow since we are pretty determined on helping them retain their Russian but they are having fun putting words together and taking pride in being understood. Yesterday Vitaly found a key outside (yes maybe the one for that storage room door) and held it between his thumb and forefinger with the rounded side up. When he approached me I thought it was a snake he was holding and I don't like those and so I jumped a little and backed away. He laughed and said "Mama, scared, key" and we all had to laugh.

10. The eating is normalizing a little. They still like to eat non-stop but we have made a little progress on having them eat a little more at mealtimes and a little less the whole rest of the day. Some foods that they would normally push away, they are trying and liking and so the pickiness is easing up a lot. This week is Vitaly's birthday and I am anxious to see what he wants for his birthday dinner. He drew a picture today of the birthday cake he wants and it is pretty much a wedding cake but HEY! we survived Ukraine where I could never find a cake mix and so I can make a blue wedding cake that says "Happy Birthday Andrew" and has 12 candles stair-stepping down the cake. I think that I had better set aside a few hours for that project. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Soccer and Scouts

Vitaly wants to be a professional soccer player when he grows up and he is pretty good and so Dave has been asking around on the best way to get him involved in soccer. One of his patients has 2 sons that play pro soccer and he reccommended a team and a coach and Dave contacted the coach. They practice on Tues. and Thurs. and in the fall they will play one game in Logan and one game in SLC each week.

We took Vitaly to try out and they accepted him on the team. The team is made up of boys from many cultures. Most of the boys are from South American countries and so Spanish is the predominant language of the team. Dave and Devin speak Spanish and so we thought that maybe if English doesn't come too easily, that Spanish wouldn't be so bad.

A funny thing happened at the practice on Tuesday. Dave overheard some boys on the team talking about Vitaly. One said "He is from Ukraine" another boy said "No he's not, he is from Nay Panny My O" (this is how you pronounce "I don't understand in Russian." Vitaly still laughs about this little "joke" when we talk about it. It sounds kind of Spanish (like cinco di Mayo) and evidently the 2nd boy had asked Vitaly where he is from and he said in Russian "I don't understand" and so that became his homeland.

Spencer is at a cub scout day camp today. We didn't know if he would actually go at the last minute although he seemed pretty excited when Tyler explained what they would be doing, (Zipline, shooting, archery, bikes etc.) I hope it goes well today. We have my sister and her family in town and so I didn't go as a chaperone but my friends did and they took Spencer under their wings and he will hopefully have a blast! He looked cute in a scout shirt and the boys were all excited to spend the day with him.

Spencer learned to ride a bike yesterday too. He has been trying to do it for a few days but last night it clicked and he is able to race with the best of them now. I hope he doesn't decide to take a bike ride and get lost while we are not looking. There are more things to worry about as we try to help the boys learn the limits and the boundaries.

All is well

Chores and Work

If anyone ever thought that we were adopting to have extra help around the home, they need to come over to our house and see why that would be a really laughable reason to adopt :) Actually Spencer is really good at helping and when we ask him to help he pitches in and does whatever he can understand to do. Vitaly on the other hand seems to have some kind of false illusion that he is somehow waaaaaaaaaaaaaay above any kind of labor or effort and should be catered to at all times. I think he imagined that he would have servants working for him in America or something. When we ask him to do something he says "Oleg" then if we insist that he help, he tries to make someone else do it or stages a sit in and refuses. He has lowered himself to take out the trash a couple of times and I did witness him pulling a weed today and he has helped willingly very rarely but most of the time he is mumbling and muttering in Russian as he reluctantly gives a meager effort. I was getting pretty upset about this and so I tried a little experiment and it worked (so far.) I told the kids that we were going to work today and so we moved some furniture and books and then went outside to move some water on the lawn and work in the garden. Vitaly was doing the sour look, murmuring thing and giving me dirty looks everytime I reminded him to stop jumping on the trampoline and help. Usually this would make me upset but this time I just had to try not to laugh. As we were working in the garden I decided to do a "sow and reap" activity. I told the kids that I would take them to dollar Tree and give them money according to how much work they did. This fueled the fire under Spencer and Scott but Vitaly layed on the grass and pulled a weed or two when someone said "Hey Vitaly, help us" etc. After the work we cleaned up and went to lunch and to Dollartree. The other kids got 3-4 dollars and Vitaly only got $1. He got the message. When we got home, he went in the kitchen and took out the trash for the first time ever without being asked. He went out and got the newspaper (which we don't ask him to do, he just likes to get it and the mail.) His attitude seemed to change immediately. The rest of the day he was an angel and seemed to be trying to make us happy whenever he could. He actually hugged me, played one of the songs I wrote over and over on the computer and tried to sing some of it, (this is a huge change from the annoying rap music he brought from Ukraine.) He told Dave that he loved him, and was such a nice kid the rest of the day. At bedtime there was not the usual resistance. It was amazing. I hope it lasts :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The new kids love to eat onions raw! I had to post a couple of pictures of them eating raw red onions. They would eat and then wipe their eyes as they cried the tears brought on by raw onion eating. So funny!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

girl's camp and family reunion

2 weeks at home

It has been 2 weeks since we have been home. We are growing together as a family and having fun with the adjustments and the joys.

We went to a family reunion today. We told the boys that they would be able to meet their Grandma Hinkson (babuska) and some cousins and aunts and uncles. We told them that some people may hug and kiss them and they said "no" and started practicing their self defense moves. We were worried how these introductions may turn out but they turned out fine and most everyone on the Hinkson side got to meet our new boys.

At the reunion the boys had a blast playing the Wii, soccor, basketball and eating chips and hotdogs on hamburger buns (their own creation of the day :) On the way home we stopped at Lagoon for 1 ride as a little break.

One cute thing today was watching Vitaly bond with Blake and James. Tyler explained to him that they are his nephews and he is their uncle. He took this seriously and I kept catching him playing with them and enjoying his unclehood.

We have almost recovered from Ukraine. I spent the week at girls camp and came home very dirty but I felt less dirty than I did in Ukraine. It is so good to be home and helping the boys adjust to our culture.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lagoon and home

pictures of Lagoon and home.

4th of July Weekend

Spencer (Oleg) just came in the door and said Babenko no, Hinkson, yes. This was sweet to me because we haven't made a big deal about them giving up their old family names but he is saying that he is happy to be a Hinkson. He has become very good at giving us hugs and even kisses especially when he is really happy.

Vitaly is loving it here too. I think that sometimes he is worried that we will change our minds and send him back or something because if he does something that he thinks will get him in trouble he tries to pass the buck or look extra cute so we won't be upset. Yesterday he was playing baseball with Daniel in the front yard and you guessed it, hit the ball and broke a window. Luckily it was a double paned window and it only broke the outside glass but he immediately handed the bat to Daniel so it would look like it was his hit that broke the window. We heard the crash and came running and Dave made them clean up the glass. A few minutes later he brought up all the play money from the soccor monopoly game we bought him in Ukraine and gave it to us to pay for the window. It was cute. They all took the window to the glass store today and they understand that they will have to do some work to pay the bill. Dave told them that we play baseball at the park now :)

The boys loved Lagoon and Vitaly wants to go back on his birthday in a few weeks. When we asked what he wanted for his birthday he said "a car" we kind of laughed and said "no car" then he said "4-wheeler" I tried to pantomime what would happen if we had two 4-wheelers and he got another negative response. Then he wanted so badly to tell us something but couldn't find the words (I actually like when this happens because it is a built in incentive to learn English and we like it when it is their idea the best) He waited as patiently as possible (he even layed on the garage stairs) until Tyler came home to tell him to tell us that he wanted surprises for his birthday and maybe an Ipod. Ok that is more like it.

We are getting ready for a family BBQ today and a chance to celebrate the 4th tomorrow. I am going to leave the patriotic decorations up for a good long time. My kids keep asking why I am wearing red, white and blue everyday. I just tell them that I Love America so much. I made a cake for the BBQ and let Spencer and Vitaly lick the beaters. I don't think they have ever done this because I never saw beaters in Ukraine and certainly no cake mixes. They went on and on about how delicious the beaters were. They said it was like ice cream. It is delightful to see these boys finding joy in the simplest of things. It is bringing a whole new dimension of appreciation to our family. I wouldn't say that adopting these boys was a smooth move, but certainly a good one in many ways.

I know that there are many children all over the world who long for a solid, good home. I pray that they will realize this blessing in some way in their life, even if it is in their own families someday. I know without a doubt that our Heavenly Father gave us families to help us to return Home to Him someday. In fact you can almost count on when something in life promotes strong families, it is of God and when something tries to destroy families it is from the other place. I have heard that a nation is only as strong as it's families and I believe it. God Bless America and the families that make her great.