Since even most of you who know our crazy little family did not have the marvelous privilege of meeting our girl Anya while she was here, I decided to post a few (?!) pictures to
help me deal with the unbearable missing her give you a little insight into who she is.
This was on our drive home from the airport. At that point, she wouldn't speak above a whisper, and this was the most interaction we got--slight smiles. We had been warned she was shy...but this was REALLY shy. We were a little worried about trying to help this girl come out of her shell in our crazy household.
However, the next day (after dragging our poor jet-lagged girl to church and then the playground with friends in the afternoon), she warmed up and began laughing and playing.
I sneaked this shot of the girls holding hands at worship that evening.
The next day, there was a party for refugee children in our area, so I took our kids over to make friends. Anya warmed up and joined in the games with the others.
This is a quick one I caught of the kids flopped on our bed, watching something on the iPad.
Anya is a pro at playing the grade-school hand-slapping game!
She arrived on Friday afternoon, and by Tuesday, we were on the way to Arkansas to see family for Christmas. Already Anya was coming alive as herself.
The next day, Wednesday, it was Christmas with my family! (Since they are all in the medical field, we just pick a day that works for all the schedules.)
Our boys, always two peas in a pod, often stuck to playing with each other, leaving Anya and Anaya to enjoy creating the Sisterhood bond. I snapped this one on a walk in the woods (complete with Bug Barn and new two-way radios).
Anya got to pump an old-fashioned pump in my parents' yard and give Alan a drink.
She was a quick learner and joined eagerly in with the traditional Crosier family Mexican Train domino games!
That afternoon, I sneaked a picture of the first time Anya initiated bringing the phone to Alan to try communicating via Google Translate.
By about a week into her visit, she was charging around with the other three playing Tickle Monster with Daddy.
And Alan did not disappoint with his everlasting Daddy wonderfulness! (These were matching pillowcases I made for the girls.)
She was thrilled to play gymnast with Daddy.
Clearly, she's pretty talented at this!
We took her to visit my sister at work at Air Evac, and she and the other kids enjoyed exploring the helicopter used for emergency airlifts. First, we got to put in earplugs and watch the helicopter land--exciting for all of us! The people on the helicopter were worried when they saw the girls holding dolls. They thought someone had brought babies with no earplugs!
This was a big hit!
She also got to experiment with taking selfies.
You should have seen her face when she saw the Christmas lights decorating the square in Fayetteville, Arkansas!
Even getting groceries was a fun new experience for Anya.
Pizza with the family was another huge hit.
On our way back to Tennessee, we stopped at the Bass Pro store in Memphis. Alligators, fish, boats, a glass elevator, all new experiences. Amazing!
You can see Anya holding her new doll Evalina here. She was such a devoted mommy. I don't think she has ever had a doll before.
Back in Tennessee, we went to Rock City to see the Enchanted Garden of Lights. Thankfully, we picked a warm and dry evening!
We only had a day and a half back in Tennessee, though, before we headed up to Kentucky for a Conference: Generation. Youth. Christ. The hotel Christmas decorations were amazing to our girl.
In response to an eager chorus of "Please, Daddy?" from two adorable girls, we went out in to the freezing New Year's Eve weather to get, unbelievably, ice cream! (And yes, by now we were both "Mommy and Daddy" to her.)
To me, one of the highlights of Anya's visit was when she brought me this postcard from the It Is Written display at GYC. She wanted to understand the picture. I pointed to the center of the cloud and said, "Jesus." Her face lighted up with indescribable delight as it dawned on her that Jesus was coming in the clouds. She grabbed my phone and asked through Google Translate, "We not die?" I had to blink back tears as I explained to her that Jesus was coming in the clouds like this soon. She was thrilled and wanted to know next if Jesus could get her from Ukraine.
Our friends Uncle Chester and Auntie Jane took the girls with them on a flight in their airplane, which was a another great thrill. (So was tickle torturing Chester before Daddy got there to pick them up.)
Back at home, things settled into something of a normal routine after GYC, with Anaya going to school and Anya and me staying home with the boys. We did get some time with friends, and swim parties at the pool at Southern Adventist University were very popular!
The girls enjoyed playing horsie with the boys at Uncle Chester and Auntie Jane's house!
By now, our girls were settling in as sisters (complete with petty disagreements, but we won't mention those here).
Anya doesn't know how to play the piano yet, but she really wants to learn!
Anya loved dressing up Anaya's cat Zinnia, whose everlasting patience made this picture possible.
We had one last swim party the night before she left.
On the final Sabbath at our house, after a tear-jerking heart-to-heart with us via translation, Anya used sidewalk chalk to write a message to our family and our translators.
So, there's a taste of our journey. I hope you feel like you know our girl a little better now, and understand why we miss her so much!