Friday, September 30, 2005

Tuesday photos

We had company on Tuesday night. I didn't get any photos when they were here, but I did get some of the preparations for their visit:

Jaan and Raia making brownies
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Asleep on the job
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Monday photos

I'm a bit behind here, just because we've been busy with little things. (And with enjoying having Will home for a long stretch of time!)

Here are a few photos from Monday:

Working on Gospelink letters
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Will had to do some work on the computer, so of course my helpers had to help him, too.

Jaan with friends at the orphanage
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

HUGE PRAISE REPORT: We have official permission to work with the kids again, and not only that, but we can have the Bible lessons IN THEIR CLASSROOMS!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The orphanage

Last night we went to visit the kids at our local school-orphanage. We haven't been allowed to have Bible lessons there for over a year now. We're praying that they'll let us meet with the kids in another location this year.

It was really good to be back, but it was hard. So many of the children we knew well before have grown up and now look like tough teenagers. I guess when we were going there four times a week, I kind of got used to the sadness, but it really hit me hard again last night. As I walked home with my own two babies, I just wished I could have brought all those other children home with me to love them, too.

Please do pray that we'll be able to have more contact with the kids from the orphanage this year!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Zhatva in Viazniki

Those of you who beg to see photos of me are going to be happy today. Will was busy with the camera.

Enjoying the fall beauty
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We had a wonderful day, starting with train ride. The fall colors were absolutely beautiful! I think yesterday was probably the peak day, and we were able to thoroughly enjoy it.

Jaan and friends
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Of course, it was fun to travel with friends, too. Andrei was excited because it was his first time to ride on a train, and Jaan and Mark were just happy to be together.

Arriving in Viazniki
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Getting a ride from Pasha B.
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Walking to the church
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan and Mark were especially cute on the way from the bus to the church. They held hands and walked together, crunching in the leaves, and talking to each other. There's a bridge over a little ditch that was quite a challenge for them. It's just two boards. First they tried it with each one walking on one board, but they almost fell, so they backed up. After several different attempts they finally ended up with Mark going first and dragging Jaan along behind on the same board.

A song from the Kovrov group
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Another family Zhatva photo
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

We're in Viazniki today

Last week a group from Ivanovo and Shuya did the special church service for us. This week we're going to do something similar for the church in Viazniki. (Remember those maps?) We're headed out the door bright and early this morning.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Preschool days

Cutting with scissors
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Making circles
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I don't really believe in formal preschool, but we have been having some school-ish fun lately. Jaan has been fascinated with scissors for a while, and now he finally has his own pair. He loves to practice with them. We've also been talking about colors and shapes a lot. He doesn't seem to have learned any of them, but he loved making cheese circles. (That's what he was doing in the picture.)

I was thrilled recently when we were outside, collecting fall leaves. Jaan had his little bucket with him. I suggested that he put only yellow leaves into it, and after asking me "uh?" a few times as he held up different ones, he figured out what I meant. He brought home a whole bucket full of yellow leaves.

Maybe we don't do preschool, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun learning!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Not much going on here

Let's see, we got the birth certificate and went straight out to have Raia's passport photos taken. She sat on the photographer's stool (with some help from me), and looked right at the camera. Her face has something of a shocked look in the photos, but they turned out well. That night Will took those pictures and the birth certificate to Moscow to apply for her passport.

Will also got to meet up with Nathan and spend some time with Tima, a friend who has just been begging for that. Hopefully, he'll be home tonight.

All is going well here in Kovrov, even without Papa. Yesterday we enjoyed more beautiful fall weather, going for a walk and shuffling through the leaves. Today is a rainy indoor day.

We're still rejoicing over Raia's birth certificate! It's such a relief to have that taken care of.

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits!" Psalm 68:19

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Do you know what this is? IT'S RAIA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE! We finally have it. Will went and talked to the director of ZAGS this morning. She read the laws and discovered that in place of a notarized letter, we could just have an eyewitness testimony. How easy! Will was certainly an eyewitness. I had him get boxes of chocolate for her and the other nice lady there.

Mom, how's that for a birthday present for you? I know you've been really concerned about this, and it was solved on your birthday. Hurrah! And happy birthday!

Now, I think we're going to celebrate with pizza for supper and brownies for dessert. . . .

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thank you, Lord, for the harvest

Family photo
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

It's not great, but here's a quick photo of all us at church. Yesterday was one of my favorite church services of the year: Zhatva, the harvest holiday. Will says that it's something like Thanksgiving, only without the Pilgrims, and that pretty much sums it up.

Katya Korneichuk
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I know this one isn't a Hunsucker, but she sure is cute!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Happy Birthday to Dad!

The birthday present
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I know this is really late, but it's going to be even later before it finds its way to Florida. I've been wanting to make this since the beginning of August, but with Will being gone and all the other busyness, I never got around to it. Now it's finally done, but I'm going to hold on to it until Will's parents can take it back. So, here's your birthday present, Dad. It should get to you by November, only a few months late. For now, enjoy the picture!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Updating the blog

Updating the blog
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I don't know if you can tell, but Raia is sitting on her potty while she helps me.

Ah, here's a better photo:

Another view
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

And you can see my other helper, too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Three months old

Raia turned three months old today. Other than that, there's not much news here. We're all kind of moving in slow motion. Will arrived home from yet another Moscow trip at 4:00 this morning, so he's tired from that. We've been having trouble getting Jaan to bed, so I decided to see if he's old enough to stop napping. This was his first day with just a quiet time, and he's doing well, but moving very slowly. We just got back from running a few errands, and he was amusing people by nodding off and almost falling out of his seat on the trolleybus. Raia's young enough that she's almost always sleepy, and I'm just plain tired.

The weather is beautiful again, though, so we have been enjoying that. We spent some time outside this morning, then we were outside again as we went to the post office and other places. I think we'll take a walk after supper, too. Speaking of supper, I'd better go. Will wanted chili and corn bread, and he offered to make it, but if I want to be able to eat it, I'd better go help before it gets too spicy.

If you want to read what Susan wrote about Jaan's birthday, go here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The second second birthday

Got that? No, I didn't stutter. Remember I mentioned a second party for Jaan's second birthday? Here it is:

At the table
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

After church on Sunday we all went over to the Korneichuks to celebrate two birthdays. Just like last year, we combined the celebrations for Nastya and Jaan. The meal was a joint effort and quite a feast. We contributed four bags of pelmeni and a blueberry cake, made in honor of Jaan. The children had a wonderful time together, and must have really played hard, because our little group polished off all four bags of those pelmeni, plus salad and sandwiches in no time.

Nastya, with her son Illya, and Jaan
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Happy birthday to Jaan and Nastya!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Jaan's Moscow birthday

As I had said, our first train of the day left early in the morning. Will had to be in Vladimir, so he accompanied us that far, and then put us on the express to Moscow from there. Jaan was so excited that all he could say was, "Train." I asked him, "Is this a special day?" His reply: "Train!" Or, "Jaan, how old are you?" "Train!" Even, "Are you hungry?" got the same answer: "Train!"

Jaan on the train
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Both Jaan and Raia did amazingly well on the train. Even though we didn't have a ticket for Jaan, there were two free seats by me, so he and Raia each slept on one. Then we got into Moscow and had to take the Metro across the city. Again, I didn't have any problems. I really was amazed at how smoothly everything went. It was actually the first day in a long time when I didn't have to deal with any tantrums at all from Jaan.

We finally got to the training center. Susan had made sandwiches for all of us, but then left them on her kitchen counter. We really had planned to try not to disturb the Sullivans on their first day back in the country, but we ended up completely invading their apartment to make more sandwiches. Of course, that had the added advantage of getting to spend some time with them, too.

Giving Jaan his presents and helping him with them
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

The kids all ate and played together on the floor and gave Jaan presents and generally acted like a well-behaved little hurricane for a while. I thought it was really cute and sweet how excited they all were to be able to give presents. Then Susan got out the cake that she had brought, and the Sullivans added little car-shaped candles.

The Cake!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan was very unsure about it, and just stood there for a little while.

"Uncle Dean, what am I supposed to do?"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Finally, after some lessons from Irvin and help from Dean, Jaan got the first candle blown out. Everyone cheered and scared him, but now he knew what to do and blew the second one out. I think he had to have help with that one, too. And then he got to eat some! He's still"talking" about it, by telling us that something is hot, then huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf, clapping and cheering, and finally saying "Nyum-nyum."

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

After that, the men took the kids outside again, while we cleaned up a little and talked. It kind of felt like we barely got started. We had a whole year to catch up on. Still, it was wonderful to be together, and I hope we'll be able to do it again next year. Maybe somehow we'll even be able to see each other again before then?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Such a wonderful day!

I realized that we spent more than ten hours traveling yesterday, just for four hours of fellowship. And you know what? It was completely worth it! I'll write all about it, probably tomorrow, but now I need to get myself moving to make a blueberry cake for Jaan's second birthday celebration tonight (his second celebration of his second birthday ).

Jaan, David B., Caleb B., Harvey/Volodya K., Adriel K., Irvin K., Rachel B. and Raia
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I wasn't going to post any photos today, but this one is just too good to hold back. This is all eight of the Kershner/Beaird/Hunsucker children. The oldest is six years old (Rachel), and the youngest is our Raia. In between those two girls, it's all little boys! Beaird Child #4 is supposedly going to help start balancing that out, though. We'll see in a few weeks.

Today is the anniversary of a very sad day for America, but it's also the day that we arrived in Russia four years ago. I know this is mostly about the kids, but I thought I'd just say that I've been thinking about this anniversary, and really seeing that I've just recently made another big jump forward. I'm certainly not speaking Russian better, but I'm understanding the language and the rest of life in Russia better these days. I've just made it through my first whole Pushkin poem, and not only did I understand the whole thing without the dictionary, I loved it! Before I've always said that I feel like I fit in, except when I have a newborn. It might help that Raia is getting older, but even her newborn time wasn't so hard. I don't know where I'm going with this ramble, except to say that I really do love this country!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Happy birthday to Jaan!

Look at how he's grown:

Two years ago
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Last year
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Two years old!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Will has to be in Vladimir for most of today, so the little ones and I are going to go celebrate Jaan's birthday in Moscow. That's even more exciting than the little train in the park. We get to go on real trains! We'll spend the day with the Beairds and the Kershners. Tomorrow we'll have cake with our friends here, too. Right now we need to get going. Our train leaves at 5:00.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

We're still here

I just haven't had time to write. We thoroughly enjoyed our two nights and a day with Will. It was great to have guests, too. They left yesterday morning, so we spent most of the day trying to catch up, plus enjoying the return of the sunny weather.

Will should be home tonight, and this time he doesn't have to leave again right away!

(Did anyone notice the change I made a while back, down at the bottom of this page?)

Monday, September 05, 2005

The big boy and his bear

Jaan has been daytime potty trained for quite a while, but he was still going to bed in diapers. As I mentioned yesterday, we're having a shortage of clean diapers and sunshine here. Because of that, I put Jaan to bed in training pants last night. He woke me up when he needed to go to the bathroom. This morning he was dry. What a big boy!

Now, about the bear: in just the past few days Jaan has become very attached to one certain teddy bear. Mi-ka has to do everything with him. (Mi-ka = mishka = bear in Russian.)

This morning when Jaan woke up, I hurried him into the bathroom. Of course, Mi-ka had to go with him. I wish you could have seen Jaan sleepily sitting on the big toilet with Mi-ka in his arms! (I wish Will would come back with the camera!) After a few minutes Jaan wanted some toilet paper. I didn't know what it was for, but I gave him one square. He very carefully laid the bear across his lap and wiped it, then signed that he was all done.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The train!

Plans have changed, so Will won't be here until late tomorrow night. We had thought we would have all day Monday together. Oh, well! Hopefully, the meeting they were able to schedule for tomorrow will mean many more Gospelink sponsorships.

Yesterday evening the sun finally came out, after a long grey day. I packed up our supper, and we set off to the park. We hadn't been to the city park for quite a while. There are rides there for the children, but last time we were there Jaan wasn't nearly old enough to appreciate them. This time I bought him a ticket for the train that goes all over the park. The locomotive is actually built over a Kovrov motorcycle. (This town's claim to fame is the motorcycle factory.) I thought Jaan might be scared to go without me, but I was actually more afraid to send him off than he was to go. He climbed right up, took his seat with the bigger kids, gave his ticket to the driver, and left without even looking back. He couldn't look back; he was too busy inspecting every detail of the train and holding on tight! He loved it, and he's still going around saying "train" today. Trains do happen to be one of his favorite things right now anyway, so I'm sure that adds to his enjoyment of it. We may have to go back again for his birthday.

These grey days have meant that I am having a hard time getting any laundry to dry. Raia's been spending a lot of time diaper-less, and she's doing great! So far she's stayed dry.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Thanks to Alissa's searching, I have maps!

Ivanovo Region


Vladimir Region

Push them together in your mind, so that they meet. Ivanovo Region is on the northern side of Vladimir Region. Just for reference, Moscow is off to the west. All the places I mentioned yesterday are visible, except for Pavlovskii Posad, which is near Petushki, but just outside the "state" line. On Tuesday missionary-pastors will come to us from many of these towns, too.

Thank you, Alissa!

(I hope it's not like plagarism for me to use these maps from MTS. Click on the maps to go to the pages that I took them from.)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Will's schedule

For those who are interested in Will's travels, this is what he's doing with the Gospelink men for the next week:
Friday and Saturday: Gus-Khrustalnii (Crystal Goose )
Sunday: Pavlovskii Posad, two churches in the morning and a visit with another missionary-pastor in the evening
Monday: Kovrov
Tuesday: meeting with all the other missionary-pastors (here)
Wednesday: Kineshma
Thursday: either back to Moscow or home

I should find a map to show you all of these travels. (Anyone want to do a search for maps of the Vladimir and Ivanovo regions and let me know what you find?)

Gospelink - Advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ

On the homefront all is well, but please do pray for us. We miss Will! It's harder to keep up with everyday life when he's not here. Just this morning Jaan gave himself a black eye with linoleum burn all around it. (That's like rug burn; it's what you get when you dive face first on to a linoleum floor. ) Then he smashed is finger so badly that at first I thought it might be broken. (It's not.) I'm also fighting not to get mastitis. My favorite cure for that is a long hot shower, and of course, our hot water is off again. None of that is bothering us too much, though. The sun has come out after a few rainy days, so we'll be getting outside again after nap time. Jaan keeps me laughing, and Raia's smiles bring me tons of joy.

If you're waiting for me to answer an email, please be patient! Computer time is somewhat rare right now.