Monday, October 31, 2005

Back to normal life

We're slowly getting back to our usual life after our wonderful visit with the Hunsucker grandparents. This morning we played outside, and now the little ones are napping, so I need to get busy on laundry and cooking. Here's a photo of my laundry helper, hard at work:

Jaan doing laundry
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

He might not be too happy with me for doing laundry while he sleeps, but it really is a little faster when I can do it by myself. (Yes, that's our washing machine. Visitors usually get a kick out of the fact that it's still working and in use. No, it's not automatic.)

OK, I'm off. . .

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Something romantic

Those of you who think I don't have a romantic bone in my body will be pleased to see that I'm posting this.

I stole this photo from my sweet Daniela, because I like it so much. You should go read the story that goes with it. Her wedding is only two weeks away. I just wish I could be there!

Friday, October 28, 2005


Baba and "Danna" left this early morning. (Bernie isn't quite satisfied with this version of Granddaddy, but Jaan seems rather set on it. And, surely it's better than Granny or some of the other ways that Jaan tried to say it?) We didn't think Jaan understood saying goodbye to them last night, but he didn't seem confused at all to find them gone when he woke up. He just said goodbye again and went on about his day.

And his day has already included lots of snow:

Trying to help
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

He was trying to hurry us out the door as I got myself ready.

Jaan in the snow
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia in the snow (Well, not IN the snow, but. . . )
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Showing off his red nose
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Julie started feeling better early this morning! Now we're all well, except for Raia's little cough. She is starting to sound better, too. We just need to pray for her to get over this cold and for Julie to regain her strength for the trip back.

Winter has arrived here! It's been snowing off and on, and everything is now covered by a light layer of white. Jaan and I had a wonderful time playing outside. He had been saying "neg neg" all day when he looked out the windows. (Sneg is snow in Russian.) When we got outside he yelled, "Wow! Neg!" as if he thought there wouldn't be any left by the time we got all the way down the stairs. Then we had to go into a store. He said, "Poka neg" (goodbye snow) and grabbed a handful in each mitten as we went in. Those two handfuls of snow went all around the store with us. The reaction when we came out again was the same as when he first saw the snow: "WOW!"

Julie says, "Now it looks like Russia."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Quick update

We had wonderful visits yesterday. Jaan was thrilled to get to play with Katya and Alyona Korneichuk and then Mark, too.

Julie was up in the night with the throwing up sickness, too. The update on the sickies is that Julie is down, Raia is coughing less than before, and all the rest are well. I'm still healthy.

Tonight we have our Kirghiz friends from the market coming over to visit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The sick house

Now Will was up in the night with this stomach bug. Julie still hasn't gotten it, but she has a cold. I'm the only healthy one left here.

Yesterday Will did take his parents out for a while to do some shopping and go to a coffee shop. Today we have the Korneichuks coming over for lunch, and we'll go to visit Mark and his parents and grandparents for supper.

There was a beautiful snow flurry this morning, but it's not cold here. It was pretty while it was flying: nice big snowflakes, or rather snowclusters. Nothing stuck, though. I laughed when Bernie and Julie ran for their cameras.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Friday and Saturday

On our way to the woods
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Remember we took Baba to see "our" forest on Friday? Here's a photo of us on our way out. With these extra willing arms around, Jaan has forgotten how to walk. He wants someone to carry him everywhere. My solution is to slide Raia up as far as I can in the stroller and put Jaan on the front. Can you even see Raia back there?

Will in Moscow
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

While we enjoyed a quiet day here yesterday, Will was in Moscow at Styopa's wedding. Here is Pavel Korneichuk (who we work with here in Kovrov), Stepan (the groom), Vitaly Tuchin (a friend from the church there in Moscow), and Will (do I need to explain who he is?).

This morning Will is helping with the Sunday school for the orphanage kids. Later we'll all join him at church. Bernie's feeling better. He says that he's still not 100% but at least he's up out of bed. Thank you for all your prayers!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Jaan stories, the ideal babushka, and other random thoughts

The night before last I was putting Jaan to bed. He was hugging Mi-ka, his bear, right up by his face. As he was falling asleep, he drooled a little. Then, all of a sudden he sat up, looked at the little wet spot, and then said, "No no, Mi-ka! No peepee!" in his best imitation of my shocked and displeased voice. He really thought that Mi-ka had wet the bed!

Yesterday Jaan told me that he wanted to hold Raia. At least, he pointed to her and patted his lap. I gave her to him, and he immediately pulled his shirt up and offered her "nyum-nyum." Guess what he's been watching me do? She just gave one puzzled look at his chest, and then went back to smiling adoringly into his face.

When we went out to walk in the woods yesterday, we met my ideal babushka. (OK, we're related to a few ideal babushki, but I mean my ideal Russian grandmother.) I always tell Will that when I get old, I want to have a garden, wear slippers everywhere and go out in my house dress. That's normal. But I also want to go around telling all the young mothers what a good job they're doing. That's really rare. Babushki tend to go around fussing, worrying and making young mothers--or at least this young mother--feel incompetent. As we were headed out to the woods an older woman passed us with her dog. She told me that I was just amazing, that sometimes she was too lazy even to go out with her dog, and here I was with my two little children. She ended by saying, "You really know how to keep your babies healthy!" Maybe you don't know how rare that is, but it made my day. Especially since yesterday was one of those days when it was really an ordeal to get us outside.

We also saw a Green Woodpecker. Jaan was very excited to hear another bobo bird, but he called this one a "tuk-tuk" (knock-knock) bird. If you go back to where I wrote about the bobo bird and click on the picture, it should go to a page that shows this one, too.

Raia's calling. I'll finish this later. . . .

I'm back. I think I lost my train of thought, though.

I'll just finish by telling how we're doing here. Poor Granddaddy is miserable and sick. (Please pray for him!) Everyone else is doing very well. We went for a nice long walk in the woods and thoroughly enjoyed showing Baba where we like to explore.

We had been planning to go to a wedding in Moscow tomorrow and stay overnight there, but now Will is just going to go by himself.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


It's officially starting to get cold here. We had our first frost last night, and the clothes I had hung out on the balcony were nice and crispy this morning. The little puddles on the balcony were icy, too.

Will took his parents to do some sightseeing in Vladimir today. It's a gorgeous day for that! We had all planned to go, but then we decided that Jaan needed a rest and that it would just be easier to visit museums and such without him.

Here are a few photos from yesterday:

Looking at photos with Granddaddy
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan was fascinated with watching Baba Julie put on make up. She drew a few lines on his face, and then got the idea of making him a whole Indian outfit. They had a great time with that, and then marched around with Baba singing Thanksgiving rhymes. (Will was singing something about how all the years of teaching kindergarten had gone to her head. )

New decorating scheme
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Will's parents brought us a set of flannel sheets: sheets, pillow cases, and a matching drawstring bag to hold them. Will was putting them all on our bed yesterday morning. He came out saying, "I figured out what that little bag was for. . . to make the baby match the bed!"

With our guests
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Yesterday one of the Gospelink missionaries came to visit. Jaan enjoyed having company, and the grandparents got to see part of our life and ministry here.

More guests
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

In the evening we invited our neighbors over. The daughter has studied English. We have always talked about helping her practice, but she likes to speak Russian to us, of course. Since we want to get to know our neighbors better anyway, we had them come over to talk to Bernie and Julie. We had a very nice visit. Let's pray that this will be the start of a real friendship with these neighbors!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nature study

I know you're probably expecting more grandparent pictures, but I really don't have many yet. These are from a few days ago:

Watching the "ba-ka" eat
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan was out in the kitchen observing our pet butterfly. (Ba-ka = babochka = butterfly in Russian.) Then we went back to check on Raia, who was supposed to be napping and found this:

The young birdwatcher
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Just one photo

With Baba and Granddaddy
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Julie wants to be called Baba Julie. Jaan can handle the Baba part with no problem. Bernie's Granddaddy is a little harder; the closest he's gotten was something like Dandy. Jaan sure loves to have both of them here! (So do the rest of us.)

It's pretty quiet. Right now Will's out registering his parents' visas. Everyone except for me is napping. Mostly Bernie and Julie have been trying to recover from their trip. Yesterday they went out with us a little, and tonight Will is going to take them to a Bible study.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

They're here!

For those of you have been waiting to hear: the grandparents have arrived! I just heard the taxi drive up.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Just in time

The grey, blah weather of late fall seems to have arrived just in time for Will's parents. They'll be here tomorrow. We thought the beautiful clear days might hold out, but yesterday turned grey, and now it's just wet and blustery.

I guess it's time to settle in with hot tea and good books here! (And it's time for me to bring out all my toddler fun ideas, too.)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Four months old!?!?

Peacefully sleeping
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

It just dawned on me that Raia is four months old today! Here's a picture of how she always sleeps: hand in mouth. She loves to suck on her hand. Even Jaan knows that; if she's fussing, he'll grab her hand and stuff it in her mouth. (I know she looks like a boy in this picture, but that's just because you just can't see what a sweet little dress she was wearing when I took it. And the hat covers up her pretty hair.)

Her peaceful sleep habits are a real answer to prayer. The whole time I was pregnant with her, I specifically prayed that she would be a good sleeper. That was always a struggle with Jaan, and I didn't want to go through it again. It still amazes me that I can just put her down, and she goes to sleep on her own. Sometimes I stand there in awe and watch her drift off.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The bobo bird

Jaan has reached a new stage recently. He can walk to the woods on his own two feet. I used to take him in the stroller and then let him down to run around and explore when we got to a good place. Now he goes the whole way by himself, and Raia gets the stroller. He carries his little bucket and collects all kinds of things, usually as a present to take home to Papa. Yesterday Will went with us too, though.

The highlight of our walk was seeing a Big Spotted Woodpecker.

(To understand this story, you have to know that Jaan is afraid of two things: bobos and fountains. "Bobo" is whenever he hears a knocking or hammering noise. He starts saying "bobo," making a sign like someone hammering, and clinging to the nearest parent like his life depends upon it. Fountains have nothing to do with this story. )

As we were walking yesterday, we heard a bobo. Of course, I was very excited to see the woodpecker. Jaan didn't panic; maybe they're not so scary outside? He couldn't figure out what was making the noise, though. The woodpecker was at the top of a very tall, dead pine tree, and his little eyes couldn't find it. I took him to the base of the tree, and we put our ears up against it. Then he was really intrigued! He was convinced that there was something inside the tree truck. After he searched around the bottom of the tree and didn't find anything, I took him back out to where he could see the top of the tree again. Now he could see the woodpecker. He kept talking about "bobo bir-DUH" for the rest of our walk. He can say woodpecker pretty clearly in Russian now, too.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Baby giggles

Raia laughed! She's been really close for a while, making little squeaks from joy. Will was actually giving himself a sore face from trying to make her laugh. Then, last night, she got to take another bath, and while she was in there, she was really and truly laughing. I called Will in, and all three of us laughed together for a while. Baby laughter is such a sweet contagious sound!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wonderful HAPPY news!

Johanna Joy Beaird arrived yesterday in Naro-Fominsk! All I know is that she's a big girl, and she came before the midwife. I'm sure Susan will be posting details and pictures on her blog in the next few days. I'm almost dancing with joy here. Congratulations to the Beaird family!

Edited to add: click here for some pictures and the story, and here for more.

Daily life

I just realized that I've gone let a few days go by with hardly any mention of the little ones. How could I do such a thing!?!? I've just been too busy enjoying them.

Bath time! ccdfedfr
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia hasn't been the water baby that Jaan was, just because of the hot water situation here. I do wash her, of course, but it's usually sponge baths or quick showers with me. Yesterday (and today!) we had hot water, so she had her first real swimming bath. She absolutely loved it! You would have thought that she'd been enjoying them every day since she was born. I couldn't do all the exercises with her, because a certain brother kept getting in the way. He wanted to hold her and play with her, and I don't think he liked the idea of letting Mama play, too. They were so cute together. (By the way, that extra comment in the photo caption is from Jaan. I don't know what it means, but I figured it might be important, so I left it. )

Reading together
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Proof of what I wrote yesterday

A few birches
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I know, the photo doesn't quite show the beauty, but it's at least somewhat pretty. And I guess we're not the only ones enjoying this beautiful fall in Russia; Susan wrote about it, too.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Translation and autumn

Will's busy today with hanging wallpaper. (It looks so good! I guess I hadn't realized how ugly the old stuff really was and what bad shape it was in. Even our landlord was embarrassed when he heard that we have special guests coming.) All that to say that you don't get an exact literal translation of yesterday's email. It basically said that it's a pity Will's parents aren't coming right now, because the fall colors are beautiful.

And that's the truth! The colors are just wonderful. It seems that sometimes fall goes by too fast here. The trees start to change, and then, all of a sudden, it's winter. This year it's stretching out a little longer. Plus, we missed this season completely last year, because of our travels. So, we're enjoying it more than ever this year.

In our recent walks in the woods, I've become convinced that Tolkien got his idea of silver trees with gold leaves from autumn birches. What else could he have been thinking of? With their bright white trunks and leaves that almost glow in the sunshine, they're at least as lovely as Lothlorien right now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Why Will doesn't usually write here

This is an email he sent to his parents earlier today:

Subject: mi frijoles!
Dorogoho raditeles i simpatica abuelitos mi,

Que lastima shto no aeroplanos pryama ahora seichas! Automno mui bonito ahora tenemos, i kak zhal, digo, mui ploho que aeroplanos no ahora, a pozhe!

Vashe chicito i ijo de Rossian,

Gizhermo =o)

Got that? His mother actually understood it! I'll try to post a translation tomorrow. . . .

Monday, October 03, 2005

Glimpses of our busy weekend

We had a very busy weekend, and, again, we have bunches of photos. I decided to chose just enough that you'd get to see all of us.

Will working hard Saturday morning
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Will helped some friends of ours who bought a burned down house. They had to get some of the old part cleared out so that they can rebuild.

Jaan making discoveries
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan's favorite part of Saturday was all the outdoor time. He loved helping Babushka Lena pull up her carrots. (And I'm in this photo, too.)

Raia asleep in Sannikovo
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia took one of her naps in the guitar case on Sunday, since we spent most of the day out in the village of Sannikovo. She also got two naps on buses, and at least one cat nap in my arms that day.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Wednesday photos

Wednesday we had a fall family day at the park. I had a terrible time choosing which photos to share, because there are so many. Here are a few:

Collecting leaves
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan's thinking about how to find the yellow ones that I asked him for.

Sorting through his leaves
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia, after she was decorated by Jaan
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Watching soccer
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Look at those trees behind him!

Will was playing with this one
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Unfortunately, I took only one great photo of Will. Or I thought I did. That one photo didn't turn out, so we don't have any of him from our park day.

Now I'm caught up. Thursday we just had a youth planning meeting. Friday Will was in Vladimir for the regional missionary meeting. Today he and Jaan are helping friends of ours to get some work done. Raia and I are going to go join them in a few minutes. Then, tonight we'll be going to the park to give out Bibles. Please pray for us as we do that!