Saturday, December 31, 2005

Play dough and packing

My parents left early this morning. Here are a few recent pictures of Jaan playing with play dough and helping his grandparents pack:

Help from Baba Kathy
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

The snake house
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Where's Jaan?
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

There he is!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Well. . .

. . . obviously, I didn't get around to adding any more photos yesterday. Here's a photo of one of Jaan's Christmas presents:
A train book!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Random Christmas photos

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

More coming soon. (I hope.)

Monday, December 26, 2005


One if the things that I love about living here is the Christmas season. While the holidays are winding down for most people in America, we're just getting started here. The churches that we know of celebrate December 25, at least some. Then we have New Year's; it's the biggest secular holiday of the year, but of course the church family has to enjoy it together, too. After that January 7--which is the Russian Orthodox Christmas--is our biggest church celebration. As our pastor in Moscow liked to say, "The Bible tells us to rejoice always, so we're going to take advantage of every day we can to rejoice in Christ's birth."

We had a wonderful family Christmas yesterday. Having my parents here really made it special. In the morning we had a Christmas breakfast, and Dad read the Christmas story. Jaan "read" along with him from his picture Bible. Right after that Will had to run out for the Sunday morning lesson with the orphanage children, then music practice. Mom and Dad joined him for church, but I stayed home with our coughing babies. The three who had been at church came home around 5:00. We went out and took Christmas cookies and cards to our neighbors, and then came back to a nice, hot Christmas dinner. Dinner was followed by opening presents; this was the first year that Jaan understood that. The last thing we did before putting two very tired children to bed, was my family's traditional Happy Birthday Baby Jesus cake.

The weather has been celebrating, too, I think. Both yesterday and today we've had clear blue skies. Right now I'm sitting between my two sleeping children, and sunshine is pouring through the window onto us. The trees we can see out the window are all lacy with frost.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday; don't forget to keep celebrating Christ's birth!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas (Eve)!

I'm sorry I've been so silent. We've been busy. I hope you all are also enjoying a wonderful Christmas season!

Mom and Dad in Vladimir
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

. . . on Thursday.

Making Christmas cookies
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

. . . yesterday.

Decorating the Christmas tree
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

. . . earlier in the week.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Quiet day

Will took my parents sightseeing in Vladimir today. We've just played
outside a little and had a normal day at home. (Raia did not like the
falling snow, but I sure thought it was beautiful!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Favorite toys

Do grandparents count as toys? I don't think so, but Jaan and Raia sure are having fun playing with them!

Lizard, dog, Baby
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Whenever I put Raia down, or if she fusses about anything, Jaan starts scrambling to be sure that she has these three toys. They are her favorites, and her brother has certainly noticed that. Her favorite of all is that lizard. Will keeps asking, "Aren't babies supposed to like soft, fluffy, pretty things? Especially GIRL babies?" I think she's taking after me.

Hat and pencils
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Aunt Lindy sent Christmas presents to be opened and used before Christmas. They've kept Jaan busy all morning. In this photo he's wearing my neck warmer from her. (Grandpa in the background is wearing Raia's new hat.) He has a handful of pencils--another present--that have been everything from screwdrivers to telephones. Toddlers can make anything into the most fascinating toy imaginable!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Walking in a winter wonderland"

Yesterday we went for a walk in the woods, took family photos, and found our Christmas tree.

Jaan with the Christmas tree (all wrapped up)
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Snow angel
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Youth club photo

Dad was able to go with Will, and he took this photo:

Misha, Sveta, Lena, Sergei, and Will
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Today (and yesterday)

Last night Mom, Raia and I had a girls' night out. We went to my knitting lesson and had tea afterwards with the Bible study that meets at the same time. We had a great time!

Today has mostly been quiet. We've played outside and inside and just enjoyed being together.

Dad went with Will to the youth club tonight. While they were gone, Mom played with and bathed the children, and I sorted and organized photos. I think it's been over two years since I was able to concentrate on a project for such an uninterrupted period of time and actually accomplish something with visible results!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Another one of Dad's photos

Snow babies
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I thought I posted this one yesterday, but I guess I didn't. Aren't they cute?

(By the way, Anna and Abby, the Sasha I wrote about yesterday was Sasha Kondratyuk from Goose.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

They're here!

It's so wonderful to have two grandparent visits in one year! My parents arrived safely last night, and not so late as we expected. One of our missionary friends "just happened" to be on the train from Vladimir to Moscow with Will yesterday morning. When he heard that Will was going in to meet my parents, he offered to drive them back from Vladimir. So, when their train arrived in Vladimir, Sasha got his car and drove the last leg of the trip. It was on his way home. . . about like Tallahassee would be on the way home to Miami from Orlando.

So far they haven't frozen. Dad came out to video tape and photograph Jaan playing outside this morning. He and Jaan had a great time kicking and throwing snow.

Dad took these pictures:

Jaan with Baba Kathy
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Sled train
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

This is the one I needed to go with my post yesterday.

The Caboose!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another three cheers

Hurrah! My parents are coming. Actually, they're already in Moscow with Will. They'll arrive in Kovrov late tonight.

Hurrah! I finally figured out an easy way to go for walks, and so we got to enjoy the snow-covered woods and gorgeous weather this morning. I'll have to have Will get a picture of this, but for now you can imagine it. I put Raia on our sled, then tied a flexible piece of plastic behind for Jaan. I made a handle for him to hold and put a blanket under him, so people wouldn't worry too much. We have our sled train! Now I just need to find a horse to pull it for me. . . .

Hurrah! As we crossed over to the woods, there was a babushka headed in the same direction. She stopped me, and I braced myself for a scolding. Yes, I did have the children dressed all "wrong," but instead of berating me too much, she just got them set right and then walked with us the rest of the way. We talked a lot, and she's now very interested in visiting our church. Her father converted from Orthodoxy, and several of her seven (!) siblings go to protestant churches now. She herself doesn't go to any church, but she loves the hymns that she remembers from her childhood. She hummed and sang quite a few for me, and was thrilled that I knew most of them. I don't even know her name--other than Babushka--but please pray that she really will come to our church!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Decorating for Christmas!

Making the tree
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Remember last year we made a hand print tree? This year Jaan got to put his gluing skills to use. We have a mosaic tree!

Right now he and Will are putting up lights. We have one string that flashes, and Jaan much think that they're candles, because he's almost hyperventilating trying to blow them out.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Strength for the weary

This morning when Raia woke me up and I stumbled out into the living room for my quiet time with the Lord (and Raia), I was so tired that I could barely get my eyes open. I remembered that I had been encouraged by Isaiah 40:29 recently, so I went to meditate on those verses. I know verse 31, but I just really noticed the verses before it recently for the first time.

From there we've gone on to have a very nice day. There's a beautiful, fresh snowfall that Jaan and I have already enjoyed. We're going to go back out again after nap. The sky has even been a little bit blue, with the sun peeking out at times!

And when I was working on a Gospelink application for a new family with ten children, I discovered that the mother's favorite verse was the passage that encouraged me this morning!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I slept. Things are much better now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What a night!

I can't wait to go to bed. Either Jaan is getting another cold, or the one he just had is coming back. His nose is all stuffy. He hasn't been sick often enough to figure out how to breathe through his mouth, so he was up and down almost all night, crying. Will took care of him until 3:00, then he moved out to the couch and I took over. Raia didn't want to miss out on any of the fun, so she had to eat whenever she heard Jaan crying. Fortunately, after Will moved, Raia and Jaan started taking turns. I didn't get to sleep, but at least I didn't have two crying babies on my hands at any one time.

Will spent all day yesterday and today painting the room the church rents, and he's still not finished yet.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What's so funny?

Being silly
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

For some reason they think this is really funny. I don't quite get it. Jaan puts his foot on Raia's head (gently), and then they both laugh like crazy.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Getting closer to sitting up

The Queen
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia's favorite place now is sitting on the couch, surrounded by pillows, directing everything that goes on around her.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Masha's photos

I was going to post some other photos, but I'm having trouble sending them right now. These are from Masha.

Jaan at church
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Nathan, Pavel and Will
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia and Mama
Originally uploaded by fylliska.