Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday (here and in Riga)

All is well here. Raia really has started on solid foods. I find it hard to believe. She doesn't even have teeth yet! For the part few days, she's still had milk for breakfast and midmorning snacks, but then she ate crackers and applesauce or egg yolk for lunch and little tastes of whatever we were having for supper. (Of course, there are plenty of milk meals in between still.) If she sees anyone eating and not sharing with her, she goes crazy.

Last week we spent Tuesday sightseeing.

Jaan Street
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

They spell it a little differently, but here is Jaan on Jaan Street, at the corner of St. Jaan's church. We also have photos of him by a statue of St. Jaan in a town near Prague a while back, and we first decided on his name in Estonia.

St. Peter's and the House of the Blackheads
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We really enjoyed going up in the steeple of St. Peter's Church to look out on the city. Jaan and I watched the cranes and trains; Will took lots of beautiful photos. Only Raia didn't like it. She was asleep in the stroller when we went up, and the cold wind at the top woke her up.

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

From St. Peter's we went on to look at the House of the Blackheads, which is an guild house that was originally built in 1334. In the background of the picture you can see the Museum of the Occupation. (And, yes, that's me looking up in the picture.) We heard that there is discussion of tearing it down and putting a new building that would fit in with the surroundings better in its place. I thought that was a good idea at first, but after visiting the museum, I think that the ugliness is very fitting to the subject matter. The museum was very interesting and very sobering. Our children didn't last long before we had to go back to the hostel for naps, and we definitely wished we could have seen more.

That night we went out to an Italian restaurant. I already wrote about that. This just shows a little bit of how much Raia enjoyed it:

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday in Riga (and Kovrov)

Will was able to do everything he needed to do all in one day, so he's already on his way home! He'll get in at a much more decent time than usual.

If you want to hear about our trip in detail, here's the first installment:

Last Sunday we started out for Moscow early in the morning. When we arrived, we went straight to the church that Nathan attends, to meet up with him and be at the service. Afterwards we went to his apartment and spent the afternoon with him and Masha. That was a nice break between trains!

In the evening we ran off to the overnight train to Riga.

Jaan relaxing on the train
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Will and Raia, also on the train
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan insisted that he could not and would not sleep on a train, but he went to bed very easily. Raia was another matter; she desperately wants her own bedroom, and she made a point of reminding us about that. Eventually we all got to sleep, though.

They woke us up for the border crossing. On the Russian side everyone tiptoed around us because of the children, but the little ones still woke up. Jaan just stayed still and quiet, hugging Mi-ka and watching everything with big eyes. Princess Raia thought that everyone was coming in and out for the express purpose of seeing her. She laughed, smiled, waved, squealed, and tried to be the constant center of attention. Once we got moving again, we fell asleep again quickly. . . only to be woken up for the Latvian side of the border. Even though they were much louder there, the children didn't wake up again. Praise the Lord!

When we got to Riga in the morning, we realized that I had forgotten to print out the map and directions to the hostel where we would be staying. Will tried to call, but only ended up getting the ambulance service, and they said that they didn't think we had a reservation with them. We wandered around, asking for directions, and actually found where we were going very quickly. It didn't take long to settle in, eat lunch, and put two very tired children down for naps.

After they woke up, we went out into the very snowy city.

First outing in Riga
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We walked to the Freedom Monument and saw the changing of the guards. Then we discovered the ducks who live in the park there.

The ducks!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan and Raia were fascinated. So was I!

Jaan also enjoyed one of the ice slides in the park. He was afraid to go down, but when Will just put him on it, he had a great time and begged for more. I'm sure people wondered about us putting a protesting toddler on the slide, but as soon as he would get moving, the fussing would turn to laughter, and he would get up from the bottom ready to do it again.

Jaan on the ice slide
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

By the time we had explored the park and a few nearby sights, it was getting dark, so our Monday in Riga was over.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


This business of settling back in here may take a little more time than I had thought! That makes sense when you consider that we spent about 40 hours on trains, several days in another country, and then had a wonderful overnight with friends, all in one week. Yesterday we didn't do much other than church. Now I'm trying to start unpacking, do laundry, and get back into our routine. We're so tired, though. I will get to posting pictures here and telling about our trip, just not today.

Will is back in Moscow. Because we came back on a holiday that we had forgotten about, he couldn't register us then. Today he's meeting with the man who lets us register in his apartment in Moscow, and then tomorrow he'll turn the paperwork in to "The Visa Guy" and come home.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Home, sweet home

We got in well after bedtime last night, and it felt very good to collapse in our own beds! We had a truly wonderful trip, and I'll write about it over the next few days. For now we need to get settled back in and rested. . . and out the door to church. (Because of the holidays, tomorrow is a work day, so we have church today.)

For now I'll just give you one photo:

The Hunsuckers in Riga
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hello from Riga!

We're having a wonderful time here! The hostel that we're staying at has free internet, so I thought I'd give you a quick update.

Raia is napping; Will and Jaan are out picking up Raia's visa. That's an answer to prayer: her visa is ready! Soon we'll check out from the hostel and go do some more sightseeing. Then, tonight we'll board the train back to Moscow.

So far, I think Jaan's favorite parts of Riga have been the ducks that roost in the snow at the park around the Freedom Monument and going up to the top of the steeple on St. Peter's Church. He didn't care about looking down on the beautiful old city, but he was very excited to watch all the cranes working in the various construction sites from above.

Raia's favorite new experience is FOOD! Last night we went out to an Italian restaurant. She's been begging to eat, so I started her off with a piece of traditional Latvian bread. She devoured that and moved on to Italian flat bread. She was so excited that she was jumping up and down in the high chair. I think more of the bread ended up on the floor than in her tummy, but she was happy.

Will and I are just thoroughly enjoying experiencing another city. I'm sure I'll write with much more detail once we get home.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


"See" you when we get home!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Getting ready

Practicing for our trip
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

It's been so long since we have used the stroller, that I had to figure out a new way to fit them in it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Please pray! (UPDATED)

Will called this morning to check on Raia's visa, and they told him that there were "some complications." Please pray, because we really need it done by tonight, so that a friend can pick it up before the weekend. Everything is closed tomorrow, and we had planned to leave on Sunday.

Praise the Lord! Nathan has Raia's exit visa, ready and waiting for us in Moscow!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Show and tell

New slippers
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I finally finished my first real knitting project!

And Jaan's beloved seeds
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

He wanted to show them to you. A few days ago we put some pumpkin seeds into a jar, so that he could see how they grow. Now anytime anyone comes over, they get an explanation of how the roots grow down and the leaves grow up, complete with a reenactment of what he has observed.

Will just had one little adventure yesterday, and everything else went smoothly. As a preface to my story, you have to know that when he left for the conference last week, I sent paper hearts hidden throughout his bag for an anniversary present. They had notes on them and some photos from the anniversaries that we've celebrated together so far. He still had the hearts with him on this trip. Somehow, he forgot to take Raia's visa photos when he got all her other documents together, though. He called me from Moscow, frantically trying to think of a way to get them, without another trip. (They don't accept emailed photos.) Then, a few minutes later he called back again, saying that they had solved the problem. One of the hearts I made was a photo of Will and Jaan on our anniversary two years ago. Apparently, Jaan looked so much like Raia, that they're going to use that picture for her visa! When Will protested that it was the wrong child, "The Visa Guy" said that a baby is a baby, and they sure look a lot alike. God is so good to work out details like that and save Will from having to make yet another trip to Moscow!

Now please pray that the rest of this will go smoothly.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Joyful news!

Yesterday the Korneichuks emailed us their quarterly Gospelink letter. I thought it was kind of unusual that the subject line was "Joyful news!" but I don't usually even read the letters until I get around to translating them, so I just checked it off of my list and went on about my business. I just figured that they were rejoicing because they had actually gotten their letter in on time for once.

In the evening, Tanya called and asked to talk to me. Will said that I was busy, so Tanya just said, "Hasn't she read the letter yet? Doesn't she have any questions for me?" Somehow, as Will was relaying that to me, I just knew. . . . He ran to read the letter, and found, buried down in the middle of it, that they're expecting their third baby at the end of July! Of course I called Tanya right back, and we laughed and cried and chattered for a while.

You may not know, but this baby is as much of an answer to pray as Samuel was for Hannah. Tanya has been praying for several years, and I've been praying right along with her. I can't stop smiling, and I even catch myself dancing around every so often from pure joy. Happy day! (As a certain little friend of mine would have said.) So, praise the Lord with us, and pray for Tanya and Baby Korneichuk.

(By the way, no one in the church here knows yet, so if you have any contact with anyone out here, please don't mention this. I do have permission to tell "everyone in America," though. )

We needed good news like that, because our visas are kind of overwhelming us now. Will bought us train tickets to Riga, and we'll be there February 19-23. However, we realized that we completely forget about the fact that Raia doesn't have a visa at all! Will's back in Moscow working on that now. There's not time to get one done before we leave, but we should be able to have it sent to us in Riga. That's just another detail to cover in prayer, though.

I may not be writing much as we work on our visas and Gospelink over the next few days.

But before I run off, here are a few cute photos taken recently:

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia sits under Jaan's chair and begs when he eats, so I let him give her this piece of apple yesterday. She didn't really eat any of it, but she sure was excited to taste it!

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Will says that this looks like a picture of a dangerous, man-eating baby.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Siberia '99

I was on the team that Mike wrote about, so I laughed especially hard while reading his post. It sure seems like that was a long time ago. . .

Friday, February 10, 2006

Five years ago. . .

Feb. 10, 2001
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I was going to post a fun song that makes us laugh here, but I can't figure out how to do that. It's the theme for our anniversary this year. And since most of you probably wouldn't understand the words or find the Yugoslavian accent funny, my rough translation might be enough. (But the music is so fun. . . folk-ish and from the '70s.)

If Only Our Days Apart Would Hurry By
From a record by Ivitsa Sherfezi

Again a parting awaits us
I ask just one thing of you
Don’t be sad,
Don’t be sad.
The roads are carrying you away.
In our separation
Just don’t forget me.
If only our days apart would hurry by.
I am waiting for you.
Soon, soon you’ll come back
And smile happily at me,
And you’ll say, “Hello. Here I am.”
La-la-la. . .
In anticipation of our meeting
I am with you in my thoughts
Remember that,
Remember that.
I know what longing is.
In our separation
Just don’t forget me.
If only our days apart would hurry by.
I am waiting for you.
Soon, soon you’ll come back
And smile happily at me,
And you’ll say, “Hello. Here I am.”
La-la-la. . .

(But if I can figure out a way to upload music, you'll be able to dance to this with Jaan. Come back later and see.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006


We're without Will for a few days. He left early, early this morning to meet with some of the Gospelink men in Moscow. Then he'll spend the night with Nathan, and head out tomorrow morning to a conference for youth leaders outside Moscow. He should be home late Sunday or early Monday.

Yesterday was really crazy with trying to get everything together for Will's trip. I'll spare you the details, but it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. In the end, God fixed all the problems, though. Please pray that Will's trip and our time alone at home go better than the preparations did!

So far, we are doing well. All is quiet here. The children are asleep. It's pretty cold out, but the weather is just beautiful. After nap time, we'll go outside for just a little while to get fresh air, but not long enough to freeze.

Monday, February 06, 2006


I guess we're not really snowbound, but the cold weather had been keeping us in off and on again. Last week I set up indoor activities from Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready for both Jaan and Raia.

"School" time
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia's activity
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

She had a jingle bell inside a Ziplock.

Working together
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan helped make flour paste, and then he got to play with it in a bag, too. After he enjoyed it for a while, he decided to show Raia what to do with his bag, and he played with hers.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I liked it!

Those of you who know me, my opinions on movies in general, movies made from books in particular, and--even more particularly--movies made from books that I love, will be very surprised to hear this: I saw the new Narnia movie, and I really liked it! I was surprised myself. For those of you who don't know me that well, my friends from Bible school could explain that I usually think a movie is a good excuse to take a nap.

Anyway, Wednesday night Will came home, with Narnia on DVD. We'd never rented a movie before, so I was completely surprised. He knew that I didn't want to see it, but he said there wasn't really anything else that was interesting. I couldn't let him watch it by himself, even though I expected not to like it. So, the children went to bed early, and we had a date night, which would have been fun, even without such a good movie.

I have to say that it wasn't exactly like the book. Still, it was about as close as possible. Some details weren't like I imagine them, but some actually were! Of course, the book is still better, but I certainly don't regret having seen the movie. Overall, it was a very good picture of the story that we love.

Still, who needs movies, when you have children for entertainment? Raia's crawling is better than any comedy. Jaan has been playing out a drama, involving a snake (long black shoelace) who eats from a can, takes long walks, sleeps in a hat of Raia's, and goes potty. When he's not busy with his snake, he has work to do with his beloved crane (broken plastic clothes hanger). Then, he has to spend as much time outside as he possibly can, and sometimes he can fit preschool
activities with Mama into his busy schedule. I have more of those to write about and post pictures of sometime soon. . . .

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Forward motion

I would say that, as of today, Raia is officially crawling!

Edited to add:

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