Thursday, March 30, 2006

Grand opening

Several months ago the big, old store out in front of where we live closed for renovations. Rumor was that it would reopen as a self-serve supermarket. Today is the grand opening, and flyers in our mailboxes have confirmed that it really will be a Western-style grocery store. I'm excited!

When we first moved to Russia, I didn't like the old-style stores, just because of my lack of language skills. Everything is behind the counters and in different sections. I would make it up to the front of the line, say what I wanted, and the lady wouldn't understand. Instantly, everyone would be yelling at me to get out of the way. (This was in Moscow, and most Muscovites have no patience.)

I finally got past that, but now I have children. We go and wait in the dairy line. I ask for milk, then take off after Jaan; I come back, order yogurt, and try to get Raia to stop crying; then cheese. . . and that's just the first section! If I still have any sanity left, we go on to dry goods, then produce, and so on. Do you see why Will usually does the shopping?

It will be so fun and easy to be able to walk around the store and choose what we want off the shelves! Of course, it will be a new training experience for our children. And we will miss all the ladies we knew who worked in the different sections. But I'm looking forward to it.

Baba Julie, you'll have to make a special trip just to see this store. It's too bad that you didn't see what was there before, so that you would be able to compare it. (So everyone else will understand what I'm talking about: when we lived in Moscow and Will's parents visited, his mother went to the supermarkets every day. She was disappointed that we didn't have them here.)

UPDATE: Will and Jaan just went out to the grand opening. They're only letting people into the store in small groups, and Will didn't want to wait in line. I guess we'll find out what it's like later.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Our weekend

Some people have to spend lots money for adventure travel. All we have to do is take a regular trip with our two little ones, and we have just as much fun and end up just as tired and happy. Leaving on a train at 1:00 wasn't easy, but the rest of the trip went well. We arrived in Moscow with very little sleep, but Jaan was able to be obedient and have a wonderful day with the Sullivans, while we enjoyed the seminar.

With Denise Glenn
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

At lunch, I went up to Denise and told her the story of our Motherwise group and Lena's salvation. She said, "Praise the Lord! Why don't you share that with the whole group?" So, after lunch, that's exactly what she had me do.

When the day was over, we took our very tired selves back up to the Sullivans. Jaan was just going to bed, and was very glad to see us. The Sullivans spoiled us completely with a nice dinner, fellowship, and then a big quiet room to sleep in. Sunday morning we got to go to our old church. It was wonderful to be there again. Will has been back and forth a lot, but I hadn't been there since Jaan was just barely a year old. Everyone was thrilled to meet Raia and see the rest of us. Then we stayed at church and visited with Tima and various other people until it was time for us to go to the train station. Tima helped us get there and saw us off:

Jaan and Uncle Tima
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Now we're back home and very glad to be here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sweet baby!

The nameless baby
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Last night we took a meal over to Pavel and Ulyana, and visited with them, Mark, and their new baby.

Taking care of the baby
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan was so sweet with the baby! Baby was lying in his crib, fussing a little. Jaan said, "Baby's crying" and went over to very gently pat him. The baby was quiet as long as Jaan was there, so Jaan stood with his hand on the baby and played with Mark.

I almost forgot to say that we have another busy weekend ahead of us. We're leaving late tonight for a Motherwise/Fatherwise seminar in Moscow. Please pray for us to have a good trip and for Jaan to have a good day with the Sullivans. We should be back late Sunday night. (But don't expect me to write then! )

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Prayer request

Please remember to pray for Ivan today!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Pulling up

Yesterday Raia started pulling herself up to a standing position. I tried to get a photo then, because it was so cute. Jaan was sitting on the couch, and she pulled up on his legs. She fell over and hit her head before I could get the picture, though. The poor baby had a lot of falls yesterday. She even gave herself her first bloody nose. Anyway, here she is standing in the crib today:

"Look at me!"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We didn't end up with many photos from the weekend, but here's Jaan with one of the missionary kids from Kokhma:

Jaan at the youth festival
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Will's in Moscow until tomorrow, so please pray for him and us.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ivanovo and today

We had a wonderful weekend, but we feel almost like we ran a two-day marathon. The car ride to Ivanovo fulfilled all of Jaan's expectations. Uncle Vanya even had him sit up in the front seat! I think I enjoyed it as much as Jaan. There was a rare mixture of thick fog and bright sunshine when we set out, and the trees and bushes sparkled in a way that I've never seen before. It was like they had all been sprinkled with glitter. When the fog lifted, everything was a beautiful, blinding blue and white.

The youth festival was very good. I didn't get to hear the speakers, because I was in and out with Raia so much, but I did hear the Moscow choir. That would have been enough to make the trip worthwhile in my opinion, even without all the great fellowship and fun of the rest of the day. Along with our usual usual group of youth, Misha and Seryozha went, and they both seemed pleased with their first experience of a regional youth day.

Today we're recovering from our weekend. We'll probably just stay home and rest. I had thought spring was coming. Last week Jaan and I watched three trucks get stuck in one afternoon; that's a sure sign of spring! However, right now it's snowing so hard that I can barely see the building across from us. It looks like a good day to hibernate a little bit more.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Jaan's going

We're actually ready early, and I have time to write!

Last night Jaan saw me laying out clothes and getting ready for today. I explained what our plans were and how Uncle Vanya (Ivan from Viazniki) was going to come pick us up and all. I thought I emphasized the tomorrow part of the story, but apparently not.

Jaan usually directs me through our bedtime routine:
"Mama, Jesus." (Read a Bible story.)
"Mama, pray."
"Mama, light."
"Jaan sleep."
We got through the first two steps, and then I started to turn off the light. I was met by confused wails of "No, Mama! Uncle
Vanya. . . car. . . going. . . Jaan." So, I explained again, and Jaan went to bed happy. Later when he heard us come in for bed, he turned over and said in his sleep, "Let's go," using the verb that means in a car. And when he woke up this morning, he jumped out of bed and said, "Пока, Мишка! Ян поехал." (Bye, Mishka! Jaan's going.) And he started to run for the door.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Don't worry

We're just enjoying the sunshine. And we'll be in Ivanovo all day
tomorrow. That's why I haven't been writing.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bath time for Raia

Bath time
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

After supper last night I didn't want to heat up a whole bunch of water, so I just put Raia in this little bath tub. Jaan asked me to take the picture, because they had matching noses. I don't know if you can see it, but I had just put lotion on them to help wash off the gook.

See the teeth?
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

She was actually screeching at me in anger, because I wouldn't let her touch the camera, but if you look closely, her teeth are visible.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My plant lover

Will bought lettuce that came in a little pot, with the roots and all. When I started breaking it up for salad last night, Jaan got very upset: "Mama, plant, plant. Hurts! No, Mama!" And he went through his whole recitation of how plants grow and how much he loves them. I've heard of children becoming vegetarians because they can't stand the thought of cruelty to animals. What about the other way around?

He and I are loving all the seeds sprouting in our windowsills!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Babies are gross

. . . but they sure are cute!

Raia loves her kasha!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia needs a bath and change of clothes after every meal. She and Jaan have mild colds, so they're snotty messes right now, too. At least you can't see that part in the photo.

And you know what else she's been doing? (Warning: If you're not a mother, you might not want to read any further.) She's been pooping in her diapers. Yuck! I'm not used to dealing with that. She's still happily doing her pee and breastmilk poo in her potty, but twice this week she's made those stinky messes that come from solid food in her diaper. And she thinks it's so funny.

I'll keep her anyway.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gardening photos

Watering his pumpkins
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Planting more seeds
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I should have gotten a photo when Raia tried to help us by eating our dirt, but I didn't. Here she is enjoying some of the blini (crepes) that our neighbors brought us for Maslenitsa.

Eating blini
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spring is in the air!

Well, not really, but we're starting to think about it. Jaan and I have been starting seeds. Over the past few days we've planted petunias and some other flowers, cauliflower and tomatoes. We just do a little bit each day. His pumpkin plants are getting nice and big. A few days ago he dropped one. We prayed over it and taped it up with a Veggie Tales bandaid. (I thought that was appropriate.) It seems to be growing back together!

The snow is still deeper than I remember from previous winters, and the weather is cold, so spring still won't be here for a while, though.

Yesterday was a wonderful day. We spent the morning being lazy. . . and washing dishes. After Sundays when everyone comes over, we always have a huge pile of dishes. It especially takes a while to get through them when the hot water is off and we have to heat our wash water. Jaan helped me, though.

Washing dishes
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

After nap time, we went for a walk in the woods. The weather was perfect! The highlight of our walk was that we found tracks where a rabbit had crossed the road. Animals are rare here in central Russia, so that was almost as exciting as seeing the rabbit itself. I've only actually seen wild rabbits here two or three times. They're massive!

Walk in the woods
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We came back and made our Monday night pizza, which is fast becoming a tradition. Then, after supper, I lit candles, melted chocolate chips on some little cookies, and put out mini marshmallows to make indoor s'mores. They don't usually sell marshmallows here, but Will got some yesterday, and that gave me the idea. (I've heard that according to David Beaird's geography, America is "the country that has marshmallows.")

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia's Tooth #3 and Tooth #4 seem to be holding off a little. She's an amazing baby. Even with all this, she's sleeping just fine. It seems like she's a little clingier and fussier than usual, but that's all.

The main excitement today has been that we watched and identified a new kind of bird: Long-Tailed Tits.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Second tooth!

Poor baby! The other bottom tooth came through today. I guess this
is just the way our children teethe. Jaan cut his first four teeth
in one week when he was about this age. It looks like we'll be
seeing Raia's top teeth in the next few days, too.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

First tooth!

After tormenting her for a long time, Raia's first tooth has finally broken through! It's on the bottom left.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Friday was our last day of vacation. We had a fun and busy morning with the Beairds.

Playing outside
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Dressing up
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Fixing trucks
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Note that hammer in action. Caleb is studying to be a Russian mechanic.

Making muffins
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Then we had to leave for Moscow. We took the commuter train, then two more trains to get home. It sure was a wonderful week! And like I said before, it is so nice to be home.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


When Jaan woke up Thursday morning, I told him that he was going to see Caleb. I don't think he knew what I meant, but we talked about the little boy named Caleb and the other times they had been together, and soon Jaan was very excited. Every time the train would slow down, he would say, "Now. Caylu." I'd tell him not yet, later. When we arrived in Moscow, Jaan started searching everywhere for "Caylu." Still, not yet. We had to go on the Metro, then a bus. . . .

And then Mi-ka had a very bad adventure. The bus ride was long and slow. Jaan and Raia both slept. When we finally pulled into Naro-Fominsk, where the Beairds live, we just hopped off with our sleepy children and piled into a taxi. I didn't even really get their coats back on right. When the taxi driver heard where we wanted to go, he refused to take us to that street. All the other taxi drivers had some excuse or another; Will called the taxi company, and they said they didn't have anyone available because of the holiday. It was cold and wet out, and Raia was screaming. Usually small children are a magic ticket to get anything done here, so we were really surprised, and I was not happy.

We finally found someone willing to take us and started off. Right as we reached the Beairds' house, we realized that we had left Jaan's backpack on the bus. And Mi-ka, the beloved bear, was in it. James and Will went back to look at the place were the buses park. Susan called the children together and we prayed. After all that time, the bus with Mi-ka really should have been on its way back to Moscow. But it wasn't! Praise the Lord, before too long James and Will came back with Mi-ka! Now we could settled in and enjoy our visit with our wonderful friends.

All the kids
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I had two photos and couldn't decide which was cuter. Maybe Susan will post the other one.

I can't say enough about how wonderful it was just to talk, watch our kids play, talk, meet cute chubby-cheeked Johanna, talk, see the Beairds' new home, and just have time together!

Both of our children have buddies who were born the same year:

Jaan and "Caylu"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Raia and JoJo
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

James and Susan let us have their room and the whole downstairs for the night. Their children went up to bed. When the rest of us were ready to sleep, we told Jaan that it was time for bed. He kissed me and started up the stairs to join his friends! I think he was a little surprised to find out that he had to sleep with us.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Wednesday we did a lot more walking around and looking at old city, after Will and Jaan picked up Raia's visa. Then, just before we got on the train we stopped at a sandwich shop, which turned out to be owned and operated by Americans! Jaan found his name in his French fries, and loved pointing out the other letters he knows as he was eating them. Then it was back to the train, for a very easy trip back. At least, our children were easy. They slept the whole time and didn't even wake up at the border.

Alphabet fries!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

(Yes, they were the English alphabet, but Jaan was very quick to flip the R over, and he calls H by its Russian name and sound.)