Wednesday, January 31, 2007


After our wonderful month of advent, we decided that we needed to continue something at least similar once a week throughout the year. Wednesday night is now our family night, and we've been trying to do a family version of Awana Cubbies. Tonight was especially fun, because Seryozha was here, and of course, Julie is too! (Unfortunately all the good pictures are stuck in her camera.) We learned about creation, days 2 and 3. . . .

Story time
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

You can't see the dry land and water, or much of the plants, but they're down there. Jaan's showing off the clouds.

Craft time
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Seryozha helped Raia, and Julie helped Jaan.

Edited to add one of Julie's photos:

All the Cubbies
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Watching TV?

"Watching TV"
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

At least, that's what they said they were doing. All I could see was a lovely view of the moon through the window.

Today Julie and I took down our Christmas decorations. (Remember Christmas wasn't so long ago here, and we had left everything for Julie to see.) She's having her first orphanage experience tonight.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

So much fun!

We're having a great time, so much so that I can't fit in any writing. Friday we arrived home in Kovrov and just rested all day. Saturday we went for a short walk in the forest; it was too cold for anything long! That evening the youth came over for a fellowship time. Today we went to church, of course. It's been wonderful to share our daily life with Julie and let her meet our friends.

Just today Jaan started speaking English to Julie. Up until now, when she talked to him, he would answer (in Russian), "I can't speak Russian."

After nap time
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Friday, January 26, 2007

She's here!

Julie in front of the Kremlin
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We had lots of adventures in Moscow, but now we're safely home in Kovrov. . . with Julie! And I think I'm too tired and busy to write anything more now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Strange allies

A few days ago a stranger called for our landlord. I talked to him for a few minutes, then gave him our landlord's work number, but I didn't find out who he was. The next morning, our landlord called, sounding very worried, asking about all our documents, and warning us to expect a visit from the FSB (federal police)! They had just been to see him, and apparently they were planning to come back, and also to come talk to us. We spent a rather nervous day, praying and waiting for a knock at the door. No one came, praise God! Later we found out that they had come back and talked to our landlord more. Apparently they just wanted to check what they know about us with an outside source; they already knew everything about us and also about the Korneichuks. And here's the funny part: when our landlord told about the problems we've had with registration, the FSB man said that he could help with that next time, even though it's not exactly his jurisdiction! I thought he sounded nice on the phone. God is very good!

Very early tomorrow morning Raia and I are leaving to meet Julie in Moscow and spend a few days there. "See you" on Friday!

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I haven't had much to write about lately, so shall I write about MUD? This winter has been the strangest we've seen in Russia. We haven't had snow on the ground since November. Usually I like Spring, but it needs the promise of coming beauty to get through the mud and mess. Now it seems like Spring has dragged out for two months, and it has not been fun! Not to mention that it's not the right time of year for this. We can hardly go out, because it's so messy. However, I just noticed our bulbs are starting to sprout. Maybe Spring really is coming? And Will did a spring cleanup today, which really helps. He got all the soggy trash picked up from around our building. Hurrah!

Now I hear that next week is supposed to be cold. I'm not sure how much I believe that, but I am worried about my flowers!

The youth are coming in a few minutes, so that's all for now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Photos from last night

Watching Papa
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

(He was a little scary!)

Will the Donkey, Nadya the Camel, and Raia
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

In the other class
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

One of the boys who especially thinks the world of Will, leaned over to me when Will started and whispered, "He's such a great actor! He talks just like a real donkey!"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Just a cute picture

Riding their motorcycle
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I haven't had much to post lately. The Old New Year was a few days ago, so the holidays are officially over. We're enjoying some quieter days now.

Oh, we are going to "our" orphanage tonight for another performance by "Super Donkey," and then tomorrow night will be the same thing at another orphanage, which is usually closed to us.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Her favorite things

Raia's newest words reflect some of the things she loves. She says "mocha" when she wants to nurse. We guess that comes from молочко/milk. Or have I been drinking too much coffee lately? Her other new word is "ee-ah," which does not mean donkey; it means book! That took us a while to figure out. She must just be saying the vowels in книга. For a while we thought she was talking about Will's recent part as Monsieur Ee-Ah the Donkey, but now we've figured out that it only means donkey when she says it long and loud. Usually "ee-ah" refers to the books that she loves to read with Papa.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The shelter

Raia and her new friends
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We did get to go to the shelter! I really enjoyed being with all the little children; we had expected more older ones. We were also surprised to walk in and see our landlord's daughter there. She was thrilled to have us come visit her. At least, she assumed that we were there especially to see her. Please pray for her and her father. I don't want to say too much about their family life, but we've been praying for them for a long time. Things aren't going too well, and it's sad to see her away from him, in a shelter or orphanage. Her father has already called this morning and thanked us for spending time with his daughter.

Also, there was a group of Americans who visited the shelter with us. Afterwards Will went on to Ivanovo with them as a translator. We laughed at the difference between our friends Pasha (the pastor here) and Vanya (the missionary in Viazniki). A few minutes before we were set to go to the shelter, Pasha called and said something about "Vanya would like to take Will to Ivanovo, so think about that. . . maybe. . . if you can. . ." Then, Will called Vanya, and Vanya said, "So, have you heard that you're going to Ivanovo?" No questions, no other choices, no "think about it." That's Vanya! He was tired of driving the American group around and not being able to communicate with them. Even though Will got home really late, I was glad that he could go. When we jumped into the van on the way to the shelter, the group turned to us and said, "You speak English, right? Then tell us, where are we?!?" I was confused for a minute, and then I realized they were asking what city this was. And then they wanted to know where they had been earlier in the day!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The favorite photo

The favorite photo
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

This photo got the most votes. Thank you for all your input! Because of your suggestions, I changed the layout of the names a little, too. Also, did anyone notice the change up at the top of our blog? Or at the very bottom:

Julie's visit is the next big event in our lives, and we're so excited! The holidays are almost over now. Only Will has been able to go to the events of the last few days. Today we hope to go all together to give out presents at a children's shelter, if everything works out, though.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Merry Christmas! (again)

Yesterday was the children's Christmas program. Raia and I had to stay home, because she has a gooky cold. Jaan went and had a wonderful time, though. Will was a donkey, who told part of the Christmas story. The other adults were different animals, who each told their part.

Monsieur Ee-aw
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

(I know it's dark. Sorry.)

Today was the main Christmas service and celebration, and again we stayed home. I was sad about it, but then the sunshine came out, and we decided that was in honor of Jesus' birthday. So, we had our own celebration at home. At church. . .

Alyona played her violin
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

. . . and another little boy played his cello. All that must have inspired Will, because he came home. . .

Tuned his viola
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

. . . and played Christmas carols for us.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Raia's confused. For a while she could say Mama, and she called both Will and me Mama. She just pointed to show which one of us she meant. Will didn't like that, so he really worked to teach her to say Papa. Sometime last week she got that down. And now we're both Papa. When she started saying Papa, she also started asking Will for milk and digging around in his shirt when she's hungry. Confused!

And to clear up more confusion, please vote on which family photo is better: Photo 1 or Photo 2. If you don't usually like to comment, remember you can leave an anonymous comment, and then we'll have your vote, too. Thanks!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Time with friends

This is such a fun time of year! Almost everyone is free from work. Tuesday, after the New Year church service, we went to visit our friends in a nearby village. Jaan talks about visiting the cows, but he loves to be with Babushka Valya and Dedushka Yura, too.

Visiting the cows
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Yesterday we went to a fellowship time with other friends at the Korneichuks' home.

Raia "holding" Maksim
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

(Although, it's hard to tell who's holding whom sometimes.)

Today we're just staying home. We still have two invitations of "be sure to come over during the holidays," but we'll have to get back to that tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

С Новым Годом!

We've had a few more fun and exciting days lately. We "met" the New Year (how do you say that in English?) at home, which was a first for us. It was very nice and peaceful. We had a good Southern dinner of black-eyed peas and cornbread, and we went to bed before midnight. The children and I even slept through all the neighborhood fireworks; Will says that they went on without a break for two full hours.

Before that, on Sunday we had all kinds of good adventures. On our way to church, we saw the woodpecker again right as we left our house. Then, when we got close to church, we saw another one, right down at eye level on a fence! We had never seen one so close and so unconcerned about our presence! Even Raia is still talking about it. What is driving them out of the forests this year?

Church was a joyful celebration of all that the Lord has done in the past year. The mysterious Ded Moroz who came and gave out presents last year, showed up again this year. No one knows who he is or where he comes from, but we do know that he's a Christian. Also, three African students who study at the institute across the street from the church apartment came in. I had actually met them and talked to them before, so I was especially glad to see them. Please pray that they will come again and be able to understand. (Their Russian isn't all that good yet.)

Then yesterday we had another quiet family day. In the morning we opened presents; in the evening we made a gingerbread house. It took all of Will's handy man skills to get it put together, and then we worked together to decorate it.

Cute, eh?
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Oh, another story: our children sleep in the room that doubles as our living room. The Christmas tree is set up out there. Yesterday morning Jaan woke us up, babbling about how something had fallen, but everything was okay. We figured out that he was talking about the gingerbread star that Will had made for our Christmas tree. So, I told Jaan I'd come hang it back up. . . but I couldn't find it! I kept asking Jaan where it was, and he kept saying, "Let's just leave it there" and "It's in a good place" and "Everything is okay." Finally I noticed that Raia's face was all covered in cookie crumbs, and Jaan admitted that they had each eaten half. I was just glad that they had shared it. Raia was still in her crib, so that means Jaan brought her some. Such a sweet big brother!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Thank you!

New clothes!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

We had a great time opening presents this morning.