Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yesterday's work

Jaan inspecting some of the flowers we planted yesterday
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

There are daffodils in the center, grape hyacinths that you can't see very well in the back, and I don't know the English names of the rest.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just a quickie

We spent a wonderful morning outside, planting flowers that I had asked a neighbor to bring in from her garden. She brought so many that were exactly what I had been wanting! Daffodils that are already budding, grape hyacinths in bloom, forget-me-nots. . . .

Also, we're dealing with a situation that's taking some time and energy and thought. Please head over to our prayer requests and start praying with us.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Usually, when I don't write for a few days, it's because we're spending so much time outside, or because I'm asleep (or wishing that I am).* I feel okay most of the time, but I'm always T-I-R-E-D. This baby does also get the nausea prize, compared to my others, though. However, I have gained a ton of weight, just because eating seems to help keep my stomach calm. Quite a few of our friends around the world are pregnant now, and I know some of them are having trouble gaining weight. Anyone want some of mine? Lara wrote that she had only gained x number of pounds (I won't betray any secrets); I had already gained that many kilograms, and she's more than a month ahead of me! I did have a sonogram last Tuesday that proved there's only one baby, a very healthy one. Too early to tell boy or girl, which is good, because we like that to be a surprise.

Jaan and Raia are growing right along with their little sibling, of course. I think Raia's trying to keep up with me on weight gain! We finally started getting fresh milk again, and now their favorite play is that they are cows. When Raia sees me bring the bottle of "milk from cows" out of the refrigerator, she moos. Most of the time they crawl around and refuse to answer to any name other than Cow. There's also a variation of the game called Scary Cows where they put on hats and other dress up, and zoom around on hands and knees, moo-roaring. Jaan's developing quite an imagination, and he'll sit for ages talking out stories with whatever props he can find: spoons, cars, pencils, etc. Raia moving from a toddler into a preschooler, and she loves puzzles, sorting, "counting" (аз, два, аз, два, аз, ТРИ!), and any kind of art project. Jaan's starting to memorize Bible verses, and I noticed that when one of his recent ones was read in church, Raia spontaneously starting doing the hand motions to go with it!

And of course, we're outside a lot. Our primroses are really starting to bloom, and the tulips are coming up well. They're not even to the stage where there are buds, but that should be soon. I have not done well with seeds at all this year. None of those dahlias I was so excited about came up. I just haven't been able to find much from my favorite seed brand, and that seems to make a big difference. Monday we found "fluffy" dahlias from the company I like. (That's the wrong brand, but the right one doesn't have a picture.) I like simple better than "fluffy," but these new ones are already sprouting! Pretty soon it will be warm enough to transplant my few successful seedlings to the flower beds, and a neighbor has agreed to let us move some flowers from her garden, too.

*I've written this over the past few days. Monday we were outside almost all day. Tuesday our internet card ran out. Yesterday and most of today an "accident on the line" at our internet provider was keeping us offline.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Today only

Moscow Times only keeps their articles online available to the public for one day. Today's main article there is about Kovrov, though, so hurry to read it!

(Obviously I didn't get back to writing anything on Saturday. I really will write more sometime soon!)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

New family photo

Due in October!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

I'll come back and write more here during nap time. . . .

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A real picnic

This morning we went on a real picnic. We were excited to find that the birch sap is flowing. Right away we found two trees dripping, so we set Jaan and Raia's cups under them. By the time our food was ready, they each had a cup full!

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Jaan was so surprised and thrilled when he saw how much there was.

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Culinary creations
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

More, please
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

After she drank down her birch juice, she went back over to the tree, hugged it and asked it to give her more.

Right now Jaan is outside. I always feel safe when he's out by himself, because Dedushka Volodya watches over him. Among all the babushki around our building, there's one dedushka who sits outside for hours. Today when Jaan got up from his nap, he told me that he wanted to go see Dedushka Volodya, and sure enough, I can see him out there, sitting by Dedushka Volodya, swinging his feet and talking about something.

Overheard yesterday, as I was cutting up food and serving dinner: "Baby, don't fuss. We can eat soon. . . just five more hours."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


ProdMaster, the local grocery store that we enjoy so much, was closed for a few days for technical difficulties. I sent Will out to get things a few times during those days, and each time he came back minus something that I had requested. Either the little stores didn't have it, or he didn't want to stand in yet another line. (Which I completely understand!) What I find very funny is that the babushki I talk to every day don't like ProdMaster, because "it's inconvenient. You have to walk all over and find things yourself. You can't just ask for them." Funny how different our idea of inconvenient is! I, along with most younger Russians, think that standing in four or five different lines, asking for separate items one at a time, and squinting over a counter to choose what you want is inconvenient. Babushki think modern grocery stores are inconvenient. All I can say is that this generation was happy to see that the technical difficulties were sorted out and the store open again today.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

We have colds

Raia keeps coming to me and asking me to "sweep" her nose. (And, no, "sweep" and "wipe" do not sound at all alike in Russian.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Yesterday we went on a mini-picnic. Jaan and Raia didn't think it was a real picnic, because we didn't build a fire and cook outside, but they still had fun. We found three ladybugs!

In other news: Today we have our first buds on one of the primrose plants!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Christ is Risen, indeed!

Here are a few photos from yesterday. We had a wonderful day, but now I'm exhausted. In the morning we went down and took hot cross buns and eggs to the neighbor we know best. Then we headed out to church. The day was beautiful, clear and sparkly with bits of fresh snow left: the world was rejoicing after several grey days. Church was a joyful celebration, then tea time. In the late afternoon we came home, while Will went to visit the home for the elderly/crippled/poor/former prison inmates. The day ended with another beautiful little blizzard. It was so peaceful to lie in bed and watch the snow come down!

At breakfast:

He is Risen!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

At church:

Jaan and Raia
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

The yearly Three Musketeers photo:

Mark, Jaan, Ilya
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Be sure to click back through the links and see how they've grown!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I forgot to post one last photo from our trip to visit the Beairds last week.

Worn out
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

This was right after we started back into Moscow to catch our train home. I find it funny that my first train ride was when I was eighteen years old, but cars were an everyday method of transportation. It's the other way around for our children: they spend lots of time on trains, but cars are an exciting treat.

Raia's getting big enough to share her funny quotes now, too. On our way to Moscow we had left our little potty on the train. We were concerned about the way home, because both of our children are afraid of train bathrooms. So, a little before the time for our train, we found ourselves rushing around Kursky Station, looking to buy a potty. We came to a toy section that actually had one. Raia yelled, "There he is!" as if she had found some long lost relative and ran in to snatch it. We paid for it and headed to our train, only to find that the stewardesses (is that what you call them?) had saved our lost potty for us and were just waiting for our return trip.

Other recent Raia quotes: this morning she was obviously searching for something, and she kept saying, "Where's God?" After a while, I heard "Oh, there he is!" I went to see what she was talking about: she had found a little New Testament, which was apparently what she had been looking for.

She's obsessed with having the hood on her snowsuit up these days. Every time it comes down, she politely asks me to "close door."

Will's standard answer when he's in a hurry to get out the door and Jaan's pestering him about where he's going is, "To the moon." Last night Jaan started up with the barrage of "Where are you going, Papa?" questions, and without missing a beat, Raia answered for him: "To the moon."

I often remind Jaan that Raia's little, when he needs to be more kind or gentle. A few minutes ago, Raia was begging for another hot cross bun. I told her no, and she's responded with "I'm little."

To change the subject: I just read an article that really reflects the typical Russian's understanding of Easter. It's also available online, so if you're interested, please go read it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

He's alive!

Maybe it's a little early to be saying that, but it is always true: Jesus is alive! That's what we're focusing on this year, with our children.

For our family night activity on Wednesday, we decorated eggs. I had two methods planned, which was probably too much, but I didn't know what would work and what would be the right level of difficulty for us. First we dripped food coloring on eggs. Jaan and Raia loved that, but it was a little frustrating for them, too. We had to wait between drippings for the eggs to dry, and I couldn't just let them squirt color wildly, like they wanted to.

Jaan at work
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Then we painted eggs with glue and stuck tissue paper on them. I don't know which was better. Raia got herself so sticky, that she had a hard time getting anything onto the egg. Both methods were fun, though!

The finished product
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Wait, THIS is the finished product!
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Learning together
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Yesterday we had a wet, snowy morning, so we stayed inside and did another craft.

Easter craft
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

The top says "He's alive!" Then there is a cross, followed by flowers and butterflies to picture new life and resurrection, and XB at the bottom stands for "Christ is Risen." The picture really should be against a bright blue sky. It's all much prettier than it shows up.

By the way, it's fun that we're all celebrating Easter at the same time this year.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


It's snowing?!?!?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

First flowers

Jaan's flower
Originally uploaded by fylliska.

The photo above was still in Naro-Fominsk. I haven’t taken many here the past few days. When we got back the same little yellow мать-и-мачеха were blooming everywhere here, too. Jaan also found a caterpillar there! He’s diligently searching for one here, but so far we haven’t seen any signs of them.

On Sunday I saw the first primroses blooming. Maybe it’s not quite fair, because they’re in front of a building that has full sun and the hot water pipes running right under their flower bed. But the flowers are starting! We still have a little bit of snow left to melt by our door. Today we were very excited to see the first little tips of the tulips we planted in the fall. They’re supposed to bloom red, and the sprouts even look red.

I love when spring and Easter coincide. This year Easter seems a little early, but we are seeing signs of everything coming back to life to celebrate the Resurrection.

There are definitely signs of spring cleaning. A few days ago I even saw so many babushki cleaning their rugs at once that they were standing in line to use the rug-beating bars! Holy Week in Russia is also the week for spring cleaning. For many people that’s their only celebration of this week’s holidays. In America some confuse the real meaning of this week with the Easter bunny and Easter egg hunts. Here it’s more likely to be confused with traditional housecleaning and baking.

By the way, who thought of spring cleaning? I like the idea of having everything nice and shiny for spring, but it’s terribly hard to stay in and clean when the sun is shining so beautifully outside! We’re cleaning a little bit, too. I always think it’s fun to clean windows this week and look across to see how many other people are doing the same thing we are. But that’s about all we’ll get done, I’m afraid.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sightseeing with preschoolers

Tuesday we met up with the Beairds right in the center of Moscow, which gave us a great chance to enjoy the beautiful weather and famous landmarks. When you're with a three-year-old and a one-year-old who cares about St. Basil's and the Kremlin, though? Here's what fascinated our children:

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

Originally uploaded by fylliska.

(We really tried to get Jaan and Raia to look at the camera. Hopeless!)