Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bird morning!

We got outside a little earlier than usual this morning and headed over to the park.  The morning beauty was magnificent!  The oaks are changing color, so now we have something other yellow.  The birds were frantically busy.  We watched a woodpecker up close, and enjoyed some other more common friends.  And then we saw a new bird!  Does that cause as much excitement for others, as it does in our family?

Our new bird is a Eurasian Jay.  (Click on the picture for one link, or the name for a great video.)  We followed it around for quite a while, and it didn't seem too bothered by our presence.  It was so early in the morning, that no one else was around to scare it.  Our jay was collecting acorns, just like we read that they like to do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something I mentioned

Asya smelling flowers

Counting blessings

I really enjoyed a recent post on Holy Experience. Now I have a new note hanging over the sink. It's a butterfly-shaped paper that says
"Which way to go?
Towards joy!"

721. A new little playmate outside
722. Feeling lonely and then having a mother of three stop to introduce herself as they walked by us!
723. Yellow ash trees, almost bare now
724. These beautiful, beautiful days
725. A horse! Right there, when we stepped outside this morning
726. Asya saying "ow-ow-ow!" about the horse
727. The babushka who stopped, when we were the only ones out on the playground, enjoying a beautiful morning. She smiled at Asya wobbling around and said, "You need to photograph this." I nodded. She went on, "Just to stop time, keep the whole moment." And then she went on, smiling. Unusual babushka.
728. Maple helicopters, floating down
729. Липа helicopters, even better

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just a reminder

"Every once in awhile I like to take a station break on this blog and remind myself and others: this little spot is a repository for ideas, dreams, and beautiful things. The mud and grime [except when it's cute ], the irritability, the down days, the lack of motivation happen largely off screen."

Quoted from here.

Also, when I'm not writing, you shouldn't worry. Sometimes the days are just too full and happy to allow for anything else.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It's been a really long time since I've written down any of the funny things our children say. I think they've been saying too many for me to keep up with! Here are just a few recent ones:

Sorry, this one is only funny for Russian speakers. Jaan has been saying "мне думается."

Recently Jaan woke up in the morning and told me, "I couldn't sleep at all. I felt tickles all night. And not pleasant tickles like people do. It was probably CROCODILE TICKLES. Yes, it felt like a crocodile. He probably lives under my bed." He's been praying that the crocodiles won't tickle him any more every night before bed.

Will gave Raia a few gummy candies. Her response: "Thank you! I love these. They swim like this in the sea." (And she waved her hands back and forth "like this.") What? They're jellyfish, of course!

Raia comes out into the kitchen with her doll:
Raia: "Mama, this is my baby."
Me: "Then I must be her grandmother."
Hilarious shocked look from Raia.
Raia: "No, you're not that old! Let's just be friends."

The asters and chrysanthemums are blooming all around our building. Asya would love to tear them all up, so I've been teaching her "don't touch with your hands; smell with your nose." On Sunday there was a picture right down at her level in the Sunday school room. It was an almost unbearable temptation for her. I told her, "Don't touch with your hands!" So, she leaned forward and smelled it.

This is more cute than funny. Asya isn't talking yet, but she loves animals. In her language cats say something like "ow-ow-ow." And so do dogs, horses, cows, etc!

And a silly photo:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ukrainian visa laws

I'm rather surprised that we haven't had any concerned inquiries in the past few days.  I've been pretty worried myself.  Our new friend Laura was deported from where she was working in Odessa.  That went around the GBC prayer list.  Please pray for Laura and the rest of the team there!

For anyone that was concerned, but just didn't ask--and for myself--I'll try to explain Ukrainian visa laws.  (Not that I'm an expert!  They're much more confused and confusing here, than in Russia.  This is just how I understand it.)  Something that we learned in Russia was that visas are not for living in the country, they're for entering it, at least in this part of the world.  In Russia, you have three days to register, once you're there.  Because of that, we were in a big hurry to register here.  Still, it took us over a month to get registered.  We didn't quite understand their laid back response to that, or why what we were doing was called "extending" our registration.  Now I understand better.  When you enter Ukraine, you're automatically registered for 180 (used to be 90) days.  The current laws say that you have to extend that, if you're going to be staying longer.  Laura and the team she was working with didn't know that.  It used to be that they could just leave regularly and be automatically reregistered every time they came back.  Not anymore.  We didn't know about that, so we weren't (too) confused.  We just did things like in Russia, and that happened to be the right way.

So, for anyone who was concerned: we are not in danger of being deported.

Please pray for Laura as she adjusts back to the States, and for the rest of the team that Anna will be working with as work on getting their paperwork straightened out.

By they way, for those who want to come visit us, you don't have to worry about any of this at all.  You don't need a visa for a visit of less than three months, and registration is automatic.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I'm enjoying each day so much! Yesterday was just a regular day, but it was so much fun. I don't have any photos from the morning, so I'll give you a few that Julie took when she was here, because they're similar.

We went outside, and there were several clean leaf piles right across from our door.  It was a little later than we usually get out, and all three children were completely wound up from being stuck inside.  They attacked those leaf piles like crazy things.  Even Asya was throwing leaves around.  Jaan and Raia were plowing leaves. . . with their heads!  I just stood by and laughed and laughed and laughed.  To make up for lost time, we also ate lunch outside.  The weather was so perfect!  At the last minute before meltdown, we came in for naps.

After naps, Jaan and Raia begged to paint.  We had fun with that, but when Jaan had finished several masterpieces, he explained that what he really wanted was to point himself like a Papua New Guinean child.  Hmm.  I quickly looked up face paint recipes, but couldn't find anything simple that we could make with what we had.  So, I made up my own recipe, and it worked wonderfully!  Jaan very carefully copied a design he had seen in one of his books.  Raia started smearing and quickly became one of the Goroka mud men.  Asya. . . well, she tried to eat the paint.

(Their responses were rather typical.  Jaan has to analyze anything new, and he's very careful.  Raia dives in.  Asya is just hungry.  Hopefully that's only a stage she's going through.   It will be interesting to see how her personality develops.  I think I would expect her response to be laugh at it, or stand off to the side and watch it?)

Without further ado, PNG pictures:

(I was going to include one of Asya with her spoon, pacifier and body paint, too, but the computer is being weird again.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pigeon pictures

Last week our friends found a pigeon.  They brought it over to visit us, because they thought we needed another pet.  (Uh, no thanks!)  He was very sweet and tame.  They found a different home for him, and then he disappeared from there.  We're all hoping that he just learned to fly and took off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The guest

I think I have writer's block. Nothing is coming to mind, so I'll show you photos of the guest that I mentioned. No, not Julie. A pigeon!

Well, the computer seems to have some kind of block, too. Pictures aren't uploading. So...I'll write about fall! Several of you have asked about the weather and scenery. The first is incredible! It's been "just right" for quite a while now. I think we're supposed to get down to freezing one night this weekend, but that will be the first time so far. It rains off and on, with bright sunshine in between. The rain is just enough to keep everything beautifully green, but not enough to make us feel trapped indoors. Other than the yellow ash trees like the one I showed you, there's not much fall foliage. We are collecting wonderful leaves, but they seem to change just a few at a time, so there aren't many brilliant trees.

Did I tell you that we went to another Zhatva celebration in a different village on Sunday? We have photos of that, too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A few quick photos

My latest attempt to make her look girly

Will thinks it's just funny.

And a pretty photo of Raia

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Catching up

I started this during nap time yesterday and didn't get very far....

I'm not quite sure what to write about. I'm pretty comfortable now with how I have things set up for computer use. We've been enjoying quiet, beautiful fall days, but haven't had anything too exciting going on. Julie is still here, and we're loving that. Jaan and Raia think she's a perpetual reading machine, and she doesn't seem to mind. Our things came from Russia, so we've been trying to organize and put away and not be too overwhelmed. (That last one is just me.)

We bought a pumpkin last week and enjoyed pumpkin pie, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice lattes, and more pumpkin frozen for later. Julie keeps telling people that this was her first experience with baked pumpkin. I started to ask her if she usually bakes or boils her pumpkins, and she thought that was pretty funny. She's always gotten them from cans! Another highlight was that we had to call a wonderful friend of ours, who we haven't talked to in ages, to get the cookie recipe. (Hi Debbie!) And then we called back later to talk to her daughter, and we also spent a while on Skype with another friend. (Hi Lara!)

This photos kind of randomly fit with the text. The tree at the top is glowing outside our window. It's beautiful! I keep wondering why the kitchen is so lit up and then realizing it's the reflection from the ash tree. Overall, fall hasn't been too spectacular here--at least, not yet--but the individual ash trees are lovely. And the weather is unbelievable. It's finally not hot, but it's certainly not cold either. . . . Where was I? Oh, yes: photos. The next is Julie, eating her pumpkin pie. By the way, I've gotten confused questions about her visa situation. No, she has not been waiting for this visa since I went to see her in Odessa. That was one visa. She got that one and went back to Russia with it. This is a different one. Once she gets this one, she should be able to stay in Russia for a year. Okay, third photo: I mentioned that our things are here, that includes the long-awaited tricycle! It's funny, but I don't have any photos of Jaan on it. He's really enjoying it, though. When he first saw it, he insisted that it wasn't his: "But my tricycle was big!" We finally convinced that he has grown, the tricycle hasn't shrunk.

I should stop here, so that I get something posted. Since I said that nothing exciting has been happening, we have had a very exciting visitor. And I've been reading a fascinating book. Anyone know anything about ancient Russian mythology? But, like I said, I'll stop here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

We're fine!

We're alive and well!

...but our computer is not. I'll be back to blogging soon, once I get technical difficulties figured out.