Archive for the 'Kids' Category

Five Years in Russia!

Yesterday, Maya and I celebrated my five-year mark in Russia. It is hard to believe that I have been here that long. Everything has changed for me/us during those five years. Among those changes are:

  • Maya and I wed on September 15th, 2001


  • David was born on September 2nd, 2002


  • Hannah came along on March 21st, 2005


  • I learned to speak Russian, and then to teach/prch in it.
  • We moved to a new city in September, 2005.

And that is probably enough sentimentalism for one post.


Our Pretty Little Lama

I snapped this image a week ago, and Hannah’s hair has since grown a little. She is a tad less Lama-like now.

The Big 0-1!!!

Our little Hannah is almost all grown up now that she has become a one-year-old. A child’s first annual milestone is a great reason for adults to celebrate in this culture. For some reason, it is a really big deal. I think it started when life here was a lot harsher. A child’s first birthday meant that he had made it through his most fragile year. The harshness has eased, but the tradition lives on.

Random question: Want to see a picture of Hannah's one-year-old feet? 🙂

After the B. study tonight, we served dinner to about 16 people (friends, neighbors and those from the study), enjoyed ice cream, compared baby pictures and just chit-chatted the evening away. We had a great time.

Another tradition on the first-year mark is to shave the baby bald. It is a home remedy of sorts; the child’s hair is supposed to grow back thicker. Maya and I were not sure what to do, follow the culture, or just leave Hannah's pretty little head alone. I think we made the right decision, though I fear the following picture is bound to generate angry comments from my family :-).

Relax, it will grow back!!! Besides, it might prove interesting. You see, I have tons of photographic evidence to test whether this home remedy has merit, or is pure quackery.

In other news, the study went well. Eight people showed up. After singing several songs together, I taught on the first four days of Creation. They seem very interested in this teaching.

The Fear Factor

Twice in the last week, people have tried to manipulate David with fear. I do not mean instilling healthy fears like saying, “Don’t play in the street or you might get hit by a car.”; or a respectful type of fear by reminding him to consider the consequences. E.g., “If you refuse to obey me you know that I will have to punish you.” I mean purposely scaring the little three-year-old to achieve a desired end.

A few days ago, an eight-year-old neighbor girl came to play with David and Hannah while the babysitter was here. After David did something bad, she locked him in the bathroom, turned off the light and said that a goblin was going to eat him. After a few minutes, she released him and told him not to misbehave again. It worked, of course. David was an angel the rest of the morning, but he would not go near the bathroom for a few days (which caused obvious problems).

Of course, we talked with the babysitter and the neighbor girl when we figured out what happened. We have to keep in mind that many consider that sort of tactic the norm. I am sure that it will not happen again. We finally convinced David that he has nothing to fear in the bathroom, and things in that realm are back to normal.

The second time was yesterday, when I took David and Hannah for a walk. David stopped to beat the snow with a stick and I did not notice for a few moments. When I looked back, I called for him to catch up. David did not seem to hear. Behind us, a babushka (senior citizen) was walking slowly along the path and was almost to David. Trying to help, she looked angrily at him and said, “Little boy, I am going to catch you and stuff you in my bag!” David took one look at this woman, dropped the stick and ran faster than I have ever seen him run. After I calmed him down the babushka came up to us and David hid behind me. I asked her to tell him that she was joking, and she kindly complied. He relaxed.

The good side to all this is that it presented an opportunity to teach David about fear, that he can trust us and God when he is afraid and that God has not given us a spirit of fear

As a protective dad, only one word comes to mind: Unbelievable! Can you imagine what life would be like if God dealt with us, his children, like that?

Big Foot, Home Group and Haiku

We do not often think about how big a baby's feet are, do we?



And then here is David, catching up on his reading.


We had a nice meeting tonight with the married’s home group. Only a month ago, I wondered if we would keep running this one. Now, we have a steady group coming each Sunday night. Tonight, we discussed the cultural differences of wedding ceremonies. They all brought pictures of their weddings and shared their stories. Then we played some games. Next week, we return to our principals of marriage lessons. Here is a picture I took while we were playing a game.

Haiku is always so choppy to me. Maybe it is just mine that are that way.


Little by little,

Every step so trying,

Never will we quit.


With hope in his love,

Resting in His providence,

Only He can save.


All for His glory,

We all shall stand before Him,

Life is a vapor.


Rubber Dinosaur, The Holidays, etc.

David came up to me the other day and said, “Papa, this candy does not taste good at all.” He was holding a rubber dinosaur. He likes gummy-bear type candy and I guess he figured this was like that. He ate the head before deciding that the taste was unpleasant.






Yesterday, we prepared the house for Christmas. I dug out our fake tree from the back porch (sorry, so unromantic) and we decorated it all together. David helped by breaking the ornaments that he felt would look nice on the tree. He also found my Santa outfit (that we use for skits) and tried it on.

Tuesdays are always busy. First thing this morning, Mark and I met together and then we met with our local coworker. After lunch, the team met and we planned the week’s events and brainstormed possibilities for January. Elbek, my language helper, came over in the evening and we recorded Altai words and phrases. And that about wraps it up.

Breakthrough needed

Maya just went to the ladies’ group, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves. Please pr for the ladies’ outreach – we are looking for a way to break out of our box and work with new people. In fact, for all of our groups we are pr for a breakthrough.


On a family note, I snapped this photo of Hannah and David last night. I am so thankful for these two wonderful children.