Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Belly Picture

Here's the latest belly picture, taken today! I am definitely growing! Baby is actively kicking and moving around a lot, too. Lydia likes to put her hand on my belly and try to feel kicks.

You may have noticed my new haircut- Lydia's nanny cut it for me this afternoon. I think she did a pretty good job! I was a little nervous, because I didn't really know if she had any experience cutting hair! Here are some more pictures. (I know I don't make a very good model!)

Yesterday Lydia had her physical exam for starting preschool in the fall. She was a brave little girl, and she didn't even cry when they pricked her finger for a blood sample. Today Aaron had to go pick up some other form at the preschool that we'll have to go back to the clinic and have them fill it out. Little by little we're figuring out this process!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter / "Pussy Willow" Sunday!

Another quick post today! Happy Easter! However, here in Russia, Easter is next Sunday (following the Orthodox calendar), so today is Palm Sunday. I suppose since palms aren't too common in Russia, they don't call it Palm Sunday. What is available this time of year? Pussy willows! So this is Verbnaya (pussy willow) Sunday, and you see people with pussy willow branches in church, or the branches are used to decorate. All week the old ladies were selling bunches of pussy willow branches on the street.

Here is Lydia coloring and decorating some eggs at our office on Monday evening.

And now for a special blog entry from Aaron! He sent this story to some people on email, but it's so funny I wanted to post it here too. Oh the adventures!

Friday, I had an embarrasing commute home. I had forgotten to strategically place myself near the doors of the metro train- to be able to exit as soon as we came to a stop. You have do this at our station, or the flood of people entering the train will try their best to make you stay on until the next station. Well, when the doors opened I was not hardly out of my seat when I saw the flood of people coming in. I was determined to make the 3 yards needed for the "first down", so I gritted my teeth, turned sideways, and lowered my shoulder towards the first few ladies just coming through the doors. I could see the amusment/annoyment on their faces as they must've been thinking "just try to get off this train". But, after a few grunts and deflections off of several anonymous bodies, I could tell that, with just seconds left, I needed only another few inches to freedom. So, I lowered my shoulder a little more and stepped hard sideways, just getting my left foot through the threshold. Then, it happened. As I was still in the middle of the oncoming surge of travellers, my left foot descended rapidly through the 6-inch gap between the train and the station platform. All I could do was let out a frightened "oy!" to those I had been pushing against as my entire body tried to follow my foot through the gap. They watched me struggle below them with one leg still on the train (doors about to close!) and half of my other leg dangling under the train, stuck at the kneecap between the train and the platform. If had I been them, I would've had a smug look and the thought of "serves him right!". Praise the Lord, despite the large, bloody, goose-egg, below my left knee, no other injuries were incurred- except to my ego. But, that wasn't the end. Just a few minutes later, I was waiting to cross our busy, 4-lane, avenue (probably surrounded by those who had witnessed my acrobatics on the train). The cross-walk light turned green, and the large crowd I was in began to stride towards the large crowd from the opposite corner. This time I decided to play it smart, and I took up a position behind a couple of would-be blockers to make my walking a little easier. Half-way across, my right foot (must have been jealous of my left) decided to fully plunge itself down into a small (I had never seen it before!), but deep, and water-filled pot hole. "Down goes Frazier!" -I could hear it coming, but just barely did I stay upright, though my stride changed considerably for the next few steps. Did I hear some snickering behind me? How all the water from the pot-hole didn't wet my right foot, which was in the hole, but did soak my left foot and several inches of my left pant leg, remains a mystery.
So now I'm contemplating how to completely avoid having to be seen by that same group of commuters in the future.


Sunday, April 5, 2009


First an update on the process of getting Lydia into a Russian preschool, for those who are interested. A lady that works at our office called some of the individual preschools for me, and the directors all said that it is fine for Lydia to only come 2 or 3 days a week. So we went ahead with registering for the one closest to us. Last week I got a call from a preschool, and they told me to bring Lydia's documents. The only problem was that it was not the one we wanted. I went and tried to figure out what was going on. They didn't really know, so I left the documents there, and in the meantime they called the preschool we wanted. This week I called them, and they said there is a spot for Lydia at the one we want, and I should come pick up my documents. Now we need to contact the preschool we want and see what they want us to do. Sound confusing? Yup, when you only know basic Russian it's hard to figure out what's going on! Thankfully one of the Russian ladies at our organization's office is helping me with the next steps. I do know that Lydia has to have lots of medical tests done soon to be able to enter preschool.

Now for the pictures from Novgorod! We took a bus there and back (a little over 3 hours one way) on March 31st and April 1st. This was during Aaron's spring break from school. We invited our good friends along, which made it lots more fun! The weather wasn't the greatest, as you'll see in the pictures, but we survived the wet feet and cold hands and still had a good time. (Some warm cappucinos in the cafes helped!)

The Novgorod Kremlin, dating from the 15th century. The original walls were erected in 1000 AD.

Danielle beside one of the large bells inside the Kremlin.

St. Sophia's Cathedral, inside the Kremlin- completed in the mid-11th century.

St. Sophia's from the other side, the only place where you can see a faded fresco that was part of the original decorative walls.

The Millenium Monument, showing figures from Russian history. It was unveiled in 1862, which was the 1000th anniversary of Prince Rurik's founding of Novgorod.

Our friends Thomas, Cristy, and Isaiah, enjoying the warmth of a cafe after walking around all day.

Our hotel room at "Intourist Hotel."

Our huge all-you-can-eat breakfast at the hotel. Maybe something got lost in translation, but our waitress thought we wanted about 5 big plates of sausages! Do we look stuffed yet?

At the museum of wooden architecture, looking at souveniers. We couldn't believe how long this heavy wet snow kept up!

The museum has a collection of wooden buildings from the surrounding area, including churches and peasant houses. The oldest ones date from 16th century.

Inside one of the houses- Lydia liked the baby swing/cradle. Pulling the rope makes it bounce up and down.

The famouse old-style Russian stove, seen from the side. The grandparents would sleep on top of it- the warmest spot in the house!

A basket and lapti (shoes) made out of birch bark.

With one of the museum guides.

Walking from the museum to the Yurev Monastery.

In front of the Monastery.

The Cathedral of St. George, inside the monastery complex. There are frescos inside the cathedral dating from the 12th century!

Can you see why we had wet feet? There weren't boardwalks like this everywhere!

Waiting at the bus station to head back to St. Petersburg. Guess what? The sun started shining brightly while we waited! Oh well, in northern Russia you just need to get used to being out in damp, grey weather.