Our friends, Olga and Lola, came to visit us this weekend. We took Gideon riding his bike along the Volga. We also went to a local mall and Keith taught Gideon how to drive. We had a blast!


Mary Elizabeth is walking!

M.E. has begun walking! This week was the first time she took more than one step. Way to go M.E.!!!


Update on the 5K

On Thurday, I (Kristie) ran 2 miles without stopping and then half a mile more after a few minutes of walking! OK, my pace was so slow many could have passed me walking, but progress is being made!!!


10. Free, clean tap water. We spend over $25 a month buying drinking water.
9. Wal-Mart!
8. Dr. Pepper (Keith)
7. Being able to pick any recipe you want because you do not have to plan your menu around what you have brought from the states or what you can buy locally.
6. The YMCA and the child care provided on site.
5. Christian Book Stores
4. Christian Radio
3. Attending Church in English and the wonderful child care!
2. Friends

1. We miss our family the most! Family---we love you and can’t wait to see you in December!

We have bugs!

Yuck! I hate to even mention this fact. I have always equated bugs and dirt. I, however, just spent the entire day cleaning our house, scrubbing our floors, preparing for guest for the weekend. As we, including, of course, our guests, sat down to eat dinner, I see a bug crawling up the wall! I assured myself that it is a lone ranger, even though I have always heard that if you see one you can be certain that there are more. Well, now I know that the lone ranger was coming to meet his family---I found 2 more last night. I immediately found the bug spray and sprayed every corner and crevice I could find. Last night, every time something touched me, I jumped and thought it was another bug. I woke this morning and began scrubbing and spraying again. We have concluded that the bugs are probably coming from the apartment trash shoot that is “conveniently” located right next to our apartment! We can just step out our door and "dump our trash"---our landlord failed to mention the the terrible smell and bugs that go along with this "wonderful benefit"! One day, I commented on the huge amount of cats in our apartment complex. There are about six stray cats that hang out at our apartment entrance and even in our corridor. My colleague commented that at least we don’t have to worry about mice! Well, I guess I can just be thankful that I don’t have a family of mice living with us in our apartment! Please join us in praying that our new bug guests would find a new residence soon and that this would not become an ongoing problem.

The Weather in Yaroslavl

The weather in Yaroslavl has been beautiful. It has been in the 50’s and sunny! This is such a wonderful change from the –30 degree temps we experienced this winter. Keith washed the car on Monday and it is still clean on Saturday. Usually, Spring Time in Russia means a great deal of rain and mud. We are so thankful for the gorgeous weather and sunshine. You can check out the current weather in Yaroslavl at www.weather.com in the city of “Rostov” (the closest city to Yaroslavl).

Gideon goes to preschool

Gideon attends an international preschool in Yaroslavl, Waldorf. Waldorf is based the German philosophy of Rudolf Steiner and tries to create a homelike environment that emphasizes creative free play. There are no store bought toys in the class, but create different situations out of natural objects. One day they built a bus out of benches, material, and partitions. For one “driver it became a school bus; for another, an army truck; for Gideon it became a trash truck! Gideon seems to enjoy school, but still struggles with the drop off. Please pray that God would give him peace and joy at school.


First Bike Adventure

After Mary Elizabeth woke-up from a 4 hour long nap, I took Gideon and M.E. out on our first bike adventure. It was definitely an adventure. Just getting out of the house required everyone to get dresses (yes, we were still in our pjs!), put on coats, boots, and hats (so no one would yell at me for not dressing my kids properly). I then had to put M.E. in our fun converter backpack/stroller, put her on my back, and then get all of us and the bike out our corridor, into our elevator, and outside avoiding touching any of the walls, which had just been freshly painted! I was exhausted just doing that! This being Gideon’s first trip on his bike, he needed much reminding to “Watch where you are going! You are going to hit someone.” He wanted to make sure that M.E. and I were watching him, so he kept looking backwards, causing the bike to turn. It became pretty comical…or annoying. He had 3-4 tumbles---the biggest was going down a road that had a little incline. He picked up speed and crashed at the bottom. I was running after him pushing M.E. in her stroller---OK, I am sure it did look pretty funny! Fortunately, he was fine and so was the bike. We stopped at 2 playgrounds and also to watch a trash truck collect the trash. What a memory!!!

Thoughts on the bus...

Do I look as tired and serious as everyone else on the bus?

A perfect morning...

Tuesday morning, M.E. stayed at home with our nanny, I dropped Gideon off at preschool, and then went to McDonald’s---yes, a perfect morning at McDonalds! The McD’s close to Gideon’s preschool has a McCafe that is a nice coffee bar with couches. I ordered a white chocolate latte and read the last book in the Mitford Series for 2 hours. I later ordered a ham and cheese sandwich and apple pie (also at the McCafe). It was a very perfectly peaceful, relaxing morning!

Coloring Easter Eggs

The boys had so much fun coloring Easter eggs all for the first time! Russians traditionally color eggs naturally by boiling eggs with vegetable peels. They loved the traditional coloring kits, we use in the states. One of the boys wanted to drink the dye and had more fun mixing all of the colors together and smashing the eggs! What fun memroies and what a mess!!!

Russian Easter

This year, Russia celebrated Easter this past weekend. We spent Saturday with one of Gideon's classmates family at their cabin. We had to literally go 4-wheeling to get there, because the road is so terrible right now. The road is a hilly, dirt road with major dips and lots of mud which all resulted it lots of fun for Gideon and the other boys. We all squeezed into the father's 4x4---5 adults and 5 kids. The cabin is located on the Volga river and was really nice. Russian tradition is to cookout shish kabobs and have salads. We made zucchini cake and sugar cookies. The boys had a great time wrestling, jumping on the beds, and playing in a tent. We all had a great day!

Sunday, we went to visit another missionary family, who live in Paraslavl---1 1/2 hours from Yaroslavl. A family of 5 live in a one room house, where they also have church services on Sunday. It was amazing to see how resourceful they are in creating space for everyone. The oldest boy took Gideon for a ride on his bike---Gideon was holding on tight, looked scared and uncomfortable, but kept wanting to go farther! Mary Elizabeth enjoyed all of the attention she got. This time the shish kabobs were chicken legs that were still red! I was so thankful M.E. is to little to eat chicken legs, Gideon doesn't like them, and I just covered mine up with my napkin!

We thank God for providing friends to celebrate the holidays with!


Kristie's Progress for the 5K

Our entire team is "in training" to run in a 5K Fun Run at a conference we are attending in June. I have been going to the gym for several months and have made a little progress, but still am struggling. Some days, usually only one day during the week, I do really well; and then others, I can hardly run for more than one minute! Today, I walked 3 miles. Yesterday, I ran almost 1 1/2 miles and walked 3 more.

Mary Elizabeth's thoughts on the bike

My brother got a new bike and he really likes it. He cried when daddy put it in our corrider, because he could not see it. He got in trouble a few times for hitting me with it. I hope he will let me ride it soon.

Gideon's New Bike

I got a new bike! I love it so much. My little sister tries to get on it, but she can't ride it, because she is too little. I slept with my helmet, since mommy and daddy said I could not sleep with my bike. I haven't got to ride it much because this weekend we were gone and this week daddy is at a conference and doesn't get home until late. I hope I can ride it tomorrow!

Learning to blog!

Today is our first attempt at blogging! We hope you enjoy reading our blogs, seeing the pictures, and learning a little bit about our family and our lives in Russia. We would love to hear what you think!