Mary Elizabeth

M.E. is enjoying a gorgeous day outside! Her advice, "Take a minute to stop and smell the flowers---just don't eat them!"

Need Water?

Not everyone has the "modern" convenience of indoor, running water. Some people in Russia must go to a public water well to get water and carry it in buckets to the house. Jill and Anna Skinner get water to wash the dishes. Thanks guys for being such servants!!!


A Day at the Docha

Our team spent the day at the docha, or cabin. Many Russians have family dochas were they spend weekends and summers and grow big vegetable gardens. We had a fabulous time of fun, fellowship, and lots of food!!! The kids really had a great time being together and playing outside. The Team Golden Ring Missionary Kids (MKs) are Sarah Skinner (15), Christian (9), Gideon (4), Mary Elizabeth (1), and Anna Skinner (12).

Yaroslavl City Day

Yaroslavl celebrated 997 years this past weekend. We really enjoyed the festivities. We joined the crowds walking along the Volga River, listening to singers, watching people play games. The funniest was one guys attempt at riding a mechanical bull---he held on to the bull's ears! We love Yaroslavl!!! Check-out our online photo album at www.the4sullivans.photosite.com to see more pictures.


Bath Time...

More Fun on the Playground

This week, we have made frequent visits to the playground. The weather has been wonderful and everyone is outside. Even though, we have been to the playground many times, no one has spoken to us---stared at us, but not spoken to us. I did notice, however, no one really speaks to others. At one point, there were 8 families at the playground and no one was talking! Occasionally, groups will gather, but they seem to be long time friends, not merely acquaintances. Please pray that we would be able to meet our neighbors and share the love of Christ with them.


A Day in the Lives of the Sullivans...

All of our guests have gone (16 days out of 21 days we have had guests), so now there is not much to write about. This week life for the Sullivan family returned to normal. Gideon returned to preschool and has had a difficult time saying good-bye to mommy. He says he likes playing outside and is learning new Russian words everyday. M.E. usually spends the mornings with her nanny, but she got to join the family on Tuesday, when Era had to cancel at the last minute. She enjoyed playing on the playground at Gideon's school and having lunch with mommy and daddy. Kristie and Keith are enjoying working out and watching the TV seris 24. This picture was taken at our apartment's playground.


The Crash...

Progress is being made...

Yesterday, I (Kristie) ran a 5 K in 35 minutes!!! It was the first time I ran the whole way!!! I was so excited!!! Today, Keith ran it in 32 minutes---also a first for him.

I also drove our car down our street and parked! The majority of the cars in Russia are standards and I have never driven a stick shift before, but have attempted several times! I am on my way to driving independence!!!

Gideon went to preschool (after a 3 week break) and did not cry when we said our good-byes!!! I was really proud of him. Gideon is doing better on his bicycle, but has a hard time focusing and staying up right! We are always giving him a push or helping him back up.

M.E. is on the move! She has mastered walking and works hard to keep up with her big brother. She loves her tricycle and has been on two family bike outings.

A Family Biking Adventure

Congratulation Kyle Doss!!!

Kyle Doss, Keith's nephew, is graduating from Onate High School today in Las Cruses, New Mexico! Congratulations Kyle! We are proud of you! We wish we could be there!!!


Meet Era

Era is Mary Elizabeth's nanny. She is wonderful! She takes M.E. on walks, make her yummy meals, gives her baths and massages (she is also a professional massagist!) and helps mommy with the ironing and cleaning. She ia a wonderful blessing to our family!

Good-bye Nastiya!

This week, our friend Nastiya came to visit us. Nastiya is from Ivanovo, but is studying in Moscow at RACU, Russian American Christian University. We had a great time sight-seeing, catching-up, and eating!!! Thanks Nastiya for coming to visit us and playing with Gideon!!! This picture was taken on the Yaroslavl beach.

Family Fun

This week, we went walking along the bank of the Volga. Gideon had a fun time walking with his sister.


Mary Elizabeth's New Tricycle!

Mary Elizabeth finally got a tricycle. We looked for over a month for a good pink tricycle and found one with a canopy, music and toys. Gideon has enjoyed pushing her around the living room in it and can't wait to go bike riding with his sister! M.E. wants to say "Thanks Granny for my tricycle!!! I love it!"

4 Hours Later...

4 hours later there is already trash again!

The Entrance to Our Apartment

This is the entrance to our apartment. I was so shocked when we left this morning to see it clean!!! On both sides of the door, for months, there has been piles of trash. Every time we came home, I would be so annoyed by the trash. I am so excited it is clean!!!



Uglich is about 1 ½ hours west of Yaroslavl and is the home to around 35,000 people. Uglich is located on the Volga River, where the river makes a sharp turn or ugol, in Russian. We enjoyed touring the Kremlin with our friend, Dima, who is a native to Uglich. M.E. especially enjoyed being a part of our fun family outing and loved the doll museum we were able to tour.

The Yaroslavl Kremlin

We spent the day at the Yaroslavl Kremlin with our friend Nastiya. The Monastery of Our Savior was founded in the 12th century and soon became a major cultural center and home to the first school in north-western Russia. The monastery has maintained its educational role to this day with a wonderful museum of history and architecture. We climbed up into the Bell Tower to see the fabulous panoramic view of Yaroslavl and Kristie discovered her fear of heights. We also meet Masha, the She Bear, and saw a fun little zoo expedition. Where's Mary Elizabeth? Home with our nanny, Era. See our Photo Album for more pictures.


Mother's Day at the Sullivans

We have had a great day. Keith made pancakes for breakfast and then we were off to Church. M.E. slept during the first sermon---yes, there are 2 sermons and Church lasts for 2 1/2 hours with no nursery! After Church, we went to a friend's house for lunch and went on an adventure to visit a near by lake through the forrest. It started out to be a short walk to relax at a near by lake..."only 2 kilometers away!" Since we are in training to run a 5 K, walking a couple of kilometers should be no problem. We left the house around 2 and walked for over 1 1/2 hours just to get to the lake! Gideon had such a hard time on his bicycle. He has only ridden it a couple of times and still doesn't have the hang of peddling or focusing. His friend rode wonderfully without training wheels, but Gideon had a hard time even keeping his bike from tipping over! We finally took the strap off of our camera case and used it to pull him. By the time we made it to the lake, we were so tired! We only stayed for a few minutes and then had to begin our trip back. We did not bring our stroller, so the guys took turns carrying M.E. I grabbed some milk and filled her bottle before beginning our adventure, so when she started screaming, I grabbed the bottle and she guzzled it. After it was already half empty, I realized the milk was bad and had curdled!!! YUCK!!! I now know that the lake is 2 kilometers by car, but much more on foot through the forrest! It was a very memorable Mother's Day! Check out our Photo Album to see more fun photos.


Happy Mother's Day!!!

"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."

We wanted to say THANK YOU to Barbara Phillips and Leta Sullivan for all of the sacrifices they have made on behalf of all of their children. We love you and hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!!!

Fun Facts About Mother's Day...

Some Mother's Day Figures:
• In the United States, there are about 82.5 million mothers.

• About 96% of American consumers take part in some way in Mother's Day.
• Give mom a call! Mother's Day is widely reported as the peak day of the year for long distance telephone calls
• Sending flowers? There are more than 23,000 florists in the United States with a total of more than 125,000 employees. Colombia is the leading foreign supplier of cut flowers and fresh flower buds to the US. California produces two-thirds of domestic production of cut flowers. (source: US Census Bureau)
• Going out to eat? Better make a reservation! Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for many restaurants.
• Getting a gift? Retailers report that Mother's Day is the second highest gift-giving holiday in the United States.


Texas...in Yaroslavl???

"Texas (which is actually TEXAC in Russian)-Come and Experience the American Family Weekend!" This is one advertisement that got our attention! In Yaroslavl, Russia there is a restaurant called TEXAS! Keith and I went there for our 6th Wedding Anniversary and had fabulous New York Strip steak, potatoes, salad, and CHEESECAKE!!! We were so excited, we now make it our regular hang-out.

Usually in Russia, you can only find very tough, thin steaks or if you are out going and adventurous, like our team mates, you can take a picture of a cow in to a central meat market, point to the piece of meat you want (because you don't know the word for it in Russian), and watch it be chopped off with an axe! Then, you have to take it home and try to figure out how to cut this one huge piece of meat into steaks for all 11 of your team mates.

We all thought this grammatical error was funny.

May 9---Victory Day

Today is Victory Day, the annual celebration of the end of WWII. The Yaroslavl Coat of Arms is the She Bear, the "mother of the human race", that was killed by Yaroslavl the Wise, the founder of Yaroslavl.


Church of Elijah the Prophet

We recently toured this famous Russia Orthodox Church, built in 1647-50. Gideon had a great time behind bars!


Bike Crisis

On our first family bike adventure, Gideon’s bike broke! First, Keith realized that the tire had been cut and was completely flat, probably a factory defect. A few minutes later, his chain broke! Now Gideon's bike would make a great exercise bike---you can pedal as hard and fast as you want, but you will not go anywhere!


Our Trip to Moscow

We went to Moscow yesterday, on Mary Elizabeth's 1st Birthday. The trip was an exceptionally smooth with almost no traffic on the roads. We made it to Moscow in less than 3 hours (it usually takes around 4 or 5 hours to get to the Clinic with terrible traffic jams). We had time to eat lunch and had no wait to see the doctor! The doctor said that M.E. looks great, but is extremely over weight. She weights 29 pounds! We are so thankful that she is healthy and growing!


Keith and Kristie ran a 5K

Since the weather has been gorgeous and we had company this weekend who were willing to watch the kids, Keith and I decided to run 5K together. It is so much easier for me to run on the treadmill with the ground moving in my favor! It has been hard for me to transition to running outdoors and probably even harder for Keith to slow his pace down to almost walking, so he did not leave me in the dust! We made it in 41 minutes---which is 5 minutes better than my first attempt outdoors by myself. We have only 1 1/2 months left until the race and alot of work to go!

Mary Elizabeth's First Birthday!

Tomorrow is M.E. first Birthday! It is hard to believe that she is one! We celebrated today with cake, since tomorrow we will be on the road to Moscow. See our Photo Album for more pictures of her Birthday celebration.