Hi From Antalya!

I have a few rare moments alone and where do I come to relax and hide out---the Internet Cafe! We are having a blast. It is hot, hot, hot!!! The Titanic is awesome and I am sure I would come home 25 pounds heavier from all of the fabulous food, if it were not for the Turkish Bath and the 26 pounds of skin that was scrubbed off!!! See you September 2 with lots of great pictures and funny stories...one which includes chocolate and coffee that was not enjoyed as food!!!

I was unable to publish this post in Antalya, because I could not figure out which button to push in Turkish, before my time ran out!!!


Antalya, Turkey

We are taking a break and heading to the beach! We will be in Antalya, Turkey until September 1. We are so looking forward to laying on the beach, eating non-stop, catching up with our friends and doing little, if nothing else! I hope to have Internet access (How great would that be to have wireless Internet on the beach!!!), but will probably not return to cyberspace and the fun world of blogging, until we return. We pray you have a fabulous week and we hope to see you back here September 2!!!

This picture was taken in April, 2006 while we were in Hurghada, Egypt.


Frustrating But Funny Situation...

On a last minute shopping spree, I found a great ball cap for Keith. When purchasing the 399 ruble cap with a 1000 ruble bill, the sales clerk just stared at me. Finally, I said, “What? Is something wrong?” She replied, lacking even the remotest amount of professionalism, “I can’t accept that!” I said, “Why not?” She said, “Well, because I have no change. You must give me exact change!” I left the store a bit perturbed and shocked that a retail store would not have what amounted to $20 in change and that she was not willing to go find change, since there were several other employees to watch the store. Thankfully, I was starving and purchased a totally yummy, but not very authentic burrito at Chimichanga. I returned to the store with 400 rubles determined to purchase the cap, but the sales clerk did not even have 1 ruble to give me in change!


Shop Til You Drop

Lesa and Galina, our Russian tutor while we lived in Ivanovo, spent the last two days in Yaroslavl. We literally shopped until we all dropped! It was so nice to see them, catch-up with Lesa and to have Galina give me continual reminders regarding proper Russian grammer, enunciation and cultural faux pas!!! Did you know it is improper to cross your legs in while in public in Russia!!! Thanks Lesa and Galina for such a fun time...I never knew you could spend 2 hours shopping for light fixtures in one little store!!!



We went on a picnic today after Church with our friends, Olga & Kostiya and Lena & Alex. The kids had a great time playing in the totally cold water and on the muddy, little beach. We had a great time eating and chatting with friends. We were so thankful that the weather cooled off today!

Today was a great prelude to our vacation in Turkey. We can't wait to go lay on a nice sandy beach, swim in clean water, cool-off in the air conditioning, be pampered in the Turkish Bath (what ever that is---but when in Turkey, do as the Turks!!!) and take a hot bath (Our hot water has been turned off again this week)!!! The kids will think they are in Heaven! 5 more days until TURKEY!!!


ME 1st Accident on the Road

ME has done a fabulous job in her new princess panties. The Princesses have managed to stay dry for over a week, even while on several different adventures. There was so much excitement and fun things to do today, ME forgot to stop and go pee pee....until she had a few minutes alone on one of the rides!!! I feel sorry for the next kid to go on the flying cars!!! We had emergency panties and shorts, but the only t-shirt we had was one of Gideon's, which looked like a dress. ME we are so proud of your great progress!!!

Saturday Fun with Masha

We went to Demonsky Park today with Masha (one of Gideon's school teachers who began tutoring him in Russian last year) to celebrate her return from Germany and the end of our summer fun...since this Friday we head to TURKEY!!! We will return on September 1st and Gideon and ME will start to school on the 3rd! Summer has flown by...as usual! I remember wondering what we would do all summer in Yaroslavl and now it is coming to an end!


Road Trip to Ivanovo

Yesterday, we spent the day "helping" build a new playground in Ivanovo. A volunteer team from Florida, joined our Ivanovo teammates in doing a total park makeover in a much needed area of town. Our help involved about 2 minutes of sanding---for photo purposes, lots of fellowshiping and way too much eating!!! It was so good to be small part of such an incredible job that is taking place in Ivanovo. To read the incredible story and see photos of the real work that is going on in Ivanovo, check-out the Willeke's Wanderings.


Boxing Lessons

Gideon is demonstrating the basic techniques of fighting to ME...I hope she doesn't beat him up!!!

Gideon's Play Class

Gideon usually opts to go workout with me several times a week. My gym has a Child's Center that includes art projects, games and some times exercises. We are really thankful that Gideon has a desire to go and is using his Russian this summer and making new friends...an added blessing is all the art work we have to cover our fridge!!!

A Box!!!

A drum roll please!!!
(Do my kids ever wear clothes and does ME ever brush her hair?!? No!!! It is so hot here right now that clothes are optional! But yes, I am dressed!!! And ME had a cute bow in her hair and ripped it out after a few minutes and it lays on the floor, while her hair hangs in her eyes. We tell her, "ME, we need to fix your hair." She pushes it back with her forearm and says, "DONE!")

I think I need to read the instruction for this!!!


My new duds and transformer!

It always feels like Christmas when we get a box. But for Gideon, today was an early Birthday celebration!!! He was so excited to get his first Transformer and a fun new out fit!!! ME loved the snacks and fighting with Gideon over his transformer! I love my very own....BOX OF STRAWBERRY YOGURT COVERED CHEERIOS!!! Thanks Granny!!! You're the best!!!

First Adventure in Panties!!!

ME went on her first adventure in big girl princess panties!!! ME did a great job peeing in the big potty after Gideon demonstrated!

Hey Granny!!!

Hello Granny!!! It was fun talking to you on the phone!!!

Another Accomplishment!

This summer has been the summer of accomplishments!

ME is doing fabulous in Potty Training 201 and has had no accidents in a week!!! As I write this post, she is probably opening the flood gates all over our couch!!!

Gideon has also been inspired to work on his driving skills and is doing a great job. Both ME and Gideon like to give mommy driving advice!

I (Kristie) have been driving without incident, traffic violation or injury to passengers or our car for 3 weeks. I also made totally delicious cinnamon rolls and have now successfully given our blog a new look. I have wanted to do this since the new year, but fear of making an terrible error and painlessly waiting for help from professionals...that I guess are too busy or not interested...has forced me to spend hours on the Internet researching the necessary step to Blog Improvement 101 and has lead to our very simple, but fun and totally FREE new look!

Let us know what you think...taking in to account that I am incredibly sensitive and have invested many hours in our new design! But, I would love to hear what you think and will try to not burst into tears creating a flood on our key board, short circuiting our computer and costing us thousands of $$$s buying a new computer...not to mention I would be without Internet for weeks and possibly even months! But, please tell us what you think...no comments at all will also cause me great stress trying to figure out if you hate it and are just being nice and not saying anything!!! PLEASE, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT!!!


Company and Cobbler

Ruslan, Zhenya, and Iliya

Sam and Nigora with Gideon and ME

The last of our company just left and I am feeling miserable after eating ALL of the Cherry Cobbler leftovers. We had Brunswick Stew, Pigs-in –a-Blanket, Salad and Cherry Cobbler Ala mode twice today! Keith had a group of guys over for lunch and Nigora and Sam, our new friends from Tajikistan, were our dinner guests. Sooo, after everyone had left, I surrendered to the cries of the leftover Cherry Cobbler (not enough to save, too much to throw out, but way too much to eat at 9 pm---or anytime in your life! Lesson learned…it was enough to save or throw out…just not eat!!!) and ate every last bite…then felt absolutely miserable…like I needed to go run, walk, or even crawl to work-off all the buttery, calorie laden, totally delicious cobbler I so willing shoved in my mouth, but I never want to leave the comfort of my couch and I am too full to even move!


Turkey in 2 Weeks!!!

I can not believe that in 2 weeks we will head to Moscow and then to Antalya, Turkey for 8 days of laying on the beach, then by the pool, food break, back to the beach, then the pool, then more food!!! What a life!!! We will be joining the Goodman family, our friends and colleagues who live in Ekaterinburg. Please pray that we would have a blast, be safe and return refreshed and ready for a new year of school!

Daniel's 4th Birthday

Today was my first adventure driving out of town! I am becoming a pro and may even consider becoming a Taxi Driver!!! I can not believe that I have lived in Russia for over 5 years and never wanted to learn to drive!!! I love the freedom and the ability to stop by a store...instead of having to wait for a bus and then walk to the store...or call a taxi :-)!!!!
I took Gideon, ME, Tonya (my friend) and her mom, Anna to a "resort" where her family is staying. The weather was gorgeous and we all had a blast!
Grandma Anna (who stripped down to her "unmentionables" to sunbath while we were all out on the row boats HAHA!!!), Tonya and Daniel
Gideon on a totally ancient tricycle that he loved so much he wanted to take home!!! He has a very nice bike at home he never rides---maybe he is just fond of antiques!!!
Gideon & ME zooming around the park. Great fun until ME feel but didn't let go and Gideon drug her around for a bit, while everyone is screaming "STOP!!!" Thankfully, it looked worse than it actually was...maybe I should invest in more super glue!

Our Row Boat Adventure...
OK, who really thinks these life jackets are going to save the kids?!?

The Birthday cake was so yummy, I had 4 pieces!!!


I Think I Need Stitches...

"I think I may need stitches" is not something you want to here when you live in Russia (or time for that matter!) Last night, Keith was trying to fix something in the kid's room and cut open his forehead! It is a pretty big cut and blead for a while. He said, "I think I may need stitches, but I am not going to go to the doctor." I had to laugh at the thought of Keith coming home with half of his head shaved for a couple of stitches.

I had remembered someone telling me that you could use super glue, instead of getting stitches. Thankfully, we had a half a tube of super glue and it worked fabulously! It held the cut together, stopped the bleeding and gave his hair a nice hard spike! I think using the entire tube of super glue was a little much. When Keith stood up, he had super glue rolling down his forehead. When I tried to blow on it the fumes burnt my eyes and about knocked me out. Gideon was so sweet trying to comfort Keith and help with the emergency repairs!

I am sorry that no picture is available. On my way to get Tylenol for his headache, I asked if I could take a picture of his injury for the blog. Let just say he declined my offer!


Potty Training 201-Update

I was just about to post about how great ME is doing peeing in her potty. While I was blogging, I hear what sounds like a pipe burst and realize ME is peeing on the floor!!! Even though the new panties and M&Ms have brought tremendous success…we still have a long way to go!
I am all for potty training progress, but so tired of dealing with bodily fluids! Tonight I went to "potty" and discovered a puddle of pee on the floor! There is something to be said for diapers...atleast they contain the messes!!!

Altaier Adventure...

This morning, we explored another new mall, Altaier, 20 minutes from our abode by car and almost an hour on public transportation. PTL for a car and that I can drive!!! Yaroslavl is the “City of New Malls”…we have 3 nice new malls and have heard that they are building a fourth!

All the malls are very similar with many clothing stores, a grocery store, a Food Court and a children’s area. Keith and I evaluate a mall on the grocery store, Food Court (mainly Keith) and the quality of the stores (mainly Kristie). The kids, of course, access a mall by the toys and refer to the mall by the color of the outside.

Altaier, the brown mall, is very nice with many great stores, my favorite coffee shop and Sabarros Pizza!!! Outside they had huge blow-up slides and a castle, automatic cars and bumper boats!!!

I meet a really cute, sweet girl, Nigora, from Tajikistan that speaks great English. She was really excited to be able to practice her English and is going to come visit us with her husband on Saturday.
PICTURE: ME with Nigora at the Castle. ME looks sad, because she hated the Castle…it was really big and very bounce and ME could not even stand up. Nigora works at the kid’s center and had to rescue ME.

Funny Story...

One of my friends called today to tell me that her husband bought a car, but was too afraid to drive with her and the kids in the car. They recently went on a little vacation just outside of Yaroslavl and her husband made her and the boys go on the bus and he drove in the car!!!


Our computer is psycho!!! We have a love-hate relationship with very high expectations. I love it when it works and hate it when it doesn’t and I expect it to work! For some unknown reason, the Internet turns on and off like it is possessed!!! It is like it anticipates you clicking a button and will then go off before your page is loaded, therefore giving the ever so friendly error message!

Last night, I was trying to order my tickets to go to the states (Did I mention I won the lottery-not really, but it feels like it!!! I am going to the states in October all-by-my-self!!!). I searched for two days and checked what felt like every “cheap airline” web page with every possible flight scenario…one even included 5 layovers and some how going through Chicago 2 times in one day!!! I finally found a great deal with only one stop in NYC (transferring from JFK to LGA…bummer, but better than 5 different stops!) So, I ever so carefully read the fine print and entered all of my information, checking and double-checking every detail. I finalize my itinerary, select my seats…praying I pick one far from any snotty nose, whinny little kids (HAHA), because I will be alone with no kiddos!!! I pushed the final button to purchase my tickets at the very same minute the psycho computer’s Internet times out. When it finally came back on, I had an error message saying that I needed to go back a page or start over. I tried hitting the back button, 100 times, and kept getting the same fun, friendly error message. I finally gave up and started over. I re-entered my details, said a prayer and finalized my ticket. Big SIGH!!! Yeah!!! I have found great tickets, successfully purchased them and now, all I have left to do is dream about getting on the flight, reading a book and sleeping…did I mention I will be alone---YAHOO!!!

I wanted to confirm my tickets, so I went to “My Stuff” and noticed 2 different reservation #s for the exact same flight. How weird is that!?! I looked again and all of the details were exactly the same, but the trip identification numbers!!! I must have booked the same tickets twice!!! I called the company to be greeted by the ever so friendly automated response system---YUGH!!! It kept saying, “Did you say ___, or is that background noise (AKA my darling kids communicating ever so nicely in their outside voices, which really translate to screaming and fighting and of course following me from room to room throughout the house!) Finally, I am able to communicate that I need to speak to a real live person and then began my wait listening to the extremely entertaining dialogue by the very chipper “Mr. and Mrs. I have never been on a plane trip before!” explaining how much luggage you are allowed to bring with you, how you can cancel a trip~~~concluding that it is impossible, and numerous other helpful tips you have always wanted to know. I got to listen to their conversation again and again for over 30 minutes…then I was disconnected!!! I called again; push the necessary buttons, and began my wait again. Talk about determination!!! 30 more minutes passed before I actually got to speak with someone. I explained my crisis only to be placed on hold; Round 2: another explanation, hold; Round 3: once again another explanation, and once again hold! I finally said, “Who would book the same flight, the same seats, with the same name KNOWING THE TICKETS ARE NOT REFUNDABLE!!!”

They initially wanted to give me an airline credit. And only after very calmly, extremely politely, and I must say with excellent debating skills and an extreme amount of patience…I got a full refund for my second identical trip!!! He said, “I will need to put you on hold again to credit your account!” One hour and 15 minutes later~~~success!!! I am coming to America!!!


Off to the Mall

All ready for the mall! Gideon said, "We match differently!"
ME, the creative parrot she is, said, "Match different!"


I Am Coming to AMERICA---ALONE!!!

UPDATE RE: Comments~~~I will also say thanks to Aaron after I recover from being mad at him for moving my oldest and dearest friend in Russia to Minnesota! If it was Oklahoma or New Mexico, maybe then I would rejoice and be filled with gratitude, but Minnesota! I will miss visiting you, Olga, when we are in Moscow...and what about my Moscow Bed & Breakfast!?! No more early morning blinis and freakadelphia soup!!!

On October 27, I am going to St. Paul, Minnesota for Olga and Aaron's wedding all by myself (How totally exciting is it for a mom of 2 totally darling, energetic kiddos to get on a plane in clean clothes and a bag that contains no diapers, bottles, sippy cups or toys, with a book~that is more than 5 pages long!!!) I am so totally excited!!! I can sleep, watch the movie on the plane and wonder the isles of Wal-Mart in complete and utter silence!!! Taco Bell here I come!!! Thank you Olga for getting married :-)!!!


Today, we said good-bye to our last house guests, Sarah and Alys. We have had such a great weekend with our team. We have shopped, played, laughed and talked non-stop all weekend...oh,and how could I have omitted how much we ate!!! We love you guys and are so thankful for such a great team and friends!!!

Happy 25th Birthday, Sarah!!!

Everyone wanted to "help" make Sarah's Birthday cake...I think they really wanted to help lick the bowl!!!

Mommy: "ME, I said that is enough!!!"

Happy Birthday Sarah!!!


This morning, our church celebrated their yearly baptismal service. The sun peaked out just in time to witness the baptism of 8 new believers. What a great morning!!!

Pavel Simonivich

Kristie's friend, Ludmilla, being baptised by Serge Michealovich

Ludmila's daughter, Dasha

(Our kids were home playing with Lesa, Alys and Sarah)