When I came to get ME from her preschool class, she yelled 'My momma came!'...IN RUSSIAN!!! I have heard her speak Russian before, but usually just in response to a question and usually one or two word answers. Her teacher said she is really doing well in class. Please pray that ME would continue to love school, her teachers and her classmates.
She Speaks…ok, I would prefer never to speak… at least not publicly. Those of you who know me, know that I am, however, rarely silent!
She Speaks is a conference for speakers, writers and leaders, which honestly, I consider myself none of the above...so why would I want to go to the Conference? Besides the fact it would be a weekend with no kids or husband and surrounded by Christian women who like to speak, the sessions sound so amazing, informative and encouraging…Developing
If that wasn’t enough to make me what to jump on the next plane and head straight for the Conference, there will be a session for Bloggers!!! OK, I am really a blogging amateur and think the only people who actually read our blog are personally related to us or very bored! But, 3 of my favorite bloggers: Boo Mama, Big Mama, and Rocks in My Dryer will be speaking and sharing ideas on how to improve your blog…another obvious need!!! Just think, after attending the She Speaks Conference, I could be the best dressed missionary with a dynamic, purposeful and powerful ministry, a balanced life and a fabulous blog to document it all!!!
My mom taught me that it is not nice to beg and I am much to proud to be known as the "poor missionary", not to mention the fact that we will already be in the states possibly leading one to conclude it could very well be the Lord's will!!! But, Lysa, just think of the impact you could have on the women in Russia, our ministry in Yaroslavl and the encouragement you would be to my family and teammates when I return as the most balanced, filled-up, powerful...not to mention best dressed missionary on our team and very possibly all of Russia!!! If that is not reason enough to pick me, all of the World would be able read all about my life changing experience here on our new and improved blog!!!
Seriously, I do appreciate your commitment to the Lord and to others. You, as well as the others involved in the Proverbs 31 Ministry, are truly an encouragement and blessing to us all!!! May the Lord richly bless the She Speaks Conference!!!
Gideon and I attended the second First Grade Prepatory Class tonight. I made him pee before leaving home, made sure we were not rushing or late (we were the first ones there) and poured out the encouragement of how much fun he was going to have and what a great guy he is! I left him happy and laughing with his friends from his Kindergarten Class and was confident that there would be no accidents tonight!!!
Oh, sooo wrong!!! I found Gideon sitting by his school locker wearing his snowsuit minus the undies and socks! He said he had an accident at the end of his class and that noone saw him. He found his snow pants and changed by his locker! I felt terrible for him!!! Keith asked him why he didn't ask the teacher for premission to go to the bathroom? Gideon said that he didn't know where the First Graders went to the bathroom and was too embarrased to ask. Please pray that he would not be so nervous or afraid and that we would find out where First Graders go to the bathroom!!!
ME managed to put her foot through the window of her doll house! I honestly thought we were going to have to call for help! After my attempts at rotating ME and pulling, then the doll house with even more screaming and drama, I finally just prayed and yanked really hard and even though she was in shock, not to mention in pain, her foot was free and I didn't have to call for help!!! ME is free, but not exactly thrilled!!!
On the way home from school, Gideon was trying to console ME after forgetting her little cat at school. She cried for an hour, "I want my cat!" A scratch on the face is what Gideon gets for trying to help!
An hour later, sitting together sharing a treat!
Pictures of Gideon's First Year of Life!
Tonight, Gideon began his journey into a new phase of life...the First Grade. Every Tuesday, for the next 4 1/2 months, all of the upcoming 1st Graders and their moms &/or dads will attend preparatory classes. The parents will learn about the school, what to expect...I have so much to learn, I can't even imagine what we else we will discuss...while the students spend time getting to know their teacher and other classmates.
I was really looking forward to a great time getting to meet Gideon's teacher (who will be his teacher for 5 years!), his classmates and their parents. I even put make-up on and clean clothes, I was so excited!!! Gideon, however, was not near as enthusiastic and even asked several times why we needed to go back to school..."because we had already been once today!" He told me that he didn't want to go to school and get smart; he just wanted to play all day!
After brief introductions, the parents said good-bye to their kiddos and we all went to our separate classes. I hugged Gid and told him that I would be right back. He smiled and said OK. A few minutes after my class started, Gideon's teacher came to tell me Gid had peed his pants!!! Poor Gid was sitting on a bench in the hall, covered in pee! When he saw me, he burst into tears!!! I never carry extra clothes for him anymore, but thankfully he had a pair of dusty, extra pants in his locker in the preschool. He hasn't peed his pants at school in so long!!!
Why did he have to have an accident tonight? I feel terrible for him. This is such an important and difficult time for him. The kids are at a sort of awkward age trying to declare their independence and make a place for themselves. Kids can be so cruel. I don't want him to be know as "The Boy Who Peed His Pants!" I want to protect Gideon, encourage him, teach him, help him succeed, and most of all see him happy. He has always had a hard time adjusting, making friends and wanting to go to school. I feel heart broken for him! After we changed, he just wanted to go home...and so did I!!!
Please pray for Gideon (and me, too!) as he prepares for First Grade. Pray that his teacher will be fabulous (I have already forgotten her name!), he will make great friends and will love school and learn all that he needs to know.
The reason for the gun...We have new neighbors who live next door to us. Their dog whines for hours and is totally annoying!!! OK, I really couldn't kill their dog, but maybe a Bee-Bee Gun would be nice!!! :-)
When ME was born, I mistakenly thought 2 children with the same parents and therefore the same genes would be very much the SAME. I was so wrong!!! ME has "accomplished" so many things Gideon never even attempted...changing the color of the couch with her friend, Crayola crayon; redecorating her bedroom by removing wallpaper; climbing cabinets, book shelves and probably eventually even leaping buildings in a single bound!!! ME is very independent, today insisting on wearing a new (to her) skirt with her new dress and her frog rain boots, likes to have things her way (she cried all the way home that she wanted us to turn the car light on) and very loving...just when I think I can not make it one more minute, ME will say, "Mommy, I love you!"
Today, after 2 1/2 hours of Church, a late night out last night and a totally messy house, a family from Church invited themselves to our home for lunch! After I recovered from the shock of the fact that we were having guests, I began contemplating what we could feed them...of course, we ordered pizza and bought salads, cookies and drinks. They are a totally sweet family with 2 boys, 1 1/2 and 3. The eldest boy has been sick for over 2 months and even in and out of the hospital. The parents were so thankful for some adult conversation and a time to relax and the kids loved playing together. I was surprised as the afternoon ticked away, they did not seem ready to leave any time soon and the mess in our house grew...and grew.
There are a few things that neither of our kids do...eat in the bedrooms or play with outlets. I was shocked when I entered the kids bedroom to find every toy on the floor; where there were no toys, I found cookies...broken, crumbled and smashed in the carpet!!! At one point in the very long afternoon, I said, "Oh, Y is playing with the extension cord!" O, Y's mom, began a narrative on how much Y loves to play with outlets and I was on the edge of the couch waiting for Y to light up like a Christmas Tree! Only after finishing her story, did she go to remove Y from the cords. Let's just say...we finally said good-bye at 6 pm and I am so glad tomorrow is Monday...the kids return to school and I get 4 hours of Me Time!!!
UPDATE: I was ready for bed by 8 and the kids and I were fast asleep by 8:30!
Gideon and Mommy
Anesia and Nina
Gideon and Nina
ME and Nataliya
Birthday Cake with Arsine, Philemon, Anna, ME and Maxim
Philemon and his sister
ME doing a little face painting
During my drive to Ivanovo, I had some time to reflect and think about my life. I was filled with thankfulness at the place God has brought me to...I have a great husband and 2 darling (even though often demanding and exhausting) kids. I have grown to love Russia and especially our home in Yaroslavl. I can not believe that I live in Russia, speak Russian...even my kids can speak Russian and have traveled to over 25 different countries...as a family 14! I am also amazed that total strangers can be as close as family...I love our teammates and our Russian friends!
God has also given me a new appreciation for life, my family, worship, fellowship...and hot water (which can not be taken for granted here), peanut butter, varieties of cereal (I love cereal, but options are limited here) and much, much more!!! I would have never dreamed that this would be my life, but wouldn't want to change it!!!
Today, we spent the morning at the mall. The kids love all the fun plastic cartoon merchandise. During a weak moment, when I was distracted, not looking or not thinking, they managed to fill the cart with little lunch boxes and new cups (to add to the million cups we already have). So, when we came home, we had an indoor picnic!!! What a fun day and yummy PBJs!!!
Today brought an end to parties, fireworks and gorging ourselves!!! I dropped the kids off, leaving ME in complete hysterics (it took my 10 minutes to take her coat and snow boots off!) and assuring Gideon a million times that I would come back (like I have ever left him!!!), and headed straight for the gym!!! It was my first break and workout in 2 weeks. It was nice to have a few hours of alone time and picked both kids up with smiles!
Today is Christmas in Russia! I feel like we have been celebrating holidays for more than 2 weeks and will technically continue for one more week, when Russia celebrates "Old New Year" on January 13th. Merry Christmas...once again!!!
After 4 full days of not stop fun (skiing, hockey games, movies, McDonalds and of course the Mall!) and fellowship (hours and hours of not stop chatting!), we have said good-bye to all of our company and are spending a quiet night all alone. Our house reached maximum capcity yesterday, when "The Girls" came from Ivanovo to join Jenni and "The Moscow Guys" and all the fun. Our 2 bedroom, 675 square foot apartment was bursting at the seams with 11 people!!! We love you guys and miss you already!!!
Biggest Accomplishment: Losing all of the weight I gained with ME (65 pounds) over the past 2 1/2 years, but the biggest accomplishment this year was the 5 additional pounds I lost!!! With both kids in preschool, I am able to work-out all most every week day. I am loving exercising and my sacred 4 hours of free time everyday!!! Thank you for helping me achieve this goal and for the free time I have each morning!!!
Biggest Disappointment: The 2 worst things to happen this year were the new changes in visa laws and discovering the seriousness of domestic violence in Russia. The new visa laws will now limit the amount of time foreigners can live in Russia to 3 of 6 months. Please pray that we will find a way to live here year round. More than 14,000 women die a year due to domestic violence in Russia and 70% of women experience abuse in the home. Please pray for these women and that something would be done to help these families and that God would show us how we can personally help.
Biggest Failure/Weakness: Discipline...not utilizing my time better. Not being more consistent and intentional in supplementing Gideon's education. I wanted to spend 3 afternoons a week, after preschool, teaching Gideon some fundamental Kindergarten curriculum he is missing in Russian Kindergarten. I think I successfully spent 3 days!!! Every time we would start, one of us would get frustrated and give up. I am not a gifted teacher and am a lazy mom! Please pray that Gideon would learn all he needs to learn and that I would be more intentional and encouraging as a teacher and mommy!!!
What I am most looking forward to in 2008: 4 months in the states with our families...especially our family trip to Hawaii and Cody and Leslie's Wedding in June. Pray that we would have a blast in the states and make wonderful memories!!!
My Biggest Concern: Gideon being prepared for the First Grade and our visa situation (and the impact that this will have on Gideon's education). Please pray that we would trust God in all things!!!
Goal for 2008: Read through the Bible this year and try to apply 1 Corinthians 13 to my life. Please pray that I would be consistant in my time with the Lord and with my family (especially helping to prepare Gideon for the First Grade). Pray that I would learn the true meaning of love and apply it!!!
We had a great time bringing in the new year with our friends from Church. We are so thankful for all the Lord has done in 2007 and looking forward to all he will do in 2008! We pray you have a fabulous New Year filled with peace, joy, love and many wonderful memories!!!