Saturday, May 31, 2008

Playground Video

This is just a short video of Canaan playing on the playgrounds in front of our apartment. The audio was pretty bad because it was windy, so Dougle put music to it. Hope you enjoy!

PS. If you get this post update through e-mail, you will need to go to the actual blog to watch the video!

Friday, May 30, 2008

A month of Celebrations!

For us, we have a lot to celebrate from mid-May to mid-June!

On May 15th, we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary! On the 15th, I made a delicious (if I may say so) meal of Chicken Crepes. It was hard at first finding a few of the ingredients, but we did it. We are still learning where the best place to buy certain things are. I will write more about our food differences on the Moscow Missions blog. Then, the next day, Mila, from church, babysat Canaan so that Dougle and I could go out for a special meal. This was the first time we left Canaan with someone here and he did great! Dougle and I went out to a place called Starlight Diner. It is like a 60's Diner, with delicious hamburgers. If you want to splurge, you can get a tasty milkshake...for about $10-$15. We skipped the milkshakes! But we had a good time being together, just the two of us. At this diner, the waitresses speak English and they have English menus. So that is fun too. After lunch, we checked out a nearby bookstore and just enjoyed being out together!

On May 27th, we celebrated Dougle's 30th Birthday!! My husband is getting sooo old! Ha. It didn't bother him in the least to hit the 30 mark. He just gets cuter and smarter everyday! Unfortunately, he had to spend most of the day at the airport (you can read about this on the other blog too). The next day, he spent all day at a hotel helping with LST registration. The next two days, he has spent sick with a sore throat and head cold. So, we hope to celebrate more properly next week. We are thinking about seeing if Mila will babysit again so we can go see Indiana Jones, in English!

My birthday is coming up on June 9th. I will be the very young and stylish age of....27. I keep thinking I am 23; Dougle keeps having to remind me that I am not a teenager anymore!

In addition, Father's Day and Mother's Day fall in this month time period. Of course, they don't really have these days in Russia, so it is easy to forget about them.

We've had lots to celebrate and be thankful for in this past month! We look forward to another year together, another year of life, and more time to serve and praise our Lord, if he wills. God has been so good to us over the past year. We give him thanks!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Playing, Cooking, and Being Cute!

I've had lots to report on recently, so I will be updating our blogs frequently until I can tell you all about how our last few weeks have been. My culture shock story is still coming, along with a special announcement about our situation in Moscow, which most of you already know. That will probably be posted on Dougle's blog. The address for that is on the right hand side of this blog.

Back to Canaan.

  • Canaan likes to play in the kitchen. He loves rummaging through all my drawers and using what I use to cook with! I posted a similar picture a few months ago, but thought I'd post another because he is just too cute.
  • One picture is of his tricycle. He hasn't quite understood that it is used best when ridden. Right now, he likes to push it!
  • Can you also see the milk picture? He is drinking milk from his sippy cup and it is running down his chin. What a cute little grin!Oh, we have finally given up the bottle, now onto the pacifier!


Now that it is sunny and warm, we have been enjoying playing outside even more (or at least I have been enjoying it more)! Actually, the pictures I have are of a cold few days in the middle of our warmer weather. It was about 36 degrees; that is why Canaan was wearing a coat. Anyway, he has been loving playgrounds lately, which he loving calls "stairs" (we think this is because of the slides with stairs). In our courtyard, there is a playground with a tunnel in it. Canaan has recently become interested in the tunnel and has learned that crawling through it is pretty fun. There are a few holes in it (one that is about the size of a saucer (as in cup and saucer) and some other small holes that look like they've been made from cigarette burns. But, that doesn't seem to bother him. He likes the slides, and of course the stairs you have to climb to get to the tunnel and slide. He has also been playing on the see-saw and swing (he sits on my lap in the swing). He is also noticing more what is going on around him, so part of our playground experiences include people and car watching. It is fun.

One thing that is interesting to Dougle and I is the fact that the culture here is very child centered, but the play ground areas don't seem very safe. There are LOTS of playgrounds everywhere, most of which are metal or wood play sets, but a few are plastic. However, there is broken glass (from what looks like beer bottles) scattered all over some of them. Since Canaan isn't always the most coordinated yet, we are always concerned he will fall on a piece of the glass. We try to stay away from those whose grounds are swept up very well. But, in many, there are also manholes in very conspicuous places. Canaan fell head first onto one of these when he tripped over it in the playground. (They do paint all their manholes- the ones near our house are bright green- maybe so you will see them better and not trip over them?!) And, there are broken and random slabs of concrete in one of the playgrounds (the one with the plastic play-set), hidden below the dirt. If you aren't careful, you'll trip over them. So, that is just a bit frustrating at time to us. Of course, none of it seems to bother Canaan, and none of it keeps all the parents and grandparents from taking their little ones to play on them!

Monday, May 19, 2008

FIRST LETTER...and some other Canaan info

I am happy to say, we received our FIRST SNAIL MAIL letter here! It has taken so long because we have not had an address for several months. However, we now have an address and a key to our mailbox, and we are receiving mail. This was very exciting for us! Our first piece of snail mail came from LUCILLE SCHRAMPHER. I don't think she uses a computer, so she probably won't see this blog post. But, she is the lady after whom I was named. So, it was very special in that regard.

As for other stuff, I just have a few random stuff. I forgot to add some new words that Canaan has been saying on his 18 month update. He says star (tar) and triangle (ti-kl). He is now asking for his alphabet letters by pointing to them (up in the cabinet) and saying "Beee." He can now identify the letters A, B and O (his favorite).

Well, that is all for now. Stay tuned for a glimpse into culture shock...coming soon! We love you all!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

18 Months Old

Canaan turned 18 months old about two weeks ago. I am a little late getting this posted (as usual), but I still like to write it out, even if it serves only as a record for me of how much my little boy is growing!

Special Thought: When I think about having more kids, I always want to have one who is the same age as Canaan (whatever age he happens to be). I think it is so wonderful that we have such a good time with him in each stage of life he is in, and that we can't imagine how another stage or age could be so wonderful! I love being a Mommy~especially of a precious, bald boy!

Basic Stats
Height: 31.8 inches. He's grown almost an inch in the past month (as far as our home measurements show)! His growth chart here in in centimeters, and it shows a two centimeter growth, which seems more accurate than inches, and it seems like more growth- having grown two cm to the almost one inch!
Nothing Else New-We don't have a current weight. He still has 16 teeth, though I think I see a back molar starting to peek through, which might explain part of the moodiness of the past few days.

New Words
"ash"- trash
"hup"- help (previously he just signed help, now he signs and says!)
"too-tr"- rooster (it is a cross between choo-choo and tractor!)
"moo"- movie (he asks for them a lot- but we restrict his viewing to 30 minutes or one hour a day, depending on what Mommy and Daddy need to do or how he feels)
"me"- I ask him if he wants to come with me and he just repeats, "Me, me, me." Too cute!
"go"- He knows exactly what this means. If I ask him if he wants to go, he runs to the door to get his shoes. If I tell him to go to the kitchen, he starts running in there, saying "go, tichen."
"tichen"- kitchen
"woll"- roll- He uses this for both the bread and the verb (there are certain balls we only "woll" in our house)!
"tair"-stairs-He loves to go up and down stairs. He even calls playgrounds "tairs" because he associates them with the stairs on the slide!

Favorite Words:
For two months, Canaan renewed his interest in the word "uh-oh." He would purposely drop things and say "uh-oh" repeatedly, while laughing. For every tiny little thing, he would say "uh-oh" several times in a row.
Now, he is saying "Mo" (more) all the time! Let me explain. Canaan says "more" for everything there is two or more of. As we walk down the road, he points, saying, "More, More, More..." This means he sees several birds, several trees, several flowers, etc. I get to guess what he is talking about.

New Interests
  • He has recently taken a keen interest in trains. I am not sure why. I would think it is because of the metro here, which we tell him is a train, but he still insists on calling it a truck! So, I am not sure why, but he does love trains.
  • He is much more interested in airplanes, since our trip. He usually refers to them as "bye, bye." I think this is mainly because we saw a lot of planes taking off; he would watch them until he couldn't see them any more and then say, "bye, bye."
  • Other little kids are also fascinating to Canaan. The older he gets, the more he is interested in watching them, playing around them, and at rare times, playing with them.
New Stuff
He is noticing what is on his clothes (the pictures). He pulled out his "uck" shirt today and was excited to put it on. Tonight we talked about his choo-choo pjs and the puppy pjs that he has. It is fun to see him noticing different things.

His imagination is growing! He loves cooking with me in the kitchen. I give him his own pots and bowls with wooden spoons. He also loves to pretend drink out of a cup. He is very dramatic and forceful, like he's throwing a glass back, when he does it. Then he will look over at us and grin mischievously. It is really quite amusing. He also just started to pretend to put his trucks "nigh night." He lays them on their side and says, "nigh night." I have no idea where that came from!

Canaan has also started working puzzles in the past two months. Three of the four puzzles he has have the picture of the same piece underneath it. So, it is really a matching game with the added bonus of situating it in the hole. Through these puzzling experiences, he's picked up a few meanings of words, like "turn that around" and "try another place." He does really well, but he doesn't show a lot of patience. We are working on that!

Canaan also has started counting things. He doesn't really say any numbers, but he lines things up and points to them. He likes it when I count, pointing to each thing as I say the number. Then he will say "again" and he will point while I count. I really like how he is growing up and we are doing more interactive play.

So, Canaan also has started giving us bad looks. It is hilarious and we have to try so hard not to laugh. (Dougle doesn't do well at trying not to laugh; he usually covers his mouth or face to try to hide it.) Half of the time, he looks at us with his "dirty look" and then laughs, but the other half of the time he is serious and I have to get onto him and tell him not to look at me like that. He even gave this look to Mila when we were at her house. She was telling Canaan not to touch the trashcan and he rolled his eyes up in his head and then stared at her with his eyes half closed. She laughed while I got onto him (and her for laughing)!

Also he is in the repetition phase. Anything that was fun or interesting, we do 3 or 5 or 10 or 20 times (basically until mommy gets tired of it)! Some things he wants to do over and over forever. Things like: counting cars after he lines them up, pouring water out of a cup into the bath, singing our favorite song, reading our favorite book, playing chase, etc. He will say "gg" or "ah-g" to mean again. It is just like he is sounding out a "g" sound. Too funny! He also repeats words over and over until we acknowledge what he is talking about.

He hasn't started dropping things in the toilet, but he does like to stick his fingers in the water. He is very fascinated with anything "water" these days. He adores fountains and will start talking about the wa-wa when he knows we are getting close to a fountain. Then, of course, he talks about "wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-wa" for a minute or more after we can no longer see the fountain. He loves talking about water in his cup, in his bath, in a pond ,and I suspect this is the new fascination with the toilet. Now I am trying to keep the toilet lid closed, hoping that "out of sight/out of mind" will work; and when I forget, we are working on learning how to shut the lid on the toilet!

He is going through a shy/clingy stage. When other children are around, they can usually draw him out of his "mommy death-cling" and stop his crying when we enter new houses, etc. I think some of this is just his age, while the rest might be attributed to all the traveling we've done over the last month.

Though shy, it is interesting to note that Canaan LOVES to leave places. He loves leaving the house and when we say we are going "bye" but don't do it fast enough (Mommy is always having to run back in b/c I forgot two or three things), then he gets impatient and starts to whine. He loves leaving other people's houses, as well as arriving home. In addition, he loves getting in elevators and going down stairs out places. He smiles and giggles really silly when we get in the elevator that takes us up to our 12th story apartment and he gets impatient when we take too long wresting with the locks on one of the 3 doors we have to enter through in our building. I just think it is funny, how much he loves leaving and coming back!

He is still a picky eater. He still goes through days when he eats not much and days when he seems like all he does is eat. He prefers orange juice (I water it down) to drink, though he also drinks plain water. He also loves his morning and night milk.

Singing is still very interesting. He pays attention to and loves most of all those songs with motions. He tries to do some of them. It is very cute.

On just a more interesting note, we are going through fewer diapers. It has gradually gone down from the infant age. We hope that potty training will start in a few months.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Back in Russia

We're back in Russia. We are having some major Jet Lag! Wow. This is the worse jet lag I've experienced. I must say, it is much harder with a baby. (I keep calling him a baby, but he just turned 18 months old! I don't think he becomes a toddler, though, until he is two. So, I'm not sure what to classify him as now!) Anyway, we are going to bed after midnight and sleeping past noon. This is better than what we were doing, which was going to bed around 5am and sleeping until 3pm in the afternoon! Slowly we are backing up our schedule. Dougle stayed awake all last night (to make almost 24 hours awake), in hopes that would help him become sleepy during the night. He took a short nap this afternoon, and we all hope to be able to sleep tonight around 11pm and wake up at a more normal time!

I am posting a few pictures. We flew several times in the past few weeks (to the States and then from Houston to Dallas, then Dallas to Lubbock, then Lubbock back to Houston). Canaan really enjoyed watching all the vehicles at the airport. At first, he just noticed the luggage cars and little vehicles going to and fro all the time. He would watch them and watch them. It wasn't until we were flying out of Dallas Love that he started becoming really interested in the airplanes. We were there three hours before leaving, and we found a really great window where we could see the airplanes take off and fly into the sky. Canaan started referring to the window by saying "Bye, Bye!" because we said that the planes went "bye, bye" when they took off. It was so cute. After that experience, he started noticing the actual planes at the airports, though he still loved to watch all the "ucks" too.

One picture is of Canaan with his very own carry-on suitcase. His great-aunt Carol sent that to him. He was adorable with it, because he is VERY into pushing and pulling things. I think he thought he was a big boy pulling his very own suitcase around the airports. And everyone else in the airport thought he was just adorable too!

The other airport picture is of us standing around, putting off saying goodbye to family in the Lubbock airport. You can see Canaan in the background, pulling his suitcase around. Though goodbyes are never fun, we are so blessed at having the opportunity to see family again, sooner than we thought!

The last picture is of a play ground in a huge park near our house. The weather here is just amazing. It is in the high 60's/low 70's during the day. The sun is shining, everything is green, and the trees are starting to bloom. We walked there yesterday to help us stay awake. Canaan was one of about 50 kids (we counted) at the playground. There were tons of people everywhere in the park. It was great to be outside and enjoy the warming weather.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


So, this blog is just pictures mainly. I have a lot of pictures with Dougle's side of the family and some of Aspen (Guy and Nan's little girl) with Canaan. Unfortunately, I don't have hardly any with my side of the family. I was very sad when I discovered this. I think that it is because most of the time we spent with them, we were sick. Canaan ended up passing his sickness to 8 people! Needless to say, it was very contagious.

We are in Houston right now. Our plane leaves at 11:45pm Thursday night (tonight). I think we will be exhausted by the time we are in the air and able to lay back and sleep. We arrive in Moscow at 8:00pm Friday night (Moscow time). It is an 11 hour flight. We have had a great, but whirlwind trip. Canaan has had it with traveling; he is ready to be home. We are looking forward to getting back into routine and seeing what comes next with our adventure in Moscow!