Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This Slide Show ONLY has pictures that include Canaan. I hope you enjoy seeing Egypt with Canaan!

Canaan's Perspective of Egypt
1. Forget the pyramids, just put me behind the horse and let's giddy-up!!!
2. Kitty Cats are the best thing on the streets! There are lots of them. (But dogs.)
3. I really like climbing the two stories of stairs to get to and from our hostel room. Mommy seems to get tired, but I love STAIRS!
4. Give me more juice! My favorite is the coconut juice: delicious and refreshing!
5. The Egyptian Museum was not very cool: temperature wise or interest wise. (Daddy and Mommy really expected AC in the museum, but it was not to be.) I was happiest after I fell asleep; this also gave Mommy and Daddy some peace and quiet with which to explore the museum without me asking to go 'bye bye' every turn we made.
6. All the attention on the streets is cool, but it can also be overwhelming for such a shy critter as myself. I warm up slowly.
7. I wish our hostel had a bath tub and hot water. I don't like showers, and I like cold showers even less!!
8. Please pray that I don't get sick. Mommy and Daddy have both experienced the Egyptian runs.


Today we have had another good day. This morning we walked around looking for a bakery; there aren't a lot of them and it is hard to find places to eat breakfast. I think the culture is more a night culture, so many stores and cafes open up in the early afternoon and stay open late at night. However, there was a man on the streets who was ready to help us find a place for breakfast. People on the streets are always trying to talk to us and take us to their store, their cousin's store, etc. We were warned about that in some guide books, and it has been true. However, this man wasn't showing us around for commission...just for a paid breakfast. After showing us a bakery, which was exactly what we were looking for, he suggested we could buy him some pastries! Then he took us to a coffee place to eat them (the bakery didn't have seats) and had drinks on us too! But, we didn't mind and now we know where to go for breakfast!

This afternoon took us to the Egyptian Museum! It was pretty neat. We didn't have a guided tour, which would have been really cool, since not all the things were labeled and many didn't have much of a description; however, we had fun walking around and looking at things that were almost 5000 years old. We would show you some pictures, but no cameras were allowed. I am including a few pictures from outside the museum. (The red building is the museum.)

Our eating has also been interesting. We haven't been too impressed with the food. Part of it is that we don't know where to eat or what to order. One night we got a delicious meal at a high end restaurant and it was just $25. Last night, however, we asked what was good at a place that was recommended to us by our hostel, and the waiter brought us duck and lamb with a bunch of side dishes. This is what the food picture is of. It was all pretty...greasy. Canaan liked the green soup. It was ok, but I couldn't get over the sliminess of it! But, we tried a bit of everything and then decided not to re-visit that place! I guess you always have good and bad culinary experiences in foreign countries! So, because of our lack of knowledge about what to eat and where to eat, as well as some sick tummies that crave things familiar, we have resorted to eating at western food places for one meal a day. But, they are much cheaper than in Moscow!

So tonight Dougle has been a bit sick. So far Canaan has been in a good spirits. We have been able to stay close to the hostel most morning so he can get his nap, which sets him up for having a good afternoon and evening!

Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts for us as we are here! We have two more full days; we leave to go back to Moscow on Saturday!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We are enjoying our second full day on the continent of Africa, country of Egypt, city of Cairo! I must say that Egypt is unlike anywhere I've experienced before!

NOTE: This blog is about 10 times longer than what I wanted it to be. So I highlighted some points of interest for those of you who would rather just scan it! It won't hurt my feelings at all! But, if you want to read a mini-novel, go for it!! And if you would like to check out a slide-show of pictures, go to our Moscow Missions blog (address to the side of my blog)!

The city of Cairo is one of the largest in Africa, boasting 15-20 million inhabitants. The language, of course, is Arabic; 90% of the population are Muslim, with 10% claiming Coptic Christianity (a break-away from the Orthodox church). The city streets are bustling with people at all times; we arrived around midnight on Saturday night and there were people everywhere walking the streets, shopping, and enjoying life. During the day, the temperature reaches almost 100 degrees, though we are fortunate because there is no humidity: we are in a desert! The traffic on the streets is amazing! There are cars packed bumper to bumper in the streets, communicating with a strange manner of horn blaring and some yelling as they attempt to go a few city blocks down mostly narrow, one-way streets. There are cars, motor-cycles, bikes, trucks, buses, etc. The most people we've seen so far on a motorcycle is 5; it was a family with 3 kids, perched precariously, but somehow stably as the dad maneuvered through the busy streets. So far, my worst experience has been in a car. As some of you know, I suffer from a very sensitive stomach when it comes to motion sickness. Today as we were riding back to the hostel from the pyramids, we were stuck in motionless traffic, horns were blaring, the sun and heat were pouring through the open windows along with a mixture of strange smells and exhaust from the large buses right next to us, with every passing minute soaking me just a tad more from sweat and exhaustion. Thankfully, Canaan had fallen asleep so he was not too miserable! Otherwise, we've had a great trip. I decided,though, it will be best if we can stay out of cars as much as possible! The best part so far is how much everyone loves Canaan. When you have kids, it is the best thing in the world when others look at them and treat them with as much love and awe as you do. The people here do! They are constantly waving at him, smiling and pointing, hissing or snapping their fingers at him to get his attention, and some even walk up to him and kiss him as we walk the roads. Also, he gets his picture taken quite often; many people ask (some just snap a pic w/o asking) to take his picture with their camera phone. It is not just the many people who work at our hostel, but several people in restaurants too come up and take his picture. He will soon adorn the wallpaper of half the cell phones in Cairo! Our little cutie!!
Oh, one more thing about the city is that cleanliness is not a-la-mode here in Cairo! The streets are dirty and people throw trash around a lot. Not much gets washed (like tables at restaurants). And we went to one place that sold delicious coconut juice, and after we ordered and drank ours, we realized that the way they washed them for the next person was to dip them in some water and give them a shake to help them dry!

We arrived in Cairo late Saturday night, around 9:30pm, after a short 4 hour flight from Moscow. A quick bus ride from the plane took us to the terminal where we searched for the correct immigration line to wait in. I've never been so appreciative for the English language being considered the 'international' language of choice. Besides Arabic, which is extremely undiscernible to my mind, the only other language on any signs was English. While waiting in line, Dougle and I took turns walking Canaan up and down the area. This proved to be a very useful exercise when Canaan and I stumbled upon an important sign that we'd previously missed. Although we'd already filled out our visa forms for Egypt, the sign instructed us to buy visa tickets at a bank station before we could pass through immigration. They were just a few dollars each, but the mistake might have cost us our place in line if we hadn't noticed it before going through. Thankfully, everything was fine, and after an hour of waiting we entered Egypt. We quickly found our luggage and then our driver who was meeting us to take us to the hostel. Because of the length of our stay (a week), we have free transport to the airport and back, as well as a free taxi ride to the pyramids- which is very nice! We checked into our hostel, set up camp and were able to crash in bed a bit after midnight Saturday night.

Dougle left for the Russian consulate/embassy early Sunday morning. He arrived an hour and a half before they opened and was the 5th person in line. He was able to practice both his Russian and some Spanish that he has picked up over the years as he waited in line, helping others and being helped by others. You can read more about his adventure on his blog. He did manage to get us all 3 month visas, which made us VERY happy! Meanwhile, Canaan and I hung around at the hostel. We played, read books and finally took a nap as we waited for Dougle. After awaking from our nap, we ventured out onto the street near our hostel. I felt a bit uncomfortable, walking without my hubby and sticking out since I wasn't wearing a scarf of some kind. The dress here is very intriguing for me. I think about 95% of the woman wear some type of scarf. Very few wear the black robes with the black head pieces that show just their eyes, but a few are still dressed like this. In fact, we saw 2 woman today dressed like this, but even their eye slits were covered with a black material that must have been see-through in order for them to see the roads! But, many of these women, I've noticed, wear heavy eye make-up. The majority of the woman wear various colored scarves that cover their head and neck. The scarves are very much a part of the fashion here for woman. Some are the same material of their robes or shirts, while others just match their outfit by color. There are various ways to wear the scarves, in various styles. Many of the woman wear them quite elegantly or in a very 'cute' manner. Half of the woman wear pants or normal American looking clothes. The other half wear either robes or fashionable skirts (jean, cargo, khaki, etc). Oh, and most of them cover their arms, so they are wearing long-sleeves in this heat! So, armed only with Canaan's cuteness, we headed out from the hostel in search of some food. I must say, I have always been in countries knowing some of the language, or with someone who did know some/all of the language. So for Dougle and I neither one to know any of the local lingo-it is quite a vulnerable and awkward feeling. However, many of the people speak a little English, even if just the numbers, which is nice, since they are written totally different from ours! Canaan and I strolled around a bit, hung out in an eatery, hoping someone would speak some English and help us, and then walked back to the restaurant under our hostel. The only thing we managed to get were lots of looks, though Canaan scored a chip and a piece of candy for himself. They love babies here! The hole-in-the-wall place under our hostel, we found out, serves pizza and the guys working there speak some English, so we ordered, sat outside on the patio area and ate as we waited for Daddy!
Later Sunday afternoon, Dougle, Canaan and I ventured out around our hostel. We tried our best (and thought we were doing a great job) to keep our sense of direction. But after a few too many turns, we were lost. We didn't realize it until we tried to start heading back and realized our hostel wasn't where we thought it should be. Instead, we found a big highway and the Egyptian museum. That would have been helpful to know where it was at, if we knew where we were at! However, after a few more wrong turns and a few right ones, we ended up in an area on the opposite side of the hostel than we thought we were at, but at least knew where we were at! It was fun and we found some delicious coconut juice- a glassful being just 10 cents! Yummy! Since then we've been able to have some more coconut, mango (with delicious chunks of fruit in it), and banana-mango juices. That night we went to a famous restaurant that is supposed to be a must-eat place from what the tour books say. It was nice, the Egyptian food was great, and it was only $25 total (including tip and tax)! Needless to say, we all collapsed, happy but tired and slept well that night!
Monday was uneventful from my point of view. I stayed inside the hostel, sick, all day. I ventured out for about 30 minutes, but was a bit worse for wear after it. Daddy and Canaan had some good Father-Son wanderings and I got some rest and read a book all day!

Thankfully on Tuesday I woke up feeling better! We'd planned to go to the pyramids. A driver met us at 9am to take us. He drove us the 30 minute ride there, and we ended up in a small room being talked into taking a horse carriage around the pyramids. We were planning just to walk around and push Canaan in a stroller, but once we arrived, we realized we had no idea just how everything was laid out. So, after the price for our trip dropped to 1/3 of what they originally wanted, we set out. I think the horse carriage thing was our saving grace with Canaan! He loved it, and whenever we left to walk around he was always asking to go back to the horse. He would say "Bhrrr (horse sound), Back!" At one point, a man brought his camel over and sat him down for a picture. We put Canaan on the camel's back, but he just screamed. So, we are happy we didn't choose the camel ride around the pyramids. The other means around were on a big tour bus, that dropped you off in front of each thing, or walking. But we were really pleased with our horse buggy, since we were out in open air and under the shade of the little canopy, getting to see everything without having to walk in the heat or push a stroller on very uneven pavement and sand!
The pyramids were not like I expected and we elected to not go inside any, not knowing how Canaan would react to it all. We had a great time just viewing from the outside, though. The only pyramids I really had seen were those in Mexico. The stones made on the Egyptian pyramids were definitely MUCH bigger, especially at the base. Unlike those in Mexico, which were made to climb up to sacrifice people, these were not made for climbing...something I hadn't thought too much about before coming. They also were not in as good of condition. There were stones scattered around the base of one of the big ones, laying haphazardly around. I later read that some of the explorers in the 18th century used dynamite to help excavate them and find more passageways in them. They even drilled holes through some of them for this reason! So, that might have attributed to some of the worn out look of them. Also, the Sphinx is much smaller than the bigger three pyramids behind it. Though it is still big, it is much smaller than what I imagined and looked a bit dwarfed in front of the towering 3 behind it!

Well, this post is already about 10 times longer than something you wanted to read, but I thought I'd share with you everything. Hope you enjoyed. We will try to post more pictures and info as the week progresses! God bless!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

21 Months Old!

On July 30th, Canaan turns 21 months old. I thought I wasn't going to do an update, but I just have to! He is just learning by leaps and bounds these past few weeks and I want to brag!

Hair: "He should have a full head by his fourth birthday."-recent comment of Dougle's

New Words: (in the past 2-3 weeks!)
-He counts to ten (but doesn't say one or seven) in English (check out the video below to hear him counting!)
-He says 2,4, 5 and 6 in Russian. We fill in the missing numbers!
-He says, "A, B, C's, F, G." on his own. He walks around the house singing it! He can identify and say the letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, H, K, M, O, P, R, S, T.
-He is making more two word sentences, "Truck, go?" (where did the truck go?) or "New diaper."
-New single words include: pig (pik), snake (cake), hippo (happo), donkey (konkey), duck (guk), barn (marn), blue (boo), yes sir (yesr), yes ma'am (mam), Jesus (in both English and Russian), boat (row), tree (tee), cookie, van (vey), away (ay or awy), block, (bok), stinky (kinky), pancake (ca-cake), shoes (choose), bell (bew), jeans (jees), park (pahk), juice, OK, flower (fo-wr), peas, please (pees- he used to only sign this), thank you (da-doo- he used to only sign this), and a few more I am forgetting! He is even trying to say "Zdrastvootye" which in Russian is the formal hello. He says "ta-tay" or "ta-ta-tey."

Canaan likes to include everyone in everything, even himself. Let me explain. We will say, "Give Daddy high-five" and he will, saying "Daddy!" Then he says, "Mama!" and comes running up to me to give me high five. Then he says, "Nae-Nan" (his name for himself) and with one hand, gives himself a high five on the other hand! It is too funny! He does this with kisses too, giving one to Daddy, one to Mommy and one to himself (he kisses his hand like he will blow a kiss), saying each of our names as he kisses us (and himself)! We've tried to get it on video, but he gets really distracted by the camera and looses focus on whatever he is doing.

The other day I was laying on the couch. He started to pat my tummy, but then it got too hard. I said, "No, Canaan. Be gentle. The baby is in there." He said, "Baby and smiled." A while later, he came up with his tractor and put it on my tummy and said, "Tractor, Baby." I don't know if he was introducing them or just showing the baby his toys. I really don't know how much he understands about the "baby" in Mommy's tummy. But, it is a cute story, none-the-less!

As far as naps go, Canaan is trying to cut back from two a day, to one a day. But, he gets too tired after a few days, and he has to take two naps still sometimes. But some days he isn't tired for 2 naps. So, we just play it by ear. He sleeps a pretty consistent 10-11 hours each night. If he takes two naps, it is about 10 hours, because he goes to bed later; if he takes one nap, it is about 11 hours, because he goes to bed earlier.

Still the Same: He loves to learn, loves to read, loves the playground, loves his trucks and cars, and loves mommy and daddy!

Well, that is all for now. We are heading off to Egypt in a few hours. We will be gone for a week. Keep us in your prayers, that our visa stuff will go smoothly! We love you all!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Canaan Counts!

Finally! We have a video of Canaan counting. You might have to turn up the volume a bit to hear Canaan. I say one, then he says two. But he likes me to repeat after me, so I am repeating all the numbers after him. He doesn't say 7, though, so it is just I who say that!
Hope you enjoy. We are trying to get a good video of him identifying the alphabet letters he knows. But he is fascinated with the camera and just wants to look through it whenever we get it out!

Hope you enjoy watching our super, smarty pants as he just 20.5 months old!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Munchkin on the Way

Today we went to our first prenatal doctor appointment! We went to a clinic that used to be called the American Medical Clinic. I guess I was expecting something very similar to my doctor in Lubbock; however, this was pretty different! I didn't have to fill out any papers on medical or family history, I was weighed on normal house scales, and they drew my blood in the exam room. When I talked to the doctor, I sat in a chair at her desk. She told me everything looked normal and then asked if I had any questions. But, the people were nice and we got to have an ultrasound, which was nice. Even Canaan got to see the ultrasound, though he wasn't very excited about being in a darkened room with me laying on a table! Overall, we were pleased with everything about the clinic, except the price: $1200! We are hoping the next appointments won't be so costly!
But, the guy who ran the ultrasound said everything looked normal and on track! We saw the little Munchkin bouncing around and heard a few seconds of a heartbeat. They even gave us two pictures. We hope you enjoy the first glimps of our little one. I am about 12 weeks along, still having morning sickness, extreme fatigue, tons of food cravings, and mood swings that are all associated with a normal pregnancy! I am hoping these subside soon! However, overall we are doing well and excited about the new addition to our family...coming around February 9th!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Snow, Rain and Shine

You've seen us bundled up in the snow and cold. I just wanted to give you a picture of us out and about in the rain. It isn't the most convenient when you walk/take a stroller everywhere, but it is do-able and not too bad. We usually keep our rain cover in the stroller (along with an umbrella), because we never know when we are out if it will start spitting on us! I just thought I'd give you a picture to see how we get around when it is rainy! Lately we have had temperatures in the 80's, which is quite hot on the street! I am loving it! It finally feels like summer! We have had to get out some fans to keep us cool during the day in the apartment. But, I still love it!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Canaan doesn't get many new toys here. They are hard to come by at decent prices. So, whenever we find something small for a good price, we usually get it. We've bought him a few small cars/trucks, a small sand box pail, shovel and rake (everyone here has them!), etc. Well, the other day I was looking for some larger lego blocks, because I think he is about at the age to enjoy them. I managed to find some that weren't too bad a price, so I think we might get those for him. However, I also was looking for some type of little car ramp for him. He plays with his cars/trucks CONSTANTLY and is always running them around on things. I thought that might be fun. After a bit of looking, I found exactly what I was looking for. However, because it was an American product (Fisher Price), it had a VERY pretty price tag: $3400 rubles- which translates to $150 USD. Out of curiosity, I looked it up on the internet to see what it goes for in America: $30-$35! I couldn't believe the price difference! Needless to say, he won't be getting that! I was thinking about making him something similar with cardboard boxes. Maybe I'll even paint them!
But, we are very grateful for all the toys and books we did bring him in our original move, and for the toys and books that GrandDad and GranNan brought on their trip, as well as the stuff Liv and David brought when they met Dougle in Ukraine! (We have yet to enjoy these things because of a luggage problem they had. The suitcase is currently in an apartment of a brother in Christ in Kharkov, Ukraine. We will enjoy them in a few months!) Thanks a bunch you guys!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Morning Sickness and the Works!

Yes! We are pregnant again! I am nine weeks pregnant!

With Canaan, I had a great and easy pregnancy. This pregnancy is proving to be quite different so far. I've had a lot of morning sickness, fatigue, and all those ugly little symptoms that remind you there is a tiny one growing inside! The internet info says that at nine weeks, the baby is the size of a large grape and weighs as much as a paper-clip. The tail is about gone and all the major organs are there! How amazing! I can't fathom creating such a beautiful, wonderful and intricate process to develop into a baby!

Dougle is being the sweetest hubby and taking care of me every chance he can. What a sweety! So, we are praying for a healthy pregnancy, wisdom to parent two kids, and energy to get through the next nine months and then 18 years!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

20 1/2 Months Old

So, I meant to do this closer to his 20 month birthday, which passed on June 30th; however, I since I missed it, I figured that I would probably miss his 21st month as well since we will be out of town. (We have to leave to renew our visas. We think we will go to Egypt, since it seems the cheapest option and sounds really cool!) So anyway, that is why I am posting mid-month about our sweet boy!

The cutest thing happened at the playground yesterday, and has happened before when I take off Canaan's hat. Most of the time he runs around with a hat on when we are outside, because I am afraid his bald head will burn! However, every-once-in-a-while, I take his hat off for about 15 minutes to try to give it a small chance to soak in the heat and vitamins. I did this yesterday and a little girl who was just a few inches taller than Canaan came up to him and grabbed his arm. (She was trying to slow him down because he loves to run away/ be chased by other kids- especially girls!) Anyway, she grabbed his arm and pulled him close, and reached her other hand up and rubbed the top of his head! Then she let go and they continued playing! It was so cute! Everyone wants to get their hands on his adorable, bald head. Which, I must say looks like it has a little more hair on it. It is just very thin and light colored, so what there is, you can't really see anyway! But, another little girl did this to Canaan the other day as well and people at church always find a second to reach down and rub the top of his head as he walks by!

He has a few new words. It is interesting how his language learning mirrors ours in a small way. He picks up on some words and will use them correctly. However, with other words, he will use them in just one way and is confused when we use it differently. For example, when he first learned the word "go," he thought it was only to signal leaving the house, such as in "go outside" or "go to the store." So when we would say, "Let's go to the kitchen," he would run to the door and start trying to put on his shoes to leave. While we moved past that fairly quickly, the other day Dougle asked Canaan if he was "going to finish" something. He looked confused and pointed to the hall and said, "go?" In other instances, he picks up on words and uses them correctly, as well as in the wrong contexts. Such as with a favorite word, "new." He pronounces it correctly and throws it around in all contexts. He says it for "new diaper" or "new bowl," which are correct, but a lot of times he says it for other things that don't make sense to me, but apparently seem just fine to him: "new water," "new stairs," etc. I am sure we sound like this with some words in Russian that we throw around, thinking we understand what context it should be said in, but we really just sound like 20 month olds trying to acquire a new language.

Also in words, Canaan has started repeating a lot of things we say, especially the last words of our sentences if they are do-able for him. He doesn't say the "s" sound yet. New vocabulary include: go, new, catch (tatch), stinky (kee-kee- for stinky diaper!), don't touch (doe tuch), running (nu-neen), hopper (for grasshopper), rock (goo-wok), snap (boo-wap), roll (which he uses for any type of bread), and more. I have been meaning to write down all of them, so when I posted, I would remember what he is saying, but I keep forgetting to do that! My mom always told me that "the dullest pencil is sharper than the sharpest mind." I need to heed that advice better! As far as sentences, we are only getting two word phrases, so far. Such as, "truck, go?" for Where does the truck go?

Canaan is growing up more each day! He loves playing with his cars and trucks still. Everyday he sits around and runs them on the floor, up and down the furniture, etc. He is so cute and such a boy! Sometimes I'll look down on the floor and he has all his cars and trucks (and any other vehicle-airplanes, trains, etc.) all crammed close together like they are in a major traffic jam. At other times, he lines them all up in a long row, end to end, and pretends he is counting them. Actually, I am needed for this fun activity; he just points to each one, while I say the number. He has even started recognizing a few numbers from counting books we read, but he won't say any numbers. He just likes to hear me say them!