Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Half Trip to the Zoo

So, I had no idea what to expect going to the zoo here. But we went with Liv and Dave and our friends, Galina and Vitali. It was fun. We even ate ice-cream (a very Ukrainian/Russian thing to do). But we didn't get to see the typical zoo animals. Apparently we missed the half of the zoo with the elephant, tiger, hippo, aquarium, etc.
But we saw several animals that I don't remember seeing in our zoos. Maybe they are there, we just skip them. But probably they aren't because they are native to the United States. But we saw lots of deer and elk, some raccoons, sheep, goats, ducks, swans, the Ukrainian national bird (a stork), boar, bison, Canadian geese, etc. Seeing Canadian geese was especially funny because they migrate to Lubbock every fall and we see them in the wild! We saw some of the "normal" zoo animals too: camels, various birds, bears, monkeys, and a few more. Canaan really liked the swan and ducks!We took our time walking around. We bought food (carrots and cabbage) to feed the animals. Some of them liked it, some didn't.

A few things that were different. There weren't nice habitats for a lot of the animals. Some had some nice space, but many didn't. Also, people fed the animals, and many were hungry enough to eat the cabbage and carrots we fed them. Some people threw candy in at the monkeys; they knew to unwrap and eat. By the number opaper wrappers on the ground, it looked common. There were also several bananas on the cage bottom too. They had rides in the park and a playground (which Canaan insisted on playing on), as well as a few vendors who set up shop on a bench or two in the park. In addition, construction was going on in the back of the park. There were large concrete slabs laying around, and trenches dug that we had to step over to get to see some of the animals (Canaan thoroughly enjoyed jumping over these holes-see pictures). Lastly, some of the animals looked like they were in sad condition. For example, the humps on one or two of the camels' was sagging. It didn't look normal. We hear that the price of the zoo has sky-rocketed (from the 50 cents it used to be to around $4 now). Maybe they are going to use the money to try to improve some of the living conditions of the animals.

Anyway, here are a few pictures. Canaan enjoyed making a goofy face with the monkey statues, I got a snap-shot of Galina writing down English words (studying while with us!), and some cute ones from Max too. The overgrown, grassy hill is where a raccoon lived. Hope you enjoy. Maybe next time we go to the zoo, we will see the other animals!

Friday, July 10, 2009

This is the way we go to town...

Yes, we have a car. And yes, it is super nice to have a car. But, if things are close by, or we feel like it, we walk. Especially since it is summer.

We have a super wonderful stroller that I take out almost everyday. The boys and I love going to the park or other locations in the stroller (Canaan doesn't like to walk long distances- he prefers to ride).

A few times I have taken the boys out on the metro with me. I do this without the stroller, because I can't get it up and down the stairs of the metro myself. When we travel out without the stroller, I put Max in the sling. It is super nice to have. Even at the playground, I take Max out of the stroller and put him in the sling. Together we follow Canaan around and make sure he stays safe and out of trouble!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Our Courtyard

So, they are doing some work in our courtyard. I think it has to do with the pipes that carry hot water to the radiators in the winter. Anyway, they knocked on our door one morning and told us that they needed us to park our car on the road for 2 days, and then they'd be done. Two weeks later, it looks like it might get finished before winter! Hopefully just this week or next week and they will be done.

We have had several big trucks in our courtyard that do various tasks. Canaan thinks the trucks are just too cool and enjoys watching them dig the holes or move the pipes in place. So, if ever we are bored, we just walk downstairs to the courtyard and watch them work for a bit.

Fun stuff.

At times, it makes it difficult getting in and out of the building, because there is a big piece of equipment blocking our now small path in and out. Or, at times I wish they were a bit less noisy so Max could sleep better. But, overall, not too bad. And, God has taken care of our car. It has been safe on the streets and no harm has come to it. That is a blessing!

PS. A BIG thank you to Olivia who has provided many of my pictures lately! She is a sweety for letting me borrow them! Thanks LIVIA!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More Canaan Sayings

These are too cute, and I want to remember them. So I have been trying to write them down when I can! I just don’t always have a pencil and paper handy at every moment, or you’d be reading a novel of funny things!

Say What?

Daddy and Max in the kitchen. Daddy was talking to Max and blowing on his belly.

Enter Canaan (running): Daddy!! I want some spits too!!!

Girls Vs. Boys

We’ve been talking about the difference between boys and girls. Mainly in just recognizing who are girls and who are boys. But, when I use the restroom, Canaan sees me sitting and asks if I am pooping. I tell him no, that I am a girl, and I sit when I potty. A few days after this discussion, Canaan is sitting on the potty pooping, looked up at me and said, “I am go potty like a girl!”

Sweet Questions

I picked up my two boys at the same time and carried them into the bedroom. Canaan looked at me and said: Mommy, I have my 2 favorite boys?

Me (smiling): Yes!

Canaan: In the wold world?!

Me (grinning more): Yes!!

(Daddy always says this when he picks them both up. I guess he was just making sure I had the same feelings!)

The Art of Hide and Seek

Mommy (pretending to look for Canaan): Is Canaan behind the curtains?!

Canaan (hiding under the covers on his bed): No! I am here!! Under the covers!

Hmm..he is still working on the concept of hide and seek!

Brother Musings

Canaan (talking to Max and holding up a car): You want this one?

Canaan (handing the car to Max): Okay, sure. Here you go.

The Negotiator

Canaan: I take some cars with us?

Me: Ok.

Canaan: How about these 6?

Me: No, you can bring 2 cars.

Canaan: How about....3?!


Canaan: Aunty, come play with me.

David: Auntie is talking to Mommy, and then she has to make a phone call. Then she can play with you.

Canaan: How 'bout Auntie talk to Mommy, then play with me 5 minutes, then make a call? Yeah, I think that will work!

What Goes Around...

Well, I'll admit it: I wasn't the perfect child. I know many of you are shocked. But, regain your composure. Canaan is like me in several ways. First of all, I used to be called "Last Minute Lucy" because I never would go to the bathroom until the VERY last minute. Canaan is like this now. He will be jumping around and at the last minute will race to the potty and hurriedly pull down his shorts, just in time to go. However, if he can't get to the potty immediately, or can't get those pants down quick enough, accidents occur. When I told my mom this, she just laughed! Can you believe that? Another similarity is listed below.

Already Convinced He Knows Better

At the age of two, Canaan is already convinced that the 3 guys who were thrown in the firey furnace were Shadrack, Me-Shadrack, and Obendigo! We have argued over it on a few occasions. I only laugh so much because as a child, I constantly argued with my mom over how things were pronounced. And I was always wrong! I guess what goes around, truly does come around!

Winds of Change

This is one of two blog posts that I have done today. So, be sure and check out the one below about Daddy and the boys too!

It is time! It is past time. It is time to have a baby who sleeps though the night! Enter week one of sleep training. If you are interested, I have additional commentaries below about how we did it with Canaan, why we even opt to do sleep training, etc. If you are interested in reading my opinionated mini-novel, it is at the end!

Day One

I fed Max when he woke up this morning. We played with brother a while, and when Max got tired I took him to our room (where his crib is), sang Jesus Loves Me to him and laid him in bed. Do you know- he looked up at me, then rolled over and fell right to sleep without making a peep?! I was a bit frustrated because I had prepared myself for much crying and it didn’t happen! I mean, Canaan cried for 90 minutes the first day he put himself to sleep and he was only 2 months old! However, not only did Max put himself to sleep, but my baby who has only slept for basically 45 minutes when we lay him down on his own, slept an hour and a half. And he did that 3 other times today! Only tonight when we laid him down did he cry, and that for just 7 minutes. Dougle said he had prayed it would be easy, and it was! Yeah! My husband musts be a righteous man. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as good!

Day Two

So, Max didn’t sleep all night; instead, he woke up every 4 hours. Hmmm. Canaan did the first night, but he also cried a lot that first day too. And then today, life was a little more rough. He didn’t eat at the right times and didn’t sleep long in bed. In fact, he kept Canaan up because he fussed a lot during his nap and so neither boy was well rested. Maybe tomorrow will be better!

Day Three

So, here we are at day 3 and I am not exactly sure how this is going to turn out. But, onward we press. Last night was promising. Max skipped his 2am feeding and slept until 5am. I can deal with that for now. Today he has cried himself to sleep once, but it only took him about 5 minutes. And I am thinking that I am going to have to let him cry it out through a night feeding too. It’s not like he is starving or anything...just look at his pictures!...and he is plenty old enough to go 6-8 hours at night.

Day Four

We moved his bed into the livingroom last night. He only woke up once to eat. Again, we were out and about today, so he ended up sleeping in the stroller, car and my arms. Hard to do this when life is busy, but we continue on!

Day Five

Success is coming!! Last night, we put him to bed at 10pm and he cried about 45 minutes. Ugg. Then Max woke up after just 4 hours in the middle of the night and I decided he needed to skip that feeding. He cried for about 10 minutes until I felt sorry for all our neighbors (the walls aren't that soundproof) and I went in and rubbed his head for about one minute and he fell back asleep. Yeah!! Then he slept all the way until 8am without making another peep!! He slept a bit in my arms during our time with the church and then I put him down for a nap after lunch. He was fussy and tired and got to the point where I could do nothing to console him. He cried about 10 minutes, I went in a rubbed his head and tried to sing a bit, and he fussed louder. Then I left him alone and he cried about 15 more minutes before he dozed off on his own for a nice, long, 2 hour nap. He was then awake a bit over an hour when he fell asleep on his own for a cat nap (about 45 minutes). He is now cooing happily in bed, so I better go get him!

Day Six

Triumphant feelings today! Max slept all night without waking up once! That is 10 hours of continuous sleep for our 5 months old. I feel great myself, having enjoyed a good night's rest. And Max has been pretty happy and content all day. I have laid him down twice so far for naps and he has fussed for a minute or two and fallen right to sleep. I am ecstatic!

Additional Commentaries, by Mommy Lucy

With Canaan, we started using a loose version of the Babywise method to help him sleep though the night. We started this sleep training when he was 2 months old. I really liked the first chapter of the book where it talked about how a child feels most secure when their parents have a solid relationship. It gives examples of how you can be child centered (and how marriages and your life can suffer when kids are placed as priority in the family) or you can raise them to love and respect their place in the home and family. This is what we try to do with Canaan, though we do make many mistakes. Obviously in our home, we try to make God the center of everything (not just first- but the center of everything). Dougle and I’s relationship comes first, and then our relationship with Canaan and now Max.

Ok, I am straying off topic. But the first chapter hooked me and I decided to try what they suggested for getting my baby to sleep through the night. Anyway... for infants, Babywise suggests a routine of feeding, playtime, nap-time and then feeding. With Canaan, we started this at two months of age. He wasn’t sleeping through the night and we had to rock him to sleep and hold him a lot to keep him asleep. As soon as we started letting him put himself to sleep for naps (which involved much crying at first), he started immediately sleeping 6 hours through the night. Two weeks later (he was almost 3 months old), he was sleeping 10 hours a night. Except for having to listen to him cry so much at first, it was relatively easy.

My "Why did you wait so long?" excuses! With Max, we have waited to being this. Several factors played into our wait, including the fact that I wanted to hold him and baby him a bit longer (since he is my second, and last baby). And, he slept fine at night, up to 6 hours at times, and would drop right back to sleep after eating. So we weren’t too sleep deprived. Finally, we also had our month long furlough when we was 4 months old, and I knew that doing anything too close to that date would just get messed up when we were traveling. Then, after we got back, we were sick and then traveling again.

Why Even Do Sleep Training?: Some parent know exactly why I want to do train Max to sleep through the night. Some don't, and that is okay. We are all different. For us, there are several reasons. First, Dougle and I need more sleep than the average individual. I especially need 8 hours a night to be a happy, healthy mom and wife. Secondly, I think if I need long periods of sleep to stay healthy, so does my baby. It just makes sense. And, Max is normally a very happy and content baby, but has been very grumpy and temperamental recently, I think because he doesn't sleep long during the day and then he wakes up twice a night. Lastly, it just seems that if I can teach him a few things at a younger age, then it will make it easier for when he is older. Though he is young, it is amazing how much he understands already and how much he can respond to that understanding. it just needs to be directed understand, instead of letting him slip under the radar because he seems "to little" to understand.

We Love You, Daddy!

So, to confess, I forgot about Father’s Day. Actually, my husband reminded me of it about 3pm the afternoon of. Poor Daddy! To redeem myself a little, I had bought him a Dad Rules t-shirt while we were in the States. And I even brought a card back to give him on Father’s Day (they don’t have Father’s Day here, just Men’s Day which was back in March). However, it didn’t happen. We went out of town that weekend and it totally slipped my mind! And now I can't find it. Poor Dougle!

But, I have promised to make it up to him soon. I still haven’t yet, but soon.

Here are a few pictures of my hubby being a Daddy. One was actually taken on Father’s Day, which is cool. Canaan and Maximus are INCREDIBLY BLESSED to have such a wonderful Father, a man whom they can look up to and be just like, and I would be so proud! He loves God, he loves them, and he loves and respects me. And the love he shows to them isn’t the “indulgent parent” type of love. In my book, that isn’t even close to true love. He loves them in a way that God loves us. He is committed to them, during the good and rough times of parenting. He cares for them, watches over them, and gives them things (he buys toys for them more than I do!), yet he also disciplines them and expects them to obey and respect him too. He is consistent and firm, yet gentle and kind. What more could any boy want or need?!

So, Happy Late Father’s Day, Dad! We love you!

The True Story about Canaan


Canaan, Max and I were hanging out in our courtyard, enjoying some fresh (though hot) air and watching some of the work that is being done. Canaan really likes to watch the digger as it digs dirt, moves pipes, etc. (The city is tearing up our courtyard to do some underground "remodeling" on the pipes.)

Upon seeing this plant (picture), Canaan looked at me and said, “Hey Mommy, what is growing on that plant?”

I thought he would think they were tassels, since my Dad taught him about those when we were in the States and they were working in the garden together. So, becasue he often asks questions he knows the answers to, and to check his memory, I said, “What is growing on that plant, Canaan?”

“Caterpillars!” he responded, excitedly!

And I tagged on two extra photos that aren't caterpillar related. One is Canaan in front on the tractor/digger that is digging up our courtyard. The next is my attempt at self photography while we were all outside together! Max looks like the only one not having fun!