Our baby girl is four months old! After we returned from Pennsylvania during Christmas break, Leah decided it was time to roll over from her back to her tummy. She loves to use her strong little legs to stand up while someone is holding her. All our babies have been very happy, but Leah seems to be the happiest of them all! She smiles and giggles at her sisters and brother when they talk to her and say her name. Leah is sleeping all night long from 8 pm to 8 am. She is even content to lay for a minute in the morning before I feed her while I make myself a cup of coffee. She is drooling all the time and usually has a finger or two or three in her mouth. We couldn’t be happier to have this sweet bundle of joy in our lives.
Here is a little video of her giggling at mommy before bedtime…
Also the girls sang with Micah at church…
Six weeks ago we welcomed the newest member of our family, Leah Hope.
She was born on August 31st at 7:17 in the morning. She weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.
The kids are all doing great with baby Leah. They all love to hold her and they always give her lots of kisses.
This was by far the best hospital experience for giving birth of all of the kids. The hospital staff was super friendly and made sure everything was being done according to how I wanted it even though I didn’t have specific plans except wanting to have a healthy baby. After having the last two kids in Russia, I definitely felt spoiled. Understanding exactly every word the nurses and doctors were saying to me this time around was something I was very thankful for. And the nurses seemed like they genuinely cared. They weren’t cold and unwilling to show some tenderness.
We were happy to have Katrina’s parents and sister come down to help out a few weeks after her birth. They were such a big help with cooking, watching the kids so I could nap, doing odd jobs around the house and probably some other things I don’t remember since I was so sleepy during that time. 🙂
Thanks Mom, Dad and Rachel!
Leah at five weeks old starting to smile!
Our little Keira Joy turned three years old at the end of September and I’ve been too busy to share it with everyone. We had a nice family time for her in California and then again in Pennsylvania.
15 Questions with Keira – Age 3
1. What is your favorite color? Blue
2. What is your favorite toy? Anna (figurine from Frozen)
3. What is your favorite fruit? Banana
4. What is your favorite movie? Frozen
5. What is your favorite meal? Pizza
6. What is your favorite snack? Crackers
7. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Oatmeal
8. What is your favorite drink? Apple juice
9. What is your favorite song? This is the Day (In Russian)
10. What is your favorite book? Tinker Bell
11. Who is your best friend? Jasmine
12. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play ball
13. What is your favorite animal? Lion
14. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Olaf (Stuffed toy from Frozen)
15. What do you want to be when you grow up? Violet
This girl is such a little firecracker.
She definitely likes to push things to the limit to see how far she can take it.
She has the cutest little laugh, especially when being tickled.
Keira is very good at saying thank you.
She loves both her siblings, but acts like a little mommy with her baby brother.
This girl has a very close relationship with her thumb.
She is really funny!
We love you Keira Joy!
What a great time we had in Missouri! The last time we visited was about 4 years ago. So it was long overdue for us to visit friends there. It was a real blast from the blast bringing back all the memories we had from our time at the training center. We had a great time with lots of friends who I didn’t get pictures of. But you know who you are and we loved spending time with you.
Dave and Carolyn Meyers are some great people and mentors we have known since Bible school and we were able to spent some time catching up with them.
Keith playing with Superman aka Brian
Did you know Batman drinks from a sippy cup?
We ended up buying a van! It was a great deal from some great people!
Since we bought a van in Missouri, we were able to get our ticket money credited and not lose our money, so we could drive it back to PA to pack up before we head to Florida. Micah and I both have aunts in Ohio, but we haven’t seen his for quite some time. We drove 11 hours in one day to get there and visit with his aunt and cousin and also her children for the evening. The next day we had just a short 5 hours to get back here to Pennsylvania.
We have had a very busy couple of weeks. The beginning of September we flew out to California to stay with Micah’s mom and visit friends in that area. We only had two short weeks to see everyone, and we didn’t even get everyone in. We did love our time with all the great people we hung out with. And the kids loved playing with “new” friends they hadn’t seen in a long time.
Micah’s mom’s house
Micah changing his mom’s faucet
Violet doing some Kindergarten work
At the Santa Barbara Zoo
A train that goes around the zoo
Violet and Ella
Keith with Grammy’s dog
Violet and Keira with Levi
Tinkerbell and Jasmine
A gorgeous west coast sunset
Violet and Layla
Movie time with our friends Dave and Katie’s kids, obviously Caleb is very excited about it
The girls had a great time playing with Grammy
We love the farmlands and rolling hills.
Violet helping Grandpa collect eggs from his chickens.
Katrina’s brother Jason giving Keira a ride.
Violet loved playing dress up and singing with her friend Autumn.
Micah and two friends toured the Martin Guitar Factory
Micah and I celebrated our 9th anniversary.
We got to go to a Five Iron Frenzy concert and got to meet Dennis from the band (and his daughter).
Father/son selfie. Even smiling the same!
The kids loved playing with Grandma and Grandpa, especially when Grandpa climbed up in the playhouse, and they loved getting lots of pushes on their swing set.
Dinner outside with family and friends.
Right now we are in California visiting family, friends, supporters & churches. In a couple weeks we’re headed to Missouri to do the same, then back to PA before we make our move down to Florida to start our next chapter of ministry. Thanks for checking out our blog!
We’ve been getting to know more people who live here in this village we’ve been living in. Violet said she has lots of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s now.
Lot’s of fun playgrounds and areas nearby for kids
We met up with some old family friends
Violet was really wanting her hair cut even shorter, so Mommy and her both got their hairs cut.
A lady in the village who used to work with CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship), held a 5 day bible club which Violet really enjoyed.
We had a great visit with some state side co-workers
We have been keeping ourselves very busy lately. Violet got her hair cut. We finally got to the beach. And we had some fourth of July bubble fun.
Even though it is incredibly hot and humid here, we have been out and about a lot. There are a few ponds here, which people do some fishing in. And a maintenance guy spotted an alligator last week. I really want to see one, but at a distance. I thought Florida was crawling with them, but we have yet to spot one. Don’t worry, moms, the guys said they take them out when they get too big.
Yes, everyone says this, but it continues to amaze me how much growth takes place the first year of a baby’s life.
Keith loves lots of attention and he really loves playing with his sisters.
He hasn’t been very vocal the last month, but in the last few days he has been trying out some new sounds.
We had a little gathering with a few of our friends to share some cake and the special day with Keith.
He wasn’t too sure of what to do with that cake. He did seem to like it at first, but then not so much.
We love our little Keith, and it has been such a joy to be his mommy.
I love when the girls tell me, “Mommy, Keith is just so cute!” I couldn’t agree more. We love him to pieces.
This picture was taken at 1:30 AM. The days here have gotten very long with it staying light out very late and getting light again very early. The official time the sun sets right now is at 10:50 pm, but it will continue to get later slowly until the longest day which is June 21. The sunset time will be 11:16 pm and then will rise again at 3:30 am.
Info taken from timeanddate.com
Not far from us there is a really small amusement park which connects to a foresty area. We’ve been having some great weather here lately in the high 60’s to low 70’s, the perfect time to take the kids.
Bumped into some acquaintances
Keith’s first taste of ice cream!
Yeah, they let her drive a boat by herself. She did good even though she looks frightened here.
And we met up with some friends from our Sunday group
A fun day!
Here is our little monkey…getting so stinking big! After last month’s update when I said he wasn’t pulling himself up yet… well the next day he started pulling himself up on everything. Now he is a pro at it. He is also beginning to walk while we hold his hands. He isn’t brave enough to try and let go at all, he goes right down on his knees if he wants to move somewhere.
He is getting smarter too! Our bathroom doors are right in the hallway and the doors don’t click shut. For some reason he always wants to go in there. If he is crawling towards the bathroom and he sees me coming to get him, he looks at me, smiles, then crawls faster to get into the bathroom!!
He is such a happy baby and the girls love him to pieces. I love when they act like little mommies toward him. Especially Keira. She likes to tell him no or to shush him if he gets fussy.
What a joy this little guy brings into our lives!
Our little baby is ten months old!
This month he has been pulling himself up on the couch and other pieces of furniture. He isn’t pulling himself all the way up to his feet, but he is almost there.
He has been eating lots of different kinds of foods.
He loves fruit and bread and he really likes broccoli and mashed potatoes.
He loves when Micah plays guitar.
We love our happy, cuddly little guy.
For the past month or so the temperature has been anywhere from -15 C (5 F) to about 0 C (32 F). We have been told this is the perfect time for ice skating. They have lots of different areas to go to on the nearby river and branches of it. The ice is still very frozen and hard but it’s not so terribly cold out. Some days it actually feels warm compared to what it had been this winter.
So the other evening, Violet and I met up with Elisabeth to try it out.
They have a little building right by the ice where you can rent your skates if you don’t own any.
She did ok for it being her third time ever. But I’m surprised she didn’t complain of a sore butt the next day.
…this is what she calls herself.
A little while ago in a package we received from Micah’s family, were some surprises for Violet. Before Christmas she had asked for her own hammer (she wants to be like daddy). Well, she got that and more. They sent a hammer, screwdriver, nails and screws, two boards with holes for the nails and screws, tool belt, hardhat, and a few other things that go into the tool belt that every little worker girl needs. She was beyond happy.
Even Keith enjoys it too.
Well… it might have been Violet’s idea to dress him up.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a women’s retreat just on the outskirts of the city. It was a relaxing and encouraging time with the seven other women that were there (and two baby boys). We met for a long weekend at a small hotel, pictured below, and had lots of good conversations, times of singing, walking and a couple outings.
Keith and I were talking with the cleaning lady one morning while waiting for one of the ladies before breakfast. Later she brought me a flower and said, Happy Women’s Day (International Women’s Day is always on March 8, and a big deal in Russia).
It was really sweet of her and brightened up my room.
The surrounding area was woodsy and beautiful.
This place we walked to is called Chochur Muran (Чочу́р Мура́н) which our family has walked to once before. It’s really pretty there this time of the year with all the snow.
Keith and I on the ice throne
Dog sledding time! That was really fun! We just went around a loop in a field, but it was still really fun!
Here are two short videos to give you an idea of what it was like:
They also had a reindeer sled. I declined from riding these guys (I think one was female), they were a little crazy. The guy there had them tied to the post, and as soon as he untied them they were raring to go. The girls who did ride them held on really tight to a rope tied down the middle of the sled. Only after the reindeer starting running, the guy jumped quickly onto the front of the sled.
A picture with them was good enough for me.
Our group the last evening, in the restaurant at the hotel.
This little guy is now crawling all over the place.
He crawls and sits up and then does it all over again.
He has his two middle bottom teeth, and on the top he has three and soon it will be four.
Love those chunky legs!
This guy is such a happy little boy.
He’s now napping twice a day, morning and afternoon. It took a little time to adjust, but he’s doing really good.
I’ve been slowly giving him some chunks of food. He likes little pieces of homemade bread and soft cooked potatoes and he loves fruit purees!
Micah had a birthday last week, and we had a fun time with some friends together the weekend after his birthday. On his special day, we all went out as a family to a nearby restaurant. That was a first for us in quite some time. It was nice to all be together on a little outing to celebrate Micah’s day. We are thankful to have lots of sushi restaurants to enjoy in the city.
And we are very thankful for Micah, a great hubby and loving daddy.
A while back before Christmas, we walked down to an area of the city where they had placed large boards covering two huge snow piles, which made for some nice big sledding hills. Here are some pictures from our little outing…
Those are huge blocks of ice carved with really pretty designs all around the tree.
There she goes! Sliding is just as fun as sledding.
Reindeer! Not sure why he was there, probably relaxing before flying around with Santa.
Pony ride anyone?
Eight months since our little bouncing baby boy came into the world. Those two little girls love him to pieces. I often find them arguing about whose boy he is. They are two little mommies and are already looking out for their brother.
Keith is just now beginning to crawl, he will pull himself forward with his arms then try to get his legs to catch up. He isn’t coordinated, but he is finally getting there. He still does roll everywhere too.
He is also getting two top teeth. One in the middle and the one beside it. They seem to be taking their good old time too.
Can you guess what this is?
How about now?
These are my horse hair fur boots.
These babies are necessary for staying warm in the very cold weather outside.
The beading is very traditional for this area of Russia.
Besides horse hair, the most popular boots here are made of reindeer and they are very, very expensive. These were quite a bit cheaper and they still keep me warm even with one regular pair of socks on. I was starting to feel the cold slightly when I had to stand at the bus stop one day, but that was it.
This guy is selling fish and a few other items.
This is how most women are dressed; fur hat, fur coat, fur boots.
The children here are also dressed in fur.
There are a few stray dogs that run around the city, not as many as there were in Moscow. They definitely build up their up coat of fur, being outside all the time.