Sometimes people have jokingly said to me, “How is Mother Russia?” or “You’re going back to the Motherland!” But in reality, Russia is my distant homeland. My family immigrated to the US in the early 1900’s with roots from Russia & Ukraine, so I feel like a part of me is going back “home”. I was blessed to visit Moscow for about 10 days, it was a time of worship, fellowship, teaching & encouragement. Here are some pictures…
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!
We love Thanksgiving! It’s always a great time for us when we are with family. And when we are away from them we like to invite some of friends over for lots of food and a fun time. When we lived in Moscow, we had two big Thanksgivings with our friends. This year we wanted to keep it going, so here are some shots from the evening we had.
We found a turkey (they are very hard to get here and expensive!) This one was from France and was only about 6 pounds.
Micah helping me prepare the table
Ready for our friends!
Snug around the table
Excited for some turkey!
One happy Hubby!
Excited for dessert?
It isn’t thanksgiving without pumpkin pie… and cool whip!
This past week we had to say good bye to lots of our friends here in Moscow before our move out to Siberia. We will miss all of our friends and we encouraged them all to come visit us.
Yesterday morning a “moving” truck came and took most of our belongings to be shipped out to Siberia.
Spending time with friends and saying goodbyes before we leave
This morning we woke up bright and early at 5 am to head to the airport to catch a mid-morning flight. Thanks to our friend Ruvim for driving us there, everything went really well (except for Keira getting car sick on the way to the airport). But we made it there in time and the kids did well on the short 1.5 hour flight to Ukraine.
We will be in Kiev, Ukraine until we get our visas to be able to return into Russia. We decided, instead of staying in a hotel that would cost a lot of money, to rent an apartment for a reasonable price. We found a great place on booking.com that is right in the center of town. When we aren’t busy dealing with visa stuff, we plan on walking around and enjoying the city.
Here is our view from the balcony of the center of town
Stay tuned for updates and more pics of the city.
This past weekend we had a visit from some friends who lived in Moscow while we did last year. They were in England for some time while we were in the states and were heading to Saint Petersburg, but had some time to visit with us. It was so good to see them! They also have a new little boy who was born about a month before Keith.
On Friday, they came over to our place and it was nice to catch up and let the kids play together. We all went out to the playground, but it didn’t last long before we got rained on.
Four little mommies with their baby brothers
Saturday we all went to the mall together, since it was going to be a wet day again, to go ice skating which is inside the mall. My friend Anya and their oldest daughter are good at skating and have been wanting to do it for some time. Violet has only done it one other time, when we visited them over a year ago, and it didn’t go so well. You can watch here. And here is a little video if you would like to see how we did this time.
We are very thankful for the friends we have made here, they will be missed when we move in the near future to the far east.
The other night we had a nice reunion with Micah’s old language helper and his family. Andrei was such a big help to Micah the last time we were here in Moscow learning the Russian language. It was nice for me as well to talk with Julia, she met with me a few times for language learning. Violet and Keira had a fun time playing with their sons Pasha and Daniel. This is the first time we met Daniel, before we left for the states it never worked out for us to see the whole family together. He was getting a little cranky and ready for bed when we took this picture.
It has been nice catching up with friends we haven’t seen in months and hearing what they have been doing. In some ways it feels like we never even left Russia for a break in the states.
We are missing our friends in the states now too. Thanks to those of you who are thinking of us and for those who send notes of encouragement through email. We really do appreciate it! Please keep ’em comin’! Love you guys!
We had a fun night last night with our friends from our Sunday fellowship. Violet and Keira got to play with their friends, Andrei and Angelina. He is learning some English in his preschool class, but he wasn’t really wanting to try it out on Violet. He just insisted he didn’t know any English at all! He didn’t quite understand why Violet didn’t know Russian. And Violet, was about the same way with him. Oh well, at this age they can get away with having a good time just playing.
We can’t wait to get together again!
Let the games begin!…
Time for presents…
Violet loves birthdays, especially her own! She couldn’t wait to have a party and have everyone sing the birthday song TO HER! She has grown up so much in this last year. She really cracks us up with things she says sometimes. Of course I can’t think of anything exactly right now, but I will try to put more of that on here. She loves helping in the kitchen. I love overhearing her with Keira, acting like she is her mommy, saying, careful Keira or don’t do that hunny. Violet LOVES chocolate! Maybe more than me, which is A LOT! She asks for it all day long. Violet cannot wait for mommy to have the baby, she ask often when the baby is coming out of mommies belly. She really wants to hold the baby. Violet loves singing. She is still making up songs about random things. She loves being tickled and playing hide and go seek, especially with Grandpa.
We love our sweet baby girl, who is growing up so quickly!
15 Questions with Violet – Age 4
1. What is your favorite color? Green
2. What is your favorite toy? Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy
3. What is your favorite fruit? Apple
4. What is your favorite movie? Sesame Street movies
5. What is your favorite meal? Cheeseburger and fries
6. What is your favorite snack? Chocolate
7. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Chocolate Chip Pancakes
8. What is your favorite drink? Apple juice
9. What is your favorite song? ABC’s
10. What is your favorite book? Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy books
11. Who is your best friend? Autumn
12. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in the snow
13. What is your favorite animal? Horse
14. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Elmo
15. What do you want to be when you grow up? Dentist
Last week we attended the Bloomsburg Fair quite a few times, which was one place we missed a lot while we were in Russia. It’s filled with lots of different things… yummy fair food, games, rides, food, buildings filled with different exhibits, animals, and more food. Here are some pictures from the week.
This past weekend was a holiday here, Russia Day, so we were invited to our friends dacha with a few other couples as well. Read here and here about going to a dacha before. We met another family at the train station in the morning, rode the train about an hour to the dacha and then the family who invited us picked us up at the station. We had a fun day of eating, talking, sweating it out in the banya (even the girls did for a little bit!), taking a walk, and playing in the grass. We weren’t sure if we wanted to go at first because we have a lot of work that needs to be done before we leave here, but it was a very nice and relaxing time.
Tonight my big girl, Violet, is at her first sleepover with her friends Sophia and Marta. It’s actually a bit more than a sleepover. After our play date yesterday, she stayed at their house and is staying there until tomorrow when they come to our house for a play date. I was a little hesitant at first because, not only is it two nights away from us, but they live on the other side of the city about an hour and 15 minutes away by the metro and then a taxi. So it’s not just a ten minute drive to their apartment. But thankfully she is doing great. We were able to talk to her on a skype a few times today. Even though its a lot quieter around here with just Keira, I am miss her a lot and I cannot wait to see her tomorrow.
Micah and I would like to let every know…
that our friends Ruvim and Anya will soon be having a baby girl. Not us. Our friends. Just wanted to make that clear. 🙂
Last weekend the girls from our fellowship wanted to have a baby shower at our place for Anya. Baby showers are uncommon for Russians, they usually wait until after the baby is born to give gifts. But they are picking up more and more things from America all the time.
We had a great time, enjoying some food together and playing a few baby games.
Anya is due to have her baby anytime. We are so happy and excited for them!
We met a Russian family not long ago and they are quickly becoming friends. They also have two girls, Sofia and Marta, who Violet loves playing with. Anya, their mom, is really nice, easy to talk with and only speaks with me in Russian, which is great for my language learning.
Our big girl turned 3 years old yesterday!! Every day she is talking so much more in big long sentences and paragraphs and sometimes just surprises me with how much she knows! She is such a joy and a blessing to our whole family and we love her so much!
We decided to have a small birthday party for her on Sunday night, with two Russian couples. We had lots of food and then she had a fun time opening presents from them and playing with her friend Andrei. And of course we sang to her and had some chocolate cake!
Yesterday the 23rd was her actual birthday, so last night we had some presents from family that she opened up. Thank you family for giving her a special day! She loves opening presents, so she really enjoyed it.
We were invited by some friends to go to the zoo yesterday, so even though it was only 0 degrees Celsius (32F) I decided to go. Micah needed to get some things done, so it was just me and the girls. They also had a little girl about a month before us, so if they could do it with their baby, so can we, right? Yes, we were all bundled up nice and warm. Violet was really excited about seeing the animals and her friend Andrei. Even though it was a little chilly, we had such a fun day with our friends.
This tiger was walking all around in his area and every time he would come really close to the glass, Violet would back away from the glass.
Last night I, Katrina, was invited by a girl, Tanya, about my age from our Sunday group and 3 other girls to come to her apartment to get to know each other and talk about requests we have. I was a little nervous because I had really only talked with Tanya once before. She speaks very little English and I speak very little Russian, so our conversation was interesting. Thankfully I was able to meet up with another girl, Anya, who was also going, who speaks English well and I know a little better. Tanya lives in different city right outside of Moscow, so I took the metro to the end of one of the lines and then Anya and I took a маршрутка (marshrutka-it’s basically a van taxi) to this other smaller city. The total time it took to get there was about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
So we got there and we ate some food then talked in Russian and English for a while, sang a few songs in Russian and English and then talked about different requests we had that we could be thinking about for each other. It was a really encouraging time for me and I hope it was for them too.
Oh yeah! I stayed overnight. We have heard this is a common thing to do here. If you are visiting someone who lives pretty far away from your home, it is normal to spend the night at the person’s apartment who you are visiting.
And I also wanted to mention about the metro on the way back in the morning. So after taking the marshrutka again to get back to the metro, it was just crazy busy with people who live outside the city getting on the metro at that first stop on the line. This line is the busiest metro line and this stop is the busiest metro stop. There was literally hundreds on people on the platform waiting for the next train. So we get behind everyone and while we are waiting Anya says to me, “Don’t be scared, it’s normal if we get separated.” I was thinking… k, thanks. Then when the train arrived everyone, at once, moves forward and starts pushing their way into the open doors. If you don’t move you will get pushed and shoved! Imagine standing in a huge crowd with people everywhere around you, touching you on all sides, and then the crowd decides to move forward, that means you are moving too whether you want to or not. No personal space at all. That thought goes out the window in these situations. It was just crazy and I wish I could describe it better. Maybe next time I will try to get a video or at least a picture.
Here are some pictures of Tanya and Anya and myself from last night:
Oh by the way… about the title of the blog. Yes, I did have fish liver for breakfast. It tasted about like beef liver, but not as strong of a liver taste and it wasn’t fishy tasting either. Sound appetizing?