Friday, May 13, 2016

A trip to the Russian trauma center

Last month, we had a church retreat. Amidst heightened emotions, some discussions were started that prompted church-wide prayer meetings to be held the following week.

I attended one of the prayer meetings, and found many prayers being lifted up for the elders of the church (Andrei et al) and their families. Prayers for protection against sickness, discouragement, and temptation. I was touched because I guess I don't often think of our family in terms of spiritual warfare. When we face challenges, to me it's more of a opportunity for personal spiritual growth, and I don't always think of it being a threat to our ministry. But of course much of what God does starts right in our own homes with our own families and roommates.

Let's see how that works...

The next day, David and I were sitting at the kitchen table watching a kids' show so that Andrei could do some work for a radio ministry. One minute we were sitting side by side, and the next minute David was suddenly under the table! He slipped on the chair's soft cover and slid right down. He has actually fallen several times, but this time he collided with the table's wooden pedestal, very hard and sharp-edged. He could have cracked his head open, but came up holding his shoulder.

I knew there could be a serious injury, but he stopped crying within a few minutes. And there was no blood! To me it was a miracle that his head and neck were okay. I had to think about the prayer covering and this a challenge to our family's ministry? Or a reminder that angels are watching over us? He's only 3.5, but there have been many times when he could have been hurt worse.

It was really hard to determine the extent of David's injuries because he is normally hyper-aware of his body. Another time he had fallen (from the same chair!) and gotten a scratch on his pinky. He was so scared when he saw a little blood! And he favored that finger for days, holding it up in the air. So here we thought that anyone would be a little sore after a similar fall. I even made him some Play-Dough to take his mind off it, and he used both arms/hands, but would periodically start crying, "my arm still hurts!" And he moped about. But then he would be fine for a while.

We got ready for bed, but in the middle of the night he woke up crying that it hurt to lie in a certain position, and he couldn't really turn over by himself. So we knew that we'd be headed to the doctor in the morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

French fries in Finland

This post turned out rather long, definitely don't have time for this every day! However, check out my IG feed for frequent snapshots.

David and I (and the other concerned family members) can check this year's border run off our to-do list...whew. Until we figure out if we're going to get permanent residency for him, the 3 yr visa requires him to leave the country every 6 months. Or rather, he's supposed to be just coming for 6 month visits, but he's allowed right back in.

The search feature on Blogspot isn't always the best, so here and here and here are previous border runs with David, and here is one of my own from way back in 2008. Oh yeah, and wayyy back in 2007, one of my first blog posts was about visiting Estonia.

Sometimes we try to make a little trip out of going to Finland, but for the past few years we have found that it isn't very relaxing for all the effort we put in. Plus, it tends to fall between February-April, not the nicest months for exploring any northern countries.

This time, I decided as an alternative method to ask another missionary friend of mine to go with me and David, instead of going through the visa process with Andrei to get into any Schengen countries. My friend has Canadian citizenship, so it would be easy for her to go, and we were counting on that.

Unfortunately, my friend had to rush to Canada due to a family emergency, right before our trip! We were already planning to go on the last day of David's registration, so there was nothing we could really reschedule, and as usual, it was too late to get Andrei a visa, so David and I were going to be on our own. It took some effort to get tickets, as well. I found conflicting information on various websites, and had trouble entering David's birthdate. So Andrei had to make a special trip to the train station to get the tickets, but it ended up being a lot cheaper than via the tourist agencies!

I had planned everything out to end up with an optimal schedule. I always remind myself of this when it appears as though we're completely disorganized. The good intentions were always there! In this case, I picked a later morning departure and then a train back that would have us home for bedtime. We chose a town just 2 hours away, to make for easy travel.

David woke up on his own just in time to get dressed and leave for the train. We were making good time, nothing to panic about. He did start melting down though when he realized Andrei wasn't going with us. David has been having a lot of separation anxiety lately and goodbyes can take a long time. I think today and possibly yesterday were the calmest he's been in a while about Andrei leaving for work and such, but if any part of the goodbye ritual is omitted, he gets quite upset (if so-and-so didn't wave the right way, etc.). He asks for me at bedtime after wanting Andrei and/or Babushka all day! Anyway, I had to take out our emergency toy in order to distract him so that we could say goodbye to Andrei at the train station.

Watching loads and loads of birch logs go by!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Day in the Life

Today was just one of those days where David was a little more rambunctious than usual! Once again I was thankful to have a more domestic day with few interruptions from the outside world, but I sure am glad his shenanigans are normally fewer in number. Also, we are at the halfway point of Andrei being away. So like I said in the last post, I'm feeling kind of "mom-busy."

I stayed up late last night enjoying the quiet. My kind of quiet...catching up via the Internet at my own pace, and doing a little reading for fun.

Didn't get the miracle I hoped for, and David woke up pretty early this morning. So I went to get him his chocolate milk and turn on Netflix. We started giving him chocolate milk when weaning from breastfeeding (at 2.5 yrs!), so it kind of stuck. No cavities that we know of!

David usually hangs out in the kitchen, but I wanted to snooze a bit and didn't want him in there unsupervised. So I set him up in the living room, right next to our bedroom....

An hour later, he had wet his pants. Just one hour. Somehow it seems to only happen on my watch and never when Andrei is in charge! I found some dry clothes for him and crawled back under the covers...

About a half million requests later (it's hard to make Buzz Lightyear's arms go the right way), I found myself in the living room again, this time to find David sliding around in a puddle on the floor, exclaiming "chocolate milk is slippery!" Again...Andrei gives him chocolate milk, end of story. I give it to him and get to clean up a chocolate milk eruption. Was kind of a backwards start to the housecleaning I had planned, but we rolled with it.

Went to bring the laptop back to the kitchen and felt something on the was modeling clay. Stuck right to the bottom of my computer, partially covering the fan. Uggghhh. David "didn't know" how it had gotten there, but still apologized, and then eventually confessed.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Checking In

The thing about getting behind with blogging is that it gets harder and harder to explain everything that is going on! Too much catching up to do.

(however, a hint is that I post little snapshots on Instagram, where you can see some more mundane moments)

This week, Andrei is traveling on a guest-teaching assignment. He is far to the east in Omsk. Funny to think that many countries in Europe are much closer to us! He is also 3 time zones ahead. We all miss him a lot, but David is probably the "easiest" age he's been in terms of single-parenting. No naps, but no night-wakings either (unless you count sleepily crawling into bed with me around 2 a.m.). And of course, Babushka and Dyedushka are always on call.

David was nonchalant about Andrei leaving, but then burst into tears when he wanted to wave one last time and Andrei was already out of sight. Sometimes I think the most important thing for a child (or anyone?) is for all of his loved ones to be together at all times. Whenever we broach the topic of death and heaven, David wants no part of it. "But I don't want to go to Jesus, I want to be with you. I want you to be my mommy." It sure is hard to sugar-coat, isn't it? At bedtime, David prays that Jesus won't let the "Nik-niks" (sp? villain from a cartoon) control his heart. I guess he somehow has a sense of inner conflict in his soul.

Life is sort of mom-busy right now. I don't do a lot outside of the home, and it's stressful if I have to do something like make a phone call..who has time for that with a very talkative 3 yr old underfoot? But at the same time it is a peaceful existence, even while knowing in the back of my mind that there are things looming that will need my, better not to think about that yet!

Here are some David quotes...some from FB, but not all.

-Naming his toy school bus "Classified."
-"David, eat 3 grapes since you're 3." After eating one: "But I'm actually only 1 year old!"
-"This cheese is shaped like a snowman!"
-"Mommy, if you don't wake up (because I'm telling you to), it will be a sin!"
-"Today is cloudy, so that means it's a cake day!"
-"It's's it Easter?" ("It's sunny...the snow is melting...are we getting on a plane for Amie's house/America?")
-"My boo boo is worse than EVER!"
-"It's so noisy in here I can't hear myself TINK!" (after turning on all his musical toys at once)
-(after discovering his chin dimple) "I want my cute dimple to TALK! I'm going to go to Daddy and say 'dimple surprise!'"

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hurting hearts

It has been a tough news month. And by that I mean too much of the tough stuff! Some events to make one rely on God and ponder eternity...

Even when I went to the doctor for a prenatal visit a few weeks ago, the lady next to me in the waiting area had "Oncology" stamped on her papers. While I was worrying about getting weighed and measured, others were thinking about life and death. A poster on the wall read "Give Life" and listed some alternatives to abortion, and crisis hotlines.

Meanwhile, a few emails came in from friends in different places whose family members had received sobering medical diagnoses. And we are sent to our knees.

Three years ago now, I wrote a post about orphanage contacts and how when I see friends from the orphanage I'm never really sure whether God is showing me that the door is still open, or just giving me one last chance to kind of wrap up that chapter.

The post in question featured an interesting spontaneous encounter with a former orphanage director named Yuri, who was working when my two sisters were well as during the period when we met many of the other kids at summer camp and then followed up with them during subsequent visits to the orphanage.

So 3 years ago I ran into him outside my apartment building and got one of those famous bear hugs. And then just a week ago I heard that he had passed away.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Epidemic

My MIL brought pizza tonight and David went to bed right on time, so here I am blogging (instead of doing my exercises), and it's not even midnight!

I wanted to give a description of a "public health scare" that we've been dealing with over here...not the Zika virus, though!


I went back to read my blog posts about the last time Swine Flu (H1N1) was here in Russia. I had a pretty light-hearted attitude at that time, as you can read here. Of course, that wasn't due to not taking the flu seriously as much as feeling skeptical towards the media and the way that people act sometimes when they don't even have all the information.

However, that was before I had a husband (who gets the flu sometimes), elderly in-laws, a preschool-aged child, and another one on the way. We do a lot of quarantining.


In mid-January, I begged Andrei to take David to church with him, as it was difficult for me to be alone with him (particularly in the evening) while suffering from morning sickness. However, Andrei said it would be better for David to stay at home too as there was "currently a flu epidemic." I will admit that these words didn't really click with me, as it seems there is always "something going around."

Then shortly after, Andrei's mother came down the flu right after visiting us. And a friend texted me about the epidemic, and another friend posted a photo on Instagram wearing a sanitary mask, and then Andrei called at the very moment I was reading the news. We had discovered right around the same time that not only the flu, but the Swine Flu was back in Russia. Though I didn't see many news headlines, St. Petersburg was indeed mentioned as having recorded several deaths already.