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Showing posts from 2014

Evangelina Hope

She's here!
She's beautiful!
And we couldn't be more overjoyed.
Evangelina Hope made her way speedily into the world at 3pm on December 4th. She weighed 7lb 12oz and measured 20".

Evangelina comes from the Greek εὐαγγέλιον (euaggelion) which literally translates to "good news," where we get our word "gospel." Evangelina means "bearer of good news." During this season of Advent, we're daily reminded of the hope we have in Christ's first appearance as a child. Jessica Snell said it well: "In the first coming, when He became human and walked among us and redeemed us, He made us right. And when He comes again, He will make everything right." This is good news indeed! Evangelina Hope, in her Advent birth, reminds us of Christ's beginning and also of His end purpose.
As Evangelina Hope is a rather large name for such a small person, she also goes by Evie or Eva for Russian speakers.
Welcome to our world, little Evie.

You …

Whipper Snappers...

Did you know that young people planning to begin their first year of college this year were born in 1994?
I was a freshman in high school in 1994.  I actually wore the styles that students throw "decades parties" these days to mock.  I listened to music defined as "early rap."  I watched TV shows currently on syndication on Nick at Night.
I was young in 1994.  So what does that make me now?
Working with students these past 5 years, Dan and I have both recently begun to feel our age fairly acutely. Never before has the age gap seemed more apparent than when our adventurous young group of American summer project students invited us to midnight cycling around the city and all we could think about was Anna and Peter’s early morning wake-up music. How did we so quickly become those people? You know the type… those old, boring people, who get up everyday at 6:30 and go to bed around 9, who read books for fun, who don’t know what’s playing at the movie theater, who ask …

I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...

Anna loves books.
It's one of the most common requests in our home, "should we read a book?"
And it's a request that can't often be denied.
She, like most 2 year olds, loves repetition as well.  
She could read the same book over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.
And sadly for Mom and Dad, we don't find "The Little Engine That Could" quite as stimulating as she does.
However, I recently read that repetition for 2 year olds significantly aids development and provides essential stepping stones for learning to read independently.
It's interesting, since reading that, I have renewed motivation to read and re-read like never before.  Simply knowing that repetition is accomplishing a specific and beneficial purpose has made it tolerable:  "Yes, Anna, I think I can read it again."
Reminding myself of the purpose helps to do the hard things, the boring things, the small, seemingly inconsequential things.  
Now if only those thing…

Happy Birthday, Peter!

It's hard to believe, but this little guy is one year old!
I hope that when I look back and remember the childhood of my little boy, I'll call to mind...
his shock of red hair and toothy grin,

his tone of voice in communicating any and every thing, why talk when you can yell?
his aggressive style of cuddling (if someone's not crying after a snuggle, then it hasn't been done correctly.)
his "no, no, no" head shake, immediately followed by yes, yes, yes doing the very thing you know wasn't to be done.
all of the crazy nicknames!
Anna's best friend and partner in crime,

the needed and treasured addition to our family.

Peter's favorite activities right now include:  tinkering with his train, doing laundry (specifically his bath letters,) pulling himself up on everything, taking things out of boxes, pulling things off shelves, unfolding clean clothes (aka making a mess whenever possible,) bathing, and screaming.

His favorite foods:  Strawberries and cheese.
We ce…


She just didn't seem like the kind of person who could die.
Love her or hate her, if she was in the room, you knew about it.  She did not hold back.  She was strong-minded.  She was strong-willed.  She was strong.
She taught us that the loudest voice in the room does get heard, and that it's worth speaking up for what you believe in.
But she could make you laugh; she could put you at ease; she could melt a room with the sound of her laugh.  She asked questions.  She gave advice.  She cared.
It was "the summer of Crystal Pepsi," according to my brother.  And the summer of, "Joel, you could marry your cousin, you're not blood related."  It was the summer of, "I only have one rule:  no rough-housing."  It was just one of many summers that we spent as family: cousins sleeping out on the trampoline in sleeping bags, pigs named Louise, J-dip gone bad, late night kick-the-can, "NOT!", hot tub bubbles, "The White Cruise", house-boating…

The Best of the Rest

Our most recent updated featured some of our 2013 Highlights.  If you didn't receive it, but would like to (unlikely as I think all 5 of my blog followers are on our mailing list), just leave a comment and I'd be happy to send it your way.
As one page is simply not enough to capture all of 2013, so I'd like to devote this blog to those other special moments, people, and events, which made this past year so memorable.
Best Craig's List Purchase?

This $40 beast of a jogging stroller.  No, it doesn't fit in the metro.  No, it doesn't fold up much smaller than this.  No, it doesn't even fit through our front door.  It is, in every way, a beast.  But now, thanks to those $40 well invested, so am I.
Thanks to training runs with Anna and Peter in tow, I was able to train for a half marathon on New Year's Day.  What a fun experience.
And worth every venture outside, carrying Peter in the Ergo, the stroller folded up in one hand, taking Anna down the stairs with…

Rum pa pum pum.

This year's holiday seasons were undoubtedly the worst that I've experienced.
A long list of contributing factors all lead to this holiday catastrophe, but ranking #1, as with most of my disasters, would be my own expectations.  But before we get there, here are some of the others:
#4 - It rained.  No snow for weeks, no snow to come, no miraculous white powder to cover the grime of the city outside...  In Seattle, rain is par for the course.  In Moscow, snow is that uniting winter element invoking laughter from children, brightening the city, even causing occasional smiles from the babushki.  No snow, no winter.  No winter, no Christmas.

#16 - No tree.  They didn't sell Christmas trees at our metro stop this year.  Getting a tree from a different place in town would have required a lot of work and a lot of money, both of which weren't willingly relegated by Dan or myself this year.  We did joke about cutting down a tree from a nearby courtyard, but it turns out that procu…