Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Almost three!

I haven't done a David update in a while. I think there are lots of things kids try once early on, but I usually count it as a fluke until done regularly. So here are some skills David has actually mastered lately.

Getting good at...

-making arguments. He now connects ideas with "because" and "so." For example, "Don't touch my chair because it's mine." "Turn on the light so I can see." A lot of times he links seemingly unrelated phrases, which sounds funny, but it's impressive to see him trying so hard to explain things logically (or making excuses to get out of doing something).

-cooking. This is actually related to something bigger which is his attention span getting longer. He can stand on a chair while we do a whole baking project together, even if I ask him to wait while I wash a few dishes and clear the counter. He can wait until I give him an assignment. Sure, he might have shown an interest before, but he never had the patience to really participate.

-doing hand motions. (see book cover) Again, maybe he tried to do it before, but I noticed it really clicking for him recently. He probably knows more songs than I'm aware of, but he is seeming more teachable in this regard. I got out a book of kids' chants with motions and have been looking for ones to do with him. It says from 2-5 years but I had tried before with limited success, so 2.5 or 3 years old seems more realistic.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Return of the Prayer Journal

Time for some speed-typing; it's getting late here but I've been trying and trying to write this post, for at least the past week!

I've gotten out of the habit of journaling, but when I do there are always these recurring themes; usually problems that I just can't solve on my own strength. Lately it has always been about sleep issues and trying to be disciplined at the same time.

So last month I had my cold virus after the church retreat, and somewhere in the midst of that wrote a note in my journal asking the Lord to help me not waste time before bedtime. Usually it is because I am avoiding that One Last Thing I have to do, even if it's just brushing my teeth! The next entry is when I was starting to have the weird fatigue that I later attributed to a vitamin deficiency. And when I looked at those entries side-by-side, I realized that the health issue making me drowsy in the evening was not only keeping me off the computer but also helping me fall asleep faster, even when Andrei was going to be up for a while longer. I'm also sleeping better in our new bedroom set-up, which I will post pictures of eventually.

I think a lot of times an illness can help us reset our daily schedules, and it's neat when we can welcome it gladly.

The other thing that is happening is that I've taken over the bedtime shift with David, and that is a big chunk of time in the evening, where I basically sit in a chair in the dark. So now Andrei has the time to work, but my evening is gonzo. Let's be realistic, there's not much more I'm going to accomplish after 11 or 11:30 pm and still go to bed on time. It's a good time to go to bed, but not a good time to start a project or blog post. Not right now, anyway...if I went back and looked at my archives, I bet I'd find a lot of posts published between the hours of 12 and 2 a.m.!

So now I have to reclaim naptime again or something. ANYWAY, lots more to tell, but it will have to wait.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Okay, so I started taking vitamins more consistently and it definitely helped after a few days. Now I'm just regular sleep-deprived, ha!

There is a noticeable difference between regular tired and springtime tired when vitamin stores are depleted.

Other things going on around here:

-Catching up with some friends as time and schedules allow.

-Spending far too little time outside again.

-Enjoying a few spring days, but then trying to stay warm enough inside when the cold weather is back.

-Booking plane tickets and hotels for summer travel, and having my debit card not work, and then wondering how Andrei is going to get a visa.

-Practicing alto parts and trying to make certain English song lyrics ("you give and take away") sound good in Russian.

-Praying for Nepal.

-Preparing to send Andrei off to Moscow this weekend to teach an intensive course for a university affiliate.

-Cooking with my newest sous chef. He is starting to be more interested and his attention span is now long enough that I can leave him to go and grab the next ingredient without the kitchen or its occupants going up in flames. "I can't play right now, because I'm cooking!"

Proud to be helping Daddy!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fighting fatigue

A word that people like to throw around in Russia in the springtime is avitaminosis.

My kid's sick, your kid's sick....avitaminosis.

Why do I feel like I want to sleep all the time? Avitaminosis.

But seriously, it can be so hard to get energized!

We live in an area that has very little sunlight for about 6 months of the year. David usually takes a multi-vitamin, but I realized that I hadn't given him Vitamin D drops all winter, nor have I been taking anything myself.

Last weekend we were at a church retreat, and I came back feeling like I'd been hit by a bus. Yes, we may have a cold virus in the family, but a week later, we still have the sleepies. I'm a total night owl and yet I'm practically falling over my keyboard right after dinner. I don't even have the energy for aimless Internet browsing! It's not the same kind of tired where you haven't gotten enough sleep and/or have been really active physically. It feels more like jet-lag.

Meanwhile, D. won't go to sleep...sigh.

I think I'll hit the drugstore tomorrow and refill my supplements. Any other tips? Other than a walk in the sunshine, if we get any.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Living simply; living far away (Nepal)

My mom recently sent me a book, "My Seventh Monsoon" by Naomi Reed, an Australian missionary to Nepal.

I took the book along with me to a church retreat last weekend and read a few chapters while waiting for David to fall asleep.

By the next morning, the earthquake had struck. But I didn't actually make the connection until much later. I walked into the conference room to see my friend who had been to Nepal several times, fiddling nervously with her phone. She mumbled something about an earthquake and her friends there. I didn't have internet or anything all as I said, it didn't really register, but I could still see how it affected her. It definitely reminds me of Haiti and how many of my friends were affected by the 2010 disaster. Not a place that I've visited, but whatever burdens the hearts of my brothers and sisters is going to get to me, too.

My (Nepal-loving) friend then went on to lead morning worship for us in her sweet, faith-filled way. Later on Sunday, I finally got home to read the news and learn the scope of the tragedy.

Another of the girls who had gone.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Two forms of "entertainment"

Whoops. Took an accidental blogging hiatus again. 

I've been experimenting with time management and "relaxation." What are some ways to force yourself to unwind, without being slothful? How would you define "recreation"? Yes, blogging and/or journaling fall in there somewhere for me, but I've been exploring other genres as well...

In the time leading up to celebrating the Resurrection (AKA Lent), I found phrases like "no housework during naptime" floating around my head. Things that are fun like baking tend to only create MORE work. So what to do if I'm not allowed to use that time to get organized? What would be edifying?

I found myself doing some holiday crafts while watching a movie or two on Netflix. This made me keep my hands off my computer and cut down on the excess information flow a bit. It's hard to pick the right movie for the mood, but every once in a while I hit on an interesting documentary. It's definitely a step up from randomly browsing the internet. Just corresponding with people online is fun, but can be draining.

On the night before Easter Sunday (Holy Saturday), I found myself finishing up some preparations, while listening to some favorite hymns. I found it very soothing, and even cleansing. I would love to reclaim part of my day for doing something like that regularly. I think the problem is that I go from busy/hectic (while accompanied by a toddler) to mindless browsing, just to get away from it all. But there are ways to find a middle ground. Sometimes just putting on music while doing housework is enough to lift my mood, but I let little obstacles get in the way.

Late-night sign painting...

The other hobby I've been focusing on is...dun dun dun...genealogy research. It turns out it's quite fascinating and also addictive. I noticed that when I get right onto the ancestry sites in the evening, I'm less tempted to do other computer stuff. However, when I'm scanning lists of names for hours on end, I think it starts to have the numbing effect again, turning into something mindless. I lose track of time and discipline. I go to bed late feeling like I overdid it. Plus, my eyes start twitching. So while it's a fun activity, I wouldn't say that it's the most relaxing or the best thing to do before bed.

Edit: Stephanie pointed me towards another blog post that expresses exactly what I was trying to say, with some good ideas.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Missing members

As I recently watched a PBS series about the Amish (Shunned/American Experience-possibly still available for viewing online), a testimony in the very beginning spoke to the heartache of not being able to sit at the same table as those being cast out.

And that resonated with me.

"Blessed are those that are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." (Revelation 19:9)

Not all will be present at the Banquet, and sometimes we get a glimpse of this here on Earth, with the empty seats at the dinner table just one way to illustrate this.

Are the Amish justified in their "shunning" practice and general separatism?

"Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: 'First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" Matthew 13:30

I don't know. BUT I do know that the documentary brought up several parallels to spiritual life and the pain of having unsaved family/friends.

As people who had left the community gave testimonies, the single biggest regret by far to having left was not being with their families. Family ties are strong, and that reaches across cultures!

One young man told of the unbearable grief he experienced when an older cousin (or brother?) left the community..."Just imagine being in hell," he wrote to his beloved relative...only to leave himself a year or two later. There are parallels in that, too. We don't want anyone we care about to leave the flock...and yet, we ourselves can fall into temptation in an instant. 

Are our churches holding us on too tight of a "leash"? Do they seem too legalistic or intolerant? Too cultlike or displaying "shepherding" tendencies? Of course we must be cautious. But, the pursuit of freedom can be dangerous, too.

The documentary ends with an Amish man saying the following:

"If a boy or girl leave the home, their place at the table is always set....that's a very powerful thing."