Wednesday, June 29, 2011


When I meet the creator of The Transformers I am going to punch him in the face real hard!  Did you know that you must have a degree in Engineering to transform those crazy autobots?  Last week we had a bit of a Transformer meltdown in our home.  When Jon returned from the Shepherds' Conference back in March he brought back with him two Transformers which I ordered online.  We held on to them for a while because the boys received so much stuff when Jon came back that we didn't want to overwhelm them.  So last week when we were celebrating Grandma's birthday, I pulled out the Transformers to give to the boys.  Before I gave them the Transformers, I looked them over real good and decided to give Jojo the green and black one because I thought it looked better than the plain white one.  I wasn't playing favorites, it's just that Nathan doesn't care as much as Jojo does about these things. Little did I know that the boring white one had 1 long sword and 2 short swords inside it!  Jojo was absolutely devastated that we gave Nathan the better Transformer.  I didn't even know!!!  He had a total meltdown and the days that followed were also full of little meltdowns here and there because Nathan wouldn't share his special white Transformer.  I almost chucked them both out the window, not the kids, the Transformers!  Let's just say I am so thankful for my amazing husband who used the opportunity to teach Jojo about being thankful for all things and to calm me down because I felt like such a failure as a mom one day.  I just never know what to do when it comes to buying toys for the boys.  Sometimes I think I should buy the same exact toy for them in hopes that it would cut down on the fighting, but then again I suppose they will find other things to fight about!
Here's Jojo before he realized that his
Transformer wasn't quite as "special".

Monday, June 27, 2011

Grandma's Birthday

While my mother-in-law was here we celebrated her birthday.  The boys were so excited for her birthday because grandma had early birthday gifts for the boys...............they have been counting down for her birthday since she got here.  We took Grandma Judy to T.G.I.F for dinner and then bought a couple of cakes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Train Museum

Every Sunday on the way to church we always see a train museum. We have been extremely curious about it and have wondered when it would open. My husband did some research online and it turns out it opened back in November! So last week we headed to the museum and were pleasantly surprised. It is all outdoors and the area is extremely clean and well kept. Even though you can not go inside the trains you are allowed to climb up on the outside of the trains. We had a great time visiting and the best part about it is that it was "bez platno" (FREE!).

There was a bride getting her pictures taken there.

The front entrance.

Monday, June 20, 2011

He's Everything My Dad Wasn't

It wasn't until I got married and had children that I had a real reason to celebrate Father's Day.  I often tell my family and friends that I really don't deserve being married to the man God gave me but my two boys surely deserve him!  It has been several years since I have seen or talked to my own father and I don't carry any grudges or hatred towards him.  I trust in a God who is completely sovereign over every single event of my life and that even includes being raised in a home where my father was physically and verbally abusive towards my mother and his 3 daughters.  For many who have lived in a home like I have, Father's Day is probably a day not to be celebrated but I am more than happy to celebrate because God has given me a husband who is everything that my dad wasn't.

  Spiritual Leader
My husband is a Godly man who leads his two boys spiritually.  First of all he leads by example and most mornings the boys will find daddy sitting at his desk or at the kitchen table reading his Bible. After dinner he leads our family devotions through prayer, worship, scripture memorization,and reading from a children's Bible book.  

Have you ever seen the mama gorilla at the zoo who has a little baby on her back picking at her, swinging off her arm, jumping on her and so forth?  The mama gorilla doesn't even husband is the same way.  I always tell him he has the patience of a mama gorilla. By the time he gets home my patience has been exhausted and thankfully he has more than enough patience to deal with me and the boys.

 He Says  "I Love You "
I can guarantee you that my boys have no doubt of their father's love for them.  Not a day goes by without my husband assuring our boys of his complete and unconditional love.  Hearing my husband tell one of the boys "I love you" warms heart every single time.  I have absolute no recollection of my father ever telling me he loved me.................not a one!

 He Loves Me
Not only are my boys sure of their father's love for them but they completely trust and know that daddy loves mommy.  I think this is one of the best legacies a father can leave behind for their children.  Divorce is prevalent in our society nowadays and it has even permeated the church but the boys know that their parents won't go down that path.  I trust that one day both of our boys will be able to look back at their daddy's example of loving his wife as Christ loved the church and model that in their own marriages.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

3rd Street Promenade

In Santa Monica there is a great little area called 3rd St. Promenade which is basically a street cut off to cars with a bunch of little shops, restaurants, and singers/artists begging hoping to be noticed.  Well here in Samara there is also a similar street but it is called Leningradskaya Street - my very own 3rd St. Promenade.  We took my mother-in-law Judy there to buy some typical souvenirs and walk around a little.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Train Station

Since my mother-in-law is here we've been trying to show her some of the top spots in Samara.  I think our train station is actually quite beautiful.  The plan was to go up to the observation deck but it was closed due to several bridal parties taking their pictures up there.  So, instead we looked around the station and even went down to the platform to take a closer look at the trains.  Poor Nathan wanted to get on a train and to tell you the truth being at the train station made me want to travel also!

The outside of the train station- I love it!

There is a real great mural across the street of the city.  In the middle of the mural there is this oncoming train...............the boys were pretending that the train was coming after them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One of Those Mornings

I had one of those crazy mornings last week.  I had a meeting scheduled with some women at 10 am and I had a ton of stuff to do before they came over.  I was running around crazy that morning cleaning, getting 2 boys ready and fed, making lunch for my husband, and more cleaning.  Oh, and I was also letting the dough rise so I could make sticky buns.  I learned in a cookbook to put in a bowl of hot water in the oven along with your dough to help in the process of getting it to rise quicker and that's exactly what I did.  I have a white plastic bowl that I always use for this and unfortunately when I turned the oven on to preheat it........................I forgot to take out the plastic bowl. 
And this is what happened to my bowl.  There's one thing I didn't do that morning in the process of getting ready for that meeting.  It's not that I forgot about it but I simply thought I didn't have the time.  I didn't spend time with the Lord in the Word and in prayer.  It would have made my morning a whole lot better...............I wouldn't have been so stressed, short with the kids, and short with my husband.  I may have still melted the plastic bowl but I would have probably laughed about it instead of completely letting it stress me out even more.    What's even worse is that one of my friends that was at my home for the meeting later asked me if something was bothering me during the meeting.  When one hasn't spent time with the Lord I suppose it "shows"! 

Friday, June 10, 2011


I am ashamed to say that in all the years I've lived in Russia, I have never been to a museum here!  Since my mother-in-law is here we thought we'd take her to one of the local museums.  We didn't even really see the contents of the museum because we had the boys with us and thought they'd be more interested in the underwater special exhibit.  At first I was a bit disappointed by the size of the exhibit, in reality it just seemed like a big pet store, but they did have some interesting fish and in reality it was just enough to keep the boy's attention.  had the exhibit been any bigger they would have gotten bored. 

My favorite aquarium- Nemo, Nemo's dad, and Nemo's mommy!

Oops, I wasn't supposed to use flash!!!

This is after Nathan punched the glass.  We told him not to do 
it again and he said "I punched it because I don't like him."

Jon and I outside the museum.

Beautiful carvings on top of the museum.

Statue of Lenin and the boys acting like non-socialist children!

Jon posing as Lenin.

Jimmy Neutron

The other night I was running my fingers through Nathan's thick, curly hair.  When he had enough he sat up and his hair was quite wild!!!  I love the expression of his face!!!

Maybe Jimmy Neutron's hair is a little more tame!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Time with "Coco"

If you hang out with our family too long you may end up with
a nickname.  The other day we went over to Auntie Alex's 
home to have lunch and for the boys to hang out with Collin.
At one point Jojo called him "Coco" and I think we'll stick
with that name for now!

The boys love Coco and played real well with him.  Of course 
we had a long talk before going over there about the need
for them to be gentle with Coco and thankfully they obeyed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baby Marty

The other day we had our friends Christina and Zhenya over for dinner and of course they brought their sweet baby boy "Marty".  This was the first time I have seen him awake!  The little guy loves to sleep!