"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

This past week has been great, apart from our ridiculously spotty internet.  I am so glad we are friends with the IT guy at Nick’s office! I can’t imagine how bad it would have been if we weren’t friends with him.

  • We have playdated with friends!  Isla loooves Liosha.


  • There was a reporter at English Club this last Sunday who interviewed me and I am supposedly going to be on Russian TV!  I am not really sure when it will be on since its supposedly on a station that doesn’t air in Novo, but all I know is that there was a reporter with a camera who filmed English Club and asked me all about starting it… I have always wanted to be on TV!
  • Nick and Isla helped each other work out.


  • Nick re-celebrated his birthday and got the most amazing photo book of St Petersburg from our Pastor, his brother and their families.  It was a great night!


  • We had the craziest Bora wind storm last Friday and the power went out, and Nick got to come home early from work because the power was out at his office! Yay.
  • And on a related theme… we have had tons of SNOW!  So much snow that they are not used to it in this area and Nick got to stay home from work for 1 1/2 days.  Yay.  This is what lunch looks like when Nick gets to work from home! Smile.  How cute are these two?


  • I am getting ready to leave for Moscow on Thursday by myself for a Women’s Conference through our church.  Agnessa will watch Isla during the day and Nick will have her all to himself for three days during the evenings and weekends.  I am so sad to be leaving them both! Especially since the day I get back, Nick leaves for Nigeria, but I am really excited to get to spend time with the ladies from my church while worshipping my Lord IN ENGLISH!  Yay.
  • Here are some pics of Isla enjoying the snow.  This was from a couple of weeks ago.  We tried to go out yesterday but she didn’t like the snow falling on her face.  She wanted to play outside, but didn’t understand that the only way to make the snow stop bothering was to go inside.  She wanted me to make the snow stop! Ha.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Girl Isla

First a couple of random Isla updates.

Whenever I give yogurt, she has started smearing it on herself like lotion.  Gross.

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But even with that… Cutest. Baby. Ever.  Sweetie, sweetie, sweetie.

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Also, Agnessa taught Isla how to use pockets so Isla has been pretty obsessed with putting her hands in her pockets, no matter what.  Even when she wants to hold something else.  Even when she can barely walk, her hands are always in her pockets.

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And finally!  Isla has switched to a BIG GIRL BED!  Really, its just her crib with the side off, but it counts.

This past week she has been trying to climb out and she had been getting dangerously close.  I had been hoping to put it off until the weekend so that we could do it during the day, and transition her during nap time.  Unfortunately on Nick’s birthday she climbed out and climbed back in, and in spite of several booty spanks (she gets spankings for doing anything that might be life threatening), she decided that they were worth it because she was loving climbing out and in.  And since I do not relish spanking her and I didn’t want her breaking her neck, the second Nick walked in the door, I told him we needed to change out her crib.

So the whole thing was done very hurriedly after dinner, but Isla was very excited about her big girl bed!  She  kept saying that she had a “big girl pillow”, “big girl blanket”, etc.  We also somehow couldn’t find the guardrail clamps so we had to put her toybox up to the bed in the mean time.

I wanted to take a picture of the bed all pretty, but someone was so excited about it that she wouldn’t let me officially make it up!040

Isla Big Girl Bed

Isla cried a little bit when we tried to leave her, so we stayed with her until she seemed comfortable.  Then I told her I was going to check on Daddy, and that I would be back.  I left for 10 minutes and by the time I came back, she was out like a light!

Big changes for our Little Wann!

Birthday Boy

Our internet is back up and running after being out for a week!  So I will be playing a little blog catch up.

Nick turned 29 yesterday!  Wild to think that we only have one more year before he turns 30.  Completely wild.  Thankfully I still have a year and seven months left….

Most years (I am ashamed to admit) I don’t really do a whole lot for Nick’s birthday… why you ask?  Because he honestly doesn’t care.  He doesn’t care if we do anything, and he would rather not have me get him a gift.  My love language is gift-giving, Nick’s love language is a little different.  Its one that is uniquely his, and that is, he likes me doing everything possible to NOT spend money.  “Oh Stori… thank you for not getting me anything.” And he’s serious.

But Nick has fallen in love with a certain little gadget called the iPad 2.  It is the greatest thing if you travel as much as we do.  I have one, but Nick and I travel apart often enough that he is without one most of the time, and come to think of it, when we travel together I don’t like sharing mine.  So when Nick expressed interest that he would like his own iPad, I leapt (leaped?) at the chance to get it for him.  Actually I told him we should wait until the iPad 3 comes out to get another one, but then I secretly bought him one when we were in the states.  I am so glad that he will have one before he goes to Nigeria in a couple of weeks.

I woke up Nick with breakfast in bed, French toast… Right after I took this picture, Nick said “Don’t take my picture…”  I think he should have let me take another one because, well, this picture speaks for itself. HA!

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Then I went and I woke up Isla 30 minutes early so she could bring him his present!  I love the way Nick’s face lit up when she walked in carrying his present.  He didn’t mind me getting a picture of him this time.  He loved his new iPad!

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Then he had to go to work, where I then proceeded to call and harangue him about making sure that our internet got fixed (not the best birthday move on my part but it had been out for a WEEK at this point).  However, when he got home, I had his favorite food waiting for him, lasagna, and his favorite dessert – oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (they have replaced regular chocolate chip cookies in his heart)!

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All in all, I think he had a pretty good 29th!  I hope that this last year of his twenties is the most memorable and blessed one yet.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The House that IKEA Built

So after reviewing these posts here and here, I realized that I felt the need to identify where each item of furniture came from – really, I should have just said that everything came from IKEA.

In case you were wondering, I am not an IKEA nut.  Before we moved to Russia, we were told that our furniture would come from a manufacturer in Poland.  I wanted to buy a few extra things, namely Isla’s bedroom furniture (its all ours), the kitchen Island, and the storage unit in the entry way (not IKEA, Sky Mall).  IKEA seemed like a good way to go since everything comes prepackaged in a way that would ship around the world well, plus my friend had an IKEA island that she highly recommended.  Once we got here, our apartment’s Landlord was different than the other families and had bought all of our furniture from the IKEA in Krasnodar.  So between the furniture I bought, and the furniture that was already here, our house is 98% IKEA furnished.

Also once we got here, IKEA is the only furniture store that has “American” style furniture.  Russian-style furniture is very, very different from American, and not really to my tastes… so anything extra that we bought here in Russia, also has been from IKEA, like our barstools and our extra bookcase.

I don’t know why I feel the need to qualify this other than if I could furnish my dream home it would not be from IKEA – it would probably be from Craigslist.  I love getting deals on there.  After living here, although I am grateful for our very nice apartment with brand new furnishings, I may never step foot in an IKEA again!

Anyway, Nick and I recently rearranged the furniture in our living room and Isla’s room.  We wanted more seating in the living room to accommodate our English speaking bible study that we have here, and in Isla’s room we wanted as much floor space as possible to accommodate any kids that needed to come and stay while their parents were in bible study.  We also moved the big book shelf into the “study” area, but I didn’t want to take a picture of that… feeling lazy.  The study now has just the desk and the bookcase, we switched walls on the desk.

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I love Isla’s room.  I rearrange it every other week, but it just makes me happy to be in there.  It really is so sweet.  I love the fact that it is so BIG!  It will be great for sharing with a sibling one day since we only have two bedrooms in our apartment.  For the record, I am all for siblings sharing small rooms too, but when you live in Russia in an apartment without a yard, its nice to have bigger rooms for your very active toddler to run around in!

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I love, love, love our new living room arrangement.  I may not move it again.  Its so nice to have both our couches in here.  We almost did it this way at first, but I was nervous about putting our brown couch in front of the radiator.  Now that I have a little bit more experience with radiators, I don’t mind it so much.

So that’s what our apartment looks like right now, and you also know my true feelings on IKEA Smile.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Black Sea in Winter

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Travel Forecast Update

March/April 2012:



On the agenda right now:

- The Dead Sea

- Petra!

And most especially…

- Bethany Beyond the Jordan (where Jesus was baptized)!!!

And also home to one of my turn verses… I cannot wait.  I am so excited!

"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."~John 1:29

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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