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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our Isla Frances

This was originally in my Tuesday Tidbits post yesterday, but I decided to split it out.  I haven’t bragged shared about Isla in a while, and I want everyone to know what she’s been up to. I am going to talk to Isla in this one as opposed to about her; it feels like a good format since she is getting older.

  • You are getting sassy. And saying things like “This is mine.” or “This is Isla’s.” or “NO, I do it myself!” (In both English and Russian, much cuter in Russian). We have to “practice” obedience a lot.
  • You are a cuddle bug though. I love it. You are so generous with your kisses and smiles.
  • You continue to love people and attention. You are a “Land” for sure, a reference to my Nana’s side of the family who love to socialize (often loudly) and have a good time!
  • You are still incredibly joyful. Sassy as you can be, there is very little crabby about your personality! You did not get that from me.
  • You know all 26 of your letters. Sometimes you mix up similar looking letters in different fonts, but in the right context you knows 100% of your letters.
  • You are starting to spell and recognize words. We will look at simple picture with the words underneath them and I will have you tell me what each letter is. Its very cute! One example of your spelling “This is S. This is H. This is E. Two E. P. ” for SHEEP.
  • Your favorite books are “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”, any of the “Llama, Llama” books (thanks Emily!), “I Lost My Kisses”, and various “Jesus” books.
  • You can climb vertical playground ladders yourself if the rungs are not too far a part.
  • Your favorite toys are your Melissa and Doug letter and number puzzles.
  • You loves your friends, and are learning to play with them. You love to be with them.
  • You can count to 14 in English and 10 in Russian. We don’t spend as much time on numbers as we do letters.
  • You are a great talker and learning as much in Russian as you are in English. You are also starting to differentiate between Russian and English speakers, as in you will use an English word with me and will use the same word in Russian with Agnessa.
  • You’re still a Daddy’s girl. Such a Daddy’s girl.
  • You have finally started watching some TV, which I plan to put to good use on the plane ride home.  You only get to watch TV a couple of times a week (except when I abuse this new gift), but your favorite shows are “Finding Nemo”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and anything with “Red Dog” (as in Clifford).
  • You are still not completely potty trained, because I still like to put a diaper on you when you sleep, but outside of your bed, you are 100% potty trained.  You still have accidents occasionally, but its less and less all the time.
  • You do Independent Play Time for a hour or so each day. We leave the door open with the gate, and you will call me if you need something or want something, but in general you play in there with your toys by yourself.
  • You’re a pretty good eater, although you won’t eat everything.  I finally got you to eat half an avocado in one sitting (and yes, I proceeded to feel extremely smug afterwards.)  You actually love broccoli and Brussels sprouts… ok, maybe you are better than a pretty good eater.  However more days than not, I feel discouraged over your eating habits, so I just try to focus on the positive things.
  • You nap great everyday for at least an hour and half, ever since I moved you to your pack-n-play for naps.  You really liked having a “Big Girl Bed” and a “Nap Time Bed”.  Now you have even moved to sleep in your pack-n-play at night, and its hilarious because you are getting way to big for it.
  • You have an ever expanding entourage to sleep with in your bed too, which makes your pack-n-play even more cramped.  You sleep with two babies, soft baby, brown bear, night night, two books, and Mr. Owl.  I refuse to let you add anything else!

That’s all that I can think of for now, but you are our joy. We love you to pieces and we strive to be better parents for your sake each and every day. We are thankful that God gave you to us for a little while, you are a gift!

Tuesday Tidbits or maybe just our Trip Home

So this may be my longest blogging break in history.  I am not sure what is wrong with me, but I have had zero motivation to blog the past several months.  In spite of the fact that I have about twenty emails to respond to, including a particularly juicy gmail convo about my two of my favorite stroller manufacturers, I am going to attempt to pull together a quick Tuesday Tidbits, sans pictures, for your reading pleasure.

I leave for the US on Thursday the 28th (Happy Birthday Melody)! I am so busy trying to get ready to go that I feel like proverbial headless chicken, and may not respond to any emails before then, and I have my doubts as to whether I will blog at all in the states.

Its always so nerve wracking planning a trip home for several reasons:

  • The first one is time away from Nick.  I do not feel at Isla’s age that it is appropriate for her to be away from her father for more than two weeks at a time, and wonderful as they are, grandparents are no replacement, so I try to plan accordingly.  His schedule changes all the time in spite of my planning.  So this time we will be apart for 3 weeks before he arrives in the US for his 2 and we will head home together.  I am already missing him. (I do have to be fair and say that although twice now his schedule changed for the worse, at Christmas it changed for the better and we were only a part for one week until he could join us!)
  • The second is leaving my friends here.  We have really made an effort to bloom where we are planted, and we feel like God wants here for a reason.  And so how can we fulfill that purpose when were are not here? There’s just a lot of travel that comes with living overseas, so there’s always that struggle with connecting with friends and serving here and being able to travel with Nick for work or to see our families in the states. Oh and our R&R vacations. But our trips home are always our longest times away and that is the hardest time to leave.
  • The third is just traveling with my toddler. She’s a great traveler, and I have the trip down to science, but it is a 40 hours journey!  At least this time Isla will have her own seat now that she’s 2 Smile.  I know that a lot of people would probably say that I should have just bought her her own ticket all along, but at $1500+ per ticket, I did not feel like a good steward of my money if all I had to do was be uncomfortable for a few (well ok, 16) hours on various planes and be $1500+ richer, you know?

BUT, it is worth it to see my Mom and Dad and Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law, and my siblings and Nick’s sister and all of our nieces and nephews and families.  I don’t say this enough, but I LOVE my extended family, and I have a great one.  I also really love my in-laws and I am always so excited to see them too!

This is how my trip to the US is going to play out:

  • My first two weeks will be in H-Town!  I LOVE my home town.  I am so happy to be there and celebrate our annual 4th of July (my favorite holiday) celebration with my family, plus my in-laws (PURE BLISS!).  After that it will be so busy trying to see all friends and family, plus fit in about 7 or 8 Doctor’s appointments, but I know it will be great Smile.
  • Then one week in Orlando with Isla, my mom, my dad, my niece and my nephew!  Its going to be fun, but HOT, but I know Isla will have a blast with Kendall and Aiden.
  • Then I fly back to pick up Nick where we will spend a couple of days in Houston so that he can go to the Doctor and see some friends.
  • Then our mostly last two weeks we will spend with Nick’s parents in Temple, minus two days that they have booked at the fancy Hyatt Bastrop that is going to be so much fun!

Finally we will all fly back together!

Our trips back to the US are far from relaxing because there are so many people to see and so many things to do, but I am really missing my hometown and my family and in-laws!  Plus as crazy as it sounds, I do love the one-on-one time with Isla in new settings and contexts and seeing how she reacts, even though it can be hard sometimes.  Its going to be “Wannderful” indeed. Smile

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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