Monday, May 29, 2006
Here are some snapshots of their activities last week.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Well I am beat. I ust got off a 24 hour bus from Shymkent and am now in a town called Karaganda, to rest. Tomorrow I take another 9 hour bus to Pavlodar, where hopefully I can get some work done. Turkistan was interesting. The masoleum was beautiful. It was built by Tamerlane in the 15th century to honor a religious leader who established a Sufi order in the region. The town itself is pretty small and made up primarily of houses. The old city that was around the masoleum a few hundred years ago was allowed to fall apart -- hence the area directly around the masoleum is barren (except for a few camels grazing), and the current town does not begin until the border of the old town. Therefore the masoleum is surrounded by a few kilometers of dirt and grass. The masoleum itself is giant and topped by three mushroom shaped dome-towers. Tamerlane died before it was finished therefore the front entrace-way has a funny shape, as if the masoleum comes to an abrupt halt. This is a pilgramige site for the regions Turkic muslims - therefore there was much praying inside the masoleum, especially near the actual tomb. It was interesting to watch the Kazakhs worship, especially the women. Many of whom were walking around the building touching the sides and praying as they walked. Unfortuantely, the interior is not as spectacular as the outside, with little in terms of aesthetics (just white walls). I guess art demands money, of which the Kazakhs have little. Directly surrounding the masoleum, were a few smaller masoleums, a bathhouse, as well as the chamber where early residents of the town studied and prayed. Also flanking the main entrance was a giant rose garden, which heightened the religious atmosphere of the site.
So that's my report of Turkistan - other than the masoleum, there was nothing else to do in the small city. So I just got some dinner, wandered around the local bazaar, came back to the masoleum at dusk and wathced from a park bench as the sun set on and the evening lights were turned on to illuminate it during the night. As I sat on the bench, one of those begging ladies (you know the one's that hang out at Russian churches) came up to me to get some money. I waved her off, but she decided to sit down next to me and chat. While we talked, she would stop people to ask for money for bread and milk. I asked her if the state gives her a pension. She said she gets 10,000 Tenge a month (which is about $60), and her family is already dead or moved away. She said that after rent and gas, she has no more left for food, therefore she has to beg. As she was refused money time and time again, she would make wisecracks about the people who wouldn't give her anything: ("look at that fat guy get into his expensive car, and he can't sprare 10 Tenge!"). Eventually a lady came by and gave her 3 loaves of bread, and I chipped in some so she could buy some milk. She was pretty happy. She added an interesting perspective to the life of a begging woman in the former Soviet Union (of which I have probably seen hundreds).
Anyway, after that I went back to my hotel and went to bed; got up the next morning and caught a bus to Shymkent, and quickly after arriving, found a bus to Karaganda (which is in north Kazakhstan). I have been on buses for almost 30 hours of the last 48. You can imagine how sore my knees are! Alright, when I get to Pavlodar tomorrow, I will probably be able to write again.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
In another post I wrung my fingers at the antics Des has been up to in place of sleeping in the afternoon. After many suggetions from others, I finally decided to try a crib tent. I tracked one down on Craigslist.org for half of what they sell for new (new: $60 used:$30) I wasn't sure whether it would work, he's so strong and can break into many things -- for instance we've had the Gerber 'safety handles' on all door knobs and he's recently figured out how to remove those so he can open doors (ugh!) So when considering the crib tent I didn't want to spend $60 for what was essentially a deperate attempt to control the uncontrolable -- a most exuberant 2 1/2 year old.
The pictures show the results -- Mr. Sceptic (NPJ!) I have trumped you again!!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Some sweet pics of Zoe as she’s changing so rapidly!! She’s recently turned 4-months old. She began rolling over this week and while on her belly resting on her arms at a 90 degree angle. She is getting ever closer to finding her thumb, which I’m a bit nervous about (!) She continues to smile frequently and has discovered a special place in her heart for Grandpa Gary. She loves talking to her toys – it’s so thrilling to listen to her. She’s taking Desi’s love in better stride and responding in different ways rather than just crying when she’s had enough – for instance, she’s occasionally gives a baby’s version of an exasperated little shriek!!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
We look forward every week to Lunch Bunch which has now moved out to the playground in Inwood Hills Park. We bring our lunch and toys to share and spend almost 2hours every Wednesday playing. Des is such a social little person and he very much enjoys the time he gets to spend with his friends from church.
Boys are so the same. On this particular day, 3 out of the 4 boys ( from left: Ayden, Daniel, Desmond and Roscoe) brought Woody figures to play with and it so happened that Desi and Roscoe also each brought a dinosaur for their Woody guys to ride on!! Funny coincidence!! BOYS!
Yes, he leaves the apartment like this!! (hehehehe... snow boots, fireman hat, and Strawberry Shortcake bag) This pic was taken on our way to Lunch Bunch – Desmond was pretty happy because a nice woman in our building (Desi actually refers to her as the “nice woman”) stopped us before leaving and invited us up to her apartment indicating that she had something to give us. The woman, Anna, began rummaging through all these bags, ultimately bound to her family in the Dominican Republic, pulling out baby products – lotion, bubble bath, soap, wipes, etc. Then she gets into her fridge and places in Desi’s Strawberry Shortcake bag (!) 5 Capri Sun juices – thus the happy smile.
Over the last 2-months Desi has expertly figured out how to climb out of his crib. Therefore naptime, which includes sleep, has become a rare event. We still continue with the ritual but sleep is infrequent to say the least as once he vaults himself out of the crib he spends a very busy hour rummaging and making fantastic messes all over the bedroom. Its quite distressing to open the door and find the room completely and horrifically altered.
On this particular day he’d gotten out of the crib and set up a cozy little area for himself underneath the bedroom window on the floor, notice the pillow and blanket and books he'd been looking at, then he actually fell asleep! [stay tuned to new developments on this story – we have discovered crib tents!!]
Sunday, May 14, 2006
We love you Grandma Kathy -- thank you for loving us so much! We love to talk to you on the phone and Desi loves singing with you. Thanks for dressing us so cute and for all your many prayers.
We love you Grammy Simkins -- thank you for being so loving. We look forward to your phone calls and telling you about our days. Thanks for all the thoughtful things you do!!
Desi and Zoe are so blessed to have Grandmothers like you!!
“Open, Open, I want to see everything!” Desi gives a breathy exhale, “Wowwwww!” with building crescendo, “Amazing! Wow! Amazing! You're Amazing Mamma!” (Upon opening up the freezer and looking inside)
“She’s thinking about something…” After listening to babyZoe coooo….
“Is that Spiderman?” After pulling out some red peppers I’d been roasting in the oven. They were all a lovely bright red color with black char marks here and there. He thought they resembled a melted version of spiderman, I guess. Hehehe…
"I lick babyZoe. She's like a lollipop!"
“Not for baby’s, it’s for mammas – babies not like it. mamma’s like it. Here you have it." Upon giving him some V8 juice. He drank it all the while and gave me back an empty cup.
“I need a time-out” (self-discipline!)
While getting DPJ ready for bed one night he instructs me, “I want superman jamma’s, I want superman!” Zoe interrupts him with her cries for inclusion. “It’s ok babyZoe! I rescue her! I want my big cape – I save her day – I big cape fly on her! I rescue babyZoe!”
“I need some gloves your majesty”
We were excited to watch a new video from the library one night, but it wasn’t working. So I took it out and started to blow on it. Desi watched curiously and asked, “You blow it? It’s like cake?”
"Mamma? you're the best mamma ever in the world!" (ahhh... said that, today, Mother's day. What a treat!)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
This picture was actually taken by Nate (!!) he said that Des was playing so perfectly with Zoe he had to take it. Desi brought all his soft plush toys and handed them to Zoe one-by-one with his sweet little voice introducing them and letting her hold them. Nate said they played like this for some 20minutes!
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
I wanted to reprise the babes in diapers pics -- so this weekend I happened to bathe them together and then capture some cuddle moments in Desi's crib. He loves it when babyZoe joins him in the crib. He will read her a story, sing a lullaby, or brother-handle her with hugs&kisses. If she's well fed and rested (mornings are best) she'll take it all in stride and sometimes squeal with delight.
Over this past winter Des has curiously developed freckles!! A light, golden sprinkling across his nose, tapering off under each eye. Nate and I noticed this just last month and it’s such a cute addition to his already yummy little face. I don’t think you can see them in this pic -- but they're there!
Zoe’s eyebrows are getting quite full – which is a descriptive word that can also be used for her lips and cheeks too! She’s begun to take an interest in her little rattle and soft plush toys. She will reach for them, hold them, talk to them, and of course taste them. I love talking with her. I love that she can tell me how happy she is; when she wants to be held and cuddled; when she’s hungry, that look she gets in her eyes, the tone change in her voice. I really want to listen to her, understand her.
More photo's here