Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Drew and I had a date night with some delicious food...grilled veggies and lots of yummy meat!

Eliana and I checked out a new "mall" in town and she had an ice cream treat. There is a store full of things imported from America but I chose to walk away from the $50 bag of Dunkin' Donuts decaf. What???

We did a little crafting and made this cute Christmas ornament. (And yes, that is her bathing suit cover-up. She thought it would be a nice addition to her pajamas!)

And of course you never know what it's going to be a good time for dress-up. Work it girl!

Finally, Eliana has been picking up on Christmas songs quite well this year. Here's her rendition of "Joy to the World."

Friday, December 12, 2014

Eliana at 3 1/2

Wow! Have almost seven months already gone by? Some days I just want to bottle Eliana up so I can remember her and enjoy her and have more time together. Other days, not so much, but most of the time I definitely feel like life is just flying by. I can't believe Eliana is 3 1/2! That is amazing to me! She is such a blessing to us and fills our days with joy and struggle. What a little girl!

Eliana is a little over 30 pounds now, which catapulted her to about the 25%, and is around 39 inches (if I remember correctly), which is still around the 55% mark. She has gained over 2 pounds since we got back in July. Amazing! Almost all her 3T pants are on the verge of being too short. This is the first time this has happened so I was pretty surprised and a little bummed. Fortunately little kids don't care too much about pants length so we are just rolling with it. Her appetite is still up and down but she always wants to eat osh, her favorite Tajik dish and honestly, I think her favorite food overall. She also has a refined palette for it and will even tell me when she thinks the osh we are eating isn't so good. Funny girl!

Eliana still loves wearing skirts and dresses and picks either one of those most every day, sometimes both. She loves wearing tights now and we just got her some nice, thick ones for the winter. She loves dancing and twirling and swishing her hair "like Queen Elsa." She is certainly all girl! She can hop on one foot now and climbs on her bed to get to things on her shelf. I certainly never expected that from her! She has a step stool she takes around the house and uses to get things she needs. She loves to show me how she can run really fast. How do kids have so much energy?

Eliana is really interested in learning her letters as they relate to people. For instance, she'll say "What letter is Grandpa?" or "That letter is me." She is starting to pay attention to letters on shirts and boxes and has mostly learned how to write an "E". She is still very stubborn and really only will cooperate for these types of things if it is her idea but I have been very encouraged at how her interest in growing and hopeful that I might actually be able to teach her something!

The girl loves her some pretend play and always has an elaborate plan of what we are doing. We often go on the airplane to "North Carolina" or "South Carolina" and we have to watch movies and eat food from the "airplane ladies" and then we go and pick up all our family so we can go to the beach house. This is just one of her in-depth plans. She makes up names for us and plays with her friends. When she is really playing with her friends I have to remind her that they are real and not pretend and have real opinions. Only child problems!

Eliana still loves her bunny and loves sucking her fingers. I don't let her suck them while we are outside because people here freak out about it. I am just trusting she'll stop someday soon...hopefully! She night-time potty trained after we got back in about two weeks. She decided she was done with diapers so we let her try it and really, after about two or three weeks maybe, she was trained. Amazing! I am so glad it went so well and easily.

We have started doing some memory verses associated with our Sunday group and she does a really good job remembering. I also started making her a personalized monthly calendar and we have worked on learning the days of the week. She enjoys looking at the pictures and talking about what we are doing each week. She enjoys looking at books and working on puzzles some but mostly would rather pretend play. She does love listening to music and the "Mickey music" station we have on Pandora is her favorite. Eliana is doing a great job this year of taking in the Christmas story as well. It's just so fun to see how much more she can do as she gets older.

We have our fair share of melt-downs and discipline sessions. She knows what she wants when she wants it and anything other than that can elicit quite dramatic responses that can leave me feeling exhausted at the end of the day. I am trying to stay focused and consistent and trust that one day all the hard work will pay off. On the other hand she is so sweet and funny and loving when she wants to be. She is definitely a mama's girl and we have lots of fun times together. She loves to be out and about and wants to know what we are doing and where we are going after every nap time and bed time. I love my little social butterfly, even though it's tiring for me!

What a sweet blessing this little girl is! I love being her mama and feel so privileged to have been chosen for this job. As she gets older things are harder and better. I am just so thankful to get to witness her life. Eliana now sometimes asks about having a brother or sister and we just tell her to pray and ask God to give her one. We hope he answers her prayer but until then we will take joy in what he has already given us, the perfect gift of a child for us!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cookies and Party Time

Eliana helped me make sugar cookies for us to decorate at the party we had for the kids on our team. She did a great job with the baking and the decorating! The party was great too and I'm pretty sure all the kids had fun playing and giving gifts. It was our first time to draw names and do a gift exchange and the kids were so great. They really were as excited to give their gifts as they were to get them. Such sweet kiddos!

Yep, that's a Santa made out of bread. One of my friends made this. She is so cool! It was yummy too!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Have No Fear!

Santa (and Coca-Cola!) speaks Tajik! :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Fun

We are enjoying the arrival of the Christmas season. Our apartment is decorated and we are doing fun activities related to Advent. Here is our tiny tree...

Eliana did a great job helping me decorate it and really enjoyed looking at all the ornaments and hearing their stories.

Our Christmas packages arrived a couple of weeks ago and in one of them was a fun craft from Mo. As you know, Eliana is doing much better with crafts now so she was excited to do this project. We needed a little help from Daddy but in the end it turned out great. Thanks Mo!

We are looking forward to lots of fun times as we prepare for celebrating Jesus's birthday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


This year we spent Thanksgiving with our small team of us and three other families. We got together at lunch time and hung out for the rest of the day. Turkey was crazy expensive so we opted for three different versions of pork loin and all were delicious! We had plenty of food and plenty of fun. When we got ready to leave at 9:15 that night Eliana, in her saddest voice said, "But Mommy, I didn't play a lot with my friends!" What? Crazy little extrovert!

Thankful for our friends!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Husband is so Cool!

When we bought our new stove we had to move things around in the kitchen because it was bigger than our old one. This left us with an open, but awkward, available space. The only good option was to build something, and since Drew is so handy, he decided to build me a custom cabinet for my kitchen. It has a large top shelf that goes all the way to the wall and two smaller shelves that are adjusted to fit next to the pipes that are on the wall. He also made custom slots for my pans so they can fit on the bottom shelf. A few coats of white paint and voila, we have a new kitchen cabinet! Drew is so cool! I love it!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Thursday while walking home from parking the car Eliana fell and face planted hard on the pavement! She had both hands in her pockets so she literally fell flat on her face. It was scary and she was pretty upset but after I could see that no teeth were gone and her nose was okay we made it home and got her cleaned up. She is fine but her lip is huge and she looks rough. I know that the worst thing for her is that she can't such her fingers because it hurts her lip! Maybe she'll find another comfort strategy as a result.

Oh, my mommy heart is sad to see my girl hurting but man, I am so thankful it wasn't worse and that God gave me grace to be calm when she was so upset! Praying for a speedy recovery!

Getting Creative

Eliana is quite creative these days! I really am amazed and thankful that we are too this stage now. I thought we might never get there! The first picture has a set of pictures she drew one morning this week all on her own. She was occupied for at least 20 minutes. Amazing! And I think the pictures are pretty cool too!

One day last week I made tortillas and she wanted to use her ball of dough to make a mommy and baby deer. Here she is with our creations! Unfortunately Drew came home and somehow didn't realize they were deer and ate the head of one of them. Oops! I guess we need to work on our tortilla art skills!

Lots of fun times around here these days!

Monday, November 17, 2014


Eliana has enjoyed building some things lately, which is something new for her. One day she built this "tower" with two set of her blocks. Her goal was to create a place where she could hide. She sat in the middle and covered herself with a blanket to accomplish that goal. Funny girl!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Eliana has an active and extensive imagination. I am pretty constantly impressed with the scenarios she comes up with and acts out. This morning she and her friends were taking early morning naps on the couch. Daisy and Minnie were especially cozy in their special beds!

PS- I have to make a special note of the fact that Eliana is wearing her footy PJs. I told her when she started wanted to go without diapers at night that once she started keeping her sheets dry on a regular basis she could wear them again. She has been doing great lately so we let her wear them. Go Eliana!

Friday, November 7, 2014


Yikes! We had snow yesterday! For probably at least 12 hours! And, we are supposed to have more tomorrow, which a high of only 36. Did I already say, "Yikes!" I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come this winter. I'll be needing LOTS of prayer!

This is how it looked outside first thing this morning.