Words the Baby Says

31 May 2014

ball (for ball, balloon, and light)

bird (no hard “d” sound)

cake (sounds like “cak”)

cat (also sounds like “cak”. . . even though he can say “fat” with a “t”)


me (said very early)


paint (has been saying this a long time… loves to paint!)


Da (like Dada, with the “a” sound like in “cat”)

da (like Russian for “yes” — his usual word for yes)



baby (sounds like “beebee”)

na (his version of noonie is shortened to nana, with the a sound from “father”)


Go away!  (First sentence, early March in Poland)







Just yesterday (30 May). . . started saying three of his four brothers’ names!  The shortest one he can’t say. . . I think it is the “J” sound that is too difficult.


June 1:

feet (spontaneous, while we were snuggling)

men (according to C13, I haven’t heard it yet)


Wedding Registries and Moving Overseas

A new Foreign Service Officer is getting married soon and is about to head off to her first post.  When she asked about wedding registry and wishlist items for this transient lifestyle, these are the things I’ve found helpful over the past four years.


  • High quality knives (I’m borrowing my son’s Henkel knives… a gift from my mom to my budding chef.)
  • Comfy, queen sized sheets.
  • Towels.  I tend to be plain Jane, and like having white ones which will match a variety of decor and can be bleached.  Some people, however, find all whites get grey or reddish with water overseas.  In theory, the boys each have a different shade of blue or brown for their personal shower towels.  Doesn’t really work that way in practice.  I love having huge bath sheets, and think I need to indulge in getting a pair of those soon.
  • I’d skip asking for accent pillows or other decorative items — your style and taste will change over the years, and it is fun to find treasures in  various countries.
  • Pouch only means no mailing glass. We bought lots of picture frames for framing all the great photos we took and artwork we found. A digital photo frame is great, too!
  • Do you have a good camera? If not. . . definitely worth putting your wedding money towards!
  • Lots of glassware and mugs. Having more than 12 of everything is nice,  and I prefer having inexpensive ones with plain lines which blend with various tableware and seasonal decorations. I don’t stress when one breaks. Maybe this is more important to me with a houseful of boys!  (FWIW, it is pretty standard issue to have a dining room hutch, so you have a place to store your glassware!)
  • I like having certain kitchen items. . . not that I’m a fab cook, but I do a lot of it. . . So I like having my Blendtec, really big crockpot, iron skillet, cupcake pan and carrier, serving pieces, big glass bowls, etc. We do some entertaining, but it is usually casual, so I have basic stonewear and not china. Some people love having their china sets that they take everywhere and add to through the years, though.
  • Holiday items.   We don’t go all out like some friends do, but it is SO important to our family to pull out the same Advent calendar and Christmas card holder in house after house. It sure is nice to open a box and make it feel like home around the holidays. I love having my red, white & blue tablecloths for Independence Day and any other summery event. (Btw, I usually buy two of the same tablecloths now, so that if I have my dining room table fully extended to seat 12+, I can have it completely covered.) I have my little Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers. I enjoy collecting holiday items where we live.




Our first overseas move was 13+ years ago, with a nonprofit organization and no shipment.  We did just fine with what we brought on the plane (lots of luggage, since we had lots of kids!)   No matter where you live, you’ll need to be flexible — even in the US.  It just requires a little more creativity to live on the economy in other places.   But it is really, really nice to have a household shipment with each move we make with the Department of State.  Frequent moves are challenging, and opening up a box and putting things on the wall to feel like home make a big difference.   This list summarizes what I’ve found to be the most useful for making life smoother and making it home wherever we are.

Memorial Day 2014




Hubby is outside of Kyiv.  He’s spent this weekend as an election observer during this key Ukrainian election.  He emailed me at 5:45am, while they were still counting ballots.  He’ll be home on the evening train tonight.  We will have our family memorial time tomorrow.

It is always odd to be overseas during distinctly American holidays.  Other countries do have days similar to Memorial Day, days to remember those who have given their lives in the fight for freedom or for their country.  In Ukraine, probably the closest thing is Dyen Pobyedi, “Victory Day,” which was May 9th.   Right now, with the tumult and the fighting and the shock that it is going on here in Ukraine, Memorial Day feels even more poignant.



“Dulce et decorum est”

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.

Joyce Kilmer




Trusting Our Tongues

Psalm 12(ESV)

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Lately it seems that all I want to read are Psalms. Certain seasons of life drive me to the cries of the Psalmist, the prayers of God’s people.

“With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

Many speculate that Ukraine/Russia is in an “Information War” (here, here, and here.) It seems like there is some truth to that. I can easily imagine Putin saying, “with our tongue we will prevail.”

I am mad at how forces are manipulating the citizens of Russian and people in eastern Ukraine. I am frustrated that this out of my control, far beyond my reach. I am even more angry when I hear falsehoods echoed by those in the West, people who don’t know what is really going on, but are buying into the lies.

I feel like people who are dissatisfied with the post-Maidan interim government are being fed Russian propaganda. If they weren’t hearing those falsehoods, they would have been patient. The interim government is in place just until full elections are held — elections that the previous administration and the Maidaners negotiated, agreed upon by the Rada which represents all of Ukraine. Yet, within weeks of the interim government being put in place, there were protests and a lot of anger, anger fueled by false claims and propaganda.

I read the words of this Psalm and I see men trusting in words and clever speech. I see me trusting in words, and wanting to be on my soapbox, and counter false claims. I see my own anger and my own false hope placed in clever words.

“The words of the Lord are pure words…”

God’s words are pure words. His Word is true.

God protects His people.

Once again, I repent for my anger. I repent for my anger at other people’s speech, for trusting in my own words.

Pure Words

Look What Came in the Mail!


TulipGirl Joy of Relationship Homeschooling

The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling” by Karen Campbell!

For years I’ve gotten my mommy-encouragement from Karen, who blogs at Thatmom.Com. The “ThatMom” podcasts are great for when I’m doing dishes and folding clothes. I appreciate her emphasis on “one-anothering” in our families.

I have been reading through on my kindle… slowly… But wanted the paperback copy to lend out. Plus, some books are just better when holding them in your hands. I’ll have a review up. . . eventually.

(Ooooh! Looks like Anne received her copy, too!)

Lovely Lilacs

Spring in Ukraine is probably my favorite season anywhere.

Even though this winter was relatively mild, weather-wise, it was not an easy winter. Our evacuation to Poland seemed like a vacation, even with the uncertainty associated with it!

But now it is spring…  overnight, leaves are budding and flowers are blooming.  The sun is shining and I want to be outside every moment, soaking up the warmth and light.

I am filling my home with flowers.  A little babushka was selling lilacs for 7 grivnia a bunch outside the metro, and at the current exchange rate that meant I spent under two dollars for lilacs in the living room and entry. I think I’ll make some lilac sugar and lilac simple syrup before this bounty is gone.