It is possible that autumn has arrived overnight to Kokshetau!  Last night we went out for shish kebab with Inna and Dana at a place called the Rainbow Restaurant.  Great food!  Anyway, we were enjoying our food and beer at the outdoor cafe when all of a sudden a wind blew up and it dropped about 20 degrees.  We figured that it was just a cold front, but Oleg and Inna say this is usually around the time the summer weather ends.  Everyone seems unhappy that it is "cold" (in the 60's) and feels like it might stay this way!  Wow!  Well, we'll see...

We had a little workout with the kids this morning... well, just with Daniel, really.  Nothing major, just a little cranky and very demanding of attention!  I think he was just tired.  "Demanding Daniel" and "Mellow Maya!"  She is just content to be held and cuddled the entire time.  He seems to need more playing and stimulation.  Daniel was especially into looking at the trees and the sky when we went out for our walk today.  We also brought along a mirror and they both liked looking at their reflections in it. 

Otherwise we're having a pretty quiet day.  Today I'm feeling better and John's stomach is acting up a little bit.  It's bound to happen after all the good stuff we've been eating!  After our visit with the kids, we just came back here and had some lunch.  John took a nap and I did some laundry in the tub.  There is a lady who will apparently do it for us for a charge, but we'll probably wait to do a bigger load.  This is why they told us to bring clothespins.  Now our stuff is drying on the line on the little balcony outside.  I included a picture so that Mom can see that I still remember how to hang up clothes on the line!

Tomorrow if the weather is good we are planning a trip to Lake Baraboy, a little resort area about an hour from here.  So hopefully we will have something more exciting to report than doing our laundry!

Love to all--


Well, to me, Daniel seemed a lot more cranky than to Anne. He started off okay, but was very demanding of attention. Any stoppage of stimulation caused whining and lots of moving, kicking and thrashing! Then came the kicker - I tried to change him into a onesy with LONG SLEEVES! Boy, what a challenge! He kept wiggling, moving, kicking, crying and screaming; how's a guy supposed to put the thing on? I finally admitted I needed help, and Anne was up to the challenge. With some effort, she got him changed, then went to work trying to settle him down. But by then, Daniel and I were both even more frustrated and cranky. She didn't seem to think it was a big deal. I was certain I had traumatized him for life and he'd require at least a few years of psychotherapy. Maybe I caused neurological damage when I squeezed his big, soft head through that tiny little hole on the top of the onesy. I kept asking Anne if she thought I made him cranky with my horrible changing of the long sleeved onesy. I kept telling her reminding her that it was a LONG SLEEVE onesy, after all! She said she thought he was cranky from the start, and he was probably just cranky today. What a simpleton that Anne is! Well, after a few minutes of settling down, then a nice walk outside, he suddenly fell right to sleep. So with my degrees in engineering and medical school, plus 14 years of psychiatric resident training and experience as an attending, I formulated an algorithm and calculated that he was sleepy. I entered this in my computer spreadsheet for future reference.

One more thing: Anne's mother has curiously observed that Inna, our cute young female interpreter, has made it into our site more quickly and more often than Oleg, our male driver in his late 30's, has. Well, many factors play into these decisions. Out of perhaps 20-30 photos and experiences per day, only a relative few can fit into the small space we have. Many difficult editorial decisions are made in order to most accurately reflect what we experience here on the other side of the world. Oh yeah, that and my brother looks at the site and I need to keep him happy; plus don't forget that I have to look at the site, too!


Maya Checks Herself Out in the Mirror

Daniel Talking to His Reflection

Changing Daniel's Clothes (it was a battle today!)

Outside on our Daily Walk

Laundry on the Line

Russian Chocolates (Had to have at least one shot of food, didn't I?)