John:

Well, today is the day I've hit my limit. Get me outta here! I just really want to go home. It wasn't one particular incident - this morning many little things added up and I just really felt like I wanted to go already. Nothing will dry, sometimes it's not even worth washing. We were only given one set of bed sheets, and at this point it's not worth buying a set, and we can't wash them because it takes between 3 and infinity days to dry a big thing like that, so it won't even be dry by the time we leave, much less when we go to bed at night. This morning when I read 'That's Not My Puppy' to Maya, as Daniel wailed away at full force , I decided that I just can't read this book even one more time! We calculate that we've literally read that book over a hundred times since we started visiting the kids a month ago. And let me tell you - 'That's Not My Puppy' isn't all that interesting! Not to ruin the ending for you, but it's quite predictable; you DO find YOUR puppy on the last page, because his nose is so squashy! Ditto for 'Lucy Lamb'. Read it over a hundred times. Lucy ain't down with the field where she hangs, scopes out other pads 'round the farm to chill; they're too small, too dirty, too crowded, decides her own 'hood ain't so bad, tells her homies, 'straight up, y'all ain't got it bad here', gets snuggle from Mom. Once I asked Anne if she could recite the story to Maya without looking at the book, and she did! I've added to my exercise routine lifting the 5 liter jugs of water. They make a decent 11 lb. dumbbell! But I feel like I'm in an old Kung-Fu movie, training with an ancient master and wanting to ask 'when do I get to move on to the better, more interesting things?' The only thing missing is the bad dubbing when I talk, but I can fake that pretty well.

Okay, enough said. We're ready to go! Can't wait to see all of you!

Anne:

OK, it's true-- he may be losing it!  We both may be, actually!  The good news is, tomorrow we'll start packing to go back to Almaty... if our clothes are dry, that is!  I skipped a shower this morning because my towel was still clammy after being washed, despite a day outside on the line, blowing it with the blow dryer and a night on the line in the bathroom!

We just got back from a walk and put the kids down for a nap.  Tomorrow we'll start getting ourselves organized to go.  On Tuesday or Wednesday we will be going to one of the local government offices to pick up the kids' birth certificates.  We are also planning to go Tuesday to shop for some gifts for the children's hospital.  We were going to buy a CD player for the baby room since our kids enjoyed music so much during their visits.  However, we were informed that the hospital decided what they really needed more was a teapot and an iron. (?!)  We'll check the prices-- maybe we can still get the CD player, too.

So... that's our exciting life for today!  The good news, of course, is that the kids are well and we are well.  We hope all of you are, too.  We miss everyone and are looking forward to seeing you!!!

Daniel does his best Gilligan imitation

Anne, Maya and Ablai Khan (united the clans of Kazakhstan in the 1700's)

Look, Mom, no hands!

Playtime before bedtime