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February 8

It is a snowy, blustery day here in Uralsk. A good day to stay inside to keep warm and dry. We were thinking that it might be nice if Temirlan and Gulnaz would come and visit us today! Somehow we knew that idea wouldn't fly, so off to the baby house we went.

We got the kids and everybody seemed to be in a good mood. Temirlan started chanting 'ana-ka', 'ana-ka' before we even entered the music room. There's no doubt about it, he associates us with snacks. It's the best thing we have going for us right now, considering we don't speak his language and have only known him for 11 days! We let him help find the bananas in the bag and he even wanted to 'help' put the sheet down for us to sit on. He ate a few of those and then started looking for the other snack container. It's not hard to tell when Temirlan wants something because he gets a sort-of Eeyorish look on his face and makes this 'eh', 'eh' sound. When Gulnaz wants something, on the other hand, she starts squirming, moving her feet and basically does whatever it takes to maneuver over to the object of her desire. She gets this determined look on her face and can't be distracted from the item of interest. This morning she was interested in being over by the teacher's desk. (I think she remembered being up there yesterday.) What she didn't seem to remember was that she had to have help to be able to see the top of the desk. She kept crawling over there and trying to pull herself up (news flash: she's not tall enough to see over the desk, even if she could pull herself up.) Mama helped her out and sat on the chair allowing Gulnaz to bang away on top of the desk. The louder the better!


A serious conversation about cocoa puffs...mmmmmm!


Some day soon I'll have my own snacks, for now I'll just eat the bowl...


Bang! Bang! Bang! This is fun!

Temirlan and Papa had a great time today building towers with blocks and picking out the cocoa puffs from the snack container. Those have really turned out to be his favorite! It's a good thing because we can't get Cheerios here so far, but we can get the cocoa puffs at the big market. Temirlan kept imitating the sound Papa would make after eating the cocoa puffs. Mmmmmm! There was also a lot of 'ish'-ing going on as Temirlan would hand Papa the big lego blocks that were stuck together and say 'ish' for him to take them apart. Along with the usual 'ish' every time there was a closed snack container. Papa got lots of big laughs from Temirlan, too, swinging him around in a circle. And Mama caught some of them on camera! Yay!


Spin! Spin! Spin! This is fun, too!

After the visit, we had our driver drop us off at the apartment (to drop our bags off...we don't travel light to the baby house!) and we walked to the bakery to get some of the meat-cabbage-mushroom filled pastries. The snow is really wet so we were covered with snow after only a minute outside. There were definitely less people on the streets today, I think all the smart ones stayed inside. We brought our delicious pastries back to the apartment and ate them with some pringles chips. (We have had more pringles here than we have in the last 5 years at home...I'm beginning to get addicted...they're the next best thing to potato sticks!)


Heading back to the apartment with warm pastries for lunch. (Our apartment balcony is the one on the second floor, second from the left.)

We began the afternoon visit as usual picking up Gulnaz, then heading to Temirlan's room to pick him up. We were told that he was, how should we say this, indisposed at the moment and we could come back later to get him. It turns out that Temirlan's group had just gotten up from their naps and Mike could see them all lined up on their potties ;) Plus he hadn't eaten yet (like he needs to eat before he sees us!). It must have been their afternoon snack time. So we went down to the music room without him. Time for some special Mama-Papa-Gulnaz time! Gulnaz really enjoyed the undivided attention...giving us lots of smiles, laughs and ba-ba-ba's (her version of good conversation). Today she wanted to pull herself up a lot and even stood on her own for several seconds. We think she will start walking soon and were wondering if she would even take her first steps while we're still in Kazakhstan! (or are we just naive parents thinking because a baby can balance for a few seconds they'll take the next step and begin walking?)

One of Temirlan's caregivers brought him down to the music room later on and he came bounding in with a mouthful of food. He plopped down on the sheet with us and we all started playing a game with the blocks. We each had two blocks (including Gulnaz) and we would all bang them together at the same time. Sounds silly, doesn't it? Well, Temirlan must have thought so too because this made him laugh. This was actually one of many little games that made him laugh during our afternoon visit. He was the happiest and most responsive to us that we have seen yet. Since we were both involved with the kids and these silly games, we didn't capture much on camera. Plus the camera was acting up and we would always miss the shot when we tried. And, believe it or not, ... the snack container with the cheerios, goldfish crackers and cocoa puffs never even came out of the bag! Mark it on your calendar!


I love having Mama and Papa's undivided attention! Because...


Mama reads me stories, and ...


Papa holds me up like a big girl, ...and most of all ...


I can play with Temirlan's race car! Hooray!


Look, I can turn pages in the Pooh book when I'm not carrying around cocoa puffs.


Our two little angels.

We are staying in tonight because it's so messy outside (Lyn's request) so we won't have any restaurants to report on. We are going to eat the rest of our meat and cabbage-filled pastries from lunch and, of course, some sort of side dish ;)

For those interested, we have put pictures of our apartment on a separate page.

Until tomorrow...Paka! Paka!

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