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February 15

It's Sunday morning and all is well. We didn't get up until between 8:30 and 9 o'clock this morning, but with the time change that is like 6:30 - 7 to us. For the last day or so, Nikki Gulnaz has earned a new nickname (not just Nikki). Daddy has been calling her 'Jerry McGuire' because Jerry McGuire can't be alone (it makes sense if you've seen the movie). Her personality has changed completely from the 'independent girl' we met in the baby house (by the way there is a popular song here in English called 'Independent Girl' so that was another short-lived nickname). If you remember the previous entries she was serious and wanted to study everything. Although she always liked to be held, she wanted to do everything and go after everything herself. Now she MUST be held at almost all times. When playing she will venture away from whomever is holding her but come racing back shortly, demanding to be picked up again. If she does start playing and we get up to leave the room she immediately begins to wail. We think it a combination of teething (she still chews on everything) and insecurity from leaving the baby house. Her whole world, which previously consisted of a few rooms at the baby house, has completely changed and we are actually the only connection between her life before and her life now. Thank goodness for the two week visitation!

Temirlan has changed as well. He was more frightened and difficult at the baby house and has so far adjusted well for only being with us a couple days (and one of those spent in airports and on planes). He plays, sings, and this morning taught us the six or seven Kazakh words he knows...although we're still a bit unclear on most of the meanings. He has slept well all three nights now but seems too excited in the daytime to take a nap. A funny thing happened as we were going to sleep last night. If you remember we made beds for the three of us on the living room floor so he would be comfortable with bedtime (Nikki gets the crib). He plopped right down between us and quickly went to sleep. Well, about ten or fifteen minutes after falling asleep he had a quick bout of sleep crawling. He suddenly sprang up and crawled furiously across the floor for seven or eight feet before just as suddenly plopping down again, still fast asleep. It was hilarious! We hadn't seen this before and didn't see it again last night. However it doesn't surprise us as he ends up ALL OVER as he sleeps. At the moment his biggest insecurity seems to be when he is out in public. In the airports he seemed very scared and needed to be held at all times or the crying (with his little stomping dance) would start. The few tantrums he's thrown here in the apartment (no Temirlan, you can't hold the lamp, have Papa's coffee, or climb up on the table) have only lasted a couple minutes each before he smiles and is happy again. We have to admit we're proud of how he is 'rolling with the punches' of some pretty big changes. This afternoon we plan to take the kids to a park to get some air. We'll see how that goes!

Nikki putting Mama down for her nap.

Well, we're not going to the park this afternoon. Nikki has been fussy all day long, probably due to teething. She continues wanting to be held and still fusses even then. We gave her some infant tylenol and that seemed to make her feel much better so we don't think she is really sick, just those top teeth coming in to join the bottoms. She also had a nice nap earlier and felt a bit better afterward. Maybe tomorrow for the park. While she had her nap, Temirlan joined Mama and Papa for lunch. It was the first time he's eaten with us without little sister trying to steal the show and he really enjoyed it. We again had salami and cheese sandwiches, this time with Russian cheese and Turkish bread we bought at the Ramstore. If you remember from our day in Almaty at the beginning of our trip, the Ramstore is the Super Walmart of Kazakhstan (or at least Almaty). Temirlan of course likes all the ingredients of the sandwich, but separate and cut into bite-sized pieces. He really enjoyed the pringles...in spite of his funny 'Vinegar Face'. He loved the crunchy texture and the "overall chip experience". However, the salt & vinegar flavor threw him off a bit. He spit out the first one he tried (on Saturday night). However seeing us eat them with lunch on Sunday gave him 'the fever for the flavor'. We gave him about three chips suitably divided into Temirlan-sized portions. He finished just about all but would make his 'sour vinegar face' when eating one. It was so funny to see him make the face again and again but still want more chips! Then the funniest face came when he noticed Papa eating his sandwich with some Russian mustard he bought. We tried to tell him he wouldn't like it but a tantrum was in the making...so his next piece of bread was complete with a little dab of mustard! His reaction is shown below. Even with the surprise he got from the mustard taste he still ate the bread. It was also funny that he also had fun when we would laugh at his faces! Given his continued eating of the chips and salami (also spicy) he must like trying food with a little extra spice. I guess he's in the right family! So we all had fun watching him eat (he liked our reactions), letting him feed us an occasional bit off his plate, and just enjoying more good food.

So now you all are invited to...Luncheon with Temirlan!

Welcome. Won't you join us?

We have good food,...

...stimulating conversation,...

...and plenty of fun!

Vinegar face!

Mustard face!!!

Thank You Mama! That was delicious!!

You're done? Have some of mine Papa.

And its over far too soon. Come back again soon!

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