February 4, 2019

December 3, 2017

November 24, 2017

Sunday Best Pictures

Falls Church, Virginia 2016
Gunnison, Utah, 2016

Falls Church, Virginia 2016

Falls Church, Virginia, 2016

Falls Church, Virginia 2015

Falls Church, Virginia 2016

Gunnison, Utah 2016


October 15, 2017

President Russel M. Nelson Visits Kazakhstan

We had the privilege of meeting President Russell M. Nelson today.  He came to Kazakhstan to meet with government officials about the church and spoke to our branch.  

We explained to the kids beforehand that President Nelson is currently the president of the Quorum of the Tweleve Apostles and that he will most likely be the new prophet - although we don't like to ever think about losing President Monson, who has been prophet for most of our children's lives. Because of this Max wrote President Nelson a note that said, "You will be a good prophet.  Everyone who is Mormon will know you."  I thought that was so sweet.

Elder Nelson dedicated Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic (former Kyrgyzstan) back in 2003 so it meant a lot to the members for him to come again.


August 28, 2017

May 2, 2017

max's baptism

Max got baptized and it was such a special day!  

There is actually a long story that goes with Max's baptism.  Our small branch has a portable baptismal font that we brought home and set up in our garage.  The plan was to have the baptism on Saturday, February 25th and we started filling the font a few days prior.  But there were two big problems - there was a hole in the font and the temperature in Astana dropped to negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit.  So the water leaked all over the inside of our garage and froze.  The water ran underneath our garage door and it froze shut, too!  

Max was SO excited and knew it was his special day!  When we arrived, he kept sticking his foot in the water saying, "I want to get baptized now, hurry!"

Max is so lucky that his dad was able to baptize him! 

Afterwards he got his favorite treat - warm, buttery corn in a cup!  


January 22, 2017

Bubbie the Pug

This is how I found our Pug when I came downstairs this morning. Zoe wrapped him in a blanket and made a bed for him and I think he loved it. 


January 13, 2017

Happy Birthday | Max turns 8

Happy Birthday, Max!

Our sweet baby boy turned 8 today!  Max always has a smile on his face and is the most easy-going kid around.  He thinks everything is "epic".  His favorite things to play right now are Star Wars legos, Nerf guns, and anything Pokemon.  He LOVES his pug.  Max just learned how to ride a bike, does well in school, and gives the best hugs (but hates kisses).

Some cute things Max has said recently -

Max: "Mom, are you American?"
Me: "Yes, Max, I am American."
Max: "Is Dad American?"
Me: "Yes, he's American also."
Max: (very surprised) "Oh, so everyone in our family is American!"

Max and I were watching the news where they were talking about Trump's wall.  They were showing pictures of the existing border wall and in big letters along the bottom of the screen it read, "How much for Trump's Wall?"
Max, with his 8 year old brain, was trying to understand what was going on.  I explained to him that Trump may build a wall between Mexico and the United States.  He looked really upset and yelled, "What?!  America's going to be trapped inside the US?!"     


December 29, 2016

December 28, 2016

Borovoe | Snow sledding and horse back riding

On our second day we took a shuttle bus to a small farm for an hour long horse ride. 

Max was afraid of the horses so he and I hopped on a snow sled instead.  We snuggled up and even had a furry blanket to keep ourselves warm.  
Max getting comfortable and warm

Max was so comfortable that at one point during the ride he almost fell asleep!  This was probably my favorite part of our trip--sledding through remote Kazakhstan through a quiet, white and untouched forest.  It was like we had entered Narnia! 

This was our view

A very cold family picture before heading back to the hotel for the day.  It was -11 degrees F and so long as we went inside every two to three hours we were okay. 

Sweet Max, he loved playing in the snow! 


December 14, 2016

Lost Tooth | Max

I want to add that when Max realized he had swallowed his tooth he was incredibly upset (Tooth Fairy!) and he started to cry. Kurt was doing his best to calm and comfort him but Max was desperate. He put his hands together in a fist and started to push on his stomach, in and out, in and out. He was trying to "pump" the tooth out! He's such a funny kid!


August 22, 2016

Astana, Kazakhstan | 1st Days of School

Kurt and I are always amazed at our kids and their ability to adapt to new countries and new schools.  We know it can be hard for them, but they do it and they do it with (mostly) smiles.  Adapting to new situations is an important life skill that moving around has taught them - they have seen that new is good and even exciting and that starting over is a great opportunity.  They also know that eventually they always make friends, they always learn where their classes are, and their new country always becomes "home".  It helps so much that they have each other and they're all going through it together. 
Well, I'm looking forward to a consistent schedule and I know the kids are, too.

Macy is starting her senior year this year.  Class of 2017!  

Aja will be a Sophmore this year

Noah will be in 5th grade

Zoe will be in the 8th grade

Max is starting 2nd grade.  I asked him if he was scared for his 1st day at a new school and he said, with a big confident smile on his face (and a dab),  "Mom, I don't worry about those things."


July 25, 2016

Cross Country Road Trip | San Diego

We made it to our final destination, San Diego, California!  Over the course of a month we drove 4,000 miles through 14 states.  Starting in Virgina, we went through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Grandma Mickey and Grandpa Jon used to live in San Diego and it's one of our most favorite cities.  We visited Del Ray Beach and spent the entire day there boogie boarding.

I love Max's smile in this picture.

What is the point of visiting the beach if you don't get sand in every crevice of your body?

Noah LOVED the beach!  Luckily, we had no shark sightings:)

Sand head.

Zoe's favorite part was catching sand crabs. 

Being crammed in our car (7 people and 14 bags!) for a month wore on all of our nerves and there was bickering and even tears, but most of the time we enjoyed each others company.  We bonded and made unforgettable memories while visiting our beautiful country.  And spending our final day at the beach was perfect. 

Goodbye, San Diego and America!!  Wheels up to Kazakhstan in 1 day! 


July 23, 2016