Friday, December 23

A place to sit

Enjoying the rocking chair Aunt Colleen gave her for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14

Got any more of that yogurt?

Our girl finishes a meal.

Laughter and applause

Good times at the end of a Bush speech in Philadelphia on Monday:

THE PRESIDENT: I have some extra time, I thought I might answer some questions. (Laughter.) Yes, ma'am.

Q Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.

THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.


Q Mr. President, thank you -- (unintelligible)

THE PRESIDENT: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up. (Laughter and applause.)

Jokes, (32,000+ dead), jokes, laughter, applause.

Sunday, December 4

Little person, large box

MJ's been under the weather this week, but that doesn't mean she can't have fun with a bunch of cardboard.

Thursday, December 1

Got any ketchup?

MJ enjoys her first french fry, purchased at the Air & Space Museum on Thanksgiving Day. At least, we think she enjoyed it.

Wednesday, November 9

Sharing the Os

MJ makes sure we all eat plenty of Cheerios.

Monday, October 31


Happy Halloween.

How come Halloween is so late at night?

One tired pumpkin yawns as we make our way to dinner with friends. After that we headed to "Hill-o-ween," an annual gathering at Eastern Market full of kids and costumes. MJ thought it was all pretty entertaining. Plus she saw her playgroup pals.

Out on the town with the Punkin

Here we all are, the entire Phaction. Getting ready to eat some Cuban food, or in MJ's case, getting ready to throw some Cuban food on the floor.

Thursday, October 27


It's starting to get chilly out there.

Osh Kosh


Tuesday, October 4

Back on the farm

MJ harvests some gravel.

Wednesday, September 14

What? I'm not eating leaves.

What made you think I'm eating leaves?

Hey, that's a nice leaf there.


MJ gets busy in the Big Tube.

Thursday, August 18


To celebrate MJ's birthday, we trekked to see a butterfly-filled greenhouse at a park in the suburbs. Here's our one-year-old outside the park - she's either playing with a leaf, or preparing to light a pipe. Can't remember which.

Ahh, if you look at the larger version of the picture, you can see it's a leaf.

Sunday, August 14

Let me see that camera

This is why it can be hard to take close-ups.

Saturday, July 30

Rubber ducky, you're the one

MJ takes a bath after rubbing supper all over her face.

Tuesday, July 26

On guard

One nice thing about living in the District is the refreshing variety of crime. We subscribe to "Crime Reports," an email service that sends out the police blotter each day listing calls in and around our neighborhood. Oftentimes Crime Reports is on the fritz, kind of like law enforcement in general, and we have to wait a week or more for the reports to resume.

A batch of reports came today. Here's my favorite:

PSA 102 - 7/17/2005 - 9:00:00 PM Hours
THEFT - 1 - 500 Block 6TH ST NE

c1 reports that he let s1 spend the night over his house because he was going to fix c1's computer, when c1 awoke this morning, s1 was gone along with his computer.

I had been thinking about letting the Sears guy sleep on our couch so he could fix the washing machine, but now I'm not so sure. Thanks, Crime Reports!

Saturday, July 9


MJ tries out the baby swing in Arlington.

Standing tall

Experimenting on 4 July.

Tuesday, July 5


The Heritage Foundation's HQ is near our house, and I walk past it often. So it's always interesting when I run across news about the good folks at Heritage and the values they champion. For instance, if you don't like something a young woman on a bicycle says, you can just knock her down.

Sunday, July 3


MJ enjoys shopping for good bargains on a holiday weekend.

Monday, June 20

Cute as a bug

MJ visited the zoo in Lincoln today. She discovered a certain kinship with the creatures there.

Thursday, June 16

Drifting off

MJ heads toward napland with her Lufthansa blanket. Photo courtesy of our friend Liz, who came in from Michigan to visit for a couple of days.

Red, white, and blue

With another successful Flag Day behind us, it's good to read in USA Today that "[t]he Senate may be within one or two votes of passing a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the U.S. flag, clearing the way for ratification by the states."

That's right - fortunately for all of us, Congress has solved every other problem facing the country, and has turned once again to the yearly flag burning debate. Of course, this year the issue is even more grave than usual. The Citizens Flag Alliance, which supports the amendment and keeps track of these things, reports that flag burning incidents are down only a little in 2005 ... to a total of ONE.

It's a little hard to grasp those kinds of numbers. To put ONE in perspective, think of the number 10, then subtract nine. To use a sports reference, if you had a large football that was as big as 100 football fields, just ONE of those footballs would stretch across some 100 football fields. In astronomical terms, just ONE piece of string as long as the distance between the Earth and the Moon would span all the way from us here on Earth to our closest neighbor, the Moon. It took the Apollo astronauts three days to make the same journey! That's a big piece of string!

So you can see why we need to spend time on the flag amendment.

Monday, June 13

Pondering in the car seat

"If time is an aspect of space, as Einstein showed us," MJ thought, "does that mean that, when my car seat is at rest in space, such as at this stop sign, I am traveling through *time* at the speed of light? And furthermore, why is my binky attached to this plastic chain?"

Friday, June 10

Hey you! Baby!

You'll need to click on this photo to see a larger version. Every day MJ pulls herself up on the footstool so she can look in the mirror behind it. At the same time, an identical baby looks through the mirror from the other side. Weird!

On the town

MJ's first trip to a restaurant, just down the tracks from us at Union Station. With no high chair available, MJ sat in the stroller and enjoyed rubbing colorful food around her mouth.

Wednesday, June 8

It's tiring to be small

MJ fell asleep while she was playing this morning. We covered her up with the blanket her Aunt Amy made. Looking on is the Big Lamb that Uncle Dave no doubt had a hand in picking out.


MJ's pal Isabel stopped by for a visit on Monday. They mostly discussed 11-dimensional superstring theory. And diapers.

Tuesday, June 7

Friday, June 3


MJ likes to steal the spoon at mealtime. She'll chomp down on it and refuse to give it back until all of the food it once neatly contained is rubbed about her face and hands.


On Wednesday MJ took her first Metro ride. Here we are waiting for the train at our stop, heading to the doctor's office for a checkup.

Sunday, May 29

First day

After a confusing night in a completely different time zone/hemisphere, Marina woke up (at 3 a.m.) and was ready for action. Once the rest of the world caught up with us, we went out shoppin' for baby items. We found out that there are actually quite a few baby items for sale.

Marina liked this new hat.

Friday, May 27

Back at last

We made it - after around 48 hours with no sleep, 15 hours in
airplanes, and thousands of miles. Marina is sleeping in her crib, the
cats are a little spooked, and we're tired. But glad to be back.

Thursday, May 26

Heading home

This afternoon we'll be visiting the U.S. embassy to take care of the
final bit of paperwork necessary to make Marina an American citizen.
Late tonight, actually very early tomorrow morning, we'll board a
Lufthansa flight for home. We'll arrive back at Dulles around 1:30 pm

We can't wait to see everyone, and Marina is looking forward to meeting you.

Friday, May 20


We made it to the "Grand Hotel Ai-Ser" in Almaty. All three of us are
doing well. Marina had a good time during the trip, looking around at
all of the people. She's back on something of a schedule in our hotel
room now, sleeping through the night and eating like a champ.

Right now I'm sitting at the "Troy Internet Cafe" in a mall not too
far from the hotel. Almaty is a surprisingly cosmopolitan city with
just about anything you might need. Yesterday our translator took some
of us to buy strollers at the main bazaar. It was a huge building
filled with stalls selling everything from blue jeans to stiff fish.
We passed on the stiff fish, but I think the stroller is going to work
out. Marina loves it, so long as it keeps moving.

It looks like we'll probably be leaving Kazakhstan early next Friday
morning, but we're hoping we might be done a day or two earlier.

Tuesday, May 17

Heading toward the future

We're packing right now, getting ready for the trip to Almaty tomorrow. We should be there for 7-10 days while all of the necessary paperwork is completed for Marina to exit Kaz. and enter the U.S.

It's going to be a huge adventure for all of us. Just the van ride to the airport will be one of the biggest things that's ever happened to Marina, not to mention everything that comes after that. I like to think that in this picture Marina is looking toward the future, imagining life as it's going to be and thinking, "I'm ready."

Either that, or she's looking at that tricycle again.

Ust again

Here's the view from the top floor of our hotel. If you're into Soviet architecture, this is the place for you.

The scenery is actually pretty nice. Lots of trees, low mountains in most directions, two rivers. Also, smokestacks.

Cups, begone!

A couple things are going on here.

First, I didn't realize how much babies HATE to see stacking cups stacked up. If you build a pile of stacking cups, they will crawl across a room to knock them down. They evidently do not like the order represented by neatly stacked cups.

Second, this is one of my favorite expressions so far. I am sure we will see this face again when she is about 13 or 14.


I'm not sure how Anne got this shot. Marina has an uncanny ability to look away from the camera just as you're about to push the button.

Go Torps!

The hockey building, home of the mighty Ust-Kamenogorsk Torpedoes!


Here's the approach to the main bridge over the river. Some of the busses, like this red one, seem to be surplus from Sweeden. They still have destination signage for places like "Stockholm" and "Centrum."

The yellow building in the background is typical. They make up much of the town. Apartments above, stores below.

Going for a ride

Marina really digs these wheels. We push her around, and as soon as we stop, she gets upset. We have to distract her to put the trike away.


Baby's pal. Also a hat is nice.


I don't think Marina was used to getting so much exercise before we showed up. Toward the end of our playtimes she gets tired. But she stays cute!


Here's the room where Marina entertained us most days.


Most days the caregivers would dress Marina in one of several hats. We saw this one a lot. It was too big for her so we folded it back. She didn't seem to mind.

It's official

We went to court yesterday and again today - turned out to be a two-step process. But everything worked out OK. The adoption petition was approved, and we're leaving Ust on Wednesday morning for Almaty. This afternoon we received the adoption certificate and a new birth certificate listing us as the mother and father.

Wednesday, May 11

Behind the wheel

Everything's still going fine over here. Alan's been sick for about a week, which isn't fun - probably a bad case of the same cold Marina has. But overall, we're OK.

Tuesday, May 3

Looking at mom, holding on to dad

Sorry for the lack of posts - we've been having a bit o' trouble uploading pictures. But here's Marina again, looking cute.

Monday, May 2

Marina Josephine

Marina Josephine

Marina is happy and busy. She laughs, crawls, rolls around, reaches
for toys, and likes to chew on things (there are four little teeth
coming in on top and two already on the bottom).

We visit for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in
the afternoon. All three of us are worn out when we're done!

We're happy with how well everything is going, and we're feeling pretty lucky.

Friday, April 29

Made It.

Well, we're in Almaty. Not much internet time here, so details will
need to wait. We're flying to Ust later today and will likely go to
the babyhome tomorrow.

Out for now.....

Tuesday, April 26



The situation is we're heading to Kazakhstan on Wednesday. That's pretty much on the other side of the world from here. The map above (here's a larger version) shows some of the main cities. We'll be spending time in Almaty, which is the main city and located near the southern border, and Ust-Kamenogorsk, which sits up in the northeast. For those of you who follow Kazakh geography, "Ust" is now perhaps better known as Oskemen, the Kazakh version of the name. Everyone still seems to call it Ust, though. It's catchy that way.


The trip itself is a long one. We're flying Dulles - Frankfurt - Almaty, which comes out to 7,253 miles. It's about 8 hours to Frankfurt, a 4 hour layover, then another 6 1/2 hours to Kazakhstan. On the bright side, we'll get to see Spanglish for free.

We plan to take a lot of pictures, some of which should show up at this site. Internet access will be sporadic during the first couple of weeks in Ust, but should get better in Almaty. So, by all means, email us.

Wednesday, April 20

Almaty shopping

Almaty shopping

Here's a pic of the mall in Almaty, sent to us by someone who recently
returned from K. Probably a place we will visit a time or two.

Sunday, April 17


of the flower variety