Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We hope everyone had a nice Christmas this year.  Now for some highlights from our Christmas festivities. We are enjoying a Christmas with no snow in Estonia, it makes driving easier.  We opened up our presents early because we didn't have room to take them with us to southern Estonia.  We got lots of nice things, thank you Mom and Dad!  We really enjoyed church on Sunday.  We had a lot of nice music and nice talks.  Then we watched the Christmas Devotional.  After that there was a really nice lunch.  We had a record number of people there, we hope it will help us get a nice addition to the Tallinn chapel. 

It is hard to believe that 2014 will be here soon!  2013 has been an awesome year for us.  Matthew loves his job and has enjoyed being a lecturer of International Relations and not just an assistant of International relations.  Matthew enjoyed going to a conference in Norway, it was great that Mom, Dad, and Lynne came as well.  He has also enjoyed the success of the 49ers this year.  Matthew has also loved Amazon Prime and all the Star Trek the Next Generation that we can now watch. Best of all is being a father for the first time!

Maris has enjoyed driving and loves our new car.  The car is only new to us, it is 14 years old but it only feels like it is 10 years old!  She is excited about reading again after getting a new Kindle for Christmas. Maris also loves Amazon Prime and all the Star Trek Voyager she can now watch.  Maris enjoyed her editing job but was more than happy to give it up to be a mom.  After 9 months of being pregnant she was ready to welcome our new baby into our family. We are both happy to have such a beautiful baby!  Special thanks to Mom and Dad who came and helped us out in October, it was just what we needed!

Our baby is calm, peaceful, funny, and growing like a little baby should. She loves to smile at her Mommy!  She enjoys being a dual citizen of Estonia and the US.  She also loved the visit in October from Mom and dad, her favorite is the vibrating chair that helps her fall asleep in no time. 

We both really enjoyed the youth camp in Latvia in the summer.  We also have all enjoyed living in Keila, moving here has really been awesome.  The new trains are beautiful and make the commute to work a pleasure. 

2014 will be an exciting year, if everything goes according to plans it will include a PhD defense, a summer trip to Idaho, and a healthy happy baby growing up into a toddler!  Can't wait. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The price of citizenship

This week we are in the process of finalizing our baby's passport applications!  She will be a dual citizen.  I think Estonia and the US are good countries to have citizenship.  Aside from the color, the passports are basically the same, yet there was a huge difference in cost.  To register our baby and to get her passport it cost a total of $205 or about 155 euros.  To order an Estonian ID card and an Estonian passport it was 19.17 euros or about $25.  They say America is the land of opportunities, with dual citizenship our baby will be able to experience for herself whether those opportunities equals the extra $180! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Estonia in the news

There are two interesting articles about Estonia on CNN I thought I would share:

One on Estonia's oil shale, and one about Estonia's economy.   Estonia was also listed as one of the top winter vacation destinations!  We just walked through old town and the Christmas market looks great, they have live reindeer out and everything!

All I want for Christmas is Jabari, Jerry, and Jimmer please!

The Jazz are in full rebuilding/tanking mode and it hurts.  I see former Jazz players tearing it up on other teams playing for an extreme discount.  Paul Millsap 2 years 19 million, Wes Matthews, Mo Williams, Kyle Korver, and DeMare Carrol are others who are now doing well.  Why did the Jazz let all these fine players go? It enabled them to get some draft picks (who they can only hope will one day develop into players as good as the ones previously mentioned) and they get to lose which then increases the value of their pick. 

It is tough to see them lose, but if lucky the Jazz will be able to make the playoffs next year and win the championship after that.  To do this I am asking Santa for three things this year.  I want the Jazz to draft Jabari Parker, I want to fire Corbin and bring back Jerry Sloan, and I want to sign Jimmer Fredette this off season.  Those moves would make the Jazz a contender again. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas fever!

We are all in the Christmas mood here in Estonia! We decorated the apartment on Sunday, it didn't take long but it was sure fun!
 This is our Christmas altar! It is sure awesome to have three Christmas stockings! The one in the middle had a really nice felt Santa on it, but after a trip through the washing machine and the dryer he was gone faster than a snowman in death valley!  We also decided to decorate our bamboo plant this year.  Special thanks to Mom and Dad for making sure we will have enough presents under the Christmas tree this year.  But let's be honest, our tree is so small we will always have enough presents under the Christmas tree.  If anyone is facing a tight budget out there and wondering how to implement it without the family knowing, just get a smaller Christmas tree, it will work like a charm. 

 We have a very small Christmas tree, but we still like it.  I got it 5 years ago when I moved back to Estonia.  I thought that I would be here for 2 years, so I would splurge and get a Christmas tree.  It is still going strong. Can you see three mini star trek space ship ornaments?  They are my favorite!  It makes decorating the tree so much fun! 

 Here is an upclose one of the Enterprise

Here is another up close one of another Enterprise.  This one may have been tricky to find because it wasn't actually on the tree.  The third one is a Klingon bird of prey, you'll have to find that one on your own!