four years

By addysengrace, christian, family, mercyadoniyah, Moldova, romania

somehow it has been four years since we packed up or sold everything we owned, said goodbye to all the “normals” in our life and moved overseas to eastern europe. four years. it feels like yesterday and it feels like forever. the past four years have been some of the hardest, darkest, most painful, most chaotic, most unknown years of my life. and yet the past four years also hold some of the sweetest, prettiest, best and most special moments.

oh life.

have i ever looked back and regretted it?

there have been times when i have felt guilty and wondered what i am doing. we took our perfectly perfect children, ages 3.5 and 6 months and we moved them to a country that spoke russian and romanian, two languages we did not. we took them “away” from their grandparents and cousins and friends. we moved in january to eastern europe and this happened. the danube froze. one day the “high” was negative 22 degrees. february’s average temperature was negative 11 degrees. i dont even remember those first few months. my first major memories came in may when my parents came to visit us.

but do i regret it?

there was a time when i could barely watch my children do the goodbyes – – watching them bravely wave goodbye to visitors, tears streaming down their cheeks. or the times we have had to carry them through security in order to get them on the airplane. and those were the times i wondered, maybe doubted what we were doing.

but i have learned something through all this, something i get to experience. if it wasn’t for those heart wrenching goodbyes, i wouldn’t have the most amazing reunions. and seeing the looks on my girls’ faces – – the amazement, the excitement, the magic, the sparkle. seeing them race through the airport into the arms of a grandparent. see their looks of shock and excitement to a surprise visitor. listening to them recount the special moments and memories and gifts.

and i realized that while the goodbyes are painful and heart wrenching, we also have the hellos and reunions. and our moments and memories are extra special because we can count them and remember each and every one. our time together is magic and when we are apart we can remember the times we were together. and when we feel discouraged we can remember those moments and memories, those hellos and reunions.

and that is what makes us stronger. so happy four years of living in eastern europe.

a bit of moldova

By Family, Moldova

a compilation of pictures from life in chisinau…




a rainy day means a picture without people.
IMG_9237i would like to think i have become the kefir master.

IMG_9905hmmmm, hopefully it is natural, not some reaction to pesticides!

IMG_9839yes, yes we did buy our children an inside trampoline in an apartment. they. love. it.

IMG_0092i have no idea. but they were for sale at the grocery store. last month.

IMG_9709a little summer addition to our park.

IMG_0616living in the center adds new fun, like playing a game of “spot the foreigner.”

IMG_9461what’s weird about this picture? nothing. except i am wearing my fall jacket. and it was july. can’t really complain though!

IMG_0615some days i need my fall jacket, other days i need moldovan air conditioning.

IMG_0364maybe i am missing something but i’m confused why moldova is remembering an american astronaut.

IMG_0679i am going to guess that our neighbors did NOT leave a forwarding address for their bills.

IMG_0367impromptu baby dedication at church.

IMG_9900the mamas and the dads prayed for their kids. pretty cool.

IMG_9899father’s day with daddy’s youngest princess.

IMG_0106and his oldest princess.


learning to love each other

By Kids, Moldova

IMG_9873these two love each other. passionately.

IMG_9721but don’t assume it is all personality. they actually like a good fight.

IMG_0089but every day we encourage them. we tell them, “your sissy is your best friend.”

IMG_9710we tell addy, “you protect your baby sister.”

IMG_9740we tell mercy, “if you are scared, your big sister will take care of you.”

IMG_9765and it is really starting to pay off.

IMG_8954they love. love. love. each other.

IMG_8945and it makes my heart so happy. and thankful.

IMG_9856this morning mercy woke up at the very wrong hour of 5:45am.

IMG_0053i heard addy say to mercy, “it is only 5:43 mercy. and our clock has to say 7. wanna snuggle in my bed with me until 7?”

IMG_0100they keep me busy that is for sure. and i am sure one day when i have teenagers, i will gain a few more gray hairs.

IMG_0114but i am so, so, so thankful the Lord gave us sisters.



taxi ride to dinner, bus ride home!IMG_0394IMG_0398

cherry picking!IMG_9794IMG_9795

a sickie

By Kids, Moldova

addy is a happy kid. she is an optimist, social and energetic.
IMG_0149so when she gets sick, neither christian or i know quite what to do.
IMG_0155last week, we came home from our language class on monday and our bouncy four year old was laying silently on the sofa. our babysitter said she had not eaten, not played and not watched tv. red flags.
IMG_0158tuesday she was as in, falling asleep anywhere and everywhere.
IMG_0160even mercy was besides herself trying to comfort her.
IMG_0178she of course needed to sleep in between mama and daddy two nights in a row. (once a co-sleeper, always a co-sleeper.)
IMG_0183finally she was on the mend and then the goal was to keep a very, very, very over-active child quiet for another day.
IMG_0203thank goodness she was back to normal by friday!

new prayer card/picture!

By Family, Moldova

my sister sarah took this awesome picture. she also designed it into this super cool prayer card. i know, i know – – it’s nice to be related to talent, huh?


Adobe Photoshop PDF
if you would like one, just leave us a comment or send us an email. in case you were wondering, these are all the MANY ways you can connect with us:


christian &#9733 email &#9733 twitter &#9733 instagram &#9733 facebook


marie &#9733 email &#9733 pinterest &#9733 instagram &#9733 facebook


skype us &#9733 support us


one year. ago.

By Family, Moldova

we said goodbye.
IMG_0407we traveled for a really long time. we had nine carry-on bags {including things like sewing machines} plus a carseat and a stroller. we fell asleep standing up. we spent hours in the frankfurt airport. we landed in the middle of a record cold winter and drove all night to chisinau. we moved into a soviet-era apartment less than a week later. and slowly, ever so slowly, we made it our home.


we’ve shed tears. we’ve been angry. we’ve laughed until we cried again. mercy has learned to walk in this country. gosh, mercy has now lived over half of her life in moldova. addy gave up her pacifer of over three years and started attending moldovan preschool. marie found gray hairs on her head and discovered she loves kefir. christian discovered his love for moldovan sourdough bread and hatred for meat jello.


we have had visitors and each one has meant so much to us. we learned that spring and summer are pretty nice months in moldova. we’ve made friends.


we’ve studied language. and studied. and studied.


can you believe it has been one year?


p.s. if you want a new prayer card, please go here.


p.p.s. we would love to see you while we are in california. stay tuned for the sundays we will be at skyline church and the sundays we will be at auburn grace community church.


thanks for praying for us each and every day we’ve been here!

through the eyes of a child

By Kids, Moldova

we recently started visiting an orphanage outside of chisinau. it is such good practice for our language! this is my little friend and she loves to take pictures with my cell phone and the first time she took pictures i had over a hundred when i got home! to make things even more fun, not only does she love to take pictures, she loves to take pictures of me. i have never had so many pictures of myself on my own cell phone! enjoy this random post of silly and somewhat scary photos…good thing they are blurry, ha!


my hair stylists.

By Family, Kids, Moldova

how do i study romanian while parenting a four year old and a one and a half year old?


beauty parlor.


meets massage therapist.


i’m studying.


can’t you tell?



chisinau at night

By Family, Moldova

on my actual birthday, c + the girls took me out for dinner. then we met up with our friends for coffee and dessert. it was a great monday followed by taking the train to bucharest the next day. i can’t believe i’m thirty-one. guess i’m officially “in” my thirties, ha! i snapped a few pics, just using the crazy random street lights as we walked down stefan cel mare. i really, really love this city at night!

a princess party

By Family, Kids, Moldova

here are just a few of my favorites from today…we had a prefectly perfect princess party with a couple of princesses AND a few princes too! it was once again a group effort, thanks to grandmas, aunties and friends. happy birthday, addy grace.

and now? on to christmas!