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Showing posts from June, 2013

Heat and plans

We've been having some hot weather recently. Surprising, I know. It is almost July, after all. But it's always a little challenging finding ways to keep cool in the city, especially with so many hours of daylight this far north. I'm thankful that our apartment isn't quite as hot as most, though I do constantly throw the covers on and off at night.


Another challenge hot weather brings is all the creepy-crawlies. It seems like everywhere I turn, quite a few fruit flies/regular flies/gnats/etc. are buzzing around my head. Can't leave food out for any length of time, including baby messes. Wouldn't it be nice to leave this messy house and come back in the fall when the flies are gone?
Well...we're getting ready to do just that! We fly to the U.S. on July 9th, which just happens to be a certain person's first birthday. Seems like an appropriate way to celebrate his two (unofficial) nationalities, crossing from one to the other.
Meanwhile, I'm at that st…

DIY stuff

Life as we know it has halted, for reasons which I'll explain another time.

But in the craziness I have still managed to sneak in a project here and there. I tend to hoard craft supplies, and this has increased since we bought an apartment. Also, the fact that we don't have a recycling center nearby means that I save glass bottles and paper/cardboard containers. I love repurposing them and feeling like I've simultaneously satisfied my creative streak and justified my hoarder tendencies.

Anyway...



While the image above is no masterpiece, it's a quick fix I created to make mealtimes a little less messy. Our grown-up nice placemats are in a dirty laundry pile somewhere with stains I don't know how to remove, and I want to look for a different color anyway.

I took some contact paper that has been through 2 apartment moves with me, and cut out an image to go inside. Like I said it isn't the prettiest, and probably isn't long-lasting, but having a few of them on…

Birthday Season

All the people in this photo have birthdays this summer! Of course, we all know who's getting the most presents, and he won't even be aware of it. :)



My birthday was on Tuesday, and Andrei and I went to the movies after having dinner with his parents (and David). That was the first time we'd been to a movie for over a year!

Andrei's turn next.

P.S. Fun fact: I accidentally flipped this photo from left to right while I was trying to rotate it, so it's a mirror image! I wonder if we look different?


Parallel Play

I have heard of times past when the whole family would gather around to listen to the radio together, or sit and watch a TV show together. I don't think that's common now. What program would they watch/listen to, and when would they find the time to do it?

I remember being in school and hearing warnings against excessive TV/video games. "Don't be a couch potato," they said. But that was before computers and Internet...

What would our ancestors say about our electronic devices? Would they be horrified at what has become of the human race? Would they be sad to see us all sitting in a room, each staring at his own device?

But this is the age we're in, and we all have to decide what role these gadgets will play in our life and our relationships.

First of all, what's so bad about gadgets? I feel pangs of guilt realizing that my 11-month-old can already peer up to the tabletop, see that there's a computer on it, and realize that I am engrossed in it. What i…

Women's Health

Probably not one for the guys...sorry, guys.

I'm feeling the need to sharevent write about some postpartum experiences, particularly the parts that have more to do with me and my feelings than the baby (though there will be overlap.

The first issue I would like to address is that of the physical healing from childbirth. I was fairly disappointed with the aftercare that I got, in both the U.S. and Russia.

When you have just been through a very graphic medical experience (natural or not), it's not the best time for delicacy and people withholding certain details that would be useful. Following childbirth, you want to know how to feel as normal as possible again. This is probably true about major operations, too. My other main experience was wisdom teeth extraction (don't laugh), and that took WEEKS of recovery, due to complications that also could have been avoided.

Childbirth IS natural, after all, but that doesn't mean we are born knowing what is going to happen. When …

On This Day in (the) History of David

This isn't going to be a long one, just a little 11-month update!


I think now is as good a time as ever to note that David is "total BOY." As evidence, enclosed are some photos of him playing with Andrei's new exercise equipment (I don't even know the term...a pull-up bar? chin-up?). There are special hooks for it installed in the wall and whenever we walk by, he gets all excited and tries to grab it. There are lots of crashes and throwing things daily, and daredevil-type acts.

David is suddenly learning a lot of independent new skills, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that all this development is the reason he has been difficult more active lately. Also, did you know that "teething" is a perpetual state? I didn't. I think this child will be teething until he enters university.

Some of the fun things he's been doing lately are:

-getting ready to stand without support (maybe even take some steps)
-stacking cups/containers, put…

A Day in the Life

Okay, here goes...

Monday morning. 

David woke up wanting breakfast and I was not ready to get up yet (read: went to bed at 2:00 again). I fed him in bed waiting for him to drift back to sleep, and he suddenly popped up, spotted Andrei, and started chatting. Finally I took him out to the living room to keep trying. After he was full and his eyes were closed, I tried to sneak back into bed with him, but the next thing I knew, his eyes popped open again and he started crawling around again. At one point our heads collided and I got upset and Andrei took him out of the room.

Morning, take two.

The next thing I knew, a few hours had passed and Andrei and David were still out in the living room. I hurried in to give Andrei a break, but they were sleeping on the couch...oops. David immediately popped up and started crying as though I had betrayed him. I whisked him away to do a diaper change and he screamed the whole time. He has this aversion to being on his back, go figure.

Several attempts…

Walking Culture

How do I put this into words? One of the more common traditions I've encountered here and NOT in the U.S. is that of taking the baby outside on walks.

Here's what I was used to: I grew up in a neighborhood where we could play out in the backyard, or even on the street or wander over to a friend's house. Going to a public playground didn't happen very often. Family "walks" were for Sunday afternoons. My mom took walks on her own. I don't recall anyone ever worrying that we weren't going outside enough. But if we needed exercise, out we went.

Enter Russian culture-and, probably, other cultures.

First I would hear a few mothers talking about how their babies behaved on walks; about how their prams were holding up; about what time they took their 1st and 2nd (or even 3rd) walks of the day. I might see a Russian mother or grandmother or father or grandfather strolling along with the carriage and think...they don't seem to be in a big hurry. It seemed …

Signs of closure, or continuation?

In a recent post, I mentioned having gotten together with a counselor friend from one of the orphanages. Something tells me we won't be meeting 2-3 times a week anymore. Galina has really been a friend in recent years, and true friends are hard to come by. I don't mean that I am lacking in friends, just that friendships take a lot of time and hard work to develop, and those people become precious.

The orphanage Galina works at has been a major part of my ministry, and it means a lot to be able to keep up with their news.

Similarly, I had a "blast from the past" with another one of the orphanages recently. I was cooking dinner and looked out the kitchen window to see a van parked outside our apartment. As I looked closer, I saw that it had an orphanage logo emblazoned on the sides. This orphanage is the one that's located a bit outside of the city. My sisters were adopted from there. I didn't think I'd know anyone there now, but as I looked down from the …

Sitting around

About those blog updates...





I think they might have to wait until next year week.

My hands are a little,...ummmm.....full.