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Showing posts from June, 2014


I wasn't the only one who had a birthday last week. My sister Masha gave birth to a baby girl on Monday!

We're all thankful for her safe arrival.
As I was picturing Masha as a mother, I realized that my sisters and I all have children now: Emily and I each have a boy, and Masha and Nastia each have a girl.

While we might not have always been close growing up because of age or language or adoption, we now have something new in common. There are new "battle-wounds," physical and emotional, along with the joys of motherhood. And I have been feeling this a lot in general with my fellow women. Growing up and entering the workforce or moving away or getting married created some distance, but entering motherhood provides new ground for friendship. Of course this is true with my mom and other female relatives, and friends and classmates too.

And I certainly don't want to exclude that parenthood bond with my brother and his lovely wife, and their ever-growing family! :)

Birthday time is crazy time

I'm back! I didn't really plan on a blogging hiatus, but I was feeling out of sorts all last week. Birthdays are hard work! Shopping, cooking, lots of interacting... but at the same time it's always sad when it goes by unnoticed... so I'm not sure what the "perfect" birthday would look like. Just glad it's only once a year, LOL!

(I was given a few beautiful bouquets, but didn't take a picture. Imagine a photo in this spot.)

We just have one week left to get ready for our trip to the U.S. In that time we will also celebrate Andrei's birthday (on Sunday) and then David's/Vladimir's in advance (theirs are in July after we leave). Oh yeah, and there's a baby shower on Saturday for someone at church. As I type this I have all these games pulled up on my computer that I'm trying to translate for a Russian audience.

Packing itself isn't such a big deal because we're going into civilization. It takes time, though. And of course th…

Old Wives' Tales

I was looking for games for a baby shower for a friend of mine, and I thought it might be fun to look up some old wives' tales about pregnancy and design a trivia challenge.

Myths and legends are fun, right?

Well I was looking at this site expecting it to "debunk" the myths, but instead it offered scientific explanations for why they were TRUE.

And that made me realize that it wouldn't make for a very good game in mixed company. I will share them here for anyone interested, but take a pass if pregnancy is a sensitive topic for you.

Old Wives' Tales Regarding Pregnancy: Worth Taking Note (loosely translated from this article)

Things you shouldn't do:

1) Take up handcrafting (Sewing, Knitting, Embroidery), because it will result in a birthmark on the baby's cheek.

Verdict: TRUE! The birthmark part is hard to say for sure, but this kind of activity done sitting down is bad for the baby because of poor blood flow...

2) Hang laundry

Verdict: TRUE! Not only han…

Tantrum Terror

David is 23 months old! Such an...interesting...age.

Okay, to start with the positive, the language development is fascinating! Just a month ago I observed that David was using more English than Russian, but recently his Russian has really been picking up. Good timing for us to take a trip to the U.S.! He definitely mingles the two languages, and sometimes he repeats the same word in both languages for emphasis.

He works really hard to find words that will express what he wants! For awhile now he has been saying "Syooda, syooda" (here, here) and points to his table or cup for us to give him something. He also says "BOY" to mean that the object is for HIM, or that HE wants some too.

And then the latest is that he figured out to say "need" in Russian, which is "NUZHNO." It is so funny to hear him asking for things (specifically SUGAR), saying that he NEEDS it. Last night he woke up and was calling for us and I heard him saying "Mama nuzhno, …

Diastasis Recti: Failing Miserably

So I've been working on healing my diastasis recti for about a year now, and I haven't made too much progress. There's been a little physical/strengthening progress, and also a lot of gleaning information and interacting with other people in the same boat.

The last time I wrote I mentioned yo-yo-ing, which is still going on, and a lot of times I just feel huge (for a non-pregnant person) in general, with respects to how my clothes fit, etc. At least 3 people have asked me if I'm pregnant in the past few months, and that didn't do a lot for my self-esteem (let alone for our friendship, LOL). That is definitely one aspect of DR I'd like to leave behind. Ideally I would take the opportunity to raise awareness, but it's not always convenient, especially in an awkward moment.

David is mostly done nursing, and we'll see what happens to my body next. One person said that my body has gotten used to "eating for two" and therefore I'm eating too mu…

Summer in the City

(read to the end, because there are a lot of random topics covered here)

Too...much...SUN....I know I probably say that every summer when we have a heat-spell, and I wish the heat wouldn't bother me, because it surely is a blessing to see the sun after a gray spell. But it's hard to find a happy medium, because when the sun is out there is no escape...not until very late in the evening. As opposed to the very low sun in the winter, it's HIGH in the summer. You can't just wait a few hours for the sun to pass over and some shade to appear. It is directly above for many, many hours during the day. Whether you're going to the bus stop or the store, you have to be prepared.

Personally David and I stay in during this kind of weather. I feel guilty because I know Russian moms try to make sure their kids get fresh air every day. We get up and shut the windows and shades/curtains so the apartment won't heat up, and then we go through our daily routine, until we get a l…

History in the making?

One of the things going on in Russia these days is a crackdown on smoking in public places. You can read about it here and here and here. The bill just came into effect this month.

Andrei and I were talking about whether or not it would make a difference. I'm definitely looking forward to dining out smoke-free. We always used to joke about how just a few feet (of air) separated the smoking and non-smoking sections. No walls or anything. Hello, second-hand smoke! We are definitely spoiled in this sense in the U.S.

Obviously businesses will want to follow the rules if they don't want to get strapped with a fine or worse. Today we were in the grocery store and the cigarettes were gone! That is, they were hidden from view.

But in other areas it will be harder to control. I look forward to standing at a bus stop on a chilly day and not inhaling cigarette smoke. But what do you do, perform a citizen's arrest on the person violating the new law?

Meanwhile, I would really like to…

Seeking brothers and sisters

I was contacted at one point by a woman who visits the same group of invalids with whom I am acquainted. It was great to make a connection that had the potential for future collaboration.

So we became "friends" via social networking, and started to correspond, though never meeting in person. I was encouraged to see the work she's been doing.

Except for this one tiny detail...

...She's Russian Orthodox.

And you know, she might have even been there before when we visited. I kind of might have avoided getting acquainted.

Maybe I'm going to lose a few friends for even admitting this, but I'm not very good at mixing (in a religious context) with people of other confessions (that is, non-Protestants). In 10 years of life in Russia I still kind of shy away from deep relationships with Orthodox believers. There are certain topics that we have to avoid. And I realize that some of it is tradition and not really doctrine/belief, but it just feels like it comes between …

Missionary aims

This evening while brushing my teeth and analyzing the world's political conflicts, I found myself wondering...are there missionaries who enter a country where they LIKE the political climate? Does anyone think to him/herself, "This country is so beautiful, and peaceful, and the culture is ideal, and its people are wonderful too, except for the fact that they don't know Jesus, so I'll go serve there"? Isn't there always something we want to fix?

And a follow-up question to that: is it WRONG to want to fix something? Missions and social justice often go hand-in-hand, and Christ certainly calls our attention to the needy. And when we see social problems, we want to fix them, but we also want to find someone to blame. So we blame the regime. Isn't that how it goes?

I can't decide if that is a fallacy or not, to blame suffering on the government. Does it matter where the corruption lies, as long as it is there, in hearts?

Sometimes it seems like life won…