Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Photo by Juliya G.

Isn't he the cutest thing you've ever seen? Ever?  Of coarse he is!  Even though he is chatting all day long now and is finally potty trained (thank heavens!) he is still such a baby!   Yesterday, my Russian boy told his older brother, "You're not the boss of me!" in English.  I almost fell of my couch.    I love his sense of humor and his baby face. Heck, now that he is sleeping through the night, I love pretty much everything about this little man!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Seven: Part 2

This post is a bit overdue, however, I have learned that if I don't write down things I need/want to remember, I will probably forget them.  Such became my brain after three pregnancies and six sleep deprived years.  Anyway, I think that seven was celebrated awesome. It took me a few years, but I have finally realized against all Russian culture expectations that it is really is OK to invite just the child's friends and not friends' parents and their x number of siblings.  It also really is OK to serve one or two big dishes that the kids will actually eat instead of cooking up many dishes and salads to please their parents.  This year, the new way of celebrating kid birthdays worked very well.  I will no longer have to dread these parties and actually look forward to celebrating future birthdays. 

The party began a day early when some members of the birthday gang showed up at my doorsteps with their little backpacks.  Though their overnight visit was unexpected, my panic state was tamed when I saw that most of them arrived with big sisters.   Big sisters are good, very good.  They helped me clean up and took the crew to the park so that I could decorate and have a few minutes of peace before the party.  They also got the little girls dressed up and made their hair and did their make up!

Even the little guy got a make over!

They looked so cute.  Everyone else arrived on time and the party began with eating yummy food. I kept it simple with homemade burgers, a few salads, and shrimp fettuccine.   One of the big plates was a sushi plate that grandma bought per her only granddaughter's request.  It was a popular dish!

After that the girls played a few games ideas for which I stole borrowed from the Internet.  It was actually awesome to facilitate the games for a change instead of spending the entire time in the kitchen serving and cleaning up after people!  Here is one where the girls were divided into two teams and had to carry a boiled egg in a spoon a short distance and then drop it in the buckets. 

Another good one was a nail painting circle.   The girls circulated the nail polish around while the music was one and stopped to paint one of their nails when the music stopped.  I bought two bottles so that the game would not drag on.  Girls were so cute! 

Nicolas who wants to do many things his older sister does first joined the circle but then was shamed into the corner to be the DJ for this activity. 

Abby was such a good girl on this day.  I feared a little attitude and bossiness to come from a birthday girl, but she actually exceeded my expectations. She is very picky with clothes and is forming her own interesting style.  She got a lot of clothes, some of which she didn't like, however, while opening the gifts showed appreciation to the girls which made me feel pretty good. 

At the end of the day, everyone was safe and sound and exhausted.  The guests took their little crafty bag with a prizes home.  Little girls are fun.   Parties are fun too if kept simple, fun, inexpensive, and small.  Happy b-day, big girl!  And congratulations to Mama who has learned how to celebrate many more to come!   

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Great Read

I love everything about this post. I cannot say that I live the life she describes, but we are starting to get the point and change our ways and perceptions about the need and the desire to simplify our lives.  Enjoy. 

Stephanie writes about her hair, on being a minimalist, and some other great things.  Read it here. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Seven: Part 1

My daughter turned seven years old yesterday. As my mom often says on my daughter's birthdays, x number of years ago, I became a mom. It is hard to believe it has been seven already. Though time flew by as it usually does, so much has happened since she was born! She was born into a little apartment. We now live in our second home. I finished my Bachelor degree when she turned two, five years later, I am almost done with my Master's. We have changed two churches since then and made many new friends. Abby became a big sister twice which she has welcomed without any tantrums. She has successfully completed two years of Russian and American schools and I have seen her emerge from a follower to a leader type.

All these years, I have watched some of her character traits change and others stick. She reminds me of me, but mostly of my mom. Some of the things about her I am still discovering and am happy to know that they are part of her. Others things drive me crazy some days. This is mostly because since her brothers were born, she was made to be older, more mature, the should-know-it-better kid. In a way, it is unfair to be the oldest. There is more responsibility and pressure to be that good example, to lead the way to the younger crowd. I often forget that she is still a kid and am maybe more demanding of her in terms of her behavior than of the boys.

Last Saturday, she was sitting in between my husband and I in his truck while driving to the lake. She was chitchatting, goofing off, teasing her brothers who were in the back. After hearing a few of my signs and stop its she asked, " Mom, am I an annoying kid? The truth is she a kid. Being annoying is part of the kid genetic make up. In addition to that trait, kids are also goofy, bouncy, inappropriate at times, stubborn, curious, clever, funny, and sweet. It is easy more pleasant to experience outbursts of the several latter traits. It is often challenging, annoying and head spinning to navigate through the other ones. The truth is that she is sweet, funny, smart KID and  I am a very proud mama.   I have to remember and cherish that about her and model the behavior I would like to see in her when she grows up. I have to remind myself this often. I am the one who requires most discipline. I am the one who often fails to be a good parent and discipline her with consistency, love and patience.  We've been blessed to have her in our lives for these short, long seven years.    I pray that God continues giving us wisdom, strength, and patience to raise this little girl to be a wonderful woman.

Happy B-day, baby girl!

Love, mama. 

~~~We had a cool celebration of her birth yesterday, once I figure out how to transfer 500 pictures to my very slow, almost no space computer, I will follow with part 2 :)