Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 is Here

Grandpa, grandma and Arosha.Another year is behind, another year is ahead. I am sure it will bring a lot of happy moments, a lot of opportunities to be good and to do good, a lot of sweet dreams, and hugs, and smiles. I am sure it will bring some sad moments, some worries, some things that we’d rather avoid. There is no light without darkness, and I can only hope that I’ll be wise enough to appreciate all things, both good and not so good, that life throws my way.

I wanted 2011 to be nice and quiet, and that’s pretty much what we’ve got — no life-changing events or moving to new apartments — although it was not completely uneventful either.

My mom spent the beginning of 2011 with us, and this made me very very happy (and extremely sad when she left). Moms are so special! I hope we’ll see each other again in 2012.

The whole family.We went on two great vacations last year. One was Bermuda cruise which we took together with Danya’s parents and Aroshka, and another was our recent trip to Japan (special thanks to Danya’s mom who spent her vacation taking care of Aroshka and made this whole thing possible). All I can say is that exploring the world is one of the best things in life, and I hope we’ll continue doing it in 2012.

I have become an aunt for the second time last year. My sister gave birth to a baby-boy in July, and it is so much fun to see him growing (over Skype, but still), even more so because him and Aroshka are so close in age. I have to be honest, I like it when my older sister asks me for advise — makes me feel smart and all.

Both us and Danya’s parents have refinanced our apartments last year. The rates are even lower now, but I don’t think that it’s worth the hustle to re-do it again. I dream of a big house, with nice backyard which will have real grass and trees, with roomy kitchen, with hardwood floors which we would not have to cover with carpets because of neighbors. It would be nice to have Danya’s parents to live close to us — we really are lucky to live next door to them now.

Us. We look tired.Aroshka has grown so much during the last year! He turned from a bold chubby baby to a tall and slim toddler with beautiful curls and mischievous smile. He learned how to sit, crawl, stand on his own and walk. He’s got 10 new teeth and started to eat solid food. He learned to make so many sounds, and can verbally communicate a lot of things already. I bet that by the next New Year’s eve he’ll be a pretty proficient talker. I love him so much and he makes me happy and proud every single day.

My wonderful husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last year. It was really special — we had a traditional Japanese dinner at ryokan in Kyoto! I wish us many more happy years together. Hopefully, next year we’ll be able to travel again on this date.

I hope that the mighty Dragon will bring a lot of luck and happiness to everyone in 2012!

Dinner table getting set.And just a few words about our celebration. It was pretty low key this year. We went to Danya’s parents (one of Danya’s mom acquaintances joined us since she had nowhere else to go to), and started a holiday dinner at around 19:00. In about an hour Aroshka opened some of his presents and went to sleep.

We watched some TV and greeted 2012 with traditional champagne at 00:00 and then everyone got their presents. For some reason we had really tough time buying presents this year, especially for Danya and d. Borya. They said that they really had everything that they need, which is kind of true. I ended up ordering Danya’s present (leather journal) really late and got it in mail just a few hours before the deadline. I personally got a cool tea brewing gadget, a set of cookware, a summer dress and a box of candies.

Shortly after 12 Alex came for a short while, and around 1 o’clock I went to sleep. We slept over at Danya’s parents’ since we did not want to wake Aroshka up in the middle of the night. Both him and I had (and still have) a mild cold, but luckily he only woke up once during the night.

Alena and Arosha.We spent the majority of January 1st at Danya’s parents. Danya’s friend, Igor, with his wife Tanya and 3 children paid us a visit (at Danya’s parents aparment), and somehow it put me into more holiday mood. Aroshka was excited to see them (their youngest daughter, Anechka, is only 5 days older than Aroshka). I was also happy that they came because we’ve been to their home a few times already, and it was nice to return the hospitality. They are really nice people, and I can only imagine how much work it takes to take care of all of their kids! Lina and Lenya also came for a short while. They were celebrating the New Year with Lenya’s parents this time around, but next year they’ll be joining us, which is good.

By the way, we did not have any snow yet! As far as holiday mood goes, it’s a downer. Should we wish for a white 2013 New Year?
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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bacon and Asparagus Frittata

Bacon and aparagus frittata.This is an easy weekend breakfast idea and could be done with any kind of veggies. I used half an onion, 3-4 bacon strips cut into smaller pieces, 1/2 lb of asparagus, 5 eggs, a few tablespoons of whole milk, leftover cheese (don’t remember what kind), salt and pepper.

I fried bacon for 2-3 minutes in cast iron skillet, then added thinly sliced onion and fried it together in bacon grease for a few more minutes. Then added trimmed and cut asparagus, mixed and let fry for another minute. Meanwhile I beat eggs together with milk, a bit of salt and black pepper. When bacon and veggies were ready, I poured egg mixture to the skillet and sprinkled the grated cheese on top. After this I put the skillet into preheated to 375 F oven and let it bake for approximately 15 minutes. I think it came out well.
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Time: 16:16   Comments: No Comments   Post a Comment  

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Arosha — 17 Months

Aroshka eating an orange and smiling.Today our sunny boy has turned 17 months. He’s grown so much since my last monthly report!

Arosha is making a lot of progress in language development. He tries to repeat pretty much everything that we say, and even though for strangers his speech probably does not make a lot of sense, I can understand almost every word that he tries to say.

One day I was singing a song about a Christmas tree (“Маленькой ёлочке холодно зимой”) and he started to kind of sing along. It’s just a few words (or rather syllables), but he definitely tries to imitate a process of singing and he definitely remembers what word should go where. Too bad I can’t make a good video of this.

We did manage to make a short video (not a very good one, but still) of Arosha helping me to recite a verse by Korney Chukovsky (“Телефон”). I feel proud of him and can’t wait for him to start saying actual words and not just syllables.

I am reading “The happiest toddler on the block” by Dr. Karp and he introduces the idea that there are 3 different kinds of children’s temperament (and a limitless variations of the mix between them) — Easy, Cautious and Spirited. I think Aroshka falls under the latter category. He is extremely active, not always predictable (he can go to nap, for example, at any point between 12:30 and 14:30), and is not afraid of anything (well, almost anything). Sometimes looking after him gets so tiring, that cooking and cleaning seems like a relaxing activity by contrast. I do love him just the way he is though, and would not change him a single bit.

During the last 2 months Aroshka’s got 2 new teeth and it looks like another 2 will pop out soon! I think sometimes teething bothers him, but I am a strong believer in avoiding medication when possible, so I don’t give him anything for pain (except for the boob, I guess).

Aroshka is still drinking the breast milk. We’re down to 3 feedings a day — after he wakes up in the morning, before his afternoon nap and before night sleep. He wakes up occasionally at night too, and in this case I feed him too and he just goes to back to sleep.

Aroshka is stll eating an orange.He is quite an adventurous eater! He likes trying new things, and he especially loves eating during family dinners at a big dinner table at Danya’s parents. He also gets bored with the same food pretty fast (this includes fruits and veggies), so I really try to vary the menu as much as I can. Good thing is that after he gets some rest from a certain food (for example bananas), he will eat it again with pleasure for some time.

Aroshka likes drinking teas. I try not to add sugar to his beverages, but sometimes I do it for tea with lemon. He likes drinking tea with milk as well (I try to do a 40%-60% ratio of tea vs milk), although he usually does not drink plain milk from the cup.

We are nowhere on potty training. I guess, it’s not his time yet, plus diapers must feel pretty dry (compared to cloth diapers that our parents used to put on us). I try to sit him on a potty from time to time, but he just would not stay still for more than 10 seconds.

We also made very little progress with using utensils. I guess, it’s my fault, but I am just worried that he’ll stay hungry if I don’t feed him. I do encourage his using a spoon, but he is still very clumsy with it.

Aroshka loves doing somersaults! He knows the word for it too and does them when I ask him.

Busy bee (Aroshka and orange peel).He shows his temper more often and can start screaming, or crying, or stomping his little feet, or waving his little hands, or doing it all simultaneously when something does not go according to his wishes. I guess, this is a totally normal stage of development and he’ll learn to better control his emotions when he gets older.

Aroshka loves to watch videos of himself, especially ones where he does something fun. I think he re-lives these activities this way. Often when he sees my iPhone he starts demanding “Ai-ai-ai-ai”, which in translation means “show me Arosha” (he’s been calling himself Ai for a few months already).

He loves being around people. When there are no other kids on a playground, Aroshka usually does not want to do anything, but sit in my arms. When there are other children around, his mood is usually good. He still likes Daniela a lot, but also recognizes a whole bunch of other little ones.

I made a short video of Aroshka on a slide 2 days ago. The spiral one is his favorite!

And in the end I just want to say that I love this little boy so very much! I love seeing his bright face in the morning, I love holding him, I love hearing his voice, I love smelling his big head, I love that he is so curious and courageous, I love that he learns so much every single day. Taking care of a child takes a lot of dedication and energy, but as many mothers before me said — it’s all worth it!
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Bounty Hunter Hаhz and his wife Mako.I just want to make a short post and offer a small explanation for the lack of posting lately. Blame BioWare, the studio that made Star Wars: The Old Republic — a massively multiplayer online role playing game. RPG is the only type of game that I enjoy playing and I haven’t touched anything way back since the time when we left World of Warcraft several years ago.

Sith Marauder Zhаh and his companion Jaesa.We tried playing different RPGs, but nothing really stuck as they tried to invent their own formula and always fell short of WoW, no pun intended. This one however takes exactly what WoW was and improves several annoying parts of it. Everyone has a companion, normal groups are limited to 4 people and companions count. They are not as good as real players, but we’ve been able to do pretty much all content together with Eldar to this point.

Hаhz and Mako.Anyhow, it’s been eating up all of my free time and a lot of my sleep time. I have two characters that I enjoy very much. One is a Sith Warrior Marauder named Zhаh — a character that specializes in dual-wielding lightsabers. He is a melee DPS guy who I’ve been leveling together with one of Eldar’s characters. Another one is a Bounty Hunter Mercenary that is a ranged DPS dealer.

Game UI. Running.Both play very differently and have a different story that spans through all 50 levels. Role playing gets to the point of characters being able to romance and marry their companions — that’s what Hаhz (my bounty hunter) did. It’s been a lot of fun to this point, but I think it won’t be as much fun once we reach level 50. Same thing as with WoW, only I’m not raiding this time around.
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