Saturday, March 15, 2014

Brooklyn Bridge Walk

On Brooklyn Bridge.This March is pretty cold. The weather is usually below zero degrees Celsius with a few exceptions.

Today is one of the rare warm days — it got up to 12° C, or at least that’s what the weather app was claiming. Danya suggested to go for a walk at Brooklyn Bridge and we all agreed that that’s a great idea.

Onto the bridge.We left home at around 11 and it took us about 35 minutes to get to the bridge. We got lucky with parking — did not have to look for it at all. It was pretty windy, but still nice.

Units.We walked on the bridge for a bit. There were a lot of people — pedestrians and bicyclists alike. We almost got to the first column, but the wind got very strong and Arosha got very scared. He started crying, hugging my legs and saying that he is afraid to be blown away by the wind. I figured that there was no point to force him to go any further, and him, I and Anюtka headed back. Danya and my mom made it to the first column and headed back as well. Anюtka was not sleeping by the way. She was kind of sitting in a stroller and was looking at all the beauty and motion around.

Tourising. Alёna's mom.After that I fed her in the car and we went to a pier. The view from there is just magnificent! Arosha was not behaving too well, but after a talk with his dad he started to listen to us more.

Pier under the bridge.We then went to eat some pizza at Juliana’s pizzeria. There was a line there, but it was not excessively long. Danya and Arosha went there first, while me, my mom and Anюtka stayed on the pier to enjoy the views some more.

View from the pier.We got a buffalo mozzarella Margherita pizza, which was really good. Anюta, who woke up from her nap as soon as we got inside, behaved really well. She was just sitting on my lap, and looking, and smiling, and when she wanted to try something too, so I let her chew on some pizza crust. She managed to chew off a few small pieces, but she spat them right out.

Juliana's Pizza. Our turn's next.After lunch we went back to the pier. There was the Brooklyn ice-creamery, so we figured, why not! Arosha got a peach ice-cream, Danya — a strawberry one, my mom — a chocolate one and I got a butter pecan one. It was really good too! My only fear is that Anюtka’s eczema will get worse after my food indulgences. She has a pretty bad case of it going on her face and I think that my diet has some effect on it. We’ll see…

Locks as lucky charms.When we were walking around Dumbo, I felt for a brief moment, as if we were tourists in a new and exciting place. Danya said that he had the same feeling and even went to look at the map of New York Water Taxi routes.

Arosha.I am glad that my mom was with us too. She mostly stayed home with me and did not see much of the great places that NYC has to offer, so each occasion like today really stands out for her. She’ll be leaving in just 11 short days. I hope she’ll go visit a Statue of Liberty with Danya’s dad before she leaves as they planned to.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Anna — 5 Months

Standing.Anюtka turned 5 months this week. Amazing how time flies!

She is such a sweet girl. She smiles a lot, she even laughs sometimes. And what a laugh she’s got — we caught it on video the other day, here it is.

She sleeps pretty well at night. Goes to bed at around 8, wakes up for the day at around 6:30. She only gets up ones or twice during the night to eat, and it usually takes me 10-15 minutes to feed her and put her back to bed.

She naps 3 times a day. One of the best things is that she falls asleep either nursing (for the first morning nap and before bed at night) or while sucking on her thumb. I know some people would say that I create a bad habit with the thumb, but she does not take a pacifier, and she only takes breast when she is hungry. Since I don’t think that there is much I can do about her thumb-sucking, there really is no reason be get stressed out about it. Right? Right?!

Plumb Beach walk.She is still exclusively breastfed. She eats every 2-4 hours during the day, but there really is no set schedule. She does not even cry when she is hungry. She just gets more grumpy and starts sucking on her hands more vigorously. If she does not want to eat, she just screams at the breast. There is no such thing as comfort sucking with her. So unlike Arosha!

She loves to jump in the jumperoo. She can roll both ways, although rolling from stomach to back is still somewhat of a challenge. She loves sitting with assistance and standing, also with assistance. She often sleeps on her side and sometimes on her belly.

Brother and sister.She gets scared easily. Loud notices, unfamiliar people, sudden moves can make her cry. I think she recognizes me.

We go out every day, usually for one to one and a half hours. It is quite cold outside, and there is still some snow on the playground. Good thing my mom is here to help.

Анюта.Anna likes taking baths with Arosha. He pours water from different bath toys and she laughs and makes excited sounds while watching him. I often sit her in the bath tub and support her with one hand. When she is especially excited she kind of jumps to her feet and I keep sitting her so she would not get cold.

I really love her very much. She is a precious gift, and I love watching her grow and become more and more sentient.
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

February

Another snowstorm.Ах, февраль, февраль. Мой нелюбимый месяц. Зима уже надоела, холодно и зябко, праздники закончились, и вообще…

Хорошо, что мама сейчас у нас. Пожалуй, это самое для меня удачное время для её приезда. Ей, конечно, было бы лучше весной или осенью, но мне как раз сейчас помощь нужнее всего — и Анютку на улице не покормишь, и одеваться долго, и даже по площадке, когда много снега, с коляской не проедешь. Плюс, когда Ароша проводит много времени дома, ему скучно, и он становится более капризным и хочет, чтобы его больше развлекали.

Our little units.Ну, и к подгузникам тряпичным надо привыкнуть. Установить рутину так сказать. Вообще должна признаться, что от использования многоразовых подгузников я получаю чувство морального удовлетворения. Даня надо мной посмеивается, потому что тема эта мне за две недели не приелась, и обсуждать достоинства, недостатки, особенности и уход за этими самыми подгузниками я готова с кем угодно. Пока что я время от времени стираю их в ландромате, но чаще мы с мамой стираем их руками и развешиваем сушиться на батареи и стояк для сушки белья. Еще мне хочется купить их побольше, и даже не потому, что мне их не хватает, а потому, что их делают такими красивыми. Пока я сдерживаю свои порывы, и приобрела только мешок для хранения грязных подгузников и сумочку для улицы с отделами для чистых и грязных подгузников.

А Ароша выучил два стишка. У него вообще очень, на мой взгляд, неплохая память, но вот стихи не шли ни в какую. А тут мы на него немного надавили, и он, буквально за 5 минут, выучил сначала “Зайку бросила хозяйка”, а немного попозже “Уронили мишку на пол”. Больше стихов он пока учить не хочет, но я рада, что у нас уже какой-то прогресс в этой сфере.

Еще Ароша учится сам одеваться. Он может довольно легко сам одеть трусы, штаны и майку. Носки с колготами ему даются плохо, а сапоги и кофта средне. Проблема в том, что он не очень хочет одеваться сам, и часто отвлекается в процессе на посторонние дела. Мы его за это поругиваем, но в принципе за последние две недели виден явный прогресс. Я надеюсь, что к тому моменту когда уедет мама он сможет всё одеть сам и быстро.

Our tricks.Еще он очень любит сейчас смотреть мультфильмы о Смешариках, и почерпывает оттуда кучу полезной информации. Особенно ему нравятся мультфильмы о лейкоцитах, вредных бактериях и иже с ними. Когда-то давно мы покупали ему книгу о работе организма — тогда она ему не очень понравилась, а сейчас он с удовольствием её рассматривает и просит рассказать что к чему.

Trick, stage 2.Еще Ароша очень любит звонить дедушке и бабушке. Дай ему волю, он звонил бы им по 10 раз на день, но я обычно разрешаю это делать дважды в день. Я не уверена что именно ему нравится — сам процесс дозвона (он сам всё находит в телефоне) или разговоры, а, может, и то, и другое.

Мне кажется, что Ароше немного не хватает общения со сверстниками, но про садик он и слышать не хочет, плюс это дорого, плюс скорее всего будет носить домой болячки, а Анюта всё же еще такая маленькая. Ну, и мне, конечно, спокойнее когда он при мне. Так что, думаю, будем ждать до pre-K. Подача заявлений начинается в марте. Будем стараться попасть в нашу школу. Хоть она и не самая хорошая, но и не самая плохая тоже. А водить его туда очень удобно, да и первый год это всего два с половиной часа… Вобщем, надеюсь, попадём в неё.

More snow.Зима, кстати, в этом году снежная и холодная. Конечно, не такая снежная как в прошлый мамин приезд, но гораздо суровее, чем две предыдущие. Когда очень холодно, я даже не выхожу с Анютой на улицу гулять, а когда выхожу, то обычно не больше, чем на час.

Анюта вообще очень забавная. Она такая улыбчивая, такая общительная. Любит смотреть в глаза, любит быть в компании. Характер у неё иной, чем у Ароши. Она, мне кажется, намного спокойнее. Засыпает она лучше всего сама, при помощи большого пальца правой руки. Если Ароша просто обожал грудь и брал её практически в любой ситуации, то Анюта берёт грудь исключительно когда она хочет подкрепиться. Если я пытаюсь ей её всунуть когда она неголодна, то крик поднимается очень громкий. А вот если она голодная, то она практически никогда не кричит. Она начиает усиленно сосать руки и становится более капризной, но ничего не требует.

Jumping!Спать она в последнее время предпочитает, кстати, на боку. Из-за этого у нас время от времени текут подгузники, но поменять их, а так же мокрую одежду и постель, можно без проблем, потому что ночью плачет она редко.

Мы достали для неё прыгалку (jumperoo), которую в своё время обожал Ароша. Этот снаряд ей очень нравится! Она не сразу поняла, что там можно прыгать, но через день уже начала скакать как положено. Еще она ну очень любить купаться. Вечером, когда она уже усталая и капризная, достаточно принести её в ванную, и настроение сразу поднимается. Я купаю её сама — сажусь на край ванны, опускаю туда ноги, её придерживаю правой рукой, а купаю левой. Мылом я не пользуюсь, но мне кажется ежденевных купаний достаточно даже и без мыла (тем более, что под краном мы подмываем её часто с мылом).

Old jumperoo.Еще Анюта явно более пугливая, чем Ароша. Она боится громких звуков и если мы подходим к ней незаметно, то неожиданно заслышав наши голоса, она частенько вздрагивает.

Улыбается она много, а вот смеётся пока довольно редко, хотя у нас и получается иногда её сильно рассмешить. Например, на днях она начала хохотать когда я, рассердившись на Шублика за троекратное кусание, стала гоняться за ним с тапочком по квартире.

Valentine rose and a box.А еще вчера был день Святого Валентина. Даня меня приятно удивил и обрадовал — он подарил мне розу и плакат с нашими фотографиями с инстаграммы. Ароша тоже очень обрадовался розе. Он вообще очень любит цветы и всегда хочет их купить.

А еще чуть больше недели назад началась зимняя Олимпиада в Сочи. Мы смотрели открытие и часто смотрим разные соревнования — фигурное катание, катание на лыжах и санках, конькобежцев. Сегодня вот, я первый раз в жизни с интересом смотрела хоккей. Играли сборная США и России, и игра была ну очень увлекательной, особенно когда после счёта 2:2 начались шрафные броски шайбы. Россия проиграла, но, надеюсь, она всё же выйдет в финал.

Arosha and a rose.Каждую субботу мы ходим куда-нибудь поесть. На прошлых выходных ездили с моей мамой к Дэвиду в “Red Bowl”. Мы заказали их чудесных жаренных кольмаров, сладкие рёбрышки и утку по пекински. Маме всё очень понравилось, ну и приятно было попробовать знаменитое китайское блюдо в хорошем исполнении.

Snow.Ну и напоследок о самом неприятном, что тревожит нас уже несколько месяцев. Соседи, живущие под Даниными родителями, продали в конце прошлого года свою квартиру молодой русскоговорящей паре. Они там сделали капитальный ремонт, и вот с момента их ремонта в квартире Даниных родителей появился странный химический запах. Понять откуда он нам не удаётся. В менеджемент они жаловались, но те ничего не решили. В городскую инспекцию они обращались — те сняли пробы воздуха, но ничего не нашли. Запаха у соседей не чувствуется, но у них сильно пахнет свежими полами, и мы допускаем, что запах полов забивает тот странный химический запах. Вобщем, что делать и как с этим бороться мы не знаем, но запах этот очень угнетает, особенно Даниного папу, который проводит дома практически всё время. И зима выдалась особо холодной, так что окна настеж всё время держать не получается. Что же делать?

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fire Island Outing

Lighthouse against some funky clouds.Last weekend was quite active for us. Besides going to Bayswater Point State Park we decided to take full advantage of warmer days and on Sunday went to Fire Island National Seashore again.

Beautiful Fire Island Lighthouse.We even managed to talk my mom into going with us — to our surprise it was her first time there. Only took her 19 or so years. So there was a total of seven of us there and two cars.

Grandmas. Grandpa and Arosha on the left.Even though the day was warmer relative to other days it still was a cold February day. Especially when you’re walking along an open shore of Atlantic Ocean. The sky was very blue and thus uplifting, but the wind was cold.

More of the family.I had to borrow the hood from Alёna’s jacket because I as always misjudged the weather. As did my dad. That seems to be the trait of our male side of the family. Since Arosha doesn’t make these decisions for himself yet he was well dressed.

Shore of open Atlantic Ocean.Fire Island National Seashore is probably one of the nicest “nature” locations that is within an easy reach from us. If traffic conditions cooperate it takes us under an hour to get there.

Wooden trail at Fire Island National Seashore.After having a nice jog we finished off the evening with a family dinner at some random Outback Steakhouse that we found on our way home.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Our Lives Recently

Анюта.Вот уже и январь подходит к концу. Практически весь месяц мы проболели. Сначала Ароша — с жутким насморком, высокой температурой 4 дня подряд, двусторонним отитом и кашлем. Потом Анюта — она заболела бронхиалитом, который продолжался 3 недели. Как мы ни старались их изолировать, болезни малышке избежать не удалось. Я до сих пор не выхожу с Анечкой на улицу. Ароше повезло — приехала моя мама, и она с ним каждый день гуляет. До приезда мамы пару дней с ним на улицу выходил дедушка. Потом немного приболела я, но, к счастью, без температуры и особых осложнений.

Небулайзер.Мама прилетела 15 января. В этот раз она летела аэрофлотом, на самолёте было много русскоговорящих и перелёт у неё прошел в интересной компании. Вообще она как-то меньше волновалась на этот раз — ко всему привыкаешь. Ароша встретил её очень хорошо. Как-то сразу отнёсся как к своей, что меня очень радует.

Fresh haircut.Вообще хорошо когда мама рядом — и помощь, и веселее. Сегодня она отпустила меня в парикмахерскую, и я наконец-то привела голову в порядок. Последний раз я туда ходила больше года назад! Ароша поначалу расстраивался, что я иду красить волосы, но когда я вернулась, одобрил прицёску. Поближе к вечеру он спросил, высохла ли краска на моей голове.

Учимся переворачиваться.Мы пытаемся получить для Анечки государственную програму раннего вмешательства. Её могут получить детки до 3-х лет если у них есть определённые отставания в физическом либо психическом развитии. Дело в том, что из-за того, как она лежала в утробе, у неё зажаты некоторые мышцы. Всё не так плохо, но, например, во время сна она поворачивает голову исключительно вправо, и от этого у неё начинает немного деформироваться череп. Всё это поправимо, но надо делать массаж и упраженения на растяжку. Пока к нам приходили две женщины её осмотреть — с психическим развитием всё прекрасно, а инспектор по физическому развитию будет давать рекомендацию на то, чтобы ей дали эту програму. Посмотрим, что получится.

Хорошее настроение.А вообще мне очень нравится её характер. Она так много улыбается, любит общение. Иногда она очень забавно морщит нос при улыбке, и мама сказала, что я в младенчестве делала тоже самое.

Вчера Ароша и Анюта остались ненадолго в комнате одни, и когда я пришла, то услышала, как Ароша ей тихонько говорил:
– Анюта, ты у нас такая красивая.

Ароша. Bayswater Park. End of 2013.Еще Анюта очень любит играть со своими ногами. На прошлой неделе она поняла, что их можно засунуть в рот. Еще она два раза перевернулась с живота на спину, но мне кажется, что пока что это была случайность.

Мега-колоски.Эта зима у нас очень холодная. Температура доходит до -17 по Цельсию. Я изредко выбираюсь в магазин, а так сижу дома, потому что боюсь выходить с Анюткой после болезни (она до сих пор иногда кашляет и немного сопливит). 27-го мы пойдём к врачу на прививки и я спрошу можно ли нам гулять и при какой температуре воздуха. Вобщем, в прошлый раз мама попала на снегопады, а этот раз — на холода.
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year 2014

Our little family unit. Featuring little and little little units.When Arosha was celebrating his first New Year, we had a lot of people to share it with. Anna’s first New Year was much more low key — just the four of us and Daniel’s parents.

Aunt Lilya got out of the hospital a few days before the year end and did not feel well enough to come, Lina and Lёonya were celebrating with his parents, Ignat, Vika and Alisa were celebrating with Ignat’s mom who came to visit from Moscow. My family is in Minsk…

Grandparents.I cooked herring “shuba” and olivie — luckily Anechka took a good nap while Danya and Arosha went to Kings Plaza to get one last gift (Swarowski figurine for grandma) and to ride an escalator. Arosha really wanted to help with cooking, so I asked him to peel some eggs, and he did it with great pleasure!

Danya’s mom made New Year staples — holodets, funchoza, “French” meat, oven roasted potatoes, fried eggplant with tomatoes and fried shrimp.

Danya’s dad bought a really nice bottle of French champagne — Veuve Cliequot. We had a cheaper champagne too the next day, and I can say that I much preferred the good brand one.

Our tree.We went to Danya’s parents at around 7pm and started off with some pictures. I like this new tradition of ours! By the time we were done, it was around 3 hours since last Anechka’s nap, so she got really fussy and started crying. I am surprised she lasted that long! I guess, she knew that it was important to be on family pictures.

I nursed her and she went to sleep peacefully. We started our dinner, and toasted the leaving year with some wine. I am very grateful to 2013. We got the best gift a family can get — a brand new life, our beautiful and healthy daughter.

Arosha really wanted to open gifts, so taking his age into account we did not make him wait until midnight, but let him start the process at 10. Last year d. Boris changed into Granfather Frost, but this year we thought that Arosha will see right through the charade. Instead t. Oksana suggested that we should distract him, while she will ring the doorbell and leave a bag of gifts at the door. We did just that. Arosha was slightly disappointed that Grandfather Frost was too busy to pay a visit, but later on he said that it was actually a good thing since he (Arosha) did not learn a poem for Grandfather Frost. Traditionally children have to recite a poem to Grandfather Frost to get gifts, but I had no luck with our smart, but stubborn son, who did not want to memorize any poems.

Alёna and Anюta.To be honest, by the time the New Year has come I was really tired. Without guests the celebration is not as exciting, plus lately I am chronically sleep deprived. We toasted the incoming 2014 year of the wooden horse and proceeded to open all the gifts.

My gift to Danya sucked — I got him leather gloves which did not fit well even though I bought two sizes, and UGG sleepers which had an odd fit as well. He got car pedal covers for the car from his parents, fancy socks from Linka (both gifts he picked up himself), and a bar of nice soap from t. Lilya.

I got a set of good German knives from Danya (so far I am really liking them), cast iron grilling pan from Lina and Lёnya (I picked it myself and it’s great), a daily calendar with our Instagram pictures from Danya (every day Arosha tears off a picture), clothes from Danya’s parents and soap from t. Lilya.

Alёna and Arosha.Arosha and Anechka got a whole bunch of toys from everyone, including Zhanna (Danya’s mom co-worker). The one Arosha plays with the most at home at the moment is a foam sword which Danya picked out for him on Amazon.

We did not know it yet, but Arosha was coming down with an upper respiratory tract infection, so he was really tired by the time the gift-gifting was over. I have decided to go home to sleep even though we could have stayed at Danya’s parents. I know that Anechka and Arosha are early risers, and I wanted to give Danya’s parents an opportunity to get a good rest.

It’s a good thing that we did leave, since Arosha was coughing and waking up a lot that night. Now, 11 days later he is still sick, although in much better condition. In addition he got double otitis, had a fever for 4 days straight (never happened before) and was prescribed antibiotics for the first time in his life. At first he stopped eating at all, but then he ate chicken soup for 7 days, by his own will. I had to cook it 3 times.

Little helper.Even though we tried to separate them as much as possible, Anechka got sick too. She has a bronchiolitis now, but she seems to be slowly getting well.

Anyhow, I hope this coming year will be happy, healthy and lucky! Cheers!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

5 Years Old

Shublik.Our Shublik has turned 5 years old today. He grew from a tiny kitten into an adult cat in our house. He still likes to run around at sonic speeds through our apartment, but with maturity he has definitely slowed down and became much more calm.

Shublik.Arosha and Shublik have a special relationship. Arosha likes to chase after Shublik from time to time, but mostly they prefer to stay away from each other. We are glad to have an animal in the house while the kids are little, so they learn to treat them right. But if we’re not around and Arosha attempts to do something that he shouldn’t do Shublik will remind him quickly how sharp his teeth are.

Sleeping.Shublik is a non stop purring machine, but all our guests get the most wrong impression about him. He does not like strangers and goes into guard-cat mode. He hisses, yawls and tries to claw all the guests — lest anyone forget that it is his house.

Shublik.When Arosha arrived Shublik hissed at him once and that got us worried. But after that he never shown any hostility towards Arosha unless, like I said above, Arosha attacks first. As far as Anechka goes — Shublik just ignores her completely and that’s how we want. Shublik is a great cat and our home is hard to imagine without him.
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas dinner table.В этом году мы традиционно собрались у нас дома в предрождественский вечер. Мы пригласили Даниных родителей и Мишу. Еще мы приглашали Даниного коллегу с женой, Игната с Викой и Маруков, но, к сожалению, никто из них не смог придти (в основном по болезни).

В пятницу Даня предложил пригласить в гости кого-то помимо родителей, и почему-то факт того, что надо будет приложить чуть больше усилий по украшению квартиры и готовке навеял на меня праздничный дух.

Us.В пятницу вечером Даня с Арошей сьездили за ёлкой (сторговались за $75). Мне она показалась очень большой, но она как раз хорошо уместилась у нас дома. Правда, как вяснилось, ствол у ёлки оказался слишком толстым для нашей посдставки. Я приуныла и начала ворчать что ёлка-то таки слишком большая. А Даня тем временем обрубил лишнюю древесину моим кухонным топориком — я им не пользуюсь и поэтому, в отличие от всех остальных ножей, он довольно-таки острый.

Вообще ёлки у нас дома не было уже 5 лет — мы отмечали Новый Год у Даниных родителей, и ёлку всегда ставили у них. В этом же году Арошке очень хотелось, чтобы мы поставили ёлку и у нас. Ну как не порадовать ребёнка?

Grandparents.Ароше очень нравилось наряжать ёлочку — правда, у него не совсем это пока получается. Еще он решил, что на ёлку надо повесить настоящие конфеты — идею эту он подсмотрел в одном из рассказов Зощенко о Лёле и Миньке. В связи с этим на ёлке у нас, кроме шаров и гирлянд, висят разноцветные “коровки”. Ароше очень нетерпелось похвастаться ёкой, и он настойчиво приглашал в гости бабушку и дедушку. В пятницу они не смогли к нам зайти, зато в субботу смогли полюбоваться и выразить свое восхищение нашей зелёной красавицей. Кстати, ёлка первые два дня не пахла, а потом отогрелась, отомлела и стала пахнуть очень сильно.

Beef braised in wine.На ужин я решила традиционно готовить мясо в вине и картошку с чесноком. Еще захотелось внести какое-то разнообразие, и я приготовила тыквенный суп-пюре. Когда мы в октябре ездили за яблоками, мы прикупили там еще большую тыкву. Из неё предполагалось что-то вырезать на Хэллоуин, но до этого руки так и не дошли. Так вот эта тыква мозолила мне глаза уже давно, а тут подвернулся такой хороший повод её так сказать слопать. Суп я готовила в два этапа — в понедельник, 23-го декабря, я запекла тыкву в духовке и сварила куриный бульон, а во вторник соединила все компоненты (бульон, тыкву, луковицу, специи и немного сливок), всё поварила и пюрировала. Получилось очень неплохо.

Greek salad.Еще мы с Даней сделали два салата — один из огурцов, помидоров, лука, брынзы и маслин. А второй получился неожидано — я планировала приготовить салат из стручковой фасоли с чесноком и кинзой. Когда Даня ходил в магазин за продуктами, он купил баночку оливок с каперсами. Вот эти самые оливки я тоже решила пустить в салат, и в результате я соединила их со стручковой фасолью (слегда отвареной в солёной воде), помидором, сладким перцем и кинзой. Заправила оливковым маслом и соком половинки лимона и дала помариноваться в холодильнике пару часов. Всем понравилось.

На сладкое были фрукты в шоколаде, которые как и в прошлом году купила Данина мама, мандарины и виноград. А пили мы моё любимое Бужоле.

Us.Вообще посидели мы очень хорошо. Я получила удовольствие. А засчёт того, что меню было лёгкое и большинство работы я сделала днём, пока Даня и Ароша гуляли и ездили стричься, я даже не была слишком уставшей к приходу гостей. Анюта вела себя нормально. Самое главное, что она хорошо поспала в первой половине дня, когда мне надо было поработать на кухне. Она, кстати, с удовольствием сидела у Миши на руках.
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Rock

View from the top of The Rock.Yesterday we had yet another cool adventure with our family. This time we decided to brave Manhattan yet again and went right to the heart of it. And the heart of Manhattan during the holiday season is Rockefeller Center with its famous Christmas Tree.

Tasting the cabbage.We got to Manhattan in no-time and easily found parking on a meter. Luckily Manhattan meters allow you to stay for up to 6 hours which is more than enough for most adventures. We opted in for 3, but then in the end we probably should’ve gone for another 30 minutes in order not to rush back to the car.

The famous tree.The square at Rockefeller Center was enormously crowded, as it is every year. It was a bit more challenging this year since we had Arosha who was constantly set on getting away and a big stroller with half-sleeping half-not-so-much-sleeping Anюta. We made it to the tree alright, although in my memory the tree itself was more impressive.

Windowed observation deck.After that we made our way inside THE building. Anюta got some lunch and we decided to see how hard it would be to get to the top. I was the only one who has been there before and when I did it it took me at least 3 hours of standing in line in the middle of a week. So our assumption was that it would be pretty much out of the question. But to our surprise we were told that there was no line.

Eternal love. Hopefully. Lucky shot of somebody else's wedding.We bought 3 tickets — for my dad, Alena and myself for $79 (kids go for free) and soon enough were on the roof. Arosha was especially impressed with an elevator that had a glass ceiling and lighted elevator shaft above. He insisted that we must ride it some more, but we had to explain to him that it doesn’t work like that here.

Lunch.Arosha also enjoyed looking out of the windows and seeing everything around. However by the time we got onto the open deck he became scared. He kept barely moving, holding on to our hands, almost cryingly saying that he will fall off. I kept explaining to him that it was safe and that it is specifically made so people could look at the views, but it was not working. We experienced a bit of the same at the top of Fire Island Lighthouse. It seems that he is afraid of big heights when there are no windows and just open air. I hope it will pass as he gets older.

"Man who liked that I gave him a dollar. Why?"The rest of us still got to enjoy it and it was an interesting, even though a somewhat scary, experience for Arosha too. He got to enjoy the ride down on the same elevator and it impressed him again. And to finish our day off we had a nice burger lunch at Tri Tip Grill inside The Rock. I have to note that Arosha managed to down a burger of the same size that us adults had. He really is a burger fan. Must be an impact of being born in the US of A. Good times!

Back to our car.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weekend in Poconos

Echo Valley Cottages. Our cottage.It’s been a month, but I only got a chance to write about our little Pocono trip now.

Morning grilling. Burgers.I have to say, I love my husband! One of the great things about him is that he loves traveling, so in the beginning of November he had an urge to go someplace. He checked a number of cabins, but they were either too expensive or out of vacancies. He did find a good deal for my birthday weekend though, so we booked a cabin in Echo Valley Cottages. We invited Daniel’s parents to come with us, and they happily agreed.

Stream near the cottage.We left Friday evening after Danya’s mom came home from work. The ride was only about 100 miles, but it took us 4 hours to get there — first we got stuck in traffic getting out of Brooklyn, and then we spent almost an hour doing food shopping at Wegmans in NJ. I have to say that Danya wanted to specifically go to this store, since Wegmans that we visited by Arsen’s house was really great, but we were disappointed. They did not have organic grass fed beef or burger shop; it was still big, so we spent a lot of time trying to find items that we needed, while in a smaller store it would have been quicker. But whatever.

Bushkill Falls. Trail start.We got to the cottages at around 11pm. The owner came by and gave us the key. Arosha was pretty excited about the trip and he did not even fall asleep in the car. The cottage was pretty big — bigger than I expected — and although it was not as fancy as the other Pocono cottages we’ve been to in the past, I still liked it.

The falls themselves.We traveled on two cars this time around — with two car seats we can’t fit 4 adults into the car anymore.

Wooden paths.The next morning I was woken up by Arosha, who was so excited that he got up after about 7 hours of sleep and said that he wants to grill. Our three men went to the store to get well burning coal and lighting fluid after unsuccessfully trying to start a fire with regular coals. Danya’s mom, Annushka and I prepared meat and vegetables for burgers.

More falls.Soon enough the burgers were ready. Danya did an amazing job — he doesn’t cook at home, but grill is his domain. They were really good. I have to say that Arosha really likes grilled meat. He ate as much as adults!

Different part of the falls.After that we went to see Bushkill falls. They were a short ride away from the cottages. There was an entry fee — $12.50 per person. Not exactly cheap, but I guess they need that money to maintain an impressive infrastructure of wooden paths, steps, bridges and other structures around the falls. The paths were not stroller accessible, so I was mostly carrying Anechka in my arms. We spent around two hours walking around and enjoying the views.

Grandparents.After that we went home and Danya got to grilling the dinner. It gets dark early, so we wanted to at least start the process before the sun was down. The meat (skirt steaks) and vegetables (peppers, zucchini, corn) came out delicious. I was again amazed at how much food Arosha ate.

Wooden stairs on the trail.After dinner we drank tea with my birthday cake. Arosha helped to put candles in, and he also helped to blow them.

Dad on one of wooden bridges.I went to feed Annushka and tried to put her to sleep for the night. She was not cooperating, and threw a long screaming fit. I think she was crying for over 30 minutes overall, which does not happen often.

Lunch on the trail.Danya, his dad and Arosha made fire outside. Arosha really enjoyed it. He wanted to add firewood himself and as often as possible, but I don’t think that he was allowed. What he was allowed thought is light up sticks and wave them around. He did not want to go back inside.

Climbing.The next morning we grilled some more burgers and left. Arosha asked me in the morning if its possible for us to stay until the evening and was a little bit sad that we had to leave before noon.

Jumping.Another thing that Arosha liked is just to play outside. There was a small creek nearby and he pretended that he was a fisherman (one of his favorite games) and that long sticks were his fishing rods. He also liked playing with all kinds of things he could find — stones, leaves, mushrooms, you name it.

Grilling.On our way home we stopped at local outlets and got two pairs of Levi jeans and a few flannel shirts for Danya since the winter is coming. We also stopped to eat at Olive Garden, but the food was so so.

Dinner. Skirt steak and grilled vegetables.We got home at around 7 — exhausted, but satisfied with how our weekend went.

Alena's birthday cake.Arosha keeps saying that he wants to go to the cottages again. I think he definitely took after his daddy!

Campfire.
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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Anna — 2 Months

Annushka. 10 weeks. Tummy time.I rarely have a chance to even turn on computer nowadays, so I’ll be super brief.

Anyutka is doing very well. She started smiling and cooing a few weeks ago. She makes that funny sound resembling coughing, which is actually her way to laugh and show that she is happy. I find it oh so cute.

8 weeks.She discovered her hands and loves sucking on them when she happens to find them. She enjoys looking at pictures in books — she often smiles at them, and often her eyes get bigger and rounder if she finds something especially interesting. She also likes to stare at rattle toys and she enjoys her play-mat thingy.

Her sleep patterns have changed.

OK, it took me a while to get back to this post, so now I’m writing about a 10 week old Anechka.

6 weeks.So, her sleep patterns have changed. She sleeps much worse during day time, and worse during the night. In the last few nights she would wake up every two hours and then would not want to go to sleep for a while (up to two hours). She used to wake up twice during the night for feeding and then go back to sleep. It is pretty exhausting, but I know that everything with babies this young is temporary. So it’s a stage. Maybe she is growing fast. Maybe she learned something new. Maybe something physical is bothering her — tummy, teeth… I don’t know. There is no way to tell. I just try to be gentle and patient with her. And honestly, every day I think how lucky we are to have her, to hold her, to watch her grow.

Smile.We go for walks every day — usually we’re out for 2.5-3 hours. If the weather permits and I can feed her outside, we go for longer walks, but it’s already December, so days like that are rare.

Ароша. Мы бандито, знаменито...She’s getting better with her head control. I think she enjoys tummy time — not on the floor, but on my legs or on boppy pillow.

Anechka also enjoys her bath time. We do it daily, just before bed, and she swims in the large bathtub for 15-20 minutes. Aroshka loves bathing with her, but I don’t let him do it every day because it makes things more complicated for me in terms of making sure no-one gets injured or cold.

Happy. 10 weeks.A lot of people tell us that Anechka and Arosha look very similar. But to me they look quite different. Yes, you can tell that they’re siblings, but to my eyes there are a lot of things that are distinct about each one of them. I guess it’ll be easier to see when she gets older.

P.S. Annushka was 24 inches long and weighted 11lb and 8oz on her 2 months check-up visit.
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Arosha and Cones

Arosha and cones. Cheesequake State Park. End of October.About two months ago we were in a park for a walk. Arosha collected a huge bundle of walnuts that have fallen from a tree and when it was time to go home refused to part with them.

At Cheesequake Park.We told him to put his pile down by a tree and some squirrel will find it and will be very very happy that somebody did all the work for it. Making a squirrel happy seemed like a very good proposition, so Arosha agreed to leave his walnuts behind.

Cones. Flushing Meadows Park. Today.Ever since then he is constantly piling up nuts, acorns and cones whenever he finds them in order to help the squirrels. Now we don’t have the heart to break it to him that they don’t really need his help and all his piles of goods are never going to get used.

Flushing Meadows Park.Today he was doing the same during our walk in Flushing Meadows Park. He had a full bucket of cones when he spotted a squirrel. He started running after it and squirrel in turn was running away from him. And he was running and screaming, “Little squirrel, why are you leaving, I got all the cones for you!” Или, “Белочка, ты куда, я тебе шишек принес!”

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Kids at Almost 2 Months

Анюта.We were looking through old post from September 2010 — the same age for Arosha that Anyuta is at right now. In those posts we saw a picture that we took of Arosha in his mini-gym thing. So we decided to take the same one of Anyuta.

Ароша.Arosha did make somewhat an unusual expression on that photos of his and Anyuta refuses to do the same. But they do look quite a bit different from each other. Arosha was exactly 7 weeks on that shot and Anyuta is exactly 8. And in a blink of an eye she’ll be running around.
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fire Island

Fire Island Lighthouse.Last Saturday we had another travel-adventure. We haven’t visited Fire Island since the time when Andrey came to visit us and that was right before Aroshka was born. So I thought that it would be fun for Arosha to see a real big lighthouse which can be climbed.

Wooden trail.I wasn’t sure if everything was open after Sandy last year, but my call confirmed that all was good. Some portions of the wooden path have been destroyed, but you could go around via a paved road for that section and they said that stroller wouldn’t be a problem.

Alena, Anechka, Arosha.The day was nice and warm. The park was filled with visitors. We felt like we were quite far away from home in some National Park. And indeed, Fire Island is a National Seashore and has its own official stamp. It was very pleasant to be taking a walk in such a beautiful place breathing fresh air imbued with salty water smell of a raging open ocean.

Near lighthouse.This time there were 5 of us. My dad decided to join us and managed to squeeze in between the two car seats on the back seat. The drive to Fire Island was very short — took us less than an hour to get there. During our drive and during our walk Anechka slept well as always and Arosha was running back and forth exploring different places and plants.

Fire Island beach.We’ve seen a number of lighthouses in our travels and some with Arosha, but none are as impressive as the one on Fire Island. The second most impressive lighthouse I’ve seen was in Bass Harbor in Maine, but that one’s place in memory should be attributed to its location rather than the lighthouse itself.

Ocean.When we got to the lighthouse itself I was told that in order to climb to the top one had to be above a certain height. Somehow I naturally assumed that Arosha would be fine, but it turned out that he was exactly to the mark. If I remember correctly the mark was at 43 inches. As we found out later — Alena talked to somebody on the trail — not all 5 year olds qualify.

Ocean.I imagine Arosha was one of the very very few 3 year olds who not only attempted by actually got to the top. I was actually surprised with the speed of his ascent via a spiral staircase. Not all adults could be so brisk. In addition to a 3 year old Arosha my soon to be 75 year old dad was right along us. It takes 182 iron steps and two small ladders to get to the top.

View from the top.The view was great. We took a lot of pictures. Arosha was very cautious around the perimeter, although it was all protected by steel net which seemed pretty sturdy. After taking in the view we easily made it down where we were awarded certificates of achievement. I declined mine, but Arosha and my dad decided to keep theirs.

Cake was good!It also turned out that on that very day the lighthouse turned 155 years old and there was a lot of live music and a lot of free cake in celebration. Arosha claims that it was quite delicious. While Arosha was eating cake we took some portraits around the lighthouse.

By lighthouse.After that we walked to the beach. It was really beautiful. The waves were pretty big, but that’s because it’s an open ocean. The was very little wind. One could really spend a good while there just admiring the beauty of nature with all one’s senses — the view, the smell, the sound. Peace and serenity.

Sleeping.To finish our day off we had a nice dinner on the shore — a nostalgic type of place that reminded me of our great time in Maine and more recently Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It was yet another great weekend outing for our brave and not-so-little family.

Captain Bill's. Dinner.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halloween 2013

Arosha and Rachel.This year was the first year when we took Arosha trick-or-treating.

About a month ago we were talking about different holidays with him, and I mentioned Halloween — a day when children can dress up and go to stores and houses to ask for candies. Arosha got really excited with the idea, and said that he wants a costume too. First he requested a corn costume, but after looking through them on internet and spotting a sweet pea pod costume, he changed his mind and requested that one instead.

In the park after trick-or-treating.As you might know, Arosha’s favorite color is green, so it is not a surprise to me that he got so enchanted with the pea pod. We offered him a lot of other options by the way, but he knew exactly what he wanted.

I was not sure where to go with him, and I did not want him to go alone, so I asked some people on the playground about their plans. Luckily, Anya and her daughter Rachel did not have any plans and wanted to join us. I was told by our neighbor that all the local stores, including Silverstar, Party City, Rite Aid will have candies for kids and that the best time to go is probably around 11-12 oc’lock in the morning, before all the other children will get off school. This sounded like perfect timing, since we go the the playground daily at this time anyhow.

Getting ready.So I dressed Arosha up, and we met up with Rachel who was dressed up as a Cinderella (she is 7 months older than Arosha), her mom and brother Justin (he is one month older than our Anyutka) at 11:30. We then proceeded to happily yell trick-or-treat in local stores. We visited almost every one on our way, including a diner, two Chinese restaurants (they gave us fortune cookies), Russian groceries, bagel store, two pizzerias, 99 cents shops and even a travel agency. The only place that we visited that did not even want to acknowledge our Pea Pod and Cinderella was Aldi. Seriously. They just pretended they did not see us, so after a few minutes of trying to get their attention, we just left. Figures.

It was really great to have company. Arosha had a blast, and Rachel’s mom and I alternated going to the stores with the children, so we didn’t have to bring strollers in each time.

In the middle of trick-or-treating.It started to drizzle at some point, but luckily it did not last long. The whole thing probably took us 2 hours, and our children were exhausted by the time we reached the playground. We let them eat some candies, and they had a lot of fun doing it and playing with each other.

I asked Arosha later on which store he liked the most, and he said it was a Russian store. Not sure why exactly, but he keeps saying it was the best.

Profit!And in the evening we went trick-or-treating in our building. We joined acquaintances of ours — a nine year old girl named Nicole and her mom. I went with Arosha through half of the building and then I wanted to go feed Anyuta, who stayed with her grandma, but Arosha did not want to leave yet. Luckily we met Danya in the lobby, so they continued without me.

Arosha probably got 5 pounds of candy out of this. He was so tired at the end, that they did not even finish going through the last part of the building. Arosha had fun, but told me that he liked trick-or-treating in the stores more. I agree — it was more exciting.

Second round. Evening in our building with Nicole.And as for the candies, I gave some to Danya’s parents, we left some for ourselves and the rest Danya took to work. There is no way we can eat all these candies by ourselves!

I am very glad that we’ve decided to dress Arosha up for Halloween this year. I think next year I might buy a costume for Anyutka as well.
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