Sunday, April 13, 2014

Caumsett State Park

Caumsett State Park on Long Island Sound.Yesterday was a first truly springtime weekend day this year. The day was so nice and warm that it was the first time we could be outside in a park without our jackets. We decided to visit a state park located on the north shore of Long Island that was recommended to my mom by a coworker — Caumsett State Historic Park.

Stables.All of us went, so we had to take two cars. Even though it’s only 48 miles away it took us a bit on the long side to get there — all the traffics and such. Arosha was as always a good traveler, and Anyuta did pretty well also, although she did “complain” from time to time.

Arosha and Daniel in front of main estate house.The park was created on the lands acquired by state from an estate of Marshall Field III that he in turn put together in 1921. The park is pretty sizable as far as estates go.

Kids in daffodils.The road to the park was quite picturesque as well. I really long for a 70-200mm lens lately, no pun intended. Throughout the day we saw 3 large eagle nests with a pair of eagles in each and a large white heron.

And grandpa too.The signs of spring were all around. A lot of trees are budding, Magnolia trees are covered by fresh flowers, but out biggest discovery the the day was a large number of fields covered in blooming daffodils.

Arosha.Arosha was running in front of us all and when we happened upon the first of these fields could not stop asking if we were happy that he led us to such a beautiful place.

Picnic towards the end. All the food is already gone.Our hike culminated in a nice family picnic on the blankets in the middle of a large field not far from the main estate house. That event totally put Arosha’s excitement level over and top and off the scale — he kept pointing out numerous aspects of how picnicking was great, amazing and awesome.

Flowers.The total length of our round-trip hike ended up being around three and a half miles. However while we might’ve walked that much Arosha did twice of that since he was running non-stop back and forth and to the sides and all around. He picked up numerous sticks of varying sizes, jumped into ditches, climbed onto large stumps and so on.

Arosha and woodpecker.At one point he found a stick with a sharp short branch at the top coming out of it. He proclaimed that it was a woodpecker and we had to wait for “them” while they go and find some food in nearby trees. He proceed to go from tree to tree pecking at them and pretending to look quite surprised by the fact that they were unable to get anything out of a tree trunks.

Anyuta riding around.Anyuta slept some, but mostly she was exploring the park while sitting in Alёna’s arms and looking around. She enjoyed touching flowers and grass with her hands — I remember Arosha was a lot more cautious of the grass in his first encounter and wasn’t quite sure of what to make of it. Anyuta seemed to like the sensation of touching it.

Lunch break.We spent five hours in the park. We left home at 11:30am and came back at 7:30pm. On the way back Arosha went into “recharging” mode for a change, and Anyuta actually stayed awake looking and playing with her toys. It ended up being a great spring day.

Blooming daffodils.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

On the Topic of Eczema

Anna.It’s been a pretty tough week. Anюta’s eczema has gotten worse, to the point where it seem to really bother her. She has it pretty much all over the body, but it’s worse on her face, legs and diaper area. Our pediatrician has prescribed some steroid cream, and it seem to help with flair ups, but obviously it can’t be used on a daily basis.

I bought some moisturizers and also use whatever else we have. The full list of the things that try includes coconat oil, Angel baby bottom balm, eczema creams by Aveeno, Babyganics and TruKid; Aquaphor and Cetaphil. Moisturizers do help a bit, so I guess I’ll keep applying them at least twice a day.

I also made some drastic changes to my diet starting from Sunday. No dairy products, no wheat or rye, no eggs, no soy, no nuts, no citrus fruit, no seafood, pretty much no sugar. I also try to limit meat because I read that it can contribute to inflammation. I also avoid any kind of berries, but blueberries, tropical fruit, legumes and tomatoes. I am not sure yet if there is any effect, but her face has gotten a little better. I did use the steroid cream on it twice since Sunday. I guess, we’ll wait some more and see. I think that if she has an allergy/sensitivity to any of the things that I have excluded, it will be obvious in about two weeks.

I am also struggling with cloth diapers. I think because I use so many things on her bottom (I try to use cloth diaper friendly stuff only), they have gotten less absorbent. Also, I am not sure how good of a job a washing machine does since I only use detergent in pre-wash cycle in order to get that extra rinse. I had to strip them, and I did it by hand. I used seventh generation dish washing liquid, and also a Funk Rock powder from the Rocking Green company. I also switched detergents from Tide Free and Gentle to Rocking Green one. The diapers are a bit better now, but I try to soak them and handwash them a little before going down to the laundromat. To be honest, I can’t wait for her to be diaper free! I put her on a potty every day, and usually I can catch a pee or even a poop, but obviously, these things are accidental. It’s a good thing that she does not mind sitting on the potty. Arosha was very much against it at this age, and believe me, I tried. I hope that in the worst case scenario she’ll be in diapers until two, but maybe we’ll manage to transition sooner.

Sitting.I still miss my mom very much. I called her a few times, but she does not have internet or a land line in her new home, and calls on a mobile phone in Belarus from Skype are around $1 per minute. With these crazy prices I can’t talk to her as much as I would like to.

Arosha also got sick. Nothing too bad — a fever for a few days, runny nose and cough. We started using nebulizer with saline solution right away and I think it helps some. He only had the horrible barking cough one night and now it’s just a regular one. Anechka has some nasal congestion too, but it’s not serious.

She started to sleep really bad for the last 5 days or so. She used to wake up ones or twice to eat, but now it’s a whole different story. On bad nights she wakes up every 40-60 minutes, on good nights, like today, she woke up 3 times and was awake for about an hour in the early morning. I don’t know what is the cause — a growth spurt, teething, eczema, less absorbent diapers, developmental leap. Maybe, it’s a combination. My only solution is to take her to bed with me. Good thing we have a spare bed (she does not really fit in ours with the both of us) in a small room. We bought it for Arosha a while ago, but he still sleeps in his converted ex-crib.

The good thing is that it’s finally getting warmer. We still need jackets, but lighter ones. The nature awakens. The first flowers are sprouting and starting to bloom. I hope we’ll have a nice and long transition period, since summers in NYC are too hot and humid for my taste.
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Stoller Progress

Anna in a sitting stroller.Today we tried Anyuta in our sitting stroller for the first time. She did a test-drive and it seems she’ll be moving to it permanently soon. It also means we have finally started to get rid of things that we kept around for the time when number two would arrive. We’ll be giving away quite a bit of stuff from about now on.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Anna 6 Month Mobility

Anna on March 14th.Looks like our Anna got tired of being in one place. By now she can sit unassisted for 5-10 minutes and can easily roll both ways. However lately she started making real attempts at crawling.

Crawl attempt.She pushes both of her legs under herself and gets on her knees. It’s not quite crawling yet, but she does move around. On the picture above she started by a bunch of her toys, facing them. I didn’t catch the crawl attempt itself though. She’s taking a 5 second rest on the photo.

March 22nd.She had her 6 months doctor visit yesterday. She clocked in at 27 inches and 15.5 pounds. She also got her set of shots. Food-wise she’s nothing like Arosha. She eats much more rarely and doesn’t seem to care for real food yet.

Units.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mom Leaving

Alёna's mom at the airport.Today my mom is flying back to Belarus. She stayed a little over two months this time, and it was so nice to be around her again and just to catch a break with all the work around the house.

It will be tough for me to get back into the routine again (shopping and cooking seem especially challenging for me now), and I will miss her company. I know she will miss us too, especially Anechka and Aroshka. I hope to see her again sooner rather than later. Coming to Belarus is complicated for us, although it will probably be nice. I guess, time will show who will visit whom.

Anechka got sick yesterday. She has a fever and no other symptoms for now. I hope she’ll get well soon, so we would not have to cancel our upcoming trip. I know Anechka will miss her grandma. They had such a nice relationship. Too bad the little one will forget all about it in time. Arosha is upset that she is leaving too. Even though my mom tried to impose some discipline on him, he loves her and accepted her as a member of the family right away. He cried at the airport when she was leaving.

Last security point.Arosha went for his first dentist visit yesterday. We did not go to a specialized pediatric dentist, but to our new doctor, who said that he treats children as well. Arosha did very well. He was calm and was doing exactly what the doctor was asking. Arosha had no cavities, but the doctor recommended to do a light cleaning for some build up which he had (probably from all the tea Arosha is drinking). We will go for another check up in about 6 months.

It is still cold outside. They predicted snow today, but luckily it’s just cold and windy, no snow. It should get warmer by the weekend, and hopefully the temperature will not drop to below zero anymore.

I feel sad. Time just flew by so quickly. I am putting her things, like cup and slippers, away and I can’t stop crying. I keep reminding myself that I’ll talk to her soon and will most likely see her in the future, but it’s still hard. Mom is mom and she will always have that special place in her child’s heart. I love you , mom!
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Family Photograph

Family photograph. Our favorite shot.Today we took up a monumental task of getting a nice family photographs of ourselves to print out for Alёna’s mom and for ourselves as a bonus. We all got dressed, I setup the lights and demonstrated to Alёna’s mom how to operate the camera.

Second favorite.The hardest part by far is to get the kids to do the right thing. When one is looking into the camera another one is yawning. When another one is looking into the camera the other one is talking or making faces. Alёna and I did our best not to screw up the photo because it was hard enough, but we still do blink.

Third. I'm seriously considering trimming my beard.All in all we took over 250 raw photos. No exaggeration. Multiple sets, multiple tries, changes of positions, light setup adjustments, candy bribes. But after several hours we did manage to produce a couple of worthy print candidates. Three best ones are above.

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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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O.o teeth mrgreen neutral -) roll twisted evil crycry cry oops razz mad lol cool -? shock eek sad smile grin