31 December 2009

30 December 2009

i'm just saying

I intend to say twenty-ten

and not two thousand ten
or the even worse two thousand and ten.

Anyone else?

Yes, I do think about these things. Because, you know, I might be called upon to offer my opinion to the world or the blogosphere. It's kateish.

And I still think the last decade ought to be called the oughts.

plates in question

I just e-mailed this to Essie, and thought it might be of interest to other readers new to the car saga:

I have red, diplomatic plates on my car. The head of the consulate motorpool says it's pretty common to have them stolen--that even white plates get stolen often. (Who knew? Not me. I thought it was pretty ballsy for them to steal red plates and that there'd be big trouble if they were caught.)

They're starting the process now--and looking into a temporary plate (unheard of) or a stamped letter of permission to drive (also unheard of) at my request. Both seem like good ideas...

The consulate is open today and tomorrow and then is closed for the next week. So let's hope something gets started or even sorted (a girl can hope) in the next two days.

A friend had his (red) plates stolen over the summer. (It took him 5 weeks to get new ones.) He said someone told him that it might be people trying to get goods across the border--use the dip plates once, leaving immediately after you've taken them so they're not yet reported stolen, and then discard them.

He's been stopped to prove he has dip privileges just while driving around with his new plates, so it must be becoming more of an issue.

29 December 2009

further adventures of car

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I didn't blog about the day-long saga that led to the discovery of a failed ignition coil.

Or the trip to pick it up on a late Saturday morning--by foot and metro--in which Lexi and I were charged by barking dogs (leashed and muzzled, fortunately, but still scary) and saw more staggering drunks than I ever have in one place.

That's all sort of old-hat.

But this. THIS.

Setting the scene: Snow is very, very deep. It's been snowing for a week now and it's over two feet deep. (It's not good for playing as it's too deep and doesn't stick. AND there's no where to sled nearby.)

We went out to go shopping and found that the car handle had been messed with, which left the interior light on, which drained the battery. Not fun, but par for the course. We (consulted with the principal) decided to wait until the roads cleared a bit more (Ploughs aren't running for some reason. Monday a week ago, when it all started, we were shopping. A trip that takes 20 minutes with no traffic, and about an hour with traffic, took THREE AND A HALF hours. So we've been content to stay home and let the snow bury the car.) to call the service to have it jumpstarted.

We called today to schedule a time tomorrow morning. Service is not working until after 5 January. Welcome to Russia.

Another service will come, but you can't book ahead. We planned to call tomorrow.

Ever-helpful principal shoveled my car out.

And discovered I have no license plates.

This is a big headache. BIG. I don't even know how big yet. It will involve trips to the consulate and the local police station. Made, of course, without my car. And it takes AGES to sort out new plates. A colleague's plates were stolen this summer and it was months before he had new ones. Groan.

No, there is no such thing as a temporary tag.

And Lexi and I will have to walk to and from school...or take a taxi every day. I'd guess taxi there and walk home.

But it keeps all of you entertained.

Stay tuned.

28 December 2009


I have not had a full night's sleep in over three months. Neither have I had a satisfactory nap in that time.

While I'm not nearly as exhausted as I was at four weeks, I. am. tired.

24 December 2009

official joy

*announcement removed*

Wishing you a Christmas filled with joy and wonder.

-Kate and Lexi

21 December 2009

three months

She regularly talks to Mr. Hooper on the phone.

"I can't to-cide." is my current favorite mis-pronounce. Decisions are hard. ;>

Baby Chicken is still with us quite often. She regularly wants to swim in Lexi's drink at mealtimes and is chastised accordingly.

Her doll has gone, in three months, from being Malishka (little one) to Kookla (doll) to Dochka (daughter) back to Kookla to Baby.

I love to hear her pray.

She still considers every decision quite seriously (I want...tak, tak, tak...)and then vehemently chooses (THIS one!).

She thinks Santa will bring her chocolate and a puzzle.

She is currently enjoying her "terrible two's" and is experimenting with all forms of "no". (Another thing for which we can thank her kindergarten.) She has been quick to learn that when Mama tells you do something you say, "Yes, Mama." and obey. The rest of the time she can enjoy being all no-ing.

Our refrain of "This isn't the orphanage, it's OUR home." has come out of retirement in a slightly altered "This isn't kindergarten, it's OUR home."

Our favorite books this week are Piglet and Mama (We quite often have the piglet calling "Mama" around here followed by the refrain, "But Piglet wanted HER Mama." Both the role of Piglet and the role of narrator performed by Lexi. Mama makes a cameo appearance as Mama Pig at the end.) and Loving (which I highly recommend and is better, in our opinions, than the similar book Families. I get a little uncomfortable with the pc nature of Families. It lists foster families and adoptive families as kinds of families...but it sort of creeps me out. And it says that all children everywhere have a family. And we know that's not true. Lexi prefers Loving because it has a picture of a boy's behind as he is bathed. In fact, the subtitle of Lu-vin' for a long time was "The Popochka Book".)

Really and truly, she is a bright spark, a near-constant delight, and a complete joy. And, yes, she really is this cute.

*photos removed--black dress*

I know these are blurry. I didn't want to use a flash, and when Lexi smiles, she smiles with her whole body. Be still and smile? Just can't be done. I just love them--blurs and all. I think the first one is my favorite. Or the first two. Or the first row. Or the first nine...

What prompted these smiles? Christmas, milkshakes, zucchini (which she loves and thinks is the funniest.word.ever), ice cream and Kipper.

(Am very surprised Dior hasn't contacted me about a photo campaign after I sent them her photo. Or Lands End, after the excellent, albeit accidental, product placement in the singing-in-the-park post.)

stats for the record:
height: 112.5 cm (44.3 in)
weight: 40.5 pounds

19 December 2009


We are sick.

School is hard.

Her teacher is...not ideal. Or even close. Looking at options and weighing the benefits of being in my school with being in a structured, disciplined, learning classroom. The problem is, there really aren't any English-speaking kindergarten options--the Christian school has a K/1 split (which I don't think is what she needs--she needs a solid year of K, but...). The Montessori School is "selective". And then there's our school. That's it.

Continuing to talk to the teacher and the principal. Am not the only unhappy parent. Fortunately, am not the only unhappy parent who is willing to speak to the school and not just grumble.

As a parent, I'm awed anew by the responsibility I have as a teacher.

The students all, grades 2-12, treat her like a rock star. They're so glad she's home! Her time out of the classroom is good.

We are both beyond happy to be spending the day at home in our pajamas. I, the only being in the flat with a concept of time, am luxuriating in the fact that we have three. whole. weeks. at home. Bliss.

That's the extent of my stamina. Back to Sesame Street, Silly Sally, raspberry tea with lemon and honey and a stuffy, phlegmy little girl.

p.s. SW visit was fine. Lex wouldn't speak English and sw was too familiar (kissed her and was all touchy until I took Lexi away and said, "only for Mama"). Lex wasn't best pleased, but is fine. SW will come every three months for the next three years. Or as long as we're here. Must inform her of our travel plans out of the country. Also am expected to take Lex to the doctor every three months to be weighed and measured.

08 December 2009

post-placement visit

My first post-placement visit with my Russian social worker is scheduled for next Tuesday. I will have visits from her every three months.

I have been told to have proof of medical insurance ready and to be prepared to demonstrate how independent Lexi is. One thing in particular we have to demonstrate is that Lexi can eat with a spoon independently.

We also have to register Lexi here in St. P. This is not an easy task. I say "we" but actually think this is a kindness-of-stangers thing. I don't think I can do it at. all.

We actually bumped into the sw today while we were out fruitlessly searching for plain, brown tights. (Note to all of you who say to go ahead and buy a Christmas dress: If only it were that easy! Dresses here are...not to my taste--and everything is expensive. A Christmas Day dress means I need to make one. But, we were at the fabric store to find something to make Lexi a stocking and, let me just say, no. This, "the best" fabric store has little in the natural fiber category and lots of acrylic and sparkle. I do have some lovely material from India we used for fairy costumes last year...) She's so nice and is always friendly. This is the first time she's seen Lexi. Lexi blanked out at her greeting and "how are you" in Russian. Lex is supposed to answer some interview questions...

One of our Russian speaking friends will be here to translate for both of us!

07 December 2009

do you see what i see?

Do you see what's in Lexi's hand? It's a baby chicken!
She's been carrying it around all. day.
She even carried it the .75 mile to church this morning.

When we went to school for our conference, my middle school drama girls (I love those girls) proclaimed, "She looks just like Pixie from Peter Pan!" and took us down to see--and TOUCH--the baby chicken they'd just hatched.

I'm so glad to know my big girls will be watching out for my little girl in the mornings.

(And how much do I love this dress? SOOooo much! I decided that Christmas dresses should be worn all during advent. But now I sort of want a dress *just* for Christmas day. Hmm...)

04 December 2009

six days to school

Starting school next Thursday.

Did a quick staff orientation last Tuesday.

Meeting with teachers today.

Neither of us is excited--though I'm faking it big time.

(Thought it better to remain in school's good graces and be seen as co-operative just in case I need something in the future. Love and Logic deposit.)

She starts Thursday. Monday they celebrate Santa Lucia. Tuesday is pajama day. Wednesday is the Winter Concert. Friday is a Christmas party. I'm tired already.

Off to watch Sesame Street. La di da di da...What's the name of that song?

03 December 2009

I asked

Lexi, "What are you thinking?"

Without missing a beat she emphatically replied, "Ice cream!"

(This was awhile back but it still makes me giggle. I have no doubt it was true.)