30 May 2010

myself, age seven

by Lexi

What is your favorite color? Black

Who is your best friend at school? Anya and Isabel. Write "Isabel".
*note: These girls aren't often very nice playmates.

Who do you like to play with? Thomas. And I like to play with you, Mummeeeeee.

What do you like best to play on the playground? Swings!

What do you like best to eat? Spaghetti.

What is your favorite book? Oh, Frances! (with a big smile and a sparkle)

What is your favorite song to sing at bedtime? The Castle Song
(Castle on a Cloud from Les Miz) and Feed the Birds

What do you want to do when you're a big girl? Play in the fountains.

What is your favorite thing to play at home? Play with Mouse.

What is your favorite movie? At the Beach (Peppa Pig episode)

What is your favorite game? Memory

My favorite thing is to be helping. I'm such a good helper for you!

(Notes from Mama: Lexi, age newly-seven, loves bubbles, painting, puzzles, books and her new dollhouse. She always asks, "Can I play with my dollhouse? Will you share it with me?" before she plays. She loves to sing and dance. She often "teaches" music lessons and dance lessons and all sorts of lessons to her imaginary class. She is a very serious teacher. She loves spaghetti, pancakes with syrup, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, strawberries, watermelon, kiwi, mango, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and popcorn. She loves peanut butter, ketchup and mayonnaise. She likes squeaky kisses and fast, everywhere kisses, and big hugs--all exclusively from Mama. She is an excellent helper--my very best helper. She loves to wear pretty dresses and to dress up in costumes. When she's nervous, when people are being over-familiar she turns to me, puts up her arms and asks, "Pick up me." This is usually followed by a request to be "Upsidedown!")

29 May 2010


I would like to know exactly when the other living creatures in this house had a meeting without me and decided that 5:30 a.m. was the perfect time to awaken. It obviously was very shortly after Lexi arrived home when I was too jetlagged and adoption-lagged to take notice of the coup taking place in my home.

I've tried to get wake-up time back on the agenda, but cannot get the other parties' agreement. I've offered all sorts of concessions from nighttime kibbling to drastically later bedtimes, but none seem to be appealing enough for the other parties to consider overturning their earlier decision.

24 May 2010

eight months

EIGHT months together! Can you believe it?

Height: 115.5 cm, 45.5" (That's 5.5 cm growth)
Weight: 19.6 kg, 43 lbs. (That's a gain of 2.3 kg/5 lbs.)

We happened to be at Peterhoff, taking advantage of the last unseasonably warm day, yesterday. (Cold weather was accurately predicted to start the following day.)

We rode the boat there, which was much-anticipated.

Lexi behaved in a very Lexish fashion. She was SO excited to play in the fountains that she rushed through our picnic (also much-anticipated) (Having seen Kipper picnic on a blanket, she was not impressed with the Russian picnic-on-a-bench version.), ate cookies on the hoof (cookies were a big hit),

and was ready to get off the train as soon as we got on (Remind me never to bother with little trains again. Although not the drunk-driver, have-to-wait-20-minutes-at-the-top Vienna-zoo experience, this one drove us through hedges. We need to stick to proper trains and leave the little sight-seeing ones alone.).
When we got to the play fountains, she stripped off to her swimsuit
(Yes, she was the only one there in a swimsuit. And, yes, everyone thought she was "so beautiful".) and didn't want to go in.

Lexi needs to watch. For a long time.

But, eventually, she worked herself up to playing off to the side where the sprinkler wasn't working. She was happy in her little puddle of sunshine while the other children raced through the sprinklers.

I'm happy with my little puddle of sunshine, too. ;>
Afterward we had hotdogs, ice cream, and another boat ride home.

It was a nice day.

Happy eight months, baby girl!

23 May 2010

little girl: found!


My agency tracked down Kristina's new family. In France.

I just got off the phone with them. And I'm just so, so happy.

I just wanted to share the joy.

22 May 2010


It was bound to happen, I suppose.

After a particularly bad night of boats on the canal--They were non-stop and loud. There wasn't the usual lull after 2 a.m.--some clowns parked across the canal and started drinking at 7 a.m. They turned on the music and blasted it.

Lexi had the window open to blow bubbles. I, tired and sick of the constant, inconsiderate noise, leaned out and shouted, "Would you please just SHUT UP!"

Not my most stellar moment. It was a bit fish-wifey, though not at all shrill. And they didn't. In fact, I would wager that my reactions was exactly what they wanted and made them feel empowered.

But, I was pleased with how the canal acoustics carried my Oxford-trained voice (Um...but...I've never had a problem with projection, so Oxford doesn't really deserve any credit here. It's just a name-dropping adjective. Forgive me.) down the canal. It just boomed. Impressive.

20 May 2010

proud mama

About a week ago we were walking to the apteka. We passed a bridal shop and Lexi stopped dead in front of the window that displayed a big "cake" dress in red and white.

"Oh, I do not like that dress," she said with conviction.

I was so proud. ;>

19 May 2010

say ahhhh

Lexi has huge tonsils. Huge. Mine are so small that every doctor who examines me asks if I've had them removed. (I haven't.) Lexi's fill up her poor little throat.

I was commenting that I thought she'd have to have them out once we were home. A friend told me that she might just need to have them cleaned. Never having heard of this, I told her so and asked what it entailed.

She said that tonsillectomies are very rare in Russia (I can confirm my Russian ped's reaction to the suggestion--she was horrified at the thought of such a "very risky surgery"). Instead, she is meant to go in yearly and have her tonsils drained and washed. She said she hasn't done it for several years because it's so uncomfortable.

Sounds uncomfortable to me.

16 May 2010


edited to tell you my daughter was deemed the most gracious seven-year-old ever in the history of the world for her behaviour during the party--particularly during present-opening. And not just by me!

friends from UK/Russia, USA, the birthday girl, Russia, Holland

Our party was exactly what I wanted it to be--fun for Lexi.

Her four classmates arrived and we decorated picture frames and made beads-on-pipe cleaner bracelets.

We played some dancing games, had a photo-puzzle scavenger hunt, played pin-the-butterfly-on-the-flower,

and then everyone sang to Lexi (all she wanted was a cake, for everyone to sing to her, and to dance) and we had strawberry cake and fruit.

After cake, we played hot potato to open gifts. Yes, we opened gifts. The girls were all excited to see how Lexi liked their presents.

We got the bracelet makings out again and that kept everyone busy and happy until the they had to leave. We didn't even play the balloon game I had in reserve or paint faces or make the flowers to decorate the wall or eat ice cream. NO ONE wanted ice cream--not even my little one. Go figure.

Thank-you notes are in-progress.

13 May 2010

now we are seven

Woke up with our usual snuggle (Can you come give me hugs?) and got up for breakfast (I can open my present!).

Opened dollhouse dolls and was underwhelmed. (Mama was sad so quickly wrapped the xylophone meant for later.) Opened xylophone and was thrilled. Played the xylophone until we left we school.

Ate pancakes (on a school morning!) with strawberries and the last of the syrup.

Brought carrot cake cupcakes to school--with purple cream cheese frosting (best eaten with eyes closed) and found signs everywhere saying Happy Birthday, Lexi! This guaranteed our little rock star was showered with birthday wishes from all the big kids. The birthday cake hat was a visual reminder. (That's my girl--a costume for every occasion.)

Came home and discovered there were MORE presents! A dollhouse (bought in Bratislava and containing the wrong pieces assembled and juryrigged by Mama), lots of dollhouse furniture, and two Peppa dvd's.

Ate spaghetti and birthday "cake".

Took a bath and went to bed after reading a new birthday book brought by a friend.

And now we are seven!

(Beazy and Mia enjoyed the dollhouse, too.)

10 May 2010

of birthday parties

Last Friday we went to another birthday party.

This one was pirate-themed. We were invited on Monday, via e-mail. It sounded like the party, for a classmate and her brother, was being held at their home.

Lexi was so excited! We picked out an outfit that suggested piracy (yes, a girl after my own heart--it's all about the costume) but one that could just as easily be cute if no one else dressed up. She was SO excited to wear it! It was the first thing she told me Friday morning. And, she told me after she got dressed, "I'm a great pirate."

When we e-mailed about gifts, I got the response of "Your mere presence is enough. And, remember it is Marfa's brother's birthday, too. If you would just remember to wish him a happy birthday as well, he'd be so happy." I took that to mean, "Bring two gifts." So, we chose face paints for Marfa and a magnetic building kit for her brother, whom we do not know. Each gift was about $15. Lexi was so exited to give them the gifts!

Okay, we were SO out of our league at this party. It was, again, for parents and children. There were about...thirty children there, most of whom were Russian. It was at a party place, I guess. There was a Johnny Depp lookalike as well as two other women pirates and two other men. They pirates were "entertaining" the children while the adults ate. And drank. The kids has loud games, then food while the pirates asked them things, then more loud games, then more food while the pirates asked them things...

Lexi had her first caviar tartlet. And she professed to like it. I declined both caviar and champagne.

It was WAY too much for us! Lexi really needed to just be able to sit back and watch. I'm so glad I was there to fight the party pirates who wanted to make her do everything--their way. We spent a lot of time on our own. (Yes, I looked completely overbearing and anti-social, but I wasn't. Well, I wasn't overbearing. ;> ) We left early--three hours into the party.

Lexi's birthday party is Saturday. I guess we could say we're having a retro-party, if we were trying to impress. (Um, we're not.) We're inviting the girls from her class and a friend from first grade/dance/church to our house for two hours in the afternoon. There will be five little girls in play-clothes and fairy wings. (Drat! The one friend I wanted to come, the one whose mom said they did a small, at-home party is in Finland and can't come.) I hope their parents don't plan to stay. I will have nothing for them to eat or do...and nowhere for them to hang out. I'll get the word out, somehow. Hmmm...

My question is about gifts. Do your kids still open gifts at parties? At these two parties, there was no gift-opening. Lexi was SO disappointed! She wanted to see her gifts opened and enjoyed. She doesn't even know if they were received--they were whisked off and displayed with the other gifts. (Let me say that our gifts were very much on the small side at Friday's bash.) At the first party, the birthday girl just tore into them whenever she felt like it. At the second, they weren't opened while we were there.

I think we will open gifts. AND we will do individual thank-you notes--not a mass e-mail. When people have asked, I've honestly told them what she'd like--something small. Maybe I'm the one being gauche. I just feel like I'm being honest. And helpful.

We're making a craft, playing some games, eating cake and opening gifts. We have take-home goody bags. We're not themed--we're just doing things Lexi likes and eating what she's asked. I know she'll enjoy this party. I just hope everyone else does, too. I have no doubt Lexi will be kind and gracious. And I'm going to make sure everyone else is, too.

09 May 2010

happy (blank) day!

Happy Victory Day!

Yes, without my slingbox filled with
H@llm@rk commercials to remind me...

...and with the streets filled with:
that's all I've been thinking this Sunday is--Victory Day. A time to remember WWII (as posters all over the city command--similar photos to last year's, with captions like Children remember.) and display military might. We're skipping the parade. It's all siege survivors (which is very moving, but I can't explain it to Lexi) and boy stuff--soldiers and weapons. I'm not sure we'll even brave the masses to make our way to church.

I forgot that I'd figured out that this year, Victory Day in Russia is Mother's Day in the US.

Oops. Happy Mother's Day, too!

(What's with blogger not showing comments on old posts? I went back through the archives and found NO COMMENTS on any post I looked at today. What gives?)

Quote from an AP article about Victory Day and how Russia feels the Soviet effort in WWII is under-appreciated:

Analysts say the fanatical Russian celebrations are a sign the country is overcompensating for its relative lack of historical achievements, and that the Kremlin is capitalizing on a rare point of national unity.

I bet that ruffled some feathers!

Hope your feathers are decidedly unruffled today.

02 May 2010


Last week's birthday party (the first one we attended) included belly dancer entertainers and the cat woman, pictured above with her assistant.

Yes, she was billed as having trained cats. From what I've seen, Lexi and Mia are pretty much ready to hit the trained cat circuit. This cat was supposed to jump from one stool to another. They eventually pushed the stools so close they were touching...and is still wouldn't jump. We can do that!

I was so proud of Lexi who told me, unprompted and put together in her own sweet little head, when we were discussing what would happen at the party, "Today it is Isabel's turn to get presents."

Lexi's turn is coming soon...

But we're not having trained cats...other than, Mia, that is.