23 June 2010

almost there...

We are ready to go!

Okay, we're not packed.

But, we've made a book of photos that shows where we're going, where we're staying, who we're meeting and a thing or two that we'll do. (Some is not planned. Some is tentatively planned. And I don't want to have something in there and not do it.)

It ends with Mama and Lexi coming home together. (I think that's important. And, I also think it's important that we have plans together for after the trip. We will be riding the metro.)

The book is seventeen pages long. SEVENTEEN!

And, because it's us, okay, because it's me, our trip preparation includes singing...

I want to be in America
Lexi/Mama and me in America
Play in the sea in America
New friends to meet in America

The third line is variable. It includes: Pick blueberrIES in America, Cowboys singING in America, Going shopPING in America, Driving a car in America and whatever else pops into my head. Lexi's role, at this point, is the clapping. But I know when she thinks I'm not listening she'll be belting it out.

22 June 2010

quick pix

One of the last days of school was International Day. We dress in clothes that show our home countries and bring food to share. Here, as she says herself, is an "America girl!".

And here she is eating lunch with Lithuania, UK and Holland.

20 June 2010

a star is nurtured

The signs were all there, so today was the day.

We'd gone from singing Mary Poppins to Les Miz. Then, last night as I was making dinner, I sang a song to her that transfixed Miss Lex. I sang it a million and four times between dinner last night and breakfast this morning--not even drawing breath before she'd say, "Sing it again!". If that's the reaction It's a Grand Night for Singing (Great song for changing the words to suit the occasion.) had, I knew it was time.

Today, Lexi got her first taste of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

There's no going back now.

19 June 2010

summer reading

I just got this in an e-mail. Do people seriously respond to these things? Just in case you're needing a little summer adventure-reading I'm pasting it below.

Hello Dear,
Pleased to meet you ,My name is miss Jenny J******* 21 years old, I am from the origin of Sao Tome & Principe but presently in Abidjan the capital city of Ivory Coast where i was born.

Please i need an honest person to be my partner a person i can count on,I know it is natural for you to wonder why i have contacted you for this when we have not known or met each other before but i must confess to you that life has taught me that there is a time in ones life when she has to trust and confide in a total stranger instead of her people she knows.

It all started when my uncle conspired with my father's business associate and poisoned my beloved father to death just because He wants to claim my father's properties which is my inheritance as the only child of my late parents. My uncle who is suppose to be there for me when my father is not there now became my hunter.

Before the death of my father he told me that he deposited this money (4.8 million U.S Dollars) with a security company in Abidjan the capital city of Cote d'Ivoire but He deposited the money to the security company as a family valueble item in a trunk box, which the security company does not know the content of this Trunk Box, he had an Agreement with the security company that this Trunk Box should be released and transferred to his then Foreign partner.

According to my late father He was to submit His then foreign partner's personal information and datas to the security company later but unfortunately as fate may have it my father died without submitting to the company his then foreign partner's personal information and data's for the transfer of the Trunk Box.

Now based on this, I am obliged to get a foreign partner to be able to transfer this Trunk Box out of my country for investment abroad.
Even as i am talking to you now, i have fled from my family house to the interior area of my country for my hide out in a guest house for my safety untill this transfer is completed then you will withdraw some money from it and send to me so i can get my traveling document to come over and meet you in your country for my safety and to continue my education.

You are my only hope now and i am really counting on you. We will share 60/40% of the profit made from any investment made in your country( 60% for me while 40% for you) please reply me here in my private e-mail address...

Waiting to hear from you,

yours faithfully
miss jenny.

16 June 2010

this time last year

A year ago yesterday, I met my amazing daughter, Lexi, for the first time.

It was a year ago today that I knew that she was mine and I was hers.

And now the insistent little voice that belongs to this plucky little girl is calling me to come and join in her bathtime fun. That beats memory lane, hands down.

13 June 2010

really, nothing

Hmph. Not much here.

Four Five and a half more days of school (Teachers are at school until noon Saturday this week).

Ten more days until we leave!

Our summer is crazy. We're making the grand tour so everyone can meet Lexi. Okay, it's not even close to everyone and it's still CRAZY. We're doing five states in as many weeks, seeing friends and family.

I think it may be too much, even though I've scheduled lots of down time and "us" time. (After just, what? two days with friends in Slovakia she was wanting "only Mama".)

We might even be glad to come "home" to Russia.

The thing is, I don't have a laptop. So, your summer posts will be few and far between. Don't desert us, though! We'll be back.

09 June 2010

just a second

I was reminded twice in quick succession why I love teaching second graders this morning:

Me: Whose shield is this? (crickets) Seriously, guys. Whose IS this? (mass denials) I didn't ask whose shield this wasn't. I asked whose it was. It's a lovely, red shield. (class agrees and comments on the symmetry of the shield and how well-cut it is) Someone had to have made this. It didn't just cut itself. (I'm wracking my brain to be sure it isn't one I cut as a demonstration.)

student: Maybe it's the Littles'. (Ah, yes. Our fun, failsafe blame-catchers.)

student 2, in all seriousness: No. They couldn't make that. They haven't learned about medieval times.

(How much do I love that they weren't too little to make it? They were too young to have studied the things we've studied.)

The belief in all things magical and make-believe is one I hold dear--and will do all I can to protect it and nurture it in my students. It's nice to have playmates.

Shortly thereafter I did laugh out loud:

student, slamming the dictionary shut and shaking it as she walks to put it away: I found out what "swarm" means. And I'm mixing it up so the next person has to find it, too.

07 June 2010

super quick

Hey, ex-pats. Here's a website I can't survive--and certainly can't COOK--without:

04 June 2010


I'll reply to the replies later.

Instead, let's have "salad". Lexi's favorite is Столичный, Stolichny. When I make it at home (having examined the deli versions from two different grocery stores) it has...

  • cubes of boiled potatoes (2 parts)
  • cubes of chicken (2 parts)
  • cubes of barely boiled carrots (1 part)
  • canned peas (1 part)
  • pickles (if I'm not having any--the one time I did she got them on the side) (1/2 part)
  • cubes of boiled egg (1/2-1 part)
  • and olive-based mayonnaise

I'm sure in the real salad there is dill (this is Russia) but I don't like dill and don't keep any in the house. I use lemon pepper instead.

Lexi loves this and will eat it for any meal. Just thought I'd pass it on in case you were looking for a not-so-healthy salad option.

(They also make this salad with pork. Then, at our groceries, they call it Olivier. That's Amanda's favorite salad. The same salad without meat is sold in our grocery store as Home Salad. But, the deli later won't let you buy it.)

01 June 2010

C3 po'd

We have three women who rotate as, for lack of a better word, conceirges for our building. In reality they sit behind a desk in the entryway. And take lots of breaks. Most times after we pass the desk, Lexi asks, "What she is doing down there?" and I tell her, "She's working." "She's watching television," is the sage reply. And, yes. Between breaks they mostly sit and watch television.

Two of them will take your trash out to the courtyard, so that's FANTASTIC!

C1 is very stiff and proper. She calls Lexi "Alexandra" and speaks to her in Russian. Long-winded Russian. Lexi just glazes over.

C2 is a warm, friendly babushka. She is the one who SO wants to be affectionate to Lexi. She will try to give her little treats and wanted to do a little fingerplay with her. She likes Lexi.

C3 speaks a little English, and so, until recently, was Lexi's favorite.

Every time she comes in, Lexi dashes up the steps so that she's standing at eye-level with whomever is on duty. To start a conversation, she usually shows them something--her lunchbox, a bottle of water, her dress.

C3 told me when Lexi showed her a bottle of water...

In English, the word "spoiled", it is negative?"

I confirmed it was.
In Russian, too. I think Lexi is spoiled.
Spoiled? (I was flabbergasted.) Really? I don't think so.
Yes. A little. A little spoiled.
Well, when you have nothing, then you need many new things.
She conceded that point, but remained unconvinced.

THEN, when we had our week of summer a while back, Lexi came in wearing a sleeveless top (H@nna Andersson-- quite modest and much thicker than her t-shirts). It was hot and we'd walked home. C3 was not happy. The conversation quickly went from English to Russian:

Where is her jacket? Where is her coat? What is this? (dismissive gesture at sleeves)
It's hot today. We walked from school. It is good.
No, it is not good. She must have a jacket.
No, she is fine. Are you cold, Lexi? (No, I am not.) Of course. Mama knows. Mama knows what Lexi needs.
No, she does not! Mama does not know!
And so I just repeated that Mama knew and walked away up the stairs.

This is the kind of thing that drives me nuts!