Saturday, January 29, 2011

Week 2 - SNOW

It's been snowing every single day this week, I think. And when it didn't, we were busy digging ourselves out. I've heard on the news that so far NY has seen 8 snow storms this winter. I bet all of them happened this week. (Yeah, I know, it's not true, but boy it sure feels this way!)

I mean, sure, lots of snow is super-cool. We go out 2-3 times a day for about half an hour each time. And we dig and throw snowballs and run around the yard pulling the sled. Ok, I do run around the yard. I feel sort of like Rambo (when running downhill) and sort of like a barge hauler on the Volga (on the uphill part).

I also get to save money by not going to the gym and instead shoveling snow off the deck and digging out the cars. M and Grandma are building not one, but 2 snow slides. Yeah, that's how much snow we have. Need any?

The not so cool part is that I don't drive in the snow. And so we stay home all day. Thank goodness, M's Grandma (aka Babushka) took a whole week off of work to spend with us. The original plan was to go to Philly or to NYC. But obviously it didn't happen.

Uncle Arkadiy braved the cold and the snow and took the train from Jersey City last weekend. He drives in the snow, no problem. He also brought a sled. So last Sunday we drove half a mile down the road for some sledding down a real big hill. But since it was like the coldest day so far this winter and A and I wore jeans, not snow pants, we stayed there for about 20 minutes. Then we went to a bagel shop for some coffee for A, hot choc for myself and a black-and-white cookie for M.
Here's what did happen (apart from all the snow play):
We cooked. Ok, Babushka and M cooked and I mostly just took pictures, or slept, or tried to catch up with work. We made juices (we make fresh juice every day now and M now drinks veggie juice, like kale and celery, as long as it's mixed with orange, carrot and apple juice - hooray!).
Then we made Russian meat dumplings called pel'meni. M made his own dumpling, which we decided to call "pel'menburger". He was really satisfied with the result and ate it up.
Next, Babushka and M ground some chicken, added lots of kale to it (!) and made little fried kebabs and fried patties. The patties turned out so green, you'd think it was St. Patty's day already. But M ate them up too! Awesome! He's much less picky with food now. And he's gained some weight in the last two weeks.
In addition to cooking, we played. We didn't bring many toys with us and by now he's a bit tired of all of them, including his Christmas gift. Fortunately, grandparents have a ton of odds and ends all over the house, the attic and the basement. We normally call it "trash", but now it's being re-branded as "awesome junk". I mean, check it out - little boxes and baskets, tiny blown glass figurines, old kitchen utensils, glass beads, leftover tiles from tiling the kitchen backsplash 8 or so years ago... Totally playable, don't you think?
So the candle holder houses "friends" and their "magic tree" that grows, depending on the day, lollipops, candy, toys, or whatever else. And the tiles and glass beads are a cool mosaic.
The tree branches, cut into pieces, became a lighthouse and a little house next to it and a garden for Pandora the Cat, Seabold the Dog and Huck the Bird (if you didn't read "The Lighthouse Family", it's your loss).
And the seashells - families. M told this story about one of them: "Papa Shell went to Home Depot to buy saw and told the boy Shell to stay home and do house work. Then Mama Shell and Papa Shells went to play with the cat and the boy Shell just did house work." Lol, like this ever happened to him!
But I sure do hope that next week we'll get out more even if it's just down the road to get groceries or something.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 1 Is Over

One week down, only 8 more to go. Chris has made it ok to Alabama and last time I spoke with him, he was about to start his training. (He'll love getting letters, so if you feel like sending him one, please e-mail or call me for address.)

Yes, we've been here, in NY, for exactly one week now. It's been pretty good so far although we spent most of the time inside because of the weather.

Fortunately, also because of the weather, my mom's office had a few late openings and she didn't leave for work 'til 8:30-9am. Which gave me an opportunity to sleep. Well, sort of... 'Cause of course M, while getting used to all the changes, is totally off his regular sleeping schedule and wakes up at ungodly 4:30-5am. Sure, he stays in bed 'til 6 and even 6:30, but he is not asleep.

And when M is not asleep, he likes to talk. And since he sleeps with me (remember, the room we're staying in is just big enough for 1 fold-out loveseat), I am the one he talks to. Mercifully, Grandma wakes up from all the chatter (it's a small house, I'm telling ya) and takes M away to the kitchen to feed him breakfast.

We also make juices now. M is very excited about it and now is getting lots of fruits and even veggies (and veggies, in his mind, are more terrible than hot sauce). Yes, he drinks carrot juice. Although at first he refused to believe that carrots where not fruits, but veggies - they tasted so good juiced!

Another thing we do is gardening. First, we picked up some paperwhites' bulbs and are forcing them now. Then we had a pineapple top left over from all that juicing and decided to plant it. Plus we're taking care of one of the begonias (I think that's what they are anyway) that Grandma has.

This week was the drinking straws week (kinda went along with the whole juicing idea). So we did a ton of fun stuff with drinking straws - math, art, construction. But I don't want to bore you with the details.

And, of course, we're slowly making improvements to our room, but more on that in a future update.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

8 Years Together

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. However, this year we celebrated it a couple of days too early simply 'cause Chris had to go away on his training (he's doing great so far, but then again, the training hasn't really started yet).

It's been our tradition to go to a Melting Pot restaurant on our anniversary (I hope Melting Pot honchos see this and send me some kinda coupon or something). Well, it's been our tradition for 6 years out of 8. The first year we were dining at a small seafood place somewhere in the Florida Panhandle and last year, with finances very tight (honchos, that's a hint), we chose to do an anniversary breakfast and an anniversary after-breakfast walk instead.

But this year we're back! So now we've been to Melting Pots in three states - Florida x 2 (in Longwood), North Carolina x 3 (in Raleigh) and the one in New Jersy x 1 (in Westwood). And we do get a photo taken by a hostess each year. So at this point we've got quite a collection.

I can't believe it's been 8 years already! As they say, time flies when you're having fun (or raising children).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where Are We and Why?

Where - my parents' house in Rockland County, NY.

Why - because we had to since Chris is away on training for a couple of months.

The really big question on my mind is "Will it work out?". I'm a bit scared 'cause

  • the house is really small
  • the on-demand water heater nightmare
  • it's winter in NY meaning limited driving for me (plus I hate driving here anyway with all the traffic)
  • not much to do - it's a suburb with practically nothing going on within reasonable driving distance. Not in the winter anyway. Not compared to Raleigh.
On the plus side, my parents are always very happy to see us and are always there to help me out with M. So I can maintain my crazy work-homeschooling-no-life-to-speak-of balance and not worry about how to manage it all if I were to get sick. So in a way, I am a lot more relaxed.

Plus I'm armed with about a billion activities to keep M busy with. Plus all the day trips we can potentially go on - really exciting!
For now we're still settling in and arranging our bedroom. The cat is getting used to the new surroundings as well (yeah, we took him with us). I need to go to a few stores to stock up on supplies and essentials such as arts and crafts stuff, building blocks, and a kid-size table. So Michaels and IKEA are on my list of places to stop by. Except that we've been in the house for the last two days because of the really bad weather. Oh well, there's always tomorrow (actually, there'll be some more nasty weather tomorrow).

New Year's Pix

Better late than never, I say. For the New Year's celebration we drove to Charlotte to see our good friends Lana and Patrick. Staying over at their house is always lovely no matter the weather. They are just the best hosts and their little boy is so cute and fun and shares his toys really well (at least he does with M.)
I just hope that we're being half as awesome the guests as they are - the hosts. Chris, Patrick and the boys spent a lot of times in the backyard and at the nearby playground while Lana and I chatted and I pretended to help her in the kitchen.
Lana is an excellent cook. Seriously, she intimidates me. She bakes French baguettes every day and beautiful-looking delicious cakes - on a whim. And did I mention that the table is always beautifully laid out for EVERY meal?
In the evenings the boys played with PlayDoh (a huge hit with M, all of a sudden) and watched some 'toons. And after they got sent to bed, the adults had some extra desserts and tea and watched movies on Netflix. Oh, and the husbands were so awesome sitting through the entire "Irony of Fate" in Russian with no subtitles (neither of them speaks Russian)!
Seriously, if they ever decide to open a B&B, I'll be the first one to book a vacation there!