Monday, August 31, 2009

She wants to go back!

Well, Lydia must have enjoyed her morning, because she said she wants to go back tomorrow and eat lunch there too. She was happily playing in her classroom when I went to pick her up. She was excited that they had baby doll strollers to play with. The funny thing is that we somehow got her into the wrong class this morning! She was with the 4-year olds. So before we left we met the teacher she should have had, and we'll get her to the right place tomorrow. The good news is that the younger group eats breakfast later, so we don't have to be there until 8:30. Here are some pictures on the stairs at the preschool.

First Day!

Today is the big first day! Aaron's first "real" day of school (yesterday was just an orientation day for the students), and Lydia's first day of preschool! Here is a sight I may be seeing more often now :) ...

I'm so proud of Lydia, for how well she did when I dropped her off at preschool (in Russian it's called "dyetsky sad," which means "kindergarten"). She went right to her locker to put her stuff in, and change into her "inside shoes." And when I said goodbye, she was smiling, holding her teacher's hand, and walking off to her classroom! I was so glad she didn't cry- that would have been hard on me! I dropped her off at 8:00 this morning, and today I'll pick her up at 10. I wanted her to just have a couple of hours today to get used to it. Eventually I'll let her stay until right after lunch. She'll get breakfast and lunch there.

Our morning routine went pretty smoothly. We all had to get up a lot earlier than we have been! Aaron and I got up at 6, and I fed Birdie and started getting ready. Birdie cooperated nicely by sitting happily in her bouncy seat while I got ready. Then I got Lydia up at 7:15, she got dressed, and we were out the door by 7:50. Thankfully, the preschool is just a short walk away. Here's Lydia waking up for her big day. Her first words after saying good morning were, "The darkness went away really fast!"

Ready to go:
Heading out the door. (You can also see her "new" bike in the corner that we bought from some friends. She hasn't gotten to try it yet- we have to find a pump to fill the tires):

At the door of the preschool:
Standing by her locker:
And just for fun, some super cute pics of Birdie!

The girls:
Time to go pick Lydia up and see how her first day went!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dacha & Birdie's Smile

Last week we had the chance to stay at a dacha for two nights! The first two days were a retreat with the folks in our organization who live in St. Petersburg. Then we stayed an extra night with one other family, just to have a little family vacation time. A dacha (pronounced "dah-tcha") is a Russian country house. We might call it a cabin or cottage. Usually they are a bit rustic, and they often don't have indoor plumbing. That describes the one we stayed at, although in the little village where it was located, we saw many dachas being renovated or new ones being built. There was quite a range from really delapidated ones to really nice ones. I would say most are on the delapidated end of things though. The dacha villages are really something to see. I don't think there is anything quite like it in the US. They are built close together, but they all have a little yard or garden plot, usually fenced in, with kind of a secret garden gone wild look to them.

The dacha we stayed in was owned by another organization that has people in St. Petersburg. It was about an hour's ride on the electric train from the city. From the train station (a platform out in the middle of nowhere), it was a short walk to the dacha. We walked past two tiny stores on the way there- the only ones around. They were like little mini-marts, but they had a little of everything. (Even diapers you could buy by the piece, which was good because we forgot some for Lydia to wear at night!) The morning we got there, there was a milk truck that had come to sell fresh milk to the villagers. They also were selling fresh home-made tvorog (something like cottage cheese). I wanted to go back on another morning and buy some, but we didn't get around to it.

We had a nice time, enjoying the fresh air and being away from the city. Lydia loved playing with the other kids, picking raspberries, finding snails, and playing in the sandbox. She had so much fun that she didn't want to take time to go potty, and we quickly went through all her pairs of pants. By the last day she was wearing her jammy pants! Thankfully on the last day we were there, she decided that she liked being able to go potty without our help, and we didn't have anymore "accidents."

For dinner the first night we made shashlik, which is like grilled shish-kabobs. Very yummy, and something Russians love to make at their dachas or out in the countryside for a cook-out. We also celebrated Aaron's birthday (34 years!!) on the 12th. After the shashlik, we sang happy birthday and enjoyed some cakes that I had made. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of that. Here are some that we did get:

And here are some recent pictures of Birdie's beautiful smile:

She also found she likes to suck on her fist. In the first picture she looks like she is contemplating something important!

If you click the YouTube link on the left you can see a little video of Birdie smiling for Mama! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Birdie's Smile

I finally caught Birdie's smile on camera! She was being so cute and happy for a while this afternoon, and giving lots of smiles, especially for Daddy. The first picture is the best shot, but unfortunately its a little blurry.

Sweet sisters:
Later she was happily munching on Daddy's thumb!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Birdie's One-Month Update

I took Birdie to the doctor yesterday for her one-month checkup. She is doing well and is up to 4.186 kg and 55 cm. Sorry I haven't taken the time to convert those to pounds and inches and my calculator is not handy right now! The doctor was happy with her growth. She said she heard something like a heart murmur, but it is nothing to be concerned about. I actually didn't understand the term she used for what it sounded like (false something), but she said it is not really a problem- we just may want to have an ultrasound on her heart sometime down the road. This doctor speaks english, but her accent or use of different terms to describe things is sometimes difficult to understand. For instance, she described a little pimple-type thing on Birdie's neck as "not a pure element." I understood she meant that it is not a normal baby thing, like the baby acne on her face, but it was an unusual way to convey her meaning. (The pimple is also nothing to worry about for now though, either).

Birdie also got her 2nd hepatitis B vaccination. I was glad to learn that we can get all of Birdie's immunizations here, just like they do in the US, except for the one for roto-virus. Apparently that is a relatively new one they do in the US, because Lydia, born in 2006, didn't have it. I also just recently realized that our insurance covers all immunizations 100%, even if we haven't reached our deductible yet! :)

Here are some recent fun pics of "our girls." Birdie's eyes are looking more blue!

Here's a short video of Birdie. We tried to catch a smile, but they are still too fleeting!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mimi & Poppi's Visit

I finally getting some pictures posted from Mimi & Poppi's visit (Aaron's parents). It was great to have Aaron's mom, Glenda, here for 3 weeks after Birdie's birth, and then his dad, Alan, came for the last week. They both left on July 17th. I can't believe it's August already, and Birdie is already a month old. Here are some highlights from our time with Mimi & Poppi. Lydia loved all the special attention, and all the ice cream treats when they went to the park!