Sunday, September 27, 2009

Park Pobedy

I haven't posted for a while, but we haven't been doing a whole lot, since we've been passing colds around for the past few weeks. Thankfully, Birdie mostly avoided the germs and just got a little sniffly. We're all mostly feeling better, except for a cough that Lydia still has.

Today we met some friends at a large city park, called Park Pobedy. It means "victory park," a memorial to World War II. In the park is a monument showing where a crematorium was, and where the ashes of thousands of people were scattered during the Leningrad Blockade.

Here's the sign at the metro station next to the park:

You can see that the weather has gotten cooler, and that the leaves are starting to change!

Lydia enjoyed the playground. The next 3 pictures are a funny sequence of events:

Birdie slept peacefully in the fresh air.
We met a new American friend this morning, and she joined us at the park.
The rest of these are some other recent pictures. Lydia is always wondering what day it is, so I made this calendar to help her understand the concepts of days, weeks, months, yesterday and tomorrow. Don't be too impressed, though- I totally copied the idea from a friend who is homeschooling her kids. (Thanks, Christy P.!)
Birdie is starting to really enjoy bathtime. (Somehow Lydia got the idea that when I tell her to smile, she should make this face!)
Here's Birdie and Lydia's "Big Baby." I often do a double take when I see Big Baby sitting around somewhere, thinking it's Birdie.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


No, we were not up all night... Birdie slept all through the night! 8 hours straight! I ought to feel great, but I woke up with a headache that was starting last night. Feeling better now, but still a little tired. Besides that, it's a beautiful day! The weather forecast looks like it might be the last warm day for a while, so I better enjoy it. Here's how I've enjoyed it so far...

First, Lydia was off to preschool. It was a little harder for her to get up this morning, since she didn't get to bed too early last night, but she was still excited to go. When we got there, I met another mom who speaks great English. She helped translate a bit with Lydia's teacher, so that I understood there will be a parents meeting sometime soon. She also said she can translate for me at the meeting. Yea! We also found this list posted, showing things each child needs to bring to preschool. I took a picture so I could figure out at home what everything is.

I usually have a hard time reading Russian handwriting, but thankfully, this list is pretty clearly written. So far, I can tell that we need colored paper, and maybe some kind of holder for it (??), glue, pencils and a pencil holder (??), A-4 paper, toilet paper, napkins (maybe it means wet wipes ??), trash bags (I think), maybe crayons, and special little slippers for dancing during the music time. We already have the slippers, because I was told earlier that we need those. (Lydia loves wearing them and loves the music time). I'll probably print this list and take it to the store so the clerk there can help me make sure I'm getting the right things!

After dropping Lydia off, Birdie and I had a nice stroll through the park. I hope to do this regularly, so I can start getting some exercise again. It's easy to do it now, when the weather is so nice... I hope I can keep it up when it gets colder! Here are some scenes from our stroll:

My favorite one:

I see lots of people jogging or doing exercises at the park in the morning. There were also what looked like some PE classes from the local school, and kids were jogging around the park. This guy was doing some interesting exercises:

Many people also are walking through the park on their way to work. If they are coming from the metro station and need to get to the other side of the park, it's shorter to go through it than around it on the street.

Another fun sight: We always see brides and grooms getting their pictures taken in the park, since one of the "Wedding Palaces" is just across the street from it. The legal ceremony is done in these palaces. Lydia and I walk past the palace to get to preschool, and on the way home, we often have to make our way through 2 or 3 groups of wedding parties and guests standing around outside. Lydia likes to say, "I spy a bride!" Sometimes we hear them shouting, "Gorka, gorka!" It means, "bitter," and then the bride and groom are supposed to kiss to make it sweet!

We see a lot of these, too. Lydia is excited to be a bride someday, so she can ride in a "big car."

My last sight as I leave the park: The ice cream stand. (Look familiar, Mimi?) Mmmmm... Maybe I'll go back there later today.

Here's our building, the way it looks right now. They have been sprucing it up, which is a good thing, but the past couple days have not been so pleasant. They are painting now, and the smell inside our apartment is pretty bad. The past two afternoons we have had to get out and go somewhere else. We didn't want Birdie and Lydia inhaling all those fumes. Monday night we went out for dinner at Subway (yes we have it here, pronounced "Sabvey." It was our first time to go there- yum!). Yesterday afternoon, I took the girls to our organization's office to get out of the smell, and then Aaron met us there and we cooked dinner in the kitchen. In the evening, when the painters are done working, we can open up the windows and air out the apartment for sleeping at night.
This afternoon, the girls and I will probably spend some time at the park. I'm not getting much house work done this way, but I guess it can wait!