Friday, July 13, 2012

Birthdays, Days Out, and the Dacha

In my last posts, I had been discussing all that needed to be done to get Birdie registered at the Russian preschool.  At the time, I thought I was almost done with everything.  That's what I thought!  It (of course) ended up being even more of a process.  I won't go into all the detail, but for those interested, here is the overview.  It involved going to a place that was some kind of central office, being given another form that a doctor had to fill out and stamp, and being told that actually, Birdie was too healthy to go to Lydia's preschool.  I hadn't even realized that Lydia had been diagnosed with some little problem in order to attend this "healthy" preschool.  (They get some special treatments there, like massages, vitamins, "oxygen cocktails," etc.)  So the lady told me to go back to the doctors and get them to say she is in some category of children- the word sounded something like "often sick."  Now what was I supposed to do?  I didn't want to be dishonest.  So I ended up going to the doctor that knows us at the private clinic and asking her if she could help me.  I told her I don't want to lie on this form, but that maybe she could use some of the little things the other doctors had said about Birdie, like that her feet are turned slightly inward, and that her weight is a little low.  So she was wonderful and took care of the forms so that they would be accepted by the central office.  I returned the forms there, delivered other forms to the preschool, and then I finally was really done!  Whew!

Besides that, a few other exciting things have happened lately.  We celebrated some birthdays!  Lydia turned 6 in May, and Birdie turned 3 in June.  We had a combined birthday party for them with a butterfly theme, and entertained nine sweet and energetic little girls!

In June, we took some time to do some things together as a family, enjoying the time with Daddy off of school.  We spent some nice, sunny days at the park, at the beach by the Peter and Paul Fortress, and at Pavlovsk park.
The beach (on the Neva River):
 We took a water taxi like this one to get across the river to the beach by the fortress:
 The Peter and Paul Fortress:
 Enjoying the outdoors at Pavlovsk:

 Soaking up some sun at the park near our house:

And the best part of our summer so far has been our trip to a dacha (cottage) in a little village outside the city.  We had been to this place before on a retreat with our organization, and we decided to rent it for four days, just as a family.  Although it was an adventure getting there, trying to get on a train that stops there and getting off at the right stop (story in itself), it was a great time overall.  We loved having a "camping" type of experience again.  Cooking over a campfire, no running water, splashing around in a cold lake, letting the girls pick flowers and play with "pet" snails.  Here are some highlights: