Monday, March 31, 2008

On the other hand...

Most people probably imagine life around our house as crazy. Truth is, for a while it was pretty nuts! But like most things in life, eventually routine settles in quite comfortably and a home with 6 kids, only half of whom are fluent in English, is no exception!

Earlier today, while I was making six sandwiches (3 egg salad, 3 tuna), I actually said out loud to the kids, "You guys, I am loving having a house with six kids in it!" And I meant it! Now, that does not mean that I love every minute.

For instance:
  • I did not love it when I had to leave what I was doing several times this morning to fish matchbox cars from under the stove and refrigerator.
  • I did not love rinsing the accident out of Ivy's fluffy princess clothes.
  • I really did not love having to get after the little ones twice to stop talking and go to sleep at nap time. They are so cute and it is so pathetic when they get in trouble!
  • I don't really find third grade language all that interesting.
  • And just once a day it would be nice to use the bathroom without somebody rattling the door handle the whole time!

But, on the other hand:
  • I do love that the boys had so much fun together racing their cars along the hardwood in the kitchen. I also am glad to report that all the dusty magnetic letters are out from under my fridge and stove!
  • I also am glad that I had to clean out the princess dress before it got too dingy since Ivy wears it every day now.
  • I love it that Ivy and Vitali giggle and play together so well.
  • I am so happy for Hannah because after doing seemingly endless pages today, she reached the end of her whole language book on her own initiative!
  • And the bathroom thing...well, I still don't like that all that much! But they won't do it forever. And someday I may wish...
.....ummm...naaah... not for that!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Two of each...until tomorrow

(Two three-year-olds. No, he's not saying "two"; he's answering the question,
"Who wants a piece of candy?!")

Tomorrow, Vitali will be four years old. This will end the six-day-period we are in now where we have two eight-year-olds, two six-year-olds, and two three-year-olds!

Vitali is very excited to have a birthday tomorrow. He has made plans that have not shaken in the least: He wants to go in Steve's "Labota machina" (Baby-talk Russian for "Work car") to the store. He can hardly wait and has asked daily when they are going together!

He is also so excited to be no longer three but to be "chiteeli" (baby-talk Russian for "four") or often he tells me that he is now three but on his birthday he will be "noga" ( this means a lot); he says this while holding up all his fingers, opening his blue eyes to their maximum capacity and nodding his head for emphasis.

He is such a funny little guy!(Last day as a three-year-old!
Vitali is jumping for joy in Ivy's springy pink shoes)

Happy Birthday, 'Vita-my-Sweeta!'


Sunday, March 16, 2008


The boys are still loving being outdoors. You may have noticed that the bulk of our photos are taken "khoolahd"(outside). From Max in his Batman mask to Vitali and his caterpillar. Spring is in the air! It is great for the boys as well as for me. Not only am I motivated to get my spring cleaning done, but with all the kids outside, no one is messing up my work! Not that the house doesn't somehow manage to maintain a constant "mess-factor"! Especially on rainy days.

Sweet Vitali.

Bahk Mahn! That's how they say it...

Vitali came up to me the other day and pointed out the back door. "Come eat Barbie!", he kept insisting. "Mama! Barbie come eat!"

Finally I figured it out: "come eat" meaning anything having to do with food, and "Barbie"being the English word he could remember coming closest to "Bird". Yup, the bird feeder needed filling. Obvious, isn't it?

See that bucket in the foreground of the picture? If you are from a big family you will probably recognize that as being a tub of peanut butter! Yes, they do sell them that big! Actually, that one now holds birdseed.

Vitali loves filling the feeder and then sweeping off the porch! Can you tell?

And here he is with the first caterpillar of the season.

Our sweet little Ivy has been feeling sick the last couple of days. ( Vitali is happy because he gets to sleep in the big boys' room while I sleep in with Ivy. Other than that, everyone else just takes it in stride. ) Being sick has made Ivy a little bit irritable. When I say little bit, that's what I mean. For the most part you'd never notice her. She is normally quiet but even quieter when she is sick.

All this to say that when she hollered over a "Bug!" (It is spring after all!) on the floor she was not only overreacting, the unusualness of her outburst grabbed the attention of those around her. Now, in a house made up largely of girls, bugs were trapped and carried outside to be set free. (Us girls don't like bug guts much.) But now that our house has a larger male presence, things will undoubtedly be different. Just as I was automatically glancing around for a piece of paper to urge the bug onto, Misha nonchalantly walked up, glanced at the bug and promptly stomped on it! Then he shrugged and walked off, not even thinking to look back. If he had, he would have noticed the horrified expression on his little sister's face!

I am loving the new "us"!


*"zook" is apparently Russian for "bug"

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Life is Always Entertaining!

Life is not always fun at our house but it is always funny!

Vitali is always getting himself in some kind of trouble. I like hot sauce, spicy foods, and hot horseradish. I don't know how many times Vitali has absolutely insisted on trying my hot sauce. I tell him in English and Russian he won't like it. I remind him he tried it yesterday but he persists and persists until I let him try it for the 20th time. Every time is the same.

Vitali: Ya Hachoo eta (I want that)
Me: N'coosina (it is not tasty)
Vitali: Ya Hachoo PLEASE (I want it PLEASE)
Me: Eta gariachi sauce, Tee n'hachoo (It is hot sauce, you don't want it!)
Vitali: Please
Me: n'coosina (not tasty)
(Repeat last two lines 5 times)
Me: Skol'ka (How much)
Vitali: NOGA (LOTS!)
Me: OK
Vitali: Spasiba (Thank You!)
(Vitali takes a big bite of whatever with hot sauce)
Me: Coosina? (Tasty?)
Vitali: Da (yes)
(1.23 second delay)

A minute later:
Me: Coosina? (Tasty)
Vitali: Da! (Yes)
Me: Yeeshoo? (more?)

Repeat again the next night.

Vitali is also the one who sat on the URINAL at Home Depot the other day when he needed to use the toilet!

Vitali is often afraid of "Ba-bye" the Ukrainian version of the boogeyman. Tonight at church he was using the bathroom and there was a very dark room off the bathroom. Here is our conversation:

Vitali: Ba-bye tuda? (monster over there?)
Me: Ba-bye v'Ukraina; Ba-bye Ne v'America (monster is in Ukraine, Monster is not in America)
Vitali: Ba-bye n'suda? (monster is not right here?)
Me: Ba-bye ne suda. Suda America. (monster is not here. Right here is America.)
Vitali: (pointing at the dark room) Tuda America? (over there is that America?)
Me: Dah, Tuda America! (Yes, over there is America)

I also could not help but post this picture of Max.

These three are all boy but they do occasionally like to play with the girls' toys.
What is particularly funny is when Max gets grumpy and starts saying Eta Moi! (ITS MINE!)

The good thing, or bad thing, depending on who you talk to, is that the boys are just like me.

Lately they have gotten into saying "Ahhhhhhhhhh, nyet!" or "Ahhhhhhhhhh, da!" when you ask them something. It wasn't until Melissa reminded me that I do this fake pondering "Ahhhhhhhhh..." with them when they make an absurd request, that I figured out where they had gotten it.

All three boys are capable of making a mountain out of a mole hill, so I often say, soothingly, "ITS OOOOOKAY!" The boys now all say "ETA S'OOOOOKAY!" if another is over reacting.

Having a blast and ETA S'OOOOKAY here,


Friday, March 07, 2008

What we were all thinking here at 1:00pm today:

A rainy day....What shall I do?

I think I will sew something pink. Starting with Annette's ripped princess dress-up dress.

A wainy day....What shall I do?

I Know.

I will put on something bootiful and play with Vitali and our little doggies.

A rainy day! I think I will go outside in my socks!

WAAAAAH! My socks are wet!

I think I will follow Mommy everywhere with my doggie
and see if I can shake off Ivy and that little dog of hers.

[Misha and Max]
A rainy day....Hmmm....What should we do?

I know!

Let's dress up in fairy wings and run like hooligans all around the house! Mom will LOVE that!

A rainy day...

30 minutes till nap time.
30 minutes till nap time.
30 minutes till nap time.
30 minutes till nap time.
30 minutes till nap time.
30 minutes till nap time.
30 minutes till nap time....

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Happy March!

Here are a few new photos. I took the pictures of the kids yesterday, Leap day. So, even though the one picture is of our little Ivy, who was not adopted, she is jumping. And jumping is like leaping fits, right? Besides, she makes a really cute little two-year-old pink ballerina, doesn't she?

Speaking of Ivy, I think I should mention that Max seems to especially enjoy her. In the same way that he kept sweetly watching Vitali when they first met in Ukraine, he watches her. She's little and therefore interesting to him. He loves babies and is very sweet to our little Iv', as we call her. He often sees me watching him watch her and smiles shyly when he catches my eye. Then he usually says "Ivy..." and grins. Sometimes if she is being especially cute, he calls her "Ivyska" (adding the"- ska" at the end makes it more like an affectionate nickname). I don't blame him. It's hard not to like Ivy.
Ivy and Vitali are just about exactly the same height. She's heavier, though, as a result of being a family-born baby. They both will have birthdays the end of this month. She will be three and he will be four. He is so skinny and babyish that I often forget that Ivy is really still the "baby" of the house.

Aren't they darling together?
This morning in my bed as he was dozing off again, (he always joins us at about 6:30 or so) Vitali asked several times for Ivy. Actually what he said was, "Mozhoo Ahvy" --I don't know where he got the southern accent--which, I think, meant that he wanted to go to her since he was half-heartedly trying to sit up. They sleep in the same bed and they're buddies. She has adopted about as many Russian words as he has English ones! The most prevalent being, "EE Meenye!" (and to me!)

Misha is always himself. He is that type. What you see is what you get. I like that and I don't like that. Sometimes I want him to pretend to be better behaved! But at the same time, when he makes progress, I know it is real progress and not just for show. So that's a good thing.

Now, I absolutely have to show you this next picture. We bought these shoes when we first arrived in America; before we even got to Tennessee! One day when they were only one month old, we looked at them and this is what we saw. (Max hadn't thought it worthy of mentioning, apparently!) Yes, that is daylight shining through the backs of that shoe!
How? You might ask. Let's just say that he thinks of them less as shoes and more as a set of convenient brakes when riding the big-wheel down the driveway!