Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Photo Dump

The kids at Trillium Lake last week.

Settling in to watch movies at the beach house we rented with friends.

Jon couldn't come to the lake with us. When I said, "Let's take a photo to send to Daddy," they both did the "I love you" sign.  
This was taken through the plastic bag my sister was protecting her phone in.  I mean, with a soft filter.   
For those who missed it, this is what we got when Sasha asked for a haircut "like Daddy's."  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'd like another three months of summer, please. Thank you.

So my sister tells me I haven't blogged enough lately.


This was at my nephew's wife's baby shower.  (When I tell people I'm about to become a great aunt, they're all "Oh, um, is that a good thing?"  Yes.  He's 27.  It's okay.)  One of the other guests was another sister's childhood friend  I haven't seen her in, oh, 20 years or so.  She turns to me and says, "So, how did Jon's interview in Dundee go?"  Seriously?  How do people do that?  After looking forward to happy hour with my own childhood friends for a few weeks, I completely forgot about it on the day of, and was in the middle of making dinner when it suddenly dawned on me.  I can't keep the details of my own life straight; how come some people can keep up on peripheral acquaintances?

What else.

This summer has involved far less camping, hiking, and swimming than I would have liked.  But it's been a good time anyway.  Here's my idea of a good time:  I took the kids to the library, where we hit the limit on books you can check out (100, in case you were curious, but it was only because they hadn't checked back in the ones we'd returned on our way in), read three books aloud, then pulled bikes out of the back of the truck and rode around the little lakes in the library's park. Well, I sat and read my new murder mystery (or as Inesa calls them, "Mama's killing books") while they kids made loops and checked in.  Then we came home and made and ate dinner.  Inesa and I did the dishes, Sasha played with Legos, they went outside and rode bikes with the neighbor kids for a half hour, then they came in for "family time."  I dug out an ESL game I printed out in 2009.  It's a basic roll and advance game, and each square has a category, such as "sea animals" or "things to do in winter." When you land on it, you say four items from that category.   Somehow this morphed into doing charades of your four things.  It was awesome.

Jon wasn't feeling well, so he was laying down for most of this, but he rallied around they time we finished our game.  (He would have been great at charades--we'll have to play again.)  I read six stories to the kids, then Inesa went up to brush her teeth and Sasha went out to help Daddy clean out the newly emptied wine barrel.  Inesa asked for a hand massage and lullabies from me.  When the boys finished their project, Jon and Sasha played hide and seek with Sasha's stuffed animals.  Apparently, if one stuffed animal can't find the other, they set out some invisible grass (for Spot the Reindeer or Fluffy the Buffalo) or meat (for Tiger the Tiger or Tiny the enormous dog), and pounce on them when they inevitably fall for the bait.  The kids fell asleep.  Yay, us.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Field Trip. Literally.

First, some pictures from Independence Day.  I wish they were in focus, but I was sitting up on the neighbor's deck, zooming in with my camera phone.  They had never done sparklers before, and were so delighted.

Then today, our friends invited us to the Helvetia Lavender Farm.  I had no idea what to expect.  We got out of the car, and were greeted by this very sweet and friendly...pig.

 Next up, bungee jumping on the trampolines.  Our two were more nervous than the other family, and didn't want to jump super high, much less do flips.  But they both grinned wildly the entire time.

 Then there was a short tightrope walk to a candy bucket.  Sasha got nervous and backed out of it after a few steps.  His little sister made it.  Then our friends' five-year-old girl made it.  He sighed and tried again.  He made it that time.  There were no such hesitations about the zip line.

 We all had some lavender tea, then the seven kids started to explore the edge of the pond.

They found frogs and tadpoles.  Inesa is examining a frog in pond water.

Oh, yes, the Lavender Farm also has lavender, oddly enough.  Looks and smells great.

Seeing the large alpaca farm on the way to this place, then being greeted by the pig made the trip already worth it by the time we'd merely parked.  The rest of the day was just wonder upon wonder.  What a great time.  They are open for their big festival next weekend, so we had all the amenities without the crowds.  The price was reasonable (I spent $24 on the two kids each doing the bungee jumping and ziplining), and the proceeds were going to supporting--I kid you not--widows and orphans in the Ukraine.  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yay for Summer.

I love summer.

I love, love, love summer.  It isn't even July yet, and it's 93 degrees, and I am SO HAPPY.

Yesterday I was one of two moms wearing a swimsuit and getting soaked at the splash pad.  The other mom was a hot young mom in a bikini, who turned out to be a colleague, so I didn't trip her onto the cement.  But seriously.  It's a bunch of kids and their moms, who cares?  Why would anyone stand around the edge sweating in CLOTHES when they could be getting cooled off in a swimsuit?

Today we went over to some friends for the afternoon.  The grownups ate, talked, drank Jon's wine, and talked.  The guys discussed following your dream and how to market your hot sauce and/or wine.  The women discussed--hell, I don't know.  We talked.  We laughed.  We ate and drank and tried to head off kid drama as needed.

The kids had what Jon dubbed Waterpalooza.  Kiddie pool, water guns, water balloons, water slide, water shooters, and a sprinkler set up to hit the trampoline.  I took a few dashes down the water slide, which kind of startled our friend, which proved to me that we don't really know them that well.  I am always up for cold water on a hot day.

I remember floating in a lake in Latgale with Carla, and our friend's husband hollering from the side, 'They are not Americans!  They are from Siberia!" because the chill of the water didn't deter us.

I remember traveling with my dad on assignments throughout the west coast during summer vacations.  Whether I was six or sixteen, he knew that all he had to do to keep me happy was buy the sugar cereals that were banned at home and get a motel with a pool (or campsite with a lake).

I remember standing in a river up to my thighs in Colorado, finally cooling down after a day of driving. Jenn took a picture that looks so much like a family photo we have of my mom around the same age, cooling off in Spirit Lake.

I remember the last time Jon and I took a road trip (by "last" I mean "most recent," not "final"--I hope!) to the Painted Hills.  The whole long weekend was great, but on the third day we finally found access to a swimming beach on the John Day River, and I splashed and dove and floated with delight.  Jon said, "This was your favorite part, right?"

He knows me.

When we got home to our un-air-conditioned house, I wasn't sure how we'd avoid developing cranky hot boredom.

But Inesa's best friend, who's also our neighbor, turns six today.  They were just having a family party, but first the kids started playing on the common swing together, then somehow they were inside having pizza, then they ran home to wrap the gifts we bought yesterday, and now they're over there for cake and ice cream and presents.  I went over to supervise, but felt more awkward than useful, so I asked the mom to call if my kids are obnoxious, and now I'm cheerfully sweating on the couch.

I have a book next to me.  I'm gonna be reading it in about two minutes.

I love summer.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


And then there's this guy.

Sasha just turned nine.  He did not get a sweet little blog post about it.  His birthday was awesome.  But Mother's Day was a surprisingly difficult day for him, and then that spun right into the birthday preparation and the end of the school year angst, and frankly, we were all just holding on for dear life for awhile there.  

His sister got him a stuffed Husky.  Family friends got him a scooter.  I made him a cake to order: vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and chocolate filling.  We topped it with the first fresh Oregon strawberries of the season.  

One of the many amazing things about Sasha is his creativity.  He is the master of mixed media collage work.  This was made for the big kid down the block.  Sasha plays with the sister, who's his age, quite a bit, but every once in awhile her 14 year old brother grants Sasha a skateboarding hang-out session.  That's Big Kid on the skateboard, with buttons as the wheels, and colored-on masking tape for the road, and the sky is glittery and tinselly from the joy of it all.  I love that he makes stuff up based on available materials and what he wants to say, instead of thinking art is supposed to look like what other kids do.  

We went on our first hiking trip of the year on the first day of their vacation.  There were five kids: ours, their cousin, and a friend with her two.  Sasha was the only kid who did not whine once (even the discovery of this blister was met with good cheer).  He would have kept going longer too.

He loves his stuffed animals.  When he smacked some of them around during the middle of a tempter tantrum recently, he went back later and made it up to them by giving them all sleigh rides in a cardboard box.  He also loves to be tickled, getting backrubs, and wild swinging--any strong physical sensation.  He's a builder, a scientist, and a speed demon.  He's got a quick wit and makes me laugh frequently.  He's willing to try new foods, but is always convinced he'll hate new experiences.  He torments his sister nearly unceasingly, which makes those times when he happily plays with her, or nonchalantly does her a favor, even sweeter.  His nickname is T Rex, because he is such an enthusiastic carnivore.  He's learned to enjoy hugs and kisses.  He's afraid of the dark, but not much else.

He smells.  His carefully timed eruptions can literally clear the room.  Then he grins and says, "What can I say?  I'm a skunk!"

He has a scattering of freckles across his nose and cheeks like stars.

He's our boy.

This One's For Tracy

When I was growing up, we had an orange cat named Harvey Wallbanger.  He was smart, ferocious, and had an attitude the size of Texas.

There are numerous Harvey stories--he could probably have his own blog, really--but the one I'm thinking of today is the time he had a bladder infection.  How do you know when your cat has a bladder infection, you ask?  Well, he pees blood.  (Did I mention he used to spray inside the house from time to time?)  He was put on antibiotics and kept inside.  Since he normally spent his days wandering the neighborhood, terrorizing the dogs and charming the humans, we knew he was really feeling sick when he accepted bed rest.

Soon, however, the antibiotics started to work, and he began to campaign to get back outside.  He tried slipping out, but in our house of many cats, we were all expert at preventing such dashes.  He tried starting trouble, but we just ignored him.

Finally, he came up with a foolproof plan.  My mom had just come home from a 10 hour nursing shift.  In those days, nurses still wore solid white.  Harvey backed up to Mom's leg and peed all over her white stockings and shoes.  Then he dashed to the door and looked hopefully over his shoulder at her.  He had just done The Worst Thing he could think of.  SURELY he would get picked up and tossed across the patio onto the lawn, as had happened more than once in his shady past.

Much to his confusion, instead Mom just looked down at her ruined nylons and said, "Yay, no blood!  He's getting better!"

It was two more days before we let him out.

Inesa had pneumonia a couple of weeks ago.  Her temperature was up to 104, and we wound up visiting both urgent care and the emergency room that weekend.  She perked up quickly when we got her on antiobiotics.  Then this past Sunday, Sasha suddenly laid down on the couch to rest.  Since he, much like Harvey, spends his time roaming the neighborhood terrorizing or charming those he encounters, we knew he was sick too.  Since he didn't get pneumonia, his temperature never climbed above 102, but his fever lingered until today.  We kept him close to home and dosed him regularly with children's ibuprofen.  While his sister played outside, he lay on the couch watching movies.

Today, Jon took Inesa to the zoo.  Sasha was disappointed that even though his temperature has fallen, we said one more day before he goes out in public.

Then he threw the entire contents of his room down the stairs.  (Except, as he told the wide-eyed neighbor girl, his bed.)

I'm not sure if he was expecting me to bodily thrown him out of the house, or what, but my main response is--hey, he is clearly feeling better.

We'll let him go out tomorrow.  Well, once he picks his stuff up.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweet Pea

She turns seven tomorrow.  It's our first birthday with her, our first kid's birthday despite her being the younger of the two.  I talked to her the other night about what a big year six has been.  New family, new country, new language.  Plus lots of other more typical, but still huge, developments.  Learned to ride a bike.  Learned to sound out words.  Learned to whistle, to snap, to turn a cartwheel, and to crack an egg into a bowl.  Lost teeth, grew new ones.  Seven will hopefully bring more stability, but just as much learning.  At the rate she's going, I won't be surprised if she's reading chapter books by this time next year.  And, we all hope, her bangs will have grown out and she'll no longer look like an English Sheepdog half the time. 

Tonight I'm up late because I couldn't start the cheesecake she requested until after bedtime, and then it turned out I'd forgotten a few key ingredients (like, um, cream cheese and graham crackers) and had to go to the store first.  As she was crawling into bed (late, of course, because I had things to do once she got to sleep), she added casually, "And I need fun erasers for my classmates since we're not bringing cupcakes."  This came from a conversation we had about two months ago, when she anticipated bringing in treats for her birthday, and I reminded her of the letter home we got the first week in school asking families to not do that.  I could easily have just said, no, we're not doing erasers either, but what the hell.  (Or, as Sasha inadvertantly says, "Mutt the heck.")  It's her first birthday here.  Dollar Tree is open late, it turns out, and I figured it's worth the 3 bucks for the 3 dozen silly erasers if it makes her feel magnificent on her birthday.

Besides, it's a long honored Falconer family tradition that Mom be crabby on special occasions because she stayed up too late the night before trying to finish up some handicraft that no one will fully appreciate until years later, if ever.  Am I right, sisters?

(Who are all those skinny, dark-haired young women, anyway?)

This child. 

She's been through a lot.  I have not always been the Mama she deserves, which breaks my heart.  She's still not 100% sure what the purpose of a Papa is, which breaks Jon's heart.  She is gonna have some stuff to work on as she gets older.  But she has a belly laugh that is full of joy.  She is a willing helper, and her help is actually helpful.  She is a persistent learner.  She is a loving friend.  She takes things seriously, and she tries so hard.  She's a rule follower, and she's a peace lover. 

We took her to the Trillium Festival at Tryon Creek a few weeks ago, and on the guided hike, she told the ranger, "I have a question!"

"My middle name is Trillium!"  He was bemused.  I was bowled over with love. 

Then on our way home, she said, "I love being in the woods.  It makes me happy."  Oh, sweet girl.  I am so glad.  Let's go hiking again soon.

Happy Birthday, sweet pea!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tom Sawyer's Fence

Things have felt challenging lately.  The kids keep fighting.  I keep losing my cool.  Jon's been sick.  Inesa's been sick.  Work is overwhelming, the house is a mess, there are repair jobs undone, the cars need to go through DEQ and we have a birthday party to plan. 

Then there are days like today.  I get home to a quiet house.  I hear voices outside.  While I put away yesterday's dinner dishes, which the Dishes Fairy washed while I was at work, I see the kids and Jon weeding.  They are soon joined by our five-year-old neighbor, Inesa's buddy from kindergarten.  The three kids dash back and forth between the weedy yard and the piles they are making on the deck.  I peek out the window at two small girls tugging determinedly at a patch of grass under the apple trees.  Jon calls out, "There's a big bunch of weeds over here!" and all three kids tear across the yard to him.  Inesa throws open the door and announces it's a contest, boys against girls, to see who gets the bigger pile. 

I "make" dinner.  Jon made a huge batch of lentil soup yesterday, so I heat that up for us, and microwave burritos for the kids.  I make a green salad and a fruit salad.  When I announce dinner, they all want to know who won and gets a prize.  I wrap up two brownies for the neighbor, spotting a ribbon (on the floor...don't judge) to pretty it up.  We eat dinner, and as Jon slips away to watch the game (me: "What sport?"...don't judge that either), the kids ask what their prize is.  In a moment of brilliance, I reply, "Well, you didn't have to help make dinner, and you won't have to help do the dishes."  I am declared their favorite mom (which actually is a little weird, seeing as how they do have another mom to compare me to), hugs all around.

Since dinner prep was so simple, we're done by 7:00.  In a rare move, I grant permission to go back outside to play with the neighbors for a half hour.  Sasha joins forces with the 3rd grade girl, and they kick a soccer ball around.  Inesa dashes over to her buddy's house, and they play on the trampoline.  Nobody's feelings are hurt.  Nobody is competing for attention.  There are about three dishes to wash--the knife, cutting board, and ladle--and I get time to reflect on how gosh-darn pleasant this evening is.  In a few minutes I'll call them in, Inesa will start getting ready for bed while Sasha does his homework, we'll have a little dessert, then the nighttime routine will kick in. 




Saturday, March 2, 2013

The 4th of July has nothing on the 11th of March AND the 16th of Feb.

We went to the Lithuanian Independence Day(s) Celebration tonight.  Days, because there's the 1918 Independence in February, and the 1990 one in March, so tonight was sort of splitting the difference, from what I understand.  It was at the Latvian Hall, where I've spent quite a bit of time over the last (gulp) 15 years.  Inesa was in a dance and recited a short poem as part of a group.  Sasha again refused to participate, but was amenable to wearing an adapted folk costume--basically white shirt and khaki pants with a traditional woven sash and tie, given to us by the outgoing president of the local Lithuanian society.  I somehow wound up singing in a very unofficial choir.  Basically some of the moms of the dancers were planning on singing a few songs, and since I was at dance rehearsal, I wound up practicing with them, which seemed to lead to the expectation that I'd sing on stage too. 

When I say "unofficial," I mean that we never actually saw any music, so we altos kind of faked our part, and then today a few men climbed up on stage and joined us.  Of course, there's always that chance that everybody else knew what was going on, and I was the only one who found the whole experience bewildering.  Foreign languages will do that to you. 

And let me just add here that having one of the hot young blonde moms whip out her accordian to accompany us was a classic Baltic moment for me.  She wears high heels on cobblestones and she plays the accordian, ladies and gentlemen.  She may live in the same bland American suburb I do, but she's definitely a Balt. 

The event started at 5:00, and we'd been asked to be there at 4:30, but having learned our lesson at the Christmas event, we showed up closer to 5:00.  Around 5:45 it got started.  Dinner wound up being around 7:30 or so.  Sasha thought he was going to D-I-E die of starvation before the speeches, songs, movie clips, dances, translations of speeches, movie clips of speeches, songs, dances, introductions to speeches, dances, songs...finally ended.  But when you've been ground down for centuries, and survive as a culture to declare political independence, and then are invaded again, and survive a few more generations, and bring back your independence AGAIN--some potato salad and fireworks are not going to cut it.  I remember reading about Independence Day celebrations in Twain, and realizing it was a bigger deal in those days because it was more recent history.  It's even more so for the Baltic nations.  These aren't forefathers in powdered wigs we're talking about, this is our own personal past, or at furthest remove, the past our parents have told us of directly.  I predictably choked up during the footage of the partisans ("Forest Brothers" to the Latvians), hiding in the forests and trying to stave off the freaking Soviet army until freaking 1955, and of the Via Baltica, a human chain from Tallin through Riga down to Vilnius, thousands and thousands (millions!) of ordinary people holding hands to protest the Molotov Ribbentrop pact, dividing Europe between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.  Denied by the Soviets right up until this 1989 protest, because, you know, the Baltic countries INVITED them in, there was no INVASION here. 

And my daughter?  Dancing?  The cutest one there, I swear.  Plus said her little poem loud and clear.  You could hear her in the back; no microphone needed. 

On the way home, Sasha was rehashing the social aspects of the evening, complaning about a "big girl" who was mean to him and said boys are dumb.  Inesa, outraged, immediately piped up, "You're not dumb!  You're my big brother!" 

Yes, she is.

A lady who shared our table paused on her way out to tell me, "Your daughter is just beautiful."

Sasha warding off starvation with chex mix.

My boys.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What We're Trying These Days

If I had a dime for every time someone told me that kids like routine...well, I'd at least have enough for a latte.  We do find that the parts of our days that follow a predictable pattern tend to go well.  Even the glitches get predictable, and so easily overcome. 

We've been taking a free class for adoptive parents, taught by a therapist with 14 kids, most of whom are adopted.  She talks a lot about how she raised the first seven, compared to the last seven, when they had actually figured out what they were doing.  The class has given us several ideas about adding to our routine.  With a three day weekend here, we pulled together a few elements and are trying it out.  We got Inesa to bed a half hour earlier than usual (our goal is a full hour), so something went right.

Step one is reinstating kitchen help.  We'd had that going last fall, then Sasha started wrestling 3 nights a week, I went back to work, and it started to feel like more trouble than it was worth.  Tonight Sasha helped with dinner, and Inesa with dishes.  They'll swap each night, with Fridays off.  Helping with dinner means making salad, setting the table, and any other tasks designated by the cooking parent.  They like the power of being the salad maker (Sasha used minimal lettuce, unpeeled cucumbers, no bell pepper, and lots of tomatoes and pickles), and they like having the rest of the family thank them for dinner.  Dishes are a harder sell, but once they get going, they like the water play aspects, and with both jobs, they are getting individual time with a parent, and the knowledge that they are contributing to the household.  Inesa and I both like to sing, so that makes us great dishwashing partners.  There are always exceptions, but it feels like often our cycle is "the kids are misbehaving, so I'm working hard and stressed out, so I want a break, so I'm going to let them watch DVDs/go over to their friend's/squabble for a few more minutes..." OR "We're actively engaged with the kids, so they are relaxed and happy, so we're enjoying being with them, so if they start to misbehave I can handle it approrpriately and get them back on track..."  Working side by side with them definitely contributes to the happier cycle.

Step two is new.  Working side by side is great, but only when they are working with you instead of competing for your attention.  To make this possible, we put together "quiet boxes."  In a plastic box, there are about five different small toys or simple projects.  The kid who is NOT helping is to sit on their blankie and entertain themselves in the living room.  The rules are basically that the person with the quiet box can't talk to the rest of us, and the person helping in the kitchen can't walk on the Quiet Blanket, or otherwise harrass their sibling.  I think we've sold it well as a special treat.  Quiet Box toys are not in general circulation, and the kids can only play with the QB at the designated time.  The therapist said the kids need to learn how to do quiet, independent work--not relying on us to entertain them, not engaging in mindless squabbling with their siblings, and also not distracting their minds with physical activities.  She also said we need to work it so this work happens at the time most beneficial for us.  So rather than having to have two kids underfoot, or have both parents equally busy around the dinner work, we hope this will be the way to occupy the "waiting" child. 

Step three is setting a more formal schedule.  We all know that after dinner, Mom helps Sasha with homework, and Inesa has to entertain herself or hang out with Papa.  Somewhere in there we get dessert.  They brush their teeth, I read some stories, and then we each get one kid to sleep.  We've known for awhile that Inesa probably needs to get to bed earlier, but we couldn't figure out on the fly how to make it happen.  This weekend I finally sat down and worked out a timeline.  First this, then that.  What each kid's schedule needs to be, where each parent needs to be at each step to keep it all moving forward.  I think it went pretty well tonight, given that we made it halfway to our goal of an hour earlier bedtime for Inesa.  Of course, I heard Sasha's voice at 9:45, which is half an hour AFTER he should be asleep, and there were a few times when people thought they were in trouble for being off-schedule (possibly because my tone, posture, and even words were giving that impression), and I had to take a deep breath and say "This is our first time.  We're testing it out and finding out what we need to adjust.  You're doing fine." 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Break photo dump

Jon emailed me the other day to tell me that as he was getting the kids to the bus stop that morning, Inesa announced that Sasha is her best brother.  Jon chimed in that she is his best daughter, Sasha is his best son, and I am his best wife.  The humor was perhaps lost on the kids.  He says there was general agreement that we have a good family.

Inesa's been talking about missing her birth mom a lot lately.  It touches a few nerves, but it's also really, really good that she feels comfortable talking about her and trusts us with her feelings.  Still, it felt good to me today when we were roller skating and she said, "That girl asked me if that lady over there is my mom, and I told her no, YOU'RE my mom!  Because you ARE!"

And now, a bunch of pictures we took over winter break. 

Sasha with his dog Tiny on Christmas morning


Inesa with Sparkles


The kids weren't that into baking or even eating cookies, but they loved decorating them.


Playing with our new toys.  We got some very generous gifts from friends far and near!


We've gone roller skating twice now, as of today, and they love it.  Non-stop for three hours this afternoon.  It's a pretty tough activity on beginners, and I was proud of their persistence despite repeated falls. 


Extremely goofy playground photos

Friday, January 11, 2013

Metaphors Be With You

Lately, everything I do has seemed like a metaphor for parenting.  (I blame it on Anymommy, who finds meaning in life's most mundane moments--if only I could also write like her...) 

I took the kids roller skating last weekend.  I knew how to get there from the neighborhood I grew up in, but it seemed silly to detour out there instead of just driving in from where I've lived for over 10 years now.  I never got lost--I knew where I was at all times--but I kept getting confused about how to proceed, and it took me several trips around various blocks to get on the right bridge.  The whole trip took a good twenty minutes longer than it would have if I'd just gone back to the old neighborhood first.  The kids, however, had no preconception about how long it should take, and since I got us all there, were oblivious to all the stress and confusion.  It all felt so MEANINGFUL to me.  There was that sense of not being truly lost, yet not being sure how to go forward from here.  And I found great comfort in the realization that we got there safe and sound, so who cares if it didn't go smoothly along the way? 

Then after a lousy day at work on Monday (first time in 15 years of teaching I've had a parent yell at me), I was driving in again Tuesday morning.  It was dark, and drizzling in a way that my windshield wipers just smear across the window, unable to clear.  At first I thought it was some sort of metaphor for going into work feeling negative about it, then I decided it was just pathetic fallacy.  Then I decided that I really am an English teacher, huh. 

Monday, January 7, 2013


At six months in, their English is phenomenal.  The other day I took them roller skating for the first time, and afterwards, Sasha was describing it to Jon.  But he said, "ice skating."  Inesa corrected him.

"No, we were roller skating.  Ice skating is when you have, um things on the bottom of the skates..."

"Blades," Jon supplied.

"Yeah, you have blades on the skates so you can glide across the ice."

Glide?  When did "glide" become part of the beginning ESL kindergarten curriculum?  Jon says it's from one of her Barbie movies. 

They no longer say "sbottom" to talk about their rears.  That was a really endearing confusion from the summer, when Inesa heard me refer to "Inesa's bottom," and took it as "Inesa sbottom."  Around the same time they were introduced to a wonderful treat they called "Pirate's Moody" for quite awhile. 

Sasha, however, still calls squirrels "squares," although it seems to be morphing towards "squarels."  They both refer to being "orm" instead of warm, and they "ooze" things that your or I might use. 

And they've spoken only English between themselves for months now.  I keep waiting for them to figure out that instead of whispering, they could just use Lithuanian when they are plotting mischief.  Not that I'm complaining.  Our big task will be helping them maintain their native language(s).