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).