Monday, December 26, 2011


I decided to throw all (well, a few) of my pictures in here with a brief explanation.  This one is in honor of Essie.  HOW I miss her blog.  If you don't know why this photo, you have to read this post.  I say a prayer for Essie and her girls whenever I slam a cart (which doesn't seem at all the appropriate thing to do.....but, I can't think of anything better.)

Zhen turned twelve in November, and we went out for lunch. I guess I was too busy to actually post about it at the time (though it isn't that scintillating an event for those not involved, I know).  Also, (in my defense) he did not want a haircut when school time rolled around, or in October, or in November.....Frankly, I didn't want to take any pictures of him; he was looking like a mess, but I did break down and take a few on his birthday.  To my delight, he finally realized that his thick and coarse hair is not, no matter how long it gets, going to shine and glimmer as he shakes it into place.  I expect he wanted to look like Justin Bieber or some such.... It just isn't working out for him.

I took this photo of Anastasia and Zhenya returning cans and bottles at the store, only because it pleased me so much to see them working together.  Nothing like money as a motivator.

Also, I needed to distract myself from the absolute stench in this room.  The smell of stale beer - just too awful.

All summer I had a regular little treat - next to the door I'd planted a few tomato plants, given to us (grown from seed) by one of the Russian school moms.  This was my favorite plant - grape tomatoes, and the tastiest morsels imaginable.  It became an understood thing that this plant was "mama's".  Amost every day throughout July and on, there were a few for my delectation.  And, on they went....I actually took this photo sometime in November, the day it was going to freeze, thinking these were my final tomatoes. but even after all the foliage was dead, I got a couple more tomatoes just a few weeks ago. 

Three of my favorite Russian girls - they all came to Dana's funeral. Vika lives in Detroit; she and Sasha (center) were at Zhenya's orphanage.  Masha, on the right, is the sister of Misha, who was for years Sergei's best friend.  (And her mom gave me the tomatoes!)  It was touching to see how much these girls loved Dana, and recognized all she did for them. 

There was a little display at the funeral, with some of the notes and letters Dana had received from the children and parents she worked with.  I noticed this one, which Anastasia wrote several years ago.

I don't write much about work here, but I organized an "Activity Morning" for moms and preschoolers/homeschoolers the week before Christmas.  These are always a lot of work up-front, thinking of the activities, and providing all the supplies and planning ahead for every eventuality...but once that's done (!) the actual event is so much fun.   Here some boys work on the Christmas card activity. 

These girls are making Christmas ornaments - pictures of the Holy Family, mounted on card, and framed with colored macaroni.  The effect is actually kind of nice.   I frankly don't have the patience to do this, but it is a nice fine motor exercise for the children.
I have often had the children decorate Christmas cookies for themselves and their moms, but this time it occurred to me to have them make punch, too.  So, the helper poured the clear fizzy drink, and the children got to use tongs to add ice, and their choice of lime, lemon and orange, then a squirt of red fruit drink from a squeeze bottle.   Shown with these boys is my wonderful intern, Marie.  She is amazing.  And, she is beautiful, though this photo does not do her justice.
Here is my Iraqi friend, Ban.  She helps with so many things, including assisting with the activity morning.  (She led the children in making a little "kit" they could set up at home with a cardstock manger, straw, and a tiny, plastic baby.)  Ban is a catechist, and she tutors my kids in math.
So there we are.  I have a bit of a life after my stint as "trauma mama".  I know this isn't a very interesting post, but it rounds out the picture a little bit.


MyGirlElena said...

I love this post. It is a glimpse into the ordinary, which is what makes up our life!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

ha ha, I just had an awesome smash the other day. ahhh, cart smashing. I never did figure out, is this something you have always done or was it new by suggestion?

Still, I think it should be a sport.

kate said...

How sweet to find that note from N!

Your craft day sounds stellar. I want to come next year! said...

cart smashing makes me happy too. Hope you are enjoying the week.

MMrussianadoption said...

thanks for sharing

MamaPoRuski said...

You are fabulous. I love looking at your world. Oddly pleasing, and intriguing in the little things.
Happy New Year my friend!

Jen said...

Well, you and I have just have to figure out a way to get Essie to post more! She had talked of shutting down her blog, but she still posts from time to time.

And I totally agree about the smell of the can return place. Sadly, it actually makes me sick b/c it reminds me of college hangover days. There, Annie, you learned something new about me!