Christmas started with stockings under the tree. I packed them so they didn't need labels; it would be obvious who they were for: Kvas for Sergei, pistachios for Ilya, dried fish for Zhenya, and a tiny notebook for Anastasia easily defined the recipient. The stockings are opened at our house, then we go to my mom's place for breakfast and gifts.
Perhaps I provided perspective by getting the kids each a bag or box of candies from Russia. Sergei exclaimed, "This is just what we'd get for Christmas at the Detski Dom!" And that was all they'd get, so things did seem to be better overall, I suppose. :)
We managed to pull together one "nice" gift for each of them. A webcam for Nastia, a nice jacket for Ilya, good headphones for Sergei, and a winter coat for Zhen. And a Wii for everyone.
Before we left my mom got everyone into the kitchen and marked their height on her pantry door....this has sure been Ilya's year to shoot up! And Zhen, too!
And the following Tuesday we went to Pittsburgh to see Aidan and Susan and the kids, who were at Susan's parents' house. We stay in a motel, and Susan's folks provide lovely hospitality at dinner. This was breakast at a new sushi restaurant. It was good! All the kids are mad about sushi for some reason. Below, Cal is enyoying his rice, and being very talkative with "Ma Kitching" (me).
It was interesting to watch how easily Cal could accept a time out, as his just due. In fact, he is savvy enough, that you could even sense that he saw "doing his time" on the stairs as part of staying connected with his dad and the whole family circle. Cannot imagine the agitation and meltdown that would follow if someone suggested Anastasia take a time out to calm down or whatever.
Here are Susan and Cal at the ice skating rink, where we went next. Cal was into the mood of making silly faces whenever I tried to take a picture.
She was good with the nephews, and here was checking in to see if Cal would like to have her help him around the rink.
On Thursday morning we all went out to the Original Pancake House for breakfast before we started home. I'll close with a photo of Peej (who doesn't look too much like baby Aidan, but Aidan thinks he does.)