Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Or......I had a hard time getting the photos in and delayed my Christmas post.....and since this blog is a family journal (well, sort of) in addition to something more varied, I am posting them in the spirit of "better late than never".

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.

We cut waaaay back on gifts this year.  Let's just say that an $800 utility bill due to a broken, leaking toilet in the basement (which needed fixing) and another sewage crisis (after hours,of course) on the upstairs toilet, and a check engine light on the car that has required THREE visits to the shop and $500 (check engine light is still on - they can "go deep into the engine" for another $400, but I'm opting out of that right now).....has taken its toll. 

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).

Cal turned four on November 30. In still photos he looks a lot like Aidan did, but in person, not so much.  Aidan was the calmest, most placid little boy who ever lived (God knew how much I could handle).  Cal is much more active - not hyperactive at all, but just a very lively, talkative, energetic little guy. So cute!  And, so well behaved. At one point back at the house, he got a bit carried away and in running around the table knocked his little brother down.  Instead of stopping to see if Patrick was OK, he kept going.  Aidan called him to account, and told him to go take a time out.  Sergei was very impressed with the way Cal obeyed immediately - he gave a little sigh and a sorrowful shake of the head, but then walked directly out of the room to his time-out spot on the stairs.  He is a good little boy, that's for sure, and Aidan and Susan are super parents.
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.

Anastasia did pretty well on the trip.....the worst she did was say things about me, under her breath a time or two... I could see Aidan didn't like it, but having seen her at her worst recognized that it was minor. Didn't endear her, though.  Altogether, she kept it together, even though just about everything was a minor trigger....schedule upset, new people, places, family, seeing little chldren being loved and cherished. 

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.)


Mike and Christie said...

It sounds like a wonderful holiday! :)
Your grand babies are adorable !

MyGirlElena said...

The babies look like little cherubs!
I'm glad you had a nice Christmas :-)

The Combes Family said...

Your grandson's are so precious! And...your Christmas gifts...well, they were refreshing!

MamaPoRuski said...

Merry Christmas! Don't feel bad, we got three Christmas cards in the mail today. I LOVE getting them no matter when, so your blog post is my Christmas card really :) Thanks!

Hevel Cohen said...

Yay, Christmas stockings! :) I love your stockings! They look real.

Your grandkids have grown a lot. They are adorable. And Aidan and Susan must be really good parents! Congrats on raising Aidan and congrats to him on raising his children!

Tina in CT said...

Great post.

Sounds like a wonderful holiday for the family.

The two little boys are so cute.

Annie said...

Yes, Hevel - real stockings are the only way to go. Two of them are my dad's which he used to wear hunting, that were pulled out for my brother and me.