I Just Had The First Party!

This morning, Vlad and Dylon left for DC. Originally, it was for Dylon’s job, which he starts in September. So originally, we thought that they would be around for most of the summer. That’s where the plans for my move mid-summer were coming from. But then Vlad started to look for a job too, and now they are moving earlier because of him :). Vlad can’t be without a job for long, and now he will be a Beverage Manager for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in DC.

Anna and the girls came to visit me on Friday night, and we and an almost impromptu party at my new place.I also texted my neighbors from the next building I met a couple of days before to come over and meet my family. It was so good! Good having most of the family together, good being around the like-minded people, good to meet new folks like in “before” times:). Vlad ordered a takeout which tasted great, and we finally opened my “Technologist of the Year” champaign and a couple of other bottles I had for years!

When I was packing, I found several boxes of glasses which I didn’t know about!

Oh, and Vlad got all “A” for his classes, so now he finally got his diploma in Classics!

Anna Is My Hero!

The past two days were extremely eventful. On Sunday, when Vlad came to clean up the garage, I realized how busy he was with school work and that I shouldn’t have asked him to come, although I had to ask him. I was thinking about asking Anna whether she could come but then decided that she had way too many things on her plate to ask her to do more. But Anna was a hero and figured out our situation, and without me asking her, she announced that she is coming. She also forbade Vlad to do anything for my move until he is done with his school assignment, and she made arrangements with Igor to cover the days when the painters will be in. 

Then she came and cooked lunch to last for three days and took care of dozens of things on my list. 

I can’t even describe what a relief it was. That was the first time in weeks when I could focus on work during the work hours. I was able to complete a week worth of tickets in one day πŸ™‚

Another thing I didn’t do with Vlad was one more IKEA trip – at least I needed binds for the new house. So I asked Anna to go, and a small miracle happened. I already gave up on a smaller sleeping unit, but we chatted with Anna about it, and since I could not find the right one to show her, she suggested we ask the store associate.

This unit was unavailable for weeks and not on display, and when we first asked, the associate told us it was discontinued. But then she clicked and clicked and said that they have one, and what is color covering we want? 

We ordered the color I wanted from the very beginning, and it will be delivered on May 19! I still can’t believe we did it!

We picked several other items which I needed for the new house, including some blinds to try (we were still not sure about the sizes, they are a little bit tricky.

And then we had dinner at IKEA – that was the first time since the beginning of the pandemic!

Family Time

My daughter and my granddaughters are my guests for the past three days, and today my son-in-law joined them.

it’s a very busy time, with lot’s of cooking and cleaning, and it’s the most wonderful time spending time together, talking, reading books and drawing pictures, sledding and having fun the snow. these day, I do ot have to do sledding in the wee hours of the morning, when nobody can see me. I am a grandma with my granddaughter, and we can go sledding as all other people with children.

People are making sledding trains out of multiple sleds, and most of the time theey would turn upside down, but everybody would have fun anyway πŸ™‚

Today, Anna made scones for breakfast, as she always does. This time it was a new recipe, and it was super-delicious. Also, she made them with dry lingonberries, which I brought from Finland, and that made them even better πŸ™‚

December 1996. Gray Sanborn School

In December 1996, Vlad and Anna went on their first winter break at Gray Sanborn School. For me, it meant them being in the Children’s World for the whole day, but I believe it was included in their tuition. At least, I do not remember paying more in December.

I didn’t know anything about what they were doing at school. The parent-teacher conferences happened before Thanksgiving, and they started school right after. I could not understand what school assignments meant. It’s difficult to explain: I understood the words, but I didn’t know how the Kindergarten curriculum is organized. It was very different from Russian schools, and Vlad and Anna used to say that they “played” at school, listened to the teacher reading a book. Sometimes they would bring some drawings home.

It was a real shock for me when they brought home a newsletter for the parents from their teacher, Mrs. Kramers, when on the last day of school. The letter said: if your child does not know the alphabet, it’s time to catch up. If your child can’t count to one-hundred, it’s time. What-when-how?! How come I didn’t know?! I did not know that when they connected the numbered dots to make a Santa’s face, they were learning numbers.

I wish I could go back in time and ask their teacher how they were adjusting, how they were learning, how they communicated with other kids. I have three pictures from that winter from school, and I am not sure who made them.

In the last picture, they are sitting together with their friend Chris. Chris was in the same class with them and in the Children’s World. Actually, his family lived in the same building, as wem but we didn’t know. Chris didn’t take a bus to school; I think his mom, Janet, dropped him off, and then his parents picked him up from the Children’s World at a different time.

We learned that they are our neighbors accidentally. It happened when Pam arrived at our apartment at 8 AM one Sunday, realized that we do not have TV service on, and started to call our neighbors to find out what cable company serves our building.

Chris was Vlad’s and Anna’s best friend for the longest time, and Janet was my best friend for the longest time.

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

At the Children’s World

The picture below was taken in the Children’s World during the first Month Vlad and Anna were attending; somebody from the staff took it and gave me way later. Vlad and Anna liked it there.

Their teachers’ names were Miss Kelly and Mister Brian; they were very young, fun, and caring and loved the kids. First, I was surprised by the small size of the place and by the fact that they were just pulling out tiny camp beds for nap time and didn’t have a separate room for the “quiet hour” ( “tikhiy chas”). I was also surprised that there were so many unstructured activities. And I was grateful for the meals.

My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.

Our First Month in Palatine

This whole concept that 1) kids go to school when they are just five years old and 2) they still need daycare because school is in session for only three and a half hours for the five-year-olds was new for me as well as the fact that school has more days off than the rest of people.
The great thing was that for several years, their school started pretty early. The bus would come to our stop at 7-15. Val would drive from Barrington and wait in the car for me till the bus would come, and then we drove to work. The kids and I had breakfast before we left the house, and then they had lunch at the Children’s World and a snack after their nap.

I could not go anywhere during the workday. I would always have the same lunch with me: one sandwich with the Polish ham and Romania salad, and one with provolone cheese and a piece of tomato, and an apple and a banana for a snack.

Our workday was officially over at five, and somebody would drive me to the Children’s World to pick up Vlad and Anna and would drop us at home. I would start making some dinner at home, and Vlad and Anna would start talking: they just started to learn English and had nobody to talk to during the whole day!

Continue reading “Our First Month in Palatine”

First Move In the US

When I wrote this post, I thought I would write a couple of follow-ups right away, but then there was an Election Day and waiting and the new COVID surge. Three weeks later, I am finally back to that part of our family history.

I was always vague about why we had to move from Des Planes to Palatine and all the surrounding events. I didn’t want to bring this story to a public view and only told it to some people privately. Now that I am writing our family’s full and complete history let’s layout all the details.

If you recall, a person who introduced me, or rather a notion about me to VIN.net CEO was G, the same guy who lived in the building across from mine in Saint Petersburg, the guy who was fired from Urbansoft, and because of whom I was fired a month later. He emigrated, he worked in the consulting company, and he told Pam about me. As a result, we emailed each other pretty intensely during these months before my departure. He had a seven-year-old daughter, and his wife was not working, so it was “assumed” that I will live in the same apartment building as they lived and that his wife will help me with the daycare. 

At some moment, Chris, the HR/office manager/secretary in VIN.net, emailed me saying that G’s wife “agreed” to watch my kids on the school days off (I didn’t know that schools holidays in the US were different from everybody’s holidays); that she will cover if they are sick, and I do not even remember the whole list. When I forwarded this email to G, he replied that this is not true and that his wife needs time off as well. I could not figure out what was going on, but again, knowing nothing about American realities, I could not understand the magnitude of the problem.

Continue reading “First Move In the US”

The Last Weekend Before Elections

It was another extremely busy weekend, mostly spent on the book writing plus trying to catch some nice weather on Saturday.
Regarding the book, we finally have a reviewer who’s suggestions are exceptionally helpful, but they require us to go back to almost every chapter and make some changes. And all changes have to be reviewed by all three of us :). As of yesterday, we had five different chapters in work: submitting one, drafting a plan for another, replying to the reviewer comments on the third, and waiting for re-review on the other two.
That was my busy Sunday, and I am so glad that it was a Sunday with an extra hour!
I had multiple blog posts in mind for this weekend, and I didn’t have time for any. But there is one thing I still want to write about today, before the election day.
Anna was doing phone banking and leaving literature by the doors over the weekend, and when I think about that, I want to cry. I do not have enough words to describe how proud I am of my daughter.
You know how it is commonplace that only young people and retirees are activists because others are busy working taking care of their families. And here is Anna, doing phone calls and walking the turf. When I expressed my admiration for what she is doing, she told me: I remember how I woke up on Wednesday four years ago, and this year, and now I want to make sure I did everything I could to prevent the same thing happening again.
I wish more people would understand that you can’t shield yourself away from politics “because you are busy taking care of your family.” The future of your family, the future of your children, depends on upcoming elections. There is hardly anything more important than that.
BTW, a couple of weeks ago, our HR sent out this message:

Which made our director of analytics anxiously ask me whether he needs to reschedule a by-weekly Sprint planning, and I told him I already voted:)

Anna messaged me a couple of pictures of Nadia, helping her to canvass. I think that many years later, Nadia would be proud of them. I know that some people would view it critically as “indoctrinating the young children.” But I think about it as teaching civic and being true to your moral values.

My Best Girls Ever

I had the best time ever with all three girls:). Kira is a miracle child: she is so happy all the time and so calm! Not like she does not have bad days and bad nights, but in comparison, not only with Nadia but with any child, I know close enough. Also, she is very advanced both physically and emotionally for her four and a half months. She tries to stand up all the time you hold her. she tries to crawl and sit, and I think she will be mobile in some way by the time she will be six months old. Just you wait:).
She also has an unbelievable emotional response to others, which is also way too early. She meets people’s gaze; she is upset when either Nadia or Anna is upset, and she ever reacts emotionally at the conversations which are not directed to her. And if you talk to her directly, she would always respond with the broadest smile.

Nadia speaks more and more complex sentences. She loves telling stories, and she likes it when Anna tells stories, imaginable, or real. She is very thoughtful and very compassionate, polite, and considerable of other people’s needs.

And all this is most definitely because of her parents. I do not think I ever had such a level of patience, as Anna demonstrates. And I can tell that her patience with Nadia fosters all these positive traits. Many everyday tasks take longer than they could because she lets Nadia do things by herself, to decide for herself, to do them her way. She always accepts Nadia’s help even when it makes things going three times slower :). And I am sure that John does the same; I just saw less of him this time :).

I am so looking forward to seeing these girls growing and doing great things!