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!

Visiting With My Girls

As Anna put it, we had three visits in one. Anna and the girls came Friday evening. The girls went more or less straight to bed, and Anna and I talked till midnight (which was probably not the best idea, but we didn’t have one on one conversations for a really long time).

It was then a long morning at my house, and then we went to the market and picked pre-ordered bread, croissants and vegetables. Afterward, we visited my mom, and she was very happy to hold Kira and chat with all of us. Then we traveled to John and Anna’s house in Milwaukee, and I stayed there till midday Tuesday. Unfortunately, my situation at work is such that I could not take any additional time off, but we were still happy to stay under one roof for a couple of days.

The weather was not cooperating. It became sharply colder on Saturday, and I was completely unprepared. I was glad that I took a warmer coat, but frankly, I could take even a warmer one. We still went for several walks, but it would be better if the weather would be different.
I already posted some pictures from the Havenwoods State Park, and here are some pictures from the neighborhood – the Halloween decorations there are very elaborate πŸ™‚

Continue reading “Visiting With My Girls”

Havenwoods State Park

This park is very close to Anna’s house, and on Sunday all five of us went there for a nature walk. I thought that Sunday was cold, but turned out it was way warmer than Monday :).

I am so glad we went there! It is beautiful, and it is so different from Deer Grove, although it also has some prairie, wetland and woodland. Lots of pictures πŸ™‚

Community garden
Continue reading “Havenwoods State Park”

Quick Status Update

For the past two days, I stay with Anna and her family in the Milwaukee home. Since Wisconsin has a very high infection rate these days, Anna decided to drive me both ways. On Friday night, she drove to Palatine with the girls, and they spent a night at my house. In the morning, we headed to Milwaukee.

Here, I am trying to do it all: to have family time, work as actual work, and work on our book. It barely fits in, but I do not feel like I can take any days off these days.
Hence this short note here: I am alive and well, but I have no time for anything. More than even.

Life In Chicago

Today, I asked Vlad to meet me for lunch because I needed to discuss several things with him. We didn’t plan very well, and I had a work emergency, so first, I ended up being late, and then he was late, although he texted me that he is already parking.

When he finally came in, he told me that he had trouble finding a parking spot and that he had to park at a very expensive place. But then he said that he feels good about it because it means that the city is getting back to normal.

I can second these feelings because yesterday, I felt similarly annoyed when I could not turn left from my subdivision to the main road. Annoyed, but also glad :).
Among the things I wanted to talk about was the future of the restaurant business. In Chicago, with our notoriously brutal winters, everybody is talking about this! Vlad thinks that people will still be heading for indoor seating when the weather will become colder regardless of the higher risk. I am not sure how he thinks our legislators will do, but even in Finland, they had to back up under the business demands. We shall see. I also hope that rapid testing will be more available. Last week, Vlad was hosting a private even with Abbott Labs, and since they developed this rapid test, they tested each and single participant and each and single server at this event. It would be cool if we could have this rapid testing everywhere!

Oh, and funny story. Today was the first time since early March that I was not alone in the elevator going down in our office building:)

January 1, 1996

One more year, one more set of pictures taken on January 1, at the family gathering on Aunt Kima’s birthday. Once again, I do not remember who took the pictures. I am sure there were tons of pictures of everybody, but I only have pictures where my children are present.

They are dressed in the same costumes as on the photo with a children’s musical cast. Igor is a Vampire, Vlad is a Dwarf, and Anna is a Little Red Riding Hood. I am recycling my High School Graduation dress with all accessories.

Igor, Slava, Petya, Vlad
Aunt Kima with Anna, Iya and Vlad, with Igor on the left
Me with Ann on my lap and my second cousin Ania with her daughter Iya
Continue reading “January 1, 1996”

The Rest of 1995

When I think about my life before we relocated to America, I mostly think about the last year before we left, precisely the period I am describing now. I want to describe our “life in general” during this period, rather than specific events.

Vlad and Anna attended detskiy sad – the preschool-daycare ran by the Department of Educations for only a nominal cost, which was a huge relief to my budget. They were lucky to have great teachers, and I invested my time and effort to be in good relationships with all of them, always showing them how much I appreciated their hard work. They were paid little, and their salaries were often late, as with almost everybody at that time.

In Igor’s boarding school, the building remodeling was finally over. He stayed there from Monday morning till Friday afternoon, which was also a relief for monetary and time budgets. I was a research associate at the University, which still paid close to nothing. Besides, after many thoughts and hesitations, I applied for government child disability payments for Igor. That was a small but reliable additional income, in addition to Igor having room and board for five days a week in his boarding schools. Still, more than half of my income had to come from some side gigs, which I was always searching for. I never requested child support from Igor’s father for several reasons. When we divorced, my earnings were higher than his, and I didn’t feel it fair to ask for more. I have to mention that the way the child support amount was calculated in Russia, it didn’t take into account mother’s income, it was plain 25 or 30 percent of the father’s income (I forgot the exact number, I think it was 25% for one child, 30% for two and 50% for three or more). Second, I felt that because it was my initiative to divorce him, I could not make it worse. And lastly, I told him that the only thing I want from him was to visit Igor often and never ask for money if he will keep in touch with his son. He ended up visiting way less than I would hope for, but that was my intention.

Continue reading “The Rest of 1995”

Happy Birthday, Vlad and Anna!

Today is Vlad’s and Anna’s 29th birthday, and for the first time ever we won’t be able to celebrate together even on a different date. Below is a picture from our last year celebration, I am posting it here to remind myself that time will come and we will celebrate in person again:)

I just scrolled my timeline and realized that I do not have any post about the day Vlad and Anna were born. And this brings me to the conversations Anna and I had when she visited. Now, we talk a lot about parenting, and we are finding out tons of details I never mentioned. Each time Anna says that I should write a blog post about it, I hope that I will eventually. 

Some topics are easy to write about. In other cases, it isn’t easy to separate the historical details and personal emotions, and I know that I am trying to put off writing about some topics. We talked about me writing “about everything,” and I am leaning towards writing some protected posts, for which my children will have a passcode. 

Just this morning, I finished listening to the book The Things We Can’t Say. I loved the book, but it also prompted me to think about keeping secrets regarding someone’s past. There may be many reasons which seem perfectly rational, but you never know what will happen if you take these secrets to the grave, and your children and grandchildren will desperately try to solve these mysteries. 

So here is my children’s birthday resolution – I will do my best to write about everything  It will take time, but I hope I will be done before I will start to forget things πŸ™‚

Family Time

My girls went back home today. We spent a wonderful five days together, going to places, doing things together, and talking non-stop. After they left, I told Boris that I either became too old or out of practice because I felt tired of all these non-stop activities. He replied that he thinks that I am just out of practice, and I asked whether he implies that I should do it more often. He laughed and said that probably yes.

Speaking about activities, we went to the Botanic Garden on Tuesday.

The signs say: Welcome back! We missed you!
Continue reading “Family Time”

Spending Time With My Girls

I took this whole week off work to spend time with my daughter and granddaughters, and all the things we are doing together take all the time I have. Everything is great and wonderful, and I am enjoying every moment of our time together, and I hope they enjoy it, too.

We went to the Botanic Garden, and we drove to Chicago to Millennium Park, and there are still tons of activities we planned for the remaining two and a half days.

More stories to follow πŸ™‚