The First Bell…A Russian Tradition

In Russia, the school year begins with a First Bell Ceremony that rings in the new year.

IMG_7181 IMG_7191 IMG_7192 

The International Academy…

IMG_7251 IMG_7195

The kids teachers, Mrs Stumbo, Ms Luba and Ms Reutina.

IMG_7199 IMG_7203 

New friends…

IMG_7201  IMG_7204 

Ringing the bell…

IMG_7225 IMG_7205

Their classes…

IMG_7233 IMG_7247IMG_7236  IMG_7237

What a fabulous first day!!!

IMG_7250 IMG_7252


Happy Birthday Peter!!!



Cake!  Ice Cream!  Chinese!!!


What a great way to celebrate!!!


This Week…

On Saturday, we were packing and preparing to spend a week at an orphanage 4 hours away.  Sunday evening we were unpacking…due to a schedule conflict at the orphanage, the number of kids had went from 60 to 16, so we were no longer needed.  Even though I was ready to go and looking forward to the adventure and fabulous opportunity, I was a bit relieved to get to stay in my comfy home surrounded by my favs…I am totally spoiled!!!

With our free week…we celebrated!!!  We meet several new families, made new friends, went on several adventures and lots of playdates.

DSC00008 DSC00010 DSC00013 DSC00016 DSC00022

We also did a few projects…


I found cork boards and covered them with our favorite people and memories…I love pictures, but being able to see our friends and family every day makes me miss you all that much more!!! :-(

IMG_6944 IMG_6952 IMG_6954 IMG_6957

We also celebrated our month month anniversary in Saint Pete with pizza and school supply shopping!!!  The kids loved getting to fill the basket with school things, writing their name on everything and organizing their backpacks!!!


And I made one huge mistake…I made chocolate chip cookies that were sooo yummy…I have eaten at least a dozen!!!




Emme and I love TV.  We love watching movies, TV shows and even commercials!!!  English movies are becoming harder to find, TV…with the exception of BBC and CNN…are in Russian.  I have not watched TV in 27 days and only 2 movies…one being so boring that I slept through most of it!!!  This loss of entertainment has NOT moved me to be more productive, become more spiritual or lessened my desire to be entertained.  I miss TV, my friends at Blockbuster, going by Redbox and getting 4 movies for only $4!!!  I want to not care about TV, not be disappointed each time I find a new movie that is only in Russian, stop researching ways to watch movies on the Internet only to be rejected because I live in Russia…isn’t living in Russia punishment enough :-), why can’t they let me watch a movie?!?!  True confession…I have even joined an online movie “club” only to have my emotions, patients and frustration levels reach completely new heights…not to mention the question of ethics (it did say that it was legal, but I have to wonder…I just figure that if I was sent to jail in the states, I would have a better chance of watching TV or movies in English anyways!!!) and was only able to watch one movie!!!


A New Pet…


Coming home from Church, I pointed out a snail.  Before I knew what had happened, the snail was in our kitchen and I was researching how to keep a pet snail alive.  Emme and Gid were really excited…I was wishing I would have just kept walking!!!

Home Tour: Bathroom

IMG_6847 IMG_6850


Our First Package!!!!

I love mail…any kind of mail…even in the form of junk!!!  To open the mailbox and find something waiting for me brings joy to my day!!!  But to open the mailbox and find a slip that says we have something that is so big it would not even fit into our mailbox…that makes my heart soar!!!


Even though we left the states later than our original date of departure, it was sooner than we had anticipated after several delays and several packages that we had ordered arrived the day we left.  Although we had 4 pieces for free luggage, 5 pieces of excess luggage and 8 completely overweight carry-ons, I still had a few things that I wanted, but could not manage to squeeze in!


We received our first package from Granny today!!!  I honestly do not know what we would do without Granny!!!  In the 7 years of living overseas, Granny has sent us almost 100 packages!!!  We love you Granny…not because of all of the packages or all of the sacrifices you make for us or all the work you do for us…we love you just because your you!!!  THANKS!!!


A Visit to the Eye Doctor…


To return to Russia, all 4 of us had to have physicals.  During Emme’s evaluation, our Family Physician had concerns about her vision.  Since moving to Russia, Emme has complained of vision problems.  Today, we had an evaluation at one of the best Clinics in St. Pete with a Russian Optometrist.  She did a through evaluation and determined that Emme was –1.0 in one eye and –0.5 in the other.  Our concern was with her plan of treatment.  She wants us to dilate Emme’s eyes every night for 2-3 weeks and then return to see if her eyes had improved or if she needs glasses.  She also suggested 10 sessions of Laser Therapy…whatever that is?!?!


I am so thankful for Facebook!  I was confused and frustrated after her appointment.  I hate to directly question a physician's plan of treatment, but was concerned about using mydriacyl drops for 14 days (which I can purchase at any pharmacy without a prescription!!!)  and could find nothing on the Internet that suggested it be used for this purpose~”to relax her eye muscles” and possibly correct her vision.  I was so thankful for all the comments that affirmed my concern and even a comment from the wife of an Eye Doctor!!!  We have decided to wait on glasses at this time and have her reevaluated sometime in the future.


We did have a yummy lunch at a fabulous blini cafe and found a cute bath store from England called Lush!