Friday, July 30, 2010

Heat Wave

It has been quite the month here in Moscow, Russia. We have had some seriously hot days in the 90's and even 100's. These are some of the hottest days in Russian history. The stores have been sold out of any and all fans or air conditioners. Good thing we bought ours before the heat wave started. We have not had any rain in over a month which has caused many peat moss fires. Crops and lives have been lost due to the heat. The smoke has put a blanket over the city of Moscow. The government has advised to keep windows closed and stay in doors as much as possible. The pollution levels are 10 times over the safe level. It doesn't affect us as much where we are, but when the wind blows the smoke our direction it is so strong that it seems there is a fire in the back yard. We haven't been out doors as much as normal because of this. And not having any air conditioning in our house has been a challenge as well. The upstairs gets so hot that we have all been camping out in our guest bedroom on the main level (see photo below). It has worked out well and the girls seem to sleep much better with Mommy and Daddy so close.

Because it has been so dry it has been causing MacKenzie to get bloody noses. These always seem to happen in the middle of the night. Cliff picked up a humidifer for our bedroom. We are hoping this helps the poor peanut.

The kids have been such troopers and have not complained about the heat or the smoke. They have been having such a fun summer filled with so many things. To help remember the summer I listed some of the fun things we have done:

1. pool fun
2. bubbles
3. bike rides
4. playground
5. side walk chalk
6. sprinkler
7. watching tad poles turn into frogs
8. catching frogs and toads
9. catching butterflys
10. picking strawberries and raspberries from our back yard
11. growing potatoes (thanks to Grandpa)
12. outdoor picnics
13. coloring
14. stickers
15. eating ice cream
16. painting
17. going to Red Square
18. picking out and playing with nesting kittens
19. playdoh
20. getting new toys/coloring books that Mommy brought from home
21. new movies
22. 4th of July celebration in Moscow
23. exploring big house
24. playing with toys that came with the house
25. reading books that came with the house
26. bath in a huge tub
27. play Russian game with kids at playground
28. learning Russian words

These are ones that came to mind. Like I said, the kids have had a fun summer so far.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Because our internet here in Moscow is unpredictable I am not sure how often I will be able to post. Most days it won't even let me sign into my blog account. I will do the best I can at keeping you all up to date on our summer adventures.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Two things that have surprised me today:

1st: The girls are eating lunch and I step out of the room for 5 seconds and come back and Kira is eating a handful of butter. Really?

2nd: I am out watering flowers and hear pounding across the street. I look up to see two guys working on the neighbors house in their skivvies. Really?
I wonder what the afternoon will bring?

Photo Shoot

We are finally back online. We have had problems with our internet and were offline for almost a week. It made me realize how much I look forward to my time with my computer while the kids play. And being so far from home I NEED the connection to my MN world. Even with the internet I can feel so disconnected from my family and friends, but without internet it was even worse! The kids and I went about our regular routine though -- play, eat, play, eat, play, eat, etc. Such a rough summer, right? Actually, it has been such a relaxing summer for me. We have this beautiful home with an amazing yard and I don't have to clean any of it. We have a cleaning lady that comes once a week. Let me tell you, this is such a treat for me! All I have to worry about is 1 husband, 3 kids, cooking, washing clothes and relaxing a bit. When I get home next month it will be hard to readjust to my normal chores. Until then I am going to ENJOY!
Love the flowers on the vines. This is in our yard.
Kira with her camera. She likes to take pictures of flowers.
MacKenzie and Madison looking for that perfect shot. They have had these cameras for two years now and still love to play with them.
A little kiss in the pool. Madison kissing MacKenzie.
Madison, MacKenzie & Kira

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Matryoshka Nesting Dolls (or Kittens)

When we went to see Red Square with Cliff's parents we let the girls pick out their own matryoshka doll. First Diana and I took look and had some in mind for them. I knew that if it was overwhelming for me it was going to be twice that bad for them. I had the kitten picked out for Kira and once I showed it to them they all decided on a kitten. I told them they had to pick different ones so they could keep track of their own. Each kitten has 5 pieces. I didn't want anymore than that for choking reason and for keeping track of reasons. So far they have been very responsible and have not lost any pieces. I still want to go back and pick a doll out for myself to help me remember our time in Moscow.

I did a little research as to the history of the matryoshka dolls and here is what I found:

"Russian wooden dolls within smaller dolls were called matryoshka. In old Russian among peasants the name Matryona or Matriosha was a very popular female name. Scholars says this name has a Latin root "mater" and means "Mother". This name was associated with the image of of a mother of a big peasant family who was very healthy and had a portly figure.
Subsequently, it became a symbolic name and was used specially to image brightly painted wooden figurines made in a such way that they could taken apart to reveal smaller dolls fitting inside one another."

The girls with their matryoshkas. Kira picked out the grey kitten, Madison chose the white kitten and MacKenzie decided on the orange kitten. They did good job of deciding. Once Kira decided on a kitten the other two followed suit.

Kira and her "wooden kitty."
Madison and her Kitten.
MacKenzie and her kitten.
This was the matryoshka that Diana (mother-in-law) picked out for herself. There are 10 pieces. Pretty impressive how intricate they are with such small pieces.
It can be overwhelming when trying to decide on what style, size and design to choose, but once you get it home you are happy with your choice.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Daddy and His Girls

I didn't grow up with my Dad in my life. At times I really felt like I missing out on something so special. Something that only a Father and Daughter can experience. My Mom was a great Mom (and still is) and did her best to fill that ache that I had. Now that I have children of my own I see how important that bond really is between a Daddy and his Daughter. Cliff and all three girls have such a speical bond and relationship. Their faces light up whenever he arrives home or wants to play with them. Why doesn't the SAHM get the same reaction? I am not jealous of their relationship...I am in awe. They truly have him wrapped around their little fingers. He loves and adores each girl for who they are. And they view him as their Hero. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life who has become the #1 Daddy.

4th of July Weekend. (Madison front)

Moscow 4th of July Festival. Getting ready to watch the Fireworks. Kira the kitty, Madison the butterfly and MacKenzie the flower child (R).

Looking for frogs in our little pond. Kira, Madison & MacKenzie (R).
Red Square (MacKenzie, Kira & Madison (R)).
What a nice greeting from his girls upon arriving home from work. MacKenzie, Kira & Madison (R).
Visiting the Military Park. Madison (L), MacKenzie & Kira.
Climbing on tanks. Madison, MacKenzie & Kira

Monday, July 5, 2010


Why is it that everytime there is a Holiday it makes me homesick? Maybe it's just knowing that family and friends are all getting together and we aren't there to join in the fun. No matter where we are we always try and make every Holiday special for the girls. They are too young to realize what they are missing at home on that day, so they are just get excited to be celebrating anything. This year being in Moscow I didn't expect to celebrate too much. I did bring a few fun 4th items from home to help us feel the spirit, but other than that I thought it would be a quiet day. Earlier in the week our landlord (another American) told us about the annual 4th celebration that is thrown for expats. He gave us the information and we decided to try and find the place and join in the fun. It was at Kuskovo Park & Mansion. This estate dates back to 1743. It was the perfect place for a party. They had tons of fun things for all ages. Baseball, flag football, & volleyball tournaments earlier in the day. Lots of blow up bouncy/slide thingys for the kids. Face painting. Sexy dancers on a stage. Tons of vendors selling food and drink and just beautiful grounds to wander around. Then we sat near a man made lake to watch the fireworks. This is where Count Sheremetev used to have mock sea battles to entertain Moscow society. A lot of history in the spot we were sitting.

The girls were excited to see the fireworks. I wasn't sure if they would be scared of the loud noise, but they did great. The only bad part of staying for the fireworks was keeping the kids up so late. It doesn't get dark until close to 11pm. It was a treat for them and they did very well. As soon as we got in the car they all passed out. We all slept in Sunday and just enjoyed the 4th in our back yard and the pool.

Sexy girls dancing to a DJ.

Girls enjoying the music and getting their groove on.

Madison, Kira & MacKenzie (R)




I loved seeing our flag at the Festival.

MacKenzie, Kira & Madison (R)

Firework time.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

We are feeling patriot this weekend. Even though we are a million miles away from our awesome country, we still celebrate our independence. Happy 4th of July to you all. Be thankful and be safe!

**Please bear with me. I am experimenting with my photo program and still have a lot to learn.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Our last trip to the store let the girls pick out some swimming goggles and snorkels. Surprisingly, they each picked out something different. You wonder why this is suprising? Well, when three girls can fight over one toy when there are 2 others that are exactly the same it always surprises me when they branch out and pick something different than their sisters. It is a relief in a way. This way they can't fight over them because they each picked out their own "special" pair.

Madison (L), MacKenzie & Kira
They were being so silly and funny. Madison thought it was gut busting funny that she had her undies on her head. And MacKenzie thought her capris on her head was the funniest thing she has ever seen. And then Kira (who was already dressed) decided if she put her kitty on her head she would be part of the fun.
Kira with froggy goggles.
Cliff and I couldn't stop laughing at her. She has the biggest eyes and through the goggles they really stand out. Makes me laugh just looking at the picture.

MacKenzie with orange glittery goggles.
MacKenzie has been pretty good at putting her face in the water. She thinks it is great to be able to see. The whole snorkel thing is still a work in progress.

Madison with Tweety Bird goggles.
Madison likes to wear her goggles and let one of her sisters pour water over her head or squirt her in her eyes.
My beautiful family. Madison, Kira & MacKenzie (R)