Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It Smells like Russia

Today I made Borscht. Four gallons of it to be exact. I thought it would be nice to freeze a couple of batches to give to our neighbors as a welcome home gift when they bring home their children from Kazakstan next week. To make the soup base I even boiled eight pounds of beef ribs and three pounds of chuck roast. It smells so good! When the girls got home from school, Anna and Sveta were very excited to see that I was making it. Anna asked if I would let her have some "Myasa" so I stuffed the tender beef in her mouth as she asked for more and more.
I also made "Akroska" which is cold cucumber soup. Since my neighbors like this soup so much I thought it would be nice to make them some as a way to thank them for all of the candy they brought back from Kaz. Personally, this soup is not my favorite, but it sure was fun making with Sveta. She grated all four cucumbers by herself and boy was she proud of herself! Plus, it might get them to bring more of the Kaz candy that Anna, Sveta, and I enjoyed so much. It was absolutely delicious with a nice cup of chi.
So for dinner tonight we are having tender beef, Borscht, Akroska, hard boiled eggs, and fresh, crusty bread. If I could, I would invite whoever would appreciate the tastes of Russia. Boy, does it bring back memories, except I left out the bologna in the Borscht.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Are Naps Worth It?

As I sit here and type, every once in a while I hear this squeaking noise upstairs. It's Andrew and Jonny opening and closing the door ever so quietly, thinking I don't hear them. I have been up there twice to tuck them back in but eventually they make it back to the top of the stairs where I know they are sitting right now watching me as I type this. Normally, my husband and I run a tight ship evident by all of our children under nine already asleep since 8:15 pm. but it is hard to get mad at Andrew and Jonny when I know they took a 2 hour nap today.
Hold on, as I quickly march up the stairs and chase the boys back to their beds as I pretend to swat their little bottoms but actually clap my hands together for the sound, "Hurry up, hurry up, chop, chop, chop!"
Five minutes later, I am back again and still wondering what would be better. I think they still need naps, they are tired and cranky by 4 pm. if they haven't had a nap, they are cranky if I wake them up after only one hour of napping, and if I let them nap all they want then they don't go to sleep when it is bedtime. So my latest idea has been to take them swimming over at Grandma and Grandpa's house before bed to try and tire them out. Well so far the only one it is tiring out is me! Geesh! And I thought by the eighth child I would have it all figured out.
Speaking of swimming, Sveta learned to swim two days ago. Did you hear that? Sveta is swimming. Our dear little Sveta will let Daddy throw her in the pool without a noodle and then she will swim to the steps. It is really amazing for her and she is so proud of herself. Kind of like when she learned to ride a bike just a couple of months ago. It is so awesome to be a part of her life as she is making these huge steps in her life. Well actually, I am just a fan in the cheering section as I watch my wonderful husband teach her these things. He is also teaching her piano which she seems to really enjoy once she has learned a new song. Seeing her excitement each time she learns something new is such a rewarding experience. It just warms my heart to see her so proud of herself!
When it was Sveta who learned to swim first and not Anna, that made Anna decide later that night that she would just do it too, the very next chance she got! Well today we went swimming again and guess what. Anna let Daddy give her a quick refresher lesson and now she is a swimmer too! Yaaaaaaaaaa!
Tonight as I tucked in the girls, I let them know that I think they learned to swim faster than any of their siblings ever did including Julia. It made them feel really good to know that since Julia had been swimming since she was 4 1/2 years old. "By how fast you learned to swim, I bet you would have been swimming by that age too if you could," I whispered in Anna's ear as I gave them each a kiss. After all, swimming in less than two weeks after only being exposed to a swimming pool for the first time is really impressive in my book.
Adam and Caleb just kissed me goodnight so I guess I'm off to bed too. No more squeaking coming from upstairs, just like I said they are too now fast asleep.

Building a tent

Isn't it neat how kids can be entertained by the smallest things? My motto is "Give them a box and they will play." No need to constantly entertain them with expensive toys.
Sveta still has evidence of Hand-Foot-Mouth and so I am keeping her home again (long story about school nurse that I won't get into today) with Andrew and Jonny. She is enjoying being the oldest at home and I think these three days have been very good for the three of them not to mention her and my relationship.
Today, they are building tents with all of the blankets in the house. They have been playing for over an hour and it is allowing me to catch up on some of my journaling. I sneak a peak at them every once in a while and I smile as I see their wonderful imaginations at play. They have camped out in the starry night, played house, laughed at nothing and pretended the outside is hot and unsafe. How fun, for them!
What imaginative things do your children do? What types of family outings do you plan to do over the summer?