Quote of the Day


ayat: court

A year ago today, we went to court. It was really really hot and though we weren't apprehensive, we were quite anxious, if that makes sense. We were confident of the outcome, but the magnitude of what we were doing was quite, well . . . quite daunting.


how are we doing: call for questions

I'm sticking this to the top of the blog cause now I really want to know what you want to know.
If no one posts any questions at all, I'll be dreadfully sadden and perplexed.

Kate asked how the kids are doing. I don't know how to answer that. We are doing well, I think, but what do I know? I've nothing to compare them to as they are the only children I have ever had. Apparently they are not 'normal' ; nearly everyone that spends more than 10 minutes with us comments that I must be really tired at the end of the day, and indeed I am.

They are great. They are exhausting. We love them. We sometimes hide in the bathroom from them.

What sort of details would help you get a picture of how they are doing? What questions do you have?



ayat: another visit

A year ago today we got to visit the children again.


basil pesto

Poke around at your Farmer's Market this weekend and see if you can get a goodly supply of basil which you can easily freeze for delicious pesto all winter long. My neighbor shared her pesto recipe with us.


Pull the leaves off the stems. Put the leaves in a 2 cup measure and pat them down. When the measuring cup is full, transfer the leaves to a freezer bag, squeeze out the excess air and toss into the freezer.

Diana's Pesto

Toast in oven, then cool
1 C pine nuts or sunflower seeds

Melt, then cool
3-4 Tb butter

In a strong blender, combine
6 cloves garlic
1/2 C olive oil
2 C frozen basil leaves
cooled pine nuts or sunflower seeds

cooled butter
1 C shredded parmesan cheese
salt if the nuts were not salted
blender mixture

Serve over angel hair pasta


:: this post is part of Presto Pasta Nights hosted at Once Upon A Feast


Children's Hospital Seattle

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE the Children's Hospital in Seattle? They have free valet parking. They are all sweet and organized. They have lovely toys. And they are conveniently located very close to a hanna andersson store.

Yesterday we made the last specialty-clinic visit to rule out a zillion-and-one possible ailments that could account for Chickadee's tininess, other than the obvious problem that she will explain to anyone. "I was a hungry baby," she says patiently. "My mama no feed me."

She's fine. She's little, yes, but there are no genetic defects, no internal organ problems, no sign of FAS, no sign of other cognitive or developmental problems, no problems at all other than she is a wee little thing and that she speaks gerbil. We'll be seeing a speech therapist as apparently Dandy and I are the only two people who readily understand her unique mix of Russian and English. She has only four upper teeth (two molars and two canines), so her enunciation is a little odd.

No, I didn't buy anything at hanna andersson's. I just scoped out the fall/winter line for future ebay purchases.

We did stop at the outlet mall on the way home for an ice-cream cone and some Western Dalmatian Rain Boots for her and some Clark's for me.

And a just one little outfit from The Children's Place.


ayat: visit the children

A year ago today we posting pictures of our rooms at the MarKuel to help pass the time as we waited to go visit the children.


works for me: baby gate

If you think animals are inventory, or property, don't read this post, as you will never ever understand it and I will never ever understand your comments. Otherwise, click to read more.

We have 3 dogs, all of whom sleep indoors at night. We have a California King sized bad which is already full with my California King sized husband, me, 1-2 cats, and our beloved senior dog Holly. This leaves the junior dogs to find a comfy spot on their own. They pace the house. They jump on the bed and get pushed off. They pace -- click-click-click go their dog nails on the wood floors -- they jump, they pace, and this goes on all night and makes me cranky.

The other day I was cleaning out the laundry room and ran across a baby gate. Oh YES! We put the junior dogs up to sleep with the kids and put the gate across the bottom of the stairs. We get to sleep all night without being awakened. Our cheerful pleasant selves have returned.~Suzanne


ayat: eight-doctor medical

A year ago today we were fulfilling the dreaded eight-doctor medical examination requirements. We also traded a bottle of perfume for a bed. It was a good day.


birthday joys & sorrow

Birthday joys:
:: hearing my children sing the lines "happy birthday Mama" to me. It was a first.
:: seeing Dad sitting in my yard: first visit to my house since the accident.
:: having tea with two of my aunties, my Mom, and my daughter at a darling tea shop with real scones.

:: receiving musical birthday phone calls.
:: envisioning my youngest niece attending her first day of classes at Westmont.

Birthday sorrow:
:: discovering that the chicken-manure-smell that had permeated our yard all day was not, actually, chicken manure delivered to the to the organic garden next door, but was indeed, the remains of our youngest goat, Chester.



tegenaria agrestis: I hates them

Spiders. Oh how I hates them. Once I got bit by a spider; it was the NW version of Florida's brown recluse: tegenaria agrestis aka hobo spider. It left venom in me that ate my collagen and created what appeared to be a rotting wound. It was very disturbing and I never did fully recover from the psychological horror of having one of these on my body.

The tegenaria agrestis lives in the region in red. They are a
horror, not only because they can make you really ill or even kill you (don't believe me? go read case #3 from the Center for Disease Control), but because they look like this:

Just a wittle spider, you were thinking. I double-dog dare you to click on that spider so that you can see it life-size.

Why are we talking about it today? Because I was cleaning the garden the other day and I picked up a piece of scrap lumber and found a mouse hole under it. Imagine my surprise when the occupant showed up and was not a mouse, just a mouse-sized spider. There were more.


and I killed them.

by myself.

Then I went inside and threw up.


ayat: exploring Khabarovsk

A year ago today we were getting settled into our rooms at the MarKuel apartment and exploring the surrounds.

Forty-some years ago today I was making my world début, specializing in cooing and crying and having lots of dark, messy, sticking-up hair. I'll try to find a baby pic and post it. I still have naturally messy hair.



Russian historical fiction??

In a couple of weeks we get to go . . .

(I can hardly believe this myself)

. . . to the coast for a whole week!

My Gift and the children and I are going for a Friday-Monday jaunt to Pacific Shores Nature Resort on the east coast of Vancouver Island, which is of course, on the southwest corner of Canada. On Monday, he has to go back to work and my Mom will come up to spend the rest of the week with us.

"I can't believe I'm bathing in the sea in autumn."

It gets better.

Pacific Shores Nature Resort has childcare! Oh my goodness. Do you know when was the last time my husband & I went out for a nice dinner? A year ago tomorrow, on my birthday, at Scalini's in Russia, before we were parents. I'm not counting the 1:30a.m. crummy meal we had at Applebee's after Jamie got discharged from ER after his TIA last December.

Last time I was at Pacific Shores, I overheard a woman say, "I can't believe I'm bathing in the sea in autumn." I loved this. I love the regional variation in phrasing. Locals would use swimming, ocean, and fall.

Anyway, I'm trying to gather up a pile of books to read while the children play in the kid's pool. I would really love to read some quality historical fiction about Russia. That is, I'd like to know more about Russian history, but I can't abide reading history straight-up. I need it packaged in a nice story. What can you recommend?

I'm pulling Dandy out of a week of school. The teacher will not be pleased, but we will be making good use of the time. We'll be beach-combing in the tide flats, toodling about in the complimentary kayaks, wandering on the nature trails in the estuary, and bathing in the sea in autumn.


What's this little button, you ask? The childcare fees at a resort are not for the faint-of-heart. This is your chance to help fortify us.

ayat: Khabarovsk

A year ago today we were hanging about the apartment catching up with our posts. It gets a little confusing with dates, being on the other side of the international date line, but if you don't mind a few time warps, here is a post on the Seoul airport and one on arriving in Khabarovsk. These are different posts than those linked to yesterday.


rotating quotes

Kate asked, awhile ago, about the quotes at the top of the page.

First, figure out where you want it. If you want it under your header, you will need to create another space at the top of the page. I used the directions here for making my messageboard.

Then I put in this code:

Yes it is too tiny to see, but after you cut and paste it into your message board it will get bigger.

I left a few quotes in to get you started. You can add more by editing the "quotes = new Array(5);" bit and replicating the quotes bit. Note that there is indeed a quote #0, so your last quote entry should be 1 less than the number in the "quotes = new Array(5);"

When I find new quotes that I like, I just pop them in. I have several hundred now.



Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay

We both just finished Foster Cline and Jim Fay's Parenting With Love And Logic and have taken up several of his recommendations. The core idea that we have latched onto is to let the children have their SLOs (significant learning opportunities) while the price tag is still relatively small. We are working on implementing more L&L (Love & Logic) moments into our parenting routines.

Here are a few sample L&L conversations from our home.

Me: I notice that there's a lot of your stuff around the house. Would you like to pick it up or would you like me to?
Child: (running) I'll do it. I'll do it. If you do it, you'll put it in jail.
Me: Yup.

Dandy: Mom I broke a dish.
Me: Anyone hurt?
Dandy: No.
Me: Okay. You know how to clean it up. I like to wear shoes for that sort of work because I hate cutting my feet.
Dandy: I'll be careful.
Me: Even when I am careful I sometimes get cut. That's why I wear shoes.
Dandy: I won't get cut.
Me: Okay, but if you do, who is going to clean up the blood and wash your poor feet and put on band-aids?
Dandy: Me. I will.
Me: Okay.
(sweeping sounds)
Dandy: OUCH!
(scurrying-to-first-aid-kit sounds)

I check to make sure it is not life-threatening; it is not.

(time passes)
Dandy: I got the blood stopped. (shows 7 band-aids on one small cut)
Me: Okay. Don't forget the blood on the floor from the kitchen to the bathroom.
Dandy: Would it be okay if I put shoes on first and then clean up the blood?
Me: Sure. Good idea.

Come to think of it, the incident of the unchanged underwear was an L&L situation too. I just hadn't read the book yet.

Parenting With Love And Logic has helped me keep my cool. I don't sing the little uh-oh song they feature, but I do keep that attitude. I identify a problem the child is facing and I give some advice, but I don't pick up the problem and start carrying it for them. This has really helped me stay in my happy place, which is good for all of us.


ayat: Seattle-LA-Seoul-Khabarovsk

A year ago today we were posting from the LA airport, from the Seoul international airport, from the Seoul international airport again (it was a long layover), and from the MarKuel apartments in Khabarovsk (it was a long day).


chunky feta dressing or spread

And another great recipe from Mom.

Feta Dressing
1 C feta
1/2 C mayo
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C yogurt
2 t lemon juice
salt & pepper

Very yummy on green salad, or toasted rye bread, or on brown rice.



Friday Poetry

I'm posting this as a sort of incantation, with hope that August will recall her true sunny nature and shed these gray clouds of gloom she has been wearing recently.
Fairest of the months; ripe Summer's Queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear
~R.Combe Miller

Here is the coding if you want a button with a link to this week's round-up.


:: this post is part of the Friday Poetry roundup hosted by The Book Mine Set.

ayat: trip two

A year ago today we started our trip around the world, departing from Seattle as a family of two and blogging greetings from Seoul.



Vegie Torte

Zucchini season is upon us, so I'll start posting some of my zucchini recipes. This one is a great dinner or brunch dish.

Vegie Torte

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pan-spray the bottom and sides of a 10 inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil to avoid leaking.

Sauté together
1/4 C olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced and halved
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 C steamed broccoli, cut small

Whip together in a really large bowl
6 large eggs
1/4 C half and half
3 T chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper

3 C day old bread, in 1/2 inch cubes
1 8 oz package cream cheese, cubed
1 C shredded Swiss cheese
1 C shredded cheddar
(optional: 3 slices of bacon, crumbled)

Add the vegies. Pop everything into your pan and pack it in firmly. Bake for 1 hour (+/-). When it is puffed and firm to the touch, it is done.

Derived from a recipe posted at Gourmet A Go-Go.

map of true love

there's a map! who knew?


:: hat tip to Rocks in my Dryer


works for me: unloading groceries

1 rusty old shopping cart
+ 1 can of Rust-Oleum Hammered Metal Finish in Silver spray paint
1 grocery-unloading cart for one's Mom.

Now that she has a nifty ramp from her driveway to her front door, she can put all her heavy stuff in the cart and push it in, rather than lug it in or wait for someone to come help. In the old days, Dad would always unload for her.


works for me: sugar scrub

Is your skin starting to look a bit tired? Here is a lovely homemade sugar scrub.

Herbed Sugar Scrub

:: Snip a few sprays of an aromatic herb (I favor lavender and rosemary) into a microwaveable but non-glass bowl.
:: Pour about a cup of olive oil over top.
:: Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave.
:: Let cool.
:: Add a cup of sugar.
:: Get in the tub.
:: SIT DOWN as this stuff is slippery.
:: Scrub yourself with the sugar scrub.
:: Scrub all over.
:: Rinse off.
:: Use a wee bit of soap if needed/desired.
:: Take care getting out, as you may be slippery when wet.
:: Towel off.
:: Admire your smooth lovely skin.



ayat: full on linear panic

A year ago today I was panicking. Why? We were only two days from departing for Russia to fetch up our children. Stay tuned for the ayat series for Trip Two.

nutshell: Seattle-LA-Seoul-Khabarovsk-Moscow-Zurich-Chicago-Seattle

the nutty details:
24 Aug 06 - Thursday
* depart Seattle at 6:20 pm on United 703
* arrive LA at 8:57 pm
* dink around for 3 hours
* miles on this leg 954: miles total 954

25 August Friday
* depart LA at 12:20 am on Asiana 203

26 August Saturday
* arrive Seoul at 5:00 am
* miles on this leg 5999: miles total 6953
* dink around until 7:00 am at which time the SHOWERS and the GOOD COFFEE SHOP and the INTERNET opens. Choices. Choices.
* depart Seoul at 10:10 am on Asiana 572
* arrive Khabarovsk at 3:10 pm
* miles on this leg 886: miles total 7839

27 August Sunday
* celebrate my birthday at Scalinis

28 August Monday to 30 August Wednesday
* visit the children!
* redo our medical exams

31 August Thursday
* Court

1 Sept Friday to 10 Sept Sunday
* wait out the TenDay Wait - children may be with us for some or all of this time

11 Sept Monday to 15 Sept Friday
* adoption decree is finalized
* apply and wait for children's Russian passports with our names included

16 Sept Saturday
* depart Khabarovsk 3 pm on Domodevo 126
* arrive Moscow 4:35 pm
* miles on this leg 3835: miles total 11674

17 Sept Sunday
* explore Moscow

18 Sept Monday
* Children's Medical Exams for US Embassy
* Children's Visas for US entry
* Register Children with Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

19 Sept Tuesday
* depart Moscow at 7:15 am on SwissAir 1325
* arrive Zurich 8:45 am
* miles on this leg 1368: miles total 13042
* dink around for 4 hours - buy Toblerone
* depart Zurich at 12:40 pm on SwissAir 8
* arrive Chicago at 3:15 pm
* miles on this leg 4443: miles total 17485
* Clear customs and Immigration
* take pictures, get weepy, admire our new little citizen
* repeat
* depart Chicago at 7:45 pm on United 689
* arrive Seattle at 10:05 pm
* miles on this leg 1721: miles total 19206
* rent car, drive home, collapse.