Sunday, December 20, 2009


Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
Kahlil Gibran The Prophet

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

Decorations: Rainbow Fish
Yesterday after making the snowmen, we decided to decorate the living room in time for today’s Christmas party. I thought Katya’s favourite part will be gluing glitter, but trying to draw circles using a compass for a first time was much more fascinating. And while she still can’t really draw a circle on her own, now I know how to occupy her if I need some time to myself.
Making Decorations
The other day my friend caught me trying to explain to Katya what the parallelogram is and she thought I was totally insane. But my family is full of geeks, so it seems to me so natural that my daughter is fascinated by various shapes and wants to know what they are all called. I should actually remind myself the Russian names for the three-dimensional shapes. Maybe our household needs a comprehensive picture dictionary – I used to love looking through one when I was a child.
And I was very happy to use some of the strange sparkly paper I have.
Decorations: Blue Bird
At the moment the decorations look more suitable for a birthday party, but hopefully the guests will bring some tinsel strands to add the right amount of sparkling Christmas goodness to our bunting lines. The bunting above is from Driftwood and below from I'm a Ginger Monkey.
Decorations:Sea Horse

Friday, December 18, 2009

Perfect morning

Making snowmen
followed by hot chocolate
Hot chocolate
all before 8:30 am

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Typing on Blackburry
Катя нажимала кнопочки на старой, выключенной Blackburry. Вдруг остановилась и задумалась.
«О чем думаешь?»,-спросила я
«Как дальше писать сказку»

Katya was pressing buttons on old, switched off Blackburry. Suddenly she stopped, looking thoughtful.
“What are you thinking about?” asked I.
“What to write next in a fairytale”

BTW the scarf, which she is wearing, is part of the Christmas present we received from Driftwood in return for Australian Quilting magazine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First snow

The guests left today as promised. And we had our first snow of the year. Not very much as you can see from this photo, but we managed to make a tiny, about 4 cm tall, snowman in the park - sadly I didn't have my camera with me.
First snow

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas traditions

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Recently one of my friends, who doesn’t like the commercial side of Christmas, asked me about our Christmas traditions. I laughed and if you read my blog for awhile you’d laugh as well. Is buying a present for one’s husband on Christmas Eve a tradition? If it is, I broke it this year by getting his present back in November.

Despite of feeling that I personally don’t have any Christmas traditions (while my husband has plenty) or maybe because of my perceived lack of commonality between my own and my husband’s traditions, I managed to write her a very long email. And writing that email was the perfect step towards my decision to attempt to spend next year exploring celebrations from our (and maybe even other) cultures, in the attempt to figure out what really works for our little family.

This year our Christmas celebrations are turning out to be somewhat ad-hoc and slightly strange. The tiny plastic Christmas tree, given to us by our friends few years back, is standing in my daughter’s bedroom on her request, which we were happy to oblige due to the lack of good place for it downstairs. The Christmas lights are hanging in our bedroom, because this is the only place truly off-limits to our toddler visitor, who I don’t trust (potentially wrongly) not to try to pull them down. Together with my daughter I started decorating the house. I’m hoping to involve her into writing Christmas cards, baking and wrapping presents.

Snowflake Shadows

She learned two Russian New Year songs about Fir tree and now sings them randomly and whenever she sees anything remotely resembling a Fir tree. At the moment she is trying to master signing Jingle Bells by constantly asking to listen to it online.

Jingle Bells

I thought it would be fun to hear the jingle sounds during Christmas, but since we don't have any horses or reindeer I hanged some bells on our front door tied with the round brocade knot and the cross knots. According to ”Chinese Knots for Beaded Jewellery” the round pattern of the round brocade knot denotes good fortune, so it felt appropriate to have it next to the entrance to our house. I even bought the Christmas wreath to hang on the outside of the door.

I don’t want Christmas to be about getting large amount of presents and toys, but rather keep it as a celebration of our family and friendships, of our differences and similarities, of the gratitude for having food on our table, the roof over our heads, the skills and drive to make our surroundings and our life beautiful, of our joy for life.

Sucker for punishment?

Visitors left on Thursday late evening and came back today with the promise to move out on Wednesday. Fingers-crossed. I find it very hard to share a house with another parent, who has a different parental style to me and makes parental decisions with which I don’t always agree.

Ironically, I looked after my friend’s son few times previously and was surprised to discover that looking after two toddlers isn’t that much harder than looking after one. I guess having two kids in the house is the best possible preparatory experience all of us can have for a time when we’ll decide to add more children to our family, even though I suspect it’s still pretty different from actually having to parent two kids 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The cake for belated birthday celebrations

Birthday Cake
...but cakes have such a terrible habit of turning out bad just when you especially want them to be good. However, I suppose I shall just have to trust to Providence and be careful to put in the flour.
L. M. Montgomery "Anne of Green Gables"

The birthday girl requested a chocolate cake with multi-coloured sprinkles. At first I thought I'll make flourless chocolate cake, but the process of melting the chocolate bars sounded too laborious. Just for a moment I considered buying one. And eventually made Chocolate Zucchini Cake. I'm so glad that it turned out tasting delicious and very moist. The birthday girl helped to decorate it - leaving a toddler with a box of sprinkles without supervision isn't a very good idea.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's that noise?

A friend and her almost three-year old son needed somewhere to stay for one week and our house was the only sensible option. With them they brought some of his plastic button pushing, light flashing, music making, battery-operated toys. And since my daughter doesn’t have any she loved playing with his today. At some point there were three of them singing three different equally horrible tunes all at ones. I have “A is for apple. D is for Dog” stuck in my head together with that unnatural extremely happy, over-enthusiastic voice that only battery-operated toys for babies and toddlers seem to have. That voice all on its own makes me feel irritable, stressed and grumpy. I think I’ll listen to some peaceful classical music before going to bed tonight. I'll need a totally different state of mind for getting through tomorrow.