Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Conversations from the back seat

Coming home today, this was the conversation:

Deniska: Nikolai, do you know how many times you blink a day?

Nikolai: No, who cares?

Deniska: Blinking is important. Do you know why?

(By now, I am thinking I have a budding scientist or maybe a doctor in the future!)

Nikolai: Why Deniska?

Deniska: When we blink, we take pictures. When we get to Heaven, we get to see all those pictures! Won't that be fun?! I bet no one else has ever thought of that.

Nikolai: (no comment)

(OK, so maybe a future theologian!)

Isn't that a sweet thought? He told me that he thought of that in school today while the teacher was doing something like reading a book to them. I can tell he was really interested in her reading.... How many times have we thought of freezing a moment in time? I remember the first time Deniska really hugged me tight and the first time he told me that he loved me. I would love to "see" those pictures over and over. Of course, there are many pictures I would not care to ever see again!


This is now several hours later. The boys are all off to Religious Education. This is their last class until September. I will miss my Wednesday nights of quiet and solitutde for 4 months! The dishes are cleared, the kitchen is clean, the TV is off, and my house is still. Tonight for dinner I fixed grilled ham steak, yeast rolls, mixed vegetables, creamy mashed potatoes with cheese, and an apple pie. Deniska ate until I thought he would pop! He even out ate his daddy.
Oh foot! I just remembered that I wanted Deniska to change jeans. On the bus today, he and Nikolai pulled the elastic out of the jeans trying to get the jeans tighter. They are too big for him. Poor little thing will have to walk around holding up his pants!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Butt Prints In The Sand

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?
"Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."

"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know.
So I got tired, I got fed up,and there
I dropped you on your butt."

"Because in life, there comes a time,
when one must fight, and one must climb.
When one must rise and take a stand,
or leave their butt prints in the sand."

author unknown

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fat Cat! Happy Cat!

This is Molly, Nikolai's kitten. She will be a year old in May (we think.) Molly is a one person cat. She will allow Nikolai to do anything he wants to her. She waits until he is asleep and then she will climb up the bunk beds to his upper bunk. This picture was made while she was sleeping. She looks like she is smiling at me. The picture on the couch was made one day while they were both watching TV. Miss Molly thinks she is human. She is also a climber. I often find her on top of the curtain rod looking down at us. Her other favorite spot is on top of the refrigerator. Nikolai is really lucky to have such a sweet, easy going kitty of his very own!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Busy Saturday

Dennis took the boys to the Lowe's workshop this morning. Lowe's has a free workshop 2 times a month. Everything is supplied, we just have to supply the boys. Next week they will go to Home Depot. They have a free workshop once a month.
Anyway, today the boys made this really cute racer that operates with wind! Naturally, there was no wind today but we can always hope for tomorrow! These trips are usually just Dennis and the boys. It's their time to spend together and do "guy things." Deniska always comes home and gives me his project. Nikolai takes his to his room and keeps it!

I will stop right now. It's hard to write with a sleeping cat on your hand!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baseball Boys

Tonight we just returned from an exciting baseball game! Here are some shots of the boys and a short video of Deniska hitting the ball. I would have gotten a video of Nikolai hitting the ball, but he was too quick for me to video tape him. Although scores were not kept, our little team had a good night and had many, many runs!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Washed Up & Washed Out

My head hurts! I mean it really hurts - one of those nagging, screaming headaches from the back to the top of your head. It's hurt all day starting from the call from the police to sending Deniska to time-out. I am worn out mentally and physically. I could just scream or cry, but I have no energy or desire to do either. Hmm, I sound a little whiny don't I? I am very blessed to have a good family and a good job. It's just been one of those days.

April 22
I wanted to say that after I wrote this yesterday, I took an Aleve and laid down on my bed. Deniska came in with 4 little books and crawled up in bed with me. He told me that he wanted to read to me. We spent the next 30 minutes cuddled together as he read to me his books. I could feel all the tenseness of the day leave me. I really am blessed to have such a sweet little boy!

Nancy asked about the call from the police. One of my students was kidnapped by his father from Charleston. The father sent him back to our school. The mother was frantic wanting to know where her child was. The grandmother had called me on Friday to say that he had been kidnapped and told me what had happened. The police wanted to know what I knew about the situation; this was after administration had asked me when the child showed up at at school. My whole morning was tied up with police, father threatening to sue me and the school, grandma crying, etc... Just a routine day in my life! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Welcome Anna

My friend Sara had gotten a kitten from her future mother-in-law to give to another friend. The other friend backed out and left Sara with the kitten. Sara's daughter and future husband are both allergic to cats. She asked me if I would take this little kitten, only 8 weeks old. How could I turn her down?
Anna is a beautiful Siamese mix. She is very social. Last night I woke up to her being in bed with me. I don't know how such a tiny kitten could climb such a big bed. She also had a accident last night on my bed. I woke up to a warm liquid on my legs. I don't know how her little bladder held so much liquid! Oh well, my sheets and mattress pad needed changing anyway. :) The boys adore her so much that I have to tell them to put her down. Anna adores my husband. She will follow him around. Silly little kitten - she doesn't know that she will be my cat in a few weeks!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Terrific Kids

Our school district has a program sponsored by the Kiwanis Club to recognize students by something they call Terrific Kid. Each student is chosen and given a certificate, a pencil, a bumper sticker, a few small gift certificates, and whatever the school has on hand to put in an envelope. In the early grades (K-1), every student is recognized. It is now week 29 (out of 36) and Deniska was recognized by his teacher as being a Terrific Kid. So, trying to be a good mama, I bragged on Deniska, hugged, kissed him,etc... and told him how proud we were of this accomplishment. After awhile, we moved on to other topics and no more was mentioned of this award.

When we got home, we went to the garden to pull up the dead plants. When we finished, we were headed back to the house when I felt a rock whiz by my head and land a foot or 2 away from me. (It was a fairly large rock as well!!) Deniska was in front of me and I knew the rock throwing culprit was Nikolai. I asked Nikolai why he threw the rock at me (which he denied purposefully throwing at me) when he had a huge yard to throw things. We talked about throwing things and I sent him to bed. After a short time, I got him up from bed and we continued our conversation on why he threw a rock at me. I still did not get anywhere with him on this discussion.

When his daddy got home, I mentioned the incident to Dennis. Dennis asked him why he threw the rock. He was not scolding him and asked in a curious voice tone. It was clear that at this time Nikolai was not in trouble. Nikolai would not answer his daddy at all. At this point, Dennis sent him to the bathroom until he could answer him. For the next little while, Nikolai wailed and cried. Bear in mind, that we were also working on trying to get him out of the house to Religious Education.

After a while, I went to talk to Nikolai about this incident. Quiet frankly, we were running out of time and he needed to eat dinner before leaving. Out conversation went something like this:

Mama: Nikolai, why did you throw the rock?
Nikolai: no answer
Mama: Did you throw the rock at Mama because you were mad at Mama?
Nikolai: No
Mama: Mad at Deniska?
Nikolai: No
Mama: Mad at Papa?
Nikolai: No
Mama: Were you pretending to throw a baseball? (They are playing baseball right now)
Nikolai: No
Mama: Did you just think it would be fun to do?
Nikolai: No

I'm running out of things to suggest when it suddenly occurred to me what the problem was.

Mama: Nikolai, are you upset because Deniska is a Terrific Kid and you did not get Terrific Kid.
Nikolai: (shook his head yes as tears run down his face)

At this point, I could have cried myself. Poor little thing. I scooped him up in my arms and told him that Mama and Papa knew he was a Terrific Kid and we didn't need a certificate to tell us that. I assured him that we loved him and was so glad that he lived with us. I also went on to explain that sometimes Deniska would get awards and recognition that he may not and the same would be true for him. I reminded him of how he hit the ball and ran bases last night in the ball game and Deniska struck out. Lots of hugging and kissing took place. He just melted into my arms and I could feel all that anger fall away from him. It was a touching moment. He asked me if I would tell Papa why he threw the rock but not in front of Deniska.

We still have our times with Nikola as every parent has with their children. I wouldn't take anything in the world for all those moments.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Camellia Blooms

My camellia bushes are on the verge of bursting into glorious bloom - that is unless frost comes tonight and kills the little buds. I took a picture of a few of the blooms I carried into the house. Any flower, in my house, is subject to kitty cats who have much, too much curiosity!
Sam, who is always ready for a photo opportunity, posed very nicely for me to take his picture! This cat is has a BIG ego! :-) But, he's really cute!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thrift Store Finds

This morning I went to 2 of my favorite thrift store - one is Habitat for Humanity Resale and the other is Tribble Center (which benefits mentally disabled adults). I found some really nice things for very little money. I seem to be fascinated with hearts lately. I bought the copper heart for my kitchen and the ceramic heart for my office or bedroom. I got a new little lampshade for the one that the kitty cats tore up recently. I will have to "decorate" it for I could never have just a white shade!!

OK - I admit that the kitten did not come from the store. He immediately plopped down to inspect the goods. I am very excited about the plastic cross stitch frames for the Christmas tree. and just look at those pieces of fabric that are just beautiful - 50 cents each!!! The 18 ct Aida cloth was a real find for me!! It's a rather large piece just waiting for thread to make it into a treasure!

Here's a close up of the cute little ceramic heart. I also fell in love with those cute pink rick rack napkins. One of the napkins is not in good shape (looks like grease stains?) I will see if I can get it back to looking good. If not, they are fine for everyday use. They make me smile!

This was a prize! Cross-stitched napkins. I guess I bought these because I knew the work and love that went into such an endeavor. I am thinking of making hearts out of them so I can hang them. They all have spots and stains on them. However, they will be perfect to recycle into another piece of art!

And finally, a Stoney Creek kit will all the parts. It's a Cinnamon Stick bag with the cutest rabbit. Isn't he cute?!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Garden planted

Just look at our little garden! Isn't it lovely?! I have room for 3 more plants but I several packs of seed to plant and will plant then when ready. I have to admit that I am still dubious of the outcome of this type of planting. However, it will be a good experience for the boys and if we get a few tomatoes and bell peppers, we will count it as a success! Look how red our soil is in the background. It looks funny to me so see such dark dirt with plants growing.

You're sick again?!?!?!?

Nikolai is sick yet again. Yesterday he ran a fever so off to the doctor we went. A throat culture said he did not have strep throat - at least not yet. The fever is gone today but he claims that his throat hurts. I'll keep a close eye on him but he is eating and drinking so maybe it's just a virus. This is Molly, Nikolai's kitten. She loves him and lets him do anything to her. She just goes limp in his arms. She only likes me when she is hungry!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Roses from my husband

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it ware ten thousand mile.

Aren't these beautiful? Dennis brought these home to me tonight. Thank you Honey, I love you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

13 years today

Today is our wedding anniversary~ 13 years to the most wonderful man on the face of the earth. I think he is near perfect. He would be perfect if he would answer the phone at night!! I can't believe that 13 years have flown by so quickly. Here we are, 13 years later with 2 boys and 4 cats, all beacuse of a dare to date me from a co-worker of his. Serves him right that 7 months later we were married!! LOL!

On our first date, he showed up 2 hours early with a written itinerary in hand. Everything was written down from the hour of "pick up" to "drop off". He wrote an itinerary for most of our dates the first few months. He didn't kiss me until a week before he proposed marriage. He planned our honeymoon and date of the wedding before he proposed marriage. And, he didn't tell me he loved me until the night he proposed - as an after thought! Silly goose!

Did I mention he likes to be in control? When we were dating he would ask me where I wanted to eat dinner. I would go through all the restaurants and he would find something wrong with each one until I named the one he wanted to go to for dinner. On our honeymoon, we ate at Wendy's each day because that was his favorite fast food place at the time. Boy, did I get sick of Wendy's! He used to get really mad at me because I snored. Hmm, couldn't help that! Over the years, we have gotten into a very relaxed life and I let this wonderful man "think" he is in control all the time.

I must admit he has lightened up a lot since we have been married and even more since the boys have come along. Life is never dull with him. I hope the next 13 years are just as fun and happy!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Square Foot Gardening

Anyone who knows Dennis and me knows we are not the gardening type. We are the "go to the farmer's market" or "have friends with gardens" type of people. I grew up on a farm with garden of at least an acre. I remember long, hot summers weeding, hoeing, fertilizing, watering, planting, picking, cleaning, canning, etc.... I must be honest, they were not fond memories for me! I did not have a desire to be in the hot sun and work all day in a hot house (we did not have air conditioning) to put up vegetables. I had much rather be outside, under a tree, reading my library books! I vowed as a young child to never torture my own children like this!

However, my parents (being the frugal folks they were), were determined to instill a love of gardening in all of their children. It worked on 1 out of the 3 of us - a 33% rate of success! My brother, who died 4 years ago, had assumed the role of master gardener from my parents. (My parents quit gardening when my dad died and my mother developed Alzheimer’s.) We depended on him to grow our summer and fall vegetables. I was able to walk to the garden, pick what I wanted, and come home with no problems. To me, this was an ideal situation. He gardened happily until the day of his death. That day, he had worked in the garden preparing the soil for his fall turnip green patch before he suffered a massive heart attack. At least I know he was happy doing this chore in the last minutes of his life. But, I digress.

Since we now have two boys, who are always on the move, I decided they needed to appreciate the art of gardening. I want them to be aware of where food comes from, the work involved, and the satisfaction of growing your own vegetables. Hmm, this sounds familiar to me.... Last year, we started small with container gardening. We had 4 tomato plants (named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) on our deck. The boys loved to water them and gather the tiny tomatoes from them. My friend, Gail, said our pots were too small to grow big tomatoes. This did not stop them from growing and supplying us with the prettiest, tiny tomatoes ever!

This year, I decided we needed to branch out a bit. I decided on a square foot garden - a 4x4 foot garden to be exact. I sent my building challenged husband, along with a list of supplies, to Home Depot in order to make this dream come true. He came home with most of the things I needed – he was short the amount of soil but this was blamed on Deniska (who lost the list!)

Sunday afternoon found me in the yard putting down landscape cloth, marking the boards, and explaining to Dennis exacting what we were doing. The frame was a snap to go together (thanks to MY new drill and bits and Dennis' manpower!) Dennis and I are very proud of our new little garden. I’m thinking we might even add an additional one for melons and cantaloupe.

Unfortunately, I saw the same look on my boys’ faces as they lugged the soil to the frame as I saw on my own face when I was young. Then a very frightening thing happened that still has me shaking – I heard my mother’s words coming out of my mouth on the virtues of gardening and hard work! Yikes!! The woman has been dead less than 4 months and she is already channeling through me! I think I have been possessed by her, my dad, and my brother as I have this new interest in gardening and providing for my family.

The steps for building a square foot gardening are found all over the Internet so I will not bore you with those details. I will keep you posted on our garden as time goes on. I am sure the boys will fall in love with gardening and be proud of their produce. Yeah right!

We have the plants ready to be planted, and seeds ready to be started, just as soon as we get the additional soil. That first tomato sure will taste good!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

One year later

On April 3, 2007, Nikolai became an American citizen in Atlanta, Georgia when they completed his immigration papers. What a year it has been. He has had a difficult transition as far as language and culture goes. He informed me today that the teachers in Russia had them picking mushrooms for them to take home. This was after he had pulled every wild onion plant in our yard! Can you tell the difference in a year? Those eyes that once was detached and vacant are now filled with love and happiness! He is a Mama's boy!
He still has trouble with idioms. Today at lunch I told Dennis that he had a sweet tooth. Deniska immediately said he had a sweet tooth too! Nikolai looked confused and said he had a loose tooth! So funny! I explained to him what a "sweet tooth" meant and he said he had one of those too. He so wants to fit into our family.
He often talks about going back to Russia. On the date of his anniversary, he had a really bad day. I think it was guilt on his part of loving being here and feeling guilty over leaving everything he knew in Russia. Thankfully, those days are rare. He is sweet, loving, good boy who is very smart!! We are blessed to have him.

St. Therese

St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore, and tell Him I will love Him each day, more and more.