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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy New Day!

Zaiki picked up the holiday fever cheer: for the past few weeks, they keep bringing Papa and I various household items (old giftcards, coins, toys, spatulas) wrapped up in a towel; toy purse; toilet paper or anything else that looks festive to the zaiki-eyes and is within their reach. Then they demand that we drop everything we are doing and open the present as they wish us "Happy New Day!". I like it. New Day is my new favorite holiday. So, whatever you are celebrating this season, HAPPY NEW DAY TO YOU!! :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Here to bring you holiday cheer (no, really, no sarcasm this time)

All right, as much as I don' like holidays, the presence of zaiki in my life means that I have to change the way I think. Christmas is time to be grateful, and the end of the year lends itself to summing things up and all that stuff...It would have been much easier for me to write about the things I find annoying about it, but, to put myself in the appropriate holiday mood, I've been thinking about all the things I'm grateful for. So here you go, Lida's 12 things to appreciate at the end of 2011:

1. New pumpkin cookie recipe: love, love baking those! They come out gooey, mushy and sweet. :)
2. Dexter - the best TV show ever!!!!
3. Wine - without it, my life will be unbearable. I love just having a wine glass on the table next to my plate, it instantly soothes me
4. For walking away from my car accident  without serious complications. Also finding a car we like and can afford relatively quickly
5. For my creative ability. Even though I haven't painted in AGES (which I miss so much!), I've been able to find ways to be creative, even if it's making a silly holiday card or making coal candy
6. For running and foot alcohol injections: I'm sosososo happy that I my foot problem can be solved relatively easy and will not cause permanent damage. And for medical geniuses who came up with injecting alcohol into your foot to kill your uppity uncooperative nerve. I love running. It keeps me balanced, and my body just feels right when it runs. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't run (probably drink much much more)
7. For having a job: even though I don't like what I do, and my job is boring.  It's a paycheck. A small one, but still. It also gets me out of the house and keeps me out of stay-at-home-mom-hell. I like (with a very few exceptions) people I work with, so going there is not a torture. The hours are great, people are understanding, and it's really close to our house. And they pay for my graduate school.
8. For my babysitters: girls love them, and we can afford them :) I was complaining about the kids' sleep issues, and Liz came over to put them to bed the other night. That's super super nice in my book, and I'm lucky that my kids have people other than family who care about them
9. For my mother and my brother - even though they are far away and I don't see them most of the time, we've managed to stay close and talk all the time. And the girls know baba Anya and dyadya Masik
10. For my friends, old and new
11. For my husband: I'm really lucky to have him! He gets me. He is a good father, patient husband and I love and get his sense of humor. He is a wonderful father for my kids, and I love seeing them together.  Plus, he cooks (which I hate doing)
12. For my kids, that they are healthy and growing so well!!! They annoy me, they test me to the limit (and beyond), they took over my life, but how boring would my life be without them? It's great to see them grow, and there is a satisfaction in knowing I'm doing right by them, that they are happy and safe.

That pretty much sums it up. Now off to buy a Christmas-themed sweater and maybe do some caroling? LOL...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stinkbugs attack!!

If you looked at the side of our house early this morning, you would no doubt see a small purple sponge frozen solid, laying in the grass. How did it get there, you may ask? Behold for a tale of one stinkbug's life and (very timely) death...
Last night I was home alone with zaiki, who were in a rare Incredible Hulk form. I finally wrestled them into the tub. I have two sponges: pink (Maya's) and purple (Sonya's), hanging in the shower for zaiki-scrubbing. Usually the washing goes this way:
Me: "Maya, come here and let me wash your hair"

Me: "Sonya, come here I'll wash your hair"

Me: "Come here now!" (start lathering shampoo on them)
Zaiki: "WAAAAAAA" <splash,splash,splash> - I am covered in water....

Last night, before I could get to the oh-so-fun hair washing routine, we saw a GIANT STINKBUG hiding in Sonya's purple sponge, ready to strike at any moment. Zaiki leaped out of the tub dripping wet before I could say "stinkbug" and I was left to extract the bug from the tub. I hate all bugs. I have creepy-crawlies just thinking about them, and forget about touching it with my hands! Not happening....Plus, the bug was huge!So, I was hoping it will behave normally and drown.

Turns out stinkbugs can live under water for a while. It was firmly attached to the sponge and was perfectly content on sitting in the nice, warm water (and a little bit of pee). But zaiki still needed to be washed, and I still had to shower.

So I gathered all my mental strength coupled with mothering instinct, reached in and grabbed the sponge. I took it to the window I opened and tried to shake the nasty thing into the cold. The bug, feeling imminent death, started crawling up the sponge towards my finger, prompting me to yelp like a wounded puppy and throw the damn thing out of the window. Zaiki were delighted that mama saved the day once again.

And to earn even more zaiki-points, I brought in the frozen sponge in this morning (sans the bug) when I went out to warm up the car. Turns out, 2.5 year olds are really amused by frozen stiff objects. It's nice to be a hero... :)

zaiki and co.: To VFF Or Not To VFF?

zaiki and co.: To VFF Or Not To VFF?: My foot neuroma is back and I'm trying to strangle it permanently with alcohol injections, which, turns out, are covered by my health insura...

To VFF Or Not To VFF?

My foot neuroma is back and I'm trying to strangle it permanently with alcohol injections, which, turns out, are covered by my health insurance (yay!!). In the light of trying to run more as painlessly as possible I've gotten new running shoes, also by Brooks. Not Green Silence, since I think they were a culprit in neuroma appearance, but Pure Flow. I like the shoe so far: it's more cushy and has a little more substance to it...The drawback is that it's heavier and transitioning took a little bit. But the shoes are broken in already (double yay!!!) and are very comfortable for my daily runs. They do tend to run a little more snug so if you have wide feet beware!

My witch foot doctor thinks that I need more cushioning in the front of the shoe, since I strike first with the forefoot. That got me thinking: what about Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) shoes? I've been lusting after Bikilas for a lo-o-ong time, but wasn't sure if those would work for me in light of the annoying neuroma that just won't go away... So this is the question: to Vibram or not to Vibram?

Reviews generally praise five-finger-minimalist shoes to high heavens. They look really funky, which I like, but are they really practical? Since I run around a town, pesky issues like dog poop and broken glass are real...Hmmm...

Basically, there are two camps (just like with everything, I guess):

First, we have people who love and rave about VFFs - "most comfortable shoe ever"; "best for running"; and my favorite "these shoes feel fast". I'm guessing these are people who are mechanically very efficient and slightly obsessed with running. Been there, done that, miss it, but due to the presence of Raging Toddlers can't indulge in. Having two kids puts a cramper on doing long runs regularly and interferes with your life revolving around your weekly miles.

But then there is an underbelly of concerns: stress fractures, aggravating old injuries, which I have plenty of! Also, I'm afraid of blisters. I don't like blisters. Some runners wrote about bloody blisters on the inside of their feet after running in Bikilas. Does it sound like comfort to you? No, me either. And "oh just slap some duck tape on those and you'll be fine" approach never did it for me. Yes, I'm a wimp. I like my feet intact and not bleeding.

I did try Bikilas at a running store last year. You know how long it took me to put them on? 5 minutes. You can't really wear socks with VFFs, and getting every piggy into its own little house, especially if the house is made of rubber, is a time-consuming task. Either way, any purchasing decisions will be postponed until the warmer weather.
Meanwhile, we are baking rock-star cookies for nice people, candy-coal for naughty. Hohoho!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Raging Toddlers, or All I Want For Christmas Is Sleep

Almost every night for the past few months our house is being visited by Raging Toddlers, the Incredible Hulks of smaller pink variety. Every night at bedtime it's fussing, crying, screaming, and poopalooning (the Little household word meaning running around, giggling, getting into things you shouldn't and avoiding doing what is asked of you in every possible way). I don't get it! I'm sure there are children who go to sleep quietly, sweetly saying their good night prayers. No, not zaiki! Sleep is an enemy that must be fought at all costs. Each has her own way of campaigning against it: Sonya bites her nails, and Maya just keeps talking, talking, talking, talking....

I hate bedtime. What do you do when your two-year old, in response to your request to close their eyes says "no"? And then there is two of them!!! I feel helpless. Kevin and I sit with them, negotiating, but every night ends up the same way: screaming till 10 pm, then blurry-eyed and cranky in the morning. The cycle repeats itself the next night. And what's up with two perfectly potty-trained little girls who pee in their pull up at night? And on purpose? And then tell me about it. Proudly. GRRRRR.

I know there's master manipulation going on, but there is two of them, and I just don't have enough backbone to fight two strong-willed little people at the same time.

Add the holiday stress on top of our sleep battles, and you have yourself an anti-social tired little me, who is snappy and short-fused. Oh, I completely get the Grinch! But Christmas is inevitable, it's looming and I can feel it breathing down my neck...It's coming! And zaiki know about Christmas - the most important thing a 2-year old should know: everyone puts up pretty lights and Santa (Ded Moroz) brings presents. Maya asked for a dolly and a hamster (HA! Good luck with that!!! As if I need another thing to clean up after!). Sonya asked for a purple rabbit. Every morning they keep asking when Ded Moroz is coming.

Given a bi-cultural household we run, I've been dumbfounded as to how to incorporate both: American Christmas is on the 25th of December, and Russian is on January 8th. Plus, The New Year Eve is kinda big deal for me: that's when Ded Moroz actually comes. So we have a discrepancy: do they get presents on the 25th or on January 1st? Or both? What about January 8th?

Also, I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to keep the religious aspect out of the holidays, at least for now, mainly because I don't want to end up going to church on Christmas as I have a feeling they may request that. Which I know, I know, is the WHOLE POINT of the holiday. Never said I was rational. All I'm saying is that I have issues. Huge ones. And knowing is half the battle. The problem is, how do you make a leap from "knowing" into "changing"? Crystal in your sock? Silver pendulum? (Hi Joe!!! Miss you lots!!!).  

Anyway, back to zaiki: walking downtown by the Catholic church the other day, Maya looks up at the stone Jesus and exclaims: "Mama, it's Jesus!". Then they broke into a duet rendition of "Immaculate Mary, Your Praises We Sing"... Well, our grandma-substitute-babysitter is Catholic. Sigh.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oh the Joy of the Holidays or the Strange Way My Brain Works Sometimes

Oh, the holidays...Pass the eggnog, spread the joy and other stuff...

 I'm not a fan of Christmas, of obligations that it imposes on me. Plus, I'm a heathen agnostic, and the church aspect doesn't do it for me either. Why do we have to pick one month out of the year to be nice and extra thoughtful? Why all of a sudden we feel that we give a crap about poor people, have to "adopt a family" and spend lots of money on people you usually see once a year? Then go to a party and suffer through dinner, conversations that don't mean much only to come home bloaty from all the bad food you've eaten? Why all this has to be cramped INTO ONE MONTH? How about we spread the "joy" evenly over twelve months? How about we be nice to one another regularly, donate to a charity of our choice sporadically and skip the crazy holiday shopping? Hmm...

The other day in traffic during a drive home that should take only 10 minutes, but took me 30 because I pass right by a local mall on the way home, I got thinking about the holidays.

If each holiday was a person, what would it look like? I know this is a strange concept to think of, but this is coming from a girl whose coffee HAS to be the right color in order to drink it (it's the artist in me, I guess).

So here, ladies and gents, is how I see the holidays if they were people. Let's start with the summer ones:

Memorial day -- gangly, tall teenage boy who likes to party but doesn't know how yet, pale from the lack of sunshine. But the promise of good times and summer growing into itself is in the air. :)

4th of July -- drunk slutty sorority girl who is just so eager and giddy to have fun: makes herself up all pretty only to not be able to pace herself, ends up drunk in the pool and passes out right before the fireworks start. Great expectations but fails to deliver :)

Labor day - pleasant minivan mom in crocs, busy with last minute prep for the upcoming fall.

Thanksgiving is what a grandma should be: loving, welcoming, always has yummy food, loves everyone, everyone is invited, no pressure. The only thing she wants you to do is stuff your face and be happy.

Hanuka is like a strange neighbor, doesn't socialize much but you see him come and go and are dying from curiosity to see what goes on inside their house.

Christmas is a haughty, overly made up finicky female co-worker who puts together a huge party each year and you never know whether or not you'd be invited or whether or not she'll like her gift. Way too much stress.

New Year would be an unkempt, slightly drunk uncle (think chain-smoking whiskey-smelling Santa). You get together with him because there is no pressure, pleasant chit-chat, and good food.

Easter: an old lady in a pastel-colored sweater, with blue curly hair and pearls at a buffet in a family restaurant. (Maybe because of calla lillies which I firmly associate with old people and funeral homes).

I'm sure I missed one somewhere, but gotta go spread the holiday cheer. :)  Let me leave you with this: try  playing f**k, marry or kill game with the characters I've just created for ya.