Monday, March 31, 2008

Report Card Day

Monday, March 31, 2008

Today I went to pick Lola up from her after-school program and she whipped out her 3rd quarter report card to show me. I am happy to say she is doing quite well. She got good marks in ESOL, Math, Science, Phys Ed and General Music. She needs improvement in Social Studies but I think that grade will come up as she learns more and more English. Overall, I was quite proud of her and she seemed happy as well.

To celebrate the occasion we went to her favorite burger place – Fuddruckers. She calls it ‘Ding Ding’ because she loves to ring the bell as we leave the restaurant.

Coincidence or Strange Phenomenon?

Monday, March 31, 2008

This morning when Lola and I were at the back door for school and work, Scooter, who is normally lounging in a chair, sleeping on the sofa or lurking around the corner to eat Boo Boo’s food when Boo walks away, ran to the back door, looked up at the doorknob and meowed loudly several times. It was almost as if he wanted to go to school with Lola today. Of course, Lola wanted him to come along but I explained to her that Scoo was not overly fond of riding in the car and that unfortunately the school does not allow pets unless he’s a seeing-eye cat - - and with Scoo having only one good eye, he’s most likely the one who needs his own seeing-eye cat!

Later when I went to the cafeteria here in my office, there were two dogs trying to come in our building through the revolving doors. They seemed determined to get into the building through any entrance available. They were friendly, but were really intent on gaining access inside.

As I walked by my friend Natalia’s cube on the way back to my desk, I mentioned these things. Surprisingly, she told me that yesterday her two cats, which are normally quiet and calm, were running after her meowing loudly and following her wherever she went. She realized they were trying to tell her something but she thought they were hungry so she gave them food.

Hmmmmmm…..of course I know animals sense sudden changes in the environment that we cannot even begin to detect. Then again, perhaps it is Universal Animal Free Speech Day…

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lola Meets the Wonderful World of Georgia Bulldog Sports

Throwing a child from another country in the midst of a Georgia Bulldogs game day crowd is nothing short of shock therapy; therefore, I felt it best to introduce Lola to the Georgia fan base on a little calmer level (if that is truly possible). We attended the Women's SEC Gymnastics Championship yesterday. I'm so happy that gymnastics on the college level has become so popular. Each year the attendance at these events gets bigger. Last night they boasted an attendance of over 7,000 people! That's probably twice as many fans as the attendance for the last time the finals were held at Gwinnett Arena! We sat in a middle section that allowed us the best view of the floor and beam events. I pointed out the Georgia team and Lola took it from there. By the time the scores were tallied Lola was cheering along with the rest of the Gym Dog fans! As usual, the Georgia team won - - they did have some pretty fair competition this year, though. Alabama's team keeps looking better all the time and Louisiana State has some pretty amazing athletes as well. We had a very good time and Lola enjoyed people-watching as much as she did watching the gymnasts! The Georgia fans were rowdy, but at this level it was more entertaining than scary. Lola is also very interested in hearing more about the U of GA equestrian team! Perhaps one day soon we will drive to Athens to attend one of their competitions.

A couple days ago Lola went outside with some sidewalk chalk and a package of wet wipes. I wondered what on earth she was up to, so a little later I wandered out to see what her game plan was all about. I found that she had set up stations where she could do a specific activity, such as jump-rope, the mini-trampoline, soccer, then biking, etc. She had about eight activities set up, as well as a grid drawn in chalk on the sidewalk (all in Russian, which was pretty fun to see) describing each activity, the number of minutes planned for each, as well as how many times the activity was done during the time spent at the station. For example, she did the hula-hoop station first. She counted the number of hula hoop revolutions done during a ten-minute period, then wrote them down on the grid. Then she went to the mini-trampoline and jumped for five minutes and counted the number of jumps done. By then she was a bit tired so she decided to continue the next day. The sad thing is it rained yesterday and most of her grid had been washed away.... I offered to help her set it up again and suggested maybe next time she could put it on paper instead of on the sidewalk. That way she could do some of the quieter activities indoors in the event it rained again. It is so much fun to see her imagination in action!

It saddens me, though, to see parents (and other adults) frown upon children doing silly things like playing with their food at a restaurant or seeing how many times they can hop on one foot down the main aisle of Wal-Mart. I think some parents try to mold their children into little adults by telling them some of the things they do are not age-appropriate and then follow that up with a lecture on why can't the child 'grow up' and act their age - - - but they ARE NOT grown up and they ARE acting their age!! I won't get on my little soapbox about this subject, but while I was in college I wanted to do a paper on the subject of society squelching the creative process of the teenage mind during high school and college - - aka kids are still kids and it's ok for them to act like kids!! The human mind is in a constant state of discovery and each person has his or her own way of finding out how things tick! Ok, enough said, or I will go on forever about this...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boo Boo Kitty Visits the Vet and Lola's Class Trip

Thursday, March 27

On Monday night Boo Boo had what I could only describe as a seizure. We also discovered he may have a bladder infection. He has had a couple of these seizures before, and thankfully not on a regular basis, but last night's episode was the first Lola had experienced. Boo Boo is 18 years old and quite the little trooper. He's now got kidney problems, bad hearing, bad teeth, a touch of arthritis and minor cataracts, but still he seems determined to participate with us in whatever we are doing. He seems to be pain-free, as his appetite is wonderful, he drinks lots of water and likes to be petted and hugged. He is on subcuteanous fluids, a diet of Fancy Feast and baby food, additives of metamucil and arthritis medicine, and now antibiotics for a bladder infection. It's like having a sweet little old grandfather in the house. Lola loves him and takes very good care that he's loved and petted and if he has any need, she is happy to help him out. She was quite concerned with his well-being during the seizure and offered to help in any way possible.

I took him to the vet on Tuesday and they are running tests and have provided Boo with antibiotic. He was quite happy to visit the vet for about five minutes until they started poking him. Poor little guy - - he is quite the gentleman. He looked a bit annoyed with all the prodding, and loudly but politely announced his desire to go home. Once home he ate and promptly went to take a nap! Scooter, our other cat, is best buds with Boo and has been sleeping with Boo the last couple nights instead of with Lola or I to make sure he is ok. I am happy to announce Boo Boo is feeling much better and is thanking Scooter for being there by licking Scooter's ears!

He seems to be much better now and is back to his normal happy little self. He is an amazing cat and the story of how Boo Boo came into my life is equally as amazing. I'll save that story for a later blog entry.

Lola's class trip to Rock Eagle was on Tuesday as well. She had a wonderful time, but came home with her little face quite windburned/sunburned. We put some cream on her face and the redness seems to have disappeared. Once I have the photos from her disposable camera processed I'll see what cool shots she has to post here. She did tell me that one of her classmates (who, by the way, is a girl and also a little bully, it seems) took the camera from Lola's hands and began taking self-portrait shots while in the bus. I have no idea how many of those are on the camera, but I guess we'll find out. Nothing like self-incrimination!!! :) But the children got to go canoeing and hiking and basically had quite a good time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

....Ya THINK????

I was reading our local newspaper and found this article about the recent tornado:

No Sirens Warned Downtown of Tornado
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/20/08

Minutes before a deluge of rain and hail hit the south Decatur neighborhood of Oakhurst on Saturday, a siren sounded a steady wail.

A man's voice boomed: "Attention. A tornado warning is in effect for Agnes Scott College. Seek shelter now. I repeat: A tornado warning is in effect."

Perched atop a college library, the siren didn't reach only students. It also delivered the primary warning for residents nearby who were not tuned in to a television, radio or the Internet.

Agnes Scott's siren is a rare piece of equipment in DeKalb County, which dismantled its outdoor siren system years ago. Fulton County did the same, citing upkeep costs.

As a result, no such alert sounded in Atlanta or unincorporated Fulton before the tornado struck downtown Friday night. Only residents within earshot of a city or school that had bought its own sirens heard them.

Outdoor sirens can now broadcast detailed voice messages over expansive areas, but their use remains scattershot across the metro area, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found.

State emergency officials do not track who sounds what sirens or where. State authorities play no role in deciding when to set them off or what a so-called "big voice" should say.

That leaves counties and cities on their own to navigate debates about cost, usefulness and appropriate warnings.

…..In Fulton, cities from Alpharetta and Roswell on the north side to Union City and College Park on the south side have sirens — but the county itself doesn't.

In the wake of last weekend's storms, the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency will look more closely at whether sirens are needed.
My comment: WELL, DUHHHHHHH!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It All Creates a Wonderful Balance

The things in which motherhood creates a challenge:

Having a clean clutter-free house
Keeping an organized schedule
Being on time ALL the time (although we are pretty close on this one)

The things in which motherhood creates a blessing:

Laughing together at silly things
Having new adventures with Lola
Tons of hugs and kisses - giving and receiving!
Watching Lola discover something new

On a different note, I received an e-mail some weeks back from the young woman who had been teaching English to Lola at the orphanage in Russia. Needless to say, I was so excited to hear from her and very happy she was willing to deliver messages and news of Lola's life in America to the orphanage director and perhaps Lola's family members as well. Mailing anything from the USA to Russia is slow and risky. Many times the letters / packages never make it to their final destination. I have found a wonderful shipping company here in the Atlanta area that is quite reasonable in price but they require a 10-lb. minimum for packages, so normally I will use them once or twice per year to do one large shipment of essential items to Lola's orphanage. So in Liz finding me was most definitely God's answer to my concern as to how to communicate with Lola's Russian "peeps". Liz is affiliated with MIR, a non-profit Russian charity of Christ. She lives in St. Petersburg and does a variety of wonderful things to help the people of Russia who are in need. The capacity in which I know her is as an English instructor to children in several orphanages in the St. Petersburg area. She has a superb and insightful blog about life in Russia and the wonder of its people. It is and called "On Life in St. Petersburg".
Liz, affectionately known as "Leeza" to the orphanage children, is much loved by Lola and her little friends who are still at Detsky Dom and I found it quite heart-warming to see entries in Leeza's blog about Lola and her friends. I guess reading her blog helped me feel even that much closer to Lola during the times I was not able to be there. THANK YOU, LEEZA!! :) God is good for bringing you into my life and into Lola's life again!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Car is Finally 'Released from Hospital'

Saturday, March 22

Well, I left work yesterday to go pick up my car to the tune of "way more money than I could ever imagine a transmission is worth." BUT - - the good news is IT RUNS!!! Woo-hoo!! I went to get Lola from school and the look on her face when she saw the VW parked was priceless! She ran to the car and gave it a HUGE hug and said "I love you, CAR!!!!"

Then later her friend Lavinia came over to spend the night. Lavinia is a fun girl and very considerate of others. She is from Brazil so while Lola teaches her some Russian she is teaching Lola Portuguese. She is a very good friend to Lola and the two of them have a blast together. They stayed up for awhile past midnight and for the most part were not too rowdy. I'm just happy these girls are at the age where they think having the mom participate in their fun is very cool. I need to BASK in every moment of this because it is highly possible (or should I say highly probable) I will be the person voted least fun to be with when Lola is about 13!!

Once Lavinia's grandmother came to take her home, Lola and I were off to her horseback riding lesson. She absolutely GLOWS with excitement when she is on the back of a horse or anywhere near horses. She reminds me very much of myself at that age. Today she had a different horse to ride. His name is Apache and he is gorgeous! She fell in love with his personality but not with his fast hippity-hop little trot! She was so used to riding sweet, laid-back Dixie with the easy, slow trot - - - much easier to post on Dixie than Apache. It seems that Apache gave Lola a challenge! She is preparing for a small horse show at the park where she takes lessons, and she is very diligent about making sure she is learning everything she can! Here's a photo of her with Apache, her new best friend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mama's Birthday Weekend

March 18, 2008

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”
-- William Feather

Wow, what an interesting weekend we have had! I guess the key word here is ‘interesting’ - - - or should I replace that with ‘eventful’? Here’s the rundown.

Thursday, March 13 –

When I went to pick up Lola from her after-school program she showed me the “ow” on her knee and told me she had fallen down while running on the playground. She seemed to be quite brave about it but I could tell it hurt. The counselors there had disinfected it and put a bandage on it so she was ready to come home. They said they were very impressed that she didn’t cry! ☺ The upside of this day was that she found out she received an “A-PLUS, One Hundred Percent” on her atom model for science! WOO-HOO! She was quite proud of that!! As of today, the knee is looking much better, but she has a bit of a bruise there as well as the scrape.

Friday, March 14 –

This day was a teachers’ workday so Lola had no school. I took the day off work as well. Lola wanted to visit my friends at the office and go to the mall for lunch and to look at the cool fun things at the Apple Computer store, so off we went.

Upon returning home, as I pulled into the garage my car jerked as if it had run over something in the driveway. I looked under the car, but nothing was there, so of course I didn’t think anything of it. A little while later we decided to drive to Marta to ride the train to the Home Show at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. The car decided it wasn’t going anywhere (not even in reverse unless forced to do so). It finally jerked back in reverse, then dragged forward in drive, all the while sounding like it had a Sherman tank lodged in the undercarriage dragging stubbornly on the pavement. I decided to take the poor thing back to the garage to let it rest. Since we had already made plans to attend the Home Show and had purchased tickets in advance I figured the car issue could wait until the next day.

We rode the bus, then the train to the Home Show at about 3:30pm. We were pretty much done at the show by 7:15 so we walked over to the Embassy Suites Hotel to rest our feet and have refreshments. We left there at about 8:15pm to hop the train home. During the time we were in the train traveling mostly underground, we were unaware that a massive thunderstorm was brewing nearby. When we rode the train to the end of the line and got on the bus, the rain had begun. Luckily we both packed umbrellas so the walk home from the bus stop was not a problem. I’m guessing it was about 9:00 when we actually got in the door of our house. Since it was a Friday night, I figured Lola could stay up a bit later, and she seemed anxious to watch the news on TV. Since we have had our share of rain and thunderstorms lately, she has been quite intrigued by the weather maps and meteorology. So at 10:00 we turned on the local news and learned that at 9:45pm an EF2 tornado had hit downtown Atlanta - - in fact, the exact neighborhood where we were earlier - -!! Lola and I looked at each other and in an instant we both knew that we were blessed to have left downtown when we did. There was extensive damage to many buildings, homes and hotels, and as far as the authorities can tell, there was no one killed. What a blessing, since the World Congress Center had several conventions, including the Home Show, and Philips Arena had the 2008 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in progress. Apparently at the time the tornado hit, the game was about to go in overtime so most everyone was still somewhat safe in the stadium…

Saturday, March 15 –

Lola and I woke up early and urged the car to limp over to the mechanic, which luckily is only a couple blocks away. Lola had a horseback riding lesson that morning and my friend Kimmi was thankfully available to play chauffeur. As Lola and I walked home from the mechanic she turned to me and said, “Mama, today you happy birthday! Sorry you birthday YUCK - - poor car at car hospital….” I gave her the biggest hug and told her “I am so happy to have you here with me for my birthday and it’s ok about the car. It will get fixed and be ok and we’ll still have fun on my birthday. We have a party tonight, remember?”

Later while we were at home the mechanic called and said the car’s problem was the transmission and they don’t do transmission work but instead referred me to a place they do business with a lot who does great work and keeps the cost reasonably low. I made arrangements with AAA to have my car towed to the transmission place and called over there to advise they would be getting my car in an hour or two.

Kimmi came to get us a bit later for Lola’s horseback riding lesson (more on horseback riding in general in a later entry) and after the lesson we had lunch. During lunch the transmission mechanic called and confirmed there were some parts of the transmission that were causing my problems. He also said due to the car being a Volkswagen, it was going to be more costly to fix, due to the parts needed were quite high-priced. While driving a VW for the last three years I have come to realize when they need repairs, it is necessary in some cases to go anywhere else but the VW dealership, because at VW not only are the parts expensive but the labor cost is twice what anyone else charges. The transmission guy said the car may be ready on the following Friday, so Kimmi, Lola and I decided to go on a quest for a rental car.

I called around and found a fairly reasonable price for a weekly rental that was nearby the restaurant, so after lunch Kimmi drove us over to get a rental car. I had chosen the economy car and trust me, it is most definitely economy. Lola and I talked about how we were so spoiled by having the VW with heated leather seats, a convertible top, automatic door locks and automatic windows, remote trunk access and how this car was sooooooo different (Kia Rio – cute car, but no bells and whistles - - oh, wait - - it does have air-conditioning, which Lola happily pointed out). We bid Kimmi farewell and thank you and then hopped in our rental and drove to the transmission place to talk with the mechanic and get a few essentials out of the VW.

Lola got in the drivers seat of the VW hugged the steering wheel and said “Hi, Car……poor Car…..I love you, Car!” Then she retrieved 1) the hand sanitizer 2) her cell phone charger and 3) her Scooby-Doo sweatshirt and put them in the rental car. I retrieved 1) my car stereo 2) bottled water and 3) my cell phone charger. She was worried about the VW and didn’t want to leave it all alone in a strange place. I told her the man in the office said he would put the car back in the garage once we have the stuff we needed, so the car would be safe and happy.

We had just arrived home and put the rental car in the garage when a (another!!) giant thunderstorm began and once in the house we heard a change in the sound of the rain hitting the roof. I looked outside and there were very small hailstones falling. I called Lola over to look at the “ice” falling and not long afterward, the hailstones were getting bigger and the wind was noticeably blowing the hail sideways onto the windows. As it got louder and louder, Lola and I went into the stairwell (the only place with NO windows) and waited it out. She snuggled into my lap and hugged me tightly and said, “Mama, I’m scary!!!” In spite of the hail now sounding like it was going to plow through every window in my house, I had to laugh. I said “Lola, I understand what you are telling me. But SCARY is what is happening outside - - - you are SCARED. Okay? Scary rain outside, but Lola is scared.”

She giggled and then said “Ok, Mama SCARY !! HA HA HA HA!! No, Mama not scary. Mama scared?” I told here maybe a little, but I was more scared for the windows. Then she suddenly looked panicked and said “Mama, VW car ok? Car outside!! Oh, poor car!!” I told her that the VW was ok and in a garage safe from the hail.

After two minutes the hailstone barrage ceased and the sun immediately came out as if what had occurred was some mirage we all had imagined. Lola ran outside to get a look at the hail and said “Wow, very very very big ice! No, HUGE ICE!” while holding up what looked like a misshapen ping-pong ball. The ground was covered with a blanket of large hailstones. Luckily there were no broken windows or damage to the house. We gathered up two of the hailstones and they now reside in our freezer for posterity.

The party that evening was fun!! Kimmi made us dinner and I made blini (oh, and by the way, with the advice of one of my Russian friends at the office I was able to successfully create blini with the correct thinness!! WOO-HOO!! Kimmi had made a red velvet cake and Lola was in cake heaven - - she was begging for the recipe!

Sunday, March 16th
"After a storm comes a calm." -- Matthew Henry (1662 - 1714)
Blissfully calm and quiet! Thank you, Lord, for these last few days to show us how wonderful it is to be still!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Surprises From All Directions

March 13, 2008

With Lola in my life, every day is a new adventure! Just to watch the developmental process unfold is nothing short of amazing - - I am learning about her deeper personality traits and I find this quite fascinating - - all I can think is during the first few years she was with her biological family in Russia they guided her to be a happy. thoughtful, compassionate, and considerate little human being. I love them all for doing such a magnificent job!

Example #1 – yesterday I hosted my ladies’ Bible Study small group at our house. Lola loves these women and she likes to come and sit with us for part of the two-hour session. She does occasionally become bored, but she really senses the love these women give her. After all, they have known about her almost from the beginning of my decision to adopt and have been so supportive and uplifting during the adoption process, it’s almost like Lola has eight other mothers to love her!! Anyway, after I went to pick Lola up from school her friend Lavinia called to see if Lola would like to go play at her house for a few hours. I was ok with that, but I let Lola make the decision - - go play with Lavinia until 8:30 or hang out with the ladies in my small group. Without hesitation she chose the small group - -WOW!! Needless to say, Lavinia was a bit disappointed, but she seemed interested in what Bible study was all about. I gave her the short version of what we do and she seemed even more curious. Perhaps in addition to God’s plan for me to be a mom, there is also a future for me in bringing His Word to children? I’ll have to keep that idea close and look for further signs…

Example #2 – Lola is the kind of girl who will not spoil a surprise!! The ladies in my small group had planned an outing to a local restaurant scheduled for this Saturday, March 15 (which just so happened to also be my birthday) and they had designated it as ‘ladies only’ (no children) so I figured since the outing was for dinner for a couple hours I called my friend Kim to see if she was free to come and watch Lola for a short time. Here is how the conversation went:

Me -“Hi, Kim - - if you aren’t busy on Saturday night can you come and hang out with Lola for a couple hours?”

Kim – “Uhhhhhhhh, yes I’m busy, but…(long pause)…. I’ll be at your house for your birthday party.”

Me – “Oh, wow, I didn’t know we were having a party!”

Kim – “You shouldn’t. It’s supposed to be a surprise.”

OK, this is the part where I felt like a HEEL - - partly for even thinking about going out with the ladies at all, and partly for accidentally and inadvertently finding out about a surprise party for ME!

I asked Lola if she knew about the party. She said yes. And then she said sadly, “Oh Mama, party was SURPRISE!!!”

OK, make that a DOUBLE HEEL!

GOING OUT FOR A COUPLE HOURS?? What was I thinking????! This is what happens when I try to appease everyone - - sometimes it just can’t be done! I said to Kim “WOW, that is so cool! I’m so happy you are having a party for me, even if I wasn’t supposed to know! I’ll be the first one there!! Ha ha ha~!”

Then Lola said “YAAAY, Mama home for birthday party!!!!” and gave me a big hug.

I am so proud of Lola for keeping the surprise party a secret!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The International Festival

March 12, 2008

The International Festival at Lola’s school was a huge success! There were hundreds of people there, so many that it was impossible to move down the hallways to sample all the goodies without moving at a snail’s pace. There was a huge array of food - - from Mexico, Bolivia, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Greece, Germany, China, Colombia, and of course Russia! All the foods were delicious. In addition, there was an exhibit of items from a few countries - - such as dolls, games and trinkets. A Latino band was booked to play in the cafeteria on stage, and the children loved dancing to their music.

I must say I’m very proud of Lola - - she was one of the few children there who went to eat, then later came back to help me serve my fat little blini! It was fun for both of us and I can only hope that we can participate in a similar activity next year!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Blini Experiment(s)

March 11, 2008

Lola and Scooter (one of our cats who is now her proclaimed “boyfriend”, because at this age human boys are YUK!!!) were lying on the sofa all snuggled together watching Tom & Jerry and Lola said “Mama, Scooter needs a manicure!” and showed me Scooter’s paw with a couple of very pointed little claws. It really does amaze me how much English she has stored up in her memory bank and later when you least expect it - - - out it comes, sometimes in complete sentences, grammatically correct and making perfect sense! For just a brief second I forget she has only been in this country a little over two months!

This evening is the International Festival at her school. I did my best to make blini (little Russian pancakes that are SUPPOSED to be thin, like crepes) but of course my blini (one blin, many blini) all came out like FAT little pancakes, but according to Lola “Oh, Mama, it’s ok. These taste really GOOD!” Ok, so now that I have it palatably perfect, the next step is to get them perfected in consistency. I followed a recipe, but now that I know the basic ingredients and the combination of these ingredients produce FAT pancakes I may try to wing it by instinct next time. My experiments in cuisine usually do fare better when I fly by the seat of my pants...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Settling Into Everyday Life

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back - a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.
Anais Nin (1903 - 1977)
Lola has been here in America for about 10 weeks now and today I suddenly realized that there are so many amazing moments we experience daily it would be a pity for both of us if I neglected to document at least some of them! In these first several blog entries I hope to cover a fairly accurate snapshot of life with Lola from the moment I first met her on June 27, 2006, my thoughts during the adoption process and the arrival of Lola in America. I wish to play catch-up with some of these incidents on paper so they won’t be forgotten later on. There is a history in the making here and I hope that someday she will be able to look back on these entries as a testimony to her life, her bravery and her huge value in this world.

She has come up with some amusing, but very accurately implemented statements using English, so I am confident her learning curve for the language skills is right on target. With that being said, she does need to spend more time learning to put these phrases and everyday words on paper to reinforce what she is learning. Lola loves to write, and according to her friend Boris (who, coincidentally, is from the same Detsky Dom and was Lola’s good friend in Russia and is now also living in the Atlanta area) she is a very good writer in Russian. Here’s to her having that love not only Pa-Russki but also Pa-Engleeski !!

Her first day of school was February 4th, 2008, and even though we were both prepared well in advance for this moment I did feel slightly as if I was tossing the lamb to the wolves. Apparently she thought so as well, because she insisted I walk her to her classroom every day the first week. But in typical pre-teen fashion, once we reached her classroom, she would turn to me slightly and with clenched teeth said “Okay, bye, Mama! Byyyyyyyyyyye, MAMA!” as if I were the one who wished to accompany her to class against her will (as if !!)…..thus went the first for me experiencing my child saving face amist her peers…….

On Friday of that same week as she got into the car she said “Mama, today school very very very HA-HA!” (Translation = School was FUN!)

Her first science project was due today, with the assignment being construction of a three-dimensional model of the atom using items found in our household.

She and I put our heads together to think about what items we have in the house that might qualify as candidates for “PROJECT ATOM”. She was not initially too enthusiastic about doing this project, but as we thought about what items she could use, she gradually warmed up to the idea that this could be a CREATIVE project. Once the plan was in place and the construction phase began, she turned to me and said (while randomly stabbing a styrofoam ball (aka nucleus) with nails stuck through buttons to represent the neutrons and protons) “Oh, Mama, this is very COOL!” Once the finishing touches were on the model, she was excited to demonstrate how her project was not only 3-D, but also interactive!!! I’m anxious to see how it was received by her classmates and teacher.