Do we have a post for you! Snow, birthdays, three videos - it's like a blog extravaganza! Or maybe a blog marvel, or perhaps a blog spectacle. For sure, it's at least a blog performance. I've run out of synonyms for extravaganza moving down the scale of impressiveness, so we'll have to move on to something else.
The latest news with us is that we have received our visas for another year here! It was a struggle, and we jumped through a lot of hoops, but it looks like we're set. We'll be helping out with a language school teaching English when everything's finally up and running, so you could be thinking about that and the relationships we form from that. And that's about it, apart from our continuing language studies. Let's go right to the pictures:
Well, it took quite a while, but the snow finally has arrived in Moscow. Usually it's quite a bit before now, but it looks like it's here to stay for now. That means bundling up the boys a bit more, so that we travel everywhere like this, which Sasha obviously loves:
Since it's Steven's birthday and the rest of the post will probably be about him, we had to at least put Sasha in here somewhere. He's started to crawl everywhere, and now he likes to sit up as well. Here he somehow managed to work his foot out from his high chair, and his mom snapped a pic of the funny pose.
So, today was Steven's second birthday, and I thought we'd put up a few pictures of the party. A couple of guests, including Steven's friend Pasha, weren't able to make it since they had last-minute guests show up, so he had to be content as the only child at his party (well, I guess his brother counts too).
B made some delicious pizza, which was heartily enjoyed by the guests who did come. We had our language teacher Viola, coworker Julie, and a couple of friends from family group (and their Mom, who had flown in from Uzbekistan for a visit).
Of course, I'm not sure if Steven really understood the concept that it was his birthday, but he definitely enjoyed himself regardless. After all, he got to eat a chocolate cupcake, and we even gave him a few sips of Coke. Here he's blowing out the candles on his cake, and just generally enjoying being the center of attention.
B had a novel idea when it came to giving him his gifts on how to create a distinct family tradition that the kids would enjoy. She decided to blow up a bag of balloons (well, decided to assign her loving husband to fill up a bag of balloons would be more precise, but who's keeping track here?) and put them in the living room. Then, Steven's presents would be stashed around the room under a carpet of balloons for him to find. The result, as you can see below, was total bedlam - he didn't even care about the presents, but the chance to run around in a room full of balloons was another matter entirely!
I've always liked Krokodil Gena, because he sings a lot of the children's songs on the radio (I listen to the Kids' Radio Station a lot for Russian practice), and in particular is known for singing the most popular Russian birthday song. To me it's fascinating to see the difference in the birthday songs of the US (which, admittedly, has been adopted here as in so many other places and "Happy Birthday to You" is just translated and sung) and Russia.
In this birthday song, the crocodile named Gena is singing about his birthday. It's not really a happy song as such, though (and I apologize if my translation isn't entirely accurate):
Пусть бегут неуклюже Let them run awkwardlyIn other words, his birthday has happened to fall on a day where the weather is terrible, which is too bad. His response is to try to be as happy as possible, and daydream about what would have really made it great, since it will be a whole year before he gets another one. To me, it's brilliant - not at all what you would expect to hear from a birthday song, but still very good. Plus I really like the tune.
Пешеходы по лужам, The pedestrians through the puddles
А вода - по асфальту рекой. And the water over the asphalt like a river
И неясно прохожим It's not clear to the passers-by
В этот день непогожий, On this bad-weather day
Почему я веселый такой. Why I'm so happy
Я играю на гармошке I play my accordion
У прохожих на виду... In view of the passers-by
К сожаленью, день рожденья - Unfortunately, your birthday
Только раз в году. Only comes once a year.
Прилетит вдруг волшебник Suddenly a wizard flies in
В голубом вертолете In a blue helicopter
И бесплатно покажет кино. And shows a movie for free
С днём рождения поздравит Wishes me a happy birthday
И, наверно, оставит And maybe, leaves as a gift
Мне в подарок пятьсот "эскимо". 500 "Eskimos" (a kind of ice cream)
OK, that's about it for this week. Hope you're doing well, and thanks for keeping us and our continuing study of Russian in your thoughts!