Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Easter!

One of the nice things about living in Russia is that you get to have two Easters! One when the Roman calendar says it's Easter, and then one when the Easter calendar has it. Occasionally, they agree, but most of the time Easter here is a few weeks later, due to different ways of calculating it.

So, while you may have said goodbye to Easter a while ago in your neck of the woods, we were celebrating it since our last blog post. Also, in addition to our regular studying and classes, B and I were able to go on a date today! Just the two of us, with no kids! Those of you who don't have kids won't understand how nice that is, but the rest of you know how hard it is to break away sometime.

Anyway, on to the pictures:

The view from our window now includes a minimal quantity of snow! In fact, since I took that picture a few days ago, almost all of it has melted, and today I think it got up to 13° C today. It's great to have spring back, and with it the chance to go outside for more than 10 minutes at a time.

So, as mentioned, today a friend offered to watch our kids so that the lovely B and I could go on a date. Thanks, Elisabeth! We ended up going to IKEA and eating at their little buffet, and then going through the store pricing various items like kitchen cabinets, etc., for our upcoming move East. I know, it wasn't much of a date, but we've needed to do that for some time now, and now we have a better idea of which things we should try to pack up of our own, and which we should plan to buy and ship new. At least at the end we got ice cream!

We also wandered around the mall a bit since we were there (well, B did - I mostly just tried to drag my way behind her while maintaining a smile on my face). This struck me as amusing - the Russian interpretation of "cowboy" in a shop window. Look how manly he looks, radiating testosterone with his pastel polo and scarf. The Marlboro Man never pulled off such machismo.

The rest of the pictures are just cutesy ones of the boys, so if you stopped by to find out how we're doing, you can leave feeling relieved that we're OK. In the above picture, Steven is trying to help give Matthew a bath. It's such a blessing to have two boys who get along so well; Matthew loves to play with his big brother, and Steven is always trying to help Mommy take care of Matthew.

Of course, it couldn't be Easter without some dyed eggs. The Russians take this seriously, with stickers and such to affix to the eggs, but we stuck with just the dye. Steven liked it quite a bit, though he destroyed them by the end of the coloring.

I even decided to try cooking this week! Here's my loaf of Garlic Cheese Beer Batter Bread, fresh out of the oven. It doesn't require any yeast, as the yeast in the beer takes care of the rising, but it still turns out very tasty. However, for the Southern Bap's among you, it does actually require you to purchase a can of beer from a store, so it may be a recipe that doesn't lend itself to your tastes! ;)

And then we've had the regular guests at our apartment. Here B is playing a game of Scum with our two coworkers and our teacher, who came over one evening for a visit.

This one I just threw in because it's funny. We've had the car seat part of our stroller put up for a while (not much use for it when you don't own a car!), and when we got it down for some reason the other day, Steven, in a fit of nostalgia, tried to curl up like he used to. It doesn't quite fit him any more.

Many of you know that I'm a fan of the English football/soccer team Liverpool, so I had to throw in this video of Matthew's first kickabout. Maybe he'll go on to feature there someday.

And finally, I leave you with a bizarre advertisement that I saw at the metro today. For those of you who've lived here, the picture will suffice:

For the rest of you, it doesn't make sense that I would find an ad for canned meat amusing. The picture here shows a can of something called "American Salo." Salo is basically pig fat, which you buy in chunks and cut up to eat raw, usually with bread (a little bit like fatback, except you eat it raw). I have yet to meet an American who thinks that it is anything other than vile. However, here some marketing person has decided that the way to market the latest brand of the stuff is to call it "American." Go figure.