Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Make some noise!

The local musical instrument store was going out of business.  So I stopped by and got some fun things. 

A playing a traditional Russian percussion (hollow wooden box).  

E playing a noisey shaker.

K really loved the xylophone.  It's entirely wooden and two octaves. 

Not pictured: 3 triangles.  No tamborine yet, but that's next.... 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Back To School Tarzan!

E's 3rd year class is back in session (as of 1 September).  Her class celebrated "Health Day" by an outside adventure day (during school time!).  They went to an outdoor climbing park.  Here is E ready for the climbing course with her best friend:

This year, unlike last year, K was old enough to also do the course.  Here the three are ready for the course:

The climbing course is built around existing trees (and some man-made poles where necessary).  Around the trees are built platforms to switch ropes.

They had a separate little course for the ones too small for the climbing course.  Here is A ready for her course:

The under-6 course is entirely encased in nets (see below) and only about 2 feet off the ground.  A climbed through it a couple of times, and had a bit of fun, but really wanted to be on the big course.

The big kid course is a series of different obstacles between trees.  This one is pretty typical.

This was the penultimate challenge on the course.  On the left is K and on the right is one of the staff who climbed up to coach her through it.

The course ends with a zipline, managed at both ends by the staff.  This is K going down.

This is E's turn.

This isn't technically part of the course, but the sign out front.  Here is K.

And here is E, who got stuck.  The park is appropriately enough called Monkey Park (in English letters.)

The girls had so much fun they are begging to go back.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

First Day of School 2016

First Day of Last Year of Preschool, 2016, Age 6.  

K is wearing the official outfit of someone entering First Year in Russia (school jumper, white blouse, white stockings, black shoes, and the required white bows).  Uniforms are not required in preschool, but since we had the uniform left over from when E started First Year, why not?  

Here, K is holding a bouquet for her two preschool teachers.  They alternate doing the morning and afternoon shifts, so neither teacher is always AM or always PM, and K sees both every day.  It is common to bring flowers on the first day of school, also known as the Russian holiday "Day of Learning."  There is also a separate "Teacher's Day" (every profession has a day), later in the month.

First Day of Middle Group Preschool, 2016, Age 4. 

Here is A, with her requisite bows, and a dress.  The jeans are just for going out in the cold (she will take them off at preschool).  Her sneakers (on her feet) are for outside only, the ones she is holding in her hand are for inside only (everybody, kids and adults, have "outside shoes" and "inside shoes").  And her bouquet for her preschool teacher.

First Day of School, Year Three, 2016, Age 9.  

A few hours later, E is getting ready for school.  This is her official school uniform, with a white blouse from last year, stockings and brand new black shoes (from the US).  She usual wears glasses, just didn't have them on at the instant of the photo.  She is proudly holding the bouquet she designed for her teacher. She opted for the required white bow in the back holding her braid.

"School Number 9, in the name of Alexander Pushkin, with a specialization in physics and mathematics" (I kid you not, that is the official name of the school--on the red sign above the front door).  The school is over two hundred years old. That building is about a hundred years old.  Served as a "hospital away from the front" during WWII.

Class "3B" with teacher Marina Petrovna, 1 September 2016.  

A couple kids are missing, who left early, or didn't hear the announcement of the photo after lessons on the first day.  Total cohort: 33 children, 22 boys, 11 girls.

P. S. Back to the grindstone, with a brand new Lands' End backpack fresh from the USA.  
2 September 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Happy Birthday 4 Year Old!

A's birthday was a Sunday, so we shared some candy and cookies (and cocoa) with the other children in Primary after the meetings were finished.  Yes, this table seats all the children who were there that day (one girl is to the right out of the frame, making a total of 10 children (three belong to us, and two to another family) present that day.  This happens to be all girls.  Usually we have a couple of boys.  We had more, but two just aged out.  

Then, after we got home from church and cleaned up a bit,A got to start opening her presents, beginning with a card from Grandma B.

The sister missionaries (or as we call them now in Russia "volunteers") came over and A opened up a present from them (a coloring book).

She loved the purse from Grandma S.

Then she got her choice for dinner--she picked beef teryaki (which we had just cooked the other day, which is why it was on her mind).  Then, after dinner some other friends from church came over in time for her to have CAKE---
Homemade, chocolate inside, pink frosting mix outside, decorated with chocolate chips.

Mostly the activity of the evening was playing dressup.  From L to R, A as Tinkerbell with a Christmas hat on, then our friend from church Dasha as Cinderella (with a Russian princess headdress), E as an Elf (with another Russian Princess headress), and Dasha's older sister Sonya in a pioneer bonnet and apron.

Evidently this TinkerBell is an Archer.

As the guests leave, we finally realized we would need a photo.  This is the "volunteers, with Dasha and K and A.

This is everybody but the photographer: E as the Archer, the volunteers, Sonya, Sasha, Varya, A, K and Sonya/Dasha/Varya's mother Julia.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Train Home from Ekaterinburg

The train to Ekaterinburg is 5 1/2 hrs, but notice how much fun the kids are having, on the way home, after two and a half days trip. 

But here is the secret to happy travellers 

-- electronic devices (ipads in kid friendly cases) 

--and each a new toy from Ikea.

Friday, April 1, 2016

In Ekaterinburg

Visiting the US Consulate for renewing passports:

 Visiting another well-known American institution:

Then walk a few blocks to the well-known-in-Ekaterinburg Zoo: 

Where besides the usual lions and bears and tigers (pictured above), they also had an interactive zone inside one of the buildings.  This center involved matching feathers to pictures of birds:

And this table encouraged children to "picture" themselves in the jungle....

Outside near the entrance they had a hut on chicken legs (from the Baba Yaga fairy tales)

which the kids enjoyed: