San Diego {according to my iPhone}

We've been back home a few days now, but I swear those 4 days in San Diego were enough to set us on the Pacific time. It's true when they say that one gets used to good stuff fast. Kiddies don't care though and it's 7 am wake up every day. Ek!
But below are a few more pictures from the trip. Since my big-girl camera weighs about 17 pounds, I sort of got over hauling it around San Diego and for the rest of the time my phone became my eye.
Our first day there was jam-packed with activity, but we made the rest of the time pretty laid back. On the second day we toured USS Midway, which is a huge aircraft carrier that was decommissioned from the Navy a few years ago. It was the biggest ship in the world until 1955 and it went through Vietnam war.  We spent about 3 hours on it with our audio guides. Later I also visited the rest of the Maritime Museum, while Greg was in meetings. I toured the Star of India, which is the oldest ship still sailing, Berkely (a really cool ferryboat),  and two submarines, a Russian one and an American one. The Russian one (B-39) was a beast! It's really long and has these round holes in place of doorways that make her even more claustrophobic. I almost had a panic attack, especially when I read that even the crew had trouble with being deep underwater in a long narrow iron tube. You know how they were supposed to deal with it? To shut up and get over it. After I read that, I zoomed towards the open thingie on top and climbed out. Spookie! 
We also spent a lot of time eating in the Gaslamp quarter, running along the harbor, drinking coffee and reading at coffee shops and just wondering around. 
We didn't have nearly enough time to see everything (like the much recommended La Jolla and The Coronado Island), but who knows, maybe one day we will be back? Maybe even with the kids when they are old enough to appreciate, say, one of the best zoos in the world:) 
It seriously was like a mini-honeymoon. It was so awesome to not have to split attention with the kids  and for once just enjoy each other's company without being pulled into a million directions. I would recommend trips like that to any married couple with kids. 
Sincerely, your marriage councilor:)
More photos below

this app is just stellar...

Have you guys heard of Steller? It's yet another social media application and I've just joined a few days ago and I'm already a little bit nervous. I think there is a potential to get seriously hooked on it. Anywho, here is my first "story" and I wish I had 17 more hours in a day to work on something creative just so I can post it on there, teehee:)

San Diego, day I

When a few months ago hubby announced that we were going to San Diego, i was all 'oooo, it borders Tijuana, Mexico, that's cool'. I swear, this proximity to the scariest place (in my mind) was the only thing I knew to be interesting about San Diego.
Boy, was I wrong!
Just our hotel alone has more going on around it than out little village at home has in a year. For starters, it's one of the biggest waterfront hotels on the west coast. There is a tower on top of it which offers views of Mexico. There is the Kansas City Barbecue right across the street, where Top Gun was filmed, there's the little courtyard that used to be a police station in the 30s-40s and still has some original sells for public viewing. From our room we can see USS Midway and that famous WWII statue of a sailor kissing a nurse. 
On our first day, after a delicious breakfast at Brickyard Coffee&Tea. 
Then we did a city tour that included a ride along the harbor. Turns out military is the number 1 industry in San Diego, with the city housing 40% of all US Navy.
We made a quick trip to Balboa Park, which is home to a lot of museums and is a certified botanical garden. Lot's of history in this place. During the war it was overtaken by military. There is this beautiful reflecting pool there, that not only served for physical therapy during the war, but was also used to teach some marines how to swim (yep:)). There are also lots of Spanish style Baroque building that originally weren't meant to be permanent, but were reconstructed to last, because the locals were so enamored with them they wouldn't let them be demolished:)
We then headed to Old Town for lunch at an adorable Mexican restaurant called Casa Guadalajara. So good, oh my goodness. After lunch, instead of returning to our hotel with the buses, we decided to stay and walk around Old Town a little bit longer. A few blisters and some blood on my feet, we took a trolley back to the hotel happy to have gleaned a little history of San Diego.

We ended the day with a waterfront dinner at The Fish Market.
All of a sudden, proximity to the drug cartels of Tijuana is forgotten and I'm so in love with this city, I know I will want to be back. 

a weekend for the win(n)

Last weekend was sort of extraordinary. The weather alone was just the finest, but we also had so much activity that it feels like we can now go another year filled with leisurely weekends, where the only productive thing is to get dressed to go to church:) I'm not complaining, I love those types of weekends too.
For starters, I woke up Saturday morning, swallowed a banana and set of for my long run. 8 miles. In the books. Impressive for me, but not really considering that I have 2 weeks left till my mini-marathon and I'm only at 8 miles. But I think I can, I think I can:)
Right around lunch time, we loaded the kiddos in our bike trailer and went on our first of many bike rides as a family of 4. Annika and Leo entertained each other well. There was this one moment when I looked inside the buggy and saw Annika holding Leo's hand and they were looking at each other and grinning. My heart just about soared off my bike. We had lunch in our little village, rode by the lake, saw lots of people we knew, and visited with friends. Leo successfully passed out on the way home.
After the kids were put down for naps, I made a run to the store, made a salad and a cheesecake for dinner with friends (who, me???) and started painting our front door. It's mint now. In love.
Then we had an awesome dinner on our friends' porch and after that I painted some more, while Greg planted new trees around our house.
I guess I should say it was an extraordinary Saturday, because on Sunday we didn't even get to church. It was a rainy day and all of us had a cozy day inside, complete with chicken noodle soup, whole-wheat biscuits and even a board game.
(photos from last Friday, because I forgot I had a camera during the weekend:))

Easter Sunday

I always remember Easter to be a gorgeous, sunny day. All of my childhood memories of Easter are just like that. I'm not sure if all the 30+ Easters were like that, but I guess that's what I chose to remember. There was this one time I remember in particular. I'm sitting on a bench by my apartment building in Russia. It's early in the morning, but the sun is shining so brightly. I'm wearing a white dress, and happily dangling my feet in the air, waiting for my family. People, wearing beautiful dresses, are hurrying by with their families to catch a bus to wherever they were going. I've come down early because I was too excited to stand in the hallway of our apartment waiting for everybody. And all we were doing that day, was going to the cemetery. That was the Easter tradition in Russia (perhaps still is:)). I'm not quite sure what that means, but I remember enjoying myself.
Just as I expected, Easter this year fell on one of those gorgeous days, without a cloud in the sky. Leo was sick all weekend so I stayed home with him, while Greg and Annika went to church with Oma and Opa. Then everybody came home, we had a delicious lunch with yummy ham and let Annika hunt for eggs in the backyard. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting out of that, but the little candy-obsessed lady would pick up an egg and before you could even blink, open it up and stuff its contents into her mouth. 
Now that I think of it, that is exactly what I expected.
All week I was trying to talk to Annika about Jesus and the meaning of Easter. Once she asked me, "Where is Jesus?". After I said "everywhere", she goes, "Wow, that is a lot of where!"
Yes it is, dear, and it is GOOD! 
We are so thankful for the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Thankful for the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life. 


big little girl


Today quite possibly was a day of a new era in Annika's life. Not to sound presumptuous. But.
My little bunny is growing up.
First of all, Annika roamed a store outside of the cart and didn't even break anything. It was the very very first time I let her walk in the store. I needed to just grab a nail polish at Walgreen's and I didn't want to mess with carts. So, I had Leo in one hand and Annika in the corner of one eye. I strategically avoided the candy aisle, but we ended up however walking out with a princess lip gloss and a goldfish container. I couldn't say no, because what if she remembers that day as well as I will? :)
Then nap time didn't happen. And I know she was tired, because on top of preschool, I took the kids to the Y with me for an hour. Leo passes out for 2 hours after the Y and it's a close 2nd reason why I go there. Annika usually does too, because she is worn out. But not today. She just hung out in her room, throwing books all over the floor and singing. I was a little frustrated, because my whole sanity on any given day is proportionately related to the length of naps. But now that she is in bed before 8 (and didn't even get out once to ask for water/story/song/kiss/potty), it's very nice. Off to meet my carb quota for the day and maybe do my nails. The sky is the limit. 

Annika says...


I walk into our bedroom to Annika yelling at my husband's computer.
- What are you doing?
- Trying to wake up the computer.

- Annika, can you sing the Masha song (referring to a song from the Russian cartoon "Masha and The Bear")
- But it's not pleasant to sing the Masha song right now. 
(not sure what was up, because it sure was pleasant 10 minutes ago and about every 5 minutes before then:))

- Mom, I want some raisins.
- How about I give them to you after dinner?
- How about you give them to me now? I think that would be a good thing.

Looking at her name written on her sippy cup:
- Oh no! It's not going to be able to be my name any more. The 'I' is erased. 

One night she was refusing to eat her dinner and kept pushing the plate away.
- Annika, you will eat the dinner I made and you will be thankful.
- I will not be "spaseebah"full. 
(spaseebah is thank you in russian)

One morning as I put her shirt on...
- You messed up my eyebrows mommy!

- Mom, what am I wearing.
- You have a pull-up now, but let's go pee on the potty.
- I have no reason to pee on the potty.

- Give me a kiss.
- But I gave you a kiss yesterday. That's enough.

This next one is not so much funny, but so sweet:)

One evening we were talking about Greg's mommy and daddy (Oma and Opa). Annika asks me:
- Where is your mommy?
- She died sweetie. I hope she is with Jesus.
- Awe. Are you sad?
- I was at first, but I'm not any more. Now daddy, you and Leo are my family and I'm very happy.

A little bit later she gets hurt and as usual wants me to hold her.
- Hug me, mommy. Hug your family.
:)

I just love that girl!