Thanks for checking out the new family website of the Elliotts. It is now slowly ramping up to speed, so some things may be broken. Feel free to report things that appear not to work well or make suggestions.
Right now you are viewing the English version of our website. To toggle to the Russian version, click the Russian flag in the upper right-hand corner.
Our site is based around three blogs - one for Anastasia, one for Troy, and one for Alexei. You can navigate to them by clicking on the appropriate link above. The ‘Unified’ link shows the entries for all three of us together, while the final link, ‘Misc’, has miscellaneous other stuff that is more static in nature.
More content is on the way, so come back soon (but not too soon ).
Anastasia will regale you with tales of motherhood. Troy will bore you with colorless green ideas. Alexei, the star of the show, will show you all the cool things that he can do. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Yesterday, July 11, 2011, I had a very special experience with Alexei and a revelation too.
Nikita was already in bed, Troy was working downstairs, and Alexei and I were reading our last book before his bedtime. The book was Love You Forever. Every time I read it it brings tears to my eyes. This time was a little different…
Halfway through the book Alexei noticed that the picture of the mother changed. On the first pages of the book she looked young and beautiful. On the following pages she wore glasses and looked older and at the end she had gray hair, looked really old and was sick. He asked me why she changed. I explained to him that people get old. Alexei didn’t like that and really wanted the picture of the mother to be the same on all the pages.
Then he asked a question that concerned him most. “Will Mama get old too?” I said yes, and I was glad that he got the concept! He pointed at me and asked “This Mama?” “Yes.” He kept asking me the same questions several times and then added the word “soon” to them. I said yes. He asked if I would be older when Santa Claus comes. I said yes. But then I saw tears in his eyes. Half crying he said “Will there be a new Mama then? Alexei wants new Mama!” and he cried even more.
I finally realized that I made a big mistake. I tried to correct myself real quick. I told him that actually I wouldn’t get old soon, that I would need to have a lot of birthdays before I get old. He asked “What about Christmas?” I said that we would celebrate lots of Christmases too before Mama would get old.
I held him on my lap as comfortably as my belly could allow and suddenly it dawned on me that my son LOVES ME VERY MUCH! We both cried. I tried not to show Alexei that I was crying too. We sat quiet for a while. It was past Alexei’s bedtime. I needed him to go to sleep. So, after telling each other that we love each other, I asked him to go to the bathroom one more time. When he went downstairs he remembered to bring a glass of water for me and put it on my bedside table.
Alexei is a very special and sweet little boy. Thank you God for giving him to me.
Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
My wife’s head is tilted at a precarious angle; she can’t be comfortable. Our nine-month-old dosing peacefully in her lap is the image of comfort. I’ve got a ten pound head in my lap. Every couple of moments, the body attached to it squirms a little.
My family is making what is turning out to be our bi-annual trip to Mother Russia. After a few days of frantic running hither and yon, our plane ride is half over. I really should be sleeping as I’ll need every ounce of strength in me for the next leg of the journey. But I’m not. The orangey poke in the sky, 35,000 feet above the Atlantic caught my imagination.
There is something ethereal in the air before the sun bursts onto the day. Even on a plane full of unknown people, the magnetic strings of the mood suck me in.
Now the shapely stewardess, wearing her smart red uniform is coming down the aisle, wielding a curled duty free catalog. And with a few downward thrusts, the window covers are closed. And with them, my mood.
Maybe I’ve got an opportunity to catch a few more winks after all. Wait, what’s that whimpering sound? Nikita is stirring. And something tells me my winking will have to wait for later.
Soon we’ll find what fun it can be to ride the Muscovian Metro during rush hour on a Friday afternoon with two large pieces of luggage, two children, and a pram. Why? Alexei loves riding the metro. Silly parents, next time get a cab.
Saturday, December 19th, 2009
It’s snowing outside! Like the little kid I am, I’m ready to get up and go out to play.
Last night, Alexei and I went outside to prepare for the snow. We actually didn’t have many preparations to do, but ever since I took him out on the deck after dinner a few weeks ago to look at the night lights, he’s taken a liking to playing outside in the freezing cold darkness. Anyhow, he saw me get the snow shovels out of the shed and decided it wasn’t fair for me to have all the fun. We peeked in the windows and saw Mama, put two baseballs in the middle of the yard to get covered with snow, and visited our small park in the side yard.
Why, pray tell, am I up and at ‘em so early on a Saturday morning? The snow woke me up. Of course, it may also have had something to do with the fact that I couldn’t find any warm pajamas to wear last night, so I donned my big red fuzzy-bear. It was too warm for me in there, so I didn’t sleep under the covers. This was all fine and dandy until 20 minutes ago when I woke up shivering.
Back to the snow…on my way home from work last night, I heard on the radio that this snowstorm is the biggest one to hit the DC area since records have been kept. I suppose it’s still a little early to say whether it will fully materialize the way it’s predicted to or not. Still, the snow of the century is something worth getting up early for. Even if all I do is write a blog post, roll over, and go back to sleep.
Speaking of posts, this site gives the appearance of lying fallow. That is true to a certain degree, but at the same time I’ve got an impressive backlog of half-baked posts just waiting for me to spend a little time polishing them up. It’s a drag when life chortles along fast enough that there’s barely time to live it.
Owen baby (as Alexei calls him) is in the process of returning to dreamland. Either that or having a bowel movement. It’s kind of hard to tell — the sounds are the same. He was just a very happy boy for this most recent feeding. I’ll have to check with Anastasia when she gets up, but I think that this is the longest he’s gone between feedings, a whopping 5 hours.
All told, there’s a bit of a silver lining to me at this juncture in time. A month ago, I welcomed my second son, Owen Nikita, to this world. Nearly two months ago, I closed on my first home. Work is interesting, in spite of my perpetual behindness. I’ve got the best helpmate around, and she’s pretty on top of that. Surely, I am blessed. Granted, the upstairs is under construction, I don’t have money for the mortgage yet, the kitchen drain leaks in the basement, insurance may not cover a good junk of Nikita’s birth, and so on and so on. I’m wearing my rose-tinted glasses and plodding forward with a smile on my face (and a gnarly beard on my chin). This blanket of snow is just the icing over it all.
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
I am 36 weeks pregnant with my second child. It feels like this baby will come earlier than his/her due date of November 15, 2009. But I hope s/he is born in November. Alexei was Troy’s birthday present, born just one day before Troy’s birthday. And so I would like this baby to be my birthday present, born at least in my birthday month, no matter how many days before.
I am also working part time now. And I love it! I don’t get as bored at work and when I come home we all have lunch together. Then I put Alexei to nap and have some time for myself. I already finished all I could in my first baby’s scrapbook. This Saturday night I am going to Robyn’s to finish it up with stickers. I catch up on my reading, get ready for the second baby and the new house.
Yes, hopefully by October 30 we’ll get the keys to our new home. We already started packing. But, I won’t get too excited until I know for sure that the house is ours. Surely, Debbie, our agent is doing a great job in making sure everything goes as planned. We all like the house a lot. Even Alexei feels like at home there already. I will write more about him and his accomplishments in my next blog entry.
The weather now is beautiful. It is fall. It rained a lot last week and Alexei and I got to go outside for a little bit. We walked around a block only. This week it is sunny, worm, almost 70 F and beautiful. The sky is blue, the trees are changing color. Life is good!
What makes my life even better is my family here. Troy’s relatives are very nice, his parents are always so helpful and supportive and my husband himself makes my life so much more interesting, easier and enjoyable. And of course our little boy makes our family a very happy one!
Saturday, June 27th, 2009
Today is Sabbath, June 27, 2009. It is 7am and I am well rested and can’t stay in bed any longer. I took a good two-hour nap yesterday while Alexei napped. I try to let myself rest on the weekends because I can; my husband lets me and it’s good for me (and for the little one inside me).
Yes, I am pregnant! And this time we did not announce it to everybody right away like we did last time. In fact, some of my friends still don’t know it. We just decided to wait for people to ask the direct question, “Are you pregnant?” instead of telling them that I am. I think it’s exciting to see the surprised faces of our friends when all of a sudden they see that I have a big belly. However, I’ve been pregnant for 20 weeks now and only one person noticed and dared to ask me the question. Most of the people who know asked me the question when I was not showing yet and they figured it out over the course of our conversation.
It was not very hard to keep it a secret from everybody. However, I think it would have been much easier for me if I could have shared the news and talked with someone about how I felt. This pregnancy is quite different from the previous one in that I did not feel good in the first trimester. During the first pregnancy I felt great, normal and energetic all throughout, whereas this time I experienced all the typical ‘joys’ of the first trimester (except the throwing up part). Not being able to talk to someone about it, other than my husband, did not make it better.
Talking about my husband, I should say that he’s been such a great support to me! Before I started working and got pregnant, my responsibilities included: cooking, washing the dishes, laundry, cleaning the apartment, plus taking care of Alexei most of the time. After the two above mentioned events changed my life, it all fell on the shoulders of my husband. And he has been doing marvelously great! Every time I came home from work feeling nauseous and tired, there was a delicious dinner ready. And after dinner I often laid down on the couch and that was it for me for the day. Troy took care of the kitchen, our son and anything else that needed to be done, got my lunch and breakfast ready for the next day and tucked me into my bed. Then he worked until late at night. Isn’t he the most wonderful, caring and loving husband – I am so lucky!!!
Thank goodness, the first trimester is over and I am back to my responsibilities. However, once in a while, Troy still helps me. I think he spoiled me a little. Sometimes I just feel lazy and ask him to do things for me and he happily does it, because he understands that I am pregnant and simply because he loves me.
The first person to find out that we are expecting was my sister. I broke the rule, which happened more than once, and told her. It was her birthday and giving her the honor to be the first one to know the news seemed like a nice present. Next to find out were my mom, my grandma and my aunt. They are overseas, so it is a little hard for them to guess about my pregnancy, so I had to tell them myself. Then Troy sent a lovely e-mail to his mom on Mother’s day with the same “present” as my sister got, and this is how Troy’s family found out, and, as a result, the whole Atholton church. The rest of our friends who know asked us the direct question. But there is still a bunch of our other close friends who see us periodically and still have not asked! Maybe they are too polite and don’t want to ask this delicate question? We’ll find out…
Sunday, June 21st, 2009
There are a couple of new things that Alexei does now. His two new obsessions are balls and trains.
He loves to play with all of his balls and any other balls that he sees. He plays at home – when I come from work I become his ball partner, he gives me a ball and we bounce them on the wall; in front of our house - our neighbor gave us a basket ball hoop just Alexei’s size and he throws his green ball into the hoop by himself; in the park – on the way to the park he points at all the basketball hoops, it seems like he knows all the hoops in the neighborhood, and when we get to the park we play basketball with an invisible ball; even at church after Sabbath school he can’t miss the gym and a round of invisible basketball game.
Trains – it all started with the Russian cartoon Паровозик из Ромашково. Alexei could watch it all day long non-stop. Of course we don’t let him, but we show it to him at least once or twice a day. Now he’s seen it enough times so he knows and comments on every part of the movie. When…
- the clock is on the screen - he says “часы” (clock),
- the dog appears – he barks,
- the flowers dance – he smells,
- the horse gallops – he makes the horse sound,
- the bird falls out of the nest – he says “kaaa!”
If he has not seen the movie in some time or if I go to the office to use my computer, he starts asking to play the movie for him by saying: “чусь-чусь!” (choo-choo in English) It is such a cute and sweet sound, Troy and I just love hearing it. Now that he knows what the train looks like, he can point at any train he sees and say his “чусь-чусь!”
Well, Alexei finally got to ride on one of the trains. On Father’s Day we decided to go to Wheaton Regional Park. They have very good playgrounds there, a carousel and train rides! So we dressed Alexei in an outfit with a train on it and we all wore orange and orange bandanas to match. Once we got to the park Alexei was saying his legendary “чусь-чусь!” non-stop, because he’s been to the park before and knew about the train. He rode a bike with his Papa there once before and watched the train go by while they had a picnic. So, to keep his excitement going, we first got on the carousel, then we went to the playground (in which he had very little interest), and then we went to the lake and saw turtles and geese. Alexei actually found the turtles very interesting and he clapped at the geese and yelled “kaaa!” Then we took another carousel ride – he enjoyed it too – riding on a horse he kept saying “eeeeee!” Next up was a picnic lunch while watching a couple of trains pass by. And then finally WE got on a train. Alexei couldn’t believe it. He sat between Troy and me very quietly during the whole ride, partially because he was trying not to miss anything, and partially because he got tired too. After the train ride was over we went on a final carousel ride, said bye to the horses and choo-choo and went home. Of course, it took seconds for him to fall asleep in the car and then he continued to sleep at home dreaming about another train ride, I’m sure!
New words: ball, car, walk and turtle. Most of them he just started saying on his own. All of a sudden we heard him say ball and car. On June 16, when I came from work and after we had dinner, Troy was sitting on the floor with Alexei. We usually go for a walk after that, and sure enough, we heard Alexei say “walk, walk?” And you guessed it – his first verbal request to go for a walk was fulfilled! On June 20, when Alexei was sitting on grandmommy’s lap at church, she pointed at a picture of a turtle and said “turtle”. Alexei immediately repeated the word. Since then we’ve been hearing his cute little turtle word every day!
And his final new thing is his new sleep schedule. It is actually very convenient for all three of us. Alexei goes to sleep at 9pm. So, when I come from work, I get to play with him, go to the park, give him a bath, read and put him to bed. I decided to read in Russian to him every night, so he hears the language a little more. His saying more English than Russian words concerns me a little. So, I think reading in Russian should help a little. I read to him a chapter of Pooh stories a day. It is hard, because he likes companionship, meaning – he likes doing what you are doing while you are doing it. So, I need to give him a book to read also and we both read at the same time. Trying to purposefully read a little louder than he is a little exhausting for me. Troy says it’s ok. Then Alexei sleeps until 10 or 10:30am, which is very good for Troy. He works late and needs to sleep in. And sometimes when he works through the night, he also needs to nap during the day. And Alexei usually naps for 2-3 hours. So, we got ourselves a very cooperative little boy with a schedule that works for everyone!
Sunday, June 7th, 2009
This morning Mama needed to do something on her computer, so Papa and I took a bike ride. It started out just like all of our rides do. I saw lots of cool things — some ladies planting trees, four almost-all-grown-up goslings, and lots and lots of puddles left over from the rain. But, you know, there was one thing I really wish that I had seen better…
After passing under some bridges where my voice was big and boomy underneath, the trail we were riding on ended. The only thing left was mud and rocks. Pretty quickly, Papa stopped pedaling and took me down to the creek for my favorite past-time - to throw some stones.
As we were nearing the water, there was a kerplop-splash! Papa looked around. He didn’t see anything, so we sat down and he gave me rocks to throw. After a few minutes, he took a hold of my arm and asked me if I saw the frog. He kept trying to point out a frog to me, but I didn’t see anything. We tried to quietly walk over to the rock that the frog was behind, spying out at us, but he scooted into the water as we came close. Again, I couldn’t see where he was even though Papa was showing me. He told me to keep waiting until the frog came up for air. But the froggy never did.
Finally, Papa took a great big stick and stirred the water close to the frog with it. As he did that, the frog swam away to the middle of the stream. And I saw him! He swam really fast and had huge legs. I asked Papa to make him come back so I could watch him some more, but the frog was gone.
There you have it. I saw the biggest frog I’ve ever seen, but only as he was swimming away from me. I wish I had been able to see him better when he was nearby because Papa kept talking about how pretty he was.
I don’t remember all the words, but back a few months ago there was a nice song about froggies that I sang in my Cradle Roll Sabbath school class. It went something like this:
Mister Froggy likes to hop, hop, hop,
Hop, hop, hop,
In the ponds and the puddles.
Oh, Mr. Froggy likes to hop, hop, hop,
Do-dee do-dee do-dee do, do, do, wop-wop!