I created this blog to keep family and friends at home informed about my daily life in Russia. I also try to include resources that would help someone traveling to St. Petersburg.Feel free to take a look around.
Our son David was born on July 9, 2012. We spend the school year in St. Petersburg and do some traveling during the summer.
I have permanent residence status in St. Petersburg and David has a 3 yr visa allowing him to be in Russia for 6 months at a time.
If you want to read more about a missionary's life in St. Petersburg, you can browse past posts. Key posts are linked below. There are also labels and archives further down in the sidebar.
Still need more information, or need a contact in St. Petersburg? E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sort of in survival mode here. I caught a cold over the weekend as we were heading into Andrei's most intense 2 weeks of the semester. Oops! We need to keep HIM healthy, too! I think I would rather be sick than have David and/or Andrei be sick.
So I've been laying low, but I guess if I feel like blogging I must be on the rebound.
Last week we had a stream of guests every other day, and today we would have too if I hadn't cancelled. But what seemed like a recipe for a nervous breakdown (in terms of lots of entertaining) didn't turn out too badly. Apparently keeping one's home clean is EASIER when you have more guests. I wonder why that is? More discipline? Less time to mess it up? Kind of reminds me of Fly Lady and working towards always being ready for company. Lately (when the sniffles don't get me down) I have been operating on the principle of "DO IT NOW." In general I do triage with housework and that means that a lot of seemingly insignificant tasks pile up because I don't see them as being worth my time. I'm still bad about the dishes, but returning things to their places or putting things in the trash right away does reduce the work later on.
I also feel calmer when other people do the cooking, or at least contribute. I'd love to be able to do it all myself, but then I turn into a monster. On one of the occasions I opted to make a salad and have storebought dessert. My tastebuds may have missed out, but the stress of trying to pull a dessert together in addition to everything else would have had consequences, not to mention I would have neglected David.
Meanwhile, it's Lent...but we're not fasting. Andrei and I "joked" (though not to make light of the Resurrection) that fasting would actually be pretty practical during Holy Week due to the vigor of the scheduling. He doesn't have time to eat breakfast before work, and by the time he's home from church in the evening we don't get to eat dinner until around 11pm. And then it's time to prepare for the next day's lectures/sermons/etc. And of course I think of the Passover too and the unleavened bread and the traveling clothes...readiness.
Night and day! That's what the difference feels like between whether David has taken a nap or not.
Disclaimer: Andrei and I are not obsessed with David's sleep schedule. :)
BUT...before becoming a parent, I always thought it was kind of weird how parents would talk about this magic combination they had found for their child to sleep (or eat or use the potty, etc.). Place him in X position and turn on X song for him to fall asleep. Place a spoon in each hand and turn on The Little Mermaid for her to eat her oatmeal. Ridiculous, right?
It gets me 2 hrs of free time, okay?
Whereas I had previously thought that parents using all these funny methods were trying TOO hard, I now realize that it's the opposite. Employing methods that "work for now" actually feels a lot more laidback. Yes, you might have some weaning to do later, but it will get you through this season.
We are really privileged to have this indoor porch area (pictured above) in our apartment off one of the rooms. It's in very good condition, though not quite warm/cozy enough to be a hang-out place...more of a space to be used for storage or messy projects.
Russians are big on fresh air (though not drafts) for sleeping, and if you can't get outside, an alternative is to use one of these porches...if you have a closed-in, one of course. There are others that are more of a balcony-type and used more typically for smoking growing flowers in window boxes. In fact, that's how the pigeon got in that time.
If the baby is small enough and you have a closed-in porch, you get him all dressed, pack him into a bag/basket/cradle, and toss him out there for a nice peaceful slumber with some fresh air.
Getting David ready for his porch stroller nap is almost like going on a walk except that there's only one person to get dressed. All the additional wrappings I need are a sweater and slippers! We also put the monitor out there in case we're not going to be in earshot. He is usually asleep within 15-20 minutes of "strolling." Of course, he is also in a "sleeping with specific animals" phase, so that adds a few minutes. But it's still easier than rocking/ bouncing in our arms!
When David gets a good stroller nap, I feel like I can finally relate to some of those other moms who actually get stuff done. I can start to believe that it isn't a conspiracy. There have been projects I've put off for years months only to finish them in one naptime. Sometimes I even finish them in one hour and then I have another hour to do something else. Wow! Sometimes I can do dinner prep or get all the dishes to be clean AT THE SAME TIME. Sometimes I do an exercise workout AND take a shower, all without being interrupted.
Other times, I lie down and take a nap. That's gotta count for something, too. :)