Sunday, January 29, 2017

Experiments / Food

For Christmas, I gave Nikolai a homemade science kit: It included 9 experiments to do together, with full instructions and additional items needed to do the experiments. They have been really fun to do together! 

We did the traditional celery/carnations in colored water, which was a big hit:


And my favorite by far has been floating grapes (done using plain water and sugar water, and used to discuss density). Niko loved it! 


We also did a really great one on the decay of a banana (we put mashed banana in a jar with a balloon over the top, and as the banana decayed it produced gases and inflated the balloon), one with a pinhole camera, and of course a balloon rocket is always a hit. Soon we'll do more complex ones where we test for acids and bases, and another where we'll find out which pigments exist in a green spinach leaf. I'm excited! 

Aaaaand MAJOR PIVOT because now I'm going to tell you about some awesome food we've had lately. 

First off was this INCREADIBLE pear/Gruyere/walnut pizza we had:


And then this Tarragon flavored soda we had a new years (it was strange but good!):


And finally, ramen noodles that are surprisingly more delicious than the ones we bought in America:


Also notice a funny thing we see a lot in Moldova: the outside of the packaging is in Romanian, but the oil packet that comes inside is in Russian! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Family

An assorted collection of photos documenting normal life in our home: 

Exhibit A: Family Movie Night (every Friday night, usually with "Pop-corn! Yeah! Pop-corn!" -Miri)


Exhibit B: Washi tape and writing courtesy of Niko


Exhibit C: Miriam began sleeping in a big-kid bed, but wanting to sleep in Niko's instead of hers. 


Exhibit D: These two love each other and it melts my heart! 


Exhibit E: Niko has realized that he can include Miriam in imaginary play, so the other day they built a "castle" together behind the door in their room. Hooray!


Exhibit F: On Thurday nights, we knit. 


Exhibit G; Our house is almost always noisy. So noisy.

video

And finally, pictures from the picture stump! 




Friday, January 27, 2017

Around Chisinau

In an effort to include more photos of the really interesting place we live, this post will be devoted primarily to photos of said city. 

Below is a monument to Moldovans who were forced to emigrate under the Stalin regime. Click on it to make it bigger--maybe you'll be able to see how the people are all pushing forward and twisting together. It's a really cool monument:



I know I've already posted about MallDova, but I have to bring it up at every chance I get because it is a pun and it is GREAT. Also, here's what some of the older buses here look like:


Ok, not a view of Chisinau but we got to see Rogue One last month (thanks for watching the kids, Vlada!!!) in and it was great!


This is a church we walk past a lot, and I love seeing its vibrant blue roofs. 


I can't remember what this statue is of anymore, but this is a pretty good photo of this really interesting square:


Jesse made a great face at the statue too:


Many businesses and schools make sure their sidewalks are shoveled, but other sidewalks don't seem to get shoveled. It has made trying to push a stroller interesting! 



Below are just photos of how cool Chisinau is in the snow: 



Outside our window is a huge tree (we're on the 6th floor) with big clumps of mistletoe growing in it. The other day a huge murder of crows alighted in it in the morning when the sun was coming up: 


Finally, last week Jesse and I got to go to the National Art Museum (sans children: thanks again, Vlada!!!) and it was really wonderful. 


The newly renovated building is stunning, and the collection of paintings by Moldovan artists (both recently, in the Soviet period and from the 1600s to 1900s) was impressive. 



It was a really great date and we hope to go again soon!



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Messy Miri / Silly Niko

Unlike Niko was at this age, Miriam at almost-two is incredibly messy. Luckily, she's gotten pretty used to taking off her bib and walking straight to the bathroom to wash up after eating, so at least she's working with us ;)


Niko is pretty silly most days, and is really perfecting his pout: 


The time Miri is less messy is, surprisingly enough, when she is painting!



And I think it's fair to say that Niko's silliness is rubbing off on her:

video

Niko saw this picture yesterday and said "Why is there a bag on my head?" Buddy, I have no idea!


We got these sweet Pokemon masks for Christmas (thanks Megan!) and the kids are adorable in them:


One more messy Miri: covered in marker on her face! (It's a long story...)


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Staycation!

The week after New Years Nikolai was off from school and I hadn't started classes yet, so Jesse took a break from writing and working and we had a Chisinau staycation!

On the first day, we took a walk around the nearby lake, which was frozen! In the picture below Miriam is watching the ducks, which are all standing on top  f the ice :D


We had fun listening to the ice singing and watching people ice fishing out on the frozen surface. 


At some point a certain small boy got a little grumpy (par for the course), so we had a little sit (to be fair, it was super cold that day!)


I was resistant at first when he suggested we venture off the paved trail around the lake to follow a trail in the surrounding woods (I had wanted to go all the way around the lake), but we did it and it turned out to be really, really fun. We had a great time spotting animal tracks and following a little creek (that was still running despite the temperature being in the 10s) up the hill a ways. 


Despite the cold, it was good to get out and get into nature a little! 


On another day, we visited the museum of Natural History and Ethnography, It's been on our bucket list since we got here, but we were trying to save it for colder months when playing at the park wasn't an option. It turned out this was the perfect time to go! 


It was such a cool museum, and really cheap too--I think we spent $2 total to get in and take pictures. 


The kids really loved the natural history part of the museum, with loads of animals from the region (check out the giant bird below!) and fossils galore.


I can't remember if the below creature was a mammoth or mastodon, but it was REALLY COOL and REALLY BIG. 


Unfortunately, by the time we got to the super interesting ethnography section with artifacts from Moldova's more recent past, the kids were basically done museum-ing and we didn't get to spend as much time exploring as we'd have liked. Good news though--it's so cheap and so close by that we will definitely go again! And we'll just start at the ethnography section next time so we can definitely get to see that part.

Whose throne is this? I have no idea! 

I LOVED these embroidery swatches, with all kids of different patterns that have been used over time here in Moldova. There were several displays like this and I lingered over them as long as the kids would allow--I will spend much more time with them next time! 


A different day, we took the kids ice skating! Miriam rode in an awesome little sled (and loved it!) while Niko skated with us. This particular ice rink didn't have the skating supports Niko has used in the past (though I've heard maybe other rinks in Chisinau have them) so skating was pretty hard for him. He got a little discouraged, but towards the end he got a second wind (and the promise of a Kinder Egg if he went around twice more) and did a great job! 


Skating is something he's loved in the past so I was really glad to make it a good experience for him. Jesse and I have often thought that Niko might be well suited to hockey temperament-wise, so I'd love for him to get into ice skating! 


A different day we had planned to go to another museum but Niko wasn't in the mood, so instead I made a scavenger hunt. I chose things I expected we'd be able to see in the blocks around where we live (like the letter M, a blue car, a Moldovan flag, etc). 


It was a big hit! We had a great time spotting all of the different things, and we finished the morning with a visit to our favorite pastry shop, which always makes for a good morning.


I've just remembered that these next photos aren't from the Staycation--they're from the next weekend, when it snowed! On a Saturday, the weather got up above freezing, so we bundled up the kids in their best snow gear and went to play in the snow at the park!


Guys, it was SO MUCH FUN. 


We threw snowballs and at one point Jesse (who was throwing underhand in an attempt to not hit too hard) got Niko right in the face with a snowball! Niko was stunned but amiable, and giggled when Jesse said Niko could toss one in Jesse's face to make it even. 


The kids really got into the snowball fight (more so than making a snowman, which we did after). It was really, really fun running around with them! 

video

Yay for Winter and yay for snow!