June 27, 2010

Just in case you thought we were joking...

Rocket Man's company has a special P.O. Box set up for all of us over here on Sakhalin. Basically, it allows everyone in the states to send us items to Houston which are then sent over here once a week. This way they don't have to pay for postage to Russia.

This is a fabulous thing. There are, of course, some rules. Rules that need to be followed. As in, if we say that you can only send us pickled fish, then you can only send us pickled fish. You cannot also send the bread or crackers on which to eat the pickled fish because those are not on the list.

The items allowed via the P.O. Box are as follows: letters, cards, books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs. Things that fall into the book/magazine category are coloring books and sticker books and so forth for Miss Thing.

Items that absolutely do not fall into any of the above categories?


A little while ago a family member sent Miss Thing some coloring books. And then mentioned that she included some crayons. At which point Rocket Man and I both went: "Uh, oh."

Just to be clear, in case you are wondering, Russia has crayons. We have crayons. It isn't like we have coloring books and nothing with which to color them, lest you think we are torturing our child by giving her coloring books and no crayons.


Rocket Man received a very official email this week. With photos attached. Very zoomed in, graphic photos of...you guessed it...crayons. We are facing a double infraction because there was a box of them in addition to a coloring book with some attached to it.

This communication came from the customs agents who discovered our infractions and they have informed Rocket Man that if he wants the items, he must fill out some paperwork.

Here's the thing. He's thought about telling them to keep the crayons and just release the books or whatnot. Um, nope. We've found out from friends here that someone else had a problem like this and asked them to keep the items that were not allowed and release those that were and nope, it is an all-or-nothing kinda thing. Those items are all in one package, so they are considered as a whole.

Oh, and the best part? The family who went through this before needed the rest of their items (this was a yearly shipment as opposed to the P.O. Box, and they needed the rest of their shipment [which yes can contain other kinds of items, but the rules were not followed, which is the real issue here]), so they started filling out the paperwork, etc.

All of which led to Customs Court.

Um, yeah.

So not only is it an infraction of sorts at work because following the rules is something taken seriously, people, rules that the company helped set up and agreed to, but then there's all of this governmental paperwork to deal with and then the actual court itself.

It took them over three months to sort it out. Not to mention the fact that they had to pay out the wazoo because of the court costs and so forth.

Basically, not something we want to do.


I imagine that Rocket Man will at least try the "keep the items that aren't within the agreement and release those that are" approach, but if they say it is an all-or-nothing sorta deal, then we'll just be letting them know that we don't want any of it.

Better that than to appear on some Russian version of Court TV.

June 26, 2010


We started with our nanny this week. Galina is her name and so far things are going well. I mostly hung around the house the first day and put Miss Thing down for her nap myself, just to make things a little smoother. Then I left to go to AP's house to watch the final episodes of Grey's Anatomy. We missed a few when we were moving, so it was nice to see the ending. And might I add: Holy Drama, Batman!

Galina knows enough English that we can communicate enough to take care of things. She is also helping to teach me some Russian. It will be really nice when next week I start my own lessons. She is also very aware that I am pregnant and it appears that here in Russia, once a woman is pregnant, she is to do nothing. I got fussed at for carrying a shopping bag that had something light like toilet paper in it. Also for putting my child in her bed. And after she cleaned the downstairs on Thursday she informed me that I was not to use that vacuum. Not that I mind, since it is a terrible one, but her reasons were a bit different!

I came home from a morning shopping run on Thursday to this:

She loves her potato-head and apparently enjoys putting as many faces on there at a time as possible. Then again, I have had moments with her when she declares: "Need more kisses!" and then proceeds to put all of the Mrs. Potato Head lips on the thing as she can fit. It makes for an interesting looking potato...


Miss Thing is growing. The above is a photo from the first week in March. I may have been a tad remiss in taking photos between then and, well, forever. Moving overseas is a bit time-consuming, what can I say? Anyway, here is a photo from her birthday in late May:

A little different, yes?


Let's talk about eating for a moment. As in my child is an eater. Granted, she does go through phases as far as quantity, but that isn't really what I am talking about. Nope, what I would like to tell you all (and therefore jinx myself) is that she will now try anything. Oh, yes. And for the most part, she will eat anything. No longer do we look at food on our plate and declare "Nooo!" without even smelling it, much less tasting it.

These days she not only tastes everything, but for about three weeks has been eating tons of it all. Not to mention the fact that every time we visit someone else's house she proceeds to eat any and all food offered or spotted in the house. That one I could do without...

She's waned a bit in the eating tons department, but she will eat spicy food, veggies, noodles, hummus, and the list goes on. It is quite nice.

Here is something else she's started doing with Daddy:

I am very happy to be out of the land of chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Not that we don't miss those a bit, but at least I no longer have to worry about her eating or not eating.


On the pregnancy front, my belly is sticking our a little bit. Unless of course I eat something (methinks it is cooked red peppers or sauces made from same) that does not agree with me - then I suddenly look like I am three months further along. It usually lasts anywhere from two to seven days and is accompanied by a fantastic pain whenever I sit, bend, stand, or lie down. So you know, all the time. Excellent, indeed.


I think that is about it, really. OH. We are going to eat out. HOLY SMOKES, PINCH ME. Seriously, folks, we've been eating at our house since we arrived. Which has thrown me full-force back into the "I've gotta figure out what to cook every night of the week" routine that I am sure many of you already follow but that we, especially towards the end of moving, were not adhering to in the slightest. Now that I am into it a good six weeks it is not a huge deal, but at first with the jet lag and the pregnancy nauseousness and the "Now, where do I get [fill in the blank]?" -ness of it all it was...interesting. Plus, getting Rocket Man to COME HOME on time is always an issue. DUDE, WE NEED TO EAT. Anyway, we are going to an Indian restaurant this evening with another couple and their son, so it should be fun!


This wasn't very entertaining or anything. Apologies for that. At least the family can know a little more of what we are up to. I'll try to post some more this weekend!!

June 13, 2010

June 12 of 12

Hi there! Miss me? People have been asking for photos, so I figured the 12th was a good day to post again. I know that everyone wants to see the new housing, but right now none of our own stuff is in it, so there's really no point. Once we receive our sea shipment and get the place personalized a bit I'll post photos of the house.

For now, here is our 12 of 12 June. All photos were taken in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russian Federation. My camera was still on Spain time, since I had never switched it upon our return to Houston, so the times are approximate. Check out Chad's site to see what everyone else did!

7:30 - Good morning!

11:20 - Apparently we were sleepy this morning because for the first time in forever we fell asleep during Mama's exercise.

11:21 - The view from our front porch; fabulous weather this week!

11:22 - I love these trees; they do change color and lose their needles, but they look fabulous right now because they've all come in and are bright green.

12:10 - A neighbor has a new puppy named Wolfie. Miss Thing really enjoys playing/petting/hugging and as you can see here, feeding the good doggie.

12:15 - A friend of ours has an 8-month old. PJ loves to watch Miss Thing and Wolfie play.

13:15 - Colors! They keep us busy while we wait for our weekend lunch. Mama and Daddy have breakfast and the girl eats chicken or peanut butter and jelly.

13:45 - We LOVE to play "basketballs!" As in, we ask to play every day.

14:00 - This drill? It is apparently for squishing noses. Noses that are sniffing. I have no clue.

17:30 - BATH! We love this and go "swimming" every time.

18:15 - An after bath after nap snack with Daddy. We are watching the inaugural winter X-games on the television. Anyone know what year that was from? The shows here are behind a bit sometimes...

19:00 - Russian Dinner night at the community center.

The best thing was the meat-stuffed Cabbage and the Blini's (crepes, but not sweet, which are stuffed with anything...ours were stuffed with cabbage and apples and were quite delicious). Also present are stuffed pork, parsley potatoes, cold cucumber soup, and three cold salads: Russian (meat, potatoes, and carrots), cabbage (like a cold slaw with extra onion and different dressing) and Olympia (ham, egg, cheese, cucumber).

It was all very yummy; one of the best meals I have enjoyed there. Hope you enjoyed our day!