Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Embassy Christmas Party

Here are a few pictures from the Embassy "Holiday" Party. Because, you know, we wouldn't want to be Politically Incorrect and call it a Christmas party - even though that's what it was! Oh wait.... they did have a game of Dreidel. I guess there had to be some justification for calling it a "holiday" party.

She shoots...


FIRE!!! Right through the hole,

Checking her loot bag.

Van rocked Dreidel. He came home with a bag full of candy!

In search of Snow.

We were promised Snow over the weekend. When Sunday afternoon rolled around, and there were still clear blue skies overhead, Jared decided to get pro-active about the situation. We donned our very warmest snow gear and set out in search of the stuff. With minimal protest from me, we put the G wagon into 4 wheel drive and headed up towards Mt Aragats, figuring if there was snow up there in the middle of July, there was bound to be at least a little bit in the middle of December. We were not disappointed. Not only did we find snow, but the unplowed roads that went with it! We went as far as we could safely go, and then pulled off around the area where we watched the meteor shower during the summer. Van and Ava were so excited to leave the nice warm car and play with the cold snow in freezing and below freezing temperatures. I was less than excited... But we all played and had a fun time. Ava made snow angels, Van played Marines from behind the wall that he and Jared made. Then we all came home and ate some warm soup that I made from scratch!

Love lost

Last Saturday we took the kids down to Vernisaj Market to buy a kitten. When we saw this tiny little Siamese kitten we all immediately fell in love. Although there was a lot of chaos surrounding us, the moment Van picked her up she cuddled against him and started purring. After paying a rather large amount to the woman from whose flea infected kennel the kitten came, we drove home completely content. With a surprisingly little amount of debate, we decided to name her "Snowflake." (vs the name Van wanted - "Stryker" from The Sands of Iwo Jima) When we got home, we came to fully appreciate the sweet disposition of this kitten. Most cats hate to be flipped onto their bellies. Snowflake, however, would purr even louder and stretch out in order to maximize the surface area that could be rubbed. She let Ava carry her around the whole house, and laid patiently in her lap while she read her books. When ever anyone would sit or lay on the floor, she would climb onto their lap, or sit in the small of their back. As an added bonus, she took to her litter box right away! That night as Jared and I were watching a movie, Snowflake started breathing funny, and then threw up. We didn't think much of it. We thought that the change in food might have cause her stomach to become upset. When she threw up the next night we became a little bit worried. On Monday we called the Vet, and he was scheduled to come over the following evening. Snowflake remained sweet as ever. When the kids and I got home from school/work the next night, Ava was so excited to get her kitten. She ran up the stairs ahead of me and ran to Snowflakes little cat house. I heard her say, "Mommy, there are bugs on Snowflake..." Then she said, "Wake up Snowflake!" My heart dropped and I ran up the remaining 5 stairs and rushed over. Ava was holding her kitten, whose arms were sticking straight out. I gasped, and Ava screamed and dropped the cat. She was dead, and the remaining fleas were jumping ship. I quickly shut the door, and grabbed Ava in my arms to console her. By this time, Van had reached the top of the staircase and was immediately alarmed by the tears he found streaming down both our faces. I took the kids into the family room and we talked about Snowflake. For the next hour the kids were un-consolable. Van was genuinely distraught, and Ava didn't understand. I tried to explain to her that Snowflake went to sleep and died peacefully and that she is up in heaven now. Wow, THAT was the wrong thing to say. Ava was completely freaked out. She kept asking "why." Why did she die? What made her sick? Was she going to die if SHE went to sleep? and on and on and on. Van of course started to deal with it in his own way - he tried to make the situation lighter by making jokes. Well for one of his jokes he told Ava that Snowflake died because a Zombie bit her. That was the end of Ava's ability to handle the situation for the night. She would not let us put her down, she was clinging to us with a surprising amount of force. Trying to pry her hands off my neck in order to brush her teeth and put her jammies on was a feat. Needless to say, she slept with us that night. And even though after the flow of tears, Van put on a tough act, I'm pretty sure he cried himself to sleep.

PS That night we had a friend who spoke Armenian contact the lady we bought Snowflake from.  She denied any responsibility, refused to give us our money back, or to replace her with a different kitten. To add insult to injury she vehemently insisted that we had somehow caused her death. Great. Thanks for that.

Lost in Traslation

While sitting down to Thanksgiving Dinner with some of our dear local friends, there were times when conversation became interesting, due to translation discrepancies. Almost every guest spoke English to some degree, but when people fluent in our language started speaking too quickly, a glazed look came over the eyes of those not able to translate the conversation fast enough. When anybody noticed this happening, someone would quickly give a synopsis to the person needing it, and the conversation would resume. When not speaking in English, our friends would speak in Russian since I could pick through the conversation a little bit. Well towards the end of the night our friend Nune picked up my oven mitts and had them on both her hands, saying they made a good accessory to her outfit. Well her husband Ashot, starts joking that the reson Nune was wearing them was because she had frozen her hands off in the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Well, I was not able to quite follow his story since he was using both Russian and English words. So I asked him to repeat it slower, and what I heard was,  "When Nune was in Nagorno-Karabakh, she was a prostitute..."

I interrupted and said, "Wait Ashot, what did you say? You said Nune was a prostitute?"

He responded, "Da, Nune was prostitute."

I turned to Nune and said, "Nune, I think that I am not understanding Ashot. He just said that you were a prostitute."

She got so mad and said something in either Russian or Armenian. It was so fast I couldn't make out any definite words. Ashot just started LAUGHING! He laughed for a good minute before he was able reply to Nune that he was trying to say that she had frozen her hands off. The Russian word is: [spelled phonetically] "prost-ood-its-ya." Ashot, Jared and I thought the mix up was hysterical! Nune? Not so much.

Racist Dog

Van's puppy, Pepper, is a racist. At first I thought that maybe there was a little too much inbreeding going on in the poodle population here in Armenia. He was just not a normal puppy. He refused to cuddle. From Day one. He would tolerate being held for a certain amount of time, then he would go off and sit by himself. I tried countless times to get him to come watch a movie with us. He would end up on the opposite side of the couch. And don't even get me started on potty training... So during our Thanksgiving Dinner a few weeks ago, my friend mentioned that her Aunt had a little black poodle that she loved very much, and it had just passed away. I jokingly asked if she wanted a new one. Well turns out - she did! The woman is disabled, and dogs really help her. So my friend offered to take Pepper off our hands to help her Aunt. I was hesitant because I didn't want to give such a flawed Dog to someone with disabilities. She assured me that her Aunt was fully capable of handling him. We sat down and talked to Van. It was surprisingly easy to convince Van to give his dog away. We talked about her disabilities, and the fact that we are unable to be with Pepper all day, since I am working, and that this woman would be able to love him the way he wanted to be loved. He agreed in less than 4 minutes!! The morning we parted with Pepper, we went to the market and picked out the most beautiful Siamese Kitten. (More on that later) When our friend came to pick up Pepper, Van and Ava barely noticed. They each gave him a hug, and without any tears shed, waved as he was driven away! I talked to my friend toady to see how Pepper was doing. She said he is a perfect Dog and doesn't do ANYTHING like what I had described to her. He goes to the door when he needs to potty, sits with them on the couch, and generally behaves like a normal dog should. I am convinced it is because they are Armenian... Maybe he didn't understand English. Or maybe he really is racist.

Nightmare bugs

Last night Van told me that he doesn't sleep with his lamp on because he's scarred, he sleeps with it on because the light from his lamp kills nightmare bugs. Fair enough.


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