Background: We have a naughty spot. If the girls are naughty, they have to sit in the spot for three minutes. I set the kitchen timer for this. Also, we have a rule with the girls that they have to try one bite of dinner before refusing it. If they still refuse it after one bite, then they don’t have to eat it. If they refuse to take even this one bite, they sit in the naughty spot until they change their minds.

Last night…

Me: Daracha, you can eat one bite of your meal or you can go in the naughty spot until you choose to take a bite, which is it going to be?

Daracha: Gets off chair and heads in the exact opposite direction of the naughty spot.

Me: Daracha, where are you going?

Daracha: To set the timer.

2014.10.17 - minions 6 2014.10.17 - minions 5 2014.10.17 - minions 4

2014.10.17 - minions 3 2014.10.17 - minions 2 2014.10.17 - minions 1

2014.08.18 - winter hat 6 2014.08.18 - winter hat 7

These pictures, of course, are not recent.  However, they did come after these ones.  Maybe my girls do love each other after all.

2014.08.18 - winter hat 9 2014.08.18 - winter hat 8

And then back inside for some breakfast.  Note the change in hat ownership.

2014.08.18 - winter hat 5 2014.08.18 - winter hat 1

And this moment melts my heart.

2014.08.18 - winter hat 3

Who was she looking at with those big, trusting eyes and that hint of a smile?  Why, her dad.

2014.08.18 - winter hat 2

2014.08.17 - painting 7 2014.08.17 - painting 2 2014.08.17 - painting 1


2014.08.17 - painting 8 2014.08.17 - painting 10 2014.08.17 - painting 9


2014.08.17 - painting 62014.08.17 - painting 3 2014.08.17 - painting 5 2014.08.17 - painting 4

Well, this day.  Turns out I can’t create a hyperlink in my title.

Fair enough.

Yep, we’re back at the Renaissance Hotel.  The food is good and the restaurant is child friendly.  (Read: the girls can run around, making loud noises with the other children, and nobody minds.)

2014.07.20 - Renaissance 10 2014.07.20 - Renaissance 5

“Ummm…Crystal, do you ever brush your children’s hair?”

“Why, no, I don’t.  And I often forget to wash their faces before we leave the house, too.”

2014.07.20 - Renaissance 8 2014.07.20 - Renaissance 7 2014.07.20 - Renaissance 6


2014.07.20 - Renaissance 9

2014.07.20 - Renaissance 4 2014.07.20 - Renaissance 1

2014.07.20 - Renaissance 3 2014.07.20 - Renaissance 2


2014.08.07 - not fighting 3 2014.08.07 - not fighting 2 2014.08.07 - not fighting 1


This is…unusual.  This is so unusual that I had to immediately go show my husband when I saw the photos.  The thing is, I was hoping for twins that would love and cuddle one another, but what I got was one daughter who has a sense of personal space about a mile wild and another daughter who loves to bug and practices the art of, not Zen, but Schadenfreude.  (This same daughter, however, became very upset the first time she heard the song Kumbyyah because someone was crying.  So upset, that she needed cuddles.)  (But then,  said daughter calmly sat on the couch and ignored her sister’s crying when her sister banged her nose on the toilet so hard she bled for five minutes.)  (Is she compassionate or not?  Only time will tell.  Meanwhile, we’re saving up for the psychologist’s fees.)

At least, I think East-ish.  The sun rises in that general direction, so it definitely isn’t west.  (See Keebler, this is why I don’t go out with you guys at hunt camp.  I’d be lost in the bush forever.  You’d find only my bones a couple of years later.)

2014.07.31 - Atyrau 1

What you see here is the Ural River snaking its way through the city. The white houses in the gated community is part of Dostyk Village: the Chevron compound.


2014.07.31 - Atyrau 2

Here is Satpayev Street, one of the main arteries running through the city. To give you an idea of scale, the tall building near the horizon with red dot is the Marriot building and is a fifteen minute walk (one mile) from my building. Just past that is a bridge over the Ural connecting Europe (the side I live on) and Asia.


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