Where is Sochi?

While I have been to Russia, I must admit that I had never even heard of Sochi before. I got curious today and had to see just how far away St. Petersburg (where I lived) was from Sochi. Well, it is quite far. I took a screen shot of the Google Map showing the difference.

Where is Sochi?

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The first time I went to Russia, I had the pleasure of visiting Moscow with my family and also travelling by train to St. Petersburg (and back to Moscow).

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The second time I went to Russia, I stayed in St. Petersburg and visited Gatchina. I didn’t find out until later that my Visa was only valid for me to be in St. Petersburg and leaving the border of the city was actually a very bad thing to do. Thankfully, God was protecting me from harm.

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Oh the stories I could tell about my adventures in Russia. The time went by way too fast and my memories are starting to fade with the years, but it was overall positive and very positive.

Sochi 2014 Olympics


Warning: Parents, please preview all links provided to ensure they are suitable for your family’s viewing.

The Sochi 2014 Olympics completely snuck up on me and now they are all over the news. We are not a sports crazy family, but we enjoy watching the Olympics. I have some heartstrings tied to Russia because I lived there for several months, many years ago (before marriage and children). Russia will always have a special place in my heart.

Opening Ceremonies

Depending on where you live, you may be able to watching the opening ceremonies here:

Sochi 2014 Olympics – Opening Ceremonies

Hiccups to the Games

Some of the things people are complaining about don’t seem that unusual to me (because I lived there, not in Sochi, but in St. Petersburg) and they bring back fond (often humorous memories) and prompt discussions with Jonah and the kids.


There were a few complaints about people having to share a toilet room with 2 toilets, which is certainly something we are not used to in Canada (or the USA). When I was there, some of the public bathrooms only had holes in the ground and no toilets. Other bathrooms had scary toilets and no seats. Even if a bathroom had a toilet and a seat, I was warned never to sit directly on the seat because of disease.


When I lived in St. Petersburg, I was warned that I should not drink the water without boiling it first. It always looked yellow. Hot water was another curious thing while I was there. Hot water was centrally heated and turned on and off at will (and you never really felt clean after a hot shower or bath).

Road Safety

When I lived in Russia, the roads were riddled with potholes you had to swerve around, and the military stood in almost every intersection. If the lights turned red while you were travelling through the intersection you had to stop where you were and the other cars would drive around you. (Let me just say, I was always a passenger and never a driver).

Internet Safety

Personally, I would not assume that my data was safe if I went to Russia. When I was in Russia, I had to order my long distance phone call 3 days in advance and an operator listened to my calls.

Venue Safety

There have been some questions regarding the safety of the Venues in Sochi. I am praying that there are no serious injuries or deaths due to unsafe venues. If the the hotel construction and other issues that are occurring are any indication, then hopefully my fears won’t be justified.

Other Resources

Claymation Characters


The kids have been hard at work making claymation characters. Mom made a practice character, Dad took it apart to teach the kids how to make their own. Then each kid got to make their own characters with bones. We started with characters with no arms as they are an easier place to begin.

Then the kids each got to practice a walking sequence with their character. Creating the walking sequence consisted of taking a picture, moving the character, and repeating over and over until you have the desired number of pictures.

Fireworks, Power Outage, Smoke Alarms, and a Swollen Eye

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

All the kids were just settling in for bed the night before last night when the booming of fireworks launched them all out of their beds and instantly to the windows to watch. When there are fireworks locally we can usually get a good view from one side of the house or the other.

When the fireworks were over, we started the bedtime routine again. Like it wasn’t fun enough the first time (oh no, I didn’t just say that).

All the kids were settled once again, in their beds, when everything suddenly went very quiet and dark. The power was officially out. So, why does this matter at night when you are trying to get little people to sleep? Well, it gets very dark and very quiet in the house, and all the neighbours go outside to look around and make lots of noise even though it is after 10pm at night.

We used the tablet as a flashlight and dug out the candles and the butane lighter (no we don’t smoke, we use it to light birthday candles). We set up a tea light candle, in a jar of water, in the bathroom because it is very dark in there.

When we realized that the lights were not coming on anytime soon, we started the bedtime routine again. This is the third time. Oh just you wait, there’s more (seriously).

While the twins were settling, Jonah and I were quietly discussing how quiet and dark our home is without fans and computers and other household humming. We enjoyed the quiet and I spent some time reorganizing files on my laptop (offline, of course), while waiting for the snoring of the twins.

Finally the little people were all settled and asleep. Wahoo.

Daddy heads to bed and I watch some Netflix before I crash. I need time to turn off my brain, of the issues of life, before I finally shut down at night. I used to read books every night (note to self, buy a really good novel to dive into).

I am just dozing off when the smoke alarm goes lets off a blast. It was not a full alarm. Just a loud beep. I shot out of bed and called quietly to Jonah (because the kids were still all sleeping, thankfully). He had heard it too, but wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not. We stood in the hall, confused. I was sniffing for smoke. He went and checked the other floors. All clear. We went back to bed. I was a little shaken, but I fell back to sleep.

About 40 minutes later, the smoke alarm is going off again, this time fully blaring. 2:40am to be exact. It woke all the kids except Zion. The alarm was going and going and going. By this point I am fully dressed and all the kids are wide awake, wondering if there is a fire.

In our townhouse we have 3 floors and one smoke detector on each floor. If one goes off they all go off. Jonah and I did our sniff for smoke and check all the floors for fire. When we have finished our second inspection for the night, Jonah disconnected the smoke detector on the main floor (because that was the one that was setting the other ones off – according to the flashing red light), which shut off the deafening noise. Finally. This was not a decision taken lightly. We did still have two working detectors in the house and we would investigate and or reset it in the morning (when the really loud noise wouldn’t wake up the whole neighborhood).

We started the bedtime routine again (this is the fourth time now) and Zion slept through it all. It takes awhile for Hosanna to settle (she was wide awake and so was I). When she finally drifted off to sleep, Zion came in and curled up beside me. He was happy that the power had come back on, not even realizing that the smoke detector had gone off.

I was a bit nervous and way overtired and had trouble getting back to sleep. I slept fully clothed in case the smoke alarm went off again (well, the one was unplugged, but there were still two more that could have gone off).

Elisha was feeling a bit panicky (he has Autism and ADHD), so I told him just to choose a movie on Netflix to watch (aka distraction) and try to go back to sleep (which he couldn’t, but he stayed in his room and was quiet so everyone else got to sleep). The next morning I sent him out for coffee, so he could have some quiet time to himself. Then I put in a phone call to Grandma to take Elisha out with her so he could have a quiet day.

The next morning came way too soon and I could not drag myself out of bed. Jonah brought me coffee and my laptop, so I could tend to a client appointment while I tried to wake up.

Most of the day was a blur, tending to design clients, hanging with the sleepy kids, and just when I was thinking of a nap, we had a minor crisis.

Moses had been complaining of itchy eyes for part of the day, but when he came into the living room in tears, looking like he was ready to claw his eye, he had me pretty worried. Jonah had a good look at his eye in the sunlight and it was determined that this was an emergency. I immediately gave him some Benadryl, in case it was an allergic reaction to something, and called my mom for a ride to the ER (thus ending a peaceful day for Elisha a wee bit too soon).

A little while later, we were headed off to the ER. I had just been there last weekend (for the lumps in my head and neck) and I was so looking forward to spending the afternoon there again instead of napping (I am being sarcastic here).

The waiting room was fairly empty when we arrived. There were two men in front of us. I have no idea what was wrong with the first man, but the second man was hearing voices and talking to the nurse about the time that someone held a gun to his head.

We saw the nurse and told her the story of his eye. They checked his temp and his pulse. Then it was over to the next chair to double check our address and get the pretty bracelet.

While Moses was waiting for his bracelet, a mother and a little boy came in. She was panicking and he was crying, but trying really hard not to. Best I could gather, he was around 6-8 and had fallen out of a loft bed and hurt his arm. The mom and the nurse both thought it might be broken. He was in so much pain. I saw the mother coming and going from the back of emergency a few more times during our visit and that little boy is still on my mind (prayers going up for him).

After Moses got his bracelet, we had to follow the green dots on the floor to get to the other waiting room. The front waiting room was nearly empty, but that inner waiting room was bursting at the seams. I think they do that to lull you into believing that it would be a very short wait. Then once you are all signed up, you stay because it is simply too much effort to go somewhere else. I could be wrong about that, but that is why we stayed even after they told us it would be two more hours.

We snuck into some chairs by the blood lab beside these three older ladies. Two daughters and their mother. They were so sweet. We are hardly there five minutes when an aide walks and older man down the hall in front of us and he peed all over the floor. Like for 6+ feet and apparently all over the bathroom. I felt really bad for him, but it was extremely humorous watching the fuss that followed. Two out of the three ladies sitting beside us, the lady that belonged to the man that had peed, and a gaggle of nurses were trying to stop people from walking in the urine and falling. I was thinking a crossing guard would have been helpful at this point. Rest assured, housekeeping was called (more than once) and came and cleaned the hallway and the bathroom.

Waiting is not very fun. Moses was tired (from the Benadryl), hungry (it was dinner time) and bored (because the television wasn’t working and I didn’t think ahead to pack a suitcase).

First we saw a nurse, then we saw a resident, and then we saw a doctor. By the time the doctor finally saw Moses, most of the swelling had gone down and the bloodshot redness was a almost a distant memory. They put dye in his eye to make sure there were no foreign bodies in there. Prognosis: severe allergic reaction to something unknown. If his eye swells up again give him more Benadryl. I am glad we went to check it out, but it was a long 4 hours and when we got home after 8pm (we left around 3pm), I was exhausted.

And then it was bedtime….

Elisha had been up since 2:30am and was a bit cranky and very overtired. Moses and Malachi went to bed well. And while I was putting the twins to bed, I fell asleep. I was asleep until someone brought me the phone (a quick phone call from my sis). Jonah was still up and I thought I would go spend some time with him. We rented a movie (which turned out to be longer than we thought) and then I wrote this post and saved it as a draft (to edit and post after I got some sleep). I fell asleep thinking about things I am thankful for.

At bedtime with the twins, we each say three things we are thankful for. Here are my three thankful things for tonight.

  1. I am thankful that Moses’ eye was something simple and easily healed.
  2. I am thankful that we only had to do bedtime once tonight.
  3. I am thankful for a bed to sleep in.

What are you thankful for?

PS – Just so you all know, Jonah hooked up the smoke detector during the day yesterday and it hasn’t gone off since. Maybe it just needed a reset after the power outage?