Saturday, 17 December 2011


     The holidays are a special time for all of us. Whether we celebrate Kwanza, Christmas or Hanukkah its all about family and friends. Pasha has a large family and so do I. He has 6 sisters and 2 brothers. I have 1 brother and 4 sisters. This tribute is to them. I love all of you and you all make our lives full of love and generosity. You have taught me things that no one else has and I love you all for that.You have accepted me as your sister (the only sister in law they have). We may not always get along, hence us all being different. I love you all so much I don't know what I would do with out you all.

 Nastya with my brother Ben.

 My sister Meredith with Nastya

 Pasha's brother Sasha with Nastya

 Pasha's brother Misha with Nastya

 Nastya with her cousin Leah, Pasha's sister Tanya's daughter (Sorry Tanya I don't have a picture with you and Nastya)
 Lenny Pasha's sister with Nastya

 Yana, Pasha's sister with Nastya

 Nellya Pasha's sister and her Daughter Maya

 Yana and Oleg Pasha's sister and brother in law

 Me and my brother Ben

 Max Nellya's son

 Maya Nellya's daughter

Leah Tanya's daughter
The little gang

 Pasha's sister Raisa's kids Sam, Sasha, Nik and Dima is missing

Pasha's sister Olga and her son Vadim

     This holiday season we will be cooking here and having a feast. Hope all of your holiday is just the way you want it and try not to stress over spilt milk. I am hoping I am better by then I have a sinus infection and it just started.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Health Scares

     When Nastya was 7 months old she ended up with Pneumonia. It was a great day to start the weekend. Sunny warm and a little windy just the way May should be. She was a little fussy but I thought it was from the teething she had going on, but she felt to warm for that. I took her temperature and it was 102. Not so bad so I gave her some acetaminophen.  I told Pasha that if it doesn't get any better I will take her to the doctor on Monday. Long story short she didn't get better and her temp became worse. We went in right away and the doctor told me that he lungs sound clear but he wasn't all the way sure. He told me that it can sometimes be harder on babies this young because they always have funny sounds. We went and got a chest x-ray and boy was that not the best moment.

     As you can see it is like a torture device from the 1800's. She started to cry right away and I was crying as well. Her temp went from 102 to 105.5 with in 2 days and they took it rectally so it was a more accurate temp. It broke my heart to see this but the x-ray technician had a great point it may not be hurting them but sometimes we have to do things that will help our babies get better. This was one of them. I am normally all about the natural way to heal but this needed medication and I couldn't help.

      I got her meds and just in one day I could tell she felt so much better. She started to eat more and become more active than before. I take each day as it comes and this was a scary health crisis. I know that the first year of a child's life is the most dangerous. Why? Well for the most part not a lot of kids made it past one. Between getting sick and diseases it is hard to make sure they survive. I am so great-full she survived something so easy to cure.

 Us at Target.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Camera Shy

     As Nastya was being born the one crucial part to the puzzle we forgot was a camera. Thank you technology  for the phone you gave birth to. If it wasn't for the phone we had no way to show the world what our baby looked like and who she took after. When my husband got to hold her for the first time he was shocked at how much she looked like him. You be the judge. She used to love the camera and when you asked her to smile she would oblige with a huge smile. Now it is more of an obligation when she doesn't want to do it.

          One of the first couple days home.

             Nastya is about 1 and 1/2 months

                  About 2 months

                    2 1/2 months

                      Pasha and I. I was pregnant here.

                        2 months

                              3 months

                             About 4/5 months

Hello skadhfdhfsdhfidhf Bye!

     Nastya loves to talk, but when it comes to the phone she is apt to stay quiet instead of talking. I was finally able to get her to talk on the phone. It was to her Papa who was in Sacramento at the time installing my in-laws new hardwood floors (he does it for a living so if you live in San Diego County he is the best one for the job). He was gone for a whole week and Nastya and I had time to us. It is the cutest thing and every time I see this video I laugh out loud. You might have to listen carefully because it is so fast. You may even have to play it over and over. She says hello and then a bunch of gibberish and then bye.

She is so funny. I love her with all my heart and can wait till she gets older.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


     My brother's (here is a peek of him, oh he is single by the way) birthday was on 1 December and Pasha and I went out to celebrate with him. He had it at a Japanese restaurant where they prepare it but you cook it on the BBQ at your table. We as a couple don't get out to much and we probably should take the time to do it more often. However the dreaded babysitter comes into play. We only really have 2 sitter's that we have off the top of our head and both are very busy people so when we do get one we try to do it in advance enough so that it doesn't conflict with their schedules.

      If we lived in Sacramento we would have babysitters no problem but we don't so we make do with what we have. It was a nice place and to just relax and enjoy the time with new people and to celebrate my brother's night of festivities. What do you do on date night? Do you have the same problem I have in the sense of finding a sitter is harder?

Von, Two Haha, Tree

     I remember as a little girl watching Sesame Street and I loved it. I watched it through all of my sisters up until I moved out. It seems that Sesame Street is the same except for the story lines, as we become more tolerant of everyone they are teaching the teachings that most parents should be showing their children. Lately we have been on a counting kick and it has been so much fun. We do it in the car while driving so as to make a game out of learning. Just for a nostalgic go here is a clip of Count Dracula from Sesame Street.






   Tree- just like the word tree but roll the "r"


   Chi-teryee-roll the "r"













Monday, 28 November 2011

Pretty Little Liar

     Nastya told her first ever fib. Developmentally it is a milestone and they consider it a good means of recreating a memory. They say that children don't have memories until 3, however I believe differently. If children don't have a memory till 3 why is it that at 1 week or 1 month old they know who their mother is? They can smell their mother up to 100 ft. if the mother is around. Yes, maybe it is not a complex memory but any memory at all is considered a memory right? I know that the question may be a valid or invalid question but for me as a first time mum I consider it a valid question. On to the little fib. I can always tell when Nastya poops, she doesn't hide or run away she squats right there where ever she is. She pooped, I asked her "Nastya did you go kaka?" Nastya replied "No". However I could smell it and I knew she did. What was the first lie your child(ren) ever told and was it a little lie or a big one?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Ugh Oh!

Have you had a child ever say a word, however when they say the word it is a curse word? It has happened to us. Nastya doesn't get the paci (soska) unless she is going to sleep. We were learning new words and Nastya asked for her paci but called it a bitch. I asked her what it was and she called it the same word. So now when she ask's for suka we all know she is saying soska.

At some point in our lives we learn those big bad words that our parents never wanted us to say and now mine has picked one up. I know she doesn't understand what it means and I know in due time she will be corrected. I have to say it was really funny when I first heard it. One of my little sisters used to say F**k for fork, so I know that it isn't any different in a different language. What does you child say wrong?

Thursday, 17 November 2011


     My side of the family...ugh I get so frustrated. My side of the family has this brain malfunction that tells them "You live in America so speak English". First of all America doesn't have an official language so don't tell me I need to speak English, this is why we have a diverse place. This way of thinking started with my Great, Great Grandfather who made the mistake and didn't know until too late. It has been passed down for a little too late. It started from my Great, Great Grandfather Barrel, then to his daughter my Great Grandma Cele, to her son my Grandpa Dick, to his son my father Brian and to one of my sisters Tiffany. They have such a hate for other languages. I understand when they don't understand something but to be rude or make smart remark is very uncalled for and it hurts my feelings.

     My Grandmother has the same feelings and she feels that Nastya wont learn English when she should and will have a hard time with it.I explained to her my thoughts and my feelings on this and she still insists it is bad. She has a valid point but at what point to we say that the way of their thinking is old and more as a racial discrimination. She asked that in her home if I would speak English to her. Out of respect for my Grandmother who I adore and care for very much I will respect her. So now begins the lesson of teaching her English.

     Now if I repeat words its ok repetition is the key!

New words



Blow dryer





















Sa-loinee Ah-goo-rets



Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Could She?

     Once a week I get an update for Nastya about her developmental part of her life. This weeks asks the question "How To Tell if Your Preschooler is Gifted"? I started to read it and it makes me wonder if she is. One thing I noticed very well is that she can memorize things like no other. For her birthday from our neighbour she received a number of developmental puzzles for her age. I also use it as a learning tool to learn new words. I did it once, the very next day she comes to me and shows me the "anasam" how she says it. Pineapple is a complicated one because it looks weird but after one time she understood what it was. So below are some of the focal points for checking to see if your son or daughter is gifted.

Signs of giftedness in a preschooler

Your 2- to 4-year-old may be gifted if she has some of these characteristics:
  • Has a specific talent, such as artistic ability or an unusual ease with numbers. For example, children who draw unusually realistic pictures or who can manipulate numbers in their head may be gifted.
  • Reaches developmental milestones well ahead of peers.
  • Has advanced language development, such as an extensive vocabulary or the ability to speak in sentences much earlier than other children of the same age.
  • Is relentlessly curious and never seems to stop asking questions.
  • Is unusually active (though not hyperactive). While hyperactive children often have a short attention span, gifted children can concentrate on one task for long periods of time, are passionate about their interests, and like to be challenged by difficult activities.
  • Has a vivid imagination. Gifted children often create a vast and intricate network of imaginary friends with whom they become very involved.
  • Is able to memorize facts easily and can recall arcane information learned from television shows, movies, or books.
Other signs of giftedness may be a little harder to discern. Some gifted children realize that they are "different" from their peers. This can make them feel isolated and withdrawn. It may also make them likely targets for bullying.

They may begin to experience intense frustration because they can think more rapidly than they can express themselves, verbally or physically. If your child appears unusually angry or frustrated, you may want to consult a mental health professional.

     The last 2 bullets is what I see for Nastya she does a lot of imagination and she can memorize like no other child I know, however one of the questions is this for people who live here in the States who speak another language do these same rules apply?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Never Say Never!

    Yes I brought it up. I have never herd a child learn so fast. Nastya is just as similar to a sponge, especially in the way you squeeze the sponge and then go over the water with its yellow holy body and then you let go and it just takes the water in its belly. This week has been a tremendous break through on both of our parts of life. One it seems as if she learns 5/10 new words a day; digests them for a couple of days and then again. These new words are over this week but it is great.











*My self




*Ugh huh

*I love you

     Ya te-bya loo-bloo



*Hot Cocoa



     Sh-or-ti (the ti is in the back of your throat it is a hard e)







*Stroller/shopping cart


*Oh my

*Sit down


     Some of these words she just picks up we would say it once and that is it, she knows the word. She is such  a smart little girl it is just weird to know that I say the word once and she repeats it. This has also made me curb my appetite for cursing. I don't want her going to school and the first word out of her mouth is fuck or shit. Neither does Pasha. The words Nastya learns in both languages is awesome. I find it soothing now that she can say what she wants, we still struggle with the unknown words but that is in every family whether English or Portuguese.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Frequently Asked Questions!

     You see that Mum over there behind you at the park who is speaking in a different tongue than you? It is very common here is San Diego to be a foreigner, we have Mexico 1 hour away, Camp Pendelton 1 mile away, and Hawaii is a 4 hour plane ride. We are a collective city for many people who want to be at the beach and Legoland and Sea World so of course it is a world conglomerate of people.
     I get asked questions every time I go out of the house so I have put together a list of five questions I always get asked.

Q) What language is that? French or Spanish?

     A) No you dim wite does it even sound close to that...ok that is what I am thinking. I kindly answer Russian. They reply with a awe that is so cool but some tell me it is bad and that we live in America so speak English...sorry to burst the bubble but America has no official and declared language so who cares.

Q) Does she speak English?

     A) No and thank goodness. I understand to have a good job here in the states you need to read, write and speak English fluently but com on she is 2.

Q) Will you teach her English?

     A) Nope, she picks it up already by the time she will be in Kindergarten she will know it fine.

Q) How old is she 4/5

     A) Umm no she just turned 2. Yes she is on the larger scale for a 2 year old but she is slowing down thankfully, well sort of. She is like me long legs and long arms, but her body I am not sure yet where it comes from. Most Mums ask this question its a routine one.

Q) You don't feel that you are doing a disservice to your child by not teaching her English?

     A) No, I feel that teaching her another language is a blessing. It helps Nastya understand that America is a melting pot of many nationalities and that you should accept where you came from and not be ashamed. One thing I noticed is that more and more Russian Mums and Dads are leaving tradition behind and adopting the American way of life. I don't think it is bad but I also believe in keeping traditions alive and well passed down from generation to generation.

     When my grandfather died the last of my Russian heritage died with him. The last of the family stories of when they came and crossed to pond to America. What life was like for them, what they ate. How the ancestors came and why. I know that my grandfathers mother and sisters and brothers only spoke CCCP (Sovetsky Soyuz) Russian when they didn't want the children to understand what they were conversing about. The difference is not huge but still a different pronunciation, how a vowel sounds.

Friday, 28 October 2011

What Happened to Patience?

     Some times my patience like any awesome Mum goes out the door and can't be found. Since Nastya started to speak words it has made my life a little easier to communicate and make requests more simple. Lately she has been talking in two and three word sentences and its awesome yet very strange feeling. It seems as though it was just yesterday she was not talking and not into anything but food and toys. It is also strange that Nastya sometimes has 5 new words but then other days has none.

     The learning curve for children is different for each, yes there are similarities to many but most are not the same. I know almost all children have this language that even the mums and dads don't know.

*Sit down


*Lady bug

Bo-zhiya Ka-rova Make sure to roll the "R"







Wednesday, 26 October 2011


     I always thought I would speak in Russian all the time, but have found out that that is not the case. Hence Nastya learning English words. It is true she understands Russian more, but still picks up English words as well. She has some new words and below they are.








*Give me


*White light

Bi-lly svete



Some of these words are a little complicated due to the sound. We have a letter that represents the sound being hard and a soft letter. We also have a letter that is a hard E, "bl" is an e but more at the back of the throat. Others for example we find words in English that are the equivalent of the sound, for example the word white is pronounced billy exactly like the name Billy with a little tweaking of the first vowel it can be done.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Just Not Sure

     When we have children we are often at the Dr.'s office for baby well check ups, the last one Nastya's Dr. asked how many words and if she does this or that. She has done every milestone on time and some were even early. Now the one part i am just not sure about is her speech. She has a very large vocabulary you think it would be fine to just assume what it is would be great, but here is my question. Should we just use the English equivalent or should I try to find a Russian Dr. to see if she is on the right track in our language. It sounds really confusing because my brain is on over load. Do you understand me? No...ok so I am concerned that I don't know what level my daughter is because we are in an English speaking country. I know we can substitute for the literature here but should I get a doctor who knows the Russian language and knows where she should be?

     On a more happier note Nastya turned 2 yesterday. These last 2 years have been frustrating but so much fun. You see I get frustrated real easy and I have been working on getting better and not just flipping off the handle. I always said I never wanted to be similar to my mother and here I am doing the exact same thing. It is working because she listens better and does what I tell her when necessary. I have figured out that Nastya does not like to be yelled at, ok neither do I. She seems so big now and it is a little weird. I remember all mums telling me to enjoy it because it goes so fast; needless to say I didn't believe them. It has gone so fast that I don't know where the time went. She has gotten so big and is so smart it is as if it just happened one day and she started speaking and walking and crawling (only for one month so I didn't have time to get used to it). I know that she will one day be a Mum just like me so I want to groom her to the best of my ability.

This past weekend Nastya and I surprised his family by flying into Sacramento and only having one of his sisters knew what was going on. She did awesome on the ride there and back. I made Pasha not tell anyone including his parents because if they know it will no longer be a surprise. Saturday was the longest day of my life. We surprised them and it was a Kodak moment. My sister Tanya had the face of utter shock. You see I told them I wouldn't be there, but I had an unused plane ticket I had to use. The special occasion was our nieces 1st birthday. Everyone was there except for Mum and Dad so I got to see everyone's face. They were speechless for about 10 seconds. Now when parents came it was even more of a shock. Mum couldn't say a word for like 15 seconds, I don't think I have ever seen my mother in law so shocked. Dad was shocked but his facial expressions we not so emotional.


Friday, 14 October 2011


     When I was younger and started to learn Russian hastily my father hated it. One of the reasons was that he didn't understand what I was saying. Consequently I would be in trouble if I wasn't speaking English, yet to no avail I continued to speak Russian in his presence. You see not only is it nice to feel as if you have accomplished something huge in your life, but to also have a broader language curve. I also believe that it teaches a volume of children about tolerance.

     The one problem I do encounter with my side of the family is that they have a hard time communicating with her or complain about it. When I told my grandmother, who became a great grandmother with the Birth on Nastya that we will only be speaking Russian to her she was flabbergasted. She complained for many months..."How will we even communicate with her she won't understand us. Here is my standing on this. We live in SoCal, we don't have a lot of Russian speakers centred around us. don't get me wrong we do have them just not at many as in Sacramento. To understand the population difference you have to know this. In SacTown (this is what we refer it to) there is a Russian store on every corner and here in San Diego we have maybe 5 maximum for the whole county. Hence you get my point? 

     Ok, ok so you don't. My point is that we don't have a lot of Russian stores or people around us enough for her not to pick up English. She already has am astounding vocabulary in Russian and English; not to mention she learns something new everyday. Whether it is an animal sound, English or Russian word. We have neighbours that don't speak Russian but do learn some words, they think it is awesome. There for I don't have my brain worrying about if she will learn English. Children's brain has a complex but very interesting way of learning. Further showing proof that this can work and in the end would pay off. I read an article about Clifford J Levy and his families experiment on how he was transferred to Russia for his job at The New York Times. It talks about how he and his wife decided to send them to a Russian private school by the name of New Humanitarian School. He wanted them to be immersed in the language be synced in with them. There for me having no fear that if my child goes to school not knowing English she can learn it with steadfastness. She may fall a little behind but I have faith that she will be fine.

     One of my biggest pet peeve's is when you chose not to teach your child the language of your heritage. In the Russian/Ukrainian community in Sacramento of our generation (early 80's and on) both Pasha and I see many not teaching their children the ancestral language. Ok so my dad converted from a Jew to LDS, hence my lack of knowing Yiddish since most of my ancestors spoke it regularly on both of my fathers side (his parents divorced and remarried so a his and her side type thingy majig). Could I learn it yes, would it be a challenge yes. Maybe one day I will take on that challenge.

For any person who only speaks American English it is hard to learn a new language but as long as we strive for that perfection we can have a grasp of what we want even if it is a little one.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

      Did you get that? No? Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat! Ok ok you got it. In any language repetition is the key to learning. Lately we have been working on our animals names and sounds. Today was an awesome day she has said so many new words it seems that the repetition is working how it is supposed to work. Nastya said the following words. Some of them are taxing for the fact that the English language has so few words and its had to compare what word to go with. With the words new, hedgehog, hello and good the "o" is more as the "aw" in paw.



Bull Frog






Hope this gives a little insight. Looks as if you will be on your way to learning a new language.

Monday, 10 October 2011


        Have you ever heard a word but not quite sure what it means? Well in Russian there are a lot of those words. It seemingly happens to pounce on me. Nastya was saying Tea-pa for the longest time and someone asked the definition.  That was when I became stumped. How can it be that a person meaning me who was born and raised in the States not know the word. It so happens that American English is a befuddled language. You see Russian has many different word that you can't translate to English. Ok so I could translate it literally but it wont make sense. For example: the Russian language doesn't have the word special in the meaning of a person it is always referred to as a real life object.

Tea-pa the literal definition is what ever, however the correct translation is yea right. For example:

Kali: "I'm a millionaire" (as everyone knows I am a far cry from that)
Pasha: "Teapa"
 Each language has its own unique statements and accomplished words along with a dictionary with a plethora of jargon.  We Americans need to understand that we may have one word in American English but not in other 's I know its a hard concept to accept, but willing to have an open mind bring openness to learn new things. All in due time.

A little cuteness to see that almost all languages have the same sounds. No matter a lion in Russian or America this is one animal that says the same thing!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

I Don't Understand

Yes there are those times that I do not have a clue as to what my little lady is speaking of. For example, Nastya says "sim" for almost everything she can't say but knows what it is. I try to ask her what it means but it just never works. I am always lost when it comes to that word.

    For the longest time she was saying "eba" as in Reba without the R. When I turned on Nemo one day I finally knew what that word meant. The part where the fish are swimming down in the fishing net because Dory was stuck. So again I finally figured out one of her mispronounced words. Reba-pronounced just like the singers name means fish in Russian.

Then we have other times where she says words or phrases in English. For example she says I Love you in English. Ok it is more like I wove you. It is a little blurry but it is because it is from the old non reliable phone.

A Three Some and More

     Do we as adults even have the keenest idea how many words a child of 2 can learn in one day? I don't but today Nastya learned 5 new words in Russian. Was that even possible. I had no clue. We don't speak English to Nastya but she has picked up some words that I'm not exactly sure where, however I know it is from us speaking to non-Russian speakers.





*Turn on






These five words are eay but at the same time there is an a portion of turn on that you might have a problem with the tongue and the VK as one sound.

Good luck on today's lesson.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Rewind and Repeat PLEASE!

        When I found out that my fathers side of the family was Russian I started frantically learning the language. I used to live in the greater Sacramento California area and we had a colossal size Russian community approximately 4.5% of Sacramento County are Russian immigrants. Now it doesn't seem as if that is a lot, but if you consider that they only have a population of 466,488 as of the 2010 Census records. So it is about 103,000 +/- a couple thousand. That is a lot of Russians.

I decided to get to know my roots. I immersed myself in the language and picked it up quite well. When we found out we were having a girl we wanted to do a traditional Russian/Ukrainian names for our children. We chose the name Anastasiya Pavlovna. It means Little Resurrection but in the Russian culture it means Anastasiya belongs to Pavel Kalinyuk. We love the name and so did Pasha's parents, but the fight began with my family.

My grand mother ho I love dearly told me she needed to have a more American sounding name and something not so hard to pronounce. I do have people butcher her name but if they don't know how to say it almost everyone asks how to.

Anastasiya Pavlovna
Ahh-na-stah-see-ya Pawv-lov-na

In Russian we have a lot of letters that are sounds more than a letter. We also have 36 total letters in our Alphabet. Our Letters are as follows.

Image provided by
One part I do love with Russian is it is mostly phonetic. Once you know the alphabet you can read it. The pronunciation might be hard because the English speaking tongue is hard to ply to sounds you have never tried to pronounce.

Friday, 7 October 2011


As Nastya starts to have a larger and more complex vocabulary it seems she is picking up both English and Russian quite fluently. She has some new words that just surprise me.  Some words in English and Russian are similar to each other. For example we ordered some pizza this week in Russian you say see below.


kough- fee

Paw as in the dogs paw

Out of the three knew words only 1 has the mispronunciation problem and that is Paw. In lieu of saying lapoo Nastya says wapoo. She takes the "L" and replaces it with a "W". It is very interesting to see how she communicates with us in this giant world of ours. To see her grasping words I never had the chance to learn as a child greatly improves her ability to conquer challenges in life that come before us.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Hello...Nice to meet you!

           My name is CallieMarie Kalinyuk. I was born on March 6 1985 in Sacramento California. I have 4 Sisters all younger than me and a brother who is 15 months older than me. I grew up very poor and have been trying to overcome those obstacle's my whole life. I was raised LDS but now in my young age I don't have a religious faith. Pasha and I decided to become a married couple on August 9, 2008.

    I don't have a very great relationship with my parents due to disagreements and I not having the same beliefs as they do. You don't want to know my true feeling because this is not what this is about.

I have agonized over doing a blog and I have decided to take the plunge. My husband Pavel (AKA Pasha) Kalinyuk and I have decided to raise our daughter in a mostly traditional Russian  and Ukrainian house hold. Anastasiya (Nastya) graced this wonderful world on October 20, 2009, and thus began the journey of speaking Russian full time.

So the journey begins of living in our house hold 2 years after Nastya was born to teach Nastya and I Russian and Ukrainian.