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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Home & Family


Our Girl’s Good News

We’ve been chatting with the kids about summer jobs. Granted, half the summer is over, but still, they can dream. Their ages are 17.5, 17.5, 16, and 13.5, two boys, two girls, all who arrived from Russia at older ages. The first boy is headed to college in the fall, the second boy is entering…


Crazy Car Conversations: The Tinkle Tax

Our family spends way too much time in the car. Shuttling between two homes with two boys, two girls, two parents and two dogs, it’s actually easier not to take the plane with our personal pilots and other paraphernalia. We arrive faster and fresher by driving. I thought. We may need to rethink that. During…


Another Funny Summer Flick

Do you want a movie full of adventure, a bit of Russian language, and dogs? Look no farther. This is a film with no swearing and plenty of good messages. The bad guys get into trouble, and the good guys/dogs come out on top. On Netflix, our family watched yet another in the series of…


Choose Your Battles-?

I have four teens in the home. I guess we could stop right there. For most moms, that’s shorthand for: I’m aging faster than the speed of light. Generally, our kids are good, so we’re blessed. Really. Of course, I’d have to acknowledge that I run a very tight ship, which probably is shorthand for:…


The Little Boy & the Little Free Library

Leawood, Kansas – A 9-year-old boy and his family started a “Little Free Library” in their front yard and are being ordered by the city to take it down. The small, elevated box with a sign that reads, “Take One, Leave One” is a no-cost, neighborhood lending library. We first saw this idea in practice…


Our Girls… Five Years Later

It was around this time, five years ago, that Benedetto and I found ourselves in a remote region of southern Russia, adopting two sisters. The weather was hotter than hot in a land with seemingly no air conditioning. Before my husband arrived, I remember sitting in a tiny square near the orphanage, a quilt placed…



I have turned into that caricature of a woman who searches here and there for her glasses, while they’re propped on top of my head. Forgetfulness is not so much annoying in and of itself, as much as it’s a waste of time. From the other side of the house, I decide to text my…


College Acceptance

The communique arrived before dawn in our son’s e-mail inbox. Short and sweet, it read something like this: “Many thanks for sending your application for a place commencing this fall. We have now made you an offer to study with us which has been sent separately to your email address.” The foreign university was well-respected…


Simple Summer S’mores

No campout, no grill, but still a hankering for S’mores? It’s hard to resist those tasty graham cracker and chocolate “sandwiches” with a hot, roasted marshmallow slid inbetween layers just to melt the chocolate and add further goo to the great snack. Well, Petya has been dessert-free for some time and he decided one night…


Sad Russian Stories

The novel, Anna Karenina, begins with the sentence, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” And while we all know that happy Russian families exist, you’d be hardpressed to find one in a popular novel or film. Social commentators have long observed that, the colder the climate, the…

The Daily Dilbert