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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…!

Russian Adoption

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Monday Mottoes – #209

Today our eldest son turns 21. For all intents and purposes, he should be 13, not because of any immaturity on his part, but because we adopted him when he was almost 8 and I would have loved to have been his mother for all 21 years. We’ve made up for lost time with adventures…

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Russian Diplomatic Retaliation

In tit-for-tat sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a staff reduction of the US diplomatic mission in Russia. While the 755 dismissed employees will be sure to cause inconvenience, it is most likely that the majority of those fired may come from the ranks of Russian citizens. Yes, Russians working in the American Embassy property…

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High School Homeschool Graduation

The end of an era. Pasha, 20, and Mashenka, 19, were graduating from high school. Nine years and eight years prior, both had arrived from Russia, woefully behind in their studies. Attending Russian internats, the orphanage boarding schools, most adults acknowledged that a quality education was not a top priority for kids who would most…

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Teen Summer Job Interviews

Our kids are finishing up their school year a bit late. That’s what happens when you travel the world and also when you don’t pay attention to your calendar. Personally, I like to see an end date and then work backwards from there, but hey, not everyone listens to me. Consequently, it’s mid-July and they…

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Semi-Adult Children Who Desperately Need Guidance

Two young men in their twenties have recently hit international news headlines and it’s not for helping little old ladies across the street. Though vastly different, their stories are similar in their tragic nature. Two men on the cusp of adulthood, their futures cut short through the poor choices executed. Now, as a parent of…

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Seven Best Ways to Wear a Work Bandanna

Ahh, the bandanna, that 100% cotton work scarf that anyone who works or plays outdoors knows and loves. We use them in gardening, in archaeology, in construction, in hiking. They cover the chest and neck, whether the front “v” of a shirt, or the back exposed neck above a t-shirt. Said to have been in…

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When We Can’t, God Can

It’s a marvelous situation: our oldest son (21 in September) actually listens to us. Parental words of wisdom and encouragement are soaked up by him. He is growing and going because he believes that with God, all things are possible. All of our kids come from trauma and abuse backgrounds, leading to Russian orphanages before…

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Monday Mottoes – #182

Our family hails from Italian and Russian backgrounds, Benedetto from the former, myself and the kids from the latter. We are not Russian Orthodox, however, the week of Mas’lenitsa, which was recently celebrated, is not worth missing. Depending on your frame of mind, it can be a pagan custom celebrating the arrival of spring with…

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The Opposite of Yo

“Mashenka!” Benedetto called our 18-year-old daughter. “Yo!” she replied. I raised my eyebrows.  Personally, I prefer a more refined form of communication, not borderline ghetto talk. “Papa doesn’t care if I say Yo,” she said. “I do. Just because your English isn’t very good doesn’t mean you can’t figure out why Yo is not so…

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Money Talks with Minnie the Moocher

Minnie the Moocher was a 1931 jazz song about a woman who begged for a living. In our family, it reminds us of Sashenka, 16-going-on-3. All she talks about is money and I wonder if it may be our fault. We don’t talk about finances non-stop. And we are not poor. So we try to…