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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


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


The Girlfriend Cometh

Petya, age 20, has a girlfriend. She lives far away, but is coming to visit next week during her university break. Our son, in his own inimitable style, is preparing. We need to work on the guest room. Lots of cleaning has taken place in the room that became a catch-all, as well as an…


A Girl’s Ambition… in a Boy’s Pants

That doesn’t sound right, does it??? Our kids are preparing to work a volunteer job at a Washington advocacy firm. Excitement levels are running high, not knowing whether they might be trusted with an actual task of significance, or if they might only file, make coffee and answer the phone. No, I take that back….


Kicking Chaos to the Curb

I have lowered the boom. We are quashing chaos. My children come from backgrounds where their lives were out of control. That’s putting it mildly. Ending up in the Russian orphanage system signaled a definite upturn in events for them, which only proves how chaotic things had become. It was desperate. Sad as that may…


Monday Mottoes – #173

Right now, I’m living with some half-hatched, larvae-like kids and I’m sure they’d say the same about me. Happily, things started turning around on Friday when they decided to get with the program and have a nice holiday dinner on the eve of Russian Christmas. Girls helped with the mushroom and onion piroshki, slicing, dicing,…