Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
DW Duck: I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the batteries that are not included.
I've just been checking online to make sure we have the correct batteries for one of M's presents. Naomi and I were wrapping presents the other night when someone realized we didn't know what batteries the toys needed. Oops! Luckily, we've got it covered.
Nomie's hopefully made it home by now. We had a great time!! Everything was good, except that Aunt Naomi was the first to fall on our slippery stairs. This experience brought us the best quote from the trip:
V: My bum's poopy. Your bum's sore.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Baby E. The ages don't match exactly, but I think you can tell that little E will look just like that V picture in a couple of weeks! No wonder Nathan keeps calling the baby by the wrong name!! I was also surprised to see how much hair M had. I had forgotten. Some funny facts -- E's hairline is just like V's (and Nathan's), so she'll have a cowlick on the same side, etc. All three kids have one funny curving toe, just like me.
Monday, December 8, 2008
V has big news this week: she's learning to read! She's been very excited about learning letter sounds the past few weeks, which is great, because we use M's homework to practice her skills. It makes her so happy to be involved. And a couple of days ago, she was sounding out on Starfall.com and then read the word all by herself! (b-a-g bag!) She's done it a couple of times since, and it shocks me every time. It is so adorable to see how proud she is of herself. I know she can tell that I'm genuinely surprised at how clever she is, and she just glows.
M's big news this week: he had the last meeting of his Saturday morning football (soccer) club, and they gave out awards and goodies. He was so excited about his trophy that he didn't even want to have lunch at McDonald's on the way home -- he had to show Mommy right away. (Daddy takes him to football club.) The trophy has since been in various pockets, in M's bed, at church, in the car ... anywhere M goes, the trophy goes. I don't know what we'll do when the little plastic trophy breaks!
E doesn't have any huge news, although she did sleep longer than normal last night, which is really great. We have an appointment to get her birth record and passport papers filed tomorrow. The only tricky part is getting her passport photo -- we'll try to get it before the appointment, and just hope that I can get her to open her eyes ... I'm beginning to wish I'd gotten extra copies of V's baby passport pics -- I'm sure no one would be able to tell the difference. (Just kidding!!)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Other funny/interesting stuff, and isn't it nice to have news that isn't all about politics? ... (harmless) white powder at Mormon temples in assumed protest against the church's stance against gay marriage, the pregnant man is pregnant again (how much does he get paid for the stories? Enough to make up for babies one year apart?!?), Wal-Mart's making money (this goes in the category of "yeah, I always knew that" news. Tomorrow they'll announce that luxury retailers are losing even more money than expected. Ho hum.), and less than 20% of US adults are smokers. I'm actually surprised that the smoking level is that high. So sad that the rates are much higher for those with less education. Personally, I don't think this is really a matter of education per se (everyone knows tobacco's bad for you, right?!), but a matter of social acceptability among different demographic groups. I have absolutely no proof for that.
Anyway, I'm just killing time, waiting for the new arrival. Just a few more days ...
Friday, October 31, 2008
Here are the kids sitting with their jack-o-lanterns. M designed his himself, V approved my design for the other. They look great on our front porch! Another advantage of having a house instead of an apartment. We didn't have the only jack-o-lanterns in town. A family down the street is half American and even had a ghost in their yard. Their kids came to trick-or-treat us, then we went to their house a few minutes later.
SuperM! M designed the M himself, or at least requested the shape, etc.
I think V's about to get me with her magic wand in this picture. It sounded like she was putting a hex on one house that didn't give us a response when we tried trick-or-treating. We spend Halloween in the neighborhood close to one of the international schools in town. Tons of people descend for traditional trick-or-treating. We brought bags of candy to help resupply people who were running out, so we didn't feel like total mooches. We met up with friends and went around together, and ran into 3 other groups of friends during the evening. I'm sure there were others we just didn't happen to see.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Baby's growing and doing fine, although it looks like I overdid it this weekend, since I've been having lots of (painless) contractions. Doctor says take magnesium and "do you ever rest during the day?" Haha. I'm hoping it will calm down soon; it really was a busy weekend, with lots of church duties in addition to the normal stuff. My own personal eta is 3 weeks, so 1 week before my due date. But I could definitely be wrong :) Could be 2 weeks late.
The kids went to my appointment with me yesterday, which was crazy long (monitoring, obstetrician, internist to do EKG etc before hospital admittance). They were really good, so we had dinner at KFC next door. They both got stuffed dogs as the toy from their kids meals. M said he would name his Max. V said she would name hers Max too. (See comment above.) So now we have Maximillian and Maxine. Haf haf.
Monday, October 13, 2008
The weather's been nice in the afternoons, so we've been visiting a lot of parks lately. It's been very foggy in the morning, though. Nathan's flight this morning was delayed 2 1/2 hours because of it. He says, "no problem, I got a lot of work done."
V's having anxiety issues, I think. She freaks out whenever friends come over to the house. (Don't most kids freak out when you take them to new places?!?) And she's biting her nails, which could be for other reasons, but in combination with the freak outs, I wonder ... it's probably all due to the
New Baby, who is coming in roughly 6 weeks. I'm still feeling fine, but tired. And why do I never get the nesting instinct? It would come in handy right now. Instead I get the chocolate-eating bug. So sad.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The news from school this week: M's a great reader! OK, we already knew that, but it's nice that he's appreciated. His class is, of course, quite diverse. There are some kids who only speak English at home, some who are bilingual English/something, some who speak other languages at home but attended English preschool, a few who are totally new to English. Anyway, it makes the kids like M look brilliant. His best buds so far: one is Polish/Japanese and one is Ukranian/Norwegian. As other international school parents have told us, we're one of the boring families -- everyone's from the same country? Snore.
We threw a big housewarming party this weekend. We were hoping to have it partially in the backyard, but it was too chilly. So we learned what the capacity of our living room is. I think this is by far the most people we've ever hosted for before and it went pretty well. Actually it went really well, except for my being stressed about it :) We had plenty of food and plates, etc. I learned that fruit with dip was way more popular than chocolate cake (I'm not sure this can be taken as a general rule, can it? Seems so counter-intuitive.) I was a little worried that the big kids would be bored with the lack of X Box or other exciting stuff, but they amused themselves in the garage with our moving boxes. Too much fun, apparently. The only real downer was V -- the girl's just having adjustment issues right now. When the first family arrived, she started pulling on my sweater and pretty much fussed until people started leaving. This is quite normal for some clingy children, much to their parents' dismay, but not normal for V. Alas. I really thought she'd be happy with the extra mommy time she's getting now, but she's more attached to M than I thought? She seems to need lots more attention than before school started.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Here's Grammie and V blowing bubbles in the very green backyard. I'm not letting V see this picture, because we don't have any bubble solution in the house and that could cause major drama.
Uncle Z and M -- the light is not great, but I love it that they're standing in the same pose. Out of the shot, M is holding a guide to animal tracks. I think we found one somewhere that he could study. Of more lasting impression, Uncle Z found a tiny salamander. One of M's books from school this week was about an animal some kids found and they couldn't figure out what it was ... M guessed salamander at page one, and he was right.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
V is so funny lately. I asked her the other day if she was comfy and she said, "No, I'm not comfy. I'm not a couch." She's also picked up M's habit of insisting on being referred to as whatever character he's playing at the moment. Tonight I called her "beautiful girl" while I was changing her diaper. She said, "You have to call me V Tyrannosaurus Rex." Riiiight. Forgot that was her new name. A few minutes previously, M had taken V into another room (he was playing Daddy T Rex, by the way) and patiently taught her how to find and eat her own food. Yes, that means he was teaching her how to kill other dinosaurs, and he was so proud of her for learning how to kill her own meat. Wow.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
We visited Veletrusy palace on Saturday. It looks quite lovely from a distance, and up close too. This view hides all the scaffolding on the other side. Most people come for the grounds, rather than the palace -- it's an English-style park, with walking/biking paths everywhere. The palace is on the river, so we crossed at least one stream and had to drag V away. She loves rocks in general and especially loves to throw them in water. Once we pulled her away from the bridge, she kept filling her hands up with more rocks until she could hardly walk due to the concentration required to keep hold on all the rocks. Good entertainment value. I remember M being fascinated with throwing rocks in the water, too, maybe all kids are at this age.
The hippo pictures are from here in Prague -- from a playground in Letna park. Letna is on the opposite side of the river from us. This part of the park is very close to the metronome, yes, a huge metronome on a hill facing the river. The metronome replaced a monstrously expensive monument to Stalin that the Czechs pulled down after the fall of communism.
The green pics are back at the Veletrusy palace. Check the crown in V's hair, made out of grass. M got a kick out of picking grass to help me make it, but soon lost interest and went back to playing ball and hitting anything and everything with a very long stick. I love the picture in the stroller. She's smiling in later pics, but the expression is priceless here.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Nathan had picked up some regular legos (we had duplos before) the last time he was in the US to save for M. We got them out last week in an effort to keep M busy and, of course, they're a big hit. The picture shows a roller that he made from instructions -- he only asked for help a couple of times! Legos have got to be one of the greatest toys of all time. Someday we'll have to visit Legoland -- it's not close enough for us to visit it in one day, but we could do it over a long weekend, I think. V loves the small legos too, but mostly loves to take them apart. We're teaching her to take them apart and PUT THEM AWAY in the lego bin. Did you know that the different sizes of lego blocks really fit together? They're called legos, duplos and quatros, and it's true! They really work together. Try it out sometime. We also discovered some cool stuff on www.lego.com. You can use their software to make your own building instructions (and, naturally, buy all the blocks to make your creation!) and you can download instructions that other users have made.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
V's joke -- at dinner a couple of weeks ago, V kept asking for more.
v: "I want more please!"
M: "You want some more? Okay."
V: "No. I want more please!" (She's grinning now.)
M: "You want more?"
V: "No. I want little mole!" (Little Mole, the Czech cartoon character) Endless giggling from everyone, especially V.
Puns from the toddler! Even funnier because in V lingo, "Mole" and "more" sound exactly the same. It's now a family joke, because of course she repeats it often. Nothing like positive reinforcement. Or bribery -- I just read an article about a guy whose kids eat anything. He says it's just because they live in China, but he did use money to get them to try really weird stuff sometimes. $1 if you eat the scorpion. I'm not sure if that's bribery or a dare and I'm not sure I could eat a scorpion. They're down there with cockroaches in my book. Crawfish, on the other hand ... I'm ready Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad right now and there's a lot of cajun stuff going on. Gumbo, jambalaya, Mardi Gras, sassafras.
Monday, June 9, 2008
M on the plane, in disguise.
Every picture that I got of them on the teacups shows a lot of grins. Nathan's teacup spins faster than anyone else's and apparently the little ones like it too. It was fun to see lots of the same rides we went on the last time I was at a Disney park, Disneyworld more than 20 years ago. I remember more than I thought.
The castle at Disneyland Paris is supposed to be Sleeping Beauty's castle. There are 15s everywhere because this year is the 15th anniversary of the park.
Goofy at our hotel (we stayed at Davy Crockett's Ranch, which is actually hundreds of trailers in a forest. It feels a lot like a state park :) It worked out great for us because we had more than one room and got to hear birds singing every morning. Staying in an official Disney hotel means you get 2 extra hours at the park in the morning, which was fantastic. We started off almost every morning by riding the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast 2 or 3 times. It's really a great ride -- you get to shoot your own laser guns at targets and the ride keeps score for you. A huge success with our two Toy Story fans and also video game enthusiasts everywhere. The kids also loved the Peter Pan ride, the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups (they rode this often, but only with Daddy. Mommy does not do the tea cups.), and lots of others. The Winnie the Pooh show was a big hit as well. All in all, it was really great. It took V half a day to figure out that we really had to get off the rides at the end. The only downside was the miserable food. Can't they figure it out in Paris, of all places?!?
Monday, June 2, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Here are some pics from our activity at church on Saturday -- it was all about missionary work, so the kids made piggy banks to save money in, they ran a relay race getting dressed in missionary-type clothes, they made wrapping paper for small gifts for the missionaries serving in Prague right now, and they heard all about the missions of some members of our branch. Lunch was American and Chilean food -- the adults that talked about their missions served in the US and Chile. Everything went great, even V was happy. Normally she wouldn't go with me, but Nathan was out of town. She did some of the activities and spent a lot of time drawing on the board. I was particularly surprised that the lunch went well -- it's always hard to guess what kinds of foreign food kids will eat. We had empanadas and baked potatoes. They loved them both. The oranges were not as popular :(
Monday, May 26, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
N: What's his name again? Max the friendly, happy alligator?
M: It's Max the A-LI-GA-TOR.
We couldn't stop laughing. M seriously separated each syllable so that slooow Daddy could understand. Too funny.
This week I'm frantically visiting schools for M to attend in the fall or next year -- I just decided that maybe his current school won't be the best option next year. So far, I've got one good option, a montessori school. I've read about Montessori programs quite a bit and it amazingly works just as advertised (at least in this school I visited). The kids really work quietly at their tasks, by themselves or in small groups, they seem totally happy and calm. And they focus on having all kinds of adult things made to their size, so the classrooms are very cute. The toddler room had scrubbies for cleaning just the right size for a 2-year-old. V was with me, which was a bit crazy. She loved that they even had kid-sized guitars for music time. "They're just my size!" More school visits to come in the next few days.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
V's newest trick is playing I Spy. We've played pretty often before, and she always just picked a color, actually one particular color ("I spy something pink.") and then the first thing that we could find that's pink, she'd agree that yes, that was right. But last week she finally figured out the game, both the guessing part and the I Spy part. We've had a lot of fun with it. It works great unless we take too long guessing, at which point she tells us the right answer. As if it's a great accomplishment that she knows the right answer. (Me: Is it the bowl? V: No. I know, I know, it's the shirt!) After a very long game a couple of days ago, I said, "I spy with my little eye something beautiful!" V's response was immediate. "Is it me?" Such a well-trained little girl. :)
Plans for this week: visiting lots of potential schools for M. Here's hoping we can find the perfect place.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
All of these pictures are from a weekend trip we made to Vienna while Grandma was here. The first few are from a very large park area in Moravia, on the border with Austria. We stopped there on our way to Vienna. It is truly a huge area, with lots of follies and palaces and such. Apparently best visited on bicycle -- we only saw a small part of it. But we played in the grass, smelled the lilacs and had a picnic.
I hope you can see the motion here -- he was going pretty fast. This lovely playground was a block from the apartment we stayed at in Vienna. It featured a real tractor, a zip line, climbing rocks, a very tall slide and the occasional random person sleeping on a bench. It was just great and the gorgeous weather we had made it seem even better.