Tuesday, January 29, 2008

up in the air in prague

This is in the exhibition grounds, right next to a performance hall. Not really sure why. Note that this is not a Czech helicopter. US Army.

Unfortunately, the pig was part of a temporary art exhibition downtown, so he's not around anymore. I think there was a sculpture featuring toilets right next to it.

M's preschool is in rented rooms inside a monastery. You enter it through the Franciscan Garden, seen here. It's quite a nice green space and features roses and lots of these lightbulb-shaped lamps.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

cool kid youtube stuff

Hey! I thought I'd share our favorite youtube vids for kids.

The Broccoli Song from Juno baby. "I say, 'No Way! Broccoli stinks!"


The Elephant Song by Eric Herman. "Elephants, I like elephants. I like how they swing through trees." "No, that's monkeys." etc.


The Dinosaurs Song for the Big Green Rabbit series. "Dinosaurs, big as trees. Dinosaurs, brains like peas."


Thursday, January 24, 2008


So I decided to learn how to knit, I'm not quite sure why. I think partially because I don't have a sewing machine (and other assorted sewing items here) and sometimes you just get the urge to make something. I could, of course, buy a sewing machine, but since there's a sad lack of cool kid fabric here, it's hardly worth it.

Knitting -- my first project was going to be a blanket for M's shark doll, but I quickly discovered that it's all about BIG needles and BIG yarn, otherwise it will take you 15 years to make anything. Now Barbie has a new scarf and M has a new scarf, too. V helped me pick out yarn for a scarf for her. I shouldn't have given her a say, because now I have to make a purple and pink scarf. But it seemed like a good idea at the time, since she kept running for the door of the yarn store. (The drugstore across from us had balloons on display.) Anyway, knitting is pretty fun and can be very cheap, too. And it makes you feel like those ladies in books. Knit, purl, oh no I dropped a stitch! M actually told me that when I knit it's like someone in a movie. Later on, I figured out what the reference is -- the really ditzy chicken in Chicken Run. I have a hard time keeping track of my knitting needles, oh wait, I mean "swords", when they're not in use. We're working on that.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Family Home Evening

We made a goal this year to make sure we have Family Home Evening absolutely every week. (FHE = once a week family meeting: prayers, songs, lesson, game and treat.) And we've started coordinating our lessons with the scriptures we're reading during family scripture study, which is working great so far. I got the idea because of the Christmas season -- I loved how well our kids learned all the aspects of the Christmas story, because we read it during scripture study several times, had an FHE lesson about it, heard about it at church, etc. (Pictures are from Christmas Eve.) So now we're trying to focus on other stories in the same way. So far, so good. M asks for more scriptures every night now.

Tonight we had friends over for dinner and FHE -- we read together in the Book of Mormon about the Nephites pitching tents to hear King Benjamin speak. We built tents out of blankets and listened while "King Benjamin" spoke from the top of our ladder (draped with another blanket to make it into a tower). Then the kids took turns on the tower reading or repeating something that King Benjamin said. It was fun!

Other random stuff:

M, peeking through the keyhole: So, going potty, huh?

A kid in Primary today: I'm going to have a testimony next week! (He's getting baptized next week.)

M: I already have my own testimony!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

funny sayings from the kids

Here are some funny or just plain cute things the kids have said lately.

My almost-2-year-old teaches me syntax --

Me: What's your name?
V: Me. And Mommy's name is You. And M's name is He.

V thinks I'm crazy --

Me: Let's see if the cookie dough is ready.
M: Ernie's favorite dessert is cookies.
V: I like cookies. And I like chairs.
Me: Chairs? You like to eat chairs?
V, giving me a total "you're crazy" look: No! Sit. With bodies.

M has had the flu. He's abnormally sweet and good when he's really sick, pretty much just lays on the couch all the time. So he watched Toy Story for the first time when he got sick and has since watched it maybe 3 or 4 more times? Favorite character: "Buzz Lightnear". Joining other favorites like "Lightning DeQueen" and "Little Worm-maid".

M on Christmas morning: First I'm going to eat all my chocolate race cars and then I'm going to eat all my dinosaurs and then I'm going to be sick.

5 minutes ago --
Me: Everyone is special because everyone is a child of God.
V: Daddy is a God.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

saturday is a special day

Saturdays are great at our house -- N is home all day (after usually being gone most of the week), we don't have any appointments, and we usually go on a small outing together. These outings can be categorized: Mommy's-fried-so-Daddy-takes-the-kids-out outings, lots-of-errands-let's-split-the-kids outings, or here-we-are-together outings. Occasionally, one of us will go out alone to get something done, but one family member doth not a family outing make, so those are not included.

Seriously, though, our decision of what to do for the day often has more to do with how I'm feeling than what we really need to get done. Today is a perfect example. I was feeling a little stressed, so I asked if my darling husband could take my darling children out for a little bit. Instead, said darling husband took them to the zoo all morning. As a result, I was feeling much better later and we managed a quite pleasant dinner out with the whole family. What all of that means is that the grocery shopping, our normal Saturday morning whole family outing, didn't get done, so darling husband is now out shopping. (Don't feel too bad for him -- he slept in and took a nap today, too.)

The kids had a great time at the zoo. Apparently, they didn't see a ton of animals, but they spent a lot of time at the playground (yes, we have playgrounds in our zoo :) and went to the petting zoo. Everyone said that V had a fantastic time at the petting zoo. She hugged the goat, she kissed the goat, she loved the goat. She's really into giving kisses right now, which is so, so cute, but only because they're nice dry kisses. ;-) M reported that the hippos were eating hippo lunch (hay) and that the elephant house smelled ... ... ... ... ... ... ... bad. He didn't seem to have enough words to describe it, so he just gave us the dramatic pause.

The extra time for the kids with just Daddy is very important at our house, especially for M, our 4-year-old. Because Daddy is gone a fair bit, Mommy does the routine kid jobs herself most of the time (feeding bathing, bedtime) and M tends to protest when Daddy tries to help. He really throws fits when Daddy punishes him. But all of this does seem to get better when M gets more private time with his dad. V loves her Daddy and is always happy to hang out with him, preferably with a book.
The bath pictures are about 6 months old, but I just came across them and thought they were cute. Our camera just took a spill and is broken, so no new pictures for a little while. Hope they can fix it!

Friday, January 11, 2008

dentist success

We went to the dentist yesterday for M's check-up. Previously, he's had several trips to the dentist and he was a good sport for a while, but they had to do some serious work on his teeth, so now he's not so excited. The promise of a special present from Daddy did the trick and he let them take an x-ray and look in his mouth and HOORAY! he doesn't have any more cavities right now. I think this is a very boring post, but it's very important for us!

In other news, although I've taken down our Christmas tree, the box is still sitting in my living room and I don't know when I'll be able to move the couch to a better place. It's in a random spot, but M has created a secret hiding place with the end of the couch, the wall and some chairs. Yesterday it was renamed "molehill" because he is now pretending to be Little Mole (Krtek). Krtek is the Mickey Mouse of the Czech Republic, an old cartoon character who is well-loved. Here's a clip of him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlCVQECx1H0

So we read about my sister's voucher program for her kids on her blog, http://pukingpastilles.com/, and I thought it was a great idea. When I ran the idea past M, he had to start it right away, so right before bedtime I had to print off some clipart to make vouchers and give him one for picking up some toys. It didn't work quite as planned, because instead of being happy about collecting vouchers so he could buy something at our home store, he got angry that he couldn't play with the voucher right now. Maybe I shouldn't have made them so cute :) I hope he gets over that, because it's a great incentive program. I'll probably merge it with his reading program and give him a voucher every time he reads a book. (A teeny tiny book -- we use Bob Books and Nora Gaydos' animal books to teach him. We love them both for different reasons.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

lack of sleep

I usually get plenty of sleep these days, so the lack of sleep in our house is not mine, but rather my children's and, chronically, my husband's, but that's a different post altogether. M just turned 4 and has been fighting naps for half a year now. We have quiet time when V naps and sometimes M takes a nap, too. The "sometimes" is the problem -- unlike some miracle children who will just collapse when they need a nap, M has to be prompted, coaxed, bribed and otherwise coerced into taking one, even when he's desperately tired. And I still don't notice all the symptoms of when he needs a nap until it's too late! So today was another day when he got totally out of control before I finally figured out that he absolutely had to have a nap, even though it was already after 3. And for good or ill, V was still asleep because she and I ran all over town this morning and she walked most of the way. What a trooper! Anyway, it always seems like other people's kids can handle lack of sleep better than mine can, and don't get as supercrank, but that's probably just an illusion. I hope.

Speaking of naps, here's a funny conversation we had yesterday when M and I went together to pick V up after her nap.

M: I'm Captain Moroni!

V: I'm Ham!

Me: You're what? Ham?

M: Yeah, yeah, Mommy, she's Mr. Ham, like a kind of meat, like Mr. Potato Head.

With all the encouragement from big brother, V has been pretending to be Ham ever since.

And speaking of Mr. Potato Head, I sing the praises of classic toys. V LOVES Mr. Potato Head and since we bought ours in the US, it was really cheap. And M got a View-Master for Christmas, which he thinks is really fun. That's the toy that looks like little binoculars and you put in cartridges to show cool 3D pictures. When we were kids, we kept our View-Master items in one of those lovely purple and gold Crown Royal bags from our uncle. I loved the bag and the toy. My mom says she loved hers as well. Didn't know that View-Masters have been around that long? First appeared in 1939, according to multiple websites. Most amusing fact: they were used to train US military personnel in the '40s. I'm glad that some toys do survive over the years. Games are much more likely to make it long-term, like dominoes! But it's nice to see some great toys endure as well.

Monday, January 7, 2008

snowy day and some sheet music

M was laughing at something V said during our New Year's party and V obviously loves olives ("vovives").

I want to tip you off on a great arrangement we are using in our church choir right now. Like many LDS composers, Steven Smith offers some sheet music for free download. (His other music is available for the very reasonable price of .65 cents a copy. All of these goodies are found at http://www.soundsmithmusic.com/.) So the piece in question is titled Testimony (the easy version) and is an arrangement of two classic LDS hymns, "I Am a Child of God" and "I Believe in Christ". Smith changes the melody of "I Believe in Christ" slightly so that it fits as a counter-melody to "I Am a Child of God". The easy version is indeed very easy and sounds SO good. There's a lot of great music out there, but this one is really fantastic, so I figured I'd laud it to all my friends. And it's free!! Here's the direct link for the pdf: http://www.soundsmithmusic.com/pdf/Testimony%20(Easy).pdf or you can get to it via his main page and also find an audio recording.

On to other local events: SNOW! This is our first real snow of the season (I think we missed some while we were out of the country a while back) and we lucked into perfect sledding snow on the weekend. M and his Daddy were out all afternoon and M is old enough this year to sled alone and had a great time. We also made snow ice cream -- I made it like my mom did, with snow, milk, sugar and vanilla. Both of the guys in the family were big fans. V doesn't love the snow or the snow ice cream, but I bet she will next year.

my first blog post

As I was going through the super-quick process of creating our blog, there were little voices contributing their opinions. So the look was chosen by M, my newly turned 4-year-old, but the name was chosen by me. He was lobbying heavily for Captain Moroni or Robin Hood. With more time for thought, he would have suggested Lightning McQueen, Joy to the World or possibly Vanilla Ice Cream. Who ever thought I'd have a child who prefers vanilla?! V sat quietly during the whole 5 minutes, drinking her milk and rubbing my shirt, which is comforting to her for unknown reasons.

Quote for the week, came up during a discussion of armor and weapons:

Me: Do you know why it's important to protect you heart? It's because our hearts are what keep us al-

M: I know, I know. Our hearts are what keep us in love with princesses.