Thursday, May 29, 2008

zealous commentors

I was looking at articles about the 5-year-old kid who was voted out of his class recently (which has opened a lot of debate about mainstreaming, autism, etc.) and saw, among the normal posts with the occasional misspelled word, someone used the word "zealotous". No joke. And then I searched for the word "zealotous" on the web and found many hits! Grammatical and spelling errors I totally understand, happens to all of us. But zealotous is on a different, much funnier level. Should we also say sinnerous instead of sinful or saintous instead of saintly? Or maybe we could make bigotous a word, since bigot doesn't seem to have an associated adjective...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the school is ...

riverside! It's not 100 percent yet -- we haven't payed any money, among other things, but it looks like that's the one M's going to in the fall if all works out. It's a private Christian school, but with a secular curriculum if that makes sense -- the teachers are Christian and they teach a religious class once or twice a week, but the rest is British curriculum. I really like it because they believe in differentiation, ie they sub-divide classes by ability for most assignments. So kids can work at their own level, hooray. And the curriculum's advanced and the teachers are very nice, etc. M will start in Year 1, which is like American kindergarten. Yes, it's a year ahead, and yes, we've had to jump through hoops to manage it, but it looks like it's going to work out. M visited their reception class yesterday (4-5 year olds) to see how he would fit in with that group and the teachers were amazed. OK, they didn't say AMAZED, but I know that's what they meant. Even I was amazed, because I wasn't sure how he'd do with just one morning at a new school, but he was totally comfortable and fit in beautifully. If it doesn't work out for some reason, we'll probably go for the Montessori school. I love it too, but it's not in as convenient a part of town for us (like, not convenient at all). Anyway, I'm very excited because I think it'll be great for our little boy, and hopefully great contacts for me as well.

primary activity

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

reality tv

So, I am confessing a soft spot for reality TV talent shows -- I follow them on beloved youtube, and sometimes it can be lots of fun, since I can just watch the good stuff that way. (But American Idol this year was not fun. Lame season.) So some are really boring, but sometimes you get to see Paul Potts. I'm posting today because So You Think You Can Dance just started a new season, and this is a really great show! Why is it great? Because unlike some other shows (read American Idol), I get the feeling that they really look for the best talent they can get. And for whatever reason, they get really, really good talent on the show. AND I love that they take the broadcasting time to show great dancers who won't make it onto the live shows, not as an emotional manipulation of the audience, but because they want to give them exposure. Last season one of the judges offered a kid a movie part during his audition. Negatives? The dance world is a small one and it gets a little tiring seeing the same people from year to year, or siblings, or people from the same dance school, etc. If you want to see something amazing from the first episode this year, look up Robert Muraine on youtube.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

M correction

I almost forgot about this story, but now I'm sharing it with you. When we visited the zoo in Vienna, I bought a small stuffed animal/beanie thing for each kid. M was immediately very attached to his and named it Max the Alligator. (He joins M's toy family which consists of Doc the Shark, Baby Nemo -- who happens to be a small white-ish teddy bear not in any way fishlike, and Buzz Lightyear.) Later in the day, Nathan asked M to remind him what the alligator's name was.

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 plays I Spy

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

Grandma's trip pics

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.
We visited the Vienna children's museum while Grandma went to the art museum -- the kid museum had different themed sections with timed entries. We went to the Ocean and the kids had a great time -- basically they got to explore this great kid-sized ship. V loved the fish. She could feed them to anemones (manned by other people), put them on fishing lines, reel them in, or send them down a fishy slide. M loved this pulley arrangement; Daddy put on the load for him and M got to raise and lower it and pivot it around.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cowgirl and the Sheriff

So, Grandma Wicker made it here safely and is even doing great on the jetlag front. I'm a little jealous, since we tend to have drawn-out kid jetlag issues, but very happy that she's sleeping through the night and feeling well. The kids are so happy to have her here, M especially. He sat mesmerized a couple of days ago while she told him stories of her youth -- horses instead of tractors, one-room schoolhouse, etc. (No, she's not that old, but she happened to live in an area that had one-room schoolhouses longer than much of the US.) He also kept her captive playing with his new "spellominoes" cards and teaching him about addition. Both kids received new sheriff/cowgirl hats which have rarely been removed for 3 days now. After family prayer a couple of nights ago, V couldn't hold it in anymore and announced, "I want to say Yeehaw!" I should get out some "cowboy music" for them to dance to.

Tomorrow we leave for a long weekend in Vienna. We're hoping to stop off in a large park area on the border between Czech and Austria on the way. 4 hours with 5 people in our Passat may be a little cramped, but Vienna should be lovely right now.

The KitcheAid is my birthday present which finally arrived! Isn't it pretty?!? Nathan imported it personally from the UK. He also picked up a toaster last week, and M and I love toast :) I'm not entirely sure why I hadn't bought a toaster yet, but when you're on a temporary posting, some purchases seem frivolous ... but maybe I just hate to spend money?
Oh, and I included the pic with the stroller because of V's shoes -- check it out, she put them on herself, so she not only has one sock, but the shoes are also on the wrong feet. She's not bothered at all, because she did it *all by herself*

Saturday, May 3, 2008

small visitor

So we've been a little busy here -- we had a small friend staying with us for a few days, and since he was sleeping in the computer room, I haven't had time to blog. We had a great time while he was here. Thankfully he's a very easy kid and only cried when he wanted out of his crib in the morning or once when he dropped something on his foot. That makes me cry too. It was really fun watching our kids interact together -- we know VR well, but it's different when we have him full-time. Check out the photo of the two boys together -- why does VR have his hood up? Because M does. They were in the swings at the same time and VR did everything M did -- put his hood up, held onto a certain part of the swing, kicked his feet, etc. Pretty cute. We got lots of funny looks -- the two 2-year-olds are literally a head different in height, so they look like they could be year-apart siblings. 3 small kids in CZ? Crazy.
Spring is finally here and the weather's great! Leaves are out on most of the trees and there are still blossoms on a lot of them. Every year I forget how beautiful and green Prague is in the summer. We've had quite a wet spring this year, but even so, I don't think we'll get springtime floods, since there wasn't much snow this year.
Kid quote:
M: V, don't you want some pants on?
V: Yeah! (dancing and singing) Pants song, pants song, pa-aaants song!