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 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.
M's newest trick is counting backwards. During breakfast he counted back from 20 and it was great to see him really think about what he was doing. V is a munchkin as usual. She loves to count and can consistently count to 12. Her favorite conversation starter: "Do you know what happened?" Waits for encouraging comment. "Woody got an owie on his right arm." If I've heard it once, I've surely heard it 100 times. It refers to the plot of Toy Story 2. Her other very consistent habit? At the beginning of our family night every week, we sing a song. While the rest of us are picking a song, V jumps into the middle of the room and sings a Little Einsteins song to a Dvorak theme. Literally every week. M complains, but Mommy and Daddy think it's funny.

Monday, June 23, 2008

American consulate

We took a trip to the American embassy today to get a new passport for M. We have to renew our visas/residency permits shortly and his passport will expire before the new visas will. Anyway, I was amused today because every time we go, we see the same characters, although not the same people. Here's what we see: someone replacing a stolen passport (apparently they replace about 600 American passports a year in Prague -- all tourists beware), someone getting documents for a new baby, someone getting documents for a foreign spouse (or fiancee), someone getting a passport renewal. And we saw all of them today! Funniest thing about the embassy? My kids go crazy over the drinking fountain. While it's probably not the only one in the city, it's the only one I've seen.

Monday, June 16, 2008

new house!

We spent the weekend house hunting and already found a new home to rent! (It helps that there just aren't a ton of choices :) We had to find a new place because M's new school is not accessible for us right now, only because of traffic, not distance. I went out there this morning to drop off some papers and I got there in 12 minutes, but it took 43 minutes to get back to our current house. Ugh. The new place is in Dejvice, exactly the neighborhood we wanted, on the other side of the river from here. It's a quiet, established neighborhood and close to everything. Our kids are excited because it has a yard! We found this place pretty much as soon as it came on the market, so the prior tenants are still there and the painters are coming next week. They were planning to repaint everything the same beige color, but now I get to pick the colors. Great fun, but I'm never quite sure how things will turn out. The house is a little bland, so color will definitely help, but only if I choose well. And I get to discuss everything with the Czech painter guys, which should be entertaining. I'll post pictures once we get a chance to take some without furniture -- I'm sure the current tenants don't want pictures of all their stuff online.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Think pink

Think pink, purple, yellow or green but not blue -- it's a girl! We're expecting a baby girl on her Grammie's birthday, November 25th. V is almost a groundhog girl, M is almost a New Year's boy and this one might be a sometimes Thanksgiving girl.

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

Buzz Lightyear

M saw my Disneyland post and was sad that I didn't include a picture of Buzz, so here you go. The Buzz costume was pretty amazing and for the parade, we also saw some green army men who looked fantastic.
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.

We survived Disneyland

Here are some folks in front of V's favorite ride, the Orbitron. You can control the altitude of your rocket and M preferred bouncing up and down. V just liked going fast and high.

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

Disneyland Paris

Hey, I'll be out of touch for a few days. We're going to Disneyland! (Paris, that is) Hope to have lots of great pictures next week.