Monday, March 30, 2009


So I woke up to snow on my birthday, always disappointing, but not unexpected. The weather's getting better now. Perhaps that was the final snowstorm of the year? That's my lovely car in the shot -- as part of my marvelous birthday celebration, Nathan and the big kids carnapped the Volvo and got it washed and detailed while I was elsewhere with the baby.
Here we are with our ridiculous amounts of birthday cake. I'd tell you the story of the 3 birthday cakes, but I'd have to make it up since the real story is not so interesting. Basically, I have the kindest husband ever. Luckily we had friends over yesterday to help us eat it up. Of course I received some lovely presents. M and V took turns helping me open them. And I have to laugh because I apparently always sit in the red chair, with E beside me. So both of us have lots of pics in this chair :)

I'm making a weird face in this picture, but I had to post it because E is so cute! She must have been interested in the camera.
Look! OK, you have to look very closely, but our plants are sprouting in the garden. V and I planted some carrots this week, and we're looking forward to the Easter break because it will be just about the right time for all the summer plants, so we can fill up the rest of our plot. Clever idea? Plant the same item every couple of weeks so that you can harvest over a longer period. You gardeners out there already know this trick, but a lot of it's new to me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

baby baby

This shot is mainly for the grandmothers. Honestly, the chub is more evident in person, but this at least gives you an idea. She weighs 8 kilos now, wow. Note the crossed feet ...
And crossed here, too. I accused V of taking off the baby's socks twice last week before I realized the baby was doing it herself. She just crosses her feet and wiggles. She's doing all kinds of bigger baby things now -- kicking, swinging her arms, laughing, grabbing things, trying to put things in her mouth.

And sucking her thumb! I know a lot of moms freak out about this, but I think it's so cute. Especially when they're small -- her hand covers half her face and sometimes she pokes herself in the eye, but she still does it! M was the same way -- both kids sucked their thumbs once or twice right after birth, but then weren't able to do it as they lost some of that in-vitro coordination. Then they picked it up again around 4 months. E is on a bit of a nursing strike right now. She's still eating, but not very often and cries and turns her head away at the breast, all that kind of stuff. Not sure what's causing it, but I have lots of ideas: she's so excited about finding her thumb again that she prefers it right now, she's ready to eat some real food not all this milk stuff mom!, she's more interested in moving and such and has no time for nursing, her teeth hurt since she's constantly teething. Ah, who knows, but it seems to be getting better. At least I know she's not going to waste away (see top of this post).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I feel like I've reached some new milestone in parenting. Our son has started sliding down the banisters.

Monday, March 16, 2009

kid pics

M appeared this afternoon in his coach attire. He taught me how to play tennis and V wanted her own outfit.
The sunglasses are mustaches in this picture, according to M.


We have a garden! Nathan dug for a couple of hours on Saturday to make this garden plot for us. The kids are already learning a lot -- how to get their hands dirty, how to wait, and all about what plants need. It's rained twice since we planted our first batch of seeds on Saturday, so all is well. Our kids' biggest ew gross moment wasn't the worms, but rather the compost. "Cow poop?!?" The garden brings back lots of memories of childhood gardens. Luckily we don't have to water the garden as much here as in Dallas. But we don't get as much sun. We're heavily considering pulling up some of the landscaping so we can plant some tomatoes in the sunniest part of the yard. I'm particularly excited about foods we couldn't grow in Texas -- here I'm planting raspberries and strawberries! We had strawberries when I was a tiny tot in Arkansas and I still remember them. What I learned from gardening as a kid? We are so not planting corn.
Our neighbors came to help us plant. They don't have their own yard (it's a shared space), so they're sharing our garden. Hopefully they'll help us eat the excess. With 4 kids helping, the 2 moms weren't able to regulate everything perfectly, so I think we're going to have some plants popping up in strange places. Once you get them started planting, it's hard to make them stop!
2 tired kids. They're just pretending to sleep.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


When M was home sick last week, Nathan bought a couple of books to keep him occupied. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes was a huge hit. The vocabulary in some of the strips is beyond him (he still slogs away, though, sounding out "in-fan-ti-cide" etc.), but a lot of the humor is right up his alley. He loves the Sunday strips with Spaceman Spiff, which incidentally, I've always found boring. Even V will sit and look at the book for ages. The best part, though, is watching M crack up. He literally falls over laughing sometimes. One of his favorites is a strip where Calvin hits Susie with a snowball and then teases her because her snowball is far to big to lift. Joke's on him when Susie puts Calvin into the snowball head down. Insert hysterical laughter here. Everyone who has been in our living room this week has said, "Oh, I love Calvin and Hobbes!" or something like unto it.

The other book Nathan picked up is The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr Seuss. I was reading the short story Too Many Daves to V this morning and couldn't read it aloud without laughing. The premise is that Mrs. McCave has 23 sons all named Dave. Here's the part that makes me giggle:

And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
And one of them Shadrack. And one of them Blinkey.
And one of them Stuffy. And one of them Stinkey.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Ziggy. And one Soggy Muff.
One Buffalo Bill. And one Biffalo Buff.
And one of them Sneepy. And one Weepy Weed.
And one Paris Garters. And one Harris Tweed.
And one of them Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt
And one of them Oliver Boliver Butt
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate...
But she didn't do it. And now it's too late.

Paris Garters really gets me, who knows why. Also Putt-Putt and Stinkey. I especially love the -ey on Stinkey. Makes it fancier, right? Speaking of names, I need to find out the names of the kids in V's pre-school class. She's been talking about one boy with an incredibly garbled name. Shades of "Oddleboddle". (My sis' name for our childhood friend Alvaro).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

prescription drugs

We ended up at the doctor today to get some antibiotics for M. The flu the kids had a couple of weeks ago went away and then M got sick again with a vengeance yesterday. I'm not the type of mom who calls the doctor a lot, but sometimes you just know that antibiotics are all that will help. After our visit, I was thinking about public healthcare and drug regulations ... for instance, I went in to the doctor today specifically to get antibiotics. In some countries, like Mexico for one, I could have just gone to the pharmacy and picked them up. No doctor visit, lower costs for everyone, pharmacists still give it to you so you're still going to be informed. Why not? Here it's the opposite of that -- drugs seem less likely to be offered over the counter than in the US. I asked for some antibiotic cream one time. So sorry, you have to see a doctor. Lots of things have gone OTC in the US and are prescription-only here. And then there's the fact that even non-prescription items must be requested at pharmacies. So you have an embarrassing problem? Can't slip the Preparation H under your other items at check out, nope, you have to ask for it. And if you're a foreigner, that might involve even more embarrassing sign language. (Actually, not, because pharmacists like other college educated folk here speak English and often something else as well.) Yeah, the whole counter-service thing is cute and quaint, but sometimes less convenient. Anyway, contrary to what it may seem, it doesn't bother me unduly, but I do wonder about the cost-effectiveness of the public healthcare system. When I'm sick, Czechs often ask if I've been to the doctor yet. I'm always a bit surprised -- why would I go to the doctor when I've just got a cold? But if the doctor is free, or practically so, why not? Well, even if it was free, I still wouldn't go. I'd rather sit on my favorite chair and blog about nothing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

friends' visit

Here is V in her beautiful dress and sweater from Grammie and Grandpa Bond. She really likes this outfit and lets us eat the candies on her clothes. Can you see the Fisher Price cash register? Some toys are timeless.
We had a really great weekend -- some old friends of ours from our college days recently moved to Germany on an assignment. (Such good old friends -- she was my roommate at one point, the guys used to play a weekly pool game, our first date was a triple with them and one other couple. Good times.) So they drove over with their 3 kids and stayed with us for a couple of days. It's amazing how much we still have in common -- at least partly because our big life changes have happened at about the same time. So our kids are close in age, we're all in Europe now, etc. The kids played really well together (boys + legos = BFF). We even managed to get a baby sitter and go on a date, with only my baby in tow.

Big grins from our little chubber. Her shirt is even gapping!