Saturday, August 03, 2013

Stephanie's painting

Look what our sweet Stephanie painted oh-so-carefully.  Every choice made was hers.  She painted so delicately and deliberately as she set her scene.  She explains the sky as "changing weather".

Stephanie's painting

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ellie says

It's been a while since I've posted an Ellie says, mostly because as an older kid, she doesn't toss out as many quotables these days.  Except lately.  This week in particular, I've noticed her communication is frequently peppered with "Yeah, I know, right?" in a very teenager-esque way, so cool and flippant but without a hint of irony.  For example, today has been unpleasantly warm (a storm is coming).  Finally, a breeze has kicked up.  I commented on how nice it felt at last, and she nodded conspiratorially and gave me a casual "Yeah, I know, right?"

I have no idea where she picked this up.  It has definitely come from someone outside our house.  But really, it makes me smile.  This cool, flippant teenager-esque seven-year-old girl.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A self-aware girl

When Stephanie got her ears pierced, she did so with a fierce certainty that it was what she wanted.  She didn't even flinch when the girl at the piercing stand in the mall popped each earring in place.  She was so proud we had to stop strangers to show those earrings off (for days afterward).  While Ellie wailed and fought and struggled with nightly cleaning, Stephanie was ready and cooperative and accepting of the process.  She wanted new earrings to wear and change and show.

Then, we changed her earrings for the first time...and her ears became slightly infected.  I learned later that this is to be expected (happens to almost everyone I've asked).  As soon as I noticed, we changed them back to the original piercing earrings and upped our cleaning regimen.  The infection passed quickly, but it left her reluctant to change her earrings again.

I knew we needed to take her earrings out again for a good clean, and I had prepped her for that for days.  She likes to know what to expect.  I told her when we would do it.  She looked nervous, but didn't object.  Last night was the night.  The woe was epic.  I hadn't anticipated the dread and concern she had worked up in opposition to those earrings coming out again, but she cried for over an hour (well after the deed had been done) and refused to put any earrings back in at all.  When I pointed out that her holes would close and she wouldn't be able to change her mind, that we wouldn't let her try again until at least another birthday had passed, she accepted that with teary resignation, admitting,

"I just wanted earrings because Makenna has them.  I don't want them for myself."

Such self-awareness in such a young girl knocks me over.  It's just how she is.  She is such an old soul. It doesn't really surprise me anymore, but it does and she does amaze me, every day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday to Papa!

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Papa is 43 today!  I remember his 20s!  Where did the time go?

Since his birthday is on a busy Monday, we celebrated in our family tradition on Sunday, starting the day with cake (in his case, Geburtstagbrezel) and presents.
Papa is a tough guy to buy for because he really doesn't want stuff.  Papa likes experiences, so Mama planned a unique one!  I organized a sitter for the afternoon, so we could have a "Date Night" at a local glassblowing studio.  We each made a paperweight, an ornament and a drinking glass.

adding colour

shaping the glass

heating glass in "the glory hole"

big tough arms

"the glory hole"

shaping the glass

Each project built up skills needed for the next one.  It turns out blowing glass was hard work!

working hard to blow that glass

blowing and shaping

It was also great fun, and after the glass has time to cool properly, I can go pick up our projects.  They were still so hot when we left that we couldn't see the colours.  We can't wait to see how they came out!

Happy Birthday, Markus!

birthday date

Friday, January 25, 2013

Immunization day

always with the kitty

Our sweet Stephanie received a long-dreaded immunization today from our wonderful doctor.  When we experienced our pediatric debacle this summer, the immunization process there was so traumatizing that she has been living in fear of this one remaining immunization (I wouldn't let them continue after the two she received there; they were so harsh and scary).  Lately, she has brought it up a lot, so I figured we better get it out of the way.  I talked a lot to her about the gentleness and kindness of our new doctor, Dr. Ke.  I told her that the immunization itself would probably hurt a bit, but Dr. Ke wouldn't hurt her, that I trusted Dr. Ke and she could too.

Dr. Ke was as wonderful as I had expected.  She even drew a smiley face on the band-aid she put on Stephanie's arm.

Stephanie still cried from the stress of it.  And cried and cried after we were back in the car.  Poor mite.
I was so touched and proud to observe that while she was so very worried about it, she kept all her tears bundled inside her until we left the doctor's office.  She always tries so hard to be brave.

We went to the local bookshop and chose a new book as a treat and indulged in a chocolate chip cookie.

By the time we went to school an hour later, the stress of it was gone.  She was so proud, relieved it was over and so very proud she had been brave.  By the time I picked her up from school two and a half hours after that, she had found her groove.  She was asking me to tell everyone about her immunization, and she couldn't wait to show off her band-aid with the smiley face.  She even told Ellie that she is ready to get another immunization from Dr. Ke anytime because Dr. Ke is so nice and gentle.  Ellie was incredulous, but I had to smile.

Oh, this girl.

  creativity in flow

Monday, January 21, 2013

I know


With the girls are sharing a room, Markus and I take turns reading them their bedtime stories each night.  Tonight is Markus's night.  Their bedroom is directly over the kitchen, so I can hear his soothing voice through the ceiling as he reads them to sleep...and I know our girls have the best father in the world.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Glorious sunshine

sunshine afternoon

sunshine afternoon

sunshine afternoon

It has turned into the most beautiful afternoon outside.  The grey of the morning gave way to sun early in the afternoon.  The snow that has stood on the grass for well over a week is melting away, returning green grass and golden sunlight and bright white of the melting snow to the palette that has long been greys, blues and browns only.  It does my heart good, heals the soul.  I had forgotten during our Australia years just how difficult the grey winter months can feel.  Trying not to be a complainer, knowing full well that there are months of this to come...but I will soak up these perfect afternoons, hoping to store up a bit of their magic for the days ahead when I will need it to break up the grey.

  sunshine afternoon

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sick again (still)

Oh, the sickness.  When we were all sick over the holiday, I told myself "at least we could just be sick and get better", because getting better is what I thought we were doing.  Everyone seems to be doing that except me.  Today, I succumbed to this germy awfulness and called the doctor.  Eight times (no one was answering).  At noon, she returned my pathetic and sad voicemail and I went in straight away.  Less than an hour later, I had antibiotics and an inhaler for the wheeze in my chest.  I don't know if I've ever been so happy to have antibiotics in my hands.  Let's hope this does the trick!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Forced march

New Year's forced march

ready for the snow fight

snowballs in action

snowball building

New Year's forced march

Snowboots and winter wear were tested.
Snowballs were thrown.
Snow was enjoyed.
Sunshine was celebrated.

Friday, January 04, 2013

A new year begins

Well, I think I can safely say this year's holidays were a bit of a wash.  Markus and Stephanie woke up sick on Christmas; Ellie and I were sick for New Year's.  We got some kind of awful cold/flu that was bitterly awful and draining for around 3 days, and a lingering lethargy and wracking cough for a week plus.  Ew.  It certainly ruined our plans for a relaxing, fun holiday.  As Markus pointed out this morning, it seems the year hits fast forward and leaps into high gear as December draws to a close...and for what this year?  We couldn't really enjoy the holidays at all.  No extra celebrating.  No reflecting on the year passed.  No resolutions for moving forward.  Sigh.

So here we are: January 2013.  A new year has begun, whether we were ready and waiting for it or not.  It's time to embrace it.

2012 was a year of big, stressful changes.  Any year involving an international move is hard, very hard.    Markus and I have been stretched thin by it.  So many huge changes, and many of them not particularly welcome...  Luckily, the girls are doing quite well.  Their schools, especially Ellie's, have been a tremendous blessing.  Ellie's school is exceptionally good for her.  She is very happy there, and we feel she is as well-matched to her environment as can be.  Stephanie also enjoys her school, though it's not so much a great match as it offers hours she loves (only 2.5 hours each weekday afternoon).

What will 2013 bring?  In truth, I cannot guess.  As much as I feel ready most days to pick up and move right on out of here again, the reality is that we will be spending 2013 settling in and staying right here.  School will continue through to June, hopefully offering up a fun spring break at the end of March.  I will ride in Muses again on February 7, and we hope the whole family will be able to go to New Orleans for that this time.  For now, getting 100% well again and preparing to restart school on Monday.

2013, here we come!