Friday, July 10, 2009

Snapshot of a Day

This morning I woke up in the midst of a very vivid dream that I was back 11 years ago living in the orphanage in Russia. I could almost smell it in my dream. Totally wild! Long ago memories...

Then I realized what a beautiful day it was becoming outside and decided, with my eyes still closed, that today was a zoo day.

Fun Flexible Fridays. That's what we call them around here. On Fridays we do fun/education things that we never seem to make room for if we didn't have a designated day. We have French toast, play with friends, and try to do as many things that start with "F" as possible, only because Friday starts with an "F!"

In the car on the way to the zoo, this was part of our conversation:

Hannah: "Mom, you know what America has in common with Canada?"

Mommy: "Well, what do you have in mind?"

Hannah: "We both speak two languages, English, and another one. Canadians speak English and French, and we speak English and Spanish."

Mommy: Thinking that she must be a California girl..."Yes, that's true." Sort of...

Hannah: "And I speak some French, so if we go there, I'll talk for us!"

Mommy: Thinking it would be a lot more useful if she spoke Spanish like we're trying to learn "That's a great offer! So what French do you know?"

Hannah: "Merci."

Mommy: "Which means thank you."

Hannah: "Gallery."

Mommy: "I think that is an English word too. Did you learn that in Fancy Nancy?" (a book series)

Hannah: "Yes. And 'Paris.'"

Mommy: "Yes, the capital of France. Good!" Thinking that we'll be off to a great start when we visit Canada OR France!

Hannah: "And I know German too...Frau, and fraulein, and the difference between them."

Mommy: Thinking that reading Heidi and The Little Princess is teaching us SOMETHING! "Yes. Good! And you also know more French from ballet, like pas de deux..."

Hannah: "Yeah, and plie. And listen to this Mom 'ARABESQUE!'"

Mommy: "Very nice!"

And so we continue much the same way down the road until we zoo.

As we are walking up to the ticket counter I realize that I must be feeling good, because this is the first time I have ventured out to take all 4 of them out to the zoo with just myself as the one single adult watching them, and that I am outnumbered if they scatter and get lost.

Mommy: "Hannah, do you know your full name and our telephone number?"

Hannah: "Yes...." Recites it perfectly

Mommy: "And my full name too?"

Hannah: With a glance like 'I wasn't born yesterday Mom!' "Yes." Recites it perfectly.

Mommy: "Daniel, what is your full name?"

Daniel: "Daniel."

Mommy: "Is that all? What is your last name?"

Daniel: With a quizzing look recites it perfectly. Caleb chimes in to tell me his full name too.

Mommy: "Good boys! And my name? What is my name, Daniel?"

Daniel: This time with confidence "Washington, D.C.!!!"

Mommy: Hmmmmm....I guess I better keep a close eye on him...

So then we go into the zoo. So much fun! So much room to jump and run! We're being so obedient the first time, and so KIND to each other! This is great! Everyone is having such a great time!!! Here are some pictures to prove it.

My four, with the classic rule of "If someone two or more people are already looking pleasant AND at the camera, by no means shall everyone else comply." (Although they do all look pleasant!)

Mrs. Llama there for petting. Notice that this girl isn't flinching from the camera. I was truly face to face with this lady, and after noticing her lower teeth, I'm glad she's muzzled. She doesn't look pleased. Sorry Mrs. Llama! I'll take my bouncing brood out of here, really!
I'm thinking I should caption the above picture "Hope," because it shows caring and love between my two oldest, that I wish to see more and more. This is Hannah lifting Daniel down from the railing he was standing on to get the best view of the giraffes. Ah, today was a good day...
This is a bit fuzzy, but what trip would be complete without a visit to "Stingray Bay, A Touching Experience." Isn't that a great name? We, obviously, love it.

And one final picture: The Cute Baby. I think she really did have more fun than this photo shows, but you'll have to ask her personally.

Now to the rest of the day! The kids and I are rooting for pizza tonight. How else can you crown such a great day?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Catching Up

Whew! Life has become a whirlwind! There is no way to fill in all the blanks since I last posted, but here are a few highlights:
  • We finished Hannah's butterfly project, watching and documenting the lifecycle of 10 painted lady butterflies, and reported on them at co-op. Co-op and ballet have both ended for the summer.

  • We went to San Diego to visit our cousins. It was our first distance trip with 4 little ones, and it was a success! Peter had a legal continuing education course, so the kids and I went to Legoland, the beach, etc. with our cousins. You should have seen Hannah at the beach. I think it took all of about 3 minutes for her to get completely soaking wet - in her cute little dress with capris - just as we were about to go out for lunch. Ah, the joys of abandon at the beach...

  • Back on the homefront, our pool was built and completed! It is beautiful and so refreshing, and just in time for the real heat. We could hardly wait for the water to go in. When the water eventually came (we had water trucks bring it in), we were all in the pool with the fire hoses. The men thought we were crazy.

  • We flew to Florida! We celebrated Peter's parents 40th wedding anniversary at a beach community where they used to go when Peter was growing up. They all said it was amazing the same as they remembered. Hannah once again showed us her magnetism to the ocean. She just about lived in the water the whole week. Daniel and Caleb eventually warmed up to it as well. Those boys were covered in salt and sand the entire time. Abby happily agreed to share all baby attention with the newest grandbaby in the family, the sweet Geneva Caroline. Daniel and Hannah had their first tennis lessons. We had such a great time that we are already trying to figure out if we can go back in a few years.

  • Once again we have attempted to potty train. I think I am going to go insane.

Here are few photos per Amy's request:

Abby, 9 months

Caleb, 3 years
(Did I mention how hot it was in FL? He's trying to stay cool just WATCHING a tennis match)

Daniel, age 4

Hannah, age 6

Daniel's first tennis lesson! He was so proud. (I was too.)

Peter and me