Pictures and Commentary

Could I have come up with a more boring title? I don't think so. That makes me the best at boring. Yay me! Just wanted to share some photos from this week: a little Ukraine, but mostly my children. Calvin is not adequately represented in this commentary, but I will just say that we had a glowing parent teacher conference with his teacher this week. Those are always nice. I like it when people like my kids.

So, every summer the city of Kiev turns the hot water off by neighborhood to "clean" the pipes - Soviet era rustifications. I missed this fun tradition last year by going to London to have a baby. I highly recommend that course of action. Our hot water was off for two weeks and while we had a back-up water heater, it only serves the kitchen and the front utility-ish bathroom in which the choice is either to bathe or to squat shower. Yeah, not fun. The hot water in the rest of the house came back on a couple days ago, but it was just today that it didn't look like this anymore:

Both Calvin and Henry had little performances at their school on Thursday. Henry has a sidekick, Andrei. They adore one another and have the same quirky imaginations and absolutely contagious giggles, and I'm sure are a force for their kindergarten teacher to reckon with.

David caught these sweet photos during their "show" that melt my heart. And I'm trying not to think of the sad, sad good-byes coming up for these adorable, spunky little guys in a couple months. It makes my heart hurt.

In case you were starting to believe that I don't have the interesting "projects" and messes around the house that I once did, I took this photo as evidence. Yes, the carnage is less now that Calvin and Henry are older (and away at school most of the day), but Charlie is doing his best to follow in their footsteps. Today, he built a climbing tower to the top shelf of the drink fridge (it's not big enough to be the food fridge for our family...) while I was nursing Jane. He didn't believe that all the CapriSuns were gone. The blue bin represents wooden train pieces dumped in the bedroom so that it could make a step on the tower. I heard that dumping, and I heard the chairs being dragged across the kitchen floor, but was helpless until I could quietly unlatch Jane and put her in her bed. Charlie is just not as sneaky as the other two. (My favorite is when he calls out from the kitchen or bathroom: "I'm not playing in the water, Mom!!!")

Charlie has gone through an amazing growth spurt recently. He got some new clothes that he didn't believe were his until I explained that we bought him some new shirts and pants because his others are just too tiny for a big almost-3-year-old. He came into the living room a couple days ago sporting this sweater on his fingers and wearing a very sad look on his face. "Mom, this got too tiny for me, too." Um, yeah. Like when you were in utero.

And yes, (in reference to the picture of Charlie and his tiny sweater) I do occasionally comb (and cut!) my children's hair. But it is not my favorite thing to do and it really gets neglected sometimes. And tell me, if your little girl had little duck feather hairs like this, would YOU comb it down?

Lastly, Henry made me take a picture of this marshmallow monstrosity of a treat that his dad let him eat for breakfast the other day. You know why he wanted it photographed? Because the bite of chocolate he took left a little white heart on the side of it. How cute is that?

I heart my children.


The Jane: Nine Months Old

Here it is...

The pictures weren't as good this time, I didn't think - I had a hard time with natural light and then, too, Jane has become a very busy moving little target. But you can't hardly take a terrible picture of her anyway, I don't suppose.

Her hair is decidedly yellowy-white (isn't that a nice decided color?), even though it used to have more red. It is starting to get long enough for maybe some accessorizing. We're working on that. I'm letting the girl in me out and we'll see what happens.

Jane has all the cleverness and all the spiciness of all three of her brothers put together, plus an ample bit of girly dramatic flare. I'm afraid (and I do mean afraid) that she will likely be walking before she's ten months old. I have not encouraged that.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I'm in for it. She's top of the class at Get Exactly What You Want U.

It's because she is so squidgy and sweet, too. Amazing how someone so exhausting can be so delightful all at the same time.

I actually can't believe it's been nine whole months since she came into our world. Why does every baby grow faster than the last?


I'm a Slug

Um, it's nearly the middle of May. And that means my baby is another month older. And it seems that my blog is becoming pretty much just her, every month, in the same tutu. It's a cute tutu and she's a cute girl, but shoot. What is wrong with me?

Don't answer that.

I had in mind to tell loads and loads about Portugal, and it hasn't happened yet. We were there a month ago. How can that be? You should not wait on me for the travel highlights (as much as I really would like to give them), but go check out Joeli's post about it. She's got the highlights there and some fun photos. Also, you should go to Portugal if ever you can. It truly is one of Europe's best kept secrets. And you should try queijadas in Sintra while you are there.

Joeli left this week and I miss her.

We are leaving Ukraine in a little less than four months and I have super mixed feelings. I have been known to say that we are moving back to the U.S. "not soon enough, 2010," but then again, there are a lot of really amazing things and a lot of perks that I have enjoyed here that will be over once we go back. Plus, there are people I love here. Some have also started moving on, but many will stay here, and good-byes are really sad.

It will also be not too long before I have to really consider logistics of packing, organizing, transitioning. Buy or rent? New family car or new commuter car? I'm really not good at change or big decisions that have to be made all at once. I feel like I used to be good at it, even invited it, but I think the older I am and the more little people there are who look to me for security, the less I really go for change. I roll with it, but always in retrospect I realize that I go more than a little Elphaba every time we pick up and have to resettle.

So I think right now I'm kinda in a "if you can't say anything pleasant, don't say anything at all" funk. Bear with me until I get my glasses for the brighter side fixed.

And enjoy the cute girl in the tutu.


Alone Time

The other day Calvin was in need of some wind-down, chill-out, get a hold of yourself time, which I suggested he take in his room, far away from the living room, where "everyone was frustrating him."

He responded by turning a little red and saying with barely controlled extreme exasparation: "That will not help anything! Because as soon as I go to that end of the house, it will be occupied by them, because they migrate to wherever someone is."

And when I started laughing at the word "occupied" and harder at the word "migrate" and harder every time he waved his hand in a gesture toward "them," he pretty much screamed at me, "Why is any of this funny?"

I don't know. You tell me.