Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter, Spring Break and Lots of Bunnies.

Last weekend we celebrated Ukrainian Easter. The kids colored their eggs and a few hours later we went to the church to bless babka, eggs, kovbasa, butter and salt.

Why do my kids looks so tired? We headed to the city during their nap time, were stuck in traffic for over an hour, so they fell asleep in a car 15 minutes before we arrived to the church.
Of course, Julia "woke up" as soon as we arrived to a friend's birthday party two hours later.

On Easter Sunday Seth took the kids hiking at 7:30 am, so I could get some sleep (I love sleeping in late on the weekends).

When they got back, David ran into a house telling me about 7 deer and a blue bird he saw.

Last week David was off from school for a spring break. I wonder who the breaks are for. Not for the parents and definitely not for the children. What do they need a break from -- running in the playground? David kept asking me at least twice a day when he's going back to school.
The week didn't exactly go as smoothly as the winter break did. At this point, David was bored of playing the same games over and over again. He is over mazes and connect the dots activities. He still likes to color, but not at as long intervals as a few months ago. So, there wasn't much for me to do, but to introduce him to some new activities .... like math. Well, not exactly, but I did try to teach him some adding. He finished almost two books of simple additions and wanted to proceed to subtractions. We stopped at that.

I tried not to push him to do anything that he didn't want to do. Occasionally, he would just get his notebook and start copying short words from his various board games. Julia would join him sometimes when she wasn't busy coloring.

For the past month, as I would drive David to school, he would tell me what letter craft he wanted to do when he got back from school. So, almost every afternoon, I would borrow an idea for the letter of the week project from No Time For Flashcards and the kids would do the craft project. David loves it as he thinks he came up with the project and thus he controls what we are doing. Afterwords, we would practice writing letters and do all sorts of other activities.
But I decided to try to make the last week as much fun as possible. So, instead of the letters, we were making lots of silly bunnies. I am sure that most if not all of the craft project ideas came from Ramblings of a Crazy Woman . We made some bunny ears which the kids would wear as soon as they woke up and insisted on wearing them outdoors.

David decided to draw his own bunny. He asked me to help him, but instead of drawing a bunny on his paper, I drew it on my own and then he copied it and colored it. And so did Julia although I can't find her drawing.

The kids liked making a bunny wreath since it involved splashing lots of paint all over their little fingers.

And then they made some bunnies some time between finishing their dinner and waiting for Seth to come home. I really felt like every second of that week was monitored by me because when it wasn't, all hell would break loose ... literally in my house.

I did my own craft project that week as well. I just needed to unwind at night and knitting was that kind of therapy for me. I found a few links to the beautiful pictures of knitted Easter eggs and I just couldn't get them out of my mind. I had some spare yarn from knitting my kids' blankets, so I decided to give it a try. It took me about a week to figure out a pattern since the one I worked with produced rather ostrich size eggs. Once I figured out the pattern, I realized I didn't know how to work using multiple color yarn. I was originally planning to hang them on the branches full of blooming flowers. So, every time I went for a jog, I would memorize where in our town the prettiest tree grew. Seth told me not to even think of going back and cutting the branches. Long story short, here are my knitted eggs, in a basket.

A few weeks ago Julia's furniture was delivered and assembled. They did a horrible job on putting it together. We are having someone come in this week and hopefully get it all fixed. Julia wasn't even remotely as excited with her new bed as David was with his furniture a year ago. She does love sleeping in it though and she stopped climbing into our bed in a middle of the night. We changed the dresser's pink panels to white as I figured this room already blinds me with too much bright color.

Oh, and on top of all this, both kids got a fifth disease which I wouldn't really worry about since all it really is a rash. But last week before the rash even became visible we had a few playdates, at the time when my kids were contagious. One of our friends went to Aruba afterwords, two more are going away this weekend and one is still a baby. I keep my fingers crossed that no mom was pregnant since from what I understand this disease is very harmful to a fetus.
So, that's been our week. We survived it somehow. David is again a happy camper once he went back to school and even more so because he visited a doc's office today. I think he is the only child on this planet who gets visibly upset when his sister gets a shot and he doesn't. Again, I am trying not to question this too much.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Leonia Easter Egg Hunt (In Print)

Here are a couple of pictures from the Leonia Life newspaper on April 10, 2009 of the annual Leonia Easter Egg Hunt that took place in Wood Park on Saturday, April 4th. Friends and neighbors attended the event and everyone had a good time.

David, in the center of the picture below, wearing his blue jacket and hat, is picking up eggs two-at-a-time while keeping his basket close by.

For more on the day, check our blog of the Easter Bunny Visiting Leonia.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Riding in Style.

Both Julia and David graduated to the big bikes this weekend. Originally, we were planning to purchase a bike for David that he could use for at least 2 to 3 years. Of course, once in a store, Julia literally pulled a princess bike off a low shelf and started riding it all over the store. Even though she already had about 3 tricycles at home, she would keep falling off of them with only her face to cushion her fall. (Ouch!) She did great on the larger bike with the training wheels and even learned how to use the brakes by pedaling backwards.

Sunday was the kids' first test drive. (Sidewalk walkers beware!)

Of course, it is imposible to go into the town and not to bump into [no pun intended] someone we know. We ran into [really... no pun intended] one of Julia's friends (who happened to be over 30 years older than her) who was biking with her boys as well. She led us to the best (and quietest) track in the town and all our kids ended up racing for over an hour.

By the end, Julia was exhausted. I didn't mind holding her as I knew she would have to pedal the half hour back home.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Julia Catches On... Perhaps Too Well.

One thing that Nataliya and I have tried to stress with the kids is how to be polite when they're speaking or asking. We've been pretty successful with David, so nowadays we mostly tweak his grammar. For example:

After swallowing some food, David asks, " Mommy. Give me water, please."

"David," Nataliya replied, "ask 'Mommy, may I have some water, please?'"

David repeats, "Mommy. May I have water, please?"

Smiling, Nataliya answers, "Yes, David."

Julia has been watching this exchange and chimes in. "Mommy. May I have some water, please?"

Nataliya is thrilled that Julia has caught on so quickly. "Yes, Julia!"

Without missing a beat, Julia then responds, "Get it for me now!"

Looks like we have a bit more work to do with Julia...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Easter Bunny Visiting Leonia.

Today we headed to Wood Park for the annual Easter egg hunt and to take a photo with the Easter Bunny. Here are some pictures from this morning:

For the first time, both kids smiled for the camera during a character photo op.

David figured out that he could grab more Easter eggs by dropping his basket and filling it with both hands.

Julia had a blast grabbing plastic eggs and filling her basket.

As soon as the festivities ended, the kids found their friends and posed for a few pictures.

While David spent some time running in the park with his friends, Julia hung out in our car with Seth because I under dressed her and she was freezing. (Sorry Julia, but you have to wait another 14 years, at least, before you get to drive!)

In time, the rest of the kids were feeling the cold as well and everyone headed to the library to color some Easter theme pictures and warm up.

It is nice that our town offers these type of kid friendly events because the kids had a really good time, in spite of it being a bit cold and very windy.