Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oh, my everlasting life!

While looking at a puzzle that Dima was working on Josh just said "Oh, my everlasting life!" I'm guessing that came from learning John 3:16 (...whosoever believeth in him should not not perish but have everlasting life... - in case you don't remember the wording-) for his Christmas pageant. Lately he's been coming up with either expressions on his own or taking ones that he's heard and trying to use them. Holy Cow Moly being one of the attempts to copy me with either Holy Moly or Holy Cow or sometimes I've said Holy Cannoli so it could be a combination of those. He also says Oh, Geeze or what a gyp but usually right after I've said it. He's been known to ask: What on Earf? where I'll say "What on Earth are you talking about?" when he brings up something totally out of context and they both have called the movie Polar Express Polar Mapress. He started saying "Holy Butterball!" -an expression from one of their holiday DVDs featuring the Madagascar Penguins- and I asked him then if he knew what a butterball was and he didn't so I tried to explain that it's a brand of turkey and when my Mom asked him about it he told her it's a turkey.

While he's also been pretty good about recognizing and repeating Christmas songs lately there are times that he just kind of makes up his own words that sound like what he's heard. This year he likes the John Denver with the Muppets Christmas cd and likes to hear the same songs over and over and over again.

Our Christmas was busy and of course they got lots and lots of new toys. Dima got a learning globe and showed no interest in it until Josh wanted to play with it. Now that they've had time to explore their own loot they're checking each other's stuff out. Today I've had to stop Dima more than once from going after a toy just cause he knows Josh likes it. I've watched him looking directly at Josh when he goes for a favorite and I can see that he's waiting for Josh's reaction.

Over the weekend we visited Chris's aunt and uncle in Gettysburg then had my parents and sister here yesterday for Christmas Day and they're both tired from the travel and from all the excitement. Dima got a Spin Art kit and that's just the kind of thing for him since it gives him a focus that entertains him. He also got a 6 x 8 foot hot air balloon that you inflate with a hair dryer and as the boys were prancing around the back porch watching it get inflated yesterday Josh whacked it and it got a big hole. So much for that. Josh did really look upset and sorry that he popped the thing.
The holidays have brought about a variety of new experiences for the kids, while decorating our Christmas tree Josh thought ornaments were called idiots.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas update

As I sit here addressing Christmas cards I realize how many people I should keep in better contact with and decided to share my blog address so you can be in on What We're Up To. I also look forward to updates from everyone either via phone or email or both.

Josh is in preschool this year at Windsor Christian Preschool and he's been practicing for their Christmas pageant which will be next week. This has potential for America's Funniest Videos cause he has no fear of getting up in front of people and is really animated in the motions they're supposed to do. Instead of just resting his head on his hands when they sing"...the little lord Jesus laid down his sweet head..." he actually bends his whole body for his head to meet his hands at about elbow height. Keep your eyes on the TV guide for the episode starring him. He's outgoing and knows his classmates by name and I've seen him go in to the room with a big "Hi, everybody!". Josh is also taking skating lessons on Saturday afternoons and is already a better skater than me. Since they're all beginners they fall a lot and when they do they often bump other kids on the way down and you get a chain reaction. We practice with the GTV Almrausch kindergruppe every other Friday and he also dances with both of our German dance groups. He has regular school days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and what they call "enrichment day" on Thursdays that means that they get to make simple snacks and play on laptops. He's very good at mousing his way around the VW website to " build his beetle" basically he clicks on the different options and paints the car picture on the computer screen and then gets applause when he clicks done. While I'm okay with letting them have some independent play time, I hover over him when he's on that site to be sure he doesn't actually order a car.

Dima also dances, though somewhat reluctant at the beginning of the year, he's started participating more. He is excelling at ice skating- they moved him up from the learn to skate class to the learn to play hockey class! He's in half day kindergarten this year and loving the daily ride on the school bus and making friends in his class. He has his own alarm clock and gets up on his own and gets ready ( putting on the clothes that were laid out the night before ) pretty much on his own. Dima spends most pleasant-weather evenings out on the hill in our back yard on the look out for hot air balloons. There are three that we see on a regular basis. We've seen as many as five a day and get reports from Dima about where they are and which ones they are. We've even gone to the fields where they inflate them and watched them take off. It worked out well over the summer when we'd go to Marsh Creek Park to swim in the evenings and then see balloons on the way home. Both boys took swimming lessons over the summer and had a great time. At this time of year when we drive anywhere both boys are on the lookout for decorations and Josh is always oohing and aahing over cars anywhere we go.

As far as me, my day to day schedule is pretty much dictated by school drop-off and pick up times and keeping the kids on time for their school and appointments and keeping their routine going. As much as I can I try to get errands like shopping out of the way while both kids are in school so I don't have to take them anywhere and then our afternoons are free for our normal routine of lunch, naps and then playing or a walk around the neighborhood before dinner time. I like walking around the neighborhood and I take the boys out when I can the exercise is motivation for me and usually I can find something like decorations as motivation for them. There's not much time for a lot on school nights since both boys need to be in bed by eight. Most Mondays I get out to practice with our Philadelphia dance group. Weekends in the fall were busy with dance performances with both dance groups including one at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, most of the rest were in the Philadelphia area but some as far as Accokeek and Hagerstown in Maryland, Hanover, Pennsylvania, and two in northern New Jersey. The ultimate by far was the Gaufest in Hershey, it was great to see so many of our friends there.

Chris's spare time is mostly spent watching hockey, practicing or playing hockey, emailing people about it, reading about it or co-ordinating people for games - either to attend, to play or to go for lessons. He shuttles our kids to their lessons on Saturdays, beginning at 9am, which is not an easy task for a guy who is much more a night person than an early riser. Saturday afternoons Josh has his lessons and the boys have also been going to Reading Royals games either Saturday or Sunday evenings. In the summer they were going to Reading Phillies baseball games and the kids liked that for the fireworks when the home team scored. Of course there are the Eagles to watch, read about and yak about, and I don't mean just in the fall. Both NFL and NHL draft days are like holidays spent in close proximity to a TV. He had a chance to go to an Eagles game in early December when it was sleeting and really cold all day. I guess some people think that's fun, but I for one was glad to be warm inside instead of "enjoying" the game! When he's not busy with sports, sports, sports he does fit in some work at Sungard Higher Education His description when I asked how to describe the job here was "peachy".

We all hope everyone has happy and healthy holidays!

Feel free to check back here for updates, I usually get a chance to write down what I've been thinking once a week or so.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh Christmas tree

We had a very nice day on Friday when we went out to pick out a Christmas tree. Chris had taken the day off work since I had Dima's parent teacher conference that morning. Once Josh was done with school we all went out for lunch at a local pub and Josh remembered (after a little prodding from me) that we had been there in the Spring for a performance and goat races. While we were eating it started to snow which made for a nice walk through the fields then to pick out the tree. Josh was a little disappointed that we couldn't ride back to the parking area on the ATVs that they use to carry the tree back but the snow made it pretty slippery and it was tough for them to get around.

The conference held no big surprises. The teacher and teacher's aide both like to work with Dima cause he's eager to learn and eager to please them by doing good work. He's had some issues with sitting still and listening while they're supposed to be quiet during story time and that he gets wound up and sometimes bothers the other kids. With the system they have in place in his class they get a wrist band when they start their day and it gets removed if they don't follow the rules in class at any point during the day. If they still have the wrist band at the end of the day they get a sticker on a chart and once the chart gets 30 stickers they get a prize. Well, we already knew he had no stickers all week last week cause he's been talking when he's not supposed to. The teacher did ask if it was okay to have a speech therapist evaluate him since some of his words are sometimes difficult to understand. I sent back the permission slip for that today. They already had an occupational therapist look him over and they think he's with in normal limits developmentally for his age. We probably will still take him to at least one of the specialists that his doctor recommended to try to help him get better self control. The doctor definitely noticed his lack of "impulse control" and gave us a few names to try to have him evaluated. Now it's just a matter of getting on someone's list for an appointment.

The rest of the weekend was pretty busy too. Saturday Dima had skating lessons at 9am and Josh got to tag along. Josh had his lessons at 2 then they went to a Reading Royals game that evening. Sunday we went to my nephew Brody's birthday party so again they had no naps - except for the ride home - and today they're both tired and still catching up since they're still napping and it's almost 4:00. I'm guessing they'll still be catching up tomorrow too since that seems to be the pattern when they've had busy weekends. With the Christmas hubbub about to start I can imagine we'll have lots of late nap days like this to make up for days without them.