Friday, February 27, 2009


After spending ten years teaching elementary school, three of which granted me pregnancy-induced supersenses, I've developed the not so enviable ability to smell phlegm. Gross. I know. Anyway, my nose told me that there was something about Leif and Laika's colds that wasn't on the up and up. (OK two weeks worth of fevers was another hint) Well, they have a bit of pneumonia. I'm glad I realized it before they got really sick. Last year we didn't know what was going on until Laika had a fever of 103 that would not go down and she was panting instead of breathing. The next day she could hardly stay awake as I hauled her around to doctor appointments and chest x-rays and then she vomited up her medication. It was horrible. This time the sickness has been much easier to manage and we've actually had a lot of fun staying home from school and coming up with indoor games that require little exertion. Art!
Yesterday was self-portrait day. Leif is getting very literal. He put great care into his 'boy eyes'. They are different from girl eyes, because in case you haven't noticed boys do not have eyelashes. (But have you seen Leif's eyelashes?) I kind of wish he hadn't painted in the lips, he left them bright white right up until the end. He's very careful with the paintbrush, and is 'allergic' to fingerpainting.

I was impressed with Laika's self portrait. I thought it was grand that she didn't go for pink, as that seems to be her way. She has eyelids and ears and earrings and two nostrils running up the bridge of her nose. She was very proud of herself and so wanted to do a repeat, this time on pink paper. She told me that she wanted to do a circle nose this time. Portrait #2 reminds me of a Jim Henson creation.

Here you can see Leif's experiment with pointillism. It is an underwater scene, featuring a big yellow fish.
Laika shows us dirt that we can see. Not like those pesky pneumonia germs.
When art time is over it's always fun to mix up the rest of the paint until we end up with buckets of brown.  This is called 'science time'. All of this at home time has also afforded us the opportunity to finally pour a mold for Laika to make her T-Rex fossil. This is a photo looking through the clear mold. It is hard now and time to paint. She wants to paint her fossilized bones pink. I predict that they may also require glitter.
And here are Leif's completed more authentic looking bones. We just need to get a big enough piece of cardboard to mount them on and decorate.
As for the pneumonia, the kids are improving.  I would say Laika is all cleared up, and Leif is getting close.  We visit the doctor again in a few days.

Trip To The Allergist

First you wait for the doctor to come.  He asks you about excema (no), hay fever (no) persistent runny nose (no) and asthma (no).  Then he pricks your arm with allergens.  It doesn't hurt.
Then there's a bit of waiting patiently, seeing if anything happens.

. . .  but it doesn't.  You look at the arm again and . . . no allergies!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't You Forget About Me . . .

Tineke is almost five months old now!  She continues to enjoy chewing on her toes and clapping her feet together.  She can flip around onto her tummy in no time if there is a toy she wants, and she does want.  She still goes to bed quite easily and always wakes up in between Erik and I.  She reaches over and starts rubbing his back, trying to get him to wake up and talk to her.  She is very happy in the morning and chats and laughs with us.  She has yet to say anything funny though.  I think she's working on popping a little tooth through and I know she's working on sitting up.  I'm in no rush for either of those.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Leif is now interested in learning to read.  He's learned bits and pieces over the years, but has not really been patient with it.  Now he's getting excited about the prospect of reading a book to himself.  He is enjoying using this little beginner reader.  When  you watch the video you can see why our finding time to read alone together is tricky!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jippy Jap Jones

 . . . is what Leif was calling this fella.  
I kind of like it better than Indy.   It's more peppy.

Valentine's Parties

We are party animals.  A few nights ago we had my former professor over for dinner.  We had a lovely time and he was fabulous with the kids.  Within 5 minutes of his entrance Leif was trying to climb on him and Laika licked his sweater.  He told them stories about scorpions and elephants and pirates and had Leif singing "Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum".  Laika asked him if he had a girlfriend.  Then she pulled out her Godzilla suit and the party was on!   After supper Leif laid down on the couch with his head on said guests lap for a long cuddle as we attempted an adult discussion.  It was a great visit, and he left with some new art to put up on his fridge.  As I put her in bed later that night Laika asked if we could go to his next birthday party.  I said we probably could.  She wants to get him some 'little kids' for a present, since he doesn't have any grandkids yet.  I told her that we couldn't give him kids.  "Oh, well then I'll just get him an iPhone."

Today Laika hosted a little Tea Party with another little princess.  They ate jello and cupcakes and those weird wafer cookies and drank peppermint tea filled with sugar and cream.  This party was in response to the fact that Leif was going to a birthday party today, and it breaks Laika's heart that he is now invited to parties that she isn't.  A Valentine's Day Tea Party was the perfect distraction for her and gave us a reason to eat pink cupcakes and drink red wine.  As Erik went out to pick up some things he asked me, "Should I get a bottle  . . ." and before he could finish Leif called out "Of rum!"

(above is an old-timey pic of Laika as a babe)

Friday, February 13, 2009


Yippee!  It was Friday (or Friderday - whichever you prefer).  Leif went skating for the first time with school.  He held tightly to his cone (or pine cone - you choose) and very s l o w l y worked his way from one side of the rink to the other.  The most glamorous mom was also on the ice, and she took him for a little spin.  She is glamorous and kind both!  Leif said he loved it.   Laika was cold and didn't love watching all the skating, but it was highly amusing for those of us on the sidelines.  The best moment was when they opened the gate to let all 60 kindergarten kids on the ice.  The kids tried to flood through, but as each one hit the ice he or she wiped out, and then the next kid would wipe out and one would get back on her feet, and then down again.  The ten or so strong skaters pushed their way through and started showing their stuff.  The floundering horde were helped out by a bunch of big orange pylons.  

We went to Science World in the afternoon and checked out the Lego exhibit for the second time.  We were then inspired to buy more Lego - remember, members get a discount (this is how I justified it).  We got a box of 'girl Lego' for Laika.  It was completely worth it.  Now she is actually motivated to build when she can make a pink car with two little girls in it, or a white bunny with a flower on it's head.  We are getting quite the collection which is fine by me, because Lego is Awesome.

Our life is so busy with swimming and nightmares and school and grocery shopping and Legotime and gymnastics and cooking and cleaning and driving and playgrounds.  I am necessary in each endeavour, and Tineke is by my side through it all.  She is my little smiling, toe-sucking mascot.  There are 3 hours a week when it is just the two of us all alone while both kids are at school and she's often asleep.  The rest of the time we share the sidelines watching our big kids play.  Now she is at the point where she will watch the kids in the pool, gym or park.  They are so proud of their happy baby sister.  I learned that Laika knows how to sing "You Are My Sunshine", so we've been singing it to Tin all day.  We like to get very dramatic during the sad part.  As we sing, Tineke lays on the floor holding her toes in her tiny fingers and laughs at us.  She knows she is our Sunshine. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

You Won't Ablieve It!

Laika still calls 'beluga'  'abluga'  and 'balloon' is 'abloon'. 

I have been taking note of some descriptions lately.  We bought Jelly Bellies the other day and had a lot of fun sampling the different flavours.  I swear there is one that tastes like Drambuie.  Worst Jelly Bean ever.  Leif and Laika are afraid of the darkest ones.  Leif refers to the black one as tasting like Steam.  He hates it.

Underwear have been a source of fun descriptions from Laika:
Spicy Underwear - are undies with glittery edge that is itchy
Creaky Underwear - are undies that give a wedgie
Awesome Underwear - are Leif's spiderman undies

But I think my favourite of all is when Laika calls out, "You won't ablieve this!"   Today I couldn't ablieve it when Laika drew on the freshly laid bathroom tile with a black sharpie.  I also couldn't ablieve it when Leif kept giving away his magic tricks today.  The humour got me time and again when he would come up to me and say, "Do you want a little plastic elephant (or hammer etc).  Because I just HAPPEN to have a little plastic elephant UP MY SLEEVE!"  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Gadget Mouth

One of my very favourite things that happens in our house is called Gadget Mouth.  This happens when you give Leif a bicycle pump and a balloon.  As soon as he has to focus on the dual task of firmly holding the rubber balloon opening and pumping with all his might something magical happens to his mouth (and if we're lucky his whole face).  He concentrates so intensely that his lips tighten against his teeth and swerve off into his cheek.  Both eyebrows go up, and yet he might squint.  His nostrils flare.  You never quite know exactly what Gadget Mouth will look like, but it always makes me laugh so hard (with no noise, head turned away - stomach bouncing) that I feel guilty.

Today Leif used his allowance to buy some new Lego (small exaggeration since we hardly ever put money in that jar and if we did it still wouldn't add up to 55 bucks).  Anyhoo.  Awesome new Lego set means many opportunities for surreptitiously looking up from his hands as he pushes a tiny little Lego doo-dad into place.  I need to videotape these moments very soon, because I know that future Leif is going to get a big kick out of Gadget Mouth, and if I could get him to watch and laugh with me then I wouldn't have to feel guilty about setting him up with a needle and thread tomorrow.