About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bicycle, Bicycle, I Want to Ride My Bicycle

The new house is (happily) much closer to school.  Close enough, in fact, that if we leave enough time, we can ride our bikes.  Elie and Isaac are pros at riding and were incredibly excited to get on their bikes and ride.  I have a very nice bike trailer and Leila is happy as anything to ride in it for long periods of time, watching the world go by and everyone else do all the hard work.  But poor Talia....she's been on the edge of riding, but we haven't had much time to take her out and practice.  So, she had to sit in the bike trailer with Leila.  It is spacious for one child, and designed to hold two, but not so spacious when a five year old and a three year old are crammed together. 

She was fussy about riding in the trailer, but more fussy about practicing riding (now that we have a fabulous driveway area to practice in).  She was scared, she wobbled, she made herself freak out and was on the verge of down right refusing to try to ride.  I had gotten her on a couple of times for practice and they went really well, I could tell that she was sooooo very close to getting the hang of it and going.  Yesterday, I announced that we were going to practice.  "Can't I just ride a scooter?" she said.  Uhhhh, nope kiddo, not gonna cut it. 

Talia got on and I gave her loads of encouragement.  I held the bike steady and ran with her, lightly holding on, but it soon became apparent that I needed to just let go and let her feel the balance.  So I held the bike, she started pedaling and I let go.  Just like that, she was riding by herself.  A few more back and forths where I ran behind her, when she stopped and said "I know you weren't holding on to me!"  She was so proud and it was so amazing to see it just.click. 

I stopped running with her and she started experimenting with turning and braking.  Then she said, "Okay, I'm going to figure out how to start myself."  (I was shocked.  This is something that both Elie and Isaac took an additional amount of time to get figured out.  For quite a while, with both of them, we would have to hold the bike steady while they got started pedaling and then we would let go.)  And she stood in the driveway and worked on it and worked on it and worked.  She even managed to start herself a handful of times. 

Talia was so incredibly proud.  She was glowing.  I am completely amazed by the whole situation.  She just, blink, figured it out.  When did my TW get to be *so* big??  I know she'll be riding to school in the fall, the bike trailer will be lighter, but my heart will be fuller seeing her ride on her own.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beeing Out and About

In the beginning of July, some good friends came over and visited us.  We have known Capt. Flyboy since he was a student at the Air Force Academy and before he met his wife, Mrs.Cheerful.  Capt. Flyboy has known Elie since she was a baby and the rest of the kiddos since they were born.  The kids adore both of them and they are both fantastic with the kids.  It was a pleasure to have them spend some time with us!

One of the day trips we took was to a huge manor house on the outskirts of Leeds.  It is called  Temple Newsam.  There is a huge Tudor-Jacobean manor house and a very large working farm.  We took a tour of the huge and amazing interior.  I was quite surprised because the exterior is very different (and quite plain) as compared to other manor houses we have seen.  Inside was well preserved and beautiful, with lots of audio guide to listen to, art to see and old furniture to look at. Sadly, the kitchens are all in an amazing basement with fascinating sounding catacombs and tunnels.  Since the building is in a large U-shape, there are tunnels running underneath the courtyard to get to the opposite sides.  It's all closed, presumably due to health and safety regulations.  (An interesting aside note:  We were in a room that listed an automaton as one of the artifacts.  Adam immediately perked up and searched high and low for it.  We couldn't spot it.  As we passed by a docent, he asked where it was.  The docent revealed that three years ago there was a very professional break in at the house.  The automaton was the only item taken.)

When we were done with the interior, we took a tour around the working farm.  I think the last time it was updated was probably around the turn of last century.  It was beautiful.  There were baby pigs and tons of chicks, we got to pretend to milk a cow and see rabbits.  The buildings were amazing and there were several different displays of old farm equipment and rooms set up the way it would have been in the early 20th century. (There were chickens for sale, but we didn't get any.  Boo.)

I wanted to walk down and see the apiary.  There is a bee-keeping society here in Leeds and they have an exhibit displaying different varieties of bee boxes.  They also keep bees and so the area is well labelled and appropriately cordoned off.  It was very interesting, but as we were walking around and looking at the bee hives, Isaac approached a small hut that had also been blocked off.  He was a good two feet away from it, when he crouched down on the ground and began screaming.  A bee (? we have been reliably informed by our biologist friend here that wasps here look very much like bees and are much more aggressive) had stung Isaac in the head, just above his ear.  Adam and I pulled out the stinger, and I think much of the poison was still in the sack from the looks of it, but it was still extremely painful.  Isaac was pale and screaming.  Not fun.

Of course, the apiary is the farthest thing from the exit and the cars.  Adam rushed off to drum up some ice, I started carrying Isaac on my back and Capt. Flyboy and Mrs. Cheerful dealt with the girls, bags and coats.  It was so incredibly helpful to have the extra hands there.  We hobbled back to the car and tried to decide what to do.  We were planning on going out to eat, but weren't sure how the injured boy would do.  After procuring some Benadryl and Ibuprofen and then dosing him up, he was fine.  (He even swallowed a pill for the first time ever.  Way to perform under pressure!)  We had a fabulous dinner, canal-side, at an Indian restaurant.

I suppose this really sums up outings with children:  good, bad, ends up being alright and a lovely day.  (Sometimes, okay, most of the time.)

Sew It Up

I am a craft procrastinator.  I'll become inspired by something (fabric, magazine articles, blogs, things I see in the store, etc), purchase what I need to create said project and then the motivation quits. As a result I tend to get quite a backlog of ready to create *things*.  In addition, for years now, I've had an infant hanging around at one stage or another.  I think this also added to my lack of motivation because there is nothing that makes you feel like doing nothing (but eat, sleep and nurse) like an infant.

However, now we are out of infants and with the dawning of the purse adventure, I've become much more industrious with what little time I have for myself.  It feels GREAT!  In the last week I've dyed fabric:

(This was the washing machine dye fabric from the last post.  The colors are AMAZING, completely true to the box AND the washing machine has absolutely not bled any color on post-run-loads.  I will definitely be using this again!)

Finally sewed up a waistcoat for Isaac (I've had the fabric for two years now):

Made peasant blouses and a-line skirts for Elie and Talia (modelled after a blouse and skirt that Leila has) :

(I only had this fabric for a couple of months.)

And made a prototype hat for the above dyed fabric!

(The stripy hat is the prototype, the purple hat is one I own that I was using as a model.)

(Now I am going to brag for a moment, so skip this bit if you are offended by me tooting my own horn.)  I am really proud of the fact that the two outfits for the girls and the hat were all made without a pattern.  That is, I drew up patterns all by myself.  Whee!!!!  It has been a very liberating (somewhat frustrating) process, but I am really excited by this new step in my sewing capabilities.

Sew there you have it.  Creativity oozing out my fingertips.  Now I just have to tear myself away from the machine and make sure that the kids and I take plenty of opportunities for day trips.  Balance is good, moderation in all things.....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

School's Out for Summer

Yes, that's right.  Just now, on Friday, was the last.day.of.school.  IT'S THE END OF JULY!?!?!?!  Actually, weird headspace aside, the school schedule rocks.  Over here, they have moved on to the 21st century and created an almost year round school schedule.  During the year, the kids go six weeks, have a one week break, go six weeks have a two week break, etc.  It makes the school year fly by.  There are no interminable lengths where it feels as though you are going to have to awaken at the crack of dawn forever and the kids get some regular time off.  I really think everyone is better for it.

But it does mean that we only get a measly five weeks off for summer vacation.  Five weeks?!?  This is hardly enough time to burn out on every single activity in the house, drive your siblings crazy with 24 hour over exposure, complain of boredom and make your mother wish that she could move time forward to the beginning of school. 

To be fair, there is plenty in this area to keep us busy.  I've got a big list of fun day trips that I'd like to take the kids to go and do.  Plus we are going to do swim lessons and keep up with our piano.  Add to that keeping fresh with some of our school lessons (Hebrew for everyone, handwriting for Elie, reading for Talia) and I imagine that this five weeks is going to fly by. 

Then another year will start and, in the blink of an eye, I'll be posting about the end of next year. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Loads of Fun

(Disclaimer: this post is entirely unrelated to children. I'm just sharing because it's something I'm doing and enjoying!)

A friend of mine is a cancer survivor. She recently put out a call asking if anyone knew where she could get a survivor sun hat. Because I don't have enough to do, I really admire and like this woman and I like a challenge, I offered to make one for her.

I asked her what colors she would prefer and started searching. I could not find bright colored cotton canvas anywhere.

Fast forward to today when I finally made time to go down to "The Markets" and pester the fabric sellers to see if any of them had what I was looking for. I came up emtpy handed. BUT, at the last place I stopped the very helpful stall owner suggested buying some white cotton canvas and dyeing it whatever colors I wanted!! BRILLIANT!

I bought the fabric and then procured this amazing fabric dye from the stall she directed me to. You put the dye in the washing machine with some salt and your fabric. Turn it on and go!! It is designed just for front loading washers.

This afternoon, I put this:

In to the wash with this:

It's got a promise on the inside that it won't damage my machine or ruin subsequent washes.

Currently the wash looks like this:

(It really is blue, it's just hard to tell!)

I'll be posting about my results, but I cannot wait to sew up this completely one of a kind, handmade down to the color, fantastic sun hat!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stormy Nights

Last night we had a huge storm front move through the area.  We've been here a year and only ever had thunder/lightening once before.  It doesn't seem to be that common. 

Talia wasn't feeling well and she really doesn't like thunder and lightening, so she was having a bit of a mid-night-cuddle.  We were discussing taking her back to bed, when a very close, very loud thunder reverberated through the room. 

Talia's eyes got very wide and she wispered, "I'm NOT going back into my room!" 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monkey See. Monkey Do.

Moving has been a mixed bag for me.  I was happy to be closer to the community where we are active, but I l.o.v.e.d. the house we were living in.  When we settled on this house, I knew it would accomodate us, yet I continued to be negative.  I was even negative within ear shot of the children. 

Major Mommy Mistake. 

Elie pics up on every.single.little.thing.  I am not exaggerating.  Even when we think she's not listening.  She is aware and processing and recording it all in her brain. 

At every turn I was worrying in front of them, about the size of the kitchen, seeming lack of storage space, poor view, etc etc.  Generally I was being very negative and I was not paying any mind to who was around me. 

Of course, the outcome of all my moaning is that Elie decided moving was a Bad Thing.  And she began to complain about it lots too.  Wake up call to Mommy, time to shut up and move on.

I started to talk up the move, how exciting it was, what fun it would be to live close to everyone.  Thankfully she picked up on all that and forgot about my previous poor attitude and bad influence.   Dadam and I worked really hard to have their bedrooms set up completely the first night we were here and all the kids were incredibly excited to run around, explore and experience the new house.  They were so excited they could hardly go to sleep and they all woke up extraordinarily early the next day.

To top off all the goodness, two days this week we have walked/ridden bikes to/from school.  That is is HUGE hit with Elie and Isaac. 

I think it will work out this time, but in the future I must remember that anything I say or do, they will mirror.  Monkey see. Monkey do.