Vive...rie...ama Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My newest project!

Please stop by my newest project:

My goal with this web site is to share the global activities that I have used in my classroom and with my 4 children. You will find games, recipes that please even the most discerning tummies, art projects, endless reviews on children’s literature related to world cultures, games, and other activities that help enrich little minds. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a homeschooler or a scout leader, you will find an ever-expanding database of age-appropriate, fun activities gathered from around the world and organized by topic, and by country.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 2: Magic Kingdom

Day 2 was equally fun- we went to Magic Kingdom and headed straight back to Fantasyland to ride all of the little kids' rides. They absolutely loved it, and it wasn't even crowded (yay for no lines!). We went back to the hotel for a lunch and nap, and then returned to the park for some more rides. While waiting to enter Mickey's Philharmonic 3-D show, all of a sudden we realized that in 15 minutes we needed to be at Chef Mickey's for our dinner reservation at the Contemporary Resort- a monorail ride away! You cannot imagine the sprinting we did- my parents holding the little kids, telling the big kids to grab onto their shirts while I backtracked for the stroller and raced to meet them at the monorail. Adrenaline flowing, we made it to the hotel for our dinner and had a blast meeting the different characters. They even had diabetic and vegan desserts for those who were on special diets or had allergies! Then as long as the kids were exhausted and late for bed anyway, we quickly caught some fireworks over the castle before heading back to our hotel. As one of my cousins said when looking at our pictures "DW really is the happiest place on earth."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 1: EPCOT!

EPCOT was so much fun! Disclosure: I am a type-A, extreme planner. Because of this, I had read every single blog and guide to DW, analyzed the attendance history of each park (to determine which had less crowds on which days), saturated my brain with random tips from other moms, and had made up an itinerary that would allow us to see the most possible, with the least waiting in lines. If you are ever going to Disney World, I can send you the order or our rides, which we used FastPass on, and which web sites were helpful:). It was my little pet project because I actually enjoying doing research, especially when it benefits me!

On this first day we spend the morning on several popular rides, then had a Princess Lunch in Norway's "Akershus Royal Banquet Hall," then walked around the different countries in the World Showcase. We met lots of characters, and the kids had a fantastically fun first day. When they were going to sleep they asked us "Can we go back tomorrow?" hahaha I love it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On our way to DW!!!

We picked up the kids from school on Friday afternoon, and started driving east! They had no idea where we were going, and just went with the flow. We told them we were going "on vacation" and that we would be staying in a hotel (just that simple fact had them excited!).

We drove until they were asleep, carried them into the hotel, and then at 4am the next morning we got in the car and told them we were on our way home: "Wasn't that fun to sleep in a hotel?," unanimous cheers, and plans for dinner that night at home. We are either really persuasive, or our kids have the perfect balance of optimism and faith in their parents.

Around 3pm they started to get antsy and wanted to know when we would be home, so we stopped at a Starbucks and told them where we really were going. At first they were in shock, but then started to grasp the reality of it (except Ricky- watch how excited he gets, yet he has NO CLUE what we are talking about!!!! :) The truth is they mirrored our excitement, because in reality none of them know what Disney World entails. The second surprise was even better- Grandma and Grandpa were in the hotel!!!

I think every parent should get to surprise their kids with a vacation when they are young- their smiles are pure joy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yeee-haw! The Rodeo!

We got some free tickets to the Rodeo (thank you Melissa!:) and Tonio, Tonito, Vivi and I were so excited for our first visit! Looking around at the other rodeo-goers and the ubiquitous fashion, it was immediately obvious that we were not in any way cowboy or Western or even Texan. Regardless of our lack of boots, fringe and leather, we quickly became fans. Walking up to the Rodeo, we had to pass through all of the carnival rides. The kids were a little bummed that we couldn't ride all of them and I had to bite my tongue- we are planning on surprising them with a Disney World trip for Spring break and I wanted to tell them "In 5 days you will be riding waaaay better rides, just be patient!!!" But instead I told them "maybe when you're older" and "mommy doesn't have any money right now for rides." We quickly passed through the rides and made our way into the huge Livestock Show:

Tonito: "Mommy, can I pet the cow!!???"
Cowboy: "That's a steer son."
Me, smiling as if to say "Oh, he doesn't know, he's just 6" when actually I have never used the word "steer" in daily conversation. "What's the difference between a steer and a bull?" Apparently a steer has been castrated, and are therefore calmer and have a different build (we were told-- just in case you were wondering).

The 14 baby pigs (piglets?) born yesterday were SO cute I wanted to smuggle one home!!! They were so cute and snugly!!! Who knew? After walking around the Livestock Show we went into the big rodeo arena. The rodeo was like nothing I (we) had ever seen before and our favorite part was "mutton bustin'"- helmeted little kids (5-6 years old) grab onto a sheep and hold on for their life as it runs crazy. The winner is the kid who makes it the farthest without falling off- mutton bustin' hehehe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First game of T-ball!

Their first t-ball game!!!! First of all, I love our coach. This was an email he sent us before the first game (this is my kind of coach!!!!):
"Our players will run the wrong way, play in the dirt, not pay attention all the time, and occasionally test our patience. They are 4, 5, and 6 yrs old. That's just the way it is. The idea is for them to have fun playing a team sport. Don’t expect too much in terms of baseball proficiency. They're just learning. Maintain a good attitude and encourage them when they do it right."

Secondly, aren't they cute in their uniforms? We had been trying to decide whether to put the bigger kids in soccer again or in something new (tball). The kids were campaigning hard for soccer because they both love it, but I wanted them to at least *try* tball because this is the last year it would be on a tee and not pitched to them. This also was the last year it was co-ed, and all busy mamas know it is ideal to have your kids on the same team so there is less schedule-conflicts! So we gently forced them to be on tball, and I'm really glad we did- they learned the basic rules in case they ever play it in PE, they met some new friends, and they had fun learning how to catch, bat, etc. Nonetheless, the first practice Vivi was not happy to find out she was the only girl on the team... I think it was a great experience for them and they seemed to enjoy most of it. I don't think it is *their* sport though- the first game Vivi ran from center field to get a ball that someone had hit between home plate and the pitcher's mound (she really likes running). The coach had to explain that in tball you kind-of wait for the ball to come to you/your region, and she was a little disappointed that there was so much standing around and waiting! Tonito picked it up really fast and really like to field the balls and throw them to first base. They both did a great job for kids who have grown up NOT playing catch in the front yard with their parents (but if there were a a triathlon for kids they would do fine!)..

Maya and Ricky had fun playing in the bleachers (with someone's iphone apparently!!!? I don't own one!?!!!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Ricky and Maya show

I have been having fun this spring taking Ricky and Maya on little field trips- just the 3 of us. Recently we went walking around some parks and to the Children's Museum. They had a lot of fun and enjoyed getting a little more individualized attention- and they both got to hold one of mommy's hands! (a frequently contentious issue when the 4 kids are together)---

Ricky and Maya make me laugh so hard, I feel like I am on a hidden-camera reality show about these phenomenal twins and their silly conversations with each other, incessant wrestling, goofy attempts to be big kids, and loony antics to outwit one another of favorite toys or snacks. They are turned on, with the volume turned up all day, every day. I try to explain to people how funny they are but I can't remember their exact words or imitate their facial expressions. I wish there were a hidden camera to capture their hilarity.
Two quick stories I remember:
1) The other day they were playing "storm" and throwing stuffed animals around saying "Hurry, it's coming!" Ricky had no clue what was going on, but still was laughing and saying "No good, no good!"
2) Later they were playing outside and Maya was trying to get Ricky to help her pick up some acorns. "Come on! It's gonna be really fun... like a party! Come on and pick them up!"
Ricky: "I tired, I wanna play."
Maya (squeezing his cheeks and yelling): "THIS IS FUN, DO IT NOW!"
I need to just start taping them and see what I can capture! In other news, I would love if someone could write to "What Not to Wear" and enter my name:)--- apparently my three year olds would like it as well.
I asked Maya if I could do her hair and she says "No.... I want it messy!!! Like you!" I was either crying laughing... or just crying!
Then literally the next day, I was dropping off Maya at school and Ricky goes: "There's a mommy in her pajamas-- just like you!!" Seriously. Just in my defense I was on my way to work out and did not sleep in the tshirt the night before (although I'm sure at some point in the past I had used it to sleep in:). Do my 3 year olds have more fashion sense than I?!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Swimming in February

This morning I ran a 10K (yay!) and we decided to relax a bit in the afternoon. The kids (except Maya) claimed that they were "hot" and officially opened our swimming pool today. We do not have a heated pool, and I personally thought the water was really cold (Ricky's teeth were chattering!)- but they swam for a little bit and laughed the whole time. Do kids just not notice the temperature!? We warmed them up by playing soccer in the culdesac. When I was getting ready for dinner, Vivi asked me:
"Can I be a grown-up? I want to learn how."
I told her: "Sure, if I can be a kid."
Vivi: "OK. Just play all day and don't do any work, that's a kid."
Yep, that's about right! Very clear perspective:).

Friday, February 25, 2011

School Rodeo

 Today we had the rodeo at Maya's school, so I brought Ricky and friend to enjoy the games!
Ricky with his little Spanish-speaking buddies;)-

 "Milking" the cow (a glove with white paint!)-

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scavenger Hunt

I made a really fun scavenger hunt for the kids to do with our mom's club (send me your email and I will send you a copy). I went to the lake while the kids were in school, and hid juice boxes, and various snacks along the way (and hoped that no critters would find them before we got there!). The kids had to follow the hunt in the order it was laid out, and find one object at each pictured location. Then along the way they also had a list of things to observe/collect. For example they needed to observe: a butterfly, squirrel, kildeer, fire ant hill, black bird, dog, a duck and a bike rider. In their bags they needed to collect a feather, 3 leaf clover, rock, y-shaped stick, a red leaf and a yellow leaf, an L-shaped stick, a purple, white and yellow flower. At the very end I threw a bunch of candy on the top of this hill and they got to run up the hill to look for it. We had about 10 kids following the hunt and they literally ran (sprinted) from location to location, screaming along the way. I guess if you want to get your kids out of the sedentary mood you hide treats around a lake!? :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2 peas in a pod

Sometimes I feel like Maya and Ricky should have their own TV show. If only there were an invisible camera that could follow them around.. they are absolutely hilarious in a way that is indescribable. When I try to imitate them or explain to people how funny they are together, I end up laughing and laughing at the images of the two of them and the other person just stares at me and wonders why it is so funny. You'll jut need to observe them sometime, from a distance, and listen to their silly chatter, endless banter and laughter, watch their comical wrestling moves that frequently end in owies, witness Maya's intense love and physical affection (including head-locks and body slams) towards Ricky while he struggles to get away only to return when she ignores him, see Ricky's silly dance moves and even funnier singing... it is all hilarious. I need to videotape them....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Garage Sale and a haircut

Our lemonade stand, and Ricky's haircut when papi takes him by himself:)---

Today we had our garage sale! There were 6-7 moms that participated, and we each made a couple hundred bucks- not bad! I think the key is to over-advertise on craigslist. We not only listed the garage sale, but individually listed many of the bigger items (car seats, treadmill, strollers, TVs, etc). The kids sold mini-muffins/lemonade for a quarter and they each made $7. Not bad! The day after the garage sale I was kissing Maya good-night and I noticed some "new" stuffed animals in her menagerie in bed.
Me: "Where did you get these 2 kitty stuffed animals?"
Maya: "I sneaked them from the place we sold muffins."
Me: "The garage sale? Did a mommy give them to you?"
Maya: "NO, I said I sneaked them!"

hahahahahahaha. That is stealing baby girl, but regardless, you are too cute!!!