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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

San Antonio Zoo & Feeding the Lorikeets

During our 3rd day in the outdoor sauna we had some meltdowns, but pushed through and conquered the San Antonio zoo. The zoo was hot and sticky (surprise surprise), but way less crowded than San Antonio. The kids' (and parents') favorite times were spent in Lory landing- an exhibit where you can feed Australian lorikeets:

It was just nonsto laughter as the birds licked Tonito's hair and nibbled on Vivi's ponytail holders:

We bought little nectar cups and the lories ate right out of our hands:

Maya was a little cautious, but Vivi the zookeeper dove right in.

Guess who wants a pet lorikeet?

Vivi and Tonito really wanted the birds to climb onto their heads again and would stand perfectly still with their nectar, trying to attract the lories.

The zoo was huge and lush, and walking through the Africa Live! exhibit with the heat and humidity made you feel like you were truly walking across the savannah. Texas zoos don't really have a lot of indoor exhibits because it is nice weather year round (except when it is 100 degrees with 90% humidity). The downside of that, unlike in Chicago where there are indoor exhibits to protect the animals from the cold winter, there aren't many places too cool off! I think I'm talking too much about heat... The animals were great, the kids loved the close encounters, and we ended our weekend in San Antonio with some cold ice cream!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sea World Day 2!

Sea World day 2 was just as hot and humid as day 1! The kids were feeling braver and rode some different rides, we saw the famous (or now infamous?) Shamu from the first row of the stadium, and we played in the water to cool off. The kids loved seeing a whale that close and Maya was screaming "There's a orka mommy!" In the video (a little cheesey) that they show you in the "Believe" show, it is a boy who dreams of seeing an orka, and it inspired Tonito enough that he decided he might want to be a marine biologist:). Even though we realized it was Memorial Day weekend, the amount of people was overwhelming. Even more astounding was the amount of junk food the hordes of people were consuming. Maybe it was because Maya took a nap in my arms in an air conditioned restaurant and I watched the families file in and out with their lunches piled high- I just couldn't get over how many calories people could eat in one sitting.

The easy ferris wheel and "drop" ride gave them the confidence to move on to the water plunge ride. If you click on the picture you can see Tonio in the second row, khaki shirt, with his hand up! Vivi and Tonito are hugging him on each side! I guess they have gotten over their fear of scary rides!? I love roller coasters, so this will be fun once they are tall enough to ride the big ones!
Mommy and Maya spent some time together while they rode that plunge ride over and over. Like I said, Maya got to sleep for 2 hours in an air conditioned cafeteria! Poor baby needed to sleep.

There weren't any seats left in the huge stadium except the wet benches in the first row...
We did go into the water park for a little while on day 2, but we also cooled off at the little splash park they have:

An exhausting but fun day, but we stayed hydrated and no one got sunburnt! There were 3 in the bed, and the little one said "Roll over, roll over..."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sea World!

"We're going somewhere special tomorrow, and it's going to take a long time to drive there." Kids: "Ethiopia!!!!!" Me: "No, you can't drive to Ethiopia bc there's an ocean in the middle." Kids: "Yay!!!! We get to take a plane." Me: "No... we're going to Sea World!!!" Kids: "Oh."
Once we got over the disappointment that we weren't going to meet our son in Ethiopia, we did get excited about San Antonio:). We first dropped of the dogs, and then made our way to Sea World!!! The kids remembered it from last year and could hardly contain themselves as I rushed to slather on sunscreen and shove water bottles at them in an attempt to pre-hydrate.

It was hot (of course) but we managed to cool off in the indoor aquariums and roofed shows.

This time we brought our amazing double stroller, which meant Maya could nap in luxury and we could tote snacks, drinks, towels, bathing suits, and the kitchen sink.

If you click on the roller coaster, you will find Maya enjoying her first wild ride!!! She was so cute- when she got off she shouted "Mommy I didn't cry" (I think she surprised herself!). We tried to go on it again, but this time they checked her height a little more carefully and she didn't make it. I think being carried and sucking her thumb revealed her true age!

It's more fun to be exhausted after a day of having fun at Sea World in 90 degree weather, instead of being exhausted from power-washing the driveway in 90 degree weather:). I also prefer to be splashed by dolphins instead of being splashed with muddy mildew.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Graduation #2

Tonito had his preK graduation this week as well! We are so excited that he and Vivi will start kindergarten in the same school next year. Look at that cutie pie smiling at me:).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swim Team

If anyone remembers the past two years' struggles a certain little girl had with swimming, they would rightfully wonder why on earth I signed her up for swim team. Despite hearing the stories of tears, a friend of mine told me to try it because her son learned to swim in one month. We have been going every single day for half hour lessons, and so far-- no tears. I think it is the peer pressure? On the first day the coach told the kids to dive in (which neither had ever done). Tonito dove right in, and Vivi kind-of jumped in with her arms in diving position. I was in shock. You have to realize that she has never jumped in by herself. The progress skyrocketed week by week until week 2.5, when she SWAM ACROSS THE POOL. 25 meters. I am still in shock a week and a half later, and tell random people in the supermarket that both of my kids now swim. I don't know if they think I am crazy, or just overly proud, but I just can't hold it in. So now today, they took their team picture and I snuck in a photo of them getting ready. I think I am still emotional from the preschool graduation... how can my kids be big enough to be on swim team?! Their newest tricks are diving to the bottom of our pool to retrieve little diving rocket toys. Tonito reminds us of a Chinese pearl diver, with his head disappearing and his trunks and feet following. Vivi also has been getting the rockets from the shallow end. I am amazed and awed by their improvement!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Officially summer!

We made it through preschool! I know I should have been happy, but I was so sad!! Time is going by way to fast and my kids are growing up and becoming "big kids." Everyone needs to slow down!!! A grandma in the supermarket the other day told me "Enjoy this age! You are so lucky!!! The days might go by slowly, but the years go FAST." That has never been truer.

I invited all three classes to a local splash park for a picnic lunch. The kids squealed under the cool spray as it washed away the sugary drips of popsicles that disappear quickly in this hot and humid weather.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Playgroup, pool party, pizza!

Our turn to host playgroup! I set up a tent with big tubs of water with plastic ocean animals, a tub of fake snow (that I learned was made from the same gel inside diapers) with plastic arctic animals, and lots of buckets and towels. The babies played under the tent, the big kids splashed and sang and floated in the pool, and the moms got in and cooled off too. I think every mom should have their kids in a good playgroup- they get a chance to socialize in a group setting, haha and the kids do too!:) Now that it is in the 90s consistently, we don't go a single day without heading to the pool- sometimes as an appetizer to breakfast or a dessert to dinner. The kids' tanlines are the envy of sunbathers everywhere, and their bathing suit shaped white stripes we glimpse in the bathtub show their winter color. After we swam a long while, we made our own pizzas and had a picnic in the shade with popsicles for dessert.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Zoo day!!!
Splashing in the water,
leaping like the lemurs,
growling at the tigers,
admiring the elephants,
comparing speed with the cheetahs,
crunching popcorn,
melting in the heat,
chasing squirrels,
slurping icees,
and grooming the goats.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

(Pictoral) Ode to the Dogs

Canis lupus familiaris.
Born in August 2003 to unknown parents of German Shepherd, Husky, and other breeds.
Adopted in October 2003 from Kay's Animal Shelter, Arlington Heights, IL.
Tonio picked her out, and fell in love with her because she was fiercely wrestling with all of her littermates.
Mingo is playful and carefree, and has been compared to a laid back, unemployed surfer dude.
Being almost blind has not inhibited her ability to jump on the couch when no one is looking, nor her ability to find human food left out... but if you toss her a tennis ball it will bounce off her nose. When nervous and in new situations, she releases her stress by chewing her paws, the drywall or door trim. When relaxed, she sleeps in a standing, Egyptian sphinx position and yawns very loudly.
When she meets you, Mingo will greet you by jumping on you and clawing your shoulders. We do not know if her brain is too small to be trained, or if she is so astute that she tricks you into thinking she is simple minded.
She loves the kids and will allow them to climb all over her, dress her up, play vet, or "walk" her around the house on her leash.
(she is Tonio's favorite)

Canis lupus familiaris.
Born in December of 2002 to unknown parents of Golden Retriever and Border Collie breeds.
Adopted in January 2003 from Kay's Animal Shelter, Arlington Heights, IL.
Becky picked her out because she was the most timid of her littermates, and was sitting quietly waiting to meet her new family.
Boo is loyal and will play fetch for hours even as her legs tremble (due to Lyme disease).
Her ability to sense the change in barometric pressure preceding a thunderstorm is legendary. She is terrified of storms, brown bags, brooms, and a myriad of other common household objects and has been compared to a nervous accountant on Tax Day.
When she meets you, avoid speaking in a high pitch voice or she might not be able to control her excitement (and therefore her bladder).
She also loves the kids and will allow them to climb all over her, dress her up, play vet, or "walk" her around the house on her leash.
(she is Becky's favorite)

The kids change their minds daily over who is their "favorite" dog, and like to announce their pick and then spoil "their" dog for the day.