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.

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!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Swine flu & gardening

Ricky loooooves playing in the mud! Oops, I mean gardening! Today was a work work work day.
Despite testing positive for the flu, Vivi was a huge helper in planting our garden, and in getting ready for the garage sale! Maya and Ricky were trying to be big helpers, but it will be funny to see how the seeds come up- crossover rows, renegade salad leaves, and surely some bare spots. We planted tomato plants, pepper plants, squash and zucchini plants, tomatillo plants, and tons of seeds: beets, radishes, peas, green beans, arugula, lots of salads, asparagus, cabbage. I have no idea what I'm doing- I am not from the south!!! But here we are in February, planting and watering and hoping. Last year was a bit pitiful, so we promised ourselves to get out there as soon as we were sure there would be no more frost (I probably should have gone even earlier, but maybe we'll still be lucky). After the beds were set, we organized and sorted toys and clothes for our garage sale. Having the kids help meant getting rid of a lot less than I wanted to, and I did have to indulge in some trickery, smoke and mirrors. I am sure they won't miss the items I snuck out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ricky's been home 6 months!

My beautiful baby Ricky has been home for SIX MONTHS already!!! I can't believe how fast time has flown by, how fast he has adapted to our family, and how much it seems like he has been here forever. Here are 2 recent funnies involving Ricky---

Overheard from Maya to Ricky:
"Sit here. You're gonna be my turtle and I'm gonna milk you." (I peeked in and saw Ricky dutifully sitting on a spread out pink bandana while Maya tried to pour milk out of her sippy cup onto his head).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I am the luckiest mama in the world:). Today I got to celebrate Valentine's Day with my 4 beautiful kids at a red and pink Valentine's Day party at their school! Here is Tonito with his buddies:

and Vivi with her girlies:

Me with my two beauties:

and my 2 handsome boys:

Happy Valentine's Day to my best friend, who (despite not enjoying running) ran not only 1, but TWO marathons with me:)... my best supporter and biggest sweetheart Tonio!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chinese New Year and Tball

We started the day with a huge Chinese New Year celebration at the consulate, arranged by the local FCC group. The craziest coincidence was the one of Vivi's friends from school was one of the Chinese dancers performing for the families! Her family is from China (she is not adopted) and she belongs to this dance group from Chinatown. We were both surprised to see each other there! The food was wonderful, the games and activities kept the kids happy, and it was nice for the kids to see so many families that look like ours.

This was a bit of a paparazzi moment (well, the above picture and the below picture)... When our family stood in front of the flags, a large group of Chinese journalists began to snap a lot of pictures of our family- I'm guessing we'll be famous on our next trip to China....

The kids had their names written in Chinese calligraphy:

In the afternoon, Tonito and Vivi had their first tball game! We are the Cardinals, it is our first time playing, and I pinky-promised that there would be other girls on the co-ed team. I was wrong. But 1) I let her choose her own (pink) baseball mitt, and 2) they had a race the first practice and she won. I think she'll get over being the solo girl.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You know you live in the south when...

the "threat" of snow means cancelled school. So last Friday there was a *possibility* of snow (a chance of snow) and they cancelled school. Now we get an email saying that we have to go to school on President's Day to make up the day. WHAT!?!?!? Seriously. Not that we would have been celebrating our federal leaders, but I did plan a fun day with our playgroup. I know it's not the end of the world, but come on people. For the record, that Friday of no school was as dry as a bone.
In other news, Vivi lost another tooth! Loosing teeth is so exciting for little kids- the anticipation of the final moment is preceded by the ever-increasing wiggliness... It piques their excitement, and lunchtime conversations have kids battling over who's lost the most, in the funniest circumstance, with the most other kids in attendance. It is almost as engaging as losing bodily fluids, and perhaps a bit less grotesque for grown-ups. Vivi lost her most recent tooth while running upstairs. Not a 10 on the excitement scale, but she did score some points for the extra blood.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ethiopian food!

Some yummy Ethiopian food!!!! We made the cabbage/carrots/potato dish, the green bean/carrots dish, and some shiro (from shiro flour I brought home from ET) and then I had some mild sheep feta that I gave the kids as well. The girls could eat their weight in injera (and fortunately when I sent Tonio to buy the injera he bought enough to satisfy the whole family:). The boys love everything- Ricky literally shoves the food in until he can't close his mouth and I have to remind him to chew and swallow. I would love to learn some carnivore recipes- but until then everyone is happy with the vegetarian fasting menu!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My soccer players

If there is one sport that all of my kids like, it is soccer (aka futbol). They love running around, chasing that black and white ball, and finally screaming "gooooooooooooooooooooooool" when they make it in the net. Of course we would be happy with any activity our kids choose-- but for now I'm thinking that as an international family, soccer is very appropriate. Now all we need are some Mexican nicknames (apodos) for our futbolistas.......

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A birthday of PURE JOY

* Scroll down--- mid-post there's a video of the lemur:).

Today we celebrated Vivi's birthday in the most spectacular way- an animal birthday party, screeching kindergartners, and a ring-tailed lemur as the star guest. We started with an obstacle course and some "animal" races. Vivi did not know that we were bringing real animals, and she thought the whole party would be these animal games (jumping like kangaroos, crab walks, holding hands through your legs as if elephants holding onto tails/trunks).

Here are the creature snacks we made (thank you google-images for the ideas!)--

One last race before the surprise:

We called all of the kids over to the driveway and the woman began to talk about her different rescued pets- Vivi's smile could not have been bigger. We told the kids that Miss Pam would be showing them some different animals, and everyone got excited. Then we asked the kids (before they saw any animals) which pets they thought that she had brought and they all answered "dogs... cats... bunnies" and Vivi even said "I wish a lemur, but maybe a puppy?"

The kangaroo was awesome! It escaped halfway through the program when it knocked down its little cage-playpen. Apparently this lady lives on a couple of acres of forest and the animals get to go wild running around in her yard. The lemur will stay out in the backyard and then come up to the house to feed twice a day (I guess they raised him from a newborn- hand feeding him with a bottle and everything so we he is pretty trained).

Vivi and the macaw:

Radiance... pure joy... this is Vivi when she first sees the ring-tailed lemur. Giddy with excitement!!!! Her smile could not have been any bigger!!! This exact instant was my favorite second of the party.


He ate little grapes out of the kids' hands and was climbing and jumping around everywhere!

The animals were so entertaining- here's the Hoffman's two-toed sloth, which then climbed all over the tent.

Different porcupines and a kinkajou:


Look at the crazy snake-neck turtle!


and a huge boa!

Everyone had a really fun time, and ate cupcakes and snacks on blankets on the driveway:

Vivi was so happy- she kept saying "Mommy, a real lemur!!!! I saw a real lemur! I love you!" Of course she also announced that she would like to be just like Miss Pam and have a lemur for a pet. It was the most fun little kid's birthday party I could imagine (for a lemur girl that is:).