Saturday, April 30, 2016

Nuts

 Nikolai and I spent 45 minutes the other day outside, collecting nuts and smashing them with a rock. It sounds pretty mundane, but we actually had a great time looking at what was inside them (some had bugs, most were just interesting looking).








Mostly it was fun to spend some time with my boy.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Giggle/Wink

This age between 1 and 1.5 can be hard but it is also AWESOME. She's incredibly mobile which makes some things hard (church and grocery shopping) but makes other things awesome (playing outside, dancing to music). She understands basically everything we say to her and has started to say some words (Go, hi, all done (baby sign), da (yes in russian), uh oh, rawr). She has developed distinct preferences for things and will let her needs be known very vocally, but she's also still young enough to be distracted when necessary.  Because of all of this social growth, it's a great time for her vibrant personality to shine through, which is just incredibly fun as a parent.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Three Sillies

Silly #1:

Niko put on my cardigan and said, "Look, I'm Mama!"

(p.s. can you tell his mom is a librarian by how many cardigans she wears?)


Silly #2:

Nikolai wanted to do my hair one day. This was the result: 


 Then we took some selfies together. It's not something we really do, but it was really fun :)




Silly #3:

Miriam sitting in our bookshelf (ok, this isn't so much silly as adorable, but I needed an excuse to post these!):




Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If they don't dance then they're no friends of mine

Our kids are very enthusiastic about dancing. 

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Also, they are adorable when they do it, which I am very enthusiastic about. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Writing

There has been a lot of writing going on in our house lately.  

Exhibit A: Nikolai, practicing writing his name (He's really good at the N and the O but the letters in between give him some trouble)


"Take a picture of me with this on my ear!"


Exhibit B: Jesse is neck deep writing his Master's thesis and a lengthy case study for another class, as well as studying for his very last final ever. His most recent feat of writing was literally cutting apart his thesis and sorting it by sub-topic in order to cut out things that were repeated and shorten the paper overall. It worked--he cut it down by half (from 20,000 to 10,000 words--whew! for reference, 50,000 words is a short novel). 


He's got a draft done of the thesis and has just under 2 weeks to get the rest done. Go Jesse! You can do it! 

p.s. Next time I post about Jesse he will have a MA and a JD next to his name. Yay!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Small people

Our small people love:

Coloring (especially Miriam, who wanders around with a colored pencil clasped in her tiny fist for hours on end):


Playing with friends:


Eating cheerios with no hands (I wish I had been able to get a video of her tiny tongue reaching out to snag them!):


We love:

Our small people!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Grown up things

We are now at less than a month until Jesse graduates and less than a month until I start classes! As such, it's a pretty busy time (Jesse endlessly writing, me trying to keep things at home afloat and preparing for school) full of some pretty grownup things. 

Even though, we've been pretty busy, we've still had enough time most nights to make things for dinner that aren't a Little Caesar's Pizza. Example A: This Spinach, potato, tomato and feta frittata that was eggcellent (*ba dum chhhhh*):


I've also been plowing away at work, trying to respond gently when my coworkers lament "I wish you weren't moving!" On one hand, I have 4 more months! On the other hand, I don't want to leave there either. I love it! 

I finally got to tell the Very Busy Spider with puppets, and I did end up switching from that shiny thread to plain yarn. It didn't get tangled up when I used it and the telling went much smoother. The kids were almost spellbound as they watched the spider build her web, ignoring the animal puppets that came and tried to interrupt her. After, my boss (who had been in the room helping with crowd control) said, "I want you to come be my mom!" It was fun and I'm glad it turned out well. I'm hoping to leave vivid instructions so whoever does storytime there after me can use it again.


A not so grownup thing: my hair is purple! It's actually been purple for some time, and it was pink before that (well, the ends are colorful, not all of it), but I couldn't remember if I had ever mentioned it on here or not. Here's my half-hearted attempt at getting a picture of my purple braids:


And finally, a very very grownup thing: Jesse was published in the Michigan Journal of International Law! HOORAY!!! At long last!!!! 


He started this paper a year and a half ago and has been plowing away at it off and on ever since. I've spent hours reading it for grammar and coherence (the legal arguments are sometimes beyond me, but I still manage to make myself useful) and he's spent even more tweaking a near-endless supply of footnotes until they were juuuuust right. Anyways, it's kind of a big deal to be published in the legal world so we're very proud of him!

Also, when Jesse just happened to be looking through the final bound copy of his article, Niko turned to him and said, "Daddy, what do you do at work?"

Jesse, feeling a little emotional at seeing himself in print, held up the copy and said, "This, bud. I write things like this." 

Yes, Jesse dear. You write things like this.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Growing up is hard to do

I think being 4 years old is hard sometimes, especially for our Nikolai. I think he's aware that we're moving soon, though his perception of time is so weak that it's hard for him to comprehend just how much longer we'll be here (just under four months and counting, not that I'm already sad about leaving either!!). 


I think it's also hard to no longer be a baby, and no longer get all of the tidbits of physical affection that a baby gets; a little snuggle after a diaper change, a kiss while being carried up the stairs, being hugged and snuggled and sang to right before a nap. Even though he doesn't need to be carried, etc as much as a baby does anymore, I think he still misses some of that physical connection. I'm trying to be mindful of that--letting him lean against me when we read a book, giving him a kiss on the head when we wrestle together, or asking for a hug when we're having a nice time playing. 


That has helped some, I think. What helps too is making sure to spend quality one-on-one time with him. He doesn't actually care what we do together, just so long as it is together. I've been better at that lately (after a bout with some separation anxiety made me realize I need to put some more effort in that department). We've been spending a lot more time together building legos, making puppet shows, and drawing and cutting artwork. 



I feel like I'm always setting up a balancing act of power--finding ways for him to have control over his life in the areas he can while still making most of the important decisions for him. It's actually been eye opening for me to sit down and think about which decisions actually matter. When he asks for ice-cream after dinner, and my instinct is to say no--does that actually matter? Can't we eat a little ice-cream together and have a nice time, if that's what he wants? What if he really wants to wear mismatched socks today? Or to ride his bike instead of in the stroller? I don't actually have to have control over these things, even if it would feel nice. 


Something I've been re-discovering through this whole process is that I really like this little boy. He has a creative and agile mind and fervently wants to be with people that love him. He has a touchy streak too, but I'm trying to help foster the parts of him that help him push past that touchiness. This is a hard thing--trying to see who your child can be and gently easing them in that direction. Nikolai is a stubborn stick in the mud--he will not be pushed to be nice when he does not want to be--but gentle motions can help him get there.