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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The light(s) of my life

I love these pictures, I adore my kids, I love my husband.
Me encantan estas fotos, adoro a mis niños y a mi esposo.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sibling Love

If I had to describe Maya, I would say she is a little cuddler who is perfectly happy in someone's arms (usually mine) sucking her thumb. I hate comparing my kids to each other or labeling them... but people may remember Vivi running circles around her Kindermusik class while other toddlers sat happily on their mom's laps, or how before she could walk she climbed the bookshelves in the library taller than she was.. or how she would push past scared kids twice her age and fearlessly throw herself down the highest slide in the park, laughing, head first while I raced to reach the mud puddle at the bottom of the slide before she did. Anyway, Maya is the opposite of all of those. She just hums and sucks her thumb, and climbs onto your lap, or snuggles against your leg (while I'm cooking for example!).

These pictures are from when Jim Gill (kid song singer) came to our preschool for a family sing-along. Maya had been sitting in my lap the whole time, but then we had to stand up and dance for something and when it was time to sit down again she found Tonito's lap. Tonito is the sweetest little boy, who has this kind and nurturing spirit- he and Maya have such a special relationship because he will protect her, and give into her every whim, share with her, comfort her- his empathy is amazing. Don't get me wrong- he and Maya can be fiesty and wild and stubborn as well, (well, I have never seen Tonito be stubborn, but Maya's favorite word is still NO!)- but when they share these tender moments you can't help but aaaaaw.

Here is Vivi with her mini-me. Maya brings out the peacefulness of anyone. She is quite indulged by her older siblings, and they would NEVER take away a toy from her (although they would from each other), they would never yell at her or hurt her. They spoil her with hugs and kisses, which she absolutely loves. I'm sure that will change as they grow up, but right now we are enjoying watching their nurturing side develop with their baby sister.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The kids' busy social calendars

My kids are WAY more social than I ever was, or ever will be!;) Who has 4 playdates in 1 week? School every morning? Soccer and gymnastics classes? Chinese class on the weekends? Seriously, I always claimed I would never over-schedule my kids... BUT in the cold winter, with Tonio travelling, and me trying to keep the house clean for showing after showing... let's schedule as many activities OUT of the house as possible!

(by the way look at these crazy icicles looking out our kitchen window!)

We love to play with our cousins Sam and Nate. Here it goes: trying to take a picture of two 4 year olds, one 2 year old, and two 1 year olds... It isn't much easier with the mommies.

We also had our cousin Angie come over and play, and it happened to be her 3rd birthday- Happy Birthday Angie!

Again, so hard to get a picture of all kids looking:), much less smiling! I think Tonito is laughing?

When we are not having playdates, the kids LOVE to dress-up and have "dance party." They beg for techno or dance music, and then Vivi pulls out all of her dress-up clothes and dresses herself, Tonito, and Maya. Speaking of Maya, she is the "oldest" 17 month old who always has to be part of whatever antics the older 2 organize. So as soon as Vivi pulls out the princess dresses, Maya taps her head and says over and over "hat" (with a cockney accent;)- 'at, 'at). She tries to say princess, and has says "pretty" ("pitty"). I have to get a video on here of them dancing!!! Tonito wiggles his hips in this quick-silly-squirmy-merengue style, while Vivi does twirly-princess spins or wants to hold both of your hands and IN-SYNC step from side-to-side with you. Maya is the queen of dancing, and has been wiggling and dancing since she was 6 months old (I'm not kidding). She shimmies her shoulders and wiggles her hips a little whilst smirking around her thumb in mouth.

In our homeschool, we observed what happens to apple juice, milk, and water when we set them outside. We read about penguins and polar bears, did snowmen crafts, and made igloos out of sugar cubes.

When I am home alone and desperate to make dinner without wearing Maya on my leg, I have to get out new and exciting things to entertain the ravenous crowds. One night I pulled out some read-aloud books they got for Christmas (on CD's). They LOVED it! They have listened to books at Grandma's house (or as Emily used to say "tapes and boots, boots and tapes"), but never have they cooperated as much- even Mayaboo. Just in case you're wondering, after 150 times of listening to the same song/story, you hear it in your sleep.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Recent Funnies:)

Mommy: What's our new president's name?

Vivi and Tonito: Obama!!!

Mommy: And he lives in the capital. What is the capital of the United States?

Vivi and Tonito: Washing machine! (or "washing a machine")


Vivi: When I grow up and I'm a mommy I'm going to have a baby girl and I'm going to buy Grandma's house and live there with my babies.

Mommy: But where is grandma going to live?

Vivi: She's going to live with me and we can paint all the rooms pink.

Tonito: I'm gonna live with papi at his work. And grandpa can come.

(they really are into boys vs girls)
(we were talking about scientists and what they study and do)

Tonito: I'm gonna feed dolphins. Fish.

Mommy: That is called a marine biologist, they study the animals in the oceans.

Tonito: I'm gonna be marin-ologist.

Vivi: (after thinking for a while) I'm gonna be a cowboy. That's a scientist that studies cows.


Vivi: (looking at the floor where Maya had dropped some food) Mommy, your house is messy. You better clean it.

Mommy: But it isn't just my house, it's everyone's house. How about we all help mommy clean?

Vivi: No, I'm too tired of cleaning. It takes too long and it's not fun.

(no kidding!!!!!)


Vivi: Can papi live with us forever?

Mommy: Yes.

Vivi: But can we live WITH him? In his work?

(he has been travelling)

Mommy: That's why we're trying to sell our house. We're going to look for another family who will live here, and then we can go buy a house by papi's work. So we'll have a new house! Is that good? And you can eat with papi every night for dinner, and play with him, and read books with him.

Vivi: But who will live in our house?

Mommy: Another family is going to come and live here.

Vivi: I like my ponies.

Mommy: I promise I will bring with all of your toys, and all of your clothes, and your bed,

Tonito: And our food?

Mommy: Yes, we will bring all the food with, and then we will have a new house by papi.

Vivi: In Fouston.

Mommy: Yes, in Houston.


Vivi: (examining her anatomically correct Schleich horses that she LOVES) Why are these boys?

Mommy: Well, they just are.

Vivi: I think I'm going to make them girls.
Mommy: Let's just wait for papi to come home. Just pretend they're girls.
Vivi: Okaaaay, I just won't look between their legs.
Vivi: Sometimes when people sing it hurts my ears.
Mommy: When people sing too loudly it hurts my ears too.
Vivi: No, not loud. Just singing. Just some people, not you mommy. Just you sometimes.
Tonito: I'm sad. I miss Xin Suo.
Mommy: Drew is in Missouri. Do you want to go visit him?
Tonito: Yes! We go to China and see Xin Suo!!??
Mommy: Well, maybe sometime we can go to his house in Missouri. Remember when we visited him and you saw his house with his new mommy and papi? And his bunnies and kitties, and his puppy?
Tonito: I like Xin Suo. Remember in China I played with the dump truck?
Mommy: Yes! That was in his house in Missouri. Remember? Remember he lives with his mommy and papi and we visited him and you played together with his big trucks.
Tonito: I like China. Tonito from China! I like dump trucks. I like Xin Suo too.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Frosty Sledding

When we first brought Vivi to this same sledding hill 2 years ago, she would cry everytime we would stop running with the sled. She would say "frio" and then "mas" and then "frio" and then "mas" (cold, more) as if she couldn't decide if the thrill of being pulled in the sled was worth enduring frostbitten cheeks- but the joy of the speedy ride always won. Her sister Maya had the same quandary on this frigid day (windchill below zero!)- and again decided it was so fun to be pulled be Vivi that she would happily tolerate the snow sneaking in her boots! She loved sledding down the hill (with us pulling her and adjusting the speed:) and wanted us to keep moving the *whole* time. Whew, a workout for us and then we came home and she wasn't even tired after just sitting in the sled for an hour!

Tonito is our daredeveil- he will do anything. He was the first one up the hill, and just sat on the sled and went right down, smiling the whole way! He would trudge up the hill, taking these little baby steps (under the snow was very slippery, glare ice), and then come flying down. We took turns going down with him, and then finally convinced Vivi to go down with him a couple of times as well. Everyone was soooo cold- the wind was cutting through our clothes! So we finally decided to go home, and could only convince the 3 kids to come with us with the promise of hot chocolate, and reading books under the covers on the couch (hehehe they think it is a treat to be "cozy with a blankie").

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wisconsin Getaway

This year, we celebrated Christmas with my mom's family up in Wisconsin! We spent one night at the Dells and played in the massive indoor waterpark all day, and then in the morning as well. Vivi is not interested in water slides, but loved the huge indoor climbing playset. Also she and Maya had a blast with Tia Didi and Grandma playing on the luggage carts! Tonito on the other hand- he is not scared of anything! In the morning it was just Tonito, and me and papi, and we took him on every single ride he was tall enough for. He is so funny because he seems a little scared on the way down, but then keeps asking for more!!! He seems to have no fear- which will be really fun once he is tall enough for roller coasters. After the Dells we all spent the next couple of days at my aunt's house, in the beautiful, snowy woods. We went on a sleigh ride (sans Maya who was a little frozen;), and had sleepovers at night. The kids loved playing with their cousins, and it was fun to see everyone again. We had SO much fun and can't wait to come back again for a visit! Thank you Anna, Jenna, and Nate for graciously sharing your bedrooms and toys with our kids:), and Auntie Pat and Uncle Pete for organizing the whole fun weekend!!!

Poor Maya looks a little cold here!:) She went to play in the car with papi, Tia Colleen and Tia Mimi while we went on the sleigh ride!

Vivi LOVES horses, and she loves singing jingle bells (so we changed it to "Oh what fun it is to ride in a 2 horse open sleigh"

Over the river and through the woods..

Tonito and Grandpa cuddling to get warm...

Our cousins enjoying the snow...