Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years

It's 9:45 and we're off to bed.
We wish everyone had a great year!
One of our great joys in being in the states is sharing more time with family. The past 2 months Tovina had a chance to see all of her grandparents, her first cousins, and her aunts and uncles. Here is T with Grandpop.
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Its all in the hat

The movers have come and gone but the boxes remain.
In one of the boxes that Tovina unpacked, she found this old fedora. (Thanks Jer!)
Luckily she knows how to wear it with style.
We were okay with her switching from her regular helmet (it helps when she runs into the walls, floors, and random people) to the soft hat because she has recognized that she must be careful with her head. You can tell that she understands because she put a 'fragile' sticker on herself.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Moving and panics

Tomorrow the rest of our belongings are scheduled to arrive in our home. 'What belongings?' we hear you ask. Why, our furniture, most of Michael's clothes (including most of his winter things - he has been very chilly), pots, pans, other kitchen stuff, and all the other things that one acquires as one moves along.
We are very excited and a little panicky.
With any luck, a joyous posting will be made Wednesday in which we describe how well everything went.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tired baby

Its fun to be back in my hometown and visiting friends but the constant performances are a little hard on Tovina.
When we are feeling particularly gracious we allow her to sleep for a couple of hours before taking her out for the next show.
Today she took 2 naps for the first time in a while (1.5 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon) and still went to sleep at 8:30.
But she can sleep next year, especially since it is only a week away.
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Monday, December 22, 2008

An important new skill

Tovina was a little scared by the device at first. Then, once she got past her unreasonable, albiet healthy, fear of the somewhat unstable, noisy when moved, oddly shaped device, she spent the first few hours thinking it was a stand-n-spin. However she eventually got the idea and became a champion Sit-N-Spin rider. Just look at the sense of accomplishment you can see in her eyes.
Here you can see her demonstrating her "mad skills". I like when, at the end of the video, Dad asks her "what her feet are doing" and she stops spinning so that she can lift her feet and show them to him.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ready for the PA weather

A few days ago we drove over the PA to finally let Tovina meet the folks in Cara's home town. While here the weather decided to help Tovina out and create some fun by having a couple big snows. so Mz T suited up and went outside to brave the cold.
She is wearing her coat and gloves from Brendan, Mom's scarf that Baba knit about 30 years ago, and a brand new hat thanks to friends with moms with great habits.

Want a closer look at the hat? Here you go!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Libraries Again!

I know I waxed poetic about libraries a week or so ago, but I really have to say it again.
Libraries ROCK!
We are going to drive to State College later this week and it is going to take about 8 hours each way without stopping. While Tovina is pretty good in a car, this will likely be stretching her patience.
To prepare suitably soothing and interesting activities for the wee one we are stocking up on car food. However, that is not the point of this post. What is relevant is the other stuff we wanted to prepare, namely music.
I went to library to get out some music CD's to help keep her entertained. Before picking things off the shelf, I asked how many I can take out at once. The answer?
I held back to only 18 and admittedly a few are for myself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another first

Its so amazing watching Tovina learn about the world around her. Everyday she seems to grasp a new concept or learn a new word (even if she can only pronounce 1 syllable) or discover another piece of creation.

Friday she had another first. Her first pink eye.
She is now under house arrest.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

They were suppose to be sweet

Last weekend it was time to bake some cookies for the holidays. Sheila picked out a sugar cookie that we could decorate to look like snowman heads. We only needed 84 but we ended up going slightly over... maybe by an extra 30 or so....
Luckily, we have managed to eat the leftovers so they are no longer tempting us.

The recipe described happy friendly faces, but something seemed to go horribly wrong on a few of them.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wild Animals

And no, the headline does not refer to Tovina.

This morning, while sitting at my computer which is conveniently located right in front of some large windows that look out over part of our lawn and the woods, I saw
1 opossum
5 deer (momma and 4 babies)
3 cardinals (2 females and 1 male)

If I had been facing another direction, I might also have come across
2 raccoons
another 7 or deer
1 blue jay
1 white and black kitty
1 woodchuck
many many little moles

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Digging the tunes

Hay Tovina - whacha doing?
Listening to tunes huh? Who turned on that music for you?

Aunt Sheila huh?

And do you like it?

I guess that is a yes!

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


One of the true, unadulterated joys of being in the States are the public libraries. We currently have out fiction books, baby books, home repair books, programing books, and music cds. And most (or perhaps even all) of these books are in English! Its just amazing.

Tovina is very fond of the library where we go once or twice a week for story and song time.
Last week we Tovina chose One Duck Stuck and Five in a Bed (and the little one said).

Choosing involves releasing Tovina near the toddler books and then watching her use her highly refined descernment to grab what is often the first book that her hands land upon, which we then check out.

Today, while reading Five in a Bed again, I took a pause between lines and Tovina piped up with "whoa oh-warh."
I was surprised, so I tried again.
"There were 3 in the bed and the little one said..."
"whoa oh-warh," supplied the little person in my lap. (This translates to 'roll over' for the 2 people out there who are not familiar with this complex and compelling story.)
I was so impressed that I moved us out to the living room so Ms T could perform for Aunt Sheila. It took a few tries (because what child will do a trick on demand?) but eventually she did it again.
Sheila was suitably impressed though she did point out that it was a little strange that Tovina is trying to say 'roll over' but has almost no interest in saying 'dad' or 'mom'.

Tovina decided that such discussions were simply too much for her and overcome by all the stress of her performances begged for a break from the spotlight and a well deserved nap.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dealing with the freezing weather

The cold weather has frozen the top of our pond. The fish keep swimming under the top layer of ice, but we have to keep breaking holes through so that some air gets in and the waste gases get out.

Really, the fish more stay really still rather than truly swimming. I actually thought they were frozen in place until they moved really quickly as I started whamming on the top of the ice to break a hole through.

And the fish aren't the only thing that has a protective layer between them and the environment. Since the weather has gotten colder Tovina has also grown a thicker protective layer.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Sorry I have been so poor about putting anything new up for the past week. It turns out that when family is visiting, the pressure from them to post blogs diminishes rapidly.
The quick summary is that we had a fantastic week with Cara's family in coming in to share the traditional mass consumption.

And how did the mass consumption go? Well, here are a few happy cousins who seems to have survived it all right.

And here is Tovina working off a few some of that Thanksgiving soup by taking a walk with her Zaida.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Parade

Yes, you read the title correctly. Tonight, there was a Christmas parade. (You thought this should have been after Thanksgiving? Silly you.) Like last year, it was pretty much the coldest evening we have had thus far this year. Luckily, we were warned this might be the case, so the family came prepared. Michael and I wore multiple layers (nothing compared to Harbin, but still pretty impressive) but layering Tovina was a little trickier. Instead, we decided to just grab her snow gear. Not shown here are the snow pants she also ended up wearing. While she was able to walk around, her arms were most definitely not able to lay down flat to her body. She did look somewhat roundish when she was finally all zipped up. There were a few times where she sort of settled for just rocking her body back and forth rather than waving at the people on the floats since moving her arm independently of the rest of her well padded body required just too much effort.

As a side note which I am sure most other parents have already discovered, Mittens are surprisingly complicated items to get on one's hands for the first time. Getting a single thumb into the thumb part turns out to be a major achievement. I had no idea there were so many other options when donning what I once considered a simple garment.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New hobby

Tovina really likes carrying baskets around, especially really big baskets. One of her favorites is Aunt Sheila's big green wicker basket.
But carrying them around is not really enough in and of itself. To enjoy the basket fully, it needs to have things in it.
And what should a basket have in it?

Why potatoes of course!

Tovina is very carefully taking potatoes out of the bottom metal bin and placing them in her basket. She then places the basket over her shoulder, waives goodbye, and carries the potatoes off into another room.

We having been finding potatoes all over the house for a few weeks now and quietly repatriating them to the wire bin where the process then starts over.

And yes, we do realize we could stop all of this by simply moving the potatoes, but no, we are not going to move them. This is much more fun for everyone involved... except maybe the potatoes which occasionally spot a few teeth marks.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Eating a burrito

Tovina's eating experiment for the week was part of a burrito from Chipotle. This particular wrap contained chicken, black beans, Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa (Medium spicy), and sour cream.

What did she think of this dinner?

Well, after careful consideration...

And a few careful bites...

She decided it was a winner!
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

15 month collage

Its been a while, so today we have a treat for you...
A new collage!

You can thank us later :)

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Friday, November 14, 2008

New skills and styles

Tovina has recently taken on a new project. Here she is working hard on it.
What has required so much of her attention? Her thesis concerning loud random screams and surprise attacks on a cat's mental state of course! She has been doing the field research for months.
Here she was pointing out to me some of her more interesting findings.
Why, we can hear you asking, does Tovina have access to a lap top? Well, it turns out that children really enjoy playing with their parents high tech toys. (Shocking, we know.) Since Michael and I have found it somewhat detrimental to our work to allow Tovina to work on our computers, we have converted an old, mostly broken computer for her own personal use. After this day though, we found that even a computer that is mostly broken, can quickly become all the way broken when given to a 15 month old.
Tovina is going to have to wait to finish her thesis until she is at least 2 years old.

On a different note....
One of our astute readers pointed out in our last post that Tovina's hair is becoming longer. While this is true for the back of her head, everything from the ears forward is still sort of lagging. However, we have discovered that we can still have fun with the hair that has grown.
Here is Tovina sporting her Pebbles's look
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Golf and that cart that it comes with

One of our lovely new neighbors has given Tovina this golf cart to use. It even comes with its very own golf club! Tovina is trying to get the hang of it, but as you can see, she is still a little confused about the proper cart protocol. If you check out the video, you can see that her golf swing also needs some work.

As is often the case, there is a longer video on youtube.
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