Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is an important holiday on our road. Many families have a portable fire pit that they drag out to their front yard and around which they set up lawn chairs from which to hand out candy. Tovina wasn't so sure about all these fires that she was not allowed to touch, but she was very excited about meeting all the new people.
Here is ms T aka, chicken little, and some of the kids from our road.
Tovina did like getting wrappers with candy in them. We even let her try a chocolate covered bar which she thought was quite good. One of our neighbors even lent us a little pumpkin like bag in which we could put Tovina's stash. At the first few houses, we showed her how to put the wrapper (which happened to contain candy) in the bag. By the 4th house, not only was she carrying the bag, she was also running up to the bowls of candy and eagerly picking an item out and then putting it in her bag.
and then picking another item out and putting it in her bag.
and then picking another item out and putting it in her bag.

We usually intervened after the 2nd piece.

Sometimes she would offer the homeowner a candy from her bag as trade for whatever she was taking, though eventually she got over that habit.
There was a hat too, but she was never willing to wear it.

Here is chicken little eating some cow.
mmmm.... chili.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Preparing for the big orange day

Last week we headed over to a local farm for some pumpkin choosing and a hay ride and general getting ready for Halloween spirit. Here are Emma, Brendan, and Tovina giving this pumpkin some personality.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Don't want help

Tovina is becoming ever more independent, which is sometimes scary as she also becomes more mobile and adventuresome. Here is Mz T letting aunt Sheila know that help holding the chair steady is really not necessary.
Really... Let go PLEASE!
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A slightly longer video is also available here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Updates from around the house

There are a lot of things to take care of around a house. First are the basics, likely cooking and laundry. These are not new to us since they also apply to apartments. That might be why Tovina is so comfortable helping with such chores.
Here you can see how comfortable she is helping with the laundry.
Then there are the tasks that need more training. For example, Roxanne and Cyrano are just beginning to really understand how important it is to keep track of the squirrels. You must keep in mind that these 2 had never seen squirrels before.. or deer, or many birds, or many other things that they could chase other than each other. Luckily though it was not too late and they have shown remarkable dedication in learning to sit for loooonnnngggg stretches of time and stare at all sorts of animals that they can not actually reach. It is a good thing too because those squirrels are sneaky.

That bird feeder use to be straight. Dang squirrels. We have a new feeder now that they still haven't figured out. Though it is fun to watch them fall off the feeder. The squirrels that is. The birds have no problems.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

New Toys

Today Michael picked up our chainsaw. 
That tree doesn't stand a chance!*

*That is, it doesn't stand a chance once our protective gear arrives and we also buy a shovel and pick to make enough room to do the undercut in the trunk so the saw blade doesn't get stuck when we try to cut through that monster and we practice on some slightly smaller trees to make sure we have at least some real practice before tackling that monster. 
But right after - Then that big tree is coming right down!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Here are a few shots of the deer that like to come and visit our house. (If you ask Tovina, they are properly referred to as cats.)

This deer is trying to catch a little satellite TV. I was surprised that he needed the satellite's help even with those ears.
This shot was taken from our screened-in porch.
These 2 are by the garage as seen from the screened-in porch.

And these 2 are wondering what these crazy humans are doing taking all these pictures.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tovina feeding herself

Tovina is big into doing things all on her own these days. This includes pushing grocery carts (kneecaps beware), climbing chairs (whose afraid of falling?), and feeding herself. Luckily she is getting better at getting food into her mouth for which all her clothes are thankful. This does not mean that she doesn't still get it all over her face though.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ike's visit

When Hurricane Ike came through North America almost a month ago, he decided to stop by our house for a bit of a visit. Here is the root system of one of our trees in which Ike took a special interest.
This is where we use to have trees. Its hard to really appreciate the number of poor little snapped trees that the big bully tree knocked down.
This is why we are thankful that it fell away from the house. Yup, that's pretty close.
To make the story more interesting, all of this happened while Tovina, Michael, and myself were out of town and Sheila was here all by herself. Did I mention that the house lost power during the storm and a tree fell over the lane to our house? Fun times!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Tovina pics

More pictures from the B'not Mitzvah last month.

Here is Baba and Tovina as Tovina finally discovered the joy of teddy bears. She had just begun to figure it out 2 weeks before when she was given a stuffed lion as we were heading out of Beijing, but this night was the first time she really wanted a stuffed animal. There were a few on each table and she walked from table to table pointing at them until she had two to carry around with her. Though Tovina did not seem to notice, it was clear to the rest of us that 2 teddy bears at once stretched her capabilies and created a very endearing wobble in her walk.

Tovina and cousin Jonathon

Auntie Leah and Tovina

And finally, a very endearing little girl.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Straw education

While in Winnipeg Tovina learned how to use a straw. Or at least she learned how to blow bubbles. Here is a video of Tovina ttrying to get a drink from Mari's glass.

Highlights to look for in the video
1) Tovina's baby bird impression (which is also shown in this picture)
2) Tovina's donation to Mari's drink at the very end of the video clip
And here is a lovely shot of a very serious Mari and Tovina and a very smug Pam. Pam had reason to be smug.. after all, it wasn't her glass that Tovina is blowing into.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Taking care of the pond

One of the not so surprising things regarding home ownership is that there are a lot of things that need taking care of. Most of them we have absolutely no experience with. (That's what more than a decade of apartment living can get ya.) This particular house came with a pond that we have probably mentioned before.

It turns out that we were suppose to hang a net the previous owner left us over the pond before the leaves started falling. Why? Because if there are dead leaves in the pond they decompose and that hurts the water balance and can ruin the whole thing.

So what do you do if you did not put up the net in time and there are dead leaves at the bottom of the pond decomposing? You go in and get them of course.

Luckily (sort of) Jan (the previous owner) left us this cool set of waders to help us. (And by us I mean me - Michael gets to take care of everything else, I get the stuff on the porch.)

Pretty cool huh?
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Monday, October 06, 2008

Shabbat Shalom

We have been recognizing how lucky we've been to be spending some really glorious days in our new home. We've now had 2 Shabbats here and managed to light candles, have challah, and drink some wine.... well grape juice actually... in our home each week.

This is actually a pic from last week when we celebrated our first Sabbath as a family in our own home.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Shipping kids

We've had the first of our stuff delivered much to our excitement! (the rest of it should be here in about 3 months.) Even better than our stuff, we got boxes! Here are Tovina, Brendan, and Emma enjoying one of those boxes.

Some folks have asked about the stuff that is already in the house. Well, the sofa, kitchen appliances, table and chairs are all Michael's sister. She is living with us for a while and it is a much better way to move! I highly recommend it for smoothing the way into your new home.
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