Thursday, January 29, 2009

Frolicking deer

There was some impressive snow fall the last few days followed by some even more impressive ice which was then followed by more snow. This made the trees around the house look just gorgeous, even if they are weighed down so much that many are actually bent till they are touching the ground.
This also makes the deer particularly easy to spot. This is nice since they have been frolicking in the snow. I thought I had seen deer frolicking before but I was wrong.
Deer can't really properly frolic unless snow is involved.

(Bonus question: Why is frolic with just a 'c' and frolicking with a 'ck'?)
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Monday, January 26, 2009


In reaction to Jason's comments the other day, here is Tovina showing her belly... sort of.

Her overall belly efforts are somewhat thwarted by the onsie she is wearing. But she doesn't seem to care.
T also likes to say belly though it sounds identical to baby. Luckily she usually either signs baby of lifts her shirt when she says belly/baby which is a good clue.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Communication examples

Since we got some comments back on the signing stuff, here is a quick example.
But first, an explanation. In Tovina's kindermusic class, the teacher sometimes has a blanket which is used as a hammock. 1 child at a time will lie in the blanket. Then the teacher and the appropriate parent will gently swing the child back and forth. Some children do not like this and refuse to get on the blanket. Other children (whose names might start with T and end with ovina) enjoy it so much that they have to be restrained from taking multiple turns. Tovina has taken to gathering up various small blanket and rugs around the house and bringing them to us so that we can swing her. What you see here was one of her more ambitious undertakings. Before I started filming, she had managed to sort of wrap herself up and was energetically twisting herself back and forth in an effort to make me understand what she wanted.

In this video, Tovina is actually demonstrating many of her different communication options.
1) Miming: Not exactly American sign language but picking up the rug, wrapping it around herself, and swaying was clear enough
2) Verbal: You heard her 'yes'? She's got lots more where that came from. (My favorites these days is 'nana' for banana and 'Baba' which is grandmother but might also mean 'cell phone' in T's world. Can you guess who gets the most calls from T?)
3) Signs: See that beckoning hand at the end? That means wait. It is suppose to be more of just a finger flutter thing, but I knew what she meant. I actually thought she would say it and was sort of shocked when she signed it so clearly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our personal Van de Graaff generator

T's got some mighty fine hair which allows for some pretty fun styles. Usually such coiffures are confined to the morning or right after her hat comes off. But today, after some swinging in a particularly staticee blanket, we were treated to this sight.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Hard week

Tovina seems to be getting over a cold while also getting in a new molar. This makes for a hard week.
To help her relax, T was chillin in her rocking chair, bundled up nice and warm, and holding Huan Huan (欢欢) to help her feel better.
Holding who? HuanHuan of course! or we could say 她的朋友的名字是欢欢 if that is easier.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Helping with the shopping

Usually Tovina likes going to the store because 1) she gets to put on her coat and 2) she gets to push the cart. Pushing the cart is not only fantastic exercise, it is also a big help since it means that Mom and Dad don't have to (see: are not allowed to) push the cart themselves. This only becomes a problem when we don't want the cart to run into something, like the food displays, or people, which doesn't occur more than half the time. That leaves us the other half of the time to enjoy strangers reactions to the cart that is seemingly pushing itself down the aisle.
T usually gets many smiles from strangers. She is often willing to pause pushing to wave at them before she is forced to continue her very serious chore.
You can see how hard she has to push the heavy cart (which contains her diaper bag) in the 2nd picture.
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Walking in the snow

I am learning that Cincinnati does not really get much snow. We've had a couple of inches now and then but it only lasts a few days. So that is why we have to make the most of it while it lasts!
Here is T all bundled up and going for a walk. She wasn't sure what to make of the snow at first, but by the time we made it to the street, she was only willing to walk on the snow.In this video you see Tovina, who hadn't made it past the driveway, totally diggin' walking in the snow.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


We have been signing with Tovina and she seems to be picking it up. She understands a lot words. I just listed all the ones she uses and got up to over 70. Wow! That was a lot more than I was expected. This weekend we were at a dinner at a friend's house and Tovina was asking for grapes and strawberries using her signs. Other adults were able to recognize them and started copying her. Tovina was happy to see that everyone else was such a quick learner.

Since I was listing all the signs anyways, I figured I might as well copy the list for you here.

Here are the signs that Tovina will sometimes try to form herself (71)
all done, Baby, ball, banana, bear, bed (sleep), bird, book/read, bowl, bread, cat, catch (as in tag), cheese, coat, cold, cup, dad, dance, different, dog, down, duck, ears, elephant, eyes, feet, fish, flower, Food, Fruit, gentle touches (mostly for petting cats and babies), grandfather, grandmother, Grapes, hair, hat, help, hot, Hug, jump, lay down, listen, milk, mom, monkey, more, mouth, music, no, nose, out, pacifier, phone, please, quiet, rabbit, shoes, sit, socks, strawberry, swing, thank you, toilet, tongue, touch, tree, up, wait, walk, wash (person), Water

These are ones that Tovina recognizes back has not tried to sign herself (20)
change (as in diaper), cow, cracker, giraffe, hit, horse, light, look, orange (color and fruit), owl, play, rain, run, sheep, smell, snow, spider, spoon, together, where

And these are ones that we use but seem to go right over her head (44)
apple, aunt, balloon, black, blue, brown, cereal, come here, diaper, dinosaur, flower, frog, home, hungry, ice cream, kick, kitchen, mirror, mouse, on, onion, pink, red, rock, rooster, rope, shave, sleep , snake, soup, squirrel, stop, thirsty, tired, turtle, TV, uncle, wash (dishes), what, when, which, white, who, yellow

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mmm mmm good

We have gotten back into the swing of cooking which became much easier once our own stuff was unpacked. This was especially important to us as we worried that Tovina might be losing her desire for spicy Indian food since we had not served it to her in a while. While I don't have pictures, please take my word for it that based on her willingness to consume vast quantities of spicy chickpeas, slightly less spicy cauliflower, and spiced but not spicy potatoes, our fears were unfounded.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


One of the fun things about winter and all the leaves falling off the trees is that it is much easier to see the deer. While we usually just see them in their family groups of 4 or 5, sometimes we get a lone buck walking through, as you can see here. Other times we seem to get all the deer in the area to come through at once as a group of around 14. Its hard to get an exact count as games of tag which require loops through the yard and around the house make the deer very hard to accurately count.
Here is a video of one of the deer showing what she thinks of our neighbor's fence.
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

We gots stuff!

I realize that I had suggested that you were getting a post around December 31st that was going to wax poetic about how fabulous the delivery and unpacking of our (priorly) wayward belongings had gone.
I further realize that it is now somewhat after December 31st, one might even say days.
I fear you may have gotten the wrong impression and suspected, as one might, that things had perhaps gone less than stellarly and that made you understandably hesitant to ask questions.
Today, we allay those fears, because, all prior experience to the side, things went pretty darn smoothly. (Smoothly that is as long as we ignore the fact that the first truck which arrived at 8am was too big to make it down our street, let alone into our driveway, and the crew had to go back to their headquarters, which were luckily in Cincinnati, unload the first truck and then re-load everything into a smaller truck which meant they didn't get started at our house till 11:30. This is not quite as bad as it sounds because all our boxes were still securely packed tight into 3 huge shipping crates.) But 2 of the moving fellows were champs and, good to their word, had everything unloaded and all the boxes we wanted unpacked unpacked and were still out of here by 4pm. They took all the empty boxes and packing paper with them too.
They even left us with some good news on their way out when they told us we could have the rest of the boxes picked up when we finished unpacking the last of our stuff. As you can see, we will be needing that service. (More good news is that these are boxes we have already emptied since they left.)
Everything seems to have come through fine. There is still about 1 box worth of stuff that we haven’t located, but we have hopes that it is tucked away in a corner somewhere. There was one concerned moment when we thought my desk had gotten cracked in half, but it turned out the desk is just that flexible if the top is not attached and it is sitting on its side. Luckily I don't plan on using it in the on-its-side configuration.
One of the great joys of unpacking boxes that were taken away 5 months ago was finding fun stuff that we had forgotten was in a box, like this surprise.
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Enjoying Hanukkah

One of the things that Tovina received for Hanukkah was this personal fan that spells out different messages as it spins. This one spells out a few different messages including 'Happy Hanukkah' as seen here.

Tovina's favorite part of this toy was sticking her finger into the fan blades to make them stop spinning. Then removing her finger and watching them start up again. Not to worry though, the fans blades are very soft plastic and the motor is weak so no fears here. I tested it as soon as we realized what she was going to be doing... repeatedly.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Settling Down

The holidays were full of visits with friends and family (more blog entries on this will likely be coming) but things are getting quieter now and the regular daily goings on are once again goings on. What exactly are we referring to? Well, Tovina is back to sleeping roughly 12 hours a night -and- in her own bed! We are also back at the library. Here you can see T and our neighbor Caleb checking out some software that reads books with the child. I'd like to think that some of it is sticking in T's head, because yesterday, when Tovina was flipping page though the book I was hoping to read, she started pointing at some of the enlarged letters. After the next 20 minutes, she was identifying 'O' and 'I'. Steinbeck here we come.
In case you were wondering, Tovina was reading Stellaluna.
And speaking of Stellas. Here is a pic of Tovina and Stella sharing a rocking chair back in PA. You can tell they will both be tall adults because they have such large paws to grow into.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Let there be light

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Tovina enjoying one of her Chanukah presents.
Notice the look of pride in her eyes

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Weeee (otherwise know as Wii)

Cindy, Danny, Emma, and Brendan got a brand new Wii for Christmas and have been generously willing to share the experience with the rest of the family.
Here are folks bowling

and Danny explaining the rules.
Who won?
The judges conferred

And decided that all the adults looked pretty silly. Though not half as silly as we looked the next day while complaining of sore muscles.
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