Wednesday, May 27, 2009

lots and lots of photos

Michael has been uploading photos on Facebook with captions and everything. It is now available for anybody to see even if you are not a Facebook user. So check out this link and see what we are doing everyday!

If you click on a specific photo you will see Michael's comments specific to that image.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exploring Cappadocia - Day 1

Here's the family at Devrent's valley. These wacky rock formations happen when you fill a valley with volcanic ash, toss some chunks of volcanic basalt on top, then let a million years of rain erode the volcanic ash around the basalt chunks, leaving them suspended at the tops of scrawny tufa (calcite) towers.

After hiking around the first stop and teaching Tovina 'camel' we headed over to

Our second stop was at Göreme. Greek Christians carved over a dozen churches out of the tufa cliffs in Göreme. They then plastered the insides of many of them and painted some elaborate imagery in a story-telling format. The artwork is about 800 years old.

T spends a great deal of her time in the backpack as we hike around. But she also likes to get down and hike her own little self up and down. This has resulted in some more lessons about roads, drop offs, and new scrapes on her arms and legs. It has also given her time to pick up some new habits. Here she is learning from Daddy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

In Turkey!

We made it and met up with my side of the family and just spent an exhausting day checking out some of Istanbul's highlights. Michael has posted them to his facebook page. I'm not sure if it will work, but you can try seeing them here.
Below are a couple of highlights
This is the one of the views from our hotel window. Michael took this at dawn - which we were awake to see because of a certain small member of our traveling party. When she heard the call to prayer from the mosque Tovina started singing 'Old McDonald had a farm.' Why? apparently the prayer song reminded her of eee-i-eee-i-ooh.

Here is our group in front of the blue mosque somewhat later in the day.

And here is T wearing some styling sunglasses that aunt Mari picked up for her. Ready to go!

Friday, May 15, 2009

And we're off!

Heading to Turkey for a couple of weeks. Doubt there will be much of a chance to post while we are gone. Will be back the first week of June.
Enjoy your extra free time while we're gone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Doc appointment

T had her first doctor's appointment State-side today. It went well and was over pretty quick. Nothing very surprising - she's healthy, growing just fine, doesn't need to go back till her 3-year check up.
The only really surprising part is that she got 2 shots today - 1 in each arm at the same time. Michael held her while the nurses injected. The surprise? She didn't even whimper, just looked at her arms and the nurses and then back a forth a few times.
Not exactly sure what this says about her pain threshold but it may explain why she seems to recover so quickly from her many bangs, bumps, and general '"ooh, that's going to leave a mark!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day

On Sunday Tovina tried her very best to say "Happy Mother's Day". It was very sweet even if she only got out 2 of the 5 syllables.
We had a pretty simple day with lots of hugs and kisses, a haircut (for me, not T, so don't worry), and vanilla malts.

much fun
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Learning a little too well

The past couple of weeks Tovina has started using the toilet. She is actually very excited about it and we take in books to read to her to ensure that she doesn't get bored. We thought we were doing so well as she has started walking up to us, saying 'poo' while waving her hand in the 'toilet' sign!
Whenever she would give this performance, the parent she approached would whisk her away to the bathroom, help her out of her trousers, sit her on her special seat, and read her a story... or 5. It was so much fun watching her learn how to use the toilet and know we were that much closer to a diaper free child!

Or at least that's what we thought she was learning.

Today she showed us the real lesson:
If Tovina tells Mommy or Daddy that she needs to poo, she is then guaranteed special attention, some congratulatory clapping, and a great story time including the Hun Cawpill! (or The Very Hungry Caterpillar as some people know it.) Today she used this ploy 6 times with Michael and 2 times with me including the last time where she tried to put off going to sleep by exclaiming 'poo! poo!' as I was laying her down for the night.

Sneaky child.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Other wild animals

Here are some of the wild animals that are in our pond. Well, maybe wild is a little strong. But they are animals and I wouldn't exactly call them housebroken.

Along with the fish, we've also got lots of frogs. In fact we just went through the incredible tadpole multiplying and dividing season in which so many tadpoles suddenly appeared that it turned the sections they were hanging out in (the shallow parts) almost black which was quickly followed by most of them disappearing as they were eaten by the fish - which is why they were likely trying to hang out in the shallow parts.
This is not to say we have a shortage of frogs. Here are 2 of them chill'n in the water.

And here is one particularly bright faced fellow

Tovina really enjoys going out each day to feed the fish with her Daddy. Yesterday I learned she is also interested in fish that are not in a pond.
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Hokey Pokey

For Mother's day Michael tried to get Tovina to say, "Happy Mother's Day". I won't say she got it perfect, but it was pretty close. In the spirit of enjoying myself and taking it easy this weekend, I don't have new video for you, but I do have this older one that I thought was pretty funny.

I keep meaning to have her listen to the Hokey Pokey now and see how differently she dances to it.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Owl update

To answer the questions: Yes, the owls seems just fine. We seem to come across about 1 a day somewhere in the yard. Its hard to tell who is who (hooo?) but here is one of them hanging out near the house.

Might be Edgar but its sort of hard to tell since he won't answer to his name.

As an interesting side note, one of the folks I've met recently is participating in a 24 hour birdathon competition and is going to come by and try for a look at our owls to help their team score.
Pretty exciting stuff :)

More info:
Annual Birdathon at Rowe Woods
Teams of birders will scour the land to search for as many species of birds as possible during this 24-hour period. Last year, at this fundraising event for CNC and Oxbow Inc., the CNC team found nearly 125 species in Clermont County alone!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Please more pizzaaaaaa

Here is T asking for one of her favorite foods.

When she moves her hands back and forth just above her belly, she is giving her version of 'please'.

... and you thought we made her beg for the bananas....

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The very hungry caterpillar

Tovina really got into reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In fact, every time the little green thing showed up on a page she would point to it and say, "Oh Nooo!"
We are not sure why, but we were clearly amused, and you can be too.

Longer video with more angst can be found here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Aunt Sheila entertaining Tovina

Based on this current trends of posts you might almost suspect that keeping this child entertained is sort of a family past time.

You'd be right of course.

A longer video is available of course.
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Friday, May 01, 2009

Brendan entertaining Tovina

While I know that everyone has found our owl family fascinating, I thought you might appreciate us getting back to our primary plot line.

So here is video of Tovina!
Brendan has discovered that Tovina thinks it is hilarious when he falls down. Not sure why she does, or why he is willing to do it for her over and over, but clearly they are both enjoying themselves
If you listen to T carefully you can hear her asking for "again" and "more".

Part 3: The Return of Fritz

This actually happened Wednesday night, but there was just so much to tell that I wanted to hold everyone in suspense for another day. (Though some people - and I mean you Mom - looked ahead in the videos so they already know how this went down - which was very well in case you can't handle the suspense of waiting to the end of the blog.)

To catch everyone up, Fritz was taken for a check up on Tuesday.
Edgar came a-calling on Wednesday morning.
And Fritz came home Wednesday night.

We got a call from RAPTORS, Inc that Fritz seemed fine and they would be returning her to us at dusk. Our first point of discussion was, 'you mean Fritz is a girl?'

Yup, turns out the female great horned owls (GHO) are bigger than the males and Fritz was already the size of some full grown males; big, beautiful bird that she is! Also turns out that GHO parents have been known to stuff one baby more than the other (often clutches of 2 though they may have more.) So, while Fritz is bigger than Edgar, since Edgar can fly he is likely a little (maybe a couple of days) older. Fritz might also have been having trouble flying because she is so big.

But all of this is nothing to worry about. GHO babies often come down from the nest before they are ready to fly and the parents will simply feed them on the ground.

So..... where does this leave us?
With one great big raptor that needs to be put back in a tree of course!
And how does one do that?
By giving him to the man eagerly asking questions and wearing welding gloves!

The RAPTOR volunteer transferred Fritz to Michael in preparation for Fritz's release. Michael was THRILLED (to put it mildly.)

Raptor Inc did loan Michael a spiffy pair of somewhat longer gloves to replace the welding/cooking gloves that he had on before they arrived.

The kids also thought this whole thing was pretty cool. Emma and Brendan were wondering if they could pet Fritz. (The answer was 'no' in case you were wondering.) Tovina kept saying 'bay-ee ohww' (baby owl) and 'hooo hoooo'. So there was really something for everyone.

And here is Michael releasing Fritz into the wild... whether she wants to go or not.

The hope that Fritz would climb up the tree the way Edgar was able to, but she didn't seem to be in the mood for such antics and decided to hop down out of the tree and waddle off into the woods.
We got to watch the Duchess flying around with dinner in her talons (squirrel tartare), and Edgar stuck around and watched everything unfold. The Duke was nowhere to be seen, though he was probably in the area.

And just in case you haven't figured it out by now, you can see more pictures at Owl and a longer video on YouTube