Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tunlaw by Photos

Disclaimer: I haven't figured out how to arrange photos well in Blogspot, so this is a really poorly laid out post.  But, you'll get the point of some of our memories in pictures. 

First, we had to get the house ready.  This involved Painters Without Pay (aka Pam's mom and sister Beth) working hard to rid the place of seriously poor color choices by the previous owners.  Then, Pam's grandma made curtains, her grandpa made radiator covers, and, eventually, Pam herself sewed some pretty spectacular roman shades.  When Pam's grandpa passed away and she and Greg chose to take his National Geographic collection, book cases were installed to house them.  

We got Bagwelle! 

We had lots of fun parties - here are just a few!
China Welcoming Party

Easter Dinner
Jenn & CK's engagement
Jenn & CK's engagement

New Year's

We had lots of visitors - too many to post photos of - but highlighting those who came from overseas to stay with us

Greg's colleague from Jordan

And the last year was dominated by William's arrival. (Beth moved in with us, too, but Wm was just so cute, all the photos are of him!!)

Dinner with Wm on our roof deck

First time meeting great grandpa

The bathtub lived under the kitchen sink

Rocket Baby met Aunt Beth frequently after a night shift

Aunt Tracy makes a pony

Wm learns a favorite spot from Bagwelle

And really, we started to say good bye in 2008, when we found out we were joining the Foreign Service.  Wm started the trend, but now we have three FSO Babies, and, well, sadly fitting in Tunlaw would just be a little tight. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Learning to communicate

I already posted about Ian starting to figure out words.  More and more, now, he's actually communicating.  Lea has told me that she speaks Tagalog to him during the day, "so he doesn't forget the Philippines."  I'm not sure if she just likes speaking Tagalog (makes her less homesick) or if she really wants Ian to speak it (her lasting contribution to his development).

Patch grew up in a dual language environment, too - well, actually tri-language, since while our nannies spoke Hindi/Urdu at home, many of the surrounding people spoke Telugu, and we of course spoke English.  In Patch's case, this meant he hardly spoke a word at age two.  I remember telling his first pre-school teacher in Manila that my "goal" for him was to have him be able to say more than just "mama" and "milk."  In a few months, he figured it out and was speaking in sentences.

Ian seems to be taking a more incremental approach, showing an interest in saying words in both languages.  Yesterday, I noticed him differentiating between how he spoke with Lea and how he responded to me.  To Lea, for an affirmative answer, he consistently said, "O-o," Tagalog for "yes." He can't quite make the "yes" sound in English, so to me, he would nod his head.  Kind of cool.

[side note: for no, to anyone, he firmly shakes his head and, if at all possible, pushes the offending item away.  It doesn't matter what language you speak!]

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why we need more snow days

Something about being stuck at home, with active kids, motivates me.  Maybe some friends lounged about in pjs, but that's not really an option here … items accomplished today:

- Making pancakes
- Catching up on a myriad of work reading material long delayed.  This includes such gems as the International Strategy for Cyberspace, the Asian Energy Outlook, and numerous news articles on TPP and TPA.
- A game of Settlers of Catan with Wm
- Baking cookies with Patch
- Trying to up my Japanese reading skills with NHK Easy News
- Finishing valentines for both classes (just in case there's school tomorrow!)
- Loading and unloading dishwasher (get credit for the small things, too, right?)

And, most importantly:
(and it's only 3:30!)

 4:30 update:


Saturday, February 8, 2014

So We Can Play Together

Patch today will be attending his first "girl" birthday party.  It took some convincing to go, since he says he doesn't like girls.  After (1) Wm pointed out all the girls Patch plays with at the park and (2) I confirmed that Patch's friend Lui would be there, Patch finally agreed.  Score for me - Saturday afternoon activity out of the house confirmed!

Off we headed to Target to get a toy.  I'm sure many of you read some of the various articles over the holidays about the bifurcation of "girl" and "boy" toys.  Here is our family's version of that experience:

Me: OK, shopping for house done.  Let's go to the toy section and get something.
Wm: Patch, here's the pink area.  Come, let's get a princess or doll thing.
Patch: NO. I don't like girl toys.
Wm: But Emily is a girl!
Patch: But I don't like all that pink around me.
Me: OK, let's get Oliver's present first
(note: oliver's birthday party is in two weeks)
(debate about benefits of Hot Wheels vs. Cars figurines vs. Legos vs. Imaginext ensues.  Imaginext wins)
Me: Time to get Emily's now.
Patch: Hey, this game looks fun! (pointing at Let's Go Fish-- the game where the fish mouths open and close and you have to dangle a magnet fishing line in to get them out)  Can we get it for Emily?
Wm: But it's not a girl toy.
Patch: It's an everyone toy. We can play it together!

So, there you go.  My four year old wants more "everyone" toys so that he can play with his friends who are girls without a crushing amount of pink.  Do you think retailers and toy makers will listen?  Looks like someone has even started a blog to "Let Toys be Toys."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Love the Logic

As long time friends - but maybe not casual readers - know, I have a soft spot in my heart for math and logic.  Had a certain professor at Wellesley not gone on maternity leave my senior year - forcing a different professor whom I didn't get along with so well to teach the senior seminar class - I probably would have ended up majoring in math.  As it is, I simply nurture that enjoyment in small ways, and more and more recently that's been through Wm!

Since he was a small kid, I could tell we'd be on the same wave length, when it came to math, at least.  At 2, he had great geospatial awareness parallel parking his tricycle.  I never had to explain addition or subtraction, he just inherently seemed to know it.  I'm sure we'll get into some epic battles in the future, when I yell at him for sloppy hand writing and not keeping his decimals lined up, but for now it's all fun.

Tonight we were talking about the difference between mayors and the president, and he wanted to know how many times someone can be elected president (2), how much time between each election (4 yrs), and when the next election would be (2016).  After I answered these questions, he was quiet for a split second, and then said, "well, that means President Obama wasn't president when I was born.  Who was?"

I have to admit, I was pretty proud of him - and enjoyed seeing how he pulled the fuzzy new concepts back to his immediate self.  (obviously, since this post is a little boastful.  But, hey, parents are allowed to do that sometimes, right?)  I doubt he could have explained quickly how he knew it was a different president when he was born … he just did.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Maybe Asia is the Place for Us

Aside from having spent four years while growing up in Japan, there really is no obvious reason why we should gravitate toward that region.  Why not the Western Hemisphere, which boasts the same time zone as the US? Or Europe with many many direct flights? Or Africa, with, well, I'm not sure what, but people who have served there love it so I'm sure I'd find something to love if we spent the majority of our time on that continent.

Greg returned home from the grocery store with frozen finger foods for dinner tomorrow (I think his intention is a picnic in the basement during Super Bowl).  As he listed off the foods he bought, I asked if it was a Lunar new Year theme: xio mai, spring rolls, orange chicken, samosas, satay... He hadn't even realized the exclusively Asian menu!

So, couple that with his love of Siracha, and I guess Asia is where we're meant to be. Follow our stomachs! (And I guess make due with the horrendous flights)