Archive for January, 2012

Calle family movie night

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I love Fridays.  I like to do special things on Fridays to mark the beginning of the weekend:  on the way home from school, Benjamin is allowed to pick out a treat to have with his lunch; we try and do something special or easy (or both) for dinner; I go easy on the housework (even easier than the other days).  But I’m always happy to add something new to our repertoire.



Friday, January 20th, 2012

Every evening, after bath time and before bed, we have story time.  Dan & I take turns reading to the kids — Liam usually only makes it through one or two stories, but Benjamin always gets four (unless he can convince us to do a few extra).  I love it when it’s my turn to do stories.  I love reading to them, seeing them learn and enjoy the stories, and I really enjoy many of the stories themselves – we have some really good ones, and a lot of them are favorites of ours from when we were little.


New Year’s Resolutions

Friday, January 20th, 2012
The nice thing about the New Year is the strong symbolism of a clean start. The hard thing about the third week of the year is feeling discouraged about anything you didn’t (re)start cleanly.

But every day, every hour, every moment, is charged with the same power. An almost-toddler learning to walk, a baby bird learning to fly, a child learning to ride a bicycle…they all look the same: after every thud, there is a standing up followed by an exuberant thrust. It doesn’t matter if the last attempt lasted 1 second or 100, the thrust has the same energy.

…until it’s time for a snack and a nap. Tomorrow’s play is just ahead.


Baby exuberantly learning to walk

Making a dress, a comedy in three languages

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I have 17 days until the ball, and, as yet, no fairy godmother has surfaced to wave a wand and create a gown made just for me (although, that might be one of those things that you have to wait until the actual last minute, not almost the last minute, and your bird-made gown might first have to be destroyed by your evil step-sisters, of which I have none, so I may never know).  I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands (not literally) and have a dress made.


Benjamin visits the ER

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

First, let me say that everything turns out ok in this story.

Yesterday evening, just before story time, I was feeding Liam and I heard the sounds of “hide & seek” coming from the bathroom (where toothbrushing was supposed to be happening . . . and I imagine it did actually happen at some point).  Benjamin isn’t 100% clear on hide & seek yet — he seems to manage to both hide and seek each time, but he really likes it.  I heard both Dan and Benjamin count to 10, and then lots of giggling and “I found you!” followed by a serious “thud” and a cry.  Not the I-need-to-think-about-how-bad-this-hurts cry, but the instantaneous, frightened, pained scream.


Playing in the snow

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

We woke up this morning to our first snowfall in Vienna of any real significance.  By the time Benjamin got up, there was more than a dusting on the rooftops, and our terrace, which is pretty sheltered, but not enclosed, almost had a covering.  Our rosemary, basil and cilantro plants (or rather, the pots the plants lived in when it was summer) had about an inch in each, as did the table where they sit.


Nothing to wear to the ball

Monday, January 16th, 2012

I know, it’s awful, these problems I have.  I’ve got to go to a ball at the palace in a few weeks, and I have nothing to wear.  It’s a rough life.


Benjamin and the planets

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

I try not to brag excessively about my kids.  Of course I think they’re beautiful, brilliant, sweet, loving, strong, fast, kind and generally amazing and wonderful — I’m their mom, I can’t help it.  But I do try to keep most of it to myself, because otherwise it would be all I would talk or write about, because they’re my most favorite people in the whole world.

But every so often they do or say something so cute that I just can’t keep it to myself.  At only 3 years old, Benjamin knows all of the planets.  I don’t know if that’s typical, but it’s pretty impressive to me.  He can recite the names of all 9 of them (including Pluto — I grew up in a world where Pluto was a planet) in order, and tell you a little bit about all of them.  He tells me that Jupiter is made of gas (which he says is funny), that Mars has lots of dust and that Neptune is very cold.  Earth is his favorite, but he might like to try to live on Jupiter.  He asks really good questions, like “Whats’ the difference between a planet and a moon?” and “What do the planets have inside of them?” and “Is the Earth spinning very, very fast?”

I can take almost no credit for this.  Like many other things he’s learned in his 3 years, this came almost entirely from tv (in this case, I think we have Olivia and Bubble Guppies to thank) with some supplemental material from books.  It’s so cute to hear him, and so impressive to see how his mind works.  He told us, the other evening, that he wants to be an astronomer when he grows up – he has previously alsoexpressed a wish to be a fire fighter and a chef.  I love watching him grow and learn and be excited about things.  Being a mom is the best thing ever.

Getting ready for the shindig

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Vienna has a ball season.  I don’t know if there is anywhere else in the world where that is true, but it’s true here.  From January to March, the Hofburg Palace, as well as other sites in Vienna and elsewhere in Austria, host balls — complete with live music, dinner and dancing.  The first weekend of February, Dan & I are going to one, hosted by the IAEA, at the Hofburg Palace.


Ben ist da!

Friday, January 13th, 2012

I’m still of a split mind about B going to school.  On the one hand, I think the socialization he’s getting is positive, and I know he’s learning German in a way that’s more accessible to him than it will ever be again in his life.  On the other hand, he wants to be at home, and I want him to be here.