Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014 - Kid Stories

The kids today...

She just learned to play UNO and this morning, before her friend came over to play, I caught her "organizing" the cards.  Turns out she fixed the deck so that if it was only the two of them playing and SHE dealt the cards, she would get all of the +2 and +4 and Skip and Reverse cards.  "The bad ones" she calls them.  Move over, Ben Affleck!  There's a new cheat in town!

On our Lego table this morning I found this display:
Disturbing!  What does have he have planned for this headless lineup!?

We finally ran out of disposable diapers so today is our first day on reusable cloth diapers.  Oh Pampers, how I took you for granted.  I have already put them on her incorrectly (but she is asleep so I can't wake her up to fix it...God only knows what will happen this round!) and the assembly required to adjust the elastics alone on all of the ones we bought has me hating this decision. I know WHY we decided to do it: good quality diapers are hard to come by here and are very expensive. You can't buy in bulk and there is an unreliable supply.  And unlike US Embassy staff we can't order from Amazon! So purchasing someone else's entire cloth diaper set seemed like (and actually is) a great idea.  But after 5 years of killing our planet with disposable diapers, I think this will be a hard transition to make. 

Just a normal day around here!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014 - Better Late Than Never

Noah was 3 1/2 on July 22nd, and I realized it on July 23rd.  Sorry, Buddy.  This is normally a day I would have acknowledged or celebrated in some way. You know,  before I was a bit scattered with three kids on summer staycation.  These days I am forgetting or not doing a lot of things I would normally be remembering or doing.  I am sure it is a phase and it will pass...Aya is only three months old and, fingers crossed, I am sure that at some point in the next 4 years I will start to sleep through the night again.  But back to Noah...

He is a really smart kid who is quite charming, incredibly sweet, and also pretty complex.  He remains loyal to Grace who he adores (and sometimes bites out of frustration!  Sisters!), maybe second only to Far...who he calls "my own friend" (min egen ven) in Danish (which is not really a thing you can say in Danish, making it THAT much cuter), implying that Far is his best friend.  He has a lot of energy and if feeling ignored or neglected (which, let's face it, he has certainly felt at times since he became a big brother) will use that energy in a more destructive/offensive manner than normal.  He does sometimes have really extreme temper tantrums if he doesn't get what he wants or if he feels he has been wronged, but luckily those are not daily.  

In true Danish fashion, Noah has inherited his Far's love of Legos.  He can play for hours with Grace or by himself in his own Lego world - blending Ninja Turtles with animals with pirates with rescue officers and so on.  His imagination is endless.  He is a finnicky eater (no surprise, given his predecessor), with a very light frame to show for it.  He only naps 1 or 2 times a week now, but we suffer the consequences because he will take AGES to go to sleep at night when he naps during the day.  It is a tricky game because he never sleeps through the night and we often (always?) wake up (or I do with Aya) to find him sleeping with us, so sometimes he needs that nap to get through the day.  A vicious cycle.  I hope that getting back into the routine of school will help.

In two more weeks Noah will start back at the Nordic School but this year is in the "kubwa" (big) class.    His teachers this year will be two Swedes and a Norwegian, and he will no longer be with the one teacher he has had consistently for the last two years (and no Danish teacher!).  And Gracie will not be there anymore, so that could be the source of some anxiety.  Counting my absence before Aya was born, Aya's arrival, Rose's departure and having a new nanny (who he really likes!) at home, and the change at school...this is really a period of transition for Noah and I feel there is a LOT going on in that head of his. His language has developed wonderfully in both English and Danish...minus the "s" sound which he still can't make consistently.  Working on it!

Noah is curious, but cautious.  He is interested in so many mature things but is actually scared of them too - pirates and dragons and monsters and bad guys in general, to name a few.  He is also fascinated by death - speaking often of Oldemor and Kyle and Jesus, who he is also very interested in.  He is looking at the crucifix a lot and often asks about Jesus' life and death, requesting Bible stories at bedtime at least once a week. Do we have a future priest on our hands?  He is a thoughtful boy and likes to know what is going on around him.  I can't count the number of times he asks,  "What are you talking about?" when listening to adult conversation or, "What did you say?" if he didn't quite understand something.  He is always fine when we go out but also always checks, "But you will come back?"

As this boys grows, we continue to adore and embrace him.  Even though he is the middle child (a family position many people worry about!), he is our only boy and holds an important role in our family.  A special guy for sure, who makes us laugh and smile and love. It is hard to believe that he is closer to 4 now than he is to 3, and we are looking forward to seeing how he changes in the next half year.  We really love you, Buddy!

A fire truck fort that Far built for Fireman Noah.

 (I think that Aya looks a lot like Noah in this picture - tak Hans!)
Happy Lego Guy!
 Painting, in theory, a bird house at the local garden shop...


Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014 - The Green Monster

This weekend we bought (a used) kayak and yesterday Kristoffer and Hans took the kids out for their inaugural trip.  They had a great first experience and we hope will foster a greater love of the water/ocean in them. Kristoffer used to do a lot of kayaking at university so he is thrilled to be back in a boat.

While they were out in the kayak, Aya tried out the ocean for the first time, bathing in some warm tide pools.  Given how much she loves her bath, I suspected she would enjoy it.  She wasn't overly smiley - maybe trying to figure out why she had clothes on? - but she was very calm and relaxed...and afterwards she enjoyed sucking the salt off my shoulder.

I even got a chance to go out in the kayak for a few I just need to strengthen my left shoulder and I'll enjoy it even more.

 I have named our kayak, "The Green Monster," for obvious reasons.
Today they wanted more and could go out from the beach because the tide was up. Farmor also got to have a turn.  

And a new family favorite past time is born!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 24, 2014 - Summer Holiday

Farmor and Hans have been in our neck of the woods for two weeks.  Nothing makes for happier kids during summer vacation than totally dedicated grandparents!  Here are a few scenes from their visit.

Picnic Lunch at the Beach

Mini-vacation at a hotel called Protea Amani Beach on the South Beach of Dar es Salaam.  Two nights away and it was just lovely (minus a wee bit of food poisoning for Farmor - welcome to East Africa!).

(huge waves were crazy but so much fun!)

(crabs all lined up for a race!)

Making New Friends
Learning New Games
(Grace is the new Welsien Family UNO champ!)
Playing Playing Playing
(one of East Africa's finest "death trap" playgrounds) 
Practing our Bike Riding
(she doesn't yet know that he often lets go!)
Baking with Farmor
Beautiful Sunset over the Indian Ocean...
sometimes I forget how lucky we are to have this view everyday if we want it!
Shopping for Grace's new school uniform!
Admiring the Tanzanian Flag :)

We have another week-and-a-half to go with Farmor and Hans, so that's great. And a very nice part of summer break has been that Kristoffer has taken quite a few days off of work here and there, making for long family weekends (which means I get to sleep late a few mornings a week - yippee!). Only 19 days until back to school (not that I'm counting)...and as much fun as summer break is, with not so many "new" things to do in Dar this time of year (despite the WONDERFUL weather right now) I think we will all appreciate the routine of the school year (tell me I am not the only parent who thinks that?).


Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014 - One Sweet Face

Sorry (Mrs. D!) for my absence on the blog these last few weeks.  Kristoffer's mom and Hans are visiting so we've been having a lot of fun.  But 2/3 of the kids in this house don't sleep through the night, and I have also had a sick stomach.  So all of that has not left so much time for  blogging, and not nearly enough time for sleeping either.

But our little lady is 3 months old today!  While the camera rarely shows it (she goes into "zombie" mode when the iPhone or camera appears!) she is one big smile these days.  Last Sunday (July 13th) Aya really belly laughed for the first time and has done it once since then.  Even more exciting, this past Saturday (July 19th) she rolled over from her back to her front for the first time.  The coolest part was that my mom was on FaceTime with us watching her and so she saw the whole thing. Aya has done it several times since then, even getting her one stuck arm out from under her (no video yet!). The problem with this new skill is that she is doing it in her sleep and in her little co-sleeper (attached to our bed like this), she doesn't have enough room so gets a bit stuck or twisted and wakes up.  I then need to resettle her back to sleep.  Argh - more wake ups than before?  No thank you!  So last night we started the transition to her big crib in her own room.  She put herself to sleep in it at bedtime and slept in there for 4 hours before her first wake up.  At that point I brought her back into her co-sleeper, but thought it was a good first effort.

She doesn't go to the doctor for more shots/stats until next week, but it is clear that she is growing well, as her little chunky thighs and arms aren't fitting into everything these days and many of her footed pajamas are too short.  Aya eats well from me, and will also take a bottle of pumped milk easily (a very wonderful change from her big siblings).  

Her favorite things remain: her swing, her binky, her big sister, and her bath time.  Whatever you do, don't take away her bath.  This girl will start fussing between 6:00 and 6:30 and will not calm down until you put her in her warm bath.  She knows this is bed time, and afterwards she eats, burps, gets a story, and goes to bed for her "long" sleep.  In this coming month we are mostly just hoping that her first stretch of sleep gets much longer.  

We're loving this girl and as she starts to be able to "do" more, we know that she is adding new and exciting energy to our family.  It is hard to believe that we're a quarter of the way through her first year...and with all of Aya's firsts I am emotionally aware that they are also "lasts" for us.  That is the beautiful cycle of life I suppose, and I am so very grateful we're experiencing it all again with Aya.

Here is Aya's sweet little face these last few weeks.  And try to spot the picture that ISN'T Aya!

Meeting Farmor for the first time.

 Big bro is always ready to "handle" Aya!
 First long-weekend away to South Beach (Tanzania, not Florida)...more on that later.

 (Not Aya - but Aya's first monkey sighting!)
 Family photo on our mini-vacation...Aya did not get the memo to be a little bit silly!
That is her MOST serious expression.

 Hans and Aya called each other to plan their outfits :)
 Classic Welsien Baby Hotel Sink Bath Picture! 
(about 6 weeks older than her siblings were for theirs!)

And today - our lovely ladies!
 Can't get enough of this girl...we love her more every day!

Keep up the good work, kiddo!