24 January 2014

X files - 3.75 years old - Animal aficionado

no new revelations this month, its just been fun to watch her imagination take flight. she is a big animal lover and she is always thinking of ways to take care of her "friends" and incorporate new adventures for them based on new books we read or videos we watch. our cat has also become an active member of her animal friend squad, and luckily, most of the time the cat doesnt seem to mind. she also often recruits dave and i to play in these adventures, and while my patience and attention for them wanes far before hers does, it has been really great to see her creating such an interesting world.

obsessions: homeward bound movies (1 & 2), monsters, aliens, our cat (nutmeg)

picture books: the seven chinese brothers, the fantastic flying books of mr morris lessmore (and its beautiful oscar winning short film), frog is a hero, daisy comes home, harry and the bucketful of dinosaurs, doctor de soto, superworm, captain cat, over in the jungle, have you seen my new blue socks?, doug the bug that went boing!, owl babies, the snatchabook, the princess mouse, wizzil, the jolly postman, id know you anywhere my love, lenas sleep sheep, long winters nap, curious george visits the library, the saddest king, theres something spooky in my attic

longer books: the hat hunt, inspector hopper, man mountain, farewell to shady glade, poppleton in winter, amelia bedelia, henry and mudge first book, winters tales, tari the little balinese dancer, jo-jo the melon donkey, the selfish giant, nate the great, sammeli and the king of the forest [lapland book by lee d. rodgers], blue moose

special interest books: every thing on it, are you an ant?, the yoga game, a day in the deep, ocean [pledger], oceans [3D-explorer], making faces, professor astro cats frontiers of spacewhy oh why are deserts dry

audio books: harry and the dinosaurs, the arnold lobel audio collection, the enormous crocodile, more bedtime stories johnny morris

dreams/nightmares: her legs were getting ripped open but dave and i saved her. someone was crying and she wiped their tear with her mitten and her mitten was shining. sauce was being poured on all of us. a monster was stealing her books.

(official daycare pic. no smiling like a real finnish kid; swinging like a finnish kid)
(happy happy november sunshine joy at vanhakaupunki)
(major love for the cat)
(papa comfort)
(still nothing better than kid-in-bed pics, especially when they are sleeping)

x-citing developments:
1. naps. over the 19 day holiday break, we had to re-remind ourselves that our kid hasnt been a napper in years. she does still occasionally nap at daycare though (this must be due to the added stress of not being in the comfort of her home/parents), so i think i tricked myself into thinking we might have some down time during the days sometimes. no, unless she is sick, got up way too early and/or had a very active morning she will not even accidentally fall asleep in the stroller.

2. physical

she is so helpful and becoming more independent these days, trying to do more herself. she will go grab the step stool from the bathroom to get to something she needs. thankfully, she will still ask for help when she needs it. i think it has meant less whining because shes more able to be of the 'take charge' mindset now. of course, if we werent nearby to potentially offer assistance when she tries these new 'big girl' things it could mean disaster and/or a huge mess, but with such a small apartment, someone is always around. and she helps us when we ask too (especially if you offer to clean or do a task with her, she will do it with no fuss).

she walks everywhere now, even long distances. we almost dont need the stroller anymore, which is a good thing of course.

3. personality

she seems go have gotten way more into imaginary play. she does voices for her "friends" (toys) and plays out a situation with them. probably as an extension of this, she has given her friends more names, responsibilities and roles in her life, and she has formed deeper attachments with her bed lovies.

during the holiday break it was amazing to watch her always be able to come up with something to fill the time. if you were present in the room with her, just 'being' there, she was always able to think of the next thing she wanted to do and happily started doing it without any suggestions or creativity from us. its really amazing to me that she is truly never bored. actually, id say that once i stopped being such a spazz parent from the early days she has been able to fill her days quite easily, especially if i wasnt the one leading the activities or games. im glad weve been able to support her ability to entertain herself.

one day, she was tired at dinnertime. she was crying about something. we let her have her cry. she started to finish up and was talking about something food-related, so we joined in and offered some food choices. she stopped us, saying she wasnt ready for food, she wasnt finished crying. she took another few seconds, then asked for a hug. and that was it, she was done with her cry and went about eating calmly. that was the coolest. it was really great to see her manage her own emotions: to vocalize it, get rid of it, and move on.

4. learning

reading. im certain shes reading now, in some capacity. i point to words in stories and she can read many of them, and she will try to sound out words she sees. one day, she read my handwritting off the shopping list and announced an item we needed without my ever mentioning it verbally.

she can pick out when someone is speaking french (on the bus, or on videos). i cant believe that her brain can do all this language stuff (i mean i can, but its so different from my childhood experience with languages). even though she isnt often exposed to french, nor are her parents good at speaking it when they try to read her stories, she can still pick it out. so, we listen to some french kids music at home and she has watched a few videos of "petit ours brun".

5. anecdotes

-she said to me one day: "im feeling a little mixed up today. my head is filled with both happiness and sadness, but my heart is filled up with love."

-we got a box from a package of bike tires that were shipped to dave. it was big enough for X to totally fit inside. she declared it to be her home, and herself to be a 'box-homer'. she was in the box and said "what are you doing in your home today?" (to dave and i). i said "not much, what are you doing in your home?", she replied "just snuggling with my friends. box-homers are lazy."

6. baby-related anecdotes (this was before we told her i was pregnant):

-while playing with her baby doll she told me it was a newborn. she said "yeah, i saw some liquid leaking out and the baby came out of me and i gave her a bath and brought her over here." i swear we have had no discussions about this process. its possible that she got this from watching milo and otis (the mom cat and dog give birth in that movie), but weve only watched that once or twice maybe.

-while preparing her snack one day, she started to tell me about how she was growing babies. one named 'whale' died and she had another named 'alexander'. she then said 'look, my breasts are growing because i have a baby growing in my tummy.' she also told me she was going to name this new baby 'whale', after the previous one who had died.

momma mentionables:
1. ive now got myself a few friends here. a finnish mom friend (she is married to an aussie [we did thanksgiving with them]), and an ex-pat american friend who is a michigander, a curser, and a sewing machine queen. shes agreed to teach me a bit of what she knows while we chat and sew at her kitchen table. ive also met up with another blogger mom here. she is a polish ex-pat who lived in america for a bit. i found her several months before we moved here and have been casually chatting with her ever since. weve only had a chance to meet once, but im happy to have some more friendly 'neighbors'. and as much as facebook, blogging, and the internets can make me cringe...i would have met NONE of these fabulous people without it.

2. photo book. i finished a photo book of Xs third year. i love the finished product but those things are just so time consuming. i think ive got one more photo book to do before im all caught up.

12 January 2014

Golden globes 2014 aka 90s fashion flashback

eesh. well, i didnt see the lovely ladies of comedy's hosting skills, so hopefully they were talented enough to take the focus off the yucky fashion.

the dress color choices this year appeared to be: black, white or red, and in the style of the 90s, if at all possible. seriously between the boring, boring black dresses and the metallic embellishing nearly everyone, it basically meant that all one had to do was wear a different color and my eyes perked up. well, not quite. some who went for color made some bad choices and often those bad choices also looked rather 90s to me too. seriously hoping this trend burnt itself out and the oscars will show some nicer attire.

small note about the actual awards and work nominated this year. i read many reviews, interviews, and saw clips of many of the movies and shows nominated. i didnt actually see any of the movies however, and not much of the nominated the tv stuff. also, in terms of speeches, from what i could find youtube everyone was totally shocked and nervous when they won. and wow...that jacqueline bisset acceptance...um, too much alcohol maybe? not sure.

best dressed:
amy adams and emma watson. rah rah rock the red. emma is young and i just loved the fun and edge in her style.

julie bowen and taylor swift made nice red choices too, though i dont really care for their professional work.

jennifer lawrence and jared leto. black and white perfection. i like these two and i cant find more to say than these styles look amazing on them.

reese witherspoon, kate beckinsale, and laura dern. reeses dress is plain but fits well and her hair adds something nice (though i was none too pleased with her DUI behavior last year). i dont think its possible for kate to do wrong, her face, hair and body make it impossible. on anyone else i wouldnt like this dress. and laura dern...i dont know, the animal-ness of her hair and the animal print vibe of her dress, the fit of it and the fact that she is 46 years old with 2 kids...im giving this to her.

channing tatum and jenna dewan. robin wright and ben foster. kyra sedgwick, sosie bacon, and kevin bacon. couple shots are fun and i love the tatums, fingers crossed they stay together, plus im secretly loving her new show 'witches of east end'. robin wright is a stunning woman, just as michelle pfeiffer is. im not in love with her new future husband choice, but we'll see. aside from more bony rib cage than seems healthy, i like her look. and the bacon family always seem fun and down-to-earth. i liked their daughters dress choice.  

worst dressed:
yikes, rough on the red. bérénice bejo and tina fey. i have no idea why bérénices dress has some kind of 1990s secretary jacket overtop of it. yuck. and no thank you for the flowers tina. ive seen you in much lovelier things. 

megan mullally and andy samburgs wife [joanna newsom]. first, i had no idea megan was married to nick offerman! second, this hair and dress are AWFUL! and joanna...i dont know you, but im certain you dont need to wear a scarlett o'hara reject to get noticed.

kaley cuoco and zooey deschanel. eesh ladies. you are young and adorable, and especially for zooey...i would just like to pretend you didnt even attend the award show this year. memory erased. try again next year.

paula patton and zoe saldana. i dont like the shoes, ruffles or earrings paula. and zoe this dress has not one thing going for it, it doesnt even look like it was finished. luckily no real harm done since i dont really enjoy their professional work either.

but i LOVE these two. normally. drew barrymore and sandra bullock. i do thank them for wearing color but it just didnt work for me. drew is so pretty as a pregnant lady but the sheer gauze rarely works for me, and those colorful leaves just dont add anything. sandy...i like the pockets, i like the hair. the dress just doesnt do anything for you, im glad you tried though. 

notable nice:
julia roberts in a flair of menswear. with her body and age i thought this was actually great. she has certainly made some very bad fashion choices over the years, so i was pleased to see this. 

1990 and 1991 julia. in menswear. you see what i mean. this year she looked fabulous!

1990s golden globe fashions that could have walked the 2014 red carpet:

1990 cybill shepherd and 1998 angelina jolie. shiny, metallic.

1997 courtney love and 1997 madonna. plain black.

1995 kate moss and johnny depp & 1996 brad pitt and gwyneth paltrow. black and white and shiny. boring.

02 January 2014

One year anniversary in finland

weve been in our new home country for one year now. one more reason to celebrate the new year.

so, we found lots of positives about this country in our first year, and of course each new happy time or season or holiday or experience will just add to those feelings, but there cant be real comfort and true love until youve dealt with the negatives too. that way your relationship is based in reality right? and certainly, since my love letter to finland back in september we have found where the higher concentration of negatives lie (namely in the late fall, due to its unpredictableness), but i cant say its scaring me off. once we have a few more cycles of seasons under our belt, im sure we'll get into a better rhythm about how to celebrate the positives fully and endure the negatives more smoothly.

as it was, we found november was grey and rather glum as we had been warned, but that was nothing compared to december. the way people warned us about november it was like 'be on suicide watch. get out and vacation elsewhere if you can. medicate with booze. FIND a way to just SURVIVE!' their advice/warnings were a little intense and scary. especially since, while november wasnt my favorite month, it was nothing terrible. this year, it was much like halifax in winter or many november days of michigan, except that in michigan you usually get those teasing days of random snow and you are reminded of the beauty to come. there was no teasing here. we had one snow day in december. that is all. otherwise it was insufferably mild and dark here. hovering above freezing, raining like crazy as if laughing at us. reminding us that if the temperature would just dip a little, we would be blanketed in glorious snow.

not to dwell on the weather, but it just put a damper on motivation to get out and do anything. most nature places we liked were just mud puddles and it was cold enough that it would seep into your bones and make you want to slink back inside before long. and with me taking a finnish course and dave traveling for part of this dark season it made for a rather dull finish to our year. but the change over of the calendar reminded us that we get to start over and experience another fresh year in finland. this country tried to make us question our love toward the end there, but i will not be put off so easily.

*and how did nutmeg help us celebrate this anniversary? by requiring her first ever vet visit in finland. she started the day by stress-peeing on tons of stuff in the house for no reason. i was able to call a couple vets and get a cab. we arrived during lunch time so we had to pack a picnic lunch and X and i ate in the vets waiting area. the cat needed a blood draw but was so dehydrated from her nervous peeing that she had to stay to get an IV so they could analyze her urine later. it was an ordeal. dave went back to get her that evening, and, after hundreds of euros...they found nothing. she was just stressed. grrrr.