19 July 2015

Le finn

le fin. the end.

with much thought, i have decided to end the blog. its actually been an idea of mine for a while, but a catalyst came along and made the choice an easy one for me. basically the blog began when adventure was ahead of us, unknown, always changing adventure. and while we are certainly on the adventure known as parenting, that has lately felt like the only adventure, and i dont feel like writing about it. i feel like living it. we still plan as many vacations as money will allow but we are pretty settled here and life is stable in many ways. things are always changing but i havent enjoyed chronicling it like i did in the past.

i have an idea for a potential future blog, one that has nothing at all to do with personal matters and likely with a very low interested readership. but, if i do it, i will enjoy that and the adventures it takes me on. unless, of course, i get a job, and then, o glorious, i will be fully wrapped up in balancing family and work life. i hope for that, but may fall back on the new blog idea in case i need to save my sanity.

in conclusion, goodbye to whoever is still out there reading this blog roll. the people who reached out along the way were wonderful and i really enjoyed those connections in cyberspace, as well as the people who know me as a real person. but for you, there are always the old fashioned modes of email and phone calls to keep our communication intact. and hey, i recently, sorta, figured out texting...so theres that. :) fare thee well and thanks for reading.

20 June 2015

End of spring in the city - 2015

what a rotten trick. spring came early around here and had people excited. but it never warmed up. we had early spring weather pretty much the whole way to midsummer. and we didnt see much sun. what a bummer, but at least we know that summers can be hot, like last year.

-palm sunday, aka virpojat. this is a day of trick or treating in finland. it occurs on palm sunday but actually is more of a pagan thing. you dress up, traditionally as old hags/witches (but nowadays in whatever costume you want, see pic below) and you decorate willow branches and you ring doorbells and wave the branches along with a song that will ward off evil spirits if you take the branch in exchange for a chocolate. X and her friend went around to our neighbors. they had tons of fun and thankfully the candy collection is much more manageable than on halloween in the US. looking forward to it next year.

(scary ladies; our vase of good luck charm branches collected from kids who visited our door)

-toukka. a kids book store in kallio. a nice little independent place to support, unfortunately its mostly finnish and swedish books but we did find a cool nordic comics book in english.

-helsinki university main library. what a beautifully restored building. definitely must see architecture. plus, there is a little cafe and campus bookstore inside.

-kulosaari kartano. such a delightful new find. a beach, mökki (cottage), and rugged nature trail area. a serene slice of life right near a highway and metro rail that you would never know about. a big thanks to X for her enthusiasm pushing us onward to locate this place.

(beach happiness)

-silvoplee. a vegetarian restaurant in hip kallio. the place has a great, varied buffet. the food is weighed for the cost, and i thought it was a good value for the amount of food i wanted, however you weigh many of their desserts too and those are pricey.

-university cafe in the city center university library. the place had only a few small offerings. it was hard for me to find something to eat and the portions were quite small, both dave and i left hungry.

-maritori. the cafe inside the marimekko outlet store. this place is spacious, inviting and sophisticated. the lunch buffet is 10€ and you can rub elbows with the actual fashion designers and marimekko workers. its the real location where the magic happens. and there are high chairs so you can feel free to big your kiddo without getting weird looks.

-kakku galleria. a nice selection of breads, pastries, cookies and cakes. they even had choices for people with dietary needs.

-mount kailash. a nepalese restaurant in the jätkäsaari neighborhood of helsinki. we hit this place after a family trip to verkkokauppa. it was lovely. tasty curries full of spice for dave and i, plus the amount of times we heard X exclaim 'this is the best dinner ever' (she had chicken fingers) was innumerable. nice to have another place that works well for everyone.

(serious contemplation of her chicken fingers)

-amppari popsicles. this is like stripes of sherbet on a stick, hence the name 'wasp' (amppari). tasty popsicles i must say.

finn notables:
-kutsuplus. this is a relatively new city shuttle service. its in between a taxi and a bus, in terms of price and direct routes. you can order the service on a city website and they tell you a nearby bus stop to wait at for pick-up, if there is anyone else nearby going in the same direction they will share the ride with you and you will get dropped off at a bus stop near your desired location. weve used it twice now and were very pleased, the perfect choice for those times when we need to get across town but riding the bus would take upwards of one hour.

-buzzfeed collection of supposedly finlands hottest men. i saw this link somewhere and had to laugh. sorry, but its more than a little sad. and they didnt even post a good picture of the one finn who i do find very attractive, teemu selänne (a retired NFL hockey player, he is very well loved nationally).

04 June 2015

June 4 - carl mannerheim flag day

happy birthday to military and political leader of finland carl gustaf emil mannerheim. the day is also celebrated as the day of finnish defence forces.

carl gustaf emil mannerheim was born on this day in 1867 to an aristocratic swedish-speaking finnish family of german descent. his military life is a little complicated (to me at least) but he ended up being involved in 4 of finlands wars during his life, and was a military leader in the finnish civil war, the commander-in-chief during WWII and the sixth finnish president. he is perhaps the greatest historical finnish figure.

he had a long and distinguished, and not without a bit of controversy, military and political career, however the most interesting thing of note (in my opinion) was that hitler visited finland for a few hours on mannerheims 75th birthday in 1942. it was presumed that hitler was going to ask for finland to support germany by stepping up to the soviets. the meeting took place in secrecy in the east of finland, and 11 minutes of the beginning of their discussion was secretly recorded by the national news agency YLE. it is the only know recording of hitler speaking in 'an unofficial tone.' mannerheim refused to help hitler.

01 June 2015

June = Kesäkuu

happy june all!

june in finnish is kesäkuu. kesä means summer, so this is literally 'summer month'. midsummer is june 20/21 each year and june 1 all school kids begin their summer vacations. the time for office work is winding down while outdoor/vacation mentality is deeply setting in.

26 May 2015

The mr Y grows - 10 months old - A mover and a shaker

little mister is a big boy now and he can move all on his own. it has brought him a new level of pride and happiness to be able to go and explore where he wants. he has his favorite things to play with in each corner of the house and he makes his rounds as soon as he gets up, the most exciting thing, that always gets him going, is when X wakes up. he gets to see her and go into her room. double bonus!

(cute little boy. dave calls the collared shirt his '1970s TV repairman shirt', i disagree)
(feed me please, so i can have energy to...)
(pull up to standing; swing)
(and play with my sister)
(because i love her)

good young picture books: betty goes bananas, dinosaur kisses

-teeth. top tooth (#6), bottom teeth (#7, 8)

-sick. he got pink eye in his right eye and at the same time an ear infection was discovered in his right ear. neither affected his mood. antibiotics for both things were taken. he finished them up without event (though he shared the pink eye with X). a week later he had pink eye raging in both eyes, a double ear infection, a runny runny green slime nose, coughing, and had a fever one day. fun. and he had ear pain this time. more antibiotics. and FINALLY we were rid of the merry-go-round plague(s) in this house!

-sleep. there seems to be little of this and less for me. he was absolutely all over the place again. my body had no idea what to expect and you can bet my patience was wearing thin. something like 4 months straight of this crazy stuff with only minimal recharge days where both he and i would catch up on sleep.

-eating. he loves it and is very focused and serious about it.

-making noise. he loves and is skilled in the art of banging, clapping, singing, shaking rattles. if he can scrape it, hit it, close it, or shake it to make noise, by golly he will. he will find all the noises in the world!

-mischievous. he tickles X through the back of her chair or bites daves toes. he will look at me before he does it and then giggles when i watch him do it.

-he doesnt seem to be bothered much by minor bumps and bangs.

-vehicles. he has an affinity for cars, trucks, and buses already. he bounces up and down when he sees a bus drive down the road.

-he waves

-he blows kisses

-he is vocalizing lots of sounds, and isnt shy about trying. he is refining his word for X, and i have to say it really is his first word. he can also pretty much say 'mama' and 'äiti' (finnish for mom. we did not teach him this. i now assume its one of those sounds all babies can make and the finnish language scooped it up to be their 'mama' word), though he doesnt really use them to ask for me (although we do get 'äiti' when he is tired and pissed. yay). he likes trying to say 'tree' and can almost perfectly say 'clock'.

-he crawled at 9.25 months

-he pulls up to standing and can (for short periods of time) stand solo. i even saw a half step taken once. and right at 10 months, he taught himself to sit down safely. that was nice.

14 May 2015

10th anniversary

happy 10 year wedding anniversary to us!

together for 15 years is even more startling to me, but i also cant believe its been a decade since we got married. we seem like wholly different people from that time, i mean, not at our core, but what we have experienced since then makes me not even remember the mindset of the two people who got married on this day in 2005. well, i do recall a lot of anxiety about being the center of attention during the walk down the aisle, toasts, and first dance parts. oh, and there was the bit of annoyance at the fluffiness of daves hair ;), but other than that it was a whirlwind of a day. i do enjoy looking at the pictures and seeing all the lovely people we care about, and feeling lucky we are still friends with much of our bridal party and extended wedding day helpers.

so the suggested gifts this year are tin or aluminum (or diamond, yawn, they list that for like every anniversary). and what do most people do with that? buy a six pack of beer and a can of tuna fish, to be consumed as your celebratory dinner? who comes up with these, really? eesh. well, this year weve spent more than i care to think about already on a new apple imac (lets say its made of aluminum) and plane tickets for a summer visit to the states (airplane bodies involve aluminum right?). i think weve hit our aluminum quota. you say those arent legit or romantic anniversary gifts? poo. well, does it ease your mind to know that we decided we will replate our white gold bands sometime soon (read: maybe within the next decade), or that we agreed that we will take apart my diamond wedding band that matches my engagement ring and have it reworked into something i can wear separate from the engagement ring (again, this might happen before i die). these actions involve metal, of some sort, and they are linked in meaning to our wedding. but, okay, if that still doesnt cut it...

i submit my abstract take on the 'gift'. its cheesy, and it borrows from the name of a season 2 episode of the tv show 'new girl' and the movie 'toy story'. its not really a gift so much as a catch phrase i could have scrawled in a card, had i taken the time. it does, however, capture the amount and endurance of my love for dave, and so, in the immortal (mostly) words of buzz lightyear,
i love you 't-infinity, and beyond!'
and then, to repost my facebook message about the occasion, another sentiment that is equally true:
thank you for all the gifts that money couldnt buy over the years. i look forward to a treasure chest filled with more.
end of gift. we laughed that we didnt really take this anniversary seriously enough. but Y is still nursing too frequently to properly get away at the moment and grand gestures of tangible items isnt something we really do. id love to have marked the occasion with some amazing travel locale, but we already have our trip to the states this summer. maybe we'll plan to do anniversary #13 up special, mess with the fates a bit. oooo, better yet, lets do something for #12, we will have been together 17 years at that point, my lucky number. at any rate there are other chances, other years, we didnt get to do anything memorable for #5 because X was a newborn, so weve made a habit of not doing the milestone years i guess. so, heres to anniversary #12 in 2017 that celebrates 17 years together. oh yes, i like this idea, i like this very much.

and finally, a collection of wedding photos of dave and i. well, one photo of us at our wedding, and photos of us celebrating other peoples weddings over the years. happy upcoming anniversaries to everyone!

(our wedding)
 (daves cousin adams wedding)
 (my friend lisas wedding)
(new mexican wedding celebration of friends angela and ben)
 (friends georgette and chucks wedding)
(friend missys wedding)
(my cousin alexs wedding)
(ready for friend julies wedding)

12 May 2015

May 12 - johan snellman flag day

aka, the day of finnish identity.

johan snellman was an political philosopher and an influential figure in shaping the finnish identity. he was born in stockholm on this day in 1806 but moved to the finnish territroy when he was young. he became a popular lecturer at the university of helsinki. he self-exiled from 1839-1842 due to the government trying to censor and control oppositional thoughts among academics. when he returned to finland he published papers encouraging the rise in the finnish language and culture from peasant status to a respected national language and culture. he apparently coined the phrase:

'Swedes we are no more,
Russians we cannot become,
therefore Finns we must be'

he did become a prominent finnish senator, however, he ultimately had to resign in 1868 due to his radical reputation and inflexibility.

11 May 2015

Liebster award

so, a newly blogging friend nominated me for this (shes over at michifornia girl), as she was nominated for it on her blog by someone else. i dont have the focus to go and nominate some other people for this to continue the circuit (sorry), but i will answer the questions posed for me.

here are my 11 questions (given to me by 'michifornia girl'):

1. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
ive loved the name lotus for a long time and after floating the idea of it for a childs name (and getting shot down) i decided to name this blog lotus. ive also seen the egyptian association of lotus with rebirth, and i like that idea that all of these travels or moves weve made to new countries have involved a reinvention of self in many ways. so its become a really appropriately named blog quite by accident. 
2. What is your favorite blog post you’ve written thus far?
geez, i dont know, thats too hard. but i suppose, stupidly, i really like the hollywood award season posts. i just like looking back at the pretty dresses and seeing a little part of me that has stayed the same amidst all the change of the last 7 years. i may not have the time to keep up on the latest shows and movies these days, but i do so love a celeb on the red carpet.
3. Name three things you would do if you won the lottery.
ive only really got 2 things. TRAVEL and put some away for the kids to spend as they like when they are old enough. boring? im okay with that.
4. What is the next big decision you have to make?
reentering the work force. im not sure who im going to contact, how hard im going to go after trying to create something for myself out of nothing before re-focusing and needing to look elsewhere, or how to keep myself upbeat and motivated on the unknown length of the journey to finding a job.
5. Describe either your most embarrassing moment or your biggest pet peeve.
for embarrassing moments, i dont know. nothing bubbles to the surface, in particular, when i think about the past. i know there are moments enough to fill a library, but nothing that has haunted me or that i carry with me regularly. so, then pet peeve...i guess it would have to be 'being a part of something that is disorganized or not well thought out'. i am most in my element being the leader of activities, life, whatever, but am quite happy to take a back seat to something that some other well organized person is leading, even if this is something spontaneous. it is really rough on me to have to take part in something i am neither in control of nor is running smoothly. i try to be calm at first but after a certain point, every misstep clouds my vision with red and steam starts coming     out my ears.
6. What is something on your bucket list?
i dont think i have one of these, except a nebulous one with only one thing on it: travel. otherwise i dont think in terms of bucket lists because it seems to me it leaves room for regret, or it doesnt give equal weight to surprising opportunities that happen along the way that are better than any goal or wish you had for yourself before.
7. What TV show/invention/etc. is most ruining the youth of America?
first, i dont know many 'youth' today. lol. but, it would be easy to say 'keeping up with the kardashians' or 'iPhones' or something, but i dont know, i mean there are tons of adults too with problems 'unplugging' or staying focused or understanding what is real and important in life and what isnt. teens just have it harder because they are newer to the wider world and of being in charge of themselves and their opinions. so maybe my short answer is 'adults' are ruining teens? i like how im doing really well answering these questions properly.
8. If you could pick one age to be for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
this seems like a trick question. like, if i choose an age am i stuck at the level of maturity and looks and experiences only leading up to and including that age forever? if yes, well...let me see, i havent gotten to the age yet then. i suppose it would be best to freeze time at the moment i am an empty nester. i would have gotten to enjoy the kids at home for all their years and have those memories, but now im in a position to go out and live another adventurous chapter in my life in a body that is still useful, meanwhile getting to come back 'home' and have family experiences too. i would think that is the best of both worlds.
9. Who is your current celebrity crush?
how much space do we have? ;)
silver foxes: bruce willis, colin firth, gordon ramsey, max from the tv show 'catfish'
younger: joseph gordon-levitt, ryan gosling, jake johnson, sam claflin, nicholas hoult
10. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
i cant recall a real person who ever gave me great advice, but i know books and movies have always spoken to me.
'life moves pretty fast. if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.' -- ferris, from ferris bueller’s day off
'don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.' -- heath ledger, from 10 things i hate about you
 'you can’t live your life for other people. you’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts some people you love. - from the notebook
11. What is the most surprising and/or rewarding and/or frustrating thing about being a mom?
{looooooong, slow chuckle} its surprising how shockingly frustrating some things can be on this adventure in parenthood. but. it is really rewarding to be able to watch a new soul arrive and to help that new person navigate the world. to get to be front and center to that show, to cheer them on to be their best self, while letting them know they are loved for exactly who they are. along the way, im also getting to find out more about myself, and am motivated to change and be better, and its like no level of motivation ever attained before. its quite a hefty reward, alongside a hefty mountain of work and responsibility. its a balancing act. :)

10 May 2015

A traditional mothers day

on my first mothers day as a mom of two i had perhaps the most traditional celebration yet, and it went for two days.

the saturday before mothers day was our 'real' mothers day i would say. i got to sleep in. there were pancakes cooking with i got up. i got flowers and copious amounts of handmade cards from X. we had a nice relaxing family day at home. we visited with our friends and neighbors who had had their son a week before Xs birthday (X loved meeting the new baby, Y slept right through it). and the pièce de résistance was daves lovely surprise of steak au poivre (pepper-crusted filet with cognac cream sauce) et pommes frites (fries). would have been perfect with a red wine, but alas, still nursing. maybe next year. :) X tried some of it and loved it, so perhaps it will be brought out for other special occasions...

(us meeting the new little mister of our friends and previous landlords. it hardly looks like our old apartment!)
(dinner. it was better looking in person, and way tasty. nom nom)

the actual day of mothers day wasnt so dreamy, Y kindly woke me up some time before 6a. i accidentally spotted Xs official mothers day card (made at daycare) which pissed her off when she woke up (early, some time before 7a). we had a light breakfast and then took a bus ride over to some friends house in the neighborhood called haaga. they actually had a nice vegetarian brunch all cooked up (waffles with all the toppings, GF pancakes, baked beans, fresh fruit, roasted potatoes). after food we played outside a little bit before we needed to get moving for Ys nap. he grudgingly fell asleep on the bus where X decided she should proceed to melt down (shock, she was tired!). we barely dragged ourselves home with our sanity. they were pretty grumpy for the rest of the day and we were glad to see bedtime arrive. so, i got a lovely idyllic mothers day and a classic, text book example of what its like when both kids are doing their best 'i suck at life' impressions. theyre always good for helping balance things out. :)

(a split second of zen on the bus. holding hands)

01 May 2015

May = Toukokuu

happy may day!

okay, its already getting hard for me to keep the finnish months in memory (april is a hard one!) but im still interested in the translated meanings, so here goes.

may = toukokuu. a found a few meanings for 'touko': planted, growing crop, and/or springtime field work. all rough equivalents. and indeed, it is a good month to get those seeds in the ground. we have crazy amounts of sunshine going already (i sit here at 9p and the sun is still streaming in. and the birds start singing at something like 3a) and the temperatures are starting to stay steady, and...well, our season just isnt very long here. grow little plants, grow!

24 April 2015

X files - 5 years old - X is a many splendored girl

the girl is all over the place, in a (mostly) fun way. :) she is interested in so much and when she decides to get interested in a new activity or thing, look out. she wants to learn and try out every angle, and repeat, repeat, repeat until she has it down cold. when she hits on things that i also enjoy its been really fun to be allowed along for the journey into her discovery of it. 

(strike a pose in your favorite clothes)
(coloring; painting)
(DIY madonna-esque princess; merida x2!)
(all weather girl)
(sharing her toys; sharing her stories)
(sharing smirks; sharing a blanket)

faerie tale theater shows: snow queen, snow white and the seven dwarves

good picture books: sam and dave dig a hole, the snow girl [leo], the book with no pictures, paper bag princess, just a little critter collection, mix it up!, dangerous [warnes], winnies big bad robot, the misadventures of sweetie pie, recipe for a story, house held up by trees, the doubtful guest

good longer books: my fathers dragon, little tim and the brave sea captain, tales of tiptoes lightly, jenny and the cat club, wonderful things happen collection, the twits, the snow queen, of course polly can do almost everything, little miss treasury, santa and the magic drum, the shrinking of treehorn, treehorns treasure, the unicorn [lilius], the mr men treasury, the day no one was angry, puss in boots and other tales [gallery books edition]

good special interest books: julianas bananas, you wouldnt want to be an egyptian mummy!, killer plants and other green gunk, runny babbit, pink lemonade, creation stories from around the world, A is for art

X-citing developments:
-at almost 5 years, she can now (sometimes) admit that she is tired. its amazing! never thought id see the day. she said one day 'mom, im not getting sick, but i feel tired i would like to lie down.' what!?

-night terrors. i had these as a kid too. thankfully she only gets them on occasion. ive read it happens most often when kids are over-tired, over-stressed, or are sick. id say thats true. when it occurs, it happens once, maybe twice, within the first few hours after shes gone to bed, so its been easy for us to be there with her. she cries out, sits up in bed, sweaty, just kind of fidgets around or maybe cries out some more in incoherent phrases and then will lie back down if you gently direct her with your hands. if you are going to talk to her, it needs to be in a whisper, otherwise she gets highly agitated and scared. she has no recollection of these things in the morning. in the beginning, we thought she was waking up because she needed to pee, picking her up and taking her to the bathroom is also not advised, she gets very angry and loud and scared. once we found what works for her, she lays back down and goes back to sleep easily, and often thats the end of it. so they havent been that difficult.

-car seat. in february we bought her a new car seat, a booster-style one with full back support. its nice, and super easy to install in european cars, it has this european 'isofix' connection.

-chores. she asked to start earning money for things. there were a few small toys of interest to her on sale at the store so i bought them and told her she could work for them. she can hang up wet loads of laundry on the drying rack all by herself so that was her job. one little character was worth 4 loads of laundry, two other characters were worth 6 laundry loads. she had a goal. along with starting to do work for money, she was also learning how to wait and anticipate, as well as the feeling of being let down when the toy wasnt all it was cracked up to be.

however, after we did chores for money for a while it wasnt feeling like it was the best system for us. i wanted her to be doing work around the house because that is part of helping around the house that everyone in the family will be expected to do as they get older, i didnt want it to be bribed, essentially, to be done. and she was begging more and more to do more and more laundry because she wanted more things. i wasnt going to manufacture fake work just to fund her toy purchasing. so we looked around for an idea that felt better. i cant find the exact article anymore, but in essence, i read an article like this and the advice clicked and made sense to me so we went forward with it.

-allowance. on saturdays, she is paid 1€ for every year old she is. she has to spread (as evenly as possible) this amount of money among 3 jars (spend, give, save). she can do what she likes with the 'spend' money, whenever she wants. the 'give' jar is saved for a couple times a year when we find a good cause to donate to, together (when the nepal earthquakes occurred, she emptied her jar and added it to the amount dave donated to the relief aid). the 'save' jar is left to accumulate for future goals of our mutual agreement (the first thing we are saving for is our US trip. she will be allowed to take her 'save' money on vacation and buy whatever she wants with it. we agreed that we will only buy her one or two small souvenirs on top of this amount, plus clothes that we need to purchase for her anyway). as for chores, well, she has responsibilities around the house that will grow as she ages but they arent tied to payment, they are expected.

-she came up with an idea to write to people and ask for things ('please send me a card back' or 'please send a few things that i can work for'. this was when we were still paying for chores.). she sent a picture or two and a 'note' and was very excited to be making future mail for herself.

(this is her typical face when anyone sends her anything in the mail, from a card to a package)

-weve been watching charlie chaplin and buster keaton silent films. its fun to start the sharing of good cinema, and its great to get the black and white stuff in early so that she can also learn to be impressed with and appreciate what you can get from non-color, non-3D, non-CGI movies.

-clothes. she loves changing her clothes multiple times a day. and ive got to say i enjoy her style and hope the creativity sticks around. at one point she gave all her dresses different princess names (this is the 'forest princess' dress, this is the 'grey princess' dress, etc).

-she loves doing puzzles.

-she likes to pretend she is a cat.

-song lyrics/poetry. she enjoys when ive read poetry, as well as the poetry of song lyrics. she often makes me sing a new songs lyrics and read them to her until she knows them. along the way she asks me to explain the 'story' of the song/lyrics. this is hard! the 'far from any road' (true detective, season 1 theme song) was much harder than the disney songs. lol.

-crafts. she loves using glue, scissors, and color to create pictures, hats, masks, etc. all of her own design.

-drawing. she makes bugs and monsters and trees/flowers and people and you can really tell what they are now. she is also much better at staying inside the lines when coloring printed pictures. she has a drawing, drawing, drawing obsession. she also decorates the house with her drawings.

(sample of monsters/creatures)

-writing. she has become very interested in letters and writing. when writing letters she can do many of them without looking at an example of the letter and their clarity is getting better all the time. she didnt learn any letters by tracing.

-spelling. she knows how to sound some words out. ive asked her to spell basic words and she can stop and think about it and get it right (no, go, the).

-math. at dinner one night she started to do math problems. she was telling me '10+10 is 20' and '2+2 is 4' and then '10+9 is 19'. she continued in this vein for several minutes. we talked about 'minus' as well. thats a bit harder i assume. then she went on to '800 is bigger than 200' and '89 is more than 86'. she also has told me 'when [Y] is 4, i will be 8. when [Y] is 6 i will be 10'. she just does it in her head, quickly. i try to ask how she counts in her head, but she doesnt seem to be able to explain it, im very curious though.

-music. i got a toy piano/xylophone from the thrift shop (in mid-april). its just a toy but it can carry a real (limited) tune. it came with 6 songs to learn to play. we showed X the basics of how to read the music and she tried it out. once she got more comfortable we told her a bit more about reading the notes. since then you can really tell the tune she is playing and also she has mostly memorized twinkle twinkle little star.

-knots. she learned with her winter scarf how to tie a basic knot.

-whistling. she figured it out and could not be more happy about it.

-she drew a picture of a bird with two circles with Xs through them down in its private area and little plants at the birds feet. she explained to me that it was a bird who didnt want to let the pee out of his bladder (or penis) because the pee would hit the nettles down below and the sting from the nettles would travel up his leg.

-Y. she still loves him, but sometimes i think her feelings and excitement for him wind her too tight and she doesnt know if she just wants to hug him or actually squeeze him to death. but, overall, he has been so good for her in many ways. mostly, i think she really appreciates having a live-in buddy. someone she is comfortable with and who loves her back. she really looks out for him, is always thinking of new things to show him and dearly loves to make him laugh. and he, in return, loves her to pieces.

Year 5X in review

half a decade of smiles gone by... 
(age 0)
(age 1 & 2)
(age 3 & 4)
(age 5)

height - 109 cm (3'7")
weight - 17.6 kg (39 lbs)
shoe size - US 11 (EU 29)

favorite books: the adventures of tim, little miss/mr treasury, treasury of egyptian mythology, edward gorey books

favorite foods: cheese on nakkileipä (crisp bread), yogurt, pizza, berries, apples, pears

favorite things: baby brother, drawing, cutting with scissors, watching 'larva' (cartoon), trash pack characters, swinging, collecting rocks, watching/helping papa play the video game 'binding of isaac'

typical weekday: wake up at 7/7:30a. breakfast at home. go to daycare around 8:30/9a. back home around 3p. play outside. play inside. have dinner at 5:30p. bedtime at 8p.

1. family. she woke up on her birthday (a friday) and went immediately to her presents. lol. we watched her open things from us, the grandparents, and aunts/uncles. after daycare, her friend came over to play and then we had a family dinner of pizza from koti pizza (same dinner as she chose last year). then we had a cinnamon cake i made (she requested the same cake as i made dave for his birthday). she had a great day and so did we. thank you to everyone who sent her a gift/card, she cherished them all. we made a mistake in letting her have the package boxes sitting out for the few days before her birthday. the anticipation was worse than christmas, but she did examine them fully to learn about how to address mail and what packing slips and postage looks like. she also played with the packages as toys and carried some of them around like security blankets. we wont keep the packages out next year, but it was interesting to see her caring so much about them, just being grateful for them in general, no matter what they contained. she even called some of the people to thank them (before her birthday) for sending her something, even my grandma who had just sent a card.

(happy birthday girl with pizza. also, sporting her new favorite outfit, the cat dress)

2. friend party. this party was supposed to be the day after her birthday (a saturday afternoon), but Y woke up with a new cold and fever and i wasnt feeling my best either. it was terrible to tell her that because of us we needed to cancel her party, but we had just had pink eye going around our house and we werent sure if it was coming back or what these new sicknesses were and we didnt want to give anything to the kids. she was upset for a short while but then was fine. she was very mature about it. luckily, we were able to reschedule the party to the next wednesday, after daycare, and all of the same kids were able to come. i was so anxious leading up to party day, worried someone else would get sick and we would have to cancel it again. thankfully everything went off without a hitch. she had helped plan the party: made the decorations (it was monster and/or trash pack themed), planned the food (an assortment of her favorite snacks and treats), and decided that she wanted to have her favorite show 'larva' on at some point during the party. it was really fun organizing it with her, i look forward to it next year. her friends all came with their parents and we had a nice visit with them too. two friends were new-to-us, both from daycare. she found another boy at daycare who speaks finnish and english (his dad is nigerian) and she had two friends at the party who only spoke finnish. i could hear her switching from english to finnish throughout the party time so that she wasnt excluding her finnish-only speaking friends. there were 5 of them, including X, and it felt like it was almost too many but we managed with only a bumpy 5 minutes that was quickly smoothed over. phew! and i give her credit for being pretty decent at trying to give attention to all of them, even though she really has no practice with that kind of thing at home (at daycare, sure). also, she chose not to have 'happy birthday' sung to her this time, which helped make her much more comfortable than at parties in the past. in the end, she had a great time and im so glad.

 (party food; taste tester)
 (she decorated the house walls with colored in and original monster drawings)
(my gang of monsters. they each have a monster t-shirt on. this is a link to the art on daves shirt.)

3. message to X. wow miss, youre 5! look at you! youre so grown up, and yet, happily, i still find the same core things to be true about you since you were a newborn. 

you are genuine...as a baby, this meant that you didnt just hand out smiles to everyone you met but when you felt happy and comfortable your smile shone as bright as the sun. as a 5 year old, this means that for those you love and feel safe and comfortable around you open up and show them all of you. you still dont give out free smiles or hugs or attention, but when someone has earned your trust, the fountain of hugs and love is hard to turn off. you talk about them, think about them, draw/write stories about them and want them to know how you feel. 

you are observant...as a baby this meant that you were always watching, looking, absorbing, curious, and often slower to want to try something yourself until you had seen others do it. as a 5 year old, this means that you still prefer to be first an observer before a doer. you then seem to incorporate the doers joys and mistakes and inform yourself about how best to proceed when you do end up trying that activity out. it also means that you notice all the details in a situation and really pay attention to things that interest you.

you are focused...as a baby this meant that you liked to study things and that you could happily sit through reading a large stack of picture books. as a 5 year old, it means that when you enter your world of drawing, singing, playing that you can fully absorb and be lost to the rest of the world. i have found it remarkable how rarely you get bored. and when i do hear 'im bored' its often quickly replaced with an idea of yours that you take up and run with for quite a while. 

you are a persistent negotiator...as a baby this meant that you would not just cry if you needed something, you developed a whole range of noise expression (most on the 'high' end of the sound spectrum) that made it very clear that you were not going to be a pushover in any situation. you didnt always get your way, but you made your preferences known and you were clear and consistent about them. as a 5 year old, it means that you stand-up to the rules and challenge them. you still dont always get your way, but you are very clear and persistent about your distaste for certain rules, often trying to negotiate a compromise or change to the rule that is more pleasing to you. when those suggestions are reasonable, we have tried them. sometimes they work well for everyone, and sometimes we need to go back to our rule, but you never stop trying. you always make it known how you feel about something, and you dont back down easily.

you are sensitive...as a baby it meant that almost everything was 'too' for you. too noisy, too stimulating, too distracting, too exciting. you really preferred being in the carrier, outside, on a walk. also, your digestive tract and skin were sensitive to many foods. as a 5 year old, it means that you still have a hard time with loud or unexpected noises, you dont like tags on your clothes, and you can easily get overwhelmed. but it also means that you are very aware of how others are feeling, if you know what they are feeling you are able to sympathize, if you are uncertain what they are feeling or why, you think about it, a lot. also, you are very sensitive to smells and tastes, in a good way. you can describe things very well and are not afraid to try new foods, which increases your ability to make comparisons. 

seeing all of these attributes evolve has been fascinating, and it makes me curious to see what they will look like when you are 10 and 15 and beyond. these traits are ones that i admire, they make up a strong, dynamic person who can be emotional and caring as well as someone who stands up for themselves and is honest. i hope that along the way we are able to nourish your development of these and other traits to reach their fullest potential. im excited to see where they take you, and, as always, im glad im along for the ride. we love you. we love you. happy birthday bunny!