Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bike Riding Videos

Hey, I've learned how to put some videos on the site here. It is a round-about-way, but it works. Here is Dylan the day he learned to ride his bike without the training wheels.

Here he is a little later doing it all by himself.

Mark drew a big figure-8 on the drive for Dylan to follow to get him to learn to turn both ways. By the end of the afternoon, he was riding like a pro!

Winter in Bozeman

Winter arrived in Bozeman loooong before it ever got here. They have winter there about 9 months out of the year. I don't think I could ever get aclimated to that! But Maya is ready with the hat I knitted for her for Christmas. At first, she didn't like it.

Then she realized how soft it was and began to smile.

Here she is in a little fuzzy jacket and jeans outfit I got her. So she is ready for winter.

Winter Has Arrived Here

This past week winter finally arrived. Now, I know it is not the winter much of the country has been immersed in, but, nevertheless, it is winter for us! And I don't like it one bit!! I'm already ready for spring. Today it has been cold and rainy. I'm really thankful that it is not below freezing causing ice. Our entire city would be literally paralized if we had ice. With all our hills, no one could drive further than the end of the driveway. We wouldn't even be able to do that. Our drive is not nearly as steep as many others, but if we headed down out of ours, we would end up in the neighbor's yard across the street.

As you can see in these pictures, the boys had to bundle up. They are not used to this kind of cold either since winters in Brazil are very mild.

One day this past week as I pulled into the drive, Chris came running all wide-eyed telling me something in Portuguese that of course I could not understand - all except the word "jeep." I thought that he had gotten a new little toy car, because he loooooves to play with cars. But, NO, it was one of those little battery-powered two-seater cars. I see so many kids riding in those as I pass by yards. In fact the children in the house next to ours has one. I've looked at them before, but they are quite expensive. Fernanda found one drastically reduced at WalMart and got it for the boys. For the rest of that day until bedtime (except during supper), they were sitting in it as it sat in our garage. They couldn't ride it because the battery was charging. It finally got so cold out there, they had to come in.

They've been going to preschool from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. They really enjoy it. The first day Dylan was a little shy, but Chris walked right in like he belonged there. I wonder how the teachers do with him since he doesn't speak English. He is starting to say a few things in English now if you ask him to. It is amazing how you eventually learn to communicate with him by facial expressions, body language, me picking up bits of Portuguese and him picking up bits of English. Most of the time I can figure out what he is saying - or at least the gist of it. The rest of the time, I just ask Dylan what he said. Dylan is getting to the place where he just goes ahead and tells me before I have a chance to ask him. :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

My Birthday

This post is a little out of order since my birthday was on the 5th, but maybe I've just been trying to forget that I turned another year older. :) It started with Guy bringing me a dozen roses, and Fernanda and the boys getting me a chocolate cake and ice cream.

Before we dug into the cake and ice cream, we went out to supper at a Japanese restaurant where they cook it in front of you. The boys really enjoyed that. I don't think I've ever seen them eat that much meat. They loved using the chop sticks and dipping their chicken in that sauce!

We had to walk around the shopping area for awhile to walk off some of the food before we could go home to have cake and ice cream. I found me a pair of new shoes for half price.

Dylan absolutely looooves anything chocolate.

Dylan had to help me blow out the candle.

Aren't these two cute little faces?

How 'bout these cute faces? :)

My Little Bike Riders

Here are the boys with their new bicycles. Dylan loves to ride around and around the driveway. He toook right off on his. Chris started out not quite getting the hang of how to keep it going forward. He kept putting on the brakes, then getting frustrated. He also couldn't figure out the turning. So he would just drag his foot and bale off, push it backward up to the house, and try again.

Saturday, Mark taught Dylan how to ride without the training wheels already. He's only 5! He would run along beside him in this big circle on the level part of our drive. It nearly wore Mark out! It wasn't long until he was doing it all by himself. At first Dylan would only go in a circle clockwise and he really had to concentrate. After while, he got to feeling pretty confident, and he said, "I'm going to try it with my eyes closed." Mark said, "Oh, no you're not!!" :) In order to stop, he would drive off into the grass and just fall off. When I went out to watch, he came running over to me and said, "Vovo Sheryl! I fell off and hit my elbow, but it didn't hurt because I had my pad on!" Mark drew a big figure-8 in the drive to get him used to going both ways.

I wish I knew how to put videos on here, because now Dylan starts and stops all by himself - looks like he has been riding for years. Chris even has the hang of it now. It will be awhile before he gets rid of the training wheels. You can just tell Dylan has that natural athletic ability. Mark said when Dylan was 3, they were playing soccer on the beach in Brazil, and a couple came along and said they wanted to sign Dylan up right then. :) (Soccer is HUGE in Brazil!) Guy said he couldn't out-kick him when they were kicking the soccer ball in the backyard Saturday.

I cannot believe this weather here! I know that tomorrow the colder weather is coming, but I think this is the latest I can remember since moving here that winter has been so delayed. OK, I know I should knock on wood, because we will probably really get it before spring arrives, but I tell you, I love this shirt-sleeve weather in January!!

My first week of school went pretty well, other than a standardized nutrition test, that was to be given on Thursday, did not arrive. They even sent two sets, and I didn't get either one. I've been given permission to be on campus for only the time I'm in class. The rest of the time I spend at a public library three miles from the campus to work on the pediatric content of my course. It is a fairly new library. They have wifi access, so I take my labtop and my books and get a lot done. They even have a little private sound-proof room that has an easy chair with a rotating laptop desk attached to it. Boy, that's the life! I'm going to like it there!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Back to Work

Well, yesterday was a rough day to get through. I had to take Jeannine and Maya to the airport to catch the plane back to Bozeman, MT. I now have a large Jeannine- and Maya-shaped hole in my heart, and it is very painful. :(

We had such a great time with them. They flew to Atlanta, then Salt Lake City, then Bozeman. The layover in Salt Lake was to be 45 minutes which would be very tight time-wise. They left Atlanta late, but the plane she was to catch in Salt Lake was late arriving. In fact the airport there was a mess. It was snowing and many flights were delayed. She was in an area of the airport where there were about a thousand people. Being packed in there, she could not let Maya get down. She gave her a bottle, and thankfully she slept until they got on the next flight. She had been so good all the way. Jeannine had a little DVD player with an Elmo movie which Maya absolutely LOVES! While here, we kept that DVD in my SUV and every time we would go somewhere, as soon as we would open the door to put her in the car seat, she would say, "ELMO!" They were to originally arrive in Bozeman at 6:30 (their time), but called me at 9:55 (our time). They made it home just fine, but it ended up being a 12-hour trip. She said that Maya was the only baby on the plane that didn't cry even though Elmo "died" halfway through that last flight.

After a good cry in my car at the Birmingham airport, I had to go to work. I had to travel to the north campus to meet with some other instructors to get our semester plans finalized. We have nursing classes on both campuses. I met with Melisa, my counterpart on the other campus, Stephanie, who is teaching in the LPN program and is a graduate of our program, and Erin who is my preceptee for the semester. I took a complete break from school work during the holidays, so now I have to really hit the road running to get ready for class Monday.

The pediatric content of my course was "dumped" on me at the end of last semester (which is another whole story), so I have a lot to do to get ready for the 2nd half of the semester.

We woke up to lots of thunder and lightening and a tornado watch this morning. It is crazy to be worrying about tornados in January! It is forecasted to be 68 degrees today. January and February are our worst winter months, but we haven't really had any winter weather yet. That certainly doesn't hurt my feelings!

Play Time in the Park

We have a little play area about 2 blocks from our house. The kids love to go there to play. It is so great that the weather has been so nice.

I was surprised that Maya was not scared in the swings.

Dylan refused to pose for the picture. He is behind them standing on a big rock.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Whew! What a whirl-wind of a week this has been. Quiet time??? What’s that??? We have soooo enjoyed all the kids and grandkids being home. Jeannine and Maya arrived Tuesday from Bozeman, MT.

Wednesday night we opened gifts with them. We had saved a few gifts for the boys to open then, too. She loves anything fuzzy and has to snuggle it.
The next couple of days, Jeannine took her Christmas money and went SHOPPING! This is one of the things she really looks forward to when she comes to Birmingham, because there is hardly any place in Bozeman to shop. They have a tiny little mall that doesn’t have much, and what is does have, everyone in the small town has one like it. I went along to take care of Maya…..terrible chore, but I did somehow manage! :) Everyone that walked by while she was walking commented on how tiny she was. She is just a petite little thing – light as a feather. She wears shoes for a 6-12 month. She is 14 months now.

It is amazing how she just walks around and looks – doesn’t get into anything. I thought I’d have to put up all my little trinkets at home – guess I was used to having little boy toddlers around. :)

New Years Eve morning we went to church, and everyone came over to our place for our Christmas lunch. Front row is Sheryl with Chris, Mom, Dad, and Dylan. Back row is Guy, Jeannine with Maya, Fernanda, Mark, and Colleen. We had ham, homemade potato salad, and homemade baked beans. I had baked Jeannine’s favorite pie – cherry. Then in the evening our church hosted the community service. Every month that there is a 5th Sunday, that evening service is held in one of the churches of the community and all attend. It is quite a large lively service. Our praise team led the singing and one of the neighboring lay pastors preached. Jeannine was getting one of her migraine headaches so I took Maya with me to the service. Since I’m the keyboard player, I didn’t have too much trouble finding a lady of the church to watch Maya until the singing was finished. By the time church was over, Jeannine was feeling a little better, so she and Guy met Maya and me at the Cracker Barrel. Eating at the Cracker Barrel is another one of her favorite things to do when she comes home. Love those breakfasts!! After coming home, we spent a quiet evening with all turning into bed before the New Year came. Mark, Fe and the boys had gone to Mark’s friend to spend the night.

This morning Jeannine woke up feeling better. She was due to go back tomorrow (Tuesday), but she wasn’t ready to return, so we called and got her tickets changed to Thursday. Yeah! A few more days with that precious little one (and Jeannine, too!). Maya is in the mama’s-baby/separation anxiety stage, so just the last day or two we’ve have finally become best buds. There was no way I could let her go back so soon. I’ll have to return to work tomorrow, but classes don’t start until next week, so I won’t be spending much time in the office until after Thursday. I’m certainly not looking forward to that sad day!!

The boys have had such fun with Maya, too. They are very gentle with her.

So that's what has been happening at our place this past week. We hope you all have begun this year with much hope and happiness. Have a great one!