Just a quick Christmassy update as we didn't have time to write a Christmas blog due to Helen's 3 week long bout with Swine Flu (we think the Grinch must have visited us this year). Luckily Rich and Roman were OK. Roman had the Swine Flu vaccine and Rich just got lucky and managed to avoid the bug.
Although Helen was too sick to join in the festivities, the rest of the family had a pretty merry time (as you can see, Holly enjoyed her Christmas Day bone). Roman visited Santa at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah. He loves to feed Santa's reindeer at the zoo on the way up to Santa's house.
We actually celebrated Christmas Day properly on New Year's Day, when Helen was feeling a bit better. There was no way we were going to miss the British tradition of Christmas crackers and a blazing Christmas pudding with custard.
The boys on "Christmas Day" (actually New Year's Day).
Right before the Swine Flu struck, we had a lovely visit to Georgia to see Grandma Victoria and Grandpa Gene and Aunt Bekke, and Uncle Steve. Aunt Kathy from Wisconsin was also visiting!
The Rascal, Grandma Victoria, Aunt Bekke, Aunt Kathy
The Rascal and Uncle Steve
65F in December? Maybe we should move to Georgia....
With Grandma Victoria and Uncle Gene
A Christmas Romanism especially for us Washington State people..
Mommy, where does Santa live?
He lives at the North Pole sweetie
Well, it's a very long way north, right at the top of the Earth
We can tell that winter is almost here by the frost on Holly's tail, the Christmas tree placed precariously in our living room, and Roman's obsession with the physics of just how Santa can get all those presents down the chimney.
But the first sign of chilly weather was the arrival of British Grandma (Helen's mum), who loves to join us for trick or treating.
Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble .... (Wm Shakespeare)
But more on the wicked witches later, first we need to update you on our late summer activities.
September 10th was Roman's 3rd birthday. To celebrate his officially leaving toddlerhood behind and becoming a "preschooler," we had a construction party complete with caution tape, orange cones, and diggers.
Aunt Mari and Aunt JoAnn's cake was a big hit (it included chocolate "dirt," gummy worms, and orange icing).
Construction vehicles are Roman's current passion. Last year it was all about Thomas the Tank Engine(and he still is a big Thomas fan) but this year it had to be construction, fire engines or recycle trucks (with spiders, worms, and penguins also in the running).
Creative wrapping paper from Polina (thank you Sharokh)
Liam, Polina and Kally with the Stomp Rocket!
Luke retrieves a rocket from the construction site
Roman hanging out with "Big Kids" Natalie, Nicole and Liam
A big thank you to everyone who came and helped make it such a fun party.
Totally unplanned, a construction crew turned up right outside our house the next day and, of course, they let Roman drive their backhoe! The perfect end to a wonderful birthday.
After a morning of digger driving, we set off for Eastern Washington to visit Great Grandma and Grandpa in Davenport (a 7 hour drive with a 3 year old, a 4 hour drive without one). Roman is surprisingly good on road trips. It helps that he has a passion for all motor vehicles, so driving down I-90 is fascinating for him. We turn our road trips into adventures and stop when we see something fun. It's been interesting for us too, as we try to take a preschooler's perspective and really stop and smell the roses (or the trucks).
We met up with Cookie Grandma and Poppa Jerry who had driven out from Wisconsin (a 4 day drive, imagine how long that would take with Roman).
With Grandma Lois "Cookie Grandma" and Grandpa "Poppa" Jerry
With Great-Grandpa Harvey and Great Grandma-Mildred
In Great Grandma and Grandpa's garden.
Jerry and Lois were staying with Harvey and Mildred in their tiny house, so we stayed with Rich's Uncle Barry and Aunt Karen in Keller, just a few miles up the road. Roman got along famously with Uncle Barry and Aunt Karen. As you can see, Holly also made herself at home.
Barry drives the Keller Ferry, a small ferry called the "Martha S." that takes passengers and vehicles across the Columbia River. Of course, Roman had to try his hand at driving the ferry, and even Holly got her sea legs!
The Martha S. is 61 years-old. Here she is on her maiden voyage in 1948...
and here she is with Roman at the helm ...
Roman not only "drove" the ferry, he also ate the crew's lunch!
On the way home from Eastern Washington, the three of us shared the most humongous peach ever in Wenatchee.
Roman and the Giant Peach
Rich wanted to take a short detour through a town called Ritzville "it'll only take 5 minutes he said". Well, he can be forgiven for not realizing that there were several combine harvesters and a John Deere dealership in Ritzville ... that detour took over an hour!
Roman started a new preschool class in September. Check out his snazzy back pack!
He is still in the South Seattle Community College Co-op Preschool but has moved to the Admiral location this year. His new teacher is Teacher Carrie. Some familiar faces from his class last year are also going to Admiral, along with Roman's buddy Sebastian. It's two mornings a week, and each parent volunteers at the preschool on one of those 2 days.
Roman and Sebastian at preschool
In more news .... Holly has a BFF (Best Friend Forever) Lily the pug who stops by to play almost every day. They get along famously, as long as food isn't involved.
mmmm ... after we play, we can polish off those pumpkins.
So fast, they're a blur.
Which brings us back to Halloween, the witching hour, and British Grandma's visit.We paid our annual visit to Remlinger Farms to pick the perfect pumpkin, ride the ponies, and feed the baby cows and goats.
This year, Roman was old enough to go in the corn maze (at least we thought he was). He was certainly old enough to have fun and not get scared but he's so short that we couldn't see him once he was in there. He took great delight in hiding from us and disapperaing through tunnels. A bit scary for mummy, daddy and grandma but he loved it.
He was also old enough (and tall enough) to go on the rides this year, and discovered a new love ... rollercoasters! There is a little wooden coaster there, and Roman wanted to go on it again and again with mummy. It may have been little but it managed to turn Helen's stomach upside down a few times! Roman also enjoyed a trip on the spinning pumpkins with daddy.
Trick or Treating was a whole new adventure this year. Last year, Roman couldn't even say "trick or treat?" This year, he not only yelled "trick or treat" very loudly, but he and his buddies Dawson and Sebastian carried on whole conversations with the people they met. By the end of the evening, they had it down to a science.
Just like last year, Roman picked his outfit. Last year he wanted to be a kitty, this year it was a firefighter (mummy smudged black lipstick on his cheeks which gave him a realistic "sooty" look).
With Dawson (the puffin)
and Sebastian (the dragon)
No need to worry ... the fire department's here!
Sebastian and Roman (every dragon needs a firefighter around just in case he accidently sets something alight with his fiery breath).
Not only did we have fake spiders to decorate our house... we had real spiders too! Roman became rather fond of two spiders that had set up home right outside our front door. He watched them for weeks, and named them "Spi" and "Der" (like Kanga and Roo from Winnie-the Pooh). We put our fake spidersweb up only to find Spi and Der happily climbing across it the next morning. Guess Target's spidersweb is pretty realistic ... it has the spiders' seal of approval!
Closing this blog entry now because we are off to Atlanta in the morning to visit Aunt Bekke, Grandma Victoria, Grandpa Gene (and Aunt Kathy will be there too!). Roman's first time on a plane since the BIG journey back from Russia. We're sure he's going to love it and will be disappointed that the flight crew won't give him a hand at the controls! We'll leave you with some pics and Romanisms...
Approximately 1/3rd of Roman's Hot Wheels/Matchbox collection
Roman had just given Helen a big bubblebath-y hug!
Brother Tom surveying the wildlife ... his confidence as a birder has grown since he almost caught a bird recently. Granted, this was a bird that had flown down our chimney and flew around our living room before we managed to get it out of the window.
British Grandma maintains that she is a "cat person" ...which only made Holly all the more determined ...
Grandma has come home because we love her. (ahhhh)
Roman: Mommy, there's a dachshund! I love dachshunds. Can we give Holly away and get a dachshund?
Mommy: Oh no sweetheart, that would be a horrible thing to do, poor Holly.
Roman: If Holly has babies, will they be dachshunds?
Mommy: We're going to stay with Aunt Bekke and Uncle Steve in Atlanta. Aunt Bekke has six dogs and a swimming pool!
Roman: Aunt Bekke smokes.
Santa comes at Thanksgiving.
Mommy: Did you have a good time at Erin and Andy's?
Roman: Yes, we baked cookies with stuffing on them.