Saturday, November 30, 2013

Welcome to Winter

The weather has gotten significantly colder, dipping below zero. I'm now doing my school drop-offs and pick-ups in the near dark. Along with it came colds for the Weans and broken radiators, so we've been inside most of the week. The 8 radiators have been replaced, so we're back in business which is a relief as my Weans love to be half-naked most of the time.  

Also a bit of good news: Foo had another assessment at the children's clinic with the physio therapist. He's been wearing special night boots to help stretch his Achilles tendons for about 3 months, seeing a physio once a week and we bought him special orthopedic shoes and insoles about a month ago. Results: his ankles are much more flexible, one can bend almost 20 degrees farther than a month ago. He's able to stand flat-footed for short periods and even occasionally walks heel-toe on one or both feet of his own accord, though when he runs or gets distracted he's automatically on his toes and off-balance. 

After 3 years of walking on his toes and it getting so bad that he actually flips his feet over when he walks, trying to walk on the tops of his feet, this is amazing improvement in such a short time. I'm so happy that the physio has gotten in our corner and has been working hard to get Foo the help he needs. We're getting there. She's trying to get more physio approved for the new year and we also saw a occupational therapist this visit who hopes to get more OT approved for him with his current therapist. A year of trying to get some help from the clinic, we're finally seeing positive steps, literally. 

Some photos from this week: indoor playing for a sick Bumpshie and Pudding.

A girls' picnic.

Pudding playing with Daddy. 

The Weans skating as the garden freezes over. 

Couldn't resist taking photos of Bump's perfect curls after her bath. She's a bit of a ham. 

Actually hammy-ness seems to run in the family. Foo on his pirate ship. 

My fast growing Pudding, having a wiggle. 

Pudding now has the cold that Bump and Foo have had over the last week, so I don't expect to get much done this weekend or early next week either. Welcome to winter in Finland. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Construction and Chaos

As winter hovers too close for comfort, the Clan decided to spend this weekend being proactive and finish up some of the jobs that needed to be done before the snows covered the garden. 

The 14 bags of leaves that we raked, bagged and begged the cleansing service to pick up still lay in the driveway. I wanted to compost them on the property, but needed somewhere out of the way. So I started clearing behind the garage and the Chief took over. Then he built me a compost box, rough and ready, but will do the job. It took most of the weekend, but I think he enjoyed it. 

I picked up some of the windfall apples and made crumble, apple butter and apple sauce. There's still a lot more to pick up and get rid of. 

Part of the problem with getting things done, there's usually a lot of mess involved in the process. Especially when you throw four kids into the mix. So the cooking involved letting the two middle ones wash the apples. Then chasing them back into clothes and cleaning up the wet mess they left behind. Then halfway in the midst of peeling, chopping and boiling, Pudding woke up so everything got abandoned: splashes of applesauce everywhere, unpeeled apples floating in the sink, dirty pots. It eventually got cleaned, but everything becomes more work than you originally envision when you suggest the task. 

Pudding enjoying a day outside.
The woodpile shifted, ready for winter.
Still need to tidy up these unusable windfalls.

Troublemakers inside.
Crumble in the oven at least, but sans crumble, added later, and mess scattered everywhere. 
Sunday games of course include making as much mess as possible..

Completed compost box. He even moved the leaves for me. What a star.

On Sunday the winds picked up (ETA turns out we had a bad enough storm that they gave it a name, Eino. Guess I need to read the news more) and Bump had a bit of a cold (ETA which turns out to be tonsilitis of some sort, off to the docs tomorrow) so I kept them in while the Chief finished his work. We made pipparikakku, gingerbread biscuits, and just played. 

These random moments of beauty in the chaos are my favourite.

She's got them wrapped around her little finger.
Reminds me of another little girl I know

Monday, November 11, 2013

Growing Strong - 2 Months On

Now 2 months old, you're more alert and connecting with us which your siblings love. They fight over who gets to hold your hand and help me undress you for nappy changes.

After a week or so of staring at your fist, trying to will it into your mouth, you can now manage it regularly.

You have a half-cheeky, half shy smile that melts my heart.

You hate your carseat and scream like a banshee when awake though this morning my unending rendition of Ali Bali seem to keep you calm for a bit, so maybe there's hope there.

As the days get shorter and colder I'm loving our couch cuddles, I know you'll soon be fighting to get away to play. For now you're happy to be held close by me and daddy and we're treasuring each moment. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Smiles

The Finns don't really do Halloween, but this year the kids' päiväkoti are promoting multi-culturalism so they decided to have a Halloween party and Mouse's school also had one, so we had to come up with costumes kind of quick as we were given only a few days' notice. 

Foo decided that he wanted to be a monkey and Mouse chose a miner. It took me a while to figure out where that idea came from, yet another Lego set he saw in a Christmas catalogue, but I have to say it was fun coming up with the gear for that one. And he was the only one in his class from the sounds of it that had a homemade and original costume so he quite enjoyed it himself. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of his whole outfit as his party was on a different day, so these photos don't have all the bits as they weren't assembled yet. He had 'real' gold and everything. 

Bump wanted to be a princess with pink hair. Here's Her Majesty getting her locks cut as they were just too long and heavy for her. 

Foo rocked the monkey look and the Chief did an excellent job making the tail. I had bought pipe cleaners for the ears after finding simple costume instructions on line, but he decided to use the extra ones to give the tail some lift. Foo loved it. 

We carved a pumpkin, but there was no trick-or-treating that we were aware of in our neighbourhood. The kids probably wouldn't have wanted to go anyway. So we decided to have our own Halloween party at the weekend. It turned into more of an autumn party as no one wanted to put on their costumes in the excitement. 

We went for a walk in the 'forest' a local park, had French toast that the kids cut into the shapes of pumpkins, mushrooms and other shapes, drew pumpkin and bat pictures, had a treasure hunt for a pumpkin shaped cake. We also watched some 'scary' videos like the 'Monster Mash' in the hope of getting them dancing, but we really scared them with Michael Jackson's Thriller so that never happened. We ended up watching The Goonies instead and they were still scared. 

I really liked having a themed day, so we'll have to come up with more themes for later on. 

Three Oak leaves, the symbol of the Clan

My scary crew
And Pudding has begun to smile. What a cheeky grin already. 

The love is mutual

and infectious. 

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