Friday, December 23, 2005


We most likely will not be posting over our Christmas vacation, but will see you in a week or so with lots more stories and pictures!

Have a very healthy and happy holiday, and we hope you truly get everything you hope for!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


On Thanksgiving Day we drove from Cromer into Norwich for some lunch and shopping, but it hadn't actually even occurred to us that it was Thanksgiving until Mommy suddenly remembered and asked the kids what they were thankful for this year. Mama started, then Mommy, then Saia, then Chago.

Saia said, "I'm thankful for Santiago." [awwwwww...]

Chago said (after thinking about it for quite an annoying long while), "I'm thankful for my penguin."

Well, there you go.

Note: Picture is of Mommy & kids atop the cliffs at Cromer nearest the Country Club. It was a truly amazing view that is just not done justice by our cheap disposable camera. More vacation pics HERE.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sleeping In Big Beds

So, the first week in Cambridge, we stayed at a hotel. They each got to sleep in their own queen-size bed (well, yes, they had to share with one of us). But we thought this would be a good opportunity to begin their transition to big girl/boy beds once we got home.

It was 4am on our second night there. After being thrashed by her flailing arms and legs for the last 6 hours, I had finally fallen into a relatively deep sleep when I was suddenly startled awake by the huge THUMP!!! [followed quickly by the screaming].

When I turned over, there was nothing there. Literally, nothing. No Saia, no pillows, no blankets, no sheets. She had somehow managed to take it all down with her, and I could hear her muffled cries coming from beneath the pile on the floor as I began to dig her out.

Then from across the room, I hear a sleepy little voice say, "Mama? Did Saia fall off the bed?" "Yes, son, she's alright, go back to sleep."

"She should be more careful," he says very matter-of-factly, and rolls over.

Note: Picture is of the kids and luggage as we wait very impatiently for Mommy to find us a big enough rental car for our trek up to Norwich. More vacation pics can be found HERE.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

By Day 2 He'd Had It

"MOMMY!!!" he bellowed the evening we arrived. "Yes, Chago?" "When are we going home?" "How many more days, son?" "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!" "A few more, son." "Eleven, TWELVE!!!" "Just a couple more, Chago." "Thirteen...fourteen?" "That's right, son."

"MOMMY!!!" he bellows the following day. "Yes, Chago?" "When are we going home?" "How many more days, son?" "Fourteen!" "No, that was yesterday. Take one away." "Thirteen!" "That's right, son."

"MOMMY!!!" he bellows every day for the next 12 days, and counts down each and every moment until he's back in his own bed.

"MOMMY!!!" he bellows once we're back in California. "Yes, son?" "I wanna go home." "Where are we, son?" "HOME!!!!!" he yells smiling from ear to ear.

Such a silly boy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My Fair Lady (well, sort of)

Okay, so most of the time we do tend to refer to her as a bull in china shop, but...

...across the pond, Saia was the Duchess of York(shire pudding, that is). I mean, she did not hesitate, not even for a moment, to try anything new. And she wasn't shy about it either. We're not talking a little nibble here or a little dab there either. No, that just wouldn't do -- not for this connoisseur. She had generous, even heaping, portions (and often seconds and thirds) of goose liver pate, fresh king crab, lobster bisque, creme brulee, eggs benedict, and even had lemon in her water like Mama.

So, either this little girl has the most incredibly refined palette of any two-and-a-half year old, or it's just as we feared and she'll eat anything to appease the tape worm.

Friday, December 16, 2005

if it resembled a pot pie, we were golden

And so it went in jolly ol' England. Mince meat pies, pork pies, beef and potato pies, onion quiches, spinach tarts, you name it. If it had a crust, they wanted it, and ate it like it had just come out of my own oven.

Chago usually rips off the top crust first, peels it from around the perimeter, and then flips it over to finish off the soggy bottom before even attempting to taste the insides.

Saia, on the other hand, starts right from the middle, ripping into it like a watermelon and gutting it like a wild boar.

It's all very Lord of the Flies, but no one can ever say they're not good eaters.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

pigeons for christmas???

Apparently. After singing the Twelve Days of Christmas over and over and OVER while on vacation (and every single day since), Chago decided to give it a little twist.
On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Seven pigeons a swimmin'...[should be swans, FYI]

Please don't ask. We still don't understand it ourselves. Might have something to do with how many we saw in England, but man, whatever the reason is, it cracks him up every time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

quick one today

Love to hear them sing. Love, love, love it!!! And right now, they're still having trouble with their "L's", so it's just too adorable for words to hear them try to sing Lollipop because, of course, they know all the words (being the little Einsteins that they are), but they just can't get their tongues around that letter yet, so it ends up sounding a little like this:
Yoyyi-pop, yoyyi-pop, oh yoyyi, yoyyi, yoyyi. Yoyyi-pop, yoyyi-pop, oh yoyyi, yoyyi, yoyyi.

Just priceless!!!

Note: Picture is of the kids on the beach at Cromer, Norfolk UK. It was sooooo cold, but they loved it just the same. See all the pics by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Balls Are On MY Side!!!

Okay, so on the way to school we cross over a big bridge that has high wires with those red and white balls strewn across it to warn airplanes not to fly too low, right? Well, this is one of those things they look forward to everyday.

"Mama, the balls are on my side," says Saia on the way to school. "Mama, the balls are on MY side," says Chago on the way home.

But for the last two weeks or so, Chago has really mastered the art of antagonization -- aimed, of course, at his very easily irritated sister. So, now, on the way to school, just as Saia begins to say "Mama, the balls are on my side," he interrupts, and very quietly and calmly says that the balls are on his side [which, of course, they are not].

Naturally, she begins to argue. And so it goes, for ten full minutes. "Nu-ugh" and "yuh-huh" and "they are NOT" and "yes they ARE". And, of course, he's smiling from ear to ear because she's so easy to rile. And I'm trying to explain this to her -- not to let him get to her -- that he's only doing it because he knows how it aggravates her -- and that if she just ignored him and didn't give in, he would stop.

But the thing is...she can't. She wants to, but she just can't. And under her breath, just barely audible, I can still hear her whispering, although at least she's looking away from him, "no." And then he says, "My side." And she whispers again, "no." But he's persistent, "My side, my side, my side." Another ten minutes or so...

And then thoroughly exasperated, she finally throws her hands up in the air and cries, "Mama, I'm trying, but Chago won't let me ignore him."

Monday, December 12, 2005

the pictures are here!!!

I've posted them on Shutterfly. You can access the slideshow by clicking HERE. (This is a satellite snapshot of Cambridge UK, courtesy of GoogleEarth, by the way.)

You'll definitely want to come back to the blog for the next couple of weeks, though, as I'll be posting the accompanying stories daily.

Today's Tale: Good Manners are All Relative

The first week, we stayed in Cambridge at a hotel, so we ate out every night for dinner, and the kids had room service every morning for breakfast (okay, it was just corn flakes, but still!). Anyway, we've always been very adamant about them saying "please" and "thank you," especially when we go out, and maybe because they were on vacation, too, they were especially grateful to everyone -- for every thing -- at every possible moment.

So, we're not sure if it's a cultural thing or not, but we didn't seem to get a lot of "you're welcomes" while we were there. And our kids tend VERY persistent if they're not acknowledged right away. So these poor waiters just got "thank you'd" to death. Every time they brought some water...or napkins...or menus...or happened to walk by...or breathed in our direction. And because they never said "you're welcome", the kids just kept at it. Over and over. Like a cult. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The Order of the Obsessively Grateful Children. It was a little creepy, to tell you the truth. So, Mommy and I had to do a lot of intervening, give "you're welcomes" when they were due, and somehow try to explain that too many "thank you's" can be just as bad as not saying it all.

They didn't buy any of it, and we ended up tipping way too much.

Monday, December 05, 2005

run and hide, run and hide

Last night on our way home, the kids were in a singing sort of mood. So, lucky for me, at the top of their lungs, they sang twelve (at least) different renditions of "where is pointer... thumbkin... pinky... etc." A really cute one was "where is Mema...Mommy...Mama, etc." But the last one was the best.

Chago was playing with his favorite plastic snake whom he's named Ka (from the Jungle Book). So he starts singing, "where is Ka, where is Ka, here I am, here I am, how are you today sir, very well I thank you..." and then abrubtly stops and stumbles over his words to get out as quickly as possible that as soon as he's finished doing Ka, he's going to do Baghera (the panther from Jungle Book). And you can just see the little wheels churning in his head as he fathoms the infinite possibilities (next he can do Baloo the bear, and then Sheer-Khan the tiger, and then King Louie, and then Mowgli, and then the vultures, and then...)

He's just so excited and almost stuttering trying to get it out, and then amazingly jumps right back in to the song exactly where he left off, " and hide, run and hide." He doesn't skip a beat as he moves into his next verse just as he planned..."where is Baghera, where is Baghera" [and he's smiling from ear to ear].

Genius, I tell you.

Friday, December 02, 2005

not sure what to give us for christmas this year???

In lieu of gifts to us we would like to request that you instead adopt a family that was devastated by hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita.

Please click here
for more information.

A, J, S & S