Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who Needs to Apologize?

As I suppose is typical (please tell me this is typical!) of a 3.5 year old, Soren is a big fan of enforcing rules on others that he's forced to live with. For example, if he starts being bossy or rudely demanding, we'll insist that he rephrase things to ask for them more nicely. But if he ever hears a tone in our voice that he thinks isn't kind, he'll insist on an apology. Fair enough I suppose. But he's now expanded the apology-requiring events to be anything that makes him unhappy!

From last night:

Soren wanted to play catch with me. Unfortunately, he didn't tell me that before he threw his stuffed animal at my head. He immediately apologized:

Soren: Mama, I'm SO sorry!
Me: That's ok Soren, I know it was an accident. But please don't throw things at my head anymore. Then I'll be happy to play with you.

He thought about it for a moment, and it was clear that he felt he was being reprimanded.

Soren: Mama, that is NOT a nice way to talk. You have to say sorry!
Me: Sorry? Why? I didn't do anything wrong.
Soren: You were not talking nicely. You need to say sorry.
Me: No, buddy, I didn't say anything bad. I don't need to apologize.
Soren (stomping off to sulk): Then I'm not going to be your friend anymore. You need to say sorry!

Or another example:
Me: Soren, it is time for bed.
Soren: No! That is not a nice way to talk!

Or another example:
Soren: Can I have a cookie?
Me: No, but you can have an apple, some cheese, or some Goldfish.
Soren: No, I want a cookie.
Me: Sorry buddy. No cookies now.
Soren: I am not happy! You need to say sorry!
Me: Oh, it is too bad that you are unhappy. I hope you feel happy soon.
Soren: A cookie would make me happy. Can I have a cookie?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Drive Back to Zurich

The drive back to Zurich was beautiful. You'd have thought I would have had my fill of incredible mountain scenery by this time, but I just couldn't stop snapping pictures from the car!

We spent the afternoon sightseeing in Zurich and then crashed both from all the weekend activity and also in preparation for the long journey home. What a great trip!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Skiing, Day 2

Spectacular. Incredible. Unbeatable. Amazing. And fun!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Skiing, Day 1

Today was an adventure! It started off so well...enormous gondola up the mountain...
Soren really enjoyed the ride.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the next few hours. There are a few reasons for that: 1) Because I was too white-knuckled to hold anything other than my ski poles, and 2) Because there was so much snow and wind and so little visibility that I couldn't really see the snow under my skiis.
I did learn a valuable lesson: that ski trail map that you just shove into your pocket is more valuable when you read it before jumping on a lift. Ignoring that particular gem caused me to end up on a run that was way above my level. It might have been manageable had I been able to actually see the run in front of me. But with the wind and low light, I couldn't see if there was a bump, a drop off, a pile of powder, or a steep hill. I did make it down, even with my skiis still on. But it was a long, and very unglamorous exhibition.
We seriously debated whether running into the restaurant would be too wimpy. But I was quite relieved to find about half of our group already there by the time my group got there. There's something especially comforting about eating a fabulous meal on top of the Alps instead of trying to keep yourself alive out there!
I passed a few hours like this:

While the ski conditions weren't great, it actually was a terrific day. It is snowing like mad right now, and the predictions are for it to continue. So I'm not sure how tomorrow will be. We'll see.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quick Update

This is the view off my hotel balcony. Spectacular. We're staying in Klosters which is a darling, quaint town at the base of enormous mountains. It is as beautiful as any I've ever seen. When we arrived we had a fabulous bright, sunny day.

More later...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Soren's" Trip To Switzerland

Soren was uncharacteristically quiet on our long flight to Washington DC this morning. I think it must have been the early rising. He livened up quite a bit when he saw all the great Obama merchandise for sale at the airport (can you see the excited look on Soren's face right there in the middle of all the Obama teddy bears?)
I'm not sure if it adds to the dignity of the office of the President of the United States to have Obama's name emblazoned on every t-shirt, trinket and coffee mug but people were waiting in HUGE lines to buy this stuff! Looks like the Obama economic stimulus plan is already working.

This line was a little shorter though.You know, I knew Obama was a really great guy. But taking time out of his busy day to let Soren sit on his shoulder - what a great guy! He's now back to running the country though, so don't worry, we didn't take too much of his time.

I have a few hours and then an 8 hour flight to Zurich. I'll pop in when I can to let you know how Soren enjoys the trip. ;-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Moment

CNN asked people to take pictures of the moment that Obama was taking the oath of office in order help capture the most documented moment in history.
We did our part. Here's what Soren's life looked like at this moment in history. We didn't send our photos to CNN, but we figured we still did our part to document this momentous event.

Best wishes from our family to the new President of the United States!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Skiing and Sledding

We've gone skiing for the past two weekends. Awesome. I'm leaving for a ski trip to Switzerland on Wednesday, so it seemed like a good idea to try to remember how to ski! I'm not quite sure if I had any success in that arena, but we sure had a lot of fun.

Last weekend the parking lot was totally cover in ice. Soren spent most of his time in the parking lot in this position: But both weekends were fabulously clear. Incredible views!

We managed our days so that Peter and I would alternate skiing time while the other person played with Soren in the lodge and on the awesome sledding hill.

This video makes me laugh every time - especially when you can see that we really pick up speed at the bottom and the lens cap and Soren's hat goes a-flying!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Legos Inventor was a Buddhist

Ah yes, impermanence and non-attachment. Grrr.

Yesterday when I came home from work I found a pile of Legos. A big pile. But the various piles were sort of recognizable since I have intimate knowledge of what it takes to build a motorcycle, police station, and fire station. I even recognized the parts of what was formerly a jet fighter.

Me: Soren, what happened?
Soren (with enormous glee): I smashed them!

Ok, I get it that Legos are designed to be built into many configurations. And that fact implies that each of those configurations will be eventually taken down and reconfigured. There was no super glue in the box. Clearly all Lego creations must die.

But, my creations?

So soon?

I'm not really sure what I thought was going to happen. Although my question - can I glue them together? - at the end of my last post kind of gives a clue to what I was hoping for. But, sheesh, I literally spent hours making those things! Is that supposed to be it? Just enjoy building things for the sake of building them? That can't really be the whole point of it, can it?LOL.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Legos, Part II

Well, no one will be more surprised about this post than I am. As I noted, our first foray into Legos wasn't exactly a ton of fun. But some friends of mine (book club gals come through yet again) mentioned that their pre-school kids like Lego men. So, this weekend Soren and I went out in search of Lego men.

In our searching we found an enormous Lego set with all sorts of police and fire buildings, vehicles, and people. And the clincher - it was on sale!

We brought it home and dug in. It turns out that - with directions - I we love building with Legos! I won't admit how long it took me us to build these structures (you might get an idea by noting the things I intended to do but didn't get to because I was so busy with Legos - several loads of laundry, taking down the outside Christmas lights, cleaning up the kitchen, and picking up our bedroom.)

The fruits of my our labor:
I do have one remaining question though. Is it verboten to glue them all together when we are finished? I realize that Legos are all about impermanence and non-attachment. But dang, it just breaks my heart to come home to find wingless airplanes, and wheel-less motorcycles.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sharing Time

Last year my dear book club friends introduced me to a local car wash where they wash and vaccum the inside of your car as well as the usual outside wash. Love it. Since then, I've become a regular customer.

My custom is to do a quick sweep through to pull out all the random things laying around on and under the seats before turning it over to them. I toss those things in the trunk so that they can have full access.

Well, today I came back to my car after it was finished. I saw a plastic container that they'd evidently pulled out from under the seat of the car. In it was the nastiest, grossest, moldiest stuff formerly known as pie. It has been in my car since we drove back from Thanksgiving at Peter's parents.

My first reaction was total embarrassment. Could I ever show my face at this car wash again after having been exposed as someone who would drive around with moldy pie in her car for two months?! But Soren took one look at it and exclaimed with glee "Mom, look it is decaving! Can I bring it to school for sharing time?!"


But yep, he did. I actually set aside some of the moldiest bits in a ziploc bag for him to bring to school. (We also clarified decaving vs decaying!)
I asked Peter to please let the teacher know that that stuff was coming into the classroom. Heaven forbid that the kids decide to open in for closer examination!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Never Give Up

This is the scene in our house tonight:

Note that there is no Soren in the photo and the time I'm posting this is well after Soren has gone to bed.

The background:

I, who has never done Legos in my life, bought a set of Legos as one of those "new toys" that we like to keep in our suitcases when we travel so that Soren has something interesting to occupy himself in random hotels. Sure, it did say that it was for kid aged 6 -12. But really, I thought, how hard could it be? I now realize that the directions failed to mention that those 6 - 12 year old needed to have engineering degrees.

Anyway, we brought it on one trip and it proved to be too complex for Soren so we tucked it away for a later date. But since then Soren has been asking Peter to build it. This afternoon Peter decided to comply.

Of course, it didn't help that somehow the directions for the jet fighter were left behind in that hotel room. And probably more than a few of the pieces.

Still, Peter plugged along while Soren kept asking "Did you do it, Dad?"

Missing directions and many pieces, Peter still soldiered on. I mean how could you disappoint Soren, right?

Peter pretty much came to the conclusion that it was impossible to put together. He got up to take a break and Soren looked up and said "Are you giving up, Dad? Are you gonna quit?"

Uh oh. I mean, isn't one of the most important lessons that we are supposed to teach our kids that they shouldn't quit? That they should keep trying even when things got tough? Sure, you can say that there's sense in stopping something that just can't be done (say, when you don't have any directions or all the pieces.) But Soren's a bit young for all the subtle variations.

So, dear Peter, announced "No, buddy, I'm not giving up. I'm just taking a little break to think about it."

And when Soren wakes tomorrow he'll see that his Dad really didn't give up.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

How Would *You* Spend 10.5 Hours in O'Hare Airport?

Anyone who knows us, knows that we are obsessed with getting bumped when we travel. While most people strive to get to their final destination as quickly and painlessly as possible, we rush to volunteer to give up our seats in exchange for some free tickets. And we've been having some great success at it. This vacation was no exception, but we really learned that it is totally unpredictable. Based on how full the flights were, I would have put money on getting bumped on one of our outbound flights, but no luck. And on the return, I would have bet that there wasn't a chance. When I checked the morning of the flights there still appeared to be lots of seats left.

But luck was on our side. Not only did we get bumped...but we got bumped TWICE. Yep, that means 6 free tickets. *****Happy Dance******

It also meant that we had a lot of time to kill in O'Hare Airport. But we found plenty of things to do...

Did you know that they even have a "Children's Museum" there?
Take a look behind Soren and you'll see that we weren't the only people needing to kill some time!
We managed to find an uncrowded corner for a little nap...
And the snooze time wasn't just for Soren!
Funny how a spare 10 1/2 hours gives you the time to read all the random placards around the airport...
And closely examine the enormous Brachiosaurus skeleton at the end of the concourse.
Since we had such a long delay (and also, because we asked!) United was kind enough to give us $42 in meal vouchers!
And it seems that the restaurants are prepared for restless kids since they kept a supply of Crayons on hand. Did you know that you can do more than just color with Crayons? They are great for balancing tricks. (Check out Soren's tongue...such great concentration!)
There are lots of pretend phone calls to be made.
And endless variations of luggage cart races...
Did you know that if we folded Soren up he would be an acceptable size for a carry-on? You may read that as a cost-cutting tip in a future blog post here.
And of course, you can always slowly inch up to other interesting looking passengers...
... and see if they have any fun things to share.
Also, United in their infinite kindness, upgraded us to FIRST CLASS for our 4-hour flight home. Awesome.
Doesn't Soren look like he's settled into the luxe kind of travelling quite naturally?

The delays meant that our journey home was almost 20 hours long door-to-door. A long day for sure. But actually kind of fun. And certainly well worth it.