Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall fun

What a busy October we had! We took the kids apple picking once more for my favorite apples--macouns. Saskia didn't help pick, but she did help eat. She has a very peculiar way of eating an apple. She nipples the skin and spits it out. Then she sucks the juice out of the apple. She loves to say, "Apple! Apple! Apple!"

We had a fun Saturday with our playgroup friends. We first had fun at our friend Jackson's house and then headed down the road to the North Hadley Sugar Shack's Harvest Moon Pumpkin Festival. There was plenty for the kids to do... bouncy houses, pony rides, tractor rides and face painting. Kiefer got his face painted like a pirate, and when he saw himself in the mirror, he immediately got into character saying "Arrrr!" and squinting his eyes. When Saskia got a look at him, she had to do a double-take. It was so funny!

The following weekend we went to a Halloween Party with our playgroup friends. It was a potluck and there were so many amazing foods. The kids dressed up and we wrapped the evening up with a nice fire in the firepit. The older kids roasted marshmallows over the fire, which they thought was great. It was such a perfect autumn evening... cool, crisp air!

The next day, Kiefer accompanied Roel to a soccer game he was playing in, while Saskia accompanied me to the airport to pick up Grandma and Grandpa who were visiting for a week. Saskia was a little shy and uncertain at first, but she totally warmed up to her grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa got to see Kiefer at the Little Red Schoolhouse... they picked him up a few times. One day after picking him up from school, they took him to the movies to see the Lion King in 3D. They escorted both the kids to the Greenfield Halloween parade and trick-or-treating at the business in the center of town. Lucky kids.

In between all the help with the kids, Grandma and Grandpa managed to help me tile the kitchen back splash. Roel and I found a great deal on 1" glass mosaic tile a few months ago. We have no experience tiling, so we waited for a little help. I think it turned out great. It really changes the look of the kitchen!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

School and swimming

Kiefer started pre-school at the Little Red Schoolhouse on September 6. He had been looking forward to it all summer (and even before then). Litte Red is located on the Amherst College campus in a building built specifically as a pre-school in the late 1930s. It is a charming little building and Kiefer was thrilled that he has his very own cubby. When we headed into the bathroom to wash his hands, he was amazed that the sinks and toilets were just his size. Kiefer has 18 classmates with 4 teachers and even a few Amherst college students who come and help out each day. He loves it and is learning so much. It seems that every day when I pick him up, one of his teachers tells me how wonderful, sweet or helpful Kiefer is. One asked if he's always so sweet to which I responded, "He has his moments!"

Each Wednesday, a woman named Wendy comes to do music with the kids. This past week, Kiefer came home singing, "She'll be coming 'round the mountain." He knew a lot of it, but he had me almost crying from laughter when, instead of singing, "And we'll all go out to greet her when she comes," he sang, "And she'll go out and beat her greeters..." Ha ha ha!

Kiefer schedule is getting more full the older he gets. On Monday nights he now goes to swimming lessons. We were a little nervous that he wouldn't go anywhere near the pool, because he hasn't had a lot of experience swimming and when he has been in a pool, he's been really nervous. To our delight, he did everything the teacher asked him to do! There are only 5 other students in the class, so he gets plenty of attention and we think it helps for him to see kids his age doing it.

Even though fall started officially a couple of weeks ago, it has not felt very fall-like. It has been unseasonably warm. It has also been quite rainy. Just when we think it can't rain any more, it does! Luckily, there are some beautiful sunny days here and there that allow us to dry out a little. A couple of weeks ago, we went apple picking with our Dutch friends who live in Hatfield. The weather was gorgeous and as expected, the big kids had great fun picking apples and snacking on them. Who knew Saskia would love snacking on apples, too! She kept taking apples out of the basket, taking a few bites out of one, and then tossing aside to get another. She ate practically the whole time we were there! We pick at Dole in Shelburne, and it is so beautiful with sweeping views of the mountains. It is also really inexpensive. We can pick an entire brown paper shopping bag totally filled to the top for only $8.

That same weekend, we were invited to walk in the 250th Town of Colrain parade. Our former neighbors (Haynes & Nancy) live there in an eco-village in Colrain now and they thought Kiefer would get a kick out being in a parade. He did! He was smiling and waving at everyone (although I'm pretty sure there were more people in the parade than were watching). His favorite part? The candy thrown from floats ahead of us. Of course. After the parade, we went back to Haynes & Nancy's house for lunch. They have turkeys, which both the kids got a kick out of. Kiefer fed them some cut up apples. Then, Haynes had Kiefer help him drive the tractor around. Needless to say, it was a great day for Kiefer!

Saskia is busy busy busy all day long. I think this is the reason she's a great napper. She'll take a good nap at daycare on weekdays and during the week she'll take two 2 hour naps. She talks a lot but there are only a few new words I can make out: apple and water. Right now duplos are her favorite toys. She will spend hours just sitting on the floor putting them together.

Roel and I are so busy with work, hauling the kids around and trying to keep the house in order. September and October are the absolutely the busiest time of year for me at work. I meet with student after student all day long so I am exhausted by the end of the day... too tired to work on my dissertation. Right now, I can only manage putting some time into it on the weekends. Sigh.