Thursday, 20 December 2012

Books

Eden is learning to love books, which of course is thrilling to both Nathan and me.  Her favorite right now seems to be Harry the Dirty Dog, which is nice because Phin actually looks quite a bit like Harry.

She also likes to pull books off the shelves and thumb through them with a serious look on her face.  This is the one I found her with today:

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Lights of Christmas

Christmas has come to the Hitchcock house.  And it is very pleasant.






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Friday, 7 December 2012

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Children's Museum

Several of our friends have recommended the Children's Museum of Brookings, SD, and since Ann and Evie and Libby were out for a visit this past week, we thought it would be the perfect time to check it out.  What a fun place!  Full of information and hands-on activities, there's more than enough to keep children and parents busy for a whole day.  And downtown Brookings is very nice.  After 11 years as a South Dakotan, this was my first time there.  I was impressed, and a good time was had by all.

We spent at least 20 minutes in this construction zone:






Then it was on to the indoor water fun, with balls, waterfalls, steam and lots of splashing:


The girls (especially Eden) loved the giant light-bright:

Upstairs we discovered big, blue blocks:




Then on to the deli and icecream shop where the kids served us up lunch (and charged quite a price for it, too!)


Painting on the glass:

And Eden's back to the light-bright.

End of the day:


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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Autumnal

Autumn is here in South Dakota, and it's quite beautiful this year.


 I planted 48 tulips and 10 hyacinths with great hopes for the spring.  Sleep well little bulbs, wake up beautiful!

 Z, Eden and Nathan carved pumpkins.  Z drew the face for the big one, and Nathan carved it out.  Z makes his scariest faces in honor of the occasion.


 Nathan gets in on the fun.

And Eden and I enjoy just watching.

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

By George, I Think She's Got It!

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Eden walked for the first time today!  She's 19 months old and 5 days, so she's officially got the family record for latest first steps.  The record was formally held by her Mama and her Yaya, both of whom walked sometime in the 18 months time period.  The video is tilted, but you get the idea.

We've known for several weeks now that Eden is capable of standing and walking, she just didn't want to do it.  She was happy getting around on her knees.  I remembered she learned to crawl by going after chocolate chips, so I thought that might work again.  So I sat her down on the bottom step, tempted her with chocolate, and she stood right up.  We worked on this for awhile, and it was clear she could stand up, so I started making her stand up for a longer period of time before she got the chocolate (and then later an animal cracker).  During one of these standing up periods she just got sick of waiting for me to hand her the cookie, and she took a step forward.  Wow!  I ran for the video camera and captured this.  An hour later, at the USF cafeteria, she walked about 10 steps to Nathan, who was holding a brownie, got the brownie, turned around and walked back, all without falling down at all!

We're having a t-shirt made for her which says, "Will Walk for Chocolate."

Thursday, 18 October 2012

School Days

Z is enjoying school and learning a lot!  Every day he tells me a new Spanish word or phrase, and his letters and numbers are improving so much!  And he's having lots of fun and new experiences.

One of the kids brought her guinea pig to school last week.  Her name is Trudy (the guinea pig, not the kid.)


And Z's class went on a field trip to the fire station!  Z loved it, and tonight told me exactly what to do if the smoke alarms go off!

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Dead Mammoth

Warning:  This blog post reflects the workings of the five year old male mind.  Read with care.

Yesterday we went to the Augie cafeteria for lunch, as we do every Sunday.  After lunch was over, Nathan wanted to go home to watch the Vikings, and Z wanted to explore the Augie campus.  So Nathan and Eden went home, and Z and I stayed to play.  We wandered all over the campus.  Z showed me many secret hiding places, we discovered an entire field covered in pure gold leaves, which we placed in a secret cave which only opens using a secret word (which we will not divulge to anyone), and we watched a flag football game.  As we were leaving campus we came across the mammoth sculpture outside of the archeology building.



As I read the sign out loud, Z suddenly yelled, "Watch out, Mama, it's alive."  I, of course, jumped for cover.  Who wants to be crushed by a mammoth?  Z set about killing it with his sword (stick).  He chopped off all four of its legs.  He chopped off both tusks.  Then he chopped off its head.  At that point I came back, very relieved. "You saved us, Z!  It's dead!"  Z looked at me quite seriously and said, "It's not dead until I chop off its penis," which he then proceeded to do.  "Now it's dead!" he declared.

So there's the male mind at work:  You're not really dead until someone chops off your penis.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

London! Westminster Abbey and Les Mis

Dearest Nathan,

Yes, what an adventure we're having! I've never done London this way, all in a whirlwind. But Trudy wants to see as much as possible, and who can blame her? So each day is packed full and exhausting, but that has it's own thrill. And we keep meeting wonderful people. Yesterday it was the beefeater at the Tower, and today it was a volunteer at Wesminster Abbey.

So this morning at breakfast we met a missionary from Thailand. He said his children were going to university next year, so they decided to have one last big family vacation, and they're literally circling the world on some very cheap tickets. He said I must just be touring England after graduating university, "I'm putting you just at graduation or a little after, right?"  I said thank you so much, but no. I'm married, have two kids and am almost 40! But I assured him I took it as a wonderful compliment!

We spent the morning moving to Highbury Centre, and it is delightful, just like I remembered.

Highbury Centre

We left Highbury Centre at about 1:00, had a sandwich in the park, and then on to Westminster Abbey. I've never actually been in, since it's kind of expensive (£16), but in we went today. Wow. It's really just a who's who of British history, with all the people buried there. We saw the tombs of Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, Mary Tudor, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Edward VI, and so many others.  Someone had left a flowering thistle on Queen Mary's tomb.  But my favorite find, which was completely unexpected and not even included in the little audio tour we were taking, was the tomb of Anne Neville, who was married to Richard III. I've always liked her -- she died when she was only 29, just a few months before Richard III died in battle and just a few months after her one and only child died at age 9. So sad. And there she was! We just looked over, and there was a little plaque on the wall beside her tomb. So amazing.





 We weren't supposed to take pictures inside the Abbey, but Trudy sneaked this lovely one from the cloisters, looking out into a gorgeous courtyard.


We lined up for evensong on Charles Darwin's tomb (funny, huh?), and my legs were killing me! I was just about to sit on the floor when a gentleman who turned out to be a volunteer offered me his seat -- so kind. Trudy sat in the chair beside me, and there were no other chairs anywhere around. So we spent the next 20 minutes or so talking to him about the Abbey. He was full of information and again seemed delighted to find people who were just as interested in it all as he is. In the midst of all this I looked up and noticed this old, bent lady standing right beside me, so of course I said, "Would you like to sit down?" She answered, briefly, "Yes" and took my seat. The minute I stood up, the kind gentleman whispered, "You shouldn't have done that!" I asked why not, and he said, "Every evening it's the same. She pushes her way through the crowd to these two seats and then stands over the person sitting there until they offer it to her." I kind of laughed but thought maybe he was exaggerating. In about 5 more minutes they opened the gate to allow us to go in to evensong. It was a fairly small gate, so I was waiting to go in when I felt this fist pushing on my back. I turn around and there's the little old lady, pushing on me with all her might and saying, "Coming through! Coming through!" After what the gentleman had told me about her, I decided to stand my ground, so I didn't move an inch, and she just pushed harder. Even as I walked through the gate she just kept pushing on me until we cleared it and she could scuttle around me.

So for evensong we sat in the choir at Westminster Abbey! I'll have to show you a picture, but we sat where all the lords and ladies sat during William and Kate's wedding. Incredible. And evensong was so beautiful. The Anglican liturgy with a boys' choir. The priest who did the Old and New Testament readings was amazing -- I've honestly never heard anyone read the Bible so well. The O.T. reading was from Numbers 27 about choosing Joshua for leadership, and the N.T. reading was from I Corinthians, about the division caused by some choosing Paul and others Apollos, so clearly the theme was Christian leadership. It was lovely.





Then, we took the tube to Picadilly Circus to see Les Mis. We found the theater, got our tickets, had a quick supper of bread and cheese from Sainsbury's, and then saw the show. It was so stirring -- the music was amazing and the themes of the story really beautiful and true. Do you know the story? The theme of law and grace ran throughout, with the truth so clearly portrayed that the law, even in all it's nobility and honor, really only kills in the end, and grace redeems and redeems and redeems. It made me cry it was so beautiful.


 London's theatre district.


 The view from our seats.

 The stage revolved, which I thought was a great technique.

Enjoying every moment!

You and I are going to London one of these days, and all the better if it's for a month. What a city. And what a husband I have!




The bright lights of London!

Hug and kiss the babies for me.

Christina