Diary
November, 2008

2008-11-13
Since I last wrote, Nina got a very serious cold that the folks at Teddington prescribed antibiotics for. She is now mostly better but she then passed the virus on to Håkan and I. Håkan is now on broad spectrum antibiotics, and I am continuing the battle so far without drugs, although I certainly am going through a lot of tissues, and would very, very much like to be able to breathe freely.
Luckily I don't think she passed the virus on to Maud and Greger, who we were very happy to see over Halloween weekend. The kids liked getting to know their aunt and uncle better, and it was great for us to spend time with them as well! Thanks for coming Maud and Greger!
Håkan's antibiotics were prescribed in Austin, Texas, where he spent nearly a week. He got home yesterday.
This was the first time in a very long time that I had been on my own with both kids. It has happened before, but I can't even remember when. And here we are all, not much the worse for wear. Håkan left last Thursday. Friday was a difficult day. We were one minute late to school, which is not a lot, but was enough to make Sam very upset. Then in the afternoon I lost Nina on the playground at pickup. That was the first time I had ever lost her-- Sam got lost twice while we were living in Cambridge, at the Grafton Center mall both times. It was quite terrifying as there is a drive very close to the playground. Luckily we found her after a few minutes. It then took quite some time to get off the school grounds where Nina could get into the bike seat. When she finally was in the bike seat, Sam realized he had forgotten his bookbag. He was very upset about that but I told him they would take good care of it and let him know that we were not going back to get it.
On Saturday it was time for the Fireworks Party, for Guy Fawkes night. I was very anxious about bringing both kids to that so called a family meeting. We talked about how it was very important to stay close to Mommy. The party itself went remarkably well. Nina got her face painted, which is always a hit, and both kids enjoyed playing with their light sabres. I wasn't sure how Nina would react to the fireworks themselves. She was not happy at first, then seemed to get used to them and almost enjoy them, then decided she had had enough. But it worked out well because Sam agreed to leave, and we left slowly enough that we actually ended up seeing the entire display. The difficult part was later that night, or early that morning, when Nina woke up at 2AM. She was sleeping in Sam's bottom bunk and realized she had forgotten one of her four special friends. She was being so loud that I said we were not going in to Sam's room to get it. The result was, we were up from 2-4. That was very painful, but I am now vaguely remembering another time when I was on my own with them that both kids woke up around 2 and stayed awake. At least this time it was only one, and she did go back to sleep, although Sam still woke up at 7 so I didn't get nearly as much sleep as I would have like to.
We did have a bit of extra fun one night when we made paper airplanes. The kids thought it was a riot to throw them around the living room. And we went to Climbers and Creepers, always a hit. Tuesday night was made somewhat easier by Sam being invited to a play date. Ewan, from Sam's class, has apparently wanted Sam to come over for a very long time, so it was great that we were able to set that up. Now we have to get an extra booster seat for the car as it will soon be our turn to reciprocate. Sam gets to go over to Eric's house tomorrow. It is very exciting that he is getting to do that-- I think during all of last year he only went on a few play dates, and now he'll have been on two in less than two weeks. That is a positive development.
I met with Nina's teacher Penny at Pebbles on Tuesday and she is very pleased with Nina's progress at Pebbles. They will now begin to focus more seriously on helping Nina acquire more of the skills that she will need to transition into reception next September.
The kids were ecstatic to see Håkan. We have, however, been having a bit of readjustment trouble. While H. was gone, Nina slept in Sam's bottom bunk, which probably isn't the best solution, but she got used to it. That was my way to avoid the frequent occurence that Sam gets upset about being alone as Nina is going to sleep in her room. They also had joint baths every night, which Nina really likes, and Sam really doesn't. So now we have to figure out exactly how we're going to do bedtime, considering that while he may not go to Texas again for several months, Håkan will be out past their bedtimes much more often with this job, and will take short trips much more often as well.

2008-11-17
We had a busy and social weekend. On Saturday it was our turn to host the Richmond chapter of the Svenska Mammor (Swedish moms) group. We baked a couple cakes, bought a bunch of cookies, and opened our doors to, all told, about 25 people, as we had invited the moms, dads, and kids. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and everyone seemed to have had a good time. The cakes went down very well. Nina seems to be developing a pattern of dealing with excitement later on at night, as she slept quite fitfully that night and mumbled about the Swedish people. In the morning she wanted to know exactly how many Swedish people there had been, and wanted to say that next time she was going to tell them all to sit down to eat their cake. She decided Håkan needs to get enough chairs. :) It was a very good boost for her interest in Swedish, especially coming so soon after Maud and Greger's visit. Sam was particularly taken with the twin 6-month olds who came.
On Sunday we had a lovely surprise visit from Cousin Kevin and his friend Tyler. It turned out that they had been staying in St Margaret's for a couple of days, so they were very close by. They came over a bit after dinner. Kevin played a game of chess with Sam; it turns out that Kevin is quite a skilled chess player, so I'm guessing Sam learned a thing or two from that game. After the kids (finally) went to bed, Kevin and Tyler got to help us finish off the cake. It was really great to see them and wonderful to catch up-- I hadn't seen Kevin since I visited Takoma Park when Kevin was very young and Eric was a toddler.
We need to get our morning routine down too as we were nearly late this morning; I need to take the kids on Mondays as H. has a weekly meeting on Monday mornings. In some ways it's just as well, because then at least Nina is out of the house and ready for Pebbles, but it certainly is a lot of organization. I think I may need to give in and Judi Dench my hair at some point...

2008-11-30
Happy first Sunday of Advent! Life has been busy lately-- it's the start of the Christmas season! The kids are very excited about the candle bit. On Saturday we went to Bushy Park despite the cold, and I got to bike there (still got there before the kids&H because of rugby traffic). In the afternoon we went over to the Christmas fair at All Soul's, which was quite enjoyable. Both kids got to decorate biscuits and candle holders, and I got to do a bit of Secret Santa shopping.
On Friday we went to the Vineyard Christmas fair, and that was fine too, although a bit crowded. But the kids each got a cake (or two in Nina's case), and Sam got to see Santa. Nina wasn't quite ready to see Santa but will have a couple more chances before the season ends, so maybe she'll come around. :)