Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Birthdays: a photo update

We've been in serious birthday celebration mode here, with all four of our birthdays within the span of less than two months. Eli turned two and Noah four. Much as spending our days with them are intense and emotional (oh the emotional roller coaster of being 2 and 4), it's a huge privilege to spend them mostly together.

Eugene has just finished his first children's book (check out if you have kids/know people with kids?) and I am still working hard on my dissertation. Every year seems to bring big changes for all of us- seeing Noah and Eli grow makes that a given, but it also seems to be our MO.

Noah speaking to his grandma in Korea. Eli has his name tag from church (where he refuses to stay by himself, anyway) not because we forget his name, though sometimes I do.

Some pictures from Eli's birthday present-opening time:

Noah spent ages writing this and painting a train for Eli's birthday
Getting acrylic paints for Noah works better for us than getting large bottles of kid paint. They last pretty well, and Noah invests a lot of time and effort into painting. The downside is that it's hard to paint when Eli is awake, as he paints the walls, his stomach, anything he can find. 

Jelly beans for breakfast.

Eli's birthday trip to the Blue Train

Our kids take the regular Cape Town train pretty regularly, but we'd never taken this toy train at Sea Point. For R15, you get to go around in a circle for 5 minutes in a very run down rickety train. That is, Noah and Eli's idea of heaven.

Noah wanted to ride up front with the driver. I was amazed that he was willing to be in a compartment with someone he didn't know. He managed for a little bit, and then started to freak out.

The Blue train also has an amazing playground, full of interesting places to climb and play.

the foofie slide. 

My aunt and uncle were visiting from Pretoria and staying nearby, and were able to come and visit with us. 

Asleep on the return journey. Too much excitement.

Noah turned four!

Last year, for Noah's third birthday, we got him this 1/8 size violin.  I was a little more invested than he in the whole idea- learning violin was a big gift my parents gave me, and that I wanted to pass on. I let it be, and later in the year Noah asked me to start teaching him. I got my own violin fixed, and now about 5 days a week, for about 5-10 minutes/day, we practice plucking and tuning the violin, and learning to hold the bow correctly.  Violin is our attempt at classical education, while this year's gift of a ukulele takes more of an unschooling approach. We sortof like both approaches, to the extent the kids are currently very curious and open to all kinds of learning.

With the whole family at my parent's house:

Our bike ride back... Not bad (note Eli asleep on tarp)
Noah's actual birthday- cake #2
 Noah asked to go to the Playshed, an indoor playground for his birthday:

Noah got a ukulele for his birthday, and Eug's book came out, which is a pretty great birthday present.