About Me

United States
We are a proud American family with our two kids and 11-year-old cat.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Hopeful Solution?

Moving to a little colder climate plus losing the yard and living high above the ground in an apartment has caused some lifestyle adjustments for the family.  Many of those adjustments are ones we are making for Jose's sake since he still needs to potty and exercise.  This is generally not a problem, but during the day when it is just me and Zach at home, our excursions aren't exactly meeting the dog's needs.  Zach tires quickly (walking in the snow is exhausting), plus when it is really cold he isn't eager to stay out for long.  So, I applied a little brain power and decided perhaps if Jose were pulling Zach, he would get more exercise and Zach would be willing to go for it.  I certainly tried pulling Zach while walking Jose and it was not a fun experience for any of us.  So, I did some research and ordered a harness.

Finally the harness arrived in the mail and we tried it out the very next day.  I see people use the term "epic fail" frequently, but that attempt could definitely be described that way.  Zach and Gracie both wanted to be pulled.  It was after school and kids and dogs were all over the place.  Jose was VERY distracted.  It was just awful.  I won't go into all the details but when I finally had both kids and dog back safely in the apartment I was close to vowing to never take any of the anywhere again.  Luckily I didn't make the vow and got over it fairly quickly.

Anyway, today we decided to give it another try.  This time it was just me and Zach during school and work hours, so we had the whole park at our disposal.  This time it went much better.  I need to make a few adjustments overall, but for the most part it was great and I think we all got a bit of exercise.  Zach fell off a few times, and one of those times Jose decided to go on a solo sprint.  Luckily he came back.  After he seemed tuckered out, we went over to the hill so Zach could do some sledding.  He just opted to roll around for a bit and we were done.  We'll see if it works on a regular basis.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

We are staying rather busy and the time is passing very quickly.  I've not been grabbing the camera as much as I used to, but here are a few times I did.  Gracie continues to love school and Zach is coming along really well with our lessons together.  I still substitute from time to time, and he enjoys spending time with the other kids too.  With that being said, here are the pictures.

Gracie wanted to make a chocolate cake, but I was out of cocoa so she compromised by making a yellow cake with buttercream icing.  She did this completely on her own, with me merely supervising and answering her questions.  I take that back, I think I made the icing.  Anyway, she used the cute silicone shapes Mimi sent her back when we were still in Japan.  If anyone can tell me how to keep it from sticking to the pans please let me know.  So far we grease and flour them, and that isn't doing the job.  Regardless, her cakes were quite tasty.  We used a recipe that is over 100 years old, so an oldie but goodie.  Of course, a bit of buttercream icing ended up sending icing all over the place when she was trying to eject the beaters.

 Moving on, we have added a trip to the circus here in Astana.  The picture below is taken from this site, and you should definitely check it out.  We were in a bit of a rush to get in since we were making it just in time to catch the opening act.  As it turns out, we had quite a bit of difficulty getting a taxi to bring us here.  The second cab driver actually unbuckled Charlie's seatbelt!  I had quite the chuckle over it, but luckily we made it just in time to find new seats since our seats were occupied.  Luckily, the usher eventually booted us, and then booted the people in our seats which were just across the aisle.  Making memories!  Anyway, we had a good timed and it was Zach's first trip to any circus.

 This clown was very entertaining, just as clowns are meant to be.  
 This was our first seat before we were booted.  

 This guy was REALLY strong!

 During intermission this band performed live.  Very nice!

 Gracie waiting patiently for Charlie to return with cotton candy during intermission.  

 Zach and I taking a walk while Gracie is at school.  Sometimes he likes to ride facing backwards.  I doubt he can see much with the high snow on the sides.

 Little dozers are often piling snow that is then removed by these trucks.  Sometimes the piles are taller than me.
 Gracie takes Taekwondo now.  The sensei comes to the school twice a week for students that enrolled and we found out we could purchase uniforms.  Here Gracie is sporting her new uniform.  Zach is eager to start in the fall.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday, Jose!

Today we celebrated Jose's 2nd birthday.  We ordered an elk antler and squeaky duck, which he really is enjoying.

 Later, although not for his birthday, we decided to get some outdoor activity with...you guessed it...sledding.  On the way, I saw the snow plows coming and decided to snap a picture.  Only five in a row this time, but it is impressive how dedicated the city is to keeping the streets clear.
 Gracie didn't want to miss out on the fun of being pulled, so plopped on her disc and grabbed hold of Zach's sled.  Poor Chuck!
 Our favorite sledding site!
 Look at Chuck go!

 I took a picture of this guy after going down on a snowboard.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the guy there skiing.  

 Gracie was able to play with a friend from school.  

 Yes, Zach and I walked through this, but I refused to go back in.  There is something alarming about going through and finding wooden beams inside as though they are attempting to provide additional support.  It was creepy for me.  Zach wanted to go back.
 Here is one of my footprints.  I'd love to know just how deep the snow is.  We frequently get small amounts and then the wind also blows it around.  There are clear paths where it is pressed and supporting you, which we mainly stay on.  Here, I veered off the path and sunk to my knees, but you can tell it isn't the bottom.