Todd Family Blog

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Deutschland, Chapter 5. 4 1/2 months in!

We may be in Germany, but life continues pretty much as normal.  It doesn't quite feel like home, but I think anywhere you are trying to keep up with a 3 year-old and 3 dogs you will make a home.  Simpley out of necessity!  

I often call Levi, "my sweetest boy" and "snugglekins."  Goodness, he is a chatty lovebug.  But Levi definitely still has his "monster moments."  It's just that thankfully he also loves to spontaneously show love with hugs, telling us he loves us, or even, "Give me a kiss!"  He also enjoys sharing his excitement about things by proclaiming, "I'm so excited!" or "This is fun!!"  However, he asserts his independence frequently by being contrary and then immediately changing his mind while proclaiming, "Levi DOES want to do that!"  DESPITE this need for independence, he is also obsessed with our routine for the day.   He loves to sing Daniel Tiger's song, "Clothes on, eat breakfast, brush teeth,...."  AND, ironically enough, this is paired with a very sudden and new fear of the dark.  He needs a lamp on all night long.....Rereading that paragraph I feel schizophrenic.  Life with a 3 year-old, right?

His complete obsession academically is the coral reef and he loves watching Youtube videos of people snorkeling.  His favorite animals are octopus and cuttlefish.  (Cuttlefish are SERIOUSLY cool.  Check it out.)  Even while watching a science experiment about cuttlefish on Youtube he cried out, "I'm so excited!"  This all began from a long story I told him to keep him still while cutting his hair.  Stories and pretending in general are really taking off for Levi.  It's not uncommon for him to try to retell me a story I made up for him, word for word and with all my inflections.  (Lots of "SO....." at the starts of every sentence.  Whoops.)

One of my very favorite habits this month was proclaiming, "Pastor Yosef would be SO proud!" whenever he practiced his Amharic.  He tries especially hard to sing along with our Amharic children's songs and will play them over and over to "practice."  He also has begun to count in Amharic spontaneously.  The idea of practice has been a big deal in general.  He told me one day while playing with some toys, "Levi practiced and he got better!"  Thankfully, (for his musician Mom's ears) this practice has been extended to singing (some of) the correct pitches to songs.  Yay for music class!

Levi Says:
  • About gridlock traffic: "Goodness gracious!  All these cars are going everywhere!  Cars going all around us!";
  • Re: Daddy's work: "Don't go to Daddy's work.  Levi not want to get in those buildings.  That is not Levi's work to do.";  
  • But about his future employment: "Levi want to do Thomas's job.  Want to work on the rails.";
  • During one bathroom visit told me, "Mommy's still dry!" [Hopefully, that's not a concern.];
  • "Daddy's feet smell like hamburgers.";
  • "Mommy makes Daddy laugh."  [True.  I'm VERY funny.];
  • LT: "Cal [our dog] is just like Spiderman!"  Me: "Do you know what Spiderman is?"  LT:  "A peacock!"; 
  • All smoke is "hot steam";
  • While watching bubbles: "I JUST want to FLY!....Mommy and Levi go way up high to the tree tops!";
  • Watching Planet Earth, Me: "I promise, one day we'll take you snorkeling so you can swim with fish like that."  LT: "That water's too deep to swim!";
  • "Levi and Daddy stay here, Mommy go to the grocery, come home with Mommy juice, Daddy juice and Levi juice."  [Probably pretty accurate.];
  • "So, um, Daddy....How was your day?";
  • Started adding to his dinner prayer an echo of my prayer: "Thank you for my Levi.";
  • After writing and illustrating his first "book": "Yes I AM a writer now!";
  • Me: "Levi, you can always tell me anything and I'll love you no matter what." LT: "Levi want to tell Mommy something now."  Me: "You do!?"  LT: "Um...Levi want to do a project when we get home.";
  • "Mommy's a girl.  Levi and Daddy are boys.  We're all babies.  We're all babies now!";
  • "These cars are going to Brazil.";
  • Christmas is pronounced "Chrimsas";
  • After trying to barge in on me in the bathroom, "Sometimes Mommy needs privacy.";
  • Me: "Levi, Mommy gets worried if you don't use the potty." LT: "And frustrated.";
  • While putting a bunch of coasters on his head, "I'm putting things on my head for Halloween!";
  • "Want to do potty all by myself....Uh-oh!  Tell Mommy when you have to go potty....[running out from the bathroom naked] I'm all clean now!";
  • "Levi want to Indianapolis, when I'm older.;
  • Me: "Levi, do you remember what country we in?" [Desired answer, "Austria."]  
  • LT: "A poo country! That's funny....Now you're killin' me."

This Month's Visual Aides:
We have friends!  With a mix of work friends, connections from the English speaking mom's group in Munich, reaching out to people on the English speaking parents' forum on Facebook, we continue to grow our network....

Levi is really starting to understand distances, where people are, and when we will see them.  One day he told me, "Alexis is in America visiting her grandma and grandpa.  Nana, Pa, Neenie, Papa...those are Levi's grandpas.  In America....Levi's in the Pink Germany House."

Amy and Tobias were kind enough to include us in the baptism of their two children, Alexis and Maximilian.  
During the service....

Racing through Bad Tölz after dinner.....

PJ's and playing....


We have made great friends with the Moffet clan, Maria, Alec, Maddie and Baby Aidan, 
who moved from Scotland to Munich in May.

Family dinner and biking at Hirschgarten park/biergarten

Riding off into the sunset.....

And a play date at Maddie's.  Both kids thought about napping in the backyard tent.

Boating play date in our town of Starnberg!  Our Polish friends (two families met at different events!) were kind enough to come out to our little town and have a lake day.  We have 5 boys between us all and we had a fantastic time.  And we were afterwards inspired to get our own inflatable boat!!

Levi's preschool's summer party and fundraiser.  Yes, beer is served with lunch.  At the preschool.  Still feels a bit weird....

Adopting his stuffed animal, Kitty George, at the adopt-an-animal station.  (So cute - they got a certificate and everything.)

Showing off the necklace he made.

"Mommy School" (as Brad still likes to call it) continues as well.  It makes my heart swell when he proclaims, "Levi loves Levi and Mommy Days!"  Or when he requests a project by saying, "Levi want to make Mommy a heart.  Make it beautiful.  [So, we cut one out and as he colors it....]  It's getting pretty.....Wow!!!  Levi made a heart!!!"

Messy bath fun

Using a CD for a Rainbow Fish craft.  Big hit.  (And it's hard to impress him with crafts, so that says something.)

Number train (Thanks, Amy!) - He loves and is very proud of putting the numbers "in order" while making his tower as high as possible.  (Note the dog on top.)

Always trying to inspire painting and coloring....toothbrushes, animal sponges....feet!

Another huge hit - This printable "puzzle" combines his love of farms, puzzles, and numbers while helping him learn his 10's.

Food color in water and oil!  I think I liked this more than he did.

Not surprisingly, (and not by my choice) this is how the experiment ended up:

Levi's first Tom and Jerry viewing.  
The classic still holds up, apparently.

Fun Out and About

The Deutsches Museum's plane museum.  Little boy heaven 
(and very cool history for Mommy and Daddy too).

Levi's joy at "Treat Food" (Gummy Bears) at lunch afterwards.  There is ALWAYS complimentary treat food 
(like it or not, parents) after a meal out.

Park at the Munich zoo all to ourselves

The little park in our neighborhood.  
(Accurately called "The Neighborhood Park" by Levi.)

Taking Luke for a walk on one of the billions of trails in the woods.

Enjoying the "toys with wheels" at the little toy museum in Munich.  

And lunch in the market after.  Right after this picture he tossed his peach on the ground.

Brad and I took a fantastic walking tour of Munich one day while Levi was in school.  Along with wonderful history and fascinating stories, one of the funniest sights is everyone stopping to watch the Glockenspiel - rated as Europe's #2 most overrated tourist locations.  (Want to know what #1 is!?...)

Favorite Foods this Month
Still loving all my time for cooking

Homemade enchilada sauce and homemade tortillas.  SO GOOD and shockingly easy.

Favorite new way to make Ethiopian Honey Bread

Homemade pita - never going back to store bought.  SO easy.

Fun at our "Neighborhood Restaurant," as LT calls it, 
where we eat about once a week.

Levi was insistent that he wanted to go to Italy, not that he really knew what that meant.  We all wanted a beach vacation, so a long weekend (thank you Starwood points) free in Rimini was the answer!

The Constanza Picture (Seinfeld people, you know what I mean.)
Levi can finally spend a large chunk of time at the beach.  
We rented beach chairs for the day in our hotel's segment of the beach and camped out.  Wonderful fun.

EVERYONE (even the little kids) stays out crazy late, we discovered.  The early morning payoff for not being one of those people (and just hanging out on your room's terrace)?  
You can see it in this picture.....

We asked our hotel where to get REAL, non-touristy Sangiovese food.  They sent us to a beautiful little nearby town and an AMAZING restaurant.  I had stuffed squab.  Ridiculous.  Below is Levi's KIDS' MEAL.  Seriously.  The portions in Europe continue to amaze me.

Our meal lasted 2 1/2 hours (the last 45 minutes just spent trying to get the bill - continues to be one of my bigger frustrations here, especially with a small child in tow) 
and Levi was OUT by the end.

Stopping by the same little town a couple days later 
and there is a car show going on!  Lucky boy.

San Marino
We took the opportunity to go see the tiny country of San Marino (really just a mountain in the middle of Italy).  
As you can tell, the views were ridiculously beautiful.

Beautiful drive home

Chair Picture (Month 29)

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