Todd Family Blog

Welcome! Read below for our latest news and pictures.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Todd Family Tours

This month more relief from Levi's homesickness came as we had the chance to host friends from home!  First, Kirstin Brueckmann (a former voice studio and family friend from church) came while studying in Roma, and then her twin sister Heidi and good friend Allie came from Barcelona.  Levi was beside himself to have new friends to show off for and snuggle with, and the girls obliged and were so incredibly sweet.  We also had the fun of showing them many of our favorite spots, as you'll see below.  And I got a couple girls' nights out too!

Levi managed to grow some random obsessions this month as well: funny cat videos (mostly cats jumping and falling) on YouTube (this was often his choice for his small allotment of screen time in the mornings, even beating out trains!), classic Charlie Brown episodes (especially "Flash Beagle", which he calls "Flash Bugle".  He also does an excellent "wah-wah" teacher/adult voice), and praying and then lighting candles in churches.  (We're not Catholic, but I think the sentiment and gesture is very sweet.  And he is so sincere with his little prayers.)

Competing for sweetest habit of the month is his current bedtime routine.  Daddy does bedtime, but every night he would snuggle up to me downstairs and say, "Mommy, you will not let me go.  I'll stay with you all night.  Daddy, you should go steal my bed, snuggle with Tigie, turn on my song, drink my milk and snooze."  Daddy usually swoops him away in the end, but I feel pretty loved!

One of his big curiosities is WHY people would make "bad decisions", which is very difficult to explain sometimes:
[While doing his African/Middle East puzzle] LT: "Mommy, why did Daddy say that the Central African Republic is REALLY dangerous."  Me: "Well, maybe some people didn't make good decisions.  And sometimes that means that people fight and it is really dangerous."  LT: "They should NOT fight.  They should make good decisions and have a good attitude!"
This is a constant theme with his puzzles and he often sends me to the computer to look up if a country is safe or dangerous.  I know a lot about various travel advisories now, should you be interested.  (And some new countries that are on my travel list!)  It also led to some interesting discussion while watching an Easter video: "But WHY did they hate him!?"  [I have never said those words to him!] and reading The Jesus Storybook Bible, discussing how they made fun of Jesus, "They should make good decisions!"  

The Month In Pictures:
If this picture below doesn't convince you, someone was a MAJOR flirt with Miss Kirstin.  He also called out to her:
"She's mines!….Now, Come get me!" And while we were putting him to bed, "Mommy, can you go away?"
Needless to say, it was hard when he realized his new play date was going to have to take off.  Me: "We have to take Miss Kirstin to the airport today."  LT: "What's Miss Kirstin doing?"  Me: "She needs to go back to Italy, where she's going to school."  LT: "And when I wake up from my nap, will Miss Kirstin be back?"
Breaking Kirstin in to life in Bavaria.  Prost!
The smiley donut he had to have (and naturally didn't then eat).
Day trip to Salzburg, our favorite city and Kirstin's new favorite too!
Eating Mommy's favorite pretzels as soon as we arrived.
Kirstin's first glimpse of the view from the Schloss
How my little monkey enjoys the Schloss….
Posing with Mozart
Heading to the big market for käserkrainer!
Chillin' in front of Mozart's birthplace
Killing time waiting for the biergarten to open we found a great park overlooking the city.
And making it to the biergarten just outside the old city.
We put someone down for their nap right in the middle of it….

Dinner at St. Peter's.  A favorite and Europe's oldest restaurant.  
Kirstin had her first schnitzel and apfelstrudel!
That crazy-beautiful city….
Girls day!  First I took Kirstin down to Garmisch for lunch in the mountains.  Then we got all dressed up for a night out in Munich - cocktails and Afghan food.
The following weekend Daddy went skiing and Levi and I had a weekend Mommy and Me day.  This, pictured below, was all done before 8:00 a.m. (and my coffee was drunk).  Good thing we were meeting friends to help burn some of that energy!
"Mommy, you should give me some privacy.  I'm just going to tell you when I'm done."
Deutches Museum Play Date
Showing me how a propeller works.
Making their own makeshift home in the kids' area.
Daddy's ski trip with the other Dads!
Some FaceTime with Jacobi...
Soon after Miss Kirstin had to head back to Roma, her twin sister, Miss Heidi, and friend, Miss Allie join us for more fun!
Levi showing them his love of prayers and candles...
A beautiful drive and day in Bad Tölz, one of our favorite towns.
Looking pretty great in Heidi's shades.
Helping Miss Heidi figure out the Bavarian menu.
And showing Miss Allie around our lake

Our evening out in the country - first biers at Andech's Monestary and then...

…hugs by the beautiful fields and sunset before our favorite farmhouse restaurant, Zum Queri.
Back to Salzburg!!  Pretzel time again.  (Twist my arm!)
This time we let the girls' explore after giving them a tour and we headed off to try out the Red Bull "Hanger".  I'm not sure how to describe it - one part museum, one part club?  But Levi liked the planes and space memorabilia.  And it's free!
More bike rides along the river with Levi doing his own heavy lifting up and down the stairs.
And napping in the biergarten again….
Someday he really will tower above me!
After another great dinner at St. Peter's we all had to stop and marvel at the beautiful moon over the lit up schools.
Levi in his footie pjs, final hugs before heading back to Germany.
Another beautiful day in our favorite city.
Girls night!  We tried a wonderful new Greek spot in Munich and made great friends with the waitstaff, as you can see.  This seems to be the bonus to hanging out with pretty college girls!
These orange slices were on fire.  Really.

 Mmmmmm…..This is just 'cause.  I'm tellin' ya, there's nothing like homemade bagels.  Let me know if you want the recipe….

Mommy and Me School:
Whew!  With so many wonderful visitors and time with friends sprinkled in between, 
we tried to have some stay-at-home days to play and play
Socialization seems to still be going well, haha.   I overheard Levi talking to our 3 year-old neighbor: "Mommy said I don't need any more candy, but it is SO nice that you are giving me so much."

Miss Kirstin got us hooked on Kipling by her recommendation.  We whizzed through four chapters of The Jungle Book (I was shocked - lots of thee's and thou's - but seeing Levi's face as Kipling describes Mowgli flying through the treetops with the Monkeys was priceless!) and a few of the Just So Stories too.  I can tell these will be revisited over the years.

I asked Levi if there was an animal he would like to learn a lot about and he picked dolphins.  So, we did a whole dolphin unit!  We both learned amazingly interesting facts (who knew about Amazon River Dolphins!?) and by the end had a great moment booklet of info.  There were also many conversations like this one:  LT: "I'm a baby dolphin and I stay with my Mommy until I'm 3-8 years old."  Daddy: "How long would Levi stay with his Mommy?" LT: "100 years."  (Awwwww.)

One of Levi's strengths is his retention of whatever we learn.  This is probably due to the fact that he has a high level of interest in whatever we've chosen thanks to our child-led approach.  (Really, the only option for Levi.  There is no convincing hi to work on something in which he is not extremely interested.  Total waste of time.)  This can also come in handy in unexpected ways.  For instance, while grocery shopping I can ask him to "tell me a Curious George story" and he will relate an entire 50-page story to me word for word (and therefore forget about pulling things off shelves or dancing through the aisles)!
THIS is the drill the owners of our rented house left for us.  Seriously!?
But we used it to drill holes for our very own ball run!
Which was also great in the shower!
We have officially begun "read alouds".  I am beyond excited, as is Levi!  This one was a huge hit and we sped through it isn only a few days!  
My sous chef making fruit salad
Pride at matching up his flags and country names.
Makin' shapes
Mommy's planning….
Takin' school outside
Sight word towers and alphabet Duplo blocks
"Mommy, I bet when Daddy comes home and Daddy sees this he'll be amazed!  He'll say, *Big Gasp*!"
Makin' our own car wash just like Curious George does.
Discovering new ways to do the 100's board all on his own.
Classic shape puzzles
Juicing an orange
Making our own instruments
New uses for our Montessori decimal system blocks.  Hey, it's all learning!
Showing Daddy his latest book he wrote and illustrated.
He is definitely my son.  It's only April and he's already enjoying some Christmas programming.  (Charlie Brown Christmas was requested as his show time that morning!)
As you can tell, we work hard and play hard around here.  Maybe that is why it is taking only a week or so worth of wears for all of Levi's jeans to look like this:
Chair Picture (Month 39)
Levi Says:
  • [While watching Fantasia 2000, the whales clip] Those lights…those are the Aurora Borealis. [Didn't know he knew that.]
  • [While carrying about 15 bags of Annie's Gummy Bunnies up the stairs] I can't carry them all!  Wouldn't it be fun if I had more hands?
  • [Trying his sunglasses on] How do I look?…It looks like nap time.
  • [Checking out a 1950's plane at a park by the airport] This is weird.  [But sits down, puts down the tray table and:] Let's watch some Lightening McQueen.  [He knows he's only allowed to watch it when we travel!]
  • Can we make a fort?….It's Massachusetts from 8901….It will be Maddiechusetts from 8901!  These cars are going to the country  They're going to have a beautiful drive.
  • [After him saying - what we thought were nonsense - words, "Wickus" and "Steptoe" for months we found out from an audio book where it comes from:] "Caterpillar", written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe.
  • Has begun describing things as "German" or "American"
  • Mommy, I can not carry three things.  I only have two hands to carry two things at a time.
  • Me: "Guess what that van has inside it?  A vacuum!" LT: "A vacuum!  It's just like home!!  Goodness gracious me.  Goodness sakes."
  • [Sometimes responds to questions by saying:] Yes, I totally would.  
  • "What does 'noggin' mean?  Why is it another word for 'head'?"
  • [Putting him to bed] Mommy, you need to rest more in my bed.
  • "I know a lot about some countries….But some countries I don't."
  • [Returning to a book after he had a bathroom break:]  Goodness, we can not sit here with mountains of toots.  You can not do that.  When you toot you should go to the potty and poo.
  • [Frequently, after naps] I'm feeling a lot more better.
  • [During his pre-bed restroom visit…sigh…boys….] Do you hear the plop?  Do you hear what I said?  Let's all laugh.  I love it when all my friends and family laugh and laugh.  Do you hear tooting?
  • [After a particularly tantrum-y day with Daddy]  Daddy: Levi was this a good day or a bad day? LT: Some of it was great, but a lot of it was terrible.
  • [During some quiet time in his room, needing help with a puzzle]  I need some help.  There's a problem in here…..I did SO many puzzles in here.  This room is FULL of puzzles.
  • LT: Those mannequins don't have any heads!  Me: Levi, you crack me up.  LT: That cracks me up…into an egg.
  • [Coming in from outside and handing me a dog hair-covered dandelion] Here, Mommy, this is for you…..This is a spring flower for you for cooking us this nice dinner.
  • [After having a hard time leaving the pool, unprompted:] I'm sorry I disappointed you.
  • "Mommy, why do the countries fight?…I think God should help them."
  • LT: I do not like commotions.  I do not like Mommy and Daddy commotions.  Me: You mean commercials?  LT: Yes.
  • [Driving out of our garage] Those people waved at us.  They think our car is cool…Whhhhyyyy do people look at us in our car!?
  • [As Daddy purposefully made reading mistakes] Daddy, you're having some trouble with this book.  You need to read the words.
  • [Holding up some Henry and Mudge books] Daddy, here are your two choices: On the Beach [holds up one arm], Puddle Trouble [holds up the other].  Which one?…Puddle Trouble.  Good job.  [Tosses the other one at me.]  Here, you read one too.
  • Me: What made you kiss Maddie at the pool?  Why did you get that idea?  LT: Because she loves me and is my best friend.
  • [Talking about our Ireland trip] After takeoff we'll put this armrest up and you can sleep.  LT:  I will not do that.  I will look out the window peacefully.  
  • [After noticing I take the computer to bed sometimes]  Some nights I would like to take my computer to bed and write messages.
  • [In Ireland] Will we take this car back to Germany, Daddy?
  • I heard a faint sound….
  • [Discussing his first time choosing how to spend some $] Me: You have 10 Euros that Uncle Keith gave you for your birthday.  The race car is too much.  How could you earn more money to buy the race car do you think?  LT: Ask Uncle Keith if it's okay.  [Nope.  We got that cleared up.]
  • "Daddy, your alarm when it went off was really loud and I didn't like it because it woke me up and I needed more sleep."
  • [Sleepily, waking from his nap:]  I….want….some…Apfelschorle.
  • "I heard a familiar buzzing, so I ran away so I didn't get stinged."
  • "Gracie tried to eat a bee.  Ah-ah, Gracie.  Let it do its work!"
  • [Very seriously]  Now.  Here's my idea.  [Giggling]  Do I get ideas?…..I get ideas like you!….YOU should stop getting ideas and now it's my turn to make the ideas for the rest of the day!
  • "If a spider made spiderwebs inside he would say, 'Oh no!  That's not th perfect place!'"

No comments: